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moral faculty, that the moral faculty does not pronounce wrong. "A weak conscience" is not the moral faculty in a debilitated state; but a condition of the understanding which is hesitating, doubting, as to what is the best mode of expressing in action a right state of the will. A"seared conscience" is a state of the will which has long prevented the understanding from obtaining such a view of it as the moral faculty will condemn, and thus awaken, through the emotional nature, a feeling of remorse. The apostle Paul speaks of "commending" himself to "every man's conscience:" That is, he so preached and labored as to give evidence to the understanding of every man, of a state of will in himself which their moral faculty would decide is right. He also speaks of purging the "conscience from dead works" by the blood of Christ. But what effect could the blood of Christ, or the death of Christ, have upon the moral faculty directly? None at all. But the end is secured indirectly, in this way. It is the will, and not the moral faculty, that is impure and needs purging. The death of Christ renders it consistent for God to remove the corrupt state of the will by the agency of the divine Spirit, and to give it such a state as the moral faculty approves. The will is purged, and thus the action of the moral faculty in respect to it is changed. In this way may all similar expressions in the scriptures, and such as are used in common discourse, be analyzed. No effect is produced upon the moral faculty. The effect is entirely upon the will or the understanding as they stand related to the moral faculty.

In the same way we account for the workings of the moral faculty in very bad men. Even the pirate upon the high seas can pursue his course of terrible crime with little or no remorse. He will admit, perhaps, that he did wrong at first, but after society made an outlaw of him for his crime, there was no other mode of life before him; and consequently he reasons, if he cannot be fully justified for his conduct, he cannot be greatly blamed for it. In this way the understanding is kept in ignorance of the true character of the will, and the moral faculty cannot pronounce the decision that such a state of the will de

serves. The moral faculty has not been injured. It is not asleep in all this course of wickedness. It is not weak or feeble. It is watchful, vigorous, and faithful. This is evident from what always occurs when the Spirit or providence of God reveals the true state of the will. No time is necessary for the moral faculty to awake, to recover strength. It lays hold of its victim at once, in an instant, with giant power; foreshadowing most clearly what it will do hereafter. In very good men, on the other hand, the moral faculty condemns with great severity the least deviation from rectitude, not because it has been improved by education, not because it is more vigorous and watchful than in the other case, but because the will, being less wicked and deceitful, is disposed to come to the light of God's law, that its true character may be known.

But while the moral faculty needs no improvement, and can receive none, the faculties closely related to it may be improved, and thus essentially affect its decisions. It is to the state of the will that we are directly to refer all that is morally wrong in conduct; and to this cause also must we indirectly refer, in a great measure, what is naturally wrong. It is owing to the depravity and consequent deceitfulness of this faculty, that the understanding is blinded and mislead; and thus decisions of the moral faculty relatively wrong are secured. There can be no essential improvement of the will without a radical change wrought in it by the Spirit of God. Until this takes place full self-knowledge is practically impossible. Man will not know himself, if he can avoid it, when such knowledge must be followed by the most exquisite suffering which the human soul can experience. Nothing short of regeneration by the Holy Spirit will restore all the mental powers to their normal condition and action. But though there can be no essential improvement of the character till this great change is wrought by the Spirit of God, still much may be accomplished, as respects external conduct, by a careful training of the understanding while the will is unrenewed. It may receive such instruction as

VOL. XXIV. No. 95.


to what is right in action, that it will be exceedingly difficult for the will to mislead it.

In this connection we see the great importance of correct and well-established principles and habits of action. They are not only safe guides if followed, but they exert great influence in constraining us to follow them. The explanation is this: If these principles are prominent in the mind's view, and have become established by long practical observance of them, it will be very difficult for the will, however deceitful, to persuade the understanding that it is in a right state, when it proposes to disregard these admitted and established guides of conduct -when it would lead the understandinging to turn aside from these highways of virtue. The understanding thus disciplined has had experience on the subject, and knows better. It has learned by observation and long practice what is the proper mode of expressing right states of the will in particular circumstances, and cannot easily be mislead. But if there are no such principles of action established by practice, if the understanding has not some support outside of the immediate circumstances in which it is called to act, a corrupt will can easily prevail over it and carry it captive at pleasure. We see this illustrated in student life. If a young man has fixed principles of study, of habitual attendance on required exercises, of obedience to every law, the will, whatever its state as towards God, cannot persuade him that the opposite course of conduct is wise, suitable, becoming, and therefore right. So in life generally. If the understanding is fully established in principles of truth, honesty, temperance, and other virtues, it will be very difficult for the will, though at times it may be very strongly inclined to do it, to justify to the understanding a different course of conduct. When the temptation is presented, the inquiry will at once arise: Why should I do this? Why should I not do as I have ever done? Or the recollection of some sad experience in the past, when this wrong course was pursued, will come before the mind. The light coming in this way through the understanding will expose the true character of the will,

which might otherwise be concealed, and the moral faculty will have opportunity to do its appropriate work. Here is the secret of the force, to a great degree, of early moral and religious instruction. The child is taught, in substance, that certain beliefs and actions are the true expression of a right state of will, that such a state cannot be expressed in any other way. The moral faculty is thus enlisted in behalf of this particular course. If there is any deviation from it, the understanding decides that it proceeds from a wrong state of the will,-- a state, which the moral faculty instantly condemns. The fall of those who have been regarded as good men, men of integrity and uprightness, may be accounted for on the principle which we are now considering, though at first view it seems to contradict it. It will be found in all such cases, that the will has gradually undermined the general principle; we should say rather, has established another principle in its place, and confirmed it by habit, viz. that occasional indulgence in what is ordinarily considered wrong, a slight deviation at times from absolute integrity and purity, is proper in the circumstances. When this principle is established, as it may be, without any very distinct consciousness of the fact on the part of the individual, the fall, which astonishes every one as sudden, takes place. It was not sudden; nor any exception to the great law of our moral nature. It is a melancholy illustration indeed, of the fact, that however correct the intellectual view of what is right in external conduct, and however firmly established in it by practice, there is no absolute safety for this world even, but in a state of the will which is right in the sight of God. A house built upon the sand, though beautiful, and for the time useful, is liable at any moment to be swept away by the storms that may beat upon it.

We learn from the view which we have taken of this subject, how alone true and permanent peace of the moral faculty can be secured. This, at first view, might seem impossible in case of a person who has once sinned. The decisions of the moral faculty, as we have seen, are according to truth, and consequently immutable. What it con

demns to-day it must condemn through eternity. How then can a person who has ever committed sin avoid the condemnation of the moral faculty, and the consequent feelings of remorse, when all ignorance is removed from the mind, when deception can no longer be practised, when he must see himself as he is in the full light of truth? Here is a problem which philosophy of itself could not have solved; but which Christianity solves on strictly philosophical principles. It is true that the moral faculty will never cease to condemn a state of the will which is wanting in love to God and man. If we have such a state now, the moral faculty condemns it, if it has the opportunity; and it will condemn such a state forever, whatever change may take place in us. It will never say that such a state is right. How then, we may well ask, can there be peace, when the veil is stripped from the heart, and the clear light of truth falls upon it? Must not the sinner be wretched forever, whatever provisions may have been made for his happiness in the gospel? These, if accepted, cannot change the decisions of the moral faculty respecting the past. Wrong being and wrong doing must forever be condemned by it. They deserve condemnation. How then can he who has once sinned have peace, even if he has repented of his sin and believed in Christ? We have noticed that when the moral faculty condemns a wrong state of will in another person it is not attended with that peculiar feeling of remorse which is experienced when the bad state condemned is our own. The condemnation is as decided in one case as in the other, but the attendant moral emotions are not the same. In one, it is disapprobation simply, an indignant feeling towards it. In the other, there is, in addition to this, a feeling of remorse. Now, when the state of the will is changed by the Spirit of God; when, in the expressive language of scripture, we are born again, we become new creatures in Christ. We put off the old man. We are morally different persons, for we have a different character. While therefore the moral faculty condemns the state of the will which existed previous to the change, and will always

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