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-her children.

The man of business.

She knows that she is a wanderer from her Savior, aud feels at all times, when she thinks of religious duty, a settled uneasiness which mars many of her enjoyments, and often saddens her heart. Now, what does she do to remedy this difficulty? Why, when the week is past, and her hour of prayer on the Sabbath has arrived, she thinks a little of her cold and wayward condition, and tries, by direct efforts, to arouse in her heart feelings of penitence and love. But she tries in vain. I acknowledge that she is very guilty in being in such a state, but if she is so, her direct efforts to feel will be vain. She will have, for an hour, a weary and melancholy struggle-the Sabbath will pass away, rendered gloomy by her condition and her reflections and Monday morning will come, with its worldly cares and enjoyments, to drift her still farther from God and from happiness.

A man of business, engrossed in the management of his prosperous affairs, knows that he is not living and acting as a servant of God. And yet he is a member of a Christian church;—he has solemnly consecrated himself to the Savior; and when he thinks of it, he really wishes that his heart was in a different state. The world however holds him from day to day, and the only thing which he does to save himself from wandering to a returnless distance from God, is to strive a little, morning and evening, at his short period of secret devotion, to feel his sins. He makes direct effort to urge his heart to gratitude. He perhaps kneels before the throne of God, and knowing how little love for God he really feels, he exerts every nerve to bring his heart to exercise more. He is trying to control his affections by direct effort—and he probably fails. He is striving in vain. He soon becomes discouraged, and yields himself again to the current which is bearing him away from holiness and peace.

The dejected Christian.

I once knew a young man-and while I describe his case it is possible that there may be many of the readers of this chapter who will say his case is like theirs-who had a faint hope that he was a Christian; but his penitence was in his opinion so feeble and heartless, his love to God was so cold, and his spark of grace, if there was any in his heart, was so faint and languishing, that he scarcely dared to hope. He did not therefore take the stand, or perform the duties of a Christian. He thought that he must make more progress himself in piety before he endeavored to do any thing for others; he was accordingly attempting to make this progress. He struggled with his own heart to awaken a stronger love and deeper penitence there; but it was a sad and almost fruitless struggle. He became dejected and desponding; he thought that his heart was still hardened and cold in sin; he strove against this, but he found that religious feeling would not come at his bidding. He continued thus for a long time, unhappy himself and useless to others.

The principle which I have been designing to illustrate by these cases is, that the best way to improve or alter the affections of the heart, is not by direct efforts upon the heart itself. The degree of power which man has directly over the affections of the heart is very limited. A mere theorist will say that he must have entire control over them, or they can not be blameworthy or praiseworthy. But no one but the mere theorist will say this. A benevolent man, during an inclement season, sends fuel to a destitute and suffering family, and perhaps goes himself to visit and to cheer the sick one there. Does not he take a great pleasure in thus relieving misery, and is not this benevolent feeling praiseworthy? And yet it is not under his direct control; he can not possibly help taking pleasure in relieving suffering. Suppose I were to say to him, "Sir, just to try a philosophical experiment, will you now alter your heart, so

Direct efforts.

Free agency.

as to be glad to know that people are suffering. I will tell you the facts about a child which perished with the cold; and while I do it, will you so alter your heart (which must be entirely under your control, or else its emotions can not be praiseworthy or blameworthy) as to delight in that cruel suffering?" How absurd would this be! The man must be pained to hear of sufferings which he can not help, and yet sympathy with the sorrows of others is praiseworthy.

Again, sister and sister have become alienated from each other. The feeling which was at first coldness has become dislike. And, unnatural as it is that they whom God has placed so near together, should remain sundered in heart, they have become fixed and settled in that condition. Suppose the parent were to say to them, "I know you can love each other, and you ought to love each other, and I command you immediately to do it." They may fear parental displeasure, they may know that they should be happier if they were united in heart; but will affection come at once at their call?

The entire free agency of man, by which is meant his freedom from all external restraint in his conduct, can not be asserted too frequently, or kept too distinctly in the view of every human being. There is however a possibility of presenting this subject in such a light as to lead the mind to the erroneous idea that all the affections of the heart are in the same sense under the control of the will as the motions of the body are. I do not mean that any respectable writer or preacher will advocate such a view, but only that in expressing his belief in human freedom, in sweeping and unqualified terms, he may unintentionally convey the impression. There is unquestionably a very essential difference between a man's freedom of feeling and his freedom of acting. A man may be induced to act by a great variety of means: a motive of

Freedom of feeling and freedom of action.

any kind, if strong enough, determines the will. Suppose, for instance, a sea-captain wishes to induce a man to leap off from the deck of his ship into the sea; he may attempt in a great many ways to obtain his object. He may command him to do it, and threaten punishment if he disobeys; he may hire him to do it; he may show the sailor that his little son has fallen overboard, and thus induce the parent to risk his life that he may save that of his child. He may thus in various ways appeal to very different feelings of the human heart-love of money, fear, or parental affection—and if by any of these, the volition, as metaphysicians term it, that is, the determination, can be formed, the man goes overboard in a moment. He can do any thing which, from any motive whatever, he resolves to do.

In regard however to the feelings of the heart, it is far different. Though man is equally a free agent in regard to these, it is in quite a different way; that is, the feelings of the heart are not to be managed and controlled by simple determination, as this external conduct may be. Suppose, for instance, the captain wished that the sailor should be grateful for some favor which he had received, and of which he had been entirely regardless; and suppose that he should command him to be grateful, and threaten him with some punishment if he should refuse; or suppose he should endeavor to hire him to be grateful, or should try to persuade him to be thankful for past favors in order to obtain more. It would be absurd. Gratitude, like any other feeling of the heart, though it is of a moral nature, and though man is perfectly free in exercising it, will not always come whenever the man determines to bring it. The external conduct is thus controlled by the determination of the mind, on whatever motives those determinations may be founded; but the feelings and affections of the heart are under no such direct control.


Metaphysical controversy.

There is certainly, for all practical purposes, a great distinction between the heart and the conduct-between the moral condition of the soul and those specific acts which arise from it. Two children, a dutiful and a disobedient one, are walking together in a beautiful garden, and suddenly the gardener informs them that their father did not wish them to walk in a certain part of the ground, which they were just then entering. Now, how different will be the effect which this annunciation will make upon them! The one will immediately obey, leaving with alacrity the place which his father did not wish him to pass. The other will linger and make excuses, or perhaps altogether disobey. Just before they received the communication they were perhaps not thinking of their father at all; but though their minds were acting on other subjects, they possessed distinct and opposite characters as sons, characters which rendered it probable that one would comply with his father's wishes as soon as those wishes should be known, and that the other would not. So in all other cases; a dishonest man is dishonest in character when he is not actually stealing, and an humble and devoted Christian will have his heart in a right state even when he is entirely engrossed in some intellectual pursuit, or involved in the perplexities of business.

I am aware that, among metaphysical philosophers, there is a controversy on the question whether all that is of a moral nature, that is, all that is blameworthy or praiseworthy in human character, may not be shown to consist of specific, voluntary acts, of the moral being. Into this question I do not intend to enter here;-for if what is commonly called character, in contradistinction from conduct, may be resolved into voluntary acts, it is certainly to be done only by a nice metaphysical analysis, which common Christians can not be expected to follow.

To illustrate the nature of this subject, that is, the dis

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