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themselves, and the denial of their own gratification is wholly foreign to their nature. When they are strong they make war upon the noble feelings of justice and benevolence, and when the consequent selfishness fixes its roots in the soul, the heart becomes corrupt and vicious; and ambition, injustice, pride, avarice, envy, hatred, are its natural fruit. Great pains have been iaken to discover the origin of the proneness to evil in man, since it could not come from God. A disposition to evil, as such, there is not in man. There is indeed a strong inclination to sensual pleasure, which often strives against the dictates of conscience, and then it becomes evil. Since the sensual part of his nature is first awakened in man, and that long before he perceives plainly in himself the monitions of the spirit, when the latter awake, he must immediately decree war against the sensual desires, which, because they are already strong, commonly resist the rule of the spirit. This is the origin of our sinfulness. Hence ignorance prevails over knowledge, sensual propensities over conscience, and the love of the world over the love of God. But since the higher instincts have already been awakened, the soul has always the power to subordinate the sensual desires to them, how difficult soever it may be; and if it omits to do this, it becomes conscious of guilt. The Creator has wisely ordained that habitual virtue shall be gained by conflict, because innate virtue were not virtue: no victory had been won by a struggle, no acquisition made by deserving it. Thus the sensual feelings and propensities are originally innocent, and they continue to be so as long as a discreet and strong will moderates, rules, and leads them, and subjects them to the nobler movements of the heart. The Scriptures justly derive the evil in man from the sensual part of his nature, denominated flesh (cap), not as if this were in itself evil, for it is also the work of God, and therefore as long as it is restrained by us within due limits, according to the will of the Creator, it is innocent and right : but when our will, instead of leading, submits to be enslaved by it, which is entirely our own fault, it then becomes dominant in us, strives against the divine law which we have in our hearts, and is the parent of sin : so James i. 13–15. The resistance of sense to the higher promptings of the Spirit is described by Paul, Gal. v. 17, • For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But since sensualism consists in nothing else than the feelings and affections which are excited in us by the effects of the sensible world on our soul, its reign is justly described as the love of the world, and the servitude of the world. For the same reason Christ denominates those who delight in pleasure, children of his world, Luke xvi. 8; John xvii. 16. Hence John exhorts believers, 1 John ii. 15–17, Love not the world,' &c. This conflict, and sin, which is too often the issue of the conflict, are sufficiently explained by the freedom of the will, and the different influences which the soul receives from the sensible world and from above, without any necessity of assuming an entire corruption of human nature, and the influence of a powerful supernatural being who undoes the work of the Creator."
On a Divine Influence. “ There are in the soul of man affections which are not produced by means of the sensible world, but rise from the innermost depth of the heart; not changeable, like the passions of sense, but stamped with a fixed value; not a transient inebriety, but a feeling deep, elevated, and stable, conferring dignity and happiness on man. These are the religious feeling. They
awake within us after the powers of consciousness and will have been evolved, without our being able to regard them as the offspring of our minds. Rather, they are immediately imparted to our minds. They awake as of themselves in the heart, and we can regard them only as a gift from above.
« This view of an immediate divine agency upon our soul has been opposed, especially of late, by many divines as a mystical delusion. Tzcherner, in particular, says, Mysticism is the mistaken opinion that the spirit of man is immediately moved by the spirit of God, and is able to apprehend it. It appears to me to be an error, because in the thought of God I cannot penetrate to himself, the unapproachable light, and because I observe in myself no change in the heart which must be referred to an immediate influence of the Supreme.' We reply, It is true the human soul is not able to penetrate to God and his inaccessible light, but God can descend to us; he can communicate a ray of his light to our soul, and by his almighty power and universal presence act immediately upon our hearts, and such an effect we do in fact observe in our hearts. This is indeed acknowledged by Tzcherner, when he says, “The Gospel were a dead letter, a dark and unintelligible word, were it not made quick and luminous by the light which God has kindled in our souls. Could we understand what Christianity communicates to us of the being and government of God without the glimpses of the supernatural, eternal, and infinite, in our soul? What were the promises of Heaven in the Gospel without the aspiration after a higher and greater good ? Accordingly, Christianity leads us on to the plain and clear consciousness of that which we bear within ourselves. The revelation of God through the Gospel is a word of the Spirit, which, through the inward religious intimation and moral feeling, is apprehended by us in a definite form.' These expressions say plainly enough that the divining of the supernatural, the desire after what is higher, and the moral feeling, are originally prior in us: but these are the light which is kindled by God in our soul, and which is fanned by the word of Christ into a clear and ardent flame. We ascribe this to the immediate agency of God, because it exists in us in a quite different manner from the feelings of sense, which yet, like the whole of nature, are mediately the work of God. The latter are excited in us by external objects which we can shew, and they are not excited when these objects are remote from us : but with the religious feeling it is not so. Certainly we have not produced it; we have merely received it; and it often forces itself upon us in an unwelcome manner, when it brings with it painful reflections. We do not perceive whence it comes, for without being excited by any thing external, it enters secretly into the soul, and it exercises over it, not a compulsory, but a very powerful influence. There remains then nothing else, but that we consider the Creator himself as its author, and as we observe no means through which it is produced in us, we must ascribe it to the immediate act of God. It will be said, perhaps, that God, at the creation of man, imparted an index of the supernatural to his mind, and that now it belongs to the constitution of the soul, and with its development becomes plainer within it of itself. But it seems a contradiction 10 account it a part of our proper being, of ourselves, our personal unity, because it is often resisted, and more or less over-ruled and silenced within us. Besides, this view of the subject rests upon a merely human representation of the creation of God. We should consider creation not as an event which passes by, and after the accomplishment of which the Creator rested : no, it is a never-ending work, by which the universe is sustained and governed. The course of nature is progressive creation. The breath of God moves unceasingly in his world.
Not only his will called it once into being : but that it goes on, and is developed according to established laws, this is the work of one supreme will, acting without intermission, and all-powerful, the will of God. In the infinitely various phenomena of the external world, the ever-active power of the Creator reveals itself in different degrees, more or less under a veil; but in the human soul, its noblest work on earth, there is a present divinity. It is created to receive a ray of the eternal, uncreated light, and to be illuminated by it. It is designed to be a temple in which the power of the Highest dwells and works; and this power of the eternal, this ray of the uncreated light, manifests itself in the soul of man by the religious feeling. Hence the Scriptures represent those affections of our nature which look higher than the sensible world, as the immediate work of God; and the power of God which creates them in our hearts is denominated the Holy Spirit. This is a divine influence, not a separate existence; it issues from God as light from the luminary, as the beam from the sun ; it penetrates into our soul, and acts there, without being a part of its proper nature, and without being subject to its dominion. This influence is not, however, compulsory, but requires the concurrence and obedience of the will. Since it is ascribed to all - the pious under the former dispensations, Luke i. 41, 67, ii. 25, and there is frequent mention of it in the Old Testament; and since Jesus supposes its existence in his disciples during his ministry, the promise of the Spirit, and its consequent effusion related in the Acts of the Apostles, must be explained only of a greater fulness and a higher measure of the heavenly gift than was possessed before by the disciples. This holy power is indeed influential in all men ; but when the soul has resigned itself to the impressions of sense, and in its thoughts and will serves only the desires of sense, it disregards the divine monitor, represses its high instigations, casts off its own dignity, and, degrading itself to the merely animal life, is continually less capable of the divine. This condition is affirmed by Paul, 1 Cor. ii. 14. Since man receives the impressions of the sensible world earlier than the influence from above, and their influence is already strong before he receives the divine, he is therefore prone to be subject to it. In this consists the sinfulness of the soul of man; and for this reason he needs to be redeemed from the power of sin. This is the regeneration, John iii. 3, which is never accomplished in us upon earth, because we have to strive continually in different degrees against the passions of sense; and the exhortation of the Apostle is always applicable to us, Eph. iv. 23, Be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind.'»
On Practical Religion. “ In relation to the sensible world, virtue consists much in self-denial, the restraining the sensual desires as far as they contend against the law of God. Iis fruit is moral purity, the removing of what is unholy out of the heart, and mind, and will. i John iv. 18. But in relation to the objects of religion, virtue has the nature of love, and this is the soul's most active life, its noblest affection and highest manifestation. It comes forth from the deepest region of the soul, and aspires towards the holiest heights of our moral destination. 1 John iv. 7, Rom. v. 5. In the Scriptures it is rightly named the first and chief command, the royal law, the sum of all the commandments, and the fulfilling of the law; for all the virtues are but different expressions of the one true and genuine virtue, and what proceeds not from this source deserves not the name of virtue. From the love of God issue philanthropy and friendship ; because what we truly esteem in another is that alone which is divine in man: and the most glorious manifestation of this love is when it animates to severe struggles in the cause of truth, right, and the good of humankind, of wbat is good and godlike. Thus the most exalted part of the life of man is religion, when the whole soul is consecrated to God, when its energies of feeling, thought, and will, are directed to what is divine, and the life is in fellowship with God. Religion is the breathing of a divine spirit, the vital power of a new life devoted to God. It consists in holy feelings which have been awakened by the divine presence; in religious belief, which contains the ideas of what is above the objects and feelings of sense, and is eternal; in love, which seeks not the earthly but the heavenly; in holy purposes and deeds. It consecrates and ennobles the whole life, and its nature is well defined in the Apocryphal book, Tob. iv. 6, by the pious father who exhorted his son all his life long to have God before his eyes, and in his heart, and to keep faithfully and always his commandments. The soul thus attuned is as the music of chords out of which the spirit from above calls forth the full harmony of holy feelings. True faith, in that comprehensive use of the term which is meant by a living and a saving faith in the Scriptures, implies this determination of the soul to God and to divine objects. It lives and includes in its life not merely religious feelings and aspirations, not merely the conviction of the reality of what is divine, but also a sanctified mind, and a will directed to things divine. Of this faith Paul speaks, Gal. iii. 26, v. 6, John in 1 John v, 4, and James in James i. 18; and the writer to the Hebrews, when he names Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
“ Adoration and prayer are aspirations of the soul towards God, in which the depths of the heart are laid open before him, in order that we may receive his word and light, rise to communion with him, and partake of the divine nature. Hence devotional exercises are the most effectual means of strengthening and invigorating religious belief; and when the heart resigns itself without reserve to that religious feeling which is from God, and which is sustained by faith, the hours which are given to prayer, thanksgiving, and praise, become the happiest part of life.”
On Christianity. “ The development of the powers of sense and intellect require social intercourse, education, and example. Every man is formed by his family and nation. The degree of mental advancement in every man is determined by the community in which he is trained, and by the improvement of his species. We are formed by the ages that are past in conjunction with that which is passing. We are the children of our times and of our country, and without great effort on our part, what has been already unfolded in others is put forth in ourselves. It is given but to a small number of very distinguished men to be the authors of their own intellectual advancement, and to advance the mind of their nation and their kind. This is true of the knowledge of sensible objects, and much more of the spiritual world in man, and above all, of that which is supreme in man, the religion of the heart and of the life.
“ As long as mankind resign themselves to the dominion of sense, they are unfit to yield themselves to a divine influence. This is the condition of the pagan world at this time, and it was the condition of the nations of antiquity before the Christian æra. The filial, simple piety of the first age of man, in which feeling was active, but with little expansion of mind, soon gave place 10 the prevailing influence of sense. What remained of the primeval and simple faith was continually more clothed in imagery by bards and seers. The Divinity was shrouded in sensible forms, in mythologies, in religious usages, and in creations of the fine arts. Only in the mysteries of antiquity something of spirituality was preserved, but very defectively; and through the confusion of the image and the spiritual conception, and the blending of all sorts of foreign representations, the primitive religious ideas were commonly shaped into gross superstitions. With the advancement of intellect, these superstitions were no longer able to satisfy the people. They began to discover their absurdity and contradictions. They felt at the same time the emptiness of a merely animal existence, and the nothingness of all that is terrestrial. Moral corruption, which always accompanies alienation from God, followed rapidly. The mind was disquieted with doubt, or resigned to a comfortless unbelief, with a deep sense of mental wretchedness. Hence sprang an earnest, inward desire of deliverance, the wish for higher light, which should be sufficient to convince the understanding and satisfy the heart, to give an object and an end to human life worthy of the capacity of man. The sense of the need of redemption shewed itself in various ways, and this was one, that the Jewish faith, which declared an invisible God, obtained many proselytes among the Gentiles, although, having lost much of its original spirit and virtue, it had been fashioned into a mere slavery to the letter of a written law, and could no longer raise the affections of the heart but through the hope of an approaching redemption. To desiring and expecting man the Eternal was pleased to reveal himself in truth and holiness by him who was his image, who was in God, and in whom God was, in whom the fulness of the Divine Spirit dwelt, and its fruits were gloriously displayed, eternal truth, moral purity, and heavenly love; by him who is become the commencing point and living centre of a holy community, his universal church, in which his spirit, the spirit of God, quickens, enlightens, and sanctifies all its members, and raises them to a blessed, to a divine life. In the institution of this holy community, which is denominated the kingdom of God, the high destiny of all its members, and of all mankind, was first plainly declared by Jesus Christ. Mankind were now assured of the end of human existence, the conviction was called into active life, and the promise and the proof were thus given, that the kingdom of God, founded by Christ, shall gradually unite all men into itself, and shall reach its final accomplishment. The more men felt the need of a moral redemption, the more gladly they received the word; and in fact the seed grew in the different lands in which it was scattered into a thousand germs, and after a few centuries the Greek and Roman paganism, with all its dazzling pomp, disappeared before the plain and simple religion of Jesus,-the religion of the spirit and the heart. Thus Christ is the great centre of the history of mankind. Through him, that of which antiquity had only weak glimpses in its mythology, or obscure conjectures in its mysteries, has been made plain; through him, a creation has been established in which the Divine Spirit conducts men to truth, virtue, and peace; and through him, love is proclaimed as the sanctuary of the soul, the bond between God and man, the root of all that is great and good, as true virtue and blessedness. In him this love was displayed in a glory never before manifested, that proceeding from him it might flow through all the members of the new creation till the whole race of man shall be made a holy temple consecrated to God. What in modern times of the sublime and beautiful has been developed, has all come out from the bosom of Christianity. Science, arts, education, the domestic and public life, all the present social state, has grown up on Christian ground. This religion, the elements