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النشر الإلكتروني

On Revivals of Religion.

to promote the work. The things
of religion are the subject of con-

es us to love him for his own excellence. While selfish religion teaches us to regard our neigh-versation when they meet. They bour's good no further than it can speak often one to another, and be made subservient to our own, encourage and animate one another and for no other reason; the reli- by various means. They appear to manifest more affection for each gion of the gospel teaches us to other than they have done, and to regard it for its own sake as something in itself truly valuable. I do take a deeper interest in each othnot feel obliged to stop here, to er's welfare. It seems to give prove that all selfish religion is them great pleasure to hear of the false, because I suppose my read-progress of the work, and they ers to believe the doctrine of hu- appear to take great satisfaction in man depravity. And I suppose hearing and telling of such instances of awakening and of hope there is no man, how blind soever as have occurred. In their relihe may be to the state of his own heart, who does not see that self-gious performances, they appear ishness in others is odious and abominable. And I conclude no one will contend, that that which is in its very nature odious and wicked, can become right by assuming the garb of religion, and using the forms of devotion. All selfish religion, then, is false religion; and a revival and increase of selfish religion, is a spurious revival.

I have said, that a genuine and a spurious revival have many points of resemblance, and that they are those things which are most likely to attract the attention of superficial observers. I will mention a few of them.

In both a genuine and a spurious revival, those who profess religion are usually much engaged in the work. They appear to be greatly animated and enlivened in their own minds. Such as had been cold and stupid, and almost entirely occupied with the things of the world, appear to be awakened to new life and vigour. The concerns of the world are no longer allowed to engross their chief attention. The consideration that there is a revival among them, has a powerful influence upon their feelings. They engage actively and zealously in those measures which appear to them most likely

very different from what they did
before. Their prayers are more
fervent and importunate, and their
more warm and
addresses are
earnest and affectionate. They
are much more disposed to speak
freely to their impenitent friends,
and to make efforts to call up their
attention. And they frequently
go about from house to house, warn-
ing and exhorting sinners to flee
from the wrath to come.

Another point of resemblance between a genuine and spurious revival, is the manner in which religious meetings are attended.

They are usually increased in number. A general disposition exists to attend such meetings, and numbers flock to them who have not been accustomed to attend them before. And the appearance of those who attend at such a time, is very different from what it is in Both in a a time of declension. genuine and in a spurious revival, there is great solemnity; and a deep and fixed attention to preaching and to the word of exhortation. And those who indulge a hope that they are Christians, usually express great pleasure in attending such meetings, and find great enjoyment in all sorts of religious


A genuine and a spurious reviv

al resemble each other, also, in their apparent effects upon those who are subjects of the work. The careless and stupid are awakened. Those who had long made a mock at serious things, and despised the threatenings of Divine vengeance, now begin to tremble. They see their exposedness to the wrath of God, and the discovery fills them with deep distress. They enquire with great earnestness what they must do to be saved. -They wonder that their pious friends had not been more faithful in warning them of their danger. They feel themselves sinking into hell, and cry out, in anguish of soul, for some to help. They entreat their Christian friends to pray for them, and eagerly resort to every means which they think likely to afford relief. And after such a season of distress, they obtain relief. The tumult of the passions subsides; a calm serenity succeeds; and they are filled with a peace and joy, to which before they were utter strangers.

Such are some of the appear

ances which attend a spurious, as well as a genuine revival. And these appearances, perhaps, are usually found to as great a degree when the work is spurious, as when it is genuine. Should any doubt whether these appearances can be found where there is no genuine revival of religion, I would beg him to consider the following things: What is there, in all these appearances, beyond the power of Satan to produce? What is there, that he would not be likely to produce, if by that means he could hope to deceive the sinner more effectually, and lead him to trust in a refuge of lies? What is there, in all I have stated, which is not the natural result of the selfish feelings of men, when wrought upon in a certain way? Let these things be attentively considered, and I am persuaded that my readers will agree with me, that none of these things are the least evidence that the work which they accompany is not wholly spurious and false. A Friend to Revivals. Utica Christ. Repos


No. IV.

In my last number I made some extracts from Mr. Channing, of Boston, which went to show the manner in which the advocates of Socinian errors promote their cause, and spread their sentiments. They endeavour to avoid all controversy -they keep the great doctrines of the bible out of sight-they are Ioud in the praises of "universal charity" they plead for the innocence of error-they endeavour to bring orthodoxy into contempt

and to make it believed that what they call practical religion, constitutes all that is important in Christianity. My object was, to

confirm the assertion I had made, that the causes which contributed to the introduction and spread of Socinianism in New-England, are silently operating in every direction; and to show that many of the professed friends of truth are themselves doing the work of its enemies, and using their influence in such a manner as to prepare the way for the ultimate triumph of Socinianism. They are indeed doing it ignorantly. They have no such intention. But, for that very reason, they are doing it most effectually; since, without reflecting upon consequences, they are labouring heartily to pull down those barriers which remain to check the progress of error.

I supposed that the bare exhibi- | in which all professed Christians tion of the manner in which Unita- agree. Professed friends of truth rians speak on these subjects, would have thought it improper for young be sufficient to bring to the men preparing for the ministry to mind of every reader a multitude make the great doctrines of the biof facts to confirm my assertion. ble the subject of enquiry and And did hope, that some, at investigation. Professed friends I least, of those who are ignorantly of truth have thought it the highest doing the work of the enemy, would proof of excellence in a minister, see their own likeness, and make a that he pleases all classes, and so pause. But there is, probably, preaches as to prevent among his little reason to hope for any great people all disputes on religious change in this respect. The dan- subjects. An opinion has been ger will not be generally seen, till extensively embraced, that the exit is too late. Men will continue hibition of the great doctrines of to take counsel of their feelings the gospel is especially injurious to more than of their judgment. revivals of religion, and adapted They will continue to desire our to quench the spirit of prayer; ministers to pursue the same course and that it is highly imprudent to which Mr. Channing has marked preach them in the time of a reout for himself and his brethren.-vival. And some have drawn the They will continue to extol, as the wisest and best men, those who make the nearest approach to Arians and Socinians. They will continue to depreciate those who are disposed to "contend for the faith once delivered to the saints." They will continue to represent the great doctrines of the bible as of no practical use, and the preaching of them as injurious. They will continue to represent orthodoxy and practical religion as having no connexion with each other, and endeavour to discourage all doctrinal enquiry.

If every reader is not acquainted with facts in the circle of his own acquaintance, which furnish abundant cause of alarm, his experience has been different from mine. I have known professed friends of truth, who have entertained and propagated sentiments and maxims in perfect harmony with those taken from Mr. Chanming's letter. Professed friends of truth have thought it improper for ministers of the gospel to preach on any controverted points, and have wished them to confine themselves to those practical subjects

legitimate conclusion from this, that these doctrines must never be preached at all; not in the time of a revival, lest it should grieve away the Spirit; and not in a time of stupidity, lest it should make people more stupid, and always prevent a revival. Professed friends of truth have embraced the opinion, that what the scriptures teach on many doctrinal points, is entirely unintelligible to common minds, and adapted to perplex and distress them; and that those parts of the bible should be passed over in silence. Many professed friends of truth are strongly tinctured with the Socinian notions of charity and liberality, and think error in matters of faith is no sin. Mary think, that if a people will not bear certain truths, that is a sufficient reason why they should not be exhibited.

Now, it is plain, that such sentiments as these are in perfect accordance with the views of Mr. Channing. And that when they shall universally prevail, nothing will remain to be done, but for Unitarians to come and take possession of the ground which is thus

prepared and voluntarily yielded | ion-called, indeed, in this ento them.

I observed that the late Dr. Worcester, well known as Secretary to the American Board for Foreign Missions, answered Mr. Channing. I wish to call the attention of my readers, and especially of those who have been inclined in any measure, to embrace such views as Mr. Channing expresses, to some remarks in Dr. Worcester's letter to that gentleman. The following are in reply to the account which Mr. Channing had given of the manner in which himself and his brethren fulfil their ministry:


"The sum of this representation is that you and your brethren studiously refrain from encountering the opinions of any of the various denominations of Christians who differ from you; and are accustomed "to urge perpetually urge perpetually those truths and precepts," which to be sure you call great," "about which there is little contention." But what are those great truths and precepts, about which there is little contention, and which you perpetually urge? Certainly not any of the primary, not any of the peculiar doctrines or institutions of the gospel: for not one of these can be named, about which there has not always been, about which there is not still great contention. These doctrines, then, according to your own representation, you and your liberal brethren carefully refrain from bringing into discussion before your hearers: or, if you mention them at all, yet only in such a manner as not to come into con flict or collision with any who differ from you on these great and cardinal points.

"But, Sir, set these doctrines aside, and what is then left of the gospel of Jesus Christ? What is there left bat mere natural relig

lightened age, rational Christianly? If in your preaching, these doctrines are kept out of sight, o treated only in a manner so general, so vague, so ambiguous, as not directly and manifestly to clash with any of the various and opposite opinions, held by professed Christians respecting thein; if you dwell "perpetually" on other topics; is it then strange that your people and others are left in utter uncertainty, as to what you believe on these momentous points, and that you are considered as wanting in openness and clearness, and as practising reserve and concealment?

"You say, "in thus avoiding controversy, we have thought that we deserved not reproach, but some degree of praise for our selfdenial." For myself, I had understood from the scriptures, that it required Christian self-denial,' not to shrink from an open avowal of our faith in the doctrines of the gospel, and from "holding forth the faithful word" in the face of opposition; but cordially to embrace them, openly to confess them, and meekly and charitably, yet firmly and courageously to

contend" for them, And you will pardon me, Sir, if I do not yet see that much" praise" is due for your "self-denial." You tell us explicitly, that "to believe with Mr. Belsham is no crime."* In your sermon on Infidelity, you also say, for these and other reasons, I am unwilling to believe, that infidelity has no source but depravity of heart, and that it can never be traced to causes which may absolve it from guilt." It must be admitted, indeed, that you do not regard with quite equal kindness, those who believe in Cal

* Mr. Belsham is one of the lowest Unitarians, and scarcely differs at all from a sober Deist, holding that Christ was a mere tallible, peccable, ignorant man.

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vinism, as is manifest from some
very strong expressions of antipa-
thy, and from your representation,
than which, I am grieved to say, I
have seldom if ever seen a more
distorted" and injurious one, of
their sentiments. Is it, however,
a crime to believe in Calvinism?
when, in your estimation it is none
to believe in the lowest Unitarian-
ism, and may be none to be an
Infidel. I presume that, notwith-
standing the vehemence of your
antipathy, you will hardly say it
is. But if, in your esitmation,
error of all kinds is innocent, then
where is your self-denial" in
refraining from assailing it, and
where your claim to "praise" for
avoiding controversy?"




"There is still another point of view, and that a very serious one, in which yourself-denial" and your claim to praise," should not fail to be considered. If, indeed to believe in error, is " crime," then to believe in the truth is no virtue. But, Sir, is it 50 represented in the word of God? Did Jesus Christ and his apostles conduct their ministry, and enjoin upon others to conduct theirs, in the manner in which, as you represent, you and your liberal brethren conduct yours?


believeth not shall be damned!" What is St. Paul's meaning, when he says,

Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved-God shall send them strong delusion to believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness?" And St. Peter's, when he says, "There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." If this language sounds harsh and unfashionable, I trust, Sir, you will have the goodness not to impute the fault to me; and that you will not on account of any unpleasantness, in the language, refuse to give attention to the momentous sentiment contained in it.

"Did the apostles, then, studiously "avoid controversy?" Did they seldom or never refer to any different sentiments, embraced by other professed "Christians?". Never" attempt to refute" error? Never assail any system which they did not believe?" or any "denomination that differed from them?" Did they refrain from preaching high and mysterious doctrines, lest they should "perplex, and needlessly perplex, a common congregation, consisting of all ages, capacities, degrees of improvement, and conditions in society?" Did they, "in compliance with a general system" of conduct adopted by them, cautiously "exclude" from their preaching all contro

"Jesus Christ says, "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and will not come to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." Is not truth light, and error darkness? Does then the great Teacher from heaven here repre-verted points, give up as unimporsent a belief in error to be no tant and unprofitable every doccrime?-a belief in the truth to be no trine which any individuals, or virtue? What is his meaning, when, bodies of professed Christians had in his commission to his apostles ventured to deny or oppose, and and ministers, he says, "He that" persuade themselves that the believeth" (in the truth, undoubt- best method of promoting the holiedly) shall be saved; he that ness and salvation of mankind"


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