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compared with the desert of sin; 1. A person may be truly an for “ the wages of sin is death." perfectly contented, who both de Why, then, should a living man sires and strives to improve his con complain, a man for the punish- dition. It is quite a mistake, t ment of his sins?' Under the sever- suppose, that contentment necessa est trials of life, it becomes men to rily puts an end to all effort to consider, that it is of the Lord's remove the evils and increase the mercies that they are not consum- comforts of life.' Contentment i ed.'
not apathy, but approbation of the Secondly. If the Providence of will of God. And, though every God is universal; then it is best, person may know, that it is the all things considered, that every will of God, that his present condiperson should be in his present tion should be as it is; yet no one condition. God is ever able to re- knows, that it is the will of God, move all the evils which men feel, that he should remain in his presand to avert those which they fear. ent condition. Contentment, thereHe can do all his pleasure. He fore, is perfectly consistent with has placed every person in his pres- the duty enjoined upon every man, ent situation, because He sees it to be diligent in some honest and wisest and best, on the whole, to useful calling, and to endeavour place him there. He never afflicts to provide for his own, and espewillingly, nor grieves the children cially those of his own household. of men.' If God has placed any one may be contented in his conone in a painful and afflictive condition, while he is not slothful dition, it is because He saw it to in business, but fervent in spirit, be necessary for his own Glory, serving the Lord.' and the greatest good of his moral 2. It is not correct, to say, that kingdom. And this, surely, must in order to be contented, one must be a source of contentment to every endeavour to lower his desires to man, in every condition of life. his condition, and not to raise his
Thirdly. If the Providence of condition to his desires. Neither God orders the temporal circum- the one, nor the other, is necessary stances of men; then every one, to true contentment. who is truly contented, has reason can lower his desires to his condi, to believe, that it is, on the whole, tion, in this world; nor can any best for himself, to be at present, one, in this world, raise his condias he is. Those, who are recon- tion to his desires. Contentment ciled to the allotments of Provi- does not result from having things, dence, are the friends of God, with in all respects, as one would dewhom he deals as with sons, and sire to have them, in themselves corrects them for their good. They considered, but from the considerare upright in the way; and no ation, that all things are, on the good thing will God withhold from whole, as God would have them. upright souls.' The apostle as. Hence, one may be contented, sures us, that all things shall without suppressing any rational work together for good to them desire, and without ever possesthat love God; and hence he could sing all that, which, in itself consay, “Our light affliction, which is sidered, his heart could wish. for a moment, worketh for us an 3. Contentment is consistent exceeding and eternal weight of with a great degree of unhappiglory.”
One may be contented in The preceding observations lead his condition, while he is subjectto the following Inferences. ed both to pain of body and sorrow
of mind. While a person feels things exclusively, are never satisperfectly satisfied with the will of fied with what they possess; but God in all things, he may at the the more they
have, the more they same time endure the pain of hun- want. The wicked often possess ger and thirst and cold and dis much and enjoy nothing; while ease, and experience the anguish of saints sometimes possess nothing, mind, arising from the malice of and yet enjoy all the good they see. enemies, the ingratitude of friends, while the wicked are like the and the loss of near and dear rela- | troubled sea, which cannot rest: tives. The man Jesus was always those, whose minds are stayed on contented, though he was a man of God, are kept in perfect peace. sorrows and acquainted with grief,' | Contentment is the highest happiand his soul was once ó sorrowful, ness ever enjoyed in this world; eren unto death.'
and this is peculiar to saints, who 4. Saints are the only happy rejoice in the Lord, and joy in persons in the world. They are the God of their salvation.' viewed, by many, as of all men 5. It is important, that the docmost miserable; and this is one trine of Divine Providence should reason, why sinners are unwilling be preached, in all its extent. This to become saints. It is true, that doctrine, as we bave seen, lays the the best of saints are not perfectly only foundation for contentment, happy on this side Heaven; and it amidst the toils and trials, the is also true, that they are frequent- • wants and woes' of life. None ly less happy here, than they might but those, who believe that the be, and would be, if they were Providence of God extends to all more holy. But, at the same time, events, and that it is always the it may be made to appear, that result of infinite wisdom and goodsaints possess all the real, substan- ness, ever feel contented, either in tial happiness, enjoyed in this adversity or prosperity: To preach world. For though their worldly the doctrine of the universal Propossessions are often few, and their vidence or agency of God, is thereafflictions many; yet they are fore to furnish mankind with the sometimes content with such means of contentment, the highest things as they have;' which is more happiness known upon earth. than can ever be truly said of the Whereas a denial of this doctrine, wicked. Contentment does not tends to drain the last drop of com arise from the abundance of one's fort from the cup of affliction, and possessions ; but from supreme to resign the victim of want and love to God and joy in his govern- i suffering, either to stoical stupid ment. Those who seek their own ity or inconsolable sorrow.
ON REVIVALS OF RELIGION. an abler pen than his own. He'
has no expectation of doing it jusNo. IV.
tice. It is by far the most imporOne of the topics which was pro- tant part, and one on which other posed to be discussed in these es- parts very much depend. Yet, says, was the distinction between as he has given some attention to a genuine and a spurious revival. it, he would venture to submit to The writer is sensible that this is his readers such thoughts as have a part of the subject which requires occurred to him, and hope that
some more experienced hand will a spurious kind. In others,
In others, there supply his deficiencies, and correct is reason to hope that much of it is his errors, if such there should be. genuine. But while I think every
That too much may not be ex- proper means should be used to pected, I would observe, that it guard ourselves and others against appears to me not easy to distin- å fatal mistake in a matter of such guish, in every instance, between immeasurable importance, I shoulct a genuine and a sparious revival. be afraid to assume the responsiThere are many points of resem- bility of deciding in the gross upon blance. A genuine and a spurious any work with which I have been Tevival have many things in com- acquainted. I could not venture mon; and they are such things as to say, this is all right, and that is are most likely to attract the atten- all wrong. By the Searcher tion of superficial observers, while hearts they must be judged. *. The the marks of distinction are dis- Lerd knoweth them that are his. covered only on closer examina- Having made these preliminary tion, and by more discriminating observations, I shall now proceed minds. There is another reason to enquire, what is a spurious rewhy it is not easy to distinguish vival? The answer to this question one revival from another, so that is easy. A spurious revival is a we may be authorized to say, revival of false religion. When this is genuine, and that is spuri-false religion is in more lively and ous. It is this ; in no instance, vigorous exercise in the hearts of probably, is a revival so genuine, those who have embraced it, and as to be free from spurious cases;
when numbers become the subjects and perhaps few, if any, are so of a false experience, and false spurious, that there are not some religion is thus greatly increased, genuine cases intermixed. I will there is a spurious revival. But go further. There is, probably, the great enquiry is, what is false
no instance of a work of grace up- religion! To this, I answer, withon the heart of an individual, no out hesitation, all selfish religion instance of genuine Christian expe- is false religion. No matter what rience, which is not accompanied are its forms of devotion, or its by more or less of that which, professed objects of worship; no when alone, constitutes a false matter what character it ascribes experience. The great adversary to the Divinity, or by what name of souls has been a close observer it calls him; no matter whether it of the work of God for almost six professes to acknowledge the authousand years; and it would be thority of the scriptures, or to be strange if he had not, in that time, regulated by the precepts of Malearnt how to imitate it so skilful- hoinet; no matter whether it is ly as to impose upon many. When called Deism, Gentilism, Judaism, the Son of Man sows good seed in or Christianity; if it is a selfish his field, the enemy comes and religion, it is not the religion of sows his tares. And they both the Gospel.–The religion which spring up together. In some fields Christ taught his disciples, is a rethe wheat predominates, in others ligion of benevolence. It consists the tares. `In few, if any, is either in love to God, and love to man. to be found entirely unmixed. In While selfish religion sets up self some of those excitements which as supreme, and teaches us to love are denominated revivals, at this God only as an Almighty servant day, there is reason to fear that to us, the religion of the gospel a very great part of the work is of sets up
God as supreme, and teach
es us to love him for his own ex- to promote the work. The things cellence. While selfish religion of religion are the subject of conteaches 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 gion of the gospel teaches us to to manifest more affection for each regard it for its own sake as some- other than they have done, and to thing 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 inthere is no man, how blind soever stances of awakening and of hope he may be to the state of his own as have occurred. In their reliheart, who does not see that self-gious performances, they appear ishness in others is odious and very different from what they did abominable.-And I conclude no before. Their prayers are more one will contend, that that which fervent and importunate, and their is in its very nature odious and addresses are
warm and wicked, can become right by as. earnest and affectionate. They suming the garb of religion, and are much more disposed to speak using the forms of devotion. All freely to their impenitent friends, selfish religion, then, is false re- and to make efforts to call up their 1igion; and a revival and increase attention. And they frequently
. of selfish religion, is a spurious go about from house to house, warnrevival.
ing and exhorting sinners to flee I have said, that a genuine and from the wrath to come. a spurious revival have many points Another point of resemblance of resemblance, and that they are between a genuine and spurious those things which are most likely revival, is the manner in which to attract the attention of superfi- religious meetings are attended. cial observers. I will mention a –They are usually increased in few of them.
number. A general disposition In both a genuine and a spuri-exists to attend such meetings, and ous revival, those who profess re- numbers flock to them who have ligion are usually much engaged not been accustomed to attend in the work. They appear to be them before. And the appearance greatly animated and enlivened in of those who attend at such a time, their own minds. Such as had is very different from what it is in been cold and stupid, and almost a time of declension. Both in a entirely occupied with the things genuine and in a spurious revival, of the world, appear to be awak- there is great solemnity; and a ened to new life and vigour. The deep and fixed attention to preachconcerns of the world are no long. ing and to the word of exhortation. er allowed to engross their chief And those who indulge a hope attention. The consideration that that they are Christians, usually there is a revival among them, has express great pleasure in attending a powerful influence upon their such meetings, and find great enfeelings. They engage actively joyment in all sorts of religious and zealously in those measures exercises. which appear to them most likely A genuine and a spurion, reviyal resemble each other, also, in ances which attend a spurious, as their apparent effects upon those well as a genuine revival. And who are subjects of the work. these appearances, perhaps, are The careless and stupid are awak- usually found to as great a degree ened. Those who had long made when the work is spurious, as wher a mock at serious things, and des- it is genuine. Should any doubt pised the threatenings of Divine whether these appearances can be vengeance, now begin to tremble. found where there is no genuine They see their exposedness to the revival of religion, I would beg wrath of God, and the discovery him to consider the following things: fills them with deep distress. They What is there, in all these appearenquire with great earnestness ances, beyond the power of Satan what they must do to be saved. | to produce? What is there, that
- They wonder that their pious he would not be likely to produce, friends had not been more faithful if by that means he could hope to in warning them of their danger. deceive the sinner more effectually, They feel themselves sinking into and lead him to trust in a refuge hell, and cry out, in anguish of of lies? What is there, in all I soul, for some to help. They en- have stated, which is not the natutreat their Christian friends to pray ral result of the selfish feelings of for them, and eagerly resort to men, when wrought upon in a cerevery means which they think like- tain way? Let these things be ly to afford relief. And after such attentively considered, and I am å season of distress, they obtain persuaded that my readers will relief. The tumult of the passions agree with me, that none of these subsides; a calm serenity succeeds; things are the least evidence that and they are filled with a peace the work which they accompany and joy, to which before they were is not wholly spurious and false. utter strangers.
Å Friend 10 Revivals. Such are some of the appear
Utica Christ. Repos.
ON THE PREVALENCE OF SOCINIANISX. confirm the assertion I had made, No. IV.
that the causes which contributed
to the introduction and spread of In my last number I made some Socinianism in New-England, are extracts from Mr. Channing, of silently operating in every direcBoston, which went to show the tion; and to show that many of manner in which the advocates of the professed friends of truth are Socinian errors promote their cause, themselves doing the work of its and spread their sentiments. They enemies, and using their influence endeavour to avoid all controversy in such a manner as to prepare the --they keep the great doctrines of way for the ultimate triumph of the bible out of sight—they are Socinianism. They are indeed loud in the praises of “universal doing it ignorantly. They have charity”—they plead for the inno- no such intention. But, for that cence of error-they endeavour to very reason, they are doing it most bring orthodoxy into contempt-effectually; since, without reflectand to make it believed that what ing upon consequences, they are they call practical religion, con- labouring heartily to pull down stitutes all that is important in those barriers which remain to Christianity. My object was; to 'check the progress of error.