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Answ. 1. We grant that the honour of magistrates must be kept up by a convenient grandeur ; and that a competent distance is necessary to a due reverence: but goodness is as necessary an ingredient in government, as greatness is; and to be great in wisdom and goodness, is the principal greatness: and goodness is loving, and humble, and condescending, and suiteth all deportments to the common good, which is the end of government. See then that you keep up no other height; but that which really tendeth to the success of your endeavours, in order to the common good.
2. And look also to your hearts, lest it be your own exaltation which you indeed intend, while you thus pretend the honour of your office: for this is an ordinary trick of pride. To discover this, will you ask yourselves these questions following ?
Quest. 1. How you came into your offices and honours ? Did they seek you, or did you seek them ? Did the place need you, or did you need the place? If pride brought you you
have cause to fear, lest it govern you when there?
Quest. 2. What do you in the place of honour that you are in? Do you study to do all the good you can, and to make men happy by your government? And is this the labour of your lives? If it be, we may hope that the means is suited to this end. But if you do no such thing, you have no such end : and if you have no such end, you do but dissemble, in pretending that your grandeur is used but as a means to that end which really you never seek. It is then your own exaltation that you aim at, and it is your pride that playeth all your game.
Quest. 3. Are you more offended and grieved when you are crossed and hindered in doing good, or when you are crossed and hindered from your personal honour?
Quest. 4. Are you well contented that another should have your honour and preferment, if God and the Sovereign Power so dispose of it, so be it, it be one that is like to do more good than you ?
By these questions you may quickly see if you are willing, whether your grandeur be desired by your pride for self-advancement, or by Christian prudence to do good.
3. And I must tell you, that there is abundance of difference betwixt the case of the civil magistrates, and the pastors of the church in this. Magistracy must have more fear and pomp: but pastors must govern by light and love : When his apostles strove for superiority, Christ left a decision of the controversy for the use of all following ages. It is the contempt of the world, and the mortifying of the flesh, and self-denial, that pastors have to teach the people, and withål to seek a heavenly treasure : and will not their own example further the success of their doctrine? The reverence that a pastor must expeot, is not to be feared as one that can do hurt (for all coercion or corporal force is proper to the magistrate): but it is to be thought one that is above all the riches and pleasures of the world, and hath set his heart on higher things : such a one therefore he must both be and seem. A pastor will be but the sooner despised, if he look after that riches and worldly pomp, which is seemingly for a magistrate : If he have a sword in his hand, it is the way to be hated; if he have teeth that are bloody, or claws that can tear, he will be accounted a wolf. though he have the clothing of a sheep. When our divines give the reason of Christ's humiliation, they say, that if he had preached up heavenlymindedness, self-denial, and mortification, and had himself lived in pomp and fulness, the people would not have regarded his words: and surely the same reason holdeth in some measure as to all his ministers. Again, I say, that if ever the church be universally reformed, the pastoral office must be only encouraged with necessary support, to keep the pastors from despondency, and distracting cares; but it must not be made a bait of ambition, covetousness or sloth; but must be stripped of that which makes it thus desirable to a carnal mind. Otherwise we must expect, that except when princes are very holy, the churches be ordinarily guided by carnal and ungodly men; who will do it according to their minds and interest. All the world cannot answer the reason of this : which is, honours and wealth will be certainly sought with greatest industry by the worldly, that is, the worst of men: and 'not by the heavenly, mortified persons : And they that seek shall usually find : and so while the humble, holy person stayeth till he is called, and the proud and worldly, who
have the keenest appetite, use all their art and friends to rise, the conclusion is as sure as sad, and hath been so proved by woful-experience almost thirteen hundred years.
4. Another of pride's pretences is decency, and the avoiding of reproach and scorn: If we live not as high as others, we shall be derided and contemned; or thought to be sordid, beggarly, or base.
Answ. 1. This is one of the signs and effects of pride, that it maketh a greater matter of other men's thoughts of you, than you ought to make: it cannot bear contempt and scorn so easily as humility can do: too careful avoiding of contempt, is the proper work of pride. 2. It is granted that you should not be contemptuous of your just reputation; and also that you must not by any causeless, affected singularity, or by any practice which is indeed uncomely, make yourselves the scorn of others. But it is as true that you must not desire a higher estimation than is really your due; nor yet be over solicitous for that which is your due indeed ; nor must you follow the proud in any thing which is contrary to true humility, for the keeping of their good report, nor go above your rank to avoid contempt. 3. And forget not whose good word it is that you should especially regard: Your truest honour is in the esteem of God, and all good men, and not in the opinion or praises of the proud. They that are addicted to this vice themselves, perhaps may deride those that go below them (and yet they will more envy those that go above them): but the humble will think much better of you for being humble, and nothing can make you viler in their eyes than pride. If you were humble yourselves, you would prefer your honour with humble, wise and sober persons, above the opinions of the proud, who know not good from evil.
5. Another cloak of pride is opinionative and doctrinal humility. When we have heard and read much against pride, and can speak (or preach) against it, as freely, and fluently, and vehemently, and movingly, as any others; and in all company and conference signify our dislike of it; when we are much in dissuading others from it, and in extolling humility, and lowliness of mind; this doth not only deceive others, but very often the speaker himself; and makes him think that he hath no great degree of pride.
But speculation, and opinion, and talk, are one thing,
and a renewed, truly humble soul is another thing. If all. this while you are as great, and wise, and good in your own esteem, and make as great a matter of men's opinion of you, as others do that speak less against pride, your speeches and preachings serve but to condemn yourselves. It is easy to talk against covetousness, gluttony, and other sins, whilst he that condemneth them, continueth in them, and condemneth himself. Talking against an enemy, obtaineth no victory; and talking against sin, may signify what you have learned to say, or perhaps what dislike you have to that sin at a distance, or in specie, or in another; when yet you may damnably love it in yourselves. It were well for preachers, if it were as easy or common to conquer sin, as to preach against it: but alas! it is not so.
6. Another cloak of pride is, the presence of a real partial humility, together with an outward, humble garb. A man may be really humble in some, yea, in many respects, and yet be exceeding proud in others: he may be vile in his own eyes, because he is conscious of many great and odious sins, and because he knoweth that sin is a thing odious to God, and all that will be saved, must be humble for it; and because he knoweth that his body is earth, and must return by death to filth and dust: and he may go in sordid poor apparel ; and such may have a humble tone and manner of speech; and perhaps speak so self-abasingly, as if there were none so lowly as they : and yet they may be exceeding proud of their supposed wisdom, or spiritual understanding, and of a supposed extraordinary measure of holiness, or revelations, or interest in God, or of this humility itself: yea, their common natural pride may be taken down, though there be frequent expressions of great humiliation.
And if the proudest gallants can, with their hat at your foot, profess themselves your humble servants, why may not religious pride go as far ?
And note here, that this religious pride is of a higher and more aggravated strain than the other : J. Because it is committed against more humbling means. 2. Because it is a sin against more knowledge. 3. Because it is accompanied with the profession of humility, and so is aggravated by more hypocrisy. 4. Because it is an abuse of more excellent things : it is more odious to turn the pretence of
wisdom, revelations, humility, godliness, good works, &c. into pride, than to be proud as children are of their fine clothes ; or as addle-brained women are of their precedencies. 5. Because it most odiously fathereth itself on God, as it were but the grateful magnifying of his graces : to put God's name into the boasts of pride, and say, "I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as other men, nor as this publican ;' Luke xviii, 11. To say, God hath revealed more to me than to you; or hath made me more holy and spiritual than you ; “Stand by thyself; come not near me, for I am holier than thou;" Isa. Ixv.5. This is, when pride speaketh it, most odious blasphemy; to father the firstborn of the devil upon God.
There are two sad instances of this kind of pride, which are now too familiarly seen among us.
The one is in the case of many convinced hypocrites, yea, and many passionate, feeble Christians, who are affrighted with the terrors of the Lord, and partly disturbed by their guilt or passions, and partly take it to be an honourable sign of humility to condemn themselves; and therefore will fill the ears of ministers with sad complaints of their fears, and doubts, and sins, and wants, as if they would hardly be kept from desperation. And yet if they know that another doth believe them, and think and speak as bad of them as they speak of themselves; yea, if he doth but slight them, and prefer others before them, or plainly reprove them for any disgraceful sin, they will swell with the wrath of pride against him, and will not easily think or speak well of such a one: and they love him best that thinketh best of them, and praiseth them most, even when they most dispraise themselves ; which sheweth that a man may be really humbled in some respects, and seem to be humbled in more, and yet at the heart be dangerously proud.
The other instance is, in the common separating spirit of sectaries; and in particular, in those called Quakers in these times, (for against commanded separation from sin, by self-preservation or discipline, I am far from speaking). Their great pretence of singularity is, to avoid and detest the pride of others; they cry out against pride as much as any. Their garb is plain ; humility, and self-emptiness, and poverty of spirit, is their profession. And yet when they are so ignorant, that they can scarce speak sense; and