I will quote here, in finishing, three verses which teach the same lesson that our Saviour taught when he spoke the words from which I have tried to draw the lesson of liberality. The title at the head of them is taken from Solomon’s words in one of the passages from the book of Proverbs, which we have already used.
“THERE IS THAT SCATTERETH AND YET INCREASETH.”
“Is thy cruse of comfort wasting?
Rise, and share it with another;
And through all the years of famine,
It shall serve thee and thy brother.
God himself will fill thy storehouse,
Or thy handful still renew:
Scanty fare for one will often
Make a royal feast for two.
“For the heart grows rich in giving;
All its wealth is living grain:
Seeds which mildew in the garner,
Scattered, fill with gold the plain.
Is thy burden hard and heavy?
Do thy steps drag wearily?
Help to bear thy brother’s burden,—
God will bear both it and thee.
“Is thy heart a well left empty?
None but God its void can fill;
Nothing but a ceaseless fountain
Can this ceaseless longing still.
Is the heart a living power?
Self-entwined its strength sinks low;
It can only live in loving,
And by serving love will grow.”
During the earthly life of our blessed Saviour, we see how everything connected with it teaches the lesson of humility. This is pointed out in the beautiful collect in The Book of Common Prayer for the first Sunday in Advent. Here we are taught to say:—“Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in—great humility.”
If Jesus had come into our world as an angel, it would have been an act of humility. If he had come as a great and mighty king, it would have been an act of humility. But when he was born in a stable, and cradled in a manger; when he could say of himself, “the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head;” when there never was an acre, or a foot of ground that he called his own, although he made the world and all things in it; when he sailed in a borrowed boat, and was buried in a borrowed tomb; how well it might be said that he was teaching humility all the days of his life on earth! Yet he did not think that this was enough. And so he gave his disciples a special lesson on this subject.