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need not say that all God's word is His word. He is the Light, and whatsoever light we get from the Bible comes directly from Him. These other words of His you will find in the Book of Proverbs (xxv. 6): “Put not forth thyself (or, rather, as it is in the original, display not thy glory), in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men. For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”

Now, inasmuch as our Lord knew Scripture far more perfectly and intimately than any servant of His has ever done, He must have been alive to the existence of this striking passage of the Prophet-king. He could not, owing to the circumstance of the time, reproduce it exactly, for in Solomon's time there was an actual king of Palestine, of the stock of Abraham, who was doubtless the fountain of honour, and at whose entertainments ambitious men would seek to display themselves; whereas in our Lord's time His hearers would have thought it pollution to sit at meat with the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, himself; it being unlawful for a man that was a Jew to eat with one of another nation.

Our Lord, then, could not have referred to the words of Solomon directly, but He has referred to them sufficiently for us to take them

with us in our application to ourselves of His own parable. Let us then do so; and so let us consider that all our pride, all our self-assertion, all our seeking of great things takes place in the presence of a King; and not a king of this world only, but the King of both worlds—the seen and the unseen, the present and the future worlds.

It is very necessary for us to remember this, for the shame and confusion of face, which in this parable is represented as the lot of mortified pride, does not always follow it or accompany it in this world. Self-assertion, undue assumption, forwardness, boasting, or whatever form pride takes—these things do not, by any means, necessarily entail a fall upon the man who displays them. The meek do not as yet “inherit the earth;" though if we can trust the words of Christ, we may rely upon it that they some day shall. David asked long ago how it was that ungodly men "spoke so disdainfully and made such proud boasting," and prayed that God would “reward the proud after their deservings.” And men who are ambitious and self-seeking as often as not attain the height of their ambition, or at least approach near it, provided of course that they have other qualities, such as talents and perseverance, to help them on. Observe, too, that our Lord says, “lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden.” He does not assume that it is certain

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that the man who thrusts himself above his place will be abased; He only implies that there is danger lest it should be so; but we can have no doubt that His words have an universal application, for the conclusion He draws is here, as elsewhere, expressed absolutely, as if it had no limitation. exalteth himself shall be abased; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

But a day is coming when these words of Christ will be verified, for He is the Truth, and He has all power to accomplish their fulfilment. He Himself is the King before Whom all pride displays itself now, and before Whom it will assuredly hereafter be mortified.

And there is the greatest possible reason that we should realize Him, even Jesus Christ, as the Exalter of humility and the Humbler of pride; for in this matter of humbling Himself He has set us an example absolutely unapproachable in its greatness, for if any one ever took the lowest room it was He.

It was a very low room to take to leave the heaven of heavens, where on the very throne of God He had all glory with God, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto, and take


His abode in such an obscure corner of His creation, and receive light from the sun which He had Himself made.

It was a still lower room to take that He should be born, not in the palace of the Cæsars, but in the manger of Bethlehem.

It was a still lower room, that He should be born of poor parents, and be subject for thirty years to the hardships, and perform the menial offices, of a poor man.

It was a still lower room to take that when He began to teach and preach He should teach and preach, not in Athens or Corinth, but in Galilee, and attach to Himself not men of commanding intellect, but the fishermen of the neighbouring lake, and for three years bear with their ignorance and stupidity, leading them on by little and little as they were able to bear it. Above all, it was the lowest room of all to take that when He submitted to that which was of all things in the universe the furthest from His Life, even unto Death, that He should choose not an honourable death, a form of death in which He could fold His arms and gather His robe about Him, and die with dignity; but a degrading death, the lowest and basest form of death that could be inflicted by proud and cruel men.

Verily, if any one has a right to humble the proud, and to exalt the humble, it is He. And He will do so. A time will come when He will redress all inequalities, or, in plain homely English, when He will make all things straight.

Then it will be as apparent to the whole universe, as it is now to the eye of faith, that “He scatters the proud in the imagination of their hearts;" that He “puts down the mighty from their seat, and exalts the humble and meek.”

It must needs be that He will make good His own benedictions; and the very first of His benedictions is, “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;" and the next is very like it—“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted;" and the next, too, is in substance the very same“ Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Now, inasmuch as He will judge the world and redress all its inequalities, let us remember that He will find means (and He has all the powers of the universe at His disposal), He will find means of humbling every act of pride. Every act, I say. Does this seem too much ? Not for One Who numbers the hairs of our heads, and without Whose permission no sparrow falls, and Who has engaged to bring every idle word into judgment, and to make manifest the secrets of all hearts.

This is the perfection of God's judgment, whether present or final, that it does not judge in the lump, as it were, but takes into account every imaginable particular.

Should it not then be a matter of prayer that God may humble us here rather than hereafter? It may be very bitter to have pride mortified now, but it will be a millionfold more bitter to have it mortified before men

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