Such a perpetual and unceasing conflict?
Groaning Captive's Deliverance" 1847)
"I do not understand what I do! For what I want
to do I do not do; but what I hate I do. I know
that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful
nature. For I have the desire to do what is good,
but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the
good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do
—this I keep on doing. So I find this law at work:
When I want to do good, evil is right there with
me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue
me from this body of death?" Rom. 7:15,18,19,21,24
What a picture of that which passes in a godly
man's bosom! He has in him two distinct
principles, two different natures—one . . .
panting after the Lord, and
finding the things of God its element.
And yet in the same bosom a principle . . .
thoroughly and entirely depraved,
perpetually striving against the holy principle within,
continually lusting after evil,
opposed to every leading of the Spirit in the soul,
and seeking to gratify its filthy desires at any cost!
Now, must there not be a feeling of misery in a man's
bosom to have these two armies perpetually fighting?
That when he desires to do good, evil is present with
him—when he would be holy, heavenly minded, tender
hearted, loving, seeking God's glory, enjoying sweet
communion with Jehovah—there is a base, sensual,
earthly heart perpetually at work—infusing its baneful
poison into every thought, counteracting every desire,
and dragging him from the heaven to which he would
mount, down to the very hell of carnality and filth?
There is a holy, heavenly principle in a man's bosom
that knows, fears, loves, and delights in God. Yet he
finds that sin in himself, which is altogether opposed to
the mind of Christ, and lusts after that which he hates.
Must there not be sorrow and grief in that man's bosom
to feel such a perpetual and unceasing conflict?
Is there ever this piteous cry forced by guilt, shame,
and sorrow out of your bosom, "O wretched man that
I am!" If not, be assured that you are dead in sin, or
dead in a profession.