Humility: The Beauty of Holiness
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Humility, by Andrew Murray
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Title: Humility The Beauty of Holiness
Author: Andrew Murray
Release Date: May 9, 2018 [EBook #57121]
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HUMILITYTHE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS
REV. Andrew Murray
Lord Jesus! may our Holiness be perfect Humility!
Let Thy perfect Humility be our Holiness!
NEW YORKFLEMING H. REVELL COMPANYLONDON GLASGOW
There are three great motives that urge us to humility. It becomes meas a creature, as a sinner, as a saint. The first we see in theheavenly hosts, in unfallen man, in Jesus as Son of Man. The secondappeals to us in our fallen state, and points out the only way throughwhich we can return to our right place as creatures. In the third wehave the mystery of grace, which teaches us that, as we lose ourselvesin the overwhelming greatness of redeeming love, humility becomes tous the consummation of everlasting blessedness and adoration.
In our ordinary religious teaching, the second aspect has been tooexclusively put in the foreground, so that some have even gone to theextreme of saying that we must keep sinning if we are indeed to keephumble. Others again have thought that the strength ofself-condemnation is the secret of humility. And the Christian lifehas suffered loss, where believers have not been distinctly guided tosee that, even in our relation as creatures, nothing is more naturaland beautiful and blessed than to be nothing, that God may be all; orwhere it has not been made clear that it is not sin that humbles most,but grace, and that it is the soul, led through its sinfulness to beoccupied with God in His wonderful glory as God, as Creator andRedeemer, that will truly take the lowest place before Him.
In these meditations I have, for more than one reason, almostexclusively directed attention to the humility that becomes us ascreatures. It is not only that the connection between humility and sinis so abundantly set forth in all our religious teaching, but becauseI believe that for the fullness of the Christian life it isindispensable that prominence be given to the other aspect. If Jesusis indeed to be our example in His lowliness, we need to understandthe principles in which it was rooted, and in which we find the commonground on which we stand with Him, and in which our likeness to Him isto be attained. If we are indeed to be humble, not only before God buttowards men, if humility is to be our joy, we must see that it is notonly the mark of shame, because of sin, but, apart from all sin, abeing clothed upon with the very beauty and blessedness of heaven andof Jesus. We shall see that just as Jesus found His glory in takingthe form of a servant, so when He said to us, 'Whosoever would befirst among you, shall be your servant,' He simply taught us theblessed truth that there is nothing so divine and heavenly as beingthe servant and helper of all. The faithful servant, who recogniseshis position, finds a real pleasure in supplying the wants of themaster or his guests. When we see that humility is somethinginfinitely deeper than contrition, and accept it as our participationin the life of Jesus, we shall begin to learn that it is our truenobility, and that to prove it in being servants of all is the highestfulfilment of our destiny, as men created in the image of God.
When I look back upon my own religious experience, or round upon theChurch of Christ in the world, I stand amazed at the thought of howlittle humility is sought after as the distinguishing feature of thediscipleship of Jesus. In preaching and living, in the dailyintercourse of the home and social life, in the more specialfellowship with Christians, in the direction and performance of workfor Christ,—alas! how much proof there is that humility is notesteemed the cardinal virtue, the only root from which the graces cangrow, the one indispensable condition of true fellowship with Jesus.That it should have been possible for men to say of those who claim tobe seeking the higher holiness, that the profession has not beenaccompanied with increasing humility, is a loud call to all earnestChristians, however much or little truth there be in the charge, toprove that meekness and lowliness of heart are the chief mark by whichthey who follow the meek and lowly Lamb of God are to be known.
I. '' The Glory of the Creature
II. '' The Secret of Redemption
III. '' In the Life of Jesus
IV. '' In the Teaching of Jesus
V. '' In the Disciples of Jesus
VI. '' In Daily Life
VII. '' And Holiness
VIII.'' And Sin
IX. '' And Faith
X. '' And Death to Self
XI. '' And Happiness
XII. '' And Exaltation
Humility: The Beauty of Holiness.
Humility: The Glory of the Creature
'They shall cast their crowns before the throne, saying: Worthy artThou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory, and the honour andthe power: for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy willthey were, and were created. '—REV. iv. 11.
WHEN God created the universe, it was with the one object of makingthe creature partaker of His perfection and blessedness, and soshowing forth in it the glory of His love and wisdom and power. Godwished to reveal Himself in and through created beings bycommunicating to them as much of His own goodness and glory as theywere capable of receiving. But this communication was not a giving tothe creature something which it could possess in itself, a certainlife or goodness, of which it had the charge and disposal. By nomeans. But as God is the ever-living, ever-present, ever-acting One,who upholdeth all things by the word of His power, and in whom allthings exist, the relation of the creature to God could only be one ofunceasing, absolute, universal dependence. As truly as God by Hispower once created, so truly by that same power must God every momentmaintain. The creature has not only to look back to the origin andfirst beginning of existence, and acknowledge that it there oweseverything to God; its chief care, its highest virtue, its onlyhappiness, now and through all eternity, is to present itself an emptyvessel, in which God can dwell and manifest His power and goodness.
The life God bestows is imparted not once for all, but each momentcontinuously, by the unceasing operation of His mighty power.Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is, from the verynature of things, the first duty and the highest virtue of thecreature, and the root of every virtue.
And so pride, or the loss of this humility, is the root of every sinand evil. It was when the now fallen angels began to look uponthemselves with self-complacency that they were led to disobedience,and were cast down from the light of heaven into outer darkness. Evenso it was, when the serpent breathed the poison of his pride, thedesire to be as God, into the hearts of our first parents, that theytoo fell from their high estate into all the wretchedness in which manis now sunk. In heaven and earth, pride, self-exaltation, is the gateand the birth, and the curse, of hell. (See Note A.)
Hence it follows that nothing can be our redemption, but therestoration of the lost humility, the original and only true relationof the creature to its God. And so Jesus came to bring humility backto earth, to make us partakers of it, and by it to save us. In heavenHe humbled Himself to become man. The humility we see in Him possessedHim in heaven; it brought Him, He brought it, from there. Here onearth 'He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death'; Hishumility gave His death its value, and so became our redemption. Andnow the salvation He imparts is nothing less and nothing else than acommunication of His own life and death, His own disposition andspirit, His own humility, as the ground and root of His relation toGod and His redeeming work. Jesus Christ took the place and fulfilledthe destiny of man, as a creature, by His life of perfect humility.His humility is our salvation. His salvation is our humility.
And so the life of the saved ones, of the saints, must needs bear thisstamp of deliverance from sin, and full restoration to their originalstate; their whole relation to God and man marked by an all-pervadinghumility. Without this there can be no true abiding in God's presence,or experience of His favour and the power of His Spirit; without thisno abiding faith, or love or joy or strength. Humility is the onlysoil in which the graces root; the lack of humility is the sufficientexplanation of every defect and failure. Humility is not so much agrace or virtue along with others; it is the root of all, because italone takes the right attitude before God, and allows Him as God to doall.
God has so constituted us as reasonable beings, that the truer theinsight into the real nature or the absolute need of a command, thereadier and fuller will be our obedience to it. The call to humilityhas been too little regarded in the Church because its true nature andimportance has been too little apprehended. It is not a somethingwhich we bring to God, or He bestows; it is simply the sense ofentire nothingness, which comes when we see how truly God is all, andin which we make way for God to be all. When the creature realisesthat this is the true nobility, and consents to be with his will, hismind, and his affections, the form, the vessel in which the life andglory of God are to work and manifest themselves, he sees thathumility is simply acknowledging the truth of his position ascreature, and yielding to God His place.
In the life of earnest Christians, of those who pursue and professholiness, humility ought to be the chief mark of their uprightness. Itis often said that it is not so. May not one reason be that in theteaching and example of the Church, it has never had that place ofsupreme importance which belongs to it? And that this, again, is owingto the neglect of this truth, that strong as sin is as a motive tohumility, there is one of still wider and mightier influence, thatwhich makes the angels, that which made Jesus, that which makes theholiest of saints in heaven, so humble; that the first and chief markof the relation of the creature, the secret of his blessedness, is thehumility and nothingness which leaves God free to be all?
I am sure there are many Christians who will confess that theirexperience has been very much like my own in this, that we had longknown the Lord without realising that meekness and lowliness of heartare to be the distinguishing feature of the disciple as they were ofthe Master. And further, that this humility is not a thing that willcome of itself, but that it must be made the object of special desireand prayer and faith and practice. As we study the word, we shall seewhat very distinct and oft-repeated instructions Jesus gave Hisdisciples on this point, and how slow they were in understanding Him.Let us, at the very commencement of our meditations, admit that thereis nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from oursight, nothing so difficult and dangerous, as pride.