Humility: The Queen of the Christian Graces — J.C. Ryle
Sobering and convicting words from J.C. Ryle,
Humility may well be called the queen of the Christian graces. To know our own sinfulness and weakness, and to feel our need of Christ, is the very beginning of saving religion. It is a grace which has always been the distinguishing feature in the character of the holiest saints in every age. Abraham, and Moses, and Job, and David, and Daniel, and Paul, were all eminently humble men. Above all, it is a grace within the reach of every true Christian. All have not money to give away. All have not time and opportunities for working directly for Christ. All have not gifts of speech, and tact, and knowledge, in order to do good in the world. But all converted men should labor to adorn the doctrine they profess by humility. If they can do nothing else, they can strive to be humble.
Would we know the root and spring of humility? One word describes it. The root of humility is right knowledge. The man who really knows himself and his own heart–who knows God and His infinite majesty and holiness–who knows Christ, and the price at which he was redeemed–that man will never be a proud man. He will count himself, like Jacob, unworthy of the least of all God’s mercies. He will say of himself, like Job, “I am vile.” He will cry, like Paul, “I am chief of sinners.” (Genes. 32:10; Job 40:4; 1 Tim. 1:15.) He will think anything good enough for him. In lowliness of mind be will esteem every one else to be better than himself. (Philip. 2:3.) Ignorance–nothing but sheer ignorance–ignorance of self, of God, and of Christ, is the real secret of pride. From that miserable self-ignorance may we daily pray to be delivered! He is the wise man who knows himself–and he who knows himself, will find nothing within to make him proud.