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Our affections are not moved in this way. No matter how much you might desire to win the prize, you could not arouse in your bosom a devoted affection by mere resolve. You might act the hypocrite, but nothing more. Suppose you were offered a large amount of gold, if you would hate, with sincere abhorrence, some one who had been long dead, (say the father of Demosthenes, the Athenian orator,) you could not rouse yourself into vehement commotion, unless it were hypocritical agitation, for all the gain which could be offered you. Man cannot feel by simple effort, and by mere resolve. If we could not either love or hate these objects of our entire indifference, because we wished it, we should do well to remember that the difficulty would increase, were we asked to hate purely the object of our devoted love, or to love with ardour that which we cordially detest. We cannot in this way move our souls at will in any course we choose.
That which disposes us to feel when we hear it, does not increase in force by frequent repetition.-If I tell you of a murder which does not move your feelings, then repeat the same facts and circumstances, but find that there is some reason why you do not feel, I am not to expect success by frequent repetition of the same narrative. If I were to go over the same detail every hour throughout the month, and should others take it up, and a thousand men tell it over, you might grow weary but never tender. Nay, should any one relate a most affecting history, which caused you to weep profusely, you would begin to weep less before the week was
out, were he to relate the same each day; and before the year was ended, should this custom be continued, we question if you would regard any incident in the narrative.
O Our feelings cannot be coerced by mere repe. tition of a truth.—Reader, thus far we have spoken the common sentiment, and the common language of men. This they all say, whether pious or ungodly. We presume, then, that thus far we are agreed. We have never known these plain principles, and these simple every day facts disputed, until they are used in connection with religious truth. These simple truths have been the experience of every one oftener than he can remember, and we have never known them controvert. ed, until they are found to be a lever which overturns infidelity, and then we have heard them denied by those who had before conceded their clear, undeviating verity. Read these first principles over again, and if you deny their existence, let it be before we come to their application.
The all-powerful remedy.--It is not so proper to say of the Christian, he believes, as to say he knows. mean the full-grown Christian. The infant cannot walk, cannot sit alone, cannot lift a pound; yet it is of our race. There is so much difference between the performance of an infant and that of the tall man, that we can scarcely see their resemblance; but the infant is a child of Adam, a member of our family. The Bible
calls a weak Christian, a babe in Christ. Others, fullgrown men and women, in Christ Jesus.
It is true, that in the present age, the most with whom we meet are only babes in Christ, if indeed born again. The infant Christian understands the use of this remedy, with almost as much difficulty as the unconverted. He has nothing about him but mustard seed
invisi. ble except in a perfect light. But we now speak of the full-grown child of God. (It is the privilege of every one to drink freely of the milk of the word, and to receive his growth speedily, but men are indolent and pass their whole earthly journey without growing perceptibly.) The full-grown man in Christ knows the Bible is from heaven, with a conciousness which you cannot take from him. Let any man whose mind is unimpaired, hold his hand in the blaze of a torch as long as he can bear it, and after it is withdrawn, let another tell him he did not feel pain ; tell him that it was only imagina. tion-heated fancy. Let him enter into very ingenious and plausible arguments concerning caloric, to persuade him that it was all fancy or fanaticism; let him jeer, deride, supplicate, or threaten: it is all the same; you cannot change his creed in this case, because it is a mat. ter of sensation, and not of simple opinion. So it is with the Christian ; with each one who uses the all-powerful remedy; it is a matter of feeling, of consciousness with him. If the man who has held his hand in the blazing torch, were to sink into forgetfulness as it re. gards the sensation of pain, and hold his hand again in the blaze, he would soon have his knowledge recalled. The sensation of the Christian is as plain and direct as that from the lamp, and it is repeated ten times every day. All may use this remedy who choose ;-the ex.
perimental evidences of Christianity. We now enter into further explanation by giving the history of inci. dents as they occurred.
Illustrative incidents as they happened.—Case 1. There was a man of middle age, of cold, slow, doubting tendency of soul, who obtained, at last, a Christian's hope. He hoped that his name was in the book of life, but he was only an infant, a weakly infant. He seemed to grow a little in the course of six or eight years; but very slowly. He dreaded his deficiency in one feature of Christian character. The apprehension gave him pain. He read in one section of his Master's letter,“Love your enemies.”
He for a long time, (like thousands of his brethren,) concluded he would not hurt them, or fight them, or return evil for evil, and hoped this was love. He could hear others say of injuries received, “ I can forgive but I will not forget it,” and he could see in their case clearly that this was Satan's kind of forgiveness. It made him fear in his own case, that he did not love his enemies. He remembered that his bleeding Leader was too stern in his purity to accept of a false love. He knew that it did not mean a love of approbation for their real sins, but the love of compassion. He knew that the love of compassion was a tender and melting love, and he did not possess it. He sat down trying to feel it, but did not succeed. He tried again and again
He did not love his enemies. He read on the subject. He thought it over in every way; he pray. ed over it for another year. He did not love his ene. mies. He went to making stronger efforts, for he
for a year.
thought it would be hard to miss heaven at last. He continued trying for eleven or twelve years. He thought at times, that his feelings were perhaps softer, but he soon found it was not love. At length he found that by mere effort he could not move his affections. He knew that he could not wish a lofty rock into a rill of milk, and he could not wish hatred into love. He became alarmed. He fasted and prayed in earnest, and at an hour when he was not looking for it, at a moment he was least expecting it, he loved his enemies. It was a real love. He knew it in the same way, reader, that you know mirth from wo, when you feel it yourself. If, when
your bosom is shaken with the sob of anguish after losing a smiling son or daughter, your friend should say to you, “ Perhaps you are mistaken, are you sure it is not mirth you feel ?” You would tell him, I have felt both, and the difference is very striking. This man, after remembering how long and how hard he had tried to love his enemies without success, began to feel that it was the Spirit of God, the invisible Spirit, (who is wil. ling to have intercourse with men who wish it, and who quit sin,) that had changed his heart, and planted a new feeling there. After this, if he began to forget his need of this kind of heavenly help, he would be left suddenly in his old condition ; that is, as far from loving his enemies as you now are from loving yours, my unconverted reader. But when this threw him again on his knees, and he received the dew of heavenly influence in his soul, he was reminded of the existence of the Holy Spirit. He was conscious of this Bible truth. The flow of love in his soul, was a stronger sensation than the cup of water which he drank, communicated to his palate. If you would try to persuade the thirsty man