It is nothing but the inclination of of every person towards their own happiness. There is the very evidence that self lovers are not greater enemies to others in their aim than they are in effect to themselves.Yet it is not less evident that they love themselves passionately all the time, and whatever damage they do to themselves they don’t mean any. Self love is vicious. Many times it finds other names for itself. The names just attempt to take away their bad qualities. The names denote our sins as weaknesses, infirmities, the effect of personal code, and deserving more pity than blame. At times it excuses them upon account of the intent, pretending that some good is promoted by them, and that the motive and the end sanctify the means. This greatly lessens the defectiveness of them. This teaches us to compare ourselves with others, and allows us to draw favorable conclusions about ourselves, because we are not so bad as some that we could blame. This shows us the general corruption that is in this world. We think too much of ourselves, we overvalue our abilities, and entertain too good of an opinion of our good actions, knowledge, and capacity; being pure in our eyes, thinking too well of our self righteousness is commonly called self conceit.
Self conceit is despised because of the very fact of the dislike of others. It is usually accompanied with rash undertakings, hasty determinations, stubbornness, insolence, envy, criticism, confidence, vanity, the love of flattery, and at times irreligious, and a kind of idolatry, which one worships their own abilities, and places their whole trust in them. Conceit is unreasonable and foolish. All the other contents within the sack of self conceit are things that any can call their own. They have done little or nothing to acquire them. The viciousness of following this sinful teaching makes worldly interests, acceptability, amusement,or pleasure, become the great end of their actions. This kind of selfishness is heartless. However corrupt, these lovers of themselves ” HAVE THE FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT LACK THE POWER THEREOF ”
Lovers of self can have desires after Christ, MARK 1:37; JOHN 6:26. Many partake of the benefits of Christ, reject His supremacy. They receive glory from Him, but do not give Him glory. If they can get into heaven when they die, they don’t care how little they have of it before. They have no concern about the dominion of sin within themselves as long as they obtain the pardon of it. This is very prevalent in hypocrites, and legalists. Many of them make the mistake of a mindful conviction, that God is to be loved. They now find it reasonable for God to be regarded by them, so that they imagine that they are loving Him.
Meanwhile, selfishness appears to be at the top of the list of sins to be regarded. The hideous forms of this sin are seen as early as childhood. COVETOUSNESS tops the list. This transgression violates the spirit of the entire law, it has polluted and threatened the existence of each dispensation of religion. It has infected all classes and relations of society. It has shown itself to be the most vulgar of acts. Ambition is covetous; the pursuit for a position aims more for the money than the office being pursued. We can find out more from when one speaks, ” Out of the abundance of the heart doth the mouth speak “, MATT. 12:34. It’s a sure sign that a man is of the world when his conversation is of the world, I JOHN 4:5. When one speaks the language of the world it is a pretty good guess that they are of that element, ISAIAH 32:6.
In order to shorten this exposition I will list some conditions under self conceit: BOASTING – one who is absorbed in themselves, and what they do, PRIDE – this condition is so bad that even the proud hate pride. They pride themselves in all the graces bestowed upon them, and therefore, has no grace because of their pride. BLASPHEMERS- we are told of lovers of self, boasters, proud, insulting over their brothers and sisters, and, which is worse, they don’t spare God, but blaspheme Him. This is the highest ingratitude in the world for a man to do. To curse the very One Who blesses them. UNTHANKFUL- it is like a lump of coal, which, falling into the palm of friendship, destroys it’s fragrance. WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION- there are many, now, who display a character such that it seemed incompatible with strong attatchments towards others; whether it be in marriage or otherwise. TRUCE BREAKERS- they will make no more of a promise than a dog of his collar, which he can slip on, and off at his pleasure. In the last days, men will not only be sermon proof and judgement proof, but covenant proof; nothing nor anyone can in the last times can keep men of the last times within the circle of obedience. They are like Samson breaking the bonds of Philistines. FALSE ACCUSERS- if they can,t find a fault, they will invent some, as the devil did by JOB 2:5-7; then JOB 2:9-11. Sometimes they whisper in secret, then openly defames, eventually covering all that with a deep sigh, professing their great sorrow for such a one’s fall. DRUNKARDS- but how do we know a drunkard? By their affections, words, and actions. You need to practice self control. Those who have none will be like young stallions going after their neighbors wives, JER. 5:8-9; EZE. 16:49. Drunkenness and whoreing go together, PRO. 23:31-33; HOS. 4:11. FIERCE- the fierceness of sin helps make the last days perilous. Mankind will become of a fierce, rude, savage, barbarous, inhuman disposition. They will be ready to kill anyone who opposes them, PRO. 12:10; 17:3; JOB 4:10; HAB. 1:8; the examples go on.
So, let man get grace. Grace will keep us from being fierce against others. It will be a shield to keep us from the rage of fierce men, ISA. 33:15,19. It is disobedience which brings fierce men against people, DEUT. 28:50. But when we are obedient God will restrain their rage, JOB 38:11. We need to admire the Lord, Who preserves His lambs in the midst of many lions. There is, though, a self love that IS pious. A person can love themselves as an instrument of God’s glory, as a servant for the good of others, or else our Savior would never set our love to ourselves before us as a pattern of our love to our neighbors. This is the pious and religious self love considered in relation to God and the common good. This is the self love that sends us forth to seek more noble and excellent things for the glory of God, our loving Creator. Christ emptied Himself of His glory, not for His own, but for our benefit, PHIL. 23:6.
Being, by their very nature, they pretend to be doing for others, when, in fact, they do all for their own ends. This is really worse than doing nothing at all. In actuality the self conceited will make others neglect the public, and decline to do service for them. It is very difficult to people like this to help, especially when there is danger involved. This holds true trying to engage them in any public service merely to upon the prospect of doing any public good.It is somewhat entertaining to watch them use thousands of maneuvers to get themselves excused. They carry with them a barrel full of self conceit, rather than fail. Those that are in love with themselves admire their own opinions,and think that their heresy is real, and that their vices are virtues.. By all accounts, self love is the most blind, and the most greedy. It is least able to deny itself of all loves.
The apostle here considers this self love in total opposition to God and His glory. In Scripture we find the word self signifies the sensual and carnal part of man. This sin, a major sin as is explained, does nothing but grease the road to destruction. It pleases the mind, the pleasure seeking thoughts, and the body, the sensuous actions that serve only the flesh, and it’s desires. There is also a part of men that the desire for money can deceive the most disciplined of men. They prefer their own private, present, interest before virtue, honor, conscience, and humanity. The moral effects of this exhorbitant and over mastering love of pleasure are very awful. Take a tree that needs firm rooting and fresh air, and put it in a hot house, or in some steamy vaporous place where no winds reach it, and where the light is dim, and see how weak and how faded it will become. Such is the man who has blotted out the word ‘ duty ‘ from the plan of his life, and written ‘ pleasure ‘ there instead; who feels life no longer to be a moral strife, with God and goodness as it’s end, but only a low and ignoble endeavor to snatch enjoyment and secure comfort.