Puritan Board Junior
I am bringing this up again because it has been on my mind lately.
I have yet to dive into Alexander's work. Not being a really emotional person, though I'd like to think I am rather empathetic, I am wondering how should emotions, or lack thereof, be balanced.
For instance, many times I wonder, if I am a new creation, where's the new; the new affections, the new hatred of sin, the zeal to do anything and everything for church, progress against besetting sins? Where are the pure motives for repentance or good works in my heart? It's but a small and dismal spark among my more cerebral interests in theology or other areas.
I wish one could give a bright-line test for balance. No such thing. But, a few thoughts to validate that it is good and right to want to feel more, provided done rightly. I feel my thoughts may be incomplete, but maybe this'll help.
Follow the narrative of men of the Bible, and you will see how they felt about things emotionally was no small part of their effectiveness. Didn't the fury of Moses cause the people to take seriously their idolatry in making the calf? Would Moses have been so prompted to go if the Lord's anger wasn't visibly kindled (Exod 3 or 4)? It was from bowels of compassion that Christ fed the 5000, from heart agony that He cried, "O Jerusalem! Jerusalem!". He looked perhaps like a madman in His fury in cleansing out the temple. Paul was effective in His ministry because of his own heart's disposition as well. Galatians 4, he travails like a woman delivering a child for Christ to be formed in the people. He has unceasing anguish in his heart and would nearly rather be damned than have his brothers and sisters in the flesh damned. He is stirred to anger at the idolatry of Ephesus(?), tears his clothes when they want to sacrifice to him. He sheds tears that some are enemies of the cross. Would a man with any less feeling been so effective a minister?
And where to begin with the Psalms? "My eyes shed streams of tears because my enemies do not keep your law." Who ever attains that? Everywhere you go is a line of emotion that shames us with its depth.
And what is this ambition of Peter that we would know "joy unspeakable and full of glory?" Or Paul, that we are to know the love of Christ which surpasses height, depth, width, breadth? Or to rejoice in the Lord always? Wasn't it vengeance and irreconcilableness that made Corinth effective against their sins (2 Cor 7)?
And what about Song of Solomon? There is a book which it is only good and right that you respond with feeling! No small part is how much feeling there is in communion with Christ. What else would be expected in a marriage relationship?
Training your emotions is indeed part of your sanctification. To borrow light from Aristotle (not exact quote), part of education is training the heart to feel the right way about things--to delight in the delightful, to grieve about the grievous, to detest the detestable.
Get deep into the cross. Study God, study sin, study the atonement, the Gospel. Simple faith is enough to save a man apart from the works of the law. "The just shall live by faith". Which means not only initial justification, but all sanctified course of life inward or outward will be attained the same way- faith. 1 Cor 1:30, Christ is our "righteousness, wisdom, sanctification, redemption." Believe on Him that He will guide your affections rightly, and study the Word to better understand what and how you ought (or ought not) to feel. Ask for the Spirit to open it to you.
Is there room to make mistakes? Plenty. But the Word by the Spirit will open the middle path where doctrine births proper practice in heart and action, to keep you from Spockism on one ditch and fanaticism on the other,