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spread wide by the splendour of the great names of the men, who are “ the angels of those churches." And, I ask those “ angels” whether they would not rejoice to see one general reformation pervading all their assemblies, and spreading through the bundreds and thousands of their congregations ? I am certain the angels of heaven would rejoice. Would they not be glad to see all their people roused at once, to secure the interests of their souls? Would they not rejoice to see the whole population of this capital moved, as by one spirit, to secure one grand object? Surely, such a moment would not be greater than the weight of the concern depending. A heathen monarch, of a much greater city than this, once rose up from his throne, and covered himself with sackcloth-was followed by his court and nobles, and by all the people; even food was interdicted, in a solemn fast, for three days. This was done because God had declared that Nineveh should be destroyed. And is there no reason to believe that God's anger burns against this city? Has not the cry of its wickedness gone up to heaven? And would not a reformation that should visit every house, and forcibly seize every mind, be desirable ? Would it not occasion joy in heaven? What if all the immense crowds that move through the streets were suddenly and strongly impressed with the belief that they were infinitely vile in the sight of God; that they were hastening to the bar of judgment, and to an eternal world of retribution ? What sudden alterations should we see! Would our streets resound by night with horrible oaths and execrations? Would hundreds of houses be crowded with scenes of drunkenness, debauchery, violence, and obscenity ? Would our docks, and vessels, and lanes, and alleys, teem with wretched people in whom the last efforts of vice have left the semblance of humanity, but identified with every thing loathsome and detestable? Would even crowds of children be heard profanely vociferating the awful name of God in their common sports and pastimes ? Alas! it is not considered that the interests and destinies of every one of these souls are as truly great as those of the first rank of people. The shadowy vale of death once past, and the soul discumbered of its adventitious advantages, there will appear little dis tinction between the prince and beggar. - But what would be the effect of such a reformation as this? Would it not be the theme of general conversation? What crowds. would throng the churches ? And would it be admirable, if, under the strong impulse of a general sensation, it should become what may be termed a public passion ? Perhaps even business, for a while, might be, in a manner, suspended; and the ordinary, even the innocent, amusements and diversions of the city would be forgotten.
A gloomy scene! methinks I hear some one say; and yet, reader, every one of these gay people will soon see gloomier scenes thanthis. The hour of death, and the solemn audit before the throne of judgment, will be more gloomy and dreadful, and, without reformation, there will be eternal gloom and horhor. Nor yet would such a scene as this be attended with se much gloom and misery as now pervades the city. Ineffable joy and pleasure would fill every pious mind at the prospect of thousands of people forsaking wickedness and turning to God. Religion is not of a gloomy, melancholy nature, and the concern and anxiety attending reformations is caused, not by religion, but by a consciousness of the want of it.
Be it that such a reformation, in this city, would be attended with some instances of delusion-some indications of fanaticism; how much deeper is the delusion that now reigns over the great mass of people, while they neglect their eternal interests, and despise, and dishonour the God that made them. A stronger fanaticism hurries them onward towards eternal ruin than at tends the religious enthusiast in the favour of his devotions. The stern and lofty front of wickedness everywhere displayed everywhere menacing-everywhere daring and obtrusive, defies every thing short of almighty power. But before the spirit of God be sent “ to reprove the world of sin, of righteous-ness, and of judgment,” it sball melt like wax--it shall vanish atike smoke," for strong is his hand, and high is his right hand."
Such an event could not take place but with a general and strong sensation. Any judge of human nature will perceive that an irreligious-d wicked man, cannot suddenly pads from that to a religious state without great anxiety and alarm; without unusual agitation of mind. It is not merely to say, "I will now become religious," and the work is done : habits corroborated by time, and identified with nature, are not thus broken through. The allurements of wickedness are strong, and are known, from all experience, to be formidable. A drunk ard does not lightly say, “ I will from this day become temperate :" the profane blasphemer, "I will henceforth use no more profane language :" the dishonest, the dissipated, the covetous, the liar, “ I will now alter my course. I mention these classes, as pre-eminently wicked, but every man, even with a much fairer exterior, in his train of feelings, in his heart and affections, is as truly irreligious as these classes.
Religious awakenings and fears are by no means delusion nor enthusiasm. They do but present truth and reality to the mind with their proper interest and influence. A man on his death bed is greatly alarmed, feels strong fears, and calls for advice and prayers. Even courts of justice and legislatures, when a man is condemned, and going to execution, appoint hinn religious instruction; send him a clergyman to prepare himfor what? For the very same event to which every soul in this city is hastening: to prepare him for death for the solemn trial--for eternity! Who objects to the propriety of this humane regulation? Who dares not think it decorous, nay, awfully important that a man on his death-bed should feel solemnity, anx. iety, earnestness, fear-should pray, should ask prayers ? His eternal state is now to be decided; he is now to stand that trial where there is no disguise; to hear that sentence from which lies no appeal.
But the thousands that swarm in this city are in that same state. They may, indeed, and some will, no doubt, live longer, and some perhaps not. Many of them will go as suddenly, far more unexpectedly, and the danger is that they will go without preparation. A dreadful infatuation reigns over mankind. The interests of the soul, its good estate, and salvation, are as much greater, more imperative, and grand, than any temporal concera,
as eternity is longer than time, as endless pains and pleasures are more important than those of a moment.
The truth is, if all the inhabitants of this city had but a correct idea of their state and prospects, they would universally feel that deep and trembling anxiety which a man feels on a deathbed, or a criminal under sentence of death. When compared with a vast and boundless futurity, every concern of life would sbriok into nothing. They would feel as though the change was present; the next step and eternal scenes would open ; 'life is past, aod the dread tribunal is before them. Then, all must depend on the favour of the Almighty Judge. But have they done any thing to secure his favour or deprecate his wrath ? No! The great body of them have equally neglected his favour and his wrath, have equally despised his anger and his love; bave felt no regrets for sin; have never made a prayer; bave seldom used the name of God but in a profane oath. · And are such people fit for heaven? A glimpse of their condition would convince them that they were suited to no place but a region of sin and misery
Then they would think of the Omniscient eye that sees them the Almighty power that holds them. They would think what goodness had been answered with what ingratitude, what favour by what perverseness, what love with what hatred. It would occur to them that perhaps their crimes are already past forgiveness, and that divine displeasure may now be ready to cut them off. With such impressions they could for a moment entertain no resolution but that of devoting so late an hour to so important an exigence. I need not tell what they would do or say: every reflecting mind will for itself strike a general outline of the course they would take. It is the course generally pursued by persons who are the subjects of great awakenings. " Who," says Mr. Locke, “could come within the bare possibility of infinite misery” without fear and alarm ? But if all the mul. titudes in this city, excepting the comparatively small number of truly pious, were convinced that they were not only " within the bare possibility” of endless misery, but were under sentence of the law of God, as well as hastening by their own voluntary course to that end; that it was not only possible, but
highly probable, that that would be their condition; nay, that's there was no possibility of their escape but by deep repentance, and thorough reformation, but by the pardon and acceptance of God through Jesus Christ, they would feel and manifest the greatest alarm and amazement.
That this would be the case here, we may be assured from the experience of all christendom since the reformation; and, if possible, more from the experience of former years, and other countries. “There were great awakenings," says President Edwards, “ in 1625, in the west of Scotland, when it was a common thing for people on hearing the word of God preached to be seized with great terror and alarm, and who became, afterwards, most solid and lively Christians. The same author in.' forms of many in France that were so wonderfully affected with the preaching of the gospel, in the times of those famous. divines, Farel and Viret, that, for a time, they could not follow their secular business." The same writer mentions similar accounts from Ireland and other places.
President Edwards also quotes a letter from his father, iu which his father observes, that " it was a common thing, when the famous Mr. John Rogers was preacbiog, for some of bis hearers even to cry out under the greatness of their alarm and ter-
And by what I have heard,” continues he," I conclude it was usual for many that heard that very awakening and rousing preacher of God's word, to make a great cry in the congregation."..
A religious attention, thus excited in great bodies of people, cannot be safely ascribed to any cause but the influence of the Spirit of God. The reasoning used by Christ himself, in answer to those who blasphemously ascribed his casting out devils to Beelzebub, the prince of devils, applies, at least, if not with equal force, to this case. He said, " if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; and how can his kingdom stand ?” [ do not say that when a village, a town, a city, or a district of people are religiously affected, that Satan is cast out; but I say that his influence is weakened, and his kingdom totters. It près sents an immediate check, as far as it extends, to the exuberance of rice, to the enormity of visible wickedness. In all the sta ges of its progress and operation, it holds a favourable aspects