Christian experience is a testing of Scripture truth, and therefore is not an independent source of knowledge. It may, however, corroborate conclusions drawn from the word of God. Since the judgment of the Christian is formed under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we may trust this more implicitly than the general sense of the world. We affirm, then, that just in proportion to his spiritual enlightenment and self-knowledge, the Christian
(a) Regards his outward deviations from God?s law, and his evil inclinations and desires, as outgrowths and revelations of a depravity of nature which lies below his consciousness and
(b) Repents more deeply for this depravity of nature, which constitutes his inmost character and is inseparable from himself than for what he merely feels or does.
In proof of these statements we appeal to the biographies and writings of those in all ages, who by general consent, have been regarded as most advanced in spiritual culture and discernment.
?Intelligentia prima est, ut te noris peccatorem.? Compare David?s experience, <195106>Psalm 51:6 ? ?Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: And in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom? ? with Paul?s experience in <450724>Romans 7:24 ? ?Wretched man that l am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?? ? with Isaiah?s experience (6:5), when in the presence of God?s glory he uses the words of the leper ( <031345>Leviticus 13:45) and calls himself ?unclean,? and with Peter?s experience [ <420508>Luke 5:8) when at the manifestation of Christ?s miraculous power he ?fell down at Jesus? knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.? So the publican cries: ?God, be thou merciful to me the sinner? ( <421813>Luke 18:13) and Paul calls himself the ?chief? of sinners ( <540115>1 Timothy 1:15). It is evident that in none of these cases were there merely single acts of transgression in view; the humiliation and self-abhorrence were in view of permanent states of depravity. Van Oosterzee: ?What we do outwardly is only the revelation of our inner nature.? The outcropping and visible rock is but small in extent compared with the rock that is underlying and invisible. The iceberg has eight-ninths of its mass below the surface of the sea, yet icebergs have been seen near Cape Horn from 700 to 800 feet high above the water.
It may be doubted whether any repentance is genuine which is not repentance for sin rather than for sins. Compare <431608>John 16:8 ? the
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