The soul's natural element

(J. C. Philpot, "What Is It That Saves a Soul?")

Before the soul can know anything about salvation,
it must learn deeply and experimentally the nature
of sin, and of itself, as stained and polluted by sin.

It is proud, and needs to be humbled.

It is careless, and needs to be awakened.

It is alive, and needs to be killed.

It is full, and requires to be emptied.

It is whole, and needs to be wounded.

It is clothed, and requires to be stripped.

The soul is, by nature . . .
  self-righteous;
  self-seeking;
  buried deep in worldliness and carnality;
  utterly blind and ignorant;
  filled with . . .
      presumption,
      arrogance,
      conceit
      and enmity;
  hateful to all that is heavenly and spiritual.

Sin, in all its various forms, is
the soul's natural element.


Some of the features of the unregenerate
nature of man are . . .
  covetousness,
  lust,
  worldly pleasure,
  desire of the praise of men,
  an insatiable thirst after self-advancement,
  a complete abandonment to all that can please
    and gratify every new desire of the heart,
  an utter contempt and abhorrence of everything that
    restrains or defeats its mad pursuit of what it loves.

Education,
moral restraints,
or the force of habit,
may restrain the outbreaking of inward corruption,
and dam back the mighty stream of indwelling sin,
so that it shall not burst all its bounds, and desolate
the land. But no moral check can alter human nature.

A chained tiger is a tiger still.

"The Ethiopian cannot change his
 skin, nor the leopard his spots."

To make man the direct contrary of what
he originally is; to make him . . .
 love God instead of hating Him;
  fear God, instead of mocking Him;
  obey God, instead of rebelling against Him;
to do this mighty work, and to effect this wonderful
change, requires the implantation of a new nature
by the immediate hand of God Himself.

Natural light,
natural love,
natural faith,
natural obedience,
in a word, all natural religion,
is here useless and ineffectual.




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