Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:…
The heathen had semblances or images of well-nigh every virtue. He had many excellences, here and there, which put Christians to shame. Wretchedly corrupt as life was upon the whole, still not individuals only, but even nations, had great single virtues. The heathen had self-devotion, contentment, contempt of the world, and of the flesh; he had fortitude, endurance, self-denial, abstemiousness, temperance, chastity, even a sort of reverence for God whom he knew not; but he had not humility. The first sin, the wish to be as God, pride, spoiled them all. Man, in his natural state, claims, as his own, what is God's; and so he displeases God, whom he robs of His honour. And so the first beginning of Christian virtues is to lay aside pride. It is to own that we have nothing, that so we may receive all and hold all of God; and when, as being in Christ and partaking of His riches, we begin to have, still to own that, of our own, we have nothing. But not only in general or towards God have we need to be humble. It enters in detail into every Christian grace, so that well-nigh the whole substance of the Christian discipline is humility. Every mountain of human pride must be brought low, to prepare the Lord's way; and so shall the lowly valley be exalted. Without humility, there can be no resignation, since humility alone knows its sufferings and sorrows to be less than it deserves; no contentment, for humility alone knows that it has more blessings than it deserves; no peace, for contention cometh of want of humility; no kindness, for pride envieth; and this St. Paul assigns as the very reason why "love envieth not," that it "is not puffed up," that is, is humble. How shall there, without it, be any Christian grace, since all are the fruits of God's Holy Spirit, and He "resisteth the proud and giveth grace unto the lowly?" He "dwelleth in the humble and contrite heart." If love be the summit of all virtue, humility is the foundation. He humbled Himself, because He loved us: we must he humble, in order to love Him; for to such only will He impart His love. "The publican would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven," and God was more pleased with the confession of sins in the sinner, than in the recounting of the virtues of the righteous. The Canaanitish woman was content with the portion of the dogs, and she had "the children's bread." The gate of life is low as well as narrow. Through the lowly portal of repentance, are we brought into the Church; and humble as little children must we again become, if we would enter the everlasting gates. Well indeed may the Christian be ashamed not to be humble, for whom God became humble. But this humility must be deep down in our nature, and so striking root downwards thou shalt bear fruit upwards; so laying a deep foundation, shall thy house remain. The tree falls with any gust of wind when the root is near the surface; the house which has a shallow foundation, is soon shaken. High and wide as the noblest trees spread, so deep and wide their roots are sunk below; the more majestic and nobler a pile of building, the deeper its foundation; their height is but an earnest of their lowliness; you see their height, their lowliness is hidden; the use of sinking thus deep is not plain to sight, yet were they not thus lowly, they could not be thus lofty. Dig deep then the foundation of humility, so only mayest thou hope to reach the height of charity; for by humility alone canst thou reach that Rock which shall not be shaken, that is Christ. Founded by humility on that Rock, the storms of the world shall not shake thee, the torrent of evil custom shall not bear thee away, the empty winds of vanity shall not cast thee down. Founded deep on that rock. thou mayest build day by day that tower whose top shall reach unto heaven, to the very presence of God, the sight of God, and shalt be able to finish it; for He shall raise thee thither, who for thy sake abased Himself to us.
(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: