Choose a topic from Part 2B:

21. Presumption

1. Presumption as a sin against hope is the wholly unreasonable expectation that God will save us despite the bad will in us which makes that saving impossible. Under the name and guise of reliance on God, presumption insults God and dishonors our own intelligence. It is presumption, for example, to expect forgiveness for sins without repentance. It is presumption to expect heaven without working to get there by merit.

2. Presumption is a sin, and can be a very grave sin, but it is not so grave a sin as despair. For, though it is inordinate and unreasonable in its expectation, presumption does recognize(however insultingly and distortedly) the divine mercy and goodness which despair utterly rejects and denies.

3. Presumption seems, at first glance, to be contrary to fear rather than to hope. For the presumptuous man seems to fear nothing, whether by servile fear or by filial fear. But this is mere seeming. The virtue to which presumption stands directly opposed is hope. Hope and presumption deal with the same object; hope, in an orderly manner; presumption, inordinately.

4. Presumption arises from vainglory, that is, from a prideful trust that a person has in himself as powerful enough to cope with anything, and as a being so excellent that God could not allow him to be punished.

"A man should keep himself down, and not busy himself in mirabilibus super se."
St Philip Neri

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"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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"The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you."
Thomas á Kempis

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