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sipful. This is evident from the Maker. While in a fretful state word of God. Fretfulness, is there of mind, they are unprepared to expressly condemned and forbid. converse with others, to read their den, particularly, in the Psalms Bibles, or to pray. Shut out from and Proverbs.

communion with God and with Fretting is sinful, because it is their fellow creatures, men must the opposite of that patience and be truly unhappy. In such forsubmission, which the precepts of lorn solitude is every one, while the Gospel require. It proceeds fretting. from ill nature, or wrong feelings Fretting disqualifies men for towards the objects which excite it. pursuing any business with pleasIt implies feelings, which ought ure. It actually retards their not to be exercised towards any progress; often prevents their object; especially, towards our success, or wholly defeats their fellow creatures. But it is above purposes. It prevents the exerall sinful, as it is always either in- cise of judgment and discretion. directly or directly exercised A man, in a fretful state of mind, towards God. It is even exer- is qualified, neither to prevent por cised towards the providences of remove difficulties. A fretful man God; and sometimes, even, in may form a string into a snarl; view of his agency in those pro- but he is the last man, who may vidences. Thus Hannah fretted expect to unravel it. against the Lord, because she was Besides, fretfulness not unfrenot the mother of children. The quently issues in anger; or leads Israelites fretted, or murmured, men to say or do that, which is against the Lord all the way very improper, and sometimes, through the wilderness. Men of- very sinful. Hence the Psalmist ten fret against the weather, and says; “Fret not thyself, in any the various disappointments, to wise, to do evil.” which they are subjected. They The effects of fretting on others. often fret, because they are sick are no less undesirable. While a and suffer pain.

man is under the influence of this But, the sinfulness of this dis- temper, he is a most uncomfortaposition will be further seen in ble companion. His company afthe effects of it; both on those, fords no pleasure to those, who who exercise it, and on others. have intercourse with him. It

The effects of fretting, on those occasions nothing but pain. Somewho exercise it are most undesir- times they become impatient with able. It destroys all their peace him, and, before they are aware and renders them unhappy. It of it, fret themselves : and exdisqualifies them for social inter- hibit the same temper, which they course with their nearest friends, have just viewed so unpleasant in and also for communion with their him. Thus, by fretting ourselves


we often occasion others to fret. which renders ourselves and othIlateful as this leprosy of the mind ers unhappy; which disqualifies is, it often spreads trom individual us to serve our Maker and to proto individual, and even froin family mote the good of our fellow creato family.

tures; and which entails evils on Most of all is this disposition un. our children. We ought carefully happy in its consequences, when to guard against such an evil ; indulged by husbands and wives. or to lay aside so easily a besitWhere one boson friend is given ting sin. It is just as clearly our to fretting, and daily exercises it, duty to avoid fretting, as to avoid however patient the other com- profane swearing. Each practice panion may be, they are both a. is a sin against God; however they like onhappy. I say alike 'unhap. may differ in turpitude. It is just py; for it is difficult to compare as clearly our duty to avoid fretthese two evils, aside from their ting as to be sober and temperate. moral nature ; that of seeing and But, hearing a friend fret, and that of In what


shall we avoid indulging in fretfulness ourselves. this Sin? Here, some undoubtedWhere each companion is given ly, have a greater work to do to fretting, I will not say, it had than others; for some appear to been good for them had they nev. be constitutionally of a fretful temer been born ; for they may re- per. Perhaps they have in some pent and reform. But I do say, measure, inherited the disposition unless theyso on repent and reform, from their fretful parents. Some it had been good for them had are more tried and exposed to they never been married. Happy temptation than others. for such companions, if they nev- One way of avoiding the habit er do any thing more than fret.- which we are considering is, to Thrice happy for society, if the endeavour to keep in mind the occasion of their fretting is that of impropriety, the unreasonableness Hannah's fretting ; for, as the dis- and the unpleasantness of it. Let position of children is very much the fretful man often contemplate influenced by the examples of his looks and actions, when he their parents, the children of such frets, and try to listen to his own unhappy parents will be almost words. When a mirror is at hand sure to possess fretful dispositions. let him, while fretting; go and

The duty of avoiding a fretful look into it. If a sight of himself turn of mind, is very apparent. does not excite a smile; it may, It requires no argument to show, as it ought, provoke a blush. He that we ought to shun every prac- cannot be pleased to see the extice and avoid every disposition, pressive beauty of his countenance which is contrary to the Scrip- so defaced. Let him consider, evtures ; which is offensive to God: ery time he finds himself inclined

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to fret, how unfit he will be for themselves, render others happy, business; and that, the more he and thus glorify their father who frets, the more occasion he may is in heaven, in deeds of charity, find for fretting. Let him consid- words of love and looks of kinder all the unhappy consequences ness. of fretting, both as it respects himself and as it respects others ; especially his near friends, his companion and children. Above

The more common objection to reviall, let him keep in mind the sin vals of Religion, is that such seasons of which he is guilty ; that it is ex- are not clearly distinguishable from pressly and repeatedly forbidden cases of strong and prevalent excitement in the word of God; that he can

in respect to other things. It is admit

ted, that individuals are often very not fret without sinning against his

much excited, on the subject of religion. Maker.

It is admitted also, that whole parishes Let him, also, remember, that and districts are not unfrequently exhe is in the presence of God.- cited, in a similar way. Religious meetMany people, much addicted to ings are multiplied and thronged ; refretting in their families, will al- ligion assumes a new importance, and

becomes the common topic of thought, ways abstain, while others are

of interest, and of conversation. But present ; and thus in the estima- it is contended that such excitements tion of those who visit them, they are no exception from the common pass

for persons of amiable dispo- course of nature, and that there is no sitions. Let them see from this need of supposing the special agency of fact, that they can and ought to re

the Divine Spirit, in order to account for strain themselves at all times ;

them. Very frequently, it is said,

there are instances of great and geneand remember, that God is omni

ral excitement, in regard to other things. present ; that he ever beholds

A town.meeting, a law-suit, a parish their looks and hears their fretful quarrel, or some incident of the like nawords. Let them fear God rather ture, is capable of producing an excitethan man, and consider, that he ment (on a different subject indeed) can no more justify them in fret- but as great, as general, and as lasting

as any of those on religious subjects, ting, than in swearing.

which are dignified with the name of Let no one say the subject of

Revivals of Religion. Why then, it is these remarks is unimportant, or asked, shall we suppose an effusion of consider fretting a small evil. Sin the Holy Spirit, in seasons of exciteis no trifle. Let those, who feel ment on religious subjects, more than convicted, often look to God in in similar seasons in regard to other their closets ; there mourn over subjects? If natural causes are suffic

ient to account for existing appearances this depravity of their disposition,

in the one case, why not in the other? and devoutly implore forgiveness

It will be the ohject of this paper to and grace to live patient and qui- shew, by a recurrence to facts connectet lives ; that they may be happy ed with revivals of religion, that this

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objection to them is unfounded that deeply humbled and engaged, and are they are widely and gloriously distin- led to pray frequently and fervently for guished from all other cases of strong the prosperity of Zion ; while sinners. excitement and that there is no way begin to be solemn and anxious, and to of accounting for them, even on philo manifest an unusual concern for their sophical principles, but by supposing souls. Instead of any extraordinary the special interposition and agency of means being used at such times, to God. What I am about to say may not bring about this state of feeling; the apply indeed to all the seasons, which feelings of people in most instances imhave been denominated “revivals of pel them to a more diligent use of means religion.” There have undoubtedly and to open their minds one to anothbeen false and spurious revivals-scenes er, on the great subject which impresof tumult and confusion, in which it ses them. It is from the fulness of their would be degrading the Holy Spirit to laboring hearts, that they begin to suppose he had any direct concern. I speak. I do not say that this is the inshall speak of gach revivals only, as variable method, in which revivals of 1 suppose to be genuine, and as are religion commence ; but every day's ubcommonly reputed so, by orthodox min- servation testifies, that it is the frequent, isters and Christians at the present day. if not the common method. So far are And,

they from being dependent, for their ori1. Such revivals are distinguished gin, upon some great and striking exfrom all other cases of prevalent ex- ternal event,that the occurrence of such citement, in respect to their origin.- an event, even although a serious one, It is true, indeed, that the minds of has in many instances served to interpeople are not unfrequently excited and rupt their progress. inflamed, and very generally so, on We see then, that revivals of religion other subjects besides religion. It is are different from all other cases of pretrue, that these excitements are to be valent excitement, in respect to their attributed to natural causes. And it is origin ; and that in accounting for their farther true, that we can in all cases commencement, we are necessarily led ascertain the causes, to which they are to suppose the interposition and agency to be attributed. There is no mistak- of an Almighty Spirit. ing on this point; for the circumstance 2. They are distinguished from other or event which has caused and continues

cases of general excitement, by the nathe excitement, will itself, be the topic ture and depth of those feelings, which of general conversation. But in respect they bring into exercise. In cases where to most revivals of religion, no sufficient the existing cause is an external one, natural cause for their occurrence can the feelings excited are necessarily sube assigned. The gospel to be sure perficial. They are flighty, boisterous, has been preached and the means of and it may be powerful : but they have grace have been in operation as usual, no settled and uniform character, and but no event of special interest has oc- do not spring from the depth of the soul. curred, and no reason can be given why But not so the feelings which are they should take place when they ac- brought into exercise, in a genuine retually do, rather than at any other vival of religion. Whether holy or untime. From some invisible and un- holy, these are always of a

eep and known cause, the minds of people often solemn kind, such as nothing mereare simultaneously impressed with re- ly exterbal could produce. The most ligious considerations. Christians feel deeply hidden parts of the soul are af. fected, and the cause is felt to be the these are perfectly reasonable in themnaked influence of Him, who alone selves. They are such as comport searcheth the reins and the heart.- with the actual state of things. Persons The distressed sinner feels a load upon at such times, view religion to be all his conscience, which he cannot throw important; and it is so.

It engages off, and can scarcely sustain. Wherever their attention, and interests their he goes, his burthen follows him; and feeling ; and it is right it should.whatever means he employs to remove They regard themselves as great sinit, still it remains. While the rejoic- ners ; and they really are such. They ing Christian feels an elevation of spir- are distressed too and in bitterness on it, which the world could not give, and account of their sins ; and they have cannot take away. Whether the feel.



to be. The inquiry, which ings which are exercised in a revival their hearts most frequently suggest, is, of religion are right or wrong, they com- " What shall we do to inherit eternal monly agree in this—they do not float life?” and what more important inquion the surface of the soul, the sport of ry could their hearts suggest? Freconflicting circumstances and events ; quently they are seen acquiescing but have their origin and seat in the sweetly in the will of God, and redeep places of the heart. They spring joicing in him as their friend and porfrom the region of the inner man, over tion ; and this certainly is their duty. which the external world has little di- They find all parts of his instituted rect power, and which can be touched service pleasant, and engage in it with efficiently only by the finger of God.- interest, with fervor, and delight; and They are excited by the influence of with what better feelings could they an Almighty Spirit, and lost only when engage in it? The subjects of a genthis influence is grieved away.

uine religious revival are conscious 3. Revivals of religion are distin- that their feelings while under its influguished from other cases of strong and ence, are reasonable and proper ; and prevalent excitement, in this respect instead of condemning themselves that the views and feelings produced by they have now such feelings, they humthem are reasonable in themselves, and ble and condemn themselves that they they lead ever to a reasonable course have not always had the same. of conversation and pursuit. In seasons And as the views and feelings of of great excitement on other subjects persons, at such times, are reasonable besides religion, the feelings of people in themselves, so they prompt them to often become very unreasonable. They a perfectly reasonable course of converare aroused and inflamed beyond all sation and pursuit. They prompt them proper bounds. They fall little short, to speak often one to another, and often of a species of insanity. And as freely to converse on the great subject the feelings of persons at such times are of religiou ; and on what more suitable unreasonable in themselves, so they or profitable subject could they conlead them to speak and to act unrea- verse? They also prompt them to be sonably. they lead them to say and much in prayer, both in secret and in to do many things when in their sober public ; and in this respect, obviously moments they regret, and of which they are no more than imitating and they are ashamed. But totally differ- obeying their glorified Savior. Their ent from this are the views and feelings feelings, moreover, prompt them to which are entertained, in a revival of live as though time was short, and religion. Though strongly excited, eternity long-as though the body was



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