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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. Such are the feelings of his heart, that the knowledge of Him proves painful. But when spiritual illumination takes place--the feelings of the heart have undergone a change. Instead of hatred and irritation, there are love and delight. The sensibilities of the soul are differently excited, 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 inoperative intellectual judgment, as to the nature of sin, conviction. It is the sinner's waking up, under a realizing view of the fact of his own guilt, and its just and horrid consequences in his own case.
The graces of the Spirit, will be sern to be something more than mere intellectual perceptions of truth. They involve, essentially, those feelings or emotions, which are appropriate to the character of the objects the Spirit presents, and the relations the individual sustains to them.
The peculiar significancy of particular passages of scripture, which every christian has, at times, noticed in his experience, and which is ostimes esteemed proof of some special illumination of the Spirit, can be easily explained by a reference to this simple fact, that, on such occasions, the individual has experienced the very feelings expressed in the language contemplated.
In seasons of affliction, and persecution, and peril, from different sources, when feeling is strongly excited, how pregnant with import are many of the Pslams, which, under other circumstances, make but little impression! The perfect applicability of the ser.timent expressed, to the circumstances of the christian, when feeling of any kind is excited, renders it quite intelligible.
In seasons when strong devotional feelings prevail, how refreshing are those parts of the word of God, which breathe forth the ardent expressions of love to the Redeemer, and hope and trust in Ilim! Ilow does the heart feel its interest excited, by those incidents or peculiarities in the circumstances, or experience of christians, recorded in the Bible, which correspond with its own! The language of the soul, in close and deep communion with God, is intelligible and only intelligible to those, who have been admitted to the same.
In seasons of revival, when the current of feeling, awk. ened by the truth and Spirit of God, seem full and strong
how lucid do the Scriptures generally appear! The untu-tored and unlettered christian, seems, at once, to understand the import of scriptural metaphors, and of transactions. had by primitive christians, which no commentaries can enable the mere intellectual formalist, or pharisaic professor to apprehend. He enters directly into the feelings of the convicted, or the rejoicing around, and what, to the cold and speculative rationalist, and self-righteous pharisee, appears disgusting and fanatical, unmeaning and absurd, is, to him, altogether authorized and appropriate, interesting and delightful.
It is unnecessary to cite any further facts. The above are sufficient to confirm and illustrate the position, that spiritual illumination consists in those vivid and interested perceptions of divine truth, which are secured through the influence of the feelings, appropriate to the character of the object presented, whenever such feelings are excited. It is, in scriptural terms, understanding with the heart-the knowledge obtained, not by observation, but by actual sen sible experience.
Such being its nature, it is easy to perceive, in what con-sists the special agency of the Spirit in its production. It is, in eliciting and exciting the feelings of the heart appropriate to the character of the objects and truths, presented to the mind, and thus securing those vivid perceptions and that interested attention, without which there can be no influential and abiding knowledge. This is exactly the ac count which is given of it by the apostle John. "The anointing," says he to christians, "which ye have received of him, abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, (a reality) and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
i. 1 John, i, 27.
If it should be asked, how the Spirit elicits and excites the feelings, appropriate to the character of any spiritual object or truth, we must reply, as we have already done, that the precise mode of His agency is, to us, inscrutable: but, in so far as its effects can be traced through human consciousness, it eludes not our research. We have already seen, that we are so constituted as to be differently affected and excited by different objects. Why it is so, we cannot say, other than that, so God has ordained, and such is the nature of His own providential rule. When the object is apprehended, it makes its impression, unless the sensibilities have become extinct. He that understands somewhat of the human heart, can operate upon another's sensibilities, whose character he knows, by such a presentation of objects, and by such appeals and exhibitions of motive, as to produce an high degree of excitement, and both influence his conduct and shape his character. His success depends upon his knowledge of character,—the exciting power of the considerations adduced,—the excitability of the individual, on whom he seeks to operate,—the exciting power of the considerations adduced,--the wisdom and art, requisite to combine circumstances, calculated to excite the very passion desired, and to sustain or prolong that excitement,-and the skill with which he can adapt his exhibitions of motive, to the particular mood of mind induced, and to the interests of the individual to be affected. In all this, there is no physical creation. Should we then deny to the Spirit of God, who searcheth the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men, what we concede to a worm of the dust? And maintain, that when He undertakesto change the heart, to disentangle the affections from sinful and direct "them to holy objects, it must and can only be done by physical power-an act of physical efficiency? But this subject will more appropriately present itself in the next chapter.