Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Humility - The Beauty of Holiness
Author: Murray, Andrew
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Humility - The Beauty of Holiness" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



HUMILITY
THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS

BY
REV. Andrew Murray

Lord Jesus! may our Holiness be perfect Humility!
Let Thy perfect Humility be our Holiness!


NEW YORK
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY
LONDON GLASGOW



PREFACE.

There are three great motives that urge us to humility. It becomes me
as a creature, as a sinner, as a saint. The first we see in the
heavenly hosts, in unfallen man, in Jesus as Son of Man. The second
appeals to us in our fallen state, and points out the only way through
which we can return to our right place as creatures. In the third we
have the mystery of grace, which teaches us that, as we lose ourselves
in the overwhelming greatness of redeeming love, humility becomes to
us the consummation of everlasting blessedness and adoration.

In our ordinary religious teaching, the second aspect has been too
exclusively put in the foreground, so that some have even gone to the
extreme of saying that we must keep sinning if we are indeed to keep
humble. Others again have thought that the strength of
self-condemnation is the secret of humility. And the Christian life
has suffered loss, where believers have not been distinctly guided to
see that, even in our relation as creatures, nothing is more natural
and beautiful and blessed than to be nothing, that God may be all; or
where it has not been made clear that it is not sin that humbles most,
but grace, and that it is the soul, led through its sinfulness to be
occupied with God in His wonderful glory as God, as Creator and
Redeemer, that will truly take the lowest place before Him.

In these meditations I have, for more than one reason, almost
exclusively directed attention to the humility that becomes us as
creatures. It is not only that the connection between humility and sin
is so abundantly set forth in all our religious teaching, but because
I believe that for the fullness of the Christian life it is
indispensable that prominence be given to the other aspect. If Jesus
is indeed to be our example in His lowliness, we need to understand
the principles in which it was rooted, and in which we find the common
ground on which we stand with Him, and in which our likeness to Him is
to be attained. If we are indeed to be humble, not only before God but
towards men, if humility is to be our joy, we must see that it is not
only the mark of shame, because of sin, but, apart from all sin, a
being clothed upon with the very beauty and blessedness of heaven and
of Jesus. We shall see that just as Jesus found His glory in taking
the form of a servant, so when He said to us, 'Whosoever would be
first among you, shall be your servant,' He simply taught us the
blessed truth that there is nothing so divine and heavenly as being
the servant and helper of all. The faithful servant, who recognises
his position, finds a real pleasure in supplying the wants of the
master or his guests. When we see that humility is something
infinitely deeper than contrition, and accept it as our participation
in the life of Jesus, we shall begin to learn that it is our true
nobility, and that to prove it in being servants of all is the highest
fulfilment of our destiny, as men created in the image of God.

When I look back upon my own religious experience, or round upon the
Church of Christ in the world, I stand amazed at the thought of how
little humility is sought after as the distinguishing feature of the
discipleship of Jesus. In preaching and living, in the daily
intercourse of the home and social life, in the more special
fellowship with Christians, in the direction and performance of work
for Christ,--alas! how much proof there is that humility is not
esteemed the cardinal virtue, the only root from which the graces can
grow, the one indispensable condition of true fellowship with Jesus.
That it should have been possible for men to say of those who claim to
be seeking the higher holiness, that the profession has not been
accompanied with increasing humility, is a loud call to all earnest
Christians, however much or little truth there be in the charge, to
prove that meekness and lowliness of heart are the chief mark by which
they who follow the meek and lowly Lamb of God are to be known.



Contents

Humility:
I.   '' The Glory of the Creature
II.  '' The Secret of Redemption
III. '' In the Life of Jesus
IV.  '' In the Teaching of Jesus
V.   '' In the Disciples of Jesus
VI.  '' In Daily Life
VII. '' And Holiness
VIII.'' And Sin
IX.  '' And Faith
X.   '' And Death to Self
XI.  '' And Happiness
XII. '' And Exaltation
Notes



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness.

I.

Humility: The Glory of the Creature

_'They shall cast their crowns before the throne, saying: Worthy art
Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory, and the honour and
the power: for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will
they were, and were created. '_--REV. iv. 11.

WHEN God created the universe, it was with the one object of making
the creature partaker of His perfection and blessedness, and so
showing forth in it the glory of His love and wisdom and power. God
wished to reveal Himself in and through created beings by
communicating to them as much of His own goodness and glory as they
were capable of receiving. But this communication was not a giving to
the creature something which it could possess in itself, a certain
life or goodness, of which it had the charge and disposal. By no
means. But as God is the ever-living, ever-present, ever-acting One,
who upholdeth all things by the word of His power, and in whom all
things exist, the relation of the creature to God could only be one of
unceasing, absolute, universal dependence. As truly as God by His
power once created, so truly by that same power must God every moment
maintain. The creature has not only to look back to the origin and
first beginning of existence, and acknowledge that it there owes
everything to God; its chief care, its highest virtue, its only
happiness, now and through all eternity, is to present itself an empty
vessel, in which God can dwell and manifest His power and goodness.

The life God bestows is imparted not once for all, but each moment
continuously, by the unceasing operation of His mighty power.
Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is, from the very
nature of things, the first duty and the highest virtue of the
creature, and the root of every virtue.

And so pride, or the loss of this humility, is the root of every sin
and evil. It was when the now fallen angels began to look upon
themselves with self-complacency that they were led to disobedience,
and were cast down from the light of heaven into outer darkness. Even
so it was, when the serpent breathed the poison of his pride, the
desire to be as God, into the hearts of our first parents, that they
too fell from their high estate into all the wretchedness in which man
is now sunk. In heaven and earth, pride, self-exaltation, is the gate
and the birth, and the curse, of hell. (See Note A.)

Hence it follows that nothing can be our redemption, but the
restoration of the lost humility, the original and only true relation
of the creature to its God. And so Jesus came to bring humility back
to earth, to make us partakers of it, and by it to save us. In heaven
He humbled Himself to become man. The humility we see in Him possessed
Him in heaven; it brought Him, He brought it, from there. Here on
earth 'He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death'; His
humility gave His death its value, and so became our redemption. And
now the salvation He imparts is nothing less and nothing else than a
communication of His own life and death, His own disposition and
spirit, His own humility, as the ground and root of His relation to
God and His redeeming work. Jesus Christ took the place and fulfilled
the destiny of man, as a creature, by His life of perfect humility.
His humility is our salvation. His salvation is our humility.

And so the life of the saved ones, of the saints, must needs bear this
stamp of deliverance from sin, and full restoration to their original
state; their whole relation to God and man marked by an all-pervading
humility. Without this there can be no true abiding in God's presence,
or experience of His favour and the power of His Spirit; without this
no abiding faith, or love or joy or strength. Humility is the only
soil in which the graces root; the lack of humility is the sufficient
explanation of every defect and failure. Humility is not so much a
grace or virtue along with others; it is the root of all, because it
alone takes the right attitude before God, and allows Him as God to do
all.

God has so constituted us as reasonable beings, that the truer the
insight into the real nature or the absolute need of a command, the
readier and fuller will be our obedience to it. The call to humility
has been too little regarded in the Church because its true nature and
importance has been too little apprehended. It is not a something
which we bring to God, or He bestows; it is simply _the sense of
entire nothingness, which comes when we see how truly God is all, and
in which we make way for God to be all._ When the creature realises
that this is the true nobility, and consents to be with his will, his
mind, and his affections, the form, the vessel in which the life and
glory of God are to work and manifest themselves, he sees that
humility is simply acknowledging the truth of his position as
creature, and yielding to God His place.

In the life of earnest Christians, of those who pursue and profess
holiness, humility ought to be the chief mark of their uprightness. It
is often said that it is not so. May not one reason be that in the
teaching and example of the Church, it has never had that place of
supreme importance which belongs to it? And that this, again, is owing
to the neglect of this truth, that strong as sin is as a motive to
humility, there is one of still wider and mightier influence, that
which makes the angels, that which made Jesus, that which makes the
holiest of saints in heaven, so humble; that the first and chief mark
of the relation of the creature, the secret of his blessedness, is the
humility and nothingness which leaves God free to be all?

I am sure there are many Christians who will confess that their
experience has been very much like my own in this, that we had long
known the Lord without realising that meekness and lowliness of heart
are to be the distinguishing feature of the disciple as they were of
the Master. And further, that this humility is not a thing that will
come of itself, but that it must be made the object of special desire
and prayer and faith and practice. As we study the word, we shall see
what very distinct and oft-repeated instructions Jesus gave His
disciples on this point, and how slow they were in understanding Him.
Let us, at the very commencement of our meditations, admit that there
is nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from our
sight, nothing so difficult and dangerous, as pride. Let us feel that
nothing but a very determined and persevering waiting on God and
Christ will discover how lacking we are in the grace of humility, and
how impotent to obtain what we seek. Let us study the character of
Christ until our souls are filled with the love and admiration of His
lowliness. And let us believe that, when we are broken down under a
sense of our pride, and our impotence to cast it out, Jesus Christ
Himself will come in to impart this grace too, as a part of His
wondrous life within us.



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness

II.

Humility: The Secret of Redemption.

_'Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who emptied
Himself; taking the form of a servant; and humbled Himself; becoming
obedient even unto death. Wherefore God also highly exalted Him.'_
--PHIL. ii. 5-7.

NO tree can grow except on the root from which it sprang. Through all
its existence it can only live with the life that was in the seed that
gave it being. The full apprehension of this truth in its application
to the first and the Second Adam cannot but help us greatly to
understand both the need and the nature of the redemption there is in
Jesus.

_The Need._--When the Old Serpent, he who had been cast out from
heaven for his pride, whose whole nature as devil was pride, spoke his
words of temptation into the ear of Eve, these words carried with them
the very poison of hell. And when she listened, and yielded her desire
and her will to the prospect of being as God, knowing good and evil,
the poison entered into her soul and blood and life, destroying
forever that blessed humility and dependence upon God which would have
been our everlasting happiness. And instead of this, her life and the
life of the race that sprang from her became corrupted to its very
root with that most terrible of all sins and all curses, the poison of
Satan's own pride. All the wretchedness of which this world has been
the scene, all its wars and bloodshed among the nations, all its
selfishness and suffering, all its ambitions and jealousies, all its
broken hearts and embittered lives, with all its daily unhappiness,
have their origin in what this cursed, hellish pride, either our own,
or that of others, has brought us. It is pride that made redemption
needful; it is from our pride we need above everything to be redeemed.
And our insight into the need of redemption will largely depend upon
our knowledge of the terrible nature of the power that has entered our
being.

No tree can grow except on the root from which it sprang. The power
that Satan brought from hell, and cast into man's life, is working
daily, hourly, with mighty power throughout the world. Men suffer from
it; they fear and fight and flee it; and yet they know not whence it
comes, whence it has its terrible supremacy. No wonder they do not
know where or how it is to be overcome. Pride has its root and
strength in a terrible spiritual power, outside of us as well as
within us; as needful as it is that we confess and deplore it as our
very own, is to know it in its Satanic origin. If this leads us to
utter despair of ever conquering or casting it out, it will lead us
all the sooner to that supernatural power in which alone our
deliverance is to be found--the redemption of the Lamb of God. The
hopeless struggle against the workings of self and pride within us may
indeed become still more hopeless as we think of the power of darkness
behind it all; the utter despair will fit us the better for realising
and accepting a power and a life outside of ourselves too, even the
humility of heaven as brought down and brought nigh by the Lamb of
God, to cast out Satan and his pride.

No tree can grow except on the root from which it sprang. Even as we
need to look to the first Adam and his fall to know the power of the
sin within us, we need to know well the Second Adam and His power to
give within us a life of humility as real and abiding and
overmastering as has been that of pride. We have our life from and in
Christ, as truly, yea more truly, than from and in Adam. We are to
walk 'rooted in Him,' 'holding fast the Head from whom the whole body
increaseth with the increase of God.' The life of God which in the
incarnation entered human nature, is the root in which we are to stand
and grow; it is the same almighty power that worked there, and thence
onward to the resurrection, which works daily in us. Our one need is
to study and know and trust the life that has been revealed in Christ
as the life that is now ours, and waits for our consent to gain
possession and mastery of our whole being.

In this view it is of inconceivable importance that we should have
right thoughts of what Christ is, of what really constitutes Him the
Christ, and specially of what may be counted His chief characteristic,
the root and essence of all His character as our Redeemer. There can
be but one answer: it is His humility. What is the incarnation but His
heavenly humility, His emptying Himself and becoming man? What is His
life on earth but humility; His taking the form of a servant? And what
is His atonement but humility? 'He humbled Himself and became obedient
unto death.' And what is His ascension and His glory, but humility
exalted to the throne and crowned with glory? 'He humbled Himself,
therefore God highly exalted Him.' In heaven, where He was with the
Father, in His birth, in His life, in His death, in His sitting on the
throne, it is all, it is nothing but humility. Christ is the humility
of God embodied in human nature; the Eternal Love humbling itself,
clothing itself in the garb of meekness and gentleness, to win and
serve and save us. As the love and condescension of God makes Him the
benefactor and helper and servant of all, so Jesus of necessity was
the Incarnate Humility. And so He is still in the midst of the throne,
the meek and lowly Lamb of God.

If this be the root of the tree, its nature must be seen in every
branch and leaf and fruit. If humility be the first, the all-including
grace of the life of Jesus,--if humility be the secret of His
atonement,--then the health and strength of our spiritual life will
entirely depend upon our putting this grace first too, and making
humility the chief thing we admire in Him, the chief thing we ask of
Him, the one thing for which we sacrifice all else. (See Note B.)

Is it any wonder that the Christian life is so often feeble and
fruitless, when the very root of the Christ life is neglected, is
unknown? Is it any wonder that the joy of salvation is so little felt,
when that in which Christ found it and brings it, is so little sought?
Until a humility which will rest in nothing less than the end and
death of self; which gives up all the honour of men as Jesus did, to
seek the honour that comes from God alone; which absolutely makes and
counts itself nothing, that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be
exalted,--until such a humility be what we seek in Christ above our
chief joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a
religion that will conquer the world.

I cannot too earnestly plead with my reader, if possibly his attention
has never yet been specially directed to the want there is of humility
within him or around him, to pause and ask whether he sees much of the
spirit of the meek and lowly Lamb of God in those who are called by
His name. Let him consider how all want of love, all indifference to
the needs, the feelings, the weakness of others; all sharp and hasty
judgments and utterances, so often excused under the plea of being
outright and honest; all manifestations of temper and touchiness and
irritation; all feelings of bitterness and estrangement, have their
root in nothing but pride, that ever seeks itself, and his eyes will
be opened to see how a dark, shall I not say a devilish pride, creeps
in almost everywhere, the assemblies of the saints not excepted. Let
him begin to ask what would be the effect, if in himself and around
him, if towards fellow-saints and the world, believers were really
permanently guided by the humility of Jesus; and let him say if the
cry of our whole heart, night and day, ought not to be, Oh for the
humility of Jesus in myself and all around me! Let him honestly fix
his heart on his own lack of the humility which has been revealed in
the likeness of Christ's life, and in the whole character of His
redemption, and he will begin to feel as if he had never yet really
known what Christ and His salvation is.

Believer! _study the humility of Jesus_. This is the secret, the
hidden root of thy redemption. Sink down into it deeper day by day.
Believe with thy whole heart that this Christ, whom God has given
thee, even as His divine humility wrought the work for thee, will
enter in to dwell and work within thee too, and make thee what the
Father would have thee be.



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness

III.

The Humility of Jesus.

_'I am in the midst of you as he that serveth.'_--LUKE xxii. 26.

IN the Gospel of John we have the inner life of our Lord laid open to
us. Jesus speaks frequently of His relation to the Father, of the
motives by which He is guided, of His consciousness of the power and
spirit in which He acts. Though the word humble does not occur, we
shall nowhere in Scripture see so clearly wherein His humility
consisted. We have already said that this grace is in truth nothing
but that simple consent of the creature to let God be all, in virtue
of which it surrenders itself to His working alone. In Jesus we shall
see how both as the Son of God in heaven, and as man upon earth, He
took the place of entire subordination, and gave God the honour and
the glory which is due to Him. And what He taught so often was made
true to Himself: 'He that humbleth him: shall be exalted.' As it is
written, 'He humbled Himself, therefore God highly exalted Him.'

Listen to the words in which our Lord speaks of His relation to the
Father, and how unceasingly He uses the words _not_, and _nothing_, of
Himself. The _not I_, in which Paul expresses his relation to Christ,
is the very spirit of what Christ says of His relation the Father.

'The Son can do _nothing_ of Himself' (John v. 19).

'I can of My own self do _nothing_; My judgment is just, because I
seek _not_ Mine own will' (John v 30).

'I receive _not_ glory from men' (John v. 41).

'I am come _not_ to do Mine own will' (John vi. 38).

'My teaching is _not_ Mine' (John vii. 16).

'I am _not_ come of Myself' (John vii. 28).

'I do _nothing_ of Myself' (John vii. 28).

'I have _not_ come of Myself, but He sent Me' (John viii. 42).

'I seek _not_ Mine own glory' (John viii. 50).

'The words that I say, I speak _not_ from Myself' (John xiv. 10).

'The word which ye hear is _not_ Mine' (John xiv. 24).

These words open to us the deepest roots of Christ's life and work.
They tell us how it was that the Almighty God was able to work His
mighty redemptive work through Him. They show what Christ counted the
state of heart which became Him as the Son of the Father. They teach
us what the essential nature and life is of that redemption which
Christ accomplished and now communicates. It is this: He was nothing,
that God might be all. He resigned Himself with His will and His
powers entirely for the Father to work in Him. Of His own power, His
own will, and His own glory, of His whole mission with all His works
and His teaching,--of all this He said, It is not I; I am nothing; I
have given Myself to the Father to work; I am nothing, the Father is
all.

This life of entire self-abnegation, of absolute submission and
dependence upon the Father's will, Christ found to be one of perfect
peace and joy. He lost nothing by giving all to God. God honoured His
trust, and did all for Him, and then exalted Him to His own right hand
in glory. And because Christ had thus humbled Himself before God, and
God was ever before Him, He found it possible to humble Himself before
men too, and to be the Servant of all. His humility was simply the
surrender of Himself to God, to allow Him to do in Him what He
pleased, whatever men around might say of Him, or do to Him.

It is in this state of mind, in this spirit and disposition, that the
redemption of Christ has its virtue and efficacy. It is to bring us to
this disposition that we are made partakers of Christ. This is the
true self-denial to which our Saviour calls us, the acknowledgment
that self has nothing good in it, except as an empty vessel which God
must fill, and that its claim to be or do anything may not for a
moment be allowed. It is in this, above and before everything, in
which the conformity to Jesus consists, the being and doing nothing of
ourselves, that God may be all.

Here we have the root and nature of true humility. It is because this
is not understood or sought after, that our humility is so superficial
and so feeble. We must learn of Jesus, how He is meek and lowly of
heart. He teaches us where true humility takes its rise and finds its
strength--in the knowledge that it is God who worketh all in all, that
our place is to yield to Him in perfect resignation and dependence, in
full consent to be and to do nothing of ourselves. This is the life
Christ came to reveal and to impart--a life to God that came through
death to sin and self. If we feel that this life is too high for us
and beyond our reach, it must but the more urge us to seek it in Him;
it is the indwelling Christ who will live in us this life, meek and
lowly. If we long for this, let us, meantime, above everything, seek
the holy secret of the knowledge of the nature of God, as He every
moment works all in all; the secret, of which all nature and every
creature, and above all, every child of God, is to be the
witness,--that it is nothing but a vessel, a channel, through which
the living God can manifest the riches of His wisdom, power, and
goodness. The root of all virtue and grace, of all faith and
acceptable worship, is that we know that we have nothing but what we
receive, and bow in deepest humility to wait upon God for it.

It was because this humility was not only a temporary sentiment,
wakened up and brought into exercise when He thought of God, but the
very spirit of His whole life, that Jesus was just as humble in His
intercourse with men as with God. He felt Himself the Servant of God
for the men whom God made and loved; as a natural consequence, He
counted Himself the Servant of men, that through Him God might do His
work of love. He never for a moment thought of seeking His honour, or
asserting His power to vindicate Himself. His whole spirit was that of
a life yielded to God to work in. It is not until Christians study the
humility of Jesus as the very essence of His redemption, as the very
blessedness of the life of the Son of God, as the only true relation
to the Father, and therefore as that which Jesus must give us if we
are to have any part with Him, that the terrible lack of actual,
heavenly, manifest humility will become a burden and a sorrow, and our
ordinary religion be set aside to secure this, the first and the chief
of the marks of the Christ within us.

Brother, are you clothed with humility? Ask your daily life. Ask
Jesus. Ask your friends. Ask the world. And begin to praise God that
there is opened up to you in Jesus a heavenly humility of which you
have hardly known, and through which a heavenly blessedness you
possibly have never yet tasted can come in to you.



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness

IV.

Humility in the Teaching of Jesus.

_'Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.'_--MATT. xi. 29.
_'Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant, even as
the Son of Man came to serve.'_--MATT. xx. 27.

WE have seen humility in the life of Christ, as He laid open His heart
to us: let us listen to His teaching. There we shall hear how He
speaks of it, and how far He expects men, and specially His disciples,
to be humble as He was. Let us carefully study the passages, which I
can scarce do more than quote, to receive the full impression of how
often and how earnestly He taught it: it may help us to realise what
He asks of us.

1. Look at the commencement of His ministry. In the Beatitudes with
which the Sermon on the Mount opens, He speaks: _'Blessed are the poor
in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek;
for they shall inherit the earth.'_ The very first words of His
proclamation of the kingdom of heaven reveal the open gate through
which alone we enter. The poor, who have nothing in themselves, to
them the kingdom comes. The meek, who seek nothing in themselves,
theirs the earth shall be. The blessings of heaven and earth are for
the lowly. For the heavenly and the earthly life, humility is the
secret of blessing.

2. _'Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find
rest for your souls.'_ Jesus offers Himself as Teacher. He tells what
the spirit both is, which we shall find Him as Teacher, and which we
can learn and receive from Him. Meekness and lowliness the one thing
He offers us; in it we shall find perfect rest of soul. Humility is to
be a salvation.

3. The disciples had been disputing who would be the greatest in the
kingdom, and had agreed to ask the Master (Luke 9:46; Matt. 18:3). He
set a child in their midst and said, _'Whosoever shall humble himself
as this little child, shall be exalted.'_ 'Who the greatest in the
kingdom of heaven?' The question is indeed a far-reaching one. What
will be the chief distinction in the heavenly kingdom? The answer,
none but Jesus would have given. The chief glory of heaven, the true
heavenly-mindedness, the chief of the graces, is humility. _'He that
is least among you, the same shall be great.'_

4. The sons of Zebedee had asked Jesus to sit on His right and left,
the highest place in the kingdom. Jesus said it was not His to give,
but the Father's, who would give it to those for whom it was prepared.
They must not look or ask for it. Their thought must be of the cup and
the baptism of humiliation. And then He added, _'Whosoever will be
chief among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of Man came
to serve.'_ Humility, as it is the mark of Christ the heavenly, will
be the one standard of glory in heaven: the lowliest is the nearest to
God. The primacy in the Church is promised to the humblest.

5. Speaking to the multitude and the disciples, of the Pharisees and
their love of the chief seats, Christ said once again (Matt. xxxiii.
11), _'He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.'_
Humiliation is the only ladder to honour in God's kingdom.

6. On another occasion, in the house of a Pharisee, He spoke the
parable of the guest who would be invited to come up higher (Luke xiv.
1-11), and added, _'For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased;
and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.'_ The demand is
inexorable; there is no other way. Self-abasement alone will be
exalted.

7. After the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, Christ spake
again (Luke xviii. 14), _'Everyone that exalteth himself shall be
abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.'_ In the temple
and presence and worship of God, everything is worthless that is not
pervaded by deep, true humility towards God and men.

8. After washing the disciples' feet, Jesus said (John xiii. 14), _'If
I then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to
wash one another's feet.'_ The authority of command, and example,
every thought, either of obedience or conformity, make humility the
first and most essential element of discipleship.

9. At the Holy Supper table, the disciples still disputed who should
be greatest (Luke xxii. 26). Jesus said, _'He that is greatest among
you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth
serve. I am among you as he that serveth.'_ The path in which Jesus
walked, and which He opened up for us, the power and spirit in which
He wrought out salvation, and to which He saves us, is ever the
humility that makes me the servant of all.

How little this is preached. How little it is practised. How little
the lack of it is felt or confessed. I do not say, how few attain to
it, some recognisable measure of likeness to Jesus in His humility.
But how few ever think, of making it a distinct object of continual
desire or prayer. How little the world has seen it. How little has it
been seen even in the inner circle of the Church.

'Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.' Would
God that it might be given us to believe that Jesus means this! We all
know what the character of a faithful servant or slave implies.
Devotion to the master's interests, thoughtful study and care to
please him, delight in his prosperity and honour and happiness. There
are servants on earth in whom these dispositions have been seen, and
to whom the name of servant has never been anything but a glory. To
how many of us has it not been a new joy in the Christian life to know
that we may yield ourselves as servants, as slaves to God, and to find
that His service is our highest liberty,--the liberty from sin and
self? We need now to learn another lesson,--that Jesus calls us to be
servants of one another, and that, as we accept it heartily, this
service too will be a most blessed one, a new and fuller liberty too
from sin and self. At first it may appear hard; this is only because
of the pride which still counts itself something. If once we learn
that to be nothing before God is the glory of the creature, the spirit
of Jesus, the joy of heaven, we shall welcome with our whole heart the
discipline we may have in serving even those who try to vex us. When
our own heart is set upon this, the true sanctification, we shall
study each word of Jesus on self-abasement with new zest, and no place
will be too low, and no stooping too deep, and no service too mean or
too long continued, if we may but share and prove the fellowship with
Him who spake, 'I am among you as he that serveth.'

Brethren, here is the path to the higher life. Down, lower down! This
was what Jesus ever said to the disciples who were thinking of being
great in the kingdom, and of sitting on His right hand and His left.
Seek not, ask not for exaltation; that is God's work. Look to it that
you abase and humble yourselves, and take no place before God or man
but that of servant; that is your work; let that be your one purpose
and prayer. God is faithful. Just as water ever seeks and fills the
lowest place, so the moment God finds the creature abased and empty,
His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless. He that humbleth
himself--that must be our one care--shall be exalted; that is God's
care; by His mighty power and in His great love He will do it.

Men sometimes speak as if humility and meekness would rob us of what
is noble and bold and manlike. Oh that all would believe that this is
the nobility of the kingdom of heaven, that this is the royal spirit
that the King of heaven displayed, that this is Godlike, to humble
oneself, to become the servant of all! This is the path to the
gladness and the glory of Christ's presence ever in us, His power ever
resting on us.

Jesus, the meek and lowly One, calls us to learn of Him the path to
God. Let us study the words we have been reading, until our heart is
filled with the thought: My one need is humility. And let us believe
that what He shows, He gives; what He is, He imparts. As the meek and
lowly One, He will come in and dwell in the longing heart.



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness

V.

Humility in the Disciples of Jesus

_'Let him that is chief among you be as he that doth serve.'_
--LUKE xxii. 26

WE have studied humility in the person and teaching of Jesus; let us
now look for it in the circle of His chosen companions--the twelve
apostles. If, in the lack of it we find in them, the contrast between
Christ and men is brought out more clearly, it will help us to
appreciate the mighty change which Pentecost wrought in them, and
prove how real our participation can be in the perfect triumph of
Christ's humility over the pride Satan had breathed into man.

In the texts quoted from the teaching of Jesus, we have already seen
what the occasions were on which the disciples had proved how entirely
wanting they were in the grace of humility. Once, they had been
disputing the way which of them should be the greatest Another time,
the sons of Zebedee with their mother had asked for the first
places--the seat on the right hand and the left. And, later on, at the
Supper table on the last night, there was again a contention which
should be accounted the greatest. Not that there were not moments when
they indeed humbled themselves before their Lord. So it was with Peter
when he cried out, 'Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.' So,
too, with the disciples when they fell down and worshipped Him who had
stilled the storm. But such occasional expressions of humility only
bring out into stronger relief what was the habitual tone of their
mind, as shown in the natural and spontaneous revelation given at
other times of the place and the power of self. The study of the
meaning of all this will teach us most important lessons.

First, _How much there may be of earnest and active, religion while
humility is still sadly wanting._--See it in the disciples. There was
in them fervent attachment to Jesus. They had forsaken all for Him.
The Father had revealed to them that He was the Christ of God. They
believed in Him, they loved Him, they obeyed His commandments. They
had forsaken all to follow Him. When others went back, they clave to
Him. They were ready to die with Him. But deeper down than all this
there was a dark power, of the existence and the hideousness of which
they were hardly conscious, which had to be slain and cast out, ere
they could be the witnesses of the power of Jesus to save. It is even
so still. We may find professors and ministers, evangelists and
workers, missionaries and teachers, in whom the gifts of the Spirit
are many and manifest, and who are the channels of blessing to
multitudes, but of whom, when the testing time comes, or closer
intercourse gives fuller knowledge, it is only too painfully manifest
that the grace of humility, as an abiding characteristic, is scarce to
be seen. All tends to confirm the lesson that humility is one of the
chief and the highest graces; one of the most difficult of attainment;
one to which our first and chiefest efforts ought to be directed; one
that only comes in power, when the fullness of the Spirit makes us
partakers of the indwelling Christ, and He lives within us.

Second, _How impotent all external teaching and all personal effort
is, to conquer pride or give the meek and lowly heart._--For three
years the disciples had been in the training school of Jesus. He had
told them what the chief lesson was He wished to teach them: 'Learn of
Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.' Time after time He had spoken
to them, to the Pharisees, to the multitude, of humility as the only
path to the glory of God. He had not only lived before them as the
Lamb of God in His divine humility, He had more than once unfolded to
them the inmost secret of His life: 'The Son of Man came not to be
served, but to serve'; 'I am among you as one that serveth.' He had
washed their feet, and told them they were to follow His example. And
yet all had availed but little. At the Holy Supper there was still the
contention as to who should be greatest. They had doubtless often
tried to learn His lessons, and firmly resolved not again to grieve
Him. But all in vain. To teach them and us the much needed lesson,
that no outward instruction, not even of Christ Himself; no argument
however convincing; no sense of the beauty of humility, however deep;
no personal resolve or effort, however sincere and earnest,--can cast
out the devil of pride. When Satan casts out Satan, it is only to
enter afresh in a mightier, though more hidden power. Nothing can
avail but this, that the new nature in its divine humility be revealed
in power to take the place of the old, to become as truly our very
nature as that ever was.

Third, _It is only by the indwelling of Christ in His divine humility
that we become truly humble._--We have our pride from another, from
Adam; we must have our humility from Another too. Pride is ours, and
rules in us with such terrible power, because it is ourself, our very
nature. Humility must be ours in the same way; it must be our very
self, our very nature. As natural and easy as it has been to be proud,
it must be, it will be, to be humble. The promise is, 'Where,' even in
the heart, 'sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly.' All
Christ's teaching of His disciples, and all their vain efforts, were
the needful preparation for His entering into them in divine power, to
give and be in them what He had taught them to desire. In His death He
destroyed the power of the devil, He put away sin, and effected an
everlasting redemption. In His resurrection He received from the
Father an entirely new life, the life of man in the power of God,
capable of being communicated to men, and entering and renewing and
filling their lives with His divine power. In His ascension He
received the Spirit of the Father, through whom He might do what He
could not do while upon earth, make Himself one with those He loved,
actually live their life for them, so that they could live before the
Father in a humility like His, because it was Himself who lived and
breathed in them. And on Pentecost He came and took possession. The
work of preparation and conviction, the awakening of desire and hope
which His teaching had effected, was perfected by the mighty change
that Pentecost wrought. And the lives and the epistles of James and
Peter and John bear witness that all was changed, and that the spirit
of the meek and suffering Jesus had indeed possession of them.

What shall we say to these things? Among my readers I am sure there is
more than one class. There may be some who have never yet thought very
specially of the matter, and cannot at once realise its immense
importance as a life question for the Church and its every member.
There are others who have felt condemned for their shortcomings, and
have put forth very earnest efforts, only to fail and be discouraged.
Others, again, may be able to give joyful testimony of spiritual
blessing and power, and yet there has never been the needed conviction
of what those around them still see as wanting. And still others may
be able to witness that in regard to this grace too the Lord has given
deliverance and victory, while He has taught them how much they still
need and may expect out of the fullness of Jesus. To whichever class
we belong, may I urge the pressing need there is for our all seeking a
still deeper conviction of the unique place that humility holds in the
religion of Christ, and the utter impossibility of the Church or the
believer being what Christ would have them be, as long as _His
humility is not recognised as His chief glory, His first command, and
our highest blessedness._ Let us consider deeply how far the disciples
were advanced while this grace was still so terribly lacking, and let
us pray to God that other gifts may not so satisfy us, that we never
grasp the fact that the absence of this grace is the secret cause why
the power of God cannot do its mighty work. It is only where we, like
the Son, truly know and show that we can do nothing of ourselves, that
God will do all.

It is when the truth of an indwelling Christ takes the place it claims
in the experience of believers, that the Church will put on her
beautiful garments and humility be seen in her teachers and members as
the beauty of holiness.



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness.

VI.

Humility in Daily Life

_'He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love
God whom he hath not seen?'_--1 JOHN iv. 20.

WHAT a solemn thought, that our love to God will be measured by our
everyday intercourse with men and the love it displays; and that our
love to God will be found to be a delusion, except was its truth is
proved in standing the test of daily life with our fellowmen. It is
even so with our humility. It is easy to think we humble ourselves
before God: humility towards men will be the only sufficient proof
that our humility before God is real; that humility has taken up its
abode in us; and become our very nature; that we actually, like
Christ, have made ourselves of no reputation. When in the presence of
God lowliness of heart has become, not a posture we pray to Him, but
the very spirit of our life, it will manifest itself in all our
bearing towards our brethren. The lesson is one of deep import: the
only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show
before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us, and carry out,
in our ordinary conduct; the insignificances of daily life are the
importances and the tests of eternity, because they prove what really
is the spirit that possesses us. It is in our most unguarded moments
that we really show and see what we are. To know the humble man, to
know how the humble man behaves, you must follow him in the common
course of daily life.

Is not this what Jesus taught? It was when the disciples disputed who
should be greatest; when He saw how the Pharisees loved the chief
place at feasts and the chief seats in the synagogues; when He had
given them the example of washing their feet,--that He taught His
lessons of humility. Humility before God is nothing if not proved in
humility before men.

It is even so in the teaching of Paul. To the Romans He writes: 'In
honour preferring one _another_'; 'Set not your mind on high things,
but condescend to _those that are lowly_.' 'Be not wise in your own
conceit.' To the Corinthians: 'Love,' and there is no love without
humility as its root, 'vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, seeketh
not its own, is not provoked.' To the Galatians: 'Through love be
servants _one of another_. Let us not be desirous of vainglory,
provoking _one another_, envying _one another._' To the Ephesians,
immediately after the three wonderful chapters on the heavenly life:
'Therefore, walk with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering,
forbearing _one another_ in love'; 'Giving thanks always, subjecting
yourselves _one to another_ in the fear of Christ.' To the
Philippians: 'Doing nothing through faction or vainglory, but in
lowliness of mind, each counting _other_ better than himself. Have the
mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who emptied Himself,
taking the form of a servant, and humbled Himself.' And to the
Colossians: 'Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility,
meekness, long-suffering, forebearing _one another_, and forgiving
_each other_, even as the Lord forgave you.' It is in our relation to
one another, in our treatment of one another, that the true lowliness
of mind and the heart of humility are to be seen. Our humility before
God has no value, but as it prepares us to reveal the humility of
Jesus to our fellow-men. Let us study humility in daily life in the
light of these words.

The humble man seeks at all times to act up to the rule, _'In honour
preferring one another; Servants one of another; Each counting others
better than himself; Subjecting yourselves one to another.'_ The
question is often asked, how we can count others better than
ourselves, when we see that they are far below us in wisdom and in
holiness, in natural gifts, or in grace received. The question proves
at once how little we understand what real lowliness of mind is. True
humility comes when, in the light of God, we have seen ourselves to be
nothing, have consented to part with and cast away self, to let God be
all. The soul that has done this, and can say, So have I lost myself
in finding Thee, no longer compares itself with others. It has given
up forever every thought of self in God's presence; it meets its
fellow-men as one who is nothing, and seeks nothing for itself; who is
a servant of God, and for His sake a servant of all. A faithful
servant may be wiser than the master, and yet retain the true spirit
and posture of the servant. The humble man looks upon every, the
feeblest and unworthiest, child of God, and honours him and prefers
him in honour as the son of a King. The spirit of Him who washed the
disciples' feet, makes it a joy to us to be indeed the least, to be
servants one of another.

The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when
others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear
others praised and himself forgotten, because in God's presence he has
learnt to say with Paul, 'I am nothing.' He has received the spirit of
Jesus, who pleased not Himself, and sought not His own honour, as the
spirit of his life.

Amid what are considered the temptations to impatience and touchiness,
to hard thoughts and sharp words, which come from the failings and
sins of fellow-Christians, the humble man carries the oft-repeated
injunction in his heart, and shows it in his life, _'Forbearing one
another, and forgiving one another, even as the Lord forgave you.'_ He
has learnt that in putting on the Lord Jesus he _has put on the heart
of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and long-suffering._
Jesus has taken the place of self, and it is not an impossibility to
forgive as Jesus forgave. His humility does not consist merely in
thoughts or words of self-depreciation, but, as Paul puts it, in 'a
heart of humility,' encompassed by compassion and kindness, meekness
and long-suffering,--the sweet and lowly gentleness recognised as the
mark of the Lamb of God.

In striving after the higher experiences of the Christian life, the
believer is often in danger of aiming at and rejoicing in what one
might call the more human, the manly, virtues, such as boldness, joy,
contempt of the world, zeal, self-sacrifice,--even the old Stoics
taught and practised these,--while the deeper and gentler, the diviner
and more heavenly graces, those which Jesus first taught upon earth,
because He brought them from heaven; those which are more distinctly
connected with His cross and the death of self,--poverty of spirit,
meekness, humility, lowliness,--are scarcely thought of or valued.
Therefore, let us put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility,
meekness, long-suffering; and let us prove our Christlikeness, not
only in our zeal for saving the lost, but before all in our
intercourse with the brethren, forbearing and forgiving one another,
_even as the Lord forgave us._

Fellow-Christians, do let us study the Bible portrait of the humble
man. And let us ask our brethren, and ask the world, whether they
recognise in us the likeness to the original. Let us be content with
nothing less than taking each of these texts as the promise of what
God will work in us, as the revelation in words of what the Spirit of
Jesus will give as a birth within us. And let each failure and
shortcoming simply urge us to turn humbly and meekly to the meek and
lowly Lamb of God, in the assurance that where He is enthroned in the
heart, His humility and gentleness will be one of the streams of
living water that flow from within us. [Footnote: I knew Jesus, and He
was very precious to my soul: but I found something in me that would
not keep sweet and patient and kind. I did what I could to keep it
down, but it was there. I besought Jesus to do something for me, and
when I gave Him my will, He came to my heart, and took out all that
would not be sweet, all that would not be kind, all that would not be
patient, and then He shut the door.'--GEORGE FOXE.]

Once again I repeat what I have said before. I feel deeply that we
have very little conception of what the Church suffers from the lack
of this divine humility,--the nothingness that makes room for God to
prove His power. It is not long since a Christian, of an humble,
loving spirit, acquainted with not a few mission stations of various
societies, expressed his deep sorrow that in some cases the spirit of
love and forbearance was sadly lacking. Men and women, who in Europe
could each choose their own circle of friends, brought close together
with others of uncongenial minds, find it hard to bear, and to love,
and to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. And those
who should have been fellow-helpers of each other's joy, became a
hindrance and a weariness. And all for the one reason, the lack of the
humility which counts itself nothing, which rejoices in becoming and
being counted the least, and only seeks, like Jesus, to be the
servant, the helper and comforter of others, even the lowest and
unworthiest.

And whence comes it that men who have joyfully given up themselves for
Christ, find it so hard to give up themselves for their brethren? Is
not the blame with the Church? It has so little taught its sons that
the humility of Christ is the first of the virtues, the best of all
the graces and powers of the Spirit. It has so little proved that a
Christlike humility is what it, like Christ, places and preaches
first, as what is in very deed needed, and possible too. But let us
not be discouraged. Let the discovery of the lack of this grace stir
us to larger expectation from God. Let us look upon every brother who
tries or vexes us, as God's means of grace, God's instrument for our
purification, for our exercise of the humility Jesus our Life breathes
within us. And let us have such faith in the All of God, and the
nothing of self, that, as nothing in our own eyes, we may, in God's
power, only seek to serve one another in love.



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness

VII.

Humility and Holiness

_'Which say, Stand by thyself; for I am holier than thou.'_
--ISAIAH lxv. 5.

WE speak of the Holiness movement in our times, and praise God for it.
We hear a great deal of seekers after holiness and professors of
holiness, of holiness teaching and holiness meetings. The blessed
truths of holiness in Christ, and holiness by faith, are being
emphasised as never before. The great test of whether the holiness we
profess to seek or to attain, is truth and life, will be _whether it
be manifest in the increasing humility it produces._ In the creature,
humility is the one thing needed to allow God's holiness to dwell in
him and shine through him. In Jesus, the Holy One of God who makes us
holy, a divine humility was the secret of His life and His death and
His exaltation; the one infallible test of our holiness will be the
humility before God and men which marks us. Humility is the bloom and
the beauty of holiness.

The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is its lack of humility. Every
seeker after holiness needs to be on his guard, lest unconsciously
what was begun in the spirit be perfected in the flesh, and pride
creep in where its presence is least expected. Two men went up into
the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, the other a publican. There is
no place or position so sacred but the Pharisee can enter there. Pride
can lift its head in the very temple of God, and make His worship the
scene of its self exaltation. Since the time Christ so exposed his
pride, the Pharisee has put on the garb of the publican, and the
confessor of deep sinfulness equally with the professor of the highest
holiness, must be on the watch. Just when We are most anxious to have
our heart the temple of God, we shall find the two men coming up to
pray. And the publican will find that his danger is not from the
Pharisee beside him, who despises him, but the Pharisee within who
commends and exalts. In God's temple, when we think we are in the
holiest of all, in the presence of His holiness, let us beware of
pride. 'Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present
themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.'

'God, I thank thee, I am not as the rest of men, or even as this
publican.' It is in that which is just cause for thanksgiving, it is
in the very thanksgiving which we render to God, it may be in the very
confession that God has done it all, that self finds its cause of
complacency. Yes, even when in the temple the language of penitence
and trust in God's mercy alone is heard, the Pharisee may take up the
note of praise, and in thanking God be congratulating himself. Pride
can clothe itself in the garments of praise or of penitence. Even
though the words, 'I am not as the rest of men' are rejected and
condemned, their spirit may too often be found in our feelings and
language towards our fellow-worshippers and fellow-men. Would you know
if this really is so, just listen to the way in which Churches and
Christians often speak of one another. How little of the meekness and
gentleness of Jesus is to be seen. It is so little remembered that
deep humility must be the keynote of what the servants of Jesus say of
themselves or each other. Is there not many a Church or assembly of
the saints, many a mission or convention, many a society or committee,
even many a mission away in heathendom, where the harmony has been
disturbed and the work of God hindered, because men who are counted
saints have proved in touchiness and haste and impatience, in
self-defence and self-assertion, in sharp judgments and unkind words,
that they did not each reckon others better than themselves, and that
their holiness has but little in it of the meekness of the
saints?[Footnote1: ME is a most exacting personage, requiring the best
seat and the highest place for itself, and feeling grievously wounded
if its claim is not recognised. Most of the quarrels among Christian
workers arise from the clamouring of this gigantic ME. How few of us
understand the true secret of taking our seats in the lowest
rooms.'--MRS SMITH, Everyday Religion.] In their spiritual history men
may have had times of great humbling and brokenness, but what a
different thing this is from being clothed with humility, from having
an humble spirit, from having that lowliness of mind in which each
counts himself the servant of others, and so shows forth the very mind
which was also in Jesus Christ.

_'Stand by; for I am holier than thou!'_ What a parody on holiness!
Jesus the Holy One is the humble One: the holiest will ever be the
humblest. There is none holy but God: we have as much of holiness as
we have of God. And according to what we have of God will be our real
humility, because humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in
the vision that God is all. The holiest will be the humblest. Alas!
though the barefaced boasting Jew of the days of Isaiah is not often
to be found,--even our manners have taught us not to speak thus, how
often his spirit is still seen, whether in the treatment of
fellow-saints or of the children of the world. In the spirit in which
opinions are given, and work is undertaken, and faults are exposed,
how often, though the garb be that of the publican, the voice is still
that of the Pharisee: 'Oh God, I thank Thee that I am not as other
men.'

And is there, then, such humility to be found, that men shall indeed
still count themselves 'less than the least of all saints,' the
servants of all? There is. 'Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed
up, seeketh not its own.' Where the spirit of love is shed abroad in
the heart, where the divine nature comes to a full birth where Christ
the meek and lowly Lamb of God is truly formed within, there is given
the power of a perfect love that forgets itself and finds its
blessedness in blessing others, in bearing with them and honouring
them, however feeble they be. Where this love enters, there God
enters. And where God has entered in His power, and reveals Himself as
All, there the creature becomes nothing. And where the creature
becomes nothing before God; it cannot be anything but humble towards
the fellow-creature. The presence of God becomes not a thing of times
and seasons, but the covering under which the soul ever dwells, and
its deep abasement before God becomes the holy place of His presence
whence all its words and works proceed.

May God teach us that our thoughts and words and feelings concerning
our fellowmen are His test of our humility towards Him, and that our
humility before Him is the only power that can enable us to be always
humble with our fellow-men. Our humility must be the life of Christ,
the Lamb of God, within us.

Let all teachers of holiness, whether in the pulpit or on the
platform, and all seekers after holiness, whether in the closet or the
convention, take warning. There is no pride so dangerous, because none
so subtle and insidious, as the pride of holiness. It is not that a
man ever says, or even thinks, 'Stand by; I am holier than thou.' No,
indeed, the thought would be regarded with abhorrence. But there grows
up, all unconsciously, a hidden habit of soul, which feels complacency
its attainments, and cannot help seeing how far it is in advance of
others. It can be recognised, not always in any special self-assertion
or self-laudation, but simply in the absence of that deep
self-abasement which cannot but be the mark of the soul that has seen
the glory of God (Job xlii. 5, 6; Isa. vi. 5). It reveals itself, not
only in words or thoughts, but in a tone, a way of speaking of others,
in which those who have the gift of spiritual discernment cannot but
recognise the power of self. Even the world with its keen eyes notices
it, and points to it as a proof that the profession of a heavenly life
does not bear any specially heavenly fruits. O brethren! let us
beware. Unless we make, with each advance in what we think holiness,
the increase of humility our study, we may find that we have been
delighting in beautiful thoughts and feelings, in solemn acts of
consecration and faith, while the only sure mark of the presence of
God, the disappearance of self, was all the time wanting. Come and let
us flee to Jesus, and hide ourselves in Him until we be clothed upon
with His humility. That alone is our holiness.



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness

VIII.

Humility and Sin

_'Sinners, of whom I am chief.'_--1 TIM. i. 15

HUMILITY is often identified with penitence and contrition. As a
consequence, there appears to be no way of fostering humility but by
keeping the soul occupied with its sin. We have learned, I think, that
humility is something else and something more. We have seen in the
teaching of our Lord Jesus and the Epistles how often the virtue is
inculcated without any reference to sin. In the very nature of things,
in the whole relation of the creature to the Creator, in the life of
Jesus as He lived it and imparts it to us, humility is the very
essence of holiness as of blessedness. It is the displacement of self
by the enthronement of God. Where God is all, self is nothing.

But though it is this aspect of the truth I have felt it specially
needful to press, I need scarce say what new depth and intensity man's
sin and God's grace give to the humility of the saints. We have only
to look at a man like the Apostle Paul, to see how, through his life
as a ransomed and a holy man, the deep consciousness of having been a
sinner lives inextinguishably. We all know the passages in which he
refers to his life as a persecutor and blasphemer. 'I am _the least of
the apostles_, that am _not worthy to be called an apostle_, because I
persecuted the Church of God. ...I laboured more abundantly than they
all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me' (1 Cor. xv.
9,10). 'Unto me, who am _less than the least of all saints,_ was this
grace given, to preach to the heathen' (Eph. iii. 8). 'I was before a
_blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious;_ howbeit I obtained
mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. ...Christ Jesus came
into the world to save _sinners, of whom I am chief'_ (1 Tim. i. 13,
15). God's grace had saved him; God remembered his sins no more for
ever; but never, never could he forget how terribly he had sinned. The
more he rejoiced in God's salvation, and the more his experience of
God's grace filled him with joy unspeakable, the clearer was his
consciousness that he was a saved sinner, and that salvation had no
meaning or sweetness except as the sense of his being a sinner made it
precious and real to him. Never for a moment could he forget that it
was a sinner God had taken up in His arms and crowned with His love.

The texts we have just quoted are often appealed to as Paul's
confession of daily sinning. One has only to read them carefully in
their connection, to see how little this is the case. They have a far
deeper meaning, they refer to that which lasts throughout eternity,
and which will give its deep undertone of amazement and adoration to
the humility with which the ransomed bow before the throne, as those
who have been washed from their sins in the blood of the Lamb. Never,
never, even in, glory, can they be other than ransomed sinners; never
for a moment in this life can God's child live in the full light of
His love, but as he feels that the sin, out of which he has been
saved, is his one only right and title to all that grace has promised
to do. The humility with which first he came as a sinner, acquires a
new meaning when he learns how it becomes him as a creature. And then
ever again, the humility, in which he was born as a creature, has its
deepest, richest tones of adoration, in the memory of what it is to be
a monument of God's wondrous redeeming love.

The true import of what these expressions of St. Paul teach us comes
out all the more strongly when we notice the remarkable fact that,
through his whole Christian course, we never find from his pen, even
in those epistles in which we have the most intensely personal
unbosomings, anything like confession of sin. Nowhere is there any
mention of shortcoming or defect, nowhere any suggestion to his
readers that he has failed in duty, or sinned against the law of
perfect love. On the contrary, there are passages not a few in which
he vindicates himself in language that means nothing if it does not
appeal to a faultless life before God and men. 'Ye are witnesses, and
God also, how holily, and righteously, and unblameably we behaved
ourselves toward you' (1 Thess. ii. 10). 'Our glorying is this, the
testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God we
behaved ourselves in the world, and more abundantly to you ward' (2
Cor. i. 12). This is not an ideal or an aspiration; it is an appeal to
what his actual life had been. However we may account for this absence
of confession of sin, all will admit that it must point to a life in
the power of the Holy Ghost, such as is but seldom realised or
expected in these our days.

The point which I wish to emphasise is this--that the very fact of the
absence of such confession of sinning only gives the more force to the
truth that it is not in daily sinning that the secret of the deeper
humility will be found, but in the habitual, never for a moment to be
forgotten position, which just the more abundant grace will keep more
distinctly alive, that our only place, the only place of blessing, our
one abiding position before God, must be that of those whose highest
joy it is to confess that they are sinners saved by grace.

With Paul's deep remembrance of having sinned so terribly in the past,
ere grace had met him, and the consciousness of being kept from
present sinning, there was ever coupled the abiding remembrance of the
dark hidden power of sin ever ready to come in, and only kept out by
the presence and power of the indwelling Christ. 'In me, that is, in
my flesh, dwelleth no good thing;'--these words of Rom. vii. describe
the flesh as it is to the end. The glorious deliverance of Rom.
viii.--'The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath now made me
free from the law of sin, which once led me captive'--is neither the
annihilation nor the sanctification of the flesh, but a continuous
victory given by the Spirit as He mortifies the deeds of the body. As
health expels disease, and light swallows up darkness, and life
conquers death, the indwelling of Christ through the Spirit is the
health and light and life of the soul. But with this, the conviction
of helplessness and danger ever tempers the faith in the momentary and
unbroken action of the Holy Spirit into that chastened sense of
dependence which makes the highest faith and joy the handmaids of a
humility that only lives by the grace of God.

The three passages above quoted all show that it was the wonderful
grace bestowed upon Paul, and of which he felt the need every moment,
that humbled him so deeply. The grace of God that was with him, and
enabled him to labor more abundantly than they all; the grace to
preach to the heathen the unsearchable riches of Christ; the grace
that was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ
Jesus,--it was this grace of which it is the very nature and glory
that it is for sinners, that kept the consciousness of his having once
sinned, and being liable to sin, so intensely alive. 'Where sin
abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly.' This reveals how the
very essence of grace is to deal with and take away sin, and how it
must ever be the more abundant the experience of grace, the more
intense the consciousness of being a sinner. It is not sin, but God's
grace showing a man and ever reminding him what a sinner he was, that,
will keep him truly humble. It is not sin, but grace, that will make
me indeed know myself a sinner, and make the sinner's place of deepest
self-abasement the place I never leave.

I fear that there are not a few who, by strong expressions of
self-condemnation and self-denunciation, have sought to humble
themselves, and have to confess with sorrow that a humble spirit, a
'heart of humility,' with its accompaniments of kindness and
compassion, of meekness and forbearance, is still as far off as ever.
Being occupied with self, even amid the deepest self-abhorrence, can
never free us from self. It is the revelation of God, not only by the
law condemning sin but by His grace delivering from it, that will make
us humble. The law may break the heart with fear; it is only grace
that works that sweet humility which becomes a joy to the soul as its
second nature. It was the revelation of God in His holiness, drawing
nigh to make Himself known in His grace, that made Abraham and Jacob,
Job and Isaiah, bow so low. It is the soul in which God the Creator,
as the All of the creature in its nothingness, God the Redeemer in His
grace, as the All of the sinner in his sinfulness, is waited for and
trusted and worshipped, that will find itself so filled with His
presence, that there will be no place for self. So alone can the
promise be fulfilled: 'The haughtiness of man shall be brought low,
and the Lord alone be exalted in that day.'

It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God's holy, redeeming
love, in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which
comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit, who cannot but be humble.
Not to be occupied with thy sin, but to be occupied with God, brings
deliverance from self.



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness

IX.

Humility and Faith

_'How can ye believe, which receive glory from one another, and the
glory that cometh from the only God ye seek not?'_ JOHN v. 44.

In an address I lately heard, the speaker said that the blessings of
the higher Christian life were often like the objects exposed in a
shop window,--one could see them clearly and yet could not reach them.
If told to stretch out his hand and take, a man would answer, I
cannot; there is a thick pane of plate-glass between me and them. And
even so Christians may see clearly the blessed promises of perfect
peace and rest, of overflowing love and joy, of abiding communion and
fruitfulness, and yet feel that there was something between hindering
the true possession. And what might that be? _Nothing but pride._ The
promises made to faith are so free and sure; the invitations and
encouragements so strong; the mighty power of God on which it may
count is so near and free,--that it can only be something that hinders
faith that hinders the blessing being ours. In our text Jesus
discovers to us that it is indeed pride that makes faith impossible.
'How can ye believe, which receive glory from one another?' As we see
how in their very nature pride and faith are irreconcilably at
variance, we shall learn that faith and humility are at root one, and
that we never can have more of true faith than we have of true
humility; we shall see that we may indeed have strong intellectual
conviction and assurance of the truth while pride is kept in the
heart, but that it makes the living faith, which has power with God,
an impossibility.

We need only think for a moment what faith is. Is it not the
confession of nothingness and helplessness, the surrender and the
waiting to let God work? Is it not in itself the most humbling thing
there can be,--the acceptance of our place as dependents, who can
claim or get or do nothing but what grace bestows? Humility is
'simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust.
And every, even the most secret breathing of pride, in self-seeking,
self-will, self-confidence, or self-exaltation, is just the
strengthening of that self which cannot enter the kingdom, or possess
the things of the kingdom, because it refuses to allow God to be what
He is and must be there--the All in All.

Faith is the organ or sense for the perception and apprehension of the
heavenly world and its blessings. Faith seeks the glory that comes
from God, that only comes where God is All. As long as we take glory
from one another, as long as ever we seek and love and jealously guard
the glory of this life, the honour and reputation that comes from men,
we do not seek, and cannot receive the glory that comes from God.
Pride renders faith impossible. Salvation comes through a cross and a
crucified Christ. Salvation is the fellowship with the crucified
Christ in the Spirit of His cross. Salvation is union with and delight
in, salvation is participation in, the humility of Jesus. Is it wonder
that our faith is so feeble when pride still reigns so much, and we
have scarce learnt even to long or pray for humility as the most
needful and blessed part of salvation?

Humility and faith are more nearly allied in Scripture than many know.
See it in the life of Christ. There are two cases in which He spoke of
a great faith. Had not the centurion, at whose faith He marvelled,
saying, 'I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel!' spoken,
_'I am not worthy_ that Thou shouldst come under my roof'? And had not
the mother to whom He spoke, 'O woman, great is thy faith!' accepted
the name of dog, and said, _'Yea, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the
crumbs'?_ It is the humility that brings a soul to be nothing before
God, that also removes every hindrance to faith, and makes it only
fear lest it should dishonour Him by not trusting Him wholly.

Brother, have we not here the cause of failure in the pursuit of
holiness? Is it not this, though we knew it not, that made our
consecration and our faith so superficial and so short-lived? We had
no idea to what an extent pride and self were still secretly working
within us, and how alone God by His incoming and His mighty power
could cast them out. We understood not how nothing but the new and
divine nature, taking entirely the place of the old self, could make
us really humble. We knew not that absolute, unceasing, universal
humility must be the root-disposition of every prayer and every
approach to God as well as of every dealing with man; and that we
might as well attempt to see without eyes, or live without breath, as
believe or draw nigh to God or dwell in His love, without an
all-pervading humility and lowliness of heart.

Brother, have we not been making a mistake in taking so much trouble
to believe, while all the time there was the old self in its pride
seeking to possess itself of God's blessing and riches? No wonder we
could not believe. Let us change our course. Let us seek first of all
to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God: _He will exalt us._
The cross, and the death, and the grave, into which Jesus humbled
Himself, were His path to the glory of God. And they are our path. Let
our one desire and our fervent prayer be, to be humbled with Him and
like Him; let us accept gladly whatever can humble us before God or
men;--this alone is the path to the glory of God.

You perhaps feel inclined to ask a question. I have spoken of some who
have blessed experiences, or are the means of bringing blessing to
others, and yet are lacking in humility. You ask whether these do not
prove that they have true, even strong faith, though they show too
clearly that they still seek too much the honour that cometh from men.
There is more than one answer can be given. But the principal answer
in our present connection is this: They indeed have a measure of
faith, in proportion to which, with the special gifts bestowed upon
them, is the blessing they bring to others. But in that very blessing
the work of their faith is hindered, through the lack of humility. The
blessing is often superficial or transitory, just because they are not
the nothing that opens the way for God to be all. A deeper humility
would without doubt bring a deeper and fuller blessing. The Holy
Spirit not only working in them as a Spirit of power, but dwelling in
them in the fullness of His grace, and specially that of humility,
would through them communicate Himself to these converts for a life of
power and holiness and steadfastness now all too little seen.

'How can ye believe, which receive glory from one another?' Brother!
nothing can cure you of the desire of receiving glory from men, or of
the sensitiveness and pain and anger which come when it is not given,
but giving yourself to seek only the glory that comes from God. Let
the glory of the All-glorious God be everything to you. You will be
freed from the glory of men and of self, and be content and glad to be
nothing. Out of this nothingness you will grow strong in faith, giving
glory to God, and you will find that the deeper you sink in humility
before Him, the nearer He is to fulfil the every desire of your faith.



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness.

X.

Humility and Death to Self.

_'He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death.'_--PHIL. ii. 8.

HUMILITY is the path to death, because in death it gives the highest
proof of its perfection. Humility is the blossom of which death to
self is the perfect fruit. Jesus humbled Himself unto death, and
opened the path in which we too must walk. As there was no way for Him
to prove His surrender to God to the very uttermost, or to give up and
rise out of our human nature to the glory of the Father but through
death, so with us too. Humility must lead us to die to self: so we
prove how wholly we have given ourselves up to it and to God; so alone
we are freed from fallen nature, and find the path that leads to life
in God, to that full birth of the new nature, of which humility is the
breath and the joy.

We have spoken of what Jesus did for His disciples when He
communicated His resurrection life to them, when in the descent of the
Holy Spirit He, the glorified and enthroned Meekness, actually came
from heaven Himself to dwell in them. He won the power to do this
through death: in its inmost nature the life He imparted was a life
out of death, a life that had been surrendered to death, and been won
through death. He who came to dwell in them was Himself One who had
been dead and now lives for evermore. His life, His person, His
presence, bears the marks of death, of being a life begotten out of
death. That life in His disciples ever bears the death-marks too; it is
only as the Spirit of the death, of the dying One, dwells and works in
the soul, that the power of His life can be known. The first and chief
of the marks of the dying of the Lord Jesus, of the death-marks that
show the true follower of Jesus, is humility. For these two reasons:
Only humility leads to perfect death; Only death perfects humility.
Humility and death are in their very nature one: humility is the bud;
in death the fruit is ripened to perfection.

_Humility leads to perfect death._--Humility means the giving up of
self and the taking of the place of perfect nothingness before God.
Jesus humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death. In death He
gave the highest, the perfect proof of having given up His will to the
will of God. In death He gave up His self, with its natural reluctance
to drink the cup; He gave up the life He had in union with our human
nature; He died to self, and the sin that tempted Him; so, as man, He
entered into the perfect life of God. If it had not been for His
boundless humility, counting Himself as nothing except as a servant to
do and suffer the will of God, He never would have died.

This gives us the answer to the question so often asked, and of which
the meaning is so seldom clearly apprehended: How can I die to self?
The death to self is not your work, it is God's work. In Christ _you
are dead_ to sin the life there is in you has gone through the process
of death and resurrection; you may be sure you are indeed dead to sin.
But the full manifestation of the power of this death in your
disposition and conduct, depends upon the measure in which the Holy
Spirit imparts the power of the death of Christ And here it is that
the teaching is needed: if you would enter into full fellowship with
Christ in His death, and know the full deliverance from self, humble
yourself. This is your one duty. Place yourself before God in your
utter helplessness; consent heartily to the fact of your impotence to
slay or make alive yourself; sink down into your own nothingness, in
the spirit of meek and patient and trustful surrender to God. Accept
every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you,
as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling
yourself before your fellow-men as a help to abide humble before God.
God will accept such humbling of yourself as the proof that your whole
heart desires it, as the very best prayer for it, as your preparation
for His mighty work of grace, when, by the mighty strengthening of His
Holy Spirit, He reveals Christ fully in you, so that He, in His form
of a servant, is truly formed in you, and dwells in your heart. It is
the path of humility which leads to perfect death, the full and
perfect experience that we are dead in Christ.

Then follows: _Only this death leads to perfect humility._ Oh, beware
of the mistake so many make, who would fain be humble, but are afraid
to be too humble. They have so many qualifications and limitations, so
many reasonings and questionings, as to what true humility is to be
and to do, that they never unreservedly yield themselves to it. Beware
of this. Humble yourself unto the death. It is in the death to self
that humility is perfected. Be sure that at the root of all real
experience of more grace, of all true advance in consecration, of all
actually increasing conformity to the likeness of Jesus, there must be
a deadness to self that proves itself to God and men in our
dispositions and habits. It is sadly possible to speak of the
death-life and the Spirit-walk, while even the tenderest love cannot
but see how much there is of self. The death to self has no surer
death-mark than a humility which makes itself of no reputation, which
empties out itself, and takes the form of a servant. It is possible to
speak much and honestly of fellowship with a despised and rejected
Jesus, and of bearing His cross, while the meek and lowly, the kind
and gentle humility of the Lamb of God is not seen, is scarcely
sought. The Lamb of God means to two things--meekness and death. Let
us seek to receive Him in both forms. In Him they are inseparable:
they must be in us too.

What a hopeless task if we had to do the work! Nature never can
overcome nature, not even with the help of grace. Self can never cast
out self, even in the regenerate man. Praise God! the work has been
done, and finished and perfected for ever. The death of Jesus, once
and forever, is our death to self. And the ascension of Jesus, His
entering once and for ever into the Holiest, has given us the Holy
Spirit to communicate to us in power, and make our very own, the power
of the death-life. As the soul, in the pursuit and practice of
humility, follows in the steps of Jesus, its consciousness of the need
of something more is awakened, its desire and hope is quickened, its
faith is strengthened, and it learns to look up and claim and receive
that true fullness of the Spirit of Jesus, which can daily maintain
His death to self and sin in its full power, and make humility the all
pervading spirit of our life. (See Note C.)

'Are ye ignorant that all we who were baptised into Jesus Christ were
_baptised into His death?_ Reckon yourselves to be _dead unto sin,_
but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. Present yourself unto God, as
_alive from the dead.'_ The whole self consciousness of the Christian
is to be imbued and characterised by the spirit that animated the
death of Christ. He has ever to present himself to God as one who has
died in Christ, and in Christ is alive from the dead, bearing about in
his body the dying of the Lord Jesus. His life ever bears the two-fold
mark: its roots striking in true humility deep into the grave of
Jesus, the death to sin and self; its head lifted up in resurrection
power to the heaven where Jesus is.

Believer, claim in faith the death and the life of Jesus as thine.
Enter in His grave into the rest from self and its work--the rest of
God. With Christ, who committed His spirit into the Father's hands,
humble thyself and descend each day into that perfect, helpless
dependence upon God. God will raise thee up and exalt thee. Sink every
morning in deep, deep nothingness into the grave of Jesus; every day
the life of Jesus will be manifest in thee, Let a willing, loving,
restful, happy humility be the mark that thou hast indeed claimed thy
birthright--the baptism into the death of Christ. 'By one offering He
has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.'The souls that enter
into _His_ humiliation will find _in Him_ the power to see and count
self dead, and, as those who have learned and received of Him, to walk
with all lowliness and meekness, forbearing one another in love. The
death-life is seen in a meekness and lowliness like that of Christ.



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness

XI.

Humility and Happiness.

_'Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the
strength of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in
weakness: for when I am weak then am I strong.'_--2 COR. xii. 9. 10.

LEST Paul should exalt himself, by reason of the exceeding greatness
of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was sent him to keep him
humble. Paul's first desire was to have it removed, and he besought
the Lord thrice that it might depart. The answer came that the trial
was a blessing; that, in the weakness and humiliation it brought, the
grace and strength of the Lord could be the better manifested. Paul at
once entered upon a new stage in his relation to the trial: instead of
simply enduring it, _he most gladly gloried_ in it; instead of asking
for deliverance, _he took pleasure_ in it. He had learned that the
place of humiliation is the place of blessing, of power, of joy.

Every Christian virtually passes through these two stages in his
pursuit of humility. In the first he fears and flees and seeks
deliverance from all that can humble him. He has not yet learnt to
seek humility at any cost. He has accepted the command to be humble,
and seeks to obey it, though only to find how utterly he fails. He
prays for humility, at times very earnestly; but in his secret heart
he prays more, if not in word, then in wish, to be kept from the very
things that will make him humble. He is not yet so in love with
humility as the beauty of the Lamb of God, and the joy of heaven, that
he would sell all to procure it. In his pursuit of it, and his prayer
for it, there is still somewhat of a sense of burden and of bondage;
to humble himself has not yet become the spontaneous expression of a
life and a nature that is essentially humble. It has not yet become
his joy and only pleasure. He cannot yet say, 'Most gladly do I glory
in weakness, I take pleasure in whatever humbles me.'

But can we hope to reach the stage in which this will be the case?
Undoubtedly. And what will it be that brings us there? _That_ which
brought Paul there--_a new revelation of the Lord Jesus._ Nothing but
the presence of God can reveal and expel self. A clearer insight was
to be given to Paul into the deep truth that the presence of Jesus
will banish every desire to seek anything in ourselves, and will make
us delight in every humiliation that prepares us for His fuller
manifestation. Our humiliations lead us, in the experience of the
presence and power of Jesus, to choose humility as our highest
blessing. Let us try to learn the lessons the story of Paul teaches
us.

We may have advanced believers, eminent teachers, men of heavenly
experiences, who have not yet fully learnt the lesson of perfect
humility, gladly glorying in weakness. We see this in Paul. The danger
of exalting himself was coming very near. He knew not yet perfectly
what it was to be nothing; to die, that Christ alone might live in
him; to take pleasure in all that brought him low. It appears as if
this were the highest lesson that he had to learn, full conformity to
his Lord in that self-emptying where he gloried in weakness that God
might be all.

The highest lesson a believer has to learn is humility. Oh that every
Christian who seek to advance in holiness may remember this well!
There may be intense consecration, and fervent zeal and heavenly
experience, and yet, if it is not prevented by very special dealings
of the Lord, there may be an unconscious self-exaltation with it all.
Let us learn the lesson,--the highest holiness is the deepest
humility; and let us remember that comes not of itself, but only as it
is made matter of special dealing on the part of our faithful Lord and
His faithful servant.

Let us look at our lives in the light of this experience, and see
whether we gladly glory in weakness, whether we take pleasure, as Paul
did, in injuries, in necessities, in distresses. Yes, let us ask
whether we have learnt to regard a reproof, just or unjust, a reproach
from friend or enemy, an injury, or trouble, or difficulty into which
others bring us, as above all an opportunity of proving Jesus is all
to us, how our own pleasure or honour are nothing, and how humiliation
is in very truth what we take pleasure in. It is indeed blessed, the
deep happiness of heaven, to be so free from self that whatever is
said of us or done to us is lost and swallowed up, in the thought that
Jesus is all.

Let us trust Him who took charge of Paul to take charge of us too.
Paul needed special discipline, and with it special instruction, to
learn, what was more precious than even the unutterable things he had
heard in heaven--what it is to glory in weakness and lowliness. We
need it, too, oh so much. He who cared for him will care for us too.
He watches over us with a jealous, loving care, 'lest we exalt
ourselves'. When we are doing so, He seeks to discover to us the evil,
and deliver us from it. In trial and weakness and trouble He seeks to
bring us low, until we so learn that His grace is all, as to take
pleasure in the very thing that brings us and keeps us low. His
strength made perfect in our weakness, His presence filling and
satisfying our emptiness, becomes the secret of a humility that need
never fail. It can, as Paul, in full sight of what God works in us,
and through us, ever say, 'In nothing was I behind the chiefest
apostles, _though I am nothing.'_ His humiliations had led him to true
humility, with its wonderful gladness and glorying and pleasure in all
that humbles.

'Most gladly will I glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ
may rest upon me; wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses. 'The humble
man has learnt the secret of abiding gladness. The weaker he feels,
the lower he sinks; the greater his humiliations appear, the more the
power and the presence of Christ are his portion, until, as he says,
'I am nothing,' the word of his Lord brings ever deeper joy: 'My grace
is sufficient for thee.'

I feel as if I must once again gather up all in the two lessons: the
danger of pride is greater and nearer than we think, and the grace for
humility too.

_The danger of pride is greater and nearer than we think,_ and that
especially at the time of our highest experiences. The preacher of
spiritual truth with an admiring congregation hanging on his lips, the
gifted speaker on a Holiness platform expounding the secrets of the
heavenly life, the Christian giving testimony to a blessed experience,
the evangelist moving on as in triumph, and made a blessing to
rejoicing multitudes,--no man knows the hidden, the unconscious danger
to which these are exposed. Paul was in danger without knowing it;
what Jesus did for him is written for our admonition, that we may know
our danger and know our only safety. If ever it has been said of a
teacher or professor of holiness,--he is so full of self; or, he does
not practise what he preaches; or, his blessing has not made him
humbler or gentler,--let it be said no more. Jesus, in whom we trust,
can make us humble.

_Yes, the grace for humility is greater and nearer, too, than we
think._ The humility of Jesus is our salvation: Jesus Himself is our
humility. Our humility is His care and His work. His grace is
sufficient for us, to meet the temptation of pride too. His strength
will be perfected in our weakness. Let us choose to be weak, to be
low, to be nothing. Let humility be to us joy and gladness. Let us
gladly glory and take pleasure in weakness, in all that can humble us
and keep us low; the power of Christ will rest upon us. Christ humbled
Himself, therefore God exalted Him. Christ will humble us, and keep us
humble; let us heartily consent, let us trustfully and joyfully accept
all that humbles; the power of Christ will rest upon us. We shall find
that the deepest humility is the secret of the truest happiness, of a
joy that nothing can destroy.



Humility: The Beauty of Holiness

XII.

Humility and Exaltation

_'He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.'_
--LUKE xiv. 11, xviii. 13.

_'God giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourself in the sight of the
Lord, and He shall exalt you.'_--JAS. iv. 10.

_'Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He
may exalt you in due time.'_--1 PET. v. 6.

JUST yesterday I was asked the question, How am I to conquer this
pride? The answer; was simple. Two things are needed. Do what; God
says is your work: humble yourself. Trust Him to do what He says is
His work: He will exalt you.

The command is clear: humble yourself. That does not mean that it is
your work to conquer and cast out the pride of your nature, and to
form within yourself the lowliness of the holy Jesus. No, this is
God's work; the very essence of that exaltation, wherein He lifts you
up into the real likeness of the beloved Son. What the command does
mean is this: take every opportunity of humbling yourself before God
and man. In the faith of the grace that is already working in you; in
the assurance of the more grace for victory that is coming; up to the
light that conscience each time flashes upon the pride of the heart
and its workings; notwithstanding all there may be of failure and
falling, stand persistently as under the unchanging command: humble
yourself. Accept with gratitude everything that God allows from within
or without, from friend or enemy, in nature or in grace, to remind you
of your need of humbling, and to help you to it. Reckon humility to be
indeed the mother-virtue, your very first duty before God, the one
perpetual safeguard of the soul, and set your heart upon it as the
source of all blessing. The promise is divine and sure: He that
humbleth himself shall be exalted. See that you do the one thing God
asks: humble yourself. God will see that does the one thing He has
promised. He will give more grace; He will exalt you in due time.

All God's dealings with man are characterised by two stages. There is
the time of preparation, when command and promise, with the mingled
experience of effort and impotence, of failure and partial success,
with the holy expectancy of something better which these waken, train
and discipline men for a higher stage. Then comes the time of
fulfilment, when faith inherits the promise, and enjoys what it had
so often struggled for in vain. This law holds good in every part of
the Christian life, and in the pursuit of every separate virtue. And
that because it is grounded in the very nature of things. In all that
concerns our redemption, God must needs take the initiative. When that
has been done, man's turn comes. In the effort after obedience and
attainment, he must learn to know his impotence, in self-despair to
die to himself, and so be fitted voluntarily and intelligently to
receive from God the end, the completion of that of which he had
accepted the beginning in ignorance. So, God who had been the
Beginning, ere man rightly knew Him, or fully understood what His
purpose was, is longed for and welcomed as the End, as the All in All.

It is even thus, too, in the pursuit of humility. To every Christian
the command comes from the throne of God Himself: humble yourself. The
earnest attempt to listen and obey will be rewarded--yes,
rewarded--with the painful discovery of two things. The one, what
depth of pride, that is of unwillingness to count oneself and to be
counted nothing, to submit absolutely to God, there was, that one
never knew. The other, what utter impotence there is in all our
efforts, and in all our prayers too for God's help, to destroy the
hideous monster. Blessed the man who now learns to put his hope in
God, and to persevere, notwithstanding all the power of pride within
him, in acts of humiliation before God and Men. We know the law of
human nature: acts produce habits, habits breed dispositions,
dispositions form the will, and the rightly-formed will is character.
It is no otherwise in the work of grace. As acts, persistently
repeated, beget habits and dispositions, and these strengthened the
will, He who works both to will and to do comes with His mighty power
and Spirit; and the humbling of the proud heart with which the'
penitent saint cast himself so often before God, is rewarded with the
'more grace' of the humble heart, in which the Spirit of Jesus has
conquered, and brought the new nature to its maturity, and He the meek
and lowly One now dwells for ever.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will exalt you. And
wherein does the exaltation consist? The highest glory of the creature
is in being only a vessel, to receive and enjoy and show forth the
glory of God. It can do this only as it is willing to be nothing in
itself, that God may be all. Water always fills first the lowest
places. The lower, the emptier a man lies before God, the speedier and
the fuller will be the inflow of the divine glory. The exaltation God
promises is not, cannot be, any external thing apart from Himself: all
that He has to give or can give is only more of Himself, Himself to
take more complete possession. The exaltation is not, like an earthly
prize, something arbitrary, in no necessary connection with the
conduct to be rewarded. No, but it is in its very nature the effect
and result of the humbling of ourselves. It is nothing but the gift of
such a divine indwelling humility, such a conformity to and possession
of the humility of the Lamb of God, as fits us for receiving fully the
indwelling of God.

He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Of the truth of these words
Jesus Himself is the proof; of the certainty of their fulfilment to
us He is the pledge. Let us take His yoke upon us and learn of Him,
for He is meek and lowly of heart. If we are but willing to stoop to
Him, as He has stooped to us, He will yet stoop to each one of us
again, and we shall find ourselves not unequally yoked with Him. As we
enter deeper into the fellowship of His humiliation, and either humble
ourselves or bear the humbling of men, we can count upon it that the
Spirit of His exaltation, 'the Spirit of God and of glory,' will rest
upon us. The presence and the power of the glorified Christ will come
to them that are of an humble spirit. When God can again have His
rightful place in us, He will lift us up. Make His glory thy care in
humbling thyself; He will make thy glory His care in perfecting thy
humility, and breathing into thee, as thy abiding life, the very
Spirit of His Son. As the all-pervading life of God possesses thee,
there will be nothing so natural, and nothing so sweet, as to be
nothing, with not a thought or wish for self, because all is occupied
with Him who filleth all. 'Most gladly will I glory in my weakness,
that the strength of Christ may rest upon me.'

Brother, have we not here the reason that our consecration and our
faith have availed so little in the pursuit of holiness? It was by
self and its strength that the work was done under the name of faith;
it was for self and its happiness that God was called in; it was,
unconsciously, but still truly, in self and its holiness that the soul
rejoiced. We never knew that humility, absolute, abiding, Christlike
humility and self-effacement, pervading and marking our whole life
with God and man, was the most essential element of the life of the
holiness we sought for.

It is only in the possession of God that I lose myself. As it is in
the height and breadth and glory of the sunshine that the littleness
of the mote playing in its beams is seen, even so humility is the
taking our place in God's presence to be nothing but a mote dwelling
in the sunlight of His love.

'How great is God! how small am I!
Lost, swallowed up in Love's immensity!
God only there, not I.'

May God teach us to believe that to be humble, to be nothing in His
presence, is the highest attainment, and the fullest blessing of the
Christian life. He speaks to us: 'I dwell in the high and holy place,
and with him the is of a contrite and humble spirit.' Be this our
portion!

'Oh, to be emptier, lowlier,
Mean, unnoticed, and unknown,
And to God a vessel holier,
Filled with Christ, and Christ alone!'



Notes.

NOTE A--'All this is to make it known the region of eternity that
_pride_ can degrade the highest angels into devils, and humility raise
fallen flesh and blood to the thrones of angels. Thus, this is the
great end of God raising a new creation out of a fallen kingdom of
angels: for this end it stands in its state of war betwixt the fire
and pride of fallen angels, and the humility of the Lamb of God, that
the last trumpet may sound the great truth through the depths of
eternity, that evil can have no beginning but from pride, and no end
but from humility. The truth is this: Pride may die in you, or nothing
of heaven can live in you. Under the banner of the truth, give
yourself up to the meek and humble spirit of the holy Jesus. Humility
must sow seed, or there can be no reaping in Heaven. Look not at pride
only as an unbecoming temper, nor at humility only as a decent virtue:
for the one is death, and the other is life; the one is all hell, the
other is all heaven. So much as you have of pride within you, you have
of the fallen angels alive in you; so much as you have of true
humility, so much you have of the Lamb of God within you. Could you
see what every stirring of pride does to your soul, you would beg of
everything you meet to tear the viper from you, though with the loss
of a hand or an eye. Could you see what a sweet, divine, transforming
power there is in humility, how it expels the poison of your nature,
and makes room for the Spirit of God to live in you, you would rather
wish to be the footstool of all the world than want the smallest
degree of it.'--_Spirit of Prayer_, Pt. II. p. 73, Edition of Moreton,
Canterbury, 1893.


Note B.--'We need to know two things: 1. That our salvation consists
wholly in being saved from _ourselves_, or that which we are by
nature; 2. That in the whole nature of things nothing could be this
salvation or saviour to us but such a humility of God as is beyond all
expression. Hence the first unalterable term of the Saviour to fallen
man: Except a man denies _himself,_ he cannot be My disciple. Self is
the whole evil of fallen nature; self-denial is our capacity of being
saved; humility is our saviour. ..._Self_ is the root, the branches,
the tree, of all the evil of our fallen state. All the evils of fallen
angels and men have their birth in the pride of self. On the other
hand, all the virtues of the heavenly life are the virtues of
humility. It is humility alone that makes the unpassable gulf between
heaven and hell. What is then, or in what lies, the great struggle for
eternal life? It all lies in the strife between _pride_ and humility:
pride and _humility_ are the two master powers, the two kingdoms in
strife for the eternal possession of man. There never was, nor ever
will be, but one humility, and that is the one humility of Christ.
Pride and self have the all of man, till man has his all from Christ.
He therefore only fights the good fight whose strife is that the
self-idolatrous nature which he hath from Adam may be brought to death
by the supernatural humility of Christ brought to life in him.'--W.
Law, _Address to the Clergy,_ p. 52. [I hope that this book of Law on
the Holy Spirit may be issued by my publisher in the course of the
year.]


Note C--'To die to self, or come from under its power, is not, cannot
be done, by any active resistance we can make to it by the powers of
nature. The one true way of dying to self is the way of _patience,
meekness, humility, and resignation to God._ This is the truth and
perfection of dying to self. ...For if I ask you what the Lamb of God
means, must you not tell me that it is and means the perfection of
_patience, meekness, humility, and resignation to God?_ Must you not
therefore say that a desire and faith of these virtues is an
application to Christ, is a giving up yourself to Him and the
perfection of faith in Him? And then, because this inclination of your
heart to sink down in _patience, meekness, humility, and resignation
to God,_ is truly giving up all that you are and all that you have from
fallen Adam, it is perfectly leaving all you have to follow Christ; it
is your highest act of faith in Him. Christ is nowhere but in these
virtues; when they are there, He is in His own kingdom. Let this be
the Christ you follow.

'The Spirit of divine love can have no birth in any fallen creature,
till it wills and chooses to be dead to all self, in a _patient,
humble resignation_ to the power and mercy of God.

'I seek for all my salvation through the merits and mediation of the
_meek, humble, patient, suffering Lamb of God,_ who alone hath power
to bring forth the blessed birth of these heavenly virtues in my soul.
There is no possibility of salvation but in and by the birth of the
_meek, humble, patient, resigned Lamb of God_ in our souls. When the
Lamb of God hath brought forth a real birth of His own _meekness,
humility, and full resignation to God_ in our souls, then it is the
birthday of the Spirit of love in our souls, which, whenever we
attain, will feast our souls with such peace and joy in God as will
blot out the remembrance of everything that we called peace or joy
before.

'This way to God is infallible. This infallibility is grounded in the
twofold character of our Saviour: 1. As He is the Lamb of God, a
principle of all _meekness and humility_ in the soul; 2. As He is the
Light of heaven, and blesses eternal nature, and turns it into a
kingdom of heaven,--when we are willing to get rest to our souls in
meek, humble resignation to God, then it is that He, as the Light of
God and heaven, joyfully breaks in upon us, turns our darkness into
light, and begins that kingdom of God and of love within us, which
will never have an end.'--See _Wholly For God,_ pp 84-102. [The whole
passage deserves careful study, showing most remarkably how the
continual sinking down in humility before God is, from man's side, the
only way to die to self.][Footnote: The whole dialogue has been
published separately under the title _Dying to Self: A Golden
Dialogue._ By William Law. With Notes by A.M. (Nisbet & Co., 1s) Every
one who would study and practise humility will find in this golden
dialogue what it is that hinders our humility, how we are to be
delivered from it, and what the blessing of the Spirit of Love is that
comes to the humble from Christ, the meek and lowly Lamb of God.]


Note D.--_A Secret of Secrets: Humility the Soul of True
Prayer._--Till the spirit of the heart be renewed, till it is emptied
of all earthly desires, and stands in an habitual hunger and thirst
after God, which is the true spirit of prayer; till then, all our
prayer will be, more or less, but too much like lessons given to
scholars; and we shall mostly say them, only because we dare not
neglect them. But be not discouraged; take the following advice, and
then you may go to church without any danger of mere lip-labor or
hypocrisy, although there should be a hymn or a prayer, whose language
is higher than that of your heart. Do this: go to the church as the
publican went to the temple; stand inwardly in the spirit of your mind
in that form which he outwardly expressed, when he cast down his eyes,
and could only say, 'God be merciful to me, a sinner.' Stand
unchangeably, at least in your desire, in this form or state of heart;
it will sanctify every petition that comes out of your mouth; and when
anything is read or sung or prayed, that is more exalted than your
heart is, if you make this an occasion of further sinking down in the
spirit of the publican, you will then be helped, and highly blessed,
by those prayers and praises which seem only to belong to a heart
better than yours.

This, my friend, is a secret of secrets; it will help you to reap
where you have not sown, and be a continual source of grace in your
soul; for everything that inwardly stirs in you, or outwardly happens
to you, becomes a real good to you, if it finds or excites in you this
humble state of mind. For nothing is in vain, or without profit to the
humble soul; it stands always in a state of divine growth; everything
that falls upon it is like a dew of heaven to it. Shut up yourself,
therefore, in this form of Humility; all good is enclosed in it; it is
a water of heaven, that turns the fire of the fallen soul into the
meekness of the divine life, and creates that oil, out of which the
love to God and man gets its flame. Be enclosed, therefore, always in
it; let it be as a garment wherewith you are always covered, and a
girdle with which you are girt; breathe nothing but in and from its
spirit; see nothing but with its eyes; hear nothing but with its ears.
And then, whether you are in the church or out of the church, hearing
the praises of God or receiving wrongs from men and the world, all
will be edification, and everything will help forward your growth in
the life of God.--_The Spirit of Prayer,_ Pt. II. p. 121.


A PRAYER FOR HUMILITY

I will here give you an infallible touchstone, that will try all to
the truth. It is this: retire from the world and all conversation,
only for one month; neither write, nor read, nor debate anything with
yourself; stop all the former workings of your heart and mind: and,
with all the strength of your heart, stand all this month, as
continually as you can, in the following form of prayer to God. Offer
it frequently on your knees; but whether sitting, walking, or
standing, be always inwardly longing, and earnestly praying this one
prayer to God: 'That of His great goodness He would make known to you,
and take from your heart, _every kind and form and degree of Pride,_
whether it be from evil spirits, or your own corrupt nature; and that
He would awaken in you the _deepest depth and truth of that Humility,_
which can make you capable of His light and Holy Spirit.' Reject every
thought, but that of waiting and praying in this matter from the
bottom of your heart, with such truth and earnestness, as people in
torment wish to pray and be delivered from it. ...If you can and will
give yourself up in truth and sincerity to this spirit of prayer, I
will venture to affirm that, if you had twice as many evil spirits in
you as Mary Magdalene had, they will all be cast out of you, and you
will be forced with her to weep tears of love at the feet of the holy
Jesus.--_Ibid._ p. 124.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Humility - The Beauty of Holiness" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home