Friday, January 13, 2017

Reflections from Consider This - Chapter Four....

Chapter Four of Consider This, Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition by Karen Glass ties directly to Charlotte Mason's Principle Three.
Principle 3: The principles of Authority on the one hand and Docility on the other are natural, necessary and fundamental;...
If one aspires to be teachable (having docility), one must have power (authority) over one's own mind. In other words, one must be humble to be teachable.

Charlotte Mason wrote much on the quality of humility throughout her six volume series, dedicating a whole chapter in Vol, 4, Ourselves, to it. First she begins in Chapter I of Part III, Book I, writing about The Ways of Love. She says, 
Love, like a king, has his Lords in Waiting––Pity, Benevolence, Sympathy, Kindness, Generosity, Gratitude, Courage, Loyalty, Humility, Gladness.
From there, Charlotte dedicates a chapter to each of these qualities. In which, Chapter X of Part III in Book I, is solely about humility. She begins,
Pride of Life.––The Apostle points out three causes of offence in men––the lust of the flesh, that is, the desire to satisfy the cravings of what we call 'human nature'; the lust of the eye, which makes the pursuit of the delight of beauty, not a part, but the whole of life; and, the pride of life. Of the three, perhaps, the last is the most deadly, because it is the most deceitful. People born in, and brought up upon, principles of self-control and self-restraint are on the watch against the lusts of the flesh. The lust of the eye does not make too fascinating an appeal to all of us; but who can be aware of the approaches of the pride of life? Still, Pride, mighty as he is, and manifold as are his forms, is but the Dæmon, the more or less subject Dæmon, of a mightier power than himself.
Humility is Born in us all.––Humility is born in us all, a Lord of the Bosom, gracious and beautiful, strong to subdue. That is why our Lord told the Jews that except they should humble themselves and become as a little child they could not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, the state where humble souls have their dwelling. We think of little children as being innocent and simple rather than humble; and it is only by examining this quality of children that we shall find out what Humility is in the divine thought. We have but two types of Humility to guide us––Christ, for 'He humbled Himself,' and little children, for He pronounced them humble. An old writer who has pondered on this matter says that, as there is only one Sanctification and one Redemption, so also there is only one Humility.
Glass writes, "Sometimes we consider humility a spiritual virtue, but it is an intellectual virtue as well." (p.28) There are many biblical references to humility.  However, upon combing through, there are several that particularly relate humility to wisdom and intellect, including...
Proverbs 11:2 (KJV)
When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
James 3:13 (KJV)
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Psalm 25:9 (NASB)
He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.
Later in Chapter 4, Glass says, "Humility is not a lesson that can be learned from a textbook or a lecture, but if we want to make the traditions of classical education our aim, we must find a way to instill this attitude in ourselves and in our pupils."

Ms. Mason proposes, "We are all born humble. Humility sits within us all, waiting for pride to be silent that he may speak and be heard. What must we do to get rid of pride and give place to Humility?"

In Ourselves, Book I, Part III, Chapter X, she then answers her own proposed question and declares the way to humility....
The Way of Humility.––In the first place, we must not try to be humble. That is all make-believe, and a bad sort of pride. We do not wish to become like Uriah Heep, and that is what comes of trying to be humble. The thing is, not to think of ourselves at all, for if we only think how bad we are, we are playing at Uriah Heep. There are many ways of getting away from the thought of ourselves; the love and knowledge of birds and flowers, of clouds and stones, of all that nature has to show us; pictures, books, people, anything outside of us, will help us to escape from the tyrant who attacks our hearts. One rather good plan is, when we are talking or writing to our friends, not to talk or write about 'thou and I.' There are so many interesting things in the world to discuss that it is a waste of time to talk about ourselves. All the same, it is well to be up to the ways of those tiresome selves, and that is why you are invited to read these chapters. It is very well, too, to know that Humility, who takes no thought of himself, is really at home in each of us:––
"If that in sight of God is great
Which counts itself for small,
We by that law humility
The chiefest grace must call;
Which being such, not knows itself
To be a grace at all."
Glass closes Chapter 4 of Consider This with...
...We do not list "humility" among our school subjects or put it on a transcript, but that is actually the little secret of classical education.  The things that make it truly classical, truly worthwhile to pursue, aren't school subjects at all, but principles that add depth and cohesion to everything we study in all areas of the curriculum. 
Chapter 4 of Consider This prompted me to ask myself whether I approach every object, person, or book as if I can learn something from it. Humility is a necessary component to education. The opposite of humility is conceit, haughtiness, and pride. Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride comes before destruction. If one believes they already know it all, the mind is closed. Learning cannot happen. We must be humble to be teachable. 


  1. This was so great. I say, you should write a book on a classical-mason- techers-bible saturated-daily-devotional. Something such as your article is very good not only for homeschooling but also for spiritual growth.

  2. Awww, that is very humbling julz. I'm glad the post was useful to you. Thanks so much for your kind words :)