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impossible for sinners to love God supremely, and their fellow men impartially, from a selfish heart: Let their love to God or man rise ever so high, it can have no moral goodness in it, because it is no obedience to the divine law, which requires nothing but pure, holy,

, disinterested love.

8. There is no moral goodness in the selfishness of sinners, because it is the very essence of all moral evil. All the wickedness of Satan consists in his selfishness. He loves himself because he is himself, and loves only those who love him, because their love serves to promote what he considers as his cause and interest. He desires to bring God and all his intelligent creatures into subjection to himself, and of course hates, and opposes, and endeavours to destroy all who stand in his way, and obstruct his malignant designs. He knows by his own feelings, that selfishness will hate God and oppose all good. Accordingly, when he accused Job of selfishness, he said that he would rise in enmity against God, and blaspheme his name, if he should only touch his selfish interest. “And Satan answered

. the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the works of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” Had Job been totally selfish, Satan's prediction would have been fulfilled, and he would have hated, and if he dared, would have blasphemed God, when he stripped him of all that he had given him. Our Saviour represented selfishness in the same light. He told such as followed him from mercenary motives, “I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.” And he told certain persons who had

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professed to love him, and believe in him, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” And the apostle Paul in his epistle to Timothy represents selfishness in the most odious light. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their ownselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” There is no evil affection, and no evil conduct but what selfishness will, under certain circumstances, produce. It is the directly opposite affection to true benevolence, and therefore the root of all moral evil. It is the carnal mind, which is enmity against God, and not subject to his law, neither indeed can be. It seeks a personal interest, which is diametrically opposite to the glory of God, and the general interest of his kingdom. It opposes the good of sinners themselves, and makes them, as the apostle says, “hateful, and hating one another.” It tends to spread misery and destruction through the universe. It makes creatures as bad as they can be, and would destroy them all, were it not for the power and wisdom and goodness of God, which are employed in restraining, directing, and overruling its pernicious influence. Though sinne may love those which love them, and do good to those that do good to them, yet the nature of their feelings and conduct is still the same. Their apparent goodness is the essence of moral evil. Their partial love is general malevolence, and their best deeds are an abomination to the Lord. All their affections and exertions terminate in themselves, whom they value and regard more than all other beings put together, and whose interest they would sacrifice to promote their own.

And can there be any thing virtuous, or amiable, or praise-worthy in such a totally selfish love, which is disconformity to God, disobedience to his law, and, in its nature and tendency, destructive of all the good of his holy kingdom?

IMPROVEMENT. 1. If sinners may love themselves and others from mere selfish motives; then it is easy to account for all their kind and friendly conduct towards their fellow creatures, consistently with their total depravity. Their selfishness naturally prompts them to do any thing, which they think will turn to their own personal advantage. . To gain friends, they will show themselves friendly. To gain the love, esteem, and confidence of others, they will do acts of kindness, compassion, and even liberality. And the most depraved and selfish creature in the universe would do the same things, to obtain the same selfish ends. Satan always acts from this motive, when he transforms himself into an angel of light, and appears to seek the good of others. When he tempted our first parents, he professed to be more concerned to promote their knowledge and happiness, than even their Creator. When he tempted Christ to turn stones into bread, and commit himself to the divine care and protection, he appeared like a kind and friendly angel. And we have reason to believe, that he loves his infernal subjects who love him, and are heartily engaged to promote his cause and interest in this world; otherwise, as our Saviour says, his kingdom could not stand. But such things are no evidence against his total depravity, and therefore they are no evidence against the total depravity of sinners, Indeed, there is nothing can be said against their total

depravity, but what may be said, with equal plausibility against his total depravity. If it be said, that they love themselves; so does he. If it be said, that they love those that love them; so does he. If it be said, that they are kind and friendly to those that promote their interest; so is he. If it be said, that they do, in their conscience, approve of what is holy, just, and good in others; so does he. He approved of the holiness of Christ, when he called him, “the Holy One of God.” If it be said, that they do, in their conscience, disapprove of what is selfish and sinful in others; so does he. He represented Job as selfish, and condemned him as wicked. If Satan were placed in the same situation in which sinners are now placed, he would appear as good as they: Or if they were placed in the same situation in which he is now placed, they would

appear as bad as he. There is no more difficulty, therefore, in accounting for the conduct of sinners, consistently with their total depravity, than in accounting for the conduct of the devil, consistently with his total depravity. Total selfishness in Satan and in sinners will satisfactorily account for the good as well as bad appearances in both.

2. If the moral depravity of sinners consists in selfishness; then the moral depravity of Adam consisted in selfishness, and not in the mere want of holiness. Supposing he had lost his holiness at the moment he was tempted to eat of the forbidden fruit, yet his loss of holiness could not have rendered him morally depraved. All his natural powers, instincts, and appetites must have remained as innocent, after he lost his holiness, as before he lost it. There was no possibility of his becoming morally depraved, without a free, voluntary exercise of selfishness. And it appears from the account given of his first offence, that it essentially consisted in loving himself supremely. He voluntarily partook of the forbidden fruit, from the motive of increasing his own knowledge and happiness, in opposition to the glory of God and the good of all his posterity. This was freely and voluntarily turning from benevolence to selfishness, which is the essence of moral depravity. He became morally depraved in the same manner, that Satan the first sinner in the universe became depraved. Satan had no corporeal instincts or appetites to tempt him to rebel against his Maker. He loved his own glory more than the glory of God, and aspired to become independent and supreme, which was the essence of selfishness, or moral depravity. The prevailing notion, that Adam became morally depraved, by the mere want of holiness, is repugnant to the very nature of moral depravity, and to every dictate of reason and scripture.

3. If sinners love themselves, because they are themselves, and love others, only because they suppose them to be subservient to their interest; then their affections are always selfish and sinful, let them rise ever so high, or extend ever so far. They often do love those who love them very ardently. But they never love such persons so ardently as they love themselves. For all their love to others flows from love to themselves, and the streams cannot rise so high as the fountain. Hence their most ardent and raised affections to others are as really selfish and sinful, as if they were ever so low and languid. Their nature is precisely the same, whether they are stronger or weaker. It is morally impossible, that their love to their friends, or to their Creator should rise so high, as to become disinterested or virtuous love. And as their affections do not become any better, by rising ever so high; so they do not become any better by extending ever so far. The

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