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you do not charge us with denying any of them in the pages immediately following, probably we may not differ.
We now come to what you call our "inadequate conceptions of the operations of the Holy Spirit." You begin (p. 58. 60) by putting into our mouths a long objection, not to religious affections towards our Saviour, not to the operations of the Holy Spirit, as professed, but against a display of them being either desirable in, or a test of a man's religion, alleging, as a reason, the insanity of fanatics, and the guile of hypocrites. In professing to answer this, you admit the facts stated by Objector to be true; therefore, his objection to be valid, for you make him object only to the display, which you acknowledge is no test, and then you ask him with the utmost apparent simplicity; "Why is it here only to be made an argument that there is danger of abuse?" (p. 61). Indeed, Sir, if Objector only does so here, pardon him this one offence, in consideration of the examples you have so abundantly set him! But he is not guilty even of the one offence, that I am aware of. You framed his objection; you have omitted to state to us the hypothesis to which it is given as an objection. As it stands, it is not an objection at all to any thing you have been contending for, or would, if we may believe your own words, contend for; for you say
yourself, that there is no way by which the validity of pretensions to religious affections may be ascertained, must be partly admitted:" (p. 62). Why "partly?" say wholly, unless you admit conduct as a test of sincerity! Had you thought proper to give us a correct definition of what you mean by "religious affections," much misunderstanding might have been avoided, as I have little doubt, that in reality we perfectly agree. But you, if I may be excused for saying so, like too many religionists, have an inconvenient fondness for mystery, and seem to think it derogatory to the dignity of religion, that terms used concerning her should be defined. Thus you leave it to every one's imagination to suppose what these religious affections and operations of the Holy Spirit may be; and therefore it is, that he objects against the first abuse of the term that happens to present itself in his mind or memory. After admitting the abuses contended for, afresh, you again ask, "But will you discard religion altogether?" Now, I ask you, Sir, whether, even any thing that you have put into Objector's mouth, does propose to do so? Does he not, on the contrary, object to the injury done to religion by hypocritical assumption and perverted zeal? You then gravely inform us that "pretences to religion do not prove all similar claims unfounded:" (p. 63). Nobody ever said they
did; yet such you would insinuate is our argument,
when you say, we do not argue thus, but where our reason is under a corrupt bias:" (p. 63). We have but objected to the display of enthusiasm as a test, and this you have both admitted, and go on to admit, if possible, still further.
Your next step is in defence of the manners of puritans, &c., that we should not be "unreasonably shocked" by their vulgarity. Unreasonably, certainly we should not; but grossness and vulgarity are adverse to the character of Christianity, and give reasonable cause of suspicion, as you yourself indeed allow. And as for your Moravians, the excellence you claim for them, does not prove that they would not have been better without that offensive manner, which, probably, was but a stumbling-block to many, and reasonably so, as it was fair evidence of spiritual pride and want of Christian temperance in themselves. Your argument seems merely to say, that we should not judge hastily, but charitably. A most excellent maxim, of which I regret you have given us so little of the benefit!
Section 2d, p. 65.—You now, Sir, enter into a long discourse about "religious affections," entitled "Admission of the Passions into Religion." What you propose to express by these two words " passions" and "affections," I find it impossible strictly
to determine, and until they are defined, I cannot decide exactly how far we agree or disagree with you. You commence by saying that your opponent objects, that "you degrade your religious services by making our Saviour the object of your affections." If he does say so, in what sense does he understand your word "affections?" But you have not put this into his mouth, when you gave his objection in detail; you made him commence his objection with the word "often." It implies insincerity throughout, and in its utmost extent goes to no more than this. He argues that a display of enthusiasm is neither necessary to the religion of a Christian, nor a test of its reality; and that by requiring such display you would be degrading religious services.
Supposing, as in truth we are apt to suppose, that, by "passions" and "affections," religionists of your school do mean a display of "animal fervor, ardors, transports," &c. (p. 70); I confess we should be very likely to argue as you have made us argue. But if you define these terms to mean no more than that we are bound both to feel and to shew sincere and lively gratitude, zealous obedience, and, as far as in us lies, co-operation with the spirit of our religion, firm faith in its promises, and to endeavour to regulate our affections and inclinations, so as to make them coincide with the spirit of Christianity, as manifested in the precepts and
example of its Founder, no Christian among us ever dreamt of denying their propriety. Thus it is that we interpret the words love, joy, hope, trust, &c. But you have perverted the objection of your own composing throughout this section, and made your terms "passions and affections," signify both gratitude, zealous fidelity, contemplation of religion; and also transports, ardors, &c. &c.; and even the use of high-flown language, just as happens to suit your purpose of the moment, and abused us, and cried shame upon us, for denying what we never should deny, and what, indeed, you have not ventured to make us deny, otherwise than by insinuation in a multiplicity of confused arguments, every one of which proceeds upon an hypothesis falsely assumed.
The only point I see any necessity for adverting to, is the word love. Upon this word you seem inclined to build more than we may be disposed to allow; hence our denial of the possibility of feeling it towards an invisible being. But this denial also proceeds upon our (as you say, and I hope it may prove) mistaken notion about its test being ardors, transports, &c. (p. 70); for we scruple not to use the word ourselves as applied to God: but we use it in the same sense as we should in talking of a people loving their king, a patriot loving his country, a good man loving virtue, justice, or any