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gated from our common and fallen parent with our species, it is the original sin-the inherent corruption of our nature. It spreads over humanity, with the contagious violence, the loathsome appearance of a moral leprosy, raging alike through the palace and the cottage, and infecting equally the prince and the peasant.
The grounds of pride are various: whatever constitutes a distinction between man and man, is the occasion of this hateful disposition. It is a vice that does not dwell exclusively in kings' houses, wear only soft raiment, and feed every day upon titles, fame, or affluence; it accommodates itself to our circumstances, and adapts itself to our distinctions, of whatever kind they be. The usual grounds of pride are the following:
Wealth. Some value themselves on account of their fortune, look down with contempt on those below them, and exact obsequiousness towards themselves, and deference for their opinions, according to the thousands of money or of acres which they possess. Others are proud of their talents, either natural or acquired. The brilliancy of their genius, the extent of their learning, the splendour of their imagination, the acuteness of their understanding, their power to argue, or declaim, form the object of self-esteem, and the reasons of that disdain which they pour upon all who are inferior to them in mental endowments. But these things are not so common in the Church of God, as those which we shall now mention.
Ecclesiastical connexions form, in many cases, the occasion of pride. This was exemplified in the Jews,
who boasted that they were the children of Abraham, and worshipped in the temple of the Lord. Their self-admiration, as the members of the only true church, and as the covenant people of God, was insufferably disgusting. In this feature of their character, they are too often imitated in modern times. While some boast of belonging to the church as by law established, and look with contempt on all who range themselves on the side of dissent, too many of the latter throw back the scorn upon their opponents, and pride themselves on the greater purity of their ecclesiastical order. There is the pride both of the dominant party, and also that of the seceding one; the pride of belonging to the church, which includes the court, the senate, the universities; and that which is sometimes felt in opposing this array of royalty, and learning, and law; the pride of thinking with the king, and the nobles, and the judges, and the prelates; and also that of thinking against them. Whatever leads us to think highly of ourselves in matters of religion, and to despise others, whether it be the distinctions of earthly greatness, the practice of religious duties, or the independence of our mode of thinking, is opposed to the spirit of Christian charity.
Superior light on the subject of revealed truth, is no unusual occasion of pride. The Arminian Pharisee dwells with fondness on the goodness of his heart; the Antinomian, with equal haughtiness, values himself on the clearness of his head; and the Socinian, as far from humility as either of them, is inflated with a conceit of the strength of his reason, and its elevation above vulgar prejudices;-while not
a few moderate Calvinists regard with complacency their sagacity in discovering the happy medium. As men are more proud of their understanding than of their disposition, it is very probable that religious opinions are more frequently the cause of conceit and self-importance, than anything else which could be mentioned. "It is knowledge," says the Apostle, "that puffeth up." We are the men, and wisdom will die with us, is the temper of multitudes.
Religious gifts are sometimes the ground of selfadmiration. Fluency and fervour in extempore prayer, ability to converse on doctrinal subjects, especially if accompanied by a ready utterance in public, have all, through the influence of Satan and the depravity of our nature, led to the disposition we are now condemning. None are in more danger of this than the ministers of religion;-it is the besetting sin of their office. There is no one gift which offers so strong a temptation both to vanity and to pride, as that of public speaking. If the orator ́really excel and is successful, he is the immediate spectator of his success, and has not even to wait till he has finished his discourse; for although the decorum of public worship will not allow of audible tokens of applause, it does of visible ones;-the look of interest, the tear of penitence or of sympathy, the smile of joy, the deep impression on the mind, the death-like stillness, cannot be concealed;—all seems like a tribute of admiration to the presiding spirit of the scene; and then the applause which is conveyed to his ear, after all the silent plaudits which have reached his eye, is equally calculated to puff him up with pride. No men are more in danger of
this sin than the ministers of the Gospel: none should watch more sleeplessly against it.
Deep religious experience has often been followed by the same effect, in those cases where it has been remarkably enjoyed. The methods of divine grace, though marked by a uniformity sufficient to preserve that likeness of character, which is essential to the unity of the spirit and the sympathies of the church, are still distinguished by a vast variety of minor peculiarities. The convictions of sin in some minds are deeper, the apprehensions of Divine wrath are more appalling, the transition from the poignant compunction of repentance bordering on despair, to joy and peace in believing, more slow and more awful, the subsequent repose more settled, and the joy more unmingled with the gloom of distressing fears, than is experienced by the generality of their brethren. Such persons are looked up to as professors of religion, whose religious history has been remarkable, as vessels of mercy on which the hand of the Lord has bestowed peculiar pains, and which are eminently fitted for the master's use. They are regarded as having a peculiar sanctity about them; and hence they are in danger of falling under the temptation to which they are exposed, and of being proud of their experience. They look down from what they suppose to be their lofty elevation, if not with disdain yet with suspicion, or with pity upon those whose way has not been in their track. Their seasons of elevated communion with God, of holy enlargement of soul, are sometimes followed with this tendency. Paul was never more in danger of losing
his humility, than when he was just returned from gazing upon the celestial throne.
Zeal, whether it be felt in the cause of humanity or of piety, has frequently produced pride. This was strikingly illustrated in the case of the Pharisee: "God, I thank thee," said this inflated devotee, "that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican: I fast twice in the week-I give tithes of all that 1 possess!" Where a natural liberality of mind, or religious principle, has led men to lavish their property, or their influence, or their time, upon benevolent institutions, they have too often returned from the scene of public activity, to indulge in private and personal admiration. They have read with peculiar delight the reports in which their munificence is recorded, and have assigned to themselves a high place in the roll of public benefactors.
On all these grounds does pride exalt itself; but love is no less opposed to vanity than it is to pride" it vaunteth not itself." It does not boast of, or ostentatiously display, its possessions, acquirements, or operations. A disposition to boast, and to attract attention, is a common foible. We see this among the people of the world, in reference to their property, their learning, their connexions, their influence. They are afraid the public should underrate them; forgetting that they pay a poor. compliment to their importance, when they thus think it necessary to proclaim it in order to its being known. If, indeed, they are what they wish to make us believe they are, the fact would be obvious without this method of publishing it in