On Pride
Proverbs 16:5
Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

In the maladies which assault the human body, a marked distinction prevails as to the relative extensiveness of their influence. A kindred analogy discriminates the distempers of the mind. Pride claims the denomination of an universal passion. Age, or sex, or situation exempts not from its control. Body and mind, virtues and vices, it presses into its service. Men are proud in health, proud in the chamber of disease; proud in public, proud in retirement; proud of their frugality, proud of their profusion; proud of their sobriety, proud of their intemperance; proud of their pride, proud of their humility.


1. National pride. Different regions are separated by appropriate marks of moral discrimination. One will be described as courageous; one as interested; one as fickle, one as circumspect. But you will hear each characterised as proud. Pride sometimes wears the features of emulation; sometimes of ambition; sometimes of resentment; sometimes of policy. How generally in the senate and in the private circles, no less than on the parade and in the camp, is national pride, under various forms, addressed, applauded, pushed forward additional excesses!

2. Pride in the walks of private life. The man who is intoxicated by pride of birth; the pride of authority. The exercise of power affords to pride the most solid gratification. The pride of wealth. What solicitude is devoted to the establishment of a name for opulence! Besides the pride of accumulation and possession, there is the pride of displaying riches. The pride of genius, intellect, and talents. Under how many different shapes is it exhibited! Sometimes in disdain of industry, as indicative of dulness; sometimes in the love of singularity and paradox; sometimes in proneness to stigmatise received opinions as vulgar prejudices, or in sceptical repugnance to acquiesce in any truth not completely circumscribed within the span of human comprehension. Sometimes it betrays itself by overweening ideas which the individual ill disguises of the extent of his own powers, and by his unbounded estimation of their importance; sometimes by open scorn of ordinary men, and of the sobriety of common sense; sometimes by unwarranted daringness of enterprise, and presumptuous confidence of success; sometimes it is displayed in impatience of contradiction, in oracular sententiousness, in a dictatorial delivery of opinion. The pride of literary and professional attainments. The pride of fashion. Above all, the man of spiritual pride.

II. THE IRRECONCILABLE CONTRARIETY BETWEEN PRIDE AND RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLE. The corner-stone of Christian virtue is humility. The most powerful obstacle to the conversion of the Jews was pride. The primary source of modern unbelief is pride. Pride, which refuses to do homage to the wisdom of revelation, and bow the neck to the yoke of the gospel. The cold and careless scorner resists the influence of the gospel far more effectually than the open sinner.

III. GOD'S SPECIAL JUDGMENTS AGAINST PRIDE. He chastises nations by bringing upon them national calamities. In Scripture we find it is this sin that has drawn down the most severe judgments on individuals, such as Nebuchadnezzar, Uzziah, Hezekiah, Ahithophel, Herod (see also the Laodiceans). Is not pride convicted as in every shape utterly un-Christian, as the primary cause of the fall of man, as in all ages the foundation of most heinous sins, of the most tremendous judgments? Then leave pride to the proud. Be not ye corrupted to call evil good, and darkness light. Pride is ever setting itself up against heaven. When it looks to God, it is with a desire of being freed from dependence on Him. When it considers men, it undervalues His gifts to others; and prompts us to act, with respect to His gifts to ourselves, as though they were inherent in us, or were our due. Scrutinise your own bosom that you may discover whether it is under the influence of pride.

(Thos. Gisborne, M.A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

WEB: Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to Yahweh: they shall certainly not be unpunished.

Wicked Men, the Providential Instruments of Good
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