Humility: A Rare Jewel in the Life of a Christian

31000000000264170_1920x1080.jpg(J.C. Ryle)

“And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of his servant.” Luke 1:46-56

Let us mark Mary’s deep humility in this hymn of praise. She who was chosen of God to the high honor of being Messiah’s mother–speaks of her own “humble estate,” and acknowledges her need of a “Savior.” She uses the language of one who has been taught by the grace of God to feel her own sins, and need a Savior for her own soul.

Let us copy this holy humility of our Lord’s mother. Like her, let us be lowly in our own eyes, and think little of ourselves. Humility is the highest grace that can adorn the Christian character. It is a true saying of an old divine, “A man has just so much Christianity–as he has humility.” This is the grace which is most suitable to sinful human nature.

Above all, humility is the grace which is within the reach of every converted person!
All are not rich.
All are not learned.
All are not highly gifted.
All are not preachers.
But all children of God may be clothed with humility!


35000000000235714_1920x1080.jpg(Francis Bourdillon, “The Self-abhorrence of Job” 1864)

“Behold, I am vile!” Job 40:4

At the close of his long trial Job said, “I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear–but now my eye sees You! Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:6-7

What did he mean? Probably, that while he had long known God, as having heard of Him, and in a measure believed in and served Him–yet . . .
now he knew Him far more deeply and closely,
now he had experienced God’s personal dealings,
now he had had great searchings of heart,
now he had learned far more of God than ever he knew before.

How many can say the same! How many can think of some time of sore affliction–and see that at that season and by that means, they learned to know God in a way they had never known Him before–more closely, more deeply, more lovingly. Yes, more lovingly. For this is what God is leading His children to by all His dealings–to know His love to them more, and to love Him more in return.

How many inward comforts does He send in the time of trial!
What deep searchings of heart go on in the silence of a sick-room!
How many earnest prayers are sent up thence!
What sweet thoughts of Christ are given–what a sense of pardon, what peace, what love, what a manifestation of Christ to the soul!

These are the gifts of God–the work of His Spirit the Comforter–the blessings of sanctified affliction!

Shall we repine when God’s chastening hand is laid upon us? Ah, no! Rather let us . . .
look well into our own hearts,
and search out the root of self-righteousness,
and humble ourselves before God,
and shelter ourselves more closely under the shadow of His wing.
He is teaching us and blessing us now. And if, under His teaching, we find ourselves distressed by a new and deeper feeling of our sinfulness–yet let us then think that we are but learning Job’s lesson; and let us be led to cast ourselves more earnestly and entirely upon the merits of Christ our Savior, that in Him we may find rest to our souls.

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You might want to read the whole of Bourdillon’s insightful 2 page article “The Self-abhorrence of Job.

Nothing is Impossible When God’s Concerned

The Curve

J.C. Ryle

“With God nothing shall be impossible!” Luke 1:37

Let us mark the mighty principle which the angel Gabriel lays down to silence all objections about the incarnation: “With God nothing shall be impossible.”

A hearty reception of this great principle is of immense importance to our own inward peace. Questions and doubts will often arise in men’s minds about many subjects in religion. They are the natural result of our fallen estate of soul. Our faith at the best is very feeble. Our knowledge at its highest is clouded with much infirmity. And among many antidotes to a doubting, anxious, questioning state of mind, few will be found more useful than that before us now–a thorough conviction of God’s omnipotence. With Him who called the world into being and formed it out of nothing–everything is possible. Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

There is no sin too black and bad to be pardoned. The blood of Christ cleanses from all sin.

There is no heart too hard and wicked to be changed. The heart of stone can be made a heart of flesh.

There is no work too hard for a believer to do. We may do all things through Christ strengthening us.

There is no trial too hard to be borne. The grace of God is sufficient for us.

There is no promise too great to be fulfilled. Christ’s words never pass away–and what He has promised, He is able to perform.

There is no difficulty too great for a believer to overcome. When God is for us–then who shall can against us? The mountain shall become a plain!

Let principles like these be continually before our minds. The angel’s maxim is an invaluable remedy. Faith never rests so calmly and peacefully–as when it lays its head on the pillow of God’s omnipotence!

Sickenss: God’s Messenger

Tomaž_Fantoni_-_legenda_o_bronasti_kači“I do not desire for any unconverted person here that he should be ill, but if that should be the way to make him think, repent, and believe, I could earnestly pray for it. I believe the Lord has often preached to men in hospitals who never heard him in churches and chapels; fever and cholera have been heard by those whom ministers could not reach.

If we could banish pain and sickness from the world, it may be we should be robbing righteousness of two of her most impressive evangelists.

What Jonah was to Nineveh, sickness has been to many a man.  Like Elijah also, it has cried in the soul, ‘Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.’

Disease has been a grim orator for God, and with an eloquence not to be resisted, it has made the hearts of men to bow before its message.”  –C.H. Spurgeon “Sermons, Vol. 10” p. 159

You Will See the Reason

Boat sterring wheel(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

“What I am doing you do not understand now–but afterward you will understand!” John 13:7

Above all, I would say to the Christian: Never distrust the kindness, the love, the wisdom and faithfulness of your Savior–but confide in Him who has promised that all things shall work together for your good. Though you may not now know what He is doing–you shall know hereafter. You will see the reason for . . .
all the trials and temptations,
all the dark and comfortless hours,
all the distressing doubts and fears,
all the long and tedious conflicts with which you are now exercised.
You will be convinced that not a sigh, not a tear, not a single uneasy thought was ever allotted to you–without some wise and gracious design.

Say not, then, like Jacob of old, “All these things are against me!”
Say not, like David, “I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul!”
For all these things are for your good–and you shall never perish, neither shall any pluck you out of Christ’s hand!

Why should you, who are sons of the King of Heaven–be lean and discontented from day to day? Remember that you are the heir of God and joint heir with Christ–of an incorruptible, eternal, and unfading inheritance!

Go to Jesus, the compassionate Savior of sinners, who heals the broken in heart, who gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart. Go, I say, to Him!
Tell Him all your griefs and sorrows!
Tell Him that your souls cleave to the dust!
Tell Him that iniquities, doubts, and fears prevail against you!
Tell Him that you are poor and miserable and wretched and blind and naked.

Go to His mercy-seat, where He sits as a merciful High Priest. Go and embrace His feet, lay open your whole hearts–and you will find Him infinitely more gracious than you can conceive; infinitely more willing to grant your requests, than you are to make them. He is love itself–it is His very nature to pity.

Have you a hard heart? Carry it to Him–and He will soften it.

Have you a blind mind? Carry it to Him–and He will enlighten it.

Are you oppressed with a load of guilt? Carry it to Him–and He will remove it.

Are you defiled and polluted? He will wash you in His own blood.

Have you backslidden? “Turn unto Me,” says He, “O backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.”

How great are the privileges which result from an ability to say, “Christ is mine!”
If Christ is yours–then all that He possesses is yours!
His power is yours–to defend you!
His wisdom and knowledge are yours–to guide you!
His righteousness is yours–to justify you!
His Spirit and grace are yours–to sanctify you!
His Heaven is yours–to receive you!

You will never live happily or usefully–until you can feel that Christ, and all that He possesses, are yours–and learn to come and take them as your own!


92000000000262120_1920x1080.jpg(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

Sin is worse than Hell!

Hell is only a punishment–but sin is a crime! The crime is more evil than the punishment. Hell is the punishment for the crime of sin. The very greatness of this punishment–argues the greatness of the crime, and the sinfulness of sin. That God is glorified on men in such a way–is a clear and full proof what an evil thing it is to sin against and dishonor God. Consequently Hell itself does not inflict so much hurt–as sin does. Hell, indeed, is a dismal place of horror and torment, the extremity of suffering–but it never had any existence until sin came. Nor could Hell have such extreme torments as it does–if sin were not there.

It is reported as a saying of Anselm, that if sin and Hell were set before him and he must go through one of them–he would choose to go through Hell, rather than sin!

Sin is the worst of Hell–and worse than Hell! Sin is what makes sinners cry out for the torment of devouring fire and everlasting burnings–which are no terror to righteous and upright souls (Isaiah 33:14,15). It is sin which makes Hell to be Hell. God was never angry–until sin made Him so. His wrath was never kindled–except by sin.

Now just as sin made Hell, so the more sin–the worse the Hell!

“These shall receive greater damnation!” Mark 12:40

Proverbs 16…God In His Sovereignty

102000000000256006_1920x1080.jpg1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.

9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

10 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.

11 A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work.

12 It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.

13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.

14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.

15 In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.

16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.

18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly*, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.

23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.

24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb*, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

26 He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.

27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.

30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

The Greater the Sin the Greater the Forgiveness

88000000000243864_1920x1080.jpgIf she has exceeded some of us in the heinousness of her sin

(Charles Spurgeon)

“As she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them!” Luke 7:38

O that our eyes were as ready with tears of repentance as were hers! O that our hearts were as full of love as hers and our hands as ready to serve the forgiving Lord! If she has exceeded some of us in the heinousness of her sin–yet she has exceeded all of us in the fervency of her affection!

Making Light of Providence

bc38e01ca13310407c2984c133327e302cb29227002019b5b5fb2ef67963a615(Octavius Winslow)

“Our Father in Heaven, may Your name be kept holy.” Matthew 6:9

Nothing more quickly or truly indicates an irreverent and undevout mind, than levity on sacred subjects. The individual who can provoke a smile, or indulge in a cleverness, or shape a witticism–at the expense of what is divine and sacred–is blasphemous indeed! He who can treat in a light manner any religious subject, who can turn the Bible into a jest-book, and intersperse secular conversation with religious phraseology or Scripture language in sport–will the great God hold such an irreverent and profane mind guiltless?

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain–for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain!” Exodus 20:7

I Am a Poor Creature

Regenwurm1(John Newton’s Letters)

My recent journey was very pleasant–but I ought to wish that it was profitable. I have had long experience how little I am able to improve by the most desirable advantages–and how little I am affected by a combination of the greatest mercies.

I may express all my complaints in one short sentence: “I am a poor creature!”
And all my hopes and comforts may be summed up as briefly, by saying: “I have a rich and gracious Savior!”

Full as I am in myself of inconsistencies and conflicts–I have in Him, a measure of peace. He found me in a waste howling wilderness–and He redeemed me from the house of misery and bondage. And though I have been ungrateful and perverse–He has not yet forsaken me–and never will. He is able to hold even me up–to pity, support and supply me to the end of life.

How suitable a Savior! He is made all things to those who have nothing–and is engaged to help those who can do nothing.

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost, those who come to God through Him–since He always lives to make intercession for them!” Hebrews 7:25