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fairs of others. It keeps down the Swelling and Impofthumation of the Mind, whereby Men become troublefom to themselves and others: it will not fuffer Men to think more highly of themfelves than they ought to think, but to think foberly, according as God hath given to every one the meafure of Faith: which tends mightily to the Quiet, Safety, and Order of the World. In fhort, this Grace will render Men true Lovers, Friends, and Servants of Mankind; and inftead of being lifted up, will make them fubject one to another. Which fhould 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 refifteth the Proud, and giveth Grace to the Humble, The proud Heart refifteth God, and like Lucifer fets it felf against the Moft High: The Ungodly is so proud (faith the Pfalmift) that he careth not for God, yea, that he defpifeth him, and faith, Who is the Lord? And this makes God the proud Man's profefs'd Enemy, he hates and refifts him, and how can any bear up against fo mighty an Adversary? Well might the Wifeman declare, that Pride goeth before Deftruction, and a haughty Spirit before a Fall 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 hall they not go unpunish'd. An Inftance hereof we have in Pharaoh, whofe Pride God Almighty refifted and chaftiz'd with fundry forts of Judgments. Nebuchadnezzar too, for exalting himfelf above God, was degraded below the Dignity of Men, and was turn'd a grazing among the Beafts of the Field. Herod, for affuming to himself the Honour that was due to God only, was eaten up of Worms: and none ever refifted God, but forely fiarted for it. And this may fhew us both the Folly and Danger of Pride; for if they who refift earthly Powers fhall receive to themfelves Damnation, what dreadful Punishments must attend them, who proudly refift 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 rife 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 fure they can want no Grace or


Favour, or any good thing, where God himfelf vouchsafes to refide with his Holy Spirit,

Humble your felves therefore (faith our Apoftle) under the mighty Hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Submit your felves unto God, and thofe he hath set over you; and likewife be fubject to one another in all Humility, that ye may escape the Resistance of the mighty Hand of his Power and Juftice, and receive the Affiftance that will be reach'd out to you by the Hands of his Mercy. Mind not high things, but condefcend to Men of low Eftate, and then God in his due time will exalt and reward your Humility; for Pride is ever attended with a Fall, and Humility with Rifing: this being the first Step that mounts to Honour, 'tis the Root and Foundation of all other Graces, and upon that alone may we fafely build our Hopes of Glory.

But because you may meet with fome Difficulties and Difcouragements in the lower Ground of Humility; for where the Stile is low (we fay) every one is apt to go over; therefore the Apostle, in the next words, wills you not to be difmay'd, but to caft all your Care upon God, who careth for you. Some indeed may interpret your Humility to be only a Pufillanimity or Bafenefs of Mind, and mifcall a humble Perfon, by the odious Name of one of a low, mean, and abject Spirit; and fo he may be apt to be lted, abus'd, and affronted by infolent and haughty Men: but St, Peter here directs them not to be anxiously careful or concern'd about fuch Matters, but to refer all to the Guidance and Goodness of God, who will take a particular care of them, and not fuffer any thing to befal them, but what may in the end tend to their Welfare. Chrift himfelf endur'd the Reproaches and Contradiction of Sinners; the Apostles went thro good Report and bad Report, through Honour and Difhonour, and have told us of Scof fers in the latter days, walking after their own Lufts and therefore we should not be troubled or difcourag'd at thofe things, that have befallen the Son of God, and the beft of Men; efpecially confidering, that all things fhall work together for good to them that love God, and live by his Laws.

Furthermore, becaufe the Devil, who fell by Pride, is ftill tempting and drawing us into the fame Condemnation, therefore St. Peter, in the next Verfe, advises us to be fober and vigilant, because our Adverfary the Devil, as a roaring

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Lion, walketh about, Seeking whom he may devour. Pride and Ambition is fuppos'd to be the firft Sin of the Devil and his evil Angels, and the Occafion of their Fall: for not being content with the high Station, wherein God had fet them, but affecting to be equal with, or fuperiour to the moft High, they were caft down from the bleffed Manfions of Light and Glory, in which they were firft feated, into the black Abyss of eternal Darkness: and though they are faid to be referv'd in Chains of Darkness, to the Judgment of the great Day; yet by God's Permiffion the Devil is here faid, to walk about as a roaring Lion, feeking whom he may devour. That deadly Adverfary of ours is daily feeking all Advantages to betray us, he watches what is moft apt to affect and blow us up, and then plies us with Temptations fuitable to the Vanity. Like a roaring Lion, he seeks first to catch, and then to make us his Prey; for which reafon, to arm our felves against him, St. Peter here exhorts us to be fober and vigilant, that we may the better difcover and defeat his Defigns. Where Sobriety implies,

If, Moderation in the use of God's Creatures; and fo to be fober is to take heed that our Hearts be not overcharg'd with Surfeiting and Drunkennefs, by which we lose the Ufe of our Reafon, and the Benefit of God's Protection. Intemperance will eafily betray us into the Enemies hands, for it deprives us of all Power of resisting him; nor can we withstand any of his Affaults, when we cannot stand our ground which fhould teach us to have the Use of Reafon, and the Succours of Religion always ready; all which will be little enough to oppofe fo fubtle and powerful a Foe. Again,

2dly, There is a Sobriety of the Mind, that keeps it from Swelling and Pride; and fo to be fober is, not to think too highly of our felves, but to think foberly, according as God hath given the Measure of Faith. There is a Drunkenness of the Mind as well as the Body, both which we are induftriously to avoid, and carefully to obferve all the Rules of Sobriety, left Satan get an Advantage upon us, and being lifted up with Pride, we fall into the Snare and Condemnation of the Devil. To prevent which, the Apostle would have us add hereunto the great Duty of Vigilance or Watchfulness, Be fober, be vigilant, to watch against the Wiles of the Devil, for he ftill lies in wait, and feeks all Opportunities to furprize and circumvent us which fhould fet us always upon our guard, looking every


way about us, and imploring the Affiftance of Divine Grace, to withstand the Evil one, and having done all, to ftand. To which end, the Apoftle directs us in the next words, to do our part; which is, To refift him ftedfast in the Faith; and then we may be fure that God will not be wanting on his. Refift the Devil (faith St. James) and he will flee from you; James 4.7. He will not, cannot ftand, if you withstand him; for Chrift hath broken his Power, and vanquish'd his Forces; and by the Power of his Grace hath made us more than Conquerors over him: fo that if you keep your ground, you are fure to win the Field, his Temptations cannot hurt you without confenting and yiel ding to him; all your Danger is from your own Cowardife, and you muft tamely furrender your felves up to him, before he can do you the leaft Harm; which is Encouragement enough to refift and defy him: only keep your Courage, and continue ftedfaft in the Faith, and he muft and will flee from you. Above all things (faith St. Paul) take on the Shield of Faith, and that will quench all the fiery Darts of the Wicked; Eph. 6. 16. A ftedfaft Belief of the Power and Promises of God, will repel all the Affaults of the Evil one; for this is the Victory that overcometh both the Devil and the World, even your Faith.

Neither let any of the Troubles or Trials of the World fhake the Conftancy of your Mind, or make you fall from your own Stedfaftnefs; Knowing, that the fame Afflictions are accomplish'd in your Brethren that are in the World: meaning, that they were not the only Sufferers in the World in this way, but they had Partners enough among their own Brethren; there was no Affliction had befallen them, but what was common to others: for their Brethren at Rome, and all other Parts of the World, were Sharers with them in the like Sufferings, and he would not have them think it hard, to tafte of that bitter Cup, which others drink off; but to be content to bear a Part in the common Miferies and Calamities of this Life.

To enable them hereunto, our Apostle, in the next words, falls to his Prayers in their behalf, that God would give them Grace and Strength to bear up under whatever might befal them, faying, The God of all Grace, who hath called us into his eternal Glory by Christ Jefus, after that ye have fuffer'd awhile, make you perfect, ftablish, Atrengthen, fettle you. Where he makes a folemn Addrefs to Almighty God, the Giver of all Grace and Goodnefs, who hath

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reveal'd and call'd us to a State of Salvation by the Sufferings of Chrift, after fome fhort Conformity to him in his Sufferings, to lead us on to Perfection; and instead of being fhaken by the Troubles of this Life, to be eftablifh'd and confirm'd in the Expectation of future Glory, as the Reward of them. For the Hopes hereof he afcribes unto God all Honour and Praife, concluding with these words; To him be Glory and Dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

This is a brief Account of the Epiftle for this Day: the great Leffons we are taught by it, are to fhun Pride, and to learn Humility; to which end, we are to meditate this Day upon the Evil of the one, and the Goodness of the other. As for the Evil of Pride, it was the first and great Sin of the Devil, and that which made him truly fo; and if we may judg of the Heinoufness of the Sin, by the Greatnefs of the Punishment, we may conclude it to be out of measure finful, for it caft the evil Angels from Heaven to Hell; that is, from the Top of the highest Happiness, into the Gulph of the deepeft Mifery: and if God fpared not the Angels that finned, but caft them down to Hell, let not any proud Perfon think he fhall go unpunish'd. Let none then be puff'd up upon the account of any imaginary Excellence he may have above others, for 'tis only lent to or depofited with him; and if thou haft received it (faith the Apostle) why boafteft thou thy felf, as if thou receiv'dit it not? Do not then feed thy Fancy with any Thoughts of thine own Worth, for that will make thee arrogate more to thy felf than belongs to thee; but rather think more upon thy Follies, thy Faults, and thy Frailties, and that will lower thy Spirits, and keep thee from fwelling with Pride and Vanity. Moreover, never compare thy felf with thofe that are beneath thee for that may be apt to raise thy Efteem of thy felf and make thee think more highly of thy felf, than thou oughtft to think: But if thou wilt make comparisons, let it always be with those that are above thee, that feeing how thou art excell'd in all natural and moral Excellencies, thou mayft come to think more foberly of thy felf, and in Honour prefer one another,

Laftly, Meditate on the Goodness and Gracefulness of Humility; how amiable it appears in the eyes of God and Man, and draws on it the Favour of both. Pride is

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