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XVIII.

(Lecture V, page 158.)

SIN.—CONSCIOUSNESS OF SIN.

The following are the statements referred to in the text:—

“The answer to this question,” says Baur, “lies in the undeniable truth, that sin is what it is essentially and simply through man’s consciousness of it; where there is no consciousness of sin, there is no sin.”—Baur’s ’St. Paul,’ p. 141.

“In the apostle’s language, consciousness is presupposed in the sin itself; not reflected on it from without. That which gives it the nature of sin is conscientia peccati. As Socrates, a little inverting the ordinary view and common language of mankind, declared all virtue to be 238knowledge; so the language of St. Paul implies all sin to be the knowledge of sin. Conscientia peccati peccatum ipsum est . . . If, from the apostle’s ideal point of view, we regard the law, not as the tables given on Mount Sinai, or the books of Moses, but as the law written on the heart, the difficulty is, not how we are to identify the law with the consciousness of sin, but how we are to distinguish them. . . . In the language of metaphysical philosophy, we say that ‘the subject is identical with the object;’ in the same way sin implies the law. The law written on the heart, when considered in reference to the subject, is simply the conscience. The conscience, in like manner, when conceived of objectively, as words written down in a book, as a rule of life which we are to obey, becomes the law. For the sake of clearness we may express the whole in a sort of formula. ’Sin = the consciousness of sin = the law.’ From this last conclusion the apostle only stops short from the remembrance of the divine original of the law, and the sense that what made it evil to him was the fact that it was in its own nature good.”—Jowett’s ‘Comm. on Epistle to Romans,’ p. 504, 505.

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