Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/On Nature and Grace/Chapter 33
Chapter 33 [XXIX.]—Not Every Sin is Pride. How Pride is the Commencement of Every Sin.
“But how,” asks he, “shall we separate pride itself from sin?” Now, why does he raise such a question, when it is manifest that even pride itself is a sin? “To sin,” says he, “is quite as much to be proud, as to be proud is to sin; for only ask what every sin is, and see whether you can find any sin without the designation of pride.” Then he thus pursues this opinion, and endeavours to prove it thus: “Every sin,” says he, “if I mistake not, is a contempt of God, and every contempt of God is pride. For what is so proud as to despise God? All sin, then, is also pride, even as Scripture says, Pride is the beginning of all sin.” Let him seek diligently, and he will find in the law that the sin of pride is quite distinguished from all other sins. For many sins are committed through pride; but yet not all things which are wrongly done are done proudly,—at any rate, not by the ignorant, not by the infirm, and not, generally speaking, by the weeping and sorrowful. And indeed pride, although it be in itself a great sin, is of such sort in itself alone apart from others, that, as I have already remarked, it for the most part follows after and steals with more rapid foot, not so much upon sins as upon things which are actually well done. However, that which he has understood in another sense, is after all most truly said: “Pride is the commencement of all sin;” because it was this which overthrew the devil, from whom arose the origin of sin; and afterwards, when his malice and envy pursued man, who was yet standing in his uprightness, it subverted him in the same way in which he himself fell. For the serpent, in fact, only sought for the door of pride whereby to enter when he said, “Ye shall be as gods.” Truly then is it said, “Pride is the commencement of all sin;” and, “The beginning of pride is when a man departeth from God.”
- Ecclus. x. 13.
- Gen. iii. 5.
- Ecclus. x. 13.
- Ecclus. x. 12.