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upon virtue, and inquiries into the elements of moral excellence, not only valued humility at an exceedingly low estimate, but reckoned it a quality so contemptible, as to neutralize the other properties which went, in their estimation, to the composition of a truly noble and exalted character. These sentiments have been adopted, in modern times, by the great majority both of the vulgar and of the philosophers, differing from their predecessors chiefly in this circumstance,-the more complete absence of that humility and modesty which would have adorned them, and in their determined and obstinate rejection of that true standard of character, after which the ancients so eagerly sought. By the touchstone which Christianity applies to the human character, it is found that pride and independence, which the world falsely dignifies with the epithet honourable, are really base alloy; and that of every character formed upon proper principles, and possessed of genuine worth, humility is at once a distinguishing feature and the richest ornament. And on this subject, as on every other, Christianity accords with the sentiments of right reason-that it is unquestionably the duty of every intelligent (especially every imperfect) creature to be humble; for they have nothing which they have not received, and are indebted, in every movement they make, to an agency infinitely superior to their own."
Now, as divine revelation is the only system which, either in ancient or in modern times, assigns to humility the rank of a virtue, or makes provision for its cultivation, this in an eminent degree does both. It assigns to it the highest place, and a sort of
preeminence among the graces of piety: bestows upon it the greatest commendations, enforces it by the most powerful motives, encourages it by the richest promises, draws it into exercise by the most splendid examples, and represents it as the brightest jewel in the Christian's crown. Every thing in the word of God is calculated to humble us; the description which it contains of the divine character, combining an infinitude of greatness, goodness, and glory, compared with which the loftiest being is an insignificant atom, and the purest heart as depravity itself; the view it gives us of innumerable orders of created intelligences, all above man, in the date of their existence, the capacity of their minds, and the elevation of their virtue; the account it preserves of the intellectual and moral perfection of man in his pristine innocence, and the discovery which it thus furnishes of the height from which he has fallen, and the contrast it thus draws between his present and his former nature; the declaration it makes of the purity of the eternal law, and the immeasurable depth at which we are thus seen to lie beneath our obligations; the history it exhibits of the circumstances of man's fall, of the progress of his sin, and of the numberless and awful obliquities of his corruptions; the characteristics it affixes to his situation as a sinner, a rebel, an enemy of God, a child of wrath, an heir of perdition; the method it presents, by which he is redeemed from sin and hell,—a scheme which he neither invented, nor thought of, nor aided, but which is a plan of grace, from first to last, even the grace of God, manifested in and through the propitiation of Christ-a plan, which, in
all its parts, and in all its bearings, seems expressly devised to exclude boasting; the means by which it asserts that the renovation and sanctification of the human heart are carried on, and its security to eternal life established even by the effectual operation of a divine agency; the sovereignty which it proclaims, as regulating the dispensations of celestial mercy; the examples which it holds forth, of the astonishing lowliness and self-abasement of others, so far superior to man in their mental and moral natures, such as the profound abasement of the angelic race, but especially the unparelleled humiliation of him, who, though he was in the form of God, was found in the form of a servant;-these considerations, which are all drawn from the scriptures, supply incentives to humility, which demonstrate, upon Christian principles, that pride is the most unreasonable, as well as the most unrighteous, thing in the universe. Pride is opposed, and humility is supported, by every possible view that we can take of divine revelation. An acquaintance with these great principles of inspired truth, at least an experimental knowledge of them, will bring down the loftiness of men's looks, and silence the tongue of arrogant boasting. Surely, surely, he that is conversant with these things, will see little cause for self-valuation, as Mr, Hume calls pride, or for that self-publication, which is the essence of vanity.
While every true-hearted Christian is thankful that the Son of God stooped so low for his salvation, he will rejoice that his state of humiliation is past. "If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said,
unto the Father." The eclipse is over, the sun has resumed his original brightness, and the heavenly world is illuminated with his rays. That man, in whom was no form nor comeliness for which he should be desired, sits upon the throne of the universe, wearing a crown of immortal glory, and is adored by angels and by men. His humility has conducted to honour; his sorrow has terminated in unspeakable joy. "His glory is great in thy salvation; honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him; for thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance." Similar shall be the result in the case of those who follow his steps, and tread the lowly path in which he has commanded them to walk. The crown of glory is reserved for the humble, but shame shall be the reward of the proud. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
There is no operation of Christian love more beautiful, none more scarce, than this; let professing Christians set themselves to work with their own proud hearts, and their own boasting tongues, remembering that they who sink the lowest in humility in this world, shall assuredly rise the highest in honour in the world to come.
THE DECORUM OF LOVE.
"Charity doth not behave itself unseemly."
A STATION for every person, and every person in his station; a time for everything, and everything in its time; a manner for everything, and everything in its manner;—is a compendious and admirable rule for human conduct, and seems to approach very nearly to the property of charity, which we are now to consider. There is some difficulty in ascertaining the precise idea which the Apostle intended by the original term. Perhaps the most correct rendering is "indecorously," "unbecomingly,” i. e. unsuitably to our sex, rank, age, or circumstances. Love leads a man to know his place, and to keep it; and prevents all those deviations which, by disarranging the order, disturb the comfort, of society. This is so general and comprehensive a rule, that it would admit of application to all the various distinctions which exist in life. It is absolutely universal, and binds with equal force the monarch and the peasant, and all the numerous intermediate ranks. It imposes a consistency between a man's station