evident, therefore, that, although God's mercy is infinite, yet there is need of something else
than mercy, even if for the present we make no mention of the requirements of the infinite justice
of God, which are not less stringent than those of His mercy. What is needed is such an entire
change in the sinner as may make him loathe his sin and seek to escape (not from punishment but)
from guilt and wickedness. And it is in producing this wonderful change that the success of the
Gospel message is so manifest in the case of very many of the most guilty of men.
We have pointed out how loathsome sin is in God's sight, and how destructive it is to man's
higher and original nature. But it is taught in the holy Scriptures that, though God loathes the
sin, He of His marvellous goodness does not loathe the sinner. Instead of doing so, God loves him,
in spite of the defilement of sin, and yearns to save him from the love and the power of sin and
from the slavery of the world, the flesh and the devil.
The heinousness of sin is evident from the fact that through one sin committed by Adam and Eve, 1
death and misery became the lot of all men, and human nature, derived from them has become so
contaminated and enfeebled that, as we learn from holy Scripture, no human being (except the sinless
one) has ever been able by himself to avoid committing sin or to save himself from its power.
Accordingly it is written: ' By 1 the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.'
For no one has ever fully obeyed God's holy and perfect law, and the condemnation which failure to
obey it entails it thus pronounced, 'Cursed 2 is everyone which continueth not in all
things that are written in the book of the law, to do them.' This, of course, is in full accord with
justice; for laws are made to be obeyed by those who are subject to them. God's law must be perfect
in its requirements, and to it all creatures are subject. All men have, therefore, come under a
curse, not only through having failed to keep the law perfectly, but also through having openly or
secretly transgressed it. This is the teaching of reason as well as of, the holy Scriptures. It is
confirmed by the verdict of our own consciences and by men's dread of the judgement day.
But if we suppose that a man had obeyed all God's commands and observed all His prohibitions, yet
this would not amount to doing any more than what was his plain duty. He would not, therefore, be
able in God's presence to claim any merit or reward. This is clearly taught by the Lord Jesus Christ
Himself in the Gospel, for He says: 'Who 3 is there of. you, having a servant. plowing or
keeping sheep, that will say unto him, when he is come in from the field, Come straightway and sit
down to meat; and will not rather say