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The Notion of Pride stated, and the

Pretensions to it examined.

ROMANS XII. 3:
Not to think of himself more highly than be

ought to thing, but to think soberly.

I

T is a common Observation, that how-Serm. I. ever forward Men may be to repine at

the unequal Portion which God has allotted them of worldly Blessings ; yet they are generally well satisfied with their Share of inward Endowments : it being as hard to meet with a Person, who humbly thinks he has too little Sense and Merit, as it is to find one, who fanfies he has too great Riches and Honours.

What makes men uneasy in their Circumstances, is that they are continually setting to View the bright side of themselves, and the dark side of their Condition in Life ; VOL. II. B

the

1

Serm. I. the first to find out their own Grievances,

and the last to discern their own Faults and
Follies. Whereas if they took a contrary
Method, they would perceive, that God
had been kinder to the Worst of Men, than
the
very

Best of Men could deserve.
Self-Love is a Passion interwoven in our
Frame and Constitution; and if it be not
kept under due Regulations, Self-Conceit
will be the necessary Effect of it. For since
we are apt to believe, what we wish to be
true ; Is it a Wonder, if we over-rate those
Perfections, which we have, and imagine
ourselves poffest of those, which we have
no Title to?

In our Youth, Pleasure has often the
Ascendant; in the Middle of our Age Am-
bition ; and Avarice brings up the Rear at
the Close of Life. But this Vice, of which
I am speaking, attends too many of us from
the Cradle to the Grave: we being equally
vain, whether we pursue Pleasure, Honour,
or Wealth: The Master Passion of the
Soul is the same, though its Servants are
often changed according to the different

Stages of Life.

For this Reason the Apostle ushers in the Words of my Text with a peculiar Em

phasis

phasis and Force. For I say, according to Serm. I. the Grace given unto me, to every one among you, not to think of himself more highly than be ought to think, but to think soberly.

In which Words St. Paul adviseth us, that and instead of viewing ourselves in that en

gaging Light, which the servile Flattery of others, or our own assuming Vanity (our greatest Flatterer of all) might place us in, we should endeavour to form a true Estimate of our Worth, or in the Words of the Text, think soberly.

Among the many Imputations, which we are willing to fasten upon those whom we have an Aversion to, that of Pride is, I think, one of the most common. Now, if we would examinė the innermost Receffes of the Mind, I doubt we should often find, that our own Pride is the Cause, why we tax others with it. Men elate with the Thoughts of their own Sufficiency are ever imagining, that others are wanting in their Regard to them, and therefore very apt to conclude, that Pride must be the Cause, why they with-hold from them that Respect, which they have an unquestioned Right to in their own opinion. Of this we have a pregnant Instance in Scripture : You B 2

take

SERM. I.take too much upon you, said Corah and his

Accomplices, when they themselves were taking too much upon them, and invading the Province of Aaron. Hence it is, that their Character seldom escapes the Brand of Vanity, who have the Fortune to be possest of those Accomplishments, which would make their Detractors vain.

But before we asperse others with this Censure, let us consider what Pride is, and correct our Miftakes about the Nature of it.

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In the following Discourse I shall therefore I/ state the Notion of Pride.

IIdly, Consider the Unreasonableness of this Vice.

If then, I am to state the Notion of Pride.

Our Happiness, as well as Knowledge, arises from Sensation and Reflection; and may be reduced to these two Articles, viz. that of pleasing Sensations, and that of agreeable Thoughts. Now as to a Desire of indulging the former without Check or Control, are owing Lust, Drunkenness and Intemperance ;

so from a Desire of indulging the latter beyond Measure, Pride takes it's Original. And it is very remark4.

able,

;

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