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expressed their false pretensions, has fallen into disgrace, and now often implies no more than the idea of a bigot, or a devotee, weakly deluded by the fond visions of a disordered imagination.
But let not enthusiasm of the better kind, a modest confidence of being assisted, as the gospel promises, by the agency of the Holy Spirit, be involved in undeserved disgrace.' We are taught
1“ Gratia immediata, qualis ab orthodoxis docetur, nihil habet commune cum enthusiasmo, sed diversimode ab eo differt.
6 1. Enthusiasmus novas quæret Revelationes extra verbum; sed gratia immediata nullas, quia verbum semper comitatur, nec aliud agit, quam ut illud menti imprimat.
66 2. In enthusiasmo, objecta quæ menti imprimuntur non extrinsecus adveniunt, sed intus a Spiritu per arcanas inspirationes suggeruntur. Sed hîc objectum supponitur semper ex. trinsecus advenire et ex verbo peti.
“ 3. Enthusiasmus fit per subitos motus, qui ipsum discur. sum et ratiocinationem antevertunt, et sæpe excludunt. Sed Spiritûs operatio non excludit, sed secum trahit ratiocinationem et gratum voluntatis consensum.
664. Denique, ne plura discrimina jam persequamur, enthusias. mus non infert cordis mutationem ; et mentem afficit, immutata sæpe manente voluntate; unde in impios etiam cadit, ut in Balaamo et aliis visum ; sed operatio gratiæ necessario infert cordis mutationem et sanctitatis studium."-" Immediate grace, as the doctrine is taught by the orthodox, has nothing in common with enthusiasm, but differs from it in various respects.
“1. Enthusiasm seeks new revelations extrinsic to the written word ; but immediate grace seeks none that are new, because it always accompanies the word, and aims at nothing more than to impress the word more forcibly on the mind.
6. 2. According to the tenets of enthusiasm, objects which are impressed on the mind come not from any thing external, but are suggested within by the Spirit and by secret inspiration. But here in the case of immediate grace) the object is always supposed to come from something external, and indeed to be sought from the written word.
« 3. Enthusiasm is caused by sudden emotions, which precede all reasoning of discourse and sometimes exclude them entirely. But the operation of the Spirit does not exclude, but takes with it reasoning and the ready consent of the will.
“4, Lastly, not to pursue any further distinctions, enthusiasm
that the Divinity resides in the pure heart. The belief of it is, indeed, enthusiasm, but it is enthusiasm of the noble, the virtuous, the necessary kind. The ardour which it inspires is laudable. Like that of all other good things, the corruption and abuse of it is productive of great evil; but still it is not itself to be exploded.
There is, indeed, a cold philosophy, which seems to discourage all the warm sentiments of affection, and will hardly allow them in any thing which concerns religion. It aims at reducing theology to a scholastic science, and would willingly descant of the love of God, and the sublimest discoveries of the gospel, in the same frigidity of temper as it would explain the metaphysics of Aristotle. But there is a natural and laudable ardour in the mind of man, whenever it contemplates magnificent objects; and which is certainly to be expected, when that object is the Lord God omnipotent, and the human soul, the particle of Deity, aspiring at reunion with the Supreme Being, and meditating on immortality.
Is there not an ardour of enthusiasm, which admires and produces excellence in the arts of music, painting, and poetry? And shall it be allowed in the humble province of imitative skill, and exploded in contemplating the great archetype of
does not produce a change in the heart, but affects the understanding, leaving the will unaltered ; whence it happens that enthusiasm may exist in wicked men, as it appears to have done in the instance of Baalam and others; but the operation of grace necessarily produces a change in the heart and a love of holiness.”— Turretin.
This author here speaks of enthusiasm in its vulgar sense-which is certainly a disease ; a mental fever, attended with delirium.
all; the source of life, beauty, order, grandeur, and sublimity ? Shall I hear a symphony, or behold a picture, a statue, or a fine prospect, with rapture, and at the same time consider God, who made both the object and the sense that perceives it, with the frigid indifference of abstracted philosophy ? Shall I meditate on heaven, hell, death, and judgment, with all the coolness with which a lawyer draws a formal instrument, an arithmetician computes a sum, or a logician forms a syllogism in mood and figure.
Such coolness, on such subjects, arises not from superiority of wisdom, but from pride and vain philosophy, from acquired callosity or natural insensibility of temper. God has bestowed on man a liveliness of fancy, and a warmth of affection, as well as an accuracy and acuteness of reason and intellect : he has bestowed a heart vibrating with the tender chords of love and pity, as well as a brain furnished with fibres adapted to subtle disquisition.
The Scriptures afford many examples of a laudable and natural enthusiasm. My heart was hot within me,' says David; and the warm poetry of the Psalms, the rapturous style of prophecy, are proofs that those who have been singularly favoured by God, were of tempers which the modern philosophers would call enthusiastical. Their fire was kindled at the altar. St. John was a burning and a shining light. St. Paul was avowedly of an ardent temper, and a glowing imagination; nor did our Saviour himself express his sentiments in the cold language of the Aristotelian school, but with emphasis and pathos.
They who rail at enthusiasm, in general terms,
and without making a due distinction between the scriptural and the false kind, consist either of those who laudably endeavour to discredit the pretensions of the hypocrite and the weak brother; or of those who, from their speculative habits, their cold tempers, or irreligious lives, labour to discountenance all pretensions to an excellence and purity, which they never felt, and to which they could not rise.
Whoever believes what the Scriptures indisputably affirm, that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that he actually resides in it, when it is purified sufficiently for his reception, is so far an enthusiast; but let him glory in the appellation, for he is such an one as every Christian, who thinks and feels in conformity to the gospel he professes, must be of necessity. If he denies the agency of the Spirit of God on the soul of man, he denies the most important doctrine of revelation, and must be a stranger to its finest effects on the human bosom.
But since such is the case, let those who very laudably write against enthusiasm of the false kind, take care not to confound truth with falsehood; and not to proceed to such an extreme in refuting the pretensions of hypocrites, fools, or knaves, as to infringe on the genuine and sublime doctrine of grace, the glory of the everlasting gospel.
Cautions concerning Enthusiasm.
So many and so melancholy are the effects of mistaken and excessive enthusiasm, recorded in the annals of mankind, that wise men are justly alarmed at every appearance of it, and little inclined to give it indulgence.
Whatever there has been of savage cruelty, whatever of public violence, and tumult, and confusion, the utmost extremes of all these evils, in all their consequences, have been equalled by the frantic extravagance of false enthusiasm. It has exhibited, in some tempers, all the symptoms of a malignant disease, and terminated, at last, in real and most deplorable insanity.
If then it be wisdom to obviate the approaches of distemper, those men have evinced themselves wise, who have laboured to discourage, by all the arts of ridicule and argument, the earliest tendencies among the people to religious frenzy. There are innocent follies, and there is a madness, which is only the object of compassion; but the folly and madness of the bigot are detestable, because they are destructive as a pestilence. Against such an enemy to human happiness, philosophy has urged her best reason, justice has unsheathed her sword, and the stage, to complete the triumph, has played all the batteries of derision.
But argumentation, coercive force, and even ridicule, have been found ineffectual. All these