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close and covetous disposition, and view every thing that appears sordid or mean with abhorrence. In neither case is it the hatred of sin, or the love of holiness, which restrains from evil, or dictates a practice partially right, but it is the prevalence of one vice over another at variance with it; it is, in fact, the very love of sin which is the foundation of a seemingly-virtuous conduct.
3. Fear of censure from the world is another principle of this nature. There are some sins so destructive to the peace of society, and in themselves so abominable, that they are held generally scandalous among mankind. The dread, therefore, of incurring the loss of reputation will act as a check upon these sins; and the more so, as it is a loss which often involves other losses, and is attended with inconveniences or vexations. And though this regard to character is sometimes of excellent use in the conduct of life, yet to make it the sole or leading motive, to abstain from what is sinful on this ground alone, can scarcely be denominated virtue. The fear of man, upon which it is founded, may be a most corrupt principle. It is often in direct opposition to the fear of God; and is found by those, who are truly desirous of serving him, to be that very principle which they have ever most cause to watch against and resist.
4. If to the fear of censure, we add the love of applause, which is almost always associated with it, we
shall find the root of what is commonly called the a sense of honour,-a principle among the most powerful whicb influence the human breast,obtaining chiefly in generous minds, and serviceable, without doubt, in restraining from some vices; but which, nevertheless, is radically defective, and even, in a high degree, corrupt. Trace it to its origin and we find it arising from a fear of the censure and a desire of the approbation of the world. A man values himself on his contempt for certain vices which he thinks opprobrious or base, and upon his adherence to a certain line
of conduct which he deems worthy and honourable. If you ask why he thus contemns the vice, and admires the virtue,- it is not because the one is wrong and the other right, according to the pure and holy law of God;—it is not that there is any assignable moral turpitude in what he hates, more than in many other things which he freely allows; nor that there is any real excellence in what he approves, more than in many things for which he has no such esteem; but merely, because there is a class of persons in the world, with whom he would wish to be thought connected, who both maintain these sentiments themselves, and exclude and censure all who do not maintain them. On this account, he comes to think on such points as they think; to value himself on all that gives him the distinction he desires; and to reject what would deprive him of it, as bringing a stain upon his reputation. Thus his pride and his vanity will become strong guards against all crimes which are dishonourable.-Yet what is this (if we examine the point on any sound and solid principles) but corruption engaged against corruption, and vice at war with rice? Or what aversion to sin, as sin, can result from it? Let those who would prefer death to a dishonourable crime be tried where no such disgrace attaches; and this sense of honour may be found to encourage evil, in some cases, quite as much as it prevents it in others. It instigates to revenge; it authorises duelling; it is directly contrary to the spirit of Christianity, which inculcates meekness, forbearance, humility, poverty of spirit. It will excuse fornication, drunkenness, prodigality, profaneness, neglect of public and private worship, and want of charity to the poor. The principle which allows and sanctions so much corruption, is entitled to little credit, even when, by accident, it restrains from the commission of evil.
5. The dread of consequences is another principle which may prevent the commission of sin, but which cannot be looked upon as a principle that sanctifies the conduct. It is so ordered in the constitution of the world that vice, especially of some kinds, is followed by great inconvenience. Intoxication, for instance, stupefies the faculties, injures the constitution, unfits for business, entails misery upon a family, and produces want and disgrace. A person seeing these effects, perhaps beginning to feel them, may be thus induced to deny himself, and to restrain a practice, which he has reason to fear will be injurious to him. Yet what is this but the dictate of self-love? What is it but that common regard to self-preservation, that natural instinct, which may be exceedingly strong where there is not the least regard to God and his religion? Shall we call such a conduct virtuous? It may be styled prudent; it may be allowed the merit of being better than a contrary practice; but it surely, in no respect, deserves the name of virtue, unless it be made a part of virtue to defend our bodies from harm, or to avoid taking poison which we know would produce both pain and death.
6. A sixth imperfert principle, by which many are led to abstain from gross acts of sin, is the dread of a guilty conscience.—They have been accustomed to suffer much uneasiness from the secret sting of conscience, when they have done what is grossly wrong. They remember how bitter their feelings were; how much thev endured from a mind so preying upon itself, what painful apprehensions of Divine vengeance tormented them, what uneasy sensations and fears disturbed their rest. They compare this with the peace of mind which innocence produces; and, balancing the one with the other, determine that it is expedient to deny themselves a present gratification, rather than lose their peace of mind and expose themselves to misery. Yet what is this but mere prudence, appearing under a more specious form? How little does it amount to beyond a dislike of the effects which follow sin; while the love of it may still remain rooted in the heart. I do not deny that all these imperfect principles may be of some use in the world. They certainly are so;—for to these must be attributed, in very great part, the degree of justice, of temperance, sobriety, and moderation which is still remaining among men. Neither would I advise that these should be renounced, because they are erroneous and faulty, unless better were implanted in their room: but this I must say, that these are not holy principles; they have nothing to do with true religion; the practice founded on them is imperfect; and there is a necessity that other principles, purer and more competent, should be acquired. Reflect a little more particularly how very imperfect they are. They produce, at best, but a partial practice. They extend only to the prevention of certain sins, while others are permitted. Such as are gross, such as are scandalous, such as are injurious to fortune, health, or peace, they will restrain;- but those which the world tolerates—the workings of pride, of self-love, and of vanity, they leave wholly untouched. It is chiefly the external act which they prohibit
. The disposition, which is, doubtless, the main point, they do not alter. A person, influenced by these principles only, may indulge, to any extent, an unchaste or vindictive disposition, though considerations of convenience or prudence may restrain him from open acts of sin. It is a spurious kind of goodness which they inculcate. They implant no right disposition; they often allow a bad one to remain; though they restrain the excesses of it: they produce no real preference of holiness; no real delight in the will of God, no real hatred of sin. They do not tend to form a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. And, moreover, they have no respect to God. They may all subsist without reverence of his name: without any serious worship of him; without faith; without love to Christ; without any truly Christian motive. They are to be considered rather as of a civil, than a religious, nature. The end they propose is selfish. The means they use, and the motives they inculcate, are of a worldly kind; implying no sort of regard to God's honour, or to the accomplishment of his purposes in the creation of man.
It is evident, therefore, that some better principle must be sought;-some principle of a purer nature, and more adequate power. It must be universal, extending to the prevention of sins of every kind; inculcating the practice of virtues of all kinds; not compensating for the want of one by the practice of another; not being scrupulous in the duties we owe to man, while it allow's the neglect of what is due to God. It must be uniform, not fluctuating with times and seasons; not cultivating virtues which are fashionable or gainful, and being ashamed of such as leave us in poverty or disgrace; but steadily persisting in the right practice, whether met by the frowns or the smiles of man. It must be pure, not following the precepts of religion, for the sake of the advantages attending it, or declining sin on account of the miseries which follow it; but cultivating goodness for its own sake. It must sanctify the disposition; not only enforcing a right conduct, but disposing the heurt to follow it; implanting not only a sense of the necessity of religion, but a love of it, a real esteem for its precepts, a conviction of their intrinsic excellence, and an unfeigned attachment to them. Such must be the principle engrafted in the heart, that men may bring forth fruit to God. And till there be such a principle, however others may restrain from sin, they will produce only an imperfect degree of virtue, leaving the heart corrupt even where the conduct is reformed; and producing what may perhaps satisfy imperfect man, but can never please the holy God.
How excellent was the principle by which Joseph was actuated! He was in the flower of his age, the season when the passions are most impetuous. His mistress was the tempter; whose favour or displeasure might advance or ruin his interests. She solicited him day by day. He had the prospect not only of secresy, but