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Humility is the safest ground of docility, and docility the surest promise of docibility. Where there is no working of self-love in the heart that secures a leaning beforehand; where the great magnet of the planet is not overwhelmed or obscured by partial masses of iron in close neighbourhood to the compass of the judgment, though hidden or unnoticed; there will this great desideratum be found of a child-like humility. Do I then say, that I am to be influenced by no interest? Far from it! There is an interest of truth; or how could there be a love of truth? And that a love of truth for its own sake, and merely as truth, is possible, my soul bears

** Virium et proprietatum, qua non nisi de substantibus predicari possunt, formis superstantibus attributio, est Superstitio. 142 witness to itself in its inmost recesses. But there are other interests--those of goodness, of beauty, of utility. It would be a sorry proof of the humility I am extolling, were I to ask for angel's wings to overfly my own human nature. I exclude none of these. It is enough if the lene clinamen, the gentle bias, be given by no interest that concerns myself other than as I am a man, and included in the great family of mankind; but which does therefore especially concern me, because being a common interest of all men it must needs concern the very essentials of my being, and because these essentials, as existing in me, are especially entrusted to my particular charge.

Widely different from this social and truth-attracted bias, different both in its nature and its effects, is the interest connected with the desire of distinguishing yourself from other men, in order to be distinguished by them. Hoc revera est inter te et veritatem. This interest does indeed stand between thee and truth. I might add between thee and thy own soul. It is scarcely more at variance with the love of truth than it is unfriendly to the attainment that deserves that name. By your own act you have appointed the many as your judges and appraisers: for the anxiety to be admired is a loveless passion, ever strongest with regard to those by whom we are least known and least cared for, loud on the hustings, gay in the ball-room, mute and sullen at the family fireside. What you have acquired by patient thought and cautious discrimination, demands a portion of the same effort in those who are to receive it from you. But applause and preference are things of barter; and if you trade in them, experience will soon teach you that there are easier and less unsuitable ways to win golden judgments than by at once taxing the 143 patience and humiliating the self-opinion of your judges. To obtain your end, your words must be as indefinite as their thoughts: and how vague and genera these are even on objects of sense, the few who at a mature age have seriously set about the discipline of their faculties; and have honestly taken stock, best know by recollection of their own state. To be admired you must make your auditors believe at least that they understand what you say; which be assured, they never will, under such circumstances, if it be worth understanding, or if you understand your own soul. But while your prevailing motive is to be compared and appreciated, is it credible, is it possible, that you should in earnest seek for a knowledge which is and must remain a hidden light, a secret treasure? Have you children, or have you lived among children, and do you not know, that in all things, in food, in medicine, in all their doings and abstainings they must believe in order to acquire a reason for their belief? But so is it with religious truths for all men. These we must all learn as children. The ground of the prevailing error on this point is the ignorance, that in spiritual concernments to believe and to understand are not diverse things, but the same thing in different periods of its growth. Belief is the seed, received into the will, of which the understanding or knowledge is the flower, and the thing believed is the fruit. Unless ye believe ye cannot understand: and unless ye be humble as children, ye not only will not, but ye cannot believe. Of such therefore is the Kingdom of Heaven. Yea, blessed is the calamity that makes us humble; though so repugnant thereto is our nature, in our present state, that after a while, it is to be feared, a second and sharper calamity would be wanted to cure us of our pride in having become so humble.


Lastly, there are among us, though fewer and less in fashion than among our ancestors, persons who, like Shaftesbury, do not belong to "the herd of Epicurus," yet prefer a philosophic paganism to the morality of the Gospel. Now it would conduce, methinks, to the child like humility we have been discoursing of, if the use of the term, virtue, in that high, comprehensive, and notional sense in which it was used by the ancient Stoics, were abandoned, as a relic of Paganism, to these modern Pagans: and if Christians restoring the word to its original import, namely, manhood or manliness, used it exclusively to express the quality of fortitude; strength of character in relation to the resistance opposed by nature and the irrational passions to the dictates of reason; energy of will in preserving the line of rectitude tense and firm against the warping forces and treacheries of temptation. Surely, it were far less unseemly, value ourselves on this moral strength than on strength of body, or even strength of intellect. But we will rather value it for ourselves: and bearing in mind the old adage, Quis custodiet ipsum costodem? we will value it the more, yea, then only will we allow it true spiritual worth, when we possess it as a gift of grace, a boon of mercy undeserved, a fulfilment of a free promise (1 Cor. X, 13). What more is meant in this last paragraph, let the venerable Hooker say for me in the following.

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