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Hereditary Propensity

It is a common thing for man to shirk responsibility for his weaknesses, omissions, and failures; to regard his self-made miseries as altogether unjust, and to blame hereditary propensity, fate, or circumstance. The sickly, morbid sentimentalist, the incompetent and the vicious, all have their favorite excuses (flimsy rags with which they seek to cover the naked shame of indolent indulgence), and constant reiteration at last causes a deluded belief in their correctness. Because parents had certain defects, untoward circumstances surrounded them from birth, and early impressions were baneful, they contend that their efforts to prevent low propensities from asserting themselves would be in vain. Thus, in extenuation of a man's inaction in the matter, it is necessary to assume that a low propensity has the power of immutable law.

This assumption is on its face preposterous and needs no refutation. Consider how awful it would be were the comment true—"Poor thing! he cannot help it." Yet will man complacently submit to be described as a "thing," and with the muck-rake of self-pity gather together the worthless straws of ignorant condolences, while the glorious crown of manhood hovers above his head unheeded. In this sorrowful occupation his godlike power is lost, and the hideous terrors of darkness gather round his soul. The self-pitying thought of weakness attracts paralysis of heart and mind, and the impure desire returns with hateful brood.

Those who cling to their lazy indifference appear to ignore this fact, that the soul of man comes to its own at birth, and ever attracts its own by what it wills to be. So-called hereditary propensity is simply a process of thought drawn to the brain by a wrong mental attitude which the man himself determines. He need not give way to it, but it has been permitted so often that a habit has formed, and this habit can only be broken up and eliminated by constant and strenuous effort. It is worse than useless to whine about one's incapacity, to sanctimoniously quote "He knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are dust," or to foolishly imagine that eventual salvation is secure because of the "finished work of Christ." Power to overcome can only be attained by use. No man can understand until he bestirs himself to conquer his lower tendencies, but when by pure and holy aspiration his soul drinks deeply from the source of power and vibrates harmoniously with the Heart of God, then is victory assured.

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J. S. Akehurst

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