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Paradox of Humility

God is on high, and yet the higher you lift up yourself, the farther you are from Him; the lower you humble yourself, the nearer He draws to you. Low things He looks close upon, that He may raise them: proud things He knows afar off, that He may depress them. The proud Pharisee pressed as near God as he could: the poor publican, not daring to do so, stood afar off; yet was God far from the Pharisee, near to the publican.

Augustine
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Pride’s Greatest Pitfall

Let us watch against pride in every shape, pride of intellect, pride of wealth, pride in our own goodness, pride in our own deserts. Nothing is so likely to keep a man out of heaven, and prevent him seeing Christ, as pride. So long as we think we are something we shall never be saved. Let us pray for and cultivate humility; let us seek to know ourselves aright, and to find out our place in the sight of a holy God. The beginning of the way to heaven is to feel that we are on the way to hell, and to be willing to be taught by the Spirit.

J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts, 86.

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Essential, Yet Neglected

Humility is so essential to the right state of our souls, that there is no pretending to a reasonable or pious life without it. We may as well think to see without eyes, or live without breath, as to live in the spirit of religion without the spirit of humility. And although it is thus the soul and essence of all religious duties, yet is it, generally speaking, the least understood, the least regarded, the least intended, the least desired and sought after, of all other virtues, amongst all sorts of Christians.

William Law, A Devout Call
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Christian Character Contradiction

Is not pride the sin of devils? The firstborn of hell? Is it not that wherein Satan’s image doth much consist; and is it tolerable evil in a man that is so engaged against him and his kingdom as we are? The very design of the Gospel doth tend to self-abasing; and the work of grace is begun and carried on in humiliation. Humility is not a mere ornament of a Christian, but an essential part of the new creature: it is a contradiction to be a sanctified man, or a true Christian, and not humble. All that will be Christians must be Christ’s disciples, and come to him to learn; and their lesson is, to be meek and lowly.

Richard Baxter, Works, 14:160.
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A Most Prevalent Evil

It is an evil which prevails everywhere among mankind, that everyone sets himself above others.

—John Calvin