The Law Of Remorse And The Law Of Repentance: Or The Passage From Natural To Revealed Religion -- By: George B. Cheever

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 010:39 (Jul 1853)
Article: The Law Of Remorse And The Law Of Repentance: Or The Passage From Natural To Revealed Religion
Author: George B. Cheever

The Law Of Remorse And The Law Of Repentance: Or The
Passage From Natural To Revealed Religion

George B. Cheever

In previous Numbers of this Journal, we have devoted several Articles (the last being on the Law of Conscience) to the constitution of the human mind with reference to the judgment. We now resume the subject. The examination of the human constitution under the law of right and wrong, and the expectation of an eternal retribution, throws an indescribable weight and solemnity of meaning on that word fearfully’, in the exclamation: “lam fearfully and wonderfully made.”

A man shall be, ostensibly, in a calm and quiet relation with the whole universe about him, and shall have, to all appearance, the mens sana in corpore sano, and as to the body, shall enjoy the perfection of health, and all things that can minister to his gratification; and yet, if we look into the recesses of his mind, and see what is going on there, we may find such a state of uproar and anguish, that all the external invitations and opportunities of enjoyment are only a dreadful exasperation of the torment. We find the phenomenon of inward suffering, acute, intense, and sometimes so intense, that external pain is almost a foil and relief to it.

Who has done this? We find it to be the working of the mind upon itself, a self-consuming anxiety and anguish, in consequence of the sense of guilt, resulting from the violation of conscience. We find the supremacy of conscience in the moral being, as an ultimate fact in our nature. Bishop Butler has dissected and demonstrated this portion of our moral anatomy, briefly, but clearly, and Dr. Chalmers has commented with power and beauty on the demonstration. We find suffering as the consequence of violating this supremacy; we find a sense of guilt, and of deserved punishment, and a prediction of such punishment.

Now, a benevolent God is the author of this organization. And the final cause of it is not pain, but peace and happiness; not sin, and the misery resulting, but obedience, holiness, and the bliss resulting. As, according to Paley’s observation, the teeth were made to eat, and not to ache, so the conscience was constituted in man’s nature to regulate and bless, and not to cut, grate and sting. And as a man, if. of his own device, he should break his teeth upon gravel-stones, could not accuse the constitution of his teeth as a malevolent constitution, because they give him pain when he breaks them, so, if a man breaks the law of conscience, that is, outrages and resists the conscience itself, and experiences misery in consequence, he cannot accuse the conscience as set there for misery, nor the Creator of the conscience as wanting in b...

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