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the extent of his own individual moral responsibility, until he throws aside this cowardly plea, and takes upon himself the burden of those errors which are justly chargeable upon him and upon no one else.
The natural history of temptation is simple. Given, on the one hand, as the endowment of man, certain faculties, appetites and propensities, tending, in their natural and legitimate exercise, to promote his well-being and happiness, and, on the other hand, given, as the complement of these faculties, certain objects for which they have natural appetences, the result would be, if man were perfect in knowledge and wisdom, a complete and beautiful harmony, without sin, without sorrow, without death. But since God alone is omniscient, and omnipotent, and all-wise, and perfect, while created man has but finite powers and finite wisdom, perfect harmony cannot, in the nature of things, be the result. Thus, at first, through our ignorance, we do much that is for our harm; but the pain or other punishment, which follows the error, is the kind admonition which the Father gives us that we are straying from the right course. The path of duty in any respect once known to us, whether through reason, or revelation, or suffering, thenceforth we are to choose in that respect whether or not we will guide our feet by the lamp of knowledge. And here it is that temptation comes in. "God's law says, “ This is the way;” selfishness says, “ This by-road is pleasanter and perhaps will lead to the same goal ; let us go in it.” And then the determining will, in its strength or its weakness, in its devotion to God or to self, casts the white or the black ball into the urn of fate, and thereby a soul is saved or lost.
When the Sabines gained possession of the Roman citadel, it was through the treachery of Tarpeia, the virgin daughter of the Roman commander, whom they had corrupted by promises of gold. When sin takes possession of the citadel of the soul, it is not by a furious assault from without, but a traitor within faithlessly draws the bolts and turns the key. Temptation to sin is not the attack of an enemy, it is treason in our own camp. God had given us strength, if we will but use it, both to ward off the fiery darts of the wicked and to subdue the traitor.
We constantly speak of temptation as though it were something active, operating upon us from without, whereas the outer world only furnishes us opportunities for selfindulgence, and those often of our own seeking. Nothing can be an inducement to wrong-doing, unless the wrong disposition already exists within us, ready to embrace any opportunity for action. This is clear from the fact that what is an inducement to one person is no inducement to another, but may, on the contrary, produce feelings of aversion and disgust.
When our desires extend to that which is for our harm or for the harm of others, then we tempt ourselves. When we entertain, though it be but for an instant, the most fleeting thought of disobedience to what we know to be the highest law, we tempt ourselves. But when we have become so schooled to the perfect law of obedience that the right acts itself, as it were, without
conscious effort of the will, then there can be no such thing as temptation for us. Then a marble statue in a garden of forbidden fruit could not be less tempted than we.
If, then, a man is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own selfish desires, temptation is but a synonyme for self-love, and sin is just self-indulgence, and the foil of temptation and the death of sin is self-denial.
"Two principles in human nature reign,
Self-love to urge, and reason to restrain,"
and we are to choose, every day of our lives, which we will serve-self or reason. Neither is the service of reason a hard service, nor that of self a pleasant one, except for the moment. The service of reason is in the end the best service of self, for it gives us that lasting pleasure which alone is worthy of the name of happiness. We may think we are driving a sharp bargain when we purchase illegal or excessive present gratification on a credit of perhaps many years; but nature's claims never outlaw, and she demands interest upon interest to the uttermost farthing. Self
sees immediate good by present sense, Reason, the future and the consequence;'
greedy, that its object would devour, This taste the honey and not wound the flower." VOL, XVIII. 18
It would seem that ordinary prudence, to say nothing of any higher motive, ought to be sufficient to induce in us moderation and temperance in the gratification of our desires. Just as surely as fire consumes wood, leaving but cold and cheerless ashes,- just as sure as it is that we cannot burn our dwelling to the ground and yet enjoy its protection, so certainly will the indulgences of youth waste the energies of manhood, leaving but sorrow and desolation as the companions of age. Wisdom dwelleth with prudence; he that sinneth against her wrongeth his own soul; all that hate her love death.
The saying of Epicurus, that “it is more desirable to be miserable by acting according to reason, than to be happy by going against it,” may seem harsh, but, viewed by the light of prudence, there can be no truer saying. We need not fear, however, that misery will result from following reason, even in the present; for it is the truest of truisms, that “virtue carries with it its own reward," in securing that peace of mind which passeth all understanding.
It has already been remarked that temptations are relative, an object which excites undue desire in one man frequently offering no temptation to another. To this it may be added, that we do not oftenest yield to great temptations, but to comparatively insignificant ones,—that is, insignificant in themselves considered individually, and apparently insignificant in their results. Great temptations come to few men, and no man was ever greatly tempted unless he had been accustomed to yield to smaller temptations. The path of duty is a direct mathematical line, and every line diverging from this, whether more or less, has its origin in a single point in contact with, and but a single remove from, the position of some point in the original line ; and, however small the angle of departure, the result may be infinite separation. The
river does not burst forth in full flood from the mountain-top, but a single drop, perhaps the light burden of the tiniest flower-cup, is its source. Many trickling drops form the gushing spring; many springs the leaping and foaming brook; the confluent brooks, from their distant sources uniting their scanty waters, soon give us the deepflowing tide of the Ohio, and the Mississippi, and the Amazon.
Not only is the physical world composed of atoms infinitely minute and beyond the perception of our senses, but the characters of men are as truly formed on the atomic plan. Satan has no such prolific creative power as Jovelike to give birth from his own brain to mature Neros and Caligulas, instant and homogeneous creations. Character is the last term of an ascending geometric series, of which all the acts of one's previous life constitute the preceding terms.
Thus the temptations, and the yieldings or the resistances, of childhood and youth, enter into the character of manhood and age. For every disobedience, however slight, to higher law, man has forever after less of manhood, unless, by timely repentance and tears, he may have drawn a discipline from sorrow which shall contribute to the restoration of virtue.
G. L. C.
1. Lectures on Universalism; To Inquirers after Christian Truth. Delivered in the Second Universalist Church, in Providence, R. I. 1860–61. By Rev. John G. Adams. Providence: Cooke & Daniel
1861. pp. 54.
Seven Lectures in exposition and defence of Universalism, in pamphlet form, making distinctively a missionary document. The author presents the doctrine in the religious and theological aspects of the times, exhibiting the concessions to, and implications of, Universalism, in the current theological literature-particularly in the position of the new-school orthodox, and the complaints of the old school ;-states what Universalism is, not merely in its dogmatic but its moral, spiritual and practical phases ;-considers the question, “Who would have Universalism true?” and shows that God, Christ, angels, and all good as well as disobedient men, desire its truth; and from these points proceeds with a clear logical argument in favor of the doctrine ;-makes a fresh and reasonable statement of the Bible defence of the faith ;presents the historical view, showing the recognition Universalism has had in all ages of the church ;-traces the spirit and the issues of the doctrine in literature—a most interesting and scholarly production ;--and concludes with a statement of the everyday life of Universalism,—the adaptation of the doctrine to the wants, trials, sorrows and bereavements of human souls. The excellent argument and Christian spirit of the lectures lose nothing of point and effect in that they come in a literary dress which will hold the attention of readers of cultivated taste. The “rough and ready” style of argument doubtless meets a want in the community; but we confess a special satisfaction when we find a charming rhetoric brought to the aid of truth.
2. Hebrew Men and Times, from the Patriarchs to the Messiah. By Joseph Henry Allen. Boston: Walker, Wise, & Company. 1861.
An attempt to judge of this work by a cursory examination soon convinced us that it would not yield its secret on so easy terms. It is a book to be studied rather than read. Invited by the preface to give particular attention to the chapters on “ The Law and “ The Messiah," we have endeavored to examine them with care. They have at least the merit of novelty; and though we are not prepared to admit, as yet, that the antecedents of Bible doctrine on these points are in the mythologies and practices of other than Hebrew sources, yet no reader can fail to be convinced that this doctrine does not claim to be entirely new as it appears in the Scriptures—to be wholly dissevered from the prior religious experiences of mankind. The originality of the Bible is frequently less in the materials of its teaching, than in the new relations and combinations, and spiritual vitality of the materials. The author has met a want in Biblical literature, and has fully, as far as we can at present determine, redeemed his promise to give the results rather than the processes of scholarship—the sequences and connections of Hebrew history, without embarrassing his reader with the literary discussions the subject involves. The students of the Bible will feel a strong indebtedness to him for his labors. We are glad to add that the book is handsomely printed on substantial paper.
3. An Appeal to the People in behalf of their Rights as Authorised Interpreters of the Bible. By Catharine E. Beecher. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1860. pp. 380.
It is claimed by this book that all the mischief attendant upon conflicting schemes of theology, arises from the Augustinian theory of the origin of evil-a theory sometimes called the doctrine of "total depravity," or of original sin"-a theory forced