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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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A disposition of mind wherein a person has a low opinion of himself and his advantages. It is a branch of internal worship, or of experimental religion and godliness. It is the effect of divine grace operating on the soul, and always characterises the true Christian. The heathen philosophers were so little acquainted with this virtue, that they had no name for it: what they meant by the word we use, was meanness and baseness of mind. To consider this grace a little more particularly, it may be observed,

1. That humility does not oblige a man to wrong the truth, or himself, by entertaining a meaner or worse opinion of himself than he deserves.—

2. Nor does it oblige a man, right or wrong, to give every body else the preference to himself. A wise man cannot believe himself inferior to the ignorant multitude; nor the virtuous man that he is not so good as those whose lives are vicious.—

3. Nor does it oblige a man to treat himself with contempt in his words or actions: it looks more like affectation than humility, when a man says such things in his own dispraise as others know, or he himself believes, to be false: and it is plain, also, that this is often done merely as a bait to catch the praises of others.

Humility consists,

1. In not attributing to ourselves any excellence or good which we have not.—

2. In not over-rating any thing we do.—

3. In not taking an immoderate delight in ourselves.—

4. In not assuming more of the praise of a quality or action than belongs to us.—

5. In an inward sense of our many imperfections and sins.—

6. In ascribing all we have and are to the grace of God.

True humility will express itself,

1. By the modesty of our appearance. The humble man will consider his age, abilities, character, function, &c. and act accordingly.—

2. By the modesty of our pursuits. We shall not aim at any thing above our strength, but prefer a good to a great name.—

3. It will express itself by the modesty of our conversation and behaviour: we shall not be loquacious, obstinate, forward, envious, discontented, or ambitious.

The advantages of humility are numerous:

1. It is well pleasing to God, 1 Peter 3:4 .—

2. It has great influence on us in the performance of all other duties, praying, hearing, converse, &c.—

3. It indicates that more grace shall be given, James 4:6 . Psalms 25:9

4. It preserves the soul in great tranquility and contentment, Psalms 69:32; Psalms 33:1-22

5. It makes us patient and resigned under afflictions, Job 1:22

6. It inables us to exercise moderation in every thing.

To obtain this excellent spirit we should remember,

1. The example of Christ, Philippians 2:6-8

2. That heaven is a place of humility, Revelation 5:8

3. That our sins are numerous, and deserve the greatest punishment, Lamentations 3:39

4. That humility is the way to honour, Proverbs 16:18

5. That the greatest promises of good are made to the humble, Is. 57: 15, 56: 2. 1 Peter 5:5 . Psalms 147:6 . Matthew 5:5 .

Grove's Mor. Phil. vol. 2: p. 286; Evan's Christian Temper, vol. 1: ser. 1; Watts on Humility; Baxter's Christian Directory, 5: 1. p. 496; Hale's Cont. p. 110; Gill's Body of Div. p. 151, vol. 3: Walker's Ser. 4: ser. 3.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Humility'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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