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tested to be divine by miracles religion to practical purpose, and the accomplishment of pro- but are governed by inclination.) . phecy and other collateral evi- Hence if any man is a true wordence? If this be the case, the shipper of the Christian's God," evidence in favor of the truth he is devoted to his fear and and divinity of the Christian practises the duties of Christireligion is full and complete. anity. But these various sources of The observation also applies evidence have been stated with to the truth respecting the great clearness by many able ground of the sinner's acceptance defenders of Christianity. Our with God. The bible doctrine of faith in the system of religion the proper divinity and atorerests on a firm basis, and against ment of Christ, when cordially this truth we are assured that the received, lays the foundation of gates of hell shall never prevail. a life of holy faith and obedience
2. We infer the great impor- to all God's commands, and is tance of right apprehensions on attended with a conformity to - the leading truths of Christiani- | Christ, in temper and character. ty. That errors should be em- The same observation applies -braced for truth in the remote with respect to the bible system branches of religion, and those of morality and the retributions which have little influence on of futurity. The expectant of character, in this very imper- the pure and holy enjoyments in perfect state, is not strange, and heaven, promised in the gospel does not very essentially affect to the redeemed, will be a practhe best interest of the subject, tical Christian, and labor to be -or the church in general. But holy as he who hath called him wrong conceptions on the pri- is holy. He who expects a Mamary and leading truths have hometan paradise, will not fail to great influence on
the affec- anticipate those sensual enjoytions and practice, and are ex- ments in the present
life. 'ceedingly dangerous.
The truths of Christianity We are assured by the word must be congenial to our hearts - of God, and it is found true in and its duties and promises the experience, that “all people objects of our choice. will walk every one in the name Let it be remembered that of his God,"* and we know that Christianity is a religion of the the true servants of the Lord heart. The Christian is united will walk in his name forever to God, to Christ, and to the the character of the object of morality and the prospects of worship, as it exists in the mind Christianity, as distinguished of the worshipper, determines from all other religions in the his character ; his affections, world. Hence it is stiled in pursuits and practice are agree- scripture, the knowledge of the able to it, (we speak of those only living and true God and Jewho really believe what they 3!13 Christ whom he hath sent," profess, and not of the vain pre- and it is often denominated the tenders to religion and worship, fear of God and the love of God. who really believe nothing in We cannot omit to observe
that the public teachers of Chris. * Micah iv. 5.
tianity, the ministers of the gos: Vol. V. No. 5.
pel, should be scribes well in- Finally, the truth and excelstructed into the kingdom of lence of the Christian religion God, and able to bring from the and its importance to man, call gospel treasure things new and upon all of us to know, love and old, and their view of the lead-practise it as our calling, and the ing Christian truths and duties business of our lives, in all our should be just, distinct, and clear; relations to God and man, with they must be sound in the faith, a constant and serious view of the pure system of Christian truth the presence of God, our near must be their chosen religion, approach to the world of spirits and to practise it in their lives and the retributions of eternity. and preach it to others their most delightful employinent.
On Religious Feelings. : Religious societies have the THE power of religion has most feeling and cogent argu
ever interested the feelments to seek for such ministers ings and passions. Where there and such only, and when obtain- is the life of true godliness, there ed to estcem them very highly will necessarily be strong emoin love for their work's sake; and tions of soul. It becomes us to to strengthen their hands and be the friends of a warm, animaencourage their hearts by hear- ted piety, in opposition to a cold, ing, so that their own souls may philosophic religion. Revived, live, and doing their utmost to living Christians have their advance the saving knowledge hearts engaged and well affected of the truth in others.
in the cause of the Redeemer. Parents and heads of families such as are alive unto God, are have an exceedingly important distinguished for warmth of affecbetrustment, respecting their tion. They find, by experience, children, and the youth of the that religion is a vital principle - rising age, to “train them up in accompanied with heart-felt sen
the nurture and admonition of sations, such as holy complathe Lord.” They must teach cency in divine things, and godly them the first principles of the sorrow for sin. Where such oracles of God.” It has been a emotions as these are not exfavorite saying that “ we must cited, there is reason to apprenot teach our children what to hend, the heart is not the subthink, but how to think.” This ject of a work of grace. saying must originate in great consider, ignorance, of the moral cast and I. Such as are alive unto God, state of our children's minds, or do not content themselves with of the. Christian system, or of mere orthodoxy. both childhood and youth in the Correct opinion does not of seasons of the fairest hope for itself constitute vital godliness.
It is then that the seeds. It is, indeed, necessary that teof knowledge and virtue are usu- nets be correct. We mean not ally sown, which spring in ma- to disparage the importance of a ture years and produce the speculative belief in the close blessed harvest of wisdom and doctrines of grace. But correct piety, aud ripen into usefulness opinion must not be rested in, as
earth and final glory in embracing the sum and subheaven.
stance of vital religion. A spec
ulative faith does not always in- saving light, and destitute of the terest and engage the religious feelings of an evangelical temfeelings of the heart. It is fre
per. We must not, then, place quently unfruitful, bearing none religion wholly in right specu of the fruits of holiness, consist- lative opinions. We inust not ing in pious exercises. While make it to consist in a mere act men's understandings are right of the understanding. Though ly instructed, their hearts are a right understanding of the conoften cold and lifeless. Some- nected and consistent system of times, indeed, there will be a gospel truth, be a matter of the warm zeal in advocating the utmost moment, yet we must truths of the gospel, when the not rest satisfied with this, but life and power of religion are consider corresponding feelings wanting
of heart, as being also essentialAn orthodox faith is not ne- ly requisite. Hence we may cessarily connected with heart-consider felt piety. And we should be II. True religion is a feeling careful not to content ourselves, sense of the excellence of divine with an understanding of the truth. great principles of divine reve- The spirit of the gospel, being lation. This is often no more wrought into the heart, constithan a knowledge which puffeth tutes the christian temper. A up. The excellent doctrines of pious disposition is every where, the gospel, are frequently view- and in all persons, the same; ed with a philosophic coldness having the important doctrines and indifference. These doc- of the gospel, for its foundation, trines, also, are often received and ground work. Revived, exwith emotions widely different perimental christians, must nein their nature, from the feelings cessarily enter into the same of the religious spirit. They views of the gospel, so far as often produce temporary and they understand it. The same shortlived joy ; like the seed truths are written, not with ink, sown in stony places, which soon but with the spirit of the living springs up, and wanting root and God, nat in tables of stone, but moisture, when the sun is up is in fleshly tables of the heart. scorched and soon withers away. Christians, so far as they have
Some would satisfy them- the spirit of Christ, are perfectselves with a religion of the un- ly joined together in the same derstanding which leaves the mind and in the same judgment, heart unmoved. But such a re- or sentiment. Their views unite ligion has no vital warmth. It im- and terminate in the great disparts no cheering comforts to the tinguishing truths of the gospel. soul. It is a coldactof the under- | For the christian temper instanding, and has none of the joy volves in it these truths, and and peace of believing. We may where they are explained and entertain consistent views of the laid open to the understanding, leading principles of the gospel, they must necessarily propound and have a knowledge of the themselves to the acceptance of connected system there contain the pious mind. ed, and yet be strangers to the Religious affections accompapower of godliness, strangers to' ny a spiritual discernment of the
great things contained in the ervation in holiness, and opens a gospel. Evangelical sentiment source of noble and exalted en. has a kindly influence to stir up tertainment. gracious exercises. Where the The word of life, is dear and gospel is embraced in its purity, precious to the truly pious. it has an enlivening and anima They feed and feast upon it. ting effect upon our nature. With a pleasing satisfaction, The soul cannot remain torpid they investigate and entertain its and inoperative. There will be sublime doctrines. Such dis, activity, where the pure gospel coveries on moral subjects then hasit proper effect. The soul will present themselves to their be enflamed with the genial minds, as to inspire them with warmth of piety. It will have joys with which a stranger doth vital exercises, such as are sen- not intermeddle. Hence, by dilsibly felt, and experimentally igently and prayerfully attendknown. David
“ Oh, how ing to the good word of grace, I love thy law, it is my medita- and apprehending its excellence, tion all the day.” The apostle they become fervent in spirit, Paul, giving an account of his serving the Lord. The Holy religious experiences, says, “I Sprit alone, discloses the moral delight in the law of God, after excellence of divine truth to the the inward man.” Bright views understanding. And when he of gospel sentiment awaken de- brings the word home with pow. lightful sensations. Saints find er, and causes it to be seen in a rich entertainment in contem- its spirituality and beauty, it atplating the distinguishing and tracts the affections, and becomes essential truths of the gospel. instrumental of stirring up to a And this contemplation must warm and vigorous piety, . no doubt constitute a great part of III. Saints have a feeling sense their happiness, in the kingdom of the beauty of God's perfecof glory.
tions, manifested in his works of The good word is a quicken- providence and grace. ing spirit, to such as have tasted God is pleased to reveal himits power. It quickens christian self by means of his glorious graces, and gives life and spirit works, both of creation and reto devout affections. Great is demption. The traces of his the joy and peace of believing.– character are inscribed in the Erroneous views of the gospel book of nature, but most of all, scheme of sentiment, either in the volume of Revelation, and leave the affections unengaged, in the face of Jesus Christ. He and sink the soul into a state of hath set himself forth as the eterapathy, without feeling or emo nal source of being and blessedtion; or else awaken unhallow- ness. He hath made all things ed passions. But a just appre- with a view to display himself, hension of the truths, brought and promote his declarative gloto light in revelation, furnishes ry, that he might be known to reviving views, and excites feel his rational creatures, and that ing, vital exercises. Such pre- in his light, his children may cious truth discloses itself, from have light. What a glorious the word of God, to the minds of display of his moral excellence, the intellectual and holy crea- is made in the stupendous works mon, as contributes to their pres- of nature and grace!
The natural man receiveth of those who are accounted to not the things of the spirit of him for a generation. Such as God : for they are foolishness have seen the Lord of Hosts, unto him ; neither can he know will differ from the cold-hearted them, because they are spiritu- men of the world, and make it ally discerned. God, in his ex-evident, that they are chiefly de. cellence, is revealed only to such lighted in God. They will make as are spiritually minded. Tho' it manifest, that a discernment sinners see the traces of his be- of the moral excellence of the ing, yet they discern not his Divine Character, gives the goodness ; or, see him not in spring to their activities, and the beauty and loveliness of his calls forth their sweetest commoral character. But such as forts and desires. are pure in heart, see God in his IV. Saints find by experience, unspeakable excellence.
they have outflowings of desire And thus seeing him, they are after God. inspired with ineffable delight. This will be evident by attendComplacential affection springs ing to the exercises of men of from a spiritual view of the Su- God, recorded in scripture; and preme Good. Such a view gives especially of the sweet Psalmist birth to joy and hope. Reli- of Israel. In his Psalms we gious affections are enkindled, have an account of his holy in the light of his countenance. breathings. 66 Whom have I Do not wonder if his children in heaven but thee? and there is glow with affection, and breathe none upon earth that I desire an animated piety. They have besides thee.” “O God, thou found him whom their soul lov- art my God, early will I seek eth. They have come to their thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, soul-reviving rest. God stands my flesh longeth for thee, in a revealed to their view, as the dry and thirsty land, where no greatest and best in the universe. water is : To see thy power and He has become the beloved ob- thy glory, so as I have seen thee ject which fills and enraptures in thy sanctuary.” lxiii. 1, 2. their minds.-This sight and “ As the hart panteth after the sense of God, gives ardor to the water-brooks, so panteth my soul religious spirit. It excites the after thee, O God. My soul fervors of love ; elevates the soul thirsteth for God, for the living with a joyful hope, warms the God; when shall I come and heart with the emotions of holy appear before God ?" xlii. 1, 2. desire, and occasions meltings -When his soul was in great of sorrow and contrition for sin. disquietude, his heart was still
No wonder that the seed to intent on God: “I will rememserve the Lord, have been dis-ber thee from the land of Jordan, tinguished for strict sentiments and of the Hermonites, from and manners, and been consider the hill Mizar.” xlii. 6. ed singular, by reason of their He seems, at times, to have devout frames, and the movings been brought into grievous of affection. It would seem that straights : “ My soul cleaveth a proper apprehension of God, unto the dust." But still he had must produce some such distin- vehement and longing desires, kuishing traits in the character! flowing out unto God. He,like