Category — Self-condifence
“It is better to trust in Jehovah than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in Jehovah than to put confidence in princes.” (Psalm 118:8,9)
Confidence in man in our text signifies, the confidence in man’s own goodness, and ability to do what is good; and confidence, in princes signifies, a trust in ones own truth and the ability to do what is true out of ones own prudence.
The world preaches self confidence, and the worlds idea of self confidence and its importance tends to creep into the Church.
We read: “There are two things which are put off by all who enter into heaven, namely their proprium and consequent confidence, and self merit, or their own justice, and they put on a celestial proprium which is from the Lord’s merit and justice,” (A.C. 4007:4.)
Again: “The sensual man is in self confidence and in faith that he is wiser than anybody else… and when he has persuaded himself of this in all things which he says there is that confidence and faith, hence his speech being resonant with these things, fascinates and infatuates the mind of others, for the sound of confidence and faith produces such an effect… From this it can be seen why their teeth were as those of lions signifies that sensual men seem to themselves to have understanding, and thereby power over all things.” (A.E. 556.)
In the world it is realized that self confidence has such apparent power, as described above and therefore it is encouraged, and teachers try to instill it, and this is so even in the Church.
A man in order to live and be a useful citizen must have a certain confidence, otherwise he hangs down his hands in despair and does nothing. In childhood and youth, and with every one before regeneration, there is as yet little perception and therefore little confidence in the Lord. In place of this well disposed children have confidence in their parents, who are representative of the Lord and the Church to them. It is right to encourage young people who lack confidence, to have confidence that they have the ability to accomplish things, and as long as there is a certain Innocence this does no harm, but is useful. But as innocence recedes, the danger of self confidence increases; and even with the young great care should be taken not to encourage a kind of self confidence, which is of such a quality, that it can with the greatest difficulty be overcome in later life. If there is not some beginnings of humiliation with the young, it is with the very greatest difficulty acquired in later life.
Humility, on the part of man and confidence in the Lord and His Church, are the opposites of self confidence.
We read: “Humiliation is the essential of all adoration and worship; for without humiliation the Lord cannot be worshipped and adored, because the Divine of the Lord cannot inflow into a proud heart, that is into a heart full of the love of self, for such a heart is hard; and is called in the Word ‘a heart of stone’. But the Divine of the Lord can inflow into a humble heart, because this is soft, and is called in the Word ‘A heart of flesh.’ That *afar off’ denotes from the heart, is because those in humiliation remove themselves from the Lord, for the reason that they regard themselves as unworthy to approach the most holy Divine, because, while they are in humiliation, they are in the self-acknowledgment that of themselves they are nothing but evil, nay, profane. When they acknowledge this from the heart, they are in true humiliation”