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Part Three

Be humble. It becomes a creature, a depending and borrowed being, that lives not of itself, but breathes in another's air with another's breath, and is accountable for every moment of time and can call nothing its own, but is absolutely a tenant at will of the great Lord of heaven and earth. And of this excellent quality you cannot be wanting, if you dwell in the holy fear of the omnipresent and all-seeing God; for that will show you your vileness and His excellency, your meanness and His majesty, and withal, the sense of His love to such poor worms, in the testimonies He gives of His daily care, and mercy and goodness; that you cannot but be abased, laid low and humble. I say, the fear and love of God begets humility, and humility fits you for God and men. You cannot step well amiss if this virtue dwell but richly in you; for then God will teach you. The humble He teacheth his Ways, and they are all pleasant and peaceable to His children: yea, He giveth grace to the humble but resisteth the proud Jam. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5. He regardeth the proud afar off. Psal. 138:6. They shall not come near Him, nor will He hear them in the day of their distress. Read Prov. 11:2; 15:33; 16:18, 19. Humility seeks not the last word, nor first place; she offends none, but prefers others, and thinks lowly of herself; is not rough or self-conceited, high, loud, or domineering; blessed are they that enjoy her. Learn of me, said Christ, for I am meek and lowly in heart. He washed His disciples' feet, John 13, indeed himself was the greatest pattern of it. Humility goes before honour. Prov. 18:12. There is nothing shines more clearly through Christianity than humility; of this the Holy Author of it is the greatest instance. He was humble in His incarnation; for He that thought it no robbery to be equal with God, humbled Himself to become a man; and many ways made Himself of no reputation. As first in His birth or descent, it was not of the princes of Judah but a virgin of low degree, the espoused of a carpenter; and so she acknowledges in her heavenly anthem, or ejaculation, Luke 1:47, 48, 52. speaking of the great honour God had done her: And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour, for He hath regarded the low estate of his hand- maiden; He has put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. Secondly, He was humble in His life: He kept no court but in deserts and mountains and in solitary places; neither was He served in state, His attendants being of the mechanic size. By the miracles He wrought we may understand the food He ate, viz. barley-bread and fish; and it is not to be thought there was any curiosity in dressing them. And we have reason to believe His apparel was as moderate as His table. Thirdly, He was humble in His sufferings and death: He took all affronts patiently, and in our nature triumphed over revenge: He was despised, spit upon, buffeted, whipped, and finally crucified between thieves, as the greatest malefactor; yet He never reviled them, but answered all in silence and submission, pitying, loving and dying for those by whom He was ignominiously put to death. O mirror of humility! Let your eyes be continually upon it, that you may see your selves by it. Indeed His whole life was one continued great act of self-denial: and because He needed it not for Himself, He must needs do it for us; thereby leaving us an example that we should follow His steps, 1 Pet. 2:21. And as He was we should be in this world according to the beloved disciple. 1 John 2:6. So what He did for us was not to excuse but excite our humility. For as He is like God, we must be like Him, and that the froward, the contentious, the revengeful, the striker, the dueller, etc. cannot be said to be of that number, is very evident. And the more to illustrate this virtue, I would have you consider the folly and danger of pride its opposite: for this it was that threw the angels out of heaven, man out of paradise, destroyed cities and nations, was one of the sins of Sodom, Ezek. 16:49. the destruction of Assyria and Israel, Isa. 3:16 and the reason given by God for His great vengeance upon Moab and Ammon, Zeph. 2:9, 10. Besides, pride is the vainest passion that can rule in man, because he has nothing of his own to be proud of, and to be proud of another's shows want of wit and honesty too. He did not only not make himself, but is born the nakedest and most helpless of almost all creatures. Nor can he add to his days or stature, or so much as make one hair of his head white or black. He is so absolutely in the power of another, that as I have often said, he is at best but a tenant at will of the great Lord of all, holding life, health, substance, and every thing at his sovereign disposal; and the more man enjoys the less reason he has to be proud, because he is the more indebted and engaged to thankfulness and