Consent

Cardinal Manning observes: “The most perfect machine, constructed with the most faultless accuracy, if it be jarred by a shock, is at once thrown out of gear, it loses its perfect action, and its motions become eccentric. So it is with human nature. It was created perfect—in the image of God, with the three perfections, natural, supernatural, and preternatural, of which I have spoken already; but by the shock of the Fall was thrown out of gear. It became eccentric, it lost its rest upon God, its true centre, and it began to turn faultily round itself. The three wounds of the soul—ignorance in the intellect, turbulence in the passions, weakness in the will—are the injury done to that perfect machine. Wherefore, continually our nature is acting abnormally, that is, in departure from the law of its Maker.”

“This seems to be the Apostle’s meaning when he says : ‘I know that in me—that is, in my flesh—dwelleth no good thing. For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?'(Rom 7:18-24)”

Cardinal Manning remarks: “The Apostle was a saint of God, in union with God, in friendship with God; but he was conscious that in himself there was a perpetual warfare, a turbulence in his nature, a weakness in his will; yet those sinful emotions, passions, and temptations were not sins: only an act of consent could make them sins in the sight of God.”

Quotations from Henry Edward Manning, Sin and Its Consequences, 2d ed. (London: Burns and Oates, 1874).

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