He was also well known as a sanitary reformer, and during the last ten years of his life he did much useful work in inculcating more enlightened ideas on the subject both in Edinburgh and other places.
That the compiler is always unwilling to speak of the misfortunes of good rulers is not necessarily to be ascribed to a deliberate suppression of truth, but shows that the book was throughout composed not in purely historical interests, but with a view to inculcating a single practical lesson.
The most remarkable of the works from this period are - (I) the Bestimmung des Menschen (Vocation of Man, 1800), a book which, for beauty of style, richness of content, and elevation of thought, may be ranked with the Meditations of Descartes; (2) Der geschlossene Handelsstaat, 1800 (The Exclusive or Isolated Commercial State), a very remarkable treatise, intensely socialist in tone, and inculcating organized protection; (3) Sonnenklarer Bericht an das grossere Publicum iiber die neueste Philosophie, 1801.
Aneau pointed out the obvious inconsistency of inculcating imitation of the ancients and depreciating native poets in a work professing to be a defence of the French language.
It was an austere religion, inculcating self-restraint, courage and honesty; it secured peace of conscience through forgiveness of sins, and abated for those who were initiated in its mysteries the superstitious terrors of death and the world to come.
It is impossible to overestimate the value of Sir John Simon's work, or the importance of his influence in the furtherance of the public health and the prevention of disease, and in inculcating right methods of medical government.
In the same spirit, under the reviving influence of ancient philosophy (with which, however, he was imperfectly acquainted and the relation of which to Christianity he extravagantly misunderstood), he argues that the old Greek moralists, as inculcating a disinterested love of good - and so implicitly love of God as the highest good - were really nearer to Christianity than Judaic legalism was.
Here it will suffice to say that he followed the Pachomian rather than the Antonian model, setting himself definitely against the practice of the eremitical life and of excessive asceticism, and inculcating the necessity and superiority of labour.