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These striking instances of mortality, forcibly remind us of our Lord's parabolic instruction to his disciples, whom he compares to the domestics of a nobleman retiring for a season from home, and assigning to each his proper office; particularly charging the porter to watch, and the steward to dispense the provision of the house; for whose encouragement he adds, “ Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.”
O that each in the day of his coming may say,
O that each from the Lord may receive the glad word,
REVIVAL OF RELIGION AT SHOTTS.
To the Editor. Rev. Sir, If you would occasionally devote a page or two of your
useful Miscellany to the mention of reinarkable Rerivals of Religion, in different ages and places, I conceive it would have a good effect. Ministers and private Christians would be excited to abound in prayer for the out-pouring of the Spirit in a similar way, and thus we might happily witness the conversion of a multitude of souls. As a specimen of what I recommend, I transcribe a short account of the very remarkable effects produced by a sermon at the church of Shotts, in Scotland, June 21, 1630. I am aware that many scores of your Readers have already seen it; but, being apprehensive that some thousands of those who read this Magazine have never met with it, I think its insertion is adviseable. Should your views concur with mine, I shall be willing to transcribe several other accounts of a like nature hereafter. .
. X. Y, Z.: The parish church of Shotts, lying on the road west of 1 Edinburgh; and then at a considerable distance from any convenient place of entertainment for travellers, some ladies of rank, who had occasion to pass that way, frequently received civilities from the minister at his parsonage (or manse, as it is called in Scotland) particularly once, when by an accident betalling their carriage, they were obliged to spend a night there. Observing the bad
situation. cituation of his habitation, and its ruinous state, they exerted their influence to procure him a more convenient dwelling on a better spot. Having received such favours, the minister waited upon the ladies, and handsomely expressed his desire to know if any thing was in his power whereby he might testify his gratitude. They answered, that it would much oblige them, if he would invite, to assist at the approaching coinmunion there, certain ministers whom they named; and who were eminent for piety and usefulness. To this he assented ; and the report being widely spread, a great number of persons of different ranks assembled; so that for several days before the sacrament, there was mueh time spent in social prayer.
It was not then usual (as it has been ever since this memorable time) to hear a sermon on the Monday after the sacrament-day, but the Lord having afforded so much of his gracious presence during the wbole solemnity, and there being an unusual number of ministers and christians assembled on that occasion, they were unwilling to part without another sermon. Mr. John Livingston, a young minister, was strongly urged to preach ; but would gladly have excused himself, there being so inany aged and respectable preachers present, of whom the famous Mr. Robert Bruce is said to have been one. At length, being prevailed upon, he spent much of the preceding night in prayer ; but in the morning felt so much depression of spirit in the view of the service before him, that he determined to steal away, and had actually withdrawn to a considerable distance, when these words, “ Was I ever a barren wilderness, or a land of darkness ?" occurred to his inind with such power, that he was constrained to return and preach. His text was, “ Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you,” &c. * As he was about to close the discourse, a very heavy shower of rain suddenly fell ; which obliging the people hastily to take to their cloaks and coats, he began to address them to the following effect:
“ If a few drops of rain from the clouds discompose you so much, how will you be filled with horror and despair, if God shall deal with you, sinners, according to your deserts ? God may justly rain down fire and brimstone
upon you, as he did upon Sodom and Gomorrah ; but, behold the Son of God, who, by tabernacling in our nature, and by obeying and suffering in it, is become a refuge from the storm, a covert from the wrath of God! His merits and mediation are the only shelter for your souls; and none but penitent sinners shall ever have the benefit of that refuge." In a discourse to this purpose, he was led on, after he had finished what was premeditated, for about an hour, in a pathetic strain of warning and exhortation, with great enlargement of heart..
Wonderful, beyond any modern example, was the mighty energy of the Holy Spirit which accompanied this exhortation Multitudes were awakened, converted, and quickened. Mr. Fleming, the excellent and celebrated author of “ The Fulfilling of the Scriptures,” who was minister of Cambuslang, about twelve miles from Shotts, and who had the best means of information and personal observation of the effects, has left this testimony concerning it:“ I can speak'on sure grounds. Near five hundred persons had, at that time, a discernible change wrought upon them; of whom, most proved lively Christians afterwards. It was the sowing of a seed through Clyde's Dale, so that many of the most eminent Christians in that country could date either their conversion, or some remarkable confirmation in their case, from that day.”
REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS PUBLICATIONS.
The First Lie Refuted; or, the Grand Delusion Exposed. A Sermon preached
at the Rev. Dr. Rippon's Meeting-house, in Carter-lane, Southwark, on Lord's Day, June 15, 1800. By John Ryland, D. D. 8vo, 41 p. [An injunction from the Stamp Office prevents our inserting the publisher's
- name and price in future.] It was said of our Saviour, “ He told me all things that ever I did." If that kind of preaching which discovers a man's inmost choughts to him, traces them to their proper sources, exhibits the wrath of God re yealed from Heaven against them, and points to the only remedy, be the most useful, the Sermon before us must rank under this description. It abounds with weighty and impressive sentiments, collected from a close observation of the workings of the human heart.
In the course of the Sermon che awshor shews, by a number of pertinent questions, the absurdity and deceitful tendency of that scheme of restitution, which encourages men who die in their sips to hope for final happiness; and having done this, he, in an animated and movirg strain, addresses himself to the consciences of his hearers, warning and persuading them to flee from the wrath to come, by fleeing to Jesus, the only name given under Heaven by which we can be saved.
The Partiality and Unscriptural Direction of Socinian Zeal. A Reply to
the Rev. Mr. Rowe's Letter, occasioned by a Note in the above Sermon. : By John Ryland, D. D. 8vo. 83 pp.
IN opposing the Restitution Scheme, in the foregoing Sermon, Dr. Ryland alleged a very important objection to it, " That, whereas the prophets and apostles labour to make men think ill of sin, and to alarm their utmost fear of the vrath to come, all the labour of the abertors of this scheme is employed in a contrary direction; namely, to keep men froin thinking sin too great an evil; and to prevent their sup. posing that God will be too angry with the wicked; or that his wrath will burn too fiercely, or last too long.” In a marginal note, he added, “ A similar thought has often struck me with reference to the Socinians. In wbat exalted terms did I saiah, and the other prophets, foretell the ad. • veot of the Messiah ! How did Paul and all the apostles seem as if they could never make enough of Christ, instead of being afraid of exalting him too highly! But these unhappy men are obliged to labour in a cuunter-direction. They account it their chief duty to try to make men think less of Christ than serious Christians generally do. They are evidently more concerned to prevent his obedience unto death from being over-rated, than they are to convert men from a life of dissipation, or even of profaneness : and can theirs possibly be scriptural religion !" ,
This note occasioned a printed letter to the author, from the Rev. Mr. Rowe, a Socinian minister, of Bristol, charging him with having ad. vanced an assertion, for which he had not the shadow of authority;" and calling upon him, either to defend or retract it. The Doctor made choice of the former.
After having stated his meaning, he first offers proof of the partiality of Socinian zeal; or of its leading those who possess it, to oppose in the most violent and, in some instances, even scurrilous manner, the principles of orthodoxy; while it scarcely excites a movement against dissipation and profaneness : and, secondly, of its operating in a contrary direction to the zeal of the New Testament writers.
To the above defence of the foregoing note, is added a Postscript, containing some important observations on the aconement, occasioned by some reflections on that subject in Mr. Rowe's Letter.
The great variety of the kinds of evidence which have been adduced in proof of Christianity, has been very properly alleged as an argument in its favour + :" and the same may be said of the various kinds of evidence which have been adduced in proof of its leading doctrines. The remark of Dr. Ryland, which gave offence to Mr. Rowe, is, if true, sufficient of itself to overturn the Rescitution and Socinian Schemes ; and that it is true, he has given the most indisputable proof.
Dr. Ryland has no mercy on the system of his opponent: he is, however, singularly mild and gentle in his treatment of him; and, in all his reasonings and expostulations, is manifestly influenced by the purest benevolence.
+ See Mr. Wilberforce's Practical View, chap. V. p. 361, 3d edition.
The Difficulties and Supports of a Gospel Minisier ; and the Duties incumbent
on a Christian Church: a Charge, by John Ryland, D.D. and a Sermon, by James Hinton, Nov, 17, 1801, at the Ordination of T. Coles, A. M. to the Pastoral Care of the Baptist Church at Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire. 8vo.
FROM the advertisement we learn that the Baptist church at Bourton were deprived, by death, of their late highly esteemed fastor, the Rev.
Benjamin Beddome, in the year 1795. The vacancy seems, at length, to be supplied in a manner peculiarly satisfactory, Mr. Coles, having finished his preparatory studies in Scotland, officiated for some months as the assistant preacher to Mr. Abraham Booth, by whcm, and by whose con. gregation his services, with a view to a' more intimate connection, were warmly welcomed and earnestly solicited : but “ here (say the friends ar Bourton) he was first awakened to the knowledge of that salvation, which he has devoted his life to extend and promote. He is known and be. loved by us all; and we regard him as the person who, under Providence, is the most likely to revive us, to consolidate our affectionate intercourse, and to advance the kingdom of Christ in this place. We entreat you, brethren, to gratify our hopes, by suspending your claims, and allowing our invitation to have its full and free effect on our brother's mind.” To this request the church in Goodman's Fields acceded with a degree of Christian resignation, which does them great honour.
Dr. Ryland's Charge is founded on the three following passages of Scripture :
rii. 16. ^ Who is sufficient for these things ?” 2 Cor. xii. 9. “My grace is sufficient for thee."
Liii. 5. “ Our sufficiency is of God.'' The Doctor considers the inquiry proposed in the first passage; the agsurance given in the second ; and the conclusion drawn in the third, The grounds of the Apostle's inquiry are stated to be, The greatness of the work, -The obstructions which are met with in the discharge of it, and The weakness attaching to the labourer.
The assurance, it is observed, derivesits validity from the character of its Author, the freeness, efficacy, and suitableness of his grace; and the union of interest and design, which subsist between him and a faithful pastor.
The uses made of the conclusion are various. It urges humility, importunity in prayer,-unwearied diligence, --cordial union with fellowlabourers, -and cheerful perseverance.
Dr. Ryland's style and spirit are so well known to our readers, that we think it unnecessary to give an extract.
Mr. Hinton, in his Sermon addressed to the church, discusses Colos. i. 9, 10. The division is thus expressed : " You, my fellow. Christians, are called to sustain a sacred and exalted character; and you profess to have in view very important designs : you have taken on yourselves the most solemn obligations; and you are provided with highly animating encouragements. To each of these particulars perinit me to direct your serious attention. Character, in its individual and its social reference, is affirmed to be " the basis of true worth, the criterion of aceeptance with God, and the security of usefulness among men." Under this head the preacher observes, That the union subsisting between the members of a Christian church, should be cemented by mutual liberty, mutual attachment, and mutual obedience.
After briefly noticing the important designs which Christians, in their social capacity, profess to have in view, Mr. Hinton proceeds to point out their obligations. These are exhibited with clearness, energy, and point. Alluding to the particular circumstances of the church at Bourton, Mr. Hinton thus addresses them :-" Few connexions, probably, bave been formed, in which the claims of personal friendship, as well as of piety, have been more strong than those which subsist betwixt you, my brethren, and your present pastor. Descended from parents whose interests, spiritual and tenporal, were intimately blended with your own,