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preted as that obedience to it would violate the laws of the physical constitution, and prove the destruction of the body.
14. Moral law is to be so interpreted as to recognize all the attributes and circumstances of both body and soul. In the application of the law of God to human beings, we are to regard their powers and attributes as they really are, and not as they are not.
15. Moral law is to be so interpreted as to restrict its obligation to the actions, and not to extend them to the nature or Constitution of moral beings. Law must not be understood as extending its legislation to the nature, or requiring a man to possess certain attributes, but as prescribing a rule of action. It is not the existence or possession of certain attributes which the law requires, or that these attributes should be in a certain state of perfection; but the right use of all these attributes as they are, is what the law is to be interpreted as requiring.
16. It should be always understood that the obedience of the heart to any law, implies, and includes general faith, or confidence in the lawgiver. But no law should be so construed as to require faith in what the intellect does not perceive. A man may be under obligation to perceive what he does not; that is, it may be his duty to inquire after and ascertain the truth. But obligation to believe with the heart, does not attach until the intellect obtains perception of the things to be believed.
Now, in the light of these rules let us proceed to inquire: II. What is not implied in entire obedience to the law of God. 1. Entire obedience does not imply any change in the substance of the soul or body, for this the law does not require, and it would not be obligatory if it did, because the requirement would be inconsistent with natural justice and therefore not law. Entire obedience is the entire consecration of the powers, as they are, to God. It does not imply any change in them, but simply the right use of them.
2. It does not imply the annihilation of any constitutional traits of character, such as constitutional ardor or impetuosity. There is nothing certainly, in the law of God that requires such constitutional traits to be annihilated, but simply that they should be rightly directed in their exercise.
3. It does not imply the annihilation of any of the constitutional appetites, or susceptibilities. It seems to be supposed by some, that the constitutional appetites and susceptibilities, are in themselves sinful, and that a state of entire con
formity to the law of God implies their entire annihilation. And I have often been astonished at the fact that those who array themselves against the doctrine of entire conformity to the law of God in this life, assume the sinfulness of the constitution of man. And I have been not a little surprised to find that some persons who I had supposed were far enough from embracing the doctrine of physical moral depravity, were, after all, resorting to this assumption to set aside the doctrine of entire sanctification in this life. But let us appeal to the law. Does the law any where, expressly or impliedly, condemn the constitution of man, or require the annihilation of any thing that is properly a part of the constitution itself? Does it require the annihilation of the appetite for food, or is it satisfied merely with regulating its indulgence? In short, does the law of God any where require any thing more than the consecration of all the powers, appetites, and susceptibilities of body and mind to the service of God?
Entire obedience does not imply the annihilation of natural affection, or natural resentment. By natural affection I mean that certain persons may be naturally pleasing to us. Christ appears to have had a natural affection for John. By natural resentment I mean, that, from the laws of our being, we must resent or feel opposed to injustice or ill-treatment. Not that a disposition to retaliate or revenge ourselves is consistent with the law of God. But perfect obedience to the law of God does not imply that we should have no sense of injury and injustice, when we are abused. God has this, and ought to have it, and so has every moral being. To love your neighbor as yourself does not imply, that if he injure you, you feel no sense of the injury or injustice, but that you love him and would do him good, notwithstanding his injuri
5. It does not imply any unhealthy degree of excitement of the mind. Rule 13 lays down the principle that moral law is to be so interpreted as to be consistent with physical law. God's laws certainly do not clash with each other. And the moral law can not require such a state of constant mental excitement as will destroy the physical constitution. It can not require any more mental excitement than is consistent with all the laws, attributes, and circumstances of both soul and body, as stated in rule 14.
6. It does not imply that any organ or faculty is to be at all times exerted to the full measure of its capacity. This
would soon exhaust and destroy any and every organ of the
Who that has ever philosophized on this subject, does not know that the high degree of excitement which is sometimes witnessed in revivals of religion, must necessarily be short, or that the people must become deranged? It seems sometimes to be indispensable that a high degree of excitement should prevail for a time to arrest public and individual attention, and draw off people from other pursuits, to attend to the concerns of their souls. But if any suppose that this high degree of excitement is either necessary or desirable, or possible to be long continued, they have not well considered the matter. And here is one grand mistake of the Church. They have supposed that the revival consists mostly in this state of excited emotion, rather than in conformity of the human will to the law of God. Hence, when the reasons for much excitement have ceased, and the public mind begins to grow more calm, they begin immediately to say, that the revival is on the decline; when, in fact, with much less excited emotion, there may be vastly more real religion in the community.
Excitement is often important and indispensable, but the vigorous actings of the will are infinitely more important. And this state of mind may exist in the absence of highly excited emotions.
7. Nor does it imply that the same degree of emotion, volition, or intellectual effort, is at all times required. All volitions do not need the same strength. They cannot have equal strength, because they are not produced by equally influential reasons. Should a man put forth as strong a volition to pick up an apple, as to extinguish the flames of a burning house? Should a mother watching over her sleeping nursling, when all is quiet and secure, put forth as powerful voli
tions, as might be required to snatch it from the devouring flames? Now, suppose that she were equally devoted to God, in watching her sleeping babe, and in rescuing it from the jaws of death. Her holiness would not consist in the fact that she exercised equally strong volitions, in both cases; but that in both cases the volition was equal to the accomplishment of the thing required to be done. So that persons may be entirely holy, and yet continually varying in the strength of their affections, emotions, or volitions, according to their circumstances, the state of their physical system, and the business in which they are engaged.
All the powers of body and mind are to be held at the service and disposal of God. Just so much of physical, intellectual, and moral energy are to be expended in the performance of duty, as the nature and the circumstances of the case require. And nothing is farther from the truth, than that the law of God requires a constant, intense state of emotion and mental action on any and every subject alike.
8. Entire obedience does not imply that God is to be at all times the direct object of attention and affection. This is not only impossible in the nature of the case, but would render it impossible for us to think of or love our neighbor as ourselves: Rule 9.
The law of God requires the supreme love of the heart. By this is meant that the mind's supreme preference should be of God-that God should be the great object of its supreme regard. But this state of mind is perfectly consistent with our engaging in any of the necessary business of lifegiving to that business that attention and exercising about it all those affections and emotions which its nature and importance demand.
If a man love God supremely, and engage in any business for the promotion of his glory, if his eye be single, his affections and conduct, so far as they have any moral character, are entirely holy when necessarily engaged in the right transaction of his business, although for the time being neither his thoughts nor affections are upon God.
Just as a man who is supremely devoted to his family may be acting consistently with his supreme affection, and rendering them the most important and perfect service, while he does not think of them at all. As I have endeavored to show in my lecture on the text, "Make to yourself a new heart, and a new spirit," the moral heart is the mind's supreme preference. As I there stated, the natural or fleshy heart, propels
the blood through all the physical system. Now there is a striking analogy between this and the moral heart. And the analogy consists in this, that as the natural heart, by its pulsations, diffuses life through the physical system, so the moral heart, or the supreme governing preference, or ultimate intention of the mind, is that which gives life and character to man's moral actions. Example, suppose that I am engaged in teaching Mathematics; in this, my ultimate intention is to glorify God, in this particular calling. Now, in demonstrating some of its intricate propositions, I am obliged, for hours together, to give the entire attention of my mind to that object. Now, while my mind is thus intensely employed in one particular business, it is impossible that I should have any thoughts directly about God, or should exercise any direct affections, or emotions, or volitions, towards him. Yet if, in this particular calling, all selfishness is excluded, and my supreme design is to glorify God, my mind is in a state of entire obe dience, even though, for the time being, I do not think of God.
It should be understood that while the supreme preference or intention of the mind has such efficiency, as to exclude all selfishness, and to call forth just that strength of volition, thought, affection, and emotion, that is requisite to the right discharge of any duty, to which the mind may be called, the heart is in a right state. And this must always be the case while the intention is really honest, as was shown on a former occasion. By a suitable degree of thought, and feeling as to the right discharge of duty, I mean just that intensity of thought, and energy of action, that the nature and importance of the particular duty to which, for the time being, I am called, demand, in my honest estimation.
In this statement, I take it for granted, that the brain, together with all the circumstances of the constitution are such that the requisite amount of thought, feeling, &c., are possible. If the physical constitution be in such a state of exhaustion as to be unable to put forth that amount of exertion which the nature of the case might otherwise demand, even in this case, the languid efforts, though far below the importance of the subject, would be all that the law of God requires. Whoever, therefore, supposes that a state of entire obedience implies a state of entire abstraction of mind from every thing but God, labors under a grievous mistake. Such a state of mind is as inconsistent with duty, as it is impossible, while we are in the flesh.
The fact is that the language and spirit of the law have