We are rather afraid that its title will deter some from reading this article: we hope it will not be so.True, it does not treat of a popular theme, nay one which is now very rarely heard in the pulpit; nevertheless,it is a scriptural one. Fallen man is “vile,” so vile that it has been rightly said “he is half brute, half devil.” Nor does such a description exceed the truth. Man is “born like a wild ass's colt” (Job 11:12), and he is “taken captive by the devil at his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). Perhaps the reader is ready to reply, Ah, that is man in his unregenerate state, but it is far otherwise with the regenerate. From one viewpoint that is true; from another, it is not so.
Did not the Psalmist acknowledge, “So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was a beast before Thee” (Psalm73:22)—unteachable, untractable, kicking against God's providential dealings; not behaving like a man, much less like a saint! Again, did not Agur confess, “Surely I am more brutish than any man” (Proverbs 30:2). True, we never hear such lamentations as these from those who claim to have received their “Pentecost” or “second blessing,” nor from those who boast they are living “the victorious life.” But to those who are painfully conscious of the “plague” of their own heart, such words may often describe their case.
Only recently we received a letter from a dear brother in Christ, saying “the vanity and corruption that I find within, which refuses to be kept in subjection, is so strong at times that it makes me cry out `my wounds do stink and are corrupt.'“
Does the reader object against our appropriation of the Psalms and Proverbs, and say, We in this NewTestament age occupy much higher ground than those did. Probably you have often been told so by men, but are you sure of it from the Word of God? Listen, then, to the groan of an eminent Christian: “I am carnal, sold under sin” (Romans 7:14). Do you never feel thus, my reader? Then we are sincerely sorry for you. As to the other part of the description of fallen man, “half devil”: did not Christ say to regenerate Peter, “Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offense unto Me” (Matthew 16:23)? And are there not times when writer and reader fully merits the same reproof? Speaking for myself, I bow my head with shame, and say, Alas there is.
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