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to fret, how unfit he will be for themselves, render others happy, and thus glorify their father who is in heaven, in deeds of charity, words of love and looks of kind

business; and that, the more he frets, the more occasion he may find for fretting. Let him consider all the unhappy consequences of fretting, both as it respects himself and as it respects others; especially his near friends, his companion and children. Above all, let him keep in mind the sin of which he is guilty; that it is expressly and repeatedly forbidden in the word of God; that he can

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The more common objection to revivals of Religion, is that such seasons are not clearly distinguishable from cases of strong and prevalent excitement in respect to other things. It is admit

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


Let him, also, remember, that he is in the presence of God. Many people, much addicted to fretting in their families, will always abstain, while others are present; and thus in the estimation of those who visit them, they pass for persons of amiable dispositions. Let them see from this fact, that they can and ought to restrain themselves at all times ;and remember, that God is omnipresent; that he ever beholds their looks and hears their fretful words. Let them fear God rather than man, and consider, that he can no more justify them in fretting, than in swearing.

Let no one say the subject of these remarks is unimportant, or consider fretting a small evil. Sin is no trifle. Let those, who feel convicted, often look to God in their closets; there mourn over this depravity of their disposition, and devoutly implore forgiveness. and grace to live patient and quiet lives; that they may be happy

much excited, on the subject of religion. It is admitted also, that whole parishes and districts are not unfrequently excited, in a similar way. Religious meetings are multiplied and thronged; religion assumes a new importance, and becomes the common topic of thought, of interest, and of conversation.


it is contended that such excitements are no exception from the common course of nature, and that there is no need of supposing the special agency of the Divine Spirit, in order to account for them. Very frequently, it is said, there are instances of great and general excitement, in regard to other things. A town meeting, a law-suit, a parish quarrel, or some incident of the like nature, is capable of producing an excitement (on a different subject indeed) but as great, as general, and as lasting as any of those on religious subjects, which are dignified with the name of Revivals of Religion. Why then, it is asked, shall we suppose an effusion of the Holy Spirit, in seasons of excitement on religious subjects, more than in similar seasons in regard to other subjects? If natural causes are sufficient to account for existing appearances in the one case, why not in the other?

It will be the object of this paper to shew, by a recurrence to facts connected with revivals of religion, that this

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 such revivals only, as variable method, in which revivals of 1 suppose to be genuine, and as are religion commence ; but every day's obcommonly 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 origin, upon some great and striking external event, that the occurrence of such an event, even although a serious one, has in many instances served to interrupt their progress.

1. Such revivals are distinguished from all other cases of prevalent excitement, in respect to their origin. It is true, indeed, that the minds of people are not unfrequently excited and inflamed, and very generally so, on other subjects besides religion. It is true, that these excitements are to be attributed to natural causes. And it is farther true, that we can in all cases ascertain the causes, to which they are to be attributed. There is no mistaking on this point; for the circumstance or event which has caused and continues the excitement, will itself, be the topic of general conversation. But in respect to most revivals of religion, no sufficient natural cause for their occurrence can be assigned. The gospel to be sure has been preached and the means of grace have been in operation as usual, but no event of special interest has occurred, and no reason can be given why they should take place when they ac tually do, rather than at any other time. From some invisible and unknown cause, the minds of people often are simultaneously impressed with religious considerations. Christians feel

We see then, that revivals of religion are different from all other cases of prevalent excitement, in respect to their origin; and that in accounting for their commencement, we are necessarily led to suppose the interposition and agency of an Almighty Spirit.

2. They are distinguished from other cases of general excitement, by the nature and depth of these feelings, which they bring into exercise. In cases where the existing cause is an external one, the feelings excited are necessarily superficial. They are flighty, boisterous, and it may be powerful: but they have no settled and uniform character, and do not spring from the depth of the soul. But not so the feelings which are brought into cxercise, in a genuine revival of religion. Whether holy or unholy, these are always of a deep and solemn kind, such as nothing merely external could produce. The most deeply hidden parts of the soul are af

fected, and the cause is felt to be the naked influence of Him, who alone searcheth the reins and the heart. The distressed sinner feels a load upon his conscience, which he cannot throw off, and can scarcely sustain. Wherever he goes, his burthen follows him; and whatever means he employs to remove it, still it remains. While the rejoicing Christian feels an elevation of spirit, which the world could not give, and cannot take away. Whether the feelings which are exercised in a revival of religion are right or wrong, they commonly agree in this-they do not float on the surface of the soul, the sport of conflicting circumstances and events; but have their origin and seat in the deep places of the heart. They spring from the region of the inner man, over which the external world has little direct power, and which can be touched efficiently only by the finger of God.They are excited by the influence of an Almighty Spirit, and lost only when this influence is grieved away.

3. Revivals of religion are distinguished from other cases of strong and prevalent excitement, in this respectthe views and feelings produced by them are reasonable in themselves, and they lead ever to a reasonable course of conversation and pursuit. In seasons of great excitement on other subjects besides religion, the feelings of people often become very unreasonable. They are aroused and inflamed beyond all proper bounds. They fall little short, often of a species of insanity. And as the feelings of persons at such times are unreasonable in themselves, so they lead them to speak and to act unreasonably. they lead them to say and to do many things when in their sober moments they regret, and of which they are ashamed. But totally different from this are the views and feelings which are entertained, in a revival of religion. Though strongly excited,

these are perfectly reasonable in themselves. They are such as comport with the actual state of things. Persons at such times, view religion to be all important; and it is so. It engages their attention, and interests their feeling; and it is right it should.— They regard themselves as great sinners; and they really are such. They are distressed too and in bitterness on account of their sins; and they have reason to be. The inquiry, which their hearts most frequently suggest, is, "What shall we do to inherit eternal life?" and what more important inquiry could their hearts suggest? Frequently they are seen acquiescing sweetly in the will of God, and rejoicing in him as their friend and portion; and this certainly is their duty. They find all parts of his instituted service pleasant, and engage in it with interest, with fervor, and delight; and with what better feelings could they engage in it? The subjects of a genuine religious revival are conscious that their feelings while under its influence, are reasonable and proper; and instead of condemning themselves that they have now such feelings, they humble and condemn themselves that they have not always had the same.

And as the views and feelings of persons, at such times, are reasonable in themselves, so they prompt them to a perfectly reasonable course of conversation and pursuit. They prompt them to speak often one to another, and freely to converse on the great subject of religion; and on what more suitable or profitable subject could they converse? They also prompt them to be much in prayer, both in secret and in public; and in this respect, obviously they are no more than imitating and obeying their glorified Savior. Their feelings, moreover, prompt them to live as though time was short, and eternity long-as though the body was

a trifle and the soul inestimable-as though the world was fleeting and empty, and the religion of Jesus was all in all; and how could they pass away their lives in a manner more truly reasonable or laudable?

When persons look back upon their feelings and conduct, in seasons of high and strong excitement on other subjects besides that of religion, they commonly think of them with pain and regret; and it is their sincere desire that they may never be left to feel so again. But do those, who have passed through a genuine revival of religion, and been themselves the happy subjects of it do they ever look back with sorrow and pain upon the course of conversation and conduct which they then pursued. Do they ever afterwards regret their feelings at such a time; or desire, or pray that they may feel so no more? On the contrary, do they not, in all subsequent life, remember their feelings and conduct during the revival with great satisfaction? Do they not consider the loss of such feelings as a heavy loss; and the declining from such a course of conversation and practice as a most unreasonable declension? And is it not their desire and prayer that they may be revived again and again experience the blessedness they enjoyed in the day of their espousals? This shews, that the feelings of persons, in a season of revival, will bear looking at, when the excite ment is past-that they are highly reasonable in themselves-and that they prompt to a most reasonable and proper course of conversation and conduct. In this respect, therefore, which is a cardinal one, revivals of religion are widely distinguished from all other cases of strong and prevalent excitement.

4. They are also distinguished from other cases of this kind, by the sudden and surprizing changes which often

take place in the feelings of persons, and especially of opposers, in respect to them.. In seasons of excitement on other subjects, there are usually different parties; and party lines, once drawn, in most instances remained unaltered. Or if there are changes in respect to a few individuals, these changes are brought about gradually, and are easily assignable to natural causes.But in revivals of religion, the case is often very different. Here indeed there are commonly parties-there are opposers of the work-there are those who do every thing in their power to put a stop to it, and bring it into discredit and comtempt. And it not unfrequently happens, that these very persons are arrested in the height and violence of their opposition, and in the course of a few days, or hours, their feelings undergo a total change. Instead of opposing the work, they become entirely favorable to it, and deeply interested and warmly engaged for its continuance and support. They are made to feel that it is a reality, and begin with others, to weep and to beg for mercy. Their pride is humbled, and their enmity slain. Their hard hearts are broken at a stroke, and their reproachful lips begin to speak forth the praises of the living God. Thus it was with Saul of Tarsus; and thus it has been with hundreds and thousands since. God manifests in this way that the work is his own, and that there is no such thing as effectually interrupting it, in opposition to his pleasure and power.

5. It may be added, that revivals of religion are distinguished from all other cases of prevalent excitement, by the permenancy of those impressions which they leave on the mind, and the unalterable change which they produce in the character. Other cases of excitement do not leave such impressions, or produce such a change. Events may


occur, in Providence, which rouse up once loved, and delighted ir, he now detests. And this new character, which he assumes, he never loses. continues-it may be with some interruptions-but on the whole with increasing evidence, till he dies; and then it continues forever. Here then we have a decisive characteristic of religious revivals, and one by which they are widely and gloriously distinguished from all other cases of excitement whatever. They leave permanent impressions on the mind, and produce a great, and happy, and endless change in the character. It is this especially, which stamps revivals of religion, as the work of God.

the minds of people to a strong and general excitement. Something may take place, for instance, which calls forth a general burst of indignation. But, in this case, persons do not remain indignant forever. The storm passes over, and all is again calm. Or something may take place, which excites an universal feeling of joy. But, in this case, the tide of joy quickly ebbs, and things revert to their former state. Or something may take place, which becomes the common topic of interest and of conversation. But neither respecting this, whatever it may be, do persons think or talk forever. It soon grows stale, is dropped, and forgotten. And in none of these cases of excitement, are the characters of the persons affected essentially altered. If they were saints before, they are saints afterwards; and if they were sinners before, they are sinners still. But in a genuine revival of religion, persons receive impressions which they never lose. A change is produced in their characters which is radical and eternal. They are suddenly arrested in their career of vice, of vanity, or of worldly pursuit; their thoughts are turned almost wholly to new subjects; their feelings receive a new direction; a new aspect is given to their whole characters, and this is perpetual. It exists, not for a day, a week, a month,

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In view of the remarks here submitted the readers of this paper will know how to cstimate the opinions of those, who would place revivals of religion in the same class with cases of strong and prevalent excitement on other subjects. They will be satisfied, I think, that they cannot thus be classed, nor can they be accounted for in the same way. They are attended by several manifest and important traits, which render them as distinct from most other cases of prevalent excitement, as wisdom is from folly, or religion from sin, which indeed elevate them as far above those other excitements, as the heavens are above the earth. Such are the appearances which accompany them, that they can in no way be accounted for, but by attributing them to the special power of God.to the special influence and agency of the Holy Spirit. These are the best reasons, therefore, why all Christians should desire them, and rejoice in them

why they should pray for them, and labor to promote them-and why they should think and speak of the frequent revivals, which are distinguishing and blessing the present age with the liveliest gratitude, and the sincerest praise.


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