On PRIDE and HUMILITY
One of the best commentaries (and a true classic) on the book of Proverbs is the one by Charles Bridges.
You can download it for free here .
Here are his excellent comments on Proverbs 18:12 – Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.
We have had both of these proverbs separately (16:18; 15:33). Surely this repetition was intended to deepen our sense of their importance. It is hard to persuade a man that he is proud. Everyone protests against this sin.
Yet who does not cherish the viper in his own heart?
Man so little understands, that dependence upon his God constitutes the creature’s happi-
ness, and that the principle of independence is madness, and its end destruction. (Gen. iii. 5, 6.) The haughty walk on the brink of a fearful precipice; only a miracle preserves them from instant ruin.
The security of the child of God is, when he lies prostrate in the dust. If he soar high, the danger is imminent, though he be on the verge of heaven. (2 Cor. xii. 1-7.)
The danger to a young Christian lies in an over-forward profession. The glow of the first love, the awakened sensibility to the condition of his perishing fellow-sinners; ignorance of the subtle working of inbred vanity, the mistaken zeal of injudicious friends—all tends to foster self-pleasing.
Oh! let him know, that before honour is humility. In the low valley of Humiliation special manifestations are realized.l Enlarged gifts, and apparently extending usefulness, without growing more deeply into the humility of Christ, will be the decline, not the advancing of grace. That undoubtedly is the most humbled spirit, that has most of
the spirit of Christ.
The rule of entry into his school–the first step of admission to his kingdom is–“Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly
in heart.” (Matt. xi. 29.)
The spring of this humility is true self-knowledge. Whatever may be seen of a man externally to his advantage, let him keep his eye looking within; and the real sight of himself must lay him low. When he compares his secret follies with his external decency—what appears to his fellow-creatures with what he knows of himself–he can but cry
out—”Behold I am vile! I abhor myself!” (Job, xl.4.)
The seat of this precious grace is not in words, meltings, or tears, but in the heart.
No longer will he delude himself with a false conceit of what he has not, or with a vain conceit of what he has.
The recollection—”Who maketh thee to differ?” (1 Cor. iv. 7) is ever present, to press him down under the weight of infinite obligations. Its fruit is lowliness of mind, meekness of temper, thankfulness in receiving reproof, forgetfulness of injury, readiness to be lightly regarded.
No true greatness can there be without this deep-toned humility. This is he “whom the King delighteth to honour.” “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, that he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.” (Matt.
v. 3. Ps. cxiii. 7, 8.)
John Piper: Pride is more deadly than death!!!