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tifications in some of our acquaintance, and yet after all produce so little improvement, that we would willingly prevent its necessity in your case, my beloved hearers, , by setting before you the folly and odiousness of Pride however disguised or decorated; as we should be happy to promote your early and lasting acceptance, by effectually recommending to your choice the unembellished, but irresistible attractions of her opposite.
It is a pretty allusion I have somewhere met with, that Rebeccah's beauty and jewels, though at a distance hidden by the veil with which she covered them, would notwithstanding, when observed on a nearer approach, be much more pleasing for this temporary concealment. The attire of the soul, is, like that of the body, most becoming and agreeable, when it has least glare, and no affectation.
It must be confessed, indeed, that there is not any period of life at which men appear much difposed to put on the fober garment of Humility, however highly they may approve it in others. Self-love revolts against the practice of this virtue, though in the commerce of society fomething like it is hourly pretended, in part no doubt from a secret persuasion, that the reputation of it at least is defirable. Alinost every man calls himself the humble servant of every man.
But how few are there who seriously mean any thing by this phrase! Muft it not commonly be set down among thofe empty, though plaufible forms of speech, that have, in the progrefs of falfe refinement, been introduced by art and vanity combined, under the mask of courtesy and submiffion?
Genuine Humility is, in fact, the most unprofesfing of all virtues. She is the parent of True Simplicity : the may be known by a certain mild and silent inAuence, which she never studies to display: and, except when piety or good manners make it neceffary, she avoids all those. words, gestures, and appearances of the humble kind, that might draw the attention and praise of men. Like her Divine Exemplar, she is “ meek and lowly in heart;" but in language and deportment conforms herself to established custom, as far as it is innocent. That she is seen and accepted by the Almighty, fatisfies her warmest wishes.
Those who seem ready on every occafron to speak meanly of themfelves, would be mortified by negle&t, and stung by eenfure, from the fillieft creature living. One of the proudest men I have ever known, and who could the lealt endure to be charged with any imperfection, was perpëtually exclaiming, in a moft lamentable tohé, against the degeneracy of the world, and the depravity of the heart. Thofe who affect to depreciate themfelves in conversation, inwardly hope not to be taken at their word, and would be woefully dis
appointed if they were. Such self-condemnation is one of the numberless traps which are daily laid for applause. There is not indeed any vice, that assumes a greater variety of shapes than Pride, or that walks the world in more disguises.
The artifices which men employ to acquire importance, and attract admiration, are usually more or less refined, according to their different degrees of understanding. But remember, the nicest management of this sort seldom passes undiscovered ; the persons on whom it is attempted, having for the most part, within themselves, too sure a test by which to examine and detect it in their neighbours. When detected, it meets with no quarter; and thus Pride is doomed to defeat her own end, to miss the fame the seeks, and to incur the disgrace fhe dreads. Humility, on the other hand, when attended by good senfe and good conduct, has nothing to fear from the self-love of the by-ftanders, disarms
prejudice in all but the malignant, and conciliates from the candid fingular regard.
6 Before destruction,” says Solomon, “ the heart of man is haughty; and 66 before honour is Humility.”. But a greater than Solomon is here.
6. Who 5 soever exalteth himself,” says the head Master of Wisdom's school, “ shall be 66 abased; and he that humbleth himself 46 shall be exalted :" a declaration which occurs so often in the Gospel, that we may conclude it to be a favourite maxim with our Saviour. Indeed the Scriptures at large lay fo peculiar a stress upon this point, and it likewise enters so deep into Nature, Experience, Religion, and the Best Philofophy, that it will deserve all your attention, while we consider it at Come length.
In direct opposition to such doctrine, it has been asked, " Is not diffidence a 66 bar to farne and success ? Does not “ Humility tend to conceal merit, instead VOL. II.