1 Peter 5:5 – “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.“
Pride is evil, and is it any wonder God resists the proud?
This is part three of Thomas Manton on the slaying of pride, from Sermon 11 in Sermons from Psalm 131, which you can read in full here.
Here is a quick review of the first five points:
First, Frequent examination of ourselves; for self-acquaintance breedeth humility. No man extolleth himself but he that knoweth not himself. Therefore the best way to take down pride is to consider often what we have been, what we are, and what we deserve.
- What we have been. Let us often consider the horrible filthiness of our corrupt nature, stinking worse than any carcass before God.
- After grace received, mixed principles, and therefore mixed operations, flesh and spirit, law and gospel, Gal. v. 17. If we consider in what state our soul is, what our actions are, how polluted with a tang of the flesh, how little comfortable sense of the love of God, we should soon see that we still carry about with us the cause of a deep humiliation in our bosoms.
- Consider what we have deserved. The eternal wrath of God, due to us for sin. It is a wonder that he doth not turn us into hell every moment, and that fire doth not come forth from his jealousy to consume us, who are ever and anon tripping in his service.
Secondly, Frequent communion with God in prayers and praises; for so we more and more come into the knowledge of God, and a sight and sense of his majesty and glory; and a serious sight of God will humble us.
Thirdly, Constant watchfulness, especially when we are most in danger of this sin; then we should keep a double watch.
Fourthly, Use those things with fear which may feed your pride, and so avoid all occasions of being lifted up.
Fifthly, The example of Christ. There was not a more excellent person, nor more worthy, in all the world.
From Thomas Manton:
We do but for a while act a part upon the stage of the world, and then we must be unclothed; as he that acteth the king in the comedy, and then goeth off and is a poltroon, as before ; he vaunteth on the stage for a while, then ad staiuram suam redit — Seneca. Though his excellency mounteth unto the heavens, yet within a while he perisheth, as his own dung, Job xx. 5-8. Our ornaments must be left behind us.
Seventhly, A gift sanctified [used for holiness], though never so mean [low], is more than the greatest gifts that puff us up. It holdeth good in all things. In estate, the truest contentment is to be kept humble in the enjoyment of it, James i. 10. The rich, in that he be made low. So for honour; it is not the outward splendour which is our happiness, but the humble mind. To be minimus in summo, least at the highest, like a spire or pyramid, is an argument of a great spirit.
So for parts, the humble Christian is the better qualified, 1 Cor. viii. 1. Knowledge puffeth up, charity edifieth. So grace; the less conceited, the more grace. Pride starveth every grace, but humility feedeth it. It is the humble soul which hath the solid comforts, and hath made most progress in religion.
Eighthly, Consider the evils of pride, both as to sin and punishment.
2. Evils of punishment. Others [evils, bad outcomes] cannot be expected, since the proud are so odious to God: Prov. xvi. 5, ‘Whosoever is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.’
[2.] It is swift. Judgment cometh upon other sins with a slow pace, but always treadeth on the heels of pride, in that instant wherein they exalt themselves. Nebuchadnezzar, when his heart was lifted up and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from the kingdom, Dan. V. 20. The angels fell in that instant. Herod adored as a god, and immediately eaten up of worms. Acts xii. We lose our children, estate, parts, by some sudden stroke of providence, when we grow proud of them.
[3.] It is shameful; that God may pour the more contempt on them: Prov. xi. 2, ‘When pride cometh, then cometh shame.’ Not only ruin, but shame; Herod punished by lice, Pharaoh by gnats and flies, Miriam by leprosy; Goliath falleth by a stone out of a shepherd’s sling.
[4.] It is impartial. Not only upon Pharaoh, Herod, Haman, but his own people. Uzziah, 2 Chron. xxv. 26, 27, died without being lamented [Amaziah in those verses, or Uzziah in 2 Chron. xxvi. 21, 22]. Hezekiah: 2 Chron. xxxii. 25, ‘His heart was lifted up, therefore there was wrath upon him.’
May God grant we remember just how low we as man are and the fragility of the flesh, that we be full of His graces, and that we remember just how evil pride is and the punishments that often ensue from it.
May the Lord grant us repentance and the true humility of life that only comes from Him, and may we seek Him to those ends.