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could not hear, and did not believe Him, who spake the truth. The same thing, as we have seen, is done by the Apostle, who assigns the difficulty or impossibility in the way of the unrenewed sinner's obedience, to the enmity of his mind.
The Saviour has, as we think, most conclusively decided this matter. "This is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil, hateth the light." Now it is as impossible for a man, to hate what he does not perceive, as it is, to love what he does not in some measure know. There is therefore, according to the plain and obvious import of the Saviour's terms, no differing mode of intellectual perception of the truth. The cause of spiritual blindness, is the prevalent influence of a hatred of the truth.
God also assigns the same, as the reason of the contin uous and confirmed rebellion, of the ancient inhabitants of Jerusalem. "Why is this people of Jerusalem, slidden back with a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return." The Apostle represents that the Gentile world, the unrenewed, whose case was hopeless, had so far abandoned themselves to their corrupt inclina-. tions and desires, as to be actually destitute of any sensitiveness, with respect to holy things. It was because of the blindness of their heart," and their "being past feeling" that they were "alienated from the life of God," held in ignorance "having the understanding darkened."3 Whereas the Ephesian converts had "put off concerning the former conversation, the old man which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts, and had been renewed in the spirit of their minds." These passages may suffice. The difficulty, which the unrenewed sinner finds, in un
1. John iii. 19, 20. 3. Eph. iv. 17-19.
2. Jer. vii. 5.
4. Eph. iv. 22; 23.
derstanding the truth, arises, not from any defective organization of the mind; nor from the want of any constitutional capacity; nor from any particular imbecility of natural intellect; nor from any peculiarity in the truth itself, which renders it unadapted to the natural faculties of the human soul; but from the powerful and prevalent influence of those feelings, which oppose themselves to the truth, and prevent them from giving that simple, sincere, undivided and interested attention to it, which it deserves.
And this conclusion may be illustrated and confirmed by an exhibition of facts. The Bible, being the sphere of observation and of spiritual vision, may properly claim a brief notice from us of its structure, and the correspondent actings of the human mind in the apprehension of its truths. There are various kinds of composition, or rather, divine truth is presented, in the sacred Scriptures, in various forms, which render it perfectly intelligible to the unrenewed mind. There are some parts, which are purely intellectual, i. e. divine truth in them is presented to us in a form perfectly abstract and logical. Every mind capable of such an intellectual process as must be had in conducting a mathematical demonstration, or in pursuing a philosophical investigation, or in framing an argument, can comprehend them. There are others which are presented in the simple dress of historical narrative, and these, even children understand without difficulty. Others yet, are exhibited in a poetical garb; and these delight the imaginations of many, who disregard the Bible as a Revelation from God. An illustrious modern poet awarded the palm to the 'poetical writings of Moses in the book of Job, and says that he once had thoughts himself of writing a Job, but despaired of success. Now in such parts of the word of God, the unrenewed mind, finds no peculiar difficulty in apprehending' its truths. In proof of this,we have abundant facts. What parts of the Bible does the close mathematical reasoner so often select for his reading, as the very logical writings of Paul? Where does the man of taste and fancy go more frequently, than to the poetical writings of the Old Testament? And what is more frequently conned, or read with more pleasure by children, and the great mass of those who read the Bible when urged to it, merely from a general sense of duty, than the interesting and striking histories and anecdotes related in the Old and New Testaments? They all find in the Bible, something adapted to their taste, and which must be perceived, or it never could be relished.
But we remark, in the next place, that there are numerous passages in the Bible, which belong not properly to ei. ther of the above, and sometimes expressions and senti. ments occur in them, which are the offspring of feeling. Intellect is employed to portray the emotions, the sensioilities, the passions of the convinced, converted and sanctified soul. Now, it is a truth, which will not, we preegime, be seriously disputed, that the language of passion or feeling cannot be well or fully understood by one, who is destitute of the passions and feelings, expressed or implied,—who has never experienced them. Language cannot excite, in a blind man, the idea of vision. Nor can signs convey to the deaf mute, that of sound. So, neither can the language of strong emotion-of excited feel. ing, be fully comprehended by him, who is a stranger to the feelings which dictate it. The language of the amorous -swain, for example, is disgusting to one, that never felt the
tender emotion. There is a sympathy of feeling, necessary to render language lucid and intelligible, where it is that of the heart. The slave, whose dark mind has never been illumined with freedom's genial rays, who knows not the aspirations and emotions wlftch liberty inspires, cannot understand the glowing language of the freeman, who is inspired with the love of country. There is no sympathy between them. Just as it is necessary for us to have seen an object in nature, in order to have a simple idea of it, so is it necessary, that our hearts should be affected in some measure, as are those of the convinced and converted sinner, in order to understand him when he speaks.
This being the case, it follows that those parts of the word of God, which imply or describe the various emotions of a sanctified heart, cannot be understood by him, who has Rever experienced such emotions. Now, strong devotional feelings, and holy exercises of heart, prevail throughout, and under the guidance of the Spirit of God, suggested the language of holy writ. The hearts of the inspired writers of the Scriptures, glowed with zeal for God, and gratitude to Christ, and love for the souls of men. And they were, oftimes Silled with heart-rending sorrow for sin, with holy joy and delight in God, with agonizing grief for the dishonor done to Him by wretched men, and with a concern like the very travail of birth, for the salvation of souls. Wherefore, it is obvious, that, if the above remarks are true, then, where such things have never been esperienced-where the heart has never been waked up, under the influence of holy emotions, the Bible, in all the splendor and servor of its spirituality, must, to the unrenewed man, be a sealed book. Now, that such feelings are not natural to men, has been already fully shewn. We are, by nature, destitute of holy feelings. The love of God, and genuine repentance for sin, are wanting in the unrenewed heart. "I know you," said the Saviour to his hearers, "that ye have not the love of God in you." God is hated, and sin is loved. Here, then, are we to look, for the source of all the difficulty of which some complain so loudly, in hearing and understanding the words of Christ. The words are pain, and perfectly intelligible to those, whose minds and
3. Jeding V:42.
hearts are overpowered with prejudice and dislike of God. They are not straitened in God, but in their own bowels. Your own wilful, obstinate, malicious, and inveterate hatred of holiness, and your besotting, stupifying, and enslaving love of sin;-your enmity against God and Christ, and your raging thirst after the riches, honors, and pleasures of the world, prevent you, oh impenitent reader, from giving that sincere and docile attention to the words of Christ, which is alike your duty and your interest, as a rational and immortal being. Lay not the blame of your ignorance and blindness on God.
From the above view of the subject, it is obvious,-that as the spiritual blindness of men is owing, not to essential disorganization of mind, nor to the destitution or imbecility of constitutional susceptibilities, nor to any difference in the modes of intellectual perception of truth,-but, simply, to the entire absence of all those feelings, or excited sensibilities, appropriate to the objects and subjects sabmitted to attention in the sacred Scriptures;-so, spiritual illumination consists in the experimental and feeling sense of the truth, which is connected with its vivid and interested perception. The sensibilities of the heart are roused, and brought into blissful action by divine things. They appropriately and pleasurably affect the man, and that gives a vigor, and intensity, and vividness to his perceptions of them, which the dull, systematic, scientific or philosophi cal views of the doctrinal christian, or rationalist in religion, ever want.
And this view of the subject will admit of very easy and familiar illustration. You may have seen a man become inimical to another, for some reason, which neither he, nor any one else perhaps, could divine, and whose enmity was altogether as unjust as it was unreasonable. Although the character of the man he hates may be excellent, and he may even befriend him and his family, yet his heart has a bias