OTHER PRESCRIPTIONS AGAINST PRIDE
Consider first, that in order to overcome your pride, it will also be of good service frequently to reflect how vain and empty, fading and perishable those things generally are which men are apt to be proud of, such as worldly honours, riches, beauty, fine clothes, & c. which give no real intrinsic value or worth to the possessors nor serve to make them one whit the better in the sight of God, but on the contrary, if they are proud of them, make them by much the worse, yea, odious and contemptible both to God and man. For every one hates and despises himself, and such as proudly seek to exalt themselves, are generally humbled, both by God and man. And as to the gifts of grace or other talents received from God, it is still more criminal to be proud of them, because the more valuable they are in themselves the greater is the sacrilege in robbing God of the glory of them, by taking pride in them, as if they were our own and not his. O! ’tis humility alone, that is both the guardian and the best ornament of all other virtues; they quickly degenerate and turn into vices when we begin to be proud of them.
Consider 2ndly, that we may also extract an excellent antidote against the poison of pride from the very consideration of the deformity of our pride. For surely, nothing can be more humbling to the soul than to be made rightly sensible of the extravagant folly and madness, as well as the sacrilegious impiety and diabolical presumption she stands guilty of, by lifting up her head against her God, by arrogance and self-conceit. The consequence of which is that she is given up by him, to be possessed at present by the worst of devils, and becomes herself a very devil in his eyes, black, ugly, and odious,, like the devil, and condemned to be a victim of hell with him. And can a soul that seriously considers all this suffer herself to be any longer possessed by pride? Can such an odious monster, when brought out of its dark lurking hole, and set before the eyes of the soul, with all the train of woes that attend and follow it, find any more room in her? O ’tis most true, with regard to mortal sin in general, and to pride in particular, that the deformity and malignity of the guilt of it in the soul, and the eternal punishment of it hereafter, are most humbling considerations. For surely a soul that is turned away from God by mortal sin, and a soul that is eternally banished from him, and given up to the worm that never dies, and to the fire that is never extinguished in the dungeons of hell, can neither of them have anything to be proud of! Mortal sin and hell, those two most dreadful of all evils, leave no room for pride.
Consider 3rdly, who it is that is the king over all the children of pride? Whose standard do they all join in opposition to the God that made heaven and earth? Alas! they all join with Satan their mortal enemy, they follow him against their God, their maker, their redeemer, and their sovereign good. And what expectations can they have for following him for their king who is already himself condemned to hell? Ah! no other than endless confusion, perpetual discontent and uneasiness here, and everlasting damnation hereafter. Oh! it was this joining with the king of pride that has entailed all kinds of miseries upon the sons of Adam. To remedy these the Son of God came down from heaven by the mystery of his incarnation, and humbled himself even to the death of the cross, to oppose the standard of his humanity to the standard of the devil. He calls all men to join his royal standard, by learning of him to be meek and humble of heart, promising to rescue them that follow him from the tyranny and slavery of the wicked one, to give peace and rest to their souls here,and eternal joys hereafter. And shall we balance for one moment which of the two we shall join, the king of pride, or the king of humility, the tyrant of hell or the God of heaven? See here, my soul, most urgent motives to renounce thy pride, and to embrace humility. The one is suggested by Satan, who is damned for it; the other is taught by word and example by the Son of God, who by it has opened heaven for us; the one is the road to hell, the other to heaven.
Conclude to renounce the king of pride with all his pomps, and to shake off this heavy yoke, which never suffers the soul to rest; and instead of it, to take up the sweet yoke of Jesus Christ by meekness and humility, and thou shalt find refreshment here, and heaven hereafter.