The only suitable dress for a saved sinner!
(John MacDuff, "The Footsteps of Jesus" 1856)
"Be clothed with humility." 1 Peter 5:5
"True humility," said one, "is a lovely ornament; it is the only suitable dress for a saved sinner!" O let us seek then to be clothed in this robe — that we may be brought to lie low at the footstool of our Maker and Redeemer.
In the saints of old, this grace of humility appeared with marked prominence — and they are patterns for our imitation.
There was Abraham, the father of the faithful and the friend of God. How great was his humility! how profound his self-abasement! "I have ventured to speak to the Lord — even though I am nothing but dust and ashes!" He was filled with a consciousness of his absolute nothingness in the presence of the Great Eternal.
There was David also, who speaks of himself as "a worm — and not a man!"
Job cried out, "Behold, I am vile!"
In the apostle Paul, again, what a striking exemplification have we of this grace of humility. If self-delight were ever allowable in any individual, it would be in him; for such a laborious, self-denying, unselfish character, has, doubtless, not yet appeared — the man Christ Jesus alone and always excepted.
But what were his views and feelings in reference to himself? On one occasion we hear him saying that he was not worthy to be called an apostle. At another time he says, "I am less than the least of all God's people!" And when penning one of his last epistles, he designates himself the very chief of sinners! He was brought to know himself — a knowledge in which all wisdom centers. If we knew ourselves as he did — pride and self-delight would find no room within us!
But, above all, let us consider Him who said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me — for I am gentle and humble in heart." The heaven of heavens could not contain Him; all the fullness of the Eternal Godhead dwelt in Him; devils trembled at His rebuke, and flew from His presence to the abodes of misery; yet how gentle, how humble He was! Reader, aspire after conformity to Christ — in His humility.
Against the proud — God's displeasure has been manifested in all ages.
Think of Pharaoh. The language of that proud monarch was, "Who is the Lord — that I should obey Him?" But the Divine Majesty could not bear to be thus insulted; hence the puny worm with all his legions were destroyed — they sank as lead in the mighty waters!
Think of Nebuchadnezzar. Hear his boasting exclamation, "Is not this great Babylon that I have built, by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?" But God resisted him, and he was turned from the society of men — to eat grass with the beasts of the field!
Think of Herod. With what delight did he receive the applause of the people, when they cried, "It is the voice of a god, and not the voice of man!" But the angel of the Lord smote him — and he was eaten with worms!
While, however, God resists the proud — He has promised to give grace unto the humble. The humble are the objects of His special regard. "For thus says the high and lofty One, who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy: I dwell in the high and holy place" — that is one of the palaces of the Great King, where the throne of His glory is erected — where the countless armies of cherubim and seraphim are stationed, and where perfected saints reside. But He has another place of habitation: "with him also, who is humble and contrite in spirit!"
O Lord, subdue the pride of my heart; and help me to manifest, by my whole demeanor — that humility of spirit which is in Your sight of great price!