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by Dr. John Thomas
But in the absence of this law and testimony, the "moral sentiments" are as incapable of directing a man aright, as though he were all intellect, or all propensities.
By a right direction, I mean, according to the mind of God.
The sentiments are as blind as the propensities when intellect is unenlightened by divine revelation.
The truth of this is illustrated by the excesses into which mankind has plunged in the name of religion.
Mohammedanism, Romanism, Paganism, and the infinite varieties of Protestantism, are all the result of the co-workings of the intellect, and sentiments, under the impulse of the propensities.
They are all the thinkings of the flesh, predicated on ignorance, or misconception, of the truth.
Hence, they are either altogether false; or, like the dialogisms of the shrewd Serpent, a clumsy mixture of truth and error.
The Carnal Mind is an expression used by Paul; or rather, it is the translation of words used by him, in his epistle to the Romans.
It is not so explicit as the original.
The words he wrote are to; frovnhma th`" sarco;," the thinking of the flesh.
In this phrase, he intimates to us, that the flesh is the thinking substance, that is, the brain; which, in another place, he terms "the fleshy tablet of the heart".
The kind of thinking, therefore, depends upon the conformation of this organ.
Hence, the more elaborate and perfect its mechanism, the more precise and comprehensive the thought; and vice versa.
It is upon this principle such a diversity of mental manifestation is observable among men and other animals; but after all, how diverse soever they may be, they are all referable to one and the same thing -- the thinking of the flesh, whose elaborations are excited by the propensities, and the sensible phenomena of the world.
Now, the law of God is given, that the thinking of the flesh, instead of being excited by the propensities within and the world without, may be conducted according to its direction.
So long as Adam and Eve yielded to its guidance, they were happy and contented.
Their thoughts were the result of right thinking, and obedience was the consequence.
But when they adopted the Serpent's reasonings as their own, these being at variance with the truth, caused an "enmity" against it in their thinkings, which is equivalent to "enmity against God".
When their sin was perfected, the propensities, or lusts, having been inflamed, became "a law in their members"; and because it was implanted in their flesh by transgression, it is styled, "the law of sin"; and death being the wages of sin, it is also termed, "the law of sin and death"; but by philosophy, "the law of nature".
The thinking of the flesh, uninfluenced by the ameliorating agency of divine truth, is so degenerating in its effects, that it reduces man to savagery.
There is nothing elevating or ennobling in fleshly thoughts; on the contrary, they tend to physical deterioration and death; for "to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace".
If ferocious creatures become tame, or civilized, it is the result of what may be termed spiritual influences; which, operating from without the animal, call into exercise its highest powers, by which the more turbulent are subdued, or kept in check.
It is unheard of that wild beasts, or savage men, ever tamed or civilized themselves; on the contrary, the law in the members when uncontrolled in its mental operations is so vicious in its influence as to endanger the continuance of the race.