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Building, without which we cannot discharge our
Q. Wherein consists the Humility of a Christian?
A. In not thinking better of himself thian he deserves, in having a just Sense of all his Weaknesses and Defects, which will create a low and mean Opinion of himself; and in condescending to the meanest Offices for the Good of his Fellow-Chris, tians. For thus our Saviour made himself to us a Pattern of this Virtue, by taking upon him our frail Nature, and by suffering the greatest Affronts and Indignities, and Pains of this Life, in order to shew us the Way to Heaven, and thereby to open to us the Gates of everlasting Life. It restrains the immoderate Desire of Honour, by teaching us not to exalt ourselves, nor to do any Thing through Strife or Vain-Glory; it makes us rejoice in the Excellencies of our Brethren, and sincerely congratulate those Abilities that entitle them to a greater Share of Value and Esteem than we can pretend to. The difficulty of this Virtue proceeds from that Self-Love which is planted in our Natures, and, when indulged, will be too apt to deceive us in the Judgment we form concerning ourselves. DIQ. How is. Humility the Foundation of other Christian Virtues ? b.. * A. It makes us ready to believe what God reveals, and to pay our due Obedience to him from the Sense of our own Meanness, and his Excellency: And by removing the great Obstacle of our Faith; which is a Vanity to distinguish ourselves from the unthinking Crowd. How can we believe when we job. v. 44 receite Honour of one another, and seek not the Honour that cometh from God only? It makes us put our Hope and Confidence in God, because, being weak and miserable of ourselves, without him we can do Nothing. It increases our Love to God, by making us sensible how unworthy we are of the least of those many Favours we receive from him. It teaches us to rejoice in the Prosperity of our
Neighbour, by infusing the most favourable Opinion of his Worth. It disposes us to relieve those Wants, and compassionate those Amictions, which we ourselves have deserved. It inakes us patient under all the Troubles and Calamities of Life, because we have provoked God by our Sins. Our Prayers and our Fasts will find no Acceptance, except they proceed from an humble Mind, and our best Works will stand us in little Stead, if they are stained with Pride and Vain-Glory.
Q. Wherein consists the Exercise of Humility?
A. In avoiding to publish our own Praises, or to beg the Praises of others, by giving them a Handle to commend us. In not placing too much Pleasure and Satisfaction in hearing the good Things that are said of us, because they are often rather the Ef. fect of Civility and Charity than what we deserve. In doing Nothing on purpose to draw the Eyes and good Opinion of Men, but purely to please God. In bearing the Reproaches, the Injuries, and the Affronts of bad Men with Patience and Meekness; and the Reproofs of our Friends with Thankfulness. In not contemning others, though inferior to us in some Advantages of Body or Mind, but being ready to give them that Honour and Praise they justly deserve. In pitying and compassionating the Sips and Follies of our Fellow-Christians, it being the Effect of God's Grace that we are not overcome by the same Temptations. In carrying ourselves with great Respect to our Superiors, with Courtesy and Affability to our Inferiors, and submitting to the lowest Offices for the Service of our Neighbour. In receiving from the Hands of God all Afflictions and Trials with entire Resignation and Submission, as Offenders under the Hand of Justice.
Q. Wherein appears the Folly of Pride?
A. In that we value ourselves very frequently upon Things that add no true Worth to us, that neither make us better nor wiser; that are in their
own Nature perishable, and of which we are not Proprietors but Stewards. Or if the Things be valuable in themselves, they are God's immediate Work in us; and to be proud of them is the surest Way to lose them. Thus to overlook our Defects, binders us from making any farther Improvement; and the being possessed with an Opinion we deserve more than we have, eats out all the Pleasure of our present Enjoyments. Besides, the proud Man misses the very End he aimed at; for, instead of Honour and Applause, he meets with Contempt and Ignominy.
Q. What are the best Helps to attain Humility?
A. To remember that all the Advantages we enjoy either of Body or Mind, above others, are not the Effect of our Merit, but of God's Bounty. That those whom we are apt to contemn are valuable in the Sight of God, the only Fountain of true Honour. That by having consented to Sin, we have committed the most shameful Action imaginable, the most contrary to Justice and right Reason, and to all Sort of Decency; and that as long as we are clothed with Flesh and Blood, we are still liable to the same Offences against the Majesty of Heaven and Earth. To suppress all proud and vain Thoughts when they first arise in our Minds, not to suffer them to sport in the Scene of our Imagination. To keep a constant Watch over our Words and Actions, that we may check the first Tendencies to Pride.
1. ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, I humbly be- For Acseech thy Majesty, that, as thy only-begotten Son with God. was this Day presented in the Temple in Substance of our Flesh, so I may be presented unto thee with a pure and clean Heart, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen,
124. THE PURIFICATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN.
II. Thanks- ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, heavenly giving for t he
109. Father, I give thee humble Thanks, that thou hast ledge of vouchsafed to call me to the Knowledge of thy the Truth.
Grace and Faith in thee. Increase this Knowledge, and confirm this Faith in me evermore. Grant me thy holy Spirit, that I may devote myself entirely to thy Service; that I may be cleansed from all my Sins, and serve thee with a quiet Mind, and in thy due Time may be made Partaker of everlasting Salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, World without End. Amen.
III. For a right GRANT, O Lord, that I may constantly attend Use of the Means of the public Institutions of thy holy Religion, that I Grace.
may never neglect those Means which thou hast established for the purifying my corrupt Nature, and for the reforming whatever is amiss in the Frame and Temper of my Mind: That I may approach thy Presence with Humility and Devotion, hear thy Word with Reverence and Attention, receive thy holy Sacrament with Faith, Thanksgiving, and Charity; that by these Ordinances of thy Appointment, my Soul may be nourished with all Goodness, and in such a Measure prepared for that Salvation, which the blessed Jesus hath purchased, that I may depart in Peace, and in the Faith and Fear of God's Elect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
. IV.. . . Bp. Taylor. O HOLY and Eternal Jesus, who didst by thy lity.
* Precepts, and by thy own Example, engrave Humi
lity into the Spirits of thy Disciples, and into the Laws of Christianity; make me to imitate thy gracious Condescensions. Take from me all Vanity and fantastic Complacency in my own Person and
Actions; and when there arises a Reputation consequent to the Performance of any part of my Duty, make me to reflect the Glory upon thee, suffering Nothing to adhere to my own Spirit, but Shame at my own Imperfections, and Thankfulness to thee for all thy Assistances. Let me never seek the Praise of Men, from unhandsome Actions ; from Flatteries and unworthy Discourses; nor entertain the Praise with Delight, though it proceed from better Principles; but fear and tremble lest I deserve Punishment,, or lose a Reward which thou hast deposited for them that seek thy Glory, and despise their own, that they may imitate the Example of their Lord. Thou, O Lord, didst triumph over Sin and Death; subdue also my proud Understanding, and my prouder Affections; and bring me under thy Yoke, that I may do thy Work, and obey my Superiors, and be a Servant of all my Brethren in their Necessities, and esteem myself inferior to all Men, by a deep Sense of my own Unworthiness, and in all Things may obey thy Laws, and conform to thy Example, and enter into thy Inheritance, O holy and eternal Jesus. Amen.
CHA P. XIII.
Day? "A. The Commemoration of the Apostle St. Matthias..
Q. What is meant by an Apostlei,
A. In general it signifies no more than a Messenger, a Person sent upon some special Errand, for the Discharge of some peculiar Affair in his Name that sent him: But was fixed by our Saviour to a particular Use, applying it to those select Persons whom he made Choice of, to be sent up and down