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Oh! that I may become one of these highlyfavoured plants, that all who are near and dear to me may be trees of righteousness of the Lord's planting, that he may be glorified; yea, that all mankind may bear fruit to the glory of God. If I am a child of God, I shall implicitly believe his holy word. If I truly believe his revealed will, I shall labour through grace to obey it. If I obey it from the heart, my whole walk and conversation will evidence my obedience. I shall then hate what God hates, and love what he loves. I shall not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind. I shall not set my affection on earthly, but on heavenly things. I shall willingly take up my cross and follow Christ, though the path lie through the reproach of men, and tribulation for the gospel's sake. Knowing that circumcision availeth nothing, nor uncircumcision, but a New Creature,* I shall be mainly anxious to experience the power of godliness, whilst maintaining the form.—I shall dread the state of those who rest in a dead formality, who substitute the shadow for the substance, the sign for the thing signified."The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."+ "The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power."+
Lord, enable me to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, that I may have a clear and undoubted evidence that I am born from above, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and made a temple of the Holy Ghost. Perform in mercy, this work of love on my soul, through thine own rich grace, and for the sake of that beloved Saviour who died for the chief of sinners, to whom I may look with hope and confidence for pardoning, purifying, glorifying grace. Oh! how great is thine unspeakable, unsearchable love. Like thyself, it is infinite and eternal!" Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name.'
*Gal. vi. 15. + Rom. xiv. 17.
1 Cor. iv. 20.
XXV. THE EVIL OF PRIDE.
"God resisteth the proud."-James iv. 6.
THERE are two principles which rule and govern the hearts of natural men,-Pride and sensuality. These two evils are continually in operation, the one, against the soul-abasing, the other, against the soul-purifying, doctrines of the Gospel.
Salvation by grace, through faith in the blood of Christ, is most offensive to the pride of the natural man. The idea of being wholly indebted to another for admission into the kingdom of heaven, is extremely disgusting to self-love. Such an idea is rejected with disdain by every heart, unhumbled and untaught by the Spirit of God. Fallen man wants to have some share in the great work of salvation, to have something whereof to glory. But God hath declared that this shall not be. No flesh shall glory in his presence. "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."*
From this principle of self-righteous pride have arisen all those perversions of the Gospel which have abounded in every age, and which St. Paul so warmly reprobates in his Epistle to the Galatians. It is a principle deeply rooted in our fallen nature, and which nothing but the Holy Spirit can eradicate. It forms a part of that remnant of corruption which believers feel and bewail, and against which they daily fight and pray.-In proportion as it operates, it occasions obscurity in their views of divine truth, and deadness in their affections to spiritual things. It grieves the Holy Spirit, and tarnishes the glory of the Cross. Pride, assuming every form, either worldly or religious, can go with us into our closets, or attend us at the sanctuary.-Like a subtle poison, it can insinuate itself into our prayers and praises.* 1 Cor. i. 29, 31.
Unseen, and unsuspected, it mars our best duties, and creates that self-admiration, that desire for human applause, which corrupts the heart, and steals it away from God.
O blessed Jesus, what need have I to look unto Thee for grace and strength. Save me from pride and vain-glory. Often do I feel and lament their baneful influence. If I speak for thee, O, how does the poison work unseen by every eye but Thine! As thou alone canst behold this hidden evil of the heart, so do thou in mercy destroy its influence. To Thee, blessed Saviour, do I look. Thou knowest what is in man. Thine eyes are on all my ways. O! wash me in the cleansing fountain of thy precious blood. Purge me from this foul stain of corrupted nature. Make me truly humble and abased before Thee. Convert my soul, then shall I become as a little child in simplicity, teachableness, and humility. The work is all thine own. To Thee be all the praise.
The more exalted views I have of the Holiness and Purity of God, and of the extent and spirituality of the divine Law; the deeper sense I have of the evil of sin, and of the depravity of human nature; the more shall I value the precious doctrine of Justification by faith only, through the blood and righteousness of Christ; the more shall I feel the necessity of the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit, and the more shall I acknowledge salvation to be all of grace, flowing freely from the love of God the Father, displayed in the voluntary sufferings of God the Son, and made savingly known to sinners, through the power of God the Holy Ghost.
But, if I reverse all this,-if I have low views of the divine Holiness, making the Almighty such an one as myself; *-if I consider the Gospel merely as a mitigated law, lowering the standard of holiness, that all may be admitted into heaven ;-if I have high conceptions of the dignity of human nature, and inadequate views of the evil of sin; in that pro
# Psa. 1. 21.
portion the glory of the Gospel will appear dim in my eyes, the righteousness of Christ will be considered as a make-weight in the scale of human merit, and the operation of the Holy Spirit as nothing more than an auxiliary to the natural powers of man.
The former view exalts the glory of God, and humbles the sinner, whilst holiness is promoted; but the latter, springing from pride, eclipses the splendour of the Deity, obscures the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, like a dark cloud intervening between us and the orb of day; while the wretched worm of the earth, inflated with pride, sinks into endless woe.
Which of these two statements, I would ask, may we reasonably suppose to be a revelation from God? Let conscience speak. Let the word of truth speak. Let the convinced sinner speak. proclaim, "Let God be glorified."
O! what cursed pride dwells in the heart of man. But what will become of proud looks, and proud pretensions, when Christ shall sit on the throne of his glory, and render unto every man according to his works? Then will the contrite soul, who, while on earth was trodden down by the foot of pride, be exalted to the heights of glory; then will the proud sinner, once admired and applauded, be hurled into the depths of hell.
Lord, clothe me with humility. Empty me of all overweening thoughts of myself.-Make Christ more precious to my heart. Draw me to Thyself. Then shall I form a part of thy little flock; and be found amongst thy people, in the day when thou makest up thy jewels.
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall;"* but, "before honour is humility." By nature, I am blind to my real state and character. Pride and self-love form an impenetrable veil, which hides me from myself.-Others can see, and point out my defects--Hence arises the value of
Prov. xvi. 18.
+ Prov. xv. 33; xviii. 12.
a faithful friend. Blessed Spirit of Holiness, remove the veil, open my understanding, and discover to me the true state of my soul.
It is a fact, in spiritual things, that we never know that we are blind, till we are taught by the Spirit. The Pharisees said to our Lord, "Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see ; therefore your sin remaineth."* These very men, who said, "We see, were addressed by our Lord as blind. "Woe unto you, ye blind guides."-" Thou blind Pharisee! cleanse first that which is within."+ -It is only when the Spirit opens the eyes of our minds, that we see and feel our ignorance, and can mourn our spiritual darkness. Till then, we fancy ourselves to be very wise and good, notwithstanding we are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. O thou lowly Saviour! impart unto me lowliness of mind. When on earth, "thy voice was not heard in the streets."-Thou didst abstain from every display of thy almighty power, except when called forth in acts of love and pity. All thy miracles were wrought to bless our race, or to manifest forth thy glory. Devils, and diseases fled at thy command; winds were hushed to silence; and the raging waters sank into a calm.-At thy all-powerful voice, the dead arose; and nature, through all her realm, confessed Thee to be the Lord. But man confessed Thee not! The world was made by thee, and the world knew thee not. Thou camest unto thine own, and thine own received thee not. O! give me grace to receive thee in faith and love, that I may have the privilege of becoming a child of God, being born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.-Hide pride from me. Give me a single eye, which aims at nothing but thy glory. Keep me from the proud insinuations of Satan, from the swellings of a corrupt and carnal heart.
* John ix. 40, 41.
+ Matt. xxiii. 16, 26.