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SERMON XIV.

Shame and Contempt the End of Pride.

PROVERBS xvi. 18.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

THE
THE observation is trite and common, and such as might

have been made without the wisdom of Solomon. But though the thought be obvious, it is important too, and can never be too often inculcated; so that for its use and value, it was well becoming his wisdom to take notice of it, and to minute it down, as a proper caution and warning to be transmitted, upon the authority of his great name, to latest posterity. It adds some weight and dignity to the thing, that it was observed so long ago, and by the wisest of men, conducted also in what he wrote by the Holy Spirit of God. The proposition here asserted is of the moral kind, and is one of those which may be said to be commonly, and for the most part, true, though not universally. The exceptions, if there be any, are yet few and rare, and shake not the credit of the general remark. The thing is generally true, true, as we say, even to a proverb, that “pride goeth before

destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Which is the same as to say, that pride and haughtiness commonly bring men to destruction and shame; they lead to it, and they end in it. In discoursing upon this subject, it proper,

I. To shew what pride and haughtiness mean; that so it may be distinctly perceived what it is that we are treating upon.

may be

II. I shall endeavour to illustrate the truth of the observation from scripture and reason. And, III. I shall briefly apply the whole by suitable reflections.

I.
I begin with shewing what pride and haughtiness mean.

The names are common, but the ideas often not very distinct; from whence arise confusion of thought, and mistakes sometimes in judging both of ourselves and other persons. Pride is a word of great latitude, and ought to be set clear; as the thing meant by it should be also carefully distinguished by its several kinds. In the general, pride is thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. It is a corruption of self-love, and is, in its root and principle, nothing else but self-flattery. There is a sensible pleasure in conceiving that we stand possessed of any considerable advantages, either of mind, or body, or of outward circumstances. The higher we can raise the idea of ourselves, the greater is the inward pleasure. Here lies the bait and the temptation to pride, that is, to a man's thinking too highly of himself, instead of thinking justly and according to truth. And now, if any one desires to know when or wherein he

may be said to think too highly of himself, it is either when he thinks that any thing he has is his own; or when he conceives himself to hace what he really has not; or when he sets too great a value upon what he has, and challenges to himself more respect than is due to him

upon

that If a man supposes any advantage he has to be strictly his own, he is therein forgetful of God, from whom he received it, and to whom he owes every thing. This is properly pride towards God: for as to men, they consider this but little, as being little concerned in it. They allow a man to call what he has his own, as a man's estate is his own : by which, however, in strictness is only meant, that it is his own, in opposition to any claims from other men, not in opposition to God.

The second article I mentioned was, a man's conceiving himself to have what he really has not; as when he judges himself to be wiser, richer, greater, better, than he is. This is pride, and is so clear a case, that it needs no further explaining.

The third article I mentioned was, the setting too great a value upon what he has, and upon himself for it, challenging to himself more respect than is due to him

upon
that score.

This is pride, and very troublesome pride too, because now it is reduced

score.

SERMON XIV.

Shame and Contempt the End of Pride.

PROVERBS xvi. 18.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

THE

THE observation is trite and common, and such as might

have been made without the wisdom of Solomon. But though the thought be obvious, it is important too, and can never be too often inculcated; so that for its use and value, it was well becoming his wisdom to take notice of it, and to minute it down, as a proper caution and warning to be transmitted, upon the authority of his great name, to latest posterity. It adds some weight and dignity to the thing, that it was observed so long ago, and by the wisest of men, conducted also in what he wrote by the Holy Spirit of God. The proposition here asserted is of the moral kind, and is one of those which may be said to be commonly, and for the most part, true, though not universally. The exceptions, if there be any, are yet few and rare, and shake not the credit of the general remark. The thing is generally true, true, as we say, even to a proverb, that “pride goeth before “ destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Which is the same as to say, that pride and haughtiness commonly bring men to destruction and shame; they lead to it, and they end in it. In discoursing upon this subject, it

may

be

proper, 1. To shew what pride and haughtiness mean; that so it may be distinctly perceived what it is that we are treating upon.

And now,

II. I shall endeavour to illustrate the truth of the observation from scripture and reason. And, III. I shall briefly apply the whole by suitable reflections.

I.
I begin with shewing what pride and haughtiness mean.

The names are common, but the ideas often not very distinct; from whence arise confusion of thought, and mistakes sometimes in judging both of ourselves and other persons. Pride is a word of great latitude, and ought to be set clear; as the thing meant by it should be also carefully distinguished by its several kinds. In the general, pride is thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. It is a corruption of self-love, and is, in its root and principle, nothing else but self-flattery. There is a sensible pleasure in conceiving that we stand possessed of any considerable advantages, either of mind, or body, or of outward circumstances. The higher we can raise the idea of ourselves, the greater is the inward pleasure. Here lies the bait and the temptation to pride, that is, to a man's thinking too highly of himself, instead of thinking justly and according to truth.

if any one desires to know when or wherein he may be said to think too highly of himself, it is either when he thinks that any thing he has is his own; or when he conceives himself to have what he really has not; or when he sets too great a value upon what he has, and challenges to himself more respect than is due to him

upon

that If a man supposes any advantage he has to be strictly his own, he is therein forgetful of God, from whom he received it, and to whom he owes every thing. This is properly pride towards God: for as to men, they consider this but little, as being little concerned in it. They allow a man to call what he has his own, as a man's estate is his own: by which, however, in strictness is only meant, that it is his own, in opposition to any claims from other men, not in opposition to God.

The second article I mentioned was, a man's conceiving himself to have what he really has not; as when he judges himself to be wiser, richer, greater, better, than he is. This is pride, and is so clear a case, that it needs no further explaining.

The third article I mentioned was, the setting too great a calue upon what he has, and upon himself for it, challenging to himself more respect than is due to him upon

that score.

This is pride, and very troublesome pride too, because now it is reduced

score.

to act, appears outwardly, and causes great disturbances ; as all disputable claims must of course do. There is one very common weakness, one species of pride, belonging to this head, which deserves to be here taken notice of; and that is, a man's valuing an advantage above many greater, only because it is his, to draw respect and honour into such a channel, where he is the surest to have a share: as if a rich man despises all who are not rich, though they may have what is more valuable ; or if a learned man despises all who are not learned, though perhaps wiser than himself; or if one, learned in one particular way, despises all who are inferior to him in that respect, though perhaps in other and greater respects they may be much his superiors : this is pride and vanity; and the like may be said of any other kind of men overvaluing their real advantages, whatever they be.

Now the advantages which men have are reducible all to three kinds; advantages of mind, or of body, or of outward circumstances. To the mind belong understanding and virtue, which if a man be proud of, it commonly goes under the name of conceitedness, or vanity. To the body belong strength and beauty, which if any one be proud of, I do not know whether it has any other name besides the general name of pride. To outward circumstances belong riches, honours, birth, quality, station, office, and the like. As to riches, the vulgar name for that sort of pride is pride of life: for the rest, haughtiness is the proper name to express it by, the name used in my text. There are some other names or sorts of pride, as it appears outwardly in conversation or in conduct. Assuming too much to one's self, either by words or by actions, is a species of pride, and is called arrogance or insolence. As also a stubborn refusing to pay respect where respect is due goes under the same names. Affecting to appear above what belongs to one's station, character, and circumstances, and therein vying with our superiors, is pride, but is mostly called ambition, or vanity.

From what hath been said, it may appear, that pride is not peculiar to persons of any rank, but is common to men of all ranks, orders, and degrees. There is as much pride shewn in denying respect where it is due, as in demanding it where it is not due: and there may be as much pride covered under a threadbare garment, as under the richest embroidery. The pride and stomach of the inferior sort discovers itself in stubbornness, captiousness, querulousness, rudeness towards their superiors, and

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