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and devices they have recourse to, to seem what they are not, and conceal what they are. Humility is the parent of simplicty and truth; he who is really convinced that he is nothing, will not very long care to be thought something.
Another character of Humility, and the last I shall speak of, is ourselves and our circumstances duly appreciated, to be content with them. Man cannot bear to see himself so corrupt, so dependent, so helpless, to all good: not that he hates corruption, but because he does not like to lie thus low. He cannot bear to owe every thing to mercy, and will perpetually be pleading some little merit of his own, because pride does not like to give all the glory to another. Real Humility will teach him to be content to loathe himself, that he may better love the Lord who saved him; and he will become in love with the dependence that obliges him to receive all things from his Father's bounty. In respect of circumstances, there is a very subtle pride, I have observed in people who think meanly of themselves, of their pretensions and attainments, and so might fancy themselves very humble. But they are impatient of any one who excels them. They cannot endure to be superseded; they look with almost malignant envy on their superiors in talent or condition ; and fret themselves with perpetual uneasiness about their own inferiority. This is not humility. Witness its truths. Detraction, envy, tenacious sensibility of affronts, jealous suspicion of neglects, and impatient yearnings against providence, for denying us advantages we are not satisfied to be without. Humility will silence these. It knows we have no claim to what we have, much less to more, It wonders why Providence gives any thing, not why it gives so little; and having used our talents to so VOL. II.
It is easy
little purpose, it is grateful that they were not more to answer for.
Such, it appears to me, are the principal branches of that heaven-planted root. Many-coloured, indeed, are the blossoms they put forth, to bless the world that disregards them; acceptable to God, but of little beauty in the estimate of men. to perceive, that sentiments like these would be sufficient to constitute the principle of Humility ; and however far they lie beyond the reach of human scrutiny-and they are beyond the reach of any scrutiny but God's—the heart that is possessed by them is humble in his sight, whatever men may think of it. To ourselves, and to each other, the existence of the principle of Humility, like that of every other principle, can be verified only by the manifestations of its fruits. I am not afraid, however, that these should long be wanting, where sentiments such as I have described are really implanted in the bosom. There may be no flower—there
may be no budthere may
be no full-blown leaf. The careless may walk over the poor, feeble weed, and the wise be doubtful of its characters. But let the blessed possessor cherish his heavenly treasure: there may
be quite enough even yet to identify its worth. Sentiments such as I have described are not easily mistaken : they can hardly escape detection in careful self-examination. If found, they cannot well deceive, for they never yet inhabited an unregenerate heart: and amid all the world calls virtue, there is nothing that in the least resembles them. The seasons will pass, the dews of heaven will fall, and the beams of love increase. It will grow up and blossom, and no man hereafter shall deny it, the fairest ornament of a safer paradise. Though all to each other, and each one to himself, denies the claim, and with but too
much reason, seeing its feeble growth, I doubt not that God beholds in many a bosom the germ of this celestial flower; so altered in its nature now, that where once it could not live, yet since Jesus planted it, it cannot die.
JULIA MACDUGAL ARNOT.
“You are a happy little lamb,” said Julia to her pet. I overheard her, as, wrapt in cloth and sable trebly folded, I paced up and down a short distance in the sunshine, better known for such by its brightness than its warmth ; cautiously turning short of the termination of the wall, lest the east wind should turn its corners. She was in the hall, carefully drying and combing, before the stove, her newlywashed lamb, white as the driven snow, and tying a scarlet riband round its neck. “You are a happy lamb,” she said, as she pursued her task, “ to be thus fondly petted. Yonder are your born brethren in the field, shivering in the wind, and cradled in the snow. No one washes them, but they are wet by the evening dew. The shepherd makes them no better bed than the dry straw, and feeds them with nothing but the fresh-cut grass.
While here are you,
little thing, living in ladies' bowers, and fed on sweetmeats, and bedded in flannel, and dressed, and preferred to such high company. I wonder at you, if you are not grateful for your destiny."
Whether this address excited any train of reflection in the mind of the pet lamb, I am not informed; in mine it did. “ Is it a happy little lamb,” I thought
—“ the happier for the distinction conferred on it, in separation from its less favoured companions ?" It seemed a speculation worth pursuing. I forgot that
the east wind would turn the corners, and proceeded full to the termination of the gravel walk, to look after the condition of the lambs in the field. They were each one on the sunny side of its patient mother, as she stood silent and motionless against the wind. The careful shepherd had foddered them as closely as he could, and sheltered them round with hurdles; but still they shivered in the blast, the half-thawed snow was under their feet, and the green blade but barely visible: its deficiency supplied by fresh-pulled turnips.
“ Julia is right, then, I suppose—this is what her lamb was born to. She took it from the mother that has twins; and yonder, with fleece uncombed, and neck unadorned, fed on turnips, and shivering in the breeze, stands the twin brother of the pet. Now it is assuredly a happy lamb, preferred to such a destiny.” I returned, and found Julia's favourite gently reposed on the soft matting beside the stove, in honourable company with the French lapdog. But the train of my reflection was not ended. In idea, I saw this lamb grown into a large uncomely sheep. No pet for a lady, certainly; and as certainly then to be sent back into the flock, and abide the common lot. I did not exactly suppose high-bred feelings, or intellectual refinements, wounded pride, or mortified recollections, would subject the animal to months of mental misery: but in the measure of its capacity to suffer, I did imagine it a stranger among its kindred, shunned by them as an alien, unused to sleep on sods, or feed on turnips, and consequently more exposed to cold and hunger than its hardy companions. And with perfect certainty, I saw it led like them to the slaughter, sold to the same ignominy, doomed to the same knife, without