Page images

Ads 12v 23.

wilt afcend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne IPARRA: 13. above the Stars of God, I will fit upon the sides

of the North, I will afcend above the heights of the Clouds, I will be like the most High. "'Twas for this that the Angel of Death drew upon Herod, not because he was pleas'd with the fineness and success of his Oratory, but because he was not so just to God as the People were to him, but lookt upon himself as the Head- . fountain of his own perfections, and so gave. not God the glory.

But now if we take care to proportion our esti-.. mation of and our Complacencies in our selves to the measure of our endowments, and if we look upon those very endowments not as originary and

independent but as derivative from the Father of James 1. 17.

lights from whom every good and perfe&t gift descends, and accordingly refer all to Gods glory and with the Elders in the Revelations take off our Crowns from our Heads and cast them at the foot of the Throne, we have not only the expresswords of the Text, but likewise all the reason in the world to warrant the Sobriety of our Opinions. For, this is but to have a right and exact understanding of ones self. And why may not a man be allow'd to take a true Estimate of himself as well as of another man? Or why should a man think an excellency less valuable because ’ris in himself? The Happiness


Rev, 4. 10

of God consists in seeing himself as he vs ; 'ke refle&ş upon the Beauty of his Essence, 'arid rejoyces with an infinite Complaçeney, Now certainly that wherein consists the Happiness of the Creator, cannot be a Sin in the Creature. Besides, I would fain know why a man may not as lawfully think well of himself upon the Score of his real worth, as defire that others jould think well of him for the same reason? And that he may do the latter is confefs’d as well by the Practice, as by the common Suffrage of Mankind. For otherwise what becomes of that good Reputation which Solomon says is rather to be chosen than great Riches, and of which Prov. 223 €. the Best and Wiseft men of all ages had ever such a tender, fuch a paffionate Regard? Nay tis look’t upon as a very Commendable thing to be so affected, and the contrary is censured as the mark of a dissolute and unmoraliz'd temper. Only there is a Mitego aš Kevor@ to be ob

2 Cor.10-13 sery'd in this as well as in the former, and as we are not to stretch out our felves beyond our : Cor. 10.54. measure, fo must we take care with the great Apoftle, not to give others occasion to think of ses above that which they fee us to be. Befides, 2 Cor. 12. 6. if we may not be allow'd to take the full Height of our own Excellencies, how shall we be able to give God thanks for them? The Elders must know shey wear Crowns before they can use them as Instruments of Adoration, and Herod



must be conscious of the right Genius of his Oratory, before he can give God the Glory. Again in the last place, if a man may not have leave to take Cognisance of his own Deserts and to value himlelf accordingly, what will become of that sw'r drintos áge.fris és apaótapa

His Orix Which the Apostle speaks of, the ans Peto 3. 21. fwer of a good Conscience towards God, which is

nothing else but a Sentence of Approbation, which a man passes upon himself for the well managing of that Talent of Liberty which God has entrusted him with ? Now this is the Reward of Vertue, and therefore certainly not contrary to it.

Neither is this Self-esteemi only the Reward of Vertue but also the Cause of it too, and consequently ’tis,not only allowable, but also highly needful that we should think Honor,ably of our selves. 'Tis a frequent Observation among Moral and Divine Writers, That most if not all the Sins which men commit, proceed from want of a due sense of the Dignity of their Nature. And consequently a due refleštion upon a man's own Worth, must needs be a strong Preservative against whatsoever would stain its Glory. Shall such a man as I flee? Was the powerful confideration that buoy'd up the sinking Spirits of Nehemiah. And 'tis one of the Capital Preçepts of Pythagoras's Morals (and perhaps one


Neh. 6. 11,

of the best too that was ever given to the World) ----- Jól tur penisa sigurno paurör. Above all things reverence thy self. And 'twas the Saying of another of the Sons of Wisdom, Les not the Reverence of any man cause thee to fin, Which it certainly will do, unless we observe the former Rule, and reflect with due Revenence upon our own Worth and Dignity.

From these considerations (not to urge any more) it seems to me very evident, that 'ris not only lawful but in some respects highly Expedient, that our Opinions of our selves should rise up so as to be of a Level with our Excellencies, whatsoever they are. Let one of the Scales be mounted never so high, yet i there be a proportionable Weight in the other, the Ballance moves regularly, and as it should do. We may then proceed so far as this Standard.


But Secondly, We must not go beyond it. For all beyond this is Pride. Pride, that turn'd the Angels out of Heaven, Adam out of Paradice, and levelld the great King of Babylon with the Beasts that perisb ; and which is nothing Van. 4. 33. else but an Intemperate Opinion of our selves, which consists either in alluming to our selves any Excellency which we have not, or in Overrating what we have. Tho indeed in Strict


mes of Norion this latter falls in with the for: mer, For to Over-rate what we have, is in deed to assume some Degree of good which we have not, Here then begins our Restraint, the Reasonableness of which will appear

fron) the Absurdities and ill Consequences which attend the transgressing of this Standard, and which in the third and last place I come now to. consider,

I shall observe only the most notorious; and these I shall reduce to these Three general Heads.

First, That it unqualifies us for the performance of many Duties,


Secondly, That it betrayes us into many sins.

And Thirdly, That it frustrates all.methods of Reformation. Of these yery briefly,

First an excessive opinion of our selves (and that is so which furpasses the measure of our real worth) unqualifies us for the performance of many Duties; and that both in relation to God, our Neighbour and our Selves.

First in relation to God.


« PreviousContinue »