“The Gospel addresses both head and heart; and where it has its proper effect, where it is received as the Word of God, and is closed with the authority and energy of the Holy Spirit, the understanding is enlightened, the affections awakened and engaged, the will brought into subjection, and the whole soul delivered to its impression as wax to the seal.
When this is the case, when the affections do not take the lead, and push forward with a blind impulse, but arise from the principles of Scripture, and are governed by them, the more warmth the better.
Yet in this state of infirmity, nothing is perfect; and our natural temperament and disposition will have more influence upon our religious sensations than we are ordinarily aware.
It is well to know how to make proper allowances and abatements upon this head, in the judgment we form both of ourselves and of others. Many good people are distressed and alternately elated by frames and feelings, which perhaps are more constitutional than properly religious experiences.
I dare not tell you, Madam, what I am; but I can tell you what I wish to be.
The love of God, as manifested in Jesus Christ, is what I would wish to be the abiding object of my contemplation; not merely to speculate upon it as a doctrine, but so to feel it, and my own interest in it, as to have my heart filled with its effects, and transformed into its resemblance; that, with this glorious Exemplar in my view, I may be animated to a spirit of benevolence, love, and compassion, to all around me; that my love may be primarily fixed upon Him who has so loved me, and then, for His sake, diffused to all His children, and to all His creatures.
Then, knowing that much is forgiven to me, I should be prompted to the ready exercise of forgiveness, if I have aught against any.
Then I should be humble, patient, and submissive under all His dispensations; meek, gentle, forbearing, and kind to my fellow-worms.
Then I should be active and diligent in improving all my talents and powers in His service, and for His glory; and live not to myself, but to Him who loved me and gave Himself for me.
September 17, 1776”