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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 never 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 filled with heart-rending sorrow for sin, with loly joy and delight in God, with agonizing grief for the dishonor done to Him by wretched men, and with a concera 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 experienced where the heart has never been waked up, under the influence of holy emotions, the Bible, in all the splendor and fervor 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 plain, and perfeétly intelligible to those, whose minds and
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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 eyen befriend him and his family, yet his treart has a bias
against him, and he disrelishes every thing which belongs to him. Whatever he does, or says, or thinks, or enjoys; his deportment and conversation, his opinions and company, his children and friends, his business and possessions, the very signt of him, every thing that is his,-he hates. Endeavour to persuade him he is wrong;-recount to him the numerous excellencies of the one he hates;—tell him of the many kindnesses he himself has received from him;adduce proof till he can no longer reply, and although you anay have given him much knowledge which he never had before, yet, if his heart still cherishes its hatred, you will not convince him. His hatred, instead of being diminished, will rather be increased. But let him cease from his enmity, and become a friend, how great will be the change! Every thing will be seen, as it were in a new light. The very things his heart hated, will now be loved;--not because he has any greater knowledge of the man's character and conduct, but because the state of his own mind has undergone a change. It is thus, in reference to the sinner's hatred of God. Although he may know much of Him, his knowledge only irritates. His mind is enmity against Him. Sach are the feelings of his heart, that the knowledge of Him proves painful. But when spiritual illumination takes place--tne feelings of the heart have undergone a <hange. Instead of hatred and irritation, there are love and delight. The sensibilities of the soul are differently exciled, and the very objects which once irritated, disgusted, tormented, now please, refresh, and satisfy Divine things possess a charm, which he never felt before; not because they were not perceptible before, but because a jaundiced mind, a prejudiced heart, a bitter enmity to God, divided and distracted the attention, and thus prevented them from making their appropriate impressions.
Will it be objected to this view of the subject, that it degrades the rational or intellectual nature of man, by making
the perceptions of the mind dependent, for their character, upon the sensitive properties or feelings? The objection has
It is the fact, degrading as men may think it. And it follows the entire analogy of our being. Sensation forms the basis of all our knowledge.
Our corporeal senses regulate, and influence, and shape the character of our intellectual operations. And if so, why should we be loath to believe, that our perceptions of spiritual things, may be dependent on the susceptibilities of our sensitive nature? Whether these susceptibilities have their origin in the corporeal organization of our complex nature, or whether they are merely sympathetic affections of the immortal spirit, in unison with animal sensations, certain it is, that not a few of those things, which are characteristic of the renovated man, and of the feelings excited, when the spiritual perceptions are most vivid, do involve, or are blended with animal sensations. We must take man as he is complicated in his structure as His Creator has made him, if we would rightly estimate his characteristic exercises. And to say, that making the intellectual operations dependent on the emotions, or to connect them with the sensibilities of the heart as consecutive, or as taking their character from them, is degrading the rational being, is merely begging the question. Analogy decides against the objection. And so will the united testimony of many facts, which may be culled from christian experience.
Conviction of sin, consists not in the mere intellectual perception of the nature of sin; but in the feeling sense of the fact, that we ourselves, personally are sinners. The mind of the convinced sinner, apprehends it is as a reality, that he is a rebel against God, and the deep feeling of interest
a thence excited in his heart, makes the apprehension abiding and influential, and renders him particularly sensitive, in view of the evil nature, as well as of the consequences of his own sing. No one ever yet tlrought of calling the mere in