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Israel.” At the very outset, he was an obedient and lovely child; and in his subsequent and more public life, he continued 10 exbibit the same loveliness and excellence of character, in that happy blending of the different moral virtues into one consistent and persect whole, which mankind in every age have universally admired. How admirably did the distinct and separate traits in his character harmonize with each other,-his submission to his earthly parents, with his supreme regard for his heavenly Father,-bis punctual attendance on the outward ordinances of religion, with his spirituality and inward devotedness of heart to God, -his fearlessness in reproving vice and hypocrisy in high places, with his condescending tenderness toward the penitent and retiring poor who sought his favor,-his compassion toward his enemies and crucifiers, when he saw them urged on by a blind rage against him, and that they knew not what they were doing, with his unsparing denunciation of the wicked scribes and priests, who knew better,—his conscious dignity and self-respect, with bis deep humility,—bis love to God, with his love to men, and his discriminating sense of the duties owed to both,-his submission, sweetness of temper, and meekness under injuries in his dying hour, with that perfect consciousness which he felt, that he was suffering wrongfully, and that he could, by simply desiring it, have legions of angels come to his aid! What a character of transcendent worth was here for our imitation! Truly was it said of him, “He hath done all things well,” " he hath done nothing amiss." And the kind of well-doing which he exhibited, was eminently that of a happy timing and tempering all that he did; no one virtue was cultivated or commended by him to the disparagement of another; no one set of duties was performed or enjoined, which should necessarily trench upon another; and every duty of every kind was carried back to its only appropriate or safe principle, the principle of evangelical love in the heart. On this simple principle, all other duty to God and to man was inculcated and made to depend, as its proper foundation. On this simple principle our Savior's own lovely character was built. On this principle bis entire system of instruction, as enforced upon the whole world of mankind, was constructed ; lore was the grand basis upon which it was made to rest. Hence his beautiful summary of the divine law, as given to the lawyer who insidiously asked him which was the first and great commandment. His answer is worthy of being written indelibly on every heart; he makes the grand element and the substance of all duty to God and man to consist in love. And this corresponds most perfectly with men's own perceptions of what is true and right in the case; we all see at once, that if the principle of love be wanting, as the impelling motive of what we do, our conduct toward God or man has nothing in it which, in the sight of one who looks at the heart, is morally right and praiseworthy. Just look, now, at this principle, this only vital spring in the heart, of all actual compliance with duty toward all beings in all possible circumstances, see how it is adapted to form that harmonious and well-balanced character which we are describing. Let a man simply love the Lord bis God with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself, and wbat a delightful consistency of character would it produce ! let him be guided by pure love and good-will in all his conduct, and you will see at once how the entire circle of the christian graces
will spring up and grow, as from their proper root. Now this it was which made our Savior's character so spotless and so lovely. Let the same principle prevail among men ; let it be found to exist and operate only in some good degree, though not in its perfect strength and maturity, as it did in the Savior, and as it will finally in all the saints; and what a fine specimen of moral excellence would it present! what a desirable state of society would it produce ! what happy families, happy neighborhoods, happy churches, happy states and nations, would it constitute ! how desirable would be its influence, were it universally prevalent! What other possession or distinction on earth possesses half the real value of this, or would accomplish half the amount of solid happiness?
The motives to the cultivation of this blessed temper, arising out of the circumstances of our own age and country, should be briefly noticed, before we close these remarks. We are a free people, and live at an enlightened period. In this country our instilutions and laws, our public morals, and prosperity, and happiness, our very existence as a nation, all depend upon the free and voluntary suffrages of the people. Here majorities must govern; here, of course, public sentiment is all-powerful. In this nation there is no power higher than the will of the people constitutionally expressed. How immensely important, then, is it, that this amazing power for good or for evil should be rightly directed ! Now what shall secure to it a right direction? Where is the principle that shall regulate, and keep right, the exercise of this tremendous power? Is it not, radically, found in the virtue of the people? And to give the best direction to this power, must there not be an extraordinary strength and vigor of christian principle pervading the mass of the nation ? must there not be a sterner integrity of character, a more harmonious and better balanced cultivation of the whole circle of the christian virtues, than is to be found elsewhere on the globe? It will not answer in this country, that christians should attend only to some points of duty, and cultivate only some portions of the christian spirit, to the neglect of others. Duty in every form must be attended to ; God must be honored in his claims upon us; and the claims of our fellow-men must not be disregarded, whether they live at the north or the Vol. VII.
south ; whether they are in favor of the existing administration of our government or any other; whether, on the subject of domestic slavery in this country, they are colonizationists or immediate-abolition men, or whether they are entirely opposed to the whole subject of setting our colored population free. There is nothing that will, under God, save this nation from ultimate anarchy and ruin, but the sound and temperate principles of true piety and virtue, widely sown among the people. Our past prosperity as a nation, in connection with the free spirit of our institutions, requires, beyond what is true of any other nation under heaven, the balance of a deep and well-proportioned spirit of piety among christians, to keep us from being lifted up with pride, and from undue self-reliance. At the same time, there are causes now in operation among us, strongly tending to disunion in our political confederacy, and to separation among christians. The north and the south, it is easy to see, are, in the present course of things, coming into fearful collision on the subject of slavery; and christians themselves, as they happen to live in the one or the other of these sections of our land, will be in danger of taking sides accordingly, in this great controversy. At the south, public sentiment and private interest will be likely to unite their influence in leading good men to oppose the immediate emancipation of the slaves. At the north, where neither of the above causes exists to influence the minds of good men, there will be, of course, a readier adoption of the sentiment, that it is wrong for one man to hold another in bondage ; and efforts will consequently be made, from motives of religion and humanity, to do away what is thus regarded as a system of injustice and oppression. And thus different portions of christians will become, there is reason to fear, arrayed against each other, at least on this subject.
There are other causes in operation, also, tending to the same result. Efforts in the temperance reformation, when pushed beyond certain limits, may introduce disunion into the church. The same may be said of efforts to vindicate the sabbath from desecration, and of every benevolent enterprise of the day. Even the cause of missions itself may be advocaied on such grounds, or such measures in regard to its prosecution hereafter may be recommended and insisted on, as shall create unhappy divisions among its friends, and strengthen the hands of its enemies. May we not be permitted to ask, Is there even now no tendency to this result? is not the enemy already sowing his tares, in this respect, among the good seed of the kingdom, and looking for the fruit thereof in a barvest of jealousies and heart-burnings among brethren? If these things are so, (and we only put them in the form of inquiries, that our readers may judge for themselves,) is it not high time that the people of God should begin to take the alarm,
and that every one should inquire, whether he himself has not some favorite peculiarity in religion, to which he is so strongly attached, that every thing else is thrown into the shade by it? whether he is not, out of all proper proportion, attending to some duties and neglecting others, or urging upon his brethren, with a disproporate zeal, some principles of conduct that are right, to the disparagement of others equally right and necessary?
We might illustrate our meaning, in these remarks, by reference to a great variety of subjects. Suffice it to allude to one. It is of great importance that the purity of revivals should be watched over with unsleeping vigilance, and guarded with great care against every thing which may tend to corrupt them, and bring them into disrepute with serious-minded and judicious christians. But there is a jealousy and a watchfulness on this subject which needs itself to be watched over, lest it should degenerate into a needless morbid anxiety about the manner in which sinners are converted, while the fact of their conversion becomes a matter of secondary interest. Now a person who really loves his Maker, and loves the souls of men, and who has cultivated a proper proportion and symmetry in his religious affections, will feel, first of all, desirous that sinners should be saved and God glorified; he will be less solicitous about the particular mode of operation, or the measures employed. Christian parent, have you in your family an unconverted child? And do you properly love God, and properly love the souls of your fellow-men? If so, you will feel very little anxiety as to the particular way or manner in which your child shall be brought home to the Savior, compared with what you will feel, that he may not be passed by, and left to perish in bis sins. Just so in regard to revivals; let us use all due care to preserve their purity and their power, but let us at the same time seel, that in doing this, our governing object should be, that the greatest number of sinners should be saved and God glorified, and that if this object can be secured, all else pertaining to means and measures is of comparatively little consequence. Christians of this age have a great work to do. The enterprise of this world's conversion bas as yet scarcely been entered upon in good earnest; and it is an enterprise of vast magnitude and difficulty; an amount of self-denial and personal effort for its accomplishment will be called for, very far in advance of what has been hitherto done, or supposed necessary to be done, for that purpose. At the same time, God is opening a great and effectual door, and giving unwonted encouragement to undertake the work in sober earnest. Now what is the duty of the church at this interesting crisis ? Surely not to waste her strength in strises and contentions; nor 10 cultivate some of the christian virtues and leave others uncultivated. Let her rather go to her Savior's feet, and learn there what
she shall do. Let her cultivate his spirit, and emulate his labors. Let her cherish all the virtues of the christian character, in their proper harmony and mutual dependence, and thus add to her effective strength (as she would) an hundred fold, and thus gird on the whole armor of God, and go forward in her work of benevolence and mercy, “ beautiful as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.”
ART. IV.-ON Self-Love. When that able and graceful infidel, Lord Shaftesbury, attacked christianity, he called in question its purity as a system of morals. He maintained, that to regard our happiness in the practice of virtue, was mean and mercenary; and that a system of morals, which appealed by rewards and penalties to our self-love, must be a mean and mercenary system ; consequently christianity could never have had a divine origin.
Admitting his first proposition to be true, that self-love and the practice of virtue are inconsistent with each other, we see not how his conclusion can be avoided.
As the same position has sometimes been taken by the friends as well as the enemies of christianity, and as the question involved is a fundamental one in morals, we propose to inquire whether we may or may not be prompted to right action by self-love.
By self-love is meant the desire of happiness,—we mean by it simply this, and nothing more. This is its proper meaning ; according to good usage. This, too, is its common meaning, and to use it thus, is, as Dugald Stewart has said, to follow the ordinary language of modern philosophy.”
With the state of mind described by the term self-love, we are well acquainted. It is that feeling which springs up within us in view of good, -the wish that this good were ours.
We are acquainted with it in the form of appetites and propensities. When self-love fixes on different objects that are fitted to gratify it, for the sake of convenience we call it by different names, and these names are derived from the objects on which it fixes.
Thus our desire of happiness, when directed toward food as the means of obtaining it, we call the desire of food; when directed toward knowledge, or the esteem of others, we call it the desire of knowledge, the desire of esteem. We know there are those who maintain, that our appetites and propensities are very different from any of the particular forms of self-love. But what proves their opinion to be incorrect, is, that nothing excites an appetite or propensity except that which excites self-love,—that nothing gratifies them which does not gratify self-love ; that is, which does not gratify our desire of happiness in these specific