Mind’s Affections

Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you do not see him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. 1Peter 1:8

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
~ Psalm 139:23-24

Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.
~ Job 31:6

Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
~ Psalm 17:3

For we walk by faith, not by sight.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?
~ Song of Solomon 1:7

His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
~ Song of Solomon 5:16

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
~ Matthew 10:37

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.
~ 1 Corinthians 16:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
~ Galatians 5:22

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
~ Ephesians 1:13-14

The Affections of the Mind, by Jonathan Edwards. The following contains an excerpt from Part One of his work, “A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, In Three Parts”.

The exercise of this faculty has two sorts: either those by which the soul is carried out towards the things that are in view, in approving them, being pleased with them, and inclined towards them; or else those in which the soul opposes the things that are in view, in disapproving them, and being displeased with them, averse to them, and rejecting them.

Just as the exercises of the inclination and the will of the soul are varied in their kinds, so they are much more varied in their degrees. There are some exercises of pleasure or displeasure, inclination or disinclination, in which the soul is carried only a little past a state of indifference. There are other degrees above this, in which the approbation or dislike, pleasure or aversion, are stronger, in which we may rise higher and higher, until the soul comes to act vigorously and sensibly. At this point, the actions of the soul have such strength that (through the laws of the union which the Creator has fixed between soul and body) the motion of the blood and animal spirits2 begins to be sensibly altered. From this often arises some bodily sensation, especially about the heart and vitals, that are the fountain of the fluids3 of the body. From this it comes to pass that the mind, with regard to the exercises of this faculty, perhaps in all nations and ages, is called the heart. And the more vigorous and tangible exercises of this faculty are called the affections.

The will, and the affections of the soul, are not two faculties; the affections are not essentially distinct from the will; nor do they differ from the mere actings of the will and the inclination of the soul; but they are only differ in the liveliness and tangibleness of their exercise.

It must be confessed, that language is somewhat imperfect here, and the meanings of words in a considerable measure are loose and unfixed; they are not precisely limited by custom (which governs the use of language). In some sense, the affection of the soul does not differ at all from the will and inclination. And in any exercise of the will, it is never further exercised than it is affected; it is not moved out of a state of perfect indifference in any way other than as it is affected one way or other. Yet there are many actings of the will and inclination that are not commonly called affections. In everything we do voluntarily, there is an exercise of the will and inclination. It is our inclination that governs us in our actions; but all the actings of the inclination and will, in all our common actions of life, are not ordinarily called affections. Yet, what we call affections are not essentially different from the will and inclination, except in the degree and manner of their exercise. In every act of the will, the soul either likes or dislikes what is in view; it is either inclined or disinclined towards it.

These are not essentially different from the affections of love and hatred. Liking (or the inclination of the soul towards a thing), if it is to a high degree, and it is vigorous and lively, is
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Footnotes:
2 Outgoing and boisterous enthusiasm from a vital force once supposed to be dispatched by the brain to all points of the body.
3 A belief that physical and mental health are governed by the relative balance and temperature of four “humors” or fluids that flow through the human body: blood, choler (yellow bile), melancholy (black bile) and phlegm. – WHG

the very same thing as the affection of love. Disliking (or the disinclination towards a thing), if to a greater degree, is the very same thing as hatred. In every act of the will for or towards something that is not present, the soul is in some degree inclined towards that thing. And that inclination, if it is to a considerable degree, is the same as the affection of desire. In every degree of the act of the will, in which the soul approves of something present, there is a degree of being pleased; and that pleasure, if it is in a considerable degree, is the very same as the affection of joy or delight. If the will disapproves of what is present, the soul to some degree is displeased; and if that displeasure is great, it is the same as the affection of grief or sorrow.

Such seems to be our nature, and such are the laws of the union of soul and body, that there is never any lively and vigorous exercise of the will, or inclination of the soul, without producing some effect upon the body, some alteration of the motion of its fluids, and especially of the animal spirits. On the other hand, from the same laws of the union of the soul and body, the constitution of the body and the motion of its fluids may promote the exercise of the affections. Yet it is not the body but the mind alone that is the proper seat of the affections. The body of man is no more capable of being the actual source of love or hatred, joy or sorrow, fear or hope, than the body of a tree; nor is that same body capable of thinking and understanding. Just as it is the soul alone that has ideas, so it is the soul alone that is pleased or displeased with its ideas. Just as the soul alone thinks, so the soul alone loves or hates, rejoices or is grieved, by what it thinks of. Nor are these motions of the animal spirits and fluids of the body anything which properly belong to the nature of the affections, though they always accompany them in the present state. They are only the effects or concomitants of the affections that are entirely distinct from the affections themselves; they are in no way essential to them. Thus an unembodied spirit may be just as capable of love and hatred, joy or sorrow, hope or fear, or other affections, as one that is united to a body.

The affections and passions are frequently spoken of as being the same. Yet in the more common use of speech, there is a difference in some respect. “Affection” ordinarily means something more extensive than passion. It is used for all vigorous lively actings of the will or inclination. But passion is used for those that are more sudden, and whose effects on the animal spirits are more violent; the mind is more overpowered, and less under its own command.

Just as all the exercises of the inclination and will either approve and like, or disapprove and reject, so the affections are of two sorts: they are those by which the soul is carried towards what is in view, clinging to or seeking it; or those by which it is averse to and opposing it.

Of the former sort are love, desire, hope, joy, gratitude, and complacence. Of the latter kind are hatred, fear, anger, grief, and such; it is not necessary to define these now in particular.

There are some affections in which there is a composition of each of the aforementioned kinds of actings of the will. For example, in the affection of pity, there is something of the former kind towards the person suffering, and something of the latter kind towards what he suffers. And so in zeal, there is high approbation of some person or thing, together with vigorous opposition to what is conceived to be contrary to it.

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