“Nothing pleases man more than the sort of alluring talk that tickles the pride that itches in his very marrow.
Therefore, in nearly every age, when anyone publicly extolled human nature in most favorable terms, he was listened to with applause. But however great such commendation of human excellence is that teaches man to be satisfied with himself, it does nothing but delight in its own sweetness; indeed, it so decieves as to drive those who assent to it into utter ruin.
For what do we accomplish when, relying upon every vain assurance, we consider, plan, try and undertake what we think is fitting; then – while in our very first efforts we are actually forsaken by and destitute of sane understanding as well as true virtue – we nonetheless rashly press on until we hurtle to destruction. Yet for those confident they can do anything by their own power, things cannot happen otherwise. Whoever, then, heeds such teachers as hold us back with thought only of our good traits will not advance in self-knowledge, but will be plunged into the worst ignorance.”
John Calvin, Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion I, p.243