Sidor som bilder





By one man sin entered into the world."

PERHAPS there is no more awful thought than this: that sin is all around us and within us, and we know not what it is. We are beset by it on every side it hangs upon us, hovers about us, casts itself across our path, hides itself where our next footstep is to fall, searches us through and through, listens at our heart, floats through all our thoughts, draws our will under its sway, and ourselves under its dominion; and we do not know what it is. It is a pestilence that walketh in darkness; nothing stays its advance; it passes through all barriers, pierces all strongholds; the very air seems to waft it into our dwellings. Now it is very awful to know this, and yet not to know what is this malign and deadly power. We read, that in the beginning sin was not in the world; that "by one man sin entered;" that here it has ever since abode; that


it brought death with it; that " death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

We will consider, then, what sin is. Thus much, indeed, we do know, that it is a will opposed to the will of God. To make this more clear, let us consider, first, that whatsoever or whencesoever be the origin of sin, its home or dwelling is the moral nature of God's creatures. So far as we can understand, none but moral beings are capable of sin, because none but moral beings are responsible; that is, know good from evil, are on trial, are able to make choice, and are responsible for choosing. In saying this, we are only saying that the chief feature, or power, or endowment of a moral being, is a sense to discern, and a will to choose; and that, as to choose the good is holiness, so to choose the evil is sin. And consider next, that a will which chooses the evil is a will opposed to the will of God. Sin, therefore, is a quality, or inclination, or posture of the will of God's creatures, at variance with His own; or, to speak less exactly, but more simply, it is a will opposed to His.

St. Paul says, "By one man"- that is, by the wilful act of one man-" sin entered into the world." And from this we may draw the following truths:

[ocr errors]

1. First, that the entering in of sin proves the

presence of an Evil Being. We talk of powers, and qualities, and principles, and oppositions, and the like; but we are only putting words for realities. They do not exist apart from beings create or uncreate; they are the attributes and energies of living spirits. Sin entered in through and by the Evil One; that is, the Devil. There is working in the world something which is not of God. All that He made was good; all was holy, and full of life, and immortal. The world was a manifestation of God, of His wisdom and His goodness; man was an image of His being and of His will. All was one; all moved in harmony, having one supreme and universal law. Things are now divided by a twofold movement, and are full of diversity and opposition, discord and warfare. An Evil One has entered, and spread his enmity throughout the world. For wise ends, God suffers this rebellion to smoulder in His kingdom. Though He might have girdled about the world with the precinct of His own holiness, so that sin should have never entered; though at a breath of His, even now, all should once more stretch out its hands without sin unto God; yet, for some unsearchable purposes of wisdom, He has, by the entering of the Evil One, permitted the unity of His works to be troubled, and the harmony of His creatures to be marred. It is most necessary for us ever to bear in mind the personality of

« FöregåendeFortsätt »