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tains the name of passion, is nothing solid or substantial. But it is false philosophy to suppose this to be the case with all exercises of affection in the soul, or with all great and high affections; and false divinity to suppose that religious affections do not appertain to the substance and essence of Christianity : On the contrary, it seems to me that the very life and soul of all true religion consists in them.
I humbly conceive that the affections of the soul are not properly distinguished from the will, as though they were two faculties in the soul. All acts of the affections of the soul are in some sense acts of the will, and all acts of the will are acts of the affections. All exercises of the will are in some degree or other, exercises of the soul's appetition or aversion ; or which is the same thing, of its love or hatred. The soul wills one thing rather than another, or chooses one thing rather than another, no otherwise than 'as it loves one thing more than another ; but love and hatred are affections of the soul : And therefore all acts of the will are truly acts of the affections; though the exercises of the will do not obtain the name of passions, unless the will, either in its aversion or opposition, be exercised in a high degree, or in a vigorous and lively manner.
All will allow that true virtue or holiness has its seat chiefly in the heart, rather than in the head : It therefore follows, from what has been said already, that it consists chiefly in holy affections. The things of religion take place in men's hearts, no further than they are affected with them. The informing of the understanding is all vain, any farther than it affects the heart; or which is the same thing, has influence on the affections.
Those gentlemen that make light of these raised affections in religion, will doubtless allow that true religion and holiness, as it has its seat in the heart, is capable of very high degrees, and high exercises in the soul. As for instance ; they will doubtless allow that the holiness of the heart or will, is capable of being raised to an hundred times as great a degree of strength as it is in the most eminent saint on earth, or to be exerted in an hundred times so strong and vigorous exercises
of the heart ; and yet be true religion or holiness still, but only in an high degree. Now therefore I would ask them, by what name they will call these high and vigorous exercises of the will or heart ? Are they not high affections ? What can they consist in, but in high acts of love ; strong and vigorous exercises of benevolence and complacence ; high, exalting and admiring thoughts of God and his perfections ; strong desires after God, &c. ? And now what are we come to but high and raised affections? Yea, those very samé high and raised affections that before they objected against, or made light of, as worthy of little regard ?
I suppose furthermore that all will allow that there is nothing but solid religion in heaven : But that there, religion and holiness of heart is raised to an exceeding great height, to strong,high, exalted exercises of heart. Now, what other kinds of such exceeding strong and high exercises of the heart, or of holiness, as it has its seat in their hearts, can we devise for them, but only holy affections, high degrees of actings of love to God, rejoicing in God, admiring of God, &c.? Therefore these things in the saints and angels in heaven, are not to be despised and cashiered by the name of great heats and transports of the passions.
And it will doubtless be yet further allowed, that the more eminent the saints are on earth, and the stronger their grace is, and the higher its exercises are, the more they are like tho Saints in heaven ; i. e. (by what has been just now observed) the more they have of high or raised affections in religion.
Though there are false affections in religion, and affections that in some respects are raised high, that are flashy, yet undoubtedly there are also true, holy and solid affections ; and the higher these are raised, the better : And if they are raised to an exceeding great height, they are not to be thought meanly of or suspected, merely because of their great degree, but, on the contrary, to be esteemed and rejoiced in. Charity or divine love, is in scripture represented as the sum of all the religion of the heart ; but this is nothing but an holy affection : And therefore in proportion as this is firmly fixed in the soul, and raised to a great height, the more eminent a pere son is in holiness, Divine love or charity is represented as the sum of all the religion of heaven, and that wherein mainly the religion of the church in its more perfect state on earth shall consist, when knowledge and tongues, and prophesyings shall cease ; and therefore the higher this holy affection is raised in the church of God, or in a gracious soul, the more excellent and perfect is the state of the church, or a particular soul.
If we take the scripures for our rule then, the greater and higher are the exercises of love to God, delight and complacence in God, desires and longings after God, delight in the children of God, love to mankind, brokenness of heart, abhors rence of sin, and self abhorrènce for sin ; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, and joy in the Holy Ghost, joy unspeakable and full of glory ; admiring thoughts of God, exulting and glorying in God; so much the higher is Christ's religion, or that virtue which he and his apostles taught, raised in the soul.
It is a stumbling to some that religious affections should seem to be so powerful, or that they should be so violent (as they express it) in some persons : They are therefore ready to doubt whether it can be the Spirit of God, or whether this vehemence be not rather a sign of the operation of an evit spirit. But why should such a doubt arise from no other ground than this ? What is represented in scripture, as more powerful in its effects, than the spirit of God ?...... Which is therefore called the power of the Highest, Loke i. 35. And its saving effect in the soul, called the power of godliness. So we read of the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power, 1 Cor. ij. 4,
And it is said to operate in the minds of men with the exceeding greatness of divine power, and according to the working of God's mighty power, Eph.j. So we read of the effectual working of his power, Eph. iii. 7. And of the power that worketh in Christians v. 20. And of the glorious power of God in the operations of the spirit, Col. i. 11. And of the work of faith, its being wrought with power, 2 Thes. i. 11, and in 2 Tim. i, 7. The Spirit of God is called the spirit of power, and love, and of a sound mind. So the spirit is represented by a mighty wind, and by fire, things most powerful in their operation.
2. Many are guilty of not taking the holy scriptures as a - sufficient and whole rule, whereby to judge of this work, whether it be the work of God, in that they judge by those things which the scripture does not give as any signs or marks whereby to judge one way or the other, and therefore do in no wise belong to the scripture rule of judging, viz. The effects that religious exercises and affections of mind have upon the body. Scripture rules respect the state of the mind, and persons' moral conduct, and voluntary behavior, and not the physical state of the body. The design of the Scripture is to teach us divinity, and not physic and anatomy. Ministers are made the watchmen of men's souls, and not of their bodies; and therefore the great rule which God has committed into their hands, is to make them divines, and not physicians. Christ knew what instructions and rules his church would stand in need of better than we do ; and if he had seen it needful in order to the church's safety, he doubtless would have given ministers rules to judge of bodily effects, and would have told them how the pulse should beat under such and such religious exercises of mind; when men should look pale, and when they should shed tears ; when they should tremble, and whether or no they should ever be faint or cry out; or whether the body should ever be put into convulsions : He probably would have put some book into their hands, that should have tended to make them excellent anatomists and physicians : But he has not done it, because he did not see it to be needful. He judged, that if ministers thoroughly did their duty as watchmen and overseers of the state and frame of men's souls, and of their voluntary conduct, according to the rules he had given, his church would be well provided for, as to its safety in these matters. And therefore those ministers of Christ and overseers of souls, that busy themselves, and are full of concern about the involuntary motions of the fluids and solids of men's bodies, and from thence full of doubts and suspicions of the cause, when nothing appears but that the state and frame of their minds, and their voluntary VOL. III.
behavior is good, and agreeable to God's word; I say, such ministers go out of the place that Christ has set thein in, and leave their proper business, as much as if they should undertake to tell who are under the influence of the Spirit by their looks, or their gait. I cannot see which way we are in danger, or how the devil is likely to get any notable advantage against us, if we do but thoroughly do our duty with respect to those two things, viz. The state of persons' minds, and their moral conduct, seeing to it that they be maintained in an agreeableness to the rules that Christ has given us. If things are but kept right in these respects, our fears and suspicions arising from extraordinary bodily effects seem wholly groundless.
The most specious thing that is alleged against these extraordinary effects on the body, is, that the body is impaired, and health wronged ; and that it is hard to think that God, in the merciful influences of his Spirit on men, would wound their bodies and impair their health. But if it were so pretty commonly, or in multiplied instances, (which I do not suppose it is) that persons received a lasting wound to their health by extraordinary religious impressions made upon their minds, yet it is too much for us to determine that God shall never bring an outward calamity, in bestowing a vastly greater spiritual and eternal good.
Jacob, in doing his duty in wrestling with God for the blessing, and while God was striving with him, at the same time that he received the blessing from God, suffered a great outward calamity from his hand ; God impaired his body so that he never got over it as long as he lived : He gave him the blessing, but sent him away halting on his thigh, and he went lame all his life after. And yet this is rot mentioned as if it were any diminution of the great mercy of God to him, when God blessed him and he received his name Israel, because as a Prince he had power with God, and had prevailed.
But, say some, the operations of the Spirit of God, are of a benign nature ; nothing is of a more kind influence on human nature, than the merciful breathings of God's own Spirit. But it has been a thing generally supposed and allowed in the church of God, till now, that there is such a thing as being