Page images

ON REVIVALS OF RELIGION./ The character of God is exhibited, No. VI.

in all its parts, as it is revealed in

the scriptures. He is seen to be In my

last, I mentioned some of a holy Sovereign, having mercy on the marks of distinction between a whom he will have mercy, and hargenuine and a spurious revival.-dening whom he will. The chari. In a genuine revival, there is acter of man is exhibited, as the real conviction of sin; in a spuri- scriptures represent it. The heart ous one there is not. 2. In a gen- of the unregenerate is seen to be uine revival, God is loved, by the full of evil, enmity against God, subjects of it, chiefly for his own and hating both Christ and the sake; in a spurious one, he is loved Father. The law of God is brought by the subjects of it, chiefly for his into view, in all the spirituality kindness to them. 3. In a genu- and extent of its precept, and in ine and a spurious revival, the joys all the weight and duration of its of the new convert arise from very penalty. It is seen to be holy, different considerations. I would and just, and good, while it renow observe,

quires sinless obedience, and de4. In a genuine and a spurious nounces eternal death as the just revival, the sensations that are ex- demerit of the slightest failure, in cited, both agreeable and painful, thought, in word, or in deed. The are in the view of very different requirements of the gospel are urgobjects. In a spurious revival, the ed upon sinners, and they are callobjects brought into view, in pub- ed upon to give God their hearts, lic discourses and private conver- to repent, and believe the gospel sation, are chiefly those which are without delay; and they are solsuited to the selfish hearts of men, emnly assured, that till they do and are well adapted to excite this, they never take one step in their selfish feelings. The great the way to heaven. In the view danger sinners are in, while living of such objects as these, the feelwithout hope, and the great impor ings of both saints and sinners are tance of securing their own eternal strongly excited, Sinners are ainterests, are urged npon them, as larmed. They see their danger, the most powerful considerations and their guilt. They are convictto move them to arise and call up- ed of sin. They realize their true on God. On the other hand, are character. They are driven from described, in glowing colours, the every refuge of lies; and find no safety of the righteous, and the place of rest or hope, till they subhappiness of those who have ob- mit themselves to God. When tained the forgiveness of sins, and they have done this, the same obare delivered from the wrath to jects which before filled them with come. By such considerations, terror and dismay, and shot thro' those who are without hope, are their hearts the keenest pangs, moved with fear, and filled with now fill them with joy and peace. distress. And by such considera- Those very objects which were betions, those who have obtained a fore the most dreadful to behold, hope, are filled with joy and peace are now to them objects of the But in a genuine revival, the feel- most delightful contemplation. The ings which are excited in the view they have of them, is perhaps breasts of saints and sinners, are the same; but the feelings which chiefly in the view of other objects that view excites, are altogether than these. The great doctrines different. of the gospel are brought into view. 5. There is a great difference between the subjects of a genuine pleased with them for doing so. and a spurious revival, as to the They are sensible that God will submission they exercise. The dispose of them as shall be most subjects of a spurious revival only for his own glory, and that he resubmit to be saved. The subjects quires them to be willing he should. of a genuine revival subunit to be But they know that it will be most at the divine disposal, whether to for his glory to treat some sinners be saved or lost. The conflict in as they deserve; and they know the mind of the subject of a spuri- not but they are of that number. ous revival, seems to be this: He If God would assure them of their looks at the pleasures of sin, and own safety, they could be willing feels a reluctance to part with to be in his hands.

But he gives them. He looks at a life devoted them no such assurance. They to the duties of religion, and feels feel it to be a matter of awful unan aversion to it. But he sees certainty, whether he intends to that the pleasures of sin are con- save or to destroy them. In this nected with eternal death, and he state of mind, they strive, and cry, is terrified at the thought. He sees and struggle, but find no relief. that there is no way to secure the They see nothing but destruction salvation of his soul, but to lead a before them. They expect to be life of religion. He sees that he cast off forever, and to be made must renounce the pleasures of sin, the monuments of the divine venand lead a life of religion, or be geance. At length the conflict lost forever. He would by no ceases. They no longer contend means choose this for its own sake. against God. They consent to be He views it as an evil; but it is a in his hands, as the clay in the less evil than damnation. He sees hands of the potter. They are that he had better submit to this, willing to be at his disposal, both than lose his soul. And so he for time and eternity.—They unite

submits, he consents to endure a with David in saying, “ But if he 1. present evil, that he may avoid a thus say, I have no delight in thee;

greater evil in prospect. He sub- behold, here am I, let him do to mits to be saved. Whether this is me as seemeth good unto him." properly called submission or not, They know not yet whether he inis not now the subject of enquiry. tends to save or to destroy them;but It is sufficient that it is so called, they are willing to leave it with and that many who exercise no him. They see that his glory is other submission than this, think the most important object in the they have submitted to God. If universe; and they now set their it is submission, it is a conditional hearts upon it, as their supreme submission. But the subjects of a object. They wish that to be segenuine revival exercise a submis- cured, whatever may become of sion of a very different nature. themselves. They submit unconditionally. They 6. There is a great difference feel that they are in the hands of between the subjects of a genuine God. For a while they strive to and a spurious revival, as to the get out of his hands. They are opinion they entertain of themconscious that they deserve to be selves and their performances.destroyed; and are afraid God will | The subjects of a genuine revival treat them as they deserve. They are really humble; the subjects of know that they have made their a spurious revival are not so, The own happiness their supreme ob- subjects of a genuine revival have ject, and that God is greatly dis- I a low opinion of themselves, and their attainments and perform- prayers consist very much of hu- : ances; the subjects of a spurious miliation and confession; the othrevival have a high opinion of all er has little or no sense of these, these. There is, indeed, among

and either does not dwell upon the subjects of a spurious revival, them in his prayers, or if he does, much that passes for humility ; his humiliations and confessions but it has all the characteristics appear affected and constrained, of a false humility. It is greatly and he manifests more of the temaffected with itself; it courts ob- per of him who thanked God that servation ; it wishes to be seen ; he was better than others. it is ever obtruding itself on

Á 1. 7. There is a great difference the notice of others. The sub- between a genuine and a spurious ject of such a work often talks of revival, as to the manner in which humility, much more than the sub- means are used for the promotion ject of a genuine revival. But he of the work. I do not mean now speaks of himself, and brings into to speak of the difference in the view his own experiences and at- means themselves ; for that will tainments. And the real lan-probably be the subject of considguage of the whole, to the mind of eration under another head. Nor an impartial spectator, is, “Come do I mean to speak of the degree and see how humble I am." He is in which means are used ; for I apt to be bold, forward and as- suppose that means may be used suming ; to take much upon him- to the same extent, whether the self, and to desire to be much revival is genuine or spurious. thought of by others. And if oth- But they are used in a very ers think less of him than he different manner. In a genuine does of himself, he is apt to feel revival, the means which are sucgreatly injured. If others do cessfully used for its promotion, not put hin forward, and en- are used in such a manner as to courage him to act a conspicu- show that those who use them feel ous part, and approve of what he a deep sense of their dependence does, he is apt to think meanly of on God. They feel, indeed, that their judgment or piety, and to means are to be used with all dilispeak of them in a censorious man- gence ; but they feel also that ner, as having far less religion means in themselves, have no effithan himself. It is not so with cacy, and that God alone can make the subject of a genuine revival. them effectual.

And they use He is really humble. Ho feels them with a humble and submishimself exceedingly vile and un- sive, yet persevering and earnest worthy. He is modest and retir- looking to God for help. I say ing in his disposition. He esteems that the means which are successothers better than himself, and fully used for the promotion of a wishes to avoid observation, and genuine revival, are used in this escape the notice of others. He manner; because I believe that does not think highly of his own the manner in which means are of. experiences or attainments, nor ten used, is a reason why God suppose them worthy of the public does not make them effectual. attention. This difference between But in a spurious revival, the the subjects of a genuine and a means which are used for its prospurious revival, often: manifests motion, are used in such a manitself in their prayers.--While the ner as to show that those who use one is deeply affected with the sins them place great dependence on of his heart and life, and his themselves. They may, indeed,


in words, acknowledge their de- feel so much respect for the word pendence on God ; they may call of God. They are much inclined it the work of God, and profess to to take their own feelings for a give him all the glory. But while guide. And sometimes they carry such professions are on their this so far, as to make their own lips, their whole deportment e. feelings the rule by which the vinces very different feelings of scriptures are to be interpreted. heart. They engage in the work, Whatever does not agree with evidently expecting that they them, must be explained away. themselves shall do some great The impressions made upon their thing-In their prayers to God minds are equivalent, in their es. they use a degree of boldness and timation, to a new revelation, familiarity, which ill becomes sin- which supercedes the revelation ful worms, when addressing their contained in the bible. Other subMaker ; and they make their re-jects of a spurious revival, who have quests in such language as is fit to too much information to take this be used only when we go to an course, manifest their disesteem equal to challenge our rights.- for the scriptures, by treating them And when their efforts are with neglect. They dare not decessful, they manifest a kind of ny their authority, or pretend to a triumph and exultation, which new revelation which renders them seems to have a strong resemb- unnecessary. But they do not lance to that of the man who said, tind, in the study of the scriptures, “Is not this the great Babylon so much pleasure as they do in the which I have built p”

study of other books. They are 8. There is a great difference better entertained with reading of between the subjects of a genuine a different description; and so the and spurious revival, as to their bible is pushed out of place. esteem and reverence for the holy 9. A genuine and a spurious rescriptures. The subjects of a gen- vival differ from each other in uine work of grace, feel a high their permanent effects. The subrespect for the word of God. They jects of a genuine revival show, take it for their guide, and study by their after life, that they are it with a teachable disposition.- new creatures. After the first They do not wish some parts of it glow of feeling has subsided, “ the erased, because it disagrees with peaceable fruits of righteousness" their own views. They are ready still remain. The meek and quiet to renounce all their preconceived spirit of the gospel, “ the mind opinions, and to embrace every that was in Cirist,” is still to be truth which the bible reveals.- found among them; and forms a 'It is their earnest desire to know striking contrast to that spirit of what the Lord their God will say; the world which raled in their and when they hear hin speak, hearts before. But a spurious rethey are ready to receive whatev-vival produces no permanent efer he teaches, without murmur- fects, or they are those of a differings or disputings. The bible is ent character.

ent character. Many of the subto them a precious book. It is jects of a spurious revival, after "sweeter to their taste than the the first glow of feeling has subhoney or the honeycomb;” and sided, sink down gradually into * more to be desired than gold, the same state they were in beyea, than much fine gold.' fore. Their religion has been only

It is not so with the subjects of a storm of the passions, and has a spurious revival. They do not I been too violent to be lasting.


And they soon cast off the profes- principal marks of distinction be. sion, as well as the appearance, tween a genuine and a spurious of devotedness to God. In other revival. And in proportion as cases, there are some permanent they are to be found in an indieffects; but they consist very much vidual, or in a nuinber of individin spiritual pride, vain glory, con- uals, I think we may safely contempt of others, and a bigotted at- clude the work to be a genuine tachment to certain favourite opin- work of grace, or a great and danions, or to certain forms of wor- 1 gerous delusion. ship, while the genuine spirit of

A Friend to Revivals. the gospel is not to be found.

Utica Christ. Repos, Such appear to be some of the


moral depravity, and not moral

depravity itself. Men are active ESSAYS UPON HOPKINSIANISM.

only in their free, voluntary affecNo. V.

tions and exercises, which comThe native character and condition pose their hearts; for these only of mankind.

are they accountable to God; and

in these consists whatever they Next in importance to the know- possess of a moral nature. It is ledge of God, is a knowledge of not true, therefore, as some mainourselves. Some of the greatest tain, that human depravity is uniand most dangerous errours, pre-versal, i. e. that all the powers and valent in the Christian world, orig- faculties, both of the minds and inate from incorrect notions of the bodies of men, are depraved. Denature, origin, extent and conse- praved men ossess all the corpoquences of human depravity. The real and mental faculties, which scriptural doctrine of depravity, Adam possessed before his fall, lies at the foundation of all the and are as well able to exercise doctrines of grace. Hence, Hop-them. Human depravity does not kinsians, in their systems, sermons consist in a dormant principle, and tracts, have dwelt much upon taste, or appetite of the mind, this subject. I shall endeavour which is antecedent to voluntary to express their views, as clearly exercises, and the source of them. and concisely as I am able, in the If such a principle exists (which following propositions.

lacks all proof) it cannot be of a 1. The depravity of mankind is moral nature, and, therefore, canscated in the heari, or will. It is not be the seat of moral depravity. of a moral nature; otherwise it The sacred writers, represent would not be criminal. Men are human depravity as belonging to not to blame for depravity of body, the will and affections, which comor weakness of intellect, or, in- pose the heart; as consisting in deed, for any thing, in which they loving darkness and hating the are not voluntary and active. Nei- light-in choosing the evil, and ther the organs and motions of the refusing the good—in hating God, body, nor the faculties and opera- and loving one's own self." tions of the understanding, are of 2. Human depravity essentially a moral nature. It is true, that and summarily consists in selfishthe bodies of men are diseased, ness. It is of a moral and crimiand their understandings darken- | nal nature; or, in other words, it ed; but this is the effect of their , is sin. “ Siu is the transgression

« PreviousContinue »