There are three great motives that urge us to humility: It becomes me as a creature, as a sinner, as a saint.
The first we see in the heavenly hosts, in unfallen man, in Jesus as son of man. The second appeals to us in our fallen state and points out the only way through which we can return to our right place as creatures. In the third, we have the mystery of grace, which teaches us that as we lose ourselves in the overwhelming greatness of redeeming love, humility becomes to us the consummation of everlasting blessedness and adoration.
In our ordinary religious teaching, the second aspect has been too exclusively put in the foreground, so that some have even gone to the extreme of saying that we must keep sinning if we are indeed to keep humble. Others again have thought that the strength of self-condemnation is the secret of humility. And the Christian life has suffered loss, where believers have not been distinctly guided to see that even in our relation as creatures, nothing is more natural and beautiful and blessed than to be nothing, that God may be all; or where it has not been made clear that it is not sin that humbles most, but grace, and that it is the soul, led through its sinfulness to be occupied with God in his wonderful glory as God, as creator and redeemer, that will truly take the lowest place before him.
In these meditations I have, for more than one reason, almost exclusively directed attention to the humility that becomes us as creatures. It is not only that the connection between humility and sin is so abundantly set forth in all our religious teaching, but because I believe that for the fullness of the Christian life, it is indispensable that prominence be given to the other aspect.