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A man's character is determined by his own personal qualities, and is something wholly within himself. By whatever influences produced, it inheres in the individual, and is unaffected by any other person's judgement concerning him. This point is so obvious that we need not dwell upon it. It is also necessary to separate that which is moral from the other elements of character. We take it for granted that our readers will have no hesitation in admitting what is implied in our common forms of expression on this subject. We currently speak of our physical, intellectual, and moral natures, evidently intending to imply thereby that character stands more directly related to the last. This division of our natures, it is readily granted, must not be pushed too far. It is, perhaps, formal, rather than actual; especially if regarded as reaching to the very foundations of our being. Nevertheless, it serves a convenient purpose in designating the different classes of our powers.

An influence upon character is doubtless exerted by both the intellectual and physical man; but that which is moral does not inhere in the physical and intellectual, as such. Whatever of morality or immorality seems to attach to these, seems to do so because of the direction and application which the moral nature gives to them. Thus the intellectual and physical powers, by the style and manner of their activities, give expression to that which is moral in man. They thus become the instruments by which the responsible moral agent does his work.

We are aware that a view seemingly contrary to this has sometimes been adopted. It has been asserted that depravity inheres in both our physical and intellectual natures, giving evidence, as Prof. Upham has it,“ that there has been at some period a great mental convulsion; that the glory of the human mind, although not absolutely extinct, is greatly obscured ; and that man, in respect to his intellectual and moral condition, is truly and justly a fallen being." 2 But such views appear to be taken up at the command of a system, and to be based upon the unphilosophical assumption, that man's original condition was one of unerring wisdom, and of complete security against all possible


1 See Biblical Mag. (Meth.) Vol. i. No. 5, Art. i. 2 Elements of Mental Science, page 399, ch. vii.

forms of physical infirmity, as well as of intellectual error. And even then, the alleged depravity amounts to little more than a derangement of powers, springing from corruption in the moral domain. So that if this philosophy were adopted, it would still remain true that, abstractly considered and strictly speaking, our intellectual and physical powers involve no moral qualities, and of course cannot involve character. We cannot affirm of a muscle that it has moral rectitude, nor of our power to reason that it is virtuous. Both may be pronounced good, as instrumentalities, but not as involving within themselves moral qualities.

Let us move forward a step. Does that which we call character, and which we are accustomed to ascribe to the moral nature of man, pertain to the very body and substance of our powers, so to speak, or to their modes of action? We frequently speak of corrupt loves ; — Does the corruption reach to the affectional nature, and pertain to the very power of loving? Or does it show itself in the direction of the loves and the character of their objects? Idolatry is a sin. But is this sin involved in the very powers which find exercise in worship, or in the misdirection of those powers

? 3 The mere statement of the question shows that the latter alternative must be adopted; and the consequences of this admission are more important than at first appear. It is here that the question of original sin turns. If vice inheres in the very substance of our moral powers, it may be transmitted from father to son by hereditary law, as disease or physical conformation is transmitted. 6 God could not,” in that case, “make man pure at death, or at any other period, without a miracle "_" without re-creating him.” 4 But if character pertains to the style of the soul's action, to the loyalty of our powers to conscience, then, plainly, character may change at death, or any other time, not only without a miracle, but from causes comparatively slight. It is seen, then, that we cannot properly speak of character being “ developed,” save in a figure ; since it is not something originally wrapped up among our powers, waiting

3 I do not here raise the question of the responsibility of the personality that lies back of all our powers. This, of course, is granted.

4 Universalist Quarterly and General Review, Vol. ii. Art. 22.


to be unfolded by culture, but is a quality of spiritual action. Character is as susceptible of change as is the quality of actions; and transition from bad to good, and from good to bad, becomes as possible as is transition from sleeping to waking, or from one style of thinking to another. Strictly speaking, we cannot “ develope condition of sleep, or of a peculiar style of thinking.

But it may be asked, if character does not ingrain itself into the very body of our moral powers, why apply the term moral to this class of our powers ? I answer, be. cause it is more directly to the action of the affectional and emotional natures that character pertains. Though it does not inhere in the very body or substance of those powers, it does enter into the style of their action. We speak of the nerves of motion; not assuming that motion inheres in a particular class of our nerves, but that such nerves are the instruments of motion.

So when we speak of our thinking powers, we do not imply that thought is a substantive quality of those powers; only that they are the instruments of thinking. Nor do these forms of expression imply that these classes of powers are alone active in producing their respective results. Our emotional nature may prompt to thought, and mind may put the physical powers in play. The case with our moral nature is parallel to this. Our loves are one thing, and our affectional nature wherein lies the power of loving, is quite another thing. Our loves may be corrupt—their direction and objects wrong; and yet our powers of loving may be uncorrupt. Defects of character, using the term in a broad sense, may arise from, and may be qualified by, our general style of thought and judgement; so that, although character directly concerns the action of our moral powers, it may be indirectly affected by the vigor of our thought, and the general measure of our intelligence. This fact is the foundation of hope for its renovation, and makes it possible that newly acquired truth may purify the motive, and so enlighten the understanding as to improve the character in any or all of its most essential particulars.

Without attempting a complete statement of the philosophy of character, it will be necessary, still further, to discriminate between absolute rectitude, or entire conformity, both in heart and life, to the highest standard of excellence, involving as it does, not only purity of purpose, but the attainment of all knowledge that may be requisite to the absolute perfection of man, and what we may call mere personal rectitude, consisting in loyalty to one's own conscience, though that conscience may be, in some respects, uninstructed. I need not say that a person occupying the latter position, might need instruction still, and would be liable to mistake and error ; but, remaining loyal to conscience, he could not, strictly speaking, commit sin. One occupying the former position, would be liable to neither error nor sin. Now, if the former condition alone be recognized as salvation, it is manifest that salvation is unattainable in this world. And, still further, if, as some discussions seem to assume, this salvation implies a perfect acquaintance with all spiritual relationship and forms of spiritual action, and the attainment of all knowledge, thus placing man in wisdom and goodness, well-nigh upon a level with the Deity, it is probably unattainable in any world. But if a mind, christianized in the quality of its action, made loyal to a conscience sanctified by Divine grace, growing thenceforward under the genial power of the Sun of Righteousness—if such a mind may be said to be saved, then is salvation possible, here and now. Such a condition is recognized in the Scriptures as salvation. It presupposes conviction of sin, an acquaintance with the mercy of God, and the exercise of faith in appropriating that mercy to one's own need. It presupposes personal penitence, living faith, and ample pardon. These are not so much a step in the Christian pathway, as the very gate admitting to that pathway.

I think this point is in danger of being overlooked. In our desire to keep at a safe remove from the fanaticism of the church, touching the initial fact of Christian life, we are in danger of dropping from our philosophy that fact itself. Some of us talk of culture-culture-culture ! We resolve every thing into culture! But we ought not to forget that there is one thing which must precede culture, or at least constitute the initial fact in the process; it is the sowing of the seed. Upon this depends the result of our culture; whether it shall be a harvest of wheat, or



of hurtful tares. The exercise of the faith of which I speak, with its attendant penitence and pardon, introduces one into the kingdom of God. He is saved, in the current Scripture use of that term. He is freed from condemnation, and has already entered upon a condition of blessed

The language of the apostle James applies to him : “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation ; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." 5' When he is tried—when in his loyalty to conscience he resists temptation-then shall he receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. This is his blessedness—the blessedness of loving the Lord, and therein finding power to endure temptation. Such men are saved. They can say of themselves, “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” 6 Whatever of growth in grace and in the knowledge of the truth there is in reserve for them, such growth is not a condition of salvation, but rather one of the results of salvation, as that term is currently used in the New Testament.

Or if we vary our statement, and adapt our language to the fact that the saved are lovers of God and man, it will be seen to be quite possible that one may be completely saved, that is, may love God with all the soul, and his 'neighbor as himself,—though his capacity be of the inost limited order. The child or the peasant may be as completely saved as the philosopher. It is quite as possible that the whole being of such a one may be tuned to love. The growth of his powers and increase of his spiritual capacity, are altogether another matter; and whether or not these may be strictly said to qualify his degree of happiness, will more fully appear in the sequel. What we chiefly insist on at this stage of our remarks is, that any soul, capacious or limited, may be brought into subjection to the moral law—that such subjection is salvation --that it is not an enlargement of powers, but a correction of their style of action. To the unloyal soul it is a revolution. All that we mean by moral character, is summed up in the will, and utters itself in the purpose ; and a change of character, therefore, is no more necessarily pro

5 James i. 12.

6 Romans viii. 1.

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