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State or Body, and the whole Creation;
appearing to be of a diftinct Nature) is plainly founded on the fame Ground, and arifeth from the fame corrupt Root and Original, viz. degenerate Nature being chiefly visible in them; who being Strangers to the true internal Ground of Religion, which is the internal Conformity of our Will and Understanding to the Light. and Will of God, place it all in the Outfide and Appearance, making it to confift of a few mechanical Actions, graced with an Air of Severity and Seriousness. Thefe, like Day-flowers, make the greatest Shew, and are under the greateft Temptations to Pride and Self-conceit. These are they whom the Apostle mentions, 2 Tim. 3. 5. Having a Form of Godliness, but denying the Power of it. That Efteem therefore, or Love, which each of those may have for his imaginary Excellencies, which may any way leffen or deftroy his Humility and Love towards God, is this Pride of Life. But alas! Why is Earth and Ashes Proud? For fuch a one felleth his Soul to Sale; because while he liveth, he cafteth away his Bowels. The Phifician cutteth off a long Disease and he that is to Day a King, to Morrow fhall die: For when a Man is dead, he fhall inherit creeping Things, Beafts and Worms. The beginning of Pride is, when one departeth from God, and his Heart is turned away from his Maker. For Pride is the beginning of Sin; and he that hath it fhall pour out Abomination: And therefore the Lord brought upon them ftrange Calamities, and overthrew them utterly. The Lord
Lord hath caft down the Thrones of proud Princes, and fet up the meek in their stead. The Lord bath plucked up the Roots of proud Nations, and planted the lowly in their place. So that Pride was not made for Men, Eccluf. 10. 9,----19.
$3. THAT this Branch of Sin will be That this eminently prevailing in the latter Days, Sin will be will appear, Firft, from what has been ob- very rife in ferved in the former Part, p. 1. concerning Days. the Univerfal Increase of the whole Body of Sin. And if the whole Body be arrived at its compleat Stature, this (which is fo confiderable a part of it) must be likewife. And as the former fort were fo deeply infected in the Malice and Cruelty of the dark World, as to delight themselves in Blood and Rapine: So thofe who are in the Pride of Life, fhall forget the God that made them, and idolize their own fancied Perfections, inverting that grand Precept of the everlafting Gofpel; †Thou shalt love + Matth. the Lord thy God, with all thy Heart, and with 22. 37. all thy Soul, &c. and transferring it to themfelves; being themfelves the Center of their own Happiness, and setting up their own impotent and corrupt Nature in the place and ftead of God.
THIS is alfo particularly and exprefly foretold by St. Paul; In the laft Days, perilous Times fhall come; for Men fhall be lovers of their own felves, covetous, boasters, proud*, blasphe- * *AndComers, difobedient to Parents; unthankful, unboly, ves. without natural Affection, heady, high-minded; having a Form of Godliness, but denying the Power thereof, 2 Tim. 3. 1, 2, 3, 4. Which Places, compar'd with 2 Pet. 3. 3. and Jude 18. do exprefs
exprefs a fort of Men, who in Oppofition to the Simplicity and Obedience of the Crofs (the peculiar Badge and Characteri ftick of the real Chriftian) do acknowledge no other Law or Obligation than what their brutish Appetite, or (at most) their own weak and benighted Reason fhall fuggeft or approve: And who confequently fhall think it their greatest Concern, and spend the greatest part of their Time to accomplish themselves according to their own Ideas of Perfection; and (as they call it) make a Figure in the World. They have no Notion of thofe Chriftian Duties, of Meekness, Poverty of Spirit, Self-denial, and Mortification, fo earneftly recommended by our Bleffed Lord. The Beauty of Holiness doth not affect them half fo much, as that of their own Persons; and the Praise of Men, in their Opinion, is every way preferable to the Praife of God: And the Wisdom of God himself, if it feems to interfere with, or contradict their Oracles of Reason, muft be decried as Unreasonable, foolish and contradictory. Now if these are the Perfons comprehended under this grand Division of Sin, The Pride of Life, as it feems plain to me they are, then we need not multiply Arguments to prove the future Increafe of thefe Men: Since we our felves (upon whom the Ends of the World are furely come) do every Day fee fuch prodigious Excefs of this kind, as ought to excite our moft generous Compaffion for them, and moft diligent Watchfulness for our felves, that we fall
not under the fame Condemnation. In the Proof of which we need not be very par ticular, but only appeal to the daily Obfervation of every impartial Spectator. Do not we fee how the Men of Power and Fortune, which God that gave them will exact a feyere Account of, do very often, inftead of applying them to the End for which they were defign'd, only make ufe of them to aggrandize themselves, and fupport them in their extravagant and luxurious Pleasures? Do we not fee how the modern Pretenders to Wit and Senfe, fet it up in Oppofition to what is Good and Sacred, making it the grand Concern of their Lives, to deferve that Character? To go yet further; Do we not fee the Great Patrons of rational and philofophical Truth, fome of them exprefly denying the very Being and Exiftence of a God; others granting this, yet denying the Neceffity or Poffibility of having any Revelation or Difcovery made of Himfelf or his Will? And all for no other reafon, but because they cannot comprehend the Manner or Reasons of God's acting with Men; nor exactly reconcile every Difficulty which their darken'd Underftanding may meet with, and very often themfelves make: Whilft a third fort, admitting what the others deny, yet are fo in love with their own darling Opinions and Prejudices, as to make them the Standards of Divine Truth; to which the very Scriptures themselves muft be reduced, and made to speak their Language, tho' never fo contrary, before E