In this post and in several that follow we shall read excerpts from the book Sin and Its Consequences, which is based on a series of Lenten lectures given by Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (1808-1892), Archbishop of Westminster, England.
He begins by stating: “Both in the old creation and in the new, both before the Incarnation of the Son of God and after His ascension into heaven, it has been, and it is, and it will be to the end of the world, the work and the office of the Holy Ghost to convince the world of sin; that is to say, to convince the intellect, and to illuminate the reason of man to know and to understand what sin is; and also to convict the consciences of men, one by one, of their sinfulness, and to make them, each one, conscious that they are guilty before God.”
“In the beginning when God made man, He made him sinless, and He gave him the light of the Holy Spirit; so that man knew God, His holiness and perfections; and he knew himself, and the nature in which God had created him. He knew the law of God; but he did not know sin, because as yet the law had not been broken. . . . But when man sinned against God, then all was changed. Then he was conscious of his guilt, and strove to hide himself from the face of his Maker; but he only hid God from his own conscience. He could not escape from the presence nor from the eye of God; but he could hide the light of God’s presence from himself—and this he did.”
“From the beginning of time, God in His mercy, by the working and the light of His Spirit, taught men to know, in some measure at least, His own perfections and their own sinfulness; but it was only like the twilight preceding the noonday. We are in the noonday; and if in the noonday we are blind to the perfections of God and to our own sinfulness, woe to us in the day of judgment.”
“I therefore intend first to speak of the nature of sin, of what it is, and of certain distinctions of sin.”
Quotations from Henry Edward Manning, Sin and Its Consequences, 2d ed. (London: Burns and Oates, 1874).