fellows and sell their hides.? Yet Confucius declares that ?man is born good.? He confounds conscience with will ? the sense of right with the love of right. Dean Swift?s worthy sought many years for a method of extracting sunbeams from cucumbers. Human nature, by itself, is as little able to bear the fruits of God.
Every man will grant (1) that he is not perfect in moral character, (2) that love to God has not been the constant motive of his actions, i. e., that he has been to some degree selfish, (3) that he has committed at least one known violation of conscience. Shedd, Sermons to the Natural Man, 86, 87 ? ?Those theorists who reject revealed religion, and remand man to the first principles of ethics and morality as the only religion that he needs, send him to a tribunal that damns him.? It is simple fact that ?no human creature, in any country or grade of civilization, has ever glorified God to the extent of his knowledge of God.?
(a) In proportion to his spiritual progress does the Christian recognize evil dispositions within him, which but for divine grace might germinate and bring forth the most various forms of outward transgression.
See Goodwin?s experience, in Baird, Elohim Revealed, 409; Goodwin, member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, speaking of his conversion, says: ?An abundant discovery was made to me of my inward lusts and concupiscence, and I was amazed to see with what greediness I had sought the gratification of every sin.? Tollner?s experience, in Martensen?s Dogmatics: Tollner, though inclined to Pelagianism, says: ?I look into my own heart and I see with penitent sorrow that I must in God?s sight accuse myself of all the offences I have named,? ? and he had named only deliberate transgressions. ?He who does not allow that he is similarly guilty, let him look deep into his own heart.? John Newton sees the murderer led to execution, and says: ?There, but for the grace of God, goes John Newton.? Count de Maistre: ?I do not know what the heart of a villain may be ? I only know that of a virtuous man and that is frightful.? Tholuck, on the fiftieth anniversary of his professorship at Halle, said to his students: ?In review of God?s manifold blessings, the thing I seem most to thank him for is the conviction of sin.?
Roger Ascham: ?By experience we find out a short way, by a long wandering.? <421525>Luke 15:25-32 is sometimes referred to as indicating that there are some of God?s children who never wander from the Father?s house. But there were two prodigals in that family. The elder was a
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