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But, after all, it may become a men, independently of those question, whether we are to ex- means? If, indeed, we conceive pect so extraordinary an effusion of the character, and agency, and of the Holy Spirit, for such a dispensation of the Spirit of God, purpose ? If the divine word, the as altogether arbitrary, not conordinary means of grace, and the formed to any rule or order, not ordinary influences of the Spirit, regulated by any fixed principles, all co-operating with Christian de- we may, perhaps, be justified ini sires and efforts, would be suffi- expecting some sublime display cient to place the churches of our of power and goodness, which day in a state similar to that of shall restore the age of miracles the churches of Christ, in the first in greater splendour than the most. and second age, are we warranted poetic imagination can possibly to expect, that extraordinary effu- describe. sion, for which so many now On the other hand, if we conseem to be looking? By enter- ceive that the extraordinary effutaining such an expectation, may sion of the Holy Spirit is already we not be devolving on the agency given to the church of Christ on of the Holy Spirit that work, earth, upon our Lord's ascension which he is himself, by the word, to “ the right hand of God," and calling on the churches to per- in consequence of his oblation form ?. By praying and waiting and intercession ; that the Holy for an extraordinary effusion of Spirit is “ always, even to the the Holy Spirit, may we not be end of the world” with the church, indulging too romantic an idea of as the substitute for Christ's bodily a religious revival ? May we not presence and ministry; that the be cherishing a desire, that the Holy Spirit, in establishing our kingdom of God may “come with religion, granted extraordinary gifts observation;"—that the Gospel- and powers, tangible to the senses tree may, all at once, shoot up of the most ignorant, and profane, to an extraordinary height, and for the obvious purpose of giving cover an extraordinary breadth of thorough stability to a religion this world's desolation? May we new and repugnant to all other not be tou much fascinated with religions in the world ; if we conthe idea of swelling numbers, ceive that this purpose being crowded temples, affecting experi- accomplished, the extraordinary ences, strong sympathies, and powers and agency were properly ardent professions ?
withdrawn, and a certain order When we speak of an effusion and economy established for the of the Holy Spirit, do we clearly increase and the purity of the. renounce the expectation of any church of Christ to the end of visible symbol, as in the case of time ;-ought we not rather to Cornelius and the day of Pente, investigate into the nature of that cost? Are we to expect any such order and economy, or system of effusion of the Spirit again ? If means, which, if observed, will be not, what do we mean by. an certainly attended by all the extraordinary effusion of the energy and grace of the Holy Spirit? Is it, that he may give Spirit, not by a sudden, fitful, an extraordinary effect to the arbitrary effusion; but by constant, ministry of the word, and other and regular, and genial, and effi-. means of grace, or operate to an cient influences? And, if those astonishing extent, and in a mar- constant and effectual influences vellous manner, on the minds of have not been always equally N. S. NO. 53.
afforded, may we not gather, that prosperity for Zion, our first duty the cause lies, not in the sove is to see, that we are “ walking reignty of the Holy Spirit, but in in the fear of the Lord, and in the the derangement of that order and comfort of the Holy Spirit.” If system by which he has chosen we do not enjoy prosperity, in a principally to act ? In one line, degree equal to that of the primithe Holy Spirit has described tive churches, is it to be attriboth the approved condition of buted to any arbitrary withholdthe churches, and the means of its ing of heavenly influences, or is attainment and continuance, when it from a deficiency of religious he caused it to be written in the character? From the latter cause, Acts of the Apostles, “then had most undoubtedly. Some, howthe churches rest throughout all ever, abusing the doctrine of diJudea, and Galilee, and Samaria, vine sovereignty, and others not and were edified; and walking in perceiving the consequences of the fear of the Lord, and in the their own sentiments, would be comfort of the Holy Ghost, were ready to ascribe the deficiency multiplied.”
wholly to the former cause : they It is true, that a state of “ rest,” are so wrapped up in the soveor freedom from persecution for reignty of God, that they cannot religion, is too apt to produce an even see the responsibility or effect the reverse of that described agency of man: warm in their by the inspired historian of the imagination, enthusiastic in feelchurch. It, however, in a season ing, supralapsarian in theology, of “ rest,” the churches in the pre- and superior to the trammels of sent day should be found " walk-' set rules, strict precepts, and sysing in the fear of the Lord, and tematic means; they live upon in the comfort of the Holy Ghost," novelties and wonders in religious can there be any doubt, that the experience : they are longing for same happy result would follow, miracles and particular revelafrom the attendant blessing of the tions : they pore over the proHoly Spirit on such a state and phecies and the high metaphors conduct;—that the churches would of Scripture with delight, as afbe multiplied? And what more fording scope to their fancy ; and ought we to expect? Probably, their religion, for the most part, in such a state of the churches, consists in the indulgence and the many interesting, and some ex- narration of a delightful, or an traordinary instances of divine awful dream. T. Kaivov is their power and grace would occur; cry; and the ordinary course of but, as in the case of the churches events, the steady working of of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, system, of means, and of principles, there appears not to bave been they can neither understand nor any “ extraordinary effusion of appreciate : hurried along with the Holy Spirit” to produce that the popular stream, some more prosperous state of the churches, ardent, more ambitious than the so neither are the churches of this rest, would be foremost and upperday, we apprehend, warranted in most in the tide of enthusiastic the expectation of any such “ ex- feeling and romantic incident; traordinary effusion." The ordi. till wearied with excessive excitenary operations of the Spirit ment, they sink down, for a seawould suffice for the most ample son, into a natural declension, prosperity that could be desired. which they bewail as a departure If, therefore, we desire more of the Spirit of God, and “ the hiding of God's countenance ;" effect a religious revival, so called, and from which sad condition, have brought upon them. they continually sigh and pray In these remarks our only obto be delivered by another ex. ject is to distinguish the genuine traordinary out-pouring of the from the counterfeit. We well Holy Spirit. Thus do they live know, and believe, and rejoice, in a continual undulation of feel. that there is such a blessing ing, emphatically termed experi. as a real revival of religion in ence ;-to-day, elevated with a churches and individuals; but sense of the sovereign and eternal we would have our fellow Chris. love of God ;-to-morrow, de- tians well guarded against the pressed with dark and gloomy cant of revivals—the flash and fears.
frothiness of a temporary exciteOf this peculiar character are ment: we are not for “ the goodmany private persons in the Chris. ness which is like the morning tian church, and from it some cloud and the early dew," but for Christian ministers are not en- that which is like the light, intirely exempt; and, in accordance creasing more and more unto the with their views of the dispensa. perfect day;" we look for a work tions of God to individuals, so broad, deep, and substantial: we will be their views of his dis- want a revival that shall not need pensations to the churches of reviving. Christ at large. Hence, they will Such a work we are directed to transfer their own experience and look for in the United States of character to the whole body of America; and we do rejoice to Christians, and they will be look- hear of great additions to churches ing for the same extraordinary and great concern about the soul; varieties in the dispensation of but, is there no other spot on the Spirit to the churches, as they the globe to which our attention are accustomed to look for in might, with propriety, be directed themselves.
in this inquiry? May we not All popular excitement con- also look to the Islands of the nected with religion ought to be Pacific for instances and illusvery carefully analysed. Such trations for a great work of salvaan excitement might, without much tion, and a mighty operation of difficulty, be effected by design, the Holy Spirit ? It may, indeed, among a certain class, and in be said that this is not the work of particular localities : it is favoured revival, but of conversion. This by wild, secluded, mountainous is admitted; but, where is the scenery: ignorance, superstition, specific difference in the nature conscious guilt, curiosity, sym- of the one and of the other? It pathy, melancholy, enthusiasm, all is essentially the same work, and minister to it. Towns and cities, it is the same Spirit whose operatherefore, as well as remote places, tions are necessary in both. Inmay become a theatre for the deed, if any thing, à priori, were display of such popular feeling ; expected more extraordinary in nay, there can be no doubt of the the one than in the other, we fact, that in certain connexions should be rather warranted to look in our own country, individuals for it in the case of original conhave been shunned and disowned version from heathenism to the by the body to which they are Christian faith. In the instances attached, solely on account of the before us, however, the cases seem disrepute, which their attempts to reversed. In America the revivals are attended by such signs metaphysical, and, withal, someas to be denominated, “an ex- what tinctured with the spirit of traordinary out-pouring of the pietism. Their experience was Holy Spirit ;" in the South Seas, very deep, and sometimes not the conversions are according to very measured in expression. the more ordinary mode of ope. Such a person we have reason ration : the effect is great, upon to think was President Edwards. the whole ; but the manner of its His character exhibited an extraproduction not particularly strik ordinary combination of a specuiny: our astonishment has not been lative and metaphysical intellect, excited on account of extraordic with the most ferved and impasnary signs of divine operation, sioned feeling. To us it appears though we have greatly admired that his uncommon religious exand rejoiced in the happy and perience, as given in his diary, wonderful change. To the prac- was cast in the mould of his metice of the new converts our at. taphysical doctrine. He had a tention has been directed, rather strong and an absorbing view of than to the mode by which the the sovereignty of God, and a change was effected.
wonderfully abstract idea of hoTo what, then, is this difference liness and of holy feeling. He to be ascribed ? Shall we resolve seems to have had little interit all into the sovereignty of course with the real world; was the Spirit of God? Again we say, not in the habit of pastoral No! The agents employed in visitation, though many came to the several works have been him to relate their experiences; men of different, and rather op- he took no part in domestic conposite character.
cerns; studied thirteen hours in In the South Seas they have la- the day, and lived a recluse life, boured with unwearied diligence absorbed in abstract and pious to instruct, to persuade, to warn; study and meditation. and they have persevered beyond To the influence of this acute most mortal men in these efforts, metaphysician and holy man, may under very discouraging circum- be ascribed, in a great measure, stances; they "plowed and they the extraordinary excitement on sowed in hope," and, at the time the subject of religion which of harvest, they reaped a full prevailed in some parts of Conreward : imperceptibly the bladenecticut, Massachusetts, and New grew into the ear, and the fruit Hampshire, about the year 1734. naturally ripened together, and The account which he published, was gathered in-not without“ the in 1736, respecting “ the converjoy of harvest," but without pro- sion of many hundred souls in ducing in our minds that con- Northampton, (where he was miviction of “the extraordinary nister,) and the neighbouring out-pouring of the Holy Spirit," towns and villages," produced a which has arisen from the state considerable sensation in this ments given by our brethren of the country, and more particularly New World.
in Scotland; where, in a short When we contemplate the agents time after, similar effects were employed in the work of revival witnessed, as at Cambuslang, there, we find them from the be- Kilsyth, Calder, and many other ginning to have been learned places in the west of that country. theologians, well acquainted with To these “ revivals” in America systems of divinity, speculative, our attention has of late been particularly pointed from the recur- spirit of contention :" --singular rence of similar events in that results, however, do these appear part of the world; and it is ob- to be of those revivals, or “harservable, that they have again vests,” in the ministry of so consichiefly occurred in that part of derable a man as Mr. Stoddard; America, where they have often and strange that we should be been experienced, with inter- told, that “after the last of these missions, for the last hundred and harvests, came a far more degenefifty years. We are called, there- rate time, (at least among the fore, at the present time, to take young people,) than ever before ; a more particular view of those that, at the time of Mr. Edwards's occurrences, and to examine a little settlement, “the greater part into their history.
seemed to be very insensible of The town of Northampton in the things of religion, and enNew Hampshire, had been visited, gaged in other cares and pursuits ;" during the ministry of Mr. Solo- and that, just after Mr. Stoddard's mon Stoddard, a period of sixty death, "it seemed to be a time of years, with five revivals, which he extraordinary dulness in religion.” denominated “harvests,” in each By the decease of his grandof which the majority of the father, Mr. Edwards was left alone young people of the town were in the pastoral charge, and laconcerned for their eternal salva- boured, not without success, to tion. « Mr. Stoddard, Mr. Ed- produce a reform. The zeal and wards's grandfather and predeces- ardour of the young minister insor, was of opinion, that uncon- terested the feelings of his peoverted persons, considered as such, ple, and drew their attention to had a right, in the sight of God, the concerns of the soul. A seror by his appointment, to the Sa- mon preached by Mr. Edwards crament of the Lord's Supper:” against Arminianism, was followand, accordingly, persons were ad- ed by the “ very sudden convermitted into the church on making sion of five or six persons, and a short verbal profession, in terms some of them were wrought upon prescribed by the pastor; a prin- in a very remarkable manner.” ciple which is well known in some The conversion of one of the numcountries, through the force of de- ber, a dissolute young woman, cency and custom, to have the produced a great effect, so that effect of swelling the number of “ the news of it seemed to be althe communicants nearly to the most like a flash of lightning upon extent of the whole adult popula- the hearts of young people all tion. From so mixed and impure over the town, and upon many a communion, we shall not be others.” From this time nothing surprised at the statement made was thought or talked of in the by Mr. Edwards, that “ licentious- town but religion : “ the town ness for some years greatly pre- seemed to be full of the presence vailed among the youth in the of God; it never was so full of town; that the youth of both love, nor so full of joy, and yet sexes would often spend the so full of distress.” The sensa. greater part of the night in frolics, tion quickly spread through the without regard to any order in the surrounding country, and “one -families to which they belonged; whole town seemed to be seized, that their indecency was often ap- at once, with concern about the parent in the house of God; and things of God." Mr. Edwards's that the town was divided by a father, who was minister at East