Treatise on Atonement: chapter three, sections 37 to 41

Here’s the first installment of typing out the Treatise on Atonement. The breaks are mine to accommodate the inset section headings, and are not in the original. It is public domain, of course, and may be drawn into a text compilation. Dan, this means you.

Chapter III

Its Consequences.

Having illustrated the original cause, and the secondary causes of sin, I pass to take notice of its consequences.

  1. 37. Sin the fruit of the flesh opposing the spirit.
  2. In order to have our work plain before us, I observe, sin is the fruits of the flesh, which are opposed to that true light which lighteth every man who cometh into the world. And St. Paul says they are manifest (See Gal. v. 19, 20, 21. ) “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” These are the sins which our fleshly minds are daily producing, and their consequences are witnessed by a miserable world. By these sins, with their associates, mankind is rendered miserable indeed. Social and domestic happiness is frequently destroyed. Cold and cruel jealousy murders the soft and tender passions of live, as Cain slew his brother. A garden, enclosed by the walls of fidelity, decked with the flowers of innocence, watered with the living streams of love, teeming with fruits of richest repast, and adorned with the vine of future prospects, is laid waste in an hour. Jealousy, like a foe bent on plunder, flung down the wall, dried up the stream and, like a devouring worm, gnawed the vine that it perished; the flowers droop, and the fruits wither away. Nothing remains but some faint vestiges of what is ruined, serving as evidence of the melancholy truth that sin has found its way to this once happy place.

  3. 38. False view of God a form of idolatry.
  4. Idolatry is the sin of worshipping that which is not, in reality, the true God. The old serpent could never long hold the creature in captivity if he did not allow him a god to worship and religious duties to amuse him. Man is constituted in such a relation to God that to worship is perfectly natural. Then, in order for the carnal mind to take the lead of the whole man, it must introduce a god to be worshipped, and religious duties whereby this god may be pleased, and make the creature believe that this god is the true God, and that those religious duties are of the genuine kind. But this God will surely possess all the vile passions of the old man, Adam, and those religious duties must consist in certain rites, which bear no relation to heaven-born charity, or deeds of kindness. An Almighty, omnipresent, infinitely wise and good, may be talked of; but his wisdom, power and goodness must be denied; and he must be a great man millions of miles off, fixed to a certain place, yet everywhere present; infinitely wise and powerful, yet suffers an everlasting violation of his will; possessed of infinite wisdom, yet it is disappointed in his plans; lives some of his creatures, and hates others; is please and displeased with the conduct of his creatures; is perfectly unchangeable, yet loves at one time, and at another, hates the object. Such an idol will answer for thousands. Now what are the consequences? Answer, one nation supposes itself the only favorite of God; other people are haters of him, and hated by him. If my God hates those who hate him, I ought to do as my God does, and I will hate them, too.

  5. 39. Evils of sectarianism
  6. One denomination of Christians has different ideas of the attributes of their God from another; they are violently opposed to each other; they are at swords’ points; they call each other heretics, and doom each other to the endless wrath of the God! All such religion is of the flesh; the wisdom of it is not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish, and those who possess it are tormented day and night with it. Reader, turn over the pages of history, calculate the rivers of blood which have been shed on account of religious disputes, and ask yourself the question, is this religion worthy of a Supreme Being? The devil will have religion, and will have it maintained as long as he can; but then he must tell the people that it is none of his, but that it came from the true living God, or they will not believe it. It is an object with the old serpent to have a great many denominations, and to persuade them that they are individually right, and individually wrong, and to stir up their minds to maintain their respective tenets, and to wage war with each other, which he calls contending earnestly for the faith. Many who profess to be called by him who loved sinners to preach the gospel, and who pretend to follow the Saviour in the path of meekness, if they happen to think a little different in matters of faith, they are filled with the greatness vehemence towards each other, which they call holy wrath, or indignation; and you might as well reason with hungry lions, or tigers, as with them, for they worship the beast, and they partake largely of his nature. Did they worship the true God, in the spirit of the heavenly man, difference in particular sentiments would not hinder their fellowship and love to one another. All the religion in our world, founded on the partial principles of man’s inventions, pointing out particular modes of faith and forms of worship, is from the carnal man. Discord and contention ensue; wars and fightings are the consequences; hatred, wrath, strife, emulation, and rivalship, rage in the minds of those who possess this spurious religion. What I say is a truth of universal notoriety; and yet, what is very strange is, people are not convinced of it. As if a monstrous wolf should ravage, in open daylight, in the high and low parts of the shepherd’s pasture, gorging his carnivorous appetite with the blood and fat of the flock; and the shepherd thinks it is all well because somebody, on whose sleeve he pins his faith, has told him that creature is a sheep, and that it will do him no harm! How miserable has religion made mankind! But, says the reader, it was sin that you were to tell the consequences of, not religion.

  7. 40. Such a temper is sin.
  8. I tell you, kind reader, that the religion of which I speak, is opposed to every degree of the spirit of life in Jesus Christ, which has ever been revealed to mankind, and, therefore, is sin; and that which is attended with the most pernicious consequences. It is this kind of religion which takes away the “key of knowledge”; its votaries neither enter the kingdom of heaven themselves, nor suffer those to enter who would. All worship, which is dictated my modes and forms, as inventions of men, is opposed to the true worship. “The Father seeketh such to worship him, who worship him in spirit and in truth.” Nothing suits the carnal mind better than religion; but it must be a child of her own, and must look just like herself. The carnal mind being the hot-bed where all the roots of bitterness grow which trouble mankind, we ought to look there for the foundation of all that religion which bears the features of the serpent.

  9. 41. Another example is pride.
  10. Pride is the most prominent characteristic of a fleshly mind, its religion dictates to look with contempt on those who are not of the same mode of faith, who do not subscribe to the same articles of belief, and are not called by the same denomination; and says, “Stand by thyself, come not nigh me, for I am holier than thou.” It dictates to give thanks for not being like others; it boasts of performances wrought with great pains and expense; it boasts of having “borne the burden and heat of the day,” and dictates to expect more than others receive. “But the carnal mind,” says the reader, “makes no use of the scriptures, does it?” Always, be sure, where it is fashionable to believe them, and men are despised if they do not. Anything will do, of which the creature is proud, and is willing to persecute others for not adopting. But ought not men to be despised, and called all to naught, who do not believe the Bible to be the word of God? The old serpent will answer, yes, where it suits him best; but the spirit of Christ answers no, in all cases. If the scriptures be not the word of God, men ought not to be despised for not believing them; and if they be, they ought not to be despised, but pitied and enlightened. Remember, our acceptable High Priest was one who could “have compassion on the ignorant, and on them who are out of the way.”

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