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groans and tears. (6.) And all this may be accompanied with confessions of sin to God and man, and lamentations for our misery, and in some it proceedeth to desperation itself. (6.) And lastly, it may proceed to an indignation against ourselves, and to the taking of a severe revenge on ourselves; yea, more than God would have men take; as Judas did by self-destroying. This desperation, and selfexecution are no parts of the preparatory humiliation ; but the excess and error of it, and the entrance upon
hell. 2. But there is also a Humiliation that is proper to the converted, and which accompanieth salvation, and this containeth in it, all that is in the former, and much more. Even as the rational soul containeth the sensitive and vegetative, and much more. And this saving humiliation consisteth in these following particulars.
1. It beginneth in the understanding. 2. It is rooted in the will. 3. It worketh, in the affection. And 4. When there is opportunity it sheweth itself in outward expressions and actions.
1. Humiliation in the understanding, consisteth in a low esteem of ourselves, and in a self-abasing, self-condemning judgment on ourselves; and that in these particulars.
(1.) It consisteth in a deep and solid apprehension of the odiousness of our own sins, habitual and actual, and of ourselves for our sins; and that because they are contrary to the blessed nature and law of God, and so contrary to our own perfection, and chief good. (2.) It consisteth also in a solid and fixed apprehension of our own ill-deserving, because of these sins ; so that our judgments do subscribe to the equity of the condemning sentence of the law; and we judge ourselves unworthy of the smallest mercy, and worthy of hell-fire. (3.) It consisteth in an apprehension of our undone and miserable condition in ourselves. Not only as we are the heirs of torment, but as we are void of the image and Spirit of God, and have lost his favour, and are under his displeasure, and enmity by our sin, and have forfeited our part in everlasting glory, and how unable we are to help ourselves.
And [1.] This is in such a measure, that we truly judge our sin and ourselves for sin, to be more odious than any thing else could have made us, and our misery by sin in the foresaid. particulars, to be greater than any outward calamity in the
flesh, and than any worldly loss could have procnred us. And this we apprehend by a practical judgment, and not only by a bare ineffectual speculation. [2.] And the spring of this is some knowledge of God himself, whose majesty is so glorious, and whose wisdom is so infinite ; who is so good in himself, and unto us, and whose holy nature is contrary to sin; and who hath an absolute propriety in us, and sovereignty over us. [3.] And also it proceedeth from a knowledge of the true state of man's felicity, which by sin he hath cast away; that it consisteth in the pleasing and glorifying, and enjoying of God, in loving and delighting in him, and praising him for ever, and having a nature perfectly holy, and fitted hereunto. To see that sin is contrary to this felicity, and hath deprived us of it, is one of the springs of true Humiliation. And [4.] It proceedeth also from a believing knowledge of Christ crucified, whom our sins did put to death, who hath declared in the most lively manner to the world by his cross, and sufferings, what sin is, and what it hath done, and what a case we had brought ourselves into. Thus much of saving Humiliation consisting in the understanding.
2. The principal seat of this Humiliation is in the will, and there it consisteth in these following acts.. (1.) As.we think basely of ourselves, so the will hath a fixed displacency against ourselves for our sins, and a kind of loathing of ourselves for all our abominations; as you may read, Ezek. xxxvi.31. xx. 43. vi. 9. A humble sinner is fallen out with himself, and as he is evil, his heart is against himself.
(2.) There is also in the will a deep repenting that ever we sinned, and wronged God, and abused grace, and have brought ourselves to this as we have done ; so that the humbled soul could wish that he had spent his days in prison, in beggary, or in bodily misery, so that he had not spent them in sin; and if it were to do again, he would rather choose such a life of shame and calamity in the world, than a life of sin, and would be glad of the exchange.
(3.) A humbled soul is truly willing to grieve for the sins which he hath committed, and to be as deeply sensible of them, and afflicted for them, as God would have him. Even when he cannot shed a tear, yet his will is to shed them. When he cannot feel any deep afflicting of his soul for sin, his hearty desire is, that he might feel it. He doth a hundred times weep in desire, when he doth it not in act.
(4.) A humble soul is truly willing to humble the flesh itself, by the use of those appointed means by which God would have him bring it in subjection; as by fasting, or abstinence, or mean attire, hard labour, and denying it unnecessary delights. It is a doubt worth the considering, whether any such humbling act must be used, purposely in revenge on ourselves for sin. To which I answer, that we may do nothing in such revenge that God doth not allow, or that makes our body less fit for his service; for that were to be revenged of God, and our souls; but those humbling means which are needful to tame the body, may well be used with this double intention ; first and chiefly, as a means for our safety and duty for the time to come; that the flesh may not prevail, and then collaterally we should be the more content that the flesh is put to so much suffering, because it hath been and still is so great an enemy to God, and us, and the cause of all our sin, and misery; and this is the revenge that is warrantable in the penitent, and some think is meant, 2 Cor. vii. 11.
(5.) As the humbled soul hath base thoughts of himself, so he is willing that others should esteem and think of him accordingly, even as a vile, unworthy sinner, so far as his disgrace may be no wrong to the Gospel, or to others, or dishonour to God. His pride is so far taken down, that he can endure to be vilified with some consent; not approving of the sin of any men that doth it maliciously, but consenting to the judgment and rebukes of those that do it truly, and to the judgment of God, even by them that do it maliciously. The humbled soul does not stand defending and unjustly extenuating his sin, and excusing himself, and swelling against the reprover; whatever he may do in a temptation, if this temper were predominant, his pride, and not humility, must be predominant. But he judgeth himself as much as others can justly judge him, and humbly consenteth to be base in men's eyes, till God shall think it meet to raise him, and recover his esteem.
And the root of all this in the will, is, [1.] A love to God whom we have offended. [2.] A hatred of sin that hath offended him, and that hath made us vile. And [3.] A believe ing sense of the love, and sufferings of Christ, that in his flesh hath condemned sin ; Rom. viii. 2, 3.
And thus you see what humiliation is in the will, which is the very life and soul of true humiliation.
3. Humiliation also consisteth in the affections ; in an unfeigned sorrow for the sin which we have committed, and the corruption which is in sin; and a shame for these sins ; and a holy fear of God whom we have offended, and of his judgments which we have deserved; and the hatred of our sins by which we have deserved them. But, as I must further shew you anon, it is not the measure, but the sincerity of these passions, by which you must make a judgment of your state ; and that will be hardly discerned by the passions themselves, but only by so much of the will as is in them, and therefore the will is the safest to judge by.
4. Humiliation also consisteth expressly in the outward action, when opportunity is offered ; and it is not true in the heart, if it refuse to appear without, when God requireth it in your ordinary course. The outward acts of humiliation are these: (1.) A voluntary confession of sin to God, and to men, when God requireth it, and that is, when it is necessary to his honour, to the healing of them that we have endangered, and satisfying the offended ; at least in the hearing of men, in such cases as these to confess them openly to God. An unhumbled soul will refuse this for the shame; but the humble will freely take shame to themselves, and warn their brethren, and justify God, and give him the glory; 1 John i.9. “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us.” Read Mark iii. 6. Levit. v.5. xvi. 21. xxvi. 40 Numb. v. 6, 7. James 16.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” Prov. xxviii. 13." He that hideth his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Not that any man is to confess his secret sins to others, except in case that he cannot otherwise find relief; nor that a man is to publish those offences of his own, by which he may further dishonour God, and hinder the Gospel. But when the sin is open already, and especially when the offence of others, the hardening of the wicked, the satisfaction of the church concerning our repentance, do require our confession and open lamentation, the humble soul both must and will submit to it; but the rotten-hearted, unhumbled hypocrite
will confess but in these cases: (1.) When the secresy of the confession, or the smallness of the fault, or the customariness of such confession, doth make it to be a matter of no great disgrace. (2.) Or when it is so open, that it is in vain to attempt to hide it, and his confession will do nothing to increase the disgrace. (3.) Or when conscience is awakened, or they see they must die, or are forced by some terrible judgment of God. In all these cases the wicked may confess. And so Judas will confess “ I have sinned in betraying the innocent blood;" and Pharaoh will confess, “I and my people have sinned.” And a thief on the gallows will confess; and the vilest wretches on their death-bed will confess. But we have more death-bed confessions than voluntary confessions before the church. Nay, so far hath pride and hypocrisy prevailed, and the ancient discipline of the church been neglected, that I think in most countries in England, there are many more that make confessions on the gallows than personally in the congregations.
(2.) Humiliation must be also expressed by all those external means and signs which God, by Scripture or nature,calleth us to. As by tears and groans, so far as we can seasonably procure them. And by fasting, and laying by our worldly pomp and bravery, and using mean, though decent, attire, and by condescending to men of the lower sort, and stooping to the meanest. By humble language, and carriage ; and by forgiving others on this account, that we are sensible of the greatness of our debts to God. And thus I have briefly shewed you the true nature of Humiliation, that you may know what it is that I am persuading you to, and which you must submit your hearts unto.
II. When I have told you the use and ends of Humiliation, you will see more of the reason of its necessity to yourselves. And first, it is one use of humiliation, to help on the mortification of the flesh, or carnal-self, and to annihilate it as it is the idol of the soul. The nature of man's sinful and miserable estate, is, that he is fallen from God to himself; and liveth now to himself, studying, and loving, and pleasing himself, his natural self, above God. And a sinner will let go many outward sins, and be driven from the out-works before he will let go carnal-self, and be driven from the castle and strength of sin. There is no part of mortification so necessary, and so hard as self-denial; in