Page images
PDF
EPUB

gers which seem to accompany it, retirement, and self examination, and which need to be guarded and study of the scriptures, we think against. We think there is danger, is full of danger; and especially, if in such a case, of having men's per- what they hear, in general addresses sons in admiration, as if they only and in personal conversation, is little were the channels through which the adapted, as we fear it often is, to lead influence of the Holy Spirit were to them to a correct knowledge of their be conveyed; and thus of placing an own hearts. Unless they enter into undue dependance upon an arm of their closets, and take time for calm flesh. We think there is danger of reflection, and deliberate self examidespising those means of grace which nation, in the light of divine truth, we have at home, and which, how- how can they be expected to attain everimperfect may be the instruments that knowledge of themselves which of them, are yet the means of divine is necessary to genuine and thorough appointment, and cannot be despised conviction of sin ? In the hurry of without the guilt of despising Him their spirits, and the agitation of their whose ordinances they are. We minds, and the excitement of their think the unconverted are in pecu• fears, which the method of their treatliar danger, under such circumstan- ment is too often adapted to produce, ces, of drawing the conclusion, that how can it be otherwise than that the means they have had at home are they should be greatly exposed to insufficient for their conversion, and the delusions of Satan. If they are of course that they have been hither- plied incessantly with exhortations to excusable for their impenitence to submit, without being carefully and unbelief, while God is to be informed what submission is, or withblamed for not affording them better out any means of distinguishing bemeans. We think all are in danger, tween true submission and false; and under such circumstances, of putting especially, if they are exhorted to some favourite instrument in the promise that they will submit in a place of God, greatly to the disho- given time, and make it a matter of nour of the Majesty of heaven, and calculation-how much more likely the hazard of their own souls. is it that they will deceive themselves

10. Not guarding against false with a false and forced submission, conversions. It is to be expected than the contrary? The manner in that the great deceiver will labour to which awakened sinners are often produce as many false conversions prayed for, we think exposes them to as possible; and that, in a time of peculiar danger. They have heard revival, his efforts will be especially much of the efficacy of prayer, and directed to that end. Most of them have been pointed to numerous indoubtless, are produced by the ex. stances of such as have been convertcitement of the passions, where there ed in answer to prayer. They have, is a deficiency of light in the under perhaps, heard their companions standing. Hence the great impor- prayed for, and have marked the detance of instruction to those who are gree of earnestness and confidence awakened; and the great danger of with which the prayers appeared to going on to stimulate the passions, be offered, which were succeeded by while the understanding and con- the relief of their distress, and the science are neglected. To particula- attainment of comfort. They ask to rize all the dangers on this head, be prayed for themselves, with raised which we think exist at this day, expectations that the same prayers would exceed our limits. We can will be successful in their own case. only touch upon one or two. The The prayers are made in their prepractice of hurrying awakened sin- sence, and they are exhorted to subners from meeting to ineeting, and mit before they rise from their knees, of talking to them at every opportu- They kneel down with the determinity, without giving them time for nation to do it. And while the pray.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ers are offering up, they mark, with for months without a hope, would a palpitating heart, every word that that destroy his experience, and enis uttered, every degree of earnest- danger his soul? But, on the other ness expressed, and every appear hand, if one has been the subject of ance of confidence that the prayer a false conversion, the hasty acwill be heard. As soon as they think knowledgment of its genuineness the same amount of prayer has been might ruin him for ever. If his made for them that proved successful friends treat him as a Christian, their for others, they feel relieved. The judgment will confirm and strengthexpectation that now they shall be en his own, and he will be likely to converted, removes their distress. settle down upon his false hope, Their countenances indicate that never to be shaken from it, till it is their burden is gone. They are in for ever too late. We fear that vast quired of, perhaps, if they do not feel numbers are destroyed in this way. better, and they answer in the affir. And the hasty reception of the supmative. Joyful congratulations suc- posed subjects of a revival into the ceed, and thanks are returned to church, we think is attended with God that another soul is brought into the same danger, besides being prothe kingdom. Now, such a course ductive of many other evils. That we think is the readiest way imagi- converts were speedily received into nable to produce a false conversion. the church in the apostles' days, we And every practice of praying for think no proof that it ought to be sinners, in their presence, and by done now. The external circumtheir request, that is not so managed stances of the church then were difas carefully to guard them against ferent from what they are now; and placing any dependance upon those they had the aid of miraculous gifts, prayers, must be dangerous to souls, to guard against dangers, and rectify in a high degree. Far be it from us disorders. The church is now in a to discourage Christians from pray- more settled state; and no great ining for sinners, or exhorting them to convenience can result to converts immediate and unreserved submis- themselves or to the church, from sion; but let it not be done in such such a delay in their being received, a way as tends directly to destroy, as to give them an opportunity for instead of saving their souls. self examination, and the church an

11. The hasty acknowledgment of opportunity to observe the fruits of persons as converted, We think their change. If a sufficient delay inuch evil results from this; and we for these purposes should so diminish know of no good to balance that evil. their fervour as to take away their If an individual is really converted, inclination to profess religion, we what harm can result to bim, or to think it most likely that the same others, from a little delay in the ac- lapse of time, after their being reknowledgment of it? Is not the ceived, would take away their inclidanger of mistake of sufficient mag- nation to live so as to adorn the pronitude to justify a little caution on fession they have too hastily made. the part of his friends ? Are not the If it is feared they will stray away, scripture evidences of a saving unless speedily received into the change of such a nature as require a church, we think that difficulty might little time to test their reality? Is be guarded against by some other not some time requisite for the exa- means, better than by a hasty recepmination of his own heart, and a tion as church members. The comparison of his feelings with the strength of a church does not conscriptures, before he can have good sist in its numbers, but in its graces. grounds to indulge a hope? And The filling it up with false converts what is this caution should, in some is the way to destroy it. We fear cases, be carried to an extreme ? that the desire of counting numbers What if a real convert should live is too much indulged, even by good

[ocr errors]

people; and that if it does not re- be “not a novice, (or one newly conceive a timely check, it will not only verted,) lest being lifted up with lead to the ruin of those who are too pride, he fall into the condemnation hastily received, but be productive of the devil." And we think the of great and increasing mischiefs to reason of this direction is equally future generations.

applicable to the common practice of 12. Injudicious treatment of young putting forward young converts to converts. We think the treatment take a prominent part in meetings which those who are really convert- for conference and prayer. We ed often receive, is such as is adapt would not, for the sake of avoiding ed greatly to injure thein. Their this extreme, have the other extreme feelings are usually warm; the change run into, and have entire silence im. they have experienced is great; their posed upon them. But we would sense of the things of religion is live. have their treatment such, as, while ly; and they are usually disposed to it should encourage them to the disbe rather forward, than otherwise, to charge of every Christian duty, it speak and to pray in the presence of should tend to make them, and es. others. And it is usually matter of pecially those who are young in high gratification to old Christians years as well as experience, modest

, to hear how the young converts talk, humble, teachable, sensible of their and how they pray. And perhaps, own ignorance and imperfections, without thinking that there is any and disposed to pay that deference danger attending it, they are gene- to the counsels of age and experally disposed to put them forward. rience, which the scriptures enjoin, But, we think a little reflection and which is so becoming in those would convince old Christians that who are but babes in Christ. there is great danger attending it. 13. Suffering the feelings to conYoung converts have but just begun trol the judgment. We are aware to know these things from experience. that this may be done insensibly, They have not learned to discrimi- and without adopting it as a princinate. They have not discovered ple that it ought to be so. That it their own ignorance and imperfec- is very frequently done, we think tions. They are liable to think that there can be no doubt. It is a comall the pleasant feelings they have, mon remark, that men can easily beare right feelings. And, no doubt, lieve what they wish to be true. In at this time, they think vastly more seasons of revival, we think there is highly of themselves, than they ought special danger on this head. The to think. Under such circumstances, feelings are then excited, in an unto put them forward, to make much usual degree; and the judgments we of them, to tell how well they appear, form under excited feelings and to make comparisons between likely to be so correct as those them and old Christians to the dis- which are formed with greater deliadvantage of the latter, can scarce beration and calmness. Under ex. fail of doing them great injury. It cited feelings we are not in a situais directly adapted to fill them with tion to look, with the same attention, a high conceit of themselves, of their at all the reasons of the case. Our own piety, and of their uncommon feelings are liable to hurry us on to a experiences, to shut their minds conclusion, before we have weighed against the cautions and counsels of all the circumstances. They are li their fathers, to make them despise able to magnify some things beyond the admonitions of age and expe- their proper bounds, and to diminish rience, and to throw themselves into others in the same proportion. We the arms of those who flatter them think it of great importance, then, to their ruin. It is an inspired di- that Christians, at such a time, should rection on the subject of putting a recal to their minds those deliberate man into the ministry, that he should judgments of truth and duty which they have formed in a calmer state, years, who bave been willing to be and which have been repeatedly ex., their avowed advocates. Yet, we amined in the light of scripture and think those under our care are by no experience, and be careful not to vi. means free from danger on this subolate them now, because they may ject. That fondness for the marnot entirely accord with their pre- vellous, which exists in many minds, sent feelings. To make feeling the and the avidity with which they lisstandard of truth or duty, instead of ten to any thing extraordinary, we reason and scripture, is to throw think greatly exposes them to such away the light of the sun, to follow delusions. Immediate inspiration a meteor of the night, which glares was only necessary till the scriptures but to lead astray. We fear that were completed and placed within some go by their feelings wholly, and the reach of the churches, stamped totally disregard every other rule. with the divine seal, as the perfect And we fear that a greater number rule of faith and practice. Miracles have adopted the principle that our were only necessary to authenticate cooler judgments are the least to be a claim to inspiration, and ceased depended on in the things that per- when inspiration ceased. All pretain to a revival; and that the most tensions to such things now, are dijudicious Christians, who are not the rectly contrary to the word of God, subjects of any peculiar excitement, and are regarded by sober Christians are incompetent judges of propriety as human imposture or the delusions and impropriety in those that are. of Satan. But, though none should Such a principle may be a convenient claim to be inspired, or pretend to excuse for the extravagances into receive direct revelations, we think which we are liable to run, through there are some things which so nearrashness and misguided zeal; but ly resemble it, as ought to put Christhe adoption of such a principle tians on their guard. The increase seems to lead directly to the disre- of a spirit of prayer in any church gard of the divine rule of trying we consider as affording strong every thing by the law and the tes- ground of hope that God is about to timony. There may be danger, revive his work; but to predict the also, on the other side. A reluc- conversion of an individual, because tance to do duty may lead to erro- of the peculiar feelings with which neous conclusions as to what duty he has been prayed for; to foretel a is, and to a reliance upon insufficient revival of religion in a particular excuses, which we have no doubt is place, for the same reason; to consioften done. What we wish, is, to der the prayers or the preaching of have you guard against dangers on particular men as dictated by the every side, and to listen to the voice Holy Ghost; or to consider an unof reason, and scripture, and con- common impression on the mind as science, not suffering them to be a direction from heaven in the peroverborne by the violence of passion, formance of duty; are things to nor to be deadened by indifference which we allude. Any thing that is and sloth.

are not

1

viewed in the light of a special com14. Giving heed to impulses, im- munication of what God is about to pressions, or supposed revelations. do, or of what we ought to do, in President Edwards, and other excel- whatever way it is supposed to be lent writers on Christian experience made, by dreams, visions, impulses, and revivals of religion, have so fully impressions, or otherwise, we think and ably treated the subject of im- it highly dangerous to listen to, or pulses and impressions, and so ex- regard; inasmuch as it tends to set posed the delusion of imaginary re- aside the scriptures as the only rule, velations, visions, dreams, and the and open a wide door for the delulike, that few, if any, have been sions of Satan. And we would exfound, in our denomination, for many hort all under our care to guard

[ocr errors]

OF GOD

11 TEE

[ocr errors]

against the introduction of any such ticular man, as if there were nobeletes u wild and delusive notions, to take else ; and yet takes notice of all, ako the Bible as the only rule of faith as if they were but one man. and practice, and pray to God, not God repented that he made man dies for new revelations nor for inspira- but never repented that he redeemtion, but for the sanctifying influ- ed man. ences of the Holy Spirit, to incline We cannot live naturally without their hearts to receive the instruc- God; how then can we live happitions and follow the directions of the ly without him? holy scriptures, and of them alone. We may know what God intends (To be continued.)

for us, by what he hath wrought in

They that have God for their God
From Mason's Select Remains.

have angels for their guard.

Many have lost for God, but none have lost by God.

If they have lost That there is a God, may be in temporals, they have been eternal proved by considering the manner gainers. Matt. xix. 29. of propagation of mankind by gene- This is a sure rule :God never ration. Thus, First, There must takes any thing from his people

, but have been one first Man.Second, he gives them something better in This first man must have had some the stead of it. Maker,—Third, This Maker of him

God is a great God, and therefore must himself be unmade.-There.

we should wait upon him; he is a fore Fourth, there must have been good God, and therefore it is not ia eternally some unmade Being; and vain to wait upon him. that is God.

A man may be a worshipper of We may truly conceive of God, the true God, and yet not a true worthough we cannot fully conceive of shipper of God. him. We may have right apprehen- The lowest reverence is due to tbe sion of him, though not an exact highest Majesty, comprehension of him.

Fear God for his power, tras Then our conceptions of God's him for his wisdom, love him for his attributes are carnal, when our high goodness, praise him for his greatthoughts of one, give us low thoughts ress, believe him for his faithfulness, of another.

and adore him for his holiness, His goodness makes his majesty All creatures are as nothing amiable, and his majesty makes his pared with God, and absolutely nugoodness wonderful. His love is thing without God. not abated by his greatness, nor his greatness by his love. His holiness hinders him not from dwelling with

THE GRAVES OF A HOUSEHOLD. the poor in spirit. Nothing is great enough for him

By Mrs. Hemans. to admire, who is infinite Majesty; They grew in beauty, side by side, nothing is mean enough for him to They filled one home with gleedespise, who is infinite Mercy.

Their graves are sever'd far and wide, God deals with his servants not

By mount, and stream, and sea. as a passionate Master, but as a The same fond mother bent at night compassionate Father.

O'er each fair, aleeping brow;

She had each folded power in sightWhat pleaseth God, should please

Where are those dreamers now? us, because it pleaseth God. A sight of God begins a saint on

One, 'midst the forests of the west,

By a dark stream is laidearth, and perfects him in heaven.

The Indian knows his place of rest, God takes notice of every par- Far in the cedar shade.

[ocr errors]

coul

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »