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Posts Tagged ‘humility’

411. In all the Bible no sin is held up to human contempt more than Esau’s. Now we readily imagine that Esau, after he had sold out his birthright, might attempt to bolster up his self-respect by putting a gloss of virtue over his sin. “See how I loved Jacob! See how self-effacing I have been! Behold my meekness! In my humility I gave my brother the chief place.” But God would say to all this, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” God turns away with loathing from the sin of the self-indulgent shirk. Such “virtuous” veneer is not thick enough to hide woeful self-indulgence as its mainspring. Women need to study well the lesson. Woman was created as a help “meet,” sufficient for man; and because it was “not good” for him to be alone. And later, by all he had lost she was left sole heir of a great inheritance,¾to furnish the seed for a better race. She has fulfilled her call in part, by the virginal birth of Jesus Christ. Its complete fulfillment implies a large spiritual progeny growing out of the spiritual activity of woman. She must not sell her birthright (for it is the same one, except greater, that Esau sold), by a vicious self-effacement.

412. That is sham virtue in woman which lends a cloak or gives stimulus to vice in man. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” That which begets virtue in others is virtue; that which begets vice is vice. A wifely self-immolation which encourages masculine sensuality is vice. A feminine “humility” which gives place for the growth of masculine egotism is vice.

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406. …. We are not to avenge ourselves, as God’s children, when oppressed or defrauded; Christ did not. The wife must be Christ-like when wronged by her husband. God has commanded this non-resistance, and women must practice it, even if some men do but preach it to women for self-interested reasons.

407. But all this is to be done “as unto the Lord, and not unto men,” done because God commands it, in spite of the fact that man may command it for selfish reasons. But this class of duties is to be offset by other duties which, if fulfilled with equal faithfulness, will save the character from degradation,¾from a degradation into weakness and servility, which would surely follow were this second class of duties neglected. Herein lies an illustration of the Apostle James’ warning: “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all,”(James 2:10).

408. …Just so, we rise in virtue by keeping our balance amid the duties of life; and we may sink, for want of proper balance, if any duty is overlooked or neglected. An unbalanced virtue becomes quickly a source of degradation. Let us keep all points but one of the law, and we will soon begin to fail.

409.      Humility and meekness, then, will not elevate the character unless they are real; and unless balanced by other equally important virtues. And it has been by the exclusion of these other duties as “unwomanly” that woman has been allowed, not to rise, but to sink, through her mere non-resistance of evil. Let this one current of non-resistance prevail alone, to the exclusion of their off-setting duties, and the woman sinks, as would a bird trying to fly with one wing. This accounts for much of the degradation of womanhood which we see around us.

410.     But what are these balancing duties? We must turn to our Pattern, Jesus Christ, to find out. Again we must remind ourselves that women have but one pattern to follow, and at this point her feet have often been lad astray from the path of woman’s duties. God did not send a female Christ into this world to guide woman in a female manner, by setting her a pattern of “womanliness;” He only sent a man “made of a woman,” alone, and therefore sufficiently womanly and sufficiently manly for each sex to find in Jesus Christ a perfect Pattern, for both sexes, in all the duties of life. Let woman fail to completely follow this Pattern, and she is as much a failure, as a Christian, as is the man who fails to completely follow His example in all things.

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405.     We do not say, therefore, that women are not to be humble and meek; they must be, to please God. We have shown, however, that meekness is not weakness, nor humility servility. Both meekness and humility supersede man’s government with God’s. And woman must do this to enter into the kingdom of God. It is under God’s rule alone that these virtues grow; outside of God’s exclusive government they are not found. Their very source of existence is in entire dependence upon GOD ALONE, and that necessitates entire independence of other control.

406.     We owe duties to each other, and women owe certain duties to their husbands; we are perfectly clear on that point. We are not to avenge ourselves, as God’s children, when oppressed or defrauded; Christ did not. The wife must be Christ-like when wronged by her husband. God has commanded this non-resistance, and women must practice it, even if some men do but preach it to women for self-interested reasons.

 

 

 

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LESSON 53.

MEEKNESS AND HUMILITY FOR WOMEN.

405.     We do not say, therefore, that women are not to be humble and meek; they must be, to please God. We have shown, however, that meekness is not weakness, nor humility servility. Both meekness and humility supersede man’s government with God’s. And woman must do this to enter into the kingdom of God. It is under God’s rule alone that these virtues grow; outside of God’s exclusive government they are not found. Their very source of existence is in entire dependence upon GOD ALONE, and that necessitates entire independence of other control.

406.     We owe duties to each other, and women owe certain duties to their husbands; we are perfectly clear on that point. We are not to avenge ourselves, as God’s children, when oppressed or defrauded; Christ did not. The wife must be Christ-like when wronged by her husband. God has commanded this non-resistance, and women must practice it, even if some men do but preach it to women for self-interested reasons.

407.     But all this is to be done “as unto the Lord, and not unto men,” done because God commands it, in spite of the fact that man may command it for selfish reasons. But this class of duties is to be offset by other duties which, if fulfilled with equal faithfulness, will save the character from degradation,¾from a degradation into weakness and servility, which would surely follow were this second class of duties neglected. Herein lies an illustration of the Apostle James’ warning: “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all,”(James 2:10). 

408.     Let us illustrate: It is recorded that men did not learn how to fly, with all their efforts, until first they discovered the important fact that the wind never drives steadily forward in its prevailing direction, but advances and recedes,¾so that there is always present a to and fro motion of the air. It is by turning first this wing and then that, to allow for these contrary currents to play upon its wings, that the bird and birdman rise in the air. Just so, we rise in virtue by keeping our balance amid the duties of life; and we may sink, for want of proper balance, if any duty is overlooked or neglected. An unbalanced virtue becomes quickly a source of degradation. Let us keep all points but one of the law, and we will soon begin to fail.

409.      Humility and meekness, then, will not elevate the character unless they are real; and unless balanced by other equally important virtues. And it has been by the exclusion of these other duties as “unwomanly” that woman has been allowed, not to rise, but to sink, through her mere non-resistance of evil. Let this one current of non-resistance prevail alone, to the exclusion of their off-setting duties, and the woman sinks, as would a bird trying to fly with one wing. This accounts for much of the degradation of womanhood which we see around us.

410.     But what are these balancing duties? We must turn to our Pattern, Jesus Christ, to find out. Again we must remind ourselves that women have but one pattern to follow, and at this point her feet have often been lad astray from the path of woman’s duties. God did not send a female Christ into this world to guide woman in a female manner, by setting her a pattern of “womanliness;” He only sent a man “made of a woman,” alone, and therefore sufficiently womanly and sufficiently manly for each sex to find in Jesus Christ a perfect Pattern, for both sexes, in all the duties of life. Let woman fail to completely follow this Pattern, and she is as much a failure, as a Christian, as is the man who fails to completely follow His example in all things.

411.     In all the Bible no sin is held up to human contempt more than Esau’s. Now we readily imagine that Esau, after he had sold out his birthright, might attempt to bolster up his self-respect by putting a gloss of virtue over his sin. “See how I loved Jacob!  See how self-effacing I have been!  Behold my meekness!  In my humility I gave my brother the chief place.” But God would say to all this, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” God turns away with loathing from the sin of the self-indulgent shirk. Such “virtuous” veneer is not thick enough to hide woeful self-indulgence as its mainspring. Women need to study well the lesson. Woman was created as a help “meet,” sufficient for man; and because it was “not good” for him to be alone. And later, by all he had lost she was left sole heir of a great inheritance,¾to furnish the seed for a better race. She has fulfilled her call in part, by the virginal birth of Jesus Christ. Its complete fulfillment implies a large spiritual progeny growing out of the spiritual activity of woman. She must not sell her birthright (for it is the same one, except greater, that Esau sold), by a vicious self-effacement.

412.     That is sham virtue in woman which lends a cloak or gives stimulus to vice in man. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” That which begets virtue in others is virtue; that which begets vice is vice. A wifely self-immolation which encourages masculine sensuality is vice. A feminine “humility” which gives place for the growth of masculine egotism is vice. Women need to ponder these things, and their responsibility (as the mothers and trainers of the men of the world), for the lack of gentleness, meekness, humility and chastity among men. Women must train their sons in all these virtues.

413.     There stands a mysterious prophecy, relating to woman which no scholar who accepts the rabbinical view as to the inferior rank of woman in the divine economy is capable of understanding or interpreting. The guesses at its meaning would fill a considerable niche in a museum of literary curiosities. We refer to Jer. 31:22, which is translated:  “How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.” But, as there is no word for the article “a” in the Hebrew tongue, we are at liberty to read the last phrase, “woman shall compass man,” or, more literally, “female shall compass male.” The verb “wilt . . . go about” (HEB), in the first clause of this verse, is found only in one other place in the Hebrew, Solomon’s Song, 5:6, where it is translated “withdraw;” but following the marginal reading of the R. V., it means, more properly, in the form used, “to turn [oneself] away.” The second verb of the verse, translated “backsliding,” means also “to turn,” and is translated ‘turn’ in the previous verse. Now it is the third verb, translated “compass,” which has puzzled men most of all; it has led to a lot of different translation and interpretations; the verb (HEB) seems to mean also to “turn about.” It is generally translated “compass.” Now what does the whole verse mean? (1) The precise form of the latter verb is translated “led about,” in Deuteronomy 32:10, “He found him in a waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him.” (2) Once again “new” is an adjective, used in the sense of “something new.” We suggest this rendering:  How long wilt thou keep turning away, O thou turning away daughter? for the Lord hath created [something] new in the earth, Female will lead male about. In other words, it seems God’s design that the “new woman” in Christ Jesus, shall no more “turn away,” as did Eve, to her husband, but remaining loyal to God alone, and true to her destiny as the mother of that Seed,¾both the literal, Jesus, and the mystical Christ, the Church,¾shall lead man about,¾out of the wilderness of the inefficiency of egotism into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For, who shall specially conquer Satan, if not the sex to whom God gave the honor from the beginning of being in eternal enmity against Satan, in the promise, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman?” But woman must be truly meek to fulfill this her promised destiny.[2] 

414.     But none of God’s promises are the mere reading of fate. That which God promises will never be fulfilled excepting to those who seize the promise. God overrides no human will. But as woman has passed through a long night of travail to bring forth the sons of men on earth, so shall God render to her double for all she has undeservedly suffered through the cruelty and slight and disrespect of man, by giving her a very large share in the work of saving the world through the preaching of the Gospel, if woman will not despise her birthright.

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What is Meekness?

396. Meekness has nothing whatever to do with the vices, cowardice and weakness. No one can be meek who is not of royal blood; hence the quality is little understood, and, for the most part, confounding it with weakness, it is taught to women and children and slaves, and despised in men. As truly as our humility has its source in our attitude towards GOD ALONE, so has the virtue of meekness. The first means loyalty to God ALONE as alone to be obeyed; the second means Loyalty to GOD ALONE, as our Judge and King.

401.     As Christ’s conduct in the court of human potentates, so was His manner towards common men: “Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him [God] that judgeth righteously,” 1 Peter 2:23. He recognized but one King; He knew but one Judge; He knew but one Enforcer of law, just as He knew but one law (the Word of God) to be enforced; and God was His own interpreter and enforcer of His law.

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391. …..We imagine such expositors would have been pleased had God sent into the world, an additional female Christ, to set women a female example; but since God did not see fit to do so, women are under obligation to endeavor, as best they are able, to follow the “manly” example of Jesus Christ, and leave the consequences with God. This is woman’s truly humble place. Any other is sham humility.

392. What was Christ’s attitude toward man, seeing HE ALONE is woman’s pattern? John 2:23-25 tells us plainly: “Many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.” Let women do the same; they have here a very safe example to follow. What we know of “trust” in man must not go so far as to include the vitiation of our surrender to GOD ALONE. “What! a woman not trust her husband! Why, every husband loves a trusting wife; let her lean all her weight upon him. This is ideal marriage; any less trust than this will bring discord into the family.” Possibly it will; in some cases, the husband may quarrel with his wife unless she trusts him to this idolatrous extent. A trust that must be exercised towards a husband, who threatens discord otherwise, is of the world’s own kind. The Lord Himself said, “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” We believe that family concord can be better preserved apart from a trust on the part of the wife which amounts to idolatry of her husband; but if not, let discord prevail: at least, leave the result of absolute surrender to God alone in the hands of Him who requires it of every human being.

393. There is a “trust” of which one can properly approve,¾a reciprocal tie and duty between husband and wife. But this matter of the surrender of one’s entire person and conscience to the keeping of another human being is idolatry,¾a deadly sin against God. Love does not require it. Never man loved as Christ; never man trusted himself to man less than Christ did. The more He surrendered Himself to God, the more humble He was; and the less He committed Himself to man. Mark how He kept His conduct free from all human influences.

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387. We will let another define “humility.” Andrew Murray defines it as “nothing but that simple consent of the creature to let God be all, in virtue of which it surrenders itself to His working alone.” Speaking of Christ, our example, he says: “His humility was simply the surrender of himself to God, to allow [God] to do to Him what He pleased, whatever men might say of him, or do to Him.”

388. Please notice thoughtfully a certain qualification in each of these definitions. In the first the creature “surrenders itself to GOD ALONE;” this is humility: in the second Christ does this, “whatever men around Him might say of Him, or do to Him.” Now I ask, is woman taught that it is “humility” for her to conduct herself after any such manner? Let us see. As to the first point, take, for instance, Dean Stanley’s teaching (paragraph 221): “The authority of the husband is enthroned visibly upon her [the wife’s] head in token that she belongs to the husband alone, and that she owes no allegiance to anyone besides, not even to the angels before the throne of God.” Now Mr. Murray’s definition as to humility speaks of GOD ALONE; Dean Stanley’s definition of a wife’s duty, as an allegiance to MAN ALONE. The first defines “humility;” the second defines “servility.” Since true humility excludes surrender to man (according to Mr. Murray), it is perfectly evident that exclusive allegiance to man would prevent a woman from exercising true humility.

 

390. A dispute for the throne has existed, between God and man, ever since in the Garden that ambition was fired in humanity to be “as God;” to be sure, it is a very foolish and impossible ambition on the part of man, which God, but for His long-suffering, might have ended long ago. Its culmination will be in the Lord’s return to “slay with the breath of His mouth” this “man of sin” who sets himself forth “as God,”¾2 Thessalonians 2:3-8. But this dispute is on, and what part in it shall women take, for at such a time the situation is both sensitive and critical? What will God wish His women to do? Dean Stanley answers in effect. “Let women show their humility, their willingness to take a lowly place; let them put on a veil to show they owe no allegiance but to MAN ALONE,¾not even to God’s own messengers, the angels before God’s throne.”

391. What madness for women to do this! And call it “humility!” What can be more arrogant, more bold and impudent, than to appear before one’s awful Monarch tricked out in such a manner as to demonstrate to His Majesty and all His Court, that one is in allegiance with His rival?

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