Monday, May 4, 2009

True Religion and Emotions

A selection from a letter by the Welsh pastor, John Elias, to his son John who was away at school. He reminded him that a change of heart in conversion is not the same as an emotional experience. The letter was written December 8, 1819.

True religion does not consist in emotions. The passions of many are much excited under sermons, without a change of heart! Others may be changed; their hearts broken, conscience tender, sin hated, self loathed, but perhaps without many tears. There is a great difference in the natural temper of people, which accounts for the difference in their feelings under the Word preached. I confess that if people are easily moved under natural causes, but unmoveable and unaffected under sermons, it is a very bad sign. But the thing we should aim at in hearing the Word, is to see more of the greatness and majesty of God, the purity of the law, evil of sin, our miserable state by nature, the preciousness and excellency of Christ, the privilege of giving ourselves to him to be saved in his own way, and to serve him all the days of our life; and the feelings may be affected by those circumstances as God may see proper.

John Elias: Life, Letters and Essays, by Edward Morgan, first published in 1844, reprinted by the Banner of Truth, 1973, p. 70.

No comments: