« ForrigeFortsæt »
DEEP thought is an act of mind; and when directed by judgment, sound reason, and discretion, it is productive of the best principles of human nature: indeed, it is a natural operation of the understanding, born with us, and almost irresistible under great changes in the constitution of human life. At the same time, intense and earnest thought requires management. Like every valuable possession it may run wild by excess, and instead of the sweet garden flowers, it may produce the rankest weeds of the forest; beautiful in appearance, but deprived of the fragrance of cultivation. Ill-directed reason disgraces itself; and the book of God, under false and faithless interpreters, becomes a deadly poison. Such instances we see in the enthusiast, and the infidel.
But when deep thought has had its perfect work, it will not be subject to such fatal irregularity. A command of mind, as well as body, will correct these deviations. The stream of active thought, thus purified, will flow sweet and frequent, and variety of imagination will afford variety of pleasure. The stupid abstraction of the Brahmin, and the frantic ecstacies of the fanatic, will both be out of season. The mind will be moved, as it were by the gentle breezes of a western gale; we shall be agreeably
sensible of the effect; we shall rejoice in all its pleasing and harmonious varieties; and shall be ready, on the soundest conviction, to ascribe the holy influence to the controlling power of divine and everlasting wisdom.
Deep thought, then, is characteristic of a sound understanding. It ranges, indeed, over a vast variety of matter, but it fixes on the most rational view of every question. It has much to discard from the wildness of imagination, as well as much to attract its attention; but on all occasions it weighs every subject of deliberation in the balance of the sanctuary. This, indeed, is the perfection of thought; not to dive into mysteries, which it was never intended to comprehend; although it may be allowable as a duty to muse upon the high things of God; to compare spiritual things with spiritual, to apprehend the depth and height of things that accompany salvation; in short, to become masters, as it were, of the great truths delivered in the Gospel, and to penetrate, by the mind's eye, the great and glorious prospect, which, though now appropriately concealed, will rush upon the sight when the awful veil of eternity shall be removed by the hand of the Almighty.
Deep thought, therefore, when invigorated by religious study, is of great importance to the private happiness of the present life, and of infinite value to the welfare of that which is to come. The spiritual part of man is deeply involved in this contemplation.
The influence of the Holy Spirit, insensible, it may be, to actual perception, is undeniable in its consequences when displayed in all the amiable qualities of the spiritual life. Hence we explore the source of every good thought; the spring of every good action herein, indeed, we may perceive the very soul of religion, the union of intellectual life with that great and mighty, that merciful and benevolent being, who breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Herein too is our union with the life-giving Saviour, who animates, ennobles, and rescues our whole nature from the danger to which every faculty we possess is exposed," in him was life, and the life was the light of men '."
Light and transitory as our thoughts are esteemed, they are capable of the minutest anatomical dissection. We may call a man of desultory and unarranged habits thoughtless; but we say what he never is. The most torpid has the intermission, it may be, of a slow, but of a touching perception. The opposite extreme constitutes irritability; or too quick and sensitive an apprehension. The faculty of judging, too feeble, or too remote in the case of the one, is too forwardand alert, in the case of the other. Both therefore, may be called defective in the management of thought; but both are capable of improvement; for as one may be restrained in his impetuosity, a seasonable and
judicious impulse may be given to the other. This is the true discipline of thought.
As we are directed to "keep the heart with all diligence," we have Scripture proof that it may be accomplished. "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts:" but when the demons are quelled, and the habitation free, the angel of the covenant will enter, and occupy the abode of blessedness. Happy moment! when the faithful Christian is sensible of so great a deliverance. Wicked imaginations are fledfoolish, frivolous, idle thoughts, have vanished-a vision of angels, ascending and descending upon the ladder of heaven, fills the mind with the extatic felicities of another and a better world; not as a vision of fancy, arising from the fluctuating and unsubstantial feeling of a mere earthly scene, but firm as the everlasting mountains, grounded on the Divine promise, and true, as the truth of God himself.
THE word mystery implies something that is concealed, something not easy to be understood, and, in some cases perhaps, something that cannot be understood in the present state of our existence. But this does not imply that the human mind is not to exert its best qualities in searching and seeking after hidden
1 Prov. iv. 24.
3 Matt. xv. 19.
wisdom. If all were revealed, there were an end of inquiry; we might be considered as having arrived at the ne plus ultra of the life of man. But experience teaches us a different lesson. We find ourselves deficient in many essential points; and, therefore, we truly conclude that the Author of life, and Giver of wisdom, intended the obscurity of knowledge, as a trial of obedience to those laws of a being, whose perfection terminates in a future and more complete apprehension of all the purposes for which he was originally created. The very progress we make in the pursuit of knowledge, and the encouragement of an increasing wisdom, are assured proofs of the truth of the observation. They come upon us like the rays of the early twilight, and gradually diffuse their glowing beams, till every dark and deep dell of the mountain is brought forward to the eye. All doubtless is not, because all cannot be, disclosed. The eye cannot reach the distance, and the heart, buried in a misty atmosphere cannot comprehend it. However, we see enough in the prospect, to conjecture more; and when we find every faculty of endeavour to discover hidden wisdom supported by the indubitable, and revealed will of the Almighty, we discover, that mystery is no impediment to happiness: "Behold! I show you a mystery—we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed 1."