Everything short of Hell — is a mercy!
(James Smith, "Profitable Portions For the Lord's Day" 1865)
"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud — but gives grace to the humble!" 1 Peter 5:5
The humble man may have anything from God. Who are the humble? Those who have a proper sense of their guilt, emptiness, and utter nothingness before God. Divine teaching has . . .
brought them into the dust,
stopped their boasting,
cropped their pride, and
softened their stony hearts.
Pride is one of the most mischievous things in creation! It appears to have been the cause of the fall of angels, and it certainly was the cause of the fall of our first parents. Pride does more evil in the world, in the church, and in the domestic circle — than anything else; while humility is one of the most beautiful, beneficial, and pleasing of the graces. Humility pleases God, approves itself to man, and prevents a world of mischief and misery!
"The humble" have low views of themselves. They see so many sad defects on the one hand, and so many glaring inconsistencies on the other — that they are obliged to lay low before God in shame and self-abhorrence. With Job, they cry, "Behold, I am vile!" Or, with Agur, "So foolish was I, and ignorant, I was as a beast before You!"
"The humble" know that . . .
their every grace is imperfect,
their every service is polluted and defiled, and
even their very prayers need to be cleansed in the blood of Jesus.
"The humble" have a vivid and abiding sense of their deserts. They know that if God were to deal with them in pure justice — they must be sent to Hell. They deserve nothing better. Everything short of Hell — is a mercy! They realize this, and it humbles them, it makes them willing to take the lowest place. They feel that all the difference between them and the most depraved person on earth — is to be traced to the free, sovereign, and distinguishing grace of God. "By the grace of God — I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10
They have a humility of disposition, so that they do not complain of the Lord. He tries them. He strips them. He weans them from the world. He . . .
baffles their schemes,
frustrates their designs, and
often cuts off their hopes!
But they justify Him, and say, "It is the Lord! Let Him do what seems good unto Him!"
"The humble" do not cavil at God's Word. They receive the doctrines, promises, and precepts of the Word, just as God has revealed them.