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man's feelings will decide the matter at once. They hold that, where a spirit of devotion exists, a strong feeling of devotion will always be experienced; and, that where this feeling cannot be distinctly recognised, there is none of that devout spirit, which (as they maintain) would necessarily engender it. Upon this same principle, they go on to estimate a man's advance in righteousness. The several stages in his progress, they mark by the different degrees of intensity in his feelings. In every stage there must be a perceptible glow, a decided fervour, and ecstacies and raptures will be the invariable accompaniments of a more advanced progress towards perfection.

I am well aware that these opinions are not forced in the present day to the extremes to which they were carried not many years ago : I believe that there are now very few who would appeal to their inward experiences as a sufficient evidence of their religious advancement, or make it a ground of vulgar and unchristian triumph over others, that they could not,

or would not, boast the same peculiar excitement of devotional feeling. It is not, therefore, with any controversial view that I now bring the subject before you. I am not about to dispute the claims of those who aver, that in all religious matters their hearts burn within them. It is possible, no doubt, that in some cases, such quickness and liveliness of feeling may exist to the last. But

But I would endeavour to show that it is not always to be expected :—that the absence of this sensitiveness must not be urged by others as a sufficient proof of a reprobate mind, -nor must any individual, when judging of his own state, conclude at once, that because he cannot feel keenly, it is therefore impossible that he should feel correctly.

And this, my brethren, is a point which it is well worth our while to consider attentively, and to put, if possible, in a clear and practical point of view. There can be no question, but that it has often perplexed the most confirmed Christians, men who have combined earnestness with sobriety-zeal with discretion. No time can be so well employed as that which is dedicated to the removal of the doubts and difficulties of such persons as these. But at the same time, in attempting to do so, we are entering upon a delicate and somewhat dangerous task. Even now, unless I succeed in securing your attention to all that I have to urge, it will be very easy to misunderstand, still more easy to misinterpret, many a detached passage. The very proposition I am about to maintain, will appear almost impious to some minds, for I am about to argue against the indispensableness of warm feelings in religionnay, perhaps I may speak still more strongly, and assert the extreme improbability of the constant and uniform existence of such feelings.

Be pleased to bear in mind, my brethren, that I speak with the sole view of encouraging those meek, and humble, and trembling, but at the same time sincere disciples of Jesus, who are ever bringing it as an accusation against their own hearts, that they do not feel as they

ought to do, those great truths which their understandings most readily acknowledge and welcome. I speak to those who find, and grieve to find, that the fervour of their religious feeling decreases, in proportion as they advance in religious knowledge and religious practice. If I can show that this is not necessarily a bad symptom, my object will have been attained.

Do we see reason to believe then, in comparing our own case with that of others, that the degree of intensity in which religious impressions are entertained, differs very considerably in different individuals ?-Among a number of Christians, all of them equally sincere, do we observe, that in some the religious feeling, the passion of devotion is strong and vivid ; in others more moderate; and, in a third party, scarcely perceptible at all ?And from this difference in the warmth of feeling, do we conclude at once, that there must be the same difference in the degree of religious principle, and so proceed forthwith to our compa


risons (that too common error)-congratulating ourselves, when measuring our own progress with that of the cold ones, and needlessly disquieting our hearts when contrasting their condition with that of the more fervent ?—Let us remember, in the first place, this very obvious probability, that all such variety, may be nothing more or less, than the consequences of a difference of constitutional temperament. They who require the same intensity of feeling from all, must forget or dispute the possibility of this. And yet it would appear sufficiently plain and self-evident. In other matters, no one would expect that the same arguments, or the same motives should produce precisely the same effects upon men of opposite dispositions—no one would expect, that the cold and the phlegmatic would be as readily and as strongly excited as the sanguine and sensitive,—therefore why should this be the case in religion? Religion has to work upon the same materials as other moral influences, it appeals to the same understanding, it deals with the

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