loved his neighbour as himself (Matt. xxii. 37-39)? Or is there any person who in his whole life has never committed a sinful act, or spoken a word displeasing to God, or cherished in his heart a wrong thought or evil desire? (See Job iv. 18, 19; xxv. 4, 5, 6; Ps. cxliii. 2; Rom. iii. 20.) Only one such man has ever lived, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Seeing then that all human beings except Christ are found guilty by the testimony of our own conscience and by that of the Word of God as revealed in Holy Scripture, is it not most fitting that we should with true penitence of heart confess before our Creator: "O Lord of Lords, most Holy and Righteous God, the purity which Thou requirest is not in us: we are deserving, O Lord, of Thy wrath and of eternal death"?

That God does punish sinners is clearly taught, in the first place, by our experience, secondly by our Conscience, and thirdly by the Word (كلام) of God in such passages as Ezek. xviii. 20; Matt. xii. 36; xxv. 41; Rom. i. 8; ii. 8, 9; Col. iii. 25; 2 Thess. i. 9. Some persons imagine that God will pardon transgressors without punishing them, because of His boundless Mercy. But this is morally impossible, unless in some way the requirements of His righteous Law should be satisfied. Otherwise His justice would not be perfect, nor would He be acting in accordance with what He has Himself said. It is true that God's love and mercy are infinite, but so are also His justice and His holiness. Therefore wicked doers can never be pleasing in His sight, for He hates all sin.

Moreover, sin is in itself a curse and a punishment to the transgressor. No wicked man is happy, can be happy, ether in this life or in the next. A man whose soul is filled with lust, for instance, does not know what true happiness is, even here. Sin degrades man's nature, rendering men cruel, cowardly, selfish, base, and removing them far in spirit from the Most Holy God, in whose presence there is fullness of joy. "Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of


sin" (John viii. 34): and the most awful punishment he can receive is the condition of eternal sinfulness, which is the state of those who finally choose darkness for light, evil for good, Satan for God (John iii. 19; Rev. xxii. 11).

It is also in accordance with God's attribute of Love that He should not permit man to sin without punishment. For if men knew that God would not punish the guilty, they would day by day sink more and more deeply into the whirlpool of sin, and thus become more and more wretched themselves and a cause of misery to others. It is clear also that transgression of God's Law must bring punishment; for if not, why should the Moral Law exist, and be written not only in Holy Scripture but also in men's hearts? No man of understanding can fancy that rebels and loyal servants of God will alike be acceptable to Him and receive the same treatment at His hands.

As all men but One have fallen into sin, all deserve punishment. None of us sinful men have in ourselves power to please God, to atone for our sins, and to obtain pardon and reconciliation with God Most High. We need not merely a way of escape from the punishment of our sins, but, still more, a means of escape from the power and the love of sin. Punishment is a good thing for the sinner, and it often leads him to repentance. Hence sin always brings punishment. But from the eternal consequences of sin, from being for ever shut out from God's presence and banished from the love and the care of our Heavenly Father, from becoming conformed in heart and mind to the likeness of Satan himself, we need to find a way of escape. Else it would have been well for us if we had never been created.

How are we to find this way of escape? If man in his present fallen condition cannot fulfil God's perfect Law, how can he atone for his past sins, how can he become reconciled to God? It is clear that his good works possess no merit, because God will not