Imatges de pàgina

all-powerful God, and we but poor, weak, sinful mortals; yet he humbled and abased himself, and we are continually exalting and puffing ourselves up

with the vanities of the world. Oh, miserable sinners! if we would search our own hearts, we should find ample cause for humility; we should, with prayer and supplication, turn to Him, who alone hath the words of eternal life. And how are we to turn to him, if we do not endeavour to imitate him (as far as we are able), both in the excellency of his life, and the purity of his character ? in his patience and humility under per• secution and contempt, in his gentleness and long-suffering, his pity for the misfortunes and sorrows of others, and even for their sins ? Jesus Christ quitted the right hand of God, and the joys of heaven, where he was the Lord of glory, the

, Ruler of angels, and the beloved Son of God himself; to live in this manner on earth, and to suffer a dreadful death, for


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no other end but our good, and our eternal happiness. To this great privilege, which has been so dearly purchased for us, we can have no claim, unless we follow his example, and conform ourselves to his holy life. To be Christians, is to be followers of Jesus; therefore, to imitate him in his patience and resignation, his humility and self-denial, is the only way to follow him. He is God as well as Man; and as he is all-powerful, we must adore him; as just, we must fear him; as merciful and gracious, we must love him with all our soul, and with all our strength; but in his humility, his patience, his resignation, his submission and lowliness, we must follow and imitate him. Nor yet are we presumptuously to suppose that even this imitation of our blessed Lord is to come from ourselves alone; "in our flesh dwelleth no good thing;" but Jesus Christ is a merciful Lord, he knoweth our infirmities, for he was in all things like unto us,

though without sin. He has promised, therefore, (and he is faithful and just,) an abundant measure of his holy spirit, and his Almighty assistance to those who sincerely pray for it.

19. There is no virtue more constantly inculcated in the Gospel than humility, nor any which is more acceptable in the sight of God. Our Saviour himself tells us, " that God giveth grace to the humble.” Humility is not only a virtue in ourselves, but its effects prove a blessing to others. The view of our own faults and sufferings, renders us indulgent and compassionate to our fellow-creatures : it affords us also abundant causes for humbling ourselves before God; for we cannot think, without the deepest selfabasement, on the miserable and despairing condition from which the mercy and the power of God has raised us. Indeed, it is only by accustoming ourselves continually to think of God, and

by loving him with all our soul and with all our strength, that we can conquer our pride and vain-glory, and attain that meek and quiet spirit, "which is, in the sight of God," of great price. If we truly love God, we God, we must abhor and detest ourselves; and when we do so, our greatest faults and errors may be turned to our good, by thus making them the causes of our humility; and we may, through faith and trust in our blessed Saviour, certainly hope for the pardon of them. But this humbling sense of our own unworthiness is not meant to lead our minds to despair and carelessness of amendment: that is a very sinful frame of mind, and will never bring us to any good. Let us make use of past sins and errors to produce that fear and distrust of ourselves which is ever the companion of true humility, and an incitement to virtue. Despair never yet answered any good purpose, and in this case, it is, in fact, only our wounded self-love. The

true way to profit by this humiliating sense of our faults is, to look


them in all their turpitude, to detest and abhor ourselves for them, but not to lose our hope and trust in the mercy of God. To entertain this just sense of our faults without despair, and to avoid the presumptuous supposition that we are fault. less, is the temper of mind which we ought to cultivate as the true and spiritual state of a christian.

20. We often meet with a kind of humility which avows itself unworthy of the mercy of God, and therefore will not apply to him for it, and which founds a plea for continuing in a state of sin, upon the idea that repentance will avail us nothing. This is not christian humi-, lity, but a reprobate and wicked state of mind. God is ever more ready to hear than we to pray; and we know that our Saviour came into the world to call, “ not the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

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