the first tendency of evil prohibited

Another advantage of the Biblical morality arises from the fact that it lays its prohibition on the first tendency to evil in the heart. It does not wait for the overt act, nor for the half-formed desire. It denounces the slightest parleying with temptation, the entertaining for the briefest moment of a corrupt wish. In its view, the apostasy did not consist in plucking the fruit. The race was ruined, when the first suggestion of the tempter was not instantly repelled. Death eternal hung on a moment’s weakness in the will. All hope was gone when the moral principle wavered. In the estimate of God’s law, the highway robbery is comparatively innocent. The crime was in the covetous glance of the eye-in not instantaneously crushing the avaricious desire. What is called a fraudulent bankruptcy may be venial. The guilt was in the assumption of obligations which there was no reasonable prospect of discharging, or rather it was in the state of mind which first began to elevate riches into a god. The degenerating process began in the idolatry of gold, in the first turning of the feeblest current of the affections in the wrong direction. Men charge the deviation of the youth from the paths of virtue to some overmastering temptation, to some public and astounding offence. But the divine precept laid its finger on the desire, years before, to read a certain book, against which, at the time, conscience remonstrated. Thus the Word of God becomes the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. No latent desire can evade its searching glance; no recess of the soul is so barred as to exclude it.”-Bibliotheca Sacra, February, 1846.

quoted by Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 100, 399 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1943), 389.

Comments

  1. Brian Ernsberger says:

    Ah, Matthew 12:34b comes to mind, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” The innermost, the real us, is where it all happens.