Monday, August 18, 2014

Humility

Many Church Fathers have examined the issue of humility within a Christian context. Here St. Clement of Rome in his First Epistle to the Corinthians(Chapter XIII.) explains:


“Let us therefore, brethren, be of humble mind, laying aside all haughtiness, and pride, and foolishness, and angry feelings; and let us act according to that which is written (for the Holy Spirit said, ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, neither let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in the Lord, in diligently seeking Him, and doing judgement and righteousness’), being especially mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus which He spoke, teaching us meekness and long-suffering. For thus He spoke: ‘Be ye merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven to you; as ye do, so shall it be done unto you; as ye judge, so shall ye be judged; as ye are kind, so shall kindness be shown to you; with what measure ye mete, with the same it shall be measured to you’. By this precept and by these rules let us establish ourselves, that we walk with all humility in obedience to His holy words. For the holy word said, ‘On whom shall I look, but on him that is meek and peaceable, and that trembles at My words’.
(Chapter XVII). Let us be imitators also of those who in goat-skins and sheep-skins went about proclaiming the coming of Christ; I mean Elijah, Elisha, and Ezekiel among the prophets, with those others to whom a like testimony is borne (in Scripture). Abraham was specially honoured and was called the friend of God; yet, he earnestly regarding the glory of God, humbly declared, ‘I am dust and ashes’. Moreover, it is thus written of Job, ‘Job was a righteous man, and blameless, truthful, God-fearing, and one that kept himself from all evil’. But bringing an accusation against himself, he said, ‘No man is free from defilement, even if his life be but of one day’. Moses was called faithful in all God’s house, and through his instrumentality, God punished Egypt with plagues and tortures. Yet he, through this greatly honoured, did not adopt lofty language, but said, when the divine oracle came to him out of the bush, ‘Who am I, that Thou sendest me? I am a man of a feeble voice and a slow tongue’. And again he said, ‘I am but as the smoke of a pot’”.


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