by J. C. Ryle
Humility may well be called the 'queen of the Christian graces'. To know our own sinfulness and weakness, and to feel our need of Christ, is the very beginning of saving religion.
Humility is a grace which has always been the distinguishing feature in the character of the holiest saints in every age. Abraham, and Moses, and Job, and David, and Daniel, and Paul—were all eminently humble men. Humility is a grace within the reach of every true Christian.
Would we know the root and spring of humility? One word describes it. The root of humility is right knowledge. The man who really knows . . . himself—and his own heart; God—and His infinite majesty and holiness; Christ—and the price at which he was redeemed; that man will never be a proud man!
He will count himself, like Jacob, "unworthy of the least of all God's mercies!"
He will say of himself, like Job, "I am vile!"
He will cry, like Paul, "I am chief of sinners!"
Ignorance! nothing but sheer ignorance! ignorance . . . of self, of God, of Christ, is the real secret of pride! From that miserable self-ignorance may we daily pray to be delivered!
He is the wise man who knows himself! And he who knows himself, will find nothing within to make him proud.
Excerpt from J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Luke" 1858 in Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (eBook)