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Morality vs. Christianity (Part Two)

Morality is a neat cover for foul venom,
but it does not alter the fact that the heart is vile,
and the man himself is under damnation.

Men will be damned with good works
as well as without them,
if they make them their confidence.

You may go to hell as well dressed

in the garnishings of morality
as in the rags of immorality.

It is still the old nature- wash it, and cleanse it,
and bind it, and curb it, and bridle it-
it is still the old fallen nature,
and cannot understand spiritual things.
C.H. Spurgeon

To the eye of one who sees not as God sees, there is much that is comparatively illustrious in the character and conduct of such men. But while we cheerfully make these concessions, we may not substitute a mere visible morality, however exemplary, however vivid and useful, for true holiness. It is easy to conceive all the virtues of an unexceptional moral deportment concentrated in men who are at heart strangers to the spirit of Jesus Christ. A person of the character to which we refer may, for example, be a professed disbeliever in the truths and doctrines of the Gospel. There are not lacking even infidels who rarely disregard the laws of good neighborhood and civil society. David Hume would have blushed at the imputation of moral dishonesty and yet could boldly deny his God and Savior.

Seneca and Socrates inculcated by their writings and sustained by their conduct a morality which, though not faultless, did honor to the pagan world, but they were pagans still. There are also men in these Christian lands who from the peculiarity of their condition, from the restraints of education and habit, from high notions of honor from a keen sense of propriety and gentlemanly deportment, or from motives of mere ambition and personal aggrandizement, would seldom be detected in an immoral action; who, at the same time, disclaim every principle of the Holy Scriptures.

The morality of which we speak, with all its excellencies, is subjected to a lamentable defect. It regards only a part of the divine law. A merely moral man may be very scrupulous of duties he owes to his fellow men, while the infinitely important duties he owes to God are kept entirely out of sight. Of loving and serving God, he knows nothing. Whatever he does or whatever he leaves undone, he does nothing for God. He is honest in his dealings with all except God, he robs none but God, he is thankless and faithless to none but God, he feels contemptuously, and speaks reproachfully of none but God. A just perception of the relations he sustains to God constitutes no part of his principles, and the duties which result from those relations constitute no part of his piety. He may not only disbelieve the Scriptures, but may never read them; may not only disregard the divine authority, but every form of divine worship, and live and die as though he had no concern with God and God had not concern with him.

The character of the young man in the Gospel presents a painful and affecting view of the deficiencies of external morality (see Mat. 19:16-22). He was not dishonest, nor untrue; he was not impure nor malignant; and not a few of the divine commands he had externally observed. No, he says, “All these have I kept.” Nor was his a mere sporadic goodness, but steady and uniform. He had performed these services “from his youth up.” Nor was this all. He professed a willingness to become acquainted with his whole duty. “What lack I yet?” And yet when brought to the test, this poor youth saw that, with all his boasted morality, he could not deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Christ. I said that mere morality regarded only a part of the divine law, but to speak more correctly, it disregards the whole of it.

The sum and soul of obedience to the divine law consists in love to God. But the people whom we describe, though they many have some knowledge of God and may confess his worthiness to be loved, love almost everything else more than He. They have no supreme delight and complacency in His excellence; it is no source of congratulation to those who He is what He is, and that He sways the empire of the universe; and if they ever fix their thoughts upon God, their contemplation of His holiness, justice, and sovereignty are rather the sources of suspicion, alarm, and uneasiness, than of tranquility, confidence, and holy pleasure. Men of this description, therefore, are wholly destitute of the radical and essential principle of conformity to the law of God. However they may have the appearance of rectitude, they fail in all the essential parts of holy obedience. Nor is there in such a character any conformity to the requisitions of the Gospel. Repentance, faith, humility, submission, hope, and joy are acts of a mind that delights in God.

There is a wide distinction between moral virtues and Christian graces. Christian graces spring from holy love and have their origin in holy motives. They regard chiefly the glory of God and the interests of His Kingdom and then govern the relationships of men with their fellow men as God has required. Moral virtues spring from supreme selfishness. They have their origin in motives that are never recognized by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have no regard for the glory of God and the interests of His Kingdom and go just so far as a well-regulated self-interest leads the way and there they stop.

Author Unknown
To be continued....


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