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lieved to be erroneous,—would they have hoped to torment people into a salutary belief? Outward profession they might attain, but what is outward profession in the eye of God? We can only believe from proof, or from obstinate prejudice which in its overweening confidence will not listen to demonstration : but the persecutor offers no proof, and the prejudices of his victim's mind are against him; all he attains therefore is at best a slavish submission, and if the heretic's belief endangered his soul before, it will surely endanger it yet more, when a hypocritical conformity caused by base fear is superadded to whatever else there may be of wrong.
Another panacea against error has been propounded in our days, and submission to the Church * has been called for, as being of power to controul wrong opinion, and consequently to make better Christians; but he who submits his mind to the dicta of another, has in fact no opinion at all; for we cannot alter our conception
* This is the phrase, but it is not a proper one: for submission to the Church in the sense now given to it, means submission to certain men appointed to office in the Church. The Church itself— Ecclesia, is nothing less than the whole body of believers.
of the truth to suit that of another mind. Every man has as individual a mind as he has a body, and can no more fashion it to the similitude of his spiritual pastor, than he can bring his eyes to be same colour. Submission then, is indifference; and this is sufficiently shown in countries where Romanism prevails. Indifference in the higher, and superstition among the lower orders, take the place of any thing like vital Christianity. If we attempt to rouse enthusiasm, like all passionate movements which depend on bodily emotions, it cools down again into rationality; and if we attempt to controul enquiry, we do but
to utter unbelief. Thus we return to the point that if we would really do good among our fellow creatures, we must accurately study their nature.
Few have chosen to acknowledge to themselves that a knowledge of physiology is almost essential to the spiritual teacher; and yet whilst the animal body is, by the will of the Creator, so closely united with the spirit, that they mutually influence each other very largely; it can hardly be maintained with any show of reason that he who would mind the human race, can wholly ignore one half of human nature. He who would avoid temptation, or teach others to avoid it, ought to know whence it is likely to arise, as well as the best means of escaping it ; but this knowledge is not to be found in theological books; and if such subjects are ever touched upon in such, as in some ancient books of casuistry they are, the style in which they are treated, makes the discussion not merely useless, but hurtful. Let us clear our way by considering what temptation means, for we rarely arrive at any satisfactory conclusion without a correct definition of terms.
Temptation then, is a craving of our nature for some indulgence which is either not then to be allowed, because other circumstances forbid it, or which being in excess requires to be curbed. Thus a man who has been in the habit of recurring to the stimulus of strong liquors whenever he feels exhausted, at last becomes so habituated to it, that he experiences an uneasy sensation if he has it not. The temptation then is strong, but it requires to be met, not by fasting, which but increases the bodily need, and consequently makes the temptation stronger, but by amusement which shall occupy the mind agreeably and innocently, and lead to the forgetting the importunity of the animal temptation; or if this do not suffice, by drugs which shall for a time them, it is well to see what the result is in regard to the spiritual welfare of those who are subjected to its yoke. The attending public worship may be an act of homage to the Giver of all good, which the soul delights to pay to the Father whom in its inmost recesses it loves and honours; but it
be also an act of cold conformity, utterly without influence on the life of the man, and valueless in the sight of God; and if prolonged to the point of creating weariness it invariably becomes so. He who forbade long prayers and observances calculated to catch the eyes of man, knew human nature well; and in proportion as we disregard his merciful directions, and insist on abundance of outward forms, and“ vain repetitions,” we weaken the feeling of religion, and throw obstacles in the
of our own salvation.
HAVE left this subject for separate consi
deration because it has hitherto been very little noticed, and because it is in itself highly important. Every physiologist knows that the human frame is incapable of continued exertion : sleep and rest must recruit the exhausted cles ere the strain can be resumed.
The brain, too, is a bodily organ, and that also must have its hours of rest, or permanent disorder will be produced, and the faculties and the health will suffer serious injury: but among the heathen at the period when the apostles preached, the recreations were of a nature so degrading, for the most part, to the moral sense, that we find the whole system most unsparingly denounced, and the singing of hymns appears to have been the only amusement which the first Christians permitted themselves. Indeed, whilst the mind is enthusiastically excited in the pursuit of any great object, recreation is not wanted-sufficient