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they who rejoice more over one sinner that repenteth than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance? Shall not their joy be made full? They see not as poor misguided mortals; they know the dignity and worth of one human soul, even when darkened and defiled by sin, and they will not rest in fullness of joy till they behold the
great work accomplished, and a world restored.
But turn your eye still higher. What means that bloody cross on calvary; what mean that crown of thorns, and that pierced and streaming side? Behold, O, my soul, thy Saviour, thine elder brother, the Son of the living God! He dies in ignominy, and yet he is without sin. For whom does he thus die ? Thanks be to God he dies for the whole world, for you, my hearers, and for me, and for all—the meanest slave, the chief of sinners, the most undutiful and ungrateful wretch ; he died for all : and for all that he might bring them to God. “ And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,” said he, “ will draw all men unto me.”' He has been lifted up: shall he fulfil his prophecy? He died for our sins and he rose again for our justification; and now he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom; and there he must reign, there is a necessity that he should reign, till he hath subdued all things unto himself, and God be all in all. Christ, the blessed Savior, is our ally. He labored, and suffered, and died, and lives for.
ever more, and reigns in heaven to effect what we believe and preach! Shall he fail ? Christian souls answer me: shall he in whom ye trust and rejoice, fail, and lose one for whom he died ?
You have but one answer. If he fails, heaven fails, God fails, for in this great work of human redemption, they are one. Christ is the Father's minister. Then is God also, the infinite God, our ally; and all good spiritual powers are engaged in behalf of our cause. The eternal and changeless Father, who is love, and who will have all men to be saved—the ever blessed Son who gave
himself a ransom for all—the holy angels that rejoice in the redemption of sinners, the spirits of just men made perfect in heaven, the hearts and the heads of all good men on earth, the spirit of the age, the tendencies of the public mind in its thousand manifestations, all conspire to aid us in our holy work, and encourage us amidst our toils and sufferings. “Fear not," then, my brother," fear not, for they that be with us, are more than they that be with them.”
ORIGIN OF SIN.
Let not the reader be alarmed. I have no design of losing either him or myself. I shall not launch out into a pathless and untried ocean, but endeavor to steer my little bark slowly and safely along within sight of land, and by perpetually watching the chart and throwing the lead, to avoid the rocks and shoals on which so many goodly ships have struck and gone to pieces in times past.
One thing I shall boldly take for granted, viz. that there is sin in the world, be its origin what it may, and even though it had no origin at all. There is sin here, and I charitably hope that no one will dispute the point with me, or even ask for proof, since with the good Jeremy Taylor every one must “confess that to be, which he feels and
groans under, and by which all the world is made miserable."
But how sin happened to be here, or whence it came, is a curious question, and one not without the deepest moral interest. It is one, too, that has engaged the attention, more or less, of all think
ing minds for near six thousand years. “ Behold here,” says Tholuck, “the greatest question which the reflecting mind proposes to the Eternal! It is the question, which has been started from Zoroaster to Augustine, and from Augustine to Herbart, not only by those few, who prepare
the intellectual food for generations and centuries, but bursts also from the breast of him who wants only one mind enlightened, and one heart happy-even his own. It is the question which manifests at once the greatness and the misery of man.” It is natural for him who suffers, to seek its cause, and the physician is obliged, if he would attempt a cure, to first make himself acquainted with the nature, and if possible with the origin, of the disease.
Fortunately the case before us admits of but few possible suppositions. We
e are therefore confined within narrow limits when we attempt to solve the great question of the origin of sin. For it is obvious that it must be either unoriginated, and hence of necessity have existed from eternity, or it must have been produced by some being in time. If it was thus produced, it must have come from God, or from man, or lastly from some intermediate being between God and man.
1. The question first arises whether sin, or in more general terms, evil, may not in its very nature be eternal, that is, unoriginated, without beginning. This was the doctrine, as it is common
ly understood, of Zoroaster, the famous Persian philosopher or mythologist. According to his system ZERUANE AKERENE, the eternal, uncreated time, existed from eternity. But whether Zoroaster meant by this that this uncreated time was an intelligent or an unintelligent being, is a matter of dispute among the learned. But be this as it may, from this eternal time proceeded two intelligent beings, Ormuzd and Ahriman, the former of whom was the good; the latter the evil principle. But here again it is disputed whether Ahriman, the evil principle, was originally evil, or whether he became so through some perversion of his good powers.
Professor Stuart takes Zoroaster's ZERUANE AKERENE for the "original and self-existent
od,” and of course the Supreme Intelligence; in Ormuzd he sees a being corresponding in "many respects to John's Logos," Jesus Christ, and in Ahriman one who tallys well“ in a variety of ways with Satan.” He also maintains that Ahriman was, like the popular Devil, "originally good, but through envy of Ormuzd, sinned, fell, and thus became the bitter enemy of Ormuzd.” But in this he differs from many of the learned, both in ancient and modern times. Von Coelln says that “upon these questions the ancient Persians were divided into various sects, and that modern scholars have taken them up again.” It is easily seen that one party reduces the system of Zoroaster to a Monotheism, or the inculcation of