Page images
PDF
EPUB

his commandments that we should submit to them? But a humble soul falls under the power of truth, and counts it his greatest glory to be obedient to all truth. . 5. A fifth property of a humble soul is this—a humble soul lives not upon himself, not upon his own actings, but upon the Lord Jesus, and his actings. Poor men do not live upon themselves; they live upon others; they live upon the care of others, the love of others, the provision of others; why thus a humble soul lives upon the care of Christ, the love of Christ, the promise of Christ, the faithfulness of Christ, the discoveries of Christ. He lives upon Christ for his justification, Phil. iii. 10. He lives upon Christ for his sanctification: Awake, O north wind, and come thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out, Cant. iv. 16. And he lives upon Christ for his consolation; As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I. sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste, Cant. ii. 3. And he lives upon Christ for the performance of all holy actions; I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me, Phil. iv. 13. I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me, Gal. ii. 20. A humble soul sees in Christ a fulness of abundance, and a fulness of redundancy, and here his soul lives and feeds. A humble soul sees that all his stock is in the hands of Christ. His stock of graces, his stock of comforts, his stock of experiences is in the hands of Jesus Christ, who is the great lord keeper of all a believer's graces, and of all his comforts, and therefore as children live upon them in whose hand their stock is, be it a brother or a friend; so a humble soul sees its stock is in the hand of the Lord Jesus, and therefore he lives upon Christ, upon his love, and his provision, and his undertakings, &c. But proud hearts live not upon the Lord Jesus Christ; they live upon themselves, and upon their own duties, their own- righteousness, their own actings, as the scripture evidences. Christ dwells in that heart most eminently, that hath emptied itself of itself. Christ is the humble man's manna, upon which he lives, and by which he thrives.

.. 6. A sixth property of a humble soul is this—he judges himself to be below the wrath and judgments of God. A humble soul looks upon himself as one not worthy" that God should spend a rod upon him in order to his reformation, edification, or salvation. 'As I am unworthy,' says a humble soul, ' that God should smile upon me, so I am unworthy that he should spend a frown upon me.' Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble'1. Job xiii. 25. Why, I am but a leaf; I am but a little dry stubble; I am below thy wrath; I am so very very bad, that I wonder that thou shouldest so much as spend a rod upon me. What more weak, worthless, slight, and contemptible than a leaf? than dry stubble? Why, Lord, I am a poor, weak, and worthless creature, I wonder that thou shouldest take any pains to do me good; I cannot but count and call every thing a mercy that is less than hell.

So David, in 1 Sam. xxiv. 14. After whom is the king of Israel come outl after whom dost thou pursue? after a flea? The language of a humble soul, when God begins to be angry, is this, ' Lord, I can bless thee that thou wilt take any pains with me; but I humbly acknowledge that I am Below the least rod, I am not worthy that thou shouldest frown upon me, threaten me, or strike me, for my internal and eternal good.' But proud hearts think themselves wronged when they are afflicted; they cry out with Cain, Our punishment is greater than we can bear.

7. A seventh property of a humble soul is this—a humble soul doth highly prize the least of Christ. The least smile, the least good word, the least good look, the least truth, the least mercy is highly valued by a humble soul.

The Canaanitish woman, in the xvth of St. Matthew, sets a high price upon a crumb of mercy. 'Ah ! Lord,' .says the humble soul, ' if I may not have a loaf of mercy, give me a piece of mercy; if not a piece of mercy, give me a crumb of mercy. If I may not have sun-light, let me have moon-light; if not moon-light, let me have starlight; if not star-light, let me have candle-light; and for that I will bless thee.' Faith will pick an argument out of a repulse, and turn discouragements into encourager ments. . l

In the time of the law the meanest things that were consecrated were very highly prized, as leather or wood that was in the tabernacle. A humble soul looks upon all the things of God as consecrated things. Every truth of God is a consecrated truth, it is consecrated to holy use; and this causes the soul highly to prize it; and so every smile of God, and every discovery of God, and every drop of mercy from God, is very highly prized by a soul that walks humbly with God. The name of Christ, the voice of Christ, the footsteps of Christ, the least touch of the garment of Christ, the least regarded truth of Christ, the meanest and least regarded among the flock of Christ, are highly prized by humble souls that are interested in Christ. A humble soul cannot, a humble soul dares not, call any thing little that has Christ in it; neither can a humble soul call or count any thing great wherein he sees not Christ, wherein he enjoys not Christ. A humble soul highly prizes the least love-token, the least courtesy from Christ; but proud hearts count great mercies small mercies, and small mercies no mercies, yea pride does so unman them, that they often call mercy, misery.

8.. The eighth property of a humble soul is this—it can never be good enough; it can never pray enough, nor hear enough, nor mourn enough, nor believe enough, nor love enough, nor fear enough, nor joy enough, nor repent enough, nor loath sin enough, nor be humble enough.

Humble Paul looks upon his great all as nothing. He forgets those things that are behind, and reaches forth to those things which are before, that if by any means he might attain unto the resurrection of the dead; that is, that perfection of holiness which the dead shall attain unto in the morning of the resurrection; by a metonymy of the subject for the adjunct. No holiness below that matchless, peerless, spotless, perfect holiness, which saints shall have in the glorious day of Christ's appearing, will satisfy this humble soul. A humble heart is an aspiring heart. It cannot be contented to get up some rounds in Jacob's ladder, but it must get to the very top of the ladder, to the very top of holiness. A humble heart cannot be satisfied with so much grace as will bring it to glory, with so much of heaven as will keep it from dropping into hell, it is still

No. XL. c

crying out, ' Give, Lord, give; give me more of thyself, more of thy Son, more of thy Spirit; give me more light, more life, more love.' Cesar, in warlike matters, minded more what was to conquer, than what was conquered; what was to gain, than what was gained: so does a humble soul mind more what he should be, than what he is, what is to be done, than what is done. Verily, heaven is for that man, and that man is for heaven, who sets up for his mark the perfection of holiness. Poor men are full of desires; they are often sighing out,' O that we had bread to strengthen us, drink to refresh us, cloaths to cover us, friends to visit us, and houses to shelter us.' So souls that are spiritually poor, are often sighing out, ' O that we had more of Christ to strengthen us, more of Christ to refresh us, more of Christ to be a covering and shelter to us.' 'I had rather,' says the humble soul, ' be a poor man and a rich Christian, than a rich man and a poor Christian.' 'Lord,' says the humble soul, ' I had rather do any thing, I had rather bear any thing, I had rather be any thing, than to be a dwarf in grace.' The light and glory of humble Christians rise by degrees, Cant. vi. 10. Looking forth as the morning, with a little light; fair as the moon, more light; clear as the sun, come up to a higher degree of spiritual light, life, and glory. 'Lord,' says the humble soul, 'give me much grace and then a little gold will serve my turn; give me much of heaven, and little of earth will content me; give me much of the springs above, and a little of the springs below will satisfy me.'

9. The ninth property of a humble soul is this—it will smite and strike for small sins, as well as for great; for those the world counts no sins, as well as for those that they count gross sins.

When David had but cut off the lap of Saul's garment, his heart smote him as if he had cut off his head. The Hebrew word signifies to smite, wound, or chastise. Ah! his heart struck him, his heart chastised him, his heart wounded him, for cutting off Saul's skirt, though he did it upon noble grounds, to convince Saul of his false jealousies, and to evidence his own innocency and integrity. And so, at another time, his heart smote him for numbering the people, as if he had murdered the people; And David's heart smote him, after that he had numbered the people; and David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done. And now I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant, for I have done very foolishly. 2 Sam. xxiv. 10. A humble soul knows that little sins (if I may so call any) cost Christ his blood, and that they make way for greater; and that little sins multiplied become great, as a little sum multiplied is great; that they cloud the face of God, wound conscience, grieve the Spirit, rejoice Satan, and make work for repentance. A humble soul knows that little sins (suppose them so) are very dangerous. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump; a little staff may kill one; a little poison may poison one; a little leak in a ship sinks it; a little fly in a box of ointment spoils it; a little flaw in a good cause marrs it: so a little sin may at once barr the door of heaven, and open the gates of hell; 'and therefore a humble soul smites and strikes itself for the least, as well as the greatest. Though a head of garlic be little, yet it will poison the Leopard, though he be great. Though a mouse is but little, yet it will kill an elephant, if it gets up into his trunk. Though the scorpion be little, yet will it sting a lion to death; and so will the least sin, if not pardoned by the death of Christ.

A proud heart counts great sins small, and small sins no sins, and so disarms conscience, for a time, of its whipping and wounding power; but at death, or in hell, conscience will take up an iron rod, with which it will lash the sinner for ever; and then, though too late, the sinner shall acknowledge his little sins to be very great, and his great sins to be exceedingly grievous and odious.

10. The tenth property of a humble soul is this—it will quietly bear burdens, and patiently take blows and knocks, and make no noise. A humble soul sees God through man; he sees God through all the actions and carriages of men. I was dumb, saith the prophet, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it. A humble soul looks through secondary causes, and sees the hand of God, and then lays his own hand upon his mouth. A humble soul is it mute soul, a tongue-tied soul, when he looks through

« PreviousContinue »