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necessarily implies a belief of the miraculous origin of Christianity, a belief that it originated with God. Now suppose a person convinced of this, convinced that Christianity originated with God, and moreover that the apostles were fully instructed in the nature of its doctrines, either by Jesus himself during his abode on earth, or by miraculous gifts of the spirit after his ascension, he is at perfect liberty, we conceive, to believe that they were left to state the doctrines, of the nature of which they were thus accurately informed, in the language, which appeared to their minds best fitted to convey them, or that the words they employed were suggested by inspiration, which superseded the use of their natural faculties. He is at perfect liberty, we say, to adopt either of these conclusions, and he may be just as good a Christian in the one case as in the other, though we do not say that he will give equal evidence of being a sound theologian and critic.
Why will men persist in blending questions which have no necessary connection with each other? The inquiry relating to the character and origin of the style employed by the sacred writers, is of some importance, but it is one which has obviously nothing to do with a belief or disbelief of the truth and divine authority of the Christian religion. It is one of those questions, which Christians should consent to discuss amicably, as not affecting the fundamental verities' of the Gospel.
THE RELIGION OF THE NATURAL MAN.
How many persons, after they have been converted, as they suppose, from the world to God, and from the flesh to the spirit, still retain a great deal of the natural man,' even in their religion, and in what they consider the best part of it, too! The natural man, or animal man, in contradiction to the spiritual man, is one who is ruled by sensual and external impulses rather than by reason and moral sentiments. And yet how often do we see strong animal sensibilities valued, almost boasted of, as the most elevated religious enthusiasm !
I need not say this is more particularly the case among our Orthodox friends, and in the less enlightened
parts of the country, to a more lamentable degree than in our debateable land' here, where the light has been so long struggling against darkness. Their zealots pride themselves on a physical inflammability, on a diseased state of the nervous system, as the surest evidence of deep earnestness and zeal in devotion. Nay, they not only take this for the highest attainment in religion ; it is the whole of it. They are shy of allowing piety to any one who is not of such an excitable temperament. A man may have the strongest principle; unwavering convictions of religious duty ; unexceptionable habits of life, devout as well as moral ; he may from strictest regard to christian obligations do just
ly, love mercy, and walk humbly with his God; and yet if he be not constituted with certain natural feelings, which really often seem, in some of their most admired manifestations, to come little short of what, in other cases, would be called simply bad temper, he is by no means a christian of celebrated piety. He wants grace ; his religion is low, and worldly, and lukewarm ; all from the head, not the heart. He may be a very moral man, but he has not the one thing needful. He is a legalist, unregenerate, a natural man. This word says all; and its evil potency is such that it can annul all epithets of praise in company with it. The poor Unitarian is of course ó a natural man ;' and so, though he may be acknowledged moral, amiable, benevolent, and devout in his way, all this goes for nothing. Yet lacketh he one thing, and that one thing is all.
Now I take it, the objector to his christianity is more likely to be the true natural or animal man in his views of religion. This graceless, unsanctified moralist, as he is termed in half reproach, under the power of his unyielding principles we suppose free from the dominion of all animal lusts and passions, which war against the soul. His is not the carnal mind which is enmity against God. It is at once and directly his religion, and not merely a dictate of undervalued morality, to curb in the senses. But the other, though he may equally deny the animal propensities in sinful indulgences, yet might be told that he places the very essence of his piety in the stimulating of sensibilities
that are equally parts of our animal constitution, though they may be less gross than others. This mistake is not confined to fanatics. More
persons than are aware of it comfort and pride themselves on an animal religion. We need not look for examples only to the admirers of camp-meetings and revival-extravagances. We need not hear the avowal of the principle that noise is the measure of devotion and convulsions the perfection of piety. There are soberer assemblies where feeling is still all in all, and quiet principle, be it indomitable and efficient as omnipotence itself, is nothing. The worshippers attend for a purpose very much akin to that for which the lovers of intoxicating draughts attend their wonted haunts ;—to receive stimulants ; to be warmed within ; to get something that makes them feel good, as they express it. Is it not true that in our own tranquil churches, mere excitement is too much the object with some of us ? Is not the attention of a congregation too apt to be proportioned only to the animal feeling exhibited, or elicited by the speaker? I am not pleading for the torpor of the pulpit, but for the possibility and the duty of edification in the pews, even when the pulpit does unfortunately happen to be deficient in warmth. People go to church now too much to be entertained. And entertained in what way? To be merely exhilerated, rather than instructed or reminded of duty. Happy is it when they go from even as elevated a motive as carries them to the lectures of scientific in. stitutions. It is the theatre which furnishes the apposite parallel for these devotees of excitement rather than of piety.
Our fathers cherished the institutions of public worship as useful remembrancers of the truths of religion amidst the temptations and distractions of the world. They valued going to church as a good habit, though pleasureless utility might be all it had to recommend it. But we, their decendants, must be amused, or we feel as if we were imposed upon and abused. Good sense, reminding us in sober plainness of speech what we ought to do, and why, too easily puts us to sleep.
We feel justified in inattention the moment the preacher ceases to keep us awake in spite of ourselves. Shall we go to the house of God and think of our obligations for a while? This is not the form in which the question is put on Sunday morning now. It is, shall we go and hear some one preach? And then, who preaches ? We must hear some one who will address most moving appeals to imagination and passion. Just as the lover of the drama says, who acts to night? We must hear some one who will give us most entertainment for our money.
This habit is so common that even excellent and sensible persons are not conscious of its evils. It seems like a little thing. Why should they not have their amusement? Let them have it; but in its place and season. Let not two places be confounded, entirely and most desirably distinct. God's temple is not