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like Afop's Crow, in these borrowed Feathers, which we could neither give to our felves, nor merit of God, but are wholly owing for to the Divine Bounty; fo to inculcate upon our Minds the Folly and Ridiculoufnefs of being proud of any Outward Goods we poffefs, fuch as fine Cloaths, great Estates, or Popular Reputation, all which are fo far from either making or speaking us wifer or better nien, that they are too often the Fruits and Testimonies of our Folly and Knavery; And, in fine, that we fhould fo impartially reflect upon the many Follies and Indifcretions, Errors and Ignorances, Irregularities of Temper, Defects of Manners, and Deviations from Right Reason, that we are guilty of, as to fhame our felves out of all thofe proud and arrogant Conceits that do fo fwell and impoftumate our Minds.
And when by thefe, and fuch like humbling Reflections we have laid our felves low in our own Eyes, and fo far abafed our Pride and SelfConceit as to be effectually convinced of the Folly of it, and throughly perfwaded to abhor and hate it, to watch and strive against it, and to be habituated for the main to mean and lowly thoughts of our felves; though we should not here arrive to an abfolute Perfection in Humility (having none here to converfe, or compare our felves with but fuch as our felves, fuch as are many of them our Inferiours, many our Equals, and many but few Degrees our Superiours) yet, as foon as we go off from this lower Form, in which we may feem fo confiderable, into the Clafs and Society of those Glorious Inhabitants above (in whose bright Prefence
Prefence we shall appear but like fo many GlowWorms in the midst of a Firmament of Stars) all the little Remains of Pride and Self-Conceit in us, will immediately vanifh from our Minds. For if at the fight of an Angel the Beloved Apoftle could not forbear proftrating himself; how proftrate and lowly must we be, when we fee not only the whole Choir of Angels together, but God himself too, the Prince and Father of Spirits! For even here we find that the nearer we approach God, the more we fhrink and leffen in our own Eyes; and if in the prefence of Angels we are but Dwarfs, in the prefence of God we fhall be Nothings. But Oh! when we shall not only difcern how infinitely he out-fhines us in Glory, but fhall alfo continually feel by the moft fenfible Communications of his Goodness how we hang upon him, and derive every Breath and Joy and Glory from him; how our Being and Well-Being are the meer Alms and Penfions of his Bounty; how every Grace and Beauty in us is but the Reflection, and that a faint one too, of his out-ftretched Rays; when, Ifay, we fhall feel all this, as we fhall do in Heaven every moment, by a quick and fenfible Experience, how muft it needs wean us from all felf-arrogating Thoughts, and perfectly abafe and humble us in our own Eyes! And when this is done, our minds will be perfectly tempered and prepared for the Enjoyment of a perfect Happiness; For now, fuch a modest opinion we shall have of our felves, that whatsoever Degree of Glory we are placed in, we fhall look upon it as far beyond our Defert, and upon that account, be unfpeakably fatisfied and contented with it, and freely
acknowledge it to be a thousand Degrees beyond what we could defire or hope for. And fo far fhall we be from grudging at, or envying those above us, that out of an humble fenfe of our own Unworthiness we fhall readily prefer them before our felves, and freely acknowledge that we are only fo many Degrees inferiour to them in Glory, as they are fuperiour to us in Divine Graces and Perfections. Upon which we fhall not only acquiefce, but heartily rejoyce in their Advancement and be abundantly pleafed that their Reward is as much greater than ours, as we do acknowledge their Virtue to be. In a word, fo far fhall we be from repining and murmuring at God for not rewarding us as liberally as others, that we fhall be thorowly fenfible that he hath been bountiful to us infinitely beyond our Defert or Expectation, that 'twas not out of a fond Partiality, or blind Respect of Perfons that he raised others to higher Degrees of Glory than our felves, but out of a Principle of strict Justice that exactly balances and adjusts its Rewards, according to the Degrees of our Defert and Improvement. The fenfe of which will not only compofe our minds into a perfect Satisfaction, but alfo continually excite us to those Beatifical Acts of Love and Praife,Thanksgiving and Adoration. Thus Humility, you fee, tunes and compofes us for Heaven, and only cafts us down, like Balls, that we may rebound the higher in Glory and Happiness.
Thus you fee how all thofe Virtues, which appertain to a man confidered as a Reafonable Animal,conduce to the Great Chriftian End, viz. The Happiness of Heaven. 'Tis true indeed the immediate
immediate product of this fort of Virtues is only at least chiefly, privative Happiness, or,the Happinefs of Reft and Indolence, which confifts in not being miferable, or, in a perfect ceffation from all fuch Acts and Motions as are burtful and injurious to a Rational fpirit. For, as I have fhewed you in the Beginning of this Section, the proper office of Humane Virtue confifts in fo regulating all our Powers of Action, as that we do nothing that is hurtful or injurious to our Rational Nature; and this, you plainly fee, thefe Five aforenamed Virtues do most effectually perform. But befides this Privative,there is, as I fhewed you, a Pofitive part of Happiness, which confifts not in Rest, but in Motion, in the Vigorous Exercise of our Rational Faculties upon fuch Objects as are most fuitable to them; And to the obtaining of this part of our Happiness, there are other kinds of Virtues neceffary to be practifed by us, of which I fhall difcourfe in the two following Sections. But though the immediate Effect of thefe Humane Virtues we have been difcourfing of, be only the Happiness of Reft, yet do they tend a great deal farther, even to the Happiness of Motion and Exercife. For it is impoffible fo to fupprefs that Active Principle within us, as to make it totally furceafe from Motion; and therefore as every intermiffion of its fober and regular Actings does but make way for wild and extravagant ones; fo every abatement of its hurtful and injurious motions, makes way for beatifical ones; And fo the Humane Virtues by giving us reft from thofe Motions that are afflictive to our Natures, incline and difpofe us to fuch Motions and Exercises as are most pleasant and grateful to SECT.
Concerning thofe Divine Virtues which belong to a Man confidered as a Reasonable Creature, related to God, fhewing that these alfo are comprehended in the heavenly part of the Chriftian Life; and that the practice of them effectually conduces to our future happiness.
I proceed now to the second kind of Virtues, viz. Divine, to which I told you we are obliged in the capacity of reasonable Creatures related to God, who being not only endowed with all poffible perfections, with infinite Truth and Justice, Wisdom and Justice, and Power with all that can render any being most highly reverenced, admired, loved and adored; who being not only the Author of our Being, and Well-being, as he is Creator and Preferver of all things, but also our Sovereign Lord and King, as he is God Almighty, the fupreme and over-ruling Power of heaven and earth, hath upon all thefe accounts a juft and unalienable. claim to fundry duties and homages from his Creatures, all which I fhall reduce to these fix particulars :
1. That we should frequently think of, and contemplate the beauty and perfection of his na
2. That upon the account of these perfections we should humbly worship and adore him.
3. That we fhould ardently love, and take complacency in him.