(adapted from Octavius Winslow's, "The
Unregenerate and the Regenerate Contrasted")
"That which is born of the flesh
That is, it is nothing more than carnal and
corrupt. It is originally corrupt, and corrupt
it remains until it perishes.
"For those who are after the flesh
do mind the
things of the flesh." The flesh here refers to the
fallen and carnal state of the unrenewed man.
He lives after the flesh, and his whole life is in
accordance with the dictates of the flesh. All the
objects of attraction, the desires and pursuits of
the carnal mind, are corrupt and worldly.
A fleshly or corrupt mind must act agreeably with
its own nature; and so acting, must be supremely
engrossed with the things of the flesh.
We are thus taken to the very root of all the
depravity and crime which afflicts and degrades
our common nature.
It is not so much the outbreak of sin; the
wretchedness and woe which, working upwards,
floats upon the surface of society; that presents
the most true view of man's fallen condition; as
the fact, that the root of all iniquity dwells in his
nature; and that, when he hates God, and opposes
his government, and violates his laws, and injures
his fellow creatures, it is not an accident of his nature.
But it is the working out of an original and natural
principle; it is the development of an innate and
deep corruption, coursing its way upward, from the
concealed depths of his nature to the surface of his life.
Man bears about with him an original principle of evil.
The religious perceptions of such an unregenerate
mind must be crude and obscure, for they are the
perceptions of a darkened understanding. Their ritual
may be sound, its rites may be scriptural, its forms
may be solemn, its offerings may be costly, it is still
the sacrifice of the dead offered to a living God!
They know him intellectually, historically, speculatively,
notionally, and this is the extent of their knowledge of God.
(don't miss tomorrow's quote on the spirit!)