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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Humility

The following is by Jonathan Edwards:

Humility may be defined to be a habit of mind and heart corresponding to our comparative unworthiness and vileness before God; or a sense of our own comparative lowness in His sight, with the disposition to a behavior answerable thereto.

A truly humble man is sensible of the small extent of his knowledge, and the great extent of his ignorance, and of the small extent of his understanding, as compared with the understanding of God. He is sensible of his weakness, how little his strength is, and how little he is able to do.

He is sensible of his natural distance from God, of his dependence on Him, of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom; and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for; and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him, and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.

Humility tends to prevent an aspiring and ambitious behavior among men. The man that is under the influence of a humble spirit is content with such a situation among men, as God is pleased to allot to him, and is not greedy of honor, and does not affect to appear uppermost and exalted above his neighbors.

Humility tends also to prevent an arrogant and assuming behavior. On the contrary, humility, disposes a person to a condescending behavior to the meekest and lowest, and to treat inferiors with courtesy and affability, as being sensible of his own weakness and despicableness before God.

If we then consider ourselves as the followers of the meek and lowly and crucified Jesus, we shall walk humbly before God and man all the days of our life on earth. Let all be exhorted earnestly to seek much of a humble spirit, and to endeavor to be humble in all their behavior toward God and men.

Seek for a deep and abiding sense of your comparative lowness before God and man. Know God. Confess your nothingness and ill-desert before Him. Distrust yourself. Rely Only On Christ. Renounce all glory except for Him. Yield yourself heartily to His will and service.

Avoid an aspiring, ambitious, ostentatious, assuming, arrogant, scornful, stubborn, willful, leveling, self-justifying behavior; and strive for more and more of the humble spirit that Christ manifested while He was on earth. Humility is a most essential and distinguishing trait in all true piety.

Earnestly seek then; and diligently and prayerfully cherish a humble spirit, and God shall walk with you here below; and when a few more days shall have passed, He will receive you to the honors bestowed on His people at Christ’s right hand.

The Need for Rebirth

The Lord declares that a great and wondrous change is needful to salvation. It is not merely an alteration of life. It is a thorough change of heart, will, and character. Archibald Alexander explains:

Men are satisfied commonly if they can so regulate their lives as to escape the censure of men, and the disgrace which follows wicked actions, but they pay little attention to their hearts which are as a cage of unclean birds. Most men are not in the habit of judging of their thoughts, imaginations and feelings, by the holy law of God, which condemns every wandering of desire, every unhallowed temper, and every want of supreme and perfect love. If we look upon our own hearts we must be convinced that all is not right within. If our hearts are naturally good, why do they turn away with strong secret aversion from the spiritual service of God? If our hearts are not dead to God, why are we not daily delighted with the contemplation of his glorious attributes? Why is prayer a burden? Why are we so entirely engrossed with sensible and worldly pursuits and pleasures? And if the moral and amiable need regeneration, what shall we say of the multitudes who are living in open rebellion against God? The profane, the unjust, the intemperate, the licentious, the scoffer, the false-swearer, the defrauder of the widow and the orphan, the sabbath-breaker, the liar, the neglecters of God’s worship, the slanderer, and a multitude of others who live habitually in known sin, surely need to be reformed, and they will never be thoroughly reformed until they are regenerated. Such must put off the old man with his corrupt deeds, and put on the new man. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God who will abundantly pardon.” There is an urgent necessity that every sinner should repent, for true repentance is unto life. And what our Lord declared to the Jews is true of all, and was intended for all. “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish,” and Paul preached to the Athenians that “God now commandeth all men every where to repent, because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, of which he hath given assurance unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Evangelical repentance, conversion and regeneration, are substantially the same. They all signify a thorough change of views, affections, purposes and conduct; and this change is every where declared to be essential to salvation. And this is not a merely arbitrary constitution. No one is capable of the enjoyment of heavenly felicity who has never been born again. Without spiritual life, what would the sinner do in heaven? If men have no love to God, nor relish for his service, heaven is no place for them. Heaven is a holy place, and all the exercises and employments are holy, therefore, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” And to be holy, ye must be born again. (“A Practical View of Regeneration”)

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