Jonathan Edwards wrote a famous treatise on the essence of Christianity, entitled The Religious Affections. It deals with the heart of a Christian’s relationship with God. The great Puritan preacher Richard Sibbes addressed the same subject a century earlier. It is so fundamentally important, and yet is often neglected today. I recently read Sibbes’ thoughts on this subject in one of his sermons. He said that the Christian religion is especially seen in our lives in moderating our affections. Biblical religion purges our affections from the evil that is in them. A large part of spiritual growth has to do with moderating our sorrow and our joy over earthly things. The mature Christian can show the power of religion both in restraining grief in the midst of suffering and managing prosperous times without living for the things of this world. Sibbes said Christian maturity is seen in knowing how to grieve well and how to rejoice well, and that we should ask God to give us the grace to govern our affections. The Christian who has learned this has learned the purpose of religion.