Dogmatik, 323 ? ?Jesus grants that even the heathen and sinners love those who love them. But family love becomes family pride, patriotism comes to stand for country right or wrong, happiness in one?s calling leads to class distinctions.?
Dante, in his Divine Comedy, divides the Inferno into three great sections: those in which are punished respectively: incontinence, bestiality and malice. Incontinence = sin of the heart, the emotions, the affections. Lower down is found bestiality = sin of the head, the thoughts, the mind, as infidelity and heresy. Lowest of all is malice = sin of the will, deliberate rebellion, fraud and treachery. So we are taught that the heart carries the intellect with it and that the sin of unbelief gradually deepens into the intensity of malice. See A. H. Strong, Great Poets and their Theology, 133 ? ?Dante teaches us that sin is the self-perversion of the will. If there is any thought fundamental to his system, it is the thought of freedom. Man is not a waif swept irresistibly downward on the current; he is a being endowed with power to resist and therefore, guilty if he yields. Sin is not misfortune or disease or natural necessity but it is willfulness and crime and self-destruction. The Divine Comedy is, beyond all other poems, the poem of conscience and this could not be if it did not recognize man as a free agent, the responsible cause of his own evil acts and his own evil state.? See also Harris, in Jour. Spec. Philos., 21:350-451; Dinsmore, Atonement in Literature and Life, 69-86.
In Greek tragedy, says Prof. Win. Arnold Stevens, the one sin, which the gods hated and would not pardon was uJbriv ? obstinate self-assertion of mind or will, absence of reverence and humility ? of which we have an illustration in Ajax. George MacDonald: ?A man may be possessed of himself, as of a devil.? Shakespeare depicts this insolence of infatuation in Shylock, Macbeth and Richard III. Troilus and Cressida, 4:4 ? ?Something may be done that we will not; And sometimes we are devils to ourselves, When we will tempt the frailty of our powers, Presuming on their changeful potency.? Yet Robert G. Ingersoll said that Shakespeare holds crime to be the mistake of ignorance! N. P. Willis, Parrhasius: ?How like a mounting devil in the heart Rules unrestrained ambition!?
(b) Even in the nobler forms of unregenerate life, the principle of selfishness is to be regarded as manifesting itself in the preference of lower ends to that of God?s proposing. Others are loved with idolatrous affection because these others are regarded as a part of self. That the selfish element is present even here, is evident upon considering that such affection does not seek the highest interest of its object that it often ceases when not
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