The mother and mistress of all the sins

(J. C. Philpot, "PRIDE" 1853)

"I hate pride and arrogance." Proverbs 8:13

"The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure
 of this: They will not go unpunished." Prov. 16:5

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, 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.

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 sins, pride!

Pride is 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 envelop earth and its inhabitants in the general
conflagration, the first spark was pride!

Pride 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 and malignity!