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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37

"I am holier than thou"

"I am holier than thou"

It is not too much to say of many socalled religious works that their tenor is frequently such as is calculated to excite and warm the feelings and imagination at the expense of ' reason; that they tend to raise a degree of presumption and assurance in the breast of the reader as to his spiritual condition inconsistent with that profound humility which is the foundation of our religion; that, instead of improving his conduct in his intercourse with his fellow-creatures, their tendency is to incline him to an uncharitable, not to say arrogant, comparison of himself with others, and to exclaim with the self-sufficient Pharisee, "God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are!" or with the proud hypocrite described by the prophet Isaiah, who saith, "Stand by thyself, come not near mo, for I am holier than thou! "That they indispose him to listen with the deep attention which the words demand to the direction of the Apostle "to work his salvation with fear and trembling;" that by the use of familiar phrases and the affected application of scriptural terms, they degrade in many instances the awful subject of which they treat. . . .

While the conflict of feeling and opinion goes on the mind becomes a chaos of confused notions respecting the divine truths, a hypocritical profession of the Christian faith is quickly engendered; scepticism soon follows; and the end is a total rejection of the subject—a gradual lapse into infidelity—and at last a settled deism.

(Anon. 1827.)