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CHAPTER 5

ATTRIBUTES OF HOLINESS—DELIVERANCE FROM PRIDE

The heart is the seat of sin. Actions derive their moral character from the disposition with which they are performed To give a sum of money may be an act of benevolence, or it may be bribery,—it may spring from love to Christ, or from love of the praise of men.

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”—Mark 7: 21-24.

A justified soul does not yield to sin.

Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin.I John 3:9

A soul sanctified to God wholly does not have sin.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”—I John 1:7

True holiness will save one from sins that are popular, just as readily as from those that are disgraceful. It is the work of the Spirit. With God, the standard of right does not vary. Selfish considerations lead men to tolerate, sometimes one sin, and sometimes another. A few years ago, many of the advocates of holiness had nothing to say against the sin of slave-holding. The Church gained by it in numbers and resources. How, many take no decided stand against pride and worldly conformity. They have not a word to utter in condemnation of conspiracies of the strong against the weak. But those who really aim at being right with God, turn from every thing which He has forbidden, even though it is encouraged by the Church.

Holiness implies deliverance from pride. A holy person cannot feel proud. A holy Church cannot indulge in pride. Pride cannot dwell in a holy soul.

Him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.”—Ps. 101:5

Be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.”—I Peter 5:5

In this particular, the Roman Catholics are a reproof to the Protestants. To all who are loyal to the Church, the Catholics give the largest latitude of word and action—of business and pleasure. To keep within the bonds of decency and morality is all that is required of the ordinary members of her communion. You will find among them, ladies as gaily dressed as any that the times can furnish. But they do not profess holiness. Their priests may err in many things, but they do not encourage their people to think that they can become saints, while indulging in pride to the fullest extent that their means will allow. They are taught that if they would become holy, pride must be renounced, and all appearance of pride must be laid aside. But in Protestant churches, you will find persons advocating holiness, whose appearance unmistakably declares that pride reigns within. Their costly apparel, their ornaments of gold, their affected tones, their whole bearing, proclaim that there has been no real renunciation of the vain pomp and glory of the world. This is all wrong, and altogether wrong.

It may be urged that such a course recommends holiness; that it leads the rich and the refined to embrace it. But this is a mistake. It may lead them to embrace a delusion,—to believe that they are sanctified, when they are not even scripturally awakened. That, which is thus recommended, is not holiness. It may have some of its properties, but the essentials are wanting. To make people believe that they can so put on Christ’s righteousness as to set off their own purple and fine linen to better advantage, is to make them believe a ruinous lie. Contraries cannot dwell together. Pride and humility can not reign at once in the same heart. Then do not deceive, even for so good an object as the promotion of holiness. The Saviour has commanded us to count the cost. Until men can see that holiness is more to be desired than all which they are required to give up, they will never obtain it.

“But,” many urge, “we should have pride enough to be decent.” There is no pride in Heaven. But there is purity. So we may have inward and outward purity, without pride. Pride is a result of the fall. It had no place in Eden. It should have none in all our hearts. Seek then for that holiness which roots it out entirely.

You may make a consecration to the Lord ever so full in other respects, but if it does not include the giving up of your pride in all its forms, you will not get an experience which will enable you to do the will of God. And just in proportion as you give up pride and long for deliverance from it, just in that proportion will God take it from your heart. It is a dangerous foe—give it no quarter. It is a subtle foe, lying in ambush for your overthrow—give it no place for concealment.

Holiness implies deliverance from pride, as manifested in the provision which we make for our children. Pride is one of the sad effects of the fall. It will manifest itself in some form or other in our children, until they are brought completely under the influence of divine grace. But parents, who are wholly sanctified to God, will not give it any encouragement. It needs no fostering. Do what you can to prevent it; from the atmosphere around, it will drink in enough nourishment to grow with alarming rapidity. Cut it back all you may, and with each coming season it will put forth new vigor, and manifest the utmost tenacity of life. As long as you find in yourself a disposition to encourage display in your children,—to fit them up to shine with worldly splendor, you may rest assured that the work of holiness in yourself is not yet complete. You are not fully delivered from pride.

Holiness implies deliverance from denominational pride. There are many who dress plain, and who furnish their houses plain, who will nevertheless give their thousands towards the construction of a church, when every accommodation could be secured for one-third the amount paid for its construction. Two-thirds of all that is paid for our fine houses of worship, is expended for display, and answers no purpose except to gratify pride. One denomination builds a fine church. The next one that builds puts forth every possible exertion to surpass it in magnificence. To raise money, festivals and lotteries are resorted to, and in some cases, downright dishonesty is practiced. The fine church must be filled with finely dressed people, and so pride and extravagance are encouraged and the poor virtually excluded from the house of worship. If the true Gospel course were taken by all who call themselves by the Christian name,—if the money expended to gratify pride were judiciously employed in spreading the truth as it is in Jesus, the time would soon come when it could be said in all parts of the world,

The poor have the Gospel preached to them.”—Matt. 11:5.

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