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reach and torment us. The
purpose of an
look and expression, is better answered in general, by an ingenious circumlocution, with a look that says nothing.
2. A further physiognomical restraint or silence of expression would make a becoming characteristic in this department, which we call Gravity: and an edifying characteristic too for the disposition, by keeping it more on an equilibrium than is naturally to be expected of our volatile kind, according to the Preacher's observation, “ By the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better” (Eccl. vii. 3). Only it may be well to remember, at the same time also, a saying of our Saviour's, "Be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance” (Mat. vi. 16). Do not take thought on this matter, to qualify your countenance for any foolish or fraudulent purpose ; but let it be the index of your heart; and let your sadness, gravity or placi. dity be the result of honest feeling and an upright intention: otherwise it will not be a good characteristic, but a very bad one, being one of the tribe of hypocrisy.
It was the way of good men formerly to set a watch upon the mouth (Ps. cxli. 3), to make a covenant with the eyes (Job xxxi. 1), and keep a strict look out towards other avenues of feeling and expression ; but our Lord has taught us to mind one point for all, which is the HEART; and if, as he observes, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Mat. xii.34), the countenance is even readier than the mouth in this respect; in this respect, therefore, the heart will require additional vigilance from those who wish to look well and defy criticism, which is the true Christian comportment, the most graceful that was ever invented. There have been teachers of modes and comportments, as well as of conduct on other principles, on principles that were not Christian; but the one sort must bow, as well as the other, to the Christian school and Christian Modes, however the same may have been underrated through an awkward exemplification in the respect here spoken of. For either a wilful stillness
and sanctimonious aspect on the one hand, or on the other, a constant grin and indiscriminating complacency, or a counterfeit discrimination either, “ having men's persons in admiration, because of advantage” (Jude 16), are not according to these Modes, wear them who will.
However allowable THE SPEECH OF THE FEATURES may be in some cases, and their silence in others, in no case can a lying look or gesture be allowable, any more than a lying word or tongue. To put into one's countenance more cordiality or respect than one really feels, is not very different from tipping one's tongue with falsehood. It is not Christian like: it is not manly: nor it is not childish either. For
3: 4, &c. Manliness, Dignity, Plainness and Sincerity, both of countenance and gesture, however paradoxical it may seem, are all childish qualities, that shine like an expiring iame from about the first or second year of the subject's incarnation or earthly existence, and soon goes out. Therefore, when one has run a few years beyond that period, and gradually lost that expression, or it may be, lost that expression more precipitately, one must be born again, or relumined to recover it; and be manly, dignified, plain and sincere, in order to have and enjoy the real appearance of these fine personal characteristics : looking " as bold as a lion,” according to king Solomon, who has also well observed, that “the wicked flee when
man pursueth : but the righteous (says he) are bold as a lion” (Prov. xxviii. 1): and so indeed they generally look ; which shews, that to look well, we must learn to live well: but it has been well observed, that more are ambitious of the first than of the last mentioned advantage, more of the shadow than of the substance.
It does not seem, as if there was any room for improving on such a material constituent as space or dimensions for the reason before assigned, v. g. that no man by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature.
§ 2. It will therefore be better worth the while, to notice
a sample of such good objective characteristics as may accrue on spiritual properties, or with a spiritual basis; whether they be
1. Motive, comprising such as these, v.g. 1, Freedom and energy; 2, Diligence and industry; 3, Expedition or dispatch; 4, Exertion and perseverance; 5, Calmness or peace, or others by which these are followed.
1, The first of the sample, Freedom, is not indeed confined to this class of constituents; but will extend likewise to the appetitive as well as to the motive, and also to the intellectual as well as to the spiritual department; taking in freedom of speech (raggnola), as well as freedom of action; and free willing as well as free thinking. Freedom constituent is nearly the same state with moral perfection : and the same, it may be presumed, with that in which man was created. For we are not to suppose that man could be deficient in any good quality when God pronounced him, a good work (Gen. i. 31), and that not merely because it was one of his own operation. Therefore, being good, man was at that juncture a proper subject for internal as well as external, for constituent as well as incidental freedom; and enjoyed it accordingly. That internal constituent sort of freedom was the same with primitive rectitude; consequently rectitude like the primitive sort will ever be the same with freedom. Moreover, corruption being a natural consequence of the other sort of freedom, because there could have been no guilt, if there had been no freedom to offend, it may also be said, that the corruption of mankind is a consequence, though not the only consequence of their pristine perfection; and original freedom, the first and most considerable cause of their present captivity. FOR THOUGH A MAN BE NOW FREE TO ERR, YET ERRING HE IS NOT FREE.
And therefore it may be said again, that the greatest phenomenon in human nature is that freedom of will or intention, that self-direction (if one might so say) whereby the regenerate are enabled to do what in the nature of cause and effect they are not obliged to do; acting independently of every cause, the First, of whom they hold their freedom, Himself only excepted, as freedom cannot be independent of Freedom; answering voluntarily all his requisitions; yielding him a voluntary as well as a reasonable service. And what may render such a phenomenon still more extraordinary is, that the same persons were not only dependent by nature, but dependent on causes the most opposite to those which favour their new line of conduct. However, this revolution therefore may be effected ; it is a certain fact, and that fact most wonderful. There is no phenomenon in nature perhaps that displays so much of the divine Power; and certainly there is none so strikingly characteristic of divine Goodness.
The proper object of the characteristics that we are now considering is mere spiritual motion ; and not its refinement in thought and volition : yet the union of these three sorts is so strict in the present instance that one hardly knows how to separate them, although their distinction may be easily conceived. For if free moving be not free willing, or if free willing be not free thinking, it is nothing else. The thought goes into the deed, as the fountain goes into the stream, and “the wish is father to the thought”: so that we are obliged to let this excellent spiritual-motive characteristic, freedom, pass for the present as a general mode, and with little more than a general definition; to wit, as the doing freely of that which a free spirit directs. This active freedom agrees nearly with heartiness, as in that saying of St. Paul's, “ Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Col. iii. 23): it also agrees with efficiency and vigour; but most intimately with Energy, the characteristic assigned as its correlative: which is not altogether the same with action unrestrained; for that is madness; but with strength well put out, i.e. freely and judiciously.
There ought to be a stress on the last mentioned qualification; as strength may be put out too freely, and even in the sacred cause of freedom, seeing there are many cases in which freedom is not worth contending for; many in which it is not even desirable; many in which it were better away. Thus a freedom to do wrong is not desirable for those who only aim to do right; consequently, not worth contending for to them: and to those who aim to do wrong, however they may think it worth contending for, such freedom is better away. Further than this, it seeins rather hard to determine in what cases a freedom of action may be worth contending for, and to what extent: but some general limitation may also be proposed on this head; as for example, to subjects under both an universal and particular allegiance, as all men are, except a very few, the freedom to preserve both sorts of allegiance in their respective degrees or relations—first the universal alle. giance which they owe to God against every power on earth; and next the particular allegiance due to the government that owns and protects them against usurpation, corruption, and invasion is desirable. Desirable likewise is a freedom to preserve and fulfil all our equal or collateral duties, first to those who bear the same universal allegiance with ourselves, that is, to all men; and next, to those who bear the same particular allegiance with ourselves as living under the same earthly government. The veriest slave, who works like an horse and fares no better, is not bound to rebel against his immediate ruler for the sake of freedom; but should rather submit willingly to any temporal hardships and privations so long as he can preserve his spiritual freedom in higher respects—freedom from infidelity and superstition, freedom from sloth and idleness, from lust, lying and drunkenness; in short from every sort of spiritual enemy or tyrant. A free slave will not easily abandon the interests of his earthly superiors; much less, the sacred cause of righteousness and truth, to which being free he is bound of course by his baptismal vow and engagement: but WHEN THESE