Here is, 1. A spiritual disease supposed, and that is self-conceit: Seest thou a man? Yes, we see many a one, wise in his own conceit, who has some little sense, but is proud of it, thinks it much more than it is, more than any of his neighbours, have, and enough, so that he needs no more, has such a conceit of his own abilities as makes him opinionative, dogmatical, and censorious; and all the use he makes of his knowledge is that it puffs him up. Or, if by a wise man we understand a religious man, it describes the character of those who, making some show of religion, conclude their spiritual state to be good when really it is very bad, like Laodicea, Rev. 3:17. 2. The danger of this disease. It is in a manner desperate: There is more hope of a fool, that knows and owns himself to be such, than of such a one. Solomon was not only a wise man himself, but a teacher of wisdom; and this observation he made upon his pupils, that he found his work most difficult and least successful with those that had a good opinion of themselves and were not sensible that they needed instruction. Therefore he that seems to himself to be wise must become a fool, that he may be wise, 1 Cor. 3:18. There is more hope of a publican than of a proud Pharisee, Matt. 21:32. Many are hindered from being truly wise and religious by a false and groundless conceit that they are so, John 9:40, 41.
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