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beauty and worth, and may all be wrought into the religious life. Such are gentleness, kindness, honesty, truthfulness, friendship, sympathy, the parental and filial affections. But all these, even in their highest form, do not, of themselves, constitute true religion. In order to this the soul must rise into the sphere of its relation to God, and move harmoniously therein. But as it so rises and moves, it carries with it all these virtues, and thus places them within the sphere of true religion.
Now, religion being such in its subjective character, and in its relation to Deity as its object, the idea of God must be a fundamental law of religious development. It must be such on several grounds: one, as the condition of such development; another, as determining its character or type; a third, as the consequent of the second, the more truthful this idea, the more perfect the religious development.
The religious life having such laws of growth and formation, the truthful presentation of God should have prominence in all religious teaching. Specially should his character be the subject of much devout meditation. We do not want many elaborate treatises, or sermons of profound argument, in proof of his existence. Atheism has never made permanent headway, and never can. Our religious intuitions forbid it. It is a sporadic thing, and comes of frenzy, or folly, but not to remain with any considerable number. “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” And why reason much with him? It is hard to dissuade him from his folly. As Dean Swift says: “You cannot reason a man out of what he never reasoned himself into." And none ever reasoned himself into atheism. It is assumed against all evidence. And if a man, while standing upon the mountain height, with the meridian sun in the cloudless heavens, and surveying, with open eyes, the surrounding world glowing in his beams, will still deny that there is a sun in the heavens, why then you must leave him to his folly. Nor do we want much abstruse, metaphysical discussion of the divine character, as though by “searching” we could " find out God.” The need is for plain, scriptural, practical presentations. As religion has its ultimate, supreme relation to God, and takes its mold from the impression of his character upon us; and as the form of that impression is determined by our idea of his character, such plain, truthful,
practical views are vitally important. Sure it is that his character is too little the subject of devout meditation. The mere thought of God must often be present to the mind. This is of little consequence. It is without moral force or religious character. This meditation is quite another thing. It is a deep, devout contemplation of God, in all truthful views, till we receive the true impress of his character upon the soul.
The idea of God is a requisite to any proper religious development. But the consideration of this point must await the statement of certain facts in the religious life. And, indeed, it will require little illustration after this statement, as it will appear sufficiently plain in the light of these facts.
Religion, as an inward life, is affectional rather than intellectual. Pure intellect, simply as such, is not capable of religion. It might apprehend divine truth and the character of God. All the facts and truths of revelation, as the facts of history and truths of philosophy, might lie open to its understanding. But without emotion it could take no religious character. All virtues or moral excellences are predicables of the affectional nature. The most truthful credenda and the best principles must live in the heart, and be warmed and vivified with its affections before they can enter into the religious life. Without emotion we are dead to all things of mental cognition. We look upon the landscape and the heavens; the mind takes in the whole vision, but the heart must answer to the beauty and grandeur of the scene. We see the victim of calamity and suffering; the mind apprehends all the facts of his misery, but the heart must answer to his suffering with a deep and generous sympathy. Goodness and truth, friendship, duty, charity, patriotism, the parental and filial relations; all, without their correlative emotions, could be but cold, lifeless conceptions. So, without emotion, the clearest intellective cognitions of God and truth are as cold and forceless as the pallid moonbeams that fall on glacier mountains. They must warm and quicken the affections before there can be any religious life.
In religion there are two cardinal affections, love and fear. The Scriptures designate religion, sometimes as love, sometimes as fear; yet the words are not synonyms. They are very diverse in sense. Whence, then, this interchange of distinct terms for the same thing? Doubtless from this, that in a true religious state these two affections always coexist. Hence, when the Scriptures designate either as true religion, they always imply the other. And all these facts recognize the two affections as cardinal in religion.
There is no question or opposing opinion respecting the position of love, nor should there be any respecting fear; it is as properly an element of all true religion as love. The proposition is without limitation. We affirm it as much of angels as of men. The fear of God, such fear as is responsive to the impression of his justice, has its place in the religion of pure, unfallen minds. It is comely there. The character of God, as just as well as good; the principles of his moral government which harmonize to that character; and the moral constitution of his intelligent creatures, formed in correlation to both, all affirm the truth of these statements. We assume in angels a moral constitution like our own. There is ground for affirmation, specially as to its cardinal endowments. A few fundamental principles often warrant the most general conclusions. There are certain great physical laws that rule our own world, and we hesitate not to affirm that they hold sway over all worlds, even over those that lie beyond the sweep of the mightiest telescope, or are so remote that their light has not yet reached us, as much as over those of our own system. Now we have, as a basis, truth, the moral character of God. This determines the moral constitution of his intelligent creatures, for it is formed in correlation to his own. And, as a God of goodness and justice, he has endowed all with the affections of love and fear, as responsive to these divine attributes. In the last analysis, the goodness and justice of God, appealing to the love and fear of his creatures, are the ultimate cardinal forces for good in his moral government. But fear, as wrought into a true religious life, whether of man or angel, is not a feeling of servility or punitive dread, yet is it true fear, as it has for its object the divine justice. Punitive dread is not a primal or normal quality of religious fear; it comes with sin, and is the fruit of guilt, hence it is abnormal. Had all stood fast in holiness and obedience, there had been no dreading fear of God. The guiltless mind is free from such a feeling. Such is the norinal quality of religious fear, and such we find in all true
religious life. The obedient, loving son more truly fears his father than the rebellious one; so the soul, holy and guiltless, more truly fears God; and this affection, blending with love, forms the profoundest reverence for him. And the purer the Christian mind, the further removed from the dread or torment of fear, the deeper and devouter this reverential fear. And the inference from analogy, as from the philosophy of the subject, is, that it has its fullest measure and profoundest depth in the pure, unfallen angel-mind. Be this as it may, it is plain that there is no true religion for man, constituted and conditioned as he is, without fear; such fear as a knowledge of the divine justice inspires in the soul.
We have stated that love and fear are the cardinal religious affections. They do not exist alone in a well-developed Christian life; there are many others; but they mainly spring from these two, or take their religious character by virtue of association with them. Patience and meekness, kindness and mercy, penitence and devotion, reverence, confidence, and gratitude have their source in these, and are Christian graces only in their fellowship. Truthfulness, honesty, friendship, philanthropy, patriotism—these may exist in some measure merely as human affections. Apart from a devout recognition of God, they can be only such. Placed under the sanction of the divine will and the inspiration of a supreme love and reverence for God, they are truly religious. The parental and filial affections are in a measure instinctive; culture and reflection may elevate and direct them; but without God they are without religious quality. In the fellowship of these two cardinal Christian affections they too are wrought into the religious life. The love of our neighbor as ourself in fulfillment of the second great commandment, is impossible without the love of God in fulfillment of the first. We deny not the possibility of some measure of kindness, sympathy, philanthropy; but for its divine, Christian form, the love of our neighbor must be carried to the celestial altar, and be warmed and vivified, expanded and ennobled by the supreme love of God.
The religious affections must have their proper objects. Here is a general law of the affectional life; indeed, the same law rules in the intellectual life. Thought, judgment, memory, will, all require something objective; it may be real or imagined ; still it must lie in the conception of the mind, else there could be no intellective activity. Imagination itself, without real objects, must supply fictitious ones, or it never could be an active power. Specially is this a law of the emotions. They must have their objects only in the view of which can they rise to an active state. And the happy adjustment of our emotions to our various relations is a very interesting fact, and richly fraught with evidences of the divine wisdom and love. All these relations might exist, and lie open to our intellective cognition, even without this beautiful adaptation. But then we should be dead to all: they could minister to us no happiness, nor could we develop any of the graces or fulfill any of the duties that lie within the circle of these relations. What were all the beautiful and the sublime, had we no correlative emotions? Where were all the kindly ministrations to the afflicted, had we no sympathy tenderly responsive to their suffering? Where were all the sacrificing devotion to one's country, had we no affection of patriotism? Where were parental devotion and kindness, or filial piety, were there no parental or filial love? The same law rules in our religious constitution and relations. God has endowed us with various religious affections, and placed them in a beautiful adjustment to their proper objects, in the view of which they may be developed into an active Christian state.
We specially note the application of this law. We have two cardinal religious affections, love and fear. These two affections are placed in adjustment to the divine goodness and justice, in which chiefly God is the object of our religious development. His natural attributes—his eternity, omnipotence, ubiquity, omniscience, immutability-may fill the soul with wonder and admiration, or move its profoundest emotions of grandeur and awe; but in themselves they make no religious appeal, and have no power for any religious impression. Even the divine holiness, though a mighty motive-force against sin, and in favor of purity and righteousness, is not such in its abstractness, but only as it is wrought into its active forms, and chiefly into goodness and justice. It is in this form that it more forcibly appeals to the religious affections. Nor would we depreciate or lightly esteem the office of the other attributes of God in their relation to our religious development. They