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the dispensation of the Divine providence) from those men, that, either by their promises, faith, or voluntary assistance, have invested thee with this power. This power is nothing inherent in thee, but it depends upon the fidelity or assistance of others, which if they, either by perfidiousness to thee, or resistance against thee, or withdrawing their assistance to thee, shall call again home to themselves, thou art like Samson, having lost his locks (Judges xvi. 17), Thy strength will go from thee, and thou wilt become weak, and be like another man. And how have the histories of all ages and our own experience shewn us, by very frequent examples, men unexpectedly, and upon many moments and occurrences seemingly most small and inconsiderable, been tumbled in a moment from the most eminent and high degree of power, into a most despised and despicable condition ? Power hath very oftentimes, like Jonas's gourd, heen externally fair and Nourishing, when at the same time there lies a worm at the root of it, unseen, but in a moment gnaws asunder the roots and fibres of it, and it withers; and, for the most part, the more extensive and iminense human power grows, the sooner it falls to pieces, not only by the Divine providence checking and dejecting it, but by a kind of natural result from its own exorbitance and excess; for the greater it is, the more difficult it is to manage; it grows top heavy, and the basis grows too narrow and weak for its own burden. Besides, it is the common
mark of envy and discontent, which watcheth sedulously all occasions to unhorse it, and oftentimes prevails. '. When power proves too grievous and over burdensome, it loseth the end for which it is conferred, and makes people desperate and impatient, Entia nolunt male gubernari. If it be managed with prudence and moderation, it is the greatest benefit to human society; but it is the burden of him that hath it: if it be managed tyrannically and exorbitantly, it fills the master full of fears, the people full of rage, and seldom proves long lived. And what reason hast thou to be proud of what is most certainly thy burden, or thy danger, or both ? 4. Again, thou hast strength, or beauty, or agility of body. Indeed, this thou hast more reason to "call thy own, than any of the former : but yet
thou hast no cause to pride thyself in it; thou canst not hold it long at best, for age will decay that'strength, and wither that beauty, and death will certainly put a period to it; but yet probably this strength or beauty is not so long-lived as thyself, no, nor as thy youth; a disease, it may be, is .this very moment growing upon thee, that will suddenly pull down thy strength and rase thy beauty, and turn them both into rottenness and loathsomeDess.. Nay, let any observe it that will, that strength and that beauty that raiseth pride in the heart, is of all other shortest-lived, even upon the account of that very pride: for the 'ostentation and vain glory of strength, puts it forth into desperate and dangerous undertakings to the ruin of the owner; and pride of beauty renders the owner thereof fond of the praise of it, and to expose it to the view of others, whereby it becomes a temptation to lust and intemperance, both to the owner of it and others, and in a little while becomes at once its own ruin and shame.
But it may be thou hast wit and judgment, a quick and ready understanding, and hast improved them by great study and observation, in great and profound learning. This, I confess, is much more thy own than any of the former endowments; but most certainly, if thou art proud of any of these, thou art not yet arrived to the highest improvement of understanding, namely, wisdom. Folly and madness may be consistent with a witty, nay a learned man, but not with a truly wise man. And this thy pride of these endowments or acquests still pronounceth and proclaimeth thee a fool, for all thy wit and all thy learning.
Consider with thyself, ist, That thy wit and learning are but pitiful narrow things, in respect of the amplitude of the things that are to be known. Maxima pars eorum quæ scimus, est minima pars eorum quæ nescimus. Take the most learned observant philosopher that ever was in the world, he never yet was fully acquainted with the nature of those things that are obvious to ordinary observation and near to bim; never was the man yet in the world that could give an accurate account of the nature of a fly or a worm in its full comprehension, no not of a spire of grass; much less of himself and his noble faculties; much less yet of those glorious bodies that every day and night object themselves to our view. What a deal of uncertainty, inevidence, and contradiction, do we find in the determination of the choicest wits and men of greatest learning, even in things that are obvious and objected in their outside to all their senses ? So that the greatest knowledge that men attain to in the things of nature, is little else but a specious piece of ignorance dressed up with fine words, formal methods, precarious suppositions, and competent confidence.
Consider, 2d, How brittle and unstable a thing thy wits, thy parts, thy learning is. Though old age may retain some broken moments of the wit and learning thou once hadst; yet the floridness and vigour of it must then decay and gradually wither, till very old age make thee a child again, if thou live to it. But besides that, a fever, or a palsy, or an apoplexy, may greatly impair, if not wholly deface and obliterate thy learning, deprive thee of thy memory, thy wit, and understanding. Never be proud of such a privilege or endowment, which is under the mercy of a disease, nay of a distemper in thy blood, an adust humour, an hypocondriacal vapour, a casual fume of a mineral, or a fall, whether thou shalt hold it or lose it.
But yet farther mark it, wbile thou wilt (and it may be thou wilt sooner perceive it in another than in thyself) wit and learning in any man,
never in any case receives more foils, more disadvantage, more blemishes, more impair, than by pride. He that is proud of his own knowledge, iş commonly at his non ultra, and rarely acquires more; scorns instruction, and stops the farther advance of his faculties, knowledge, or learning, and undervalues, and therefore neglects, what he might learn from others. Again, pride casts an unseemliness, undecency, and many times even a ridiculousness upon the greatest parts and learning. It is likewise the dead fly, in the apothecary's confection, that makes the whole unsavory. How common and rife is this unhappy censure that at. tends the commendation of such a man's wit and learning : " Indeed he is a pretty man, a good “ scholar, of fine parts, good understanding; but " he knows it too well.” His pride, self-conceitedness, ostentation, vain glory, spoils it all, and renders the man under the just repute of, a fool, and ridiculous, notwithstanding all his clerkship and learning. But yet farther; pride, by a kind of physical and natural consequence, very oftentimes robs men even of that very wit and learning, wherein they pride themselves, by carrying up into the brain, those exalted hot choleric humours and fumes that break the staple and right temper and texture of the brain. More learned men go mad and brain-sick with the pride of that learning they think they have attained, than in the pursuit and acquest of jit. Therefore, beware of pride, of thy wit, learning, or knowledge, if thou intend to