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ther and Mother, Husband and Wife, more than Christ: which they that do, are not worthy of him.
3. From the Master of the Feast's great Displeasure at these things, we may learn the Danger as well as Vanity of all such Excuses : he was so wroth with them, as to threaten that they should not taste of his Supper; they should neither feed at his Table here, nor feast with him hereafter. But 'tis to be fear'd there are some in our days, that abstain from this Feast upon worse Excuses than these : they are loth to come, because they are unwilling to leave their Sins, and amend their Lives, or be oblig'd to such a Strictness as the holy Sacrament requires. But if those more innocent Excuses in the Gospel were not accepted, with what Indignation (think you) will those viler Pretences be rejected ? Wherefore, in the last place, let us lay aside all manner of Excuses, and make our felves ready to go to the Lord's Supper; and so by accepting of Grace now, we shall e’er long be advanc'd to Glory.
The EPISTLE for the Third Sunday after
I St. Peter v. 5-12.
with Humility; for God refifteth the Proud, and
you in due time, &c.
HE Collect for this Day beseeches God mercifully
given a hearty Desire to pray, may by his mighty Aid be defended and comforted in all Dangers and Adver. sities. Now because Pride and Haughtiness of Spirit is the greatest Obstacle to the Success of our Prayers, and to our Security from Dangers, and nothing conduces more to a
good Event and Iffue in both, than Humility and Lowliness of Mind ; therefore
The Epistle for this Day cautions us against the one, and earnestly exhorts to the other. To which end, it begins,
Firt, With a general Exhortation to mutual Subjection and Condescension to each other, in these words, All of you be subject one to another. There is a more particular Subjection due from Inferiours to Superiours, which consists in honouring their Persons, and obeying their Laws : and this is frequently requir'd in Holy Scripture ; Let every Soul be subject to the Higher Powers, faith St. Paul, Rom. 13.1. And put them in mind (faith he to Titus) to be subject to Principalities and Powers, and to obey Magiftrates; Tit. 2. 1. Wherefore yè must needs be subject, not only for Wrath, but for Conscience sake ; Rom. 13. 8. with many other places to the fame purpose. This Subjection is to be paid only to Princes, and other Magistrates commission'd by them, whom God hath invested with his own Power to rule and govern those committed to their charge.
Bat there is another and more general kind of subjection, that concerns all Men, Superiours, Inferiours, and Equals; who are all requir'd in some sense to be subject one to another : The younger are to submit to the elder, and the elder are to direct, counsel, and assist the younger ; and Men of all Ranks and Stations are to condescend to good Offices, and be helpful one to another : there is none so high, but may and ought to stoop for the good of those beneath him and there is none fo low, but may be ferviceable to those above them. There is that mutual Dependence of each of these upon the other, that neither of them can fay, I have no need of thee; for they all stand in continual need of Help and Aslistance from one another : and therefore all of them ought to be so far subject, as to be ready to all good Offices for one another. Of this Christ himself hath given us an Example; for tho he were Lord of all, yet he took upon him the Form of a Servant, and stoop'd fo low as to wash his Disciples Feet, merely to teach us to do likewise. There are some, and those many times of very mean Rise and Rank, that affect more Power, and assume to themselves more Honour than belongs to them; they would fain be seen and thought to be somebody, which makes them oftimes Busy-bodies in other Mens matters, and Medlers in things which they neither understand, nor appertain to them : as if they had all Wisdom, Vol. IV. Part 2
and none had Wit enough to do their own business without their Advice. Such as these are so far from being subject, that they would top their Superiours, thinking themselves wiser than their Teachers or Governors, and so take upon them to pose and controul their Betters. To these efpe. cially the Apostle gives this Caution, All of you be subject one to another : that is, instead of aspiring or usurping Power over others, let each of you esteem others better than your felves, and rather put your felves under, than lift your selves above them. Our Blessed Saviour finding some of his Disciples contending for Preheminence, and striving who amongst them should be greatest, sharply rebuk'd their Va. nity ; saying, He that would be greatest among you, let him be as the younger , and he that is chief, as he that doth serve: adding, that he himself was among them, as one that ferveth. Luke 22. 26, 27. Now,
This Subjection of one to another, is by St. Peter here explain’d and express'd by Humility ; All of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with Humility. Where 'twill be requisite to fhew, what this Humility is, what it is to be cloth'd with Humility, and likewise what Influence it hath in making Men subject one to another,
For the first, Humility is a Vertue, that consists not in wearing old Clothes, or in any affected Garbs of Austerity or Mortification ; for a Beggar may be prouder in his Rags, than a good Christian in finer and more fashionable Attire! hut Humility lies in the Heart, and consists in such a low and mean Opinion of our felves, as keeps us from overvaluing of our felves, or undervaluing of others.
There is indeed a Branch of Humility, that respects our Carriage towards God; and that consists in such a deep Sense of our own Vileness, compar'd with the infinite Greatness of God, as makes us to abhor our selves, and adore our Maker,
But the Humility we are here exhorted to, respects our Carriage towards Men, and lies in fubduing all those vain and high Thoughts of our felves, as caufe us to overlook and neglect our Duty to others : And fo 'tis oppos'd to Pride, or such an overweening Conceit of our felves, as is apt to lift Men up, and makes them to despise others, tho miany times better than themselves. Whereas Humility conlilts in having low and mean Thoughts of our felves, and being content that others should have the fame of us not arrogantly assuming Honour to our felvés, but in honour Preferring one another.
But what is it to be clothed with Humility ? The word in the Original is éy xolelor date, which fignifies the putting on of a Coat or Garment peculiar to Servants, by wearing whereof, as by a Livery, they were distinguish'd from 0thers, and known to whom they belong'd: The Expresion gives us to understand, that Humility is the Badg or Cognizance of a good Christian; and to be cloth'd with it, is to wear Christ's Livery, and to be known to be his Disciples : for he himself was meek and lowly in Heart, Mat. 11. 28. and would have the Same Mind to be in us, as was in him, to stoop even to the Form of a Servant; Phil. 2. In to- : ken' whereof, we are to put on Humility as a Mark of Christ's Followers, and that too not as a loose Garment, that may be put off again, and laid aside at pleasure; but so to be cloth'd with it, as never to change, or be uncloth'd again: for Humility is a Garment, which tho it may look bare or coarse, yet will never wear out, or be out of fashion ; for no Garb is so becoming, or renders us more amiable in the fight of God or Man. 'Tis indeed the best of all Garments, for 'twill keep us warm in all Times and Conditions ; 'tis not only Clothing, to guard us from Cold and Nakedness, but like a Coat of Mail defends us from all Affaults of our Enemies. In a word,
Humility is a Garment that answers all the Necessities, and secures from all the Dangers of the Soul : 'tis an Ornamient in fair Weather, and a Safeguard in foul ; for it adorns Prosperity, and fuccours in Adversity. It enamels other Vertues, and like Charity covers a multitude of Sins. And therefore above all things we should be clothed with Humility, or, as the word lignifies, be so girt about with it, as never to part with, or depart from it.
But what InHuence hath this Vertue in making Men subject one to another? Why, much every way: for as Pride lifts Men up in their Thoughts above others, and so they conie to despise and look down with Contenipt upon those they think beneath them, by which it occasions great Diforder and Disturbance in the World; so Humility, on the other hand, makes Men low in their own eyes, by which they become yielding and condescending to another, and so hush up many Quarrels and Contentions. Solomon tells us, that 'tis the proud Heart that Airreth up Strife, and only by Pride comet b Contention: whereas Humility leads to Peace, and puts Men upon the study of Quiet, by doing their own Business, without meddling or interposing in the Af
fairs of others. It keeps down the Swelling and Imposthumation of the Mind, whereby Men become troublesom to themselves and others : it will not suffer Men to think more highly of themfelvés than they ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath given to every one the measure of Faith: which tends mightily to the Quiet, Safety, and Order of the World. In short
In short, this Grace will render Men true Lovers, Friends, and Servants of Mankind; and instead of being lifted up, will make them subject one to another. Which should teach us to wear this Badge, and above all other Garments to be cloth'd with Humility. And that because, as St. Peter adds in the next words,
God refijfeth the Proud, and giveth Ġrace to the Humble. The proud Heart resisteth God, and like Lucifer fets it felf against the Most High: The Vngodly is so proud (faith the Pfalmist) that he careth not for God; yea, that he despiseth him, and faith, Who is the Lord ? And this makes God the proud Man's profess’d Enemy, he hates and refifts him, and how can any bear up against so mighty an Adversary? Well might the Wiseman declare, that Pride goeth beforç Destruktion, and a haughty Spirit before a Fall z Prov. 16. 18. And ver. 5. Every one that is proud in Heart, is an Abomination to the Lord; and the hand join in hand, yet shall they not go unpunish’d. An Instance hereof we have in Pharaoh, whose Pride God Almighty resisted and chastiz'd with sundry forts of Judgments. Nebuchadnezzar too, for exalting. himself above God, was degraded below the Dignity of Men, and was turn'd a grazing among the Beasts of the Field. Herod, for assuming to himself the Honour that was due to God only, was eaten up of Worms: and none ever resisted God, but forely smarted for it. And this may fhew us both thé Folly and Danger of Pride ; for if they who rent earthly Powers fall receive to themselves Damnation, what dreadful Punishmerits must attend them, who proudly resist the Powers of Heaven? But tho God refifteth the Proud, yet
He giveth Grace to the Humble; he fets himself against the one, and always appears for the other. He delights to fhew Mercy and Favour to the Humble, and none rise higher in the Opinion of God and Man, than they that are lowest in their own; for God is pleas'd to dwell with the Meek and Lowly, and to take up his abode with the humble and contrite Spirit: and sure they can want no Grace or