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our minds, whenever he pleases, and to illustrate by a striking example, the great subject of our present discussion.
The influence of such communion on the mind also deserves notice. It imparts to it by sympathy a portion of the qualities of the divine mind. It becomes a “ partaker of the divine nature.” The thoughts, emotions, purity, healthiness, vital energy, tenderness, susceptibility, and beauty of the divine mind, are imparted to it by communion. God is the exhaustless source of all these things, and the highest vital energy of the mind is not in itself, but in him. Hence, by the metaphor of a vine and its branches, Christ enjoins the necessity of a permanent life in him, thus produced, as the indispensable condition of energy and fruitfulness, in Christian words and deeds.
When we call the influence thus exerted on the mind, supernatural, we do not mean that it is unnatural. It pertains, as we have said, to the nature of all created minds, that they cannot be rightly developed and perfected, except by such communion with God.
We call it supernatural, for two reasons. One, that regarding all the created universe as nature, it is an influence not proceeding from it, but from the uncreated God, who is above nature.
Again, regarding the existing moral nature of the human race as depraved, and, to be out of communion with God, as the universal law of such depraved existences, communion with God is above and contrary to such a nature, though in accordance with the true end, and real laws of the mind. So, if all men
, were born blind, and by divine intervention sight were restored to some, to see the sun would be above the nature with which men were born, although in accordance with the real end and laws of the eye.
From what we have said, it is plain that this view of the witness of the Spirit, does not tend to supersede the use of written revelation, under the pretext that the mind is not to be bound down to the dead letter of old documents. On the other hand, God communes with us through his Word, and it is his purpose so to elevate the mind, that it may come into a sympathetic perception of his own enlarged and glorious understanding of it. Communion with a teacher does not supersede the study of the text-books which he uses, but guides into his full understanding of them. So, communion with God guides into a full understanding of his great text-book, the Bible. He does not add to it, or take away from it, but opens our eyes to behold wonderful things in it.
Nor does its influence cease here. God is the real author and teacher of all truth. Some things he teaches by the very structure of the human mind; some in the great book of his providence, some in the book of his works. These are all alike books of God; and truly interpreted will harmonize, elucidate, and sustain what he teaches in his Word. Communion with God, therefore, tends to open our eyes to understand his interpretation of these books, and thus to harmonize all truth.
Nor does this lead to an unhealthy, unintelligent craving after mere excitement, nor does it destroy the balance of the mind. On the other hand, it restores the mind to health, vigor, and balance. The mind was made for high degrees of feeling; otherwise it would not have been correlated to God. Hence it craves excited feeling of some kind.
But if the feeling is unhealthy, it gives no rest to the mind. Selfish, malignant, proud emotions are in their nature feverish, and their exercise gives the mind no repose.
But if the emotions are benevolent, tender, meek, and pure, a powerful exercise of them is healthy, and satisfies the craving of the mind, and gives it rest. In diseased feeling we find the elements of the misery of hell, where they rest not day nor night; in holy feeling, of the happiness of heaven, where the rest of the people of God is eternal.
Hence, the natural result of elevated communion with God, is holy peace. All the desires of the soul are satisfied, all fear of evil is removed, and the mind participates in the tranquillity of God himself. The peace of God that passeth all understanding, keeps the heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
It is here worthy of special notice, that the highest degrees of communion with God cannot be reached till the mind is eminently purified from sin. Hence, in the experience of Edwards, periods of deep conviction of sin, and self-loathing, preceded his seasons of most intimate communion with God, and prepared the way for them. By thus banishing all tendencies to irreverence or selfcomplacency, the soul is prepared for the highest manifestations of divine favor. But when these are made, the mind exercises the love for which it was created, and mutual manifestation and mutual joy exist. The joy of each fills the other, and the joy is full. Each seems to be in the other. The love of Christ that passeth knowledge is known, and the soul is filled with all the fulness of God. The loving kindness of God is felt to be better than life. It causes joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is a love strong as death; it is like coals of fire that hath a most vehement flame; waters cannot quench it, floods cannot drown it. In comparison with it, the whole of a man's substance is utterly despised.
But as the emotions of God are free from disease, so are those of the mind under the influence of his love; it is healed of all feverish excitement, and truly lives. Its emotions are vastly more powerful than ever before, but perfectly reasonable, and under control. All blinding passions pass away; it walks in pure light, the light of God, the light of truth, the light of love.
LETTER TO HON. JOHN C. CALHOUN.
I have been deeply interested, both recently and on former occasions, with your zealous and incessant efforts to defend the system of American slavery. Whatever may be thought of your opinions, it must be conceded that your conduct in their promulgation and defence, has been, in general, consistent with itself. You do not, like some, concede that slavery is a great evil, social, civil, and moral, and then einploy all your energies to perpetuate its existence. On the other hand, you defend it as a desirable system, sanctioned by the Word of God, and as the only permanent basis of free institutions; and you forebode the ultimate ruin of the northern portions of our Republic, or at least the reduction of the working classes to slavery, as the inevitable result of our want of the conservative influences of negro slavery.
Relying upon your love of consistency, and on your moral courage as manifested in so resolutely encountering the predominant opinions of the age, — for that these are increasingly hostile to the system of slavery you frankly admit, - I am emboldened to propose a mode of defending the system you so much love, which seems hitherto to have escaped your reflections.
It first occurred to me on the anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, in 1620, upon the rock of Plymouth. After the emotions of my soul had been aroused to the highest pitch, by meditating upon the sublimity of the principles embodied in their institutions, and the influence exerted, and to be exerted, by them upon the world, my attention was arrested by the striking fact, that the year 1620 was rendered memorable, not only by the landing of the Pilgrims on the rock of Plymouth, but also by the landing of the founders of American slavery on the shores of the James river, in Virginia. It at once struck me that you and your friends have been guilty of a great oversight, in never having established a suitable yearly commemoration of so great an event. Surely, the introduction into this Union of the great corner-stone of free institutions, is not an event to be passed over in silence, and consigned to oblivion.
And yet, how little notice has ever been taken by you, of this important event. The names of the philanthropic men engaged in the transaction, have never as yet been emblazoned on the rolls of fame. All that we can discover is simply that, in the words of a celebrated historian, “ a Dutch man-of-war entered James River, and landed twenty negroes for sale.” We are not even informed on what day of the month, the enterprising crew of this Dutch man-of-war first stepped upon the shores of Virginia, the mother of states and of statesmen. Perhaps they landed upon a rock. If so, we are not informed of the important fact, nor is the rock pointed out for the veneration of posterity. The chairs, too, in which these illustrious Dutchmen were wont to sit, are not preserved with pious reverence; their armor is not shewn, and their portraits are not suspended for admiring gaze! All has been suffered to fall into blank oblivion, except the naked inference that said Dutch man-of-war must have had a commander and a crew, otherwise she could not have landed twenty slaves on the shores of Virginia.
This strange neglect may in part be accounted for by the fact, that Washington, Jefferson, and other distinguished sons of the South, were in the dark as to the real merits of the system of slavery. It is plain that their minds were beclouded by those prejudices which
you are now laboring with so much zeal to expose. They even went so far as to believe that “all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights." What VOL. III.
you have since stated, to expose the falsehood of this view, namely, that men are not created at all, but that they are born in a state of childhood, and with very unequal rights, some being free and some in slavery, — does not seem to have occurred to them. Nor had they, at that time, come to regard slavery as the corner-stone of free institutions; on the other hand, they feared that if it was not destroyed, it would become their destruction. But since their day, great progress has been made, and new light has dawned upon the real nature of this beneficent institution ; and you, beyond all doubt, must be regarded as the leading spirit in this new movement, the great apostle of the doctrine that the only permanent basis of our free institutions, is negro slavery.
Would it not, then, be an important means of promulgating and defending your views, to establish an annual commemoration of the landing of the illustrious Dutchmen aforesaid, on the shores of Virginia ? Why should the name of the Mayflower be famous in both hemispheres, and that of the Dutch man-of-war remain forever unknown? Why should the Pilgrims be canonized, and the Dutchmen forgotten? Why should not the zeal of antiquarian research at once enter this field, explore the archives of Virginia and of Holland, and restore to their proper place on the rolls of fame, the actors in this great event?
Consider, too, what a wide field for research and for eloquence would be opened, by such a yearly commemoration of the establishment of slavery. It was then but as a grain of mustard-seed. Only twenty slaves were landed. But now, over what wide regions the system is extended, and how many millions are now experiencing its influences. How zealous are its friends for its extension into those vast domains just acquired from Mexico. Certainly, no occasion could be more favorable for an enlarged view of the system as a whole, and of its benign effects as recorded on the page of history. Then would be the time to shew forth its auspicious influences upon religion, social purity, and national morals. Then, to shew its power to render labor honorable, and to promote industry and wealth, economy and thrift, in all classes of society. Then, to shew its influence in promoting popular education, and elevating the standard of intelligence in all classes.
On such an annual festival, too, it would be appropriate for you to explain by what strange oversight, the Honorable Waddy Thompson, in looking for the most striking contrast to the degra