No.

6

G L E A N I N G S

F R O M

A

C H R I S T I A N ’ S

L I B R A R Y

In the Talmud there is written; ‘Why was man created on the sixth day? To teach him that if he is ever swollen with pride, it can be said: A flea came ahead of thee in Creation.’ Pride is a virtue. Pride is also a vice. Without pride as a principle a man cannot be virtuous. The pride that is a vice, and which will be here referred to, is the overhauling of oneself for some real or imagined superiority, producing haughty bearing and arrogance of manner. It is that which is a lifting up of the heart above God and against God and without God, setting itself against the honor, being, and sovereignty of God. Other sins strike at the word of God, the people of God, and the creatures of God, but pride strikes directly at the very being of God. Pride would even pull down God that it might sit upon His throne. It would trample underfoot the holiest things to exalt itself! Pride takes for its motto, Great I and little you. The puritan George Swinnock said; ‘Pride is the shirt of the soul, put on first and put off last.’ John Boys adds; ‘As death is the last enemy; so pride is the last sin that shall be destroyed in us.’ That demon of pride was born with us, and it will not die one hour before us. It is so woven into the very warp and woof of our nature, that until we are wrapped in our winding-sheets we shall never hear the last of it. Pride never surrenders but keeps fighting on till the day we die, cleaving to us like our skin. Its roots never entirely die. They are ready, at any moment, to spring up, and exhibit a most pernicious vitality. There is no end to this extensive evil, which infects the hearts of all men. But although we can never fully eradicate it, we can, and should, bring it into submission. Therefore through our whole pilgrimage we have to contend against it. I would like to share with you some thoughts about the symptoms of pride; some of its many facets, hoping that these will help to bring to the surface this terrible ‘malady’. I encourage you to try and prayerfully reflect on what you are reading; keeping in mind that the reason for this article is that it sets you thinking while asking the Lord to reveal to you if any of these symptoms are present in your life.

Ask the Blessed Holy Spirit to enlighten ‘the eyes of your mind’ and enable you to see clearly; especially since where pride is present it blinds us to our imperfections and failures; to those things which are wrong with us, dulling our senses and concealing so much of what is really present in our life. If we are honest, we have to admit that every one of us has some measure of pride and no one is exempt from it. Unfortunately in some people it is left unchecked and so it increases; becoming worse and excessive. It ends up governing all their decisions and directs everything they do. It sours all their relationships; making them unable to love others and preventing them from receiving love and affection. It has been said that pride and true love are strangers. How very true! If there is a sin that is universal, it is pride. Where is it not to be found? Pride is a strange creature; it never objects to its lodgings. It will live comfortably enough in a palace, and it will live equally at its ease in a hovel. Is there any man in whose heart pride does not lurk? Pride spreads over humanity with contagious violence. It is the loathsome moral leprosy, raging alike through the palace and the cottage, and infecting equally the prince and the peasant. Pride is a protean thing; it changes its shape; it is all forms in the world; you may find it in any fashion you may choose. Pride can be found in every rank of society - among all classes of men. Pride can lurk in the hearts of the ignorant, the vile, and the poor—as well as in the minds of the great, the learned, and the rich. It dwells with the rich, and with the poor. You may see it in the beggar's rags as well as in the rich man's garment. The man without a shoe to his foot may be as proud as if he were riding in a chariot. Pride has ten thousand shapes; Some are proud of their lace, Others of their race, Others of place, Others of their face, Others of grace. Of all the different kinds of pride, I must admit that I consider spiritual pride as being the most dangerous and the most arrogant of all. To have the ‘Stand by; I am holier than thou,” written across our foreheads, to be proud of our piety, our spiritual experience, our prayerfulness, our usefulness, our zeal, our knowledge of Theology is the worst kind of pride; most offensive to God, most injurious to our own soul and most obstructive to usefulness. Of all things most to be cursed and despised is the pride of a Christian. Pride grows apace like other ill weeds. It will live on any soil. In the natural and unconverted heart it flourishes, springing up without sowing and growing without watering; and even in the renewed and converted heart it all too

readily takes root when Satan casts abroad a handful of its seed. Of all creatures in the world the Christian is the last man who ought to be proud; and yet, alas, we have had mournful evidence both in past history and in our own observation, and worst of all in our own personal experience, that Christian men may become lifted up, to their own shame. Augustine calls pride, “the mother of all sin!” J.C. Philpot confirms this and tells us that “Pride is the mother and mistress of all the sins; for where she does not conceive them in her ever-teeming womb; she instigates their movements, and compels them to pay tribute to her glory.” Self love, self seeking, self will, self confidence, self righteousness, all spring from pride. Pride is a root of bitterness, out of which the following vices profusely grow; Vainglory, Love of human applause, Seeking of honor, Independence, Rebellion, Revenge, Anger, Contempt of others, Resentment, Ambition, Presumption. Pride encompasses all vice. It is a spiritual drunkenness; it flies up like wine into the brain and intoxicates it. Pride is idolatry; a proud man is a self-worshiper. Pride is that chameleon which assumes every color; that actor which can play every part; and yet which is faithful to no one object or purpose, but to exalt and glorify self. Pride is The shadow of a dwarfed soul, The puffy cloak that puny natures use To hide their meagre limbs. Pride exaggerates everything, especially our good points and other people’s faults. Pride spoils all that we think, and speak, and do. It eats at the root of all happiness. It deceives us by making excuses for us especially for our own weaknesses and sins. It makes us compare ourselves with those whom we think are worse than us and makes us despise them. It also convinces us that others are to blame for all our problems. And what a disturber of peace is pride!

‘Pride only breeds quarrels.’ (Prov.13:10) Pride is A gilded misery, A secret poison, A hidden plague. It is the engineer of deceit, The mother of hypocrisy, The moth of holiness, The blinder of hearts, The turner of medicines into maladies, and remedies into diseases. And pride is much more than this. Pride is the essential vice, the utmost evil. It was the first sin committed and lies lowest in the foundation of Satan's whole building. Unchastity, anger, greed, and drunkenness are mere flea biters in comparison. It is pride which leads to every other vice. It was through pride that the devil became the devil, and if you want to see him portrayed to the life look upon a proud soul; for as face answers to face, so does a proud soul answer to Satan. Pride can truly be said to be the Devil’s disease, a sin that will put the soul upon the worst of sins, and is the first step hell ward. ‘When pride comes, then comes disgrace.’ (Prov.11:2) ‘Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.’ (Prov.16:18) If we were to take a look at a person who is controlled by pride we will see that he is arrogant, resents authority and accountability and is not submissive. He thinks he knows it all and doesn’t like correction. True and genuine repentance is a work so simple yet it is so difficult to a person ruled by pride since he doesn’t want to seriously repent; because in doing this he will be admitting that he was wrong and mistaken in the past. The proud man is seldom a grateful man, he is convinced that he never gets as much as he deserves. When any mercy falls, he says; “Yes; but it ought to be more. It is only manna as large as a coriander seed, whereas it ought to be like a baker’s loaf!” He very rarely praises others or gives thanks because another thing pride does is slay thanksgiving. Unlike all the other vices which choose to be in the dark, pride loves always to be seen in the light and so the proud person is always demanding a superior place needing to be noticed and praised. ‘He loves to climb up’ says William Gurnall, ‘not as Zaccheus to see Christ, but to be seen.’ The proud person is very moody, sensitive and is disappointed when he is not ‘pampered’. He is extremely tenacious of his opinions and impatient of any contradiction, as if to differ from him is a crime. He feels a constant necessity to oppose, criticize and condemn. He asks to be feared, and cares not for affection, thus

making no real friends, but all the time provoking enmity. He has an unduly exalted opinion of himself. He is, therefore, impatient of a rival, hates a superior, and cannot endure a leader. The Curé d'Ars said that; Pride makes us hate Our equals because they are our equals; Our inferiors from the fear that they may equal us; Our superiors because they are above us. Grace can never thrive where pride grows. As long as a person is proud he cannot know God because there is no room for God in him who is full of himself. A proud man is always looking down on things and people. And, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something, or Someone, that is above you. The Bible reminds us that; ‘In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.’ (Ps.10:4) Being the complete anti-God state of the mind, pride in the end ruins everyone and everything they do since it separates them from God Himself. Pride sets a man in direct opposition against God! Other sins are aversions from God, but this sin is a coming against God. In other sins a man flies from God, but in this a man flies upon God, and for this reason ‘God opposes the proud.’ (James 4:6) When once a philosopher was asked what the great God was doing, he replied, “His whole employment is to lift up the humble and to cast down the proud.” God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.

‘Your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God.’ (Deut. 8:14) Dear Reader, how prone we are to be proud, although we have nothing to be proud of! Our hearts are strongly inclined to pride. There is nothing into which the heart of man so easily falls as pride, and yet there is no vice which is more frequently, more emphatically, and more eloquently condemned in Scripture. If we think about it, pride is a groundless thing. We have reasons for everything, but we have no reasons for pride. Pride is a thing which should be unnatural to us, for we have nothing to be proud of. What is there in man of which he should glory? Our very creation is enough to humble us; what are we but creatures of to-day? Our frailty should be sufficient to lay us low, for we shall be gone to-morrow. Consider

that, whatever noble endowments you have, are borrowed. What wise man would be proud of a jewel which was lent to him? The moon has no cause to be proud of her borrowed light. Therefore let us beware of pride, since of all troubles; the trouble of a proud heart is the greatest! Pride is like a building raised several storeys higher than the strength of the foundations will allow. It will always end in a fall! If thou, O man, desirest shame, be proud. Remember that the highest mountain peaks are barren while the low valleys abound! Remember that the stalks of wheat that hold up their heads so high are emptyheaded, and those that hang down their heads modestly are full of precious grain. Remember what a mother whale said to her baby whale, “When you get to the surface and start to blow, that’s when you get harpooned.” Oh! My friends, you cannot tell how many shapes pride will assume; look sharp about you, or you will be deceived by it. This weed that is dreadfully rampant will grow anywhere; on a rock as well as in a garden. Therefore it needs cutting down every week, or else we should stand up to our knees in it. When we fancy that we have escaped from pride, it is only because we have lost the sense of its weight through being surrounded with it. Learn to reject pride, seeing that you have no reason for it; whatever you are, you have nothing to make you proud. Be humble, proud one, whosoe’er thou art, Nor, though thou cast thy shadow far, forget Thy native quarry. Thou mayst glare awhile, Eclipsing all around, but Death, ere long, Will snuff thee out, remorseless. And yet, I am persuaded that all I can say to you, or to myself, can never keep pride away from us. The Lord alone can bolt the door of the heart against pride. Pride is like the flies of Egypt; all Pharaoh's soldiers could not keep them out; and I am sure all the strong resolutions and devout aspirations we may have cannot keep pride out unless the Lord God Almighty sends a strong wind of his Holy Spirit to sweep it away. I mentioned many symptoms of this malady but there is only one remedy; I am persuaded that the best cure for pride is a ‘sight’ of Christ; a genuine, personal and intimate relationship with Him, sustained primarily by daily prayer and Bible reading and by regular participation in those means of grace appointed by God for your edification. Pride cannot live beneath the cross!

Friend, commit yourself to a lifelong struggle to crucify this corruption within which is ‘disfiguring’ your personality and is spoiling you both as a person and as a Christian. May our Lord give you the grace you need. Shalom. “The day is coming when your pride will be brought low and the Lord alone will be exalted." (Isaiah 2:11)

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____________________________________________________________________________________ No wealth, no might, no wisdom, No noble gift to bring.

I have not much to offer To Christ, my Lord and King;

"Five loaves and two small fishes?" But what alas are they Among the throngs of hungry who crowd life's troubled way? "Five loaves and two small fishes?" Not much, dear heart, 'tis true; But yield them to the Master and see what He can do! Placed in His hands of mercy Thy little will be much. 'Tis not thy gift that matters But His almighty touch!
All the above material is taken from books which are in my library. Totaf