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followed by a hearty Amen. On Friday he called to mind the delight he had felt on the preceding night, when he thought he was in heaven, and said to those around, “ Ever since last night, I have been upon the beach ;”.
'-on the shore of the vast ocean of eternity, and longing to launch away. Sunday, 16th, was a day of great distress to him. He had, however, so often been at the point of death, and had revived, that the period of his release was not now deemed very near. As the sun was setting in all the beauty of a cloudless summer evening, he looked out upon the lovely country with a plaintive delight, and took farewell of a scene on which he had frequently gazed with pleasure. A little later he joined with his family in singing,
“ () what are all my sufferings here,
If, Lord, Thou count me meet
And worship at Thy feet ? ” He then said, “I want to go,”—and never spoke again. A few minutes before one in the morning of Monday, the 17th of June, 1861, without a groan or sigh, bis spirit passed peacefully away to that haven which he had longed to reach.
“ There all the ship's company meet,
Who sail'd with the Saviour beneath." Thus died, in the sixty-first year of his age, one of the best of husbands and fathers ; one of the most conscientious and honourable of men ; and one of the most consistent of Christians. To say that he was perfect, would be to ascribe to bim virtue more than mortal ; to say that he never erred, would be to say that he was not human. Such as he was,--saved by Christ, renewed by the Spirit of grace,- let those who are walking in the same narrow way glorify God in bim. And, though some may now deem the religion he enjoyed a “cunningly devised fable,” the day is coming when the “ scorners
» shall cease to “delight in their scorning,” and be constrained to say, “ We fools accounted his life madness, and his end to be without honour. How is he numbered among the children of God, and his lot is among the saints !” (Wisdom v. 4, 5.)
THE LATE REVIVAL IN ULSTER.
BY THE REV. DR. W. B. KIRKPATRICK.*
It is now universally believed by those who are most competent to form an opinion, that there was a rich and extensive work of the Spirit of God in the year 1859. There was a great awakening of the careless and impenitent; and there was also what is properly called a
* Abridged from a paper read at the last Conference of the Evangelical Alliance.
revivalthat is, a mighty quickening of multitudes who had previously experienced the power of Divine grace. The effects of this outpouring of the Holy Spirit are still abiding; these are discernible both in ministers and in people. Since that period, ministers in the awakeped districts, and in many other parts of the country, have been more direct and personal than formerly in their application of Divine truth, both in public and in private ; and have been more expectant of success in winning souls to Christ. The people, on the other hand, have been more attentive to ordinances, more intelligent in the hearing of the word, and more ready to hold converse on spiritual things, and to appreciate and acknowledge their pre-eminent importance. Prayermeetings continue to be held over the country, although not so rumerous, nor so largely attended, as in 1859. There has been a quickened demand for religious periodicals among the masses of the people. A larger amount of Christian agency bas been at work within the last few years than previously. Many have engaged with great ardour in Sabbath-school teaching, in the distribution of tracts, in the visitation of the sick and poor, and in other forms of usefulness ; and the zeal of not a few persons already engaged in the service of Christ bas been greatly invigorated.
On the whole it may safely be affirmed, that if a comparison were izstituted between the present spiritual condition of the awakened districts, and their condition before the year 1859, it would be found, that, although the excitement has passed away, there is an evident advancement of the people in knowledge of the Scriptures, and in aptitude to bear, to receive, and profit by evangelical truth.
With regard to the bodily prostration by which this great movement was in many cases characterized, it is now generally admitted, that, whatever medical or metaphysical explanation may be given of these singular pbepomena, there were comparatively few cases in which they have been followed by a visible change of life and character. There can be no doubt, however, that they had the effect of calling public attention far and wide to the work which God was carrying forward. It must be remembered, that the number of the prostrated was small in comparison of those who were spiritually awakened ; and, further, it is satisfactory to know that all those persons who were regarded by judicious and experienced brethren as having obtained mercy in 1859, wbether more or less affected in bodily frame, have remained steadfast in their Christian profession, and are now adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour.
It must, nevertheless, be acknowledged, that the awakening has failed to realize the anticipations of many. It was not unusual to have it affirmed, that there had been no more signal manifestation of Divine grace since the apostolic times; that we had reached a new era in the history of the church of Christ ; and that a mighty and resistless impulse would thenceforth be given to agencies established for the advancement of the kingdom of God. In some aspects of the Christian character, we bave certainly failed to make progress since the year 1837. For example: It has been complained that the great cause of Missions has not gained much. It was expected that a multitude of new labourers would present themselves for the Missionary enterprise, especially now, when the claims of Missions are so fully and universally acknowledged ; now, when so many difficulties have been overcome ; now, tbat the facilities of reaching the most remote countries are so much increased ; now, that we see young men starting every day to the ends of the earth, in the pursuit of wealth or of fame. Yet we find that still but a feeble response has been given to the earnest demand made at this moment by all our Protestant churches for Jabourers to go forth abroad to fields wbich are white unto the harvest.
It is further stated, that in some of the awakened districts the spirit of liberality has not received much impulse. In the inspired record of the first revival in the Christian church, (Acts ii. and iv.,) great prominence is given to the fact, as an evidence of the mighty power of Divine grace, that the love of Christ subdued the love of earthly property in the human heart. When tried by this test, the people in some quarters have been found wanting. At the same time, it is to be borne in mind, in partial explanation of the matter, that the revival in the north of Ireland appeared chiefly amongst the humbler classes of the people, and among the subordinate members of families, who had little of this world's wealth at their command. It should be mentioned, also, that much money has been spent on the building and enlargement of places of Worship, required in consequence of the increase of congregations, and in other objects connected with the progress and prosperity of the church at home. And, further, that the pecuniary means of all classes in Ireland bave been seriously crippled by a succession of deficient harvests.
In estimating the results of a real and glorious work of God, we must remember that the Christian character does not attain completeness at once, in seasons of revival, any more than in ordinary seasons ; and that then, no less than at other times, the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other. Further, it must be kept in mind, that those who were impressed formed but a small proportion to the whole population ; so that a stranger might have passed through many of the districts which were reported to be awakened, without witnessing any decisive evidences of the presence and power of the Spirit of God. Further still, it should be noted, that those who were not made better by this gracious visitation were, in many cases, made worse. Unwilling to yield to the truth, they were hardened in their opposition to it; and, in consequence of the more decided separation which ensued between them and the people of God, they were left more exclusively to themselves, and to the evil influences which were brought to bear upon them.
God bas vouchsafed to us such an outpouring of grace as this country has never known before. We had been earnestly seeking this great favour from on high. When we were reading of the mighty movements of the Holy Spirit in past days, and even in our own times, in other lands, we were almost tempted to complain, “ Hath God forgotten to be gracious" to us in Ireland ? “ Hath He in His anger shut up His tender mercies ?” And when, at length, it pleased God to make bare His holy arm in the midst of us; when we beheld multitudes awakened, convinced of guilt, crying out for mercy, and afterwards declaring that they had found pardon, peace, and acceptance in the Beloved; when we marked the confessions of sin, the fervent prayers, the expressions of confidence in Jesus, the intense love to the Saviour and to His people, the songs of praise, the delight manifested in the worship and service of God, the self-denying efforts made for the conversion of souls,—this state of things was so new, so unexpected, so surprising, that we felt as if we never could find words to express our thankfulness to the Author and Giver of these great and marvellous mercies.
It is not wonderful if some mistakes were committed. It is rather wonderful that these were so few, Many rushed into the membership of the church under the influence of mere sympathy or curiosity. There was not sufficient time to test the soundness of their Christian profession. Ministers were often at a loss to know what to do. They were willing to do anything in order to secure the bestowment of this great blessing. They were willing to step aside, and do nothing, if it were the good pleasure of God to work by any other instrumentality. Hence it was that they often retired to make way for others pot so well qualified as themselves to lead the devotions of the people, or to divide the word of truth to the various classes of their hearers. Hence extravagances were sometimes committed ; erroneous statements were made by incompetent instructers; and reproach was brought on the movement by its enemies, and even by some of those who were disposed to be its friends. But these extravagances, on which adversaries have so largely expatiated, were comparatively rare. In most cases they were simply the result of inexperience ; and we doubt not, that if it should please God, in answer to the prayers of His waiting people, to send another revival, the mistakes would be fewer still.
There is no season, indeed, whether in periods of excitement or of calm, in which the interests of vital religion are not exposed to danger in some form. At present, there is danger of spiritual declension. Some ministers who laboured earnestly and successfully in the north of Ireland in the year 1859, and who are labouring earnestly still in the work of the Lord, have informed the writer of this paper, that, while they are able to point in all directions to the permanent good produced, there are many of the people who seem to have lost much of the warmth and joyousness of their religious affections, whose spiritual sensibilities seem to be declining, and yet who do not experience any alarm or uneasiness on this account; but are rather inclined to regard their present frame of heart and of life as an almost necessary reaction from their former state of undue excitement.
There is also danger in some quarters arising from inadequate or unsound teaching. In consequence of the late awakening, the Protestant population in many counties of the south as well as of the north of Ireland have evinced an increased susceptibility of religious impression. In order to take advantage of this improved state of feeling, many earnest-minded young men have come forth from among the laity to hold meetings, and to deliver addresses to the people assembled. These meetings have been hailed with delight, and, we believe, have been productive of much abiding good in districts which had long lain under the withering influence of a careless or ungodly ministry. The addresses delivered at these meetings are often characterized by soundness of scriptural doctrine, as well as by force of practical appeal. But sometimes there is reason to fear that their efficiency for good is impaired by partial or exaggerated statements of Gospel truth, authoritatively delivered, and in some instances widely received ; and by their tendency to nourish the spirit of self-complacency and self-confidence, and sometimes of invidious comparison and criticism, among persons who are but newly awakened, and, as yet, but imperfectly acquainted with the mutual relations and bearings of the various parts of the Christian system.
LESSONS TO THE CHURCH.
It remains to specify a few of the lessons which this visitation of grace is fitted to teach the church at large in these countries :
1. We are called to humble ourselves before God, because of our ingratitude and hardness of heart. We obtained that great blessing for which we prayed and longed with inexpressible earnestness, and which we yet hardly ventured to expect. God gave it to us, and we were filled with wonder and with joy. It was the Lord's doing, and it was marvellous in our eyes. This feeling of wonder has now subsided ; and we are in danger of grieving the Holy Spirit by forgetfulness and coldness of heart, and of sliding into the spirit of carelessness and indifference respecting this unprecedented mercy.
2. It is our duty earnestly and habitually to put the Lord in remembrance of the wonders He has done in our own land and before our eyes, and to ask Him to renew, and sustain, and carry forward His own work in the midst of us. We are to approach Him in the spirit of the ancient prophet, when he smote the waters of the Jordan with the mantle, and exclaimed, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah ?” These words implied a deep sense of his own personal insufficiency; they implied a touching remembrance of the works which God had already accomplished; they implied, further, an humble hope that what He had done before He would not refuse to do again, in answer to the prayer of His waiting servant. Let us approach the throne of grace in this spirit, and we may expect to see greater things than we have even yet seen.
3. There is needed a larger amount of doctrinal and expository teaching in the pulpit. It is by the truth that the soul is to be fed. Instruction must therefore not be superseded by exhortation. The aptitude of the people to hear and to learn is greatly increased; it must be met by a corresponding aptitude to teach. The analogy of the faith must be set forth ; and the great mystery of godliness, in the