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that pride which God resisteth. But I mean this diffidence to be chiefly confined to the operations of reason in religious disquisitions. Things above reason are not to be rejected as contrary to reason, but to be received with a reverential awe, and a devout submission of the understanding to the God who gave it.
He, then, who wishes to tranquillize his bosom, must have recourse to more powerful medicines than those of an empirical philosophy. Philosophy has been tried, from the earliest ages to the present hour, with little success. Philosophy is cold and inactive. She may influence and direct the understanding ; but she cannot warm the affections with the love of God and virtue. Sentiment is necessary to impel the heart, to guide or regulate even the virtuous passions; and no sentiment is so efficacious for this purpose as the devotional. • The word of God, as the strong language of Scripture expresses it, is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow; and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
From the shallow streams of philosophy we must hasten to the living fountain of the Christian religion. It is the influence of God on the heart of man, the divine operation of the Holy Spirit on the spirit of human creatures, which alone can bestow a permanent tranquillity; that peace of God which passeth all understanding ; that peace, which no human eloquence can clearly explain ; which no human sagacity can, by its own unassisted efforts, procure; but which the devout heart of the believer feels with joy and gratitude.
This is the polar influence which can alone fix the tremulous needle, and point it directly to Heaven; streaming into the heart of man an emanation of divinity.
Let us then take a view of the fruits of the Spirit, as they are beautifully described by the apostle. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.'- These lovely virtues have a natural tendency to produce equanimity, selfpossession, a serene, placid, delightful frame of mind, such as the sages of old conceived, indeed, but could not either procure or communicate. These make an earth a heaven, and render it evident, beyond a doubt, that the true Christian, after all the boasts of the gay voluptuary, is the real man of pleasure.
The worldly man of pleasure is, indeed, for the most part, a man of pleasure only in name. His pains, upon the whole, greatly outweigh his pleasures; or his insensibility, contracted by excess, leaves him in the midst of all that luxury can spread before him, in a state very remote from the enjoyments of the temperate, humble, and sincere believer. · It would not be right to describe things in a declamatory and rhetorical manner, so as to violate the truth of representation, for the sake of maintaining even the cause of religion. But experience will justify me in asserting, that the numerous tribes in the gay and elevated circles, who pursue happiness in dissipation only, and never think of God, but to swear with levity by his name, exhibit many external signs of singular irritation, and peculiar misery. They appear to have no
resources in their own bosom. They depend on precarious externals, on the will and co-operation of others, for all their pleasures. Change of place is their grand remedy for their uneasy sensations.' Like a sick man, who turns from side to side on his bed, in hope of that sleep which his fever denies, they fly to various scenes of public resort, in the midst of amusements, unamused; in the midst of pleasure, unpleased ; and reluctantly return to their home, where God has given them a good inheritance. They have used, or rather abused, all their comforts. They are glutted with pleasure. Nothing has the grace of novelty to recommend it. Behold their dissatisfied counte
I Lucretius well describes this restlessness :
Commutare locum, quasi onus deponere possit.
Lucretius. “ They know not what they would have, but are continually seeking change of place, in the hope of laying down the burden of time. Tired of home, one man leaves his noble man. sion, as often as he can, and then returns to it all on a sudden ; just as miserable abroad as at home. Another drives his horses full speed to his country-house, dashing along as if he had heard the house was on fire, and was hastening to extinguish the flames. He no sooner sets his foot within the doors, than he begins to yawn or falls fast asleep; striving to forget himself in slumbers; or else he turns the horses' heads and hurries post haste up to town again. Thus every one tries to run away from himself; but he cannot escape a pursuer that sticks close to him, and torments him whether he will or no."
nances, and their artificial smiles, to hide them at the gay places of public amusement. Their appetite grown dull, this world affording no new joy, and the next never in their thoughts, they are, at first, the slaves of folly, and, at last, the victims of despair.
How different is it with him who has happily been tinctured with religion in his early age, and learned to seek, as his chief good, the peace of God which passeth all understanding ? Great peace have they that love thy law.” I do not affirm that the Christian religion pretends, like the arrogant philosophy of the stoics, to place man out of the reach of evil, or to render him insensible of misery. A certain portion of evil and misery is to be the lot of every mortal; and wise purposes are effected by chastisement, when suffered to operate in its regular manner in the production of humility, godly sorrow, repentance, and amendment. But this I say, and am justified in the assertion by the Scriptures of God, and by the experience of many pious believers, there is nothing which can lessen the evils of life so much, or teach a man to bear them with such fortitude, as a full dependence on God, and a habit of seeking pleasure in warm yet rational devotion. It will ever be found by those who thus seek it faithfully.
It is not, indeed, to be believed, but that God, whose Providence superintends the animal and vegetable world, and the inanimate creation, should watch over the spiritual with peculiar care, and conduct it by his immediate influence. A soul, therefore, which, by piety and charity, hum
bly endeavours to obey the revealed will of God, and to render itself acceptable to the eye which is too pure to behold iniquity without offence, will probably be sure of peculiar regard. No evil so great shall happen to it; no misfortune so heavy shall befall it, but that a way to escape shall be opened, or a supernatural power of bearing it afforded. A ray of sunshine will beam upon it from the fountain of spiritual light, when the world presents nothing but dark clouds. Like the Alpine mountain, the good and devout Christian rises above the clouds, and enjoys a glorious sunshine, which erring mortals below him cannot partake. He who enjoys the peace of God, may be said to resemble the halcyon, whose nest floats on the glassy sea, undisturbed by the agitation of the waves.
Men deem themselves fortunate in obtaining the patronage of a fellow-creature like themselves, elevated by the favour of a prince, or by his own industry, above the common level. They feel themselves safe, under his protection, from the evils of poverty. Yet what is the protection of man, of princes and nobles, to the protection of the Lord of lords, the King of kings, the Ruler of princes ? But the pious Christian believes firmly that he enjoys the unspeakable advantage. It is a continual feast to him. It is a perennial spring of living water. In adversity or prosperity, his chief good remains like the mountain, which cannot be moved. It is the rock of ages, on which he builds the fair fabric of his felicity.
What is there, in all the pomp of the world, and the enjoyments of luxury, the gratification of passion, comparable to the tranquil delight of a