Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

the spring, but by the water that comes out of the pipes ? Corrupt nature hath taught us so much craft, as to set the best side outward. If, therefore, thou have obscene lips; if bribing and oppressing hands; if a gluttonous tooth, a drunken gullet, a lewd conversation; certainly, the soul can be no other than abominably filthy. It may be worse than it appears; better, it camiot lightly be.

The mind then leads the body, the body descries the mind : both of them, at once, are old; or both, at once, new.

For us, as we bear the face of Christians, and profess to have received both souls and bodies from the same hand, and look that both bodies and souls shall once meet in the same glory, let it be the top of all our care, that we may be transformed in the renewing of our Minds; and let the renewing of our minds bewray itself, in the renewing of our Bodies. Wherefore have we had the powerful Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ so long amongst us, if we be still ourselves? What hath it wrought upon us, if we be not changed?

Never tell me of a Popish Transubstantiation of men : of an invisible, insensible, unfeisible change of the person; while the species of his outward life and carriage are still the same. These are but false, hypocritical jugglings, to mock fools withal. If we be transformed and renewed, let it be so done, that not only our own eyes and hands niay see and feel it, but others too: that the bystanders may say, “ How is this man changed from himself! He was a blasphemous swearer, a profane scoffer at goudness : now, he speaks with an awful reverence of God and holy things. He was a luxurious wanton: now, he possesseth his vessel in holiness and honour. He was an unconscionable briber, and abettor of unjust causes : now, the world cannot fee him to speak for wrong. He was a wild roaring swaggerer: now, he is a sober student. He was a devil : now, he is a saint.”

Oh, let this day, if we have so long deferred it, be the day of the renovation, of the purification of our souls! And let us begin with a sound humiliation, and true sorrow for our former and present wickednesses.

It hath been an old (I say not how true) note, that hath been wont to be set on this day, that, if it be clear and sun shiny, it portends a hard weather to come; if cloudy and louring, a mild and gentle season ensuing. Let me apply this to a spiritual use; and assure every hearer, that, if we overcast this day with the clouds of our sorrow and the rain of our penitent tears, we shall find a sweet and hopeful season all our life after.

Oh, let us renew our covenants with God, that we will now be renewed in our Minds. The comfort and gain of this change shall be our own, while the honour of it is God's and the Gospel's : for this gracious change shall be followed with a glorious.

Onwards, this only shall give us true peace of conscience: only upon this, shall the Prince of this World find nothing in us: how

should he, when we are changed from ourselves? And, when we shall come to the last change of all things, even when the heavens and elements shall be on a Hame, and shall melt about our ears, the conscience of this change shall lift up our heads with joy; and shall give our renewed souls a happy entry into that new heaven. Or, when we shall come to our own last change, in the dissolution of these earthly tabernacles, it shall bless our souls with the assurance of unchangeable happiness; and shall bid our renewed bodies lie down in peace, and in a sweet expectation of being changed to the likeness of the glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of an eternal participation of his infinite glory. Whereto, he who ordained us graciously bring us; even for the merits of his Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, the Just : To whom, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be all praise, honour, and glory, now and for ever, Amen.

SERMON XXI.

THE FALL OF PRIDE;

OUT OF PROVERBS xxix VERSE 23.

PROV, xxix. 23. A man's Pride shall bring him lore; but Honour shall uphold the

humble in spirit.

That, which was the ordinary Apophthegm of a greater than Solomon, (He, that exalteth himself, shall be brought low; but he, that humbleth himself shall be eralted; which our Saviour used thrice in terminis, oft in sense,) is here the Aphorism of wise Solomon. Neither is it ill guessed by learned Mercerus, that our Saviour in that speech of his alludes hither.

I need not tell you how great, how wise, Solomon was. The great are wont to be most haunted with pride; the wise can best see the danger of that pride, which haunts the great: great and wise Solomon, therefore, makes it one of his chief common-places, the crying down of Pride: a vice, not more general than dangerous; as that, which his witty Imitator can tell us is initium omnis peccati, the beginning of all sin; Ecclus. x. 13.

Now pride can never be so much spited as by honouring her contemned rival, Humility. Nothing could so much vex that insolent Agagite, as to be made a lackey to a despised Jew. Besides her own portion therefore, which is ruin, Solomon torments her with the advancement of her abased opposite.

My Text then is like unto Shushan, in the streets whereof, honour is proclaimed to an humble Mordecai; in the palace whereof, is erected an engine of death to a proud Haman: A man's Pride shall bring him low; but Honour shall uphold the humble.

The propositions are antithetical; wherein pride is opposed to humility, honour to ruin. Hear, I beseech you, how wise Solomon hath learned of his father David, to sing of Mercy and Judgment : Judgment to the proud, Mercy to the humble; both together with one breath. The judgment to the proud, is their Humbling: the mercy to the humble, is their raising to Honour.

It is the noted course of God, to work still by contraries: as indeed this is the just praise of Omnipotence, to fetch light out of darkness, life out of death, order out of confusion, heaven out of hell, honour out of humility, humiliation out of pride; according to that of the sacred Way-maker of Christ, Every hill shall be cast down, every valley raised. But, in this particular above all other, he delights to cross and abase the proud, to advance the humble;: as blessed Mary in her Magnificat, to pull down the mighty from their seat, and to exalt the humble and meek. For God hath a special quarrel to the proud, as those, that do more nearly contest with his Majesty, and scramble with him for his glory; he knows the Proud afar off: and hath a special favour in store for the Humble; as those, that are vessels most capable of his mercy, because they are empty. This in common: we descend to the several parts. · I. The JUDGMENT begins first, as that which is fit to make way for Mercy. Therein there are two strains: one is the Sin; the other is the Punishment.

1. The sin is a man's Pride. A Man's; not for the distinction of one sex from another, but · First, for the comprehension of both sexes under one. The woman was first proud, and it sticks by her ever since. She is none of the daughters of Eve, that inherits not her child's-part in this.sin. Neither is this feminine pride less odious, less dangerous: rather the weakness of the sex gives power and advantage to the vice; as the faggot-stick will sooner take fire than the log i

Secondly, for the intimation of the reflex action of pride. A man's Pride, therefore, is the pride of himself. Indeed the whole endeavour, study, care of the proud man, is the hoising of himself; yea, this Himself is the adequate subject of all sinful desires... What doth the Covetous labour, but to enrich himself? the Voluptuous, but to delight himself? the Proud, but to exalt himself? whether in contempt of others, or in competition with God himself. For pride hath a double cast of her eye; downwards to other men in scorn, upwards to God in a rivality. .

To men first: as the proud Pharisee; I am not as others, nor as this Publican. He thinks he is made of better clay than the common lump: it is others' happiness to serve him. He magnifies every act, that falls from him : as that proud Nebuchadnezzar; Is not this great Babel, that I have buill? yea, his own very excretions are sweet and fragrant; while the perfumes of others are rank and ill-scented. • To God, secondly. For, whereas piety makes God our Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end; the beginning, to which we ascribe all, the end, whereto we refer all: the proud man makes himself his own Alpha, thanks himself for all; makes himself his own Omega, seeks himself in all; begins at himself, ends at himself. . '.. . i

Which must veeds be so much more odious to God, as it conforms us more to the enemy of God; of whom we say commonly; “ As proud as the Devil.” For that once-glorious angel, looking upon his own excellency wherewith he was invested in his creation, began to be lift up in himself; made himself his own Alpha and Omega ; acknowledging no 'essential dependance upon God as his beginning, no necessary reference to God as his end: and there. fore was tumbled down into that bottomless dungeon, and reserved in everlasting chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day. This is it, which some think St. Paul alludes to, when he charges that a Bishop should not be a novice, lest he should be puffed up, and fall eis açíuce 78 diabóne, into the condemnation of the Devil; 1 Tim. iii. 6.

Now there are so many kinds of Pride, as there are imaginary causes of self-exaltation: and there are so many causes imagined hereof, as there are things reputed more precious and excellent in the eyes of the world. I might send you to Hugo's Chariot of Pride, drawn with four horses, (that'age knew no more,) and the four wheels of it, if I listed to mount pride curiously: but I will shew you her on foot.

To speak plainly therefore, these five things are wont commonly to be the matter of our pride, Honour, Riches, Beauty, Strength, Knowledge. Every of them shall have a word.

(1.) Those, that are tainted with the first, are State-proud; blad, ders puft up with the wind of Honour. Thus Niniveh; Behold, I sit as a queen; I am, and there is none else. Thus the insolent officer of Sennacherib; Who art thou, that thou despisest the least of my master's servants? Vicina potentibus superbia, as that Father said, “ Pride is an usual neighbour to greatness." How hard is it for eminent persons, when they see all heads bare, all knees bowed to them, not to be raised up in their conceits, not to applaud their own glory; and to look overly upon the ignoble multitude, as, those, which are terræ filii, mushrooms, worthy of nothing but contempt! Hence it is, that proud ones are incompatible with each other. Look upon other vices, ye shall see one drunkard hug another; one debauched wanton love another; one swearer, one profane beast delight in another: but one proud man cannot abide another; as one twig cannot bear two red-breasts. Both would be best. Cæsar will not endure an equal; nor Pompey a superior.

(2.) The second are Purse-proud. Vermis divitiarum superbia, as St. Austin wittily, “Pride is in the purse, as the worm" in the apple. Thus Nabal, because he hath money in his bags and stock on his ground, sends a scornful message to poor David, though a better man than himself; Many servants run away from their masters now adays. How many examples meet us every where of this kind; of them, which, having scraped together a little money more than their neighbours, look big upon it, and scorn the need of the better deserving, and bluster like a tempest, and think to bear down even good causes before them! Secundas fortunas decent superbiæ, as the Comedian, “ Pride becomes the wealthy.". Thus Solomon notes in his time, that the rich speaks with commands: the words weigh according to the purse. . (3.) The third are the Skjn-proud; for beauty goes no deeper: such as with Jezebel lick themselves, and with Narcissus dote upon their own faces; thinking it a wrong in any, that sees them, and admires them not; spending all their thoughts and their time in fashions and complexion, as if their soul lay in their hide; despis

« PoprzedniaDalej »