1 Peter 5:5
Young men, in the same way, submit yourselves to your elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Sermons
The Rightful Authority of ExperienceJ.R. Thomson 1 Peter 5:5
The Slave's DressA. Maclaren 1 Peter 5:5
The Slave's GirdleAlexander Maclaren1 Peter 5:5
Concluding ExhortationsR. Finlayson 1 Peter 5:1-11
True Office-Bearers in the Church (No. 2)U.R. Thomas 1 Peter 5:2-5
Christian HumilityJ.R. Thomson 1 Peter 5:5, 6
A Cure for CareW. Halliday.1 Peter 5:5-7
A Cure for CareC. H. Spurgeon.1 Peter 5:5-7
A Sermon to Ministers and Other Tried BelieversC. H. Spurgeon.1 Peter 5:5-7
Be Clothed with HumilityJames Bolton.1 Peter 5:5-7
Bending Without BreakingT. De Witt Talmage.1 Peter 5:5-7
Cared ForM. Guy Pearse.1 Peter 5:5-7
Cast Care on GodR. Walker.1 Peter 5:5-7
Casting All Your Cares Upon HimW. M. Statham, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
Casting CareThe Weekly Pulpit1 Peter 5:5-7
Christ the Care BearerJ. L. Fyfe.1 Peter 5:5-7
Christian HumilityS. Summers.1 Peter 5:5-7
Christian HumilityG. T. Shedd, D. D.1 Peter 5:5-7
Clothed with HumilityJ. Vaughan, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
Clothed with HumilityT. Brooks.1 Peter 5:5-7
Confidence in God Lubricates LifeH. W. Beecher.1 Peter 5:5-7
Counsels to the YoungerThornley Smith.1 Peter 5:5-7
Divine CareD. Thomas, D. D.1 Peter 5:5-7
Earthly and Heavenly CareBp. Huntington.1 Peter 5:5-7
God not an AbstractionE. White.1 Peter 5:5-7
God's CareHomilist1 Peter 5:5-7
God's Care for UsF. B. Meyer, B. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
God's Regard for IndividualsA. Reed, B. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
He Careth for YouH. E. Partridge.1 Peter 5:5-7
He Careth for YouW. Birch.1 Peter 5:5-7
How to Dispose of CareW. Nevins, D. D.1 Peter 5:5-7
Human Cares and the Divine CareG. S. Barrett, B. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
Humble Yourselves Under the Mighty Hand of GodJ. Slade, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
Humbling of the Spirit, in Humbling Circumstances1 Peter 5:5-7
Humiliation of Soul Under God's Mighty HandJames Sherman.1 Peter 5:5-7
HumilityJ. Jortin, D. D.1 Peter 5:5-7
HumilityBp. Phillips Brooks.1 Peter 5:5-7
HumilityC. Moinet, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
Humility a Beautiful Dress1 Peter 5:5-7
Humility a Preparation for HeavenRobert Herrick.1 Peter 5:5-7
Humility and its GreatnessE. Garbett, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
Humility Explained and EnforcedT. Gibson, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
Humility Illustrated and EnforcedR. Hall, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
Humility with the Fruits of ItD. Jennings.1 Peter 5:5-7
Invented WorriesW. M. Statham, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
Mutual RespectF. D. Maurice, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
Nursing CaresH. W. Beecher.1 Peter 5:5-7
Obj. 21 Peter 5:5-7
Obj. 31 Peter 5:5-7
Objection 11 Peter 5:5-7
On Humbling Ourselves Before GodC. H. Spurgeon.1 Peter 5:5-7
On HumilityRobert Foote.1 Peter 5:5-7
On SolicitudeJohn Main, D. D.1 Peter 5:5-7
Self-Abasement and Divine ExaltationS. Martin.1 Peter 5:5-7
Seniors Should not be Over-ExactingJ. A. Bengel.1 Peter 5:5-7
Submission to Divine DispensationS. J. Davis.1 Peter 5:5-7
The Benefit of AfflictionsW. C. Wilson, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
The Conduct Becoming Church Members Towards the Elders of the ChurchC. New 1 Peter 5:5-7
The Course of Things Against PrideA. K. H. Boyd, D. D.1 Peter 5:5-7
The Divine Oversight1 Peter 5:5-7
The Garment of HumilityHarvey Phillips, B. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
The Loftiness of HumilityC. Kingsley, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
The Lord Careth for YouM. Guy Pearse.1 Peter 5:5-7
The Mighty Hand of GodJ. Vaughan, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
The Pride of CareM. R. Vincent, D. D.1 Peter 5:5-7
The Proud Abased and the Humble ExaltedJ. Summerfield, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
The Shadow ShortensDean Young.1 Peter 5:5-7
The Wisdom of God in His ProvidenceAbp. Tillotson.1 Peter 5:5-7
Trust in GodA. Bonar.1 Peter 5:5-7
Two Kinds of ClothingH. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.1 Peter 5:5-7
VanityD. Thomas, D. D.1 Peter 5:5-7
What to Do with CareC. M. Birrell.1 Peter 5:5-7
Work Tends to HumilityBp. Phillips Brooks.1 Peter 5:5-7
1 Peter 5:5 (middle clause)
Be clothed, or, according to the Revised Version, "gird yourselves." It is a remarkable word, occurring only here in the New Testament. It means to put on a certain article of dress which according to one view was a kind of "overall" worn by slaves above their other clothing, anti according to another was a white scarf which was part of the slave's dress. In either case it was a mark of servitude; therefore the exhortation is not merely to wear the garment of lowly-mindedness, veiling all other graces, but specifically to put on the badge of menial service. There may be a still more touching allusion in the peculiar word. Did not Peter's memory go back to that scene in the upper room, which he had understood so little then, but had, as his Lord promised, come to "know" in some measure in the "hereafter" of his many years of service? He recalls how the Master had girded himself with the towel, and stooped to the slave's task of washing the disciples' feet. Surely in this text, especially if we adopt the reading and translation of the Revised Version ("gird yourselves with humility to serve one another), we trace a reference to that wonderful act of stooping love, and hear an echo of the solemn lesson which Christ himself taught in connection with it: Ye also ought to wash one another's feet."

I. THE CHRISTIAN SLAVE'S GARMENT. Whatever was the exact form of the article of dress referred to, it was worn by slaves, and was a badge of their condition. We, too, are slaves, bought and absolutely possessed by our Owner and Master, Jesus Christ. The fitting garb for us is that lowliness of mind which he himself manifested, and which Christianity has throned as in some sense the queen of all the virtues. It is purely a Christian virtue; the very name for it in the New Testament is a Christian coinage; for new things need new words, and this was a new thing. The modest grace of humility looks, by the side of the splendid virtues of Greece and Rome, like some homely brown bird among the gorgeously colored birds of the East, or a dove among eagles. The gospel has brought to us such a clear revelation of what we ought to be, and has so quickened the sensitiveness of men's consciences as to their failures and sins, that a lowly estimate of one's self is for a Christian the only possible one, and is felt to be for all men the only true one. The more clear our vision of what we may become, and the more ardent our enthusiasm after yet unattained stages of progress in character, the more lowly will necessarily be our estimate of ourselves. Whoever has seen himself as he really is will have no heart to blow his own trumpet, or to hear other men singing his praises. We do not need to affect to be ignorant of, or to depreciate, what we are or can do. It is no breach of humility to be conscious of power, but it is to be so conscious of it that we forget our Weakness, and forget that the power is a gift, or are ever expecting recognition from our brethren, and thinking more of ourselves and of our claims than either of our obligations or of our weaknesses. If we would obey this injunction, and be rooted in humility, we must seek to know ourselves as we are, and to that end must study our own fees in the glass of God's Word and Christ's example. These mirrors will show us what will put us out of conceit of ourselves. We must further reverse the favorite mode of comparison with others, and search into their good and our own evil. We must further remember that all on which pride or self-conceit can build their flimsy castles is God's gift, and that therefore thankfulness anti not self-exaltation should be our temper. To wear this servile dress goes clean against the grain of human nature. It is the victory of unselfishness when we truly put it on. It is not pleasant to flesh and blood to go about in the garb which proclaims that we are slaves. But what true Christianity can there be in a man who has not learned that he is poor and blind and naked, and that all his wealth and sight and vesture he must owe to undeserved, unpurchased grace? And how can a man who has had to kneel before Jesus a suppliant penitent, and confess himself leprous and beggared and lost, get up from his knees and go out among his fellows, carrying his head very high and bearing himself as if he were somebody? If we are Christ's, we must wear the dress that proclaims us slaves, and gird ourselves with humility, the livery of his household.

II. THE PATTERN WHICH WE HAVE TO FOLLOW. Our thoughts are carried back, as we have already suggested, to the memorable incident of the foot-washing. In that incident was condensed, and as it were presented in an acted parable, the spirit of Christ's whole mission. The evangelist emphatically marks that supreme instance of condescension as being the outcome of our Lord's clear consciousness of his Divine Sonship and of his universal authority. Just because he knew that he had come from God and went to God, and held all things in his sway, he bowed to serve us. And it was also the outcome of his ever-flowing love to his followers. So his whole work on earth, in every stage of its humiliation, is based on that unique consciousness of Divinity and imperial sway, and is animated by love. As he then laid aside his garments, so he has put off the glories which he wore or ever the world was; and as he then girded himself with the towel, so he has voluntarily assumed the coarse and lowly body of our humiliation, stooping to be a man. As he then assumed a menial garb in order that he might wash his disciples' feet, so he has taken the form of a servant and become obedient to death that he might cleanse us all from our sins, by his own application to conscience and character of his own cleansing blood. In all these points we have to follow his example. Our humility must not only be a lowly estimate of ourselves, but it must be a practical stripping off of distinctions and prerogatives and an identifying of ourselves with the lowliest. It must lead to service. That service must have for its end our brother's cleansing. Jesus is not only our Pattern, but also our Motive; and not only our Motive, but by his indwelling Spirit he is the Power which moulds our selfishness into the likeness of his perfect self-surrender. In the deepest sense of the words, the "mind which was in Christ Jesus" must be in us, if we are truly Christians. If we have not his Spirit, we are not his servants. If we have that Spirit, we too, like him, shall be girt with humility, and do for others what he has done for us.

III. THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH IT IS WORN. According to one view of the word, the piece of dress here referred to was, as we have said, a kind of loose "overall" put on in preparation for work, and, according to another, a scarf which served the purpose of a girdle. So this grace of humility may be regarded as keeping all the other virtues which robe the Christian character in their places. It adds luster to them all, as rich attire and flashing jewels are harmonized and beautified by some sober-tinted cloak thrown over them. Nay, more, it is their very life, for nothing more surely destroys the charm of all other excellences and withers them when they grow than self-gratulation and self-conceit. Moses was all unaware that his face shone. But the great purpose for which humility is enjoined on Christians is that they may be ready for service. The man who flaunts about in gay clothing of self-conceit is usually slow to put his hand to work in anything which will not advance his reputation, or will soil his bravery. Fine clothes and hard work do not go well together. He is generally more ready to insist upon his claims than to respond to his brother's claims on him. We must put off that gaudy robe, and be content to hide our excellences with the wrapper of humility, as a servant puts on some coarse apron for coarse tasks, if we are to be rightly attired for the work we have to do. The humble mind thinks not of its claims on others, but of its duties to them. It is ready for the lowest service, and is kept by no false dignity from placing itself by the side of the feeblest and the foulest. Like the Master, it will take beggars by the hand, nor shrink from the touch of publicans and sinners. It will regard the meanest task done for Jesus as an honor and a mark of the Master's favor. Diffident of its own power, it will depend, and not in vain, upon him for all its efficiency; and, so depending, it will be enriched with all necessary helps, while self-conceit, trusting in its own power, will do little, and that little mostly barren, for, as the next words tell us, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." The rains and dews run off the mountain crests, which are always sterile and often struck by the lightning. It is down in the valleys that the broad rivers glide and spread fruitfulness and smiling plenty. - A.M.







Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves.
I. SUBMISSION.

1. The younger are to submit to the elders. Are you young in years, or in the experience of the Christian life? Be not wise in your own conceit, but be willing to receive the advice of your superiors.

2. All are to be subject one to another.

II. HUMILITY. "And be clothed," or rather, "clothe yourselves with humility."

1. Humility is a garment to be put on. And what garment is more beautiful than humility?

2. A reason is assigned.(1) "God resisteth the proud."(2) But to the humble — the lowly minded — God gives grace, or favour, pouring it down upon them in richest plenty.

3. Humble yourselves, therefore, says the apostle, and this shall be the result: "He will exalt you in due time."

III. TRUST IN GOD; casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you. Humility is closely allied with confidence.

1. Let us look at the import of this exhortation. It is to trust our heavenly Father with ourselves and all our concerns.

2. And here is our warrant for the great privilege: "He careth for you."

(Thornley Smith.)

All of you be subject one to another
There is a general complaint in our day that reverence is rapidly becoming extinct. The sentiment of respect is gone; each one stands upon his own powers and his own right. I suppose all of us, in a certain degree, recognise the truth of this charge against our own time. We may ask ourselves whether this feeling of personal independence is not in itself a good which may make amends for many losses that accompany the acquisition of it. But any consolation which we might derive from this last reflection is checked by another. Can we claim this sentiment of personal independence as at all characteristic of ourselves? Is it not fading along with the one which appears to contend with it? Is there not less of self-reliance than there was?

I. But a sentence like this, if we felt it to be indeed a command, "All of you be subject one to another," — would not that be something more than these speculations about the decline of reverence in an age or a country? That speaks to me. It tells me of a temper which ought to exist in society, which would preserve it; but of a temper which is first of all to be cultivated in myself — which cannot by possibility be diffused through a mass, except as it is formed in the heart of a man. We may look at once to the root of the matter and see whether our respect is merely the effect of the circumstances and accidents in which we live; whether it depends on some external conventional witness of propriety; whether it has been merely taught us by the precept of men; or whether it proceeds from an under source, and is kept alive by springs within, which the Spirit of God Himself is renewing continually. The Bible and Christianity are continually forcing this thought upon us, that nothing can stand which has not a foundation; that if we wish any social edifice to bear the winds and rain, we must dig deep and build it upon a rock; that the passion of the heart for external things and forms, though it looks strong, is not a safe one — not one upon which we can depend. To this point then the apostle brings us. He recognises the relation of younger to elder as a very deep relation, involving duties, calling for subjection. With this natural relation he connects others equally real, though not equally acknowledged. But he has no hope that his admonitions will be heeded unless the principle which lies beneath them is apprehended. "All of you be subject one to another." This reverence is not one grounded ultimately upon differences of position or differences of age. Unless each man cherishes it toward every other man; unless he feels that there is a grandeur and awfulness in the fellow creature who is not distinguished from him by any external signs of superiority at all, who has all the external signs of inferiority — unless he feels that there is (the word is a strong one, but it is St. Peter's and we cannot change it) a subjection due to every such man, that a positive deference is to be paid him — he will not keep alive the other kind of respect, it will assuredly perish. The old oriental notion that royalty is mysterious, and that when it casts away mystery it ceases to obtain respect, is unquestionably grounded on a great truth. St. Peter does not deny the mystery, but he finds this mystery in the being of man himself; every one he meets is the shrine of it; every beggar carries in him that which an archangel cannot look into, which can be described in no words, measured by no human standards. Try to think of that man as having a whole world within him, unknown to you, unknown to him, which is yet a more wonderful world than this which his eyes and yours look upon; nearer to the centre from which this external one receives its light and heat. Try to think so! But will the trial succeed? Is there any chance of forcing ourselves into so strange a state of feeling? Is not this sympathy with people utterly different from ourselves a special gift to a few individuals, commonly women rather than men? And is it not more properly called pity than reverence?

II. St. Peter meets these questions in the second part of the text: "Be clothed with humility." St. Peter knew — no one better — that it is not in station nor in mere example to make a man humble. He was a fisherman, yet he was proud. He conversed with our Lord for three years. He was low, but he aspired to be high. He might be spurned by the people of Judaea as a Galilean, or by the Romans as a Jew; but perhaps he should set his foot upon the necks of both; he should have some goodly place in his Master's kingdom, if not the highest place of all. The self-confidence was brought to the test and fell. What darkness closed in upon him then and shut out all the past and the future! What light was really coming to him through that darkness — a light that illuminated past, present, and future! Such phrases as these, then, which occur so often in the New Testament, "Put on Christ," "Having the mind of Christ," "Be clothed with humility," which are often cast aside as mere figures of speech, oriental modes of thought, were the most accurate, the most exactly corresponding to his inward experience, which the apostle could use.

III. It introduces and explains the third clause of the text, "For God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." "How shall I be rid of this pride, it is so natural, so ingrained?" This must have been St. Peter's question very often; it must be ours. At last he found the answer. It was a terrible one. It was an everlasting one. When he was proud he was not sinning against a rule, a precept; he was resisting God. Every act of pride was nothing more than doing battle against Him; refusing to be ruled and moved by Him. And all humility meant nothing else but yielding to His government — but permitting the Spirit of Christ to hold that spirit which He had redeemed, and claimed for His own. And when a man is once bowed to the conviction that he is not meant to be what his Master and King refused to be, that it is not condescension in him to be on a level with those to whom the Prince of the kings of the earth levelled Himself, "God giveth grace." All the powers of the universe are then conspiring with him, not pledged to crush his wild Titanic ambition.

IV. St. Peter then could transfer his own hardly won experience to the Church, and could say in his Catholic Epistle to the dispersed of that time, to the dispersed through all time, "All of you be subject one to another." So he asserted the true condition of a society while he took down the conceit of its separate members; so he exalted each of these members in the very act of depressing him.

V. Generally this rule of being subject one to another, when applied to a society, implies that we should respect the opinions, habits, individual peculiarities, hereditary prepossessions of every man with whom we have to do; that we should take it for granted he has something which we need; that we should fear to rob him of anything which God has given him. This respect for him does not come from our caring more for him than for truth. It is part of our homage to truth. There is a danger of making him less true, of alienating him from truth, through our desire to attach him to ourselves. And therefore that same subjection one to another must make us resolute to maintain all truth so far as we have grasped it; vehement in denouncing all the habits of mind which, we know from ourselves, are unfavourable to the pursuit of truth, and undermine the love of it. And so this submission to man, which is in very deed submission to God, will preserve us from all servility; from that kind of deference to the judgment of individuals or of multitudes which is incompatible with genuine manliness, because it is incompatible with genuine reverence.

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

There are occasions when it is very helpful to our composure and equanimity to look at our debtor account, and not merely at the credit side. We may have a real claim to another's deference, and still may be in many respects inferior to him. It is right that the younger should defer to and honour the elder; but it is equally right that the elder should not insist too much upon bare seniority. For others may be in their best bloom and vigour, while we are already in the decline of both. And let us not forget that with all our eldership we are but of yesterday.

(J. A. Bengel.)

Be clothed with humility
I. HUMILITY ILLUSTRATED.

1. When St. Austin was asked what was the first grace of a Christian, he answered, humility: what the second, humility: what the third, humility. This grace is more fundamental to the nature of all true religion than any other grace whatever. The foundation of repentance is laid in an abasing sense of our guilt. The reason why men are not humble is, that they do not see the greatness of God. It is the effect of all knowledge to humble us, by producing a sense of our distance from the object which we contemplate: the farther we advance in knowledge, the more this distance widens on our view: hence where an Infinite Being, God, is the object of contemplation, there must be infinite scope for humility in His worshippers. The gospel is peculiarly adapted to produce this feeling: this is its very end and effect: "no flesh shall glory in His presence; the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day." This effect arises from the very constitution of the gospel; as it is a revelation of the free grace of God to sinners, without any respect to moral or natural differences of character.

II. THE MOTIVE BY WHICH SUCH A TEMPER IS RECOMMENDED.

1. "God resisteth the proud." The expression is very emphatic; He sets Himself in battle array against him; marks him as an object of peculiar indignation. It is not so said of any other temper. When the heart is filled by pride, nothing but spiritual barrenness and hardness can ensue. In a word, the proud are equally disqualified for the duties of Christianity here, and for the blessings of glory hereafter.

2. "But," as it is added, "He giveth grace to the humble." The same words are used by the apostle James, with the additional expression, "He giveth more grace." The humble feel their poverty, and pray for grace; and their prayers are heard.

III. Let us, then, SEEK AND CHERISH THIS GRACE, the only temper that can make us shine before God, the only one that can render us blessings to each other. The apostle exhorts us to "be clothed with humility." Men always use and wear their clothing, and we are to be clothed with this grace as a permanent vesture. It should pervade every part of our character; all the faculties of the mind: it should regulate the understanding, the will, and the affections. And then all other graces will shine the brighter through the veil of humility: it will shed a cheering influence on all.

(R. Hall, M. A.)

This is St. Peter's command. Are we really inclined to obey it? For, if we are, there is nothing more easy. Whosoever wishes to get rid of pride may do so. Whosoever wishes to be humble need not go far to humble himself. But how? Simply by being honest with himself, and looking at himself as he is. The world and human nature look up to the proud successful man, One is apt to say, "Happy is the man who has plenty to be proud of. Happy is the man who can divide the spoil of this world with the successful of this world. Happy is the man who can look down on his fellow men, and stand over them, and manage them, and make use of them, and get his profit out of them." But that is a mistake. That is the high-mindedness which goes before a fail, which comes not from above, but is always earthly, often sensual, and sometimes devilish. The true and safe high-mindedness, which comes from above, is none other than humility. Better to think of those who are nobler than ourselves, even though by so doing we are ashamed of ourselves all day long. What loftier thoughts can man have? What higher and purer air can a man's soul breathe? The truly high-minded man is not the proud man, who tries to get a little pitiful satisfaction from finding his brother men, as he chooses to fancy, a little weaker, a little more ignorant, a little more foolish, than his own weak, ignorant, foolish, and perhaps ridiculous, self. Not he; but the man who is always looking upwards to goodness, to good men, and to the all-good God; filling his soul with the sight of an excellence to which he thinks he can never attain; and saying, with David, "All my delight is in the saints that dwell in the earth, and in those who excel in virtue." And why does God resist and set Himself against the proud? To turn him out of his evil way, of course, if by any means he may be converted and live. And how does God give grace to the humble? Listen to Plutarch, a heathen; a good and a wise man, though; and one who was not far from the kingdom of God, or he would not have written such words as these: "It is our duty," he says, "to turn our minds to the best of everything; so as not merely to enjoy what we read, but to be improved by it." And we shall do that by reading the histories of good and great men, which will, in our minds, produce an emulation and eagerness which may stir us up to imitation. We may be pleased with the work of a man's hands, and yet set little store by the workman. Perfumes and fine colours we may like well enough: bat that will not make us wish to be perfumers, or painters: but goodness, which is the work, not of a man's hands, but of his soul, makes us not only admire what is done, but long to do the like. "And therefore," he says, "he thought it good to write the lives of famous and good men, and to set their examples before his countrymen. And having begun to do this," he says in another place, "for the sake of others, he found himself going on, and liking his labour, for his own sake; for the virtues of those great men served him as a looking glass, in which he might see how, more or less, to order and adorn his own life." "Indeed, it could be compared," he says, "to nothing less than living with the great souls who were dead and gone, and choosing out of their actions all that was noblest and worthiest to know. What greater pleasure could there be than that," he asks, "or what better means to improve his soul? By filling his mind with pictures of the best and worthiest characters, he was able to free himself from any low, malicious, mean thoughts, which he might catch from bad company. If he was forced at times to mix with base men, he could wash out the stains of their bad thoughts and words, by training himself in a calm and happy temper to view those noble examples." So says the wise heathen. Was not he happier, wiser, better, a thousand times, thus keeping himself humble by looking upwards, than if he had been feeding his petty pride by looking down, and saying, "God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are"? If you wish, then, to be truly high-minded, by being truly humble, read of, and think of, better men, wiser men, braver men, more useful men than you are. Above all, if you be Christians, think of Christ Himself.

(C. Kingsley, M. A.)

I. I SHALL MENTION SOME OF THE CASES IN WHICH HUMILITY OF SOUL WILL SHOW ITSELF.

1. The natural powers of the human mind will be spoken of with modesty.

2. When he thinks of his graces and attainments, the Christian is clothed with humility.

3. Another genuine expression of humility is a ready acknowledgment of our constant dependence.

II. I SHALL RECOMMEND THE PRACTICE OF HUMILITY.

1. That "he who humbleth him self shall be exalted," holds good with regard to our connections amongst our fellow men,

2. The advantages of this grace are not confined to temporal consequences; they extend to a future and eternal state.

3. The inhabitants of heaven are celebrated for this grace; and any who are unfurnished with it cannot be members of their society.

4. To recommend the cultivation and practice of this grace, remember our blessed Lord exemplified it in the whole of His conduct.

III. I SHALL DIRECT TO AN IMPROVEMENT OF THIS DISCOURSE.

1. Though the language of the text speaks of humility as something that is external, "Be clothed with humility," nevertheless, if the heart is not humbled, all is empty show.

2. Let it be remembered that this grace is needful in every rank and condition of life.

3. Consider the exhortation, "Be clothed with humility," as given by the apostle Peter; and it will direct us to a very particular improvement. "Be clothed with humility." This grace is not only a robe of ornament, but a shield of defence. When it adorns the heart and life, it defends the head also in the day of battle.

(Robert Foote.)

I. THE NATURE AND THE EFFECTS OF HUMILITY.

1. Humility, as it relates to our own private thoughts and judgment, requires that we should entertain no better an opinion of ourselves than we deserve. To judge too severely of ourselves, and to fancy we are guilty of faults from which we are free, cannot be humility, because there can be no virtue in mistake and ignorance. Only as we have all a propensity to extenuate our defects, and to overrate our good deeds, it is safest to correct this bent by forcing the mind somewhat towards the contrary way, and frequently to review our failings, and the many causes which we have of rejecting all conceited thoughts. The imperfections common to human nature are these: Mortality; a stronger propensity to evil than to good; an understanding liable to be frequently deceived, and a knowledge which at the best is much confined. The infirmities peculiar to ourselves are those defects either in goodness, or in knowledge, or in wisdom, by which we are inferior to other persons. To be sensible of these faults, is humility as it relates to ourselves: to overlook them is pride.

2. True humility, as it influences our behaviour towards our Maker, produces a religious awe, and banishes presumption and carelessness and vainglory.

3. Between an unmanly contempt and disregard of ourselves, with an abject fear and blind reverence of others, which is one extreme, and a conceited, overbearing insolence, which is the other extreme, true humility proceeds, always uniform and decent. The humble person never assumes what belongs not to him; he desires to possess no more power, and to receive no more respect from others than is suitable to his own character and condition, and appointed by the customs of society. He is not a rigid exacter of the things to which he has an undoubted right; he can overlook many faults; he is not greatly provoked at those slights which put vain persons out of all patience.

II. THE MOTIVES TO THE PRACTICE OF IT.

1. Humility is a virtue so excellent that the Scriptures have in some sort ascribed it even to God Himself. Humility consists principally in a due sense of our defects, our transgressions, our wants, and the obligations which we have received. Therefore such humility cannot be in God, who possesses all perfections. But there is a part of humility, as it relates to oar behaviour towards men, called condescension; and this is sometimes represented in Scripture as a disposition not unworthy of the Divine nature.

2. The example of our Saviour is an example of every virtue, particularly of humility.

3. In the behaviour of the angels, as it is revealed to us in the Scriptures, we find that part of humility called condescension, or a cheerful submission to any offices by which the good of others may be promoted. Hence we learn to think it no disgrace to be, as our Lord says He was, the servant of all. In truth, we cannot be more creditably employed.

4. It is affirmed in many places of Scripture, that humility secures to us the favour of God, and will bring down His blessing upon ourselves and our undertakings.

5. Humility usually gains the esteem and love of men, and consequently the conveniences, at least, the necessaries of life. Since all love themselves, they will probably favour those who never provoke, insult, deride, or injure them, who show them civility, and do them good offices. The humble person, therefore, takes the surest way to recommend himself to those with whom he is joined in society, to increase the number of his well-wishers and friends, and to escape or defeat the assaults of detraction, envy, and malice.

6. The most certain present recompense of humility is that which arises from its own nature, and with which it repays the mind that entertains it; and a very valuable recompense it would be, though it were the only one allotted to this virtue. A humble person neither hates nor envies anyone; therefore he is free from those very turbulent vices which are always a punishment in themselves. He is not discomposed by the slights or censures of others. If he has undesignedly given some occasion for them, he amends the fault; if he deserves them not, he regards them as little. He is contented with his condition, if it be tolerable; and, therefore, he finds satisfaction in all that is good, and overlooks, and in some measure escapes, all that is inconvenient in it. He has a due sense of his unworthiness and defects; by which he is taught to bear calamities with patience and submission, and thereby to soften their harsh nature, and to allay their violence.

7. Lastly: from the account which we have given of humility, we may draw this conclusion, that it is not, as the haughty are inclined to imagine, an unmanly and sordid disposition. It is indeed a virtue so remote from meanness of spirit, that it is no bad sign of a great and exalted mind. On the contrary, if we would know what meanness of spirit is, and how it acts, let us look for it amongst the proud and insolent, and we shall not lose our labour.

(J. Jortin, D. D.)

I. WHEREIN CONSISTS THE GRACE OF CHRISTIAN HUMILITY.

1. Humility is directly opposed to pride. As pride consists in having high thoughts of oneself, so humility consists in having low apprehensions of ourselves. Pride is the child of ignorance, humility the offspring of knowledge. They are not opposite errors, between which truth and goodness lie, but the former is a vice, the latter is a virtue; the one is the feeling generated by the belief of a lie, the other is the temper of mind produced by the reception of the truth. Humility may be considered in a twofold point of view, as it respects God and as it respects our fellow creatures, but in these different aspects it is not two virtues, but the same correct estimate of our character and condition influencing our conduct towards God and man. Humility consists in a due sense of our dependence. Pride can only exist in a fancied state of independence; a feeling of obligation wounds; that of constant dependence mortifies pride. Yet man is entirely a dependent being. We derive everything from God: In Him we live and move, and have our being." If we are humble, it will be a pleasing thought to us, that God has unlimited control over us, that we owe everything to Him, and that He has an indisputable right to order our affairs according to the good pleasure of His will. In the discharge of duty, in prosperity and adversity, in circumstances of perplexity, or in all our plans for the future, we shall not lean to our own understanding, nor rely upon our own strength, but rather trust in the Lord with our whole hearts, we shall acknowledge Him in all our ways, and look up to Him for the direction of our steps. But we are not only dependent on God, we are so in a subordinate sense on our fellow creatures. While society is formed of different ranks and orders, there is an intimate union between them, and a constant dependence of the parts on each other. The higher cannot do without the lower ranks, and the latter are almost equally dependent on the former.

2. Humility consists of a proper estimate of our relative importance. As it respects God we are as nothing before Him; He is the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity; from everlasting to everlasting He is God; boundless in might, infinite in all His perfections. Humility towards men will consist very much in a due estimate of our relative importance, not only to each other, but in the view of the Divine Being. Whatever nominal distinctions are recognised in the world, humility will feel that God has made of one blood all nations that dwell upon the earth. What are the mole hills of distinction, the little elevations of human society, when we contemplate it in the mass? or what are they in the estimation of God, who is no respecter of persons? Humility will not put an extravagant value on the distinctions of earth; it will be kind and courteous to all, and in all the suffering and misery it may be called to contemplate in others, it will feel the irresistible force of the appeal, Am I not a man and a brother? It will be ready to render to all their due, tribute to whom tribute is due, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour.

3. Humility will also consist in a low estimate of our knowledge. "Be not wise," says the apostle, "in your own conceit." In all the distinctions of society there are none in which vanity and self-conceit are so cherished as in that of human literature. Now humility will moderate our estimate of what we know; it will teach us that literary distinction arises far more from adventitious circumstances, over which we have no control, than from any native superiority of mind; and that many of those whom the providence of God has precluded from the cultivation of their minds would, with equal advantages as ourselves possessed, have far outstripped us in the acquisition of knowledge. Humility will cherish a conviction of the imperfection of our faculties. It will feel on every side the bounds of human knowledge: the voice of God saying, "So far shalt thou go and no farther."

4. Humility consists in a correct estimate of our moral condition.(1) We are not only subjects of the Divine government, but we are guilty creatures, under the condemnation of the law of God. Whatever the pride of man may suggest, "we are all gone out of the way, we are altogether become filthy, there is none that doeth good, no not one." Humility rightly estimates this moral desolation. It thus prepares the mind for the revelation of God's mercy, to welcome the glad tidings of a Saviour, and to submit to the Divine method of forgiving sins. And if through grace we are brought to depend on Christ for salvation, humility will characterise every subsequent estimate of ourselves.(2) A proper estimate of our moral condition will express itself appropriately towards our fellow men.

II. WE MUST ENFORCE THE CULTIVATION OF HUMILITY UPON YOU BY VARIOUS CONSIDERATIONS.

1. It is in its own nature necessary to a reception of Christianity.

2. Humility is also an essential part of religion. Our hearts cannot be right with God until we apprehend His majesty and our own meanness — until we realise our entire dependence on Him — until, with humble and imploring faith, we are looking to the Saviour for salvation, and disposed to say, "Lord, I believe, help Thou mine unbelief." Humility is equally necessary to our perseverance in the Divine life: the dependence on God it generates is the vitality of our religion; the self-diffidence it creates is our best security.

3. God has put peculiar honour on humbleness of mind, while He has expressed His detestation of the opposite spirit. "Every one proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord." "A high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin." But, on the contrary, He everywhere commends an humble spirit; it is the disposition of mind He delights to favour. "Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly."

4. This virtue is enforced by the conduct of our Lord.

5. Humility is an undying grace; it will flourish more perfectly in heaven. All the saints and angels are clothed in this appropriate garb of a creature. Let us, then, cultivate a quality of character which will abide with us through eternity, which will constitute a portion of the bliss of heaven; it will enlarge our happiness on earth, and eminently meeten us for future glory.

(S. Summers.)

The word itself and its history are interesting. "There are cases," says Coleridge, "in which more knowledge, of more value, may be conveyed by the history of a word than by the history of a campaign." Now take this word humility. It was not a new word when the New Testament was written. It had been used for years. Only it is striking that almost without exception the word humility, used before the time of Christ, is used contemptuously and rebukingly. It always meant meanness of spirit. To be humble was to be a coward. Where could we find a more striking instance of the change that the Christian religion brought into the world, than in the way in which it took this disgraceful word and made it honourable? To be humble is to have a low estimation of one's self. That was considered shameful in the olden time. Christ came and made the despised quality the crowning grace of the culture that He inaugurated. Lo! the disgraceful word became the key word of His fullest gospel. He redeemed the quality, and straightway the name became honourable. Think what the change must have been. Think with what indignation and contempt men of the old school in Rome and Athens must have seen mean spiritedness, as they called it, taken up, inculcated and honoured, proclaimed as the salvation of the world, and Him in whom it was most signally embodied made the Saviour and King of men. Ah, it seems to me more and more that it must have been very hard for those early disciples to have believed in Christ. But let us see, if we can, what the change was that Christianity accomplished, and how it came about. The quality that Christianity rescued and glorified was humility. Humility means a low estimate or value of one's self. But all values are relative. The estimate we set on anything depends of course on the standard with which we compare it.

1. Now Christianity's great primary revelation was God. Much about Him it showed men, but first of all it showed them Him. He, the Creator, the Governor, became a presence clear and plain before men's hearts. His greatness, His holiness, His love — nay, we cannot describe Him by His qualities, for He is greater than them all — He, by the marvellous method of the Incarnation, showed Himself to man. He stood beside man's work. He towered above, and folded Himself about man's life. He entered into men's closets and took possession of men's hearts. And what then? God in the world must be the standard of the world. Greatness meant something different when men had seen how great He was; and the manhood which had compared itself with lesser men and grown proud, now had a chance to match itself with God, and to see how small it was, and to grow humble about itself. Just imagine that when you and I were going on learning our lessons, doing our work, exercising our skill here on the earth, and proud of our knowledge, our strength, and our skill — just suppose that suddenly Omniscience towered up above our knowledge, and Omnipotence above our strength, and the Infinite Wisdom stood piercing out of the sight of our ignorant and baffled skill. Must it not crush the man with an utter insignificance? What is the use of heaving up these mole hills so laboriously close by the gigantic mountainside? But if the revelation is not only this; if it includes not only the greatness but the love of God; if the majesty that is shown to us is the majesty of a father, which takes our littleness into his greatness, makes it part of itself, honours it, trains it, does not mock it, then there comes the true graciousness of humility. It is not less humble, but it is not crushed. It is not paralysed, but stimulated. The energy which the man used to get out of his estimate of his own greatness he gets now out of the sight of his father's, which yet is so near to him that, in some finer and higher sense, it still is his; and so he is more hopeful and happy and eager in his humility than he ever used to be in his pride. This is the philosophy of reverence and humility as enrichers of life and mainsprings of activity.

2. This is one, then, of the ways in which Christ rescued and exalted humility. He gave man his true standard. He set man's littleness against the infinite height of God. The next way that I want to speak of is even more remarkable. He asserted and magnified the essential glory of humanity. He showed us that the human might be joined with the Divine. Thus He glorified human nature. Ah, if a man must be humbled, and is exalted by his humility, when he sees God, surely when he sees the possibility of himself, there is no truer or more exalted feeling for him than to look in on what he is, and think it very mean and wretched by the side of what he might be, what his Lord has shown him that he was made for. Christ makes us humble by showing us our design. There is nothing more strange, and at the same time more truthful, about Christianity than its combination of humiliation and exaltation for the soul of man. If one wants to prove that man is but a little lower than the angels, the son and heir of God, he must go to the Bible. If he wants to prove how poor and base and Satan-like the soul of man can be, still to the Bible he must go. If you want to find the highest ecstasy that man's spirit ever reached, it is the Christian saint exulting in his God. Do you want to hear the bitterest sorrow that ever wrung this human heart? It is that same Christian saint penitent for his sin. I think we cannot but see the beauty of a humility like this if it once becomes the ruling power of a changed man's life, this humility born of the sight of a man's possible self. It has in it all that is good in the best self-respect. Nay, with reference to the whole subject of self-respect this seems to be true, that the only salvation from an admiration of our own present condition, which is pride, is to be found in a profound respect for the best possibility and plan of our being, which involves humility. So it is the sight of what God meant us to be that makes us ashamed of what we are. And it is the death of Christ for us, the preciousness that He saw in our souls making them worthy of that awful sacrifice, it is that which lets us see our own soul as He sees it in its possibility, and so lets us see it in its reality as He sees it too, and put our pride away and be humble.

(Bp. Phillips Brooks.)

The image of the "clothing" — a word which is used only in this place in the Bible — is thought to have reference to a particular kind of white vestment which used to be worn by slaves. And it was made very long and large, that it might cover not only all the other dress, but the whole figure; and so it may be considered that the believer, remembering well that he is the follower of Him who "came not to be ministered unto but to minister," should place all he has and all he is under the folds of a mantling "humility," and array himself in a servile robe. But let me caution you not to think that "the clothing of humility" has anything to do with that robe of which the Bible speaks as "the wedding garment." It has nothing to do with it, except that God invariably makes this the lining for that. That is something from without a man; this is from within. That is saving; this is evidential. Now I am persuaded that the first way to grow humble is to be sure that you are loved. The education of almost any child will teach you that if you treat that child harshly, you will make his little heart stubborn and proud; but if he feels that you love him, he will gradually take a gentler tone. So it is with the education through which we are all passing to the life to come. The first thing God does with His child is to make the child feel that He loves him. There is nothing which will stoop a man into the dust like the gentle pressure of the feeling "I am loved." The forgiven David, the woman at Jesus's feet, Peter under the look, John in the bosom. Let me advise you further. If you desire to cultivate that posture of mind, accustom yourself, force yourself to do acts of humiliation — whatever is most against your natural taste. There is a still deeper feeling without which you will never have on that "robe of humility" — you must often sit and receive the droppings of the Holy Ghost. You must meditate with open eye on the meek, humble face of Jesus. You must be in union with Christ. There is a false "humility" than which none can be more destructive to the character. It is of three kinds. There is "humility" of external things — in a mortification of the body. But it is a cloak, not a robe — a look, a posture, a ceremony. There is another counterfeit which Satan makes and calls "humility." It is what St. Paul calls in his Epistle to the Colossians a "voluntary humility" — people thinking themselves unworthy to come to God. And there are those who do not know it, but who, like Peter, are under an appearance of "humility," indulging contemptuous pride. "Thou shalt never wash my feet." "I am not good enough to be saved. I am not worthy to come to the Lord's Supper. I cannot believe God loves me."

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Humility is that Christian virtue without which no other can exist, and by which every other is beautified, for, whilst the flowers of all the Christian graces grow in the shade of the Redeemer's Cross, the root of them is humility.

I. HUMILITY BECOMES US AS CREATURES. It may also be remarked that the temptation to pride, and consequently the exercise of humility, has very much to do with a comparative view of ourselves and others. It is not in the superiority which we possess over the inferior creatures that we are apt either to exaggerate the difference or to forget that it is from God, but it is in the little advantage which one man may happen to possess above another, whether in mental endowments, bodily powers, or worldly wealth. It is this minor distinction, the comparative difference between man and man, which excites envy in one party and creates haughtiness in another. But the judgment of humility is according to truth. This is the spirit of humility which, like the flower blooming in the valley, delights the eye of the contemplative, who, forgetting the gaudier plants of the garden, finds nothing to charm him so much as the simple beauties of nature.

II. HUMILITY BECOMES US AS SINNERS.

III. HUMILITY BECOMES US AS DISCIPLES OF CHRIST.

1. They must retain a humbling remembrance of past sins. Those sins, though forgiven by Jehovah, must not be forgotten by them, that they may see what they are in themselves, and understand how much they owe to redeeming love.

2. The Christian must also continually watch the state of his heart.

3. Whatever measures of holiness the Christian attains to, he must always remember that by the grace of God he is what he is. Thus all boasting is excluded, for he has nothing but what he has received.

4. There will always, whilst we are on the earth, remain much to be done, much to be attained. Every grace will be defective in measure and mixed with infirmity. The most faultless disciple will here find cause for humiliation. Conclusion:

1. What a delightful character is the man of distinguished humility. He may not have the glory in which the patriot, the hero, or the martyr is enshrined, but he is adorned with the beauties of holiness; he carries about with him the majesty of goodness, if not the dominion of greatness.

2. Learn from this subject to beware of false humility. True humility is diffident and retiring; it is not like the scentless flower, which turns its face to the sun throughout his course, as if for the purpose of being seen, but it is rather like the modest violet, which hides itself in obscurity, and sends forth fragrance from its deep retirement. It employs no herald, it unfolds no banner, it blows no trumpet, but, whilst conferring substantial benefits, it desires to be like the angels, who, while ministering to the heirs of salvation, are unseen and unknown by the objects of their attention.

3. Learn also, while you avoid false humility, to labour for that which is real. Let the young labour for this. Christian humility will teach you the most willing obedience, the most genuine affection, the most respectful demeanour towards your parents, and it will excite you to the most anxious endeavours for the promotion of their happiness. Let not the old neglect this spirit of humility. Do not aggravate the sorrows of your evil days by pride, by peevishness, or by discontent. When almost every leaf is gone from the rose of life, let not its thorns remain. Let parents manifest much of this temper in the treatment of their children. Always endeavour to persuade before you attempt to compel. This is the way to grow in grace, for "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."

(T. Gibson, M. A.)

In looking into the nature of humility, we discover that it does not involve meanness or servility. It is not pusillanimity. It contains no element that degrades human nature. It is not the quality of a slave, but of kings and priests unto God. It is a necessary trait in all finite character, and therefore it is perfectly consistent with an inviolable dignity and self-respect.

I. In the first place, humility is becoming to man, because he is A CREATURE. Shall a being who was originated from nonentity by almighty power, and who can be reduced again to nonentity by that same power, swell with haughtiness?

II. In the second place, humility is becoming to man, because he is A DEPENDENT BEING.

1. All his springs are in God. He is dependent for life, health, and all temporal things. He is dependent, above all, for spiritual life and health and all the blessed things of eternity.

2. Man is dependent not only upon his Creator, but also upon his fellow creature.

III. In the third place, man should be humble because he is A SINFUL BEING. Considering the peculiar attitude in which guilty man stands before God, self-abasement ought to be the main feeling in his heart, for, in addition to the infinite difference there is originally between himself and his Maker, he has rendered himself yet more different by apostasy. The first was only a difference in respect to essence, but the last is a difference in respect to character. How strange it is that he should forget this difference, and, entering into a comparison of himself with his fellow men, should plume himself upon a supposed superiority. The culprits are disputing which shall be the greatest at the very instant when their sentence of condemnation is issuing from the lips of their Judge! There is still another consideration under this head which strengthens the motive for humility. We have seen that the fact of sin furnishes an additional reason for self-abasement because it increases the distance between man and God; it has also made him still more dependent upon God. Nothing but pure and mere mercy can deliver him. But nothing interferes with the exercise of mercy like pride in the criminal. A proud man cannot be forgiven. It involves a self-contradiction. If there be self-asserting haughtiness in the heart, God can neither bestow grace nor man receive it.

IV. A fourth and most powerful reason why man should be clothed with humility is found in THE VICARIOUS SUFFERING AND ATONEMENT OF CHRIST IN HIS BEHALF. Feeling himself to be a condemned sinner, and beholding the Lamb of God "made a curse for him" and bearing His sins in His own body on the tree, all self-confidence and self-righteousness will die out of his soul.

(G. T. Shedd, D. D.)

I. TO EXPLAIN THE NATURE OF HUMILITY. Humility consists in a low opinion or esteem. Now the opinion which we form of ourselves is either absolute or comparative, and whichever way we judge it is very certain that a low opinion best becomes us, and is most suitable to our nature and state.

1. First, if we judge of ourselves absolutely, without comparing ourselves with any others, humility and truth too requires that our opinion should be very moderate and low. We know but little, and we live, alas! to little good purpose. What a mixture of corruption is there with every grace, and what a sully of sin in every duty! Again, as to the happiness of our state, what mortal does not feel that he is miserable? Pains and diseases afflict our bodies, crosses and disappointments perplex our circumstances, the gloom of melancholy gathers about the heart, and sorrows overspread the whole world.

2. Humility consisteth in having a low opinion of ourselves as compared with others, whether with God or with our fellow creatures.

II. TO SET BEFORE YOU THE GOOD FRUITS OF HUMILITY. To this grace we may apply these words of the prophet, "It taketh root downward and beareth fruit upward" (Isaiah 37:31), and the deeper the root is laid, the larger and fairer will the fruit be.

1. Meekness is one pleasant fruit which grows upon humility, and to this we may join the kindred grace of peaceableness or quietness of spirit (1 Peter 3:4).

2. Patience is another good fruit of humility, with which we may join the kindred grace of submission. Now patience has respect either to God or man.(1) Patience in respect to God consisteth in a quiet submission to His afflictive providences without murmuring.(2) If we further consider patience as it respects men, as it is opposite to fretfulness at their faults and follies, this also is the fruit of humility; for if we were as sensible of our own follies as we should be, we should more patiently bear with the faults and follies of others.

3. Self-denial is another good fruit of humility, and how necessary a duty that is you will learn from those words of Christ (Luke 9:23). We surely esteem the body at too high a rate when we pamper it to the hurt of the soul.

4. The last good fruit of humility which I shall here speak of is contentment. The humble man remembers that, be his worldly condition what it will, it is unspeakably better than he deserves.

III. To urge upon you the exhortation in our text by A FEW MOTIVES. "Be ye clothed with humility." For —

1. Consider how high an approbation God has expressed of this grace, and how hateful pride is to Him.

2. Consider what a lovely and engaging example of humility Christ hath set us.

3. Let me recommend humility as a necessary part of your preparation for heaven.

(D. Jennings.)

I. Let us examine THE SOURCE AND GROUND OF HUMILITY. This is drawn from the knowledge of God and from the relation in which we stand to Him. Hence, where the knowledge of God is absent, the exercise of humility becomes impossible. Humility begins with the knowledge of God, and advances to the knowledge of ourselves. Thus we see at our first step that it consists of something we gain, not of aught we lose. The humble man is rich in his humility, for he has gained that which the proud man has not. Pride is the instinct of ignorance. But we must take another step, and ask how it is that the knowledge of God, instead of puffing a man up with the conceit of an acquisition, only produces humility and the most prostrate lowliness of mind. It might be answered, because the knowledge itself is but a gift freely bestowed; it is a revelation, not a discovery, and therefore implies in itself the obligation of a receiver towards a donor. This is true, but a more complete reply is, that humility is produced by the impressiveness of the majesty and greatness of the Divine Being as revealed to us in His matchless perfections and infinite glory. This knowledge of the glory of God is not a work of nature but a gift of grace. This new knowledge becomes a test whereby we measure ourselves. We cannot help this self-application, since, in knowing God, we have gained a new idea altogether. And it is in the immense difference between what God is and what we are that Christian humility originates and grows. Then, when we read the inspired history of man, lowliness is increased. For there we are told not alone of the immortal spirit breathed into man, but of the Divine likeness in which we were first created, even in the image and similitude of God. And now, standing amid these wonders of revelation, with the wretched experience of ourselves as we are fresh and full upon us, there is not a truth which does not deepen our awe by the very wonderfulness of the realities to which we find ourselves related, and with which we stand in daily contact. For here is the wonder, that true humility grows out of self-respect. No man living has so high a conception of the dignity of human nature as the Christian.

II. From the source and nature of Christian humility let us consider ITS PRACTICAL OUTGOING. Here, again, we must take the side turned towards God first; otherwise we shall be out of order. What are the characteristic feelings and what the corresponding acts which a profound humility produces in our intercourse with God? In the first place, it produces an absorbing and unmeasured admiration. In speaking of so great a being as God, adoration may perhaps be the better word, so long as it is understood to be the adoration not of fear but of love — the adoration of desire, of grateful affection, and of fervent praise. And then, out of adoring praise to the redeeming God by whom we live, arises simple trusting faith in Him. From praise and trust combined there will arise also implicit obedience. For admiration and trust exalt to the highest degree the glory of the Being admired and trusted. Then how can God be wrong in any way? and if right, then every word of His must be kept as a seal of our acceptance. And now we shall see how these three sentiments of adoration, trust, and obedience necessarily affect our relation towards our fellow men. Gentle manners, gentle looks, gentle words ever considerate of other men's feelings, make the true Christian a natural gentleman, and invest him with an intuitive politeness which is but the outgoing of the Divine life within.

(E. Garbett, M. A.)

I. LET US BE CLOTHED WITH HUMILITY BEFORE GOD. God delights in it; it is the "ornament which in His sight is of great price." A lady applied to a celebrated philanthropist on behalf of an orphan child. When he had bidden her draw on him for any amount, she said, "As soon as the child is old enough I will teach him to thank you." "Stop (said the good man), you are mistaken; we do not thank the clouds for rain — teach the child to look higher and thank Him who gives both the clouds and the rain." That was being clothed with humility before God.

II. LET US BE CLOTHED WITH HUMILITY BEFORE THE WORLD — the proud and gainsaying world. This is the way in which we are to be lights to it add salt in it. Humility does more than argument. If it irritates, it impresses and convinces. An aged patriarch was tauntingly asked by a boastful young Pharisee, "Do you suppose that you have any real religion?" "None to speak of," was the dignified answer, and it went sharp as a javelin into that young Pharisee's bosom.

III. LET US BE CLOTHED WITH HUMILITY BEFORE EACH OTHER. "Yea, all of you be subject one to another." This is hardest of any — this wants more humility than either of the preceding. Mr. Newton's favourite expression to his friends was, "I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be, but by the grace of God I am not what I once was."

(James Bolton.)

No garment sits so well on human nature, and no ornament so gracefully conceals its deformity, as humility. Yet there is no dress which we find it more difficult to assume. There is something in our imperfect and unsanctified nature which revolts at the very idea of submission, condescension, and inferiority.

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY BEING CLOTHED WITH HUMILITY. To cultivate this grace we need only contemplate ourselves as we really are, examine out' true condition, look at our selves in the mirror of truth and righteousness, and we shall come away humbled to the dust.

II. SOME ADVANTAGES TO BE SECURED BY BEING HUMBLE. God's commandments have nothing arbitrary about them. Whatever He ordains is for our good.

1. Humility is the great qualification for the reception of knowledge and for entrance into the kingdom of heaven. A proud man will neither learn anything from his neighbour nor receive anything from his God. If a man thinks he knows enough already upon any given subject, he is not likely to learn much more. Humility opens the pathway to all knowledge. By it our minds become docile so that they are prepared to receive every new form of truth. And if we cherish this spirit, may we not learn from all around us? Humility also prepares for the reception of the Divine kingdom into the heart.

2. Humility is essential to the growth of the soul in holiness and grace. All true spiritual progress is the work of God. If he do not yield to the power and grace of God, how can He fashion him after His own will? Humility, then, prepares us to feel our inability to do any good thing of ourselves, and to look for all in God. g. Humility opens the pathway to honour and glory (Isaiah 57:15).

4. Humility is associated with the purest happiness. Humility in man helps him to maintain a serenity and calmness amidst all the storms of life.

(Harvey Phillips, B. A.)

A new suit of clothes! That's a subject in which you all take an interest. When a boy enters the army or navy he puts on a new suit of clothes, blue or red, and that reminds him that he is bound to serve his queen and country, and that he must not disgrace his uniform. I am going to speak to you today about some different kinds of clothing, some good, others bad. First of all, let us think of the clothes which God makes for His beautiful world. He clothes the grass of the field. Every tree has a different shaped dress and a different shade of colour. Even in the winter, when the trees look so bare and cold, they are still clothed by God. Trees have two sets of leaves, one set for the summer, the other for the winter. And God clothes the beasts and birds and gives each exactly the sort of dress which he re quires. You have all seen the mole hills in a field, and sometimes you have caught a glimpse of the mole himself. Well, God has clothed him in a dress like black velvet, which is just fitted for his home underground. The animals which live in cold regions have a warm clothing of fur, and those which live among snow and ice are white, so that their enemies may not easily see them. Now let us think about ourselves. In the Bible we hear of two kinds of clothing, the best and the worst. St. Peter says, "Be clothed with humility"; that's the best clothing. In the hundred and ninth Psalm we are told of a wicked man who "clothed himself with cursing as with a garment"; that's the worst clothing. Now I have noticed that very often when children are growing up into big lads and girls, there is a great change in their manners. Did you ever hear the old fable of the donkey who found a lion's skin? The donkey covered himself with the skin, and tried to play the lion and frighten the people. But some of them spied his long ears, and recognised his well-known voice, and he was soon stripped of his lion's skin and driven away. Now, my boys, if you are tempted to put on a suit of clothes which does not become you, if while still boys you put on the habits of a man, and of a bad man into the bargain, remember the fable of the ass in the lion's skin. But when a child has outgrown the good clothing of humility and put on a full suit of pride, there comes another evil from it. He often gives up his prayers and his Bible. I told you that the Bible speaks of the worst kind of clothing; it tells us of a man who "clothed himself with cursing as with a garment." I take cursing there to mean all sorts of bad language. The old Greeks tell us a story about the death of Hercules. That strong hero had shot his enemy, Nessus, with a poisoned arrow, and the garment of the slain man was all stained with poisoned blood. Before he died Nessus gave his clothing to the wife of Hercules, telling her that it would make her husband love her always. It came to pass after a time that she gave the fatal garment to her husband, and no sooner had he put it on than the poison seized upon him, and when, in his agony, he tried to put off the clothing, it clung all the tighter, and so he died, killed by his own poison. So it is with the man who clothes himself with a garment of cursing or bad talk; it clings to him and poisons him, body and soul. There are several other kinds of clothing of which I might warn you. One of these is self-righteousness. I have seen a man with a very glossy black suit of clothes, very carefully buttoned up, and at first sight he looked most clean and respectable. But when I came to look more closely, I found that his linen was anything but white and clean. His respectability was all outside. If your clothes are old and worn out or do not fit you, what must you do? You must get a new suit. Well, there are some kinds of clothing which we should cast off as soon as possible. If any of you have put on bad habits, filthy clothing, such as pride, or falsehood, or bad talk, you must change your clothes. Cast off the old garment, and go down on your knees, and ask God for Jesus Christ's sake to give you a new dress.

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

I cannot but think that one of the truest ways in which Christianity has made humility at once a commoner and a nobler grace has been in the way in which it has furnished work for the higher powers of man, which used to be idle, and only ponder proudly on themselves. Idleness standing in the midst of unattempted tasks is always proud. Work is always tending to humility. Work touches the keys of endless activity, opens the infinite, and stands awe struck before the immensity of what there is to do. Work brings a man into the great realm of facts. Work takes the dreamy youth who is growing proud in his closet over one or two sprouting powers which he has discovered in himself, and sets him out among the gigantic needs and the vast processes of the world, and makes him feel his littleness. Work opens the measureless fields of knowledge and skill that reach far out of our sight. Is not this what you would do for a boy whom you saw getting proud — set him to work? He might be of so poor stuff that he would be proud of his work, poorly as he would do it. But if he were really great enough to be humble at all, his work would bring him to humility. He would be brought face to face with facts. He would measure himself against the eternal pillars of the universe. He would learn the blessed lesson of his own littleness in the way in which it is always learned most blessedly, by learning the largeness of larger things. And all this, which the ordinary occupations of life do for our ordinary powers, Christianity, with the work that it furnishes for our affections and our hopes, does for the higher parts of us.

(Bp. Phillips Brooks.)

There are some sins which have resisted every influence but that of Christianity, and over which even the gospel itself seems to obtain a precarious triumph. One of these is pride. To be proud is not only to be what Christianity condemns, but something essentially inconsistent with the first principles of its teaching, and with the special type of character which it seeks to create. Heathenism showed it no such antipathy. Unless it made itself specially ridiculous by trading on obviously false pretences, it was considered a becoming and reasonable tiring. It is not difficult to understand how this should have been so. Pride, to be seen in its objectionable light, must be seen in connection with those truths about God and human nature which Christianity first made known to the world. It is only when it stands in their company it appears as Scripture represents it. How Christianity dethrones this idol of self we know very well. It reminds us that the great thing is not what a man has, but what he is. It reveals in the Person of Christ the true standard of moral excellence. Pride has to come down from its pedestal and take its place in the dust. We see we are not only wrong, but responsible for being wrong. We have been following false ideals. It seems almost impossible to conceive how a proud man can ever have been truly convicted of sin, or brought to receive the salvation of Christ as a free, unmerited gift. It seems more difficult still to believe that such an one is living by the faith of the Son of God, receiving as a sinner daily forgiveness, and as having nothing being indebted to Him for all things. It is hardly to be wondered at that the world should be sceptical of our Christian profession when it sees so much that directly contradicts it. Are we disposed to retract the confession which we made so sincerely when we cried for mercy, that of all sinners we are the chief? Or, are we forgetting what the world really is, as we saw it once in the light of the Cross, when its glory faded till it vanished away, and we cried, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord"? Is it assuming its old importance? "Be clothed," says St. Peter, "with humility." And as we read the words we feel how little of this clothing we have been accustomed to wear, how faintly we have realised the nature of the habit in which we should always be found apparelled. The word which the apostle uses here, and which is translated, "Be clothed," is interesting and somewhat rare. It means literally "to tie or gird on," and is so rendered in the Revised Version, but apparently it also refers to the peculiar garment that was worn by slaves, and which was the usual mark or badge of their condition.

I. First, St. Peter says, SEE THAT YOUR HUMILITY IS FASTENED TO YOU AS IT WERE SO SECURELY NOTHING SHALL BE ABLE TO DEPRIVE YOU OF IT. He recognises the risk of it being plucked off or laid aside. And among those to whom he wrote the risk was doubtless considerable. In so mixed a community as the Christian Church at that time it would be difficult to subordinate all selfish desires to the common good. And persecution, which was then active, might easily awaken a feeling of resentment or disdain. To be reviled and yet revile not again, to suffer wrong and take it patiently, is never an easy thing. In our ease the danger may spring from a different quarter, but it is no less real. Perhaps we feel our humility to be nothing but a cloak, something put on or assumed which is not natural to us, and in which we pose in a somewhat hypocritical guise. And, of course, a humility which is conscious of itself is no humility at all. It is the most odious of all possible counterfeits. But the girdle or overall of the slave to which St. Peter alludes was his natural dress. It simply indicated his servile condition. There was no inconsistency between the two. And, as we have seen, humility is the natural garb of the Christian, expressing his dependence on Jesus Christ, whose slave he is. Yet the temptation frequently comes to lay it aside, or to give way to a temper which makes it impossible to wear it. It is true, we argue to ourselves, we have much to keep us humble, but not more than these others, or perhaps so much, if they only knew it. Why, then, should we yield to them, or submit tamely to their assumptions? If we give them an inch, they will take an ell, and there is no end to the liberties some may allow themselves, or the length to which they may presume. All this is very natural, but is it Christian? Is it not renouncing the vesture of humility, and finding plausible excuses for the pride that is so ready to assert itself? There are interests that ought to be dearer to us than any personal considerations. Let us be clothed with humility. Let us keep it on firmly. Let our whole life in all its details be ruled by the remembrance that we are not our own, but Christ's slaves, and bound to act in accordance with our condition.

II. But, secondly, BEING CLOTHED WITH HUMILITY MEANS THAT, BEING GIRT WITH THIS VESTURE OF SERVITUDE, WE ARE ALWAYS TO BE READY FOR SERVICE. There are some clothes in which a man cannot work. He puts them on for state occasions. So there are some Christians who always seem, so to speak, to be in dress clothes. They would be quite shocked if you asked them to do something that involved even a little hard work. They are much too dainty and refined for that. Or, they strike you as being available only on great occasions. Are we so clothed with humility as to remember that it is not ours to pick and choose, but to be ready at the Master's call? Do we remember that no act of service is too humble or obscure for us; that we are not to think there are some things for which we are too good, and which we are therefore justified in leaving undone? Whenever we do this, we discard our girdle or cloak of humility. We forget what manner of men we are and the character we wear.

III. Again, St. Peter reminds us that humility is not only indispensable to our serving Christ, BUT ALSO TO OUR SERVING ONE ANOTHER. The correct text of the passage literally rendered runs thus: "Gird yourselves with humility for the sake of one another." And truly no better specific could be devised for developing the happiness and strength of a community. For a great part of the misery and confusion of the world pride is responsible. It makes joint effort impracticable, and is the creator of constant discord and misunderstanding. Pride is an insoluble particle. It resists fusion and protests against amalgamation. Humility presents no such obstacle. It facilitates union. It is mutual concession, "in honour preferring one another." "Be clothed," therefore, "with humility," writes the apostle, and as the precept is so confessedly difficult to obey, it may be well to suggest one or two directions.

1. Let us get out of the way of making ourselves the centre of everything. If we are Christians, self has been dethroned, and it must be forbidden all acts of usurpation. We have found a larger and nobler centre for life, and other interests that are greater and more commanding than our own. Let us put these first — the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Let us remember that these are the interests that endure.

2. A second suggestion I may offer is, that we should think most of all of Christ, and of pleasing Him. When He receives the proper place in our lives everything else will surely come right. It is only when He is forgotten, or His presence is faintly and fitfully realised, other things assume a disproportionate importance. We lose our standard of value, our justness of perception, and our whole perspective becomes confused.

(C. Moinet, M. A.)

Opinion of ourselves is like the casting of a shadow, which is always largest when the sun is at the greatest distance. By the degrees that the sun approaches, the shadow shortens, and under the direct meridian light it becomes none at all. It is so with our opinion of ourselves; while the good influences of God are at the greatest distance from us, it is then always that we conceive best of ourselves; as God approaches the conceit lessens, till we receive the fuller measure of His grace, and then we become nothing in our own conceit, and God appears to be all in all.

(Dean Young.)

An Irish preacher named Thady Conellan, who greatly assisted Dr. Monck Mason in his labours connected with the revision of the Hibernian Bible Society's Irish Bible, was eminent not only as an orator, a wit, and a humble unostentatious Christian, but was unmoved by the splendour and gaiety which surrounded him, and retained his simplicity amid it all. A magnificent duchess having one day asked him, "Pray, do you know Lady Lorton?" was quickly answered, "Yes, madam, I do; and she is the best dressed lady in Ireland." "How very odd! Best dressed lady in Ireland." What a strange man! "Pray, how is she dressed?" But her grace's surprise was converted to satisfaction when Thady rejoined, "Yes, madam, Lady Lorton is the best dressed lady in Ireland, or in England either, for she is clothed in humility."

Vanity, or love of display, is one of the most contemptible and pernicious passions that can take possession of the human mind. Its roots are in self-ignorance — its fruits are affectation and falsehood. Vanity is a kind of mental intoxication, in which the pauper fancies himself a prince, and exhibits himself in aspects disgusting to all observers.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

"Humble we must be, if to heaven we go;

High is the roof there, but the gate is low."

(Robert Herrick.)

Humility is the beauty of grace. "Be clothed with humility." The Greek word imports that humility is the ribbon or string that ties together all those precious pearls, the rest of the graces. If this string break they are all scattered.

(T. Brooks.)

God resisteth the proud
No one need fail in life, in things temporal or things spiritual, through pride! and yet not be able to know what kept him back. Not temporally, not spiritually, will promotion come — any real progress — while self-conceit is there. The course of the universe is dead against that, and against those who are cursed with it. We do not wonder that the Almighty should "oppose Himself to the proud." Even we must often have thought how strange it is that man should be proud at all. What have we to be proud of.

I. GOD "RESISTETH THE PROUD" IN HIS PROVIDENCE. The course of God's Providence, as a general rule, does (as a matter of fact) keep back the proud from positions of eminence. In practice, the most conceited persons one has ever known are those who have been the deadest failures. The pride tended to the failure, no doubt: but where other disqualifications rendered success impossible, the self-conceit alleviated the mortification of failure. For it is more pleasant for a man to think that he has been very unlucky, than to think he has been very incompetent and undeserving. But, setting aside the case of incorrigibles, it is very striking, as a matter of historical experience, how, when the sore discipline had been borne, when the old conceit was fairly taken out, the tide turned and great success came. Aye, the man could stand it now: and that which would once have intoxicated, was now taken with lowly thankfulness. True are the wise man's words, "Before honour is humility!" I know, of course, that the question may be put: Have we not sometimes seen self-conceited people in prominent places? And the answer must be, Not often, but sometimes, no doubt. But it is only in appearance that these cases are exceptions to the principle stated in the text. For God resists such, humbles them in various ways. Perhaps He allows them to get the prominent position and then prove conspicuously unfit for it; which is (to one of any worth) the sorest kind of failure. Or the conceited heart is hourly punished by a host of little mortifications and slights, keenly felt through all its morbidly sensitive texture, from which the humble minded are entirely free. Make him chief minister of the State, like Haman: and the proud man has all the enjoyment killed out of his lot by the slighting looks of one unmannerly Jew. Raise the proud man to the throne itself; and he holds his peace of mind at the mercy of any crowd that may raise the shout, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands."

II. HOW GOD RESISTETH THE PROUD IN HIS KINGDOM OF GRACE. "Where is boasting" here? "It is excluded." There is but one lowly gate of humble penitence by which anyone can pass into that family of the redeemed in which alone is salvation. And then this repentance is not just once for all: it must be a daily thing, a strengthening habit. Look at the whole design of grace, and see how from first to last it resists all pride, and cuts hard all human self-sufficiency I It sets out by taking it for granted that we are all guilty, all helpless. It goes on to tell that we can be saved only by entire dependence on another. Then, in the design of grace, though we are saved through Christ only, lye are called to the highest degree of purity, truthfulness, self-sacrifice, devotion of heart and of life to God. Only through the communications of the Blessed Spirit are we able to do anything as we ought. He begins, He carries on, He ends our better life! Thus it is that in God's kingdom of grace there is no room for pride. It is not merely resisted, it is shut out altogether. And now we may humbly believe that we can discern the reason why "God resisteth the proud." There is not in our Heavenly Father, in our Blessed Saviour, the faintest infusion of that wretched jealousy of their creatures which old heathenism ascribes to its gods; that wretched jealousy of human power and wisdom, — even of human goodness, which we can trace in ancient classic tragedy. It is not a touchiness about His own importance, such as we should judge petty and contemptible in a man, that makes God resist the proud. It is because the thing is bad; because it is unlike us and our place; because it must be got rid of before we shall be fit either for this life or for a better. It is all for our true good and our true happiness that God opposes the ever-growing self-conceit. Thus He trains us for duty here and for rest hereafter.

(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)

I. THE FOLLY OF PRIDE.

1. Are we proud of our strength? It is far inferior to that of many beasts.

2. Our clothing? It is not so pretty as the peacock's. What is deficient in the head they put outside.

3. Our beauty? It is inferior to many flowers.

4. Our riches? That man is a fool who prides himself upon these, for he is below a chain of pearls or a knot of diamonds.

5. Our birth? He who plumes himself upon this is proud of the blessings of others, not his own.

II. THE WICKEDNESS OF PRIDE.

1. It makes a man especially hateful to God (Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 16:5).

2. It is the most diabolical sin with which we are acquainted (1 Timothy 3:6).

3. It is the most productive of all sins (Hebrews 2:5; Psalm 10:2; Proverbs 13:10).

III. THE DESTRUCTIVENESS OF PRIDE. It is the forerunner of shame.

IV. THE CURE OF PRIDE — humility.

1. Be convinced of its great excellency.

2. Store your mind with knowledge.

3. Its effects.

(1)It consists not in railing against yourself.

(2)It consists more in feeling than saying.Lessons:

1. Never be ashamed of birth, parents, trade, or poverty.

2. Let others be praised in thy presence; object nothing; his disparagement increases not thy worth.

3. Nay, exalt thy brother, if truth and God's glory need it. Cyrus played only with those more skilful than himself, lest he should shame them by his victory, that he might learn something of them, and do them civilities.

(J. Summerfield, M. A.)

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God
There is nothing which more peculiarly marks the character of the faithful Christian than the manner in which he submits to the dispensations of God. The worldly spirit either repines under misfortune, or is disconsolate; or, at the best, bears up with a mere animal fortitude; it finds no comfort but such as is afforded by the vain world. Religion is the only source from which true comfort can be drawn, and we see her triumphs manifested in the most remarkable manner when the faithful servant of God is overwhelmed with trouble. "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God." Here we may discover powerful reasons intimated why we should bring ourselves into a state of entire submission to the Divine will, and rest resigned under every dispensation. The hand of God is mighty: He is the sovereign Lord of all; has an absolute right to dispose of His creatures according to His good pleasure, and is alone able both to know and to do what their several necessities require. A wise son yields to an affectionate father, even in points where he cannot comprehend the entire wisdom of his discipline; not only because experience has taught him the benefit of subjection, but also for the sake of obedience to a father, who is entrusted with the guidance of him, and has a right to be obeyed. Another consideration here suggested is that all resistance is vain: "the mighty hand of God" is uncontrollable. Whatever visitation He is pleased to send to a family or to an individual — of sickness, of calamity, of death — there is no keeping it out of the dwelling; it may be softened by resignation, it may be removed, and even blessed by prayer; but we cannot hinder the accomplishment of God's will. Remark the language of the text; "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God"; it is not enough that we be humbled, in a worldly sense, by the stroke of misfortune; that is a consequence, which may of necessity ensue: the loss of possession may drive us into needy solitude; the loss of health destroy our energy and activity; the loss of reputation bring us to shame; the loss of friends oblige us to mourn, from the very feelings of nature; but all this while there may be no humility of heart.

(J. Slade, M. A.)

I. First, our text is evidently intended to bear upon us IN OUR CHURCH LIFE. Each one of us should think little of himself and highly of his brethren.

1. True humility in our Church relationship will show itself in our being willing to undertake the very lowest offices for Christ.

2. The next point of humility is that we are conscious of our own incompetence to do anything aright. Self-sufficiency is inefficiency. He that has no sense of his weakness has a weakness in his sense.

3. This humility will show itself next in this — that we shall be willing to be ignored of men.

4. We want humility in our Church life, in the sense of never being rough, haughty, arrogant, hard, domineering, lordly; or, on the other hand, factious, unruly, quarrelsome, and unreasonable.

II. Now I will use the text in reference to OUR BEHAVIOUR IN OUR AFFLICTIONS. Frequently our heavenly Father's design in sending trial to His children is to make and keep them humble; let us remember this, and learn a lesson of wisdom. The most hopeful way of avoiding the humbling affliction is to humble yourself. Be humble that you may not be humbled.

1. And do this, first, by noticing whether you have been guilty of any special sin of pride. Usually our sins lie at the roots of our sorrows. If we will repent of the sin, the Lord will remove the sorrow.

2. In your affliction humble yourself by confessing that you deserve all that you are suffering.

3. But, more than that, humble yourself so as to submit entirely to God's will. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in this act of self-humiliation while you meekly kiss the rod.

III. IN OUR DAILY DEALINGS WITH GOD, whether in affliction or not, let us humble ourselves under His hand, for so only can we hope to be exalted. It is a blessed thing whenever you come to God to come wondering that you are allowed to come, wondering that you have been led to come; marvelling at Divine redemption, astonished that such a price should have been paid that you might be brought nigh to God. Let grace be magnified by your grateful heart.

1. When you are doing this be very humble before God, because you have not made more improvement of the grace that He has given you.

2. Next, humble yourself under the hand of God by feeling your own want of knowledge whenever you come to God. Do not think that you understand all divinity. There is only one body of divinity, and that is Christ Himself; and who knoweth Him to the full?

3. One point concerning which I should like every one of us to humble ourselves under the hand of God is about our little enjoyment of Divine things.

IV. I finish by using my text with all earnestness in reference to the unconverted IN OUR SEEKING FORGIVENESS AS SINNERS. Do you want to be saved? The way of salvation is, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ." "But," you say, "I cannot understand it." Yet it is very simple; no hidden meaning lies in the words; you are simply bidden to trust Jesus. If, however, you feel as if you could not do that, let me urge you to go to God ill secret and own the sin of this unbelief; for a great sin it is. Humble yourself. Sit down and think over the many ways in which you have done wrong, or failed to do right. Pray God to break you down with deep penitence. When your sin is confessed, then acknowledge that if justice were carried out towards you, apart from undeserved grace, you would be sent to hell. You have almost obtained mercy when you have fully submitted to justice. Then, next, accept God's mercy in His own way. Do not be so vain as to dictate to God how you ought to be saved. Be a little child, and come and believe in the salvation which is revealed in Jesus Christ. "Ah," say you, "I have done this, but I cannot get peace." Then sink lower down. Did I hear you say, "Alas, sir, I want to get comfort"? Do not ask for comfort; ask for forgiveness, and that blessing may come through your greater discomfort. Sink lower down. There is a point at which God will surely accept you, and that point is lower down. "Oh," you say, "I think I have a due sense of sin." That will not do. I want you to feel that you have not a due sense of sin, and come to Jesus just so. "Oh, but I do think that I have been brokenhearted." I should like to see you lower than that, till you cry, "I am afraid I never knew what it is to be brokenhearted." I want you to sink so low that you cannot say anything good of yourself; nay, nor see an atom of goodness in yourself. Come before God a criminal, in the prison dress, with the rope about your neck. You will be saved then.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. We are to submit to the Divine dispensations in reference to our personal condition. Men, for example, of great talents and large opportunities, instead of shrinking from the responsibility they involve, and wishing it had been their lot rather to have been made mere animals or stones, are to be grateful for their distinction, and with the full force of their talent "serve their generation by the will of God." While those whose talents or circumstances, or both, are characterised by mediocrity or poverty, instead of fretting, as though the dispensations towards them of the great Disposer had been unwise or unkind, are to acquiesce in the Divine appointment, and do their best to benefit man and glorify God.

2. We are to submit to the Divine arrangements in social and civil life. In social life, the husband is the head of the wife; parents have authority over children; masters over servants. In civil life, submission is equally imperative. The language of Scripture on this point is singularly precise and unqualified; pity it should have been perverted to purposes of tyranny (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-3; 1 Peter 2:13-15).

3. We are to submit to the Divine arrangements in the Church. Instead of sulkiness, there should be cheerful compliance; instead of envy, generousness; instead of paltry pride, the dignity of humility; instead of fitfulness, patience; instead of insubordination, Christian submission. In the Church, emphatically, we are to "humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God."

4. We are to submit to the Divine dispensations which operate in the way of moral discipline. Afflictions are of necessity the present portion of the servants of Christ.

5. Our encouragement, even as intimated in this one verse, is great. Submission is rewarded in the present world. From how many mental and other evils does it save its subjects. How great is their peace, and their joy in the light of the Divine countenance. The chief reward will be bestowed in the world to come.

(S. J. Davis.)

Objection 1. If we let our spirit fall, we will lie always among folks' feet, and they will trample on us. No: pride of spirit unsubdued will bring men to lie among the feet of others forever (Isaiah 66:24).

Obj. 2. If we do not raise ourselves, none will raise us; and therefore we must see to ourselves to do ourselves right. That is wrong. Humble yourselves in respect of your spirits, and God will raise you up in respect of your lot; and they that have God engaged for raising them, have no reason to say they have none to do it for them.

Obj. 2. If we do not raise ourselves, none will raise us; and therefore we must see to ourselves to do ourselves right. That is wrong. Humble yourselves in respect of your spirits, and God will raise you up in respect of your lot; and they that have God engaged for raising them, have no reason to say they have none to do it for them.

Obj. 3. But sure we will never rise high if we let our spirits fall. God will not only raise the humble ones, but He will lift them up on high; for so the word signifies.

I. THE BENT OF ONE'S HEART, IN HUMBLING CIRCUMSTANCES, SHOULD LIE TOWARDS A SUITABLE HUMBLING OF THE SPIRIT, AS UNDER GOD'S MIGHTY HAND PLACING US IN THEM.

1. Some things supposed in this. It supposeth that —(1) God brings men into humbling circumstances (Ezekiel 17:24). There is a root of pride in the hearts of all men on earth, that must be mortified ere they can be meet for heaven. And God brings men into humbling circumstances for that very end (Deuteronomy 8:2).(2) These circumstances prove pressing as a weight on the heart, tending to bear it down (Psalm 107:12). They strike at the grain of the heart, and cross the natural inclination.(3) The heart is naturally apt to rise against these humbling circumstances, and consequently against the mighty hand that brings and keeps them on. The man naturally bends his force to get off the weight, that he may get up his head, seeking more to please himself than to please his God (Job 35:9, 10).(4) But what God requires is rather to labour to bring down the heart than to get up the head (James 4:10). Lastly, there must be a noticing of God, as our party, in humbling circumstances. "Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it" (Micah 6:9).

2. What are these humbling circumstances the mighty hand brings them into? These are circumstances —(1) Of imperfection. God has placed all men in such circumstances, under a variety of wants and imperfections (Philippians 3:2). There is a heap of natural and moral imperfections about us; our bodies and our souls, in all their faculties, are in a state of imperfection.(2) Of inferiority in relations, whereby men are set in the lower place in relations and society, and made to depend on others (1 Corinthians 7:24). Now, God having placed us in these circumstances of inferiority, all refractoriness is a rising up against His mighty hand (Romans 13:2).(3) Of contradiction. This was a part of our Lord's state of humiliation, and the apostle supposes it will be a part of ours too (Hebrews 12:3). Whether these contradictions be just or unjust, God proves men with them to humble them, break them off from addictedness to their own will, and to teach them resignation and self-denial.(4) Of affliction (Proverbs 16:19). Prosperity puffs up sinners with pride; and oh, but it is hard to keep a low spirit with a high lot. But God by affliction calls men down from their heights to sit in the dust, plucks away their jay feathers wherein they prided themselves, rubs the paint and varnish from off the creature, whereby it appears more in its native deformity. Lastly, of sin as the punishment of sin (Job 30:19).

3. What it is, in humbling circumstances, to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.(1) Noticing the mighty hand, as employed in bringing about everything that concerns us, either in the way of efficacy or permission (1 Samuel 3:18). "And he said, it is the Lord: let Him do what seemeth Him good" (2 Samuel 16:10).(2) A sense of our own worthlessness and nothingness before Him (Psalm 144:3; Genesis 18:27; Isaiah 40:6).(3) A sense of our guilt and filthiness (Romans 3:10; Isaiah 64:6). It is the overlooking our sinfulness that suffers the proud heart to swell.(4) A silent submission under the hand of God. His sovereignty challengeth this of us (Romans 9:20; Psalm 39:9; Job 1:21).(5) A magnifying of His mercies towards us in the midst of all His proceedings against us (Psalm 144:3). Has He laid us low? If we be duly humbled, we will wonder He has laid us no lower (Ezra 9:13).(6) A holy and silent admiration of the ways and counsels of God, as to us unsearchable (Romans 11:33). Pride of heart thinks nothing too high for the man, and so arraigns before its tribunal the Divine proceedings, pretends to see through them, censures freely and condemns.(7) A forgetting and laying aside before the Lord all our dignity, whereby we excel others (Revelation 4:10; Luke 18:11). Lastly, a submitting readily to the meanest offices requisite in or agreeable to our circumstances. Use: Let the bent of your heart then, in all your humbling circumstances, be towards the humbling of your spirit, as under the mighty hand of God. This lies in two things.(a) Carefully notice all your humbling circumstances, and overlook none of them.(b) Observing what these circumstances do require of you as suitable to them. Let this be your great aim through your whole life, your exercise every day. Motive

1. God is certainly at work to humble one and all of us.

2. The humiliation of our spirits will not take effect without our own agency therein; for He works on us as rational agents, who being moved, move themselves (Philippians 2:12, 13).

3. If ye do not, ye resist the mighty hand of God (Acts 7:51). And of this resistance consider —(1) The sinfulness, what an evil thing it is. It is a direct fighting against God (Isaiah 45:9).(2) The folly of it. How unequal is the match? How can the struggle end well? (Job 9:4).

4. This is the time of humiliation, even the time of this life. "Everything is beautiful in its season," and the bringing down of the spirit now is beautiful, as in the time thereof. Consider —(1) Humiliation of spirit "is in the sight of God of great price" (1 Peter 3:4).(2) It is no easy thing to humble men's spirits; it is not little that will do it; it is a work that is not soon done. There is need of a digging deep for a thorough humiliation in the work of conversion (Luke 6:48).(3) The whole time of this life is appointed for humiliation. This was signified by the forty years the Israelites had in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:2; Hebrews 12:2).(4) There is no humbling after (Revelation 22:11). If the pride of the heart be not brought down in this life, it will never be.

5. This is the way to turn humbling circumstances to a good account: so that instead of being losers, ye would be gainers by them (Psalm 119:71).(1) Humiliation of spirit is a most valuable thing in itself (Proverbs 16:32). It cannot be bought too dear.(2) Humility of spirit brings many advantages along with it. It is a fruitful bough, well laden, wherever it is. It contributes to one's ease under the cross (Matthew 11:30; Lamentations 3:27-29). It is a sacrifice particularly acceptable to God (Psalm 51:17). The eye of God is particularly on such for good (Isaiah 66:2). And it carries a line of wisdom through one's whole conduct (Proverbs 11:2), "With the lowly is wisdom." Lastly, consider it is a mighty hand that is at work with us; the hand of the mighty God; let us then bend our spirits towards a compliance with it, and not wrestle against it. Consider(a) We must fall under it. Since the design of it is to bring us down, we cannot stand before it; for it cannot miscarry in its designs (Isaiah 46:10), "My counsel shall stand."(b) They that are so wise as to fall in humiliation under the mighty hand, be they never so low, the same hand will raise them up again (James 4:10). Directions for reaching this humiliation.

1. General directions.(1) Fix it in your heart to seek some spiritual improvement of the conduct of Providence towards you (Micah 6:9). Till once your heart get a set that way, your humiliation is not to be expected (Hosea 14:9).(2) Settle the matter of your eternal salvation, in the first place, by betaking yourself to Christ, and taking God for your God in Him, according to the gospel offer (Hosea 2:19; Hebrews 8:10). Lastly, use the means of soul humbling in the faith of the promise (Psalm 28:7).

2. Particular directions.(1) Assure yourselves that there are no circumstances so humbling that you are in, but you may get your heart acceptably brought down to them (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9).(2) Whatever hand is, or is not, in your humbling circumstances, do you take God for your party, and consider yourselves therein as under His mighty hand (Micah 6:9). Men in their humbling circumstances overlook God; they fix their eyes on the creature instrument, and, instead of humility, their hearts rise.(3) Be much in the thought of God's infinite greatness; consider His holiness and majesty, fit to awe you into deepest humiliation (Isaiah 6:3-5).(4) Inure yourselves silently to admit mysteries in the conduct of Providence towards you, which you are not able to comprehend, but will adore (Romans 11:33).(5) Be much in the thoughts of your own sinfulness (Job 40:4).(6) Settle it in your heart that there is need of all the humbling circumstances you are put in (1 Peter 1:6).(7) Believe a kind design of Providence in them towards you.(8) Think with yourselves that this life is the time of trial for heaven (James 1:12).(9) Think with yourselves, how it is by humbling circumstances the Lord prepares us for heaven (Colossians 1:12).(10) Give up at length with your towering hopes from this world, and confine them to the world to come. Lastly, make use of Christ in all His offices for your humiliation, under your humbling circumstances. That only is kindly humiliation that comes in that way (Zechariah 12:10).

II. THERE IS A DUE TIME WHEREIN THOSE THAT NOW HUMBLE THEMSELVES UNDER THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD WILL CERTAINLY BE LIFTED UP. First, a general view of this point. And consider —

1. Some things implied in it. It bears —(1) That those who shall share in this lifting up must lay their accounts, in the first place, with a casting down (Revelation 7:14; John 16:33).(2) Being cast down by the mighty hand of God, we must learn to lie quiet under it, till the same hand that cast us down raise us up (Lamentations 3:27).(3) Never humbled in humbling circumstances, never lifted up in the way of this promise.(4) Humility of spirit in humbling circumstances ascertains a lifting up out of them some time with the goodwill and favour of Heaven (Luke 18:14).(5) There is an appointed time for the lifting up of those that humble themselves in their humbling circumstances (Habakkuk 2:3). We know it not, but God knows it, who has appointed it.(6) It is not to be expected that immediately upon one's humbling himself, the lifting up is to follow. No, one is not only to lie down under the mighty hand, but lie still waiting the due time; humbling work is longsome work.(7) The appointed time for the lifting up is the due time, the time fittest for it, wherein it will come most seasonably. Lastly, The lifting up of the humbled will not miss to come in the appointed and due time (Habakkuk 2:3). Time makes no halting, it is running day and night; so the due time is fast coming.

2. A word in the general to the lifting up abiding those that humble themselves. There is a twofold lifting up.(1) A partial lifting up, competent to the humbled in time during this life (Psalm 30:1). This is a lifting up in part, and but in part, not wholly; and such liftings up the humbled may expect while in this world, but no more.(2) A total lifting up, competent to them at the end of time, at death (Luke 16:22). Then the Lord deals with them no more by parcels and halves, but carries their relief to perfection (Hebrews 12:23). Now there is a due time for both these.

3. The certainty of the lifting up of those that humble themselves under humbling circumstances. And ye may be assured thereof from the following considerations.(1) The nature of God, duly considered, insures it (Psalm 103:8, 9). Infinite power, that can do all things. Infinite goodness inclining to help. He is good and gracious in His nature (Exodus 34:6-9). And therefore His power is a spring of comfort to them (Romans 14:4). Infinite wisdom that does nothing in vain, and therefore will not needlessly keep one in humbling circumstances (Lamentations 3:32, 33).(2) The providence of God, viewed in its stated methods of procedure with its objects, insures it. Turn your eyes which way you will on the Divine providence, ye may conclude thence, that in due time the humble will be lifted up(a) Observe the providence of God in the revolutions of the whole course of nature, day succeeding to the longest night, a summer to the winter, a waxing to a waning of the moon, a flowing to an ebbing of the sea, etc. Let not the Lord's humbled ones be idle spectators of these things; they are for our learning (Jeremiah 31:35-37).(b) Observe the providence of God in the dispensations thereof about the man Christ, the most august object thereof, more valuable than a thousand worlds (Colossians 2:9). Did not Providence keep this course with Him, first humbling Him, then exalting Him; first bring Him to the dust of death, in a course of sufferings thirty-three years, then exalt Him to the Father's right hand in eternity of glory? (Hebrews 12:2).(3) Observe the providence of God towards the Church in all ages. This has been the course the Lord has kept with her (Psalm 129:1-4).(4) Observe the providence of God in the dispensations of His grace towards His children. The general rule is (1 Peter 5:5). Lastly, observe the providence of God at length throwing down wicked men, however long they stand and prosper (Psalm 37:35, 36).(5) The Word of God puts it beyond all peradventure, which, from the beginning to the end, is the humbled saint's security for a lifting up (Psalm 119:49, 50). Consider —(a) The doctrines of the Word which teach faith and hope for the time, and the happy issue the exercise of these graces will have.(b) The promises of the Word whereby Heaven is expressly engaged for a lifting up to those that humble themselves in humbling circumstances (James 4:10; Matthew 23:12).(c) The examples of the Word sufficiently confirming the truth of the doctrines and promises (Romans 15:4). Lastly, the intercession of Christ, joining the prayers of His humbled people in their humbling circumstances, insures a lifting up for them at length. Secondly, I proceed to a more particular view of the point.

1. We will consider the lifting up as brought about in time, which is the partial lifting up. And — first, some considerations for clearing the nature thereof.(1) This lifting up does not take place in every case of a child of God. Objection, if that be the case, what comes of the promise of lifting up? Where is the lifting up, if one may go to the grave under the weight? Were there no life after this, there would be weight in that objection; but, since there is another life, there is none in it at all. Question, but then, may we not give over praying for the lifting up in that case? We do not know when that is our case; for a case may be past all hope in our eyes and the eyes of others, in which God designs a lifting up in time, as in Job's (Job 6:11).(2) However, there are some cases wherein this lifting up does take place. God gives His people some notable liftings up, even in time raising them out of remarkable humbling circumstances. Lastly, all the liftings up the humbled meet with now are but pledges, samples of the great lifting up abiding them on the other side; and they should look on them so. Secondly, the partial lifting up itself. What they will get, getting this lifting up promised to the humbled. Why, they will get —

1. A removal of their humbling circumstances.

2. A comfortable sight of the acceptance of their prayers put up in their humbling circumstances.

3. A heart-satisfying answer of these prayers, so as they shall not only get the thing, but see they have it as an answer of prayer; and they will put a double value on the mercy (1 Samuel 2:1).

4. Full satisfaction as to the conduct of Providence in all the steps of the humbling circumstances, and the delay of the lifting up, however perplexing these were before (Revelation 15:3).

5. They get the lifting up together with the interest for the time they lay out of it.

6. The spiritual enemies that flew thick about them in the time of the darkness of the humbling circumstances will be scattered at this lifting up in the promise. Thirdly, the due time of this lifting up. The humbling circumstances are ordinarily carried to the utmost point of hopelessness before the lifting up. The knife was at Isaac's throat before the voice was heard (2 Corinthians 1:8, 9). Lastly, due preparation of the heart for the lifting up out of the humbling circumstances, goes before the due time of that lifting up according to the promise.

(T. Boston.)

I. THE HAND OF GOD is an expression used in various parts of Scripture to denote the Almighty's interference with the sons of men, in a way both of providence and grace. Thus in Acts 4:28 it signifies His eternal purpose and executive power. In Psalm 104:28 it denotes His providential bounty and goodness. In John 10:29 it denotes His mighty power to preserve and defend. It is used likewise with reference to the inspiration of the prophets: "The hand of the Lord was on Elijah." In other places it expresses the help of the Almighty. Nehemiah and Ezra repeatedly acknowledge the Divine aid which was vouchsafed in these words, "according to the good hand of God upon us." The Psalmist uses it to denote God's merciful corrections (Psalm 32:4; Psalm 38:2). It is clearly in this latter sense that we are to regard the expression in our text. Is it asked, then, how God lifts up His heavy hand upon His people, and how they may know that it is lifted up? I answer, in various ways. In all things He consults the spiritual good of His children. He varies therefore the mode of correction, as well as the degree of it, to their peculiar circumstances and situations. Upon some His hand is lifted up in a way which is only known to themselves and to their God. Their comforts are withdrawn. Their evidences are clouded. Perhaps they are reduced to the very brink of despair. But the Lord does not always correct from His own immediate presence. The devil may be the executioner of His chastisement, as in Job's case. The wicked, too, are spoken of by the Psalmist as the Lord's hand (Psalm 17:13). They may oppose, they may persecute. Worldly losses, pain, sickness, disappointments, interruptions of domestic happiness, the death of friends and beloved relatives, are all tokens of the uplifting of the mighty hand of God.

II. OUR DUTY UNDER THE UPLIFTED HAND OF GOD. Humble yourselves, that is, be lowly. Yield to the hand which smites you. Say, "It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good." The precepts of the gospel go directly counter to our depraved nature. Were it not for the restraining grace of God, there is no length of repining which we should not run. But the believer has been made a new creature in Christ Jesus. Grace has called him back to that Sovereign from whom he had revolted. The expression in our text, "humble yourselves," seems to imply three things; consciousness of a necessity for the trial, patience under the pressure of it, and a believing expectation of deliverance.

III. THE HAPPY EFFECTS RESULTING FROM THIS DUTY OF HUMBLING OURSELVES. "That He may exalt you in due time." This expression may denote the removal of the trial when it has effected its purpose; or the esteem which the believer frequently obtains, even from an ungodly world, by his firmness and consistency of conduct; or that eminence in the graces and blessed fruits of the Spirit which beautifies his soul and renders him really exalted. For holiness, or, in other words, conformity to the image of the Saviour, is alone true greatness.

(W. C. Wilson, M. A.)

I. THE KIND OF SUFFERING WHICH THE TEXT REPRESENTS IS THAT FROM WHICH THERE IS NO PRESENT ESCAPE. Peter is not referring to very light suffering — to sorrow, that is here during this moment and that will be gone the next. Incurable sickness — incurable disease in the body, is "the mighty hand of God" on a man. Confirmed weakness or infirmity of the body or mind, is "the mighty hand of God" on a man. Inflexible poverty. Persecution, continued and unavoidable. The hand of God is always upon us, but it is not always equally felt, or upon us in the same form. The hand of God is in all our circumstances. Is it not in persecution, where the hand of man is most evident? "If Shimei curse, let him curse, for God hath sent him." Unless it were better for you to be persecuted for your religion's sake, God would not permit you to be persecuted. Your wisdom is cheerfully to submit.

II. The text prescribes our BEHAVIOUR IN SUFFERING, AND SUGGESTS THE STRONGEST MOTIVES FOR THE ADOPTION AND PURSUIT OF SUCH CONDUCT. Do you notice how in Bible teaching God deals with us as wise parents treat little children? Good parents direct little children about everything, for they need such direction. Recognise this, and instead of seeking to have your own way about anything, try to find out God's way, and follow that way by the leading of the Saviour and by the grace of the Holy Ghost. There is a kind of submission which we cannot avoid. If God put His "mighty hand" upon us, intending to keep us under it, we know of a surety that we cannot escape. But with this inevitable submission there may be great pride of heart, expressing itself in murmuring and unholy rebellion; expressing itself in sinful efforts to get away from the suffering and in a determination not to realise it, and not to be thoroughly loyal in our thoughts and feelings as to our circumstances. A contrary behaviour is prescribed here. We are required to be still, silent. Aaron held his peace. Humility is that chastened emotion which we feel when conscious of our inferiority, our sinfulness, our weakness, our poverty, our helplessness, and our nothingness. Many motives might be suggested.

1. There is one motive springing from the words, "the hand of God." That sorrow from which I cannot escape is a "hand." It is not a chance, it is not an accident, there is a "hand" in it. It is connected with thought, feeling, purpose, plan, intention, wisdom.

2. "The hand of God, the mighty hand." "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." God has a good intent in your depression. He is intent upon exalting you. His love for you involves this. His sending His Spirit to take possession of your nature, to regenerate and sanctify and enlighten, shows that He desires to exalt you. Already, so far as character is concerned, God has lifted you up. But His aim is to exalt your entire humanity, to lift it up in all its states, and in all conditions. And God is making all things work together for this. God desires to exalt, and the exalting must be with Him. It must not be your attempt, your effort.

3. For this exaltation there is a season of which God can only judge. There is a "due time." This lifting up is never too soon. There is a season for it, and that season is in the soul. The advent of the exaltation is, without doubt, dependent on our self-humiliation. You must mourn, to have your sorrow turned into joy.

4. Some men are ashamed of suffering. That is very much like being ashamed of Christ. Oh, what a change in men's notions and feelings would be effected if the poverty of Joseph the carpenter's son were more before them, and if they lived more as in His presence and under His eye. "The mighty hand of God," is on some of you. Is there not a cause? May not that cause be in certain faults and defects?

(S. Martin.)

I. THE TEXT INSISTS UPON THE RECOGNITION OF THE AGENCY OF GOD IN ALL OUR AFFLICTIONS. "The mighty hand of God."

1. Now, observe that this recognition embraces, not second causes, but the immediate hand of God. We must go at once to the First Cause; or else we dishonour God under every trial.

2. Then observe, again, that this recognition must be of the hand, from which there is no escape: "the mighty hand of God." I see His "mighty hand" in creation, forming the beautiful world in which I live; and in providence I see that same hand regulating every event in the universe. And if I recognise that hand aright, I shall see it no less in, and bringing to pass, every affliction with which I am assaulted. It could not have come to me without a "mighty hand." And while I see this, it is in vain to resist it.

3. But, then, this recognition must be of the hand of God, "the mighty hand of God." And how sweet is this! "the hand of God." Power alone would make me afraid, but it is not the hand of a tyrant — it is the hand of God; my covenant God; my God, who gave His dear Son for me; my God, who has promised to keep and to bless me, and to take me eventually to His kingdom of glory. What infant feels alarmed when its mother's hand is upon it?

II. THE TEXT SHOWS US THE SPIRIT IN WHICH THAT DIVINE AGENCY IS TO BE RECOGNISED. "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God." This includes a deep sense of the malignity and evil of sin, which brings all our sorrows, as committed against a holy God and a righteous law, and also especially its aggravation, as against a God of love and of grace, as revealed in the gospel.

III. A PROMISE TO ENCOURAGE AND TO ENFORCE THIS RECOGNITION OF THE HAND OF GOD: "That He may exalt you in due time." There is a threefold exaltation, of which the Scripture speaks.

1. The first is an exaltation in the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. To stand complete before my God, with a justification in which His own eye can see no fault; to feel that I am an "heir of God," a "joint heir with Christ," and that eternity with all its blessings is my own forever.

2. But, secondly, there is an exaltation also from the deepest woe and trial into which we can be brought, and of which the Scriptures speak. David says, "I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me and heard my cry; He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings; and He hath but a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God."

3. And then there is exaltation to the throne of glory. And the first is connected with the last; he that is exalted by the imputed righteousness of Christ, shall eventually be exalted to the throne of glory.

(James Sherman.)

We might have thought that such a command as this was somewhat unnecessary. We might have supposed that it needed but for God to stretch out His hand, and every creature would go down into the dust before Him. But no one who has accurately watched the working of any affliction upon his own or another's heart will say this. There are three ways in which the chastening hand of God may be wrongly received. You may not see it all. This is what Israel did when Isaiah put up his plaint — "Lord, when Thy hand is lifted up, they will not see" — but he sternly adds, "They shall see." Or you may see — but you may think but very little of it. "My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord." Or, at a lower point than both — you may see, and estimate the judgment, and the very sense you have of it may harden your heart into pride and rebellion, irritating your temper and making you more resolute for evil. This is what Pharaoh did and Ahaz. Strange that it should be so! Yet all history bears witness to the fact that times of national suffering, of famine, or plague, have been times of extraordinary wickedness: for "the sorrow of the world worketh death." All evil that is in the world is traceable at last to one primary cause; the right relationship has been interrupted between God and His creatures. If man goes up too high, or God is put down too low, then evil is sure to follow. Therefore the first thing is to rectify this. We must be lower, and God must be higher. Hence the primary law of all affliction, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God." Now it is quite certain that no man does really "humble" himself under anything which he does not recognise and feel to be "the hand of God." No one "humbles" himself to an accident. No one "humbles" himself to a punishment; but to "the hand" which deals it. And the more that "hand" is admired and loved, the deeper will be the abasement, and the easier it will be to make it. Therefore it is all-important, in every trial that comes upon you, nationally or individually, that you should at once see — not natural causes, not even the scourge itself — but only "the hand of God" is upon you. It is a grand image — "the mighty hand of God." Very "mighty" must it be, when "He measures the water in its hollow, and meets out the heaven with its span."

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

It was an "ice time" in New England. One of those rare days which come once or twice every winter, and, sometimes, even in April, in northern climes, when every bush and every twig of every stately tree trunk is thickly coated with glistening crystals. The whole country is transformed into fairyland, and Aladdin's cave is outdone by each patch of scrubby oak trees. We noticed, as the engine whirled us through this enchanted land, that the slenderest of all our northern forest trees, the white birch, was prostrated to the very earth, and that thousands of these trees were lying prone, as if felled by the woodman's axe. "What a pity!" we involuntarily said to ourselves; but on going over that same line of road the next day, we saw that it was not the birches that needed our pity, but the sturdy oaks and the upright elms and the heavily clothed pines. The birches were bent to the earth, to be sure, but the statelier trees were broken and maimed, and sometimes rent in two, by the burden of the ice. The birches bowed their backs, but sprang up again when the burden was removed. The trees of the forest are typical of certain characters. He who bows submissively before God's providences is not the one who is broken by them. He maybe prostrated by heavy grief for a little time, but he soon springs up when the sun shines again. Only he who strives to bear by his own might, and in his own strength, the grievous ills of life is broken by them. To obsequiously prostrate one's self before earthly power may be the part of the craven. To bow before the will of God is a sign of inherent strength rather than of weakness, of manliness rather than of pusillanimity. Pride misses the blessing that is always in store for humble submission.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Casting all your care upon Him
The two parts of the text, taken together, state this truth, that anxiety carries with it a division of faith between God and self, a lack of faith in God proportioned to the amount of care which we refuse to cast on Him; an excess of self-confidence proportioned to the amount which we insist on bearing ourselves. Therefore the apostle says, "Humble yourselves under God's mighty hand. Confess the weakness of your hand. Do not try to carry the anxiety with your weak hand. Cast it all on Him." The Revised Version has brought out a very important distinction by the substitution of "anxiety" for "care." Anxiety, according to its derivation, is that which distracts and racks the mind, and answers better to the original word, Which signifies a dividing thing, something which distracts the heart and separates it from God. The word "careth," on the other hand, used of God, is a different word in the original, and means supervising and fostering care, loving interest, such care as a father has for a child. I want to show how the spirit which refuses to give up its dividing anxiety to God is allied to pride, and unbecoming a child in the household of a Divine Father who cares for him. Pride, I say — subtle, unconscious pride — is at the bottom of much of this restlessness and worry. The man has come to think himself too important, to feel that the burden is on his shoulders only; and that, if he stands from under, there must be a crash. And, just to the degree in which that feeling has mastered him, his thought and faith have become divided from God. Let us give him his due. It is not for his own ease or reputation that he has been caring. It is for his work. And yet he has measurably forgotten, that, if his work be of God, God is as much interested in his success as he himself can be; and that God will carry on His own work, no matter how many workmen He buries. He divides the burden, and shows whom He trusts most by taking the larger part himself, when God bids him cast it all on Him. God, indeed, exempts nobody from work. We may cast our anxiety, but not our work, on Him. There are few men in responsible positions who have not felt the force of a distinguished Englishman's words, "I divide my work into three parts. One part I do, one part goes undone, and the third part does itself." That third part which does itself is a very expressive hint as to the needlessness of our fretting about at least one-third of our work, besides giving a little puncture to our self-conceit by showing that, to one-third of our work, we are not quite as necessary as we had thought ourselves. And as to the third, which the God-fearing man cannot do, and which therefore goes, or seems to go, undone, there is a further hint that possibly that third is better undone, or is better done in some other way and by some other man. A young lady had consecrated herself to the work of missions, and was about to go to India. Just at that point an accident disabled her mother, and the journey had to be deferred. For three years she ministered at that bedside, until the mother died, leaving as her last request that she should go and visit her sick sister in the far west. She went, intending to sail for India immediately on her return; but she found the sister dying with consumption, and without proper attendance; and once more she waited until the end came. Again her face was turned eastward, when the sister's husband died, and five little orphans had no soul on earth to care for them but herself. "No more projects for going to the heathen," she wrote. "This lonely household is my mission." Fifteen years she devoted to her young charge; and, in her forty-fifth year, God showed her why He had held her back from India, as she laid her hand in blessing on the heads of three of them ere they sailed as missionaries to the same land whither, twenty years before, she had proposed to go. Her broken plan had been replaced by a larger and a better one. One could not go, but three went in her stead: a good interest for twenty years. But there is a class of cases where anxiety is clearly prompted by self-interest, vanity, and worldly ambition. Self cannot cast such anxiety on God, because God will not take it. When God bids us humble ourselves, He surely will not minister to our pride. God does not hold out His arms to our burdens unconditionally; He is willing to take the burden on His hand, if we ourselves will come and stay under His hand, not otherwise. He refuses to take the care without the self. If we will put the self into His hand absolutely, He will take it, care and all. But many an one would like to cast the care on God, and keep the self in his own hand. Casting all our care on God is casting self on God, for self is our worst care. It is not merely coming to God with our failures, and asking Him to make them good, but it is confessing also that our unaided self is the worst failure of all, and saying frankly to our heavenly Father, "Without Thee I can do nothing." God has different ways of teaching this lesson. You know how a schoolmaster will sometimes shut himself up with a dull pupil, and hold him down to a problem. So God Sometimes shuts a man up with himself and his own helplessness. Even then He does not force the man's will; but He means that he shall for once look squarely at the impotence of self, that he shall for once confess to himself the fact that self has exhausted its resources, that the world cannot help him, that he has nothing in heaven or earth but God. That, as men see it, is a terrible blow to pride. The bitterest draught that ever a man is called on to drink is the confession that he cannot help himself. The world says a man is at his worst then. I am not sure of that. The Bible would say that he is just within reach of his best. The result of this humbling of self, and throwing it with its anxiety on God, is quite contrary to human logic. The world says the man who is humbled is the crushed man, the defeated man. The world is right, if the man is simply crushed into submission by overwhelming power; but the world is quite wrong if the man has voluntarily bowed the high head of his pride, and has cheerfully yielded up his will with his care to God. Such humbling, if Scripture is to be believed, is the way to exaltation: "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." You see something of the same kind in ordinary matters. Now and then you find a man with more conceit than ability, with more self-confidence than resources, who attempts to lead a great movement, or to conduct a great business; and the very position brings out his weakness, and the more men say he is a fool and a weakling. And yet not a few men have had the sense or the grace to see the true state of the case in time, and to swallow pride, and frankly to confess weakness by retiring from a place for which they were unfit. From that moment they began to rise. They never rose to the high position which they coveted at first, but they rose to a true position which they could hold; and that was really higher than the false position which they could not hold. They became respectable and useful men, doing good work in lower places. What is true in some cases in society is true always of men in relation to God. The man is always in a false position, a position he cannot fill, when he ignores God and tries to take care of himself. He is a better man, a more efficient man, by humbling himself under God's hand and letting God take care of him. Read on a little farther in this same chapter, and you find that thought again: "The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." Ah! that is exaltation indeed; security, steadfastness, mastery over that which burdens the world, peace which the world cannot give nor take away.

(M. R. Vincent, D. D.)

Very comforting has such an exhortation been to suffering saints in all ages. Possibly Peter had in his mind when he penned it Psalm 4:22. The Jewish Church on many a dark and cloudy day entered into the spirit of our text. Luther, we are told, in the trying times of the Reformation, used to say to Melancthon, "Philip, let us sing the forty-sixth psalm, and let them do their best"; and so they sang in their own German tongue that grand old psalm. Thus they "cast all their care on God." Let us consider this subject of care or anxiety, first, in some of its negative aspects.

1. Christians ought not to make cares for themselves. How many business men, with limited capital and little experience, rush into difficulties.

2. Neither ought Christians to conjure up imaginary troubles, or to anti-date their troubles. How very miserable some people are because of that dreadful tomorrow.

3. Neither ought we to be careless in reference to the future.Approaching the positive aspect of our subject, and taking it for granted that men are not making cares for themselves, the question presses upon us, "Is there a remedy for care?"

1. So far as many are concerned, the text might just as well have read, "Cast none of you your care on God, for God does not care for you." So far as even many professing Christians are concerned, the text might have run thus: "Casting your great cares upon God, and so far as daily cares are concerned, do the best you can to bear them." So far as the burden of sin is concerned, the believing, trusting soul says, "Thank God all is well. I have realised that my blessed Saviour 'bore the huge burden away'; but it is the little cares of every day life." Yes, these little cares and daily worries bring the careworn look, and leave behind the wrinkles. Now, here in this text we have God's own remedy, for, observe, it is not "some of your cares," or "your great cares," but "all your care."

2. Observe the blessed assurance here given, for "He careth for you."

(W. Halliday.)

The Weekly Pulpit.
I. MAN'S CARE. The sources from whence our cares arise.

1. There are frequent misunderstandings with our fellow men.

2. There are our business and family claims.

3. And there are the religious claims that press upon us. Few of us have as much care from this source as we ought to have.

II. GOD'S CARE. "He careth for you." His care cannot be quite like ours. There can be no fretfulness in it, and no sort of fear and despair.

1. His care of all the creatures He has made, and all that is involved in giving to each his "meat in due season."

2. But we may further think of God's precise knowledge of our anxieties.

3. But there is something more and better than even this; there is God's care of us in the midst of our anxieties. He cares for the influence of things on our characters rather than for the things, as the goldsmith cares for his gold rather than for the fire.

III. GOD'S CARE OF US IS A PERSUASION TO CAST OUR CARE ON HIM. He cares, why should we? Why should we not be as calm as the sailor boy in the wild storm who knew that "his father held the helm"? But it is easier to speak in general terms about our "casting care on God" than it is to explain precisely what it involves. A very simple illustration may help our apprehension. A small tradesman had a case coming on in the county court, on which, for him, every thing depended. A decision given against him meant ruin. Worrying over it day and night, he had become thin, looked haggard, lost appetite and sleep. One day there came into his shop a friend of his boyhood, whom he had not seen for years. This friend was much distressed at his appearance, and said, "Why, whatever is the matter with you? I am sure you must have some grave anxiety weighing on your mind." The tradesman poured out to his friend all the story of his troubles; and then that friend said, "Don't you trouble any more about it. I am a lawyer, and practise at the courts, and I have had just such cases as yours. I see where the point of difficulty in your case is, and I have no doubt we shall be able to get you through all right. You trust the matter entirely to me. I will appear for you, and all will be well." What a relief that tradesman felt! He had lost his burden, for he had cast it on his friend. "O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake Thou for me."

(The Weekly Pulpit.)

I. WHO THE PERSONS ARE TO WHOM THE EXHORTATION MAY PROPERLY BE ADDRESSED. He writes to those "who are born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." He addresseth believers in Christ Jesus, "who loved Him though unseen," whom he distinguished as "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." These are the objects of God's paternal care, and they only are qualified to east their care upon Him. You cannot cast your care upon God till your acquaintance with Him be begun.

II. THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF THE DUTY ITSELF. It differs entirely in its nature from that carelessness and insensibility which the bulk of mankind too generally indulge. The character of the persons to whom this exhortation is addressed doth likewise serve to limit the extent of the duty. It is not every sort of care that we are invited to cast upon God, but only the care of those things which the Christian dare avow in the presence of his Father, and humbly ask of Hint by prayer. We must first examine the object of our desire, whether it be good in itself and fit for us; whether it be subservient to our spiritual interest; and if not, we must neither cast the care of it upon God nor keep it to ourselves, but throw it away altogether.

1. A steadfast persuasion that all events are ordered by God; that we and all our interests are continually in His hand, and that nothing can befall us without His permission.

2. To cast our care upon God is to make His will the guide and measure of ours.

3. That we renounce all confidence in the creature, and place our trust in God alone. A divided trust between God and the creature is as foolish and unsafe as to set one foot upon a rock and the other upon a quicksand.

4. To east all your care upon God implies a full and unsuspecting dependence upon His wisdom and goodness; such a dependence as quiets the mind, disposing it to wait patiently upon God, and to accept with thankfulness whatsoever He is pleased to appoint.

(R. Walker.)

The first difficulty in ridding ourselves of irreligious care is in distinguishing it from that better kind of care which is a duty. While St. Paul bids the Philippians "be careful for nothing," he commends the Corinthians for their carefulness, classing it with the graces of self-purification and zeal. He says he would have the disciples "without carefulness"; yet there is plainly a limit to this recommendation, for he exhorts them to "be careful to maintain good works," and takes upon himself the "care of the churches." How shall we at once have care and cast care away? There must be a principle that reconciles these apparent disagreements. It will not do to answer that the difference is one of quantity. It is common to say that the great mistake about earthly care is in allowing too much of it; that it is innocent in moderate measures. But there are kinds of care so purely selfish, so earthly, so poisoned with envy, avarice, or the passion for admiration, that they are evil irrespective of all questions of more or less. Christ does not form souls into His like ness by such rules. He breathes into them new desires, baptizes them into a new spirit. Equally vain is it to undertake to strike out a Christian course by saying we will distinguish between the objects of our anxiety — as by being careful for the spirit and negligent of the body; careful for faith and hope and charity, but negligent of daily business, household, and society. This is not Christ's righteousness. Jesus shows us the Father Himself taking care of the fowls of the air, of sheep and oxen, and of the little fibres of our bodily frames. Whatever care is right at all is right here, as well as hereafter. And the burden that we are to cast on the Lord is the burden of the life that now is. At this point precisely we strike the true distinction and the Christian doctrine. All right and lawful care is just that which we can at all times, and in all places, carry with us to our Lord, to rest it on that sympathising heart in Him which has already carried our griefs, and healed the disorder of the world by the stripes of His sacrifice. It is the care which keeps the responsibility of life without despairing under it. It is willing suffering, and unwillingness is the only intolerable burden. Rid of that, nay future care is gone. The forbidden care is that which we cannot carry with us to God or cast contentedly into His keeping. It hinders the affections when they try to rise heavenward. It doubts whether Christ is still near at hand and His grace sufficient. This is earthly care, unprofitable, unreasonable, unholy care — the care that wears out men and women before their time. We can take this principle with us into each of the three great regions where anxiety is most apt to become excessive. We have a world without us, a world within us, and a world before us, where our responsibility is accompanied at every step with care.

1. In the world without us we have seen how carefully we are called to live. Blessed is the man who, having done his best, can settle himself calmly into God's order for him, put anxiety behind him at the end of each day's work, reckon results as God's alone, believe that God takes care of ships and harvests as well as of rituals and revelations, and so cast every burdensome care on Him.

2. There is a world before us. The very mystery of that veiled country seems to tempt the imagination to people it with alarms. Take no thought for the morrow as tomorrow, as something lying outside of our control, held by God's hand for purposes of His own. Accept the heavenly order. Behold the lilies how they grow.

3. There is a world within us, where the spiritual formation of us goes on and our eternity is making for us every hour. Doubtless there are some minds that never thought of it as possible that any care about their spiritual salvation and the things of religion could be wrong. Yet if you would come to the heights of holy living with Christ and His saints, you must learn that impatience does not cease to be impious because it goes to church, nor does a complaining spirit honour the Redeemer though it uses the vocabulary of piety. If your anxiety is only about your salvation as a selfish and exclusive thing, it is earthly care, and needs to be cast off.

(Bp. Huntington.)

I. SOME PLAIN ILLUSTRATION OF THE DUTY HERE ENJOINED.

1. A firm persuasion of His infinite perfections, of His all-governing providence, and of His watchful care.

2. A calm and constant reliance on Him, through Jesus Christ, the only Mediator.

3. An unreserved resignation of our lot to the disposal of that God and Saviour on whom our hopes for eternity are placed.

4. Casting our cares on God not only implies referring our present and future lot to the unerring disposal of His wisdom, but holding delightful intercourse with Him in the various occurrences of our daily pilgrimage through life.

II. SOME PLAIN DIRECTIONS FOR ENABLING YOU RIGHTLY TO CAST YOUR BURDENS ON THE LORD, EVEN IN THE TIME OF SEVEREST DISTRESS.

1. Be sure that you are interested in Christ, and that you rely on His merits and mediation.

2. Live daily by faith on God Himself, as your all-sufficient portion through the Redeemer; and then you may cheerfully leave it with Him either to wound or to heal, to exalt or to lay low.

3. For enabling you to cast all your cares on the Lord, and, in all the trials of life, to maintain a steady trust in Him who reigns omnipotent, live daily by faith on the great and precious promises of His Word; let these promises be your support.

4. If you would live without anxious care, and would maintain habitual trust in God amidst the dangers and trials of life, look on this life as your pilgrimage, and long for heaven as your home. This will prevent your indulging in immoderate attachment to the things of time, and will preserve you from many mortifying disappointments which produce fretfulness and depression.Conclusion:

1. Learn how foolish and arrogant those persons are who trust for safety and success in themselves, independently of God; who rely on their own wisdom, talents, or exertions.

2. Learn that equally foolish and arrogant is confidence in the arm of flesh, or placing your trust in fellow mortals.

3. Learn how well it becomes us to unite in the devotional triumph of David, "Happy is he who hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God."

4. Let me now direct my exhortation to those who have taken the glorious Jehovah for their refuge and their trust.(1) Mark with care the daily dealings of Providence towards you and yours; treasure them up in your memory for a time of need, and diligently observe the frame of your own mind, both under mercies and trials.(2) Remember that your trials are all necessary, and are sent in love, to purify you from sin, to wean you from the world, to bring you near to God, and to prepare you for heaven.(3) Cast all your burdens on the Lord, and both hope and quietly wait for His time and manner of deliverance.

(A. Bonar.)

There is such a thing as care. Who does not know it by experience? It is a burden, and it has also a sting. There is care both for ourselves and others, which God Himself has cast upon us; and of which it were sinful to attempt to make any other disposition. But over and above this, there is a largo amount of anxiety which is unnecessary, useless, injurious. But what shall we do with it? Divide it with others we may to some little extent. There is such a thing as sympathy. Yet the very etymology of the word "sympathy" evinces that it is no remedy. It is, after all, a suffering together. Mixing tears does indeed diminish their bitterness. There is a better way of disposing of care than to cast it on our fellow creatures. Indeed, what fellow creatures can we find who have not enough of their own to bear? There are some who cast off care without reference to what becomes of it. They sing, "Begonia, dull care." These are the reckless. Care may go at their bidding, but the worst of it is it is sure to return again, and it comes back a heavier burden. This is not the way to dispose of care. Yet there is a way whereby all excess of anxiety may be effectually removed. It is to cast care on God. He can take the burden, however heavy. You do not doubt that; but you ask, "Will He? — may I cast it on Him? Will such greatness stoop to such littleness? — such holiness come down to such vileness?" Yes, it will, for condescension is one characteristic of greatness. So far is it from being presumption to cast your care on God, it is a sin not to do it. There is a reason given by Peter for casting care on God, that is inexpressibly touching. He follows no flourishing of rhetoric, but says, "He careth for you." Why should you care for yourself, since God cares for you? What a thought to carry through this vale of tears, and to go down with into the deeper valley of death, that God cares for me! Some poor saints think nobody cares for them. But God does. Is not that enough?

(W. Nevins, D. D.)

I. THE DISEASE OF CARE.

1. Care even when exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, hath in itself the nature of sin. Anything which is a transgression of God's command is sin, and if there were no other command, the one in our text being broken would involve us in iniquity. Besides, the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting of ourselves into His place, to do for Him that which we dream He either cannot or will not do; we attempt to think of that which we fancy He will forget; or we labour to take upon ourselves that burden which He either is not able or willing to carry for us.

2. But, further, these anxious cares very frequently lead to other sins, sometimes to overt acts of transgression. The tradesman who is not able to leave his business with God, may be tempted to indulge in the tricks of trade; nay, he may be prevailed upon to put out an unholy hand with which to help himself. Now this is forsaking the fountain to go to the broken cisterns, a crime which was laid against Israel of old, a wrath provoking iniquity.

3. As it is in itself sin, and the mother of sin, we note again that it brings misery, for where sin is, sorrow shall soon follow.

4. Besides this, these anxious cares do not only lead us into sin, and destroy our peace of mind, but they also weaken us for usefulness. When one has left all his cares at home, how well he can work for his Master, but when those cares tease us in the pulpit, it is hard preaching the gospel. There was a great king who once employed a merchant in his service as an ambassador to foreign courts. Now the merchant before he went away said to the king, "My own business requires all my care, and though I am always willing to be your majesty's servant, yet if I attend to your business as I ought, I am sure my own will be ruined." "Well," said the king, "you take care of my business, and I will take care of yours. Use your best endeavours, and I will answer for it that you shall be nothing the loser for the zeal which you take from yourself to give to me." And so our God says to us, as His servants, "Do My work, and I will do yours. Serve Me, and I will serve you."

5. These carking cares, of whose guilt perhaps we think so little, do very great damage to our blessed and holy cause. Your sad countenances hinder souls who are anxious, and they present a ready excuse for souls who are careless.

6. I close the description of this matter by saying that in the most frightful manner cares have brought many to the poisoned cup, the halter, and the knife, and hundreds to the madhouse. What makes the constant increase of our lunatic asylums; why is it that in almost every country in England new asylums have to be erected, wing after wing being added to these buildings in which the imbecile and the raving are confined? It is because we will carry what we have no business to carry — our own cares, and until there shall be a general keeping of the day of rest throughout England, and until there shall be a more general resting of our souls and all we have upon God, we must expect to hear of increasing suicides and increasing lunacies.

II. THE BLESSED REMEDY TO BE APPLIED. Somebody must carry these cares. If I cannot do it myself, can I find anyone who will? My Father who is in heaven stands waiting to be my burden bearer.

1. One of the first and most natural cares with which we are vexed is the care for daily bread. Use your most earnest endeavours, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God; if you cannot do one thing do another; if you cannot earn your bread as a gentleman earn it as a poor man; if you cannot earn it by the sweat of your brains do it by the sweat of your brow; sweep a crossing if you cannot do anything else, for if a man will not work neither let him eat; but having brought yourself to that, if still every door is shut, "Trust in the Lord and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed."

2. Businessmen, who have not exactly to hunt for the necessaries of life, are often tormented with the anxieties of large transactions and extended commerce. I say, "Brother, hold hard here, what are you doing? Are you sure that in this you have used your best prudence and wisdom, and your best industry, and given it your best attention?" "Yes." Well then, what more have you to do? Suppose you were to weep all night, will that keep your ship from going on the Goodwin sands? Suppose you could cry your eyes out, will that make a thief honest? Suppose you could fret yourself till you could not eat, would that raise the price of goods? One would think if you were just to say, "Well, I have done all that is to be done, now I will leave it with God," that you might go about your business and have the full use of your senses to attend to it.

3. Another anxiety of a personal kind which is very natural, and indeed very proper if it be not carried to excess, is the care of your children. Mother, father, you have prayed for your children, you trust you have set them a holy example, you labour day by day to teach them the truth as it is in Jesus; it is well, now let your souls quietly expect the blessing, leave your offspring with God; cast your sons and daughters upon their father's God; let no impatience intrude if they are not converted in your time, and let, no distrust distract your mind if they should seem to belie your hopes.

4. But each Christian will in his time have personal troubles of a higher order, namely, spiritual cares. He is begotten again unto a lively hope, but he fears that his faith will yet die. As yet he has been victorious, but he trembles lest he should one day fall by the hand of the enemy. I beseech thee, cast this care upon God for He careth for you. Never let anxieties about sanctification destroy your confidence of justification. What if you be a sinner! Christ died to save sinners. What if you be undeserving! "In due time Christ died for the 'ungodly." Grace is free. The invitation is still open to you; rest the whole burden of your soul's salvation where it must rest.

5. There are many cares not of a personal but rather of an ecclesiastical character, which often insinuate themselves and plead for life, but which must nevertheless be put away. There are cares about how God's work is to be carried on. We may properly pray, "Lord, send labourers," and with equal propriety we may ask that He who has the silver and the gold may give them for His own work; but after that we must cast our care on God. Then, if we get over that, there will be another anxiety — one which frets me often enough — which is, the success of God's work. Husbandmen, your Great Employer sent you out to sow the seed, but if no grain of it should ever come up, if you sowed the seed as He told you, and where He told you, He will never lay the blame of a defective harvest to you. And sometimes there is another care, it is the care lest some little slip made by ourselves or others should give cause to the enemy to blaspheme. A careful jealousy is very well if it leads to caution, but very ill if it leads to a carking, weak anxiety,

III. THE SWEET INDUCEMENT TO LEAVE YOUR BURDEN: "He careth for you."

1. Believe in a universal providence, the Lord cares for ants and angels, for worms and for worlds; he cares for cherubim and for sparrows, for seraphim and for insects. Cast your care on Him, He that calleth the stars by their names, and leadeth them out by numbers, by their hosts. Let His universal providence cheer you.

2. Think next of His particular providence over all the saints. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him."

3. And then let the thought of His special love to you be the very essence of your comfort. "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." God says that as much to you as He said it to any saint of old.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Man is made up of soul and body. To accomplish the happiness of such a being it is necessary that both of these should be free from disquietude. It is therefore the great aim of religion to point out the most amiable views of the character of God, and to inculcate the exercise of perpetual hope, and trust in His most beneficent providence as the only effectual instrument of our present felicity.

I. Such a precept as this CANNOT BE SUPPOSED TO INCULCATE AN ENTIRE NEGLIGENCE, OR A TOTAL INATTENTION, TO OUR EXTERNAL SITUATION IN LIFE. Religion expressly forbids us to be slothful in business. It calls us to action. God is concerned for your good, and careth for all your interests.

II. TO OFFER SOME ARGUMENTS TO ENFORCE THIS PRECEPT.

1. All immoderate care is highly criminal and impious in its nature. Weak must be that faith, and little must that mind have learned of the nature of its Creator, which can observe that He dispenses His bounty in such abundance through all the works of His hands, and still entertain the secret thought that His love is exhausted on the minutest objects, and that there is nothing in reserve for the sons of men.

2. All inordinate care about the events of life is offering an affront to the love and goodness which we have formerly experienced, and deeply partakes of the nature of ingratitude to God.

3. An anxious, a discontented temper of mind, must prove a source of misery, must subject the soul to perpetual uneasiness and pain in all the situations of life. He is blind to every comfortable circumstance that may enter into his lot. His imagination ever dwells upon some disagreeable point; and it is not in the power of all the enjoyments of this world to give it any sort of solace.

4. All such peevish care is utterly unprofitable and impotent, and totally incapable of ever accomplishing its end. The stream of providence perpetually rolls on with an impetuous current; and he who ventures to oppose it shall only fatigue himself and waste his strength and spirits in vain.

(John Main, D. D.)

The verse preceding is, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." If we are truly humble we shall cast our care upon God, and by that process our joy will be exalted. Oh for more humility, for then shall we have more tranquillity. Pride begets anxiety. The verse which follows our text is this — "Be sober, be vigilant," etc. Cast your care upon God, because you need all your powers of thought to battle with the great enemy. He hopes to devour you by care.

I. First, EXPOUND the text — "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." The word used in reference to God is applied to caring for the poor, and in another place to the watchfulness of a shepherd. Our anxiety and God's care are two very different things. You are to cast your care, which is folly, upon the Lord, for He exercises a care which is wisdom. Care to us is exhausting, but God is all-sufficient. Care to us is sinful, but God's care of us is holy. Care distracts us from service, but the Divine mind does not forget one thing while remembering another. "Casting," says the apostle. He does not say, "laying all your care upon Him," but he uses a much more energetic word. You have to cast the load upon the Lord; the act will require effort. Here is a work worthy of faith. You will have to lift with all your soul before the burden can be shifted; that effort, however, will not be half so exhausting as the effort of carrying your load yourself. Note the next words: "Upon Him." You may tell your griefs to others to gain their sympathy; you may ask friends to help you, and so exercise your humility; but let your requests to man be ever in subordination to your waiting upon God. Some have obtained their full share of human help by much begging from their fellow Christians; but it is a nobler thing to make known your requests unto God; and somehow those who beg only of God are wondrously sustained where others fail. Cease, then, from man; cast all your care upon God, and upon Him only. Certain courses of action are the very reverse of casting all your care upon God, and one is indifference. Every man is bound to care about his life duties, and the claims of his family. Casting care upon God is the very reverse of recklessness and inconsiderateness. It is not casting care upon God when a man does that which is wrong in order to clear himself; yet this is too often tried. He who compromises truth to avoid pecuniary loss is hewing out a broken cistern for himself. He who borrows when he knows he cannot pay, he who enters into wild speculations to increase his income, he who does aught that is ungodly in order to turn a penny is not casting his care upon God. How, then, are we to cast all our care upon God? Two things need to be done. It is a heavy load that is to be cast upon God, and it requires the hand of prayer and the hand of faith to make the transfer. Prayer tells God what the care is, and asks God to help, while faith believes that God can and will do it. When you have thus lifted your care into its true position and cast it upon God, take heed that you do not pick it up again. Henceforth let us leave worldlings to fret over the cares of this life; as for us, let our conversation be in heaven, and let us be anxious only to end anxiety by a childlike confidence in God.

II. TO ENFORCE the text. I will give you certain reasons, and then the reason why you should cast all your care upon God.

1. First, the ever blessed One commands you to do it. If you do not trust in God you will be distinctly sinful; you are as much commanded to trust as to love.

2. Next, cast all your cares on God, because you will have matters enough to think of even then. There is the care to love and serve Him better; the care to understand His Word; the care to preach it to His people; the care to experience His fellowship; the care so to walk that you shall not vex the Holy Spirit. Such hallowed cares will always be with you, and will increase as you grow in grace.

3. And, next, you must cast your care upon God, because you have God's business to do.

4. You ought to do it not only for this reason, but because it is such a great privilege to be able to cast your care upon God.

5. Let me add that you ministers ought to cast all your care upon God, because it will be such a good example for your hearers. Oar people learn much from our conduct, and if they see us fretting they will be certain to do the same.

6. But the reason of reasons is that contained in our text — "He careth for you." Because He hath set His love upon us we can surely cast our care upon Him. He has given us Christ, will He not give us bread? See, He has called us to be His sons, will He starve His children? See what He is preparing for you in heaven, will He not enable you to bear the burdens of this present life? We dishonour God when we suspect His tenderness and generosity. We can only magnify Him by a calm faith which leans upon His Word.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. CONSIDER THE NATURE OF THE DUTY HERE REQUIRED, WHICH IS TO CAST OUR CARE UPON GOD.

1. That after all prudent care and diligence have been used by us, we should not be farther solicitous about the event of things which, when we have done all we can, will be out of our power.

2. Casting our care upon God implies that we should refer the issue of things to His providence, which is continually vigilant over us and knows how to dispose all things to the best.

II. THE ARGUMENT WHICH THE APOSTLE HERE USETH TO PERSUADE US TO THIS DUTY of casting all our care upon God, because it is He that eateth for us.

1. That God taketh care of us, implies in general that the providence of God governs the world and concerns itself in the affairs of men and disposeth of all events that happen to us.

2. The providence of God is more peculiarly concerned for good men, and He takes a more particular and especial care of them. And this David limits in a more particular manner to good men: "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."

III. Let us now see OF WHAT FORCE THIS CONSIDERATION IS, TO PERSUADE TO THE DUTY ENJOINED.

1. Because if God cares for us, our concernments are in the best and safest hands, and where we should desire to have them; infinitely safer than under any care and conduct of our own.

2. Because all our anxiety and care will do us no good; on the contrary, it will certainly do us hurt.

(Abp. Tillotson.)

What is care? The word has two shades of meaning. It means simply attention when it is said: "He took care of him." But it signifies anxiety in the expression: "Ye shall eat bread with care." Now it is possible to begin with that kind of care which signifies attention, and to go on to that which signifies anxiety. It is there that our danger lies. Attention is an advantage; anxiety is an evil. It is our duty to be attentive; and it is equally our duty to avoid anxiety. A young man, for instance, who has lust closed his school life and gone to business, finds himself surrounded by things new and strange. He applies himself with earnestness to understand his duties, and to meet the approval of his employer. While impelled by a conscientious desire to do right and well, he is in the line which conducts to success; but if he allows a harsh word to discourage him, or a failure or two to throw him into despair, he passes into a state of mind presenting the greatest obstacles to progress. A person conducting his own business must give it attention, or it will cover him with dishonour. It says little for a man's Christianity if he comes to poverty by his own negligence. But how easily he may pass across the line which leads to over-solicitude I Look, again, to the mother of a family. Is there any human sentiment more disinterested, pure, and fervent than a mother's love? Have you not known it to grow into an agitating and almost selfish apprehension? What can be said about the care due to the soul? Can that be excessive? In a world which is full of temptations to negligence and hardness of heart, what can be done without intense diligence and application? So long as care is just and healthful, it cannot be too great on this subject. But for this right state of mind many substitute a state made up of doubt and terror. Now how are we to be freed from a burden which is so embarrassing? What are we to do with it? We are desired to cast it all upon God. But how do we know that He will accept our care? From His own assurance that "He careth for us." "He careth for us." He has not forsaken the world He made; how is it possible that He should have ceased to think of the creatures He has so wonderfully endowed? The same wisdom which made us capable of perception, judgment, and forethought, watches over all our mental operations. While all men are under this providential charge, there are some whom He has brought into a special relation to Himself. He takes the deepest interest in them. Nothing can affect them which does not affect Himself. How strange that any of them should be crushed with anxiety! It is this confidence in God's care for us which leads us to cast our care on Him. This assurance will prompt us to tell Him, with all openness of heart, whatsoever oppresses us. We know how much in a time of sorrow we are relieved by the mere communication of our grief; we seem to have parted with much of it when we have simply transferred the knowledge of it to another mind. With much greater reason may we expect such a result to follow from looking to our Father in heaven, and recounting to Him the cause of our dread, and seeking from Him the needed succour. This trust in Him who careth for us, imparts not only relief from oppression and new power for duty, but leads us into the position most honouring to a creature. It brings us into "immediate fellowship with God; it establishes an interchange of thought and trustful love between our hearts and His. We then give Him proof of our confidence, and He responds to the sentiment which His own Spirit had awakened with all the fulness of His nature.

(C. M. Birrell.)

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