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holiness, and clothed in majesty and honour, the terrors of his righteous anger overwhelm us, and fear casteth out love-the fear of the Judge and Castigator. But when we see the door of heaven opened, and the stupendous miracle of his mercy administering to his justice by a sacrifice as costly as even that justice could exact, and ponder that act of unutterable tenderness by which our ransom has been effected, love finds its argument in our nature, in so far at least as gratitude is a part of our nature. By this process, and to this extent, we may proceed somewhat in the work of spiritual improvement, and render ourselves, so to speak, more genial recipients of divine grace. But the love that casteth out fear, that re-acts upon our faith, and gives us peace in believing, is the proper conquest of prayer, and the gift only of the Holy Ghost.
But it is of main importance to know and to feel, that the faith which is evidenced by love is not a single act, or a principle that stays at a point; it retrogrades when it does not advance; it must be sustained as our worldly friendships are sustained, by keeping the benefits and kindnesses which first created it alive in the memory and the heart, by frequent recurrences of thought and meditation.
Man is never safe out of the bounds of express Scripture. There is a spurious religion which assumes these titles of love, and of which we should say to the Christian householder, Give it no hospitality, nor let it domicile with thee a day. It smiles and flatters to betray. Reject its fabulous and facile deity, nor trust his gratuitous pity and unpurchased pardon. It proposes to us a will-worship of sentiment, pathos, and emotion, without seal or authority, or statute or ordinance. It settles the balance of divine justice and mercy, by abridging each of its perfection. "But thou continuest holy, O thou Worship of Israel;" while thy creatures pretend to lower the requisitions of thy law to their own standard of goodness, and to contract to their own proportions the measureless dimensions of thy godhead.
THESE framers of their own religion will not receive Christianity as a system of positive enunciation-as the statute law of God. They must have a religion made in consultation with the moral dictates of right reason; or if given us by God only, still by God borrowing the suggestions of human counsel. I should say to the spirits of these inquiring times, Come manfully to this contest with Scripture: prove it false; but do not, in place of its positive declarations, affect to build upon it a structure "daubed with untempered mortar," and which can have no foundation but the corrupt suggestions of a wandering fancy and a misguided will. What does the philosophy of these times give us in the place of the letter of scriptural religion? Observe it in the German school, unfolding itself in all its vagueness and vanity. Instead of the grace of God and his teaching Spirit, it proposes to us, in the words of one of their liveliest interpreters, the "poesie de l'ame;" an internal life, which the privileged only live; an inner apartment in the bosom,
"sanctos recessus mentis," where the spirits enjoy a constant feast, and dance to a music of their own.
The religion of revelation tells us that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; but the theology of this school talks to us of the religion of the heart-of this same heart so low in scriptural repute. In the place to which revelation points as the seat of corruption, philosophy has enshrined her oracles.
Admire as we will these soldiers of the parade, the plume, and the fluttering field-day, they belong not to the militant church, nor are to be classed among those violent ones that take heaven by storm. We cannot trust their pioneers for the route to that place where the Supreme sits intrenched in his holiness; where the flaming sword of his justice turns every way but one-the one only way of access. Let not the Christian householder join in the march of this philosophy. The Christianity which it proposes is a Christianity without Christ. It is an unsanctified system of maxims, seemingly of a very social aspect, but in truth nothing but the phantasy of inflated feeling; a creed of impressions, requiring its votaries to believe mysteries without meaning and without authority. Let him be aware of those German apostles,
and this ideal world of abstractions.
turn from the metaphysics, the ethics, and the poetry of these independent theologians, to follow the Saviour's footsteps into the press of mortal misery, through scenes of actual conflict and the realities of faith working by love. They may be challenged to show in our nature those deep-seated principles to which we are referred -that inborn purity, or that silent suffrage of the heart in unison with the voice of heaven. It is in the power of education to educe religion from our nature, just as much as it is in the power of philosophy to bring the sunbeams out of cucumbers.
The maxims of these metaphysical moralists are in nothing more defective than in that for which they take to themselves the greatest credit -systematic reasoning. They picture to themselves an interior nature in the constitution of things that prompts and determines the soul to what is virtuous and pure, while yet the vanity and misery of human life are the favourite themes of their declamation. According to them, it is to the perverse dispositions of artificial society, and the want of a right education, that the frequent interruptions, or rather the general disappointment of these natural tendencies towards moral perfection is to be attributed. According