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under our control as our other affectionslet it be considered that a man who is capable of feeling on any subject, bas only to make the subject Religion, and he is just as capable of feel ing on thal-let it be realized that the cultivation of the religious affections ought to be made an object of attention and education, as much as the cultivation of knowledge-let parents take half the pains to form their children to a taste for reli. gion, that they do to form them to a taste for literature and the fashionable accomplishments-in fine, let all men accustom tbemselves to such views of religion as are most rational, attractive and affecting. and let them endeavour to make these vient present to their imaginations in all their magnitude and importance, and to connect them with all their thoughts; and then, whatever might be the condition of the world in other respects, we are sure it would not long suffer from any want of the religious affections.
However, it is to be remembered, that a man may be under the influence of strong religious affections, and yet his character in other respects be materially defective. When a man pretends to be interested in religion, and to be deeply affected by it, while his character in other respects is not good, it is usual to say that his pretensions must be hypocritical. But it may be otherwise. In order really to possess the religious affections, all that is necessary, is that our affections should be really excited by religious objects ; and this we know may be done, whatever may be our characters in many other important points. Indeed the degree in which we actually possess the religious affections, may depend on our constitutional excitability, quite as much as on our moral principles and habits. Besides, it will not be denied that a man may possess one class of the good affections, without possessing the others in an equal or a sufficient degree; and we see no reason why he may not pos. sess the religious affections exclusively, as well as the social alfections exclusively. Daily experience teaches us that a man may be a very good father, so far, we mean, as the parental affections are concerned, and yet be a very bad man in all the other relations of life. Just so and for the same reasons, a man may be a very sincere religionist, so far, we mean, as the religions affections are concerned ; and yet in other respects his character may be far from perfect. We readily grant that: man's possessing the religious affections, like his possessing any other class of the good affections, affords a presumption more or less strong according to the circumstances, in favour of the general goodness of his heart; as it shows his heart to be alive to at least some good impressions. It is however but a pre
sumption; it is not a proof; and therefore does not affect what we have stated. Ought we not then to be slow to charge insincerity and hypocrisy upon religious enthusiasts? In truth, insincerity is by no means so common a fault among them as it is generally supposed to be ; and the error has arisen from not knowing or not reflecting, that a man may be perfectly sincere in his religious affections and emotions, and yet at the same time be justly chargeable with very serious defects of character.
Not that we think a man's possessing the religious affections will atone for any social or moral defects or perversities. Indeed the whole subject of atonement for sin seeins to us to be often strangely misapprehended. If by atonement for sin be meant, to rescue one from the punishment of sin, it appears to us there can be no real atonement for sin but the extinction of it; for the punishment of sin is involved in its very nature and follows it, or perhaps, we ought rather to say, attends it, not as an arbitrary appointment, but as a necessary consequence. To atone for sin, therefore, you must extirpate it'; and this principle applies, not only to sin in general, but to every particular bin in a man's character. It is true a man, along with his Vices, may possess many virtues, and among the rest the religious affections; and his virtues, on the whole, may greatly preponderate; and all these virtues will be considered in determining his condition. We only contend that they will not prevent his vices from being also considered. If a man have but one single vice in his character, his other qualities, however excellent, cannot of course change the nature of that vice; and we know, it is of the very nature of vice to produce suffering, that is, to be punished. Take for example, the sin of uncharitableness, one of the worst species, because always accompanied with some degree of malignity. It is beyond a question that this vice often belongs to men really under the influence of strong religious affections. But in this case their religious affections will not and cannot atone for their uncharitableness, nor prevent them from suffering frm it here and
We admit that such a man's religious affections must make him a better man, than he would be, if equally uncharitable without them.
Still we contend that uncharitableness, however connected, is in itself a sin, and as such and according to its degree, a source of misery. In a man otherwise good, it will take from his goodness and happiness ; and in a man otherwise bad, it will add to his depravity and misery; and in this way it is, it must be punished. At the same time it may be proper for us to say, that the religious affections, supposing them to be right in themselves, can in no case make a New Series-vol. IV.
man any worse, whatever may be his character in other respects; but on the contrary, so far as they go, they must make him better. They show at least, as it has been binted before, that his heart is alive to some good impressions.
They also are a ground of hope, that his whole character may be improved, as these affections are cultivated and expanded. There is no reason, therefore, as we conceive, for the abusive language sometimes bestowed on religious enthusiasts in speaking of their faults. Faults no doubt they have, and faults they are, but we do not perceive that they are any worse than the same faults in other people. It may be thought, perhaps, that they imply a greater degree of inconsistency. But we raiber suppose, that inconsistency is a ground of reproach, only when it results from our possessing a bad quality inconsistent with our good qualities ; not when it results from our possessing a good quality inconsistent with our bad qualities.
Much of the confusion and embarrassment existing in the minds of men on this subject, has arisen from their confounding together the religious affections and the religious character. Certainly a clear and very important distinction may be drawn between them. We inay be affectionate children, and yet not be dutiful children; this certainly holds true in respect to our eartbly parents, and we see no reason why it should not in respect to our Heavenly Parent. Our religious affections denote the manner in which we are affected by the consideration of religious subjects : our religious characters denote what we do or become in consequence of being thus affected. The former depend more upon our moral sensibility; the latter more upon our moral energy; and these qualities are known to exist in very different proportious in different persons. The affections do indeed supply the first rudiments of the character; but to fix the character, these rudiments are to be moulded into general principles and habits; and it is here, we scarcely need add, that most men fail; not for want of feeling, but for want of energy and moral principle. The religious affections and the religious character are not therefore to be confounded together ;* neither can
* It is not pretended that the distinction above made is always observed in the language of scripture. But when the religious affections are therein identified with the religious character, it is by that very coinmon figure of speech in which a part is put for the whole :--one of the prominent qualities which go to make up ihe christian character is made to stand for the whole ; noi however, because that quality may not exist apuit, nor yet because, if so existing, it would be alone sulficient for salvation ; but because when thus used, it is understood to be accompanied in fact by all the other qualities essential to the christian character. Thus it is thai in repeated instances every thing is made to consist in knowledge, Joho xvii. 3; or in faith, Acts xvi. 31 ; or in charity, Galat. v. 14, &c. Here again we have occasion to reinark, what was observed before, that the language of scripture
we determine the state of the one with any certainty from the state of the other. To try a man's religious pretensions by the intensity of his feelings on the subject, would be as fallacious a mode of judging, as to try them by the clearness and extent of bis information. Men of strong religious feelings are fond of decrying human reason as a deceptive and treacherous principle. But are not the feelings equally deceptive and treacherous ?" If we had nothing but unassisted reason to depend upon, we confess our dependence would be frail indeed; but frailer still, if we had nothing to depend upon but our feelings. We may be told perhaps, that it is not on our natural, but on our supernatural feelings, that we must depend. But how do we know them to be supernatural ? Because, to be sure, we feel them to be so. But why may we not be deceived in this feeling, as well as in any other? Remember it is not reason, but the heart, that is declared to be DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS. It is not, then, upon the state of the feelings and affections, as they may seem to ourselves, or as they may appear to others, that judgment is to be pronounced; but upon ihe state of the character. And this, again, is not to be determined by the quickness and intensity of the feelings and affections, but by the general conduct. The tree is to be known by its fruits-not by its leaves, nor yet by its blossoms.
It is not that we undervalue the importance of the religious affections. We know too well the nature of religion to believe it can really exist in any person without interesting the feelings deeply. We know too well the important place which the affections hold in the moral constitution of man, not to endeavour to enlist them on the side of goodness and truth. We know too well the mighly power which they exert over human actions, not to appeal to them frequently and earnestly. We know too well the nature of that worship which God requires, to believe that he will ever accept the beartless homage of a forinal worshipper. Indeed, if religion is not to interest our feelings, what subject should-what subject can ?-revealing to us, as it does, a God infinitely worthy of our highest affections, a Saviour whose
whole life was one continued series of affecting incidents, from the manger to the cross-10ucling us, morcover, as it does, in the most important of interests, the interests of the immortal soul, and counected in our thoughts with all that is bright and pure and animating, with all that is deep and grand and awful! If was not intended to be philosophical, and it is from not paying sufficient attention to this circumstance, that some of the wildest extravagances and inconsistencies in iis interpretation have arisen.
such a religion may not interest our hearts,—then what subject should-what subject can ?
Banish the affections from religion, and all its life and energies are gone. We are so constituted, that we enjoy no pursuit, become distinguished in none, unless our feelings and affections go hand in hand with our duty. It is not in the intellecl nor in the imagination, but in the affections and passions, that the springs of human action are placed. And unless we appeal to man as possessing these principles, and unless we succeed in moving and affecting them, we might as well harangue a group of statues. What was it that sustained and animated the apostles and martyrs and confessors of our religion in their glorious warfare-but that their hearts were kindled into an enthusiasm, which many waters could not quench, nor floods drown? Go before your Maker without your affections, and what have you to offer but the bended knee and the breath of your mouths ? The religious affections open to us an entirely new and distinct source of enjoyment. Men exult in an ear for music, and in an eye for the beauties of nature ; but to the devout man there is harmony and beauty in every thing that God has made. Finally, it is only by the exercise and cultivation of the religious affections that we can be qualified for the enjoyment of heaven, for what so proper or so necessary to qualify for this enjoyment, as a sympathy in those pleasures, which peculiarly belong to heaven; which make it heaven, and in wbich the heaven of heaven consists.
So far therefore as the work before us is calculated to excite and cherish these affections, we cordially approve it. It contains much that is indicative of real piety, a familiar acquaintance with the subject, and an anxious desire to prevent men from building on a false foundation. There is no way in which we can make this appear so well as by a few extracts, taken from the volume without much selection.
• There are two kinds of hypocrites; the one are deceived by their morality, and external religion ; the other are deceived by false discoveries and elevations of inind. The latter often declaim against dependence on good works, and talk much of free grace : but at the same time make a righteousness of their discoveries and experience. These two kinds of professors, Mr. Shepard, in his Exposition of the parable of the ten virgins, distinguishes by the names of legal, and evangelical bypocrites; and often speaks of the Jatter as being in a worse state than the former. It is evident that the latter are by far the more confident in their bope ; and I have scarcely known an instance of professors of this description being undeceived.'--p. 87.