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of them are probably such as in the beginning of this work had their consciences something gauled and terrified with it ; but these errors of awakening preachers are the things they chief. ly make use of as plaisters to heal the sore that was made in their consciences.
Spiritual pride takes great notice of opposition and injuries that are received, and is apt to be often speaking of them, and to be much in taking notice of the aggravations of them, either with an air of bitterness or contempt : Whereas pure unmixed Christian humility, disposes a person rather to be like his blessed Lord, when reviled, dumb, not opening his mouth, but committing himself in silence to him that judgeth righteously. The eminently humble Christian, the more clamorous and furious the world is against him, the more silent and still will he be ; unless it be in his closet, and there he will not be still. Our blessed Lord Jesus seems never to have been so silent as when the world compassed him round, reproaching, buffetting, and spitting on him, with loud and virulent outcries, and horrid cruelties.
There has been a great deal too much talk of late, among many of the true and zealous friends of religion, about opposition and persecution. It becomes the followers of the Lamb of God, when the world is in an uproar about them, and full of clamor against them, not to raise another noise to answer it, but to be still and quiet : It is not beautiful, at such a time 10 have pulpits and conversation ring with the sound, persecution, persecution, or with abundant talk about Pharisees, carnal persecutors, and the seed of the serpent.
Meekness and quietness among God's people, when oppos. ed and reviled, would be the surest way to have God remarkably to appear for their defence. It is particularly observed of Moses, on the occasion of Aaron and Miriam their envying him, and rising up in opposition against him, that he was very meek, above all men upon the face of the earth, Num. xii. 3. Doublless because he remarkably showed his meekness on that occasion, being wholly silent under the abuse. And how remarkable is the account that follows of God's being as it were suddenly roused to appear for his vindication ? And
what high honor did he put upon Moses ? And how severe were his rebukes of his opposers ? The story is very remarkable, and worth every one's observing. Nothing is so effectual to bring God down from heaven in the defence of his people, as their patience and meekness under sufferings. When Christ girds his sword upon his thigh, with his glory and majesty, and in his majesty rides prosperously, his right hand teaching him terrible things, it is because of truth and MEEKNESS and righteousness: Psal. xlv. 3, 4. God will cause judgment to be heard from Heaven ; the earth shall fear and be still, and God will arise to judgment, to save all the MEEK of the earth. Psal. Ixxvi. 8, 9. He will lift up the meek, and cast the wicked down to the ground. Psal. cxlvii. 6. He will reprove with equity, for the meek of the earth, and will smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips will he slay the wicked. Isa. xi. 4. The great commendation that Christ gives the church of Philadelphia, is that, Thou hast kept the word of my patience, Rev. iii. 10. And we may see what reward he promises her in the preceeding verse, “ Behold I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not, but do lie ; behold, I will make them to come and worship at thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” And thus it is, that we might expect to have Christ appear for us, if under all reproaches we are loaded with, we behave ourselves with a lamb like meekness and gentleness, but if our spirits are raised, and we are vehement and noisy with our complaints under color of Christian zeal, this will be to take upon us our own defence, and God will leave it with us to vindicate our cause as well as we can : Yea, if we go on in a way of bitterness, and high censuring, it will be the way to have him rebuke us, and put us to shame before our enemies.
Here some may be ready to say, “ It is not in our own cause, that we are thus vehement, but it is in the cause of God; and the apostle directed the primitive Christians to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.” But how was it that the primitive Christians contended earnestly for the faith ? They defended the truth with arguments, and a holy conversation ; but yet gave their reasons with meekness and fear : They contended earnestly for the faith by fighting violently against their own unbelief, and the corruptions of their hearts, yea, they resisted upto blood striving against sin ; but the blood that was shed in this earnest strife, was their own blood, and not the blood of their enemies. It was in the cause of God, that Peter was so fierce, and drew his sword, and began to smite with it ; but Christ bids him put up his sword again, telling him that they that take the sword shall perish by the sword ; and while Peter wounds, Christ heals. They contend the most violently, and are the greatest conquerors in a time of persecution, who bear it with the greatest meekness and patience.
Great humility improves even the reflections and reproaches of enemies, lo put upon serious selsexamination, whether or no there be not some just cause, whether they have not in some respect given occasion to the enemy to speak reproachfully : Whereas spiritual pride improves such reflections to make them the more bold and confident, and to go the greater lengths in that for which they are found fault with. I desire it may be considered whether there has been nothing amiss of late, among
the true friends of vital piety in this respect ; and whether the words of David, when reviled by Michal, have not been misinterpreted and misapplicd to justify them in it, when he said I will be yet more vile, and will be base in mine own sight. The import of his words is that he would humble himself yet more before God, being sensible that he was far from being sufficiently abased ; and he signifies this to Michal, and that he longed to be yet lower, and had designed already to abase himself more in his behavior ; not that he would go the greater length, to shew his regardlessness of her revilings; that would be to exalt himself, and not more 10 abase himself, as more vile in his own sight,
Another effect of spiritual pride is a certain unsuitable and selfconfident boldness before God and men. Thus some in their great rejoicings before God, have not paid a sufficient regard to that rule, in Psal. ii. 11. They have not rejoiced with a reverential trembling, in a proper sense of the awful majesty of God, and the awful distance between God and them. And there has also been an improper boldness before men, that has been encouraged and defended, by a misapplication of that scripturo, Prov. xxix. 25. “ The fear of man bringeth a snare." As though it became all persons, high and low, men, women and children, in all religious conversation, wholly to divest themselves of all manner of shamefacedDess, modesty or reverence towards man ; which is a great error, and quite contrary to scripture. There is a fear of rev.
a erence that is due to some men. Rom. xiii. 7. “ Fear, lo whom fear : Honor, to whoin honor.” And there is a fear of modesty and shamefacedness, in inferiors towards superiors, that is amiable, and required by Christian rules. 1 Pet. iii. 2. " While they behold your chaste conversation, coupled with fear." And i Tim. ii. 9. « In like manner also, that women adorn themselves, in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety." And the apostle means that this virtue shall have place, not only in civil communication, but also in spiritual communication, and in our religious concerns and behavior, as is evident by what follows. Ver. 11, 12. “ Let the women learn in silence, with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Not that I would hence infer that women's mouths should be shut up from Christian conversation ; but all that I mean from it at this time is, that modesty, or shamefacedness, and reverence towards men, ought to have some place, even in our religious communication, one with another. The same is also evident by 1 Pet. iii. 15. “ Be ready always to give an answer, to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." It is well if that very fear and shamefacedness, which the apostle recommends, has not sometimes been condemned, under the name of a cursed fear of man.
It is beautiful for persons when they are at prayer as the mouth of others, to make God only their fear and their dread, and to be wholly forgetful of men that are present, who let them be great or small, are nothing in the presence of the great God. And it is beautiful for a minister, when he speaks in the name of the Lord of hosts, to be bold, and put of all fear of men. And it is beautiful in private Christians, though they are women and children, to be bold in professing the faith of Christ, and in the practice of all religion, and in owning God's hand in the work of his power and grace, without any fear of men, though they should be reproached as fools and madmen, and frowned upon by great men, and cast off by parents and all the world. But for private Christians, women and others, to instruct, rebuke and exhort, with a like sort of boldness as becomes a minister when preaching, is not beautiful.
Some have been bold in some things that have really been errors ; and have gloried in their boldness in practising them, though condemned as add and irregular. And those that have gone the greatest lengths in these things, have been by .some most highly esteemed, as those that come out and appear bold for the Lord Jesus Christ, and fully on his side ; and others that have professed to be godly, that have condemned such things, have been spoken of as enemies of the cross of Christ, or at least very cold and dead ; and many that of themselves, were not inclined to such practices, have by this means been driven on, being ashamed to be behind, and accounted poor soldiers for Christ.
Another effect of spiritual pride is assuming : It oftentimes makes it natural to persons so to act and speak, as though it in a special manner belonged to them to be taken notice of and much regarded. It is very natural to a person that is much under the influence of spiritual pride, to take all that respect that is paid him: If others shew a disposition to submit to bim, and yield him the deference of a preceptor, he is open to it, and freely admits it; yea, it is natural for him to expect such treatment, and to take much notice of it if he fails of it, and to have an ill opinion of others that do not pay him that which he looks upon as his prerogative : He is apt to think that it belongs to him to speak, and to clothe himself with a judicial and dogmatical air in conversation, and to take it upon him as what belongs to him, to give forth his sentence, and to determine and decide : Whereas pure Christian humility vaunteth not itseli, doth no! behave itaclf unscemly, and