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“Use hospitality one to “They murmured against another without grudging" the good man of the house,
saying, These have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden
and heat of the day.” 66 Sell that ye have and “ Hear this word, ye kine
66 Remember-- of Bashan--which oppress them which suffer adversity, the poor.' as being yourselves also in the body.”
These passages, and numberless others which might be selected, manifestly take it for granted that the controversy lies between a man's own self and all beings beyond him, and to an eye that closely inspects them, render it sufficiently evident that self-denial lies at the foundation of all holiness, and that the great root of sin is inordinate self-love.
II. Every man who is not supremely attached to God, is supremely attached to himself.
Every man has some one object of supreme regard. This will probably not be denied. It will hardly be pretended that among the objects in highest esteem there are several which hold exactly an equal place. Every man has his ruling passion, every man has his god, every man has his " master." But “no man can serve two masters." I assume then, that every man has some one object of supreme regard. But in the universe there are but two objects that can possibly rise to this rank, God and self. Where can you find a third ? Is it the world? But all inordinate love of the world is comprehended in self-love, as has been already shown. Where then can you find the third ? If there were a third it must be some fellow creature, or community of creatures. But no man ever loved his fellow creatures supremely. The social affections may restrain selfishness, but cannot dethrone self. Wherever one's essential interest in both worlds comes in competition with that of others, self-love and not the social affections will prevail. For the proof of this I confidently appeal to every man's consciousness, and am willing to rest my cause there without further argument. It
* Ps. xii. 4. and xv. 1, 4. Prov. iii. 5,7. and xiii. 10. and xxviii. 25, 26. and xxx. 32. Eccl. vii. 16, 21, 22. Isai. lviii. 13, 14. and lxv. 2, 5. Jer. ix. 4, 5, and xlv. 5. Ezek. xxix. 3. Hos. xii. 7. Amos iv. 1. Mat. vii. 3. and xvi. 24, 25. and xx. 11, 12. Luke vi. 27-37. and xii. 33. and xvi. 15. John X. 12. and xv. 19. Rom. ii. 1, 17—23. and vii. 7. and xii. 3, 10, 16, 19. and xiii. 7, 8. and xv. 1-3. and xvi. 18. 1 Cor. vi. 7, 8. and x. 24. and xiii, 4, 5. 2 Cor. i. 9. and iv. 5. Gal. v. 14, 26. and vi. 1, 2. Phil. i. 15–17. and ii. 1, 3, 4, 21. 1 Thes. ii. 8. 2.Tim. iii. 2. Heb. xiii. 3. James iv. 1, 2. 1 Pet. iv. 9. 2 Pet. ii. 10.
may then be adopted as an incontrovertible maxim, that every man makes either God or himself his supreme object.*
* There are some who disown the distinction between selfish and disinterested affections ; and others, who while they admit the distinction, maintain that all men love themselves supremely, (that is, desire their own happiness more than any thing else,) and that the only difference between a good and a bad man is, that one places his happiness in right things, the other in wrong. In answer to the first class I re. mark, that in two things all beings agree-in following their inclinations, and in finding their happiness, so far as they find it at all, in the gratificution of their inclinations. The only difference lies in their objects. The object of the selfish man is the gratification of himself; the object of the disinterested man, the happiness of others. One follows his
III. Supreme self-love necessarily produces énmity to God.
inclinations for the mere tisfaction which he th ce to derive, the other for the happiness which he hopes to impart to others. When you spring to catch a falling child, is it from the reflection that you must suffer with it, or from direct regard to the comfort of the child ? Do you wish that your dying friend may be happy, or merely that you may think he is happy? In laying out a course of benevolent conduct, where the mind has leisure to contemplate all the good resulting from its plans, self-love will doubtless take into account the personal satisfaction of doing good. But if self-love stood alone, whence the satisfaction of imparting happiness ? If I love only myself, why is it a pleasure to relieve another ? Whence comes the inclination? That must be in complete existence before I have any chance to draw personal comfort from its indulgence. It was not created by the reflection that if I possessed and indulged it I should be happy. But can it be necessary to use arguments to prove that we are capable of really loving another, and of being gratified by his happiness in itself considered ? And this is all I mean by disinterested love.
In reply to the other class, I freely concede that the difference between the good and the bad consists in their placing their happiness, one in right things, the other in wrong. But is it the right things, or their own happiness, which the good make their supreme object? This is the question. While the wicked place their whole happiness in gratifying affections which terminate in themselves or a small circle, the “right things” in which the good place their highest happiness, (I suppose will not be denied,) are the glory and prosperity of God and His kingdom. Now I ask, is the satisfaction which they hope to derive to themselves from that good, or the good itself, their supreme object? Do they rejoice more in the reflection that they, (rather than others,) shall enjoy the sight of God's glory, than that God will be glorified ? If so, they no longer place their supreme happiness in His glory, but in their own gratification,-a gratification more refined indeed than the grosser delights of sense, but still personal and private. To say that they place their supreme happiness in the glory of God, and yet make their own happiness the highest object, is a plain contradiction. For to place their supreme happiness in the glory of God' necessarily implies supreme love to Him. I love that most in which I place my highest delight. How comes it to pass that the glory of God gives me the greatest satisfaction unless I love it most? And if I love it most, I make it my suprenie object.
The simple reason is, that God is opposed to this idolatry, and requires upon pain of eternal death that universal love which will fix the heart supremely on Himself. 66 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,—and thy neighbour as thyself:"* thyself then only as thy neighbour. If supreme love to your neighbour is not allowed, neither is supreme love to yourself. But is your neighbour to be loved with all the heart, and soul, and mind ? That love is reserved for God. And it is supreme, unless one, at the same moment that he thus loves God, can love another object with more than all the heart, and soul, and mind. Thus speaks the law, and sanctions the precept with all its curses.
And what says the Gospel ? “ If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”+ By the consent then of both law and Gospel all are consigned to eternal death who do not love God supremely.
This it is which rouses the war. Supreme selfishness cannot but be the eternal enemy of a God who makes such demands, and enforces them with such a penalty ; because the demands and sanctions crush and destroy all its dearest interests. Here lies the main ground of hostility. “The carnal mind is enmity against God, For [because] it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be."* A moral Governour, who has never been revealed but in the attitude of standing with a drawn sword between the sinner and his idols, and say. ing, Touch that idol and you die, cannot but be hated by a supremely selfish heart.
* Mat. xxii. 37-39.
† Luke xiv. 26.
Since the world began was it ever known that one stood full in the way of another's supreme object, and was not hated? The man that idolizes himself and the instruments of his own gratification, cannot but hate the divine holiness, because the whole strength of that perfection acts directly against him, The whole exhibition of that perfection consists in the prohibition and punishment of this idolatry,-in the voice that sounds through heaven and earth, 66 Thou shalt have no other gods before me;" 66 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,—and thy neighbour as thyself," or suffer eternal pain. Remove that prohibition and punishment, and you cover from creatures every trace of the divine holiness. Against the man, then, who supremely loves himself, the whole strength of the divine holiness exclusively acts; against all the holiness of God, (indeed against His whole authority,) acts the man whose heart centres in himself. What but enmity and eternal war can subsist in such a case ?
But you say, I certainly can love another object while I love myself supremely. You can, where that object does not interfere with self-love by essentially opposing your own interests. But you
* Rom. viii. .