S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Be substantially great in thyself, and more than thou appearest unto others; and let the world be deceived in thee as they are in the lights of heaven. Hang early plummets upon the heels of pride, and let ambition have but an epicycle and narrow circuit in thee. Measure not thyself by thy morning shadow, but by the extent of thy grave; and reckon thyself above the earth by the line thou must be contented with under it.
Pride is so unsociable a vice, and does all things with so ill a grace, that there is no closing with it. A proud man will be sure to challenge more than belongs to him. You must expect him stiff in his conversation, fulsome in commending himself, and bitter in his reproofs.
In reality, there is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself: you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.
Pride is as loud a beggar as want, and a great deal more saucy. When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a piece; but it is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follows it.
As pride has been transferred from the list of vices to that of virtues, so humility, as a natural consequence, has been excluded, and is rarely suffered to enter into the praise of a character we wish to commend, although it was the leading feature of that of the Saviour of the world, and is still the leading characteristic of his religion; while there is no vice, on the contrary, against which the denunciations are so frequent as pride.
Robert Hall: Sentiments Proper to the Present Crisis.
Suppose there were a great and glorious being always present with us, who had given us existence, with numberless other blessings, and on whom we depended each instant as well for every present enjoyment as for every future good; suppose, again, we had incurred the just displeasure of such a being by ingratitude and disobedience, yet that in great mercy he had not cast us off, but had assured us he was willing to pardon and restore us on our humble entreaty and sincere repentance; say, would not an habitual sense of the presence of this being, self-reproach for having displeased him, and an anxiety to recover his favour, be the most effectual antidote to pride? But such are the leading discoveries made by the Christian revelation, and such the dispositions which a practical belief of it inspires.
It is one of the innumerable absurdities of pride that we are never more impatient of direction than in that part of life when we need it most: we are in haste to meet enemies whom we have not strength to overcome, and to undertake tasks which we cannot perform; and as he that once miscarries does not easily persuade mankind to favour another attempt, an ineffectual struggle for fame is often followed by perpetual obscurity.
Personal pride and affectation, a delight in beauty, and fondness of finery, are tempers that must either kill all religion in the soul, or be themselves killed by it: they can no more thrive together than health and sickness.
Christians have a particular knowledge how natural and original an evil curiosity is in man. The thirst of knowledge, and the desire to become more wise, was the first ruin of mankind, and the way by which he precipitated himself into eternal damnation. Pride was his ruin and corruption; tis pride that diverts from the common path, and makes him embrace novelties, and rather chuse to be head of a troop, lost and wandering in the path of error, to be regent and a teacher of lyes, than to be a disciple in the school of truth, suffering himself to be led and guided by the hand of another, in the right and beaten road.
Michel de Montaigne: Essays, Cottons 3d ed., ch. lxix.
It is a common error, of which a wise man will beware, to measure the work of our neighbour by his conduct towards ourselves. How many rich souls might we not rejoice in the knowledge of, were it not for our pride!
The effects of pride and vanity are of consequence only to the proud and vain; and tend to no further ill than what is personal to themselves, in preventing their progress in anything that is worthy and laudable, and creating envy instead of emulation of superior virtue. These ill qualities are to be found only in such as have so little minds as to circumscribe their thoughts and designs within what properly relates to the value which they think due to their dear and valuable selves: but ambition, which is the third great impediment to honour and virtue, is a fault of such as think themselves born for moving in a higher orb, and prefer being powerful and mischievous to being virtuous and obscure. The parent of this mischief in life, so far as to regulate it into schemes, and make it possess a mans whole heart without his believing himself a demon, was Machiavel. He first taught that a man must necessarily appear weak, to be honest. Hence it gains upon the imagination, that a great is not so despicable as a little villain; and men are insensibly led to a belief that the aggravation of crimes is a diminution of them. Hence the impiety of thinking one thing and speaking another. In pursuance of this empty and unsatisfying dream, to betray, to undermine, to kill in themselves all natural sentiments of love to friends or country, is the willing practice of such as are thirsty of power for any other reason than that of being useful and acceptable to mankind.
Pride, in some particular disguise or other (often a secret to the proud himself), is the most ordinary spring of action among men. You need no more than to discover what a man values himself for: then of all things admire that quality, but be sure to be failing in it yourself in comparison of the man whom you court.
There is no one passion which all mankind so naturally give in to as pride, nor any other passion which appears in such different disguises. It is to be found in all habits and all complexions. Is it not a question whether it does more harm or good in the world; and if there be not such a thing as what we may call a virtuous and laudable pride?
It is this passion alone, when misapplied, that lays us so open to flatterers; and he who can agreeably condescend to soothe our humour or temper finds always an open avenue to our soul; especially if the flatterer happen to be our superior.