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Pride is that which sets itself in opposition to the authority of God, in man or in kingdoms ; it is that which would take the merit of wisdom, or power, or renown.
It was pride which induced the king of ancient Babylon to say in his heart, “ Is not this great Babylon which I have built for the House of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty ?” It was the same pride which dictated, after a celebrated victory, these words, which were engraved on the medals distributed at the time, “ Britain has saved herself by her fortitude, and Europe by her example.” It was the reflection of the humbled king of old, may it also be that of as many as harbour the sentiment of the medal, “ Now I praise and extol and honour the King of Heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment, and those that walk in pride he is able to abase."
Vanity is a modification of pride. Vanity would be disappointed by the isolated, exclusive, and concentrated feeling of pride ; the one stands aloof, absorbed in its conscious feelings of pre-eminence, insomuch that a madhouse is esteemed a palace, and the surrounding maniacs officers of state and menials. Pride affects not display, it seeks abstract homage. Vanity, on the contrary, courts admiration. Some vainly display their wealth or some real or imaginary distinction, which they may possess of mind or person. Some are ostentatious in their charities, and prayers, and humility. Some are vainly prodigal of luxuries when they make feasts for the rich, while they are demurely vain in giving, by weight and measure, to the poor of this world. Vanity is in its kindred sphere when it acts in the young, and thoughtless ephemera of fashion, who
haurt places of amusement. It also sits consistently on heads of families, who never give themselves the trouble to consider that they are rational, accountable, and immortal beings, stewards for all they hold during a lease of privilege.
Vanity is at all times the mark of a little mind; but is never so preposterous as in persons who wear a sanctimonious aspect. “ The hanging head and rueful look, will they attract His love,” who asks the will, who demands the heart, and all its affections. The humble man, in the sight of God, may appear otherwise in the sight of those who look only on the exterior ; while the man who seems humble, who, as it were, “ peeps and mutters” may be selfconceited and vain in the sight of God. “ You count him humble, God accounts him proud.” Our Lord instructs His disciples that when they fast, it is to God. Man is not to give them credit for it as a duty of religion. They are to wash their faces and anoint their head, that they do not appear to men to have fasted. When they pray, they are to enter into their closet, and having shut out all human observation, they are to pray to their Father, who is in secret, and who will reward them openly. The word vanity is of frequent occurrence in scripture, but never does it signify what the modern term would indicate in the examples just noticed. Vanity, in the scripture sense of the term, signifies that which is empty, fallacious, illusive, bowever pompous and imposing: for this reason we find the idols of heathen worship, or any thing else that comes between our supreme devotion, and our Redeemer, are termed “ lying vanities.” Again, nations, whose rulers have not known, and consequently honoured the living God, are represented as falling by their own counsels, their own backslidings being made to punish them. “ The statutes of the
“ The people weary themselves for
people are vanity.” very vanity.”
Envy is the characteristic of one who is an enemy of all righteousness, a child of the devil. Envy was the first evil passion which discovered Cain to be the child of fallen man; he envied his brother Abel. God had respect unto Abel, and unto his offering; but unto Cain and his offering he had no respect, “ therefore Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."
Cain brought unto the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. This could not be acceptable, because the ground was not redeemed from the curse; there was an arrear to be paid for past transgression. The Truth of God had pronounced, and therefore demanded death as the wages of sin. Cain concluded that the penalty might be mitigated or withdrawn from the children of the transgressors, and that will worship and voluntary homage would serve instead of obedience. Abel, on the other hand, respected the inviolable truth of God, which stood pledged to be glorified in the death of transgressors. He therefore shed the blood of a lamb as a memorial of transgression, and as a type of that Lamb of God, who should, in due time as the woman's seed, pay the penalty, instead of transgressors ; and, by sanctification of the Spirit and obedience to the Truth, re-open the Kingdom of Heaven to believers, and the way of access to the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. It is plainly intimated that these were burnt-offerings. The slaying of a firstling of the flock on an altar of earth was significant of “ the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.” The fire of the sacrifice showed forth the Holy and Righteous Word
which should be glorified by the sacrifice of the flesh with which, for that purpose, it was clothed. The ascent of the fume, arising from the action of the fire upon the innocent victim, served to express the ascension of the spiritual body, which should appear before God as an intercessor. It is easy
very erroneous were the conceptions of Cain respecting the rectitude of the divine character, and the method of reconciling his justice, which burned against transgression, and his mercy which yearned over the seduced children of man. The accursed soil could render no offering which might cancel or propitiate. Cain was ignorant of God's character, therefore he could not serve him acceptably. He was wroth, as if God acted by arbitrary favour. God said,
God said, “ If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted; but if thou doest not well, transgression lieth (uncancelled) at the door.”
After this Cain slew his brother. Envy begot malice, and malice brought forth hatred, which constitutes a murderer in the sight of God. The voice of man's blood by man shed, cried from the ground to God for vengeance. Now he is cursed from the earth; the earth was to be implicated in the curse of transgression for a time; but the earth, which opens her mouth to receive one brother's blood in trust, repels the other from her with abhorrence. “ No murderer shall inherit the kingdom of God." “ The meek shall inherit the earth."
Pilate knew that through envy the Pharisees delivered Jesus, the antitype of Abel and his offering. As the children of Israel are more like a family than any
other nation, it is well to trace the woe, and bloodshed, and havoc which this passion, of all others, has produced throughout their history. Moses, full of noble feeling for his prostrate people, when he looked upon their burdens,
glowing with a holy ambition to fulfil the will of God in delivering them from their shameful bondage, with the purest affection, the most disinterested zeal, the most entire forgetfulness of himself, at once relinquished the society of the learned, the favour and luxury of the court in which he had been educated as a son, and identified himself with a multitude, utterly incapable of understanding his principles, or endeavours. Long degraded by the condition of slavery, their minds were debased, and their nature brutified. When Moses resented an indignity offered to one of his people by an Egyptian, by slaying him, the sand in which he hid him was less treacherous than the people in whose behalf he interposed; for when he went out the second day, two men of the Hebrews strove together, and he said to him that did the wrong: “Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow ?” and he said: “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us ?-intendest thou to kill me as thou didst the Egyptian ?” Moses well knew that he had thus become obnoxious to Pharaoh, therefore he fled to Midian. Who can form an idea of the conflict within the generous breast of the fugitive? Many kind friends turned to foes, and for what?-an essay of affection on a people too degraded to comprehend it. In process of time Pharaoh died, and the children of Israel sighed and cried because of their bondage, and God heard their cry. They did not cry to God to deliver them; they only cried because of the bitterness of their sufferings, and yet God heard their groaning, and remembered His covenant with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and therefore God looked upon the children of Israel, and had respect unto them.
After this as Moses kept the flock of Jethro, his fatherin-law, on a mountain, he saw a flame of fire in a thorn-bush, and “ Moses turned aside to see why the bush was not