Tincture of Evil

Another Gospel gem from John Brine,

“Men cannot be assisted to acquire this Principle of Holiness, and spiritual Life. He who is dead cannot be enabled to put forth vital Acts. And he who is blind, that is to say, is destitute of a visive Faculty, cannot be helped to see. Natural Men are dead, destitute of a Principle of spiritual Life, and of a spiritual visive Faculty, and therefore, they cannot be enabled to act, or to see in a spiritual Manner. It is unreasonable to think, that the Mind, as carnal, can be influenced unto holy Acts. The Flesh is only and entirely engaged in the Service of Sin. And it perpetually lusteth against the Spirit in Believers.

It concurs not with the gracious Principle, in the Saints, in any of its Actings; but ever opposes it. Hence there is a Tincture of Evil in all the holy Actings of their Minds, and in all the Duties which they perform. By reason of the perpetual Presence of Evil in them, they sin in Meditation, Prayer, Reading, Hearing, and in every other religious Exercise. The sad Experience of Believers, is a standing Evidence of the Truth thereof. How then, can it be supposed, that those, who only have Flesh in them, may be excited to exert holy Acts, in order to acquire a holy Principle? If the Flesh in unregenerate Men may be enabled to put forth holy Acts: Surely it may be brought to concur with the Spirit, in its Acts, in the Regenerate; but that is false, both Scripture, and the Experience of all the Saints testify. And, therefore, it is impossible, that it should be enabled by any Aids whatsoever, to act in a holy, spiritual Manner. And, consequently, no Man, who is in the Flesh, or in an unregenerate State, can be enabled to exert holy Acts, whereby a holy Principle may be acquired.

I would speak it with Reverence, and I hope you will hear it with Reverence; Omnipotence itself cannot cause Enmity to Love. For, that implies a Contradiction. And as the carnal Mind is Enmity itself against God, it is absolutely impossible to cause it to love Him. In our depraved Nature, there is nothing but a mere passive Capacity to receive a holy, spiritual. Principle from God, in a way of Creation, or Infusion. That is all which we can with Truth, say of ourselves, as we are carnal and corrupt. The Will of the Flesh does not, it cannot co-operate with the Grace of God, in our Regeneration. For, that would be acting contrary to its Nature. And, therefore, at cannot, even by divine Influence, be caused to act spiritually. And, consequently, it is impossible, that Men, who are destitute of a Principle of Holiness, should be enabled to acquire such a Principle. It is not of him that willeth, or of him that runneth; but of God that sheweth Mercy.”

tincture = A trace or vestige: “a faint tincture of condescension”

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