Monday, April 28, 2008

Fearless Conservatism: the Spirit of Power, of Love, and of a Sound Mind (from the Presbyterian Magazine), part 3

The Presbyterian Magazine.
January, 1860.
Edited by Rev. C. Van Rensselaer, D.D.
Chestnut St, Philadelphia.
pages 8-11

“Fearless Conservatism, or the Spirit of Power, of Love, and of a sound Mind.”

III. The power and love of this heavenly temper is joined to “A SOUND MIND.” The Greek word signifies “a sober mind;” one pervaded by prudence and discretion, well-balanced, and under right influences; in which it sees things in its just proportions and relations; and consequently, is not feverish and excited, but persistently holds everything in its proper place. It is not careless of the trifle or appalled by the momentous. Nor does it conceive the mountains to be a molehill; nor does it view gnats as giants. It involves self-control. “Is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly.” We find a parallel passage in Proverbs 18:27,--“A man of understanding is of an excellent spirit,” rendered in the marginal reading “of a cool spirit.” And there is peculiar force in our English expression, cool and coolness, as applied to temper, and it is equivalent to both the Hebrew and the Greek words for an “excellent spirit,” “a sound mind.” This coolness of feeling and thought, is not insensibility nor dullness, but it is the opposite of passion, irritability, impatience, restlessness, and the fuss and hurry, the flurry and the flutter of agitation. Coolness of temper bespeaks one collected and calm, and begotten of quiet sobriety is closely akin to meekness, mildness, and gentleness, and its result is fortitude. A sound mind is dispassionate; with the clear ideas of a cool head it is calm in the equilibrium of its judgments, and serene in its own true balance of feeling. In this happy adjustment and self-control there is power patiently to toil, and hopefully to wait long.

Serious difficulties now disturb the public mind, leaving the wisest and best uncertain as to what these things may grow. There is a pressure of existing agitation, and fear of still worse agitation to come. It is a frailty of human nature to run into extremes. Like the pendulum of a clock, we swing from side to side. It is important to find that mental equipoise which will prevent these too frequent changes which mark the torrid zone of thought and feeling. Here you find it. The religion of the Gospel, bringing life and immortality to light, inculcates and bestows this happy temperament.

Oh! What but the grace of God can deliver us from the storms which lower over the individual or national life? For God has not given us “the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”


Part 1.

Part 2.

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