THE SPIRITUAL WRITINGS OF PROF. THOMAS C. UPHAM
Books under review:
- "Principles of the Interior or Hidden Life; designed particularly for the consideration of those who are seeking assurance of faith and perfect love."
- "Life of Faith; in three parts: embracing some of the scriptural principles or doctrine of Faith, the power and effect of faith in the regulation of man's inward nature, and the relation of faith to the divine guidance."
- "The Life and religious experience and opinions of Madame de la Mothe Guyon, together with some account of the personal history and opinions of Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray."
- "Life of Madame Catharine Adorna; including some leading facts and traits in her religious experience, together with explanations and remarks tending to illustrate the doctrine of holiness."
— from: The Oberlin Quarterly Review, Vol. 4, Jan. 1849, pp. 101 — 127
THERE are few authors of modern times, whose writings have, in our judgment, more nearly realized the idea of universality, in an important sense of the term, than those of Prof. Upham. We refer to their manifest adaptation to the necessities of all truly spiritual minds, not in any one age, but in all future ages of the church. Wherever such a mind does or may exist, and whatever its spiritual attainments may be, it will find in these writings, much, very much with which it will be instructed, edified and delighted. In all future ages, his name will be "as ointment poured forth." As far as reputation is concerned he need not write another book. His influence and reputation, in the form which most perfectly meets the desires of a truly good man, is already secure. Still we trust, and doubt not, that he will continue "to serve his generation" by sending forth other productions of a kindred nature to those through which he is so powerfully and yet so quietly molding the heart of the church into the image of Christ.
When writings appear destined, as those under consideration most manifestly are, to exert such a permanent, widely extended and molding influence upon sanctified minds, it becomes one of the most important duties of the friends of truth, to carefully mark their leading, fundamental characteristics, for the purpose of understanding fully the nature of that influence, and determining whether it is, in all respects, in correspondence with the true ideal of what Christianity aims to produce, or whether it is, in any important form, defective in this one respect. If that influence is in full harmony with such aims, the more ascendant it becomes, the greater the gratification of all benevolent minds in view of the fact. If, on the other hand, it is likely to be wanting, in any important respect, and such defects are not distinctly apprehended, the evils resulting will be in proportion to the extent and exclusiveness of that influence.
These remarks will introduce our readers at once, to our fundamental aim in the preparation of this article. The object of every writer, in treating upon any subject, is to shadow forth an ideal in the interior of his own mind in respect to that subject. The aim of Prof. Upham, which is one and the same in all that class of his writings under consideration, is quite manifest. In his own mind, he has formed an ideal of Christian character, in its highest and most perfect form of spiritual development. His fundamental aim is, to shadow forth that ideal and thus to secure its actual realization in Christian experience. To appreciate fully his merits as a writer, to understand the entire tendencies of his spiritual writings, we must first ascertain clearly and distinctly what this ideal is, in all its essential elements, and then compare it with the ideal in respect to the same subject, developed in the scriptures of truth. To attain this one end is our fundamental aim in the preparation of this article. The questions, then, to which we propose to find a definite answer, are the following. What is Professor Upham's ideal of Christian character, in its highest and most perfect form of spiritual development? What are the essential elements of that ideal? How far does this ideal correspond with the "pattern shown us in the mount?" How far do his productions tend to induce in believers a realization of the full scripture form of Christian experience? To these questions, though not in the precise form or order here presented, we shall endeavor to furnish a full and distinct answer.
As preparatory to the attainment of our object, we will here make a few preliminary observations pertaining to the general character of Professor Upham as a spiritual writer.
1. One of the prominent characteristics of his writings deserving special attention, is this. Professor Upham seldom argues a question, either out of the scripture, or by an appeal to reason. To the logical department of our nature, he seldom appeals. On the other hand, he addresses mainly and directly the faculty of intuition. All departments of the various subjects on which he treats, are so clearly and distinctly stated and elucidated, that the reader has a direct and immediate vision of the truth itself. Conviction is induced in his mind, he hardly knows how, or from whence it originated. Yet it is there, and requires no logical demonstrations for its confirmation. This certainly is a very great excellence in a writer. Though not the only form of excellence which the church needs in her various teachers of truth, it is one of the highest and most important possessed by any. The church needs her logicians as well as seers, her Pauls as well as Johns. Yet the class of readers who will be most pleased with writers of the latter character, will always, perhaps, be the most numerous.
2. Throughout the writings of Professor Upham of the class under consideration we seldom find what can properly be denominated positive error. He invariably almost brings the mind in direct contact with important truth. Error, if it ever appears, is rather negative than positive, and consists either in not presenting each particular truth from the great central position from which all truth should be contemplated, or in inducing the impression that the whole truth, when only a part of it, has been presented. This feature of his writings will be particularly noticed in subsequent parts of this article.
3. Few writers possess the power of stating and elucidating with great perspicuity and distinctness the important practical truths and principles of Christianity in greater perfection than Professor Upham. We might cite many examples in elucidation of this remark. One, however, must suffice. It relates to the true idea of an answer from God to our petitions, when we pray to Him. The extract is taken from "The Life of Faith," chapter seventeenth, on the doctrine of receiving by faith." Every Christian," he says, "who humbly and sincerely addresses his Maker, may reasonably expect an answer."
It does not well appear how a perfectly just and holy Being could impose on his creatures the duty of prayer, without recognizing the obligation of returning an answer of some kind. In making this remark, we imply, of course, that the prayer is a sincere one. An insincere prayer, just so far as insincerity exists, is not entitled to be regarded as prayer, in any proper sense of the term. Our first position, therefore, is, that every person, who utters a sincere prayer, may reasonably expect an answer, and that in fact an answer always is given, although it is not always understood and received. And this appears to be entirely in accordance with the Scriptures. “Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek and ye SHALL find; knock and it SHALL be opened unto you. For every one that asketh RECEIVETH; and he that seeketh FINDETH; and to him, that knocketh, it shall be OPENED.”
But it becomes now an important inquiry, What is the true and just answer of God to the petitions of his people? It seems to us that it is, and it cannot be any thing else, than the decision of his own infinitely just and omniscient mind, that he will give to the supplicant or withhold, just as he sees best. In other words, the true answer to prayer is God’s deliberate purpose or will, existing in connection with the petition and all the circumstances of the petition. But some will say, perhaps, that on this system we sometimes get our answer, without getting what we ask for; and that God’s decision may not correspond with our own desire. But this objection is met by a moment’s consideration of the nature of prayer. There never was true prayer, there never can be true prayer, which does not recognize, either expressly or by implication, an entire submission to the divine will. The very idea of prayer implies a right on the part of the person to whom the prayer is addressed, either to give or to withhold the petition. And the existence of such a right on the part of God implies a correlative obligation on the other party to submit cheerfully to his decisions. To ask absolutely, without submission to God’s will, is not to pray, but to demand. A demand is as different from true prayer, as a humble request is from an imperative order. A request God always regards; he always treats it with kindness and justice; but a demand cannot be properly addressed to Him, nor can it properly be received by Him. The true model of the spirit of supplication, even in our greatest necessities, is to be found in the Savior’s prayer at the time of his agony in the garden. “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” True prayer, therefore, that prayer, which can be suitably addressed to the Supreme Being, and that which it is suitable for an imperfect and limited mind to offer, always involves the condition, whether it be expressed or not, that the petition is agreeable to the divine will. This condition is absolutely essential to the nature of the prayer. There is no acceptable prayer, there is no true prayer without it. Such being the nature of the prayer, the answer to the prayer will correspond to it, viz., it will always be the decision of the divine mind, whatever that decision may be, made up in view of the petition, and of all the attendant circumstances." — pp. 185 — 87.
We are now prepared to state distinctly what is our conception of Professor Upham's ideal of Christian character in its highest state of spiritual development, or what are the essential elements of that ideal. Every where his object is to elucidate his own internal conception of what he denominates the "interior life," and the "life of faith." The question is, what are his conceptions of the essential elements of this inward, new and divine life?
The grand characteristic of his ideal of this "interior life" is this, a union of the human with the divine WILL. The last sentence of the following paragraph from Catharine Adorna presents this thought, as it every where seems to lie in Professor Upham's mind.
"I have long seen," she remarked on a certain occasion, "I see today, and as my life passes, I see more and more clearly, that all happiness is in God alone. I am aware that there is a sort of happiness which may perhaps be called happiness by participation; that is to say, by participating or sharing in the gifts of God, in distinction from God Himself. But I am certain that this happiness, however much it may be valued by many minds, is not, and can not be, the satisfying food of sanctified souls. The holy desire to possess God as He is; just as He is; pure as He is; and all that He is.' A possession which can be secured only by a perfect union of the human will with the divine will; and to such an extent that the perception of all other joy shall be merged and lost in the joy which flows from the consciousness of this union." — Catherine Adorna, p. 81.
The same idea we find expressed with equal distinctness in the following paragraph from the Life of Faith:
Religion, in its highest sense, implies an entire union with the will of God. The true food of our souls is God's commandment, which is only another name for God's will. A desire of any thing, and complacency in any thing, which does not place God's will first, is infidelity to God's claims. Holy joy is not a thing, which comes by volition; but by a necessary law. If our hearts are right with God, such joy will always come in its appropriate place; not because it is called or willed, but because it can not help coming. It is a thing which flows from holiness as from its natural fountain. The truly crucified man, therefore, is right in seeking the fountain first. Holiness is something which must be desired and sought for itself; something, which must stand, independently of its pleasant results, first in the mind's eye, first in the heart's affections." — pp. 249 — 50.
We might multiply, to any extent, quotations in which the same thought is expressed. Those who have read Professor Upham's works understandingly, will not fail to recognize this one thought as the great central element of his ideal of a truly spiritual character and life, in their highest state of development. From this great central position, we are fully prepared to understand and appreciate other ideas and forms of instruction found in the different productions of our author. His object throughout, seems to be one and the same, to wit, to show — how this divine union may be consummated — what is its nature — and what is the state of the soul, when its entire being is brought under the influence of this divine union; in other words, when it has attained to a state of entire sanctification. No one, as it appears to us, can fully understand, or appreciate Professor Upham as a spiritual writer, who does not contemplate his productions from the central position now under consideration. We will then, from this stand-point, proceed to elucidate the manner in which our author develops this great subject.
1. The union of which we are speaking, between the human and the divine will is affected in the first instance, by an act of voluntary consecration on the part of the creature, an act implying a full and entire renunciation and abandonment of every thing, on the one hand, which is, in any respects, opposed to the divine will, and in the equally supreme consecration of our entire being, on the other, to the control of the divine will. This act of consecration must be attended by a corresponding act of faith, that God in faithfulness to his own plighted word, does cordially and graciously accept of the act itself, and of us, in putting it forth.
It would seem from what has been said, that the sanctification of the heart, and all those various blessings which are involved in sanctification, depend, if not exclusively, yet certainly in a great degree, upon two leading principles; FIRST, an entire consecration of ourselves to God, and, SECONDLY, a full and unwavering belief that the consecration is accepted.
Upon this second principle, which has already been briefly referred to on a former occasion, we propose to say something further in the present chapter. In making a consecration to God in the manner which has been indicated, we take a step, which, considered in any point of view, may be regarded as absolutely necessary. It is not enough, however, to offer all. In the same spirit of reliance on God, we must also BELIEVE THAT ALL IS ACCEPTED
lt is the belief that God is faithful to his word; and that, in accordance with his word, he will receive and does now receive all that unreservedly lay themselves upon his altar, which seems especially to secure the presence of a sanctifying efficacy. On the contrary, he who consecrates himself to God, however sincere he may be in the act of consecration, but who greatly dishonors the veracity of God by remaining without the faith of ACCEPTANCE, deprives himself of that mighty power, which faith alone is capable of imparting, and necessarily lies prostrate and exposed to all the dreadful attacks of the adversary." — Interior Life, pp. 61 — 62.
Again, he says:
The first step in the process of inward salvation, is to consent to be saved; or what is practically the same thing, to submit or consent to give ourselves up to God, in the act of unreserved and perpetual consecration, to be his, in his own way, time, manner and degree, for ever. This is a principle which is necessary in the beginning, and is equally necessary in the continuance of the inward life. We can not begin to live without it; we can not continue to live without it. This is the very point where thousands and thousands have stopped, and have thus incurred evils and sufferings which they seemed unable to account for, and still less able to remove." — Catharine Adorna, p. 29.
No sentiment is more abundantly insisted on, and more fully and distinctly elucidated, throughout the entire spiritual writings of Professor Upham than this, entire consecration attended with implicit faith in the divine faithfulness in receiving the creature thus consecrating himself, and thus confiding in the divine trustworthiness, as the irreversible condition of union with God. Nor can this sentiment ever be urged with too great frequency and force upon all who would attain to this state.
2. Our author's conception of the state into which the mind is introduced, when this union is affected, and its results consummated in actual experience, next claims our attention. Various terms and phrases are used to express the peculiarities of this state, such as "the excision and crucifixion of the natural life," “inward quietude or stillness,” and “interior annhilation or nothingness." But what are the peculiarities of the state designated by such language? The most striking and peculiar characteristic of this state, if we have apprehended our author's meaning is, that to such a mind, but one object is truly and practically real, to wit, the will of God. To all things else the mind is so perfectly crucified, that they have ceased even to be objects of desire, excepting when contemplated as objects of the divine will and desire. Every sentiment and feeling of the mind is concentrated in one, to wit, thy will be done. To all things else iti s in a state of almost if not quite absolute indifference. Speaking of Madame Adorna, he says, that in her mature experience, she affirmed to an individual who was conversing with her upon the joys of heaven, "that she had ceased to have any specific desire of heaven, and that she had even ceased to desire any thing and every thing else."
Or rather, that she desired only one thing, namely, that her will might be lost in the will of God. And as she felt that this desire was accomplished by the loss of her will in the divine will, she could still more truly say, she desired nothing.
Marabotti, (for that was the name of the person to whom we have referred) reminded her, that desire was a natural principle; intimating in the remark, that she ought not to consider its existence as inconsistent with holiness of heart. But her greater religious experience enabled her to make distinctions, which others, who have not had an equal depth of experience, find it difficult to do. She knew well enough, that natural desires, when kept true to their original designs, are good. In other words, that they are good, and can be good, only in being authorized, sustained, and sanctified by the God of nature. And accordingly she did not mean to be understood, that she had ceased to desire in the absolute sense, which would be an impossibility; but that through divine grace, the natural desires, considered as distinct subjects of inward consciousness, had become virtually extinct and lost, by being merged and lost in the desires and will of God. In this sense every holy person not only ought to be enabled to say; but is, in fact, enabled to say, and be does say, in his heart and in his life, at least, that he has no desires." — Catharine Adorna, pp. 81 — 82.
Again he says:
From the time to which we have referred, she may be said, in a certain sense, (in a sense true but exceedingly liable to be misunderstood,) to have ceased to exercise desire. Even heaven itself, regarded as an object of desire, had lost much of its power. That is to say, she ceased, in a considerable degree, to think of heaven and to desire heaven, considered as a distant locality; and she saw and felt more distinctly the power of that higher and blessed doctrine, that the true heaven is the will of God; and that to be in the will of God is to be in heaven, though that will may place us where we shall be witnesses of others' sorrows, and shall feel deeply our own. It may be added, that she was not alone in her views and feelings. — Life of Madame Catharine Adorna, p. 80.
In this state also, the mind becomes alike indifferent to its own present subjective states. Equally acceptable to it, is internal joy and sorrow, or external prosperity or affliction. Speaking of "the true idea of interior annihilation or nothingness," he says:
Another and remarkable characteristic of this state of mind is this. He, who is the subject of it, is dead and crucified to all internal joys also, as well as to all pleasures and joys of an external kind. He has no sympathy with those, who are always crying, "Make me happy." “Pay me well and I will be holy." Personal happiness, as a supreme or even a separate object of desire, never enters his thought. It makes no difference what the form of that happiness is, whether pleasures of the senses or pleasures of the mind. He is willing to abandon and sacrifice even the pure and sublime pleasure, almost the only consolation left him in this sad world, which flows from communion with those, who, like himself, are sanctified to God. His true happiness consists in hanging upon the Cross, and in being crucified to self. Whether he is tempted or not tempted, interiorly and in the bottom of his heart he can say, all is well. Whether he suffers or does not suffer, the throne of peace is erected in the centre of his soul. Wretchedness and joy are alike. He welcomes sorrow, even the deepest sorrow of the heart, with as warm a gush of gratitude as he welcomes happiness, IF THE WILL OF GOD IS ACCOMPLISHED. In that will his soul is lost, as in a bottomless ocean." — Interior Life, p. 467.
Again he says in the Life of Faith, "those who are the subjects of inward crucifixion, do not seek, and do not value inward consolations in themselves considered."
To such a mind also, the fact of its own holiness, has ceased to any conscious extent to be an object of distinct desire or of inward joy or consolation. Speaking in the Life of Faith of "inward crucifixion," he uses the following language:
But perhaps the most decisive mark of the truly crucified man is, that he is crucified even to holiness itself. That is to cay, he desires God only, seeks God only, is satisfied and can be satisfied with God only, in distinction from those truly spiritual gifts or graces, which God by his Holy Spirit imparts to the soul. The truly devout man, for instance, exercises penitence, submission, gratitude, forgiveness, and other Christian graces on their appropriate occasions; and he has great reason to be thankful to God that he is enabled to do it. But if in some moment of inward forgetfulness, of religious "irrecollection," if we may so term it, he turns the thoughts and interests of his heart from God to the graces which God gives, and begins to take complacency in his religious exercises, and to be happy in his holiness and to love his holiness, instead of a fixed and exclusive love for the Author of his holiness, I think we may confidently say, he is no longer a man dead to self, no longer in the proper sense of the terms a man inwardly crucified. "The purer our gifts are," says Fenelon, “the more jealous God is of our appropriating or directing them to ourselves. The most eminent graces are the most deadly poisons, if we rest in them and regard them with complacency. It is the sin of the fallen angels. They only turned to themselves, and regarded their state with complacency. At that instant they fell from heaven, and became the enemies of God." — Life of Faith p. 250, 251.
In this state, also, love to creatures, excepting through God's will, and as the object of divine love has wholly ceased. This idea is set forth in the following extract from Catharine Adorna.
"A soul, that ceases from its own desires by making them in harmony with God, is at rest in itself, but it does not follow that it is either insentient or inactive in relation to others. Hear the language of Madame Adorna herself, on this very subject, and in relation to this very point. "Thou hast commanded me, my Father," she said at a certain time, “to love my neighbor. But I find myself so drawn towards the great centre of my affections, that I can only love Thee. I can not endure the thought, that any other being should divide and share in that love, which is now given to one alone. And what, then, shall I do?” It will be seen, at once, that the very difficulty, which we have been considering, was present to her own mind. The fear suggested itself, that her union with God might be adverse to a suitable degree of active love for her neighbor. She carried the matter to the Lord with that simplicity of spirit and that faith which were so characteristic of her intercourse with her heavenly Father. Her biographer informs us, that God gave her an interior answer. Of the nature of this inward answer, and of the nature of inward answers generally, we shall probably have occasion to speak in another place.
“In the present case, the answer which the Lord gave her, was this: ‘He who love me loves all that I love.’ Here, it is evident, that we have a great truth in the administration and management of things, which it ls exceedingly pleasing to contemplate. God, as the great centre and governor, is interested in the welfare of all; He loves all; and will do and is doing all that He possibly can, consistently with truth and rectitude, for the good of all. Those who love Him, will naturally and necessarily sympathize with his love; their affections will run in the direction of the divine affections; and if God loves man, as be obviously does, then the man, who is born into God's image, will love his neighbor. In other words, if our love exists in the Central Love, and is made one with it, then our love, in the measure and degree which is appropriate to our inferior nature, will spread out from the centre through the infinitely various radii, which fill up the vast circle of God's love. The love of our neighbor is not so much love, diminished and taken way from the love of God, as some may perhaps suppose; but, is the same thing; is the love of God itself, manifested in a particular way. Such love is free from any intermixture of self; and is sometimes expressed by saying, that we love God’s creatures IN God and FOR God." — Catharine Adorna, pp. 102-103.
Another of the characteristic elements of this state, is, the frequent experience of the "prayer of silence." As the soul has ceased to have any specific objects of desire distinct from the will of God, as all its desires, wishes and choices are exclusively centered in one all-concentrating desire and choice, that God's will may in all respects, and relatively to all objects and events, be done, and as it is an ever-present reality to the mind that the will of God ever has been, now actually is, and ever will be thus done, hence it is, that when the sanctified heart is drawn, as it commonly is, into direct and distinct conscious harmony with this one infinite reality, it has, and can have really no specific or special desires, and consequently no specific objects of prayer. It is held in a state of fixed and devout contemplation, with an inability to give expression to but one sentiment, and one desire, to wit, "thy will be divine." This is what our author denominates, "the prayer of silence." This form of prayer is thus described in the Life of Madame Guyon:
“Every body knows, or is supposed to know, what is meant by silent prayer. It is prayer of the ordinary kind, with the single exception, that it is prayer in words unspoken. But the PRAYER OF SILENCE as the phrase is used in the higher experimental writers, is a prayer which is too deep for words. It is a state of the soul, which does not speak, because it has nothing to say. It has a consciousness of having God; and in the fullness and riches of its possession, it rests, it is silent, it asks nothing more. Having God, what is it possible for it to seek and to ask more than it now has? The reception of God's will, and delight in it, is the inmost throb and life of Its life. That will is infinitely wise, unchangeable and eternal. It can not more change than God can change. And those who are perfectly in that will, by spiritual union, rest in it, just as God rests in it. And God, whose ceaseless activity always terminates in an object, which is fixed and established, because it is the expression of his own unchangeable will, has a rest perfect and eternal.
"We have here the principle of the prayer. The soul, in its principle or life, may be in perfect union with God; and yet, from time to time it may be practically distracted and troubled with the cares, the pressures, and the trials of the world. When these distractions and cares cease, it returns to God in the exercise of spiritual recollection; thus placing God not only really but consciously in the centre. And in the high state of experience of which we are now speaking, the soul enters into communion with Him not by formal prayer, which specifies consecutively its petitions, but by the prayer of silence, which, soaring above the rest and the trial, the joy and the sorrow of time, which are good or evil only in reference to the imperfections of the human view of things, rests calmly with God Himself in God's place of rest, the Eternal Will. So strong is the instinct of the holy soul for this place of divine repose, that the lips are sometimes closed almost involuntarily. Its prayer is summed up in one word, THY WILL BE DONE; and believing.without a doubt, that this will, as each moment passes, is and must be done either into its positive or permissive forms, and having therefore its supplication fulfilled in the very act of supplicating, its prayer almost necessarily assumes the form of adoration without words; it rests in God and is silent.” — Madam Guyon, Vol. I. pp. 246-348
In the Interior Life the same state is thus described:
“The state of mind, of which we are speaking, appears to be disclosed in one of the short prayers, that are found in Fenelon's Pious Reflections; a part of which is as follows.
“O Lord, I know not what I should ask of Thee. Thou only knowest what I want; and Thou lovest me, if I am thy friend, better than I can love myself. O Lord, give to me, thy child. what is proper, whatsoever it may be. I dare not ask either crosses or comforts. I only present myself before Thee. I open my heart to Thee. Behold my wants, which I am ignorant of; but do Thou behold and do according to Thy mercy. Smite, or heal! Depress me, or raise me up! I adore all Thy purposes, without knowing them. I am silent; I offer myself in sacrifice.” — Interior Life, p. 458.
As the entire being, in this state, is in perfect harmony with an object which is ever one and unchangeable, to wit, the will of God, interior experience is alike uniform, amid every conceivable variety of condition. The following extract from the Interior Life, presents our author's view of this form of Christian experience.
The religious state of Madam Guyon, in the latter part of her life, illustrates this form of Christian experience." "In these last times," she says, " I can hardly speak at all of my dispositions. It is because my state has become simple and without variations. It is a profound annihilation. I find nothing in myself to which I can give a name; [that is, no feelings so specific and remarkable, separate from this simplicity and this loss of self in God, as to enable me to describe them.] All that I know is, that God is infinitely holy, righteous, good, and happy." — All good is in Him. As to myself, I am a mere NOTHING. To me every condition seems equal. All is lost in his immensity, like a drop of water in the sea. In this divine immensity the soul sees itself no more."
In that state of internal experience, which is described by Madame Guyon, there seems to be a perfect balance and harmony of the different parts of the mind. There may be deep feeling, (and there is in reality very deep feeling,) but it is so perfectly controlled by a sense of union with the will of God, that the result is complete simplicity and rest of soul." — Interior Life, p. 459.
From what has been said, it would follow, as a matter of course, that this state would be mainly contemplative rather than discursive, even in reference to the attributes of God. Such is the light in which it is regarded by our author. He says:
"The mind, in the state of union with God, is disposed to indulge in subdued and affectionate acts of contemplation, rather than in examinative and discursive or reasoning acts. It is undoubtedly the case, that the mind may remain fixed upon God and may be in a certain sense united to Him, in what may variously be called a perceptive, reflective, or discursive manner; that is to say, engaged in a perceptive or speculative view of Him, occupied in the critical examination of his various attributes, his justice, wisdom and goodness, or something of the kind. But something more than this kind of union is implied in the state of mind, which we are now speaking of. The examinative or discursive state of the mind implies the presence of God to the intellect merely; the contemplative state, although not altogether excluding an intellectual view, implies his presence to the heart. An it is on this ground that we make the remark that the mind in the state of divine union is rather contemplative, than perceptive snd examinative." — Interior Life, p. 478, 479.
The pervading characteristic of this state will be that of uninterrupted internal quietness. The soul has found its fixed and changeless centre, and there it remains in almost unconscious, yet blissful fixedness. All objects and events are either directly or permissively accordant with the divine will, and as the soul in all its desires, feelings, sentiments and choices vibrates only to that will as its fixed and changeless centre, nothing within or without can transpire to disturb its perfect quietude. For this reason, those who have attained to this state have been denominated Quietists.
Yet Quietists are not inactive. On the other hand, as the energies of the divine will are continually employed in rolling over the universe a ceaseless tide of blessedness, so the Quietist, in harmonizing with that will, is under an all-constraining and sweetly compelling influence, so to speak, ever drawing forth his energies in good will to all, and in acts of beneficence to the sons and daughters of affliction, and especially in efforts for the sanctification of the church and the salvation of sinners. Speaking of the objection often urged that the state of mind under consideration, tends to inaction, Prof. Upham says:
“But a little examination can hardly fail to place all such erroneous views in a right position. The doctrine to which we have referred as having been maintained by many pious and learned persons in various periods of the church, is not that of an absolute extinction of the desires in any case; but when rightly understood, is the simple and important doctrine of a right position of them, namely, a just position relatively to the will of God. In other words, a holy soul is not destitute of desires; but its desires, instead of being divergent to every point of attraction from the world, the flesh, and the devil, are made identical with, and are lost in the divine desire, the divine will. It is not true, therefore, that such a soul ceases to desire; but it is true, that in the present state it desires, in particular cases, through the medium and under the control of its general desire for God's glory. Can it be possible, that such a soul, that such a person, simply because his desires have assumed a just and sanctified position, can fail to act, and to act energetically for his fellow men, when he has before himself, and when he deeply feels the mighty motive of God's express command? Let it be true, if you please, that the whole Christian world ceases to act from this moment, except from the single motive of God's will, and would there be less of watchfulness for the salvation of men, less of prayer, or less of any thing, which constitutes the truth, the power, and the unity of Christian effort?
“Certain it is, that, in the case of Madame Catharine Adorna, so often cited by different writers in the controversy just now referred to, under the name of Catharine of Genoa, notwithstanding her avowed opinion that in the sanctided person all human desire is merged and virtually lost as a distinct principle of action in its unity with the divine will, she felt, and prayed, and labored, (I think I may say with much reason to the very extent of her capability,) for man's good and man's salvation. It was God's will, whether revealed in his word or his Providences, which sounded to her holy heart like the voice of a trumpet. As a human being, as a woman touched with woman's sympathies, she might have desired, and undoubtedly did desire, the good of her fellow-belngs. But what was the human motive to the divine? What was the impulse of human sympathy, which, considered separately from the divine will, might have been right and might have been wrong, according to the circumstances of the case, compared with God's command? No more than earth to heaven, no more than time to eternity, no more than the finite to the infinite. She could not estimate it, nor think of it; she counted it less than a drop to the ocean." — Catherine Adorna, p. 99 — 101.
Our quotations relative to this department of our enquiries have been quite lengthy, because we desired to give our readers full opportunity to understand the views of our author in respect to it. Hereafter we may be more concise in our statements as well as citations.
3. We have now stated our author's view of the manner of attaining this state, together with its essential elements when attained. The inquiry which next arises pertains to the process through which the mind, according to him, must pass after the union between the human and the divine will has been effected and before its final results are consummated, in the form of experience above elucidated. This process needs to be distinctly developed in our minds, in order to a full understanding of our author's ideal of the Christian life. This process, which in some may be of shorter, and in others of longer continuance, consists in a painful crucifixion of the various forms and elements of what he denominates “the life of nature," in other words, of our natural and unsanctified propensities, till our entire being, our intellect, sensibility and will are all subdued into full harmony with the divine will. In Madame Guyon, for example, this process of inward crucifixion was of many year's continuance, before it was fully consummated in the entire extinction of the "life of nature." In Catharine Adorna it was of much shorter continuance. In all, however, it is attended with pain and suffering, properly denominated a crucifixion. He says:
“A soul right with God, is a soul crucified. A soul right with God, is a soul, which, in having undergone a painful death to every worldly tie, is a soul, which may be described, in the figurative sense, as being nailed to the cross. The crucifixion of the outward life, by a separation from outward error, and by doing right outwardly, is of far less consequence, in itself considered, and far less painful than the crucifixion of the inward life by doing and being right inwardly.— Life of Faith, p. 243.
Again he says:
"The term crucifixion implies suffering. The crucifixion of our inward nature can not take place without the experience of suffering. The suffering which we experience, is mental, and is analogous to that, which we experience at any and all times, when our desires are crossed and disappointed. It is the pain or suffering of ceasing to be what we have been by nature, and what by nature we have loved to be. A desire, a love, a passion, disappointed of its object, is always a sufferer. Such is the natural law in the case. And the intensity of the pain will be in proportion to the intensity of the passion. If we loved the world with but little strength, if we were bound to it but by slight adhesion, the process, which sunders this attachment, and disappoints this love, would give but slight pain. But bound as we are in fact with a tie which reaches forth from the heart to its object with the first moment of life, and which grows stronger and stronger with every pulsation, until it embodies, if we may so express it, the whole strength of the soul, the pain of separation, which corresponds to the strength of the previous attachment, is keen and intense indeed. The suffering of a parent, who sees all his attachments and hopes expiring in the death of a beloved child, are not keener. Hence in experiencing the new inward life, we are said to be crucified to that which went before; not only because we die to it, but because in dying to it we suffer.” — Life of Faith — pp. 244 — 245.
4. We have reserved for a distinct topic of consideration, our element of our author's ideal of the "interior life," an element, which might properly have been included under a former division of the subject. We have done this for the reason that we desire to have special attention directed to this one point. We refer to Prof. Upham's idea of the manner in which the will of God is in a pre-eminent degree revealed to the sanctified mind. Such a mind finds the will of God mainly in Providence. It lives and acts according to the divine will because it lives and acts according to the order of providence, sweetly acquiescing in all that occurs, and being controlled by it, as a revelation of the divine will. Daily duties arise from the daily orderings of Providence. Every event of life should be contemplated as a part of the orderings of Providence, and consequently, as a special revelation of of the divine will to us. The inward teachings and suggestions of the Spirit can be rightly interpreted, only as they are contemplated in the light of the providences of God, as they occur from moment to moment. Much, if not all that he has written upon this subject may be read with great profit by all truly spiritual minds.
As a specimen of his manner of presenting this subject, we adduce a single extract from the Interior Life. After laying down the proposition, that " We can not as a general thing arrive at the true interpretation and import of the inward suggestions of the Holy Spirit, except by connecting with them, and considering them in their relation to God' s outward providences,” he expresses in a subsequent paragraph, the following sentiments.
"The mind of God, as it is disclosed in his providences, and the mind of the Holy Spirit, as it reveals itself in the soul are one; and consequently in their different developments from time to time can never be at variance, but will always be in harmony with each other. And not only this, they have a relation to each other which is mutually and positively illuminative. They throw light, the one upon the other. Certain it is that the mind of the Spirit, in all cases of mere practical action and duty, can not, as a general thing, be clearly and definitely ascertained, except in connection with providential dispensations. Such dispensations are the outward light, which corresponds to and throws a reflex illumination upon the inward light And this is so general a law of the divine operation, that persons, who are truly led by the Spirit of God, are generally and perhaps always found to keep an open eye upon the divine providences, as important and true interpreters of the inward spiritual leadings. And accordingly we find the following expressions in the Life of Madame Guyon. "My soul could not incline itself on the one side or the other, since that another will had taken the place of its own; but only nourished itself with the daily providences of God. And again, "the order of divine providence makes the whole rule and conduct of a soul entirely devoted to God. While it faithfully gives itself up thereto, it will do all things right and well, and will have every thing it wants, without its own care; because God, in whom it confides, makes it every moment do what He requires. God loves what is of his own order." — Interior Life, pp. 372-373.
This view of the relation of the sanctified mind to the external providences of God, has induced, we judge. a conception of the peculiar relations which God sustains to such minds in the advanced stages of sanctification, a conception developed in an article recently published in the Guide to Holiness. "In the higher states of sanctification," he says, "the soul ceases to place limits to God, and to assign to Him a locality. To the view of Christians, in the more ordinary or common state of experience, God is a “Being afar off.” “They scarce ever think of Him, except as a being, not only having a form, but a definite and distant locality." He then, in the following language, shadows forth the view which Christians "in the higher states of sanctification” have of God. Our readers will be greatly interested and profited in the perusal of the extract.
"There is a period, however, in the process of sanctification, when God is gradually withdrawn from this position, and ceases to be either limited or local. At this period, the well-defined and impressive image, which had been present to our thoughts for many years, becomes more and more indistinct, more and more remote from us, until it entirely disappears. But this withdrawment of God from a particular locality, which at first is perplexing and trying, is followed by his substitution and re-appearance to the eye of faith, not exclusively in any one place or thing, but in all things and all places;— in every tree, and plant and rock, and flower; in every star, in the wandering moon, in the floating cloud, in the wide and deep sea,— in insects and birds, and the wild beasts of the mountain,— in men, who more than any thing else, bear the image of God; — and in all events, as well as in all things.
“The idea which we have of God under these circumstances, may be described as a general one, and perhaps as an indistinct or indefinite one. It is necessarily wanting in that clear and definite outline, which characterizes that restricted and inadequate idea of God, which represents Him to the mind’s eye as having a particular form and a particular place. The true idea, that which reveals Him without the limitations of form and place, is indistinct in the sense of being without definite bounds, but not in the sense of its being unreal, and is general without being weakened by its unlimited extent. Without, assigning God to any one thing or place, it recognizes Him, rejoices in Him, and receives Him in all. Happy is the man, whose heart is so purified that it is thus brought into unity with a God universal.
“To him who has this deeper insight and this higher unity, God breathes in the vernal zephyr, and shines brightly in the summer's sun; he sees Him moulding and painting the fruits of autumn, and sending the hoar-frosts and piling up the snows of winter; all inanimate nature is full of Him. He sees God also in what is ordinarily called the work of men's hands. It is God that spreads his pillow — it is God that builds his house — it is God that ploughs his fields — it is God that sells for him and buys for him; God gives him pain and sends him joy — smites him when he is sick, and heals him when be gets well. And what God does for Himself, He does also for others, and for communities. It is God that builds up and puts down — that makes kings and makes subjects — that builds up one nation and destroys another — that binds the chains of the captive and gives liberty to the free — that makes war and makes peace. All men, and princes and nations are in his hands like clay in the hands of the potter. His eternal will, which never has changed, and never can change, dashes them to pieces, or fashions them to everlasting life. All things are his sin only excepted, and sin is sin, because it is not of God. Whatever is not of God is of the devil — and whatever is of the devil is sin.
"What blessed results would follow, if all men had that faith which deprives God of form, and displaces Him from a particular locality, in order that being without form, He may attach Himself to all forms, and that being without place, He may be found present in all places. Such a faith, if it would not at once carry us up to the New Jerusalem, would do that which amounts to much the same thing — it would bring the New Jerusalem down to earth, and would expand its golden walls and gates to the limits of the world and of the universe." — Guide to Holiness, Vol. iii. pp. 121-123
For ourselves, we can not but regard as a still higher view than that to which our author seems to have attained, a conception which, to some extent, unites in one the two views above presented, of the relations of God, as manifested to the sanctified mind, a view which does not assign to God any special or even an indefinite form, (for we do not think that Christians generally attach the idea of form to God,) but which, while it contemplates Him as manifested in all objects and events, according to Prof. Upham's most interesting and delightful representation, yet thinks of some locality where the glory of God is in a special manner manifested, and towards which therefore sanctified minds are drawn with aspirations unutterable. "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.” 2 Cor 5:1, 2.
We have now fully developed our conceptions of Prof. Upham's ideal of" the interior life," in the highest form ever realized in Christian experience, the form realized in those who by divine grace, are "wholly sanctified." It now remains to compare this ideal with our apprehensions of that developed in the scriptures of truth. As we have already intimated, if there is any defect in the ideal of Prof. Upham, it pertains mainly to a want of completeness, rather than to any positive elements of error which he has introduced into it. We can not but think, that there is in it this incompleteness in the following important particulars:
1. If we may judge from his writings, the idea of redemption through Christ, and a union with God conditioned and consequent upon a prior deliverance from the penalty and power of sin, and the attainment of perfect internal purity, through faith in Christ, does not possess that distinctness of development, in Prof. Upham's mind, that it evidently does in the minds and hearts of the writers of the New Testament. They talk much of a union with God. "I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." " And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." But how is this union "according to the pattern shown in the mount," to be effected? and what is its nature, when consummated? "I in them and thou in me, that they may be one in us." "No man cometh to the Father BUT BY ME. These writers, also, talk much of faith. The form of faith, however, of which they speak, is " faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ," and faith in God as " in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." They speak of sanctification by faith; but it is sanctification through faith in Christ. They often speak of a victory over the world, the flesh and the devil; but it is a victory obtained "through the blood of the Lamb, and the word of his testimony." "Who is He that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” The great central position from which the entire circle of divine truth was contemplated by them was the cross of Christ, and the mysteries of the incarnation. The burden of all their discourses and epistles was to "make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you the hope of glory."
Now every one familiar with the writings of Prof. Upham can not fail, as it appears to us, to have noticed the fact that such a central position as this Christ does not occupy in those writings. How seldom does even the name of Christ appear in them, and especially the idea of redemption specifically through faith in Him. In the chapter in the Interior Life, containing directions to aid in the attainment of holiness," for example, we find but two and those incidental allusions to Christ; while the idea of sanctification through faith in Him, is not even referred to. In giving Christians counsel how to overcome temptation, we should suppose the idea of victory through the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony would be the absorbing theme. We will present our readers with all that he says upon the subject, when speaking specifically upon it.
"Of the manner in which we are to meet and resist temptations.
"Perhaps no period of religious life, even that in which the soul ls most advanced, is free from temptation. The Savior Himself was tempted. Temptations may be met and resisted in two ways. One way is to give them our whole attention; to meet and resist them in a direct contest. But such are the laws of mind, that when we meet the temptation in this way, we necessarily withdraw the soul from that entire sympathy and union with God which should ever be its principle occupation.
“The other method is, to turn away the mind from the contemplation of the evil in its outward form, and to keep it fixed, if possible, still more closely and watchfully upon God. A little child on perceiving a monster, does not wait to fight with it; and will scarcely turn its eyes toward it; but quickly shrinks into the bosom of its mother, in entire confidence of safety; so likewise should the soul turn from the dangers of temptation to her God. ‘God is in the midst of her,' saith the Psalmist, 'she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.' Ps. 45: 5.
"If we do otherwise, and in our weakness attempt to attack our enemies, we shall frequently feel ourselves wounded, if not totally defeated; but, by casting ourselves into the simple presence of God, in the exercise of faith, we shall find instant supplies of strength for our support. This was the succor sought for by David. 'I have set,' saith he, ‘the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall rest in hope.' Ps. 16: 8, 9. And it is said in Exodus 'The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.' " — Madam Guyon, Vol. I, pp. 391-392.
Now we can not but regard such a fact as that under consideration, as indicating a manifest defect in the ideal of what constitutes the essential elements of the "interior life" or rather perhaps in the mode of presenting that ideal to the world.
Were we to present in full contrast Prof. Upham's ideal of the Life of Faith, with that presented in the Bible, we would take the following passage of scriptures, as the basis of our illustration: "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That He would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man: That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend, with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fullness of God." — Eph. 3:14 — 19. The reader will carefully notice the process through which the soul is here represented as being conducted to a union with God. In the first instance, it is strengthened and enlarged in its capacities for the purpose of receiving Christ as an indwelling God and Savior. It thus becomes confirmed in the exercise of love, and is thereby enabled to comprehend "the breadth and length, and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge." The result is a union with God in which the soul is filled with all the divine fullness. Now the writings of Prof. Upham seem to conduct the reader directly to this last idea, the idea of a union with God, without distinctly developing in his mind the prior steps above presented through which alone this blessed consummation can be attained.
2. We are also impressed with the conviction, that the Word of God has not that prominent, central position in the writings of Prof. Upham, that it should have in the heart of the believer. The grand object of the faith, and the source of the victory of the saints, is "the blood of the Lamb, and the WORD OF HIS TESTIMONY. Sanctified minds meet God, and learn his will, and enter into endearing intercommunion with Him in his providences. Yet the dwelling place of their souls, and the main objects of their faith is the written word. Spiritual writings of the most perfect form will conduct the reader to this great center, and induce him to interpret external providences themselves in the light of its divine teachings.
Now in the writings of Prof. Upham, as it appears to us, the idea of providence, and of union with God and harmony with his will, as manifested in providence, and of a life of holiness conformed to the order of providence, is presented with a prominency which tends to prevent the revealed word occupying the pre-eminent place in the sanctified mind which it ought to occupy. The saying of Madame Guyon cited with apparent approbation by our author, that "the order of divine providence makes the whole rule and conduct of a soul entirely devoted to God," should be received with much modification, before it would conform to our conception of "the whole rule and conduct" of such a mind.
The two defects in the writings of Prof. Upham noticed above, are referred to by a writer in the Biblical Repository, in a very interesting and commendatory review of the "Life and Writings of Madame Guyon." We will here cite the paragraph to which we refer.
"Now we challenge no man's acceptance of these notes upon what we have called a good book and a rare character, but in making up our mind in regard to a model of piety like that traced and commented upon in this life of Madame Guyon, how are we to fix upon the meridian of truth, and like a skillful lunarian, te settle upon our right reckoning? Plainly our Nautical Almanac must be the revealed Word of God, and our comparison must be with that. Is, then, this joint product of Madame Guyon and Professor Upham the true model of piety delineated or elementally found there? We answer at once, after all that we have been glad to say so heartily in commendation of this work, that there is in it and the religious writings of Professor Upham generally, though he meaneth not so, too little of Christ, and too much stress laid on self-denial without Christ. Now that the narrative and sympathetic interest excited by a first perusal is over, we can see clearly that there is too much of self and too little of the Word in this good book. And it would hardly be right to let the strain of remark go forth in which we have naturally written, without cautioning the reader to compare this book narrowly with the Bible, and let every man that peruses it bear in mind that there is no genuine holiness, however lovely or grave its aspect, but what comes from Christ as its source and looks to Christ as its example, its end, and its aim." — Biblical Repository, pp. 643-644.
All that Prof. Upham has written in respect to providence, we regard, as we have before said, as true, and of great importance with the exception that the Word should have a more central position in the sanctified mind than he seems to have given it.
3. The want of prominency of the doctrine of the cross in Prof. Upham's view of the gospel has induced him, as we judge, to present as the leading elements of his ideal of Christian character, in its higher and more perfect forms of development, the principles of contemplativeness, internal quietude, and simple acquiescence in providence. These are essential elements of such a character. We cannot but think, however, that they occupy a position somewhat too prominent and exclusive in his representation. A quietist was never made in the presence of the cross. He whose character has been moulded and formed by a full vision of the mysteries of the incarnation, will indeed possess and exhibit "quietness and assurance forever," and this with perfect contentment and acquiescence in the allotments of providence, in every condition in life. Yet that same vision will blend into that character, and render equally prominent and distinctive in it, other elements of a different and opposite, though not of a contradictory nature. In such a character, we shall find harmoniously blended the wisdom of the serpent, and the harmlessness of the dove, the quietness of the lamb, and the boldness of the lion, a child-like simplicity, quietness and acquiescence in providence, and a spirit of stern rebuke of sin, of burning zeal for the truth, and we had almost said of restless activity in spreading it through the world. Such pre-eminently was the character of our great exemplar. He stands revealed to our contemplation as "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world," and at the same time as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah." We are melted into tenderness, as we behold Him "led as a lamb to the slaughter," and at the same time, we are filled with awe and trembling in his presence as " in the greatness of his strength," He comes to us "from Edom, in dyed garments from Bozra."
Such too was the character of his immediate followers who were drawn nearest to his heart, and drank most deeply into his spirit. The beloved disciple, while reposing with dove-like simplicity and sweetness upon his bosom, received while reclining there, a spirit which, without changing the sweet and attractive mildness of his temper, rendered him truly a son of thunder. While the apostles in their intercourse with the churches, were mild and "gentle even as a nurse cherishes her children," they were imbued with a spirit of stern opposition to all forms of wrong doing which induced them to hold themselves in "readiness to revenge all disobedience " of every kind. Thought itself can never represent a form of character so perfect as that which preserves distinct, and yet harmoniously blends into one the diverse and apparently opposite elements under consideration. When either of these extremes is presented as the sum or even leading element of Christian character, we have then, to say the least, a defective view. Such we cannot but regard that presented by Prof. Upham. While we would not present the mature Christian as less contemplative than he does, we would not, as he does, present the element of contemplativeness as inducing in him a disposition not to engage with all his heart and soul, in "imaginative and discursive or reasoning acts." We would not represent him as imbued with a spirit less quiet, acquiescent and submissive; but we would represent him as blending with these, deep thought, intense emotion, earnest zeal, and tireless activity. The perfection of the gospel, in connection with its sovereign efficacy as a remedial system, consists in its perfect adaptation to secure the fullest development, and to bring into the most vigorous and harmonious activity all departments of our mental nature alike.
4. In order to attain to a full apprehension of the ideal of Christian experience as presented in the scriptures, we need, as it appears to us, to connect with all that Prof. Upham has said of the "crucifixion of the life of nature," the idea of the most full and perfect development and strong action of all the mental powers and susceptibilities under the influence of a revelation of "things unseen and eternal" through the word, providence and Spirit of God. The first aim of the gospel is to subdue the varied propensities of our nature, and subject their entire activity to its own pure and divine principles. Its aim then is to give to every department of our mental being the most full and perfect development, and to secure their most energetic and harmonious activity, in the direction of, and subordination to the ends of benevolence. The perfect Christian is as a weaned child in his submission to the will of God and the orderings of his providence. At the same time his powers are brought into a state of intense and tireless activity. He thinks deeply, feels intensely, and acts with the highest energy. Yet all his activity is a perfectly balanced one. When his powers are the most widely expanded to "comprehend the breadth, and length, and depth, and height," when he "rejoices with joy unspeakable, and full of glory,' when fires are burning within him which many waters can not quench, there is still a divine calm in his inner being which renders all his activity deliberate, benign, regulated. Not that he is always in a state of deep emotion, by any means. This we speak of as one of the distinguishing characteristics of his experience. Strong and yet perfectly balanced and regulated action is the highest form of activity of which we can possibly conceive. This is the form which the gospel is pre-eminently adapted to secure. We must contemplate it in its adaptation not only to subdue and harmonize the varied principles of our natures, but to impart to them the most full and perfect development, in order to understand its entire design. In contemplating the gospel in its relations and designs in respect to one department of our nature, the voluntary or moral, for example, we are apt to overlook its adaptations and benign purposes relatively to others.
5. For ourselves, we are not able to assent to all that Prof. Upham has said about the painfulness of the process through which the sanctified soul has been conducted to a state "right with God." The Christian to be sure is "crucified with Christ." We believe however, that when the scriptures apply such language to him, they design to express the fact of his actual deadness to the world, to sin and to "the life of nature," through the cross of Christ, and not the manner of that death, as being either pleasurable or painful. In the unveiled presence of the cross, the life of nature does truly become extinct and crucified in the believer. We can not but think, however, that it is rather by a blissful than by an agonizing process, that this crucifixion takes place. Such is the fact, as realized, to say the least, in the experience of many Christians. The Bible also everywhere speaks of it as the privilege of every Christian to be "kept in perfect peace" from the time of his conversion onward. It charges all care and perplexity, and mental suffering, implying internal unhappiness, not to the expiring agonies of "the life of nature" but to one cause exclusively, a want of faith. "Where is your faith?”
6. Nor do we fully accord with Professor Upham's idea, that the soul in the higher stages of sanctification, in the exercise of love to God, ceases to regard, with interest and strong desire, its own holiness, and present and future blessedness. When we read what he said about the relation of the sanctified mind to its own holiness, we were led at once to contrast his representation with that of Paul in respect to the same subject. "Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." Here one of the principle sources of the blessedness of the believer is represented as consisting in the conscious possession of personal holiness. When we read also that, in the same state, heaven itself ceases to be an object of strong and specific desire, we were again led to contrast such a sentiment with that revealed in the scriptures in respect to the same subject. "Earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven" — "We are saved by hope" — "Which hope we have as an anchor to the soul sure and steadfast, entering into that within the veil" —" To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, and honor, and immortality, eternal life" — "For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country" —" but now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city" — "Which is Christ in you the hope of glory.”
7. Nor does the exercise of love to God render us indifferent to our own blessedness, either present or prospective. To become such, we must cease to know ourselves as capable of good. Such love does render us willing to make, and joyful in making any sacrifices requisite to the promotion of the glory of God, and the higher good of others. If the object surrendered, however, was not, in our esteem, a good to us, and a real good, there would be no virtue in making the sacrifice. Besides, if our own holiness and happiness should cease to be to us objects of interest and desire, those of all other creatures should be also, and we should cease to “rejoice with those that do rejoice and weep with those that weep."
8. We are also constrained to affirm, that in our judgment, Professor Upham, in representing the soul in full harmony with the will of God, as ceasing to will and desire any thing excepting when contemplated as the object of the divine will and desire, has stated only a part of the truth. If an object has an intrinsic value in itself, as all immortal souls have, it should be valued by us for its own sake, as well as an object of the divine will and desire. God also values the soul for its own sake. If our love corresponds with his, as all will admit that it ought to do, we shall value it and desire its good for the same reason that God does. Sympathy with the divine love may increase our interest in such object; but it can not create such interest, when we have ceased to regard it for its own sake. The mind that regards itself or any other immortal being "as nothing," unless the term be used in a highly figurative sense, does not regard it as God does. God did not “spare his own Son but delivered Him up" for "nothing." The thing purchased was well worth the infinite price paid for it. So it should be regarded by us, if we would be "imitators of God."
9. The "prayer of silence" also, as it appears to us, as presented by Professor Upham, occupies a more prominent place in the highest forms of Christian experience, than it does in the Bible representation unless we confine the subject strictly to the aspirations of the Christian relatively to his own subjective states. Relatively to himself the Christian who has found God as the everlasting light of his soul, often feels that he has nothing more to desire or ask. "His cup runneth over." But the same fullness that he enjoys in God, draws out his heart in "strong crying and tears," that the church and the world around him may partake of the same blessedness. The full and entire harmony of the whole being of Christ with the will of God, did not prevent his "groaning in spirit" at the grave of Lazarus, nor weeping over Jerusalem in view of her approaching calamities. Nor does it now prevent his being "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Any view of providence, or of the will of God as accomplished in providence which tends to prevent the continued exercise of a similar spirit in us, does not correspond with the view which God Himself takes of the same subject.
10. We can not but think also that those who read Prof. Upham's writings are in danger of getting the impression though the author meaneth not so, that faith by an influence intrinsic in the exercise itself results in the grace of sanctification. According to the Bible view, we are sanctified by faith, not through any sanctifying efficacy there is intrinsically in faith itself, but by its securing a divine influence, by which we are sanctified, "The very God of peace Himself sanctifies wholly," when in the exercise of faith we count Him "faithful that calleth us." Aside from being the condition of the reception of such an influence, faith has no efficacy to produce such a result.
But we must here drop this and other topics, that we desired to remark upon in the present article. We have said that in every stage of his spiritual progress, the believer may find much in Prof. Upham's writings to edify, instruct and delight him. We here repeat the same sentiment. We close, however, with the expression of the opinion, that these writings are especially adapted to enlarge the vision of the mature believer in whom Christ is already fully formed, the hope of glory, rather than to direct the inquirer to the "fountain set open in Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness." To the inquirer who needs above all things, to be put in full possession of the idea of his completeness in Christ, other productions may be more specifically adapted. Communing with the spirit of Prof. Upham, through his writings, is like the partaking of a cool and overflowing fountain to a thirsty soul. When separated from those writings, the recollection of such inter-communion is "like the memory of joys that are past, mournful and pleasant to the soul."