Praise and the Pure Mind
The love of popularity, a desire for approbation, when made a principle of action, is perhaps the most corrupting and the most disappointing of all the affections of our nature. It is corrupting, because it turns the regards of the mind in a selfish direction, defiles the motives by substituting the love of praise for the love of praiseworthiness, — and destroys truth and simplicity of soul by introducing among the inward sources of life temptations of a foreign and worldly character, that either interfere with the pure and natural movements of the mind, or dishonour and deform them by bringing to their aid the alien supports of selfish ends. A man desiring, on any question, to see where right and principle would lead him, can no more bring his own accommodation and indulgence into the foreground of his thoughts without corrupting his moral sight, than a man can introduce the love of commendation into the consultations of his soul, without at once insulting and silencing the divine oracle of his spirit. The praise of God is the only praise the love of which can influence a pure mind; for there only the two motives, the love of approbation, and a supreme regard for the highest truth of the conscience, cannot interfere. We do not say that it is the only praise, which when it comes as a reward is pure or sweet, — but that when regarded as a motive, as one of the determining influences of the character, it is, for adults, the only praise that is safe and holy.
— John Hamilton Thom (born January 10, 1808)