The most secret, subtle, and insinuating of all sins!
(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)
"In his pride, the wicked does not seek God; in all his thoughts, there is no room for God!" Psalm 10:4
The pride of the wicked is the principal reason why they will not seek after the knowledge of God. Pride renders God a disagreeable and undesirable object of contemplation to the wicked.
Pride consists in an unduly exalted opinion of one's self. It is, therefore . . .
impatient of a rival,
hates a superior, and
cannot endure a master!
In proportion as pride prevails in the heart, it makes us wish . . .
to see no God above us,
to acknowledge no law but our own wills,
to follow no rule but our own inclinations.
Thus pride led Satan to rebel against his Creator — and our first parents to desire to be as gods.
Since such are the effects of pride, it is evident that nothing can be more painful to a proud heart, than the thoughts of such a being as God . . .
one who is infinitely powerful, just, and holy;
one who can neither be resisted, deceived, nor deluded;
one who disposes, according to His own sovereign pleasure, of all creatures and events;
one who, in an especial manner, hates pride, and is determined to abase and punish it!
Such a being, the proud man can contemplate only with feelings of dread, aversion, and abhorrence! The proud man must look upon God as his natural enemy, his great enemy, whom he has to fear!
But the knowledge of God directly tends to bring this infinite, irresistible, irreconcilable Enemy — fully to the view of the proud man. It teaches proud man that he has a superior, a master . . .
from whose authority he cannot escape,
whose power he cannot resist,
and whose will he must obey —
or be crushed before Him, and be rendered miserable forever! It shows proud man what he hates to see . . .
that, in despite of his opposition — God's counsel shall stand,
that God will do all His pleasure, and
that in all things, God is above them.
These truths torture the proud unhumbled hearts of the wicked, and hence they hate that knowledge of God which teaches these truths, and will not seek it. On the contrary, they wish to remain ignorant of such a being, and to banish all thoughts of Him from their minds.
They endeavor to believe that God is altogether such a one as themselves.
how blindly destructive of itself
— does pride appear!
By attempting to soar — pride only plunges itself in the mire!
And while endeavoring to erect a throne for itself — pride undermines the ground on which it stands and digs its own grave!
Pride . . .
plunged Satan from Heaven into Hell,
banished our first parents from paradise, and
will, in a similar manner, eternally ruin all who indulge in it!
Unrepented pride . . .
keeps us in ignorance of God,
shuts us out from His favor,
prevents us from resembling Him,
deprives us in this world, of communion with Him, and
will bar the door of Heaven forever against us, and close upon us the gates of Hell.
O then, my friends, beware, above all things, beware of pride! Beware, lest you indulge it imperceptibly, for it is the most secret, subtle, and insinuating of all sins!