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"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves."- PHILIPPIANS, ii. 3.
THE more general study of metaphysics has thrown great light upon character. Pride and vanity are now seldom used as convertible terms, but are understood to signify almost opposite states of mind. For instance, the proud man is chiefly desirous of his own good opinion, and is only so far dependent on the opinion of others as their acts, words, or looks may have power to wound his self-respect. The vain man, on the contrary, founds his opinion of himself principally upon the opinion entertained of him by others, and is, consequently, more solicitous about
their admiration and respect than any self-consciousness of desert. Therefore you will hear people say, that pride is much the nobler fault of the two; but this is not exactly what they mean, for, in a Christian's estimation, no fault can be a noble one. Their real meaning is, that pride is the fault of a nobler character; and this, so far, is true. No proud character is without some admixture of vanity, and few vain ones without some admixture of pride; but the characters in which pride is the principal feature are always the stronger of the two, have always more capabilities for good, than the character in which vanity predomiThe former only are now under consideration. If this help to the understanding of the discipline of daily life had been written for the vain, instead of for the proud, an altogether different class of faults would have been selected for selfexamination. We may, however, easily
observe that there are times when the very proudest are subjected to temptations of a dissimilar species, and are deeply affected by wounds inflicted on their vanity. Therefore it is, that even the proud those who may think themselves in no danger from a sin opposed to the leading characteristics of their nature are recommended to examine into the discipline of daily life with reference to the sinfulness of vanity.
This will easily be made apparent by observing the effect produced by those feelings that are excited when your vanity is wounded. They are very painful, and they are angry too; angry without any just cause. The intercourse of family lifeof social life-will afford hourly opportunities for this self-examination, even in the case of persons who perhaps boast that they are too proud to be vain, that is to say, who have too much of the one sin in their heart to leave any room for the
other. Let the discipline of this day prove to you whether any of the burden of your daily cross can be attributed to wounded vanity: you may have been hitherto unconscious of the sin. If it exists, may it be revealed to you now!
To begin with one of its most odious manifestations: Has it given you pain to hear another praised for the quality, or the talent, or the attraction you are yourself deficient in? If you were not vain, it would simply give you pleasure to hear another praised; if you were not vain, a perpetual reference to self would not give rise to unprofitable comparisons. One of the great evils of this manifestation of vanity is, that feeling pain inflicted, we are too apt to imagine its infliction was intentional, and angry emotions are thus excited against an entirely innocent person. When you experience the pain, be on your guard against the sin, and force yourself to
believe (for belief can be compelled) that your own weak vanity is alone to blame. And, further, you should test the success of your struggle against the emotions of wounded vanity, by pointing out, more distinctly than the former speaker had done, the especial merits and advantages it had just given you pain to hear praised. This will be, at least, one step towards that blessed lowliness of mind, that happy state of feeling, in which "each esteems the other better than themselves."
One of the many snares involved in the indulgence of vanity is, a solicitude for general admiration, for general notice. It is not contented with the approbation and the preference of the wise and good (even this desire has its dangers, and requires to be vigilantly guarded); it is pleased and soothed with the admiration of those it despises, instead of rather suspecting that there must have been some sacrifice of principle, some lowering of a high tone of