Self-Righteousness

IT is no uncommon thing for men to flatter themselves that God cannot be displeased with them because they have omitted to do a great many bad deeds, which they would have done, had they not been restrained by the fear of public opinion. The soundness of such morality is very well exhibited in Lossing's parable of "The wolf on his death-bed."

"A wolf lay at his last gasp, and was reviewing his past life. `It is true,' said he, `I am a sinner, but I hope not one of the greatest.  I have done evil, but I have also done much good. Once, I remember, a bleating lamb that had strayed from the flock came so near me that I might easily have throttled it, but I did it no harm.'

"`I can testify to all that,' said his friend the fox, who was helping him to prepare for death. `I remember perfectly all the circumstances.  It was just at the time when you were so dreadfully choked with that bone in your throat!'"