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Consciousness of Sin.

Consciousness of Sin.

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St. Luke, xv. 21.


St. Luke, xv. 21.


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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 08, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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St. Luke, xv. 21."I HAVE SIED."They are words which scarcely any humanlips will refuse to utter. o mortal ever passedthe gate of death at an age later than infancy,who would not have acknowledged, when hethought of appearing before an eternal Judge,that he had sinned, and broken the divine com-mandments. They are words which are con-stantly uttered, not only in prayer and solemnconfession, but substantially in the intercourseof men with men, and in that of the heart withitself. u There is no man that sinneth not,"says Solomon ; and all ages and all tongues ac-cept the humbling confession, which, while itembraces each individual, embraces him alongwith all the rest. For that very reason, it isso easy.6Hosted byGoogle62 COSCIOUSESS OF SI.But the consequences which it brings with itare vast and important, 'beyond all utterance.The truth which each one thus owns for him-self and for all mankind, expresses more than
it has ever entered into the profoundest or mostpious mind to fathom. Sin, its nature, its guilt,its results, its bondage; the possibility of de-liverance ; the way of deliverance, if it be pos-sible; the justice of God; his mercy; the recon-ciliation between them; forgiveness; the resto-ration of the sinner to such a state that he shallbe as if he had not sinned; all these topics comecrowding upon us, when we fix our eyes uponthe one awful truth that men are sinners.With the admission of that fact, every thing ischanged ; the past, the present, the future, mustbe read in its light : our own destiny is all go-verned by our moral state, and our moral stateis stamped by the admission of our sinfulness;so that if there be still a hope, it is quite an-other hope than that which we could have main-tained, had sin never fastened itself upon oursouls.Let us consider for a little time the simplefact, which is, as each will acknowledge, a partof the history of every one of us, so that eachcan truly say, and does readily say, " I havesinned ;" and afterwards, let us pass on to someHosted byGoogleCOSCIOUSESS OF SI. 63of its consequences. May God so write hislaws upon our hearts,, that we may know oursins and be prepared for his mercies !" Sin is not imputed where there is no law."The very idea of such a thing as sin impliesthat there has been a rule of duty which hasbeen transgressed. If God had given us nocommands; if he had neither revealed to us
his will through his inspired servants, norinscribed it upon our conscience, we could nothave been sinners. When we acknowledgethat we have sinned, we own that we haveknown the right way, while we have followedthe wrong. The brute can have no such know-ledge when he obeys his passionate, animalinstincts : there is for him no such restraint of moral law ; since there is nothing in his naturewhich could respond to its injunctions. Theinfant has a nature which is subject to morallaws; but as yet he is incapable of knowingthem : they are to him as if they had not beenrevealed; and therefore, he is guilty of no ac-tual sin. But as he ripens, and his nature de-velops itself, the rule of right and wrong isalso disclosed as it is written within ; and hehears, too, the voice of God through his word,and feels its power and authority. The morehis understanding expands, the more clearlyHosted byGoogle64 COSCIOUSESS OF SI,does he perceive Ms duty ; the more distinctlydoes he feel himself condemned when he goesastray. I speak now of nothing concerningwhich there can he a dispute, but only of thatwhich, when we own that we have sinned, wenecessarily acknowledge by that very confes-sion. We do not mean that we have sinned indoing that which we did not know to be evil,or in leaving undone that which we did notknow to be good. The law was before us whenwe transgressed ; and we beheld it as the willof our Maker, and as our duty ; and if therewas ignorance, it was the ignorance of inatten-tion, of neglect, of forgetfulness, of indifference,

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