accept a gift from defiled hands, and still less from a sinful heart. Not only man's deeds but his words also and his very thoughts are defiled with sin. How is it possible for us, who have not even performed our own duty to God and to our neighbour, to acquire, by doing more than our duty, such an amount of merit as will avail as a satisfaction for our sins? This, of course, is impossible. If we could fancy the existence of a man who, during his whole life, had never transgressed God's commandments, then such a person would thereby have done nothing more than his duty (Luke xvii. 10). Even such a man could not claim to have laid up a store of merit for himself or for other men.

The Holy Scriptures teach us that God's Law requires of us such perfect devotion (Matt. xxii. 36-40) that man cannot, when he has fallen short of it, recover what he has lost. There are some men who proudly and ignorantly assert that they have performed more worship and service than God demands of them. Yet the folly of such statements is manifest. In spite of their boasting, such men can never by any means assure themselves that they are justified in God's sight. They often in their hearts feel most painful doubts about their state after death. They often live in fear of death and die in great mental agony. As an instance of this we quote what Ibn Khallikan says of Abu 'Imran Ibrahim ibn Yazid. He was "one of the famous Imams and a Tabi'i". "When death came upon him, he feared with a violent fear . . . Accordingly he said, 'What danger is greater than that in which I am? I am awaiting a messenger who will come upon me from my Lord, either with Paradise or with Hell fire.'" He then swore that he would far rather that his soul should flutter in his throat1 until the resurrection-day than

‫1 ولمّا حضرته الْوفاة جزع جزعاً شديداً ... فقال واىّ خطر اعظم ممّا انا فيه ـ انا اتوقّع رسولاً يرد علىّ من ربّي امّا بالْجنّة وامّا بالْنّار والله لَوَدَدْتُ انّها تلجلج في حلقي الى يوم القيَمة
Ibn Khallikan's Wafayatu'l A'yan, vol. i, p. 2, published by Aqa Mirza 'Ali Akbar in Persia

that he should die. This was because of his dread of what was to happen to him after death.

Nor will repentance itself suffice to blot out our transgressions. It is most befitting that we should truly repent of our sins; but we cannot by repentance alone undo the evil which we have done. Hence repentance is not enough to save us. The transgression of merely human laws cannot be atoned for in this way. If a thief or a murderer tells the judge that he has repented, will the judge be acting justly in setting him free? That would be contrary to our innate idea of justice. But this conception of justice is part of the Moral Law which God has written in our hearts, therefore it must be right. And often men are so hardhearted that they cannot repent, even if they would.

Thus we have seen there is no possibility of our saving ourselves, by our works, either from the punishment of our sins or from their other consequences. Still less can we save ourselves from the love and the power of sin and obtain reconciliation with God Most High through any merits of our own. Hence, if there is no Saviour who can atone for our sins, we must for ever remain alienated from God, and can never attain that eternal happiness, the desire for which God has implanted in every heart.

It has been shown that, if there be a Saviour who can make Atonement and can render sinners free from sin and pure in the sight of the just and holy God, that Saviour cannot be merely a man, born like other men, inheriting Adam's corrupt nature, and himself a sinner. No sinner can save sinners. As all men who are merely men are sinners, none of them can atone for the rest. In the Zabur we are told that "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him" (Ps. xlix. 7), even to save him from the death of the body. How much more true is it therefore that none of us can redeem another from eternal death!

Yet if there be a Saviour, He must be a man, for