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The previous post in this series may be found here.


John Fox, author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

Brooks continues with his explanation of humility:

The fifteenth property of an humble soul is, he will rather bear wrongs than revenge wrongs offered.

There are three parts to this understanding.  First, the action: the humble soul will not strike at injustice done to him: “Mr Foxe, that wrote the Book of Martyrs, would be sure to do him a kindness that had done him an injury: so that it used to be a proverb, ‘If a man would have Mr Foxe do him a kindness, let him do him an injury.’”

This behavior of the humble soul appears to be madness — until it is understood in the entire complex of Christian life. Thus, we must second understand the motivation for such a way of being. To merely be struck and bear the wrong could be stupidity or a depraved self-deprecation. But the humble soul finds motivation elsewhere:

“An humble soul is often in looking over the wrongs and injuries that he has done to God, and the sweet and tender carriage of God towards him notwithstanding those wrongs and injuries; and this wins him, and works him to be more willing and ready to bear wrongs, and forgive wrongs, than to revenge any offered wrongs.”

The sight of the majestic patience and forgiveness of Christ turns the humble soul to forgive others.

Third: the question of justice. The humble soul does not ignore justice; rather the one who is humble refers the matter to Chrst as judge: “The humble soul knows that vengeance is the Lord’s, and that he will repay, &c., Ps. 94:1. The humble soul loves not to take the sword in his own hand, Rom. 12:19; he knows the day is a-coming, wherein the Lord will give his enemies two blows for one, and here he rests.”

The matter of justice is crucial to the entire process. Humility is not contrary to justice, in fact it upholds justice. The humble soul does not think himself the perfect judge and thus refers the matter to the one judges justly. The referral to Christ is a rest for the one who trusts Christ to do the work of judge. The humble soul is free to forgive and love. If the love and forgiveness wins the enemy, then the enemy has been extinguished in love. If the enemy is not won, he is referred to Christ for judgment.