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fessing that we pride ourselves” on a variety of things which we speak, think, or do. Nations are only aggregates of individuals : and it is natural that the feelings of the several members should be transferred to the body at large. If a bountiful Providence exempts us from miseries, to which our less favoured neighbours are exposed, and showers on us peculiar blessings, we represent ourselves as placed on
proud eminence :”-if almighty God crowns our arms with victory, it is celebrated as a “ proud day" for England :-if we are reminded of our national demerits and offences, we do not perhaps deny the charge; but adverting to some more pleasing trait in the national character, or to some splendid act of national benevolence, we thank God with a false and pharisaical bumility, that we have something to be “ proud of.”
Now whatever may be intended by this quality of “ pride,” which we inculcate and adopt as a principle of action, and a ground of self-congratulation, our language at least is certainly not in harmony with the language of Christianity; but it has, I apprehend, an obvious tendency to confound in our minds the distinction between right and wrong; and to diminish our abhorrence of a quality, which is totally inconsistent with the temper recommended by the Gospel, and which the Gospel explicitly condemns. Look to the constituent parts of that character, which our Saviour proposes as the model for a Christian's imitation, and on which he promises especial blessings, in the beginning of his sermon on the mount; and you will find that it consists of dispositions, in which pride has no portion. The first three blessings are pronounced on" the
in spirit;" on “them that mourn ;” and on the meek :” and the qualities which follow, are all of a kindred temper. Look to the example of our blessed Lord, whose life is especially proposed as a pattern of humility, patience, and meekness. Look to the conduct of his Apostles, who in imitation of their Master, were made in the forcible language of St. Paul) “ as the filth of the world, and the off-scouring of all things a."
a 1 Cor. iv. 13.
Look to the character which our Saviour gives of pride, where he enumerates the moral defilements of the heart of man, and classes it with adulteries, thefts, and murdersb: Look to the portraits which St. Paul exhibits of the reprobate condition of the heathen world, and of those perilous times, which should come in the last days;"
will find pride introduced among their characteristic features c. Look to the contrast, which the scriptures repeatedly mark between the respective rewards, as well as the natures, of the Christian and the opposite temper, where it is said, that “ God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble d.” Look finally to the reason of all this in the assertion of the text, where St. John coupling pride of life” with “ the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes,” in other words with sensuality and covetousness, affirms, that “ it is not of the Father, but is of the world :" that it is not of heavenly origin, the valuable and fruitful gift of the Holy Spirit of God; but is on the contrary de
c Rom. i. 30. 2 Tim, iji. 1, 2.
6 Mark vii. 21, 22. James iv, 6. 1 Pet. v. 5.
rived from “ the god of this world,” sinful as a principle, and mischievous in its tendency.
Pride is defined by a celebrated moralist, to be s inordinate and unreasonable self-esteem.” Now where a man thinks too highly of himself, it is in the course of nature that he should think too lowly of others : and it may be laid down as a general axiom, that the concomitants of pride are scorn and insolence towards one's fellow-creatures, and impiety and irreverence towards God. “ The proud have had me greatly in derisione,” was the remark of the Psalmist; and he laid his finger precisely on that spring, where irreligion has its origin, when he said, “ The wicked through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts .
These are the distinguishing marks of pride, where it is permitted to get dominion over the heart, and (which is a necessary consequence) to influence the actions. However it be nourished, and whatever be e Psalm cxix. 51.
f Psalm x. 4.
the shape it is invested with, its effects are uniformly hateful and pestilential;. uniformly subversive of piety towards God and charity towards man, as well as injurious to the happiness of him who is actuated by it. In the pride of exalted birth, Absalom the son of David broke the ties of religion, allegiance, and filial duty; and rebelled against his father, whom the Lord had anointed king over Israel ; and was violently cut off in the flower of his
age. In the pride of arbitrary power, Jezebel usurped the vineyard of Naboth by perjury and murder; and “ her carcass was eaten by dogs.” In the pride of majesty, " the heart of Nebuchadnezzar was lifted up, and his mind hardened” to forget his almighty Benefactor; and he was s driven from men, and his dwelling was with the beasts of the field.” In the pride of despotic authority, Pharaoh “ refused to let the people of Israel go to serve the Lord ;" and the Lord “ hardened his heart" for a punishment, because he had himself already hardened it by his sin. In the pride of victory, Saul “ rejected the word of the Lord; and the Lord rejected him from