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We should have been irrevocably doomed to dwell with the fallen angels
Nor should we ever have heard one more offer of mercy from our offended God- . .,
Let us then bless and adore our Lord for this distinguishing favour-.
And let his love constrain us to turn unto himn with our whole hearts-]
2. How earnest should we be in improving the present moment!
[Many are dead who lately seemed as likely to live as ourselves 1. But when their time was come they could not resist the stroke of death - Nor can any who are now alive, tell how long a respite shall be granted them
It is probable that many of us will be gone before the expiration of this year
. And whenever the fixed period shall arrive, all intercessions · will be in vain
Let us then redeem the time with all earnestness and zeal
And accomplish the great work, before the night cometh to terminate our labours-] ..
Luke xiv. 7--10. And he put forth a parable to those which
were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief 200m; saying unto them, when thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more Honourable man than thou be bidden of him; and he that bade thee and him, come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
THE Christian is not prohibited from occasionally joining in carnal festivity
But he should carefully watch his own spirit and conduct when he ventures upon such dangerous ground
by Soe scope of in soci
And should improve his intercourse with worldly company for the spiritual edification of himself and others
Our blessed Lord was sometimes present at feasts; but his conversation at those seasons was always pious and instructive
The things which occurred never failed to furnish him with abundant matter for useful observation
Having noticed at a wedding the indecent 'ambition of the guests, he animadverted on their conduct in the parable before us— I. The principle here inculcated
Our Lord did not intend these words merely as a maxim for the regulating of our conduct in one particular, but as a parable that should be applied to the whole of our deportment in social life
The scope of the text, whether as originally delivered by Solomon, or as quoted and applied by our Lord, is to recommend humilitya
But to enter fully into its meaning, we must analyse, as it were, the principle here inculcated; which implies 1. A deep sense of our own unworthiness
[If we stand high in our own estimation, we cannot but expect a degree of homage from others
And shall be ready to claim precedence among our equals - But if we have an humiliating sense of our own extreme vileness, we shall readily concede pre-eminence to others, and take the lowest place as that which properly belongs toʻus- Such a disposition cannot but spring from self-knowledge; nor can it fail of operating in this manner_1 2. An utter contempt of worldly distinctions....".
[While we “ love that honour which cometh of man,” we cannot but aspire after it, when it comes within our reach
But we are taught to the dead, yea crucified, to the world
And this once obtained, we shall despise the baubles that are so much the objects of rivalship and contention-]. 3. A readiness to give honour to whom honour is due
[Though religion teaches us an indifference to man's applause, it does not warrant us to level the established orders of society
God requires us to “honour those that are in authority," as well as to serve and honour him.
a Compare Prov. xxv. 6, 7, with ver. 11.
6 Phil. ii. 3.
While therefore a sense of duty will keep us from coveting human distinctions for ourselves, it will induce us cheerfully to pay to others the tribute due to their rank and station-]
Excellent however as this principle is, it needs to be limited by prudence, and exercised with care
[Though this principle can never operate to too great an extent, it may exert itself in a very absurd manner
There are certain decencies in society that ought not to be violated, as would be the case if the great and noble should literally take the lowest place among those who are of very inferior rank
Besides, it is possible that we may be actuated by pride, while we thus put on an appearance of humility
We need therefore take heed both to our hearts and ways, that in obeying this precept we act with sincerity and discretion-] • Having endeavoured to explain the principle, we shall point out IL. Its importance in human life
Humility is to the graces of a Christian what holiness is to the attributes of the Deity, the beauty and perfection of them allmo'
1. It conduces in the highest degree to the comfort of mankind
[Nothing tends more to the happiness of our own minds What a source of vexation and anguish is pride!
With what envy are they beheld to whom precedence has been given! " What indignation do they excite, who overlook our superior claims!
A slight, whether real or supposed, will often fill us with rancour as much as the most serious injury could have done
But let humility possess our minds, and this source of uneasiness is destroyed
If we be willing to give honour to others, and be indifferent to it ourselves, and especially if we count ourselves unworthy of it, we shall feel no pain at seeing others preferred before US
Nor does any thing more tend to the peace and comfort of society
What is it but pride that makes every neighbourhood a scene of contention?f
c This idea will be fully understood by those who have ever mixed in public assemblies.
f James iii. 14-16.
What is it but pride that creates such factions in a state
What is it but pride that involves nations in war and desolations
Even the church of God itself is often torn and distracted by this fatal principle
Let humility once gain a proper ascendant in the hearts of men, and universal harmony will reign
Surely the importance of this principle cannot be too highly rated, or expressed in too energetic terms-]
2. It is that whereby men most eminently adorn the gospel
*[The avowed scope of the gospel is to improve the principles and practice of mankind
“And they who receive the truth, are expected to excel in every thing that is amiable and praiseworthy
How unseemly did the ambition of the sons of Zebedee appear!h
The ungodly themselves do not hesitate to pronounce them hypocrites who, while they profess religion, are under the dominion of pride and ambition .
On the other hand, humility irresistibly commends itself to all
Who does not admire the concessions made by Abraham to his nephew Lot?
Who does not adore the condescension of our Lord in washing his disciples' feet?k_
Even those who are most elated with pride themselves, are constrained to applaud huinility in others
And though nothing but the grace of God can induce any to embrace the gospel, a suitable deportment in its professors will often silence the cavils, and disarm the prejudices, of those who ignorantly reject it']
This subject will naturally lead us to CONTEMPLATE 1. The folly of sin
[There is really as much folly, as there is sinfulness, in sin—
In how many instances do men attain by integrity and humility, what others in vain seek for by dishonesty and arrogance!
This is well illustrated in the parable before usa
Let us then simply endeavour to glorify God by an holy conversation
And leave our temporal advancement to his all-wise disposal-]
& James iv. 1. . la John xiii, 4, 5.
h Matt. xx. 20-28.
. i Gen, xiii. 9.)
2. The excellence of religion
[Religion does not merely impose rules for our conduct towards God, but should regulate every disposition of our minds, and every action of our lives
Where it has its full influence, it gives a polish, which is but poorly mimicked by the refinements of modern politeness
It will not indeed convert a clown into a courtier; but it will teach every one to act as becomes his station
Let us then exhibit in our respective spheres that simplicity of mind and manners, that while it adorns the.gospel, shall disarm the malice of our enemies, and, if possible, conciliate their esteem”-)
m Rom. xii. 10. 1 Pet. v. 5.
CCLIII. THE GREAT SUPPER.
Luke xiv. 16–18. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: and sent his servant at supper-time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for All things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse.
PERSONS, who are very ignorant of true religion, often express a desire to participate its blessings
Wherever we find them thus open to instruction, we should endeavour to teach them the way of God more perfectly
This was the uniform practice of our blessed Saviour
The person, that addressed our Lord, seemed but little acquainted with the nature of the Messiah's kingdom
Our Lord took occasion to rectify his apprehensions on that subject
And to shew him, under the idea of a feast, that the provisions of his gospel would be slighted by that whole nation
The parable in this view declares the rejection of the Jews and the call of the Gentiles
But it is also applicable to nominal Christians in all ages
* See John iv. 15, 31. and vi. 34. 35.