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than are the short-comings of this noble instrument in its high and holy mission. But let it be played by a well-disciplined performer —by one who knows how to control its mighty and infinitely varied voice, and each pious worshiper will ever welcome its heavenly tones with inexpressible joy. So adapted is the organ to the sacred and sublime purposes to which it has ever been consecrated. How well has Herder, the gifted German poet, described the wonderful capacity of this instrument to the purposes of religion, in the following words:—
“From lightest shepherd's reed the strain ascends
To tymbal's thunder, and the awakening trump
“How the tones hang hovering now
“In the soft-breathing, animated tones
We doubt whether there are any Christians who are really conscious of the amount of their indebtedness to music; but its influence for this reason is no less effective nor less powerful. As the breath of summer infuses warmth and animation through our frame, although we think not of it, as the perfumed air of spring impregnates our garments with the sweet fragrance gathered from innumerable flowers, while we are unconscious of it, so the music of the house of God imparts to us the elements of immortal life, and breathes into our souls a peace that the world cannot give nor take away.
In the employment of music as the agent of her power, and a means of regeneration and spiritual growth, the church has acted advisedly. Nay, we think she has acted by divine direction. No sinner is entirely lost, no heart is entirely obdurate, if there yet remain a susceptibility to the charms of music. With a redeeming grace it penetrates the stricken heart, and soothes and comforts the suffering spirit, by reviving the sentiment of piety, and creating a deeper sense of the imminent and universal presence of the Almighty. Touching, as it does, the deepest mystery in man and the
universe, calling up out of the hidden depths of eternity, it seems to be a distant and feeble echo of that everlasting hymn, that mighty chorus, which ever and ever swells around the eternal throne. There is no science which possesses such power to stir up deep and strong emotion as this. And if there be a man who is unconscious of the elevating influence of sacred music; who feels no emotion, no enthusiasm; whose heart does not swell and throb with mysterious joy as he listens to the solemn chant and the sacred song; he is an object of the profoundest pity. All that is divine within him is dead. His soul is withered. Extinguish the beams of the sun, quench the light of the loving stars, and those rayless orbs, plunged into the fathomless bosom of endless night, would be fitting types of such dark and desolate souls' It has been somewhere said, “He is not wholly lost who still loves music;-the desire of moral, may grow out of natural, harmony. Nor is one utterly unhappy who remains susceptible to its power, —yielding it leave to do what it is well able to do, to correct suffering with a superior satisfaction and peace, and misfortune with the sense of a perfection that passeth not away.”
ART. WII.-The Philosophy of Christian Perfection: embracing a Psychological Statement of some of the Principles of Christianity on twhich the Doctrine rests: together with a Practical Eramination of the Peculiar Views of several Recent Writers on this Subject. Philadelphia: Sorin & Ball. 1848.
WE regard this work as an appeal to philosophy to supply the defects of revelation. In his Introduction the author says, L
“Most of those who have written out their experience have used the technical language of their several sects, so that this experience often appears discrepant, and sometimes contradictory; and even when they have employed the language of Scripture, if we refer to the comments of sectarian writers, we find ourselves equally unable to ascertain the meaning of the terms they have chosen to use. So important a part of the experience of the Christian ought, doubtless, to find an adequate expression in the well-defined terms of psychological science.”
Again, referring to Dr. Peck and President Mahan, he says,
“When the one tells us that perfection “implies simply loving God with all the heart;' and the other, “that he looks to the very God of peace to sanctify him wholly, and preserve his whole spirit, and soul,
and body, blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ though they place before the mind an attainment possessing high moral attractions, there is an indefiniteness in the view,” &c.—P. 10.
“In the treatise upon which we now enter, we propose to interrogate our psychology, that we may see whether science, as the handmaid of revelation, can be made to aid in giving us any clearer views of the moral constitution of man, or any more definite ideas of the
moral persections made attainable by him, . . . to render intelligible to all who are acquainted with the modern terms of metaphysical science, the great system of Bible truth. . . . The disuse, therefore,
of all technical language, even though it may be the language of Scripture, so far as it has been employed in different senses, will not be deemed affectation.”—Pp. 8, 9, 11.
The opinion of this writer, therefore, clearly is, that while the Bible teaches the truth in relation to Christian perfection, its mode of teaching is defective, or, at least, that we shall find a more explicit and philosophical mode of “expression in the well-defined terms of psychological science.” The question raised by this position is a question of fact, which should be carefully considered. In Germany it would scarcely excite attention ; for there Rationalism is allowed, the right to improve at discretion, and even supersede, the teachings of revelation. But in America any attempts at such license will be received with suspicion; and our author undoubtedly felt that he was assuming a position which would subject him to the severest criticism. We differ from him entirely upon this question of fact, and for the following reasons:—
1. The Bible is the language of infinite Wisdom. Both as it regards the doctrines taught, and the mode of teaching, we here have “the mind of the Spirit.” Who would wish, even in the most indirect manner, to intimate that such judgment could be erroneous ! that “the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth” would be less definite and less perfectly adapted to communicate the truth than the phraseology of mere uninspired men? From such a responsibility it would seem any man should desire to be saved; and yet what can be plainer than this implication in the very starting point of our author? Indeed, the existence of the book originated from it; for had he believed that the Scriptures held the plainest, truest, and most appropriate language of which this subject admits, he would not have sought improvement in the style of philosophy, much less would he have formally discarded the technical language of Scripture, and consulted “psychology” to ascertain the nature, extent, and obligations of Christian perfection. But to our minds, if there were no other reasons for believing the teachings of the Scriptures more reliable than those of psychology, the fact of their divine origin would be sufficient. How could the omniscient God have failed to know what were the wants of the minds to be instructed, and the best mode of accomplishing the object 7 Can we admit for a moment that, for the honor and success of his doctrines, he made himself dependent upon the improvements and fidelity of future metaphysicians ? The thing is impossible. 2. The “terms of metaphysical science” are not “well-defined,” in the high sense claimed by this author. Upon the contrary, we affirm that no department of science presents more difficulties to the success of conventional agreement than this. In support of this we have only to appeal to the general sense of men, to the history of philosophy, and to the nature of mental phenomena. In no branch of study have men in general so little confidence. They have not the power of analysis which a correct appreciation of its true progress requires. They are not able to distinguish truth from hypothesis, and hence the general tendency to condemn the whole. They believe and assert that no safe reliance can be placed upon the terms which metaphysicians use, and there certainly can be no way of accounting for this general feeling of indefiniteness without allowing that there are some grounds for it. We cannot avoid remarking here how very improbable it is that a doctrine, in which the whole world is so deeply interested, should be allowed by infinite Wisdom to rest upon a science for its development, which is scarcely two hundred years old, and which is so illy adapted to convince the understanding and command the faith of the multitude. But do the most sagacious critics succeed in establishing the nomenclature of mental science so as to make it a safe basis of theological investigations 7 Who does not know that almost every age since its origin has had its school of philosophy differing so widely and essentially from every other as to unsettle the very foundations of the science? To which of these will our author send us for the “well-defined terms” so perfectly adapted to teach the true doctrine of Christian perfection, and unite all theologians who have thus far been destitute of a terminology sufficiently unequivocal to settle the controversy 7 To the English, the Scotch, the French, or the German school? America has no philosophy. And this is not because she has adopted as satisfactory any of the foreign systems, but because she is thoroughly dissatisfied with the whole of them, and has not yet age and independence enough to construct a system for herself. Individuals of more or less merit have entered upon a sort of eclecticism which has transported different parts of diverse systems, and thus they have laudably endeavored to give direction to the philosophic spirit in this growing country; but it is easy to see that they have taken on a cast of sensualism, common sense, skepticism, or mysticism, just as they have leaned more or less to the different schools of Europe. Again, we inquire what author or class of authors shall give law to theology upon this or any other point in dispute 1 Does not this writer very well know that the moment he should declare his election, he would compromise himself with the numbers who incline to other and conflicting theories? Truth there unquestionably is in metaphysical philosophy—profound, splendid truth. Much of it has been developed by the numerous, elaborate investigations which have been going on for some two centuries. But who, before our author, has ever intimated that it has been reduced to sufficient system and certainty to give it the rank of law and umpire in theological controversy % This indefiniteness is in the nature of the subject. Mind cannot be studied like matter, by means of perception. It cannot be thrown into the crucible and chemically analyzed; it cannot be illustrated by apparatus, and made intelligible to the most ordinary capacity. Its different states are so spiritual and fugitive that the most profound attention and sagacity can with difficulty detect its hidden laws, and approximate the true knowledge of their complicated relations. It is not, therefore, a matter of surprise that so little progress has been made, and so little agreement produced, but rather a reason for gratitude that so much has been accomplished. The more difficult the acquisitions the more valuable they are, and the greater the reason for long-continued and far-reaching investigation. Effort must succeed effort ad infinitum; but let us never be enticed to believe that our favorite science has at any period of its progress become so settled and universal as to govern the investigation of practical doctrine, upon which the salvation of our souls depends. 3. History is against the view which this writer takes of the rank of science in this relation. The primitive church was safe so long as she preserved her strict reliance upon “the word” for her doctrines and her instructions. Departure from this standard, and attempts to improve revelation by philosophy and tradition, produced Romanism. The Reformation was an appeal from “philosophy” to the Bible, and it succeeded. The Wesleyan