may be in each case the same but the guilt of it is proportioned to the extent to which the evil disposition is settled and strong.
(d) This condemning sentence remains the same, even although the origin of the evil disposition or state cannot be traced back to any conscious act of the individual. Neither the general sense of mankind, nor the civil law in which this general sense is expressed, goes behind the fact on an existing evil will. Whether this evil-will is the result of personal transgression or is a hereditary bias derived from generations passed, this evil will is the man himself, and upon him terminates the blame. We do not excuse arrogance or sensuality upon the ground that they are family traits.
The young murderer in Boston was not excused upon the ground of a congenitally cruel disposition. We repent in later years of sins of boyhood, which we only now see to be sins and converted cannibals repent, after becoming Christians, of the sins of heathendom, which they once committed without a thought of their wickedness. The peacock cannot escape from his feet by flying nor can we absolve ourselves from blame for an evil state of will by tracing its origin to a remote ancestry. We are responsible for what we are. How can this be, when we have not personally and consciously originated it, is the problem of original sin, which we have yet to discuss.
(e) When any evil disposition has such strength in itself, or is so combined with others as to indicate a settled moral corruption in which no power to do good remains, this state is regarded with the deepest disapprobation of all. Sin weakens man?s power of obedience but the cannot is a will-not and is, therefore, condemnable. The opposite principle would lead to the conclusion that, the more a man weakened his powers by transgression, the less guilty he would be, until absolute depravity became absolute innocence.
The boy who hates his father cannot change his hatred into love by a single act of will but he is not therefore innocent. Spontaneous and uncontrollable profanity is the worst profanity of all. It is a sign that the whole will is like a subterranean Kentucky river and moving away from God. No recuperative power is left in the soul, which can reach, into the depths to reverse its course. See Dorner, Glaubenslehre. 2:110-114; Shedd, Hist. Doct., 2:79-92, 152-157; Richards, Lectures on Theology, 256-301; Edwards, Works, 2:134; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 243-262; Princeton Essays, 2:224-239; Van Oosterzee, Dogmatics, 394.
C. From the experience of the Christian.
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