Christian Love 40: Pride and Humility

By Hugh Binning

 

Now, I believe, if any man could but impartially and seriously reflect upon himself, he would see nothing of that kind, no true solid and real dignity to provoke love, but real lowness and misery to cause loathing.  There is a lie in every sin, but the greatest and grossest lie is committed in pride, and attribution of that excellence to ourselves which is not. And upon what erroneous perception, which is a sandy and vain foundation, is built the tower of self-conceit, vain self-glorying, and the like? Pride, which is the mother of these, says most presumptuously, “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent,”. (Isaiah 10:13) “I am and none else besides me,”. (Isaiah 47:10) It is such a false imagination, as “I am of perfect beauty,” “I am and none else,” “I am a god,” (Ezekiel 27:3 and 28:2) which swells and lifts up the heart.  Now what a vain thing is it, an inordinate elevation of the heart upon a false misapprehension of the mind? The “soul which is lifted up, is not upright in him,”. (Hibachi 2:4) It must be a tottering building that is founded on such a gross mistake.

Some cover their pride with the pretense of high spirituality, and please themselves in apprehensions of some magnanimity and generosity.  But the truth is, it is not true magnitude, but a swelling out of the superabundance of destructive thinking.  True greatness of spirit is inwardly and throughout solid, firm from the bottom, and the foundation of it is truth.

Which of the two do you think has the better spirit, he who calls dust, dust, and accounts of a manure pile as a manure pile, or he that, upon a false imagination, thinks dust and manure is gold and silver, esteems himself a rich man, and raises up himself above others? Humility is only true kindness and generosity, for it digs down low, that it may set and establish the foundation of true worth.  It is true, it is lowly, and bows down low.  But as the water that comes from a height, the lower it comes down the higher it ascends up again, so the humble spirit, the lower it falls in its own estimation, the higher it is raised in real worth and in God’s estimation. “He that humbles himself shall be exalted, and he who exalts himself shall be abased,”.  (Matthew 23:12) He is like a growing tree, the deeper the roots go down in the earth, the higher the tree grows above ground, as Jacob’s ladder, the foot of it is fastened in the earth, but the top of it reaches the heaven.  And this is the sure way to ascend to heaven.

Pride would fly up upon its own wings. But the humble man will enter at the lowest step, and so goes up by degrees, and in the end is made manifest.  Pride catches a fall, and humility is raised on high; it descended that it might ascend. “A man’s pride brings him low, but one of lowly spirit gains honor,”. (Proverbs 29:23) “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” But “before honor is humility,”.  (Proverbs 16:16 and 18:12)

 


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