PREVIOUS ARTICLES in this series have presented several methods for developing Christlikeness. In this article several other methods will be presented as they stand related to the human sentiments.
I. GENERAL EXPLANATIONS
Let us make some general explanations and then make some specific applications of the thought we are using as our subject.
A. The Human Sentiments
The human sentiments are those which are peculiar to us as human beings. If we were not of the race of mankind, we would not have these sentiments. They are those that concern us in our relationship to God, to ourselves, to our fellows, and to our environment. These human sentiments fall into certain groups, which in turn, also have certain elements. They may be classified into two kinds or groups, the higher and lower, the former being the religious, the latter the selfish, worldly, and artistic. Each class of the lower sentiments, the selfish and the worldly and artistic, fall into ten parts or elements. The following is their logical order:
1. Love for a good opinion of one’s self.
2. Love for the good opinion of others.
3. Love for safety.
4. Love for repose.
5. Love for self-defense.
6. Love for life.
7. Love for concealment.
8. Love for aggression.
9. Love for property.
10. Love for nourishment.
WORLDLY AND ARTISTIC SENTIMENTS:
1. Love for the opposite sex.
2. Love for family.
3. Love for home.
4. Love for country.
5. Love for fellowship.
6. Love for order.
7. Love for nature.
8. Love for art.
9. Love for knowledge.
10. Love for occupation.
Man has in some degree the following seven religious sentiments:
1. Love for understanding and relying upon something or someone.
2. Love for desiring and expecting future good.
3. Love for firmness.
4. Love for steadfastness.
5. Love for righteousness toward God and Christ.
6. Love for righteousness toward the neighbor.
7. Love for goodness toward others.
B. The Regulation
Regulating the human sentiments means their proper control, our keeping rule over them in the way in which they should be subjected to the Heavenly Father’s arrangements. The agent through which this rule is carried forward is the new human heart, mind, and will, which is God’s will, taken as our own and acting in and through us. Its first activity consists in developing the seven chief or higher primary graces through the religious faculties (2 Peter 1: 5-7).
6. Brotherly kindness.
7. Charity – Love.
When knowledge is added to faith and hope we have Wisdom. The combination of self-control and patience is Power. The combination of piety and brotherly kindness is Justice. Thus, these seven higher primary graces may be summarized in four qualities, the great attributes of God which He desires in us – wisdom, power, justice, and love.
In this article we will consider our selfish, worldly, and artistic sentiments, but will not discuss our religious sentiments any further in this connection.
II. SPECIFIC APPLICATIONS
We will have to regulate our selfish, worldly, and artistic sentiments in their relation to God, us, the world, sin, error, justice, and holiness. These seven relations amid which the regulation is to be carried out require two modes. The selfish, worldly, and artistic sentiments are to be dealt with, as far as their control is concerned, by one mode. These sentiments, when in danger of sin and error, as far as any attempt at exercise is concerned, and with respect to righteousness and holiness, are to be dealt with by another mode.
A. Suppressing by the Higher Primary Graces the Control of the Selfish, Worldly, and Artistic Sentiments
The first mode of regulation, that is, with respect to the control of the selfish, worldly, and artistic sentiments is to keep their control dead by suppression, that is, suppressing by the higher primary graces the control of the lower sentiments. Let us take the first text to illustrate this thought: “Ye are dead.” The Apostle is here referring to the selfish, worldly, and artistic sentiments as far as their gaining control over us is concerned. This control is to be dead, and is to be kept dead, that is, to be suppressed by the new human heart, mind, and will. Such suppression is operated by almost every one of the general and special methods for overcoming evil or by a combination of them.
By the word suppression, the thought is not that there may be no selfish or worldly inclination at all in our hearts, but rather that its control is the thing to be suppressed. We are not here referring to the sinful selfish tendencies, but rather to the selfish tendencies which only by perversion become sinful, and which the unconsecrated may properly indulge, provided it is done in harmony with the rights of others, that is, without sin. But for the consecrated, to permit these to crystallize themselves into intentions would result in great injury to the new human heart, mind, and will.
If we allow the love of a good opinion of self to crystallize itself into a volition, the result would be pride; the love of appearing well before others, vanity; the love of safety, cowardice; the love of ease, laziness; the love of self-defense, strife; the love of life, the giving up of our consecration entirely; the love of hiding what is disadvantageous, hypocrisy; the love of destroying what is injurious, vindictiveness, hatred; the love of acquiring and retaining, covetousness and miserliness; the love for food, gluttony; and love for drink, drunkenness.
Let us consider how we may suppress the control of the selfish sentiments and the results. The new human heart, mind, and will lays hold on, for example, self-esteem and keeps its control dead; thus, it brings forth a lowly self-estimate of ourselves, that is, humility. Likewise, laying hold on the desire of appearing well before others and keeping its control dead, develops simplicity, modesty. Laying hold on our love for rest and keeping its control dead, gives us activity. Laying hold on love for safety and keeping its control dead, gives us bravery. Laying hold on the love for life and keeping its control dead, gives us self-sacrificingness. Laying hold on love for self-defense and keeping its control dead, gives us long-suffering. Laying hold on love for hiding disadvantageous things and suppressing its control, develops frankness. Laying hold on love for destroying injurious things and keeping its control dead, develops forbearance. Laying hold on love for acquiring and retaining and suppressing its control, develops liberality and contentment. Laying hold on love for natural food and drink and suppressing its control, develops temperance. These ten qualities that are developed by the new human heart, mind, and will suppressing the control of the selfish sentiments, through the activity of the seven higher primary graces especially, may be called secondary graces, because their cultivation is dependent upon the control of the higher primary graces over the lower sentiments.
Regarding the process of suppressing the control of the worldly and artistic sentiments, whenever they attempt to assert their control, it should be destroyed, and this would result in a condition where the new human heart, mind, and will, has full sway. We would not be amenable to the rule of self or the world, though some in the world have certain rights in us, and thus have some influence over us. We owe a certain responsive attitude toward our fellows and toward the various relations of social life in which God has placed us, as well as toward nature itself in and outside of us. But we must refuse to allow these relationships to exercise control over us. Otherwise, instead of taking God’s will, we would be taking the will of self or the world as our will. This does not mean that those who have claims on us may not find some responsiveness in our selfish and worldly sentiments, when they are used in harmony with the principles of justice. But it does mean that where our rights are exclusively concerned, we are free to yield these to God. For example, if our families, who have certain rights which must be yielded to them, attempt to dominate what is not theirs by right, what is not our duty to give them, we must say “no.” This course should be followed with every one of our sentiments. We will not show in this article how the control of the worldly sentiments may be suppressed by the higher primary graces.
(to be continued)