All men are tempted to take a census - that is, to number their own virtues, graces, accomplishments, resources & thus draw the heart away from God. But what ground can there be for our counting or for our pride?
Are we proud of our talents? But what have we that we have not received from God?
Are we proud of our wisdom or knowledge? A brick falls on our head, a machine strikes us on the street & then where is the vaunted knowledge of the mind?
Are we proud of our beauty? A wasting sickness smites us & then where is beauty?
Are we proud of our riches? A revolution breaks out in the country & then what are our riches?
As we take a census of our virtues, let us remember these lines of William Knox, which were so often upon the lips of Abraham Lincoln:
"Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
Like a swift-flitting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passes from life to his rest in the grave."
1 Jn 2:16 (CEB): “Everything that is in the world—the craving for whatever the body feels, the craving for whatever the eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions—is not of the Father but is of the world.”