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tive soul from the bondage of the body be a welcome, a joyful deliverance ? " Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Let man fulfill the design of God in subjecting his spirit to the flesh, let him enter the ways of holiness, and death will no more seem a curse,—an evil. It will be welcomed as one of man's greatest blessings. True, it may have its pang, but it is the pang of the long tenant of a dungeon, as he leaves the sad scene of his tears, his griefs, his disappointed hopes, his sufferings, his prayers, to regain the longlost light and air of heaven. He may kiss his chains, for they have felt his tears, have worn his flesh, have clanked to his tossings of agony. Will he therefore esteem deliverance an evil? It is the pang of the long-exiled wanderer, as he leaves the land of his exile, which has supported his weary head on its cold and damp bosom, has felt the pressure of his prayer-bent knee, has heard the sad tones of his complaints, and drunk in his tears,– to revisit the country of his birth, of his undying affections. The scene of his loneliness and grief, and the land of his pilgrimage, he may break from with a heartfelt sorrow. But shall he therefore count the termination of his melancholy exile an evil ? Shall he not welcome it with heartfelt gladness? He who has fulfilled the design for which God has placed him on earth has nothing comparatively to lose, but everything to gain by the change. He leaves his bondage of sin, of sorrow, of death. He regains his freedom, his liberty; and that liberty is the glorious liberty of the children of God. Death is but the door to the home of his heart,—the veil that separates his spirit from its only resting-place,—the stream that divides it from the domain of the blest. So have they who have fulfilled the design of God in sending them to earth, regarded it. So have they found it. Hear their triumphant testimony. “O! the glorious time," says the dying Brainerd, "the glorious time is now coming. I have longed to serve God perfectly; now God will gratify these desires. I long to be in heaven, praising and glorifying God with the holy angels.” “O blessed God! I am speedily coming to thee: hasten the day, O Lord ! if it be thy blessed will. O come! Lord Jesus! come quickly !" "O!” echoes the departing Martyn, “when shall time give place to eternity! when shall appear the new heaven and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness! There, there shall in no wise enter in anything that defileth : none of that wickedness which has made men worse than wild beasts; none of those corruptions which add still more to the miseries of mortality, shall be seen or heard of any more."
ART. VIII. SPIRITUAL ECONOMY OF REVIVALS OF RELIGION.
We do not undertake the defense or apology of revivals of religion. The Divine Husbandry in them is rather our study. Shall we mask our conviction, that here is a want which has long demanded grave attention,—that the views of this subject entertained by many are unripe and partial, and their instrumentality in revivals unskillful and desultory to the same degree. The discredit accruing from this cause is really the heaviest argument, that lies against them,-heavier than all the attacks of their adversaries. Indeed, if we had it in hand to convince the adversaries, we know not how we could hope more effectually to succeed, than by unfolding the Divine Husbandry, the Reason of God's Economy in them, which now is our attempt.
The term revival of religion is one not found in the scriptures, and one to which we have some objections. Since, however, it has obtained currency, as a term to denote the times of refreshing, that come from the presence of the Lord, convenience will probably give it perpetuity. It is of more consequence to measure and guard the term, than to avoid it.
This not being done, the real position, if any, which revivals hold in the economy of God's spiritual administration not being well ascertained by the christian body, they are viewed by christians themselves, with all the possible varieties of feeling between idolatry and distrust. Even the same mind often fluctuates between these extremes. To-day, the face of God is bright upon his people, and the whole community is, in a sense, visibly swayed by his power; and now, in the happy freshness and vitality of the scene, it is concluded, that there is no true religion but in a revival. To-morrow, as the freshness of new scenes and new feelings is manifestly abating, there begins to be an unhappy and desperate feeling, something must be done,religion itself is dying. And yet what shall be done, it
difficult to find; for every effort to hold fast the exact degree and sort of feeling, to make a post of exercises, which in their very nature have motion and change, only sinks the vital force more rapidly. But the calm at length comes, and now the prostration is the greater for the desperate outlay of force used to prevent it. A dissatisfying look now begins to rest, when it is reviewed, on the scene of revival itself; discouragement, unbelief, sloth, and a long age of lead follows. Secretly sickened by what is past, many fall into real distrust of spiritual experiences. Many have made so heavy a draft on their religious vitality or capacity, that something seems to be expended out of the sensibility even of their conscience,—they sink into neglects, or crimes close upon the verge of apostacy, or they betake themselves to the cheap and possible perfectionism of antinomian irresponsibility and lewdness. The extreme we here depict is not often reached; but there is very often a marked approach towards it. The consequence is, that the religious life, thus unskillfully ordered, is unhappy, wears a forced look, goes with a perplexed and halting gait.
Our present aim, then, is to ascertain the real office and position of revivals,--to furnish, if possible, a view of them which may be safely held at all times, and must be so held, if any steady and intelligent conduct in these matters is to be secured. We hope to establish a higher and more solid confidence in revivals, and, at the same time, to secure to the cause of evangelical religion a more natural, satisfactory, and happy, as well as a more constant movement.
They are grounded, we shall undertake to show, both in honor and in dishonor. They belong in part, to the original appointment and plan of God's moral administration, in which part, they are only records or varieties of divine action, necessary to our renewal and culture in the faith. For the remainder, they are made necessary by the criminal instability of God's people, or take their extreme character from unripe or insufficient views in their subjects and conductors. The two sides of the subject, thus stated, will require to be prosecuted separately.
If we are to show revivals of religion in place, or as they stand related to the general system of God's works, purposes, and ends, we need, first of all, to show in place the doctrine itself of spiritual agency. In speaking of the divine agency in men, we are obliged to use many and various figures of speech, by way of giving sufficient vividness and practical life to the truth, to make it answer its moral ends. We speak of the Spirit of God as "descending,” or “coming down,” or “sent down," as “poured out," as "present” in a given assembly or place, as "grieved away," or "dwelling” in the heart of the believer. In all this, if we understand ourselves, we only dramatize the divine action with a view to give it reality and conversableness. But some, there is reason to fear, use these terms intending too literally in them. They separate the divine agency in men, from the general system in which it belongs, they make the doctrine special in such a sense, that God is himself desultory in it, coming and going, journeying between the earth and the sky, while all his other operations go on by a general and systematic machinery which takes care of itself.
The word of God sometimes speaks of the divine or spiritual agency in men, as if it were only a new or varied extension of the divine presence, and uses the term presence as convertible with spirit. “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, whither shall I flee from thy presence?" “Cast me not away from thy presence, take not thy Holy Spirit from me." “ When the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
Favored by this example, if we leave out of sight the distinctions of the trinity, which we may for the sake of greater simplicity in our subject, we shall readily see, that the doctrine of spiritual agency is grounded in the simple doctrine of God's OMNIPRESENCE. Here it is in place. Of this, in fact, it is only a member.
What do we mean by God's omnipresence? If we speak intelligently, not the extension, not the local diffusion of the divine substance. We mean, negatively, that we can conceive of no place above God's works or outside of them, where the divine nature resides; since all known or conceivable spaces are probably occupied with created substance. We are, therefore, obliged to think of God as in-resident in his works. Next we mean, positively, that God is potentially present,-present in act and sway, (whatever may be true of his substance or its relations to space,) filling all things. The most ready illustration of this subject is the soul residing in the body. In what precise organ its throne is we know not; but virtually or energetically, it is all in every part. It is there to perceive, to have control and use, and it is one will which actuates and systematizes the action of all the parts together.
Let it not offend, that we reduce the warm and glowing doctrine of the agency of the Holy Spirit to mere cold omnipresence. But rather let some just degree of warmth be given to the latter,-a doctrine chilled by the stagnant unbelief, and the more stagnant philosophy of men. The true notion of omnipresence shows God in action everywhere, as much as in the matters of grace. He is in all things, not simply as staying in them, perchance asleep; but he is in them by a presence of power, design, and feeling, moving in all, advancing in all, towards his great appointed ends. God is not entombed in his works. That vital touch, which the bier felt and sent into the quickened youth, touches all things and they live unto God. Forms are his pliant investiture. Laws are the currents of his will, flowing towards the ends of his reason. The breast of universal nature glows with his warmth. It enlivens even the grave, and the believer's flesh, feeling the Lord of the resurrection by, resteth in hope. When we reduce the work of the Spirit then in man, to a branch of the divine omnipresence, we seem, on the other part, to hear the eternal voice lift up itself to the worlds, the forms, the forces, and thunder their holy inaugural through the burnished pillars of the universe, saying, “Know ye not, that ye are the temple of the living God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you!"
But observe more distinctly, the doctrine of God's omnipresence does not affirm, that he is present to all things in the same sense. Presence being identical with act and sway, it has of course this law in itself, that God is present to each thing according to what it is and according to what he is doing with it. Thus he is present to matter as matter, and not as mind molding its forms, constructing its incidents. To vegetable natures he is present according to what they are, and according to their several growths and kinds. So to man he is present as animate in body, in spirit an image of himself. If man falls into sin, he is then present to him as a sinner, offended by his trangressions and averse to his character. If he undertake to redeem, he is then present as prosecuting such an object; convincing of sin, righteousness, and a judgment to come. And now, if any one is brought to repentance, God is present to him in a still more glorious way. In all the orders of created being before named, God has found nothing to reciprocate his moral feelings; but here he finds something which suits and sympathizes with his joys, his principles, his whole spirit. Here his holiness enters into a resting place and a congenial hospitality. He calls it his home, his palace, his sanctuary, and there he dwells, bestowing the cherishments of a God in friendship. This, by way of eminence, is called the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But here the great law of omnipresence still pertains, -God is present to believers according to their character, their times, their works, their wants, and the great result he purposes to bring them to. We are to expect, of course, that there will be great variety in the manner of his presence, or in the kind of act and sway he will exert in them. He will strengthen what is good, fan out what is evil, shed peace, impart knowledge and understanding, invigorate hope, stimulate, try, purify,—in a word, he will order his agency in every way so as to communicate more of himself to them, and complete them in his like