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heads of his posterity. When David, in an evil hour, had determined to “ number * Israel and Judah," that he might gratify his own pride and vanity, by knowing the number of the people ; and make himself great in the eyes of others, by shewing the extent of his power, and the multitude over which he ruled ; Joab, the captain of his host, wished to persuade him not to do this foolish and wicked thing : “ Now the LORD
thy God add unto the people,” says he, " how many soever they be, an hundred “ fold, and that the eyes of my lord the “ king may see it; but why doth my lord " the king delight in this thing ?" David, however, was “ wise in his own conceit;' he held the experience and friendship of Joab as nothing; despised his counsel, numbered the people, and the death of seventy, thousand of his subjects was the fatal consequence of his rashness. When our blessed LORD foresaw the weakness and falling off of Peter, and told him expressly, Verily I say unto thee, that “this night, before the cock crow twice, " thou shalt deny me thrice ;" the apostle, (whò was too apt to be as wise in his
own conceit," till his inner man was renewed by the grace of God,) fully per. suaded that he knew himself much better
than his Saviour did, boldly answered, “ Though all men shall be offended because “ of thee, yet will I never be offended “ though I shall die with thee, yet will I not “ deny thee.” The consequence of this trust in himself was, that, when charged with being a companion of 'JESUS, he declared, with oaths and imprecations, “ I know not the
man of whom ye speak ;” and then convinced of the heinousness of his crime, “ went out and wept bitterly."
By these examples of the sad effects of being “ wise in our own conceit,” jn the instances of some of the best men mentioned in scripiure, we are taught, in a very solemn way, how necessary it is for us, weak, blind, and imperfect as we are, to guard against falling into the same dangerous error. We are taught to distrust ourselves; to entertain humble notions of our own judgment ; not to put too much confidence in our own opinions; but to listen with patience to the advice, and be guided by the counsels, of those who are older, and wiser, and better than ourselves. This, indeed, is what we ought all to do; but it is more particularly the duty of the young and the ignotant. They have seen but little of the world; they have no experience of the ways of mankind; and, consequently, are not able to judge, in
numberless cases, how it may be best for them to act, or what course they ought to follow, in order to be happy in themselves, to be esteemed by others, and useful to their fellow-creatures. This is one, among many other reasons, why children should attend to the advice and instruction of their parents. They are bound to do so, indeed, by the law of God, who has solemnly commanded them to "honour their father and “ mother;" to which may be added the example of Christ, who was “ subject" to his father and mother, and the authority of St. Paul, who expressly says, “ children,
obey your parents in all things, for this “is well-pleasing unto the LORD:" but, setting aside the commands of the Bible, they ought to shew this respect and duty to their parents, on two other accounts; bem cause they have lived longer in the world, and therefore have more experience, than themselves; and because no other persons can be so muchtheir friends and well-wishers, as those who gave them birth. They can have no motive for giving them advice, but because they love them : nor can they wish them to do any thing, for any other reason, than because they think it will turn out to their happiness and advantage. If children, therefore, " are wise in their own conceit,"
and neglect or despise the counsels of their parents, they not only sin grievously against God; they not only shew an utter want of natural affection and gratitude ; but they also shew a foolish and wicked disregard to their best interest, here and hereafter.
Upon the same principle it is, that they who are ignorant and uninformed ought not to be wise in their own conceit ;" but, on the contrary, anxious to receive instruction, and to be directed in their conduct, by those, who, from their wisdom, learning, or experience, are qualified to teach, advise, and admonish them. I doubt not, my brethren, that you can call to mind many instances, either in your own case, or in the cases of others, where men have run into many dangers; committed many sins; and missed many advantages, because they turned a deaf ear to the counsels of prudent and experienced friends, whose greater knowledge and experience, if attended to, would have kept them out of the evils into which they fell, or procured to them the benefits which they lost, by being a wise in their own conceit.” But, more especially, you must be sensible of the fatal consequences of being “ own conceit," in opposition to the counsel and instructions of the ministers of religion. They are, you kaow, the ambassadors of
16 wise in your
Jesus Christ, who preach his doctrines, and deliver his precepts, “ not in the words “ which man's wisdom teacheth, but which " the Holy Ghost teacheth.” They bring to you the wisdom from above, to guide your conduct to what is holy, just, and good; to shew you the path of peace here, and the road to happiness hereafter. Do not then, my brethren, slight their message, or despise their advice; but as St. Paul says, " know them who labour among you, and
are over you in the LORD, and admonish
you ; and esteem them very highly in "love, for their works' sake ; for they " watch for your souls, as they that must
give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief ; for that is unpro. "ofitable for you ;" “ for he that despiseth,
despiseth not man, but God, who hath “ also given us his Holy Spirit.
The next excellent rule, which St. Paul lays down in the epistle for the day, is this,
recompense to no man evil for evil.” In making the journey of life, we shall be subject at times to the ill-usage of our fellow-travellers ;
occasionally have to do with ill-humoured or passionate, mischievous or dishonest, people, and must expect to suffer now and then from them, either in our feelings, or character, or pock