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to prepare you for others in the grave at last! The poet finely says,
These little epicures have kings
To swell their bill of fare. And now we speak of kings, if there is any dead prince or lord, laid out in state near your place of abode, let me beg you would go and look at him. That you should, is the very thing his haughty relations wish for, that you may stupidly admire his greatness and theirs. But I would send you thither for a very different purpose. If there is some degree of fierceness in his countenance, it is only the work of death. Fear him not now. His power to hurt or oppress is at an end. Look steadily at him, and remember, that is the thing, which a few days ago, lived in a palace, rolled about in a gilded coach, was attended by a number of servants in splendid liveries, and blown up to a monstrous size by as many flatterers. That is the thing, out of whose way, in the streets or on the high road, you fled like a frightened hare, lest his horses and carriage should crush you to death as a mere worm.
And what is he now? Let your eyes and nose tell you, that all in him you so feared, envied, admired, now differs not from the dirt on your shoe, but in a much more offensive smell, which all the perfumes, wherewith he is surrounded, cannot sufficiently qualify.
Do not ask, why I recommend this sight to you? Such as he is, such must you be in a little time. His great physicians and all his fees could not save him from this condition, in which you see him. You cannot reasonably hope for more, or even so much, from yours. Humility is the happy effect I would produce in you by this sight. If he forgot, that he had nothing which he did not receive, he was a fool; but you must be a greater fool if, with so few, and so small things as you have received, you should be puffed up like him, so as to forget the God who gave them to you, and the death that shall take them from you. What then is that pride of life, which is not of the Father, but of the world, to you? It is but the air that swells a bladder, without making it really larger than it is in itself. Neither the dead prince, nor you, nor any man in this world, ever possessed the smallest matter of his own. Your soul, your body, your life, your very being, do not belong to you;
much less, your food, raiment, &c. All are lent you, and must be accounted for to God, the sole proprietor. With fear, trembling, and vigilance, therefore take care of the soul, body, and life, which your Maker hath intrusted you with. Put not on your clothes, till you have thanked God for them; and if they are new or fine, do not strut in them, for they are not your own.
Do not eat or drink without thanking God for your food, nor value yourself, if you have it in plenty, on what you impart to your friends and the poor, for it is not your own. If you have more understanding, power, or piety, than your neighbour, child, or servant, wrap not your talents in a napkin, much less lay them out on your intemperance and pride in the service of the devil, but honestly and diligently trade on them for your master, as one that knows they are his, not yours.
God knew you too well to be trusted with much, and therefore hath lent you but a little. Your understanding is a poor weak thing. Your body is little and feeble. Your worldly means scanty. If these do not humble you, what do you think of your sins? You fear and tremble at the sense of these ; how then can you be high-minded? How can you blush for your follies, and yet face the world with an assured countenance, and a stiff neck ? If there is one lower in the world, as to any of the above particulars, do not swell on the comparison, nor set up to lord it over him; but rather consider, how many there are far above you in every respect; and that nevertheless, high as they are, if compared with you, they are but poor creatures, poor, foolish, mortal, if not wicked.
If many of them are proud and wicked, consider that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many
noble are called' into the service of God, and that of those who are, there are but few, who hear and obey the call. Consider too, that they shall perish for ever like their own dung.' The Lord hath gratified them in setting ? them in slippery places,' from whence they are soon cast down. Here for a while they make a pompous figure ; and it is one of your most foolish and dangerous weaknesses, that you are too apt to envy that figure, and to wish you could shine away as they do. So far you are governed by the pride of life, and 'conformed to this world, which, to
gether with all its pomps and vanities, you solemnly vowed to renounce when you took a new name in Christ, and gave in that name to his church. It is not through the eye of faith you gaze at and admire the empty shew niade by riches and pride in this world. No, you see this only with a carnal eye, that 'eye, which seeing seeth not. However, if
you have the least tincture of even worldly wisdom, if you have but a little common sense, do not aim at figure till
you can afford it.
But in a lower degree, and at a cheaper rate, you think you may be a man of some figure. Lower degree! What is pride good for, if it can put up with this? Indeed it never can. A higher, and a higher degree must for ever be aimed at, for ever struggled for, till the highest is arrived at. Pride knows no bounds, can bear no inferiority. Cheaper! can that be cheap, for which the soul is paid, and heaven sold ? As nothing in man is more pleasing to God than humility; so nothing is so odious to him as pride, because it was the first sin, the peculiar sin of the devil.
A man's pride,' saith God, shall bring him low. Pride goeth before destruction. He that humbleth himself, shall be exalted, and he that exalteth himself, shall be abased.' Yet you wish to rise in the eye of the world, not by true wisdom and good deeds, but by wealth howsoever acquired; by its appearance, when you have it not; and by the outward figure and fashion of a fool in the rank above you. Fashion! what can a Christian have to do with it, who is commanded not to be conformed to this world ? Do you not know, that the love of money is the root of all evil;' that fashion is the weed which springs from this root; that figure and flourish are its leaves; and death eternal its fruit? There is nothing so ridiculous, so contemptible in the eyes of this world's little grandees, as a poor man set
for the fashion ; nothing so hateful and despicable in the sight of God. Does not this sort of pride therefore go before a fall, as well here as hereafter? Yes, and the higher it is raised, the deeper is its fall into that pit, which hath no bottom. You know, ‘God made you after his own image;' do not then suffer the devil to fashion you into an image of himself. Let me point out to you that wise ambition, which building, higher than Babel, even up to heaven,
digs deep in the rock of humility for a foundation. There is your abiding place, and there you may be truly great; but as to this lower' world, it passeth away and the lust thereof. There is indeed in this place of vanity and vexation' nothing that you should much desire, or value yourself upon, were it the will of Providence that
should obtain it, which it never can be, till that Providence, in its anger at your folly and pride, gives you up to yourself.
To conclude, what are you, enslaved to the lusts of the flesh and eyes, and the pride of life, but a foul dunghill, corrupted and bloated with both bodily and spiritual stench, wherein every thing abominable and poisonous is hatched and fed, satyrs, hydras, gorgons, chimeras, dragons, griffins, goblins, crawling throughout your wild imagination, your dissolute heart, your abandoned soul; and spreading infidelity, vice, death, and damnation, wherever they move. Can such a monster go to heaven ?- No, even this world spues him out as a disgrace to the earth, into that sink where the stinking offscourings of the moral world, with all their maggots, are gathered. Labour therefore, in time, 'to purify yourself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God,' since you see what must inevitably be the end of the unclean and the proud. To this work may the God of all power and goodness open your eyes, and in this may he help you, for the sake of Christ Jesus.
THOUGHTS ON COMMON SENSE,
THE MORE INTELLIGENT READER.
A good many years ago, a pamphlet was published here in Ireland, and, I believe, in England also, entitled, An Appeal to the Common Sense of Christian People, with a very sensible preface, addressed to them as unlearned and (as the author every where calls them) common Christians, persuading them to read the Scriptures, and trust to their own interpretations, rather than to the refinements, as he calls them, deservedly enough in too many instances, of either divines or churches. They themselves may, and therefore ought to be, he insists with good reason, competent judges of all which the Scriptures require of them to believe or do. He proceeds however but a little way in this strain when he enters on the design of the pamphlet, until he aids his common Christians in the work of interpreting Scripture with the commentaries of the learned, as he always styles them, by artful strictures in favour of Arianism from the abettors of that heresy, whether a text is brought for its support, or one, always quoted against it, is instanced. The partisans of his opinion alone are honoured by him with the epithet of learned. The common Christians, unacquainted with the original languages, have no more than the insidious compliment of an appeal, as every where they are obliged to trust him, and his learned, with the sense of all passages alleged. It is hard to say, whether this juggle is a grosser imposition on common sense, or the common people; but this I am bold to say, that truth never was, never can be, taught by fallacies like this. It is said, the author was a clergyman of the established church. Whatever he was,