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"My sin is ever before me"
But then, if we have fallen, our enemy plies us with the other argument: It is of no use to attempt to rise; you cannot overcome your besetting sin. But this is falser still. To those who feel themselves fallen I come, in Christ's name, to say, Yes, you may rise. If we could ascend to heaven today and scan the ranks of the blessed, should we not find multitudes among them who were once sunk low as man can fall? But they are washed, they are justified, they are sanctified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. And so may you be.
It is, I know, a doctrine which may be abused; but I will not scruple to preach it to those who are fallen and sighing for deliverance. St. Augustine says that we may, out of our dead sins, make stepping stones to rise to the heights of perfection. What did he mean by that? He meant that the memory of our falls may breed in us such a humility, such a distrust of self, such a constant clinging to Christ as we could never have had without the experience of our own weakness.
Does not the Scripture itself go even further? David fell deep as man can fall; but what does he say in that great fifty-first Psalm, in which he confesses his sin? Anticipating forgiveness, he sings,
Then will I teach Thy ways unto
Those that transgressors be,
And those that sinners are shall then
Be turned unto Thee.