|« Prev||Chapter I. Of Sin.||Next »|
THE idea of sin22 Only the leading features of the notion of sin can be here given. For a more extensive treatment of this subject I refer especially to the much esteemed work of J. Müller, Die christliche Lehre von der Sünde; especially the first book, ‘On the Reality of Sin,’ pp. 32-866, ed. 8. can only exist where a Divine rule of life, and a highest aim of human existence resulting therefrom, are recognised. The recognition of both, however, is part of the very nature of reason, which ever requires, in the last instance, 16connection, conformity to law, and eternal constancy; and must deny itself by seeing, in the whole sphere of existence, only the aimless, unmeaning sport of accident or caprice.
We cannot conceive of the order of the world otherwise than as an all-including unity. There cannot be two different orders of the world, there can be but one; nor can this have different ends,—it must have one supreme end. But this one world-order unfolds itself in different spheres: it unfolds itself as the order of nature, in which force reigns, and as the order of moral life, where liberty rules.
In the domain of nature, everything that takes place is accomplished by a necessity in the things themselves; and even in those cases where we discover something resembling freedom, as in the actions of animals, it must be borne in mind that even their impulses spring from a mere unconscious natural desire, that is, instinct. Now we call that which thus operates in the domain of natural life a law of nature. This law of nature is not, however, a power acting from without, but it is the nature and constitution of the things themselves making itself irresistibly felt. Therefore, here the law is immediately one with its fulfilment; nor can there ever be a contradiction between the two. Hence, also, when apparent deviations from the ordinary course occur, when dangerous and destructive agencies enter in, we cannot speak of imputation or of guilt in this province, because nature does only what she cannot help doing, and therefore remains guiltless.
The marvels of this course of nature, with its connection and consistency in all its parts, from the scarcely perceptible atom to the sun-systems in their unchanging paths, are innumerable. But, in the midst of these miracles of nature, there arises a miracle greater still. It is the miracle of a will which interrupts the course of nature; it is free personality making her subject to mind. On the basis of the 17life of nature there rises up a moral life,—an ethical kingdom within the kingdom of nature. Of necessity an order must reign within this kingdom too. It were folly, indeed, to suppose that this most wondrous cosmical arrangement existed for no other purpose than to furnish a theatre on which the rule of caprice might be displayed; that preparations so pregnant with design should issue in results void of reason or purpose. But the order to be established here will undoubtedly differ radically from the order of nature. Thus, moral personality (even although situated in the midst of the course of nature) still possesses a full consciousness that it is not ruled thereby, nor can be, but that it has in it a principle which is determined by a power beyond and above nature. And this principle is free-will. The order which rules in this domain is free, like that will itself; it is not established by force. The law is not summarily enforced: it must be acknowledged and received by the will of him who is subject to it. But the law may not be thus accepted,—a contrary line of action may be chosen: hence the possibility of coming into collision with the law, and of a consequent disturbance of order, not now an apparent disturbance merely (as in nature), but a real one. And this disturbance, although it may, by the hand of the Almighty Disposer, be converted into a means of good, and thus be ultimately made serviceable to the cause of order, does nevertheless carry along with it, to him who commits it, the character of responsibility and guilt, because it is the act of his free choice.
In the order of nature, law does not appear as duty, because it is directly self-fulfilling. In the moral order, on the contrary, it becomes, under certain conditions, duty, because here the law, and the will which performs that law, may be separate. When the law commands—when it is obliged to take the form of ‘Thou shalt!’—this argues an unsatisfactory moral condition; for where the moral condition 18is what it should be, law does not come as a power from without enforcing obedience, but is the indwelling principle of action. Not that this state involves actual opposition to the moral order; for it is possible that due obedience may be rendered to law even when it comes from without, and assumes an authoritative attitude. Real opposition arises only when the personal will refuses obedience to law, which it yet clearly understands, and performs the very reverse of what it enjoins.33 Rom. iii. 20, v. 13. This is what we call transgression, disobedience to law, when relating to others, unrighteousness and—to express the notion generally—sin.44 1 John 4. Sin as ἀνομία, παράβασις, ἀδικία. But this definition is entirely formal and external: we must therefore look for other particulars, which regard not merely the form of action, but its substance, and which relate to action not merely as such, but in its inward and abiding source.
In the first place, it is evident that sin, being a deviation from the true order of life, is also a falling short and a failure of the end which that order has in view, of the true destination of man.55 The ordinary N. T. expression ἁμαρτία points this out, as do also the Hebrew and Latin words by which sin is designated. It is a want of goodness; and since goodness in itself has a blessing and ennobling effect upon life, without it there is no true life; that is, sin divests life of its completeness and its blessedness. But it would be false to conclude from this, that sin is nothing more than limitation, restriction, negation. The negation that is in sin turns naturally into something positive, something positively wrong; and indeed it implies this. Even sins of omission are not merely negative, much less are actual sins. Only in one case could sin be regarded as something merely negative, that is, if the Will that would not choose the good could at once suspend its activity altogether, and will nothing at all. But 19the Will can never will absolutely nothing: when it shuts itself against the good, it inevitably chooses its opposite; when it contemns order, It surrenders itself to caprice; when it thrusts from it the true principle of life, it admits a false one in its place. Thus sin is not only a coming-short of the true goal, but a tendency towards a wrong one; not merely an interruption, but. a perversion; not merely a pause in the advance towards goodness, but an apostasy from goodness.66 Sin is a ψεῦδος; it proceeds from the πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης (1 John i. 8, iv. 6); it shows itself as a departure from God, and a perversion of man in both mind and conduct (Rom. i. and ii.). Are lying and cheating, gluttony and debauchery, envy and hatred, to be regarded as the mere absence of truth and uprightness, of moderation and chastity, of benevolence and brotherly love, or perhaps even as but very important stages in the development of these virtues, and not, on the contrary, as their most positive contrasts? In fact there must be an utter absence of all perception of the actual presence of sin in mankind,—of sin rising, as it does in many instances, to obdurate antagonism to all that is good and holy,—where its positive character is denied.
But it is not merely those actions which meet the eye that we must here bring under notice: the important matter is the inward source from which they proceed. It is only by fixing our attention upon that, that we can attain a clear idea of the nature of sin. Tao often does it happen that details hide from our view the whole: content to contemplate the phenomena, we forget the substance. So, too, in the case before us. We own the existence of sins,—that no man would deny; but of sin we will hear nothing. And yet sin is the root from which all acts of sin shoot forth; and the man who will not go beyond the latter, but stops short at faults and failings, transgressions and crimes, without penetrating to their source,—the perverted will, which is the source of all the evil,—20must crime to a conclusion as destitute of. wisdom and insight, as that of a physician whose diagnosis goes no further than the symptoms of the disease, and leaves its hidden causes unexplored. All the external actions of a man are the result of an internal antecedent; and that which is, in a moral point of view, alone decisive of the character .of an action, is the inward motive from which it proceeds. Moral order does indeed furnish us also with an objective standard; but whenever the question is one of the relation of the individual to moral order, everything depends upon the disposition of the mind; and it is not that which is palpable, that which may be the subject of human measurement, which is of primary importance. It is not the quantity of deeds done that imparts to them a character of merit or demerit: much more is it the quality and worth of those actions, as estimated by the spirit which they embody and reflect. And as this is true of goodness, so is it also of evil. The degree of heinousness of even outward acts of sin is determined by that which constitutes their inward motive. There may be sinful frames and dispositions which are scarcely perceptible in the external life, and which are yet the results of the deepest moral depravity;77 Matt. xv. 18, and v. 28. and a murder might, under certain circumstances, entail less guilt than the slanderous word which slays a reputation.
But if we fix our earnest attention upon the real inner source of sin, we shall not run the risk of adopting that false method of viewing it, which looks no further than its isolated external manifestations. The whole of life, and of moral life in particular, developes itself systematically; its several parts are intimately bound up together, and form one whole. Only the most thoughtless folly could for a moment entertain the opinion that a human being can, in virtue of his moral liberty, perpetrate in wanton caprice, first an action truly good, and then immediately thereafter an evil action. This 21may indeed appear at times to occur: we sometimes see an action that we should pronounce generous and noble in the midst of a course of conduct undoubtedly bad; sometimes, again, we mark an unexpected fall in the midst of an honourable life. But though such occurrences may appear to us abrupt and isolated, it does not follow that there is this absence of connection with the rest of the life, because we fail to perceive it. In truth, everything that a man does, comes from his whole nature: his actions are nothing else but the occasional expressions of that nature,—intimations to the world without of what is going on within. And this is especially the case in the matter of sin. Every sin has its antecedents, as well as its consequents. Every sin springs from spiritual blindness, and works spiritual blindness in its turn: it is a daughter of lust, and it becomes in its turn the mother of still more powerful lust.88 ‘Then, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin’ (Jas. i. 15). If sin have once entered into the sphere of mortal life, it is all over with its purity; and the state of perfect innocence can never be restored. It produces a shadow upon the moral consciousness, and an inclination to continue such a course of action. Sin is born from sin, and sin punishes itself by sin. Sin, even when cured, leaves its scars, and can never be so obliterated from the consciousness as though it had never existed. That, however, which connects together separate and single sins, is just the sinful nature, or sin considered as the principle from which all sinful actions flow.99 Rom. vii. 7-39.
These definitions of sin are in close connection with the nature of the moral law. The fact that we cannot rightly -estimate the moral character, except in so far as we have respect to its internal nature, and regard it as a whole, has-its explanation in this, that the law is itself the expression of an inner life, and that a consistent and connected life. 22Nor can appearances be allowed to deceive us here either. It is true that the law, especially the revealed law, may come to us, in the first instance, as a demand from without. Not the less on that account has it really taken its rise from a source within, from a spiritual life and it is that life which impresses upon the law that proceeds from it the character of righteousness and holiness, for the purpose of producing a similar life in those to whom it is given. It is true the law may come in the form of a number of separate injunctions and commands; but these have their true significance only as members of a complete organic whole, as component parts of the one commandment of perfect love towards God and our neighbour, in which the law is summed up, which demands not so much the observance of details, as obedience to the whole, and regards the transgression of a single command as a violation of the entire law, as a renunciation of its spirit and principle.1010 Jas. ii. 8-12; Matt. v. 19. Now, since the law seeks to mould and fashion the whole nature of the inward life, and since it does so as an indivisible whole, everything depends on the relation of man to the law and its principle,—on the one hand in his inmost affections, and on the other, in the sum-total of those outward actions which result therefrom. And the relation can, in reality, be only one of two kinds: either it is a relation of self-renunciation and. obedience, or it is a relation of resistance and disobedience. All good springs from the former,—all evil from the latter.1111 Rom. viii. 5. But the one as well as the other is a fundamental fact of the moral life, which must exist before the separate acts of will and separate deeds of good can in either case take place. In this connection, sin is defined as disobedience.1212 It is called παρακοή in Rom. v. 19 and Heb. ii. 2. The disobedience is not, however, merely in the external action, and against the external precept,—it is disobedience in the heart and 23against the whole law, and it is a spirit of disobedience by virtue of an internal opposition to the principle expressed by the moral law.
But if we would understand the true nature of sin, we must not stop at mere law. We must first of all inquire what is the origin of law, and the end it has in view; for law does not appoint itself, but must be appointed. Behind every law there is a life of which it is the expression, and a. power of which it is the command. In the case of the moral law, the life it expresses cannot be merely the life of nature, nor the power by which it is enforced merely the power of nature. The moral, from its very nature, transcends the merely natural the unity of the law has for its foundation the unity of a consciousness from which it proceeded and only a personal will can address itself to our will with the command, Thou shalt! There must, then, be a personal, conscious, absolutely moral life, exalted above nature, from which the law springs.
Will it perhaps be asserted that it is man himself who gives himself the law, and that he bears to himself first the relation of lawgiver, and then of law-obeyer? The natural moral law (as it is called), the law of conscience, has been indeed brought forward in this sense, and a system built up, according to which man is his own moral governor and lawgiver. But the moral law cannot be derived from such a source, nor even the so-called natural law. Conscience is not the source of moral principles, but the regulator of moral action. Besides, the material of which it is composed is not absolutely and under all circumstances the same, nor derived from its own resources, but rather furnished from a source external to itself, and hence differing according to the measure of religious development. The conscience of the true Christian is not merely more cultivated, but may be said to be of more intrinsic value than that of a heathen or 24a Jew. Hence it is not the primary function of conscience to lay down a moral law, but to bear its emphatic testimony thereto in special cases, by urgent exhortation to that which is lawful, by stern warning against its opposite, and by direct reaction against all infraction.1313 Compare Güder, Die Lehre von Gewissen in den theol. Stud. and Krit., 1857, pp. 246, etc. Moreover, it is essential to conscience, that its commands and prohibitions should be absolute; that its voice should assert its authority as a voice of God, as a revelation of the Divine righteousness and holiness within us; and that all opposition thereto should be perceived to be not merely man’s opposition to his own better nature, not merely an injury done to himself, but a violation of the Divine order, and a resistance to God Himself. Thus does conscience—far from corroborating the notion of human autonomy—refer us rather to a far higher source of law than a merely human one.
A similar result ensues from the very nature of the subject. For wherever in the sphere of life we find an all-powerful and universal law enforcing itself, we are compelled to acknowledge that it has sprung from the very same source from which that life itself is derived. It follows that the source of both the law and the life must be something higher than either, and lie beyond the sphere of that life. It is the power which determined the conditions under which that life is intended to unfold itself and fulfil its destiny, and under which alone it can do so. The plant, the animal, or the star, did not choose for itself its law of life, but received it from that creative Power which gave it being; and it is because that Power is Omnipotence that the laws it has implanted work with undeviating certainty. The same holds true of man and his order of life; only with this difference, that in his case that order is one of liberty, because it is a moral order. If man had been his own creator, he might 25have been his own lawgiver. But this not being the case, the law of his life must have its origin in that creative power in which his existence is rooted and grounded.1414 J. Müller, Lehre von der Sunde, pp. 108-117. It is, moreover, on this fact alone that the authority and majesty, the eternal validity, and the sacred inviolability of the law, depends. Further, it is only under this condition that man can possibly entertain that faith in the absolute, final victory of the good over the evil, which is indispensable to all moral life. For, in order to have that faith, it is not enough to know that the good has a certain authority and supreme right given it by man. No; we must possess a much higher assurance; we must be convinced that the final triumph of goodness is a part of the grand world-plan; that the great design of creation, the reason for which the world exists, is, that goodness may come to its full realization. And this certainty can be gained only from the conviction that the moral law of human life has its source in the very same power which called the whole economy of the world into existence, and which is conducting it to its goal. If, then, the moral law be necessarily derived from a personal Being, even from Him who created and governs the universe, then is the source of the moral law none other than the living, the personal God. And if this be true of the natural law, it is still more indisputably true of the revealed law; for that is so thoroughly the expression of the will of a holy personal Being, that it must indeed either be received as such, or else rejected altogether.
It follows, that what we have to do with in the order of human life, ethically considered, is not the law as such, but much rather, in the law and beyond the law, its holy Originator.1515 Jas. iv. 12. It is He who personally addresses to us the command, Be ye holy, for I am holy. Viewed in this light, 26the law attains a religious significance; it is no longer a mere order of life, but a link of life, the bond of union between man and God. And this gives a deep and wide significance to sin, because it thus appears not merely as disobedience against God, but as a severing of the bond which connects man with God,1616 This thought underlies the whole parable of the prodigal son; see especially Luke xv. 13 and 18. and therefore as separation, departure, alienation from God, nay, as an antagonism to God, which at length rises to open enmity.1717 Rom. viii. 7. It is not till this is taken into consideration, that the essential characteristics of sin are fully manifest.
The will of God concerning us, which finds expression in the law, is the will of holy love. In it God gives Himself to us, in order to make us holy and blessed in His fellowship. And the only fitting relation that man can occupy with reference to this holy, loving will of God, is that of absolute, trustful submission, and thankful love; and this state of mind is called faith. Where this, and the love that flows from it, are found, the law is fulfilled as a natural consequence. To faith and love, in their inseparable union, the law no longer imposes commands from without, the spirit of the law being by them implanted in the human will, as an all-governing principle. He in whom this has taken place has found the centre and nucleus of his life in God, and has therefore attained true liberty, perfect contentment, perfect blessedness.
But if the only real fulfilling of the law proceeds from a personal self-surrender to God in faith and love, sin, the transgression of the law, must of necessity have its source in the opposite of this,—in the want of personal surrender to God, in the want of faith and of love; in a word, in man’s having severed himself from his true and proper centre of life in God. Thus sin, in its inseparable connection with 27unbelief,1818 As far as Scripture is concerned, we would not so much call attention to special passages, such as John xvi. 9 and Rom. xiv. 28, and least of all to the latter, in which the word πίστις is used in a pre-eminently moral sense; but rather remind our readers that it is one of the leading peculiarities of the Old and New Testaments in general, and of the teaching of John and St. Paul especially, to uphold the indissoluble union of the ethical and the religious, and thus everywhere to insist on the connection of sin with unbelief, and of holiness with faith. appears as a criminal violation of our relation to God, and as something requiring expiation,—something whose guilt must be done away, if this relation is to be restored.
But when man has once severed himself from the true centre of his life, from God, he cannot stop at this point. His life must of necessity have some object, some aim and if he forsakes the centre appointed him, he must choose for himself a wrong one. This is the point at which the negative character of sin is naturally converted into something positively evil. The first thing to which the man who has forsaken God will turn, is the creature, the World, in the good things of which he deludes himself with the hope of finding satisfaction. But when he surrenders himself to the world, the impulse by which he is really possessed is the desire of making all things conduce to his own profit or advantage. It is self that he really seeks in everything,—even in those relations which have the appearance of love.1919 1 John ii. 16.
‘Thus the Ego becomes the real centre of life, and that self-love which in itself is natural and right—nay, which is the basis of the full development of the Divine likeness, of free personality in man—is perverted into the selfishness which is alike opposed to nature and to God. It is in this selfishness—in virtue of which a man can know no surrender to anything higher than himself, but subjects everything to his own particular ends, and at length shuts himself up either in dull indifference, or positive hatred and defiance—that we recognise both the essential nature of sin, and at the same 28time that distinctive feature whereby it becomes directly its own inevitable punishment. For if it be true that in faith and love towards God all goodness is implied, it is not less certain that, in that unbelieving selfishness which severs itself from God, all sin is included: selfishness is thus to be regarded as the radical sin, as the principle of all sin. And if true life and perfect peace can only flow forth to man from communion with God as the true centre of life, it follows, as a necessary consequence, that when man, emptying himself of such divine fulness, seeks only himself in everything, he must be consumed by unsatisfied longings, and at last find but death and hell.2020 Rom. vi. 23. It is in the full development of this perverted self-seeking, this conversion of the Ego into the central object, that sin reaches its climax. On the other hand, as constituting the original impulse of every development of sin, and the essence of sin in general, it may also be regarded as its commencement. In the latter case, however, it at first works more secretly, especially in the sensible forms of sin; and it is not till a subsequent period that it openly appears.
The effects of sin correspond to its nature.
The proper seat of sin is the will. But the spirit which manifests itself in the will is the very same spirit that is seen at work in the thoughts and feelings, in the imagination and the fancy; and this spirit becomes a living personality only by being united, by means of the soul, with a material body. Now, whatever makes the will go out in a wrong direction, whatever introduces into the region over which the will presides a power which interferes with the development of life, and produces desecrating or destructive effects, must produce like effects in the whole region of the spirit and the soul,—nay, through the soul those evil influences will 29extend even to the body; and thus the whole person will be affected by them. The moral blindness that has at all times been found to accompany sin,—the perversion, the contamination, the servitude of the will, which sin brings along with it, have, as their inevitable consequence, an increased perversion, likewise, of the moral judgment, an obscuration of knowledge, especially in things moral and divine, the pollution of the imagination, the unbridling Of the fancy, the degradation of the entire nature, the enfeebling of the whole soul, and the ruin of the organs and powers of the body.
Man forms a unity, which is, however, only the foundation of that higher unity which is to be brought about in him, as a being made in the Divine image, by means of communion with God. Now sin does not merely obstruct this unity, but sets up in its place that which is its direct opposite. He who has fallen away from God by sin, does, as a necessary consequence, fall out both with himself and with all mankind. True unity in man is possible only when that which is godlike in him—that is, the mind—acquiesces in the divine order of life, and governs the whole being in conformity therewith. But when he has once severed himself from the true centre of his being, that is, from God, then also does that element of his being—his mind—which is akin to God, and which was intended to be the connecting and all-deciding centre of his personal life, lose its central and dominant position; he ceases to be lord of himself, and of his own nature; the various powers which make up his complex nature, begin to carry on, each for itself, an independent existence; the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit wages a fruitless war with the flesh (Gal. v. 17); sinful desire becomes dominant, and while the man seems to be in the enjoyment of all imaginable liberty, he has lost the only true liberty, and has become a slave to himself; for ‘whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin ‘ (John viii. 34;30Rom. vi. 16-23). He is the dependent of self and being thus the slave of self, he is also the slave of pleasure, and of all those objects which it requires for its satisfaction. This falling out with himself is, moreover, ever accompanied by a rupture with his fellow-men. When his own personality is destroyed, he can no longer feel any true reverence for the personality of others where selfishness has taken root in the place of that love which is ‘the bond of perfectness,’ no fit and lasting relation with others is possible. He degrades others into means of subserving his own selfish ends, or, where this is impossible, into objects of dislike and envy.
Hence no true fellowship, no fellowship worthy of human nature, can exist among those in whom sin prevails. The. wicked are never naturally social. The gregarious instinct, however, is indestructible in human nature and even those who are the servants of sin, mutually need each other’s assistance in the pursuit of their various aims. Hence there arises among them, in the place of that moral fellowship, whose prototype is the kingdom of God, a spurious kind of fellowship, an external combination, which being, however, in reality founded only upon mutual spoliation, results in overreaching and violence. Such combination, on a large scale, begets a kingdom of evil; a kingdom, indeed, which cannot stand, because it hears within it the germ of discord and destruction, but which is yet so constituted, as to render it fearfully evident that sin is indeed a great and powerful fact.
It is undeniable that sin is a phenomenon absolutely universal in human nature; and the saying of Holy Scripture, that the whole world lieth in wickedness, is indisputably confirmed both by history and individual experience. During the whole course of the natural development of mankind, history never brings before us a form of perfect purity, but shows us, on the contrary, that in spite of all the efforts exerted, 31and all the conflicts waged against it, evil is ever and anon breaking forth again with renewed energy. Antiquity, with all its glorious performances in the provinces of art and science, of legislation and national organization, ended in a tremendous moral dissolution. And ever since the appearance of Christianity in the world, sin has manifested itself to be a power which may indeed be broken, but which, unless it be broken by an arduous struggle, will be a dominant one. It has shown itself to be a power which maintains its position in the midst of all the boasted progress of mankind,—a power which, though in the course of human development it may indeed assume a more refined and polished form, remains unchanged in its essential attributes. Each man’s own experience, moreover, convinces him of his personal share in that sin which thus pervades the whole race; and he who would acquit himself of participation therein, would but exhibit either the entire obtuseness of his moral sense, or a boundless self-delusion. Yet it is not the case—as each man’s moral consciousness will testify—that sin first shows itself in individuals, in consequence of a fall from a previous state of peace, innocence, and goodness. On the contrary, each man, at the first awakening of the moral sense, finds himself tied and bound with the chain of sin; for he finds that to be present in him which constitutes the general foundation of sin. In other words, he is sensible of an opposition between the flesh and the spirit, of an inclination to act only from motives of self-love, and of an impulse to make self the central object. This sinful disposition is, more: over, deeply rooted, even in the case of those in whom the supremacy of sin is destroyed, and is no longer the dominant principle. Hence its after effects remain, and are ever and anon appearing in the form of incentives to evil, by means of seductive thoughts and inclinations. Hence, too, there is always a dark background to the heart; and so long 32as man is in the body, he never reaches a stage of progress at which the precept, ‘Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation,’ loses one jot or tittle of its full importance. This absolute universality of sin evidently points to a cause common to all, to a tendency of nature contemporary with the birth of man,—for we are here treating of that which is anterior to the conscious activity of the will. The existence of such a sinful tendency in human nature is not taught only by the revelations of the Old and New Testament, but has been abundantly asserted, under every variety of expression, by the deepest and most earnest philosophers of all nations and ages. The origin of this sinful tendency it is beside our purpose to discuss. It will be sufficient for the present to have established the fact of its existence, that we may return hereafter to a more detailed treatment of the subject. We must not omit, however, to bring forward two points which bear upon the notion of sinlessness. First, If the supremacy of sin is so universal, and if its cause is a natural tendency in man as he is now born, this must entail upon the whole race, and upon each individual, a still deeper ruin, unless some power exists strong enough to overcome and find a remedy for such a state of things, and so constituted that a new and holy life may originate therefrom. And such a power will be found only in a person in whom sin is shown to be completely conquered. To this must be added, secondly, that this person must not only be perfectly free from actual sin during the whole course of his life, but that his inmost life, the basis of his whole development, must be thoroughly pure, and have no kind of sinful taint in it. And this leads us to a nearer consideration of the proper nature of sinlessness.33
|« Prev||Chapter I. Of Sin.||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version