All Our Excellencies are Borrowed Excellencies

As no creature (in respect of external abilities) comes under more natural weakness into the world than man, naked, empty, and more shiftless and helpless than any other creature; so it is with his soul, yea, much more than so: all our excellencies are borrowed excellencies, no reason therefore to be proud of any of them, 1 Cor. 4.7. “What hast thou that thou hast not received?  Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”  What intolerable insolence and vanity would it be for a man that wears the rich and costly robe of Christ’s righteousness, in which there is not one thread of his own spinning, but all made by free grace, and not by free-will, to jet proudly up and down the world in it, as if himself had made it, and he were beholden to none for it?  O man! thine excellencies, whatever they are, are borrowed from Christ, they oblige thee to him, but he can be no more obliged to thee, who wearest them, than the sun is obliged to him that borrows its light, or the fountain to him that draws its water for his use and benefit.

John Flavel, The Method of Grace, 27, vol 2 of 6.

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