Sunday, April 23, 2006

Tingling nerves

What is the true test of piety? Plain matter-of-fact, un-ecstatic obedience as of a child to a father; that is the test. The only true joy is born of such obedience. Ecstasies that come from any other source do not belong to the legitimate family circle of heavenly joys. They are the result of that which it does not take heaven to explain. They can be produced at any time and on any occasion by a combination of earthly forces. Singing can produce them. A sympathetic voice can charge the mystic thrill along the nerves till they tingle. Eloquence can produce them. How often under the orators power men and women weep, groan and shout in loud acclaim! The mesmeric influence which hovers over marsh land during a summer heat can communicate by subtle and untraceable potency its deceptive and transitory excitement, so that the vast multitude shall be charged full of the current whose expression might deceive the very elect.
Many suppose that this kind of feeling is legitimate, spiritual, and represents the real power of God. Yea, many gauge their piety by the presence or absence of these feelings; which are feelings that reach no farther than the muscles, and have their home in nothing more divine than the nervous tissues. The piety of Jesus consisted in obedience. His great aim was to do the will of God. He loved God perfectly, and loved man perfectly, and so perfectly fulfilled the law; and so had perfect happiness. Obedience to God lies in natural duties as truly as what are known as technically spiritual. The perfect life stands parent to the perfect joy. Well Springs of Truth

My experience as a Christian was birthed in emotion. When I came to Christ I was raptured away with such a sense of divine presence and heavenly encouragement that I was compelled to go on and follow this Jesus and his gift of peace. Throughout my Christian walk there have been times of great emotion, and heavenly euphoria. So, as I read this piece I first leaned towards disagreement. But after further consideration I agree more than disagree. I have witnessed many over the years that find a consolation in emotion and pursue meetings that bring them into this state of pleasure without much change. So I think this piece is good to urge us to balance, and to test our own spirit by obedience. What other measuring rod is there?

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