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our own self?1 "The whole, said He, need not a physician.
That is, in coming to Him we must not fancy that
we have a knowledge and a goodness, imperfect indeed, yet of some value, and requiring only to be improved and
strengthened We must come to Him as having no
knowledge as to the great matter of saving our souls; as having no goodness that can abide God's judgment."2 "It is the certain consequence of that fall of man, which was related in the first lesson this morning, that this course of life will quite surely, if left to itself, lead to destruction."3 The bias of our nature to evil is so strong, that it can only be corrected by changing the very nature itself."4 He speaks of "the corruption of our nature, and how it is completely alienated from God."5 "Prosperity makes a man feel strong and confident; but it does not make him feel grateful, because knowing God to be a holy God and himself to be alienated from him, he cannot think that his good things are God's gift, but rather enjoyed in spite of Him. But if enjoyed in spite of Him, he is constantly fearing that God may take them from him, or punish him for enjoying blessings without deserving them. So then he learns to hate God, and the more he enjoys his earthly good things, the more he hates Him. He thinks of Him only as connected with death and the judgment, and many are the wishes of his heart that death and the judgment might never come, and that there was no God from whom to fear them."6 There are other expressions which show what views Dr. Arnold took of the pervading influence of sin in the soul. "But now suppose farther, that any one while so watching against one particular fault, and so praying, were to have his eyes opened more generally; were to see his faults, not in one point or points only, but as running through his whole nature; were to look at the commands of God's law
1 Christian Life, Its Hopes, etc., p. 159. American Ed.
3 Ibid. p. 187. 8 Ibid. p. 93.
* Sermons, vol. 1, 28. 6 Clir Life, Hopes, etc, p. 311.
6 Sermons on Interpretation, pp. 129, 130.
which bid us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and our neighbor as ourselves. This is
very often the crisis of a man's whole state Then
(after an experience of the redeeming power of the Gospel), sin is looked for and hunted out, as it were, of every thought and word and deed, and then it appears, to our amazement, how deeply it had possessed us. Then our old nature begins to die sensibly, in no part without pain. What a multitude of evil thoughts possess us, what a multitude of evil words we utter, what a multitude of evil deeds we do, when they are all seen by the light of God's grace !" In order that God's Spirit may ever bear witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God, it must have convinced our spirit first of sin; it must have borne witness with our spirit, not once only, but long and often, that we are by nature, and are still by inclination and practice, the children of sin."2
The Penalty of Sin.
Here also Dr. Arnold is perfectly outspoken, and often solemn and earnest in the highest degree. "This is, of all the revelations of Scripture, the one which men can least bear. They would fain find something of hope, something of mitigation, even in the heaviest sentences of God's anger And in this matter, where the temptation to
deceive ourselves is so great, what security for our
faith has God provided? . .. The declaration of His truth is in His own Scriptures, clear and full; no man can mistake, no man can dispute its meaning. . . We have it in the words of Christ himself, who knew with the knowledge of divinity the certainty of the things which He uttered. He said of Judas, that it were good for him if he had never been born. He said that his own sentence on the wicked at the last day should be, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Can that be inconsistent with God's mercy, which is declared by
Him who laid down His life for us? Are we more wise than Christ? Are we more full of love than he is, that our measure of what is true and just and good should be one that we may choose to prefer to His ?"1 "It will be true of every one of us, that it were good for us that we never had been born, unless we cross over from death unto life, and so think and so watch and so pray, as many of us now perhaps can hardly fancy themselves doing."2 "For us, for each of us, — if we do fail of the grace of God — there is reserved a misery of which indeed the words of the text are no more than a feeble picture. There is a state in which they who are condemned to it shall forever say in the morning, Would God it were even! and at even, Would God it were morning! for the fear of their heart wherewitli they shall fear, and the sight of their eyes which they shall see. There is a state in which the tender and delicate woman shall hate those whom once she most loved; in which they who lived together here in a friendship wherein God was no party, will have their eyes evil against one another forever. For where selfishness has wrought its perfect work, and the soul is utterly lost, there love is perished forever; and the intercourse between such persons can be only one of mutual reproaches, and suspicions, and hatred. Here eternal restlessness, and eternal evil passions, mark the everlasting portion of the enemies of God; just as an eternal rest, and a never ending life of love and peace are reserved for those who remain to the end His true children."3
Dr. Arnold here seems to follow substantially the general analogy of his system of belief, though his language is not quite so explicit as on some other points. Sometimes he seems to deny an instantaneous change of character. "We must indeed all be changed; once in a moment, in the
1 Vol. on Interpretation, pp. 347, 34$.
2 Ibid p. 170, in it sermon which argues at length from the words of Christ about Judas.
* Ibid. pp. 50, 51.
twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; and once also before that, not in a moment, but during the three-score and ten years of our pilgrimage; not in the twinkling of an eye, but through a long period of prayer and watchfulness, laboring slowly and witli difficulty to get rid of our evil nature."' By constant repentance, constant faith, — and not faith only, but all the other graces of the Holy Spirit, each in their order — we are gradually ripened for our appointed hour. In this sense we may say, if we will, that we are born daily, by daily becoming more and more ready to be born; but the actual birth is at our resurrection, or else, in a lower scale, when we are admitted into the Church of Christ on earth for the first time. But as in this sense it is past with all of us, and as in that higher sense which alone concerns us, it can only come after our deaths; so there is no birth to be looked for now, as some one sudden change, which shall divide, as by a great gulf, the latter parts of our lives from those which have gone before."2 Still he says, " I imagine that most men who have become Christians in earnest, can look back upon some one part of their life as on what may be called the crisis of their character, when the change in their principles and conduct first began. And it is often the case, also, that they can remember some particular circumstance which first led to this change; something happening to themselves or their friends, or it may be some particular conversation, or sermon, which struck them unusually, and produced a lasting impression on their minds."3 Again he inquires: "This step from the cold prayer to the living, from the weak faith to the faith victorious; who shall give it us? Yet in that one step lies everything. Surely the experience of every one of us tells us, that our salvation is not of ourselves, neither in the last place nor in the first; we can no more of ourselves apprehend Christ risen, than we could have atoned for our own sins without Christ crucified. That the work must first and last be of God is
surely no refined point in theology, but the very instinctive cry of our consciousness, when we see salvation before us, and our hand seems as it were palsied, we cannot lay hold upon it." Still again he says: "What would have happened to him, who at the end of this coming fortnight, sitting where he now sits, and with all the sights and sounds around him the same as they are now, should yet have experienced in the interval the greatest of all charges which can befall a human soul, should have undergone consciously some of the pains of that great inward struggle which works death to our sins, and to ourselves life and glory ? "J How far Dr. Arnold had any clearly denned theory of conversion is doubtful. It is plain that he had no sympathy with the idea that the religious life is the mere fruit of culture and development. It is equally plain, on the other hand, that he was anxious to impress those for whose good he labored, with the thought, that " dying to sin," in the comprehensive sense of the phrase, " is mostly a gradual process; a thing going on for a long time, and not beginning and ending in one sharp struggle."3 Yet the previous quotations show that he did recognize the existence of such a struggle; and in many passages he is very earnest in exhorting his hearers to an immediate and decisive putting away of their evil and selfish hearts. He held also that salvation from first to last was of God; yet his preaching tended to encourage anything rather than mere passivity in the sinner; or contentment in anything short of supreme and uncompromising devotion to Christ.
Justification by Faith.
Nothing can be more hearty than Dr. Arnold's assent to this great doctrine. He sets forth his views very fully in three sermons upon it in the second of the two volumes upon the Christian Life. A sermon in the volume on Interpretation discusses the seeming conflict between Paul and James. His position in brief in respect to this is, that
1 Sermons on Christian Life, Hopes, etc., p. 325. * Ibid. p. 149.
'Ibid. p. 147.