The Power of the Self is Broken

Ralph Erskine (The Rent Vail of the Temple), Sermons 1:98:

It is very hard indeed to rend a man from himself. Self insinuates itself into all our praying, preaching, and communicating. However, the power of self is broken in all true believers. Instead of self-estimation he is brought to that, “Behold I am vile;” he hath never a good word to speak of himself, not a good thought to think of himself; but every time he prays, every time he communicates, he cries out, “Behold I am vile.” Instead of self-justification, he is brought to that, “I will lay my hand upon my mouth;” I will not answer, I cannot justify myself, but must condemn myself, and justify the Lord. Instead of self-love, he is brought to that, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Self-loathing and abhorrence takes place. Instead of self-will, he is brought to that, “Lord what wilt thou have me to do?” Instead of self-ease and carnal security, he is brought to that, “O what shall I do to be saved?” And after the first exercise about salvation hath landed in conversion, he is always exercising himself to godliness, and giving employment to Christ to carry on and complete his salvation, and restless till salvation be completed. Instead of self-fulness and sufficiency, he is brought to that, “In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing;” he sees himself empty of all good, and filled with all evil. Instead of self-confidence and hope, he is brought to that, “We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” They are brought to despair in themselves. And instead of self-righteousness, of which before, they are brought to that, “All our righteousness are as filthy rags.”

Source:, Comment 1