Walk in humility . . . take heed of pride. It is a deadly poison that spoils and kills all where it comes; so dangerous that another poison was used as a counter-poison to preserve St. Paul from it.

And we are never more in danger of it than when we have done most, and made greatest progress in the profession and practice of piety.

For it is as the spleen in the body, that grows most when the other parts waste. It grows fast often, when other evils decay, and out of the decay of them, sucks matter to feed and foster itself with. This therefore must be carefully cast out and avoided.

When we have done well, we must take heed how in that regard we begin to think highly of ourselves. If we do so, all is gone; we are undone.

Be affected rather as Paul was. After he had gone so far, and done so much, “I make account, that I come not short,” says he, “of the very chief apostles” (2 Cor 11:5). Yea, “I have labored more than them all” (1 Cor 15:10). For, “from Jerusalem round about, even unto Illyricum (that is, from Syria to Slovenia) have I plentifully preached the gospel” (Rom 15:19). Yet, “I forget what is past” (Phil 3:13). That is, I regard no more what I have done than as if yet I had done nothing, or had clean forgotten what I did. “And I put on toward to what is before, pressing on toward the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14). He did as men in a race that look not back to see how many they have passed, or how far they have progressed, but have their eyes fixed on those that have gained ground on them, and on the ground before them, that they are to measure, ere they can come to the mark.

Let us not consider so much how far we have gone, and how many others come short of us, but how far we are to go, and how far we come short of that Christian perfection that we should all strive and contend to attain unto.

— Thomas Gataker



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