If once (like Hezekiah) we call in spectators to see our treasure and applaud us for our gifts and blessings — then it is high time for God to send some messengers to carry these away from us, which carry our hearts from Him. Pride of gifts hinders the receiving of good from others. Pride fills the soul, and a full soul will take nothing from God, much less from man.
Joseph’s coat made him finer than his brethren — but caused all his trouble; thus great gifts lift a saint up a little higher in the eyes of men — but it occasions many temptations which you meet not with that are kept low. What with envy from their brethren, malice from Satan, and pride in their own hearts — I dare say none find so hard a work to bear up against those waves and winds.
While you are priding in your gifts — you are dwindling and withering in your grace. Such are like corn that runs up much into straw, whose ear commonly is light and thin. Grace is too much neglected, where gifts are too highly prized; we are commanded to be clothed with humility. Pride kills the spirit of praise: when you should bless God — you are really applauding yourself. Pride destroys Christian love, and stabs our fellowship with the saints to the heart. A proud man has not room enough to walk in company because the gifts of others he thinks, stand in his way. Pride so distempers the palate that it can relish nothing that is drawn from another’s vessel. Pride loves to climb up, not as Zaccheus, to see Christ — but so that others may see himself!
“God resists the proud” (James 4:6). The humble man may have Satan at his right hand to oppose him; but be sure the proud man shall find God Himself there to resist him. We must either lay self aside — or God will lay us aside. A proud sinner and a humble Savior will never agree! Christ is humble and lowly, and so resists the proud — but gives grace to the humble.
– WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679)
From “The Christian in Complete Armour”