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We are not, then, to take spirituality to mean hypocrisy or fanaticism; we are not to consider it as signifying enthusiasm or weakness, but as associated with the improvement of the spirit of man. And from this circumstance it takes its name: that is spirituality which has a direct tendency to promote the development of the powers of the human spirit, and to improve these powers: that, and that alone, we hold to be spirituality.

Having taken this view of spirituality as connected with the mind of man, and its consequent improvement,

Let us now consider, as I have already proposed, SOME OF THE FALSE RELIGIONS, that we may understand what we mean by the true, and that we may at the same time perceive how far every false religion comes short of any tendency to develop the powers of the mind, or to improve them on their development.

Let us take, for example, the system of Mahommed—a system of religion which has prevailed very widely, and which does prevail widely to the present moment. We can take that religion in two points of light: we can take it as we know it by its standard, the Koran; and we can take it as we find it in its actual history, in the proceedings of the Saracens, and the nations which in modern times believe in Mahommedanism.

Now in the Koran we find nothing that has the least tendency to exalt the powers of the human spirit-to develop, to refine, or to improve them. Every thing stated there will be found to be consistent with the exercise of the most criminal and unworthy passions of the human mind. Every thing stated there will be found to be in perfect keeping with the utmost measure of moral licentiousness. And hence, in the standard book of Mahommedanism we find nothing fitted to develop the spiritual powers of man, or to improve them when they are developed.

We can take that system of false religion, however, as we find it in the history of its professors: and if we take all the Mahommedan nations, from the very first moment that Mahommed himself established a kingdom in the world, down to the nations that believe in his system to the present moment, we shall find nothing in any period of their history indicating the development and the improvement of their powers, so as to give them a moral fitness for happiness and enjoyment on earth, or an interest for heaven hereafter. We find the history of all these nations to be the history of the grossest immorality: we find the practice of all these nations to be in perfect

keeping with the darkest passions of the human heart, and the most stained pages of the human history. These are matters of fact: they are associated with a false religion, both with regard to its standard book, and also in regard to the history of its professors.

Let us take the general system of Paganism. Here again we find nothing in the standard works of Paganism, or in the practices of the Pagans themselves, at all calculated spiritually to improve the powers of man, or at all calculated to develop them in a moral point of view, or to prepare them for a coming eternity.

Take the very best productions of Greece and Rome, in the day of their highest glory and their purest refinement of taste and of mind. Take them in the midst of the most splendid institutions of their politics, and take them in the midst of their greatest feats of arms; and do you find any thing there at all calculated to purify or morally to refine? The best productions of their poets, the productions of their best authors, so far as their poets and their authors describe their religion and their religious rites, are full of the very vilest immorality, having a direct tendency to corrupt the mind, and no tendency whatever to purify and exalt it.

Look at their practices. The practices of the Pagan nations will be allowed to be the practices of immorality. I do not say that they had not intellects of high powers and extensive grasp, by which they could command the elements of refined government, and bring the principles of taste to bear on works by which the world is even now instructed: but I speak of their moral powers; and no one ever pretended to regard any Pagan nation, as exhibiting in its history any tendency to moral refinement.

I have mentioned the cases of Greece and Rome, because they stand highest among the Pagan nations, and there we find nothing like spirituality. I need not go further. I have given you the false prophet Mahommed—a refinement upon Paganism, an approximation almost to revelation itself in some things, and yet destitute of spirituality. I have given you Paganism under its most advantageous circumstances, and yet we find it utterly destitute of spirituality, the power of principle operating in the mind to the development of its moral affections and to their improvement.

Now if we find this to have been the case with regard to all false religion, (and I have no hesitation in saying that, were we to go in detail over every false religion that could be brought before us, we should find this to be the case) there may be yet another ground which we ought to occupy before glancing at the spirituality of true

religion; and that is, infidelity, or opposition to all religion. Here again I shall take the same course as I have done with regard to false religions; and I say that if you take the standard works of infidels, and if you take the practice of the great mass of infidels themselves, you will not find, either in their works or in their history, any tendency to spirituality, or that moral elevation of the faculties of the soul in which I have shewn you spirituality consists. Take any of the works of the infidel school-either the more learned and refined, or those which bring their ideas and their phraseology to the lowest level of profaneness-and you find in neither any fund of moral principle, but principles having a tendency to undermine the sternness of moral virtue, and which give to all the affections a licence on which their own depravity would be found to have taught them to act. Take the infidels themselves, and the case is precisely the same. If there were wanting any particular fields in which infidelity might display its powers in its greatest strength, we have only to look back to the period which commenced with our own generation in a neighbouring kingdom; and if we allow the infidel assemblies of France, and the infidel measures which they employed to speak, do we find any thing, either in the history of infidelity, openly avowed and taught from the highest to the lowest, but what had a direct tendency to corrupt and overthrow the morals of the people? There was no tendency to advance or improve the spiritual powers.

If we find, then, that no false religions have any spirituality, if we find that no system of infidelity has any spirituality in its nature, and if we must dismiss the idea of expecting spirituality either in or from the other, we must look for it in that religion which we discover in the word of God. And here I would take the same course, in order to do equal justice, which I have pursued with regard to the systems of false religions and infidelity to which I have led your attention. If it can be proved obviously beyond dispute that the standards and the history of false religions and infidelity have no tendency to improve the moral powers of man-(and I think we have shewn that; and did time allow we might greatly add to it; the subject is a wide one; every part of it would bring an accumulation of evidence before you)-if it can be proved that all systems of false religion, and every system of infidelity, have no tendency whatever to exalt and improve the moral powers of man; and if it can be proved that revelation discovers a system, in the standard of which, and in the history of the works of which, we find every thing that is

pure, and every thing that is spiritual, every thing that is calculated to develop and improve the moral powers of man; we think we shall have established the proposition we have mentioned, namely, the spiritual character of true religion.

Let us take the standard first, as we have done in the other case. That standard is the Word of God. If we take the Bible, and examine its great principles with the other principles, do we find it teaching any thing but what would infuse the purest principles of morality, and advance the improvement of the human mind? What does the Bible teach man with regard to his fellow-men? Does it teach him vengeance? Does it teach him to employ fire and sword? Does it teach him to propagate Christianity in the exercise of the vilest passions-as the Koran teaches the propagation of Mahommedanism, or as Paganism taught the propagation of its principles, or as infidelity endeavoured to propagate itself? Certainly not. When we come to the word of God, the language it holds, when it points out to each his duty to his fellow, is, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." What an exalted view of the grand foundation of mortals! What work ever taught this lesson before, and what work ever taught this lesson since, except when it borrowed it from the volume in which it originally appeared? I know it may be objected, We find the Israelites destroying the Canaanites. I grant it; but the Israelites were miraculously appointed by God himself to be the executioners of his justice of his laws and laws must be executed; and it is part of the love which we owe to one another to see that laws are executed, or else the human race will be annihilated by mutual violence. But the grand principle laid down in the word of truth is that to which I have referred: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Now we cannot carry moral obligation to our fellow-men beyond this; we cannot occupy higher ground than this. Higher ground than this is not occupied even by the angels in heaven; for there each only loves his fellow-spirit as himself, while in common they adore the Father of their common family. There is something morally sublime in the law laid down. We are never at a loss for a standard: we have only to consult the feelings of kindness which we bear; the standard is always in our possession, easily accessible, easy of application; and whatever our feeling of mind to our fellows, we have only to reflect whether this is the feeling of kindness we entertain for ourselves. Nothing can exceed the applicability of the rule, and nothing can rise to a higher degree in the scale of the morally sublime, than this very degree of brotherly kindness enjoined in the oracles of God.

If we look further, however, into the word of truth, and ask whether there is any reference to God, and how we are to regard him, we find the same law telling us, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." Now here are the affections directed in all their moral strength, in all the fulness of their spiritual vigour, unto God. And is there an object towards which they ought to be directed with the same supreme ardour of attachment, and with the same likelihood of spiritual improvement? If he is the very head of all being, and unites in himself all perfections; then the more we look to him, the more intensely we scrutinize the excellence of his moral nature, the stronger will be the tendency in our own minds to conform to the object of our vision.

Taking these two points together, then, as containing the law of the word of truth-that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves-can any commandment tend more directly to develop the moral powers, or improve them-to make their possessor happy on earth, and meet for heaven, than these very commandments? If we love our fellow-men we are improved by the very kindliness and affection we exercise towards them; there is a mellowing of our nature into a feeling and touching manliness, while at the same time there is no approximation to a sickly sentimentality in loving our neighbour as ourself: and we find the same feeling arising out of the contemplation of God; for


beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

Thus, then, you perceive that, in the leading commandments of true religion, which is the religion of the word of God, there is not only a strong tendency to improve and develop the moral powers of the human mind, but there is no tendency to the contrary; it is the direct and the only tendency of these two grand leading commandments to spiritualize the mind; their direct and exclusive bearing is on the sanctification of the soul.

But if we take, further, the promises of the word of God, we shall find these in perfect keeping with the commands, and calculated also to refine and to develop the moral powers. What does the word of God any where promise which is not directly and exclusively calculated to purify and enlarge the moral faculties, and so to make the mind of man more and more alive to the things which would refine his spirit, and less alive to the things that would command his

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