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highly praises Paul's epistles, though he had been sharply reproved in one of them. But proud souls will be still casting disgrace and contempt upon those excellencies in. others, that they want in themselves.
A proud cardinal, in Luther's time, said, 'Indeed a reformation is needful and to be desired, but that Luther, a rascally friar, should be the man who should do it, is intolerable.' Pride is like certain flies, called Cantharides, who light especially upon the fairest wheat, and the most blown roses.
Though Licinius, who was joined with Galerius in the empire, was so ignorant that he could not write his own, name, yet, as Eusebius reports, he called the liberal arts a public poison.
This age is full of monsters that envy every light that outshines their own, and that throw dirt upon the graces and excellencies of others, that themselves may only shine. Pride is notable both at subtraction and at multiplication. A proud heart always prizes himself above the market; he reckons his own pence for pounds, and others' pounds for pence; he looks upon his own counters as gold, and upon others' gold as counters. All pearls are counterfeit, but what he wears,
15. The fifteenth property of a humble soul is—He will rather bear wrongs than revenge wrongs offered. The humble soul knows that vengeance is the Lord's, and that' he will repay. The humble soul loves not to take the sword in his own hand; he knows the day is coming, wherein the Lord will give his enemies two blows for one, and here he rests. A humble soul, when wrongs are offered, is like a man with a sword in one hand, and a salve in the other; he could wound, but will heal. False witnesses did rise up, they laid to my charge things that I knew not. They rewarded me evil for good, to the spoiling of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my cloathing was sackcloth, I humbled my soul with fasting, and my prayer returned into my own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend, or brother. I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother, Psal. xxxv. 11 —14. The scripture abounds with instances of this nature.
Dionysius, having not very well used Plato at the court,
when he was gone, fearing lest he should write against him, sent after him to bid him not to write against him, 'Tell Dionysius,' says Plato, ' that I have not so much leisure as to think of him.' So humble, wronged souls are not at leisure to think of the wrongs and injuries that others do them.
Mr. Fox, who wrote the book of martyrs, would be sure to do him a kindness, that had done him an injury; so that it used to be a proverb, " If a man would have Fox do him a kindness, let him do him an injury." A humble soul is often looking over the wrongs and injuries that he has done to God, and the sweet and tender carriage of God towards him, notwithstanding those wrongs and injuries; and this wins him, and works him to be more willing and ready to bear wrongs and forgive wrongs, than to revenge any offered wrongs.
16. The sixteenth property of a humble soul is this: a humble soul, though he be of never so rare abilities, yet will not disdain to be taught what he knows not, by the meanest person. A child shall lead the humble soul in the way that is good. He cares not how mean and contemptible the person is, if a guide or an instructor to him.
Apollos, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scripture, a master in Israel, yet sits by an Aquila, a tent-maker, and Priscilla his wife, to be instructed by them, Acts xviii. 24, 26. Sometimes the poorest and meanest Christian, may, for counsel and comfort, be a God to another; as Moses was to Aaron. As a humble soul knows that the stars have their situation in heaven, though sometimes he sees them by their reflection in a puddle, in the bottom of a well, or in a ditch; so he knows that godly souls, though never so poor, low, and contemptible, as to the things of this world, are fixed in heaven, in the region above; and therefore their poverty and meanness is no bar to hinder him from learning of them.
Though John was poor in the world, yet many humble souls did not disdain, but rejoice in his ministry. Christ lived poor, and died poor. As he was born in another man's house, so he was buried in another man's tomb. Austin observes, when Christ died, he made no will, he had no crown lands, only his coat was left, and that the soldiers parted among them; and yet those that were meek and lowly in heart counted it their heaven, their happiness, to be taught and instructed by him.
17. The seventeenth property of a humble soul is this— A humble soul will bless God, and be thankful to God, as well under misery, as under mercy: as well when God frowns, as when he smiles; as well when God takes, as when he gives; as well under crosses and losses, as under blessings and mercies. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord, Job i. 21. He doth not cry out upon the Sabeans and the Chaldeans, but he looks through all secondary causes, and sees the hand of God; and then he lays his hand upon his own heart, and sweetly sings out, The Lord gives, and the Lord takes; blessed be the name of the Lord. A humble soul in every condition, blesses God, as the apostle commands in 1 Thess. v. 18; In every thing give thanks ; so 1 Cor. iv. 12. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer. The language of a humble soul is, ' If it be thy will that I should be in darkness, I will bless thee; and if it be thy will I should be again in light, I will bless thee; if thou wilt comfort me, I will bless thee; and if thou wilt afflict me, I will bless thee; if thou wilt make me poor, I will bless thee; if thou wilt make me rich, I will bless thee; if thou wilt give me the least mercy, I will bless thee; if thou wilt give me no mercy, I will bless thee.' A humble soul is quick sighted; he sees the rod in a father's hand; he sees honey upon the top of every twig; and so can bless God; he sees sugar at the bottom of the bitterest cnp that God doth put into his hands; he knows that God's house . of correction is a school of instruction; and so he can sit down and bless, when the rod is upon hisback. Ahumble soul knows, that the design of God in all is his instruction, his reformation, and his salvation.
It was a sweet saying of holy Bradford, 'If the Queen will give mr my life, I will thank her; if she will banish me, I will thank her; if she will burn me, I will thank her; if she will condemn me to perpetual imprisonment, I will thank her.' This is the temper of a humble heart. A humble soul knows, that to bless God in prosperity is the way to increase it; and to bless God in adversity is the way to remove it. A humble soul knows, that if he blesses God under mercies, he hath paid his debt; but if he blesses God under crosses, he hath made God a debtor. But O the pride of men's hearts, when the rod is upon their backs ! You have many professors that are seemingly humble while the sun shines, while God gives and smiles; but when his smiles are turned into frowns, when he strikes and lays on, O the murmurings, the disputings, the frettings, and wranglings of proud souls! They always kick when God states.
18. The last property of a humble soul is this—A humble soul will wisely and patiently bear reproof. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear, Prov. xxv. 12. A seasonable reproof falling upon a humble soul hath a redoubled grace with it. It is an ear-ring of gold, and as an ornament of fine gold, or as a diamond in a diadem.
A humble David can say, Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head, Psalm cxli. 5. David compares the faithful reproof of the righteous to the excellent oil that they used about their heads. Some translate it, let it never cease from my head; that is, let me never want it; and so the original will bear; I would never want reproofs, whatsoever I want. But yet my prayer shall be in their calamities. 'I will requite their reproofs with my best prayers in the day of their calamity,' says David. Whereas a proud heart will neither pray for such nor with such as reprove them, but in their calamities will most insult over them. Some translate it more emphatically, The more they do, the more I shall think myself bound unto them. And this was Gersom's disposition, of whom it is recorded, that he rejoiced in nothing more, than to be freely and friendly reproved by any. Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee; give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser, Prov. ix. 8, 9. Reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge, Prov. xix. 25. You know how sweetly David carries it towards Abigail, 1 Sam. xxv. 32, 33. She wisely meets him, and puts him in mind of what he was going about, and he begins blessing her presently; Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me, and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood. 'I was resolved in my passion and in the heat of my spirit, that I would not leave a man alive, but blessed be God, and blessed be thy counsel.' A humble soul can sit down and bless God under reproofs. A humble soul is like the Scythian king, that went naked in the snow; and when Alexander wondered how he could endure it, he answered, 'I am not ashamed for I am all forehead.' A-humble soul is all forehead, able to bear reproofs with much wisdom and patience. O but a proud heart cannot bear reproofs; he scorns the reprover and his reproofs too. A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him, neither will he go unto the wise, Prov. xv. 12. They hate him that reproveth in the gate; as Ahab did good Micaiah, and Herod did John the Baptist, and the pharisees our Saviour, Luke xvi. 13. Christ having to deal with the covetous scribes and pharisees, lays the law home, and tells them plainly, that they could not serve God and Mammon. Here Christ strikes at their right eye; but how do they bear this? Mark in the 14th verse. The pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things, and they derided him. The pharisees did not simply laugh at Christ, but gave also external signs of scorn in their countenance and gestures. They blew their nose at him, for that is the meaning of the original word. By their gestures they demonstrated their horrid deriding of him. They jeered, when they should have feared and trembled at the wrath to come. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little, Isa. xxviii. 10. One observes, that this was a scoff put upon the prophet; and is as if they should say, 'Here is nothing but precept upon precept, line upon line.' And indeed the very sound of the words in the original, carries a taunt, as scornful people, by the tone of their voice and ryming words, scorn at such as they despise. Pride, and passion, and other vices in these days go armed. Touch them never so gently, yet, like the nettle, they will sting you; and if you deal with them roundly, roughly, cuttingly, as the apostle speaks, they