HUMILITY A D OBEDIE CE. BY SARAH S.

BAKER

My Father, — John xiv. 7. AS in botanical studies, so in biography, it is not only the flower and the fruit we examine, — we must know also the parent root. It is not to David or Ruth or Abraham that we turn to find the spring and fount of the perfect character of the man Christ Jesus. He had truly in His nature gathered up all the nobility of the long line of His earthly ancestors, down to that maiden, "blessed among women," who was honored to be the mother of the promised Messiah. But this Saviour of the world was not merely a man ; He was Emmanuel, " God with us. " He whose " compassions are new every morning," who of old had "not despised the afflictions of the afflicted," the pure and perfect Almighty God, sent to the fallen world His Only Begotten Son, the " express image " of the God of Love. How incomprehensible to us is the humility of the Son of God ! How the pride of the human heart is humbled in His presence !

BEFORE THE WORLD WAS. 23 With what eager interest we read of our own forefathers, and proudly flush at their achievements, as if we, unborn, had had a share in their merit ! Our own family pride we can always tolerate, or excuse, or even indulge and foster. An

exhibition in our neighbor of this same family pride, how unacceptable, how repulsive it is to us ! We seem to desire to occupy ourselves a pinnacle upon which few can stand,— a point from which we can look down on less favored mortals. This is not the innocent, honorable, natural satisfaction in the merits of those who are allied to us by blood. This is a seeking of our own honor. Men must hear of our claims, that we may shine before them with a reflected light. There is a radical cure for this spirit in the faithful following of our Elder Brother. The Son of God, et full of grace and truth, " comes not to us to claim the exclusive right to the honors of sonship and a home in the "Father's house." He wills that we shall be with Him where He is. To them that overcome will He grant "to sit with Him on His throne." Wandering, sinful, unworthy as we are, He would lead us to the Father's house, freely forgiven for His sake. Believing ourselves orphans, waifs, or erring children who have forfeited their inheritance, and hunger far astray, He comes to us with the assuring words, " Your Father which

24

OUR ELDER BROTHER.

is in heaven." He gladly tells us that the love of the Father never fails, and that He is ready to receive us, and even to come out to meet us and

welcome with great joy His repentant children. What a lesson this is for us, proud despisers of the lowly, haughty teachers of the fallen, niggard dispensers of help to the needy ! If we would learn at the feet of Jesus, and truly follow His example, we must put aside at once our pride, whatever form it may assume. We must draw near to our Elder Brother simply as sinners to share in His redemption, and to walk lowly in His footsteps. Our Lord is not only full of yearning love towards His sinful brethren, we are told of His obedience to His Father. The will may be broken or bent to the wishes of another by punishment or fear; but only love subdues it and moulds it to spontaneous obedience. Our submission to our Heavenly Father must not be that of the down-trodden slave to a cruel master, or a servile subject to his earthly monarch. It should rather be the glad yielding of the will to that of the Best Beloved, stronger, wiser, and holier than ourselves. Such obedience makes the fulfilment of the law an exceeding joyIn many of the great natural forces and forms of creation there is much that we cannot fully understand, yet they can be adapted to the use of man. So the great mystery of the free obedience of our perfect Lord can come with its wholesome lesson to us poor revolted subjects of our Heavenly King. Dwelling on His loving submission, we may learn to pray sincerely, as we are taught, " Thy will be done," before " Give us this day our daily bread." It may well be said, "The will dies hard." It springs early to life in the babe, and is still

strong in the tottering old man. It is our earthly lesson, knowing the will of God to do it instantly, constantly, lovingly, whatever it may cost us. The words "So I come to do thy will, God," should be the reverent expression of our inmost wish and aim. We may humbly add, "For this cause came I into the world." "I myself am here in mortal form to be fashioned by cheerful obedience into the likeness of my Lord." Human beings have but rarely an opportunity for any one great conquest of the will. It is rather by the daily, cheerful submission, in a free and loving spirit, to small trials that beset our commonplace life, that the soul is trained to a childlike obedience. Scarcely an hour passes that we may not accept some little uncongenial duty, some passing pain, or trifling injury or loss, in the yielding, gentle spirit that trains us

26 OUR ELDER BROTHER. to be the true servants of God. These little sacrifices can nurture no secret pride, as if we had done some great thing. They are, therefore, less dangerous for us who are so easily puffed up, "as if we were somewhat." Perhaps we may not dare, with our poor wavering purpose and many inconsistencies, to say the sacred words, " Lo, I come to do thy will, O God ! " The prayer, "Teach me to do thy will," offered from a sincere heart, will surely be abundantly answered.

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