THERE is another piece of our nonconformity to the world that renders us very clownish to the breeding of it, and that is, thou for you, and that without difference or respect to persons; a thing that to some looks so rude it cannot well go down without derision or wrath.
8. I doubt not at all that something altogether as singular attended the speech of Christ and his disciples, for I remember it was urged upon Peter in the high priest's palace, as a proof of his belonging to Jesus, when he denied his Lord: "Surely," said they, "you are also one of them: for your speech betrays you" (Mat 26:73). They had guessed by his looks but just before that he had been with Jesus; but when they discoursed with him, his language put them all out of doubt; surely then he was one of them, and he had been with Jesus. Something it was he had learned in his company that was odd and observable; to be sure, not of the world's behavior. Without question, the garb, gait, and speech of his followers differed, as well as his doctrine, from the world; for it was a part of his doctrine that it should be different. It is easy to believe they were more plain, grave, and precise, which is more credible from the way which poor, confident, fearful Peter took to disguise the business; for he fell to cursing and swearing, a sad change. But he thought that the likeliest way to remove the suspicion that was most unlike Christ. And the policy took; for it silenced their objections, and they thought Peter was as orthodox as they. But though they did not discover him, the cock's crow did; which made Peter remember his dear suffering Lord's words: and he went forth, and wept bitterly that he had denied his Master, who was then delivered up to die for him.
11. Therefore, reader, whether you are a night-walking Nicodemus, or a scoffing scribe; one that would visit the blessed Messiah, but in the dark customs of the world, that you might embrace without discernment, for fear of bearing his reproachful cross; or else a favorer of Haman's pride, and counts these testimonies just a foolish peculiarity; I must say, divine love orders me to be a messenger of truth to you, and a faithful witness against the evil of this degenerate world. A world in which the spirit of vanity and lust has become so prevalent, and lived so long uncontrolled, that it has impudence enough to term its darkness light, and to call the evil offspring of darkness by the names [Christians] reserved to a better nature, the more easily to deceive people into the practice of lust and vanity. Most people are so very blind and insensible of what spirit they possess, and so ignorant of the meek and self-denying life of holy Jesus, whose name they profess; that they call each other Rabbi, that is, master; that they bow to men, (which I call worship); and greet each other with flattering titles, and pay homage to their fellow-creatures; and to spend their time and estate to gratify their unrestrained minds; all these customs of the Gentiles, that knew not God, are embraced by them as civility, good-breeding, decency, recreation, accomplishments, etc. [ manners]. Oh that man would consider, since there are only two spirits, one good the other evil, which of them it is that inclines the world to these things; and whether it is Nicodemus or Mordecai in you, that befriends these despised Christians, and which spirit makes you ashamed to admit in conversation with the world, what the true light has shown you to be vanity and sin in secret! Or if you are a despiser, tell me, I pray you, what do you think your mockery, anger, or contempt does most resemble, proud Haman or good Mordecai? My friend, know that no man has more delighted in, or been profuse in those vanities called civilities than myself; and could I have covered my conscience under the fashions of the world, truly I had found a shelter from showers of reproach that have fallen very often and thick upon me; but had I, with Joseph, conformed to Egypt's customs, I would have sinned against my God and lost my peace. But I would not have you think it is a mere you or title simply or nakedly in themselves we boggle at, or that we would create or set up any form inconsistent with sincerity or true civility, for there is far too much of that. But the esteem and value which the vain minds of men attribute them, that ought to be crossed and stripped of their delights, dictate us the necessity to testify so steadily against them. Know this, from the sense that God's Holy Spirit has produced in us, that spirit which requires these customs, and produces fear to leave them, and pleads for them, and is displeased if not used and paid, is based in the spirit of pride and flattery; though frequency, use, or generosity may have abated its strength in some. This is discovered by the light that now shines from heaven in the hearts of the despised Christians I have communion with, necessitates them to this testimony; and myself, as one of them and for them, in a reproof of the unfaithful who would walk without discernment, though believing they are; and for reproof of an ally to the proud despisers, who scorn us as a people guilty of affectation and singularity. For the eternal God, who is great among us, and on his way in the earth to make his power known, will root up every plant that his right hand has not planted. Therefore let me implore you, reader, to consider the foregoing reasons, which were mostly given me from the Lord, in that time when my embrace of these fashions would have been purchased at almost any price; but the certain sense I had of their violation of the meek and self-denying life of holy Jesus, required of me my disuse of them, and faithful testimony against them. I speak the truth in Christ; I lie not. I would not have brought myself under censure and disdain for them, if I could have had peace of conscience and kept my belief under a worldly behavior. It was extremely irksome for me to decline their usage, and expose myself; but having an assured and repeated sense of the original of these vain customs, that they rise from pride, self-love, and flattery, I dared not gratify that mind in myself or others. For this reason it is, that I am earnest with my readers to be cautious how they reprove us on this occasion; and do once more entreat those who they would seriously weigh in themselves, whether it is the spirit of the world or of the Father, that is so angry with our honest, plain, and harmless thee and thou: that so every plant that God our heavenly Father has not planted in the sons and daughters of men may be rooted up.
But pride does not stop here, exciting people to an excessive value and care of their persons. They must have many fine servants, stately furniture, rich and exact apparel. All which help to make up that pride of life that John tells us is not of the Father, but of the world (1 John 2:16). A sin God charged upon the haughty daughters of Zion (Isa 3:16), and on the proud prince and people of Tyre. Read these chapters, and measure this age by their sins, and what is coming on these nations by their judgments. But at the present I shall only touch upon the first, namely the excessive value people have of their persons; leaving the rest to be considered under the last head of this discourse, which is luxury, where they may be not improperly placed.
2. That people are generally proud of their persons is too visible and troublesome; especially if they have any pretence either to blood or beauty; the one has raised many quarrels among men, and the other among women, and men too often for their sakes and at their excitements. But to the first: what a tumult has this noble blood made in the world: — antiquity of name or family, whose father or mother, great grandfather, or great grandmother was best descended or allied; what stock or what clan they came of — what coat of arms they gave — which had, of right, the precedence! But I think nothing of men's folly has less show of reason to diminish it.
3. For, first, what matter is it of whom any one is descended that is not of ill fame: since it is his own virtue that must raise, or vice depress him? An ancestor's character is no excuse to a man's ill actions, but an aggravation of his degeneracy: and since virtue comes not by generation, I neither am the better nor the worse for my forefather; to be sure, not in God's account, nor should it be in man's. Nobody would endure injuries the easier, or reject favors the more, for coming by the hand of a man well or ill descended. I confess it were greater honor to have had no blots, and with an hereditary estate, to have had a lineal descent or worth; but that was never found: no; not in the most blessed of families upon earth, I mean Abraham's. To be descended of wealth and titles fills no man's head with brains or heart with truth: those qualities come from a higher cause. It is vanity then and most condemnable pride for a man of bulk and character to despise another of less size in the world and of poorer alliance for want of them: because the latter may have the merit, where the former has only the effects of it in an ancestor: and though the one be great by means of a forefather, the other is so too, but it is by his own: then, pray, which is the braver man of the two?
4. Oh, says the person proud of blood, It was never a good world since we have had so many upstart gentlemen! But what should others have said of that man's ancestor, when he started first up into the knowledge of the world? For he and all men and families, yes, and all states and kingdoms too, have had their upstarts, that is, their beginnings. This is being like the true church, because old, not because good: for families to be noble by being old, and not by being virtuous. No such matter: it must be age in virtue, or else virtue before age; for otherwise a man should be noble by the means of his predecessor, and yet the predecessor less noble than he, because he was the acquirer: which is a paradox that will puzzle all their heraldry to explain. Strange! that they should be more noble than their ancestor that got their nobility for them! But if this be absurd, as it is, then the upstart is the noble man: the man that got it by his virtue; and those are only entitled to his honor that are imitators of his virtue: the rest may bear his name from his blood, but that is all. If virtue then give nobility, which heathen themselves agree, then families are no longer truly noble than they are virtuous. And if virtue go not by blood, but by the qualifications of the descendants, it follows blood is excluded: else blood would bar virtue; and no man that wanted the one should be allowed the benefit of the other: which were to stint and bound nobility for want of antiquity, and make virtue useless.
No, let blood and name go together; but pray let nobility and virtue keep company, for they are nearest of kin. It is thus profited by God Himself, that best knows how to apportion things with an equal and just hand. He neither likes nor dislikes by descent; nor does He regard what people were, but are. He remembers not the righteousness of any man that leaves his righteousness (Eze 18:26); much less any unrighteous man for the righteousness of his ancestor.
5. But if these men of blood please to think themselves concerned to believe and reverence God in his holy Scriptures, they may learn that "in the beginning he made of one blood all nations of men to dwell upon all the earth" (Acts 17:26); and that we all descended from one father and mother. A more certain original than the best of us can assign. From thence go down to Noah, who was the second planter of the human race, and we are upon some certainty for our forefathers. What violence has reaped or virtues merited since, and how far we that are alive are concerned in either, will be hard for us to determine but a very few ages off us.
6. But, I think it should suffice to say, our own eyes see that men of blood, out of their gear and trappings, without their feathers and finery, have no more marks of honor by nature stamped upon them, than their inferior neighbors. No, themselves being judges, they will frankly tell us, they feel all those passions in their blood, that make them like other men, if not further from the virtue that truly dignifies. The lamentable ignorance and debauchery that now rages among too many of our greater sort of folks is too clear and casting an evidence in the point: and pray tell me of what blood are they come?
7. Nevertheless, when I have said all this, I intend not, by debasing one false quality, to make insolent another that is not true. I would not be thought to set the churl on the present gentleman's shoulder; by no means; his rudeness will not mend the matter. But what I have written is to give aim to all where true nobility dwells, that every one may arrive at it by the ways of virtue and goodness. But for all this, I must allow a great advantage to the gentleman, and therefore prefer his station: just as the Apostle Paul, who after he had humbled the Jews, that insulted the Christians with their laws and rites, gave them the advantage over all other nations in statutes and judgments. I must grant that the condition of our great men is much to be preferred to the ranks of our inferior people. For, first, they have more power to do good; and if their hearts be equal to their ability, they are blessings to the people of any country. Secondly, the eyes of the people are usually directed to them; and if they will be kind, just, and hopeful, they shall have their affections and services. Thirdly, they are not under equal straits with the inferior sort; and consequently they have more help, leisure, and occasion to polish their passions and tempers with books and conversation. Fourthly, they have more time to observe the actions of other nations: to travel and view the laws, customs, and interests of other countries, and bring home whatsoever is worthy or imitable. And so an easier way is open for great men to get honor; and such as love true reputation will embrace the best means to it. But because it too often happens that great men do but little mind to give God the glory of their prosperity, and to live answerable to his mercies; but on the contrary, live without God in the world, fulfilling the lusts thereof, his hand is often seen, either in impoverishing or extinguishing them, and raising up men of more virtue and humility to their estates and dignity. However, I must allow that among people of this rank there have been some of them of more than ordinary virtue, whose examples have given light to their families. And it has been something natural for some of their descendants to endeavor to keep up the credit of their houses in proportion to the merit of their founder. And to say true, if there be any advantage in such ascent, it is not from blood, but education: for blood has no intelligence in it, and is often spurious and uncertain; but education has a mighty influence and strong bias upon the affections and actions of men. In this the ancient nobles and gentry of this kingdom did excel: and it were much to be wished that our great people would set about to recover the ancient economy of their houses, the strict and virtuous discipline of their ancestors, when men were honored for their achievements, and when nothing more exposed a man to shame, than being born to a nobility that he had not a virtue to support.
8. Oh! but I have a higher motive. The glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, which having taught this northern isle, and all ranks professing to believe in it, let me prevail upon you to seek the honor that it has brought from heaven, to all the true disciples of it, who are indeed the followers of God's Lamb, that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Receive with meekness his gracious word into your hearts, that subdues the world's lusts, and leads in the holy way to blessedness. Here are charms no carnal eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart perceived, but they are revealed to such humble converts by his Spirit. Remember you are but creatures, and that you must die, and after all be judged.
9. But personal pride ends not in nobility of blood; it leads folks to a fond value of their persons, be they noble or ignoble; especially if they have any pretence to shape or beauty. It is admirable to see how much it is possible for some to be taken with themselves, as if nothing else deserved their regard, or the good opinion of others. It would abate their folly if they could find in their hearts to spare but half the time to think of God and their latter end, which they most prodigally spend in washing, perfuming, painting, patching, attiring, and dressing. In these things they are precise, and very artificial; and for cost they spare not. But what aggravates the evil is that the pride of one might comfortably supply the need of ten. Gross impiety that it is, that a nation's pride should not be spared to a nation's poor! But what is this for at last? Only to be admired, to have reverence, draw love, and command the eyes and affections of beholders. And so fantastic are they in it, as hardly to be pleased too. Nothing is good, or fine, or fashionable enough for them: the sun itself, the blessing of heaven, and comfort of the earth, must not shine upon them, for fear it tan them; nor the wind blow, for fear it should disorder them. O impious nicety! Yet while they value themselves above all else, they make themselves the vassals of their own pride; worshipping their shape, feature, or complexion, whatever is their excellence. The end of all which is but too often to excite unlawful love, which I call lust, and draw one another into as miserable as evil circumstances: in single persons it is of ill consequence; for if it does not awaken unchaste desires, it lays no foundation for solid and lasting union: the want of which helps to make so many unhappy marriages in the world: but in married people the sin is aggravated; for they have none of right to please but one another; and to affect the gaiety and vanity of youth is an ill sign of loving and living well at home: it looks rather like dressing for a market. It has sad effects in families: discontents, partings, duels, poisonings, and other infamous murders. No age can better tell us the sad effects of this sort of pride than this we live in; as, how excessively wanton, so how fatal it has been to the sobriety, virtue, peace, and health of families in this kingdom.
10. But I must say, that of all creatures, this sort of pride does least become the old and homely, if I may call the ill-favored and deformed so; for the old are proud only of what they had, which shows, to their reproach, their pride has outlived their beauty, and, when they should be repenting, they are making work for repentance. But the homely are yet worse, they are proud of what they never had, nor ever can have: no, their persons seem as if they were given for a perpetual humiliation to their minds; and to be proud of them is loving pride for pride's sake, and to be proud, without a temptation to be proud. And yet in my whole life I have observed nothing more doting on itself: a strange infatuation and enchantment of pride! What! Not to see right with their eyes, because of the partiality of their minds? This self-love is blind indeed. But to add expense to the vanity, and to be costly upon what cannot be mended, one would think they should be downright mad; especially if they consider, that they look the homelier for the things that are thought handsome, and do but thereby draw their deformity more into notice, by that which does so little become them.
But in such persons' follies we have a specimen of man; what a creature he is in his lapse from his primitive image. All this, as Jesus said of sin of old, comes from within (Mat 15:11-20); that is the disregard that men and women have to the word of their Creator in their hearts (Deut. 30:14; Rom 10:8); which shows pride and teaches humility, and self-abasement, and directs the mind to the true object of honor and worship; and that with an awe and reverence suitable to his sovereignty and majesty. Poor mortals! But living dirt! Made of what they tread on; who, with all their pride, cannot secure themselves from the spoil of sickness, much less from the stroke of death! Oh! did people consider the inconstancy of all visible things, the cross and adverse occurrences of man's life, the certainty of his departure and eternal judgment, it is to be hoped they would bring their deeds to Christ's light in their hearts (John 3:20-21), and they would see if they were wrought in God, or not, as the beloved disciple tells us from his dear Master's mouth.
Are you shapely, comely, beautiful — the exact draught of a human creature? Admire that Power that made you so. Live an harmonious life to the curious make and frame of your creation; and let the beauty of your body teach you to beautify your mind with holiness, the ornament of the beloved of God. Are you homely or deformed? Magnify that goodness that did not make you a beast; and with the grace that is given to you, for it has appeared to all; learn to adorn your soul with enduring beauty. Remember the King of heaven's daughter, the church, of which true Christians are members, is all glorious within. And if your soul excel, your body will only set off the lusts of your mind. Nothing is homely in God's sight but sin; and that man and woman that commune with their own hearts and sin not; who, in the light of holy Jesus, watch over the movings and inclinations of their own souls, and that suppress every evil in its conception, they love the yoke and Cross of Christ, and are daily by it crucified to the world, but live to God in that life which outlives the fading satisfactions of it.
TO conclude this great head of pride, let us briefly see, upon the whole matter, what is the character of a proud man in himself, and in several relations and capacities. A proud man then is a kind of glutton upon himself; for he is never satisfied with loving and admiring himself; while nothing else, with him, is worthy either of love or care; if good enough to be the servant of his will, it is as much as he can find in his heart to allow; as if he had been only made for himself, or rather that he had made himself. For as he despises man, because he cannot abide an equal, so he does not love God, because he would not have a superior. He cannot bear to owe his being to another, for fear he should thereby acknowledge one above himself. He is one that is mighty big with the honor of his ancestors, but not of the virtue that brought them to it; much less will he trouble himself to imitate them. He can tell you of his pedigree, his antiquity, what estate, what matches; but forgets that they are gone, and that he must die too.
2. But how troublesome a companion is a proud man! Ever positive and controlling; and if you will not yield to him, he becomes insolent and quarrelsome. Yet at the upshot of the matter, cowardly; but if strongest, cruel. He feels no more of other men's miseries than if he were not a man, or it were a sin to be sensitive. For feeling himself uninterested, he looks no further; he will not disturb his thoughts with other men's unhappiness. He is content to believe they deserve their circumstances; and he had rather churlishly upbraid them to be responsible for their problems, than be ready to sympathize or relieve them. So that compassion and charity are with him as useless as humility and meekness are hateful.
3. A proud man makes an bad child, employee, and citizen; he disrespects his parents, boss, and government; he will not be subject. He thinks he is too wise or too old to be directed; as if it were a slavish thing to obey; and that all are free to do what they please; which turns duty out of doors and degrades authority. On the other hand, if he is a husband, or father, or master, there is scarcely any tolerance. He is so insufferably difficult to please and testy that it is an affliction to live with him; for no service is enough to please him. Some slight problem regarding his clothes, his diet, his lodging, or service from others greatly disturbs him; especially if he feels deprived of the state and respect he looks for. Thus pride destroys the nature of relations. He learns to avoid his responsibilities to his relations; and his pride turns love into fear, and makes the wife a servant, and the children and servants slaves.
4. But the proud man makes a bad neighbor too, for he is an enemy to hospitality. He despises to receive kindness because he would not show any, nor be thought to need it. Besides, kindness of a neighbor appears a claim of the giver's equality and familiarity, a burden to the proud man's haughty, irritable disposition. Strife and detraction are his element; for he is jealous of attributing any praise to others, even when justified; for fear that should cloud and lessen him, which is impossible to justify. He is the man that fears what he should wish, namely, that others might do well. But that is not all; he maliciously denies their acts of virtue, which his corruptions will not let him imitate, that they may get no credit by them. If he lacks any excuse for harming others, he can make up one: either they use him wrongly, or they have some design upon him; such as, the other day they failed to remove their the cap and or bend the knee in curtsey; the distance and respect he thinks his quality, parts, or merits do require. A small thing is excuse for a proud man to pick a quarrel; of all creatures he is the most jealous, sullen, spiteful, and revengeful; he can no more forgive an injury, than restrain himself for creating an injury.
5. Nor is this all: a proud man can never be a friend to anybody. For besides that his ambition may always be bribed by honor and preferment to betray any friendship, he is incommunicable; he must not be taught and counseled, much less reproved or contradicted; no, he is too covetous of himself to spare another man a share, and much too high, stiff, and touchy. He will not sacrifice his evil freedoms that a real friendship requires. He truly despises the character of friendship.It is much too familiar and humble for him. His mighty soul would know nothing besides himself and vassals to stock his world. He values other men, as we do cattle, for their service only; and if he could, would use them so; but as it happens, their number and force prevent his desire.
6. But a proud man in power is very mischievous; for his pride is the more dangerous by his greatness, since from ambition in private men, with power it grows to become tyranny in him. It would reign alone; rather die than have competitors: Aut Caesar aut nullus. (Caesar can do no wrong.) Reason must not check it, nor rules of law permit it; and either it can do no wrong, or it is sedition to complain of the wrong that it does. The men of this temper would have nothing he does thought to be wrong; at least, they count it dangerous to allow such a thought. For that would imply they had erred, which always must be denied. They will rather choose to perish stubbornly than, by acknowledging, defer judging to inferiors, it were prudent to do so. Indeed, it is all the satisfaction that proud great men make to the world for the miseries they often bring upon it, that, first or last, upon a division, they leave their real interest to follow someone exceptionally deceptive, and are almost always destroyed by it. This is the end pride gives proud men, and the ruin it brings upon them, after it has punished others by them.
7. But above all things, pride is intolerable in men pretending to be religious, and those who are ministers; for ministers are names of the greatest contradiction. I speak without respect or anger to persons or parties; for I only touch upon the bad of all. What place does pride have in a religion that rebukes it? Or ambition with ministers, whose very office is supposed to be humility? And yet there are too many of them, that, besides an equal guilt with others in the fleshly pride of the world, are even proud of that name and office which ought always to remind them of self-denial. Yes, they use it as the beggars do the name of God and Christ, only to get by it; placing to their own account the advantages of that reverend profession, and thereby making their function but a artful name to raise themselves to the great status in the world. But Oh then! how can they be Christ's ministers who said, "My kingdom is not of this world"? (John 18:36). Who, of mankind, is more self-conceited than these ministers? If contradicted, they become as arrogant and angry, as if it were their right to be so. Counsel one of them, and he scorns you; reprove him, and he is almost ready to excommunicate you; "I am a minister and an elder;" fleeing there to defend himself from the reach of just censure, which indeed by fleeing he only exposes himself the more; and therefore his fault cannot be the less, by how much it is worse in a minister to do wrong, and spurn at reproof, than an ordinary man.
8. Oh! But he pleads an exemption by his office. What! Shall he breed up chickens to pick out his own eyes? Be rebuked or instructed by a layman or parishioner? A man of less age, learning, or ability? No such matter; he would have us believe that his ministerial prerogative has placed him out of the reach of criticism. He is not subject to vulgar judgments. Even questions about religion are divisive. Believe as he says; it is not for you to pry so curiously into the mysteries of religion. It has never been a good day since laymen meddled so much with the minister's office. Not considering, poor man, that the contrary is most true; there have not been many good days since ministers meddled so much in laymen's business. Though perhaps there is little reason for this distinction, except spiritual gifts, and the improvement of them by a diligent use of them for the good of others.
Such good sayings as these: Be ready to learn: answer with meekness: let every man speak as of the gift of God that is in him; if anything be revealed to him that sits by, let the first hold his peace; be not lords over God's heritage, but meek and lowly; washing the feet of the people, as Jesus did those of his poor disciples; — are unreasonable and antiquated instructions with some clergy, and it is little less than heresy to remind them of these things; a mark of great unloyalty to the church in their opinion. For by this time their pride has made them the church, and the people only the porch [outside the temple, 2nd class] at best; a name that signifies nothing, unless they place themselves at the head of it. Thus they forget that if they were as good as they should be, they would be but ministers, stewards, and under-shepherds; that is, servants to the church, family, flock, and heritage of God; and not that they are that church, family, flock, and heritage, which they are only servants to. Remember the words of Christ, "Let him that would be greatest be your servant" (Mat 20:26).
9. There is but one place to be found in the holy Scripture, where the word Clerus [as in cleric] can properly be applied to the church, and they have usurped it to themselves; from where they call themselves the clergy, that is, the inheritance or heritage of God. Whereas Peter exhorts the ministers of the gospel not to be lords over God's heritage, nor to feed them for filthy lucre (1 Peter 5:2-3). Peter, likewise, foresaw pride and avarice to be the ministers' temptations; and indeed they have often proved to be their fall; and truly, they could hardly fall by a worse method. Nor is there any excuse to be made for them in these two respects, [lording it over the flock and fleecing the flock] which is not worse than their sin. For if they think they have not been lords over God's heritage, it is because they have made themselves the people, and disinherited the people; so that now they may be the people's lords, with a blast to good old Peter's exhortation.
And for the other sin of greed, they can only avoid it by claiming that since they never truly feed the flock, they cannot be said to feed it for lucre [money]: that is they get the people's money for nothing. An example of which is given us, by the complaint of God Himself, from the practice of the proud, covetous, false prophets of old, that the people gave their money for what was not bread, and their labor for what did not profit them (Isa 55:2). And why? Because then the priest had no vision; and too many now despise true vision and prophecy.
10. But, alas! when all is done, what folly, as well as lack of religion, is there in pride! It cannot add one cubit to any man's stature: what crosses can it hinder? What disappointments help, or harm frustrate? It delivers not from the common maladies; sickness, disfigurements, painful deformities, and death ends the proud man's fabric. Six feet of cold earth bounds his big thoughts; and his person, that was too good for any place, must at last lodge within the straight limits of so little and so dark a cave; and he who thought nothing well enough for him is quickly the entertainment of the lowest of all animals, even worms themselves. Thus pride and pomp come to the common end; but with this difference, less pity from the living, and more pain to the dying. The proud man's age cannot secure him from death, nor can his social prestige keep him from judgment. Titles of honor vanish at this extremity; and no power or wealth, no distance or respect, can rescue or insure them. As the tree falls, it lies; and as death leaves men, judgment finds them.
11. Oh! what can prevent this sad ending? And what can remedy this woeful declension from ancient meekness, humility, and piety, and that godly life and power which were so conspicuous in the authority of the preachings and examples of the living of the first and purest ages of Christianity? Truly, nothing but an inward and sincere examination, by the testimony of the holy light and spirit of Jesus, of the condition of their souls and minds towards Christ, and a better inquiry into the matter and examples of holy record. It was his complaint of old, "that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). If you would be a child of God, and a believer in Christ, you must be a child of Light. O man, you must bring your deeds to it and examine them by that holy lamp in your soul, which is the candle of the Lord, that shows you your pride and arrogance, and reproves your delight in the vain fashions of this world. Religion is a denial of self; yes, of self-religion too. It is a firm tie or bond upon the soul to holiness, whose end is happiness; for by it men come to see the Lord. The pure in heart, says Jesus, see God (Mat 5:8). He that once comes to bear Christ's yoke is not carried away by the devil's allurements; he finds excelling joys in his watchfulness and obedience. If men loved the Cross of Christ, his precepts and doctrine, they would cross their own wills which lead them to break Christ's holy will and lose their own souls in doing the devil's will. Had Adam minded that holy light in Paradise more than the serpent's bait, and stayed his mind upon his Creator, the rewarder of fidelity, he would have seen the snare of the enemy, and resisted him. Oh! do not delight in what is forbidden. Look not upon it, if you would not be captivated by it. Bring not the guilt of sins of knowledge upon your own soul. Did not Christ submit his will to his Father's, and for the joy that was set before Him, endure the cross and despise the shame (Heb 12:2) of a new and untrodden way to glory? You also must submit your will to Christ's holy law and light in your heart, and for the reward He sets before you, namely, eternal life, endure his cross, and despise the shame of it. All desire to rejoice with Him, but few will suffer with Him, or for Him. Many are the companions of his table; not many of his abstinence. The loaves they follow, but the cup of his agony they leave: it is too bitter, they do not like to drink of it. And several will testify of his miracles, that are offended at the shame of his cross. But, O man, as He, for your salvation, so you, for the love of Him, must humble yourself (Phil 2:7), and be contented to be of no reputation, that you may follow Him, not in a carnal, formal way, of vain man's tradition and prescription, but as the Holy Ghost, by the apostle, does express it, in a new and living way (Heb 10:19-20), which Jesus had consecrated, that brings all that walk in it to the eternal rest of God; where He Himself has entered, who is the holy and only blessed Redeemer.
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