|Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:|
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vol. V: Literature of the Republic, Part II., 18211834
|The Expression of the Inner Life|
|By Henry Ware, Jr. (17941843)|
[Born in Hingham, Mass., 1794. Died at Framingham, Mass., 1843. On the Formation of the Christian Character. 1831.]
YOUR outward life should be but the manifestation and expression of the temper which prevails within, the acting-out of the sentiments which abide there; so that all who see you may understand, without your saying it in words, how supreme with you is the authority of conscience, how reverent your attachment to truth, how sacred your adherence to duty; how full of good-will to men, and how devoutly submissive to God, the habitual tenor of your mind. Your spontaneous, unconstrained action, flowing without effort from your feelings, amid the events of every day, should be the unavoidable expression of a spirit imbued with high and heavenward desires; so, that, as in the case of the Apostles, those who saw them took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus, it may in like manner be obvious that you have learned of that Holy Teacher. And this may be without any obtrusive display on your part, without asking for observation, without either saying or hinting, Come, see my zeal for the Lord. The reign of a good principle in the soul carries its own evidence in the life, just as that of a good government is visible on the face of society. A man of a disinterested and pious mind bears the signature of it in his whole deportment. His Lords mark is on his forehead. We may say of his inward principle, which an Apostle has called Christ formed within us, as was said of Christ himself during his beneficent ministry;It cannot be hid. There is an atmosphere of excellence about such a man, which gives savor of his goodness to all who approach, and through which the internal light of his soul beams out upon all observers. Consequently, if you allow yourself in a deportment inconsistent with Christian uprightness, propriety, and charity, you are guilty of bringing contradiction and disgrace on the principles which you profess; you expose yourself to the charge of hypocritically maintaining truths to which you do not conform yourself. You dishonor your religion by causing it to appear unequal to that dominion over the human character which it claims to exert. All men know that, if the salvation reigned within, it would regulate the movements of the life as surely as the internal motions of the watch are indicated on its face; if the hands point wrong, they know, without looking further, that there is disorder within. That disorder they will attribute either to the incapacity of the principle, or to your unfaithfulness in applying it. But, what is of far greater importance, the holy and unerring judgment of God will ascribe it to the single cause of your own unfaithfulness; and for all your wanderings from Christian constancy, and all the consequent dishonor to the Christian name, you must bear the shame and reproach in the final day of account.