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L u K. xiv. ii.
For whosoever exalteth himself \ shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself pall be exalted,
fHERE is no Virtue in Iiu-serm. man Life, of more universal X. Usefulness than Humility; and ^^^^ yet none more difficult to be praBiJed by a man's self, or to be rightly fiated and defined to others. Pride grows upon Men insensibly by imperceptible degrees, and creeps in unta
SErM.ken notice of upon innumerable Occasions, and ^eils itself often under an af
t/"VN"'sected Appearance even of Humility itself* For true Humility, as it is hard to define, so it is not always easy to know when a man has it: And whilst it is frequendy> described to be a man's having in ap* pearancc a meaner Opinion of himself, than it is poffible for him to have in reality; (for no man can really think that of himself, which he knows at the fame time not to be true of himself;) it happens, not uncommonly, that there may be great Pride, in a man's pretending so to think of himself, as he knows every body believes there is no just reason to think of him; and that there may be more and truer Humility in Another person, who without either ajj'eSled Humility or real Pridr, so thinks of himself as he ought to think, and so behaves himself as becomes his proper Station and Imployment in the World. For true Humility consists, not in Imagination, but in Action; not in mens appearing to think ill of themselves, but in behaving themselves well; it consists in carrying themselves
modestly modestly in the Performance of their pre-S Erm. sent Duty, not assuming to themselves Xany thing above the character of their proper Station, not putting themselves forward in an eager and indecent manner, but, by the Practice of real and useful Virtues, causing Others to be desirous of their Advancement in the World. This is the Behaviour of True Merit; and the Method, which, in the Nature of Things, in the Judgment of the Wisest Men, and by the Appointment of God himself, leads modest and unaffected Virtue, to real Honour, and to a settled and established Esteem. For whosoever exalteth himself pall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. In the following Discourse upon which Words> I shall iji endeavour to show what True Humility is, and wherein it consists; and 2dly, propose some Arguments to perswade men to the - Practise of it. Under which same Heads, it will appear at the fame Time what Pride is, and by what Arguments men are to be warned against falling into it.
Se Rm.because the Circumstances of men are X. infinitely various j and the Practice of
^r>*'~SJ every moral Virtue, is diversified in as many different manners, as the Circumstances of the Cafe wherein it is to be exercised; therefore either general Rules cannot be given at all, or, if they be, yet commonly they are but of small Use, because they are lost in the endless diversity of the Application. On the other hand, particular Rules for every single Cafe, are as impossible to be laid down; because their Number would wholly confound the Memory, and so become incapable of being applied at all. The middle and most useful Way, is to mention the principal Heads only; which, being Few, are easy to be remembred; and yet to which all the rest, that are numberless, may with ease be occasionally reduced in Practise. In order therefore to explain distinctly and intelligibly, what true Humility is; it may be proper to consider it, with regard to the Persons towards whom it is to be exercised, and with regard to the Hhing wherein those Persons differ severally from each other. The Persons, in
our behaviour towards whom the Virtue S E R M. of Humility is to be exercised, are either Superiors, Equals, or Inferiors: and the Things wherein these several Persons differ principally from each other, are either their Civil Stations in the World, their different Natural Abilities, or their Religious Improvements.
ijl, With regard to Superiors in general, true Humility consists, in paying them cheerfully and readily all due Honour and Relpect, in those particular Regards wherein they are our Superiors, notwithstanding any other accidental Difadvantages on their side, or Advantages on ours. More particularly; with regard to , Superiors in Civil Stations in the World, true Humility consists, in obeying them willingly in all things just and lawful; in submitting to the Authority, even of the froward and unworthy; in not despising their Persons, exposing their Weaknesses, or insulting over their Infirmities; but being truly sensible, that those of Us who think best of our own Abilities, might, in higher Stations, and under greater Trusts, find Difficulties we are P 2 not