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in the use of them, except when they are applied as terms of reproach; an application of them, often very unjust and injurious, and seldom, if ever, proper and justifiable. But, as words in all living languages, often change their meaning, and, in process of time, come to be used for purposes very different from those for which they were first invented; so it not unfrequently happens, that appellations first designed as terms of reproach, become, at length, mere terms of distinction.
to a trinity of persons, and others only to a trinity of attributes; of the latter, some held that Christ was above Angels, and others, that he was a mere man. Hence, to designate these different sects, and avoid a tedious description, whenever they were mentioned, it became necessary to use names more particular and discriminating, than that of Christian: and nothing was more natural or proper, than to call the different sects after the names of their leaders, or such as had been most influential in propagating their peculiar tenets. Thus we find the names Sabellian, Arian, Socinian, &c. early applied to different sects of professed Christians. These and various other denominations, some expressive of the doctrines embraced, and others expressive of the modes of discipline and worship observed by the various sects of nominal Christians, were found needful, and continued in general use, during the dark ages, to the time of the Reformation, in the sixteenth century.This ever memorable and happy event, as it occasioned the neces sity of a new name to designate the authors and subjects of reform; so it gave rise to the name Protestant, which soon became the common appellation of all the reformers and the reformed.
The Disciples of Christ were called Christians first at Antioch. We are not informed, whether they were called so by themselves, or by their enemies; or whether the appellation was originally meant to be honourable or reproachful. But, with whatever design this appellation was first given, it was found very useful to designate the friends and followers of Christ, and to distinguish them from all others, who considered themselves as saints, whether among the Jews or Pagans. The common name, Christian, has been claimed by all the professed followers of Christ, and generally applied to them, from the time it was first used, to the present day. And had all the professed followers of Christ, continued to embrace the same doctrines, and to observe the same discipline and mode of worship, as the apostles and primitive disciples, the term, Christian, would have remained sufficiently discriminating, and would have superced-pellations. ed the invention of any other name or denomination. But it has been far otherwise. While all the pro fessed followers of Christ, claimed and gloried in the name of Christian, they soon became greatly divided, both as to sentiment and practice. Some retained, and oth-ed the mode of government by ers rejected, the doctrine of the presbyters or elders, and hence Trinity; of the former, some held were called Presbyterians; while
But, it was not long, before the Protestants became divided among themselves, both as to belief and practice; which rendered it necessary to adopt new names and ap
Some embraced the tenets of Calvin, and hence were called Calvinists; some embraced the tenets of Luther, and were hence called Lutherans; some adopted the mode of government by diocesan bishops, and were hence called Episcopalians; others adopt
others, again, adopted the mode of Congregational government, and were hence called Independents.
the name, Hopkinsian, was the most proper, that could have been applied to the sentiments of the consistent Calvinists; and that for the reason already mentioned in my last essay, that Dr. Hopkins explained and confirmed a greater number of the doctrines and duties Revealed Religion, than his predecessors, and did much more to remove prejudices against them, and to disseminate them among the churches.
But, if the name, Hopkinsian, were not the most proper, at first; still it would be so now, in consequence of general usage and consent.
The followers of Calvin soon became very numerous and respectable, and the name Calvinist, or Calvinistick, which was, at first, generally considered as a stigma, became, at length, a title of hon-of our; and, consequently, this name was coveted and tenaciously retained by very many, who had widely departed from Calvin's views, not only of the mode of ecclesiastical government, but also of the leading doctrines of the Gospel. The name, Calvinist, therefore, became, in time, as indefinite and ambiguous, as the name, Protestant, had been before it. This was the state of things, when those great lights, BELLAMY, EDWARDS, and HOPKINS, were lit up in the American churches. It was the aim of these Divines, and their coadjutors, to clear the doctrines, taught by Calvin, of the misrepresentations and perversions of many of his professed admirers, as well as of some trifling mistakes and inconsistencies in his own writings, and to carry them out, more fully, into their legitimate consequences. But, in doing this, they differed so much from many, who called themselves Calvinists, that a new name, to designate their views and explanations, became as necessary as that of Calvinist was, at the commencement of the Re-ly so. formation from Popery.
Though, by calling ourselves Christians, we profess to receive CHRIST as our Lord and King; yet, by calling ourselves Hopkinsians, we do not profess to receive Dr. Hopkins, as our Father and Master, any more than our orthodox brethren, by calling themselves Calvinists, profess to receive Calvin in that high and sacred character. The appellation is used merely for the sake of distinction, and to save a tedious circumlocution; and it is, perhaps, as free from ambiguity, as any appellation used by professing Christians. How long it will remain so, may be doubtful; since the same cause, which has rendered the term Calvinist indefinite, may, in time, render the term Hopkinsian equal
That this name is unpopular, The only question now, is, whe- and even reproachful, in some plather consistent Calvinists (as I shall ces, is no reason why it should be take the liberty to call them) ought laid aside; for the way to shun the to rceive their denomination from reproach, is not to disown the Dr. Bellamy, or President Ed-name, of which we cannot rid ourwards, or Dr. Hopkins? And, with all due deference to the ingenious Author of the "Triangle," who was pleased to say, that the sentiments falsely called new divinity, were very unappropriately called Hopkinsian,' I would answer, that
selves, but to explain and vindicate the system of sentiments, which it properly denotes.
Names of distinction will be necessary in the churches, until the professed followers of Christ shall all speak the same thing,
unambiguous, as when it was first used by the Disciples at Antioch. May that glorious day soon come!
and be joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment;' which will not be until the Millenium. Then, indeed, we may ex--But, until professed Christians pect, that ministers and people will have the same views of the leading doctrines and duties of the Gospel, and that the name Christian will again be as definite and
shall become of one mind, it is
term to satisfy my feelings; and it is too often applied to that change of external conduct which does not imply any change of heart. A reformation may take place in an individual, or in a number of individuals, and there may be no religion in any of them. But a revival of religion cannot take place, unless there is some religion to be revived.
Religion has been said by some, to consist in love, by others, in the belief, and love, and practice of the truth. There is, perhaps, no essential difference in these two definitions. If religion consists in love, it is such love as implies a belief of the truth, and leads to the practice of it. As far as religion consists in love to God, it implies a knowledge of God. No more of God can be loved than is known. We cannot esteem his character and perfections, while we are ignorant of them. God has revealed himself in his works and in his word. But if we do not read this revelation, if we misunderstand his communications, and form an erroneous idea of his character; if we set up in our own minds a false god instead of the true, all our love to that false god, is false re
1. What is a revival of religion? A revival is a return from a state of languor and deadness, to a state of life and vigour. When any thing is said to revive, the expression implies, that it has existed, and has been in a lively and vigorous state, but has suffered a decline. A revival of religion, strictly speaking, is a phrase which applies only to real Christians.When religion begins to exist where it has not existed before, it is not properly said to revive. But as real Christians are usually as much affected by those excitements which are denominated revivals, as other persons are; and as such excitements, seldom, if ever, take place where there are not some real Christians, with whom the work begins; a revival of religion seems to be the most suitable term to designate those religious excitements which produce a more lively and vigorous exercise of religion in the hearts of real Christians, and are accompa-ligion, and opposition to the God nied by the beginning of religion in of heaven. Genuine love of the the hearts of others. The term truth also leads to the practice of reformation has been used by some, it. There is, indeed, something in preference to revival; but it has which is often mistaken for the always appeared to me to be far love of the truth, which is not conless appropriate. It is too cold a nected with its practice. Some
men appear to have a very correct knowledge of the truth, and to take great pleasure in its contemplation, whose lives do not correspond with their professed belief. No doubt they experience a high pleasure in the investigation of divine truth, but it is a pleasure purely intellectual. "It plays about the head, but comes not near the heart." It is the same kind of pleasure which some men experience in the investigation of mathematical and philosophical truth; and it has no more influence upon the conduct. But where there is true love to God and man, it leads to a correct practice. Where the heart is right, it will be manifested by a life of conformity to the divine precepts. Religion, then, consists in love; but it is the love of the truth, and such a love, as leads to the practice of the truth. When genuine love increases, and is in more lively and vigorous exercise, and especially if it increases in a remarkable and visible manner, there is a revival of religion.
II. What things usually accompany a revival of religion? Some of the most usual are the following:
1. Backsliders return. After a season of revival, there is often a season of declension; and many who manifested great fervency of spirit while the revival continued, lose their fervour, and become cold. This declension in their hearts quickly shows itself in their lives. They have lost the enjoyment they found in the discharge of duty, and they begin to neglect it. They have lost their pungent sense of the evil of sin, and they begin to indulge in it. One duty neglected prepares the way for the neglect of another, and one sinful indulgence creates a desire for more. The voice of conscience, once resisted, becomes more feeble. A deadly stupour seizes upon the soul. The world presents
itself, arrayed in all its charms, and is eagerly embraced. The great enemy of souls spreads his toils around, and the unhappy victim yields himself an easy prey. And if the wretched professor of religion does not make shipwreck of his character and his hopes, it is often owing to no vigilance or firmness of his own. But when religion revives, he comes to his senses again. He awakes as from a delirium, and opens his eyes with astonishment. The ingratitude, the inexcusableness, the baseness of his conduct, fill his soul with keen remorse. It was once a great relief to him to be told, that after a season of revival, a declension is to be expected.But now, such a suggestion only serves to increase the anguish of his spirit; for he sees that the known treachery of the human heart is the only reason why it is to be expected. He looks back upon his conduct with deep selfabhorrence. He admires the patience and forbearance of God, who has not cut him off; and he returns, with lamentation and mourning, to the path of duty, from which he had departed. When such instances are numerous, we think there is a revival of religion.
2. Some professors of religion renounce their former hope, and experience what has been termed a re-conversion. I believe this is not an unusual occurrence in the time of a revival, where the work is deep and thorough. Many who have been professors of religion for years, and have done nothing to destroy the confidence of their brethren in their Christian character, now lose all confidence in it themselves. Each one, on a careful examination of his own heart and life, finds so much that has been wrong, and so little evidence of any thing right, that he is unable any longer to think favourably
of his own state. He concludes that he has been deceived, and is no better than a hypocrite. He renounces his former hope, and is filled with deep and pungent conviction. When the members of a church experience such a shaking as this, we think it an indication that the Lord has come to "search Jerusalem with candles," and to "sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
clension, difficulties often arise churches, which are a scandal the Christian name. The chur is divided into parties. Brother arrayed against brother. Ha feelings are indulged, and ha speeches are made. Mutual jea oasies and animosities arise; an sometimes the very existence the church is endangered. Cou cil after council is called, and la bours with unwearied patienc perseverance, and brotherly kind
When a revival of religion com mences, however, and its influenc is generally felt, the work is easy Difficulties which have been ad cumulating for years, can be set tled in an hour. By mutual con fessions and mutual forgiveness and a return to right feelings, har mony and peace are restored a
3. Stumbling blocks are taken out of the way. It is a lamenta-ness, but produces no good effec ble fact, that in times of declension, professors of religion themselves do more to hinder the success of the gospel, than all that is done by others.-Bearing the name of Christians, and living in a manner so inconsistent with their profession as many of them do, they create a strong prejudice in the minds of others against the religion they profess. The obstacles which backsliding professors thus throw in the way, often remain, notwithstanding all the efforts which their brethren can make to remove them. But when a revival takes place, they are very easily removed. When backsliders really repent, there is no difficulty in persuading them to confess their sins. When they are thoroughly sensible of the dishonour they have done to the name of Christ, they are desirous, as far as possible, to undo what they have done. They are willing to make public confessions, and to make them full and ample. They esteem it a privilege to make them, and thus to wipe off, as far as may be, the stain they have brought upon their Christian profession. When we see backsliders coming forward of their own accord, and voluntarily taking up the stumbling blocks they have cast in the way, we consider it an evidence that a revival is begun.
4. Difficulties in the church are easily settled. In a time of de
5. Professors of religion love on another more. They feel more o the obligation they are under t promote each other's welfare.They cultivate a more intimate Christian intercourse. They do not study every one to please him self, but every one to please his neighbour, for his good, to edifica tion."-When they receive an injury from a brother, they are ready to exercise forgiveness. When they see a brother go astray, they feel their obligation to endeavour to restore him in the spirit of meekness. They are more ready to give admonition to others in a friendly manner, and to receive it from others with grateful feelings. The genuine spirit of gospel discipline, which is a spirit of brotherly kindness, revives and increases. They feel no disposition to suffer sin upon a brother, nor to abandon him that has fallen under the pow er of the adversary.
8. The love of the world decreases. In a time of spiritual declension, professors of religion