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juice of profit or pleasure, so as thence to grow beyond his due size, doth thereby not only create distempers in the public body, but worketh mischief and pain to himself; he must not imagine to escape feeling somewhat of the inconvenience and misery which ariseth from public convulsions and disorders.
So doth reason plainly enough dictate; and religion with clearer evidence and greater advantage discovereth the same.
Its express precepts are, 'that we should aim to love our neighbor as ourselves, and therefore should tender his interests as our own; that we should not in competition with the greater good of our neighbor regard our own lesser good; that we should not seek our own things, but concern ourselves in the good of others; that we should not consult our own ease and pleasure, but should contentedly bear the burdens of our brethren : · Look not every man to his own things, but every man also to the things of others ;' • Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth ;' · Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ;' • Charity seeketh not its own:' these are apostolical precepts and aphorisms; these are fundamental rules and maxims of our holy religion.
It chargeth us industriously to employ our pains, liberally to expend our goods, yea (in some cases) willingly to expose and devote our lives for the benefit of our brethren.
It recommendeth to us the examples of those who have underwent unspeakable pains, losses, disgraces, troubles, and inconveniences of all kinds, for the furthering the good of others; the examples of our Lord and of his Apostles, who never in any case regarded their own interests, but spent and sacrificed themselves to the public welfare of mankind.
It representeth us not only as brethren of one family, who should therefore kindly favor, assist, and grace one another, but as members of one spiritual body, (* members one of another,') compacted by the closest bands of common alliance, affection, and interest; whose good much consisteth in the good of each other; who should together rejoice, and condole with one another; who should care for one another's good as for our own ; looking on ourselves to gain by the advantage, to thrive in the prosperity, to be refreshed with the joy, to be graced with the honor, to be endamaged by the losses, to be afflicted
with the crosses of our brethren; so that, If,' as St. Paul saith, one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; if one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.'
These which I have already handled are the principal kinds of vicious self-love; there are farther some special acts of kin to them, sprouting from the same stock; which I shall touch : such as vain-glory, arrogance, talking of one's self, thinking about one's self. Of these I shall treat more briefly.
SUMMARY OF SERMON LXIII.
II TIMOTHY, CHAP. III.-_VERSE 2.
On vain-glory; when a regard to the opinion, or desire of the esteem of men, is the main principle from which our actions proceed, or the chief end which we propose to ourselves, instead of conscience, duty, love of God, hope of his promised rewards, or sober regard to our true glory. Such was the vain-glory of the Pharisees, who fasted, prayed, and gare alms, that they might be seen of men: this is that which St. Paul forbids : let nothing be done out of strife or vain-glory: farther observations on the nature and folly of this vice. It is on many accounts vain and culpable, and it produces many inconveniences.
1. It is vain, because unprofitable. Is it not a foolish thing for a man to affect that which little concerns him, and by which he is not considerably benefited ? Yet such is the opi. nion of men : for how do we feel the motions of their fancy?
2. It is vain, because uncertain. How easily are the judgm.ents of men altered ! how fickle are their conceits ! &c.
3. It is vain, because unsatisfactory : for how can one be satisfied with the opinion of bad judges, who esteem a man without good grounds, commonly for things which deserve not regard ?
4. It is vain, because fond. It is ugly and unseemly to others, who despise nothing more than acting on this principle.
5. It is vain, because unjust. If we seek glory to ourselves, we wrong God thereby, to whom glory is due: if there be in
us'any considerable endowment of body or mind, it is from God, the author of our being, who worketh in us to will and to do according to his good pleasure.
6. It is vain because mischievous. It corrupts our mind with a false pleasure that chokes the purer pleasures of a good conscience, of spiritual joy and peace, bringing God's displeasure on us, and depriving us of the reward due to good works performed out of a pure conscience; &c. verily they have their reward.
7. It is vain, because unbeseeming : it is observable that the word 55.79 signifies not only to praise or applaud, but to infatuate or make mad. Observations on the unha felsome way in which glory sits on impure and sinful men, who are so liable to reproach and blame.
On arrogance ; when a man, puffed up with conceit of himself, assumes to himself that which belongs not to him, when he encroaches on the rights of his neighbor, pragmatically advises him, unduly judges and censures his person, qualities, and acts : the effects of which practice are dissensions and grudges ; for men cannot endure such unjust usurpation of their rights, &c. On talking about oneself, which is an effect and sign of immoderate self-love. This may seem a slight matter, but it is of great use to consider and correct it. Reasons given why this is a foolish and hurtful practice. 1. It is vain, and has no effect; for we fail in recommending ourselves by it. 2. It has generally a contrary effect by exciting prejudices against us. 3. Supposing it even to succeed, it produces a vicious and dangerous pleasure. 4. It offends against modesty. 5. It is a temptation to speak falsely, &c. On thinking of ourselves with extraordinary glee and pleasure. This is a great nourisher of self-love. It is indeed good to look inward, and reflect on our own souls : but this should be done so as to produce a wholesome displeasure and regret at beholding ourselves so foul and deformed: if we do thus, we shall not overlove ourselves. VOL. III.
Some general remedies of self-love. 1. To reflect on ourselves seriously and impartially, considering our natural infirmities and imperfections. 2. To consider the loveliness of other beings superior to us, and comparing them with ourselves. 3. To study the acquisition and improvement of charity and love towards God and our neighbor. 4. To consider that we owe all we are and have, to the free bounty and grace of God. 5. To direct our minds wholly towards those things which rational self-love requires us to regard and seek.