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likely to get good of any in the world. Experience shews the truth of that, Prov. xxvi. 12....Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of
To this some may object, that the Psalmist, when we must suppose that he was in a holy frame, speaks of his knowledge as eminently great, and far greater than that of other saints, Psal. cxix. 99, 100. “ I have more understanding than all my teachers : For thy testimonies are my meditation : I understand more than the ancients : Because I keep thy precepts."
To this I answer two things :
(1.) There is no restraint to be laid upon the Spirit of God, as to what he shall reveal to a prophet, for the benefit of his church, who is speaking or writing under immediate inspiration. The Spirit of God may reveal to such an one, and dictate to him, to declare to others secret things, that other, wise would be hard, yea impossible for him to find out. As he may reveal to him mysteries, that otherwise would be above the reach of his reason; or things in a distant placę, that he cannot see ; or future events, that it would be impossible for him to know and declare, if they were not extraordinarily revealed to him; so the Spirit of God might reveal to David this distinguishing benefit he had received, by conversing much with God's testimonies ; and use him as his instrument to record it for the benefit of others, to excite them to the like duty, and to use the same means to gain knowledge. Nothing can be gathered concerning the natur.
al tendency of the ordinary gracious influences of the Spirit - of God, from that, that David declares of his distinguishing
knowledge under the extraordinary influences of God's Spirit, immediately dictating to him the divine mind by inspiration, and using David as his instrument to write what he pleased for the benefit of his church; any more than we can reason: ably argue, that it is the natural' tendency of grace to incline men to curse others, and wish the most dreadful misery ta them that can be thought of, because David, under inspira
tion, often curses others, and prays that such misery may come upon them.
(2.) It is not certain that the knowledge David here speaks of, is spiritual knowledge, wherein holiness does fundamentally consist. But it may be that greater revelation which God made to him of the Messiah, and the things of his future kingdom, and the far more clear and extensive knowledge that he had of the mysteries and doctrines of the gospel, than others ; as a reward for his keeping God's testimonies. In this, it is apparent by the book of Psalms, that David far exceeded all that had gone before him.
Secondly, Another thing that is an infallible sign of spiritual pride, is persons being apt to think highly of their humility. False experiences are commonly attended with a counterfeit humility. And it is the very nature of a counterfeit humility, to be highly conceited of itself. False religious affections have generally that tendency, especially when raised to a great height, to make persons think that their humility is great, and accordingly to take much notice of their great attainments in this respect, and admire them. But eminently gracious affections (I scruple not to say it) are evermore of a contrary tendency, and have universally a contrary effect in those that have them. They indeed make them very sensible what reason there is that they should be deeply humbled, and cause them earnestly to thirst and long after it; but they make their present humility, or that which they have already attained to, to appear small; and their remaining pride great, and exceedingly abominable.
The reason why a proud person should be apt to think his humility great, and why a very humble person should think his humility small, may be easily seen, if it be considered, that it is natural for persons, in judging of the degree of their own humiliation, to take their measure from that which they esteem their proper height, or the dignity wherein they properly stand. That may be great humiliation in one, that is no humiliation at all in another ; because the degree of honorableness, or considerableness wherein each does properly stand, is
different. For some great man, to stoop
to loose the latchet of the shoes of another great man, his equal, or to wash his feet, would be taken notice of as an act of abasement in him ; and he, being sensible of his own dignity, would look upon it so himself. But if a poor 'slave is seen stooping to unloose the shoes of a great prince, nobody will take any notice of this, as any act of humiliation in him, or token of any great degree of humility : Nor would the slave himself, unless he be horribly proud and ridiculously conceited of himself : And if after he had done it, he should, in his talk and behavior, shew that he thought his abasement great in it, and had his mind much upon it, as an evidence of his being very humble ; would not every body cry out upon him, 6 Whom do you think yourself to be, that you should think this that you have done such a deep humiliation This would make it plain to a demonstration, that this slave was swollen with a high degree of pride and vanity of mind, as much as if he declared in plain terms, “ I think myself to be some great one.” And the matter is no less plain and certain, when worthless, vile, and loathsome worms of the dust, are apt to put such a construction on their acts of abasement before God; and to think it a token of great humility in them that they, under their affections, can find themselves so willing to acknowledge themselves to be so mean and unworthy, and to behave themselves as those that are so inferior. The very reason why such outward acts, and such inward exercises, look like great abasement in such an one, is because he has a high conceit of himself. Whereas if he thought of himself more justly, these things would appear nothing to him, and his humility in them worthy of no regard ; but would rather be astonished at his pride, that one so infinitely despicable and vile is brought no lower before God..... When he says in his heart, “ This is a great act of humiliation ; it is certainly a sign of great humility in me, that I should feel thus and do 50°;" his meaning is, “ This is great humility for me, for such a one as I, that am so considerable and worthy." He considers how low he is now brought, and compares this with the height of dignity on which he in his heart thinks he properly stands, and the distance appears very great, and he calls
it all mere humility, and as such admires it. Whereas, in him that is truly humble, and really sees his own vileness and loathsomeness before God, the distance appears the other way. When he is brought lowest of all, it does not appear to him, that he is brought below his proper station, but that he is not come to it ; he appears to himself yet vastly above it, he longs to get lower, that he may come to it, but appears at a great distance from it. And this distance he calls pride. And therefore his pride appears great to him, and not his humility. For although he is brought much lower than he used to be, yet it does not appear to him worthy of the name of humiliation, for him that is so infinitely mean and detestable, to come down to a place, which, though it be lower than what he used to assume, is yet vastly higher than what is proper for him. As men would hardly count it worthy of the name of humility, in a contemptible slave, that formerly affected to be a prince, to have his spirit so far brought down, as to take the place of a nobleman; when this is still so far above hiş proper station,
All men in the world, in judging of the degree of their own and others' humility, as appearing in any act of theirs, consider two things, viz. the real degree of dignity they stand in; and the degree of abasement, and the relation it bears to that real dignity. Thus the complying with the same low place, or low act, may be an evidence of great humility in one, that evidences but little or no humility in another. But truly humble Christians have so mean an opinion of their own real dignity, that all their selfabasement, when considered with relation to that, and compared to that, appears very small to them. It does not seem to them to be any great humility, or any abasement to be made much of, for such poor, vile, abject creatures as they, to lie at the foot of God.
The degree of humility is to be judged of by the degree of abasement, and the degree of the cause for abasement : But he that is truly and eminently humble, never thinks his hu. mility great, considering the cause. The cause why he should be abased appears so great, and the absement of the
frame of his heart so greatly short of it, that he take's much imore notice of his pride than his humility.
Every one that has been conversant with souls under convictions of sin, knows that those who are greatly convinced of sin, are not apt to think themselves greatly convinced. And the reason is this : Men judge of the degree of their own convictions of sin by two things jointly considered, viz. the degree of sense which they have of guilt and pollution, and the degree of cause they have for such a sense, in the degree of their real sinfulness. It is really no argument of any great conviction of sin, for some men to think themselves to be very sinful, beyond most others in the world ; because they are so indeed, very plainly and notoriously. And therefore a far less conviction of sin may incline such an one to think so than another ; he must be very blind indeed not to Þe sensible of it. But he that is truly under great convictions of sin, naturally thinks this to be bis case. It appear's to him, that the cause he has to be sensible of guilt and pola lution, is greater than others have ; and therefore he ascribes his sensibleness of this to the greatness of his sin, and not tô the greatness of his sensibility. It is natural for one under great convictions, to think himself one of the atest of sina ners in reality, and also that it is só very plainly and evidento ly ; for the greater his convictions are, the more plain and evident it seems to be to him. And therefore it necessarily seems to him so plain and so easy to him to see it, that it may De seen without much conviction. That man is under gạeať convictions, whose conviction is great in proportion to his sin. But no man that is truly under great convictions, thinks his conviction great in proportion to his sin. For if he does, it is a certain sign that he inwardly thinks his sins small. And if 'that be the case, that is a certain evidence that his conviction is small. And this, by the way, is the main reason that per: sons, 'when under a work of humiliation, are not sensible of it in the time of it.
And as it is with conviction of sin, just so it is, by parity of Yeason, with respect to persons' conviction or sensibleness of their own meaniness and vileness, their own blindness, their