Institutes III.vii.4

The very vices that infest us we take pains to hide from others, while we flatter ourselves with the pretense that they are slight and insignificant, and even sometimes embrace them as virtues. If others manifest the same endowments we admire in ourselves, or even superior ones, we spitefully belittle and revile these gifts in order to avoid yielding place to such persons.

There is no other remedy than to tear out from our inward parts this most deadly pestilence of love of strife and love of self, even as it is plucked out by Scriptural teaching. For thus we are instructed to remember that those talents which God has bestowed upon us are not our own goods, but the free gifts of God; and any persons who become proud of them show their ungratefulness.

“Who causes you to excel?” Paul asks. “If you have received all things, why do you boast as if they were not given to you?” (1 Corinthians 4:7)

–John Calvin

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