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other. This would be to lay down the dualistic principle of heathenism, before referred to, which Paul himself confronted in the Gnostic philosophy, in its earliest appearance in the Essenistic tendencies of the Jewish converts. The antagonism brought to view in Gal. v, 17, lies between fallen nature as apart from grace, and left to its own inclinations, and the Spirit of God as the author of spiritual life, and holy affections to the soul; between nature as left to itself, and nature renewed and governed by the Spirit of God. Its natural desires are opposed to God.
3. It is affirmed of the flesh, or carnal mind, that it “oix ÚTOTÁOgetal, does not subject itself to the law of God.” And the apostle immediately adds, “oudè yap dúvatal, for indeed it is not able [to subject itself,] Rom. viii, 7. The reflexive form of the verb Únotácoetai gives this sense, does not subject itself. The conjunction yap is here properly causative, according to its usual sense, and might be translated because—“ because it cannot ;” or “because it is not able.” I have given it partly the intensive and partly the causal signification, “ for indeed it is not able.”
Here, then, is an inability, want of power, to submit and conform to the law of God, directly and in the most literal form, affirmed of the flesh, the carnal mind, or natural state of man. It is not a denial of the liberty of the will, metaphysically considered, or considered as a constitutional power of the mind, but an inability to submit and conform to the holy laws of God. And this inability belongs to human nature as such, as an inherited effect of Adam's sin. The same idea is reproduced in verse 8: “So then they that are in the flesh, oɛm ápéral où dúvavtal, have no power to please God.” In this place, also, the nature of the inability is defined : “ They have not power TO PLEASE GOD." In chap. vii, 18, speaking of this same carnal mind, and of its inability, Paul says: “For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which I will I find not." The power of simple volition was there; all the faculties of a moral agent were there; but the power to conform to the law of God in its spiritual claims was not there as a property of the carnal or natural state; “For the good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do.” This is the inability of our nature apart from grace.
We hold with Augustine here, that since man by his freewill became estranged from God, “this free-will, left to itself, is now only active to sin,” and man needs now “a new supervenient grace in order to be brought back to goodness.” Indeed, as that acute reasoner maintained against Pelagius, “ all rational beings are brought into dependence on God for the development of their powers as really as for their first creation.” The natural capacities are not complete and sufficient of themselves, but require the continued concurrent action of the supernatural spirit. But in the fallen nature there is superadded to this natural dependence hostility to the holiness and authority of God, and the will has no executive power, and the heart no inclination of itself to holy exercises. The power “to please God” is lost. We take the statements of Scripture here as they harmonize with common sense and common experience and philosophy. “Wherefore,” says our seventh Article of Religion, (copied from the tenth Article of the Church of England,) “we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good-will, and working with us when we have that good-will.” “Without me,” says Christ, "ye can do nothing.” “No man cometh unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”
4. In Rom. vii, 18 it is affirmed that no inherent goodness belongs to the flesh. “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.”
This is an important statement. The èv šiuoi, IN ME, here, is specifically defined to mean év tÕ oapki pov, IN MY FLESH; that is, in my natural state, my state by natural birth, apart from grace. The word åyalós, good, in this passage, denotes not only moral excellence, but excellence of that specific kind, or quality, which the law of God requires. The whole scope and connections of the passage determine this. Nothing was found in the flesh, or carnal state, of the person here represented, which answered to the requirement of that law which was "holy, just, and good,” and this disconformity was the cause of the agony described in this seventh chapter. That very state of the soul which the law required was not found in him by nature. What more can be said ?
On this point the apostle is elsewhere explicit. In Eph. ii, 3, after stating it as a trait of their natural condition, that prior to the work of regeneration, “we all,” that is, both Jews and Gentiles, “fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind," he adds, “and were BY NATURE children of wrath, even as others.” Observe here, that what is affirmed is affirmed of the “we all,” of “ Jews and Gentiles,” of these Ephesians and “others," a description that comprehends all the human family without exception or distinction. Again, it is affirmed that this “ALL” are “children of wrath” “BY NATURE.” Here is the important point. This word púois, nature, occurs fourteen times in the New Testament, and is uniformly translated as here, except that in two instances it is translated kind. (James iïi, 7.) In every instance the word keeps strictly to its radical meaning of generation, birth, innate constitution, or that quality, or characteristic, which is in consequence of natural generation, as denoted by the words genus, kind. “NATURE,” says Bengel, here “ denotes the state of man without the grace of God in Christ." This is exactly the idea of the word flesh, as used in Romans viii. Olshausen makes it tantamount to “sinful birth," as if it had read, “and were by sinful birth children of wrath," etc. This he proposes, not as a translation, but as a doctrinal sense, sustained by the meaning of the word, putting ït in antithesis to xápití, by grace, in verse 5. The sense of the passage would then stand thus: “By nature [sinful birth] ye are children of wrath; by grace are ye saved." This is unquestionably the doetrine of the apostle, and distinguishes between the two conditions of natural and spiritual birth, after the example of our Lord: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” And so also John: “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John i, 12, 13;
5. In Gal. v, 19–21, there are predicates of gap which belong only to the operations of the intellective and higher nature of man, operations of the mind as distinguished from the body. In that passage “the works of the flesh” are enumerated, among which are some that belong distinctively to the lower and animal nature, as “adultery, fornication, lasciv. iousness, drunkenness, reveling,” etc.; while others belong as exclusively to the mind, as “ hatred, variance, wrath, strifes, heresies, envyings," etc. Here are operations which categorically belong only to the intellective and moral nature, and are yet called " works of the oápě, flesh.” Can anything be more plain than that the term flesh was understood of the total being of man as apart from grace? his mind as well as his body? If the higher nature of man did not partake of the evil effects of the fall, how could disordered bodily desires prevail against orderly mental operation, so that deranged mental, as well as bodily action should become the characteristic of man in all ages? Love of power and love of fame are aspirations of the higher nature, misdirected, lawless, corrupt, and ruinous passions, originating not in depraved bodies, but in depraved minds. The mind “hath desires against the Spirit of God” no less than the body.
In Eph. ii, 3, where Paul describes the traits of depravity common to both Jews and Gentiles, he says, they “ fulfilled the desires (της σαρκός και των διανοιών) of the FLESH and of the MIND.” Here oapš, flesh, is not used in its figurative sense, but literally, to denote the body and its organism. Whenever “flesh and mind,” or “flesh and spirit,” or “body and spirit,” are thus enumerated and contrasted, the terms are to be understood literally as of the two natures of man, body and soul, material and immaterial. In the entire New Testament diavola, here translated mind, never means anything but the thinking principle, the intelligent soul. To this sense both etymology and usage confine us. Here then is an inspired declaration that Gentile and Jewish corruptions were brought about by "fulfilling the desires of the mind,” as well as of the “flesh" or body. And these literal Gapkos kai diavolas, FLESH and MIND of Eph. ii, 3, which in their natural state are the fountains of Jewish and Gentile corruption, the seed and soil of all the outgrowth of the “ body of sin,” are both comprehended in the ethical sense of sápě, flesh, as above given.
How consonant to this doctrine is the current teaching of both the Old and New Testaments! Speaking of human depravity, God goes directly to the inner man, the moral and intellective ego, the heart. “ Every formation of the devices, or purposes of his heart, 12 rarinn 12, is only evil every day." Gen. vi, 5. Here the fountain of evil is laid in the heart. His cogitations, whenever they take the form of design or purpose, that is, assume a moral character, are only evil. And this son, evil, is of great significance and comprehension. It is the standing antithesis of bio, good, throughout the Old Testament, as in the phrase "good and evil.” “Depart from evil and do good.” “For as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad." Gen. ii, 17; 1 Sam. xxvi, 17; 2 Sam. xiiii, 17; Psa. xxxiv, 14. The good is the state of blessedness and perfection in which God created man, and for which he designed him when he pronounced him “very good;" the evil is the quality of badness in which the common nature of man is involved, and wherein every formation of his purposes, all the operations of his heart, are “only evil continually.” The good and the evil were set before man in the garden of paradise as the two possible states of his existence; the former as the inheritance of his being as he came from his Creator, the latter as the bitter consequence of eating the forbidden fruit of “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Such is the import of the word, and such the condition of the fallen heart.
To this same “heart” Jeremiah bears witness, chap. xvii, 9, that it is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked," totally deceitful, and incurably diseased. Its disease is such that in human nature is left no curative or recuperative power, not even power to fathom and comprehend its own depth of deceit and perversity. That the term heart here represents the entire intellectuality of man is proved from the prophet's own words, which follow. Who can know this heart? “I Jehovah search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” How pertinently do the words of Christ apply here. “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; these are the things which defile a man.” Matt. xv, 19, 20. It is this heart which is the real ego, the responsible, individual entity, of which is predicated in Scripture all the personal good or evil of the character. When the heart is surrendered to God all is surrendered; when that is withdrawn and alienated, no work or worship is acceptable. The Hebrews were not a phil