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unseen, forgetting all besides; whether in the flush of youthful zeal, he noises his joyful tidings through the world, or in the wreck of a chastised and broken spirit hides himself in silence from its snaresthe whisper runs the same—he wants humility. Or leave the voice of criticism, and the voice of fame, and speak in secret confidence with the Christian of himself; ask him what he wants most, and if he be indeed a Christian, he answers that he wants Humility.
Apparently, then, there should be no such thing; or it should be the native of some unsearched spot; or its characters should be so doubtful, none can know them. I thought upon these things, and remembered my poor weed. Nobody knew it; nobody liked it. Could I find this flower of heaven, and present it to my readers, would it share the same fate? I believe it would.
It did so, when, in the full beauty of its heavenformed blossoms, it showed itself upon this bleak and blighting world. What acceptance did the humility of Jesus find in the perfect pattern exhibited in his humanity? When he spake in that character of greatness and wisdom that was all his own, he was charged with pride“ Whom makest thou thyself ?" Of God he had made himself man : of Lord of all, he had made himself servant of the vilest: his degradation was of his own making, not his greatness. When he bent this greatness to be the companion of the mean, and sat at meat with publicans and sinners; then his humility was meanness, degradation unworthy of his character. When he looked tenderly on her who bathed his feet with tears, taking pleasure in the demonstration of affection from one by whose very touch the Pharisee thought himself defiled, then his humility was igno
rance. “ Were this man a prophet, he would know this woman is a sinner.” When he spake as never man spake the truth and wisdom of his Father, then again he was proud—“ Art thou wiser than our father Abraham?” And in that last and lowest humiliation, when the sinless died under the obloquy of sin, his previous boast, his high pretensions, supplied mockery for the rabble: pride was the first and last reproach of the meek and lowly Jesus.
To those, then, who are so ready to charge the children of God with want of humility, I would say “Of this be sure, the more you see of it in them the less will you like it. The more abundant in any Christian character shall be its growth, the less agreeable that character will be to you. That flower you affect to look for, would
you found it, an offensive weed. And if it could be exhibited in the saint as perfectly as in his Lord, it would meet with the same acceptance now as it did then. You would not know it when you saw it, nor like it if shown to you."
To them who desire to find and cultivate in their own bosoms this plant of heaven, I would say, “ Be you mistake it not for something else ;
and ignorantly rooting out the holy germ, cherish and foster some ill weed instead.” İt is common to hear people say of themselves, that they are humble before God, but not before men. I do not perfectly understand what is meant by this. If it mean that they are not humble in the sight of men, in the opinions of men, let them remember Jesus was not. If it means that there is no growth of Humility in their conduct and feelings towards each other, they would do well to doubt if there be any before God: for there is in the heart of man no barren principle,
however slow may sometimes be its growth, and long its fruit in ripening to perfection.
Depend upon this the features of true Humility in the people of God are not acceptable to the world, and cannot be ; for they are opposed to it in every thing. If, therefore, they show you some brilliant flower of their garden, and tell you that is it, believe them not, nor venture to transplant it to your bosom. If they tell you this one is proud, and that one wants humility, till you begin to think there is no such growth on earth, and so are disposed to content yourself without it, again believe them not. There is such a thing; and the plant that died in Paradise, will grow up and blossom again. Now, indeed, it is an obscure and sickly thing, cast out of the garden to hide itself in the waste ; trodden down of the many, and sought of the few with carefulness and toil; disowned of the wise, and of the proud disliked, and not seldom mistaken by those who should have loved it. If we would plant this flower in our bosoms, we must believe no testimony respecting it but the record of Scripture, and no example of it but the character of Jesus. In exact proportion as our humility agrees with his, its characters are true: in that in which it differs, they are false, and our plant is spurious. If yet it bears no flower, are its leaves the same? If yet it is bare and leafless, is its stem the same ? If it have no stem, nor aught that is visible without, is the root, is the seed of our Humility, what Jesus' was?
I shrink from an attempt to describe this beautiful thing. I see it in all its loveliness depicted in the Scripture. If I add any thing to it, I shall give it a character it has not; if I omit any thing
I shall deprive it of its parts; and either way mislead. The utmost I can venture, is to drop a hint or two, that may remove the prevailing errors of those who are in search of it.
One essential of Humility is a just appreciation of ourselves. Were it possible to think worse of ourselves than we deserve, that would be no feature of Humility. He who has received proof of God's pardoning love, is not proud, because he knows he is the heir of everlasting life; it is the gift of God, and not for any deserving of his own.
Man cannot think worse of himself than he deserves; his iniquity is deeper than he ever yet has fathomed. He, therefore, who thinks worst of himself, is, in this respect, most humble ; because he is nearest to the just appreciation of his character. And as every man has more opportunity of taking measure of his own corruption than that of any one besides, I doubt if any one is really humble till he thinks there is not a living being so unworthy as himself. From the want of this humility comes all that anger, that impatience, that bitterness, that malignant speaking against others' sin, which a growing knowledge of our own will shame to silence.
Another essential of Humility is a just appreciation of our circumstances; by which I intend all that is not within our own responsibility, whether intellectual or extrinsic. The prince who should please to suppose himself a peasant, and act the part of one, would show no humility by doing so; nor the man of talent, nor the scholar who has spent his life in study, should he profess to know less than the unlettered hind, and be led by his judgment when he ought to have guided him with his own. He is humble, when justly appreciating what he is in
comparison with those around him; he knows that the distinctions of wealth, and rank, and intellect, are of no intrinsic value to-day, and will be gone to-morrow; and feels more shame for the use of them, than pride in the possession ; and takes no more glory to himself for his endowments, than he would give to a servant whom he should lade with gold to do his errands; but rather carries them, as the pack-horse some precious load—a charge, but no honour. This is the humility, the want of which produces so much arrogance and contempt ; the pride of birth, and wealth, and intellect, and that eager aspiring after them, which gives birth to ambition, jealousy, and strife; all which will cease or diminish as this virtue grows.
Another character of Humility is to be content that others should justly appreciate us also. O how slow is this fair bud in blowing! How long after a man has discovered his own obliquity, does he shrink and writhe under the slightest touch of blame. What subterfuges, what artifices, he makes use of to pass. himself for something that he is not; and how indignant, how abashed, when his infirmities are exposed! And how long after he professes to despise the world's distinctions, does he struggle to pass in it for something—to hide bis ignorance, his meanness, or his poverty! What bitterness is in his heart against those who speak ill of him—though they cannot speak a hundredth part the ill he knows ! What pangs of wounded pride when he is treated as an inferior, or refused the deference he is aiming to attain! Hence all our haughty vindications, our impatience of reproof, our undue pretensions ; hence all those licensed falsehoods, with which men cover from each other the thoughts of their hearts, and the secrets of their houses ; the thousand schemes