صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

its doctrines and duties. But, it is impossible for a man of enlightened and discerning mind, who is acquainted with the Gospel, to despise it. Those must be weak in intellect, contracted in their views, and grovelling in their conceptions, who can despise such a rational and sublime system of doctrines, and such a pure and cogent system of morals, as are comprised in the glorious Gospel of the blessed God.

Christ or any of his words? Why should he keep back anything that is profitable, or shun to declare all the counsel of God? Because men of corrupt minds hate the truth, or men of mean minds despise it, shall the ambassadors of Christ forbear to testify the Gospel of the grace of God? Let them, rather, with all boldness speak the word of the Lord; whether men will hear, or whether they will for


5. We may infer, from what has 7. We may infer from what has been said, that those are under a been said, that professed Christians great mistake, who consider the need not be ashamed to practise study of Divinity, i. e. the study any of the duties enjoined in the of the Gospel, as beneath men of Gospel. There is no more reason great minds, and fit only for stu- to be ashamed of the precepts, than dents of the most moderate abili- of the doctrines of Christ. The ties. Of all sciences, that of Di- duties enjoined in the Gospel, all vinity is, at once, the most sublime, naturally flow from that pure, disthe most profound, and the most interested love, which fulfils the comprehensive. It treats of spir- Law, and is the essence of all moritual and heavenly things, and re-al virtue, beauty and excellence. veals the deep things of God, and in its largest extent, comprehends the whole encyclopedia of knowledge. The study of Divinity demands the brightest parts, the strongest powers, and the most capacious minds. The Angels desire to look into these things; and here they may look, and study, and pry forever, and still see more and more to admire, and love, and praise.

6. Is there no reason to be ashamed of the Gospel? Then ministers need not be ashamed to preach any of its doctrines, or to inculcate any of its duties. The Gospel is not composed of heterogeneous materials, some true and good, and others false and evil. It is all of a piece. Its doctrines are all rational and consistent; its precepts are all pure and good. The whole system is glorious to God, and savingly beneficial to men. Why, then, should a minister be more ashamed to preach one doctrine, than another? Why should a minister be ashamed of

To practise these duties, is to be like Christ, and to walk in the steps of the excellent of the earth. Why, then, should the professed followers of Christ, be ashamed to pray, or to forgive injuries, or to confess their faults, or to admonish an offending brother? What a pity it is, that while so many 'glory in their shame,' professing Christians should be ashamed of their glory!

8. We may learn from this subject, why so many, at this day, are ashamed of the Gospel. It is not because the Gospel comprises anything unreasonable or dishonourable; but because, like their ancient predecessors, they love the praise of men, more than the praise of God, and value their reputation among mean or wicked fellowcreatures, more than the glory of God and the eternal welfare of immortal souls.

In view of this subject, let Saints be exhorted to glory in the Gospel. They have no reason to glory in

anything else; but in that, they may glory, without vanity or pride. It is divinely true; it is according to godliness. Hold it fast, my Brethren, and contend earnestly for it. Whoever may reject or despise it, never be ashamed of the glorious Gospel of grace, which you have found, by happy experience, to be the power of God and the wisdom of God for salvation.

Let sinners, who are ashamed of the Gospel, be ashamed of themselves. If you disbelieve the Gospel, you act beneath your rational nature. If you hate the Gospel, it is because you are lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of

God. And, while you continue to be ashamed of the Gospel, you are actuated by a low and selfish regard to the honour which cometh from men. For such baseness,

you have reason to loathe yourselves. But however you may appear in your own eyes, you certainly appear mean and odious in the eyes of Christ; and remaining as you are, He will, hereafter, be ashamed of you: for He has said, "Whoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels." Amen.



I like the title prefixed to your work, for three reasons, to mention no more:

First. Because it is unequivocal. Other appellations, which have become popular and honourable, are claimed by various sects of Christians, and are applied to very different systems of doctrine. The appellation Calvinistick, for instance, though originally designed to designate the sentiments of the great Reformer, JOHN CALVIN, of Geneva, is, at present, applied to sentiments as different from his, as from those of Arminius. But this ambiguity is not yet, to any considerable extent, attendant on the epithet Hopkinsian. As few make use of this appellation, with a view to acquire reputation and popularity by it; so it is appropriated by few, who do not embrace the same system of religious senti

[blocks in formation]

the work, to which it is applied.You might, with truth and propriety, have used the term Evangelical: but this would have been no index to the course which you meant to pursue. This term is claimed and used, by writers of every grade of sentiment, from the strictest Calvinism, down to the most lax Unitarianism.

Thirdly. I like your title, because I believe, that the system, which it denotes, is the only scriptural and rational system: and I view it as very desirable, that there should be, at least, one periodical publication, in which that system may be freely stated, explained and vindicated, for the edification of saints and the conviction of sin

[blocks in formation]


It is proposed in these Essays, to enquire how the epithet, Hop

kinsian, came to be applied to a certain system of evangelical sentiments, and to a certain class of orthodox divines-to vindicate the propriety and utility of the appellation to draw the outlines of that system of doctrinal, experimental and practical religion, properly denominated Hopkinsian-to obviate some of the principal objections against it-to illustrate the practical tendency of it-to show how extensively this system has been received by whom, and how, it has been defended and opposed to investigate the causes of its decline, in certain places-and, finally, to suggest the reasons there may be, to expect, that this system will spread and prevail, until it become universal.

As it is well known, that the term, Hopkinsian, is derived from the Rev. SAMUEL HOPKINS, D. D. it is thought not improper, to preface the following Essays, with a brief account of that eminent servant of CHRIST, whose praise is still in the churches.


The Rev. SAMUEL HOPKINS, D. D. was born in the town of Waterbury, Connecticut, on Lord's day, September 17th, 1721. His Parents were professors of religion, and gave evidence of piety. His Ancestors, both by his Father's and Mother's side, as far back as he was able to trace them, were professed Christians. They were supposed to be descended from the Puritans, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

Such was the prevalence of religion and good morals, in the place of the Doctor's nativity, that he did not recollect hearing a profane word from the children and youth, with whom he associated, during the first fifteen years of his life, which he spent in his Father's fam

ily. It was, perhaps, in a good measure, owing to his seclusion from the influence of bad example, that, in his youth, he was not volatile and wild. or guilty of external irregularities, such as disobedience to parents, profanation of the Sabbath, lying, foolish jesting, quarrelling, passion and anger, or rash and profane words;' but was of a sober and steady make, and disposed to diligence and faithfulness.


Being designed, by his Father, for a learned profession, he was fitted for College, under the tuition of Rev. John Graham, of Waterbury, and entered at YALE, in New-Haven, at the Commencement in September, 1737, when he was just sixteen years old. college, he was distinguished for sobriety, and close application to study. When he had been a member of college two or three years, so good was his moral conduct, and so high the esteem in which others held him, that though he had seldom been even thoughtful on religious subjects; yet he vainly imagined himself to be a Christian, and offered himself and was received as a member of the church in his native town. At this time, he was "constant in reading the | Bible, and in attending on public and secret religion." And sometimes, at night, in his retirement and devotion, he writes, "When I thought of confessing the sins I had been guilty of that day, and asking pardon, I could not recollect that I had committed one!” At this period, though in theory and speculation, he was Calvinistick; yet, in heart and practice, he was an Arminian; as all men are by nature. It was not until his last year at college, when a great revival of religion took place among the students, under the preaching of the Rev. GILBERT TENNANT that he was convinced

of his hypocrisy and entire deprav- | vice of a Council, dismissed, January 18th, 1769. It was during this period, that the rich treasure of President Edward's manuscripts, consisting of many large volumes, besides sermons, fell into his hands, which he spent much time in perusing, commonly rising at 4 o'clock, to pursue his studies.

After his dismission, he supplied various pulpits, until on April 11th, 1770, he was installed Pastor of the First Congregational Church in Newport (R. I.) Here he remain

ity of heart, and, at length, became, as he hoped, through Divine Grace, a new creature. He was sensible, at the time, of a great change in his feelings and affections; but did not indulge a hope, that he had experienced a saving conversion, until about a year after, when he had received his degree, and commenced the study of Divinity with that great and good man, the Rev. JONA'N EDWARDS, of Northampton. In the year 1742, Dr. Hopkins obtained license to preach the gos-ed, with some interruption, during pel: and on the 28th of December, the revolutionary war, until the 1743, he was ordained pastor of 20th of December, 1803, when he the church in Great-Barrington, departed this life, in the eighty(Mass.) then called Housatonock. third year of his age. With Here he laboured with much dili- long life will I satisfy him, and gence and faithfulness, for twenty-show him my salvation." Psalm five years; when, for the want of a xci. 16. "The righteous shall be sufficient maintenance for his nu- in everlasting remembrance."merous family, he was, by the ad- Psalm cxii. 6.

On Revivals of Religion.
No. I.

The subject of revivals of religion is of deep interest. Its own intrinsic importance, the frequent occurrence of revivals at the present day, the variety of opinions entertained respecting them, the different methods resorted to for promoting them, and the different judgments formed respecting their results, all conspire to render the subject worthy of our regard. Revivals are not matters of new occurrence in the Church of God.. They have been known in former ages. Yet it must be confessed, that they are much more frequent at the present day, than at any former period. This circumstance has led some to consider them as novelties, and that of a very doubtful, if not of a pernicious charac


Not to insist upon instances which are recorded in the Scrip

ture history, which, though not expressly called by this name, are considered by many as evident prototypes of modern revivals ; and not to insist upon the great and distinguished revivals of religion which took place in the days of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and their associates, which issued in the firm establishment of the reformed churches, and a vast increase of Gospel light in the world, Robert Fleming, in his "Fulfilling of the Scriptures," gives us an account of some revivals which took place in Scotland and Ireland, in the years 1625, 1628, and 1630, which were like those of our own day. In 1734, a great revival took place in Northampton, under the ministry of President Edwards, of which he gives a particular account in his writings. And in several succeeding years, this work spread through a great part of New-England, under the preach

ing of Whitfield, Tennant, and
others. From the account which
President Edwards gives of this
work, compared with the accounts
we have of revivals in our own
day, we discover a very great re-
semblance. The work, in that
day, had its friends and its oppos-
ers, and so it is with revivals now.
It was accompanied by some irreg-
ularities and extravagancies, which
needed to be discountenanced and
corrected, and so are some of the
revivals of the present day. It
had some intermixture of a spu-
rious work with the genuine, and
so there is reason to fear it is with
some modern revivals. Those who
favoured the work then were un-
reasonably blamed, in many in-
stances, and so it is now. Many
of its real friends were then, by
some, accounted as its enemies,
and so it may be at this day. Some
of its professed friends were then
chargeable with faults, in the
means by which they attempted to
promote it, and so it may be now.
There is a great resemblance, also,
in the effects produced upon dif-
ferent persons, by that work, and
by modern revivals, and great re-
semblance in the causes of their
progress and decline.

An examination of the history of former revivals, and a careful comparison of them with modern ones, and of both with the word of God, would greatly assist us in forming a correct judgment on this subject.

The writer of this proposes to consider the subject, in a series of essays, in which he will discuss a variety of questions connected with

[blocks in formation]

it, which are often asked, at the
present day, with great solicitude,
by the friends of religion. He has
no doubt that the subject will be
deemed to merit a serious and care-
ful investigation. There are many
points involved in it, on which he
does not profess to be qualified to
decide. But he hopes that the
discussion will call the attention of
others to the subject, who can and
will throw light upon it. If the
revivals of which we so frequently
hear, are indeed genuine revivals
of true religion, they furnish to the
church great reason to rejoice, and
to give devout and humble thanks to
Almighty God. But if they are not
so, they are great and dangerous
delusions, which furnish occasion
for the deepest mourning and hu-
In either case, the sub-
ject is one of immense importance,
and deserves our most serious and
prayerful consideration.

Some of the topics, which the writer proposes to discuss, in future numbers, are what is a revival of religion; what are its usual accompanyments; how is a genuine revival distinguished from a spurious one; what things ought to be done to promote a revival of religion; what things ought to be guarded against, as having a tendency to prevent a revival, or to hinder its progress, or to render it spurious, or to stop the work ; how far is it in the power of a church to have a revival when they please, &c.

Christian Repository.

ought to be known, because it is ground of alarm. It ought to be known, that efficient measures may be adopted to prevent its further progress. I regard Socinianism as nothing but Deism in disguise. It assumes the name of Christian

« السابقةمتابعة »