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Who would dream of saying that he had found,” these virtues, or “met with them,except as denoting that he had seen them practised by others?

The truth is, these are things to be practiced or done, not to be met with or found; and requiring attention not as distinct, separate objects of pursuit, but as essential parts of the whole character and life. Then only can we be said to give attention to industry, honesty, or temperance, when we live in the habitual practice of these virtues-wherein with simplicity and sincerity, we are having our conversation in the world.

So also in reference to the most spiritual exercises of the Christian life—the only mode of "meeting with," as the phrase is technically used, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, is habitually to cherish or exercise these affections; in other words, to be truly penitent, and to believe from the heart.

But what I would here particularly remark is, that the gospel is as naturally and as fully adapted to produce one of these excellencies in the human character as another. In other words, it is naturally fitted to produce them all. It has the same natural tendency to cherish in us devout affections towards God, as it has to cherish social affections towards our fellow-men. We have no more reason to think, that our wise and kind Father has given us a system of moral instruction, which is inadequate to the full growth of our virtues, and which without a special grace superadded, would leave us essentially defective, than we have to suppose, that he has rendered the earth capable of producing merely the blade or stalk, while a special power is requisite for the maturity of the grain.

2. In the second place, let it be observed, that the progress of the gospel and the manner of its operation on the human character is silent, like the growth of the plant. The innumerable operations that are going on in the vegetable world, silent and almost imperceptible, though exceedingly beautiful and salutary in their effects, are apt emblems of the silent progress of religion in the world without, and in the human soul within. The affections and virtues, in which it consists, are noiseless and peaceful. Its influence is, to repress ostentation and parade, to make persons modest, retiring, contented at home, contented with a little, contented in obscurity, distrustful of themselves, slow to speak, still slower to promise, not disposed to exalt themselves as standards and guides, as wiser or better than their fellow disciples and fellow-men; not given to anger, and clamor, and evil-speaking, merely because others do not adopt their opinions; but willing that their fellow-beings should think, and judge, and act for themselves, without being subjected to human censure or condemnation. When we consider the descriptions our Saviour gave of his own kingdom or religion, we shall perceive, that the mode of its operation is silent, though its effects are visible and glorious. He resembles it to leaven, which was hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened. This suggests the secret and noiseless operation of religion both on the face of society, and in the soul. He also declared, "the kingdom of God is within you." "It cometh not with observation." "It is not a kingdom of this world.” His apostle instructs us, that the kingdom of God is not meat and drink: but righteousness, and peace, and joy, (in the Holy Ghost.) All the descriptions, moreover, which the sacred writers have given of the virtues, which constitute the Christian spirit, denote the silent, nay, even imperceptible manner, in which Christianity operates upon the character; showing abundantly, as in the beautiful description of St. James, of pure and undefiled religion, “that the wisdom that is from above is, first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and of good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."

3. In the third place, the progress of the gospel among men, and the manner of its operation on human character, is gradual, like the processes of nature in the vegetable world. It has been shown, that these were natural and silent. It remains to show, that they were also gradual. And in general it may be observed, that all valuable effects in the moral and spiritual world, all useful progress in religious knowledge and virtue, are gradual; not sudden or violent, but like the natural growth of the nobler animals, of man as compared with the inferior creation, slow and almost imperceptible. That this is not only the simple fact, but that from the very nature of the subject, it should be expected, is obvious to all just reflection. For, observe: is not the moral effect of any truth in exact proportion to the degree in which that truth is understood?' And keeping this principle in view, we easily perceive, that the operation of Christian truth, or the gospel, on society, and on the hearts and conduct of individuals must be gradual. Like every other comprehensive system of truth, it requires to be long and diligently studied. For it is a system of doctrine as well as of morals; and it includes a history, preceded and foretold by prophecy, the one illustrating the other, and each alike peculiar in its nature, and involving the

most important consequences. And as to the doctrines, though they are in general simple and practical, yet do they embrace a great variety of subjects, and have connections with many branches of learning. Instead of being understood at a glance, they must be examined with care; and this examination must be patiently continued and repeated, even for months and years, before we can attain any adequate or extensive knowledge of Christian truth. I do not mean, that deep research, or that great learning is essential to the under-standing of duty or of the things pertaining to salvation. For these, he that runneth may read, and the humblest mind may comprehend.' And obedience itself, the spirit of obedience, and the good and honest heart shall never fail of light-according as it is written—"If a man will do the will of God, he shall know of the doctrine." Still, amidst all that may be said of the simplicity of Christian truth, and of its adaptation to the humblest comprehension, knowledge is a gradual work; progress in knowledge demands time; and the moral influence of knowledge, i. e. the effect of truth upon character and life demands yet more. No truth, however in itself important, can make a man good or holy, but in as far as that truth is understood. Every error that is incorporated with it has a tendency to counteract its purifying energy. Accordingly, it will be found, I do not mean universally, (for doubtless there are exceptions, and eminent virtue and high spiritual attainment have sometimes been found in minds of the humblest cultivation,) but it will be found, I mean generally, that the characters of men have approached perfection in proportion to the correctness, at least freedom from gross error, of their religious views.

This remark is fully illustrated in the case of the Apostles. How much better men did they become after they were instructed fully, and clearly understood the religion they preached. As long as they held the error, common to their nation, of expecting a temporal kingdom and a temporal prince, they were selfish, ambitious, worldly. But afterwards, when they were taught its spirituality, that it was not a kingdom of this world—they were ready to count all things as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.

The same sentiment is strongly illustrated in what history teaches of the characters of Christians in the long reign of darkness and superstition, which followed the primitive or early ages of Christianity-what blindness, and what sin do we find united.

And even at the present day, how imperfect are the characters, and how erroneous are the view of multitudes bearing

the Christian name, in regard to some of the most obvious duties, and some, too, of the most important truths of our religion. What narrow and imperfect, yea, what crude and mistaken views of the perfections of God, of the duties of man; the obligations of justice and honesty, of truth and fidelity; of the sin and mischief of pride, avarice, revenge, evil-speaking, uncharitableness, and falsehood. You may find multitudes, who are all zeal in what is popularly termed religion, and who are forward to rebuke the dullness and the coldness of their neighbors; but whose characters are exceedingly defective in some of the most essential social virtues. They have a zeal for God, and that, not always according to knowledge, but such as it is, coupled with bitterness and censoriousness towards their fellow-men. In respect to the great evils, which before the light of the gospel prevailed through human society-war, slavery, and the condition of women, Christianity doubtless has done much towards their alleviation or removal, and towards the introduction of better opinions, and a better spirit. But though more than eighteen hundred years have passed away, much darkness, and much error and sin remain.. It is evidently the will of God, that the progress of light and knowledge and virtue among his children, shall be a gradual progress. With Him, who inhabits eternity, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. And though all flesh had corrupted their way, and the world was lying in wickedness, he suffered centuries upon centuries, and one generation after another to pass away, before He sent his Son to redeem it.

Christianity is destined to triumph finally over error and sin in all their forms. It is destined to elevate the human character, for it invites, and by the power of its truth, and the encouragement of its motives and the richness of its promises, it enables us to walk worthy of Him, who has called us to his kingdom and glory. It sets before us the example, and it aids us in the imitation of a glorious virtue. And in proportion as its doctrines are received in their simplicity, and its sanctions in their solemnity, we may confidently trust, that it will bring men to God. But of the times and the seasons, we may not speak. The Father hath put them in his power. We must not measure the counsels of heaven, which embrace all ages and all climes, and all worlds by our narrow vision. For we are but of yesterday, and our days are as a shadow. Nor are these great ends to be accomplished suddenly: neither by human might and wisdom alone, “but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts."

P. S. [The note on this page is suggested to the writer by an excellent work, just published, entitled: "Observations on the Influence of Religion upon the Health and Physical Welfare of Mankind, by A. Brigham, M. D.," in which with great fairness, judgment, and seriousness, the writer, himself an eyewitness and careful observer, exposes the evils of protracted meetings, nightly conferences, and those excitements attending what are technically termed Revivals of Religion.]

NOTE.—The various effects produced by religious emotion; and especially in much of the religious excitement produced by revivals, protracted meetings &c., have been justly compared by judicious physiologists, to the effects produced by disease, by animal magnetism, and by excitements of the nervous system. “It is a curious fact in the history of human nature,” says a recent discriminating and excellent writer, who in his professional capacity had been a frequent witness of the bad effects of high religious excitement upon the physical frame, that sometimes an immense assemblage, while listening to an eloquent man, become almost passive instruments in his hands. Nor is it certainly less curious, but more painful to the friend of rational

Christianity, and the lover of his kind, to know to what extravagances of feeling and of action, the power of sympathy alone may betray us.

What effects may be produced upon the imagination, upon the nervous system, and thence upon the whole physical frame, let the history of the strange miraculous cures said to have been wrought at the tomb of the Abbe de Paris (undeniably the

fruit of an excited fancy, and confident expectation,) let the history of the French Prophets, exhibiting the mighty power of religious frenzy in affecting the body and the mind; let the example of the children of St. Roche; or to come nearer home, the history of some of the supposed revivals in religion, more especially among the young, presenting melancholy examples of temporary excitement, of mental delusion, and in instances not a few, of deplorable insanity-let these, I say, and others that might beļadduced be sufficient to declare the error and the danger of relying on preternatural operations; of ascribing to a special operation of God, what is the mere deusion of man. See Influence of Religion on Health, by Dr. Brigham.


“Seeing then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness," 2 Pet. iii. 11.-What a strange and various thing is human life! How wonderful, and how different from each other the scenes enacted on this, theatre of earth! Here goes a traveller, cold and suffering, into the everlasting snows of some mountain-peak. There, behold the exhausted sailor driven through the sounding billows, while darkness and storm fall down upon the deep. There, see! men are cutting paths through hills and rocks, and there making seas to mingle their

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