A man's pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.
Pride, though it implies an assumption of superiority, has a manifest tendency to degradation.
1. A man's pride will bring him low because it subjects him to the imputation of folly. There is no condition of life that can warrant the indulgence of this sinful and corrupt passion. The maxims of human policy teach us that in proportion to the trust must be the responsibility. The uncertainty and imperfection of every blessing which this world affords should alone be sufficient to prevent that silly exaltation of the mind which constitutes pride. Neither abundance of riches nor superior endowments of the mind are a sufficient justification for pride. Neither the acquisition of fame, the flatteries of self-love, nor the consciousness of distinguished merit, should swell the heart with arrogance or pride. The truest characteristics of superior greatness and superior wisdom are modesty and humility; modesty freed from false shame, and humility without affectation or abasement. If these motives are insufficient to warrant the indulgence of pride, much less ought it to arise from the casual distinction of rank in the different orders of men. Pride is not confined to any particular rank or station. From whatever cause it proceeds, it always betokens weakness, folly, and corruption.
2. The various evils, and the general depravity which it produces. The text is often verified as "pride produces poverty." More persons have sunk into poverty from this cause than from any other. From indulging in a thousand idle expenses, in order to support a kind of pompous vanity, the proud man can seldom spare a charitable mite "to give to him that needeth." Pride is also the source of continual mortification. The petty vexations of pride that are compounded with every vain, selfish, and malignant passion have no claim to our indulgence. Pride is more productive of quarrels, bitterness, and strife than anything else. This base and selfish passion always creates, and always keeps alive, a watchful and incessant jealousy of power. Hence the mildest exhortation and the most friendly remonstrance is often converted into the bitterness of accusation or the insolence of reproach. This odious vice is seen at its worst in the awful end of the suicide. The dreadful act of self-destruction is often committed in the evil moment of wounded pride or mortified ambition. The proud man sits on an imaginary eminence of his own creation, and propagates servility or wretchedness all around him. In a mind thus bewildered and deceived the first principle of improvement is wanting. He who is not conscious of any defect can have no sufficient motive for amendment. Pride never appears so sinful and offensive as when we consider man in relation to his Maker. Then we perceive it destroying the efficacy and poisoning the very source of all those virtues which he is chiefly bound to practise. The proud man is in reality always degraded in proportion as he thinks himself exalted.
(J. Hewlett, B.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.