This week, we’re beginning a four part series on pride and humility, using Thomas Charles, an eighteenth century Welsh Calvinistic Methodist, as our guide. Thomas Charles was a key leader in the second wave of the Welsh Revival.
First, we will deal with pride. Charles begins the treatise we are reading from with the original source of pride, and what it looks like in the unbeliever and believer. If you would like to read his writing for yourself, read the full text here or view it under Show Notes.
Charles begins his treatment on pride in the garden of Eden before the fall of man. During that time, man knew nothing but the provision and tender care of the Father. But pride led him to think he could provide for himself. He adopted the “essential characteristic of Satan” and lived as a practical atheist. John and Matthew spend some time discussing this reality and describing what a practical atheist is today.
Charles warns that we are utterly incapable of saving ourselves. We are naturally proud and self-sufficient, yet God resists the proud. “Unless you become like little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven.” We must be converted and become what man was at Creation - dependent on God, submissive to His will, and seeking all our happiness in Him.
The work of God in a soul must begin with removing this pride from our souls. In every way that God deals with us, He aims to remove pride from us. When God describes the people whom He saves, it is humiliating. Jesus invites those who are weak, thirsty, tired, dirty, poor to come to Him.
The Gospel says we can’t be made better. We must be born anew. God’s unconditional love means there is nothing lovely about us, but God has chosen to love because He is so lovely. This news is humbling. But it is infuriating to the proud man. God always first empties those whom He fills.
What could be more offensive to the proud and more beautiful to the humble?
Charles so poignantly describes how deeply rooted it is in our hearts. He rightly assesses that we often look to creation to satisfy us. But God shows His loveliness in His dealing with us by causing those created things to become bitter to our taste, leaving us with nothing but Him to look to for happiness and satisfaction.
We pray this episode helps us all identify pride in our lives, repent of it, and humbly trust in our Savior. It is the design of God to crush the pride in your life and He will be successful.
For this week’s Supporter Appreciation Episode, John discusses the life and times of Thomas Charles. He and Matthew briefly mention the book, Thomas Charles Spiritual Counsels in the podcast, but John wanted to take some extra time to introduce you to Charles and his ministry.
He'll look closely at the letters between Charles and his wife. They began a long correspondence before marriage and it is helpful to see a young minister point his beloved’s heart to Christ before and after marriage.
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The Calvinistic Fathers of Wales by John Morgan Jones
Thomas Charles Spiritual Counsels by Edward Morgan
The Existence and Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock
Supporter Appreciation Episode Resources:
The Life of Rev. Thomas Charles of Bala by D.E. Jenkins (Good luck finding it)