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FURTHER REMARKS ON THE AFFECTIONS:
1. AFFECTIONS are either simple or compound. The simple Affections are, Love, Hatred, Desire, Aversion, Joy, Sorrow, Hope, Despair, Fear, Confidence, Anger. The Cartesian philosophy, not unreasonably, classes with them, the Affections of Admiration, Contempt and other emotions of the mind relating chiefly to the intellect. The compound are those in which many Affections concur, as Compassion, Indignation, Envy, Emulation, &c. ---It is not enough to have a general knowledge of the Affections, since every word may
flow from a different emotion. 2. In the consideration of the sacred Text, a distinction is to be made between the Affections of the writer, those of the person addressed, the Affections of the Subject of discourse, and those which are attributed to the blessed God. Hence, it is evidently necessary not only to ascertain the Affection, but to determine the subject. This will have a tendency to cause the thing itself to be more accurately, distinctly,
and duly weighed; and the delightful harmony that subsists between the Affections of the different subjects, will be likewise more fully unfolded. It will also assist us to discern the principles of holy wisdom, according to which Affections may be regulated by Affections. This is certainly of high importance; though, as a help, it has hitherto been seldom noticed or improved.
3. In examining the Affections, those are to be considered first, which are expressly named; and, afterwards, those which are not immediately declared. Thus, by proceeding from easier to more difficult points, we shall gradually enter into the Affections even in those passages that afford no direct indications of them.
4. When the Affections are not expressly named, the Text should be examined according to the Cha. racteristics. Every Characteristic is to be so applied, both carnal and spiritual; the former class to the Affections of those persons who are the subjects of the discourse, and to those of the Writer; and the latter, oftentimes to different subjects, but specially to the Sacred Penmen. Wherever we recognise a Characteristic, we must conclude there is a latent Affection; for dissimulation has no place in the Word of God.
It is proper here, not only to have the genera! Characteristics of the Affections ascertained, but like
wise those which are special, and accommodated to individual Affections. The reader will thus easily attain to a special, as well as general knowledge of holy Affections.
The Characteristics may be accommodated not only to words, but likewise to actions, and entire details:
The several Characteristics should be separately applied to the subjects, whenever an indiscriminate application would be an infringement on the Spirit speaking in the Scriptures. The reader (especially if one of the Epistles be perused,) may be considered as standing in a College, where, while he listens to the person speaking, and hangs as it were upon his lips; the Affections of those who are absent, and those who are present, are successively brought before him; and he learns from both, what to imitate, and what to avoid.
It would be exceedingly useful, to have the several Affections so practically developed, from carefully examining our own; that we might, without difficulty, express their Characteristics in perspicuous and suitable words. To adopt the language of Franzius, “ when the mind is thus engaged, the Word will be"come ineffably sweet, and inconceivably precious.” He who reposes in God with placid and calm Affection, may contemplate the turbulent passions of the human heart, as well as the gracious emotions excited in a sanctified soul by the Holy Spirit; and by tasting
of Divine wisdom, perceive its nature and appreciate its worth. Here, indeed, an inscrutable abyss will open to his view; and, as Luther hath remarked, “meditation, when strengthened and supported by
frequent exercise, will suggest more, much more, “ than all our commentaries united.” May the reader be encouraged to aspire after this most useful and profitable help!
It may be added, that exercise will be cherished into habit; and that the Characteristics can be so familiarized by patient practice and pious experience, as to leave the student at liberty to draw them from “the good treasure of his heart."
5. All the circumstances which the Text supplies, or which may be otherwise known, should be weighed and examined, if we aim at forming a right judgment of the latent Affection. Though only one circumstance remain unknown, a very different Affection may be often ascribed to the speaker, of which we have frequent examples, even in familiar conversation. The Circumstances Who? What? Where? By what means? Why? How? When? should be, as much as possible, applied.
The Circumstance which may be more remarkable in one place than in another, is to be chiefly urged; though, in particular places, the major part contribute to give weight to the Affections.
All Circumstances are not always necessary to be
accommodated to all words. Some words have peculiar reference to particular Circumstances, and, as it were, point them out. It is, however, necessary sometimes, to examine all the Circumstances accurately; and, indeed, the more attentive the student is, the more will be enter into the spirit of the Text, and the mind of the Holy Penmen.
6. Love is justly considered as the Foundation, or rather, Source of every Affection in the Inspired Penmen.
The first fruit of the Spirit (Gal. v. 22.) is Love. This Affection, however, sometimes receives different designations, according to the Circumstances. Love to God and man was the pre-eminent Affection in the Soul of St. Paul. Hence, when he addresses penitent sinners (as in his second Epistle to the Corinthians,) we may plainly discover that his Desire, Fear, Hope, Piety, Joy, in short, that all his Affections spring from Love.
7. Pronunciation, or the modulation of the voice in uttering any text, is, by no means, to be neglected.
This ever follows the course of the Affections and the dictates of nature; and, hence, a discourse delivered vivâ vocé, is much more easily apprehended than one written. So, facts which the eye witnesses, are far more convincing than those which are related to us.
The deficiency under which every student of Scripture, in this respect, labours, may be supplied by, first,