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Parish-Church of St. James, Westminster,
November 10, 1742:
January 9; 1744-5.
Pet. v. 6. .. Humble yourselves therefore under the
mighty Hand of God, that he may exalt you in due Time.
T TUMILITY of Heart and Behaviour M is a Duty, so deeply founded in the
Nature of Man, that though we knew of no Power above us, we ought yet to think modestly of ourselves, from a Consciousness of our Infirmities; and pay a mutual Deference one to another, in proportion to the different Pre-eminences, be they ever so small, by which we are severally distinguished. But the least Apprehension of a perfect Being superintending us, must surely magnify beyond Expression the Sense, how very imperfect we are : and convince us, that the utmost Reverence, of which we are capable, towards such a one, if such a one there be, will fall vastly short of what we owe. Now the Existence of a
D . powerful powerful and wise, a just and good, Ruler of all, is at first Sight a possible Thing. And were we sure of no more, the Notion is so , respectable in itself, so beneficial to human Society, and so peculiarly comfortable to every honest Mind, that passing it over with a scornful Neglect, instead of attending to it seriously, would be a Haughtiness of Spirit, blameworthy and shocking to a great Degree. But the Reality of this Notion is undeniably proved, by the plainest Observations on every Part of the Universe, and the strictest Inquiries into its general Constitution : by the natural Prepoffeffions of common Men, the acutest Reasonings of speculative Men, and the most universal Consent, that ever any invisible Truth obtained, of all Men. Yet farther, to leave no Plea for Ignorance of it, or of its Consequences, the Creator hath made himself known to his Creatures by express Revelation : and declared, what he is, what he expects from them, what he hath decreed concerning them. How monstrous a Disposition of Soul must it be then, that can pride itself in standing out against such Evidence of such a Doctrine : can take upon it to censure the Works of the Almighty, without understanding a single Part of them tho
foughly; cán triumph in the Thought of an ungoverned and fatherless World, of Wicked hess unpunished, and Virtue unrewarded; and hold thofe in utter. Contempt, who entertain better Hopes!
Our Nation affords, I fear, more than a few Persons, guilty even of such Pride against God; as this. But it affords Multitudes of a Sort, if poffible; yet more unaccountable ; who believe in him, and flight him. Acknowledging a Sovereign Lord of the World, without standing in Awe of him, is doubtless á most astonishing Inconsisteney : and yet I conceive it will ap+ pear, oni Inquiry, the main Source of those great and many Sins; for which we are met here to express our Concern. Now if this be our Cafe, a little Reflexion will shew it to be à very dangerous one: and the Apostle hath pointed out the only Cure, that since, as the preceding Verse teaches, God reßfteth the Proud, and giveth Grace to the Humble, we should humble curselves unfeignedly under his mighty Hand, which hath been, and is, in several respects, heavy on us ; that so, instead of depresling us lower still, he may exalt us again in due Time.