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the pressing of this rule. And it is of undeniable equity, even written in nature, as due to aged persons. But doubtless those reap this due fruit in that season the most, who have ripened it most by the influence of their grave and holy carriage. The hoary head is indeed a crown, but when? when found in the way of righteousness. There it shines, and hath a kind of royalty over youth; otherwise a graceless old age is a most despicable and lamentable sight. What gains an unholy old man by his scores of years, but the more scores of guiltiness and misery? And his white hairs speak nothing but ripeness for wrath. O to be as a tree planted in the house of the Lord, bringing forth fruit in old age! Much experience in the ways of God, and much disdain of the world, and much desire of the love of God, a heavenly temper of mind and frame of life-this is the advantage of many years.
But to have seen and felt the more misery, and heaped up the more sin, the greater bundle of it, against the day of wrath, a woful treasure of it, threescore, or threescore and ten years a gathering, and with so much increase every day; no vacation, no dead years, no, not a day wherein it was not growing--how deplorable a case !
II. All of you be subject one to another. This doth not annul either civil or church government, nor those differences that are grounded upon the law of nature, or of civil society; for we see before, that such differences are allowed, and the particular duties of them recommended; but it only requires that all due respect, according to their station, be given by each Christian to another. And though there cannot be such a subjection of masters or parents to their servants and children, as is due to them from these, yet a lowly, meek carrying of their authority, a tender respect of their youth, the receiving of an admonition from them duly qualified, is that which suits with the rule; and, in general, not delighting in the trampling on or abusing of any, but rather seeking the credit and good esteem of all as our own ; taking notice of that good in them, wherein they are beyond us; and, in a word in honor preferring one ano. ther.
III. Now that such carriage may be sincere, no empty compliment, but a part of the solid holiness of a Christian, the apostle requires the true principle of such deportment, the grace of humility, that a Cbristian put on that ; not the appearance of it, to act in as a stage-garment, but the truth of it, as his constant habit. Be
clothed with humility, It must appear in your outward carriage; so the resemblance of clothing imports, But let it appear as really it is; so the very name of it imports. It is not a show of humility, but heart-lowliness, humility of mind.
This, therefore, is mainly to be studied, that the seat of humility be the heart. Although it will be seen in the carriage, yet let it be seen as little as it can ; as few words as may be concerning itself; and those it doth speak, must be the real thoughts of the mind, and not an affected voice of it differing from the inward sense: otherwise humble speech and carriage, only put on without and not fastened in the inside, is the most refined, and subtle, and indeed the most dangerous kind of pride. And this I would recommend as a safe way-ever let thy thoughts concerning thyself be below what thou utterest; and what thou seest needful or fitting to say to thy own abasement, be not only content to be taken at thy word and believed to be such by them that hear thee, but be desirous of it, and let that be the end of thy speech, to persuade them and gain it of them, that they really take thee for as worthless and mean, as thou dost express thyself.
But how little are we acquainted with the real frame of Christianity, most of us living without a rule, not laying it to our words and ways at all, nor yielding so much as a seeming obedience to the gospel; while others take up a kind of profession, and think all consists in some religious performances, and do not study the inward reserve of their heart-evils, nor labor to have that temple purged : for the heart should be a temple, and it stands in much need of a sweeping out of the filthiness and putting out of idols. Some there be, who are much busied about the matter of their assurance, ever dwelling upon that point, which it is lawful indeed and laudable to inquire after, yet not so as to neglect other things more needful. It were certainly better for many, when they find no issue that way, to turn somewhat of their diligence to the study of Christian graces and duties in their station, and to task themselves for a time, were it to the more special seeking first of some one grace, and then of another, as meekness, and patience, and this particularly, humility.
As in all graces, so particularly in this grace, take heed of a disguise or counterfeit of it. O for sincerity in all things, and particularly in this! To be low in thine own eyes, and willing to be so in the eyes of others—this is the very upright nature of heart-humility. Is not the day at hand, when men will be taken off the false heights they stand on, and set on their own feet; when all the esteem of others shall vanish and pass away like smoke, and thou shalt be just what God finds and accounts thee, and neither more nor less? Оthe remembrance of that day when a true estimate will be made of all, would make men hang less upon the unstable conceits and opinions of one another !
Now to work the heart to an humble posture, look first, into thyself in earnest; and whosoever thou art, that hast the highest conceit of thyself and the highest causes for it, a real sight of thyself will lay thy crest. Men look on any good or any fancy of it in themselves, with both eyes, and skip over as unpleasant their real defects and deformities. Every man is naturally his own flatterer; otherwise flatteries, and false cryings up from others, would make little impression ; but hence their success, they meet with the same conceit within. But let any man see his ignorance, and lay what he knows not over against what he knows, the disorders in his heart and affections over against any right motion in them, his secret follies and sins against his outwardly blameless carriage, this man will not readily love and embrace himself; yea, it will be impossible for him not to abase and abhor himself.
2. Look on the good in others and the evil in thyself; make that the parallel, and then thou wilt walk humbly. Most men do just the contrary, and that foolish and unjust comparison puffs them up.
3. Thou art not required to be ignorant of that good which really is so indeed; but beware of imagining that
to be good which is not; yea, rather let something that is truly good, pass thy view, and see it within rather than beyond its true size. And then whatsoever it be, see it not as thine own, but as God's, bis free gift; and so the more thou hast, looking on it in that view, thou wilt certainly be the more bumble, as having the more obligations : the weight of them will press thee down, and lay thee still lower, as you see it in Abraham; the clear visions and promises he had, made him fall down on the ground ; Gen. xv, 12.
4. Pray much for the spirit of humility, the Spirit of Christ; otherwise all thy vileness will not humble thee. When men bear of this or of other graces and how reasonable they are, they think presently to have them, and do not consider the natural enmity and rebellion of their own hearts, and the necessity of receiving them from heaven. And therefore in the use of all other means, be most dependent on divine influence, and most in the use of that means, which opens the heart most to that influence and draws it down upon the heart, and that is prayer.
Of all the evils of our corrupt nature, there is none more connatural and universal than pride, the grand wickedness. St. Augustine says truly, " That which first overcame man, is the last thing be overcomes.” Some sins, comparatively, may die before us, but this bath life in it as long as we. It is as the heart of all, the first living and the last dying; and it hath this advantage, that, whereas other sins are fomented by one another, this feeds even on virtues and graces, as a moth that breeds in them and consumes them, even in the finest of them, if it be not carefully looked to. It will secretly cleave to the best actions, and prey upon them. And therefore is there so much need that we continually watch, and fight, and pray against it, and be restless in the pursuit of real and deep humiliation, daily seeking to advance further in it; to be nothing and to desire to be nothing ; not only to bear, but to love our own abasement, and the things that procure and help it, to take pleasure in them, so far as may be without sin ; yea, eveu in respect of our sinful failings, when they are discovered, to love the bringDiv. No. VII.
ing low of ourselves by them, while we grieve for the sin of them.
And, above all, it is requisite to watch ourselves in our best things, that self get not in, or, if it break in or steal in at any time, that it be presently found out and cast out again; to have this established within us, to do all for God, to intend him and his glory in all, and to be willing to advance his glory, were it by our own disgrace; not to make raising or pleasing thyself the rule of exercising thy parts and graces, when thou art called to use and bring them forth, but the good of thy brethren, and, in that, the glory of thy Lord. Now this is indeed to be severed from self and united to him, to have selflove turned into the love of God. And this is his own work; it is above all other hands; therefore the main combat against pride and the couquest of it, and the gaining of bumility, is certainly by prayer.
Now to stir us up to diligence in the exercise of this grace, take briefly a consideration or two.
1. Look on the high example of lowliness set before us; Jesus Christ requiring our particular care to take this lesson from him. And is it not most reasonable ? He the most fair, the most excellent and complete of all men, and yet the most humble! He more than a man, who yet willingly became, in some sort, less than a man, a worm and no man. And when Majesty itself emptied itself and descended so low, shall a worm swell and be high-conceited ?
Then consider, it was for us he humbled himself, to expiate our pride; and therefore it is evidently the more just that we follow a pattern which is both so great in itself and doth so nearly concern us. O humility, the virtue of Christ, how dost thou confound the vanity of our pride!
2. Consider the safety of grace under this clothing: it is that which keeps it unexposed to a thousand hazards. Humility doth grace no prejudice in covering it, but indeed shelters it from violence and wrong: therefore they do justly call it, the preserver of graces; and one says well, “ That he who carries' other graces with