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are acquainted with them have it. They desire it only as a secreason to be satisfied, that they ondary object--as a means of se. do not possess it. The question curing other and better things ; now is, How shall all this be ac- and did they not believe it a neccounted for? Religion is repre- essary means of securing the ben, sented as having its seat, in the efits they have in view, they desires or affections of the soul.-- would neither think of it, nor preConsequently, a true and holy de- tend to have any desire for it. sire of religion is religion itself; Now persons must be sensible, and persons are in fact the posses- on a moment's reflection, that sors of it, as soon as they, in this there is no virtue in desiring resense, desire it.
6 How then, can ligion on such grounds; and that it be accounted for, that many desires of this nature furnish no persons seem to desire religion," sufficient claim or reason why and in some sense doubtless do de- they should ever possess it. They sire it, who yet exhibit no evi- desire religion, very much dence of possessing it ?"
those desired the presence of the The grand reason for this, as it Savior, who followed him merely seems to me, is, the persons in for the loaves and fishes. They question do not love or desire re- cared nothing about him, and ligion for what it is in itself, but were ready to desert him on the merely for the benefits which they slightest rebuke; but they loved believe it will confer. They de- the good things which they had seen sire it, not as a primary good, but he was able to bestow. Suppose, only as a means of securing some my readers, that either of you other good. They believe, it were treated, as those treat remay be, that religion alone is ca. ligion, who desire it merely for pable of conferring happiness in the benefits it confers. Suppose the present life; and consequent. you had persons flattering and ly, as they desire to be happy, fawning around you, and making they desire to possess religion.-- extravagant professions of regard, Or they believe, that this alone who, you certainly knew, cared will enable them to die in peace, nothing about you, and only wishand will conduct them to rest be. ed to obtain a favor for themyond the grave; and as they wish selves. Would you consider such to die in peace, and to be happy persons as entitled to your love, forever, they are earnest in their and worthy to be received to the wishes and endeavors to obtain bosom of your friendship? Or religion. I am satisfied the hearts could you forbear despising them of those, who are conscious of de- in your heart ? Yet such persons siring religion, while they do not are as fairly entitled to your love, possess it, will testify that this is as those are to be made the possesthe ground on which they desire sors of religion, who desire it
merely for the benefits it confers. itself. This class, I think, is a Persons of this latter description numerous and, on some accounts, have often thought it strange and a very respectable one. They hard, when they have manifested feel the importance of religionso much regard for religion, and feel, at times, a painful sense of have desired it so earnestly, and their need of it and are disposed so long, that still they have never to treat it with all external marks been able to possess it. But they of respect. They think they earnhave no reason to think it either estly desire it, and are diligently strange or hard. Why have they seeking it. They have desired desired religion ? Merely, as their and sought it, it may be, for a own consciences testify-merely long time; and think it strange for the loaves and fishes—merely that they have always been disfor the benefits it is believed to appointed. Now the remarks confer. Their desires of it, there- which have been made are intendfore, are perfectly selfish ; and ed to satisfy such persons why instead of furnishing a reason why they have been disappointed. It they should be made the posses. is not because they have regarded sors of religion, they furnish a religion as altogether undesirable, sufficient reason, why they should but because they have desired it. be disowned and rejected of God. from improper motives. Your own
True religion is perfect moral consciences testify, that you have excellence and lovelines, in itself. never seen its intrinsic loveliness It is worthy to be loved and val- and beauty, and have nerer loved ued, and by all its real friends, it or desired it, on its own accouni; is loved and valued on its own ac- but solely on account of the benecount. Such would desire and love fits, in this lise, in death, and in it, even were it attended by no the world to come, wbich you personal benefits. Yea, they would supposed were connected with it. desire and love it, were it follow. You have desired it, therefore, as ed by persecutions and afflictions, the sick man does his medicine, rather than by blessings. Until not because you had a heart to religion is loved in this way, it is relish it, but because you believnot truly loved at all; and until it ed it would do you good. But you is desired in this way, our desires cannot seriously suppose there is of it are perfectly consistent with any virtue in desiring religion in our living, and dying in destitu- this way, or that such desires, tion of its comforts and hopes. however earnest, or however long
The solution of the question, indulged, furnish a sufficient reawhich has here been given, is son why you
it. recommended to the special con- If you would possess religion, you sideration of those persons, whose must learn to love it, for what it case is exhibited in the question is. It is a most desirable thing
EXPERIENCE OF MISS A.
in itself. It is perfect moral ex
QUESTION. cellence--the perfection of moral Messrs. Editors. loveliness and beauty. Why then
A reader of your valuable Magshould you not love and value it, azine, would be highly gratified on its own account? The moment with an answer to the following you are conscious of doing this, you
question : may begin to hope that you feel Ought a wife to refrain from as you ought, and that religion is making a public profession of reyours.
ligion, in consequence of being I hope the remarks which have forbidden by her husband ? been made, may lead my christian readers to inquire, on what their professed regard for religion is From the Utica Christian Repository. founded. Do you esteem and love it, for what it is ? Or are you at- Believing it to be a duty, as far tached to it solely on account of as possible, to perpetuate the imthe benefits which you expect to pression made upon the mind by derive from it? You will not un- those events which remarkably derstand me as saying, that no re. display the power and goodness of gard is to be had to the rich and God, and to extend the knowleverlasting benefits which flow edge of them for the benefit of from our religion. Happiness is others, I now attempt to commit desirable in itself; and none of us to paper an account of a work of ought to be indifferent respecting grace, to which I was a witness. our present, future, and eternal A religious excitement having welfare. But happiness is not just commenced in the school, of more desirable than holiness; and which Miss A. was a member, sbe the blessings expected to result observed, while reading her lesfrom religion are not more desir- son in history, that one of her able than religion itself. Do we class mates was reading the bible ; then desire to be holy, as well as and, not feeling the necessity of happy? And do we love and prize attending to the concerns of the religion, on account of its own in- soul, thought that this young lady trinsic loveliness ? Or is it with us might as well learn her lesson as a mere secondary object? This be spending her time in that mansubject, christian brethren, is ner. This thought was in a few worth our attention. Our char- moments struck home upon her acters, in the sight of God, de conscience, in such a manner, as pend, you know, entirely on the to prevent her finishing her own character of our affections; and lesson. Her distress, though semay even be said to depend en- vere, was manifested during the tirely, on the kind of regard we first two or three days, only by a cherish for true religion. P. sadness of countenance, and an ut
ter neglect of that business and further preparation, and spent the those pleasures which had before remaioder of that sleepless night, occupied her attention. Like most experiencing all the horrors of an other persons with whom the How awakened conscience. It is not ly Spirit is striving, she had re. known that any particular alteracourse to the scriptures, attend- tion took place in her feelings ánce on religious meetings, and during Saturday, though it was the like. Her conviction of sin, apparent that her distress was, on which at first seemed to be a con- the whole, increasing. On Sunfused impression that something day morning, a printed card was was wrong, became daily more handed to her, containg a dialogue clear; she became sensible of the of considerable length, between wickedness, hardness, and obsti- the Bible and the Sinner. This pacy of her heart; saw that her was read by her with great attenonly hope of safety was submis- tion; she was led to see that she sion to Christ; and that the only was just such a sinner as was there difficulty was an unwillingness on described ; and that there was no her part, to give herself up to hope in her case, except in an him. She often reviewed her immediate compliance with the past life, in order to find some. terms of salvation. In this great thing that would stand before God struggle of mind, she was enabled in judgment; some reason why to resolve, as she expressed it,
, she should not be condemned; but “ to give up or perish that night." could find none. At bed time, on She remembered all the warnings Friday, which was the fourth day, she had formerly received; reinstead of retiring to rest, she re- membered that the Holy Spirit tired to a dark and solitary apart- had striven with her at various ment, and was discovered sitting times-was convinced that this by an almost fireless stove, some- was the last call--thought it would times crying aloud, sometimes ut- be no consolation to live a few tering a low and involuntary years longer, accumulating a load shriek at every breath, and liter- of guilt, and to perish at last, as ally trembling and quaking under she certainly must, if she persisted a sense of her sins and the wrath in obstinacy and rebellion. 66 But of God. The burden of her com- how could she get rid of her wickplaint was her 6 wicked and hard ed heart? How could she give up heart;" often exclaiming, “what and come to Christ ?” So stubborn can I do with such a heart ?" At was her spirit that to resolve to 12 o'clock, she retired to her give herself up to God, was like chamber, and after pulling off one tearing limb from limb; but her shoe, was so overcome with a danger was so manifested, as to view of her own character, as to drive her to this resolution. In sink upon the bed, without any this state of mind, she went to the
house of God and heard a sermon ed. From a good state of health from Rom. 7. 12, " Wherefore the she was now so reduced as to be law is holy, and the command- unable to walk. She continued ment holy, and just, and good.” silent about two hours, except to Every word of the sermon fell answer a few questions. Very upon
her conscience with a weight little was said, for all who witnesswhich, she said “ seemed to press ed the scene were led, in this exher to her seat. The load of her tremity, to see the entire imposins was a burden, under which tency of all human efforts. It she felt unable to rise." Some
was God who had wounded, and time after nine o'clock in the he alone could heal. It being eyevening, she was asked whether ident that her bodily strength was she felt as if she could retire to almost exhausted; some refreshrest; she said “No, not with ment was offered her which she such a wicked heart as she had.” refused with a look and tone of She was answered, that " it was horror, undoubtedly surpassed by indeed a dreadful thing to sleep spirits in the prison of despair, but with a heart at enmity with God.” probably never equalled on earth, Soon after this, her distress in- cxcept by those whose anguish may creased so much as to give itself have proceeded from the same vent in cries and shrieks, inces- cause as her own. In a few minsantly repeating, “ What can I utes after this, she broke out indo with such a wicked heart ?" to such loud groans and cries as When asked if she could not hate waked some members of the fami. her wicked heart, she answered, ly, who were asleep in distant 6 I wish I could." Once she ex- apartments.
In this memorable claimed, with a degree of horror hour, never to be recollected by never to be described or imagined, those present, but with the strong65 must I give up ?" It appeared est emotions, God appeared, wonthat the necessity of submitting derful in goodness and mighty in to Christ was perdition itself be- power. At' a time when all intelgun in her soul. She was asked ligences on earth, and saints and if she could not cry to her Savior angels in heaven united, could not for mercy? She then cried almost have given her a moment's peace, incessantly, for more than half an God filled her soul with joy unhour, " Jesus have mercy," &c. speakable. Sudden as a flash of But it was a bitter cry, extorted lightning, she exclaimed, “ I am by agony of soul, and not the ef- the Lord's; He says I may come; fusions of a contrite spirit. Be- Praise the Lord; Alleluia : Amen.” tween eleven and twelve, she And, at the same time, fell into sunk into silenca--the silence of the arms of her female friends, that anguish which has exhausted who were sitting near. Her its subject without being diminish- strength and color were entirely