Pride: “it spreadeth, marreth, and corrupteth all”

One of the greatest dangers of the Christian life, according to James Durham (and Scripture!), is pride.  One of his exhortations on the danger of pride particularly struck home with me:

What an evil thing pride is, especially when it entereth among Churchmen: Oh how evil a thing it is! it is the inlet of all confusion, it openeth a door to it and every evil work, and hath a special hand in overturning whatsoever is beautiful in a Church, James 3.14, 16 … The more eminent folks be in place or power, they are sooner kindled with the fire of pride; the higher men’s places be, they are the readier to grow proud … men of gifts sooner than others, they have fuel to the fire that others do want … they being eminently and highly planted, pride hath the more matter to work upon … it is a rare thing to be eminent and humble; to be great and in prosperity, and yet to be lowly: prosperity and gifts are a snare to many … Pride is especially incident to Church-men … It is a great plague and judgement, and bringeth great hurt to the Church: when this fire of pride and contention entereth and kindleth among the Officers of the Church it spreadeth, marreth, and corrupteth all … This should make us all respect unity and peace in the Church, and watch against pride and contention that marreth it.
A Commentary on Revelation, (rept. Old Paths, 2000), 544-5.

What is particularly significant in the above is Durham’s emphasis on the damage pride does, not only to individuals but also to the body of believers.  Where pride comes in “whatsoever is beautiful in a Church” is overturned and contention and disunity follow.  Durham himself had personal experience of this.  He lived to see the Church in Scotland tear itself apart in the Protester/Resolutioner controversy with men of the calibre of Samuel Rutherford and David Dickson alienated from one another.  This was a cause of immense grief to Durham, so much so that his dying hours were spent dictating a final plea for unity “The Dying Man’s Testament to the Church of Scotland or, A treatise Concerning Scandal”.  From the above I think we can be sure Durham saw pride was at the root of the division.

Pride is a horrible thing, it has destroyed individual Christian testimonies, congregations and denominations.  It is surely the duty of every Christian to do everything in their power, looking to him who works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure, to put it to death in their hearts and esteem themselves “less than the least of all saints”.

2 Responses to “Pride: “it spreadeth, marreth, and corrupteth all””

  1. Andrew Murray Says:

    Hi DJ – great blog! Where do you find the time to do all this!

  2. Donald John MacLean Says:

    Hi Andy

    Good to hear from you – thanks for the encouragement. Hopefully there is plenty material on here to help you if ever you come across any hypercalvinists 🙂

    Time is a scarce commodity for sure! Work is very busy, and there is the thesis which is coming along, and I’m preaching fairly frequently down here which is an encouragement and speaking at youth fellowships as well. Family also takes up time (in a good way!) – our second child is due at the end of June. But the blog is helpful in getting a few ideas out to a wider audience and I’ve made a few good contacts through it so I try to keep it going.

    I’m up north for a week’s fishing on the Brora soon but I’m going up by train so wont be stopping in Edinburgh. It would be good to catch up properly at some point. Trust all is well with you.


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