From “The Pioneer of Destruction!” a sermon by Archibald Brown, 1869

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

“Chrysostom has aptly called pride “the mother of Hell”–for Hell with all its horrors is its hideous offspring!

“Had there been no treacherous pride, there would have been no bottomless pit! Perdition was prepared for the Devil and his angels–and pride prepared the Devil and his angels for perdition! We need fear no language we can possibly use being too strong to denounce pride, for as Aristotle says, ‘Pride comprehends all vice!’

“Is drunkenness to be condemned with unmeasured severity? Then let pride be equally so, for it is nothing less than a spiritual drunkenness. Pride flies as wine to the brain, and produces the same result. No wretched drunkard reeling along the road is a more pitiable or disgusting sight, than the man who is intoxicated into idiocy with the alcohol of his own accursed pride!

“May the most unsparing language be employed in the denunciation of the sin of idolatry? Then let it be equally strong in the condemnation of pride, for they are one in essence. The proud man is simply one who bends the knee and worships a more hateful idol than can ever be found in the whole catalogue of heathendom; and its name is ‘Self!’

“God loathes pride, for ‘everyone that is proud is an abomination to the Lord.’ Proverbs 16:5. To an angel’s eye, it must be the ugliest thing on earth! And the saint, often deploring it, hates it with a perfect hatred.

“But although universally condemned–it is too generally harbored. It is easy work to find a thousand excuses for the particular species of pride we possess, which is almost always, according to our own estimate, ‘only proper pride.’ 

“It is the minister’s imperative duty to cry out against particular sins, and lay the axe at the root of special iniquities. I want this evening, by God’s help, to strike a blow at the deadly root of pride. I have no doubt many things I may say will be considered too severe. I cannot help it if they are. The language of my text is strong and unvarnished enough; the truth it contains is put in the most uncomplimentary mode, and I would be a traitor were I to attempt to smooth it down. My work is to declare that ‘pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.’ “

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