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cited by them, are exactly proportioned to the apprehensions which we form of our own unworthiness. He to whom much is forgiven,' our Saviour informs us, will love much.' Pardon, mercy, and grace, are terms which mean little, if they have any meaning that is realized, in the eye of him who is not humbled for his sins, and who does not feel his own absolute need of pardon. The song of the redeemed is sung only by those who realize the love of Christ, because he has 'washed them from their sins in his own blood.' The gratitude therefore exercised to God for his unspeakable mercy, in forgiving our sins, and redeeming us from under the curse of the law, will in a great measure be created by our humility.
In the same manner does it enhance our complacency in the divine character. Of dependence it is the essence; of adoration, and indeed of all our worship, it is the substance and the soul.
2. From these observations it is evident, that no man can hope for acceptance with God without humility.
God,' says the text, ' resisteth the proud, but giveth grace (or favour) to the humble.' The proud, and the humble, are two great classes, including the whole of the human race. Of which class does it seem probable to the eye of sober reason, that the infinitely perfect Author of all things will select his own family, and the objects of his everlasting love? Those who possess the views and the spirit here described; or those who indulge the "self-valuation" so grateful to Mr. Hume? Those who boldly come before him, with God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men ;' or those who dare not lift up their eyes to heaven; but, smiting upon their breasts, say, God be merciful to me a sinner?' How obvious is it to common sense, that, if he accept any of our race, it will be such as have just views of their character and condition, of their own absolute unworthiness, of the greatness of his mercy in forgiving their sins and sanctifying their souls, of the transcendent glory of the Redeemer, in becoming their propitiation, and of the infinite benignity of the divine Spirit in renewing them in the image, and restoring them to the favour of God! Who else can possess the spirit, who else can unite in the employments, who else can harmonize in the praises, of the firstborn? Let me ask, is it possible that a proud man should be a can
didate for immortal life; whether proud of his birth, his wealth, his station, his accomplishments, or his moral character? Suppose him to arrive in the regions of life, in what manner would his pride be employed? Which of these subjects would he make the theme of his conversation with the spirits of just men made perfect? How would he blend his pride with their worship; how would he present it before the throne of God?
3. From these observations also we learn that humility is a disposition eminently lovely.
Learn of me,' says the Saviour of mankind to proud and perishing sinners, for I am meek and lowly of heart.' How astonishing a declaration from the mouth of him who controlled the elements with a word, at whose command the dead were raised to life, and at whose rebuke demons trembled and fled! Draw nigh, ye miserable worms of the dust, place yourselves by the side of this glorious person, and recite before him the foundations on which your loftiness rests; your riches, your rank, your talents, and your stations. How will these subjects appear, to his eye? How will those appear, who make them the grounds of their self-valuation? Meekness and lowliness of heart adorned him with beauty inexpressible. Cau pride be an ornament to you?
Would you be amiable in the sight of God, you must essentially resemble Him who was altogether lovely.' Even you yourselves cannot but discern, that, had he been proud, it would have tarnished his character, and have eclipsed the face of the Sun of Righteousness.
In the mean time let Christians remember, and feel, that they themselves will be lovely, exactly in proportion as they approximate to the character of the Redeemer in their humility. Let the same mind,' says St. Paul to the Philippians, 'be in you, which was also in Christ; who, being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and, being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.' Froin what a height did he descend! How lowly the visible station which he assumed!
Your humility towards God will make you lovely in his sight; your humility towards your fellow Christians will make you lovely in theirs. In both cases it will be a combination of views and affections conformed to truth, exactly suited to your character and circumstances, and equally conformed to the good pleasure of God, and to the perfect example of his beloved Son. It will mingle with all your affections, and make them sweet and delightful. It will operate on all your conduct, and make it amiable in the sight of every beholder. From pride, and all its wretched consequences, it will deliver you. Of the grace of God it will assure you. 'For to this man will I look,' says the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, even to him, who is of a humble and contrite spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.' It will accompany you through life, and lessen all the troubles, and increase all the comforts, of your pilgrimage. It will soften your dying bed, and enhance your hope and your confidence before the last tribunal.
THE LAW OF GOD.
THE FIRST AND GREAT COMMANDMENT.
AND HE WAS WITHDRAWN FROM THEM ABOUT A STONE'S CAST, AND
NEVERTHELESS, NOT MY
LUKE XXII, 41, 42.
THE next exercise of love to God in our progress is resigna
Of this excellence the text contains the most perfect example, which has been recorded or witnessed in the universe. Our Saviour while in the garden of Gethsemane having 'withdrawn from his disciples about a stone's cast, kneeled down, and prayed,' under an agonizing sense of the evils, which he was about to suffer. His prayer in the midst of this agony was, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done!' The situation of Christ was much more trying than we can conceive. Yet in this situation he bows his will entirely to the will of God; and prays him to remove the cup, only on the condition that he is willing; and that not his own will, but the will of the Father, may be done. The occasion was wonderful; the resignation was complete. He yielded himself entirely into the hands of his Father, and earnestly desired that his will,
whatever it should cost himself, might be done. Nothing can be more edifying than this example, nor can any thing be more instructive. By it we are taught,
1. That religious resignation is a quiet yielding of ourselves to the disposal of God, and not to the mere sufferance of evil.
Christ prayed earnestly and repeatedly, that, if it were possible, the evil, or the cup, might pass from him.' That this was perfect rectitude on his part, will not be questioned. What he, with perfect rectitude, desired to escape, we may, with entire rectitude also, desire to escape. As he was not willing to suffer evil; it was perfectly right that he should not be willing. It is entirely right therefore that we should be equally unwilling.
But Christ was entirely willing to do and to suffer whatever God willed him to do, or to suffer. He was, however, disposed thus to do and suffer merely because it was the will of God; and because that will requires nothing but what is perfectly wise and good, and perfectly desirable. As, therefore, the perfect resignation of our Saviour was a yielding of himself to the will of God, and not at all to mere suffering; so it is clear, beyond a debate, that religious resignation is in every case of this nature only.
2. That it is our duty to resign ourselves to the will of God entirely, and that in all situations of life.
The situation in which Christ expressed the resignation in the text, was certainly much more trying than any which men experience in the present world. At the same time, he had not merited this distress by any fault or defect of his own. His pure and perfect mind was free alike from error and from sin. Accordingly, in that memorable prayer contained in the seventeenth chapter of John, and uttered just before his agony in the garden, he could say with perfect confidence, as well as with exact truth and propriety, I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father! glorify thou me, with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.' Yet, in this situation of peculiar distress, he gave up entirely every wish of his own; choosing rather to suffer these wonderful afflictions, if it were the will of God that he should suffer them, than to escape them, if it were not. Whatever afflic