How, careful, then, should we be when we do anything for God, and God is pleased to accept of our doings, that we never congratulate ourselves. The minister of Christ should unrobe himself of every rag of praise. "You preached well," said a friend to Jolin Bunyan one morning. "You are too late," said honest Jolin, "the devil told me that before I left the pulpit." The devil often tells God's servants a great many things which they should be sorry to hear. Why, you can hardly be useful in a Sunday School but he will say to you—"How well you have done it!" You can scarcely resist a temptation, or set a good example, but he will be whispering to you—"What an excellent person you must be!" It is, perhaps, one of the hardest struggles of the Christian life to learn this sentence—"Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name be glory." Now God is so jealous on this point that, while he will forgive his own servants a thousand things, this is an offense for which he is sure to chasten us. Let a believer once say, "I am," and God will soon make him say "I am not." Let a Christian begin to boast, "I can do all things," without adding "through Christ which strengtheneth me," and before long he will have to groan, "I can do nothing," and bemoan himself in the dust. Many of the sins of true Christians, I do not doubt, have been the result of their glorifying themselves. Many a man has been permitted by God to stain a noble character and to ruin an admirable reputation, because the character and the reputation had come to be the man's own, instead of being laid, as all our crowns must be laid, at the feet of Christ. Thou mayest build the city, but if thou sayest with Nebuchadnezzar, "Behold this great Babylon which I have builded!" thou shalt be smitten to the earth. The worms which ate Herod when he gave not God the glory are ready for another meal; beware of vain glory!
How careful ought we to be to walk humbly before the Lord. The moment we glorify ourselves, since there is room for one glory only in the universe, we set ourselves up as rivals to the Most High. Penitent souls are always accepted, because they are not in God's way; proud souls are always rejected, because they are in God's way. Shall the insect of an hour glorify itself against the Sun which warmed it into life? Shall the potsherd exalt itself above the man that fashioned it upon the wheel? Shall the dust of the desert strive with the whirlwind? Or the drops of the ocean struggle with the tempest? O thou nothingness and vanity, thou puny mortal called man, humble thyself and reverence thy Great Creator.
Let us see to it that we never misrepresent God, so as to rob him of his honour. If any minister shall preach of God so as to dishonor him, God will be jealous against that man. I fear that the Lord hath heavy wrath against those who lay the damnation of man at God's door, for they dishonor God, and he is very jealous of his name. And those, on the other hand, who ascribe salvation to man must also be heavily beneath God's displeasure, for they take from him his glory. Ah, thieves! ah, thieves! will ye dare to steal the crown-jewels of the universe! Whither go ye, whither bear ye the bright pearls which ought to shine upon the brow of Christ? To put them on the brow of man? Stop! stop! for the Lord will not give his glory to another! Give unto the Lord, all ye righteous, give unto the Lord glory and strength; give unto him the honor that is due unto his name! Any doctrine which does not give all the honor to God must provoke him to jealousy.