All I can really say after reading this section is wow, ouch, and Lord, break me! In this section Watson discusses the eleventh characteristic of a godly man: humility. This is not a section on being humbled, nor of a mere outward humility. The type of humility that Watson is talking about is an inward, true, soul humility. We are given ten marks of a humble soul:
- A humble soul is emptied of all swelling thoughts of himself
- A humble soul thinks better of others than of himself
- A humble soul has a low esteem of his duties
- A humble soul is always preferring bills of indictment against himself ("He complains, not of his condition, but of his heart")
- A humble soul justifies God in an afflicted condition
- A humble soul is a Christ-magnifier
- A humble soul is willing to take a reproof for sin
- A humble soul is willing to have his name and gifts eclipsed, so that God's glory may be increased
- A humble soul likes that condition which God sees best for him.
- A humble Christian will stoop to the meanest person and the lowest office
Even after reading these there will be some that are prideful. As Watson says, "this bastard of pride is born but none are willing to father it." He then determines to ask a few probing questions to try to drive pride out of the heart: Are not those who are given to boasting proud? Are not those who have a high opinion of their own excellencies proud? Are not those who despise others proud? Are not those who trumpet their own praise proud? Are not those who take the glory due to God to themselves proud? Are not those who are never pleased with their condition proud?
We must strive to be humble, says Watson. And there are many reasons for us to be humble. Humility is very valuable. It is valuable because God loves a humble soul. The times in which we live (true in our day as it was in Watson's) are times of humbling. Consider what a horrid sin pride is. Those that love Christ cannot be comfortable with the idolatry of pride. We must flee from it because it is the "breakneck of souls". If this is not enough motivation Watson appeals (it seems) to our innate sense of pride; humility raises one's esteem in the eyes of others. At this point I was pleading with advice on pursuing humility. Watson delivers.
- Look at Christ
- Study God's immensity and purity; a sight of glory humbles
- Study thyself (our dark side, and our light side)
When we are doing these things we must consider the means of grace we have received and how disproportionate that is to our level of godliness. Consider that even the grace we have is not of our own growth. Look at how far short we come of others (could a prideful man even see this). Remember that even our beauty is spotted. And lastly, as we look at ourselves remember that we are but dust. Ought dust to be proud? A reality of death ought to humble.
How do you battle pride and cultivate humility in your life?
Do you think Watson should have appealed to the prideful man's hope of being esteemed in the eyes of others?
In a discussion on prideful attire Watson mentions, "black spots, gaudy attire, and naked breasts". Does anyone have any clue what the "black spots" are?
Strokes of Genius:
On to Part 10...
"A humble man has lower thoughts of himself than others can have of him." (p78)
"A humble man values others at a higher rate than himself, and the reason is because he can see his own heart better than he can another's." (p79)
"The more knowledge a humble Christian has, the more he complains of ignorance; the more faith, the more he bewails his unbelief."
"A humble man...is content to be outshone by others in gifts and esteem, so that the crown of Christ may shine the brighter." (p81)
"A proud man complains that he has no more; a humble man wonders that he has so much..." (p81)
"An angel is a knowledgeable creature, but take away humility from an angel, and he is a devil." (p82)
"A sight of glory humbles." (p86)
(Concerning graces received) "Do not be proud of what you have, but be humble for what you lack". (p86)
"The thoughts of the grave should bury our pride." (p87)