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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter VI. That the sin of pride is last in the actual order of the combat, but first in time and origin.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VI.

That the sin of pride is last in the actual order of the combat, but first in time and origin.

And so it is most clearly established by instances and testimonies from Scripture that the mischief of pride, although it comes later in the order of the combat, is yet earlier in origin, and is the beginning of all sins and faults: nor is it (like the other vices) simply fatal to the virtue opposite to it (in this case, humility), but it is also at the same time destructive of all virtues: nor does it only tempt ordinary folk and small people, but chiefly those who already stand on the heights of valour. 1021 For thus the prophet speaks of this spirit, “His meat is choice.” 1022 And so the blessed David, although he guarded the recesses of his heart with the utmost care, so that he dared to say to Him from whom the secrets of his conscience were not hid, “Lord, my heart is not exalted, nor are my eyes lofty: neither have I walked in great matters, nor in wonderful things above me. If I was not humbly minded;” 1023 and again, “He that worketh pride shall not dwell in the midst of my house;” 1024 yet, as he knew how hard is that watchfulness even for those that are perfect, he did not so presume on his own efforts, but prayed to God and implored His help, that he might escape unwounded by the darts of this foe, saying, “Let not the foot of pride come to me,” 1025 for he feared and dreaded falling into that which is said of the proud, viz., “God resisteth the proud;” 1026 and again: “Every one that exalteth his heart is unclean before the Lord.” 1027



Cf. Milton’s “last infirmity of noble minds.” (Lycidas.)


Hab. i. 16 (LXX.).


Ps. 131:1, 2.


Ps. 101:1, 2.


Ps. 36:1, 2.


S. James iv. 6.


Prov. xvi. 5 (LXX.).

Next: Chapter VII. That the evil of pride is so great that it rightly has even God Himself as its adversary.

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