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of the young. This has, it is to be feared, arisen from a too prevailing representation that heaven and the world are almost entirely antagonistic, and that if we would live for heaven, we must live separate from the world. The world and heaven have their positive as well as their negative poles. They attract as well as repel each other. They are in harmonious relation and attract each other when the heavenly life is regarded as an end, and earthly life as a means to that end; but they are at variance and repel each other when the world is regarded as an end, and heaven is either regarded as opposed to that end or is used as a means to promote it. The other is the only happy life, because happiness is proportioned to the harmony and oneness that exist between temporal and eternal things. And religion requires nothing more of its votaries than to lead a moral life from a religious principle. This harmonises heaven and the world, and this harmonises the spiritual and the natural affections of man, in which heaven and the world have their habitation in him. It is not, therefore, so difficult to live the life that leads to heaven as some suppose. To live in the world without living to it, is the life which our Lord Himself prayed might be that of His disciples. Such a life is not indeed natural, and therefore not naturally congenial to us; but it can by habit become a second nature, and then it will be found to be in harmony with our entire being as constituted of soul and body of the celestial and the terrestrial. Those who have taken this view, and have acted upon it, can tell from experience that it is true and good ; and those who have not, need only adopt and carry it out, to come to the same practical conclusion. We will therefore offer some remarks on the force of habit, and the benefits that may be derived from habituating ourselves to act in accordance with such views of life, and from such principles, as infallible wisdom has revealed for guiding us in the way of happiness and heaven.
What is habitual is easy. We can see this from the easy facility with which persons by long practice are able to perform works of skill so as to excite the astonishment of those who have never learnt or practised them. What has become habitual is done as it were naturally, without effort, and almost without reflection. There is an attainable state of religion that is similar to this.
“When the affection of truth has respect to life, it becomes habitual to man, and influences him like his temper or nature; and when it so influences him, then it flows forth spontaneously, and this without thinking from any scientific ground concerning it. The case herein is like that of little children, in learning to walk, to speak, to think, also to see from understanding, and to form conclusions from the judgment; these things they first learn scientifically, but when from habit they become voluntary, and thus spontaneous, they vanish out of the scientific principle and flow forth of their own accord.” (A.C. 3203.)
If this state can be attained in any degree of perfection by any, it must especially be by those who begin an earnest religious life before any opposite habits are formed, and to whom religion may most surely become a second pature.
But what is habitual becomes delightful as well as easy. What is easy as distinguished from what is difficult, is work as distinguished from labour. In the Word there is a marked distinction between them. A promised blessing to the faithful is, “ that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.” (Rev. xiv. 13.)
This is a blessing which, though experienced in its fulness by those who have overcome the world and entered into their eternal rest, is received by everyone as the reward of successful exertion to surmount the difficulties that stand in the way of any religious attainment. Work is our use, both in this and in the other world. We are made for it, and our welfare and happiness must, from our very nature, arise out of it. Our constitution, and our relation to others and to the world in which God has placed us, make work a necessity; and that which divine wisdom has made a necessity divine love has made a delight. What is felt undelightful in work is the labour required to make it easy and spontaneous. Use is labour while it is done from the understanding, it is work when done from the will; in the former case it is attended with difficulty and pain, in the latter case it is done with ease and delight. In the process of regeneration
“ Act precedes, and is succeeded by man's willing; for, what man at first acts from the understanding he at length acts from the will, and finally puts on by habit. In this case it is insinuated into the rational or internal man; and when it is so, then he no longer acts good from truth but from good; for he then begins to perceive something of blessedness, and as it were, something of heaven. This remains with him after death, and by it he is elevated of the Lord into heaven." (A. C. 4353.)
We may remark also that what has become habitual is permanent. Willing and thinking are embodied in acting and speaking. Action is a form in which our affections are concreted-a body in which the spirit of our life takes its proper outward shape and finds its habitation. And what is of the utmost consequence to us, these actions which embody our affections will form and fashion our spiritual body in the other life, when the natural frame is laid aside for ever.
“ All things which enter with man remain, and the things which have become habitual, that is, which have become familiar, are no longer perceived to be in him, when yet they are so. This is the case with the falsities and evils that enter with man, and also with truths and goods : such are the things that form him and determine his character.” (A. C. 7398.)
of the young. This has, it is to be feared, arisen fro
jat representation that heaven and the world are almost
but and that if we would live for heaven, we must
the world. The world and heaven have their posit"}
ato a tive poles. They attract as well as repel ear monious relation and attract each other whe
have as an end, and earthly life as a means variance and repel each other when the
vxistence heaven is either regarded as opposed
urm, and the to promote it. The other is the
ve the place of the proportioned to the harmony and
.ch inclinations to seek eternal things. And religion y
regard to those of others. to lead a moral life from a re
uwed to have unreproved and and the world, and this ha ducing a state of confirmed wickedtions of man, in which he us. It is therefore provided that the It is not, therefore, so do e means and opportunities of correcting suppose. To live in
se, and of gradually forming a new nature Lord Himself pray
to find their use and their happiness in practiindeed natural, a
all things and their neighbour as themselves. by habit becom harmony with
Finde ist importance, therefore, that our corrupt nature should
become habitual, since its removal becomes then a celestial an
difficulty. But if, on the other hand, we make it our have acted from our earlier years upwards, to act habitually from and thos
the first and evil nature will be gradually weakened, hab
which will become more easy and far more delightful to us than the preukele a second and heavenly nature will be acquired in its place, and
M. fro t) THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIVINE AND HUMAN
; a necessary condition of finite existences to behold all things more or less
Ir is the prerogative of God only to see things as they are; it is a through the veil of appearances. It is that Being only whose under
. standing is infinite, who sees the effect from the cause, and the end from the beginning, before whose sight all things lie open. We, whose capacities are limited, and who occupy but a point in the immensity of time and space, can penetrate little beyond the surface of things. But God sees all things as they are, not only because He is infinite, but because He is the infinite Maker and Sustainer of all. The created
atelectual Repository, Juh 1, 1862
RENCE BETWEEN DIVINE AND HUMAN JUDGMENTS.
** POWER OF HABIT.
manifestation of his eternal power and Godhead ; ut the expression of His love and wisdom; the + the unfolding of His providence. He was all, and within all. As the Source and *h infinitely greater perfection than the
affection and sensation that moves
'v, with its causes, relations, and
u with this, what are the highest ents of men or of angels! They sink y laborious and long continued research, we of the secrets of nature, of providence, and vue further he proceeds in his researches, the more eir mysteries become ;--the more he knows, the more he what he does know is as nothing compared with what he does Jow. And although he is capable of advancing in knowledge to uernity, yet he never can attain the knowledge of all that lies within the sphere of finite existence, much less can he ever approach the first limit of that central light in which Jehovah God has His residence, and from which He beholds all the works of His hands. When we reflect that the works of God, though in themselves finite, yet present an image of His infinity, and therefore contain a fund of knowledge that can never be exhausted, so that even natural science has no limit, it is evident that our knowledge of the Divine works must for ever be comparatively superficial and imperfect. It will be true in eternity, as it is in time, that we look but upon the outward appearance; and after and beyond all we can discover, there is a principle within that transcends all our powers of perception, and which must for ever remain unknown except by the Lord alone. This is not less true with regard to the spiritual than the natural world—the world of mind than the world of matter. Man, as an image of God and an epitome of both worlds, is not less replete with wonders than the worlds he was created to inhabit. The human soul, still more fearfully and wonderfully made than the human body, has, both in its structure and functions, secrets which we can never fully search out or comprehend. Even the connection between motives and actions, between principle and practice, cannot be known with certainty but by Him who is Himself the Beginning and the End. We who look upon the outward appearance can form at best but an imperfect judgment, and are always liable to form a fallacious one, respecting the state and character of others. God only, who looketh
upon the heart, can know infallibly what man is: “ He needeth not that any should testify of man, for He knows what is in man.”
Habit, therefore, makes us in a great measure what we are and what we shall be. Habit does not, indeed, create thoughts and feelings, but it gives them a determination and fixedness which makes them the real and permanent elements of our character. It moulds them into a form which becomes that of our life, and this the more completely in proportion to the earnestness and perseverance with which we have pursued an object or practised a principle.
But the saying that habit is a second nature, recognises the existence in us of a nature existing previous to the habits we form, and the power of habit to form a new nature which may take the place of the old. Every one is by nature evil; he is born with inclinations to seek his own interest and his own pleasure without regard to those of others. If this first and evil nature were allowed to have unreproved and unchecked sway, it would end in producing a state of confirmed wickedness and permanent unhappiness. It is therefore provided that the Lord's children shall have the means and opportunities of correcting this their hereditary nature, and of gradually forming a new nature which will enable them to find their use and their happiness in practically loving God above all things and their neighbour as themselves. It is of the first importance, therefore, that our corrupt nature should not be allowed to become habitual, since its removal becomes then a matter of extreme difficulty. But if, on the other hand, we make it our study, especially from our earlier years upwards, to act habitually from right principles, the first and evil nature will be gradually weakened, while a second and heavenly nature will be acquired in its place, and which will become more easy and far more delightful to us than the first.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIVINE AND HUMAN
(1 SAMUEL, xvi. 7.) It is the prerogative of God only to see things as they are; it is a necessary condition of finite existences to behold all things more or less through the veil of appearances. It is that Being only whose understanding is infinite, who sees the effect from the cause, and the end from the beginning, before whose sight all things lie open. We, whose capacities are limited, and who occupy but a point in the immensity of time and space, can penetrate little beyond the surface of things. But God sees all things as they are, not only because He is infinite, but because He is the infinite Maker and Sustainer of all. The created