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REMARKS ON THE AFFECTIONS AS THEY
RESPECT AN UNRENEWED PERSON.
An unrenewed man cannot attain to a just knowledge of the Affections, as a help to exposition. This is evident from the following considerations.
An unrenewed person has no perception of any but natural Affections. He speaks of spiritual Affections, as a blind man does of colours: and even as it respects those which are natural, his views are not just, so long as he is immured in the darkness and depravity of his corrupt nature. It is spiritual Affections, however, that are chiefly to be known; for the mind of Christ best explains the mind of Christ. This is clear from 1 Cor. ii.
Again, the knowledge of the Affections of which we speak, is practical; whereas, an unrenewed man peruses the Scriptures theoretically; and believes it sufficient, if he understand them through the medium of natural reason.
It likewise requires an inward perception, (c.contıs) of which the unrenewed per
son is destitute, and after which, while in his unregenerate state, he never seriously aspires.
It seems indeed an objection to this statement, that we daily see ungodly men not only handle the Scripture, but also speak largely on its meaning, in books and commentaries; and indeed utter truths that cannot be controverted by pious men. This difficulty is, however, fully explained, when we reflect that what is within the compass of a carnal man in profane writings, is equally so as it respects the Scriptures. He can, for instance, apprehend the terms as they are commonly received, form the affirmation and negation, understand them when formed, and perceive the necessity of a consequence, as well in Holy Writ as in profane authors. When an unrenewed person reads the precept—“Thou shalt not kill,” he perfectly conceives what is meant by killing; he likewise understands what is prohibited; and, because the precept is universal, he rightly infers that he is forbidden to murder. But as it respects the spiritual meaning, which the letter does not immediately convey, and the mind of the Spirit (το φρονημα τα πνευματος,) how is it possible for a carnal, unrenewed man, to have any perception of that from which he is so entirely alienated? In 1 Cor. ii. 11, 12, Paul affirms, that “the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God; and they who have received, not the Spirit of the World, but the Spirit which is of God,"
As an example of this, we cite James iii. where the Apostle, by implication, accuses the persons addressed, of a breach of the fifth commandment, and (ver. 17, 18) describes the mind of the Spirit in full, perspicuous, and energetic language; displaying that mind, as it were, before their eyes, in impressive points of view. It is indubitably certain, that a carnal man can apprehend the terms of the proposition here advanced, and apply the precept, by legitimate consequence, to himself; but he will not, he cannot, have any perception, or form any idea, of the habit of a soul that is sanctified, and endued with heavenly knowledge and divine perception. On this subject we may confidently appeal to the believer's present and past experience. Since then an unrenewed person has no knowledge of this habit of the mind, how is it possible for him to have any perception of the emotions of a holy soul?
Observation and experience have likewise evidenced most decisively, that, in consequence of the incapacity already noticed, the mind of a carnal, unregenerate person, is far from adequately penetrating even into the sense of the letter; because, from the very nature of things, there subsists the closest connexion between words and ideas.
OF THE NATURE OF THE AFFECTIONS,
It being demonstrated, that only a renewed person can consistently engage in examining the Affections, let us inquire into their nature.
The consideration of the Affections is fourfold. If we examine them generally, a definition that will comport with all, cannot be given; nor is it indeed necessary. Let us, however, notice them in the following points of view.
1. As they belong to men, in common with brutes. Under this character, we must class the motions of sensitive appetite, arising from the imagination of good or evil, whether real, or only apparently so.
2. As they belong to the carnal man. In this class we may range the motions (facultatis appetentis) of the desiring faculty, sensitive or intellectual; arising from the apprehension of good or evil, whether this be of a sensitive or intellectual nature.
3. As they belong to the spiritual man. In this view, an Affection is the emotion of a soul sanctified and actuated by the Spirit,
4. As they are attributed to God bimself, in the Sacred Writings. This the Grammarians call ovqWrondel (a human Affection,) a word which immediately suggests, that Affections cannot be attributed to the Divine Being, but that the Holy Ghost accommodates himself to human infirmity, and condescends to speak of God in a way adapted to our capacities. Luther explains the foundation of cev@pw Torudsid, in this way:-“ Affections are attributed to God, so “far as they are found in the Sacred Writers who
were inspired by Him; and also in the ministers of 56 the Word. Thus we find, Gen. vi. 6, that re
pentance is ascribed to God, so far as Noah, a holy “ man, under the sacred influences of the Spirit, felt
grieved on account of the gross and universal de“pravity of mankind. Affections are likewise attri" buted to God, so far as the wicked feel them in “ their bosoms. Thus Anger is ascribed to the Di(vine Being because the sinner perceives, by the dis“quietude of his conscience that God is angry with 65 him."
It will evidently be sufficient for our purpose, if we consider the Affections in the second and third modes; that is, as they attach to the carnal, and to the spi
This will suggest all that is necessary to be known respecting the other modes noticed.