Page images
PDF
EPUB

broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.! To the humbled penitent all the promises of God are made. Humility is the most prominent feature in the religion of Christ. In this respect the effects produced by true Christianity are entirely different from those which result from all other religious professions. And the example of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is brought forward in order to enforce it. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but, notwithstanding the most exalted station in the universe of right belonged to Him, He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself still further, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 15 This is the true Christian pattern of humility and motive to it, the only one which will effectually produce conformity to the Divine precept.

He who is sensible of the greatness of his obligations to the Lord Jesus Christ for His great humiliation, will not only be humble after His example; but from the knowledge which he has obtained of himself and of the evil that is within him, he will feel that he has really nothing to be proud of, but rather every thing to abase him before God and man. Self-knowledge teaches a man that he has no cause for self-exaltation. Not that it in any degree sets aside the proper gradations and distinctions of society. On the contrary, it leads men to render to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour ;16 and to be contented with the station in life in which it has pleased Divine Providence to place them; and to regard every thing as it has respect to the sovereign appointment of God.

14 Psalm li. 17.

15 Philippians ii. 5-8.

If we duly consider our state in the sight of God as transgressors from the wornb, as having been shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin,17 we shall see that we have nothing of our own whereof to glory. But if, by the teaching of the Spirit of God, the evil of sin in our nature and our practice has been brought home to our consciences, we shall loathe and abhor ourselves in our own sight18 for the iniquity which we have committed in thought, word, and deed against the Divine Majesty, by which we have provoked His most justly deserved wrath and indignation.

The Bible alone exhibits a true picture of man. It alone describes our ruined state and condition in its true colours, and points out a remedy for it. It alone states the reason why man should

16 Romans xiii. 17.

17 Psalm li. 5.

18 Ezekiel xxxvi. 31.

be humble. For instead of making any statement which may promote pride and self-exaltation, it shows us that we are without hope of salvation in and of ourselves. The humbling doctrines of the holy Scripture are rejected by the carnal mind. But he who receives the truth as it is there revealed, assents to the statement of the word of God, and is humbled before Him on account of multiplied transgressions against His holy, just, and good law. As long as the heart is unhumbled for sin, as long as a man is insensible of his guiltiness before God, the religion of Christ is unsuited to him. It is only by the teaching of the Spirit of God that the evil and the desert of sin can be discovered. Until Job was taught this lesson, he justified himself rather than God.19 But when God had revealed Himself to him, he cried out, Behold, I am vile ;I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. This proceeded from true humiliation of heart before God; and the consequence was that he was exalted. The Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. Similar are the dealings of God with His people

in all ages.

For the sinner who is humbled at the mercyseat, the redemption of Christ is provided. For Christ's sake pardon, justification, acceptance

19 Job xxxii. 2.

20 Job xl. 4.

21 Job xlii. 6, 12.

men.

with God, adoption into His family, the sanctification of the soul by the blessed influence of the Holy Ghost, and every needful blessing both in this world and in that which is to come, are bestowed upon the self-abased penitent. This is the exaltation which is prepared for them who are laid low at the Redeemer's feet, and seek the blessings which He came into the world to procure and bestow upon the sinful children of

They are made the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus ;92 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ ; and they shall be glorified together with Him.

The word of God affords every encouragement to the humble and penitent sinner. Though he may be despised by the world, and may be the scorn of the proud; though his meekness may be esteemed want of a manly spirit, and his humility be called meanness; yet after a little while he shall be exalted to honour. The more abased he is at the foot of the cross, the more highly will he be exalted, though not with worldly distinction. It is not desirable, in general, that this should be the portion of the children of God; for the honour of the world is more likely to prove an injury to the Christian than a gain. But yet a little while, and he shall be exalted to honour, in that abode of the blessed where glory

22 Galatians iii. 26.

23 Romans viii. 17.

fadeth not away; so that he shall sing with real joy of heart, and yet with the deepest selfabasement: Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.24

What a glorious exaltation will this be to those who have been the humble followers of the Lamb of God here on earth; when they shall see His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads, and they shall reign for ever and ever25 in heaven. Does such unspeakable blessedness, such high exaltation await the humbled soul ? Surely then it is better to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud; for pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.26 And then whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased. Abased how low! when he shallfind that he has no Father, no Friend in God; no Saviour, no Redeemer in Christ; no Comforter in the Holy Spirit: but that all the attributes and perfections of the Deity are engaged against him, to seal his doom in irretrievable woe. Oh! that we felt as we ought, with that solemnity and awe which should fill our minds, whenever the dire abode of impenitent sinners is mentioned, or referred to.

24 Revelation i. 5, 6. 25 Rev. xxii. 4,5. 26 Proverbs xvi. 19, 18.

« PreviousContinue »