mean, vacillating, treacherous, hypocritical, and blasphemous. And in his Confessions, he rehearses the exciting scenes of his life in the spirit of the bold adventurer. See N. M. Williams, in Bap. Review, art.: Rousseau, from which the substance of the above is taken.
Edwin Forrest, when accused of being converted in a religious revival, wrote an indignant denial to the public press, saying that he had nothing to regret. His sins were those of omission rather than commission, he had always acted upon the principle of loving his friends and hating his enemies. Trusting in the justice as well as the mercy of God, he hoped, when he left this earthly sphere, to wrap the drapery of his couch about him, and lie down to pleasant dreams.? And yet no man of his time was more arrogant, self-sufficient, licentious, revengeful. John V. McCane, when sentenced to Sing Sing prison for six years for violating the election laws by the most highhanded bribery and ballot stuffing, declared that he had never done anything wrong in his life. He was a Sunday School Superintendent, moreover. A lady, who had lived to the age of 92, protested that, if she had her whole life to live over again, she would not alter a single thing. Lord Nelson, after he had received his death wound at Trafalgar, said: ?I have never been a great sinner.? Yet at that very time he was living in open adultery. Tennyson, Sea Dreams: ?With all his conscience and one eye askew, So false, he partly took himself for true.? Contrast the utterance of the apostle Paul: <540115>1 Timothy 1:15 ? ?Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.? It has been well said that ?the greatest of sins is to be conscious of none.? Rowland Hill: ?The devil makes little of sin, that he may retain the sinner.?
The following reasons may be suggested for men?s unconsciousness of their sins:
1. We never know the force of any evil passion or principle within us until we begin to resist it.
2. God?s providential restraints upon sin have hitherto prevented its full development.
3. God?s judgments against sin have not yet been made manifest.
4. Sin itself has a blinding influence upon the mind.
5. Only he who has been saved from the penalty of sin is willing to look into the abyss from which he has been rescued. That a man is unconscious of any sin is therefore only proof that he is a great and hardened
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