He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory: but he that seeks his glory that sent him, the same is true…
1. Its nature "speaketh of Himself," which is true in two senses. The conceited man —
(l) Speaks out of himself. He is known everywhere by his ostentatious parade of originality and infallibility. His own opinions evolved from his inner consciousness, in proud independence of other thinkers, are the standard of truth and untruth. His predecessors were all very well in their day; but their teaching is now obsolete. His contemporaries are right according to their light, but their light is only one remove from darkness. To raise the least objection against his ipse dixit is only an evidence of "knowing nothing about it." How many such original geniuses afflict the Church, the state, halls of science and schools of philosophy!
(2) Speaks about himself. The conceited man is impatient of any talk that does not lead up to himself. He is known in the pulpit and literature by his extravagant use of the first person singular or plural. He is known in society by his monopoly of conversation, and his persistent obtrusion of his own opinions, achievements, property, etc. Who has not suffered from the infliction of his senseless and incessant babble!
2. Its aim — "his own glory." This is the end which the conceited man never loses sight of, and everything he does has as its motive the gratification of his own personal vanity. He dresses and attitudinizes for the purpose of attracting attention; he talks to secure praise for his sagacity or adventures; he schemes and works that he may be talked about, or to obtain gain. And verily he has his reward.
1. Its nature.
(1) Acceptance of a mission from God "that sent Him." To go because sent is an acknowledgment of servitude and obligation; and the consciousness of being sent by God can only convey the conviction of unworthiness. This is shown by the unvarying testimony of the greatest of God's servants — Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul. And then the missions on which God sends us are often of the humblest character — to teach in a ragged school, to visit an obscure invalid, etc. But humility accepts them unmurmuringly, and fulfils them diligently.
(2) Giving all the glory to God. Sometimes the faithful discharge of some humble duty secures brilliant results. Here is the great test of humility. Men praise the missionary who, when he emerges from his obscurity, is found to have civilized a tribe of barbarians. Will he accept it or give it to God?
2. Its characteristics.
(1) Truth. Truth is everywhere humble, and the humble man is usually safe from temptations to untruthfulness because he has no appearances to keep up, and no self-interests to secure. He has given himself to God and lives for God. The conceited man, on the contrary, has to resort to very questionable practices and professions to maintain a reputation for consistency, and is haunted with the fear of being found out. The humble man is afraid of nothing and no one.
(2) Righteousness. God gave us our gifts whatever they are, and the opportunity for using them, and by His influence has produced what results crown our efforts. Humility recognizes His righteous due and gives it. Conclusion:
1. "Pride goeth before destruction" often in this life and at the hands of men; always in the next and at the hands of God.
2. "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted," perhaps by men, certainly by God.
(J. W. Burn.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.