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hailed as divine, yet the children of men are wiser than His disciples; the rewards and punishments of a future state are fully set forth as a conceded item of faith, yet but few, like Moses, seem to have respect to the recompense of reward. Truly, how few do show their faith by their works! Almost may we ask, Is faith in the world?
There is, doubtless, a great deal of ignorance among professors, as to what constitutes a life of faith; and thousands, we fear there are, who have no higher conception of it than to think that it consists in looking back to the fact that they were, 'years past, baptized for the remission of sins. But this is almost as great a delusion as that which rests its hope upon the dim recollection of some far off dream or vision of a distempered brain. There are some who seem to-be, indeed, pretty well trained in the catechism on this point, and who will tell us, with a great deal of flippancy, that it is to believe what God says, and to do what he bids us, yet they give 'no evidence of a -true spiritual life; they have, indeed, the form of godliness without the power thereof. They have mistaken some of the characteristics for the vital essence, and gaze at the shadow and the foot-prints, rather than the divine reality itself. Like a young miss who had been to a fashionable boarding school, studying, among other useful branches of education, the science of Botany : a friend to whom she was paying a visit during vacation, asked her, “What is Botany ?" she replied very promptly, “ It is pressing flowers in a book.” This was, in fact, all she had been taught of it, and she honestly thought that this simple operation constituted the science. There is too much reason to fear, that many professing Christians have no more adequate conception of a true spiritual religion, than this young girl had of the science of Botany. Their life of faith is the dry bones, the skeleton of works; the flesh and life of the truly spiritual man are wanting. Their religion is a task, undertaken, perhaps, with a sense of duty, or, it may be, only a hope of reward, and prosecuted without one realizing emotion of the presence of the spirit in the heart. There is no warmth, no fervor, no enjoyment; no responsive inward experience that God is with us and in us, testifying to the consciousness that they are the children of God.
May we hope to be understood, when we say, that no man can enjoy God without knowing it; that in the true and literal sense of the term every real Christian can say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth ;" that there is, with all such, a testimony of experience in spiritual union and communion, that is as certain knowledge to the consciousness of him who enjoys it, as the knowledge which we
derive by our senses from contact with material nature; that we do not more surely know that we are in contact with the objects of sense, when they impress us through their appropriate organs, than we do that we are in union and connection with the great spring and fountain of our spiritual life, when, in prayer and devotion fervent, the Spirit of God broods upon our spirits, making us feel in harmony with itself, and awakening in us kindred sympathies and emotions. Nor in saying this do we affirm any thing more difficult to believe, than that God does, now and always, hold connection with and control over nature.
We are startled at the bold scepticism that would reduce the uni. verse to the analogy of a clock, wound up for a six-thousand-years' run, and then left by its Maker to the movements and regulations of its own machinery; we shrink back with a shudder, at the atheistic refinement which reduces organization, motion and life, to the primordial necessities of nature, the inherent and eternal laws of atomic attractions; we revolt at the idea that God is not in the uni. verse, controlling and preserving it with a prescience that allows not even a sparrow to fall unnoticed-a power that poises in perfect harmony its vast and unnumbered parts, and a ubiquity which baffles even imagination to conceive of the space, where his presence is not always manifest: yet, whilst we are thus enlightened with respect to the material universe, how many there are who are 80 spiritually dark as to run into a precisely similar scepticism and atheism, when the phenomena of the spiritual system are to be accounted for? Here they are willing to concede that there is, in fact, no present God; here they can admit that nothing exists but machinery; that, in respect to our spiritual nature, we are left altogether to the cold appliances of secondary means, and that there is around our inner man a material case, which is impenetrable, even to the Spirit of God, and which forever isolates us from such spiritual union and communion with that spirit as may be felt, and become as much the subject of knowledge, as the pressure of the hand we love, or the vibration of the voice we revere.
Now it is, perhaps, on this point, more than any other in the reli. gious experience of the day, that there is a want of faith. Profess. ing Christians do not seem to regard it as true, that the Spirit of God can and does, in fact, take up his residence in the purified heart, as the temple of the Holy Spirit, (1 Cor. vi. 19;) that he dwells with us and in us, to comfort and console us, (Jno. xiv. 17;) that to those who live and walk in the Spirit, he is the fruitful source of “ love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meeka ness, temperance," (Gal. v. 22 ;) that “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is given unto us," (Rom. v. 5;) that after we believe, we are sealed with it, as the Holy Spirit of promise ; that it is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession,” (Ep. i. 14;) and that by its power we are made to "abound in hope,” even “ the hope of righteousness by faith,” (Rom. xv. 13.) Yet all this is scriptural, and, better still, it is realized to be true by the sincere believer in Christ. This promise, however, is confined to such only, and, therefore, only such can ever have knowledge of it.
It is in this that Christian experience consists, and, we may add, this is the highest attainment of Christian enjoyment. But how far short of this does the dry formalist come! He may look to the catalogue of duties, and, counting over the works of the day, as the papist does his beads, compare his conduct with the standard to which he acknowledges it to be his duty to conform. He may feel some litile compunction of conscience at the detection of a faultthe discovery of a duty omitted or an obligation violated; or, it may be, that he will enjoy a momentary pleasure in the consciousness of well-spent time-the calm satisfaction of conscious rectitude-the mens conscia sibi recti ; and this is all very well, as far as it goes, most excellent, but a disciple of Seneca might have done as much, and enjoyed as much, and, perhaps, have been as spiritual and truly religious in his nature and feelings. In all this there may have been a lotal absence of all communion with God; no spiritual interchange between the spirit of the man and the Holy Spirit; no realization of a restored union and harmony between the creator and the creature; and an absence, altogether, of the knowledge of salvation. The enjoyment consists in the admiration of one's self; the examination is a comparison of one's self with some standard admitted to be excellent, and the pleasure-nothing more than selfgratulation—at the discovery that the subject I, is quite equal to the excellent model set forth for imitation, and declared worthy!
The obvious reason of this, perhaps, is the neglect of a habit of prayer and meditation. A deeper, but less manifest reason, no doubt, is in the state of mind which leads to a neglect of these high and delightful sources of Christian enjoyment; in the fact that the moral nature has never been thoroughly transformed by the truth; that the heart has not been truly and radically changed. Religion has been embraced, not so much from a cordial love of it, as from the fear that its doctrine of future retribution may be true. It has been laid hold of as at least a safe and judicious speculation, which may
stand one in good stead some future day, but which, in the meantime, should give us no farther concern than simply to render a formai compliance with its preceptive conditions. This radical misconception will, of course, produce an indifference to those religious exercises, the pleasure and utility of which it completely prevents; for, in reducing prayer and meditation to a cold and useless formality, it abstracts from them their life-giving fervor and heavenly peace, and, with these, almost all motive to resort to them.
Still, in many cases, the obvious reason of this mere formal Christian existence, is the neglect of a regular and earnest habit of fervent prayer and deep meditation. This cause, at least, lies on the surface, and we would fain hope that it is not, in all cases, the effect of that other and deeper reason of which we have spoken. It may be that these means of life, and growth, and strength, are neglected simply for the want of appetite; because of the sickly state of the Christian life within us, and not because there is, in fact, no such life, quickened and growing in the heart. If so, there is hope; we need not despair, for the remedy is obvious and at hand. It is an immediate and faithful resort to those very means of enjoyment and strength, which we have habitually neglected.
This is in the power of the will, and must, from the very consti. tution of our nature, and the promises of the gospel, bring the desired result. We cannot meditate often and deeply upon the word of God—the cheering and consoling sayings of the Saviour—with an appropriating faith, without feeling that these words are spoken, also, to us, We cannot draw near to God, in prayer, without feel. ing that we are in direct audience with our Father in heaven, who graciously hears our petitions, and is well pleased with our praises ; and the realization of this gives us confidence and encouragement to renew the exercise, till the pleasure excites to the habit and the habit contributes to the pleasure, in a mutually increasing and recip. rocal ratio, perfecting our spiritual growth, and making us more and more fit for the higher communion of the eternal life.
Beloved brethren, we are beginning a new year: let us also set out with a fixed resolution to live more near to God; let us live the lise of faith, and not that of sense only. Persevere in good works, but neglect not prayer, praise, and holy meditation upon the word and benevolence of God. Forsake not the means divinely appointed for our spiritual growth and enjoyment, and we shall as surely be blessed in them, and through them, as we are by those provided for our physical preservation and health. Nor will our knowledge of their influence be less in the one case than in the other; but if, in the full assurance of faith, we draw nigh to God, we shall as surely know that He is with us spiritually, as that our friends are around us bodily. Thus shall our faith grow stronger with our experience, our hope glow brighter with our faith, and our enjoyments expand and sweeten with our hope.
W. K. P.
TOUR OF FORTY DAYS IN THE STATES OF OHIO, KENTUCKY, AND INDIANA.
HAVING enjoyed one week's repose at Bethany, in discharge of my college and editorial duties, after my tour through Ohio and New York, with a short visit to Canada, a call at Philadelphia and Baltimore-making a circuit of fourteen hundred miles—I left home, accompanied by my daughter Virginia, to attend the anniversaries in Cincinnati and Lexington.
Detained by low water and one day's repose on a sand-bar in the Ohio river, we arrived at Cincinnati on Thursday morning, October 24th. After some refreshment at Dr. Joseph Ray's, our kind and hospitable host during our sojourn in that city, we directed our steps to the church, corner of Eighth and Walnut, where we found our brethren in session on the affairs of our benevolent institutions.
We continued with them till Monday, the 28th of October, participating with them, more or less, in all their deliberations. Of the important matters which passed in revision before us, there were two in which we and the brotherhood felt a paramount interest. These were the divesting of life-membership and life-directorship of a pecuniary basis. It always seemed to me as imprudent-as anti-evangelical-to give to any man, not a confirmed saint, a power for life, to direct the action, perhaps to control the action, of a christian community, or a christian association, in its deliberations and acts in conducting or extending the operations peculiarly affecting its vital interests.
Two prerequisites are essential, as it seems to me, to such lifedirectorship: The first, that the life-director be a saint; and secondly, that we believe, on undoubted evidence, that he will persevere to the end. I have, indeed, purchased two such life-directorships one in the American Bible Society, and one in the American and Foreign Bible Society: I bought them because they were in the