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VOLUME XLVII.-FOURTH SERIES, VOLUME XVII.
D. D. WHEDON, D.D., EDITOR.
PUBLISHED BY CARLTON & PORTER,
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIĄ
CONTENTS OF VOL. XLVII.-1865.
METHODIST QUARTERLY REVIEW.
ART. I.-THE IDEA OF GOD AS A LAW OF RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT.
RELIGION, true or false, is the development of the soul toward some recognized divinity. Such divinity is as truly and essentially its object, as the soul is its subject. In the popular notion religion consists in creeds, in forms of worship, in ceremonies and rules of life. Thus we speak of the religion of Buddha, of Brahma, of Zoroaster, of Mohammed; of the Jewish religion. But, in any exact sense, creeds, forms, usages, ceremonies, rules, are only the modes and means of religion, not the religion itself. This we find in certain states or exercises of the rational and affectional nature toward some divinity. Hence it is only as we come to the recognition of a divinity, and to the exercise of such thought and affection toward the same, that we enter the religious state. However active the soul may be, or vast the range of its research, or truthful and valuable its acquirements; or, however active and intense the emotions, and though they fill the circle of all other relations, still there is no religion till the soul rests upon some divinity. Without a god, without religion.
True religion is the right development of the soul toward God. Only as we rise to a knowledge of him, and to a right exercise of thought and affection toward him, do we reach a true religious state. There are many virtuous affections belonging to the sphere of our earthly relations. They are rich in FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XVII.-1