To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles theunsearchableriches of Christ, Ephesians 3:8
Here you have the greatest apostle descending to the lowest step of humility: the least of saints, the last of the apostles, and the greatest of sinners. The choicest buildings have the lowest foundations. The boughs of trees that are most filled and laden with fruit bow down the lowest. One property of a humble soul is this; it will quietly bear burdens, and patiently take blows and knocks, and make no noise. A humble soul sees God through all the actions of men. He looks through secondary causes, and sees the hand of God. He looks through to the supreme cause. So Aaron, when he saw his sons suddenly surprised by a dreadful death, he held his peace and bridled his passions; he sat in silence under the terrible stroke of divine justice, because the fire that devoured them went out from the Lord. When Samuel told Eli that God would judge his house forever, ‘It is the Lord’, said Eli, ‘Let him do what seems good to him!’ Eli humbly and patiently laid his neck upon the block; it is the Lord, let him strike, let him kill. Humble souls may groan under affliction, but they will not grumble when things are calm. Proud hearts may speak of patience, but in the storm it is the humble heart that exercises patience. I am afflicted says the humble soul, but it is mercy I am not destroyed. Though I have fallen into a pit, it is free grace that I have not fallen into hell. God is too just to wrong me, and too gracious to harm me, and therefore I will be still and quiet; let him do what he will with me. Proud souls resist when resisted; they strike when stricken. Cain cries out, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear.’ Remember, it is not easy in affliction ad tribulation to hold our peace, yet it is very advantageous.
In this classic devotional, John Calvin urges readers to apply the Christian life in a balanced way to mind, heart, and hand. Rather than focusing on contemplative otherworldliness, the book stresses the importance of a devotedly active Christian life. In style and spirit, this book is much like Augustine’s Confessions, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ. However, its intense practicality sets it apart, making it easily accessible for any reader seeking to carry out Christian values in everyday life. Chapter themes include obedience, self-denial, the significance of the cross, and how we should live our lives today.