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" For this purpose (R.V., To this end) the Son of God was
manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.'* —
I John iii. 8.

" For this purpose (R.V., To this end) the Son of God was
manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.'* —
I John iii. 8.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 09, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE MISSION OF CHRIST.BY SAMUEL COX" For this purpose (R.V., To this end) the Son of God wasmanifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.'* — I John iii. 8.For some time now \vc have been trying to familiarizeour minds with a few of the leading thoughts of St.John, thoughts which, as we have seen, run very deep,though they are expressed in the simplest words. Aboveall we have asked him to explain us to ourselves. For,like St. Paul, we find in our single nature a double per-sonality. Two wills, two selves, two men are at strifewithin us ; a will to do good and a will to do evil ; aself which may be denied or even crucified, and a self todeny or crucify it ; a man which walks after the spiritand in the light, and a man which walks, in darkness,after the flesh : a man to which good is so natural andso dear that it utterly refuses to have any part in evil,even when we do it, and a man so fallen and impurethat it zvill do evil, strive against it how we may.St. Paul explains this mystery of human nature bythe law of heredity, by tracing the evil will, or self, in us288 THE MISSION OF CHRIST.up to the disobedience of the first Adam ; and the goodwill, or self, up to the obedience of the second Adam,the Man from heaven : in Adam all sinned ; in Christall are made alive. But St. John traces the fountains of our being higher up and farther back. According tohim, " he that committeth sin is of the devil, for the
devil sinneth from the beginning;" while "he that isbegotten of God doth not and cannot sin, because he isbegotten of God." John takes up his brother-Apostle'ssolution of the problem, as it were ; and where Paulwrites Adam, he writes Diabolos;^ where Paul writesChrist, he writes God. His hypothesis is that man,himself a spirit clothed in flesh, stands surrounded bymyriads of spirits, good and bad, all of whom have acertain power of suggestion or influence over him, buta power which it lies in his own option either to submitto or to resist. And thus, while he does not relieve usof the responsibility of our own deeds, while he bindsthat responsibility upon us by teaching us that even theprince and ruler of evil spirits may be resisted, nay,that even the Spirit of all grace may be resisted, if wewill, he nevertheless does explain to us how it comes topass that both evil and good have so strange a power' **It will be observed that as St. Paul traces back sin to thetypical representative of mankind, so St. John traces it back yetfarther to a spiritual origin." — Canon Westcott on T/ie Epistlesof St. yohn, in loco. These four discourses on some of the rulingideas of St. John were written in the spring of 1881, two years,therefore, before Canon Westcott's admirable Commentary ap-peared ; but, on reading it, I was gratified to find that, in general,lie confirms the interpretation I had given of the two passages onwhich I wrote.THE MISSION OF CHRIST. • 289within us ; he docs explain to us how it is that we feelevil to be alien to our nature and separable from it, evenwhen we have yielded to it ; and how it is we feel that,only when we love and do that which is good, do we runin the proper current of our being, and fulfil the endfor which we were created and made.
All this, however, is ground that we have gone overbefore. The text opens new ground to us. It suppliesan answer to the one momentous question which ourprevious studies cannot fail to have suggested to us.For when we consider that strange opposition of natureof which we are all conscious, that inward and ceaselessconflict between good and evil from which we are notdelivered even when we are " born from above," the onegreat question which forces itself upon us is : Will thisconflict never come to an end "i and, if it will, hoiu willit end ? If even Paul, after a life of conflict and service,still acknowledges himself to be the chief of sinners, andcries out in despair, " O, wretched man that I am ! whowill deliver me ?" and if even John, knowing that he haseternal life, still affirms, " If we say that we have no sin,we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us;" it isno marvel if we grow weary and lose heart, if we look forward with tremulous apprehension to the close andupshot of our warfare, or even if we sometimes fear thatevil may prove to be stronger than good, both in us andin the world at large.We have already, indeed, found some hopeful hints of what the end of this age-long conflict must be. Fromthe fact that law must have been anterior to sin — for sin20290 THE MISSION OF CHRIST.is the transgression of law ; and how should any law betransgressed before it exists ? — we have inferred that ,law will outlive sin. From our consciousness that, whenwe sin, we traverse the proper current of our being andfall short of the end for which we were made, we haveinferred that the purpose of God in creating us must atlast be fulfilled, and that at last we shall be delivered

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