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Please enter the message. Please verify that you are not a robot. Would you also like to submit a review for this item? You already recently rated this item. Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. The course of faith: True religion is designed to influence all these, for it takes the whole soul under its guidance, influence, and impulsion. It gives light to the intellect, determination to the will, emotion to the heart, tenderness to the conscience, and purity to the imagination; and brings out the effect of this joint operation of the soul in all the beauties of a holy life.

It falls from heaven upon the whole soul like the solar ray upon the prism, which divides and distributes the distinct and separate colors over the whole glassy substance.

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But men are apt to distort this beautiful consummation, and represent religion too much as consisting only, or in the predominance, of one color. There have been, so to speak, different schools, distinguished by the predominance they give in their representations of the influence of religion over one or other of the faculties of the soul.

The course of faith : or, The practical believer delineated

Some, like Sandeman, or Walker of Dublin, have resolved it into the intellect , and made true personal piety to consist of correct head knowledge, almost to the exclusion of the affections; and have presented religion in the form of an icicle—clear, but cold. Finney, have made it to consist almost exclusively of the determination of the will —this is to render it like a scepter of iron—stern, inflexible, and powerful; but still hard, cold, and unfeeling.

Others, like Madame Guyon, Thomas a Kempis, and perhaps some of the modern Methodists, give too great a prominence in experimental religion to the emotions —this is to exhibit religion as the morbid excitement and variations produced by stimulants, rather than the sober feelings and steady continuous action of health. Others again, such as Papists, Puseyites, and many of a better school, resolve nearly the whole of experimental religion into the imagination and make it consist of the soul's communion, through this faculty, aided by the senses, with people, places, and events of deep historic interest—this is to make it consist of a species of poesy, which delights the subject of it with its touching and beautiful mental pictures, pleasing associations, and brilliant images—while perhaps the intellect is uninformed, the will unsubdued, and the conscience unenlightened.

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It is very clear to some observant minds, that there is in this age, a species of religious writing emanating from the evangelical school of divinity, and included in its experimental department, which partakes far too much of the soft, the pensive, the plaintive, the sentimental—to constitute a robust and healthful piety , and which is the more seductive on account of its seeming deep-toned spirituality.

There is unquestionably considerable mental luxury in those hours and frames of meditative stillness and tender emotion, which are indulged and enjoyed when such works are perused, in which all that is spiritually touching appeals to all that is susceptible in our nature, and the sweet cordials of luscious consolation are administered by the hand of gentleness, from the tasteful cup of elegant and touching composition.

And such reading no doubt tends to foster the aesthetical part of religion. Yet is it a question whether this kind of works does not substitute for a healthy personal religion, a vague emotional mysticism—a weak solution of religious feeling and poetic sentiment; whether it does not enervate the soul and render it less vigorous in mortifying corruption—less disposed to cherish and exercise a self-denying and warm-hearted philanthropy, and more inclined to indulge the tastes of the religious recluse—than of the evangelist and the reformer of this dark, wicked, and wretched world.

There is also another series of once popular and widely circulated devotional and theological works, but now forgotten, or nearly so, amid the multitude of more modern ones that have superceded them in public favour, to which I would for a moment allude, especially as bearing a resemblance in name to this treatise, I mean Romaine's "Life," "Walk," and "Triumph of Faith.

He must be like their author, so entirely in the holy spell and fascination of the cross of Christ, as to be able to look at nothing else. This was the case with Romaine—he so constantly walked and basked in the noontide glory of the Sun of Righteousness, that he had eyes for no other object. He was so engrossed with the great orb of gospel light, that he saw not even the wide and glowing landscape of beauty which that Sun revealed and illuminated. His faith was only or chiefly faith in Christ for justification.

He shut up his readers to faith, and shut up that faith to Christ. It was a noble seclusion I admit, and yet it may be doubted whether it was a scriptural one.