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liberates in respect to the particular propensity to be indulged or denied. He is at all times perfectly reckless as it respects self-indulgence. This is settled. Whenever he hesitates about any given course, it is because of the strength of the self-indulgent spirit and with design upon the whole to realize the greatest amount of self-indulgence. When sinners hesitate about remaining in sin and think of giving up self-indulgence, it is only certain forms of sin that they contemplate relinquishing. They consider what they shall lose to themselves by continuing in sin, and what they shall gain to themselves by relinquishing sin and turning to God. It is a question of loss and gain with them. They have no idea of giving up every form of selfishness; nor do they consider that until they do, they are at every moment violating the whole law, whatever interest of self they may be plotting to secure, whether the interest be temporal or eternal, physical or spiritual. In respect to the denial or indulgence of one or another of the propensities, they may and indeed can not but be considerate consistently with selfishness. But in respect to duty; in respect to the commands and threatenings of God; in respect to every moral consideration, they are entirely and universally reckless. And when they appear not to be so, but to be thoughtful and considerate, it is only selfishness plotting its own indulgence and calculating its chances of loss and gain. Indeed it would appear, when we take into consideration the known consequences of every form of selfishness, and the sinner's pertinacious cleaving to self-indulgence in the face of such considerations, that every sinner is appallingly reckless, and that it may be said that his recklessness is infinite.
24. Unity is another attribute of selfishness.
By unity is intended that selfishness, and consequently all sin is a unit. That is, there are not various kinds of sin, nor various kinds of selfishness, nor, strictly speaking, are there various forms of selfishness. Selfishness is always one and but one thing. It has but one end, and not diverse ends. The indulgence of one appetite or passion, or another, does not imply different ends or forms of selfishness, strictly speaking. It is only one choice, or the choice of one end and the different forms are only the use of different means to accomplish this one end. Strictly speaking, there is but one form of virtue; and when we speak of various forms, we speak loosely and in accommodation to the general notions of mankind. Virtue, as we have before seen, is a unit. It
always consists in ultimate intention; and this ultimate intention is always one and the same. It is the choice of the highest well-being of God and of the universe as an end. This intention never changes its form, and all the efforts which the mind makes to realize this end, and which we loosely call different forms of virtue, are after all only the one unchanged and unchangable, uncompounded and indivisible intention. energizing to realize its one great end. Just so with selfishness. It is one choice, or the choice of one and only one end, to wit, self-gratification or self-indulgence. All the various, and every varying shifts and turns and modes of indulgence which make up the entire history of the sinner, imply no complexity in the form or substance of his choice. All are resorted to for one and only one reason. They are only this one uncompounded and uncompoundable, this never varying choice of self-indulgence, energizing and using various means to realize its one simple end. The reason why the idea is so common, and why the phraseology of men implies that there are really various forms of sin and of holiness is, that they unwit tingly lose sight of that in which sin and holiness alone con sist, and conceive of them as belonging to the outward act, or to the causative volition that is put forth by the intention to se cure its end. Let it but always be remembered that holiness and sin are but the moral attributes of selfishness and benevo lence, and that they are each the choice of one end and only one; and the delusion that there are various forms and kinds of sin and holiness will flee away forever.
Holiness is holiness, in form and essence one and indivisi ble. It is the moral element or quality of disinterested be nevolence. Sin is sin, in form and essence one and indivisible; and is the moral attribute of selfishness or of the choice of self-indulgence as the end of life. This conducts us to the real meaning of those Scriptures which assert "that all the law is fulfilled in one word, love," that this is the whole of virtue, and comprises all that we loosely call the different virtues, or different forms of virtue. And it also explains this, "Whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." That is, offending in one point implies the real commission of all sin. It implies, and is selfishness, and this is the whole of sin. It is of the greatest importance that religious teachers should understand this, and no longer conceive of sin as original and actual; as sins of heart and sins of life; as sins of omission and commission; as sins of licentiousness and gluttony, intemperance and the
like. Now such notions and such phraseology will do for those who can not, or have no opportunity to look deeper into the philosophy of moral government; but it is time that the veil were taken away, and both sin and holiness laid open to the public gaze.
Let it not be inferred that because there is but one form or kind of sin or of holiness, strictly speaking, that therefore all sin is equally blameworthy, and that all holiness is equally praiseworthy. This does not follow, as we shall see under its proper head. Neither let it be called a contradiction that I have so often spoken and shall so often speak of the different forms of sin and of holiness. All this is convenient and as I judge indispensable in preparing the way, and to conduct the mind to the true conception and apprehension of this great and fundamental truth; fundamental in the sense that it lies at the foundation of all truly clear and just conceptions of either holiness or sin. They are both units and eternal and necessary opposites and antagonists. They can never dwell together or coalesce any more than heaven and hell can be wedded to each other.
ATTRIBUTES OF SELFISHNESS.
WHAT IS IMPLIED IN DISOBEDIENCE TO THE LAW OF GOD.
25. Egotism is another attribute of selfishness.
Egotism, when properly considered, does not consist in actually talking about and praising self; but in that disposition of mind that manifests itself in self-laudation. Parrots talk almost exclusively of themselves, and yet we do not accuse them of egotism, nor feel the least disgust toward them on that
Moral agents may be under circumstances that render it necessary to speak much of themselves. God's character and relations are such and the ignorance of men so great that itis necessary for Him to reveal himself to them, and consequently to speak to them very much about Himself. The same is true of Christ. Christ's principal object was to make the world acquainted with himself and with the nature and design of his mission. Of course he spake much of himself. But who ever thought of accusing either the Father or the Son of egotism?
The fact is that real egotism is a selfish state of the will. It is a selfish disposition. Selfishness is the supreme preference of self, of self-interest, self-indulgence; of course, this state of mind can not but manifest egotism. The heart is egotistical, and the language and deportment must be.
An egotistical state of mind manifests itself in a great variety of ways; not only in self-commendation and laudation, but also in selfish aims and actions, exalting self in action as well as in word. An egotistical spirit speaks of itself and its achievments in such a way as reveals the assumption that self is a very important personage. It demonstrates that self is the end of every thing and the great idol before which all ought to bow down and worship. This is not too strong language. The fact is, that selfishness is nothing short of a practical setting up of the shameless claim that self is of more importance than God and the whole universe; that self ought to be universally worshiped; that God and all other beings ought. to be entirely consecrated to its interests and to the promotion of its glory. Now what but the most disgusting egotism can be expected from such a state of mind as this? This state of mind is essentially and necessarily egotistical.
If it does not
manifest itself in one way, it will and must in another. The thoughts are upon self; the heart is upon self. Self-flattery is a necessary result or rather attribute of selfishness. A selfish man is always a self-flatterer, and a self-deceiver, and a selfdevotee. This must be.
Self may speak very sparingly of self for the reason that it thinks too much of self to willingly incur the charge of egotism. A man may have a spirit too egotistical to speak out, and may reveal his superlative disposition to be praised by a studied abstinence from self-commendation. Nay, he may speak of himself in terms the most reproachful and self-abasing in the spirit of supreme egotism; to evince his humility and the deep self-knowledge which he possesses. But a spirit of self-deification, which selfishness always is, if it does not manifest itself in words, must and will in deeds. The great and supreme importance of self is assumed by the heart, and can not but in some way manifest itself. It may, and often does put on the garb of the utmost self-abasement. It stoops to conquer, and to gain universal praise, affects to be most empty of self.
But this is only a refined egotism. It is only saying, Come see my perfect humility and self-emptiness, Indeed there are myriads of ways in which an egotistical spirit manifests itself, and so subtle and refined are many of them that they resemble Satan robed in the stolen habiliments of an angel of light.
An egotistical spirit often manifests itself in self-consequential airs, and by thrusting self into the best seat at table, in a stage coach, a rail road car, or into the best state room in a steam boat. In short, it manifests in action what it is apt to manifest in word, to wit: a sense of supreme self-importance.
I said that the mere fact of speaking of self is not of itself proof of an egotistical spirit. The thing to be regarded is the manner and manifest design of speaking of self. A benevo lent man may speak much of self because it may be important to others that he should do so, on account of his relations. When the design is the benefit of others and the glory of God, it is as far as possible from the spirit of egotism. A benevo lent man might speak of himself just as he would of others. He has merged his interests in, or rather identified them with the interests of others and of course would naturally treat others and speak of them much as he treats and speaks of himself. If he sees and censures the conduct of others, and has ever been guilty of the like, he will censure his own baseness quite as severely as he does the same thing in others. If he