The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 20
We look upon ourselves as moral and accountable beings, yet there is no department of our nature more misunderstood and neglected than this. Many think they have fulfilled their moral obligations to society when they have pointed out their bypath through their own particular church to a sectarian heaven, or got rid of their accountability by believing that some one else has been made a scapegoat for their shortcomings. True moral teaching shows us how to control our nature, and act in accordance with the laws upon which our Father God has founded our being, for to these laws alone are we accountable.
Moral virtue consists in the temperate use of all our natural faculties, as when the whole of our instincts are governed by reason and we are thoroughly imbued with a willingness to forego self-gratification if it cannot be indulged except at the expense of the good of others or injury to any part of our being.
Moral and mental harmony is only possible when we have obtained calmness and serenity of mind by freedom from inordinate care and over anxiety, the isolation of ourselves from society will not accomplish this mental and moral harmony. This is the abuse of this law, its proper use alone is pursued when, in social concert, we enjoy life and communicate its enjoyments to others in the best, most complete, and happiest manner possible.
It is not humility that cries, "Am I my brother's keeper?" What good can I do? It is selfishness and laziness, or the spirit of self-indulgence speaking from the bottom of a depraved mind alluring its votary to thus sin against society.
But supineness and indolence are also sins against self in as much as page 18 they deteriorate our physical and intellectual powers, and thus bring ruin upon the fair Temple of our God by extinguishing the fire of omniactive love which is there enkindled. We must seek to remove all temptation to dishonesty and avarice, to strengthen the moral faculties by temperate use and proper direction, so as to open a way for the exercise, in the most benevolent manner, of our moral obligations and our duty not only to our families but to all mankind.