With a word of direction to all backsliders.
By J O H N.B U N Y A N.
Written in 1663, while imprisoned in Bedford Prison.
This was John Bunyan's third book during his first incarceration.
econd, I come, in the second place, to speak a word of pride, and loftiness of heart and life.
1. Pride, in general, it is that which causeth a man to think of man and his things, above what is written (1 Cor 4:6).
2. It hath its seat in the heart among these enormities, fornications, adulteries, lasciviousness, murders, deceit, &c. (Mark 7:21-23) and showeth itself in these following particulars.
(1.) When you slight this or that person, though gracious; that is, look over them, and shun them for their poverty in this world, and choose rather to have converse with others, that possibly are less gracious, because of their greatness in this world. This the apostle James writes against, James 2:1-3, under the name of partiality; 'for indeed the fruits of a puffed- up heart is to deal in this manner with Christians' (1 Cor 4:6, 7). Now this branch of pride floweth from ignorance of the vanity of the creature, and of the worth of a gracious heart; wherefore get more of the knowledge of these two, and this sprig will be nipped in the head, and you will learn to condescend to men of low degree (Rom 12:16).
(2.) It argues pride of heart, when men will not deny themselves in things that they may, for the good and profit of their neighbours. And it argueth now, that pride has got so much up into self-love and self- pleasing, that they little care who they grieve or offend, so they may have their way (Oba 12-15).
(3.) It argueth pride of heart, when sober reproofs for sin, and unbeseeming carriages, will not down with thee, but that rather thou snuffest, and givest way to thy spirit to be peevish, and to retain prejudice against those that thus reprove thee. Saith the prophet, 'Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken.' That is, hear the reproofs of God for your sins, and break them off by repentance; 'but if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret for your pride,' &c. (Jer 13:15-17). So also in Hosea, 'They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not know the Lord. And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face' &c. (Hosea 5:4, 5). This argueth great senselessness of God, and a heart greatly out of frame.
(4.) It argueth pride also, when a reproof or admonition will not down as well from the poorest saint, as from the greatest doctor; and it argueth a glory in men, 1 Corinthians 3:21, and that they would, that their faith should stand in their wisdom, and not 'in the power of God;' that is, of naked truth 1 Corinthians 2:5.
(5.) It argueth pride of heart, when a man that hath this or that in his heart to do, in reference to God, but yet will slight a sober asking counsel and direction of God in this matter: 'The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God,' saith David (Psa 10:4).
(6.) It argueth pride of heart, when persons are tickled with thoughts of their own praise, that secretly lust after it; that think of themselves and others above what is written; which those do who do not acknowledge that man in his best estate is altogether vanity: but such kind of people have forgot the exhortation, 'Be not high-minded, but fear:' (Rom 11:20). And also, That there is a knowledge that puffeth up, and edifieth neither themselves nor others (1 Cor 8:1, 2). Wherefore, to such the apostle saith, Be 'not desirous of vain-glory,' but in lowliness of mind 'let each esteem others better than themselves' (Phil 2:3; Gal 5:26).
Pride also there is in outward carriage, behaviour, and gesture, which is odious for Christians to be tainted with; and this pride is discovered by mincing words, a made carriage, and an affecting the toys and baubles that Satan, and every lightheaded fool bringeth into the world. As God speaketh of the daughters of Zion, 'they walk with stretched forth necks, and wanton eyes, mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet' (Isa 3:16). A very unhandsome carriage for a people that profess godliness, and that use to come before God to confess their sins, and to bemoan themselves for what they have done. How can a sense of thy own baseness, of the vileness of thy heart, and of the holiness of God, stand with such a carriage? Dost thou see the vileness of thy heart, the fruit of sin? And art thou afflicted with that disagreement that is between God and thy heart, that layest the reins on the neck of thy lusts, and lettest them run whither they will? Be not deceived, pride ariseth from ignorance of these things (1 Tim 6:3, 4). A sense of my vileness, of what I have deserved, and of what continually in my heart opposeth God, cannot stand with a foolish, light, and wanton carriage: thou wilt then see there is other things to mind than to imitate the butterfly. Alas, all these kind of things are but a painting the devil, and a setting a carnal gloss upon a castle of his; thou art but making gay the spider: is thy heart ever the sounder for thy fine gait, they mincing words, and thy lofty looks? Nay, doth not this argue, that thy heart is a rotten, cankered, and besotted heart? Oh! that God would but let thee see a little of thy own inside, as thou hast others to behold thy outside: thou painted sepulchre, thou whited wall, will these things be found virtues in the day of God? Or, is this the way that thou takest to mortify sin? 'An high look, and a proud heart, the plowing of the wicked, is sin' (Prov 21:4). Pride is the ringleader of the seven abominations that the wise man nameth, Proverbs 6:16, 17, and is that above all that causeth to fall into the condemnation of the devil (1 Tim 3:6).