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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Humility

The following is by Jonathan Edwards:

Humility may be defined to be a habit of mind and heart corresponding to our comparative unworthiness and vileness before God; or a sense of our own comparative lowness in His sight, with the disposition to a behavior answerable thereto.

A truly humble man is sensible of the small extent of his knowledge, and the great extent of his ignorance, and of the small extent of his understanding, as compared with the understanding of God. He is sensible of his weakness, how little his strength is, and how little he is able to do.

He is sensible of his natural distance from God, of his dependence on Him, of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom; and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for; and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him, and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.

Humility tends to prevent an aspiring and ambitious behavior among men. The man that is under the influence of a humble spirit is content with such a situation among men, as God is pleased to allot to him, and is not greedy of honor, and does not affect to appear uppermost and exalted above his neighbors.

Humility tends also to prevent an arrogant and assuming behavior. On the contrary, humility, disposes a person to a condescending behavior to the meekest and lowest, and to treat inferiors with courtesy and affability, as being sensible of his own weakness and despicableness before God.

If we then consider ourselves as the followers of the meek and lowly and crucified Jesus, we shall walk humbly before God and man all the days of our life on earth. Let all be exhorted earnestly to seek much of a humble spirit, and to endeavor to be humble in all their behavior toward God and men.

Seek for a deep and abiding sense of your comparative lowness before God and man. Know God. Confess your nothingness and ill-desert before Him. Distrust yourself. Rely Only On Christ. Renounce all glory except for Him. Yield yourself heartily to His will and service.

Avoid an aspiring, ambitious, ostentatious, assuming, arrogant, scornful, stubborn, willful, leveling, self-justifying behavior; and strive for more and more of the humble spirit that Christ manifested while He was on earth. Humility is a most essential and distinguishing trait in all true piety.

Earnestly seek then; and diligently and prayerfully cherish a humble spirit, and God shall walk with you here below; and when a few more days shall have passed, He will receive you to the honors bestowed on His people at Christ’s right hand.

Part III: George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior

George Washington

21 Reproach none for the infirmities of nature, nor delight to put them that have in mind of thereof.

22 Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy.

23 When you see a crime punished, you may be inwardly pleased; but [damaged manuscript] show pity to the suffering offender.

24 [damaged manuscript]

25 Superfluous compliments and all affectation of ceremonies are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be neglected.

26 In putting off your hat to persons of distinction, as noblemen, justices, churchmen, etc., make a reverence, bowing more or less according to the custom of the better bred, and quality of the persons; among your equals expect not always that they should begin with you first; but to pull off the hat when there is no need is affectation, in the manner of saluting and resaluting in word keep to the most usual custom.

27 ‘Tis ill manners to be one more eminent than yourself be covered, as well as not to do it to whom it is due. Likewise he that makes too much haste to put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to put it on at the first, or at most the second time of being asked; now what is herein spoken, of qualification in behavior or saluting ought to be taking place and sitting down for ceremonies without bounds are troublesome.

28 If any one come to speak to you while you are [are] sitting, stand up, though he be your inferior, and when you present seats, let it be to everyone according to his degree.

29 When you meet with one of greater quality than yourself, stop, and retire, especially if it be at a door or any straight place, to give way for him to pass.

30 In walking the highest place in most countries hand; therefore place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to honor: but if three walk together the middle place is the most honorable; the wall is usually given to the most worthy if two walk together. (“The Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation”)

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