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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

THE CARNAL MIND

"The thinking of the flesh is enmity against God".

When the Lord bestowed the faculty of speech upon the Serpent, He enabled it to give utterance to its thoughts.

The possession of this power did not, however, confer upon it moral accountability.

This depends on a different constitution of "the flesh" Where no "moral sentiments" exist as part of "the flesh," or brain, there is no ability in the creature to render an account for its aberrations from the requirements of moral, or spiritual, institutions.

Speech only enabled it to utter the thinkings of its unsentimentalized intellect.

It spoke, like Balaam's ass, under the impulse of the sensations excited by what it had seen and heard.

The thinkings of its flesh could not ascend to faith, being destitute of the organic ability to believe; therefore its speech could express only fleshly thoughts.

Faith was too high an attainment for it.

The light of God's law could not shine into it.

Like all the inferior animals, it was a creature of mere sensation; and could utter only sentences formed of combinations resulting from the impressions of sensible objects transmitted to its sensorium by the five senses; it transcended them, however, in being more observant and reasoning than they.

What it had done, and not what it intended to do, was made the ground of the Serpent's condemnation.

"Because thou hast done this," said the Lord God, "thou art cursed above all cattle," etc. It was incapable of moral intention.

It did not intend to deceive; but it did deceive; therefore, it was a deceiver.

It did not intend to lie; but it did lie; therefore, it was a liar, and the father of a lie.

It did not intend to cause the woman's death; but still it brought her under sentence of death; therefore, it was a murderer: and became the spiritual father of all intentional liars, deceivers, unbelievers, and man-killers, who are styled "the Serpent's seed".

The Serpent had propensities and intellect, and so had the woman; but her mental constitution differed from his, in having "moral sentiments" superadded to her propensities and intellect.

By the sentiments she was made a morally accountable being; capable of believing, and able to control and derect her other faculties in their application.

The propensities enable a creature to propagate its species, take care of its young, defend itself against enemies, collect food, and so forth: intellect enables it to do these things, for the gratification of its sensations; but when, in addition to these, a being is endowed with the sentiments of conscientiousness, hope, veneration, benevolence, wonder, etc. it possesses a spiritual, or sentimental, organization, which makes it capable of reflecting as from a mirror, the likeness and glory of God.

The appropriate sphere of the propensities is on things sensual and fleshly; while that of spiritual, or sentimentalized, intellect, is on "the things of the spirit of God".

In the mental constitution of man, God designed that the sentiments, enlightened by His truth, should have the ascendancy, and preside over, and govern his actions.

Under such an arrangement, the thoughts of the man would have resulted from spiritual thinking as opposed to the thoughts of the inferior creatures, which are purely the thinking of the flesh.

Where the truth has possession of the sentiments, setting them to work and so forming the thoughts, it becomes the law of God to them; which the apostle styles "the law of his mind"; and because it is written there through the hearing of "the law and the testimony," which came to the prophets and apostles through the spirit, he terms it, "the law of the spirit" inscribed "on fleshy tables of the heart"; and "the law of the spirit of life" because, while obeyed, it confers a right to eternal life.