Wednesday, February 18, 2009

O Lord its hard to be humble...

Humility is a difficult word and an even more difficult place to live. John Emery Abbot navigates the waters of humility in his sermon:

"False and True Humility"

"The humility of the gospel is often confounded with other qualities. It is often supposed to imply a mean and debasing opinion of ourselves, particularly of our own intellectual and moral capacities and powers. But this it by no means implies. This is a great weakness, and is often extremely injurious to the character.

Nor does a Christian humility require us to debase ourselves below the truth with regard to our characters. The contemplation of virtue and excellence, in whatever degree and wherever it be found, must ever be attended with pleasure to an intelligent and moral being. If the Christian be conscious of it in himself, why should he not view it with complacency and joy ? It is the voice of God which speaks in the whispers of conscience. There is a pure feeling of self-approbation, which as an earthly reward is inseparably connected with virtue. The humility of the gospel does not require this feeling to be stifled and extinguished...

The greatest difficulty in describing the humility of the gospel arises from the necessity of giving such a representation of the nature and sources of it, as may include the humility of him who was holy, harmless, and separate from sin. The views from which the humility of our Saviour arose form part of the sources of that of his disciples.

The first source of Christian humility is a deep sense and devout veneration of the perfections of God. Let the mind once be impressed with the divine character; let the heart feel the full conviction of its awful majesty; let the soul once be conscious of the immediate presence of the infinite and eternal God ; and you could not but be humble. There is something in the contemplation of any high degree of purity and sanctity, which awakens in every good mind, a feeling of awe and loveliness ; and how greatly should it be awakened in the contemplation of perfect, unchangeable, inconceivable holiness!

Another source of christian humility arises from just and benevolent views of mankind. This was a great source of the humility of Christ. It was this which made him willing to relinquish his own happiness, and neglect the glory he had with the Father, and humble himself to the form of a servant, and enter our world of sorrow and sin. The same spirit is to influence his followers. We are ever to remember how noble is the nature, how vast the capacity of moral improvement and happiness, with which every human being is endowed. However sunk in misery, bowed down in want, loathsome in disease, or degraded by guilt; we are to remember that all were created capable of endless improvement and of immortal glory. Bear these views with you when you go into the world, and they will produce in the cause of benevolence an oblivion of yourselves. They will free you from self-conceit, excite you to a respect of all human beings; teach you to disregard the little advantages God has given you over them, and to waive many of your own rights, and sacrifice much of your present comfort, to promote their advancement, safety, and peace. The benevolent affections thus go to form part of the humility of a Christian, as they did to form that of his great exemplar and guide.

The natural effect of humility is to make the Christian desire better to know and to perform his duty; and this desire the grace of God enables him to fulfil. The humble in heart he gives to know, and to obey the truth. He enlightens his path, guards his frailty, helps his infirmities, aids him amidst his temptations and trials, and strengthens and animates him in his christian course. " God giveth grace to the humble."


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