Matthew 18:1,2,3 (KJV)
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying,
Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
And Jesus called a little child unto him,
and set him in the midst of them,
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted,
and become as little children, ye shall not enter
into the kingdom of heaven.
THE STRENGTH OF HUMILITY
From The Christian Herald, Feb. 14, 1900
In teaching men how to approach God,
Christ rendered a service to humanity
the value of which
would be impossible
to overestimate. We know so little
of the Almighty, the finite mind is so little
able to conceive
what kind of Being
He must be who made the world and
upholds the universe, that when we think
of coming into His
presence we need to know
what attitude we should take and
what words we should use.
In approaching an earthly sovereign,
there are certain forms to be observed and certain
lines of conduct to be followed
by anyone who hopes to stand
well with the potentate, or to obtain
some favor from him. How
much more when
we enter the presence of the King of Kings
and take upon ourselves to address Him!
In the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican,
(Luke 18:10-14 Click here to read it,)
Christ gives us
the instruction that
we need in this matter and shows us how we
ought to feel and speak when we approach God.
he says, went away “justified.”
That is what we all need. If we
can so pray that we may be justified,
we have attained the highest
blessing. To be justified is to be put right,
to be approved, to be
and nothing better than that can come into any man’s life.
It places him in accord with the will of
his Maker and brings him into
the sphere of the
Christ puts the two men in striking contrast.
The Pharisee thanks God
for his blameless life,
and surely that is a matter for which he had
to be thankful. There can be no harm in that.
We do well to be
for being kept from sin and for being preserved
from falling under
But if he had really been so thankful as he professed,
had been as conscious as he pretended,
that it was to God that he was
indebted for the power to lead such a life,
he would not have
to boast of his performances, nor to disparage
his doing so indicated a
censorious spirit and a self-satisfaction
inconsistent with his prayer. He apparently
regards himself as perfect,
as having no need of
any further help. He has nothing to ask because
he thinks he has already attained the highest
standard possible to him.
We have seen many exhibitions of this spirit
in our own time and they
are invariably accompanied
by similar disparagement of ministers and other Christians.
It is sufficient condemnation of that course
to say that such people are
They are not in the way of progress,
they are outside the
possibility of development.
Far other was the spirit of Paul, who
forgetting the things that were behind and
reaching to the things
that were before,
pressed toward the mark.
Every step taken in the
spiritual life is a starting point
from which we are to climb to other and
still better things.
Perhaps the Publican, too, had things of which he
might have boasted.
A man who offered his prayer would be likely to
have already made
attainment in the spiritual life.
At any rate, he was in a more hopeful
When a confession is made of faults and shortcomings,
is a better promise of progress
than in boastfulness. He was
but he was in the presence of One who could
power to amend.
His attention was fixed, not on his excellencies,
his faults. He asked for mercy.
This is the beginning of all true
It is an admission of guilt, of unworthiness,
and when a man reaches
that stage that
he is dissatisfied with himself and asks for lenity,
there is ground for hope in regard to him.
The child who comes to
his father after some misconduct,
asking to be forgiven, is in a more
than the one who reminds his father of his general
good conduct and excuses his fault.
A child who admits his ignorance
is more likely
to learn than one who thinks he knows everything.
So the Publican was justified, because he put himself
in the attitude of
needing forgiveness, and in the way of amendment by
confessing his wrongdoing. He was at the beginning
of the right
the path which leads to the highest attainment.