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they emitted from them such an impression the affections, that man, become the poor
upon his feelings, as to fix and to fascinate slave of its idolatries, and its charms, puts the
the whole man into a subserviency to their authority of conscience, and the warnings of
influence-how in spite of every lesson of the Word of God, and the offered instigations
their worthlessness, brought home to him at of the Spirit of God, and all the lessons of
every turn by the rapidity of the seasons, and calculation, and the wisdom even of his own
the vicissitudes of life, and the ever-moving sound and sober experience, away from him.
progress of his own earthly career, and the But this wondrous contest will come to a
visible ravages of death among his acquaint-close. Some will return to their loyalty,
ances around him, and the desolations of and others will keep by their rebellion; and,
bis family, and the constant breaking up in the day of the winding up of the drama
of his system of friendships, and the affect- of this world's history, there will be made
ing spectacle of all that lives and is in mo- manifest to the myriads of the various or-
tion, withering and hastening to the grave; ders of creation, both the mercy and vindi-
-oh! how comes it that in the face of all cated majesty of the Eternal. Oh! on that
this experience, the whole elevation of pur-day how vain will this presumption of the
pose, conceived in the hour of his better Infidel astronomer appear, when the affairs
understanding, should be dissipated and of men come to be examined in the pre-
forgotten ? Whence the might, and whence sence of an innumerable company; and
the mystery of that spell, which so binds beings of loftiest nature are seen to crowd
and so infatuates us to the world? What around the judgment-seat; and the Saviour
prompts us so to embark the whole strength shall appear in our sky, with a celestial
of our eagerness and of our desires in pursuit retinue, who have come with him from afar
of interests which we know a few little to witness all his doings, and to take a deep
years will bring to utter annihilation? Who / and solemn interest in all his dispensations;
is it that imparts to them all the charm and and the destiny of our species, whom the
all the colour of an unfailing durability ? | Infidel would thus detach, in solitary in-
Who is it that throws such an air of stability significance, from the universe altogether,
over these earthly tabernacles, as makes shall be found to merge and to mingle with
them look to the fascinated eye of man like higher destinies-the good to spend their
resting places for eternity ? Who is it that eternity with angels--the bad to spend their
$0 pictures out the objects of sense, and so eternity with angels—the former to be re-
magnifies the range of their future enjoy- admitted into the universal family of God's
ment, and so dazzles the fond and deceived obedient worshippers—the latter to share
imagination, that in looking onward through in the everlasting pain and ignominy of the
our earthly career, it appears like the vista, defeated hosts of the rebellious—the people
or the perspective of innumerable ages ? | of this planet to be implicated, throughout
He who is called the god of this world. He the whole train of their never-ending his-
who can dress the idleness of its waking tory, with the higher ranks, and the more
dreams in the garb of reality. He who can extended tribes of intelligence; and thus it
pour a seducing brilliancy over the pano- is that the special administration we now
rama of its fleeting pleasures and its vain live under, shall be seen to harmonize in its
anticipations. He who can turn it into an bearings, and to accord in its magnificence,
instrument of deceitfulness; and make it with all that extent of nature and of her ter-
Wield such an absolute ascendency over all ) ritories, which modern science has unfolded.

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DISCOURSE VII.
On the slender Influence of mere Taste and Sensibility in Matters of Religion.

"And lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one who hath a pleasant voice, and can play well

on an instrument; for they hear thy words, but they do them not."-Ezekiel xxxiii. 32.

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You easily understand how a taste for the delights of enthusiasm, as they sit in music is one thing, and a real submission to crowded assemblage around the deep and the influence of religion is another ;-how solemn oratorio ;-aye, and whether it be the ear may be regaled by the melody of the humility of penitential feeling, or the sound, and ihe heart may utterly refuse the rapture of grateful acknowledgment, or the proper impression of the sense that is con- sublime of a contemplative piety, or the asveyed by it; how the sons and daughterspiration of pure and of holy purposes, which of the world may, with their every affection breathes throughout the words of the perdevoted to its perishable vanities, inhale all formance, and gives to it all the spirit and

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all the expression by which it is pervaded ;| now; and on the day of reckoning, this is it is a very possible thing, that the moral, the ground upon which your religion will and the rational, and the active man, may be judged then; and that award is to be have given no entrance into his bosom for passed upon you, which will fix and perany of these sentiments; and yet so over-petuate your destiny for ever. You have a powered may he be by the charm of the taste for music. This no more implies the vocal conveyance through which they are hold and the ascendency of religion over addressed to him, that he may be made to you, than that you have a taste for beautiful feel with such an emotion, and to weep scenery, or a taste for painting, or even a with such a tenderness, and to kindle with taste for the sensualities of epicurism. But such a transport, and to glow with such an music may be made to express the glow elevation, as may one and all carry upon and the movement of devotional feeling; them the semblance of sacredness. . |ånd it is saying nothing to say that the

But might not this semblance deceive heart of him who listens with a raptured him? Have you never heard any tell, and ear, is through the whole time of the perwith complacency too, how powerfully his formance, in harmony with such a movedevotion was awakened by an act of at-ment? Why, it is saying nothing to the tendance on the oratorio-how his heart, purpose. Music may lift the inspiring melted and subdued by the influence of note of patriotism; and the inspiration may harmony, did homage to all the religion of be felt; and it may thrill over the recesses which it was the vehicle-how he was so of the soul, to the mustering up of all its moved and overborne, that he had to shed energies; and it may sustain to the last cathe tears of contrition, and to be agitated by dence of the song, the firm nerve and purthe terrors of judgment, and to receive an pose of intrepidity; and all this may be awe upon his spirit of the greatness and the realized upon him, who in the day of battle, majesty of God—and that wrought up to and upon actual collision with the dangers the lofty pitch of eternity; he could look of it, turns out to be a coward. And music down upon the world, and by the glance may lull the feelings into unison with piety; of one commanding survey, pronounce and stir up the inner man to lofty determiupon the littleness and the vanity of all its nations; and so engage for a time his affecconcerns? Oh! it is very, very possible that tions, that, as if weaned from the dust, they all this might thrill upon the ears of the promise an immediate entrance on some man, and circulate a succession of solemn great and elevated career, which may carry and affecting images around his fancy-and him through his pilgrimage superior to all yet that essential principle of his nature, the sordid and grovelling enticements that upon which the practical influence of Chris- abound in it. But he turns him to the world, tianity turns, might have met with no reach- and all this glow abandons him; and the ing and no subduing efficacy whatever to words which he hath heard, he doeth them arouse it. He leaves the exhibition, as dead not; and in the hour of temptation he turns in trespasses and sins as he came to it. out to be a deserter from the law of alleConscience has not awakened upon him. giance; and the test I have now specified Repentance has not turned him. Faith has looks hard upon him, and discriminates not made any positive lodgement within him amid all the parading insignificance of him of her great and her constraining reali- his fine but fugitive emotions, to be the ties. He speeds him back to his business subject both of present guilt and of future and to his family, and there he plays off vengeance. the old man in all the entireness of his The faithful application of this test would uncrucified temper, and of his obstinate put to flight a host of other delusions. It worldliness, and of all those earthly and may be carried round among all those pheunsanctified affections, which are found to nomena of human character, where there is cleave to him with as great tenacity as ever. the exhibition of something associated with He is really and experimentally the very religion, but which is not religion itself, same man as before and all those sensi- An exquisite relish for music is no test of bilities which seemed to bear upon them the influence of Christianity. Neither are so much of the air and unction of heaven, many other of the exquisite sensibilities of are found to go into dissipation, and be for our nature. When a kind mother closes gotten with the loveliness of the song. - the eyes of her expiring babe, she is thrown

Amid all that illusion which such mo- into a flood of sensibility, and soothing to mentary visitations of seriousness and of her heart are the sympathy and the prayers sentiment throw around the character of of an attending minister. When a gathering man, let us never lose sight of the test, that neighbourhood assemble to the funeral of “by their fruits ye shall know them." It is an acquaintance, one pervading sense of not coming up to this test, that you hear regret and tenderness sits on the face of the and are delighted. “It is that you hear and company; and the deep silence, broken only do. This is the ground upon which the by the solemn utterance of the mån of reality of your religion is discriminated. God, carries a kind of pleasing religiousness

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along with it. The sacredness of the hal- | the side of religion. A man may love to lowed day, and the decencies of its obser- have his understanding stimulated by the vation, may engage the affections of him ingenuities, or the resistless urgencies of an who loves to walk in the footsteps of his argument; and argument the most prosather; and every recurring Sabbath may found and the most overbearing, may put bring to his bosom, the charm of its regu- forth all the might of a constraining vehelarity and its quietness. Religion has its mence in behalf of religion. A man may accomplishments; and in these, there may feel the rejoicings of a conscious elevation, be something to soothe, and to fascinate, when some ideal scene of magnificence is even in the absence of the appropriate in- laid before him; and where are these scenes Auences of religion. The deep and tender so readily to be met with, as when led to impression of a family bereavement, is not expatiate in thought over the track of eterreligion. The love of established decencies, nity, or to survey the wonders of creation, is not religion. The charm of all that sen- or to look to the magnitude of these great timentalism which is associated with many and universal interests which lie within the of its solemn and affecting services, is not compass of religion? A man may have his religion. They form the distinct folds of attention riveted and regaled by that power its accustomed drapery; but they do not, of imitative description, which brings all any or all of them put together, make up the recollections of his own experience bethe substance of the thing itself. A mother's fore him; which presents him with a faithful tenderness may flow most-gracefully over analysis of his own heart; which embodies the tomb of her departed little one; and she in language such intimacies of observation may talk the while of that heaven whither, and of feeling, as have often passed before its spirit has ascended. The man whom his eyes, or played within his bosom, but death had widowed' of his friend, may had never been so truly or so ably pictured abandon himself to the movements of that to the view of his remembrance. Now, all grief, which for a time will claim an ascen- this may be done in the work of pressing dency over him; and, among the multitude the duties of religion; in the work of inof his other reveries, may love to hear of stancing the application of religion; in the the eternity, where sorrow and separation work of pointing those allusions to life and are alike unknown. He who has been to manners, which manifest the truth to the trained, from his infant days, to remember conscience, and plant such a conviction of the Sabbath, may love the holiness of its sin, as forms the very basis of a sinner's aspect; and associate himself with all its religion. Now, in all these cases, I see observances; and take a delighted share in other principles brought into action, and the mechanism of its forms. But, let not which may be in a state of most lively and these think, because the tastes and the sen- vigorous movement, and be yet in a state sibilities which engross them, may be blend of entire separation from the principle of ed with religion, that they indicate either religion.. I will make bold to say, on the its strength or its existence within them. I strength of these illustrations, that as much recut to the test. I press its imperious delight may emanate from the pulpit, on an exactions upon you. I call for fruit, and de- arrested audience beneath it, as ever emamand the permanency of a religious influ- nated from the boards of a theatre-aye. ence on the habits and the history. Oh! and with as total a disjunction of mind too. how many who take a flattering unction to in the one case as in the other, from the estheir souls, when they think of their amiable sence or the habit of religion. I recur to feelings, and their becoming observations, the test. I make my appeal to experience; with whom this severe touch-stone would, and I put it to you all, whether your finding like the head of Medusa, put to flight all | upon the subject do not agree with my their complacency. The afflictive dispen- saying about it, that a man may weep, and sation is forgotten--and he on whom it was admire, and have many of his faculties put laid, is practically as indifferent to God and upon the stretch of their most intense gratito eternity as before. The Sabbath services fication-his judgment established, and his come to a close ; and they are followed by fancy enlivened, and his feelings overpowthe same routine of week-day worldliness ered, and his hearing charmed, as by the as before. In neither the one case nor the accents of heavenly persuasion, and all other, do we see more of the radical influ- within him feasted by the rich and varied ence of Christianity than in the sublime luxuries of an intellectual banquet! Oh! it and melting influence of sacred music upon is eruel to frown unmannerly in the midst the soul: and all this tide of emotion is of so much satisfaction. But I must not found to die away from the bosom, like the forget that truth has her authority, as well pathos or like the loveliness of a song. as her sternness; and she forces me to

The instances may be multiplied without affirm, that after all this has been felt and number. A man may have a taste for elo- gone through, there might not be one prinquence, and eloquence the most touching ciple which lies at the turning point of or sublime may lift her pleading voice on Iconversion, that has experienced a single

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movement-not one of its purposes be con- tain, and the wave of mighty forests, and ceived-not one of its doings be accom- the rush of sounding waterfalls, and distant plished—not one step of that repentance, glimpses of human territory, and pinnacles which, if we have not, we perish, so much of everlasting snow, and the sweep of that as entered upon--not one announcement of circling horizon, which folds in its ample that faith, by which we are saved, admitted embrace the whole of this noble aminto a real and actual possession by the phitheatre? Tell me whether, without the inner man. He has had his hour's enter-aid of Christianity, or without a particle of tainment, and willingly does he award this reverence for the only name given under homage to the perforier, that he hath a plea- heaven whereby men can be saved, a man sant voice, and can play well on an instru- may not kindle at such a perspective as this, ment--but, in another hour, it fleets away into all the raptures, and into all the movefrom his remembrance, and goes all to no- ments of a poetic elevation; and be able to thing, like the loveliness of a song.

render into the language of poetry, the Now, in bringing these Astronomical Dis- whole of that sublime and beauteous imagecourses to a close, I feel it my duty to ad- ry which adorns it; aye, and as if he were vert to this exhibition of character in man. treading on the confines of a sanctuary The sublime and interesting topic which which he has not entered, may he not inix has engaged us, however feebly it may up with the power and the enchantment have been handled; however inadequately of his description, such allusions to the preit may have been put in all its worth, and siding genius of the scene: or to the still in all its magnitude before you; however but animating spirit of the solitude; or to short the representation of the speaker or the speaking silence of some mysterious the conception of the hearers may have been character which reigns throughout the landof that richness, and that greatness, and scape; or, in fine, to that eternal Spirit, that loftiness, which belong to it; possesses who sits behind the elements he has forme in itself a charm to fix the attention, to re-ed, and combines them into all the varieties gale the imagination, and to subdue the of a wide and a wondrous creation ; might whole man into a delighted reverence; and, not all this be said and sung with an emin a word, to beget such a solemnity of phasis so moving, as to spread the colouring thought, and of emotion, as may occupy of piety over the pages of him who perand enlarge the soul for hours together, as forms thus well upon his instrument; and may wast it away from the grossness of or- yet, the performer himself have a conscience dinary life, and raise it to a kind of elevated unmoved by a single warning of God's accalm above all its vulgarities and all its tual communication, and the judgment unvexations.

convinced, and the fears unawakened, and Now, tell me whether the whole of this the life unreformed by it ? effect upon the feelings, may not be formed Now what is true of a scene on earth, is without the presence of religion. Tell me also true of that wider and more elevated whether there might not be such a consti- scene which stretches over the immensity tution of mind, that it may both want alto-around it, into a dark and a distant unknown. gether that principle in virtue of which the Who does not feel an aggrandisement of doctrines of Christianity are admitted into thought and bf faculty, when he looks the belief, and the duties of Christianity abroad over the amplitudes of creationare admitted into a government over the when placed on 'a telescopic eminence, his practice and yet, at the very same time, aided eye can find a pathway to innumerait may have the faculty of looking abroad ble worlds--when that wondrous field, over over some scene of magnificence, and of which there had hung for many ages the being wrought up to ecstacy with the sense mantle of so deep an obscurity, is laid open of all those glories among which it is expa- to him, and instead of a dreary and unpeotiating. I want you to see clearly the dis- pled solitude, he can see over the whole tinction between these two attributes of the face of it such an extended garniture of rich human character. They are, in truth, as and goodly habitations! Even the Atheist, different the one from the other, as a taste who tells us that the universe is self-exisfor the grand and the graceful of scenery tent and indestructible--even he, who indiffers from the appetite of hunger; and the stead of seeing the traces of a manifold wisone may both exist and have a most intense dom in its manifold varieties, sees nothing operation within the bosom of that very in- in them all but the exquisite structures and dividual, who entirely disowns, and is en- the lofty dimensions of materialism-even tirely disgusted with the other. What! he, who would despoil creation of its God, must a man be converted, ere from the most cannot look upon its golden suns, and their elevated peak of some Alpine wilderness, accompanying systems, without the solemn he becomes capable of feeling the force and impression of a magnificence that fixes and the majesty of those great lineaments which overpowers him. Now, conceive such a the hand of nature has thrown around him, I belief of God as you all profess, to dawn in the varied forms of precipice, and moun-1 upon his understanding. Let him become

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as one of yourselves--and so be put into the all the creatures whom he has formed. A
condition of rising from the sublime of man may have an imagination all alive to
matter to the sublime of mind. Let him the former; while the latter never prompts
now learn to subordinate the whole of this him to one act of obedience; never leads him
mechanism to the design and authority of a to compare his life with the requirements
great presiding intelligence; and re-assem- of the Lawgiver; never carries him from
bling all the members of the universe, how- such a scrutiny as this, to the conviction of
ever distant, into one family, let him minglesin; never whispers such an accusation to
with his former conceptions of the grandeurthe ear of his conscience, as causes him to
which belonged to it, the conception of that mourn, and to be in heaviness for the guilt
eternal Spirit who sits enthroned on the of his hourly and habitual rebellion ; never
immensity of his own wonders, and em- shuts him up to the conclusion of the
braces all that he has made, within the need of a Saviour ; never humbles him to
ample scope of one great administration, acquiescence in the doctrine of that reve-
Then will the images and the impressions lation, which comes to his door with such
of sublimity come in upon him from a new a host of evidence, as even his own philo-
quarter. Then will another avenue be sophy cannot bid away; never extorts a
opened, through which a sense of grandeur single believing prayer in the name of
may find its way into his soul, and have a Christ, or points a single look, either of trust
mightier influence than ever to fill, and to or of reverence, to his atonement; never
elevate and to expand it. Then will be esta- stirs any effective movement of conversion;
blished a new and a noble association, by never sends an aspiring energy into his bo-
the aid of which all that he formerly look- som after the aids of that Spirit, who alone
ed upon as fair becomes more lovely; and can waken him out of his lethargies, and
all that he formerly looked upon as great, by the anointing which remaineth, can
becomes more magnificent. But will you rivet and substantiate in his practice, those
believe me, that even with this accession to goodly emotions which have hitherto plied
his mind of ideas gathered from the con- him with the deceitfulness of their mo-
templation of the Divinity ; even with that mentary visits, and then capriciously aban-
pleasurable glow which steals over his ima- doned him.
gination, when he now thinks him of the 'The mere majesty, of God's power and
majesty of God; even with as much of greatness, when offered to your notice, lays
what you would call piety, as I fear is hold of one of the faculties within you. The
enough to soothe and to satisfy many of holiness of God, with his righteous claim
yourselves, and which stirs and kindles of legislation, lays hold of another of these
within you when you hear the goings forth faculties. The difference between them is
of the Supreme set before you in the terms so great, that the one may be engrossed and
of a lofty representation ; even with all this, interested to the full, while the other re-
1 say there may be as wide a distance from mains untouched, and in a state of entire
the habit and the character of godliness, as dormancy. Now, it is no matter what it be
if God was still atheistically disowned by that ministers delight to the former of these
him. Take the conduct of his life and the two faculties: If the latter be not arrested
currency of his affections; and you may see and put on its proper exercise, you are
as little upon them of the stamp of loyalty | making no approximation whatever to the
10 God, or of reverence for any one of his right habit and character of religion. There
authenticated proclamations, as you may see are a thousand ways in which we may con-
in him who offers his poetic incense to the trive to regale your taste for that which is
genii, or weeps enraptured over the visions beauteous and majestic. It may find its
of a beauteous mythology. The sublime of gratification in the loveliness of a vale, or
Deity has wrought up his soul to a pitch in the freer and bolder outlines of an upland
01 conscious and pleasing elevation-and situation, or in the terrors of a storm, or in
yet this no more argues the will of Deity the sublime contemplations of astronomy.
to have a practical authority over him, or in the magnificent idea of a God who
than does that tone of elevation which sends forth the wakefulness of his om-
is caught by looking at the sublime of aniscient eye, and the vigour of his upholding
naked materialism. The one and the other hand, throughout all the realms of nature
have their little hour of ascendency over and of providence. The mere taste of the
dim; and when he turns him to the rude human mind may get its ample enjoyment
and ordinarv world, both vanish alike from lin each and m all of these objects or in a
his sensibilities as does the loveliness of a vivid representation of them; nor does it
song.

make any material difference, whether this To kindle and be elevated by a sense representation be addressed to you from of the majesty of God, is one thing. I the stanzas of a poem, or from the recitaIt is totally another thing to feel a move- tions of a theatre, or finally from the diswent or obedience to the will of God. under courses and the demonstrations of a pulpit. the impression of his rightful authority over And thus it is, that still on the impulse of

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