The Only Sure Safeguard
"And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her." -- Gen. 39:10
It was the voice of a bewitching temptress that spake to Joseph. But to her voice he turned a deaf ear. "He hearkened not unto her." He refused to consider the wicked thing proposed. He would not even entertain the thought of it.
Some time ago a Chicago clerk found $75,000—the property of a bank lost by a messenger. He returned it immediately. "Why, I never thought of keeping it," he said, when somebody congratulated him upon his honour. "I don’t want any reward, I don’t expect any praise," he said; "it is all in the day’s work."
The conduct of this young man under such tempting circumstances, was the expression of a strong character grounded in the principles of truth and right and honesty. When one reaches the place where it never even occurs to him to do the thing he should not do, he has reached a high level of character.
Herein was the secret of Joseph’s victory in the hour of his great temptation. Purity was a fixed element in his character. So much so that the thought of an impure act never occurred to him. And when such a thought was suggested to him, the thing seemed so repulsive and was so alien to his nature, that it was not for a moment entertained.
When it comes to safeguarding ourselves against temptation, the only sure safeguard is not to consider the evil thing proposed, to keep ourselves so far above it in our thoughts and motives and purposes that it can make little or no appeal to us, to possess ourselves with a character that automatically excludes even the thought of doing a wrong thing.