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-in affections so limited as to set up the interest or gratification of an individual, a family, a country, or a world, in opposition to the interest of God and the universe. Now it is a law of these limited affections that their strength increases as their circles contract. No man loves the world at large as well as he loves his own country, nor his country as well as his family, nor his family as well as himself. Self-love of course becomes the ruling passion, and by far the most productive source of sin. It is obviously this which produces pride ; and “only by pride cometh contention."* Only by pride come therefore the causes of contention, viz. anger, malice, enry, self-will, ambition, and I
, may add, the whole family of dependent vices. Self-love originates almost all the actions which men have agreed to denominate crimes. Self-love, fixing chiefly on the world as the grand instrument of personal gratification, offers all the worship that is paid to the world's trinity, riches, honour and pleasure. How great a proportion of the sin of man is comprehended in this operation of selfishness, may be estimated from the fact that a single branch of this idolatry, (viz. “the love of money,”) has been by an apostle pronounced the root of all evil.”+ Self-love, while it often acts towards God in gratitude and desires after future happiness, is almost the exclusive source, as will presently appear, of all the enmity that is exercised against Him.
* Prov. xiii. 10.
* 1 Tim. vi. 10.
That this principle in its inordinate degrees is the exact opposite of holy love or charity, will be evident from almost any selection you can make from the precepts, prohibitions, or didactick parts of Scripture. The following texts, selected almost at random, are sufficient to show the disinterestedness and self-denial of holy love, and the bias of sin towards one's self.
THE DISINTERESTEDNESS AND
THE BIAS OF SIN TOWARDS
SELF-DENIAL OE HOLY LOVE.
" Charity-seeketh not 66 Men shall be lovers her own."
of their own selves." 66 If any man will come 6 Who have said,-our after me, let him deny him- lips are our own, who is lord self and take
“My river is my own, and I have made it for
myself.” “ If thou turn away--from
66 How doing thy pleasure on my holy which receive honour one of day,_not doing thine own another?” ways, nor finding thine own pleasure,-then--I will feed thee."
6 Whosoever will lose his 66 Whosoever will save his life for my sake, shall find life shall lose it."
66 Let no
man seek his
66 All seek their own, not but
every man another's the things which are Jesus wealth.” “Look not every Christ's.” “They--serve not man on his own things, but our Lord Jesus Christ, but every man also on the things their own belly.” of others.”
66 As ye would that men 26 If ye were of the world should do to
also the world would love his to them likewise.' 6. For all own ; but because ye are not the law is fulfilled in one of the world,—therefore the word, even in this, Thou shaltworld hateth you." love thy neighbour as thyself."
66 We then that are strong 6 Why beholdest thou the ought to bear the infirmities mote that is in thy brother's of the weak, and not to please eye, and considerest not the ourselves. Let every one of beam that is in thine own us please his neighbour for his eye ?” “Wherein thou judggood to edification; for even est another thou condemnest Christ pleased not Himself.” thyself.—Thou--art confident " If a man be overtaken in a that thou thyself art a guide fault, ye which are spiritual of the blind-an instructer of restore such a one in the spi- the foolish. Thou therefore rit of meekness, considering which teachest another teachthyself, lest thou also be temp- est thou not thyself? Thou ted. Bear ye one another's that preachest a man should burdens, and so fulfil the law not steal, dost thou steal ?" of Christ." 66 Take no heed unto all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: for oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast. cursed others.”
Avenge not yourselves, 6. From whence come wars but rather give place unto and fightings among you ? wrath."
6 Recompense no Come they not hence, even man evil for evil.” “Forgive, of your lusts? [selfish covetand ye shall be forgiven.” ings, according to that ex“Love your enemies, do good planation, “ I had not known to them which hate you, bless lust except the law had said, them that curse you, and pray Thou shalt not covet.”]—Ye for them that despitefully use lust and have not; ye kill,
you. And unto him that and desire to have, and cansmiteth thee on the cheek, of- not obtain; ye fight, and war, fer also the other.-For if ye and yet ye have not." love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same."
“If there be-any comfort * Only by pride cometh of love,let nothing be done contention." "He that is of
6 through strife or vain glory; a proud heart stirreth
up but in lowliness of mind let strife.” 6 Desirous of vain each esteem other better than glory, provoking one another, themselves." “ Be kindly af- envying one another.” “Prefectioned one to another with sumptuous are they, selfbrotherly love, in honour pre- willed, they are not afraid to ferring one another.” “Seek- speak evil of dignities.” “ Yo est thou great things for thy- are they which justify yourself? Seek them not.” “ Mind selves before men.”
66 I have not high things, but conde- spread out my hands all day scend to men of low estate. unto a rebellious people,Be not wise in your own con
which say, Stand by thyself, ceits.” “ For I say--to ev- come not near to me, for I am ery man--not to think of him- holier than thou.”
66 Thou self more highly than he ought hast done foolishly in lifting to think.” 6 We had the sen- up thyself.” “Be not righttence of death in ourselves, eous overmuch, neither make that we should not trust in thyself overwise." " He that
66 ourselves but in God." “ Trust trusteth in his own heart is a in the Lord with all thy heart, fool.” and lean not unto thine own understanding.--Be not wise in thine own eyes.”
66 Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."
“ We preach not ourselves,
« Some indeed preach but Christ Jesus the Lord, Christ even of envy
and and ourselves your servants strife.-The
preach for Jesus' sake." “ Being Christ of contention,--the affectionately desirous of you, other of love." 66 He that. we were willing to have im- is a hireling,whose own parted unto you, not the Gos- the sheep are not, seeth the pel of God only, but also our wolf coming, and leaveth own souls, because ye were the sheep and fleeth." dear unto us." 6 Who shall dwell in thy 66 Take
every holy hill -he that sweareth of his neighbour, and trust to his own hurt and changeth ye not in any brother; for not."
every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and
will not speak the truth.” “Render-to all their dues; “The balances of deceit tribute to whom tribute is due, are in his hand, he loveth custom to whom custom.--. oppression.” Owe no man any thing, but to love one another."
66 Him that taketh away 66 There is utterly a fault thy cloak, forbid not to take among you because ye go to thy coat also. Give to every law one with another. Why one that asketh of thee, and do ye pot rather take wrong? of him that taketh away thy Why do ye not rather suffer goods ask them not again. yourselves to be defrauded ? If you lend to them of whom Nay, you do wrong, and deye hope to receive, what fraud, and that your bre- . thank have ye? for sinners thren." also lend to sinners to receive as much again. But do good and lend, hoping for nothing again.”