imagination, which in truth Is but another name for absolute power, And clearest insight, amplitude of mind, And reason in her most exalted mood.? Aristotle says that the wicked have no right to have a love of self but that the good may. So, from a Christian point of view, we may say that no unregenerate man can properly respect himself. Self-respect belongs only to the man who lives in God and who has God?s image restored to him thereby. True self-love is not love for the happiness of the self, but for the worth of the self in God?s sight, and this self-love is the condition of all genuine and worthy love for others. But true self-love is in turn conditioned by love to God as holy, and it seeks primarily, not the happiness, but the holiness, of others. Asquith, Christian Conception of Holiness, 98, 145, 154, 207 ? ?Benevolence or love is not the same with altruism. Altruism is instinctive and has not its origin in the moral reason. It has utility and it may even furnish material for reflection on the part of the moral reason. But so far as it is not deliberate, not indulged for the sake of the end, but only for the gratification of the instinct of the moment, it is not moral. Holiness is dedication to God, the Good, not as an external Ruler, but as an internal controller and transformer of character. God is a being whose every thought is love, of whose thoughts not one is for self, save so far as himself is not himself, that is, so far as there is a distinction of persons in the Godhead. Creation is one great unselfish thought ? the bringing into being creatures that can know the happiness that God knows. To the spiritual man holiness and love are one. Salvation is deliverance from selfishness.? Kaftan, Dogmatik, 319, 320, regards the essence of sin as consisting, not In selfishness, but in turning away from God and so from the love which would cause man to grow in knowledge and likeness to God. But this seems to be nothing else than choosing self instead of God as our object and end.
B. All the different forms of sin can be shown to have their root in selfishness, while selfishness itself, considered as the choice of self as a Supreme end, cannot be resolved into any simpler elements.
(a) Selfishness may reveal itself in the elevation to supreme dominion of any one of man?s natural appetites, desires, or affections. Sensuality is selfishness in the form of inordinate appetite. Selfish desire takes the forms respectively of avarice, ambition, vanity, pride, according as it is set upon property, power, esteem, independence. Selfish affection is falsehood or malice, according as it hopes to make others its voluntary servants, or regards them as standing in its way; it is unbelief or enmity to God, according as it simply turns away from the truth and love of God, or conceives of God?s holiness as positively resisting and punishing it.
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