SECOND SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS—Spiritual Pride

Second. The second spiritual wickedness which Satan provokes unto, especially the saint, is spiritual pride.  This was the sin made him, of a blessed angel, a cursed devil; and as it was his personal sin, so he chiefly labours to derive it to the sons of man: and he so far prevailed on our first parents, that ever since, this sin hath and doth claim a kind of regency in the heart, making use of both bad and good to draw her chariot.

           First. It maketh use of evil.  Pride enters into the labours of other sins; they do but work to make her brave, as subjects to uphold the state and grandeur of their prince.  Thus you shall see some drudge and droil, cheat, cozen, oppress; and what mean they?  O it is to get an estate to maintain pride.  Others fawn and flatter, lie, dissemble; and for what? to help pride up some mount of honour.

           Second. It maketh use of that which is good.  It can work with God’s own tools, his ordinances, by which the Holy Spirit advanceth his kingdom of grace in the hearts of his saints.  These often are prosti­tuted to pride.  A man may be very zealous in prayer, and painful in preaching, and all the while pride is the master whom he serves, though in God’s livery. It can take sanctuary in the holiest actions, and hide itself under the skirt of virtue itself.  Thus while a man is exercising his charity, pride may be the idol in secret for which he lavisheth out his gold so freely.  It is hard starving this sin, because there is nothing al­most but it can live on—nothing so base that a proud heart will not be lift up with, and nothing so sacred but it will profane; [it will] even dare to drink in the bowls of the sanctuary, nay, rather than starve, it will feed on the carcases of other sins.  ‘That sin is with great difficulty avoided which springs from a victory of our vices.’ This minion pride will stir up the soul to resist, yea, in a manner kill, some sins, that she may boastingly show the head of them, and blow the creature up with the conceit of himself above others. As the Pharisee, who through pride bragged that he was not as the publican—so that pride, if not looked to, will have to do everywhere, and hath a large sphere it moves in.  Nothing indeed (without divine assistance) the creature hath or doth, but will soon become a prey to this devourer.  But I am not to handle it in this latitude.

Pride is either conversant about carnal objects, as pride of beauty, strength, riches, and such like, or about spiritual.  The latter we shall speak a little to.  I confess for the former, possibly a saint may be catched in them—no sin [is] to be slighted—yet not so commonly, for ordinary pride is of those perfec­tions which are suitable, if not proper, to the state and calling we are in.  Thus the musician; he is proud of the skill he hath in his art, by which he excels others of his rank.  The scholar, though he can play perhaps as well, yet is not proud of that, but looks on it as beneath him; no, he is proud of his learning and choice notions: and so of others. 

           Now the life of a Christian, as a Christian, is su­perior to the life of a man as a man; and therefore [he] doth not value himself by these which are be­neath him, but in higher and more raised per­fections, which suit a Christian’s calling.  As a natural man is proud of perfections suitable to his natural state, as honour, beauty; so the Christian is prone chiefly to be puffed up with perfections suitable to his life.  I shall name three:  First. Pride of gifts. Second. Pride of grace.  Third. Pride of privileges. These are the things which Satan chiefly labours to entangle him in.

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