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tion to obedience to God, in other words, to make their gratification an end. This was their sin. But in this there was no sin in their constitutions, and no other tendency to sin than this, that these desires, when strongly excited, are a temptation to unlawful indulgence.

It has been strangely and absurdly assumed that sin in action implies a sinful nature. But this is contrary to fact and to sound philosophy, as well as contrary to the Bible, which we shall see in its proper place.

As it was with Adam and Eve, so it is with every sinner. There is not, there can not be sin in the nature or the constitution. But there are constitutional appetites and passions, and when these are strongly excited, they are a strong temptation or inducement to the will to seek their gratification as an ultimate end. This, as I have said, is sin, and nothing else is or can be sin. It is selfishness. Under its appropriate head, I shall show that the nature or constitution of sinners has become physically depraved or diseased, and that as a consequence, the appetites and passions are more easily excited, and are more clamorous and despotic in their demands; and that, therefore, the constitution of man in its present state, tends more strongly than it otherwise would, to sin. But to affirm that the constitution is in itself sinful, is to talk mere





In the discussion of this question I must,

I. Remind you of what constitutes disobedience to moral law. · II. Show what is implied in it.

I. What constitutes disobedience to moral law?

1. We have seen that disobedience to moral law consists always in selfishness.

2 Selfishness consists in the ultimate choice of our own gratification.

3. An ultimate choice is the choice of an end, or the choice of something for its own sake or for its own intrinsic value.

4. The choice of our own gratification as an ultimate end, is the preference of our own gratification, not merely because gratification is a good, but because and upon condition that it is our own gratification or a good to self.

5. Selfishness chooses and cares for good only upon condition that it belongs to self. It is not the gratification of being in general, but self gratification upon which selfishness terminates. It is a good because it belongs to self or is chosen upon that condition. But when it is affirmed that selfishness is sin and the whole of sin, we are in danger of misconceiving the vast import of the word and of taking a very narrow and superficial and inadequate view of the subject. It is therefore indispensable to raise and push the inquiry, What is implied in selfishness? What are its characteristics and essential elements? What modifications or attributes does it develop and manifest under the various circumstances in which in the providence of God it is placed? It consists in the committal of the will to the gratification of desire. The Apos tle calls it "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind." What must be implied in the state of mind which consists in the committal of the whole being to the gratification of self as an end? What must be the effect upon the desires themselves to be thus indulged? What must be the effect upon the intellect to have its high demands trampled under foot? What must be the developments of it in the outward life? What must be the effect upon the temper and spirit to have self-indulgence the law of the soul? This leads to the investigation of the point before us namely,

II. What is implied in disobedience to moral law?

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The inquiry, it will be seen, naturally divides itself into two branches. The first respects the moral character of selfishness. The second respects the attributes of selfishness. We will attend to these two inquiries in their order, and,

1. What is implied in the fact that selfishness is a breach of moral law? Why is selfishness blame-worthy? Why is not a spirit of self-seeking in mere animals or brute beasts as much a breach of moral law as is the same spirit in man? If this spirit of self-seeking in man is sin, what is implied in this fact? In other words, what conditions are necessary to render a spirit of self-seeking a breach of moral law? These conditions whatever they are, must be implied in disobedience to moral law. This brings us to the direct consideration of the things that belong to the first branch of our inquiry.

(1.) Disobedience to moral law implies the possession of the powers of moral agency. These have been so often enumerated as to render any enlargement upon this point unnecessary, except to say that it is impossible for any but a moral agent to violate moral law. Mere animals may do that which the moral law prohibits in moral agents. But the moral law does not legislate over them; therefore those things in them are not sin, not a violation of moral law.

(2.) It implies knowledge of the end which a moral agent is bound to choose. We have seen that the moral law requires love and that this love is benevolence, and that benevolence is the disinterested and impartial choice of the highest good of God and of being in general as an end. Now it follows that this end must be apprehended before we can possibly choose it. Therefore obligation to choose it implies the perception or knowledge of it. Disobedience to moral law, then, implies the development in the reason of the idea of the good or valuable to being. A being therefore who has not reason, or the ideas of whose reason on moral subjects are not at all developed, can not violate the law of God; for over such the moral law does not extend its claims.

(3.) It implies the development of the correlative of the idea of the good or the valuable, to wit, the idea of moral obligation to will or choose it for the sake of its intrinsic value. When the idea of the valuable to being is once developed, the mind is so constituted that it can not but instantly or simultaneously affirm its obligation to will it as an end and every good according to its perceived relative value.

(4.) Disobedience to moral law implies the development of the correlative of the idea of moral obligation, to wit, the

idea of right and wrong. That it is right to will good and wrong not to will it, or to will it only partially. This idea is the correlative of the idea of moral obligation and the development of the former necessitates the development of the latter.

(5.) Disobedience &c., also implies the development of the correlative of the ideas of right and wrong, namely: The idea of praise or blame-worthiness, or of virtue and vice, or in other words of guilt and innocence. This idea, that is, the idea of moral character is the correlative of that of right and in such a sense that the idea of right and wrong wrong necessitates and implies the idea of moral character or of praise and blame-worthiness. When these conditions are fulfilled and not till then does the spirit of self-seeking or the choice of our own gratification as an end become sin or constitute a breach of moral law. It will follow that no beings are subjects of moral government and capable of disobedience to moral law but such as are moral agents, that is, such as possess both the powers of moral agency and have these powers in such a state of development and integrity as to render obedience possible. It will follow that neither brute animals nor idiots, nor lunatics, nor somnambulists, nor indeed any being who is not rational and free, can disobey the moral law.

2. We come now to the second branch of the inquiry, namely: What is implied in selfishness, what are its attributes, and what states of the sensibility, and what outward developments are implied in selfishness? This, it will be seen, brings us to the immensely interesting and important task of contrasting selfishness with benevolence. But a little time since we considered the attributes of benevolence, and also what states of the sensibility and of the intellect, and also what outward actions were implied in it, as necessarily resulting from it. We are now to take the same course with selfishness, and,

(1.) Voluntariness is an attribute of selfishness.

Selfishness has often been confounded with mere desire. But these things are by no means identical. Desire is constitutional. It is a phenomenon of the sensibility. It is a purely involuntary state of mind, and can in itself produce no action, and can in itself have no moral character. Selfishness is a phenomenon of the will, and consists in committing the will to the gratification of the desires. The desire itself is not selfishness, but submitting the will to be governed by the desires is selfishness. It should be understood that no kind of mcre

desire, and no strength of mere desire constitutes selfishness. Selfishness commences when the will yields to the desire and seeks to obey it in opposition to the law of the intelligence. It matters not what kind of desire it is; if it is the desire that governs the will, this is selfishness. It must be the will in a state of committal to the gratification of desire.

(2.) Liberty is another attribute of selfishness.

That is, the choice of self-gratification is not necessitated by desire. But the will is always free to choose in opposition to desire. This every moral agent is as conscious of as of his own existence. The desire is not free, but the choice to gratify it is and must be free. There is a sense, as I shall have occasion to show, in which slavery is an attribute of selfishness, but not in the sense that the will chooses to gratify desire by a law of necessity. Liberty, in the sense of ability to make an opposite choice, must ever remain an attribute of selfishness, while selfishness continues to be a sin, or while it continues to sustain any relation to moral law.

3. Intelligence is another attribute of selfishness.

By this it is not intended that intelligence is an attribute or phenomenon of will, nor that the choice of self-gratifica tion is in accordance with the demands of the intelligence. But it is intended that the choice is made with the knowledge of the moral character that will be involved in it. The mind knows its obligation to make an opposite choice. It is not a mistake. It is not a choice made in ignorance of moral obligation to choose the highest good of being as an end in opposition to self-gratification. It is an intelligent choice in the sense that it is a known resistance of the demands of the intelligence. It is a known rejection of its claims. It is a known setting up self-gratification, and preferring it to all higher in


4. Unreasonableness is another attribute of selfishness.

By this it is intended that the selfish choice is in direct opposition to the demands of the reason. The reason was given to rule. It imposes law and moral obligation. Obedience to moral law as it is revealed in the reason, is virtue. Obedience to the sensibility in opposition to the reason is sin. Selfishness consists in this. It is a dethroning of reason from the seat of government, and an enthroning of blind desire in opposition to it. Selfishness is always and necessarily unreasonable. It is a denial of that Divine attribute that allies man to God, makes him capable of virtue, and is a sinking him to the level of a brute. It is a denial of his manhood, of

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