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the minds of some have been operated on by sympathy; some only by the convincing agency of the Spirit, and many doubtless have experienced his converting influences. That many have not, is proved by the result in numerous cases. They, indeed, run well for a season, but soon give melancholy evidence, that “ they have neither part nor lot in the matter." Had I not been an eye witness of such a scene, in its beginning, conduct, and termination, I should not venture to depict it in such colours.
In the latter case, the outpouring of the Spirit appears to be more gradual, and his reviving power increases by almost imperceptible degrees. A deep solemnity pervades the sanctuary, the circle for social prayer, and all the public exercises of religion. The preached word prevails with mighty efficacy, in convicting the hearts and consciences of sinners, and the Spirit sealing pardon and peace, sheds abroad his precious influence. Society, instead of being a moving mass of excitement, gradually assumes a different aspect; and men seeing, feeling, and acting rationally, while they are sweetly constrained by divine influence, bow to the sceptre of Jesus, and swell the triumphs of his cross. Increased exertion on the part of God's people, accompanied by a deep and humiliating sense of their dependence upon him, are apparent; but no departures from established order, nor the least approach to fanaticism, mars the sacred beauty of the scene. Streams of consolation are found in Zion, and all her children rejoice within her, because many come to her solemn feasts. Of those brought into the church under such circumstances, few, comparatively very few, ever turn again to folly, or give evidence that they are not born of God. The reason is obvious. In revivals of the latter description, all are preserved from that pich of excitement, which disqualifies them for selfjudgment; and all have ample time for cool reflection and calm decision. Such are the revivals which have ever afforded the church most cause of joy, with least of sorrow; and those glorious works attendant on the ministry of the devoted Apostle to the Gentiles, appear to have been of this character.
I am aware that some intelligent, pious, and well-meaning men, suppose a high degree of excitement the necessary concomitant of genuine revivals. But where is the evidence of the supposition ? Let us, for example, take the Presbyterian Church in the United States; and may we not safely say, that three-fourths, if not four-fifths of all her communicants, were
brought within her pale without passing through that paroxysm of excitement, but too common in revivals of the last two years. And that four-fifths, constituting the very bone and sinew of the church, - Christians, whose lives and conduct ornamented our holy religion. Here we have thousands and tens of thousands of real conversions ;-churches continued, and increased by twenty, forty, sixty, perhaps an hundred additions in a single year; genuine revivals in the true meaning of the term, and all without that excitement. We have then the testimony of the great body of evangelical Christians, against its necessity. Am I told, that these conversions or revivals, have occurred < under circumstances different" from those revivals where such excitement subsists. That does not appear to remove the difficulty. Still they have occurred, and are the effectual work of the Holy Spirit. But in failing to remove, does it not increase the difficulty? By admitting that genuine revivals of religion may and do occur, without improper excitement, in the use of right means, does it not prove, that the excitement attending those revivals under a different circumstances," must depend upon the use of wrong means ? For surely it is hard to conceive of circumstances, which have not a direct relation to, or are not operated upon by the use of means. Here allow me to ask, (for it is an undoubted fact,) why is it that the great body of our most judicious, intelligent, and pious divines, begin to look with coldness and distrust on some of our late revivals ? Why is it that Nettleton-the judicious, the ardent, the devoted Nettleton-so long a leader in revivals, and whose name in the history of the church must stand enrolled with those of Edwards and Whitfield, pausesalarmed and distrustful,—to heed the course of men who profess to be engaged in the same work? Is it because they are opposed to revivals of religion? Shall we do them the injustice to suppoşe, that as their heads have grown gray, their hearts have grown cold in the service of Jesus ? Or is it because they see a course of proceeding, and a degree of excitement in those revivals, which reflecting prudence and gray headed experience cannot sanction; and which makes them tremble for the welfare of our beloved Zion ? If they, (as has been said,) "are not up to the times,' or have need to learn the course of propriety from those eugaged in this work; then ought age and experience, to be directed by youthful ardour and untempered zeal; then ought Timothy to have instructed Paul,—and Knox, Calvin. Yet, let none suppose there can be a revival without much devotional feeling, -nos
there must and will be deep, humble, contrite, prayerful feeling; but this is not the excitement of which I speak. Is not the ocean's depth as conspicuous, and far less dangerous beneath the tranquility of a mirror surface, as when it mingles its billows in wild confusion with the clouds ?
If the religion of Jesus be a rational religion, (and who can deny it) then all excitement unfriendly to rational decision, in cases of conversion, must increase the probability of mistake. A mistake, which, without the aid of hypocrisy, may soon fill the church with those whose names are not written in the Lamb's "book of life.” And if, in any case, it is impossible to guard against undue excitement, it is not always impossible to guard against its consequences. At all events, if we have awaited the production of“ fruits meet for repentance," and, passed judgment by the criterion of our Master, our responsibility is at an end, and we are no longer answerable for the result. Surely, few things merit more attention in the pastoral office, than the ingathering of the fruits of revivals ; and, perhaps, no mistake is more fatal, than that by which we are introduced into the company and communion of saints, in an unregenerate state. From that moment, we are prone to rest satisfied with our condition, the doubts and fears of the true christian never assail us; the terrors of the law, and the denunciations of wrath, reach us not in our sacred retreat ; and we settle down in that false security, which the realities of death, and the thunders of the last judgment will alone disturb. Better, for a season, to exclude two of Christ's friends through caution, than to admit one enemy through negligence; when that exclusion leaves them in perfect safety, and admission must bring with it a false security.
And finally-- Ifthe knowledge of the Lord sball fill the earth, as the waters cover the sea,” must it not be through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost?” Must not theee times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord be multiplied, increased, continued, and extended in every land ? The event only, is revealed in the clearest manner in prophetic vision—“ The times and the seasons the Father hatli put in his own power.” May not the time decreed in the counsel of the eternal for the accomplishment of his naighty purpose, be near at hand ? The signs of the times, both in the religious and political world, seem to indicate its approach. The reign of superstition and corruption no longer obscures the beauty, or destroys the purity of the church. At least their charm is dissolved—their power broken ; and
the divine truths of revelation, stripped of tradition, and misrepresentation, are preached and published, without fear or danger, and almost without bound. The religion of Jesus, no longer made to sanction the most flagrant idolatry and barbarous persecution, is restored to its primitive purity, and extending its hallowed influence, replete with every blessing, through the nations of the earth. Those richer effusions of the spirit, for so many ages and centuries little known in the church, have become common in our more highly-favoured age. Increased facilities for extending the knowledge of the Gospel, are every where multiplied ; and a spirit of benevolence, extensive in its operations as that religion which
gave it birth, incites the people of God to umwearied action for the advancement of his kingdom. Animated by a new impulse, the heralds of the cross go forth in increased numbers, to proclaim the riches of Gospel grace in every quarter of the world. Obstacles, that have hitherto presented an impenetrable barrier to missionary effort, and the preaching of the cross, are giving way before the continued exertions made for their removal, or have been already removed by the finger of God. Can we examine this amount of evidence without arriving at the conviction, that the prophetic day of Zion's glory is near at hand ? That the pure and peaceful light which has long shone so partially, and, in many places, so dimly, will soon glow with universal brightness ? All these things seem to announce the triumphs of the church, as already begun, and that “ the set time to favoor her has come.”
Let us then, brethern, as followers of Jesus, humbly use the appointed means. Let the revival of religion in its truth and purity, and the restoration of the wastes in Zion, be the object of our warmest desires ; and, while zeal according to knowledge animates our hearts and directs our efforts, let this reflection bear us through every trial, that our Lord will be « with us even to the end of the world;" and they that turn .many to righteousness, shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
THE REV. W. BLACKWOOD AND THE
LODGERS OF HOLYWOOD.
[We have much pleasure in giving a place to the following correspondence.
It affords pleasing evidence of the faithful preaching of the Gospel in one of our watering-places, and that this privilege is estimated by
those who enjoy it.] We, the undersigned, having enjoyed the benefit of your ministrations during the period of our remaining lodgers this year at Holywood, beg leave to present you with a set of dinner tables, and a side-board, as a token of our gratitude and respect. It is a matter of thankfulness to us, that when removed from the immediate sphere of our respective ministers, we, and our families, through the accommodation so kindly afforded us by the members of your flock, have been permitted to enjoy the blessings of the Gospel, faithfully and affectionately preached. Your zeal in the sacred cause in which you are engaged-your fidelity in discharging the important duties connected with it--your ability in expounding the truth, and enforcing the duties of Christianity-together with our high esteem for your character as a faithful minister of Christ Jesus, have induced us thus to communicate to you the assurance of our best regards. May the Lord impart to you an increase of grace, that you may be strengthened with the energy of his own Spirit, and made an honoured instrument in leading many sinners from their evil ways to that Redeemer, whose Gospel is alike essential to minister and people.
(Signed.) To the Rev. WM. BLACKWOOD,
In returning you my very sincere thanks for the address with which you have been pleased to present me, allow me to say, that such an expression of your approbation, accompanied as it is by so substantial a proof of it, has made an impression on my mind, that, I am persuaded, will never be effaced. On behalf of the congregation to whom you express yourselves indebted, I may state, that for years past, I have known their kindness and courtesy to strangers situated as you have been, and I would trust and believe that such attention arises from the fact, that having received the Gospel in the love of it, they are actuated by its spirit, and knowing it to be the power of God to the salvation of their