Light and Heat

“Those without any religious affections are in a state of spiritual death. They are wholly destitute of the powerful, quickening, saving influences of the Spirit of God upon their hearts.

So while it is true that where there is nothing but emotionalism there can be no true religion, likewise there can be no true religion where there is no religious affection. There must be light in the understanding as well as the fervency of heart, for if the heart has heat without light, there can be nothing divine or heavenly in that heart. On the other hand, where there is light without heat, such as stored with notions and speculations but having a cold and unaffected heart, there can be nothing divine in that either. Such knowledge is no true spiritual knowledge of divine things. If the great things of religion are rightly understood, they will affect the heart. So the reason men are not affected by such infinitely great, important, and glorious things as they often read in the Word of God is undoubtedly because they are blind. …So the prevailing prejudice against religious affections today has the awful effect of hardening the hearts of sinners, of dampening the grace of many saints, and of reducing all to a state of dullness and apathy. To despise and cry against all religious affections is a sure way of shutting all religion out of the heart and of ruining souls. Those who condemn such warm affections in others are certainly not likely to have it themselves. In summary, those who have little religious affection have very little religion.”

          Jonathan Edwards from his Religious Affections

So do we agree or disagree with Edwards? And how do evangelicals fare when it comes to balancing light and heat?


One Comment

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    Sharifa Stevens

    It’s Hard to Disagree with Edwards…

    …on anything, and I definitely agree with him concerning this. The metaphor of light and heat is a potent way to describe the union of the heart and mind (and soul and strength) in our worship and devotion to, and knowledge of, God.

    What a struggle it is to achieve that balance!