John Flavel writes…
“The strength of our unmortified corruption shows itself in our pride and the swelling vanity of our hearts when we have a name and esteem among men. When we are applauded and honoured, when we are admired for any gift or excellence that is in us, this draws forth the pride of the heart and shows the vanity that is in it. ‘As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise’ (Prov. 27:21); i.e., as the furnace will reveal what dross is in the metal when it is melted, so will praise and commendations reveal what pride is in the heart of him that receives them.
[ . . . ] To crucify this corruption Providence takes off the bridle of restraint from ungodly men, and sometimes permits them to traduce the names of God’s servants, as Shimei did David’s. Yea, they fall into disesteem among their friends, as Paul did among the Corinthians; and all this to keep down the swelling of their spirits as the realization of those excellences that are in them. The design of these providences is nothing else but to hide pride from man. Yea, it deserves a special remark, that when some good men have been engaged in a public and eminent work, and have therein, it may be, too much sought for their own applause, God has withheld His usual assistance at such times from them, and caused them so to falter in their work, that they have come off with shame and pity at such times, however ready and prepared they have been at other times. It would be easy to give various remarkable examples to confirm this observation, but I pass on.”
– John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence, 103-04.
(HT: Timmy Brister)