The doctrine of the kingdompresupposes that of sin, the apostasy of man.
PROPOSITION 8. The doctrine of the kingdom presupposes that of sin, the apostasy of man.
The prophets with one voice proclaim, that this kingdom is to be established in order that in it man may find complete, perfect deliverance from sin and evil. The kingdom is to be set up, so that man and nature may be happily rescued from the curse entailed by sin under which both labor and groan.
Obs. 1. It is needless to discuss the difficult problem of sin; the fact of its presence and power is amply sufficient. It is a fundamental fact, and the superstructure of the Bible is in a measure reared upon it; for the Bible is a revelation of God’s plan to save man from his fallen condition. The kingdom in its conception, preparation, and ultimate establishment implies, and constantly keeps in view, a recovery from sin and its resultant evil. The kingdom originates in God’s merciful desire to deliver us from the reign and power of sin; to bring us back into a state of entire restitution and perfect salvation. It is the manifestation of such salvation, in which man’s will shall be in accord with God’s, and in which unspeakable blessedness, flowing from such a restoration, shall be realized. It has for its chief ruler a Saviour who saves from sin, and for its associated rulers and subjects those who are redeemed from sin. It is a kingdom which in its preparatory measures calls for repentance of sin (Matt. 3:1), conversion from sin (Matt. 18:3), self-denial of sin (Mark 9:47), perseverance against sin (Luke 9:62), and most emphatically refuses admittance into the kingdom of those who indulge in sin (1 Cor. 6:9, 10). The scheme of redemption is founded upon the principle annunciated by Jesus: “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” The disease, as well as the physician and remedy, must be kept in view in order to appreciate the provision made for us.
Note 1. Hence Schleiermacher, as Tholuck (in Address to Evang. Alliance, N. Y., Harper’s Ed.) remarks: “All philosophical terms and definitions, all physical investigations, all theses whatever, that could not be derived by strict inference from the profound feeling of sinfulness and the certainty of redemption, were excluded from the dogmatical system of Schleiermacher.” Fred. Den. Maurice regards it as a defect in theology that it should start from and build on sin instead of proceeding from God. While there is force in the objection, and while we show in this work that the idea or Plan of the kingdom was something anterior to the fall of man, yet it must also be admitted that this Plan is projected and developed in accordance with the foreknown fall. As the Bible is a book given to indicate the recovery of man from the fall—hence beginning with the fall and ending with the recovery—the fact of the fall should certainly be allowed its due prominency without however overlooking and discarding the antecedent facts. The true basis is the Edenic state and what it contemplated. Sin intervened, but the Divine Purpose is to restore man to the state forfeited by sin. Hence the Bible opens with Paradise and ends with Paradise; it does not begin with sin and end with sin.
Note 2. A believer in the Scriptures must concede that without freely admitting the fallen, sinful, ruined condition of man, the kingdom itself cannot be appreciated; that the latter contains within itself perfected Redemption, completed Salvation from the former and its direful results. Sin with its deadly train of evils is found at the opening of the Bible; the kingdom, with its attendant deliverance and blessings of restitution at its close; creation comes to us marred by sin, travails in pain waiting for its rescue, when the sons and daughters of the kingdom are manifested. The one precedes the other; and the one calls forth the love and mercy of God to produce the other. While the kingdom antedates sin and evil so far as the Divine Purpose is concerned, practically it follows as a delivering medium.
Obs. 2. The introduction of sin and its continued existence is a deep mystery. The strongest intellects have endeavored to solve it, but in vain. The most subtle theories respecting its eternity, its necessity, its naturalism, its fatalism, its relation to a moral system, its “creational imperfection,” its phenomenal nature, its tendency as a trial of faith, etc., are presented, but none of them entirely remove the difficulties connected with the subject. It still remains an unexplained mystery, so much so that Mill, rejecting the Biblical conception of the mighty God, explains (Dogma and Literature) the introduction of evil by limiting the power of the God he reverences, and thus leaves the dreary, hopeless prospect of no future deliverance. The Bible makes no effort to explain it; only speaking of it as a painful fact, allowed by the permission of an Omnipotent God, and which shall be by His power ultimately crushed. No labored effort in the way of proof is given by inspiration, but a constant appeal is made to our own consciousness of the necessity and truthfulness of Divine interposition in view of the sense of moral guilt, the evils to which we are subject, the helplessness and limited duration of man, the otherwise inexorable embrace of nature, etc. A fundamental teaching on almost every page is this: that man unaided cannot deliver himself from sin and its sad consequences, but imperatively requires Divine help in his need. This is most unmistakably presented in the Word; in the conditions and limitations surrounding us; and in the experience and life of every person who will but take time for reflection and self-appropriation of the truth. If sin, its results, and the need of a Redeemer are ignored or denied after the dreadful and merciful language of the Bible; after the costly provision made for us through Jesus Christ; after the testimony given by conscience and the world’s history; after the universal distinction observed between natural and moral evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, merit and demerit, praise and blame; after the propitiatory sacrifices of the ancients and heathen; after the manifested antagonism to that which is good and holy exhibited in the strife between duty and passion, love and selfishness, moral obligation and a violated conscience; after the confessions of the most devoted and pious of mankind; after the ten thousand warnings, threats, appeals, and invitations pressed home to a respondent consciousness by the Supreme Ruler Himself, then nothing that we can add will influence the heart and mind of the unbeliever.
Note 1. Compare the candid remarks of Hudson (Debt and Grace, p. 20): “It (sin) is essentially without reason—an act of unreason. To assign a good reason for it would be to justify it as a thing reasonable, which is contrary to its nature. It knows no rational or logical connection. It knows no law; it is pure anomaly. It is the surd quantity which no theologic algebra can determine. It can be reduced to no intelligible principle; it baffles explanation.” Hudson aptly quotes Neander (Pl. of Ch. B. 6, ch. 1, note) as saying: “According to my conviction, the origin of evil can only be understood as a fact—a fact possible by virtue of the freedom belonging to a created being, but not to be otherwise deduced or explained. It lies in the idea of evil that it is an utterly inexplicable thing, and whoever would explain it nullifies the very idea of it. It is not the limits of our knowledge which make the origin of sin something inexplicable to us, but it follows from the essential nature of sin as an act of free-will that it must remain to all eternity an inexplicable fact. It can only be understood empirically by means of the moral self-consciousness.” Julius Müller (The Ch. Doc. of Sin), with Neander, holds that the existence of evil is inconceivable in its actuality—that the abuse of free-will is essentially irrational, an act of unreason. Bushnell (Nat. and Supernat. p. 128) concludes: “We find then—this is the result of our search—that sin can nowise be accounted for; there are no positive grounds, or principles back of it, whence it may have come.” Schlegel (Philos. of His. p. 391) calls it “the greatest historical mystery—the deepest and most complicated enigma of the world.” (Comp. Martensen, Ch. Dog.) The student’s attention is directed to Keerl’s His. of Creation and Doc. of Paradise, and Art. in Bib. Sacra, Oct. 1863, Doctrine of the Fall of the World (with which Comp. Kurtz’s Bible and Astronomy, Beecher’s Conflict of Ages, etc.) Keerl claims many eminent Philosophers, Naturalists and Theologians as holding to the idea that physical disorders and evil resulted from the fall of a previous (to this one) holy earth, which was precipitated into a chaotic state, owing to the fallen estate of Satan and his angels. However such a line of defence may be adapted to remove some naturalistic objections (as, e.g., in reference to death existing previous to the trial of Adam, etc.), yet every appeal to a pre-existent state only shifts the mystery farther back and leaves it unsolved.
Note 2. Alas, many taking advantage of the mystery of evil, and overlooking how the terrible fact is supported by incontestible evidence, even in their own experience, utterly deny the existence of sin, and pronounce evil to be simply an imperfection of nature. Materialistic views, as, e.g., in Moleschott, Paine, Vogt, etc., necessarily lead to such contradictory conclusions, making conscience a delusion, the sense of moral obligation a vain deceit, and thus overriding the respect shown by ages to moral law and man’s self-consciousness. It is only extremists, who make little of the Supernatural, that take such a position; for multitudes who deny the authority of the Bible, still cling, under the sense that some kind of Religion is a necessity, to the notion that sin and evil, however explained, are a resultant of our connection with a Power outside of us—a Supernatural source—that has placed us under moral law, and made us susceptible to its behests. No matter how the origin of it is explained, as an imperfection, or a dualistic antagonism, or an eternal corruption, or a necessary offset of free-will, or a developer of good, trial, discipline, divine attributes, etc., or the result of temptation, or the necessary accompaniment of a moral system, etc., both unbelief and belief cannot fathom the mystery. Unbelief cannot do it, for it leaves us in the dark why it should be introduced in the manner asserted by it; and belief is equally powerless to assign a satisfactory reason. The difficulty, so long as we allow a Supreme Being of Love and mercy to have been the Originator of all things, is beyond our solution, and perhaps Laurentius Calla (quoted by Hudson) was not far wrong when he said, “I doubt if the angels themselves know it.” Dr. Johnson (Works, vol. 2, p. 604), in reviewing the reasons assigned for the Origin of evil, concludes: “For the Evils of Life there is some good reason, and in confession that the reason cannot be found.”
Obs. 3. The wisdom of the Bible is justified by its silence respecting the origin of evil. Had it condescended to such explanations as are given in various theodicies, it would have indicated a mere human opinion, and not a divine inspiration. A painful defect would then be visible, which infidelity would eagerly seize, and urge against its authority.[*]
Note. The Bible, therefore, in its reticence shows itself superior to the vain, limited efforts of man in this direction; it simply states the fact, explains the nature of sin (as the transgression of the law, the perverse act of the free-will, etc.), tells us that it was permitted by God, and that He has graciously made provision against it. The Scriptures teach that sin and its results are hateful to God; that they exist only through divine sufferance; that forbearance and mercy now allow their manifestation; that enduring long-suffering will at an appointed time end; and both shall be rooted out of this world. Pascal (quoted by Dr. M’Cosh in reply to Huxley), after showing that man has both greatness and misery, and that his condition is not one of absolute grandeur or of hopeless degradation, adds: “So manifest is it that we were once in a state of perfection from which we are now unhappily fallen. It is astonishing that the mystery which is the farthest removed from our knowledge—I mean the transmission of original sin—should be that without which we can have no true knowledge of ourselves. It is in this abyss that the clue to our condition takes its turnings and windings, insomuch that man is more incomprehensible without this mystery than this mystery is incomprehensible to man.” The painful, sad fact is one of general conviction, however explained by ancients and moderns (Leathes’ Relig. of Christ, sec. 1). Williamson (Theol. and Moral Science, p. 118, etc.), a Universalist writer, fully admits a natural conflict, into which every man falls, between the law of love and the law of animal nature, from which personal sin arises, and declares, “that conflict exists as a constitutional fact in every human being;” hence, as all men, more or less, violate the law of love in this conflict, all men are sinners. However we may attempt to expound this subject, the Biblical conception that we are sinners needing Redemption is one enforced by moral consciousness, provided the truth as given by God is allowed to exert its designed influence by self-appropriation. Rogers (Superhuman Origin of the Bible, sec. 2) assigns as one of the reasons that the Bible is given by God, that the moral portrait of man as presented in it is one utterly opposed to the natural man. The indictment that all have gone astray, that all are sinners, that all are worthy of condemnation, is too sweeping for man—owing to pride, etc.—alone to have generated. To this we add, that if man had produced this portrait within his own knowledge, he would, as multitudes in their efforts attest, have entered into explanations, definitions, interpretations, opening out endless metaphysical and philosophical discussions. The admirable simplicity and silence of the Bible upon a subject, which, in the nature of the case, demands the highest intellectual development, is a collateral and decided proof of its divine origin. Man, unsupported and unguided, would have overstepped the limits assigned, and introduced confusion and difficulties.
Obs. 4. The problem of evil, which has so greatly exercised and perplexed the wisest of men, is connected with the mystery that will be finished (Rev. 10:7). Until that predicted period arrives, unsatisfactory conjectures must suffice. God has not yet seen fit to give us the reasons for its origin and continued existence, excepting in broken hints respecting free agency, trial, mercy, long-suffering, etc., preferring to deal with it as a constantly experienced fact. With this we must rest content, assured of one thing, that in some way it will be found promotive of His own glory. Reason can already gather and assign (as various writers, Müller, Tholuck, Oosterzee, etc., have done) considerations and arguments indicative of the same, but as our object is merely to direct attention to those derived from the kingdom, such may be passed by without remark. The kingdom being designed to restore the harmony existing before the fall between God and man, and man and nature, it also deals with the fact of evil without entering into its origin. Looking at the final result, the end as attained in the kingdom, it may well be allowed that God permitted the entrance of evil and its continuance because He could overrule it gloriously. Sin is opposed to the theocratic idea, it is hostile to it, but God seeing that He could still, with honor to Himself, restore the designed theocracy even in a most splendid manner, permitted sin, only restraining it within certain limits by entailed evils. Sin brought forth, as a counteracting potent agency through extended love and mercy, the humanity of Jesus, the Christ, i.e. it created the necessity, in order to produce a successful and powerful theocratic kingdom, of God identifying Himself with man in the Son of David, thus bringing Him into a nearer and most intimate relationship with humanity, and preparing the way for a manifested theocratic rule over the world. In brief, it led to the bringing forth a God-man as the theocratic King who should, in virtue of His distinguished position, be able to deliver us from all evil. God’s forbearance and love is justified in this wonderful union of the divine and human, and the correspondent restoration of His theocratic rule in the form best adapted and most honorable to humanity.
Note 1. We cannot limit the power of God. Thus, e.g., Williamson (Theol. and Moral Science, p. 204, etc.) endeavors to vindicate God by making evil a necessary result of creation, and conceives it impossible for God to have created a universe like ours, limited in space and conditioned by time, “without involving the necessity of the relations of evil that emerge from its process and movements.” This, however—while not so derogatory as Mill’s impotent God—is too sweeping, being forbidden by a previous Paradisaical state, God’s abhorrence of sin, its entailed curse, and the future deliverance of creation. We must fall back upon the position assumed by Leibnitz (Knapp’s Theol. p. 265) in his Theodicy, viz., to look at the end attained, which, in view of the good results produced (e.g., in the King brought us, in the kings and priests developed, in the Theocracy it establishes, in the Redemption of the race it brings forth, in the praise and glory it causes, etc.), influenced God, who knoweth all things, to allow its introduction. (Comp. Oosterzee’s Ch. Dog., Herzog’s Ency., Art. “Sin,” Julius Müller’s “Ch. Doc. of Sin.”)
The permission of sin—however it may be founded, as eminent writers endeavor to show, on personal liberty, free-will—is certainly based on the fact—as taught in the Bible—that God can and does overrule it to be ultimately promotive of His own glory (so, e.g., “Greybeard” (Graff), “Lay Sermons,” No. 42, on “The blessings of the Fall”); otherwise He would not have tolerated its existence for so many burdened centuries.
Note 2. God’s ways, however mysterious to us now, will be justified in “the age to come;” and that justification will be found in the Kingdom as constituted under the Messiah. Sin has beaten down and perverted the Theocratic ordering of God as originally designed, and anciently unfolded in its initiatory; it caused the postponement of the same for many centuries; it will resist with increased power at the period of its revelation; it will band the kings of the earth and their armies against the Theocratic King, but it will ultimately be vanquished, and then the deep mystery will be unfolded. Then it will be seen that the strength of sin is so great that nothing short of Omnipotence can meet and destroy it; that nothing less than unspeakable love and mercy can provide means commensurate to overcoming it; that nothing but the Theocratic power lodged in King Jesus can triumphantly resist and crush it. The co-heirs with Christ have shown their qualification by a voluntary renunciation of sin for co-rulership in a kingdom which is expressly designed to destroy all evil. When this time comes, then all will be made manifest; until then patience and hope must be ours. Now we see “through a glass darkly,” but then—after a few thousand years’ experience showing that without God’s personal government, the race cannot be happy—all will be explained—just as Joseph’s antecedent trials—consistently with the Divine Sovereignty and a superintending Providence. Faith, with child-like trust, receives the fact, and leaves the explanation with a returning God.
Obs. 5. Taking the Bible account of sin and its results, it is important to notice what are the forfeited blessings, and then to see whether the kingdom, which embraces the practical realization of the plan of redemption, restores all that the race lost. The enumeration of the most weighty are the following: 1. The loss of moral purity; 2. The entailment of physical degeneracy; 3. Subjection to toil, disease, death, and corruption; 4. The withdrawal of the personal presence of God; 5. Divine intercommunication with angelic beings removed; 6. The infliction of a curse upon creation; 7. A struggle for life and its blessings under uniform natural law, i.e. the special provision of Eden under the supernatural no longer afforded; 8. The loss of Eden itself; 9. The non-perpetuation of the race in a state of innocency and purity; 10. The non-erection of a perfect government because of resultant depravity. These are the sad fruits of sin, impressed by the consciousness of guilt. Now the primitive Church doctrine of the kingdom, fully sustained by the plain teaching of the Scriptures, affirms a complete restoration of all these blessings. The reader’s indulgence is asked until we pass over the doctrine as given in the Word, and by the early Church. This much, however, may be said, 1. That such blessings forfeited can only be restored through Divine interference; 2. That such a restitution indicates the completeness of the Divine plan; 3. That such a removal of evil shows forth the might and perfection of the Saviour; 4. That such a Divine purpose contained in the Bible and established by the inestimable gift of a Redeemer, ever keeping in view this completeness, never contradicting itself, extending through every book of the Scriptures, and given in successive ages and by men in varied circumstances and conditions of life, must be, as claimed, an inspired one.[*]
Note. In addition: Observing the ultimate end contemplated by the Divine Purpose, and noticing the remarkable provision made already for the removal of sin and evil, several things, resulting from a consideration of the dealings of God in preparing for the consummation, must be impressed upon our minds. (1.) The remedial measures introduced and enforced by Divine Sovereignty, finding their climax in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, show that man must have fallen from his former estate, thus making them necessary. (2.) The call to repentance and faith to conform to the remedial provisions, indicates in the trial given to man that sin is voluntary. (3.) A Plan of Redemption culminating in the blessings of the Kingdom, and flowing from God’s wisdom, love, and mercy, is eminently worthy of man’s consideration and acceptance. (4.) This Plan to be properly appreciated ought to be contemplated as a whole, and not merely in some of its particulars. (5.) That if the Plan, as a whole, is adapted to secure the end designed, and if carried out will inevitably produce the result (Redemption perfected) aimed at, then the subsidiary parts (including the fall, etc.) are also worthy of reception as being related to it—the greater including the lesser. (6.) The manifestation of a visible Theocratic ordering is alone capable of crushing sin and removing it from the world. (7.) That evil under which man and the world labors—however subservient as a punishment, as testing faith, character, etc.—is the result of God’s disapprobation of sin, and is only tolerated in view of the ultimate result that God brings forth from its existence.
The favorite theory of many (Lubbock, and others), to invalidate the Biblical account of a fall from a higher to a lower position, is to advocate a constant and invariable rise and progression from a lower to a higher state, i.e., from the lowest savageism to the highest civilization. But this is only recognizing one factor in the past, viz., that such a rise and progress can be the result of favorable circumstances and proper moral and religious appliances. But another factor, that vitiates the universality of the theory, is purposely overlooked, viz., that man has also degenerated into savage life, dwindled from power into weakness, from vast numbers into a small number and even into extinction,—as exemplified in the works of past ages, the labors of extinct races, the remains of past nations, Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian, Roman, Mound-workers, etc. Man (as e.g. Frothingham, Art. in North Amer. Review, 1878, p. 46, “Is man a depraved creature?”) may deny the natural depravity of man, and designate the first Adam “a fiction” and “myth,” a “creature of speculation, and as a creature of speculation his existence dates back no farther than a century or so (!) before Christ.” Our line of argument will amply meet such heart-wrought objections; for the present it is sufficient to observe that upon this “myth” is based by “ignorant and designing men” a most wonderful plan of restitution, with such a unity, so astounding in its manifestations through many centuries, and so well attested by a continued and existing fulfilment of prophecy and of personal experience, that such writers are utterly unable to account for “the fiction” that so many esteem the precious truth.
Obs. 6. Latterly it has become fashionable in the works of Naturalists, Free Religionists, etc., to ignore evil and enter into a laudation of nature, its harmony, its goodness, uniform beneficence, etc. This is purposely done, so that Christianity, which holds forth, in connection with the good, the dark side of nature, may suffer by the comparison. The contrast, however, is imperfect; and the spirit suggesting it, if not dislike to the Bible, at least does injustice to its teachings. The ostrich is said to deem itself out of danger when its head is thrust into the sand and its pursuer for the time is unseen; so these, by simply closing their eyes to the inevitable of nature, consider themselves the highly favored sons and daughters of natural law and development. The suffering, misery, sorrow, destructive agencies, voracious grave entailed by and experienced through nature, are sedulously kept out of view, and nature or the absolute is nothing but manifested, realized love, while in Christianity the God, who is represented as making provision for deliverance from such evil, is nothing but a tyrant, a gloomy despot! Is this fair or candid? Without pausing to inquire how far theology with its deductions and inferences added to the Word is responsible for driving men into such a state of antagonism, it is sufficient to say: if nature, or the absolute, is all that they claim, although evil and death are allowed, why not apply the same criticism to the God of Revelation, who also has permitted the same, that they do to nature? And the more so, because the God of the Bible proposes a recovery from evil which the other, in no shape or form, suggests? Evidently, because it does not suit their purpose; and because it would inevitably weaken and destroy their own argument. Before applying their destructive criticism to Revelation, let them first reconcile with their own theory of love, etc., the evil that is in nature, its destroying forces, diseases, pestilences, agony, and devouring death. If they cannot reconcile this with their own notion of a loving nature or absolute, let them frankly confess it; if they can explain and reconcile all this with their theory of goodness, thousands would gladly welcome the solution. Until such a solution is given, they of all others, because relying upon reason, should not object to the mystery of evil as related to Divine revelation. If a reconciliation were attempted, avoiding ultra naturalism and admitting an intelligent first cause, it would evidently fall in the line of those attempted in behalf of the God of the Bible. We are content to receive the Biblical account that evil is the resultant of a rejection of the theocratic idea (i.e., a violation of God’s rule), that it continues until God has, by a course of testing, gathered out all the material requisite to establish the theocracy in a most glorious and triumphant manner, and that when all things are prepared, the postponement caused by sin will close by the complete overthrow of evil through the appointed King and His co-rulers.[*]
Note. It is true that those who advocate the Nihilism of the individual man, his perishing, admit the evil in Nature, and from it, owing to unchangeable law, are forced into their theory of gloom. But even such are again divided into two classes. One party, as some German writers, present no hope of the future, being logically driven to it by the fact that the evils are so inexorably related to eternal natural law that they are beyond man’s power of removal. Another party, however (as e.g. Winwood Reade in Martyrdom of Man), while giving no hope to the individual man (mere “animated jelly”), somehow, in a Pantheistic idealism, dream of a glorious future for Humanity. How illogical this is, needs no explanation, seeing that inevitable natural law which promises no deliverance from evil for the individual, presents none for humanity in the future. Rather than humbly to receive the Word of God, men will seek out and trust in the most extravagant theories.
It is worthy of notice that some unbelieving philosophers give as dark a portraiture of human nature as the most ultra theologian. Passing by the Nihilists, we select e.g. Mill, who, in one of his Essays, remarks: “Man, viewed as a simple production of nature, has in him but one good thing, the capacity of improvement; he is naturally devoid of a sense of truth, a coward, cruel, selfish, and even a lover of dirt. The truth is, there is hardly a point of excellence belonging to human character which is not decidedly repugnant to the untutored feelings of human nature.” “Whatever good thing man now possesses, either in himself or in his outward surroundings, he has attained not from the gift of nature but from his having conquered and subdued her.” Then contrast the laments of Nihilism, and the shading of the picture is immensely darker than that given by the Word; and yet men accuse the Bible of gloom, etc. Now which class of our opponents are we to credit? The one, that eulogizes, or the other, that depreciates human nature? Or, is it the safest to take the medium and explanation given in the Word, viz., that man, although fallen, possesses noble characteristics worthy of being redeemed and employed in his Creator’s service; that fallen, he is unable to deliver himself from the sinfulness and evil entailed without Divine Help; and that accepting such aid, tendered in love and mercy, it restores him to a position of moral worthiness and excellence by directing his capacities and powers in the way of holiness and love.
A word of caution in conclusion: The attacks of unbelief come from all sides, and one of the most despicable that has fallen under our observation is that which endeavors to charge the Word of God with advocating sin or rather fleshly lusts. Whatever may have been the sinful practices of professors or of the church in the past, the Bible pointedly condemns all such, warns us that they shall be witnessed, and urges us to purity and holiness. This is so plain, that he who denies it does deliberate violence to a distinguishing characteristic of the Scriptures. The Word, which provides so costly a provision for sin, cannot and does not indulge it. Now it happens that recently some writers (as e.g. the author of Ancient Sex Worship) endeavor to show that the fleshly tendency in human nature to worship the sexual organs as emblematic, etc., is, more or less endorsed by Christianity. This offensive manner of bringing discredit upon the Word by linking with it the excesses of sex worship, defeats itself in the estimation of every reflecting and sensible mind, because the Bible so pointedly condemns all fleshly lusts and positively declares that those entertaining them shall never inherit the Kingdom of God.