Friday, April 28, 2017

 "It is confessed by the anxieties of many good minds, that are ashamed of the slow fires and faint light of their faith and love; that they can spur their will, more easily than kindle their affections; and wish they were called upon only to do, and not also to feel. They cast about the vaguest and vainest efforts after deeper impressions of things holy and sublime: they wonder at the apathy with which they dwell amid the infinitude of God: they convince themselves how untrue is the state of mind which treats the "seen and temporal" as if there were no "unseen and eternal;" they assure themselves how terrible must be the disorder of that soul, whose springs of pure emotion are thus locked in death. But with all this they cannot shame, or reason, or terrify themselves into any nobler glow: the avenues of intellect, and judgment, and fear, are not those by which a new feeling is permitted to visit and refresh the heart. The ice cannot thaw itself; but must ask the warmer gales of heaven to blow, and the sun aloft to send more piercing beams. There is nothing vainer or more hopeless than the direct struggles of the mind to transform its own affections, to change by a fiat of volition the order of its tastes, and the intensity of its love. Self-inspiration is a contradiction: and to suspend, by upheaving’s of the will, the force of habitual desire, is no less impossible than by writhing’s of the muscles, to annihilate our own weight." 

  The inner spirit of the mind, which all outward action should express, is not naturally inflexible and habitual: but rather, it drifts away from its old anchorages, and gets afloat upon new tides of thought; as experience deepens, existence ceases to be the same, and the proportions in which things lie within our affections are materially changed; as the ascent of time is made, life is seen from a higher point, and fresh fields of truth and duty spread before our view. Now Habit is conservative, but faith and feeling are progressive, and unless their mutual relation is constantly re-adjusted by meditation, they will cease to correspond, and will become miserably divergent. Bare moral principle, unless it holds something more divine, has but an unsafe tenure of the wisdom and strength of life." James Martineau.

No comments: