Edwards on “Humility”

Love Requires and Produces Humility:

“If we love God as infinitely superior to ourselves, then love is exercised in us as infinite inferiors, and therefore it is an humble love… Divine love does not only imply humility in its nature, but also tends to cherish and produce it, and to call forth its exercises as consequences and fruits of love.” (Charity and Its Fruits, Edwards)

“The gospel leads us to love God as an infinitely condescending God. The gospel, above all things in the world, holds forth the exceeding condescension of God… The gospel leads us to love Christ as an humble person. Christ is the God-man, including both the divine and human natures; and so has not only condescension, which is a divine perfection, but also humility, which is a creature excellency.  Now the gospel holds forth Christ as one that is meek and lowly of heart… 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.”  (Charity and Its Fruits, Edwards)

True or False Humility: Examine Yourself!!

“There are various imitations of [humility] that fall short of the reality.  Some put on an affected humility; others have a natural low-spiritedness, and are wanting in manliness of character; others are melancholy or despondent; others, under the convictions of conscience, by which, for the time, they are depressed, seem broken in spirit; others seem greatly abased while in adversity and affliction, or have a natural melting of the heart under the common illuminations of the truth; in others, there is a counterfeit kind of humility, wrought by the delusions of Satan: and all of these may be mistaken for true humility.  Examine yourself, then, and see what is the nature of your humility, whether it be of these superficial kinds, or whether it be indeed wrought by the Holy Spirit in your hearts; and do not rest satisfied, till you find that the spirit and behaviour of those whom the gospel accounts humble, are yours.”  (Charity and Its Fruits, Jonathan Edwards, Banner of Truth-1969, 153-54)

Cultivating a Heart and Life of Humility:

“Seek for a deep and abiding sense of your comparative meanness before God and man.  Know God.  Confess your nothingness and ill-desert before him.  Distrust yourself.  Rely only on God.  Renounce all glory except from him.  Yield yourself heartily to his will and service.  Avoid an aspiring, ambitious, ostentatious, assuming, arrogant, scornful, stubborn, wilful, levelling, self-justifying behaviour; and strive for more and more of the humble spirit that Christ manifested while he was on earth.  Consider the many motives to such a spirit… [Humility] is the attendant of every grace, and in a peculiar manner tends to the purity of Christian feeling.  It is the ornament of the spirit; the source of some of the sweetest exercises of Christian experience; the most acceptable sacrifice we can offer to God; the subject of the richest of his promises; the spirit with which he will dwell on earth, and which he will crown with glory in heaven hereafter.  Earnestly seek, then, and diligently and prayerfully cherish, an 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 honours bestowed on his people at Christ’s right hand.”  (Charity and Its Fruits, Edwards, 155-56)


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Filed under Humility, Jonathan Edwards, Tribbett

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