J. C. Philpot (1802-1869)
"I hate pride and arrogance."
"The Lord detests all the proud of heart.
Be sure of this:
They will not go unpunished."
Of all sins pride seems most deeply imbedded in the very heart of man. Unbelief, sensuality, covetousness, rebellion,
presumption, contempt of God's holy will and word, hatred and enmity against the saints of the Most High, deceit and
falsehood, cruelty and wrath, violence and murder--these, and a forest of other sins have indeed struck deep roots into the
black and noxious soil of our fallen nature; and, interlacing their lofty stems and gigantic arms, have wholly shut out the light of
heaven from man's benighted soul. But these and their associate evils do not seem so thoroughly interwoven into the very
constitution of the human heart, nor so to be its very life blood as pride. The lust of the flesh is strong, but there are respites
from its workings; unbelief is powerful, but there are times when it seems to lie dormant; covetousness is ensnaring, but there
is not always a bargain to be made, or an advantage to be clutched. These sins differ also in strength in different individuals.
Some seem not much tempted with the grosser passions of our fallen nature; others are naturally liberal and benevolent, and
whatever other idol they may serve, they bend not their knee to the golden calf. Strong natural conscientiousness preserves
many from those debasing sins which draw down general reprehension; and a quiet, gentle, peaceable disposition renders
others strangers not only to the violent outbreaks, but even to the inward gusts of temper and anger.
But where lust may have no power, covetousness no dominion, and anger no sway--there, down, down in the inmost depths,
heaving and boiling like the lava in the crater of a volcano, works that master sin, that sin of sinsópride! As Rome calls herself
the Mother and Mistress of all the churches, so is Pride the Mother and Mistress of all the sins; for where she does not conceive
them in her ever-teeming womb, she instigates their movements, and compels them to pay tribute to her glory.
The origin of evil is hidden from our eyes. Whence it sprang, and why God allowed it to arise in his fair creation, are mysteries
which we cannot fathom; but thus much is revealed, that of this mighty fire which has filled hell with sulphurous flame, and will
one day involve earth and its inhabitants in the general conflagration, the first spark was pride!
It is therefore emphatically the devil's own sin; we will not say his darling sin, for it is his torment, the serpent which is always
biting him, the fire which is ever consuming him. But it is the sin which hurled him from heaven and transformed him from a
bright and holy seraph into a foul and hideous demon. How subtle, then, and potent must that poison be, which could in a
moment change an angel into a devil! How black in nature, how concentrated in virulence that venom, one drop of which could
utterly deface the image of God in myriads of bright spirits before the throne, and degrade them into monsters of uncleanness
Be it, then, borne in mind that the same identical sin which wrought such fearful effects in the courts of heaven was introduced
by the Tempter into Paradise. "You shall be as gods," was the lying declaration of the father of lies. When that declaration was
believed, and an entrance thus made into Eve's heart, through that gap rushed in pride, lust, and sinful ambition. The fruit of the
forbidden tree was "pleasant to the eyes;" there was food for lust. It was a tree "to be desired to make them wise;" there was
a bait for pride. "They would be as gods;" there was a temptation to sinful ambition. The woman tempted the man, as the
serpent had tempted the woman; and thus, "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed
upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Rom. 5:12.)
There are sins which men commit that devils cannot. Unbelief, infidelity, and atheism, are not sins of devils; for they believe and
tremble, and feel too much of the wrath of God to doubt his threatenings or deny his existence. The love of money is a sin from
which they are exempt, for gold and silver are confined to earth, and the men who live on it. The lusts of the flesh in all their
bearings, whether gluttony, drunkenness, or sensuality, belong only to those who inhabit tabernacles of clay. But pride,
malignity, falsehood, enmity, murder, deceitfulness, and all those sins of which spirits are capable, in these crimes, devils as
much exceed men as an angelic nature exceeds in depth, power, and capacity a human one.
The eye of man sees, for the most part, only the grosser offences against morality; it takes little or no cognizance of internal
sins. Thus a man may be admired as a pattern of consistency, because free from the outbreaks of fleshly and more human sins,
while his heart, as open to God's heart-searching eye, may be full of pride, malignity, enmity, and murder, the sins of devils.
Such were the scribes and pharisees of old; models of correctness outwardly, but fiends of malice inwardly. So fearful were
these holy beings of outward defilement, that they would not enter into Pilate's judgment-hall, when at the same moment their
hearts were plotting the greatest crime that earth ever witnessedóthe crucifixion of the Son of God!
All sin must, from its very nature, be unspeakably hateful to the Holy One of Israel. It not only affronts his divine Majesty and is
high treason against His authority and glory, but it is abhorrent to His intrinsic purity and holiness. It is, indeed, most difficult for
us to gain a spiritual conception of the foul nature of sin as viewed by a Holy Jehovah; but there are, perhaps, times and
seasons when, to a certain extent, we may realize a faint idea of it. It is when we are favored with the presence of God, see
light in his light, and have the mind of Christ. Then how do we feel towards our base backslidings and filthy lusts? With what
eyes does the new man of grace then view his sinful yoke-fellow--that base old man, that body of sin and death, that carnal
mind in which dw