The Beauty Of Holiness Is The Beauty Of Humility
“Where there is holiness there is Humility. It is a Christian grace hard to define, but which implies at least a quiet and subdued, a meek and forbearing spirit. Whatever may be our supposed gifts and graces, whatever may be internal pleasures and raptures, they are far from furnishing evidence of completeness of Christian character without humility. It is this grace which perhaps more than any other imparts a beauty and attractiveness to the religious life; and which, while it is blessed with the favor and approbation of God, has the additional efficacy of disarming, in a considerable degree even the animosity of unholy men. It has the appearance of a contradiction in terms but is nevertheless true, that he who walks in humility walks in power. ‘
“Be clothed with Humility, ” say the Scriptures (2 Peter 5:5).
In order to obtain anything of God’s grace the soul must be broken and brought to a state of deep humility. Human nature is proud, self-willed, arrogant. We must bow down in the depths of humility in order to obtain God’s grace in justification, and in order to obtain the deeper, more blessed, more precious grace of sanctification a further humbling must take place and there must be the dying out of the self4-life-pride, self-sufficiency and self-importance.
Humility is a grace. It cannot be self-induced. God’s grace alone can produce it.
God’s humbling grace works a work in the human soul that is transforming and sanctifying. One has expressed it thus:
The proudest heart that ever beat Hath been subdued in me; The wildest will that ever rose To scorn thy cause and aid thy foes Is quelled, my God, by Thee.
The saint that wears heaven’s brightest crown In lowliest adoration bends; The weight of glory bows him down, The most when most his soul ascends; Nearest the throne itself must be The footstool of Humility.
Humility is one of the laws of soul growth. (Matt. 18:4). “Whosoever therefore, shall humble himself (as this little child) shall be greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. ”
Humility is the way to success. (2 Chron. 12:1?). “And when he humbled himself . . . things went well. ”
The way of Humility is the way of salvation and soul recovery.
When John Wesley was seeking converting grace he consulted very freely Peter Bohler the Moravian preacher. After one of those conversations Bohler said of Wesley: “He wept bitterly while I was talking upon the subject, and afterwards asked me to pray for him. I can freely affirm that he is a poor brokenhearted sinner hungering after a better righteousness than that which he has hitherto, even the righteousness of Christ. ”
The way of Humility is the way of soul restoration.
David the backslider in Psalm 51, cries out with a broken spirit and a contrite heart: “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. ”
Peter in his humiliation, after denying the Lord, wept bitterly” and evidently wept his way back to Jesus as the next time we met him the Lord holds that wonderful dialogue with him: “Simon Peter, lovest thou me more than these? . . . Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” . . . To all of which Peter replied, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee . . Lord thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. ”
Jesus saith unto him: “Feed my sheep. ”
Humility is God’s method of growth in grace. Humility is opposed to ostentation, toself-seeking, to self-aggrandizement, and self-advertisement. As one grows Christlike this selfhood fades and dies. Christ was constantly teaching humility to his disciples by precept and example. He Himself was a perfect example of humility. “In his humiliation his judgment was taken away. “(Acts 8:33). He refused to advertise Himself. (John 7:3-6). He hid Himself from the crowd when His successes and victories would force them to make Him king. He had the lowly mind. “I am meek and lowly. ” (Matt. 11:29).
Humility of soul means the dying out of the ego — the personal pronoun I.
Mark Guy Pearse in his “Thoughts on Perfection, ” says:
“But this agonized effort to make ourselves perfect is not always a failure. Sometimes it actually succeeds -then indeed only most completely to fail. Taking hold of the rebel self, another part of the same self saith, ‘Now I am going to make thee perfect. ‘ And self chips and hammers at self to bring it into shape, and hacks and hews at self until it fits into the ideal mold. And then it is polished with much sulfuric acid and sandpaper and a host of processes are gone through – with what result? This — That at last there is turned out the most unhappy thing that it has ever been our misfortune to meet — from five to six feet of polished L A great mass of self-consciousness. How could it be otherwise? All the thoughts, all the desires, all the aims of life have been set upon self. And now this same perfected ‘I’ becomes the standard by which everything is measured and to which everybody must conform, or there is no hope for them in this world or any other. This, as we have seen is Pharisaism.
“Verily, if that be all, let us rather die in despair. If Holiness, or Perfection, or the Higher Life — Call it what you will — is a something that is to set me up on a pedestal, and exalt me in wretched consciousness of my superiority to other people, let us pray God to bury us underneath the pedestal. There will be more hope for us, and we shall be a good deal nearer to the kingdom of heaven. If that is perfection, the best prayer we can make is to be saved from it forever and ever. Thank God that is not His way of holiness. ”
The Way of Humility is the way into the deeper things of God. The saintly Alfred Cookman tells the following experiences:
“Some years since, at the Penn’s Grove Camp Meeting, after the Holy Ghost had been given as a sanctifier, I found myself drawn out for more of God. I could scarcely define my feelings, but there was a going out after God. When surrounded one day with a few Christians, struggling up to enjoy God as never before, this suggestion came: ‘You have been trying to get up; are you willing
to sink down?’ ‘Yes, ‘ I answered, ‘any way; if I may find Him thus, let me sink in the depths. ‘ Then I began to feel that I was going down, and with this there came a realization of love, as I had never known before, and it filled my body, soul and my entire being. O how I loved His children and His word. I asked, ‘What does this mean?’ ‘God is love. ‘ This was the consciousness of love that filled my whole spirit. ”
Some years ago a few ladies met together in Dublin to read and study the Scriptures. One observed in reading Mal. 3:3, that there is something remarkable about the expression, “Shall sit as a refiner, ” etc. One of the ladies promised to call on a silversmith, and report what might be said on the subject. She went accordingly, and, without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described. “But, sir, ” said she, “do you sit while the work of refining is going on?” “Oh, yes, madam!” he replied, “I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the surface; for, if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver is sure to be injured. ” At once she saw the beauty, and the comfort too, of the passage, “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. ” As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had still further to mention, that he only knew when the process of purifying was complete, by seeing his own image reflected on the silver.