Not Every Effecting View

I am particularly sensitive to descriptions and analysis of false professions of faith, mainly because it was my own experience for 20 years of my life, and am also alert to its fearful possibility in others.  I am always looking for ways to sift through the true and the false, as nearly as possible.  When eternity is at stake, you must try to distinguish these things as closely as possible.  Edwards, as usual, is so insightful.

From A Divine and Supernatural Light by Jonathan Edwards, found in Banner of Truth vol. 2.

Not Mere Religious Insight or Affection
It is not every affecting view that men have of the things of religion that is this spiritual and divine light. Men by mere principles of nature are capable of being affected with things that have a special relation to religion as well as other things. A person by mere nature, for instance, may be liable to be affected with the story of Jesus Christ, and the sufferings he underwent, as well as by any other tragical story: he may be the more affected with it from the interest he conceives mankind to have in it: yea, he may be affected with it without believing it; as well as a man may be affected with what he reads in a romance, or sees acted in a stage play. He may be affected with a lively and eloquent description of many pleasant things that attend the state of the blessed in heaven, as well as his imagination be entertained by a romantic description of the pleasantness of fairy land, or the like. And that common belief of the truth of the things of religion, that persons may have from education or otherwise, may help forward their affection. We read in Scripture of many that were greatly affected with things of a religious nature, who yet are there represented as wholly graceless, and many of them very ill men. A person therefore may have affecting views of the things of religion, and yet be very destitute of spiritual light. Flesh and blood may be the author of this: one man may give another an affecting view of divine things with but common assistance: but God alone can give a spiritual discovery of them.

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