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ment, which are extremely interesting ; but without these, we feel that the mind could not live in any peace, happiness, or hope, that is suited to a reasonable creature.
We speak of the life of the mind, and not of the life of the body.
The body, no doubt, might live on, and take its animal comfort and pleasure. The mind might live for the purposes of the body, and for the lower ends of the outward scene around it, - for gain, for praise, for pleasure. But this is not the life of the mind. In that more intellectual and spiritual life, when we feel the powers and the wants of a higher nature; when we contemplate the glorious, the beautiful, and the godlike with enrapturing joy ; when we seek repose in objects enduring, eternal, infinite surely we must be able in our faith to go beyond the bounds of time and earth. Tell us then, that the Being whom we supremely love, has no regard for our improvement, welfare, and salvation, has made no provision for them ; - tell us, that our cherished being, and all the precious thoughts within us, have none but the most transient hold on istence; that all the hallowed affections of our hearts shall fall from us like blossoms before the summer's breeze; — tell us, that the beings of our earthly companionship, the venerated, the beloved, the cherished, who have gone from us, we shall never meet again ; thus sink into the universal grave all that we prize and love, all that our minds live for; and they might live on indeed, but it would be a life of sorrow; they might continue, indeed, but their existence would not be life, it would be only protracted, lingering, living death.
But relying on those great convictions, which the Gospel imparts ; relying on those great truths, which none dispute, and which, alas ! none feel as they ought; relying, we say, on God's paternal care and mercy, and his offered aid, and his gracious forgiveness in Christ Jesus, and his promised gift of eternal life, we have beneath us the everlasting foundations of strength. We may not depend upon this explanation, and that distinction, which men urge upon us; but depending on what God hath plainly spoken, we shall want no other assurance or stability. We shall be strong, not perhaps in the supports of human confidence, not in the faith of things disputed, doubtful, and difficult to be understood, but strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.'
5. We have space for but a single further remark. The tendency of our two last observations has been, to set up the importance of what is intelligible, and practical, and essential, above all abstruse doctrines and doubtful disputations. We now say,
in the fifth place, and finally, that nothing can relieve the serious and liberal inquirer from undue anxiety about the questions that arise before him, but a deep, constant, and increasing devotedness in the heart, to those truths which he does believe. The mind that never doubts may be buoyed up by confidence; a most undesirable support certainly, but, such as it is, we must allow that the votary of creeds and systems has it. But the mind that freely examines its own conclusions, and sometimes calls in question those that have been dear to it, must be established in habitual and devoted virtue and piety. He who is searching into the unsound and decaying columns of his spiritual dwelling, must feel that his house still rests upon the pillars of eternal and soul-sufficing truth.
How reasonably and how truly may he feel this! He is removing rubbish and decay, only to lay open more clearly to view the real foundations, and to take faster hold of the strong and unfailing supports, of his faith, happiness, and hope. We doubt not, that many among us have found this to be far more than figure or illustration ; that many have been inquiring, ay, and doubting, on some points, for years and years, and yet have been every year growing stronger in faith, and living more happily in all good conscience, have found religion almost daily to be rising before them, clothed with new beauty and brightness, have found their views of God, and duty, and heaven to be constantly more and more solemn, more controlling and encouraging, more precious and holy.
If then, (let us be permitted to say to our readers,) if you are accustomed to have doubts on any questions of faith, ritual, or practice, you can find the remedy, provided you are good and conscientious men, you can find the remedy against all distressing anxiety, only in an increasing and devoted piety and goodness. If these keep pace with your inquiries, if, the more you doubt, the more pious, the more humble, the more charitable, the more affectionate, and pure you are, all will be well with you, and more than well.
To make this direction more specific, we would say to every inquirer, 'Let your prayers be fervent, confiding, and perfectly submissive to the wisdom of God.' In sincerity, uprightness, and holy freedom of soul, pray concerning every doctrine, as the devout Watts did concerning the Trinity. Hadst thou, gracious Father, informed me in any place of thy word, that this divine doctrine is not to be understood by men, and yet they were required to believe it, I would have subdued all my curiosity to faith, and submitted my wandering and doubtful imaginations, as far as it was possible, to the holy and wise determinations of thy word.' Hadst thou been pleased, in any one plain Scripture, to have informed me which of the different opinions about the holy Trinity, among the contending parties of Christians, had been true, thou knowest with how much zeal and satisfaction and joy my unbiassed heart would have opened itself to receive and embrace the divine discovery.' Help me, heavenly Father,' he says, with an affecting simplicity, ' for I am quite tired and weary of these human explainings, so various and uncertain. When wilt thou explain it to me thyself, O my God, by the secret and certain dictates of thy spirit, according to the intimations of thy word ?' • Nor let any pride of reason, nor any affectation of novelty, nor any criminal bias whatsoever, turn my heart aside from hearkening to these divine dictates of thy word and spirit. Suffer not any of my native corruptions, nor the vanity of my imaginations, to cast a mist over my eyes, while I am searching after the knowledge of thy mind and will, for my eternal salvation !'
Again, to specify,- we would say to every inquirer, 'Let the love of God, in you, be a strong, sustaining, absorbing, and most joyful affection. Let the love of man be, not an honored precept borne on the sacred page, but let it be a deeper feeling in the heart. Let it be unfeigned, disinterested, overflowing, full, generous, blessed.' What strength and satisfaction will he feel, who can use language like this ? 'I may be uncertain about many things ; I may be tried on some subjects with doubts, that I must feel most desirous to have cleared up; I may be wrong in my reasonings; I may err, for I am fallible ; but I will only the more earnestly devote and dedicate myself to my duty and conscience; I will strive, with constant prayers and efforts, to be more and more pure and faithful; I will cherish within me the unspeakable love of God; as I break loose from tradition, prejudice, and creeds, I will bind my heart to freedom, charity, self-denial, prayer, and all goodness.'
Let any man truly and heartily say this ; let him thus enter into a more spiritual and intimate communion with the realities of those things about which other men dispute ; let him be thus established in all the strong and blessed affections of his nature, and nothing can move him. Though the heavens be shaken, and the earth treinble beneath his feet, he has the strength and security of confidence in that Being, who made the heavens and the earth. Though the moral elements of the world be in confusion, he is calm. Though he himself may grapple with doubts, he does it with a cheerful and unfearing resolution, and a tranquil energy: Though men around him dispute, though they are filled with confidence, and are ready to overwhelm him with denunciations, though they beseech, and warn, and weep, none of these things move him. He can list to his admonisher, - and this is no uncommon situation in the religious differences of these times, he can list to his admonisher or his accuser, a calm and assured countenance, with no trace in it of anger, or resentment, or fear, or trouble, and can say to him, in reply to all his expostulations and warnings, — Mistaken friend! troubled without cause, agitated without reason, sincere, I doubt not, but mistaken friend! I am happy, happy in the love of God, happy in the love of you, which all your misconstructions and mistakes cannot prevent; I have a principle within me, above your judgment, beyond your power to disturb. I am blessed, beyond your interference, in the contemplations of my own mind, in the abiding affections of iny heart; and I feel a firm trust in God, that in these contemplations and affections, I shall be blessed for
Think not, frail, fallible, erring fellow-creature ! think not, try not, so to disturb me. Truth never yet came into the world, but astonishment and reproach first gathered around its benign countenance, even though it were the countenance of Jesus ; truth never yet came into the world, but lowering brows were bent upon it, and floods of misspent tears were shed over it. Yet do I not say,' might our modest defender of himself continue, 'yet do I not say that I hold the unerring truth. I may be wrong; I may err; VOL. XI.
N. S. VOL. VI. NO. IIJ.
but of this I am sure, of this I have the most joyful certainty, that in the love of God I am blessed, blessed for ever.'
This, this is stability; and nothing else can sustain a solicitous and serious inquirer after truth amidst the difficulties that surround him. The agitation naturally attendant upon uncertainty, is itself considerable ; but the power of society is often enough to make it overwhelming. Such is the constitutional sympathy which we are made to feel with the opinions and emotions of others, that a man is actually liable, and that without any blame on his own part, to partake of the horror that is felt against himself
. This is a point of great importance to a class of Christians that is every where spoken against, and one that we may take some occasion fully to discuss. For the present we will only say, that he who would hold his heart firm' amidst all the disturbing influences incident to free inquiry, must hold it in the strength of conscious rectitude, and the assurance of fervent piety.
ART. II. - 1. Traditions of Palestine. Edited by HARRIET
MARTINEAU. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown,
and Green. 1830. 12mo. pp. 148. 2. The Times of the Saviour. By HARRIET MARTINEAU.
Reprinted, after Revision, from the English Edition.
These are not the titles of two separate works, but of one and the same work. The American volume is, as is professed in the title-page, 'reprinted, after revision, from the English one. Judicious revision is often timely and useful. Alterations, if cautiously made, may be permitted, in a book which is reprinted on this side of the Atlantic. But the change of a title is a delicate matter. There is no clearer right to be established, than that of an author to name his own production. If we should chance to write a book,' which book should be thought worthy of republication in England, and it should appear there under another title than that which in the exercise of our best judgment we had bestowed upon it, we are ready to say that we