Pride is inordinate and unreasonable self-esteem, attended with insolence and rude treatment of others.
1. "It is sometimes," says a good writer, "confounded with vanity, and sometimes with dignity; but to the former passion it has no resemblance, and in many circumstances it differs from the latter. Vanity is the parent of loquacious boasting, and the person subject to it, if his pretences be admitted has no inclination to insult the company. The proud man, on the other hand, is naturally silent, and wrapped up in his own importance, seldom speaks but to make his audience feel their inferiority." Pride is the high opinion that a poor, little, contracted soul entertains of itself. Dignity consists in just, great, and uniform actions, and is the opposite of meanness.
2. Pride manifests itself by praising ourselves, adoring our persons, attempting to appear before others in a superior light to what we are; contempt and slander of others; envy at the excellences others possess; anxiety to gain applause; distress and rage when slighted; impatience of contradiction, and opposition to God himself.
3. The evil effects of pride are beyond computation. It has spread itself universally in all nations, among all characters; and as it was the first sin, as some suppose, that entered into the world, so it seems the last to be conquered. It may be considered as the parent of discontent, ingratitude, covetousness, poverty, presumption, passion, extravagance, bigotry, war, and persecution. In fact, there is hardly an evil perpetrated but pride is connected with it in a proximate or remote sense.
4. To suppress this evil, we should consider what we are. "If we could trace our descents," says Seneca, "we should find all slaves to come from princes, and all princes from slaves. To be proud of knowledge is to be blind in the light; to be proud of virtue is to poison ourselves with the antidote; to be proud of authority is to make our rise our downfall." The imperfection of our nature, our scanty knowledge, contracted powers, narrow conceptions, and moral inability are strong motives to excite us to humility. We should consider, also, what punishments this sin has brought on mankind. See the cases of Pharaoh, Haman, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, and others; how particularly it is prohibited (Pr 16:18; 1Pe 5; 1Pe 5; Jas 4:6; Pr 29:23); what a torment it is to its possessor (Es 5:13); howl soon all things of a sublunary nature will .end; how disgraceful it renders us in the sight of God, angels, and men; what a barrier it is to our felicity and communion with God; how fruitful it is of discord; how it precludes our usefulness, and renders us really contemptible. Comp. Blackie, Morals, p, 244; Edwards, Works; Robert Hall, Works; Bates, Works; Brown, Philosophy of the Mind; Wesl. Mag. 1846, p. 1113; 1847, p. 548 sq.; Malcom, Theol. Index, s.v. See Humility.