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ever, therefore, loves righteousness, must both love Christ and all who have the spirit of Christ.
But it is only those who have suffered from, and who recognise the evil and unrighteousness which are in the world, whose eyes are opened to the value of righteousness, and who are attracted to Him who is righteousness. Man must know the evil and misery consequent on hate, cruelty, and malignity, before he can realize the excellence of love, mercy, and pity. He must suffer from contempt and scorn, before he can appreciate the value of kindness and sympathy. He must groan under, or witness the effects of, injustice, tyranny, and treachery, before he can fully recognise the happiness which springs from justice, truth, and righteousness. And he must also recognise the power and evil of sin in himself, before he can long for salvation from it, and for the help and favour of a God of righteousness. For it is the very fact that the Christian has in himself a law of evil contrary to the law of his mind, and continually leading him to do that which he hates, which, more than anything else, causes him to 'groan being burdened,' and produces that dissatisfaction with the present expressed by the words of the Apostle, 'O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?' (Rom. vii. 18, 25; 2 Cor. v. 4).
All these things, together with the troubles and afflictions which are said to especially befall him, cause the Christian to set his affections on things above, and on Him who is the expression and manifestation of all righteousness and perfection. Hence he is said to look for' and 'love His appearing,' and to regard it as 'that most blessed hope'; while the Apostle, speaking of Christ, says: 'Whom having not seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.'
We thus perceive that man is constituted to love, and
find his most perfect happiness in God; and that he becomes capable of a far loftier moral position and closer union with God, consequent on his experience of the evil of sin and separation from God, than would have been possible had he never sinned and never suffered ; so that no conceivable creature is capable of so intimate a union with God as man who has fallen and been redeemed. This, indeed, is implied by the Apostolic writers when they speak of Christians as the firstfruits of His creatures' (Jas. i. 18), the firstfruits to God and the Lamb' (Rev. xiv. 4), and liken the union of Christ and the Church to that of the head to the body (Eph. i. 22, 23), as if throughout all eternity they were henceforth to constitute an integral portion of Him ‘by whom all things were made' (John i. 3).
In the foregoing analysis of the law of love, the nature and causes of natural affection, and of moral love have been considered, and the distinction between the effects produced by each, which is often overlooked by many, has been pointed out; and it has also been shown that they are mutually dependent on each other, so that even man's present happiness is dependent on righteousness, and that in this way the natural affections are a means for developing the spiritual affections.
It will also be recognised that the principle of natural affection, which is that of reciprocity,' or the mutual need which beings have for each other, is in itself essential, and that the same is the case with the desire for sympathy; and that although in this life both these are dependent on the physical and psychical constitution of man as he now is, and on present interests and desires, yet that the essential principles of both must remain, and the desires which they call forth may be satisfied by other and higher conditions in a higher state of existence.
For it has been shown that the same principles of reciprocity and sympathy exist between God and man; and if, in so many of its aspects, the natural is seen to be typical of the spiritual, we may well believe that it is so in all, and that reciprocal spiritual need as well as spiritual sympathy may exist between spiritual beings, and afford, from their satisfaction, a happiness as much greater than any earthly happiness, as the spiritual is higher than the natural.
But we have also seen that the highest happiness must, of necessity, spring from the union of man with God, and that even the highest happiness of God Himself is dependent on that union.
Finally, we perceive that the present state is a training for a higher state, that the natural is a means for developing the spiritual, and that the suffering which is inseparable from the natural is the most powerful agency for effecting that development; so that man's natural affections and natural state, and the sufferings which arise from them, are not only the means of producing a higher relation to his fellow-men by the development in him of the law of righteousness or love, but that that righteousness, when attained, unites him also to God, and God to him.
Nevertheless, it is evident that this result is produced in few only, and the reason of this is that there is a law of sin in man which continually opposes that result. CHAPTER V.
THE NATURE OF SIN.
We have now to consider the nature of sin, or that principle in man which is opposed to the image of God, in which, as we have seen, man was originally created ; for although that image is still more or less visible in those who are not wanting in the essential characteristics of human nature, it is continually overcome and trodden under foot by the sin which is dominant, even in the best of the human race.
What, then, is the nature of sin ?
Clearly, if righteousness is love, sin is the contrary of that love. Sin is also the transgression of the law, and therefore when a man sins he transgresses the law which he was constituted to obey, which was that of righteousness or love. “Love is the fulfilling of the law '; 'love worketh no ill to his neighbour'; sin does work ill. Christ said that the love of God and the love of man constituted the whole of the law of God; on these, He said, “hang all the law and the prophets' (Matt. xxii. 40). The contrary of these, therefore, constitutes sin, and we have seen that the love of God and the love of man are intimately connected, and dependent one on the other.
Sin against man may first be considered.
The contrary of that love towards man which seeks his good, and leads men to find their happiness in doing good, and in the reciprocal love which it produces, is selfishness. It is selfishness, or the desire for their own comfort, pleasure, honour, glory, and superiority over their fellow-men, which leads them to seek their own good rather than the good of others. True, it is not even their own highest good, but it seems to those who look only at the present to be so. It is selfishness which leads men to strive after riches, honour, position, dominion; to aim at being greater and more powerful than others. It is productive of emulation in those who have strength for the struggle, and of envy and hatred in those who have not; it leads men to despise the demands of pity and compassion; it causes the strong to trample upon the weak; it produces covetousness, dishonesty, deceit, and treachery, and calls forth hatred, variance, murder, war, and isolation. It is the principle which animates the great conqueror who seeks his own glory and the adulation of multitudes, careless of the groans of the dying and the wail of the widow and the orphan; and it is equally the principle which actuates the woman who gratifies her smaller vanity by the dominion she obtains over the opposite sex. It is, in short, the desire for self-assertion and self-aggrandisement; or, in one word, it is pride. The mode of its manifestation may vary according to the powers and opportunities of the individual, but it is the dominating passion of the human race, silencing the demands of love or righteousness, and filling the world with misery. It is this principle which is the sole principle that animates the beasts which perish,—the law of self, which causes them to be at perpetual war with each other, and, as in the case of some individuals of the human race, the Neros of their kind, causes the strong and victorious among them to experience a strange and devilish joy in the very sufferings of their victims, because those agonies are the tribute to, and evidence of, their own superior power.