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grand initiative, and sacrifices Himself unto us: if by any means, He may relate Himself to our need
WE confess our nothingness before God; but do we mean it? Or, do we think to please God by untruth? It is one thing to wish to be thought humble ; and another thing to be humble. True humility is not unwilling to be thought proud. For if it be thought proud, it will go without the praise of humility. And Humility is only concerned to be humble, and not to have the praise of it.
Humility is so beautiful in the sight of God, and, to fallen creatures, so difficult of attainment, that it must be the care and labor of our life, to deepen its root within us. Especially, we should press our sins into this service. If we keep them before us, to chastise and humble our souls therewith, God will cast them behind His back. If sinners should be humble; how much more, sinners who are seeking to be saved by an Humble Saviour !
“Thy words have upholden him that was falling; and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.” Job iv. 4, 5. It does not follow that those who comfort others, will always have comfort themselves. A person may very sincerely console and help others, in the gloomy and dark day, and yet be bitterly in need of consolation himself, when the dark day comes to him.
Eliphaz wants to make out, that because Job is so sorely smitten in spirit, under his affliction, therefore, the consolation which he once ministered to others, must have been mere wind. What! are the xiv, xv, and xvi, chapters of St. John's Gospel empty words, because, immediately after speaking them, the Lord fell into an agony of spirit, and even pleaded with His
poor disciples for help?
If you examine into it, Eliphaz, you will find that just in proportion as one is fitted to comfort another, is his own liability to overwhelming distress. To be a real comforter, a person must have profound sympathies; but profound sympathies are always in association with keen sensibilities, and keen sensibilities expose their possessor to a depth of anguish, utterly unintelligible to ordinary souls. As is the capacity to be a heavenly comforter, such is the capacity to be an awful sufferer.
Righteous people, of the Eliphaz-school, are on most comfortable terms with themselves ; but, with their shallow estimate of things, they are miserable judges of God's dealings with deeper souls.
We shall meet many in the day of Judgment besides God. If we meet any whom we have not loved, that will spoil our boldness. Nothing but the Life of God's own Love in us, can give us boldness in that day. As is our love, to our fellow creatures, will be our boldness before them, in Eternity. There is no evil affection in love. “Love is of God.” Love is boldness itself. If a single breath of Hell lurks in us towards any creature, it will unman us, when we meet before God. Our knowledge will not help us in the day of Judgment; "wonderful works” will not help us ; but Love will help us. Love to your neighbour," says St. Augustine, “will prepare your soul to see God.” Goliath, in his armour, was not defended as Love defends us: Solomon, in all his glory, was not clothed as Love clothes us. As fire burneth
up wood, hay, stubble; so will God's Judgment consume all our religion, save that which springs from His own Love in us.
SHE shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework.” The stillness, the intention, the attention, the nicety, the patience, the faithfulness to plan, and the perseverance, which are necessary to successful needlework, are precisely the qualities, which are essential to the progress of the work of Grace in the soul. And as every stitch of the needle contributes something towards the most elaborate piece of work; so every thought, which the soul turns towards God, every desire after holiness, every gracious affection cherished towards any creature, every right word, every least act done from love to Christ, or from submission to His will, becomes inwrought into the soul's eternal nature. The soul's life is written in itself. Nothing is lost, nothing omitted. Whatsoever is hiddenly done, in the closet of the soul, in this life, shall come into manifestation, in eternity; and the raiment without, shall express all “the beauty of holiness,” which has been acquired within.
CHRIST, OUR JUDGE.
THERE are two very different ways of accounting for the reputed dulness of certain subjects. The first, charges the dulness upon the subjects, the second, charges it not upon the subjects, but upon the judges. To owls and bats, nothing in this world is so dull as sunshine.
To a gay, young sensualist, the life of truth and innocence would be insufferably dull; but is it therefore dull ? To do the will of God constitutes the Heaven of angels; but not the heaven of worldly men. Unregenerate men and women are oppressed by the very thought of God. Through the force of conscience, or habit, or both, they consent occasionally to hear something about subjects which involve their eternal welfare; but it is a heavy time, dull work. According to the estimate of this world, Christ and human salvation, judgment and eternity, are very tame subjects. Who reckons them essential, either to his business, or pleasure? What man of the world ever welcomes them to his heart? By common