By Horatius Bonar
The tendency of the present day is to underestimate sin and to misunderstand its nature. From the cross of Christ men strike out the very elements which intimate the divine opinion of its evil. Sin is admitted to be an evil, greater or less according to circumstances; a hereditary poison, which time and earnestness will work out of the constitution; an unruly but inevitable appetite, which is to be corrected gradually by moral discipline and wholesome intellectual diet, rendered medicinal by a moderate infusion of the “religious element”; a sickening pain, sometimes in the conscience, sometimes in the heart, that is to be soothed by the dreamy mysticism, which, acting like spiritual chloroform, dulls the uneasiness without touching its seat; this is all!…Yet such are the representations of sin with which we find a large amount of the literature and the religion of our day penetrated. Humanity is struggling upward, nobly self-reliant! The race is elevating itself (for the Darwinian theory has found its way into religion); and Christianity is a useful help in this process of self-regeneration! Thus does many a prophet speak peace where there is none, bent on “healing the hurt” by the denial of its deadliness. Of what avail this calling evil good and good evil, this putting darkness for light and light for darkness, this putting bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, will be in the great day of reckoning, a coming hour will show.
—Horatius Bonar (19 December 1808 – 31 July 1889, Scottish churchman and poet, principally remembered as a prodigious hymn-writer).