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THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1853 paragraph 530 506 Lecture XI. Jehovah's Appeal to Sinners and Backsliders ...

11. Or are you sick of His love and does your heart therefore demand some change? Have you had the gospel until it has ceased to interest you, and has become an old story? Is this your case? Have you gained anything at all by transferring your affections to somebody else? Have you obtained better friends, more peace of mind, or more satisfaction? On the other hand, have you not lost something of substantial value? Have you not lost your own self-respect? When you look into your own face, do you not instinctively say, "That is the face of a hypocrite?" Have you not lost that sweetness of temper which you had in your first love? Do not your acquaintances see that something is wrong with you? Have you not such a sense of guilt that you dread everything that may enforce conviction? Are you not oppressed with a sense of shame? Do you not inwardly know that you are altogether hypocritical in your religion? Can you honestly draw near to God and tell Him how much you love Him? Or, on the other hand, is it not true that desire has fled; that every vestige of true affection has perished from your heart, and that the whole of your religion is mere hypocrisy? Do you not feel that you have acted most unreasonably and cruelly? Have you not acted madly? Has not your course in leaving your first love been one of moral insanity and infatuation? Have you not been compelled to say of yourself, "I have had not reason, I have acted like a lunatic; God knows I have played the fool and have erred exceedingly?" Have you not done as a treacherous wife who madly goes after other lovers and forsakes the covenant of her God and the plighted love of her vows? And are you not evermore going from bad to worse, getting still farther and farther from God, more and more grieving the Spirit by your course of dealings with God? Are you not doing more and more things which you will hate to confess and yet which you must confess, or never turn acceptably to God? Are you not wandering from God, and still building up walls of separation to obstruct your return? And worse still, if possible, are you not laying stumbling-blocks before others?

Let all these points be deeply pondered. Are you prepared to come before God and table your complaints against Him, and show that in all the points at issue between your soul and Him, the fault is wholly on His side?

REMARKS.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1855 paragraph 149 124 Lecture IV. On Neglecting Salvation ...

7. It is affecting to observe how difficult it is, when men have laid their plans for worldly good, to get them to change, and seek first their God. Even of professed Christians this is often true. They cannot go, with cheerful steps, even to a prayer-meeting. If they go at all, they are very late, to make the time as short as possible, and then they come with hearts full of the world. Instead of giving up their worldly plans and saying--"I must have salvation; my plans are all wrong from the beginning--all selfish in their spirit--and I must wash out all the past and begin a new life;"--instead of this, I say they cling ever more to their cherished plans. Perhaps I have told you how my mind became pinched under the pressure of this sort of question, after I had accepted the Bible as from God. When God's claims began to come home to my conscience, I said to myself, How do I know but God will want me to give my profession,--(to which I was very much attached,) and of so, what shall I do? This question grasped my conscience terribly, for I saw that becoming religious implied giving up my business, or, at least, making it entirely subject to God's control. Perhaps, said I, God will want me to go on a mission, or, at least, to preach the gospel. Can I consent to do it? The impression came down heavily on my mind--God wants you to preach his gospel! He does not want you to follow the law. Then I said--I have never consulted God at all in reference to the business of my life, though He has given Christ to redeem me and watch over me all my life long to do me good. I must do so now and henceforth! I ought to know what God would have me do, and I must know. I must not go on in this way.

The great point was now gained; I began to act as a rational being should, and God shed light on my path. Now, perhaps some of you, young people, have never asked God whether He wants you to get an education, and for what purpose. Some of you may have asked this question prayerfully; others not. If you have not, how do you know what God would have you do? Is it not plain that this neglect, on your part, amounts to moral insanity? Who of you all does not admit that you ought to attend to the great business for which God sent you into this world? Have you ever asked God to show you what your special errand in this world is? Suppose an angel should meet you today and should say--have you attended yet to the great business for which you were sent into the world? In the stillness of the midnight hour, you open your eyes and lo, an angel of God is before you--and he asks if you have done anything, after so long towards executing the mission for which you were sent into the world. O, how you are smitten with dread and horror when he tells you that, if you have not, he is commissioned to demand your soul! "This night," he cries, "thy soul is required of thee! "Then, you will readily believe that to neglect the great business of life, when you knew what it was, is indeed the worst insanity! O, take care of your soul; don't lose it; the treasures of eternity are in its welfare--and how can you throw them all away!

IV. What are your reasons for this neglect of salvation?

1. Not ignorance, for you know your duty. Not the force of circumstance, for they have not excluded you from God and from due attention to his claims. There is no important reason. Could you study better without religion? Not so well. Would you be more happy without it? Nay, but far less so. Can you assign any reason for this neglect? What can it mean? Is it not moral insanity?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 12 TABLE OF CONTENTS ...

Lecture VII. Moral Insanity

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 250 250 Lecture VII. Moral Insanity ...

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THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 251 250 Lecture VII. Moral Insanity ...

Moral Insanity
Lecture VII
September 10, 1856

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 256 250 Lecture VII. Moral Insanity ...

III. This moral insanity is a state of unmingled wickedness.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 259 250 Lecture VII. Moral Insanity ...

3. The general law is that, while the intellect retains its usual power, so long moral obligation remains unimpaired.

Moral insanity, on the other hand, is will-madness. The man retains his intellectual powers unimpaired, but he sets his heart fully to evil. He refuses to yield to the demands of his conscience. He practically discards the obligations of moral responsibility. He has the powers of free moral agency, but persistently abuses them. He has a reason which affirms obligation, but he refuses obedience to its affirmations.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 273 250 Lecture VII. Moral Insanity ...

Is this exaggeration? No; this is only the simple truth. Sinners press down the way to hell as if it were the chief good of their existence, and shun the way to heaven as if it were the consummation of evil. Sinner, this is your own moral state. The picture gives only the naked facts of the case, without exaggeration.

III. This moral insanity is a state of unmingled wickedness.

1. The special feature of it which makes it a guilty state, is that it is altogether voluntary. It results not from the loss of reason, but from the abuse of reason. The will persists in acting against reason and conscience. Despite of the affirmations of reason, and reckless of the admonitions of conscience, the sinner presses on in his career of rebellion against God and goodness. In such voluntary wickedness, must there not be intrinsic guilt?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 276 250 Lecture VII. Moral Insanity ...

2. If intellectual insanity be a shocking fact, how much more so is moral. I have referred to my first impressions at the sight of one who was intellectually insane, but a case of moral insanity ought to be deemed far more afflictive and astounding. Suppose the case of a Webster. His brain becomes softened; he is an idiot! There is not a man in all the land but would feel solemn. What! Daniel Webster--that great man, an idiot! How have the mighty fallen! What a horrible sight!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 279 250 Lecture VII. Moral Insanity ...

We shudder at the thought that any of our friends are becoming idiotic or lunatic; but this is not half so bad as to have one of them become wicked. Better have a whole family become idiotic than one of them become a hardened sinner. Indeed, the former, compared with the latter, is as nothing. For the idiot shall not always be so. When this mortal is laid away in the grave, the soul may look out again in the free air of liberty, as if it had never been immured in a dark prison; and the body, raised again, may bloom in eternal vigor and beauty; but, alas, moral insanity only waxes worse and worse forever! The root of this being not in a diseased brain, but in a diseased heart and soul, death cannot cure it; the resurrection will only raise him to shame and everlasting contempt; and the eternal world will only give scope to his madness to rage on with augmented vigor and wider sweep forever.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 281 250 Lecture VII. Moral Insanity ...

5. Intellectual insanity is only pitiable, not disgraceful; but moral insanity is unspeakably disgraceful. None need wonder that God should say--"Some shall arise to shame and everlasting contempt."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 283 250 Lecture VII. Moral Insanity ...

Sometimes persons who have become converted, but not well established, backslide into moral insanity. Just as persons sometimes relapse into intellectual insanity, after being apparently quite restored. This is a sad case, and brings sorrow upon the hearts of friends. Yet, in no case can it be so sad as a case of backsliding into moral insanity.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 286 250 Lecture VII. Moral Insanity ...

Suppose, then, we go next to the great moral bedlam of the universe--the hell of lost souls; for if men will make themselves mad, God must shut them up in one vast bedlam cell. Why should not he? The weal of his empire demands that all the moral insanity of his kingdom should be withdrawn from the society of the holy, and shut up alone and apart. There are those whose intellects are right, but whose hearts are all wrong. Ah, what a place must that be in which to spend one's eternity! The great mad-house of the universe!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1861 paragraph 658 582 Lectures X. & XI. Profit and Loss; Or The Worth of The Soul- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

Now for this there is no remedy, but for men to set reason to work, as we say, and take a decided stand against the spirit of delay. I say, this spirit of delay; for it seems as if there was a spirit in it, an evil spirit. It is a strange infatuation, a moral insanity that seems to take possession of the soul.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 18 - THE GREAT BUSINESS OF LIFE. paragraph 27

Now, is it not true that you have been acting thus foolishly and wickedly? Oh, think of your guilt in neglecting your soul and disobeying God, and resolve now to procrastinate no longer! Again: for a man to act thus on any other subject, he would be pronounced insane. And it is moral insanity which makes people neglect the business of their eternal salvation; it is madness in the heart. Suppose a man should neglect the most important part of his worldly business, the neglect of which would ruin all his worldly prospects, why everybody would say he was insane. Who can doubt this? Now, what higher evidence can a man give of insanity, who admits his guilt and danger in words, and yet systematically neglects to save himself from ruin. If a man should deny the whole matter, and say there was no truth in the statement, that he is in danger by his neglect, why, what higher evidence could he give of being insane? Let any one tell if he can! We will now proceed to notice, in a few words,

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 30 - Attributes of Selfishness--Continued (Part IV) paragraph 20 Enmity . . Madness . . Impatience . . Intemperance . . Moral recklessness . . Unity

     Madness is used sometimes to mean anger, sometimes to mean intellectual insanity, and sometimes to mean moral insanity. I speak of it now in the last sense.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 30 - Attributes of Selfishness--Continued (Part IV) paragraph 21 Enmity . . Madness . . Impatience . . Intemperance . . Moral recklessness . . Unity

     Moral insanity is not insanity of the intellect, but of the heart. Insanity of the intellect destroys, for the time being, moral agency and accountability. Moral insanity is a state in which the intellectual powers are not deranged, but the heart refuses to be controlled by the law of the intellect, and acts unreasonably, as if the intellect were deranged. That madness or moral insanity is an attribute of selfishness, is evident--

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 30 - Attributes of Selfishness--Continued (Part IV) paragraph 23 Enmity . . Madness . . Impatience . . Intemperance . . Moral recklessness . . Unity

     (ii.) It has been shown that sinners, or selfish persons, act in every instance, in direct opposition to right reason. Indeed, nothing can be plainer than the moral insanity of every selfish soul. He chooses to seek his own interest as an end, and, in so doing, prefers a straw to a universe. But not only so: he does this with the certain knowledge, that in this way he can never secure his own highest interest. What an infinitely insane course that must be, first to prefer his own petty gratification to the infinite interests of God and of the universe, and secondly, to do this with the knowledge, that in this way nothing can be ultimately gained even to self; and that, if the course is persisted in, it must result in endless evil to self, the very thing which is supremely dreaded! Sin is the greatest mystery, and the greatest absurdity, and the greatest contradiction, in the universe.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 9 - Moral Insanity paragraph 0
MORAL INSANITY

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 9 - Moral Insanity paragraph 1

IX. MORAL INSANITY.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 9 - Moral Insanity paragraph 8

Moral insanity, on the other hand, is will-madness. The man retains his intellectual powers unimpaired, but he sets his heart fully to do evil. He refuses to yield to the demands of his conscience. He practically discards the obligations of moral responsibility. He has the powers of free moral agency, but persistently abuses them. He has a reason which affirms obligation, but he refuses obedience to its affirmations.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 9 - Moral Insanity paragraph 37

3. This moral insanity is a state of unmingled wickedness. The special feature of it which makes it a guilty state, is that it is altogether voluntary. It results not from the loss of reason, but from the abuse of reason. The will persists in acting against reason and conscience. Despite of the affirmations of reason, and reckless of the admonitions of conscience, the sinner presses on in his career of rebellion against God and goodness. In such voluntary wickedness, must there not be intrinsic guilt?

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 9 - Moral Insanity paragraph 43

2. If intellectual insanity be a shocking fact, how much more so is moral? I have referred to my first impressions at the sight of one who was intellectually insane, but a case of moral insanity ought to be deemed far more afflictive and astounding. Suppose the case of a Webster. His brain becomes softened; he is An idiot! There is not a man in all the land but would feel solemn. What! Daniel Webster -- that great man, an idiot! How have the mighty fallen! What a horrible sight!

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 9 - Moral Insanity paragraph 46

We shudder at the thought that any of our friends are becoming idiotic or lunatic; but this is not half so bad as to have one of them become wicked. Better have a whole family become idiotic than one of them become a hardened sinner. Indeed, the former, compared with the latter, is as nothing. For the idiot shall not always be so. When this mortal is laid away in the grave, the soul may look out again in the free air of liberty, as if it had never been immured in a dark prison; and the body, raised again, may bloom in eternal vigor and beauty; but, alas, moral insanity only waxes worse and worse forever! The root of this being not in a diseased brain, but in a diseased heart and soul, death can not cure it; the resurrection will only raise him to shame and everlasting contempt; and the eternal world will only give scope to his madness to rage on with augmented vigor and wider sweep forever.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 9 - Moral Insanity paragraph 48

Intellectual insanity is only pitiable, not disgraceful; but moral insanity is unspeakably disgraceful. None need wonder that God should say, "Some shall arise to shame and everlasting contempt."

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 9 - Moral Insanity paragraph 50

Sometimes persons who have become converted, but not well established, backslide into moral insanity. Just as persons sometimes relapse into intellectual insanity, after being apparently quite restored. This is a sad case, and brings sorrow upon the hearts of friends. Yet, in no case can it be so sad as a case of backsliding into moral insanity.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 9 - Moral Insanity paragraph 53

Suppose, then, we go next to the great moral bedlam of the universe -- the hell of lost souls; for if men will make themselves mad, God must shut them up in one vast bedlam cell. Why should not He? The weal of His empire demands that all the moral insanity of His kingdom should be withdrawn from the society of the holy, and shut up alone and apart. There are those whose intellects are right, but whose hearts are all wrong. Ah, what a place must that be in which to spend one's eternity! The great mad-house of the universe!