Imatges de pÓgina

1. Internal and external, as sins of thought, feeling, purpose, etc., in the inner activities of the soul, whether revealed or not; and as sins of word or deed in the outward life.

2. Voluntary and involuntary, such as free or deliberate violation of known duty; and wrong-doing through ignorance or infirmity (Acts xv. 39; Gal. ii. 12-13; Rom. vii. 15).

3. Sins of commission and of omission, viz. : on the one hand, such as transgress in positive action; and on the other, leave required duty undone or given privileges unused. Among sincere Christians positive transgression of the divine commandments is probably far less than neglect of known duty and nonuse of opportunities of good which leave Christian life negative and poor. We should say: “Forgive us our debts "—what we owe both as penalties for evil done and for unmet dutiesrather than “forgive us our trespasses,” this term failing to include our numerous sins of omission.

4. Venial and mortal. By venial sin is meant sins of such kind and import as do not break the believer's relation of acceptance with God in Christ, but are forgiven at once under the graciousness of that state in which he abides. As this state exists through faith in Christ, sin can be venial only as it does not annul true faith or prove a professed faith to be dead (Jas. ii. 17-20). Mortal sin is either the unbelief that refuses acceptance of Christ, or, after faith, relapses into it and breaks the saving relation. The distinction of sin as venial and mortal does not arise from the desert of sin, as of small or great sins—for the greatest sins may be forgivenbut from the fact that unbelief per se rejects the provided and offered pardon. Romanism, however, has

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made such dangerous and misleading use of the distinction that it has not been much favored by Protestant theology.

5. Pardonable and unpardonable. All sin is pardonable under the redemptory economy except the one pointed out as “unpardonable" in the words of Christ (Matt. xii. 31-32 ; Mark iii. 28-29; Luke xii. 10, and ap

, parently referred to in 1 John v. 16; Heb. vi. 4-6). After all the long discussion of the subject, the unpardonable sin, as a sin to which men are still liable, may best be defined as that of so resisting and refusing obedience to the Holy Spirit in God's message of truth and grace through the Gospel as to become irrecoverably hardened and settled in an invincible habit of disobedience and unbelief. It may be reached through the indurating force of long-continued resistance of the truth and the Holy Spirit, or by willful apostasy, sinning against the increased responsibility of having been graciously “enlightened," given "taste of the heavenly gift," made actual “partaker of the Holy Spirit," and yet, despite all, returning into full self-subjection to the principle of sin. Reached in either way, its characterizing fact is callous impenitence that cannot be turned into repentance and faith by all the powers which God has lodged in the truth and the Holy Spirit's work of enlightenment and persuasion through it. For the order of salvation does not proceed by compulsion or the overthrow of the moral or free constitution of men. “It is impossible to bring them to repentance "—the essential condition for faith's appropriation of pardon and spiritual enjoyment of the holy life. Thus, the reason of its unpardonableness is not that God's goodness and Christ's atonement have not made adequate provision

for forgiveness, or that the divine love is unwilling, but that by the reflex action of the sinner's sin on his moral constitution he has become obdurate beyond the possibility of effective reach of moral truth and spiritual suasion. The sin is necessarily fatal, moreover, because, rejecting Christ, the only Saviour, it also at the same time quenches and makes ineffectual the work of the Holy Spirit, the final divine agency of love for the recovery of sinners.



The topics to be looked at under this head are the questions of the Origin of Souls since the first human pair, of Dichotomy or Trichotomy, the Freedom of the Will, and Human Ability. They present problems that have not only a speculative interest, but a close relation to man's position and constitution as a subject of redemption and grace. Theology has busied itself with them from its earliest periods. It will be enough to sum up its best established conclusions.


ADAM AND EVE. This has close connection with the questions of original sin, the organic unity of the race and of the individual, and the relation of the humanity of Christ to the universal humanity of man. Three theories have divided speculative view, Pre-existentism, Creationism, and Traducianism.

The theory of pre-existence arose from Platonism, and represents human souls as having been created before or at the beginning of the world, and from a pre-existent state passing over into the human life. It was adopted by Philo, the eminent Jewish writer of Alexandria, and by a number of the Church Fathers, as Justin Martyr, Origen, Synesius, and others. Some have held that these pre-existent souls, one by one, pass freely into the actual human state; others that they are brought into the body as a punishment for sin, and with the benevolent design, at the same time, of giving an opportunity of recovery through redemption. The theory was condemned by the Council of Constantinople, A. D. 540. It has had but little following, and this little mainly among “mystics.” It was favored by Duns Scotus and Henry More. In recent times Dr. Julius Müller, the eminent author of “The Doctrine of Sin,” and Dr. Edward Beecher, in his “Conflict of Ages," have used it in an effort to explain the problem of hereditary guilt, by referring it back to sin in preexistent state. It has no Scripture basis, and is rationally inadmissible because contradictory both of the real humanity of the individual and of the natural homogeneity of the race. Each human body would house an alien unrelated soul, and the race reality and continuance would consist only in the physical organization perpetuated.

Creationism is traced to Aristotle, who made a distinction between the animal soul (yuxń) and the rational principle (voûs), and derived the former (soul or life), with the body from generation, and the latter (reason), from above as part of the reason of God, or a direct creation by Him. According to this theory the generation of the body is the occasion to God, according to the theological principle of concursus, for direct creation of the soul. The intervening of the direct divine act leaves physical propagation simply the occasion of the soul's existence. The majority of Roman Catholic and Reformed theologians have been creationists. Dr. Charles Hodge gives as arguments for it: (a) It seems to correspond best with the Scriptures which represent the soul as coming from God. (6) It is most consistent with the nature of the soul as indivisible. (c) It explains the freedom of Christ's soul from sin, although He was con

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