Agonizomai: A Warning About Those "Others"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Warning About Those "Others"

"For, such is the blindness with which we all rush into self-love that each one of us seems to himself to have just cause to be proud of himself and to despise all others in comparison. If God has conferred upon us anything of which we need not repent, relying upon it we immediately lift up our minds, and are not only puffed up but almost burst with pride. The very vices that infest us we take pains to hide from others, while we flatter ourselves with the pretense that they are slight and insignificant, and even sometimes embrace them as virtues.

If others manifest the same endowments we admire in ourselves, or even superior ones, we spitefully belittle and revile these gifts in order to avoid yielding place to such persons. If there are any faults in others, not content with noting them with severe and sharp reproach, we hatefully exaggerate them. Hence arises such insolence that each one of us, as if exempt from the common lot, wishes to tower above the rest, and loftily and savagely abuses every mortal man, or at least looks down upon him as inferior. . . . But there is no one who does not cherish within himself some opinion of his own pre-eminence."

Institutes of the Christian Religion ( 2.7.4) - John Calvin


Blogger Derek Ashton said...


This hurts my self-esteem very much. Now I'm going to have to be mopey all day!

Seriously, though, one of the wonderful benefits of Calvinism is that it unabashedly faces fallen human nature exactly as it is, and sees no need to dress it up with fancy excuses. God is great enough to deal with whatever we are.

I would not doubt that Pascal read this somewhere along the line, for he has passages in the Pensees that are amazingly similar.

Thanks for the sobering thoughts.


9:34 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...


Yeah - and if it applied to me at all, I would feel the same way. You must be one of "them".

...he says, ducking and looking over his shoulder...



12:13 pm  

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