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Power of Conscience is eternal.


the memory of sin. Ye might as well reason against the fact of your own existence, as the fact of a retributive punishment; there is no denying it; it exists, even in this world.

But, in this world, who does not know, who does not feel, that it is imperfect; that it is but a shadow, a forecasting, a prediction, of the judgment and the perfect retribution to come? It is real, because God would have us know, from experience as well as his Word, what is before us, and so be urged to flee from the wrath to come. It is partial and imperfect, because there is mercy, mercy in Christ for whomsoever it be who will avail himself of it; because it is meant not now as retribution, but warning, because the executed full righteousness of it, would be everlasting destruction the experience of it would be hell itself. It is imperfect now, because this is a world of probation, in which salvation is offered on coming to a Redeemer, by whom God invites us to escape that great retribution, of which this lower one is but a type, a warning, a foretaste; that last, overwhelming evil, of which this small, imperfect shadow, is God's admonitory messenger of love.

This was our last point of consideration, the power of conscience eternal. And here there is no room for questioning, or doubt, or denial. There is no faculty of our immortal nature, which will not be a part of our immortal existence. As man was formed in the image of God, so will he come before God in judgment. Every intelligent being in the eternal world, will possess a conscience in the fullest, clearest light and power of its operation. Those operations will have a decisiveness, a majesty, a glory like the voice of God, and an irreversible certainty, admitting no possibility of mistake, or darkness, or alteration, or appeal. But a conscience at peace with God, and working in the light of God's countenance, in harmony with God's love, is not to be dreaded in the eternal world, nor in this world. It is a sinful conscience, the operations of which are so terrible, when eternal. But, admit the possibility of a man dying in his sins, and you have him dying with conscience for his enemy. You have him with his sins in the next world, and conscience there also doing the work of retribution. That men die in their sins, is a fact as well established, as that they live in sin here; and that some men die, knowing and declaring that the fire of conscience is an eternal fire, is a fact as well established as that men are ever convinced of sin at all.

Will conscience stop, because the soul, throwing off its covering of clay, has gone into the presence of a holy God? Will conscience

stop, because it has gone where all the witnesses of secret as well as open sins are gathered together, where every crime will be known, every step of life visible, every sin against God and man, with every aggravating circumstance? Or will conscience stop when the judgment goes on, and condemnation is pronounced, and the sentence is uttered, and the destiny of the soul is closed up forever? Will conscience stop, because despair takes the place of hope, because all is lost, and there is no more possibility of a remedy? Will not the triumph, and the power, and the retribution of conscience then be inexorable and eternal, when it has to say to the sinner, You have finished your work of self-destruction? You have gone beyond the limits, where God's compassionate forbearance had waited for you, and up to which you might have repented and been saved. You have made your last rejection of Christ, wasted your last opportunity of mercy, and ruined yourself beyond the power of conscience, or of providence, or of truth, or of grace itself to save you. O undone, undone soul! What would it not give to step back, one little hour, into this world of mercy, and hear Christ's voice of mercy, saying, Come unto me!

The faculty of conscience is eternal, its power is eternal; and yet, in this world that power is exercised in condemnation, simply that the soul may be induced to escape from its eternal exercise. The penal power of conscience in this world, inflicting such terror and distress, is God's own merciful arrangement to arouse the soul and send it to Christ, that in him it may find a refuge from the accusing power and penal operation of conscience through eternity. When the soul, fleeing to him from the wrath to come, hears his gracious voice, Thy sins be forgiven thee, and is washed in the fountain of his atoning blood, then, and not till then, is the conscience at peace with God; then, and not till then, can conviction of sin be anything but anguish. In Christ it may be changed into gratitude and love; in Christ it may and must immeasurably deepen the sense of the greatness of his redeeming mercy; it may be the material, out of which his matchless dying love brings a living blessedness. It is God's schoolmaster, with his own law, to bring the soul to Christ, and make it feel, as it never could otherwise do, the greatness, the preciousness, the glory of his love. Out of Christ, away from Christ, unforgiven, it reveals nothing but the righteous penalty of sin, the wrath of God, the misery of the soul, and no escape, no remedy. In Christ it reveals the depths of forgiving mercy, the love of God, the unsearchable riches of Christ, the boundless glory of redemption. Amazing


The Relation of Style to Thought.


mercy! wondrous grace, which can thus change death into life, and make the assurance of being the very chief of sinners, the foundation of endless, inexhaustible bliss, of which the rule is, that the deeper the conviction of guilt, the greater the experience and knowledge of the glory and happiness of deliverance! Such was the experience of Paul; such is the experience of every redeemed sinner, now, and in glory everlasting.



By Prof. W. G. T. Shedd, University of Vermont, Burlington.

In a previous article we endeavored to specify the general relation of language to thought, and to maintain the truth of that theory which regards human language as springing spontaneously from the nature and wants of man. The connection that exists between language and the thought conveyed by it was conceived to be that which exists between any, and every, living principle, and the sensible form, in which it appears to the senses- - a vital and organic connection. Although it was freely conceded that it would perhaps be impossible, to detect this vitality of connection with the particular thought expressed, in the case of every word in the language, it was yet maintained that language as a whole, is characterized by a propriety and fitness for the purpose for which it exists which must have sprung from some deeper and more living ground than custom and the principle of association. It was also thought that the theory is a fruitful one in itself, both for the philologist and the philosopher, and that it furnishes the best clue to that more vital, and consequently less easily explicable, use of language, employed by the poet and the orator.

Indeed, the truth and fruitfulness of the theory in question, are nowhere more apparent than in the department of rhetoric and criticism. This department takes special cognizance of the more living and animated forms of speech of the glow of the poet, and the fire of the orator. It also investigates all those peculiarities of construction and form in human composition that spring out of individual

1 Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. V. No. XX.

characteristics. It is, therefore, natural to suppose that a theory of language, which recognizes a power in human thought to organize and vivify and modify the forms in which it appears, will afford the best light in which to examine those forms; just as it is natural to suppose that the commonly received theory of physical life, will furnish a better light in which to examine vegetable and animal productions, than a theory like that of Descartes, e. g. which maintains that the forms and functions in the animal kingdom are the result of a mechanical principle. Life itself is the best light in which to contemplate living things.

We propose in the present article to follow the same general method pursued in the preceding, and examine the nature of style, by pointing out its relation to thought.

Style is the particular manner in which thought flows out, in the case of the individual mind, and upon a particular subject. When, therefore, it has, as it always should have, a free and spontaneous origin, it partakes of the peculiarity, both of the individual and of the topic upon which he thinks. A genuine style, therefore, is the free and pure expression of the individuality of the thinker and the speciality of the subject of thought. Uniformity of style is consequently found in the productions of the same general cast of mind, applied to the same general class of subjects, so that there is no distinguishable period in the history of a nation's literature, but what exhibits a style of its own. The spirit of the age appears in the general style of its literary composition, and the spirit of the individual the tone of his mind-nowhere comes out more clearly than in his manner of handling a subject. The grave, lofty and calm style of the Elizabethan age is an exact representation of the spirit of its thinking men. The intellectual temperament of the age of Queen Anne flows out in the clear, but diffuse and nerveless style of the essayists.

From this it is easy to see that style, like language, has a spontaneous and natural origin, and a living connection with thought. It is not a manner of composing, arbitrarily or even designedly chosen, but rises of its own accord, and in its own way, in the general process of mental development. The more unconscious its origin, and the more strongly it partakes of the individuality of the mind, the more genuine is style. Only let it be carefully observed in this connection, that a pure and sincere expression of the individual peculiarity is intended. Affectation of originality and studied effort after peculiarity produce mannerism, in distinction from that manner of pure nature, which alone merits the name of style.


Unity in Variety exhibited by the Mind.


If this be true, it is evident that the union of all styles, or of a portion of them, would not constitute a perfect style. On the contrary, the excellence of style consists in its having a bold and determined character of its own-in its bearing the genuine image and superscription of an individual mind at work upon a particular subject. In a union of many different styles, there would be nothing simple, bold, and individual. The union would be a mixture, rather than a union, in which each ingredient would be neutralized by all, and all by each, leaving a residuum characterless, spiritless, and lifeless.

Style, in proportion as it is genuine and excellent, is sincere and artless. It is the free and unconscious emanation of the individual nature. It alters as the individual alters. In early life it is ardent and adorned; in mature life it is calm and grave. In youth it is flushed with fancy and feeling; in manhood it is sobered by reason and reflection. But in both periods it is the genuine expression of the man. The gay manner of L'Allegro and Comus is as truly natural and spontaneous, as the grave and stately style of Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. The individuality of a man like Milton passes through great varieties of culture and of mood, and there is seen a corresponding variety in the ways in which it communicates itself; yet through this variety there runs the unity of nature; each sort of style is the sincere and pure manner of the same individual taken in a particular stage of his development.

No one style, therefore, can be said to be the best of all absolutely, but only relatively. That is the best style relatively to the individual, in which his particular cast of thought best utters itself, and in which the peculiarity of the individual has the fullest and freest play. That may be called a good style generally, in which every word tells -in which the language is full of thought, and alive with thought, and so fresh and vigorous as to seem to have been just created · while at the same time the characteristics of the mind that is pouring out in this particular manner, are all in every part, as the constructing and vivifying principle.

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The truth of this view of style is both confirmed and illustrated by considering the unity in variety exhibited by the human mind itself. The mind of man is one and the same in its constitution and necessary laws, so that the human race may be said to be possessed of one universal intelligence. In the language of one of the most elegant and philosophic of English critics, "It is no unpleasing speculation


1 Harris. Preface to Hermes.

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