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reach an accomplishment which the morale of benevolence alone is equal to. We are sure that it is not to mortify our men of grave, and official and calculating experience, that we tell them, how, with all their strength, and all their sagacity, they have only given their money for that which is not meat, and their labour for that which satisfieth not. It is to illustrate a principle of our common nature, so obvious, that to be recogni. zed, it needs only to be spoken of. And it were well, if in so doing their thoughts could be led to the instrumentality of this principle, as the only way, in which they can redeem the failures of their by-gone experience; if they could be convinced, that the agents of a zealous and affectionate Christianity can alone do what all the influence of municipal weight and municipal wisdom cannot do; if they could be taught what the ministrations are, by which a pure and a responding gratitude, may be made to circulate throughout all our dwelling-places; if, in a word, while they profess to serve the poor, they could be led to respect the poor, to do homage to that fineness of moral temperament which belongs to them, and which hitherto seems to have escaped, altogether, the eye of civil or political superintendence; and they may rest assured, that let them give as much in the shape of munificence as they will, if they add not the love to the liberality of the Gospel, they will never soften one feature of unkindness, or chase away one exasperated feeling, from the hearts of a neglected population.
But, beside the degree of purity in which this principle may exist among the most destitute of our species, it is also of importance to remark the degree of strength, in which it actually exists among the most depraved of our species. And, on this subject, do we think that the venerable HOWARD has bequeathed to us a most striking and valuable observation. You know the history of this man's enterprises; how his doings, and his observations, were among the veriest outcasts of humanity,—how he descended into prison houses, and there made himself familiar with all that could most revolt or terrify, in the exhibition of our fallen nature; how, for this purpose, he made the tour of Europe; but instead of walking in the footsteps of other travel. lers, he toiled his painful and persevering way through these
receptacles of worthlessness;-and, sound experimentalist as he was, did he treasure up the phenomena of our nature, through. out all the stages of misfortune, or depravity. We may well conceive the scenes of moral desolation that would often meet his eye; and that, as he looked to the hard, and dauntless, and defying aspect of criminality before him, he would sicken in despair of ever finding one remnant of a purer and better principle, by which he might lay hold of these unhappy men, and convert them into the willing and the consenting agents of their own amelioration. And yet such a principle he found, and found it, as he tells us, after years of intercourse, as the fruit of his greater experience, and his longer observation; and gives, as the result of it, that convicts, and that, among the most desperate of them all, are not ungovernable, and that there is a way of managing even them, and that the way is, without relaxing, in one iota, from the steadiness of a calm and resolute discipline, to treat them with tenderness, and to show them that you have humanity; and thus a principle, of itself so beautiful, that to expatiate upon it, gives in the eyes of some, an air of fantastic declamation to our argument, is actually deponed to, by an aged and most sagacious observer. It is the very principle of our text, and it would appear that it keeps a lingering hold of our nature, even in the last and lowest degree of human wickedness; and that when abandoned by every other principle, this may still be detected,--that even among the most hackneyed and most hardened of malefactors there is still about them a softer part which will give way to the demonstrations of tenderness: that this one ingredient of a better character is still found to survive the dissipation of all the others,--that, fallen as a brother may be, from the moralities which at one time adorned him, the manifested good-will of his fellow-man still carries a charm and an influence along with it; and that, therefore, there lies in this, an operation which, as no poverty can vitiate, so no depravity can extinguish.*
Now, this is the very principle which is brought into action,
*The operation of the same principle has, of late, been strikingly exemplified by Mrs. Fry, and her, coadjutors, in the prison at Newgate. VOL. IV.-3
in the dealings of God with a whole world of malefactors. It looks, as if he confided the whole cause of our recovery, to the influence of a demonstration of good will. It is truly interesting to mark, what, in the devisings of his unsearchable wisdom, is the character which he has made to stand most visibly out, in the great scheme and history of our redemption and surely if there be one feature of prominency more visible than another, it is the love of kindness. There appears to be no other possible way, by which a responding affection can be deposited in the heart of man. Certain it is, that the law of love cannot be carried to its ascendency over us by storm. Authority cannot command it. Strength cannot implant it. Terror cannot charm it into existence. The threatenings of vengeance may stifle, or they may repel, but they never can woo this delicate principle of our nature, into a warm and confiding attachment. The human heart remains shut, in all its receptacles, against the force of these various applications; and God, who knew what was in man, seems to have known, that in his dark and guilty bosom, there was but one solitary hold that he had over him; and that to reach it, he must just put on a look of graciousness, and tell us that he has no pleasure in our death, and manifest towards us the longings of a bereaved parent, and even humble himself to a suppliant in the cause of our return, and send a Gospel of peace into the world, and bid his messengers to bear throughout all its habitations, the tidings of his good-will to the children of men. This is the topic of his most anxious and repeated demonstration. This manifested good will of God to his creatures, is the band of love, and the cord of a man, by which he draws them. It is true, that from the inaccessible throne of his glory, we see no direct emanation of his tenderness upon us, from the face of the King who is invisible. But, as if to make up for this, he sent his Son into the world, and declared him to be God manifest in the flesh, and let us see, in his tears, and in his sympathies, and in all the recorded traits of his kindness, and gentleness, and love, what a God we have to deal with. It is true, that even in love to us, he did not let down one attribute of truth or of majesty which belonged to him. But, in love to us, he hath laid upon his own Son the burden of their vin
dication ;-and now, that every obstacle is done away; now, that the barrier which lay across the path of acceptance, is levelled by the power of him who travailed in the greatness of his strength for us; now, that the blood of atonement has been shed, and that the justice of God has been magnified, and that our iniquities have been placed on the great Sacrifice, and so borne away that there is no more mention of them: now, that with his dignity entire, and his holiness untainted, the door of heaven may be opened, and sinners be called upon to enter in,-is the voice of a friendly and beseeching God, lifted up without reserve, in the hearing of us all ;-his love of kindness is published abroad among men ;-and this one mighty principle of attraction is brought to bear upon a nature, that might have remained sullen and unmoved under every other application.
And, as God, in the measure of restoring a degenerate world unto himself, hath set in operation the very same principle as that which we have attempted to illustrate,—so the operation hath produced the very same result that we have ascribed to it. As soon as his love of kindness is believed, so soon does the love of gratitude spring up in the heart of the believer. As soon as man gives up his fear and his suspicion of God, and discerns him to be his friend, so soon does he render him the homage of a willing and affectionate loyalty. There is not a man who can say, I have known and believed the love which God hath to us, who cannot say also, I have loved God because be first loved me. There has not, we will venture to affirm, been a single example in the whole history of the church, of a man who had a real faith in the overtures of peace and of tenderness which are proposed by the Gospel, and who did not, at the same time, exemplify this attribute of the Christian faith, that it worketh by love.
It is thus that the faith, which recognizes God, as God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, lies at the turning point of conversion. In this way, and in this way alone, is there an inlet of communication open to the heart of man, for that principle of love to God, which gives all its power and all its character to the new obedience of the gospel. So soon as a man really knows the truth, and no man can be said to know
what he does not believe, will this truth enthrone a new affection in his bosom, which will set him free from the dominion of all such affections as are earthly and rebellious. The whole style and spirit of his obedience are transformed. The man now walks with the vigour, and the confidence, and the enlargement, of one who is set at liberty. It looks a mysterious revolution in the general eye of the world. But the fact is, that from the moment a sinner closes with the overtures of the gospel, from that moment a new era is established in the history of his mind altogether. As soon as he sees what he never saw before, so soon does he feel what he never felt before. Without the faith of the gospel he may serve God in the spirit of bondage : he may be driven, by the terrors of his law, into many outward and reluctant conformities; he may even, without the influence of these terrors, maintain a thousand decencies of tastes, and custom, and established observation. But he is still an utter stranger to the first and the greatest commandment. There may be the homage of many a visible movement with the body, while, in the whole bent and disposition of the soul there is nothing but aversion, and distance, and enmity. Even the word of the gospel may be addressed, Sabbath after Sabbath, and that too, to hearers who offer no positive resistance to it,but coming to them only in word, they remain as motionless and unimpressed as ever, and with an utter dormancy in their hearts, as to any responding movement of gratitude. The heart, in fact, remains unapproachable in every other way, but by the gospel coming to it, not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. Then is it, that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts; and that the gospel approves itself to be his power, and his wisdom, to the sanctification of all who believe in it.
Now, the theologians to whom we allude, have set up obstacles in the way of such a process. They hold a language about the disinterested love of God, and demand this at the very outset of a man's conversion, in such a way, as may retard his entrance upon a life of faith,-as may have prolonged the darkness of many an inquirer, and have kept him in a state of despair, whom a right understanding of the gospel would have