Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

restraint, when assaulted by tempt | England, and various other parts ations. « Let him that thinketh of our country; is undoubtedly he standeth, take heed lest he fall." worthy to be left on record. It is Christ's sheep will hear his voice a divine teftimony to those sacred and follow him. They will in-truths and instructions, which God crease in the knowledge of God, has given us in his word, and a and in the knowledge of the wick- part of that dispensation of grace edness of their hearts. They will towards this sinful world, by which watch and pray ; and according to the Most High greatly enriches his their abilities will labor to promote kingdom with the knowledge of the interest of pure and undefiled | himself. The gospel makes an unreligion. True Christians do not speakable advance upon all former think highly of their attainments : manifestations of God to his crear « Forgetting those things which tures : It merits the fixed attention are behind, and reaching forth un- of all intelligent beings, and realto those things which are before, I ly does very greatly engage the adthey press toward the mark, for miration of the holy angels, who the prize of the high calling of desire to look into these things. all God in Christ Jesus. They are power in heaven and on earth is attentive to duty; and in this way given unto Christ, and he is made give diligence to make their calling head over all things to the church, and electionsure. The first warmth that in this work, he may declare of young converts is but of short the Father's glory. All events continuance. It is soon exchan- in this world, of every kind ged for the conflicts of the Chris- are under his government, and tian warfare. The followers of have an ultimate relation to the Christ are conducted towards heav- glory of God, in the advance. en, in a way which teaches them ment of Zion, and are subordinate their perfect dependence on the to this cause. But, when God reriches of divine grace. In every vives his religion, this great interstage of their journey, they are eft is directly promoted, and every made to feel that believers are i circumstance of it claims the moft kept by the power of God, through serious regard. Such seasons anfaith, unto falvation.

swer many important ends ; they Somers, May 1, 1800. bave a powerful tendency to con

vince the self righteous, and such An account of a work of Divine as depend on their inoffer five mor

grace in a Revival of Religion, als, of the truth and neceflity in a number of Congregations in of experimental religion--give New-England, in the years 1798 weighty evidence of the impeniand 1799, in a series of Letters tent sinner's entire depravity of to the Editors.

heart--of divine sovereignty in the LETTER Í.

dispensations of grace, and of the

reality and importance of regeneFrom Rev. JONATHAN MILLER, A. M. Pastor of the church, in

ration by the power of the Holy West-Britain, town of Bristol, 1.

Ghost, and are remarkable seasons

"s of general instruction. At such State of Connecticut.

times, more religious knowledge GentLEMEN,

is acquired in a few months, than THE prefent revival of reli- in many years of such indifference 1 gion in many places in New 'as too commonly prevails. The

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

public mind becomes impressed | friends by glorious manifestations with the importance of real re. l of his power and grace. ligion, the people of God are ani. The unusualattention to religion mated to greater exertions for pro. in this small parish, became visible, ficiency in holiness, and usefulness | a little before the middle of Feb. to their fellow-men, and many souls ruary 1799 ; though for several are renewed, and become the tro. fabbaths before that time, some phies of divine grace. These con greater degree of solemnity appearliderations persuade me to approve ed on the congregation, than had the proposal, which has been made, been common, and a few religious to publish some account of the glo conferences were attended. The rious work of God among us, and people had been informed of the to believe th:t it may be extensive revival of religion in some neighly useful; and I am willing to con- boring towns, and generally contribute what I am able, by giving | sidered it a blessing, and defirable a brief narrative of it, in the con that it should take place among us. gregation committed to my charge. There were however some, who

Before the present unusual at- made light of the religious concern tention to religion began among us, and anxiety of the people, where the church was few in number, and the awakening had taken place. most of its members considerably But the people of God among us advanced in life, few additions had desired, and I doubt not fervently been made to it for many years, prayed, that the Lord would make the people in general were so unaf us a gracious visit, in pouring out fected with the things of religion, upon us his holy spirit. While things that they made but small impression were in this state, the people were upon them, and there were those, notified, that two of the neighbor. who zealously propagated some of | ing ministers would preach with us, the most dangerous errors, partic. on a particular afternoon, one of ularly Universalism, and with such whom had the charge of a congres effect, that it very much quieted | gation, at that time visited with the the apprehensions, even of those fenfible presence of God, and the who did not profess to embrace influences of his fpirit. The peothose sentiments, it led many secret- ple collected, and expected somely to hope that though they contin- thing unusual, for there had been ued in sin, they might possibly ef- no very visible revival among cape the wrath of God, and it ren- us, since the year 1783, and ac dered the awfulthreatenings ofend that time the work was small, com; less punishment in their view, in pared with the present. Several some degree questionable, and so young people from another town gave them relief, and encouraged were present, who were very much them to neglect religion. Indeed awakened, and as it happened the prospects which concerned the were seated in light of the greatest interests of religion among us, part of the congregation. Two wore a gloomy aspect, and the peo- fermons were delivered, both well ple of God were affected with adapted to the occasion. The them, and spoke of them with grief. I preachers appeared fervent in their But at this time, it pleased the great prayers and animated in their disHead of the church to appear courses. The people were serious, among us in his own cause, and , and some of the strangers visibly revive the drooping hearts of his affe&ed. This was noticed by many, and contributed to produce | serious meetings, and the concerns a sensible effect on their feelings, of eternity have above all other and to lead them to serious reflec- things, engaged the attention of tions on their own condition. The a large proportion of the people ; appearance was encouraging, and so that it would be very ungrateful it was thought the people would l in us, to be unwilling to acknowiwillingly attend a meeting in the edge, that God has been with us evening ; it was appointed, and in very deed, and still continues generally attended by those who many pleasmg tokens of his grahad been present in the day time. cious presence. In this meeting it appeared that the 1 Undoubtedly in the beginning of power of God was indeed with us. the work, numbers were moved, Many were made sensible that they with little more than a sympathetic were exposed to the wrath of God, affection, arising from the novelty and were furprised with their state, and seriousness of the impreslive as if it had never before been told | scene. But this was not in vain, them, that they were in danger of for the Lord made use of it, to endless punishment, and needed open their ears to instruction, and the salvation of Christ. From that as that subsided, it was in many intime until the present, (a term of stances followed, with the most one year,) we have had a general | rational conviction of gospel truths, attention to the things of religion, and a realizing sense of their imporand many serious meetings and full tance, which have apparently pro.. assemblies on the sabbaths and on | duced the happiest effects. Numother days and evenings : and af. bers who were unmoved at first, ter the religious exercises which have since been made to enquire had been intended were closed, the with earnestness, what they shall people have frequently manifested do to be saved. And convictions, an unwillingness to retire, and have I think, gradually increased, thro' kept their places, and by their the following spring and summer. countenances solicited further in- I have conversed with between forstructions. And after making a- | ty and fifty, who have received nother prayer, or giving some fur- comfort, and appear to be reconcil. ther exhortations, I have often been ed to God, and to rejoice in his the first who has left the meeting, government, and in their glorious upon which the people have retired | Redeemer ; many others are yet to their houses.

attentive, while there is reason to In the whole season, nothing fear, that the seriousness of some noisy or tumultuous has been dif- is on the decline, if not altogether covered, no outeries or swoonings, at an end. This indeed is an afand none who have been disposed fećting consideration, and fills the to relate their own experiences in pious mind with fearful apprehen. conferences and public meetings ; | lions concerning their future definor have the evening exercises ever ny. Alas they know nos what been prolonged to unseasonable they do, when they thus oppose the hours ; bat a filent and earnest at- / convictive influences of God upon tention to religious instruction has their consciences !!! Although prevailed. Levity, balls and other there has been a great variety, in similar diversions have been laid the dealings of God, with different aside, the ball room has been con- | individuals, who now give reason to verted into a place for prayer and hope, that they are heartily recon.

ciled to bim, with respect to the miring views of the excellencies length, degree, and distinct qual- and perfections of God; every ity of their convictions, and the thing about them, even the natural strength, and bitterness, of their creation has appeared new, because sensible heart-risings against God, declarative of the presence and ain the course of their convictions, gency of God, which they had and the clearness of their views, never before regarded in this light. and grcatness of their joys, when | Others have at first only experienthey were at first reconciled, yet ced a calm composure of mind, there is a general similarity in the in which, without any sensible accounts, which they all, or near- hcart-rifings against God, they ly all, have given of themselves. have attentively contemplated his

They have at first generally, tho' character and government--their not universally, been principally own extreme vileness, and his soveaffected with a sense of their dan- reignty in the dispensations of his ger of the wrath of God, and all grace; they have seen and acknowl. have resorted to their own works, edged the justice and fitness of his to conciliate his favor, without that adminiltrations, felt themselves fubmission to him, and reliance on wholly at his disposal, and confenChrist, which the gospel requires. ted that it hould be fo; but at the While pursuing this course, their same time, had no sensible exercipainful apprehensions of divine | ses oreffusions of love, joy or praise, wrath have been gradually over. did not view themselves entitled to balanced, by successive and increas the promises of the gospel ; but ing discoveries of their guilt and ob- even feared that they were losing stinate depravity of heart, until they their convictions, and should soon have felt their entire dependence, on return to their former ftupidity. the sovereign uncovenanted mercy | This state of mind has been gene. of God, to renew their hearts. | rally followed, in a few hours, or a While in this situation, they have few days with an admiring sense generally been senable of dreadful of the excellency and glory of heart-risings against God, and his God, and a spirit of praise, lore government. Some have related and comfort in him ; sometimes their feelings, when in this situa- excited by discoveries of Christ, tion, which were too dreadful to | and the glory of his work of rebe repeated. Several have been on | demption, and the fulness and sufthe borders of despair. They, ficiency of his falvation, and at who have received comfort, look other times, by a view of the di. back on this, as the season of their vine law, and the other various greatest distress of soul, and it has manifestations, which God has often beconie so great, as very made of his perfections. Those much to interrupt, and sometimes exercises have suggested to their wholly to destroy their sleep, la- minds, an hope that they are now bor and appetite for food. After born of God, of this however continuing for some time, in this none have appeared very confident situation, oppresed with a sense of at first ; but their hopes have been their desperate wickedness ; many expressed with caution, and have of them have been suddenly reliev. often been feeble and intermitting, ed, from the anguish of their souls. and as their religious exercises have Of these, fome have been immedi- been by turns more or less fervent, ately filled with great joy, and ade and in their view productive of obedience, their hopes have in- l' which I conceived could be easi. creased or diminished.

| ly accomplished, so that I might Many of them have observed; be safe, even though my sentithat the happinefs, which they have ments, concerning the salvation poffeffed in religious exercises, in of all men, should not prove true. respect to purity and sublimity, I set about the work, but in a greatly exceeds all the sinful pleaf- few days relapsed into my old ures that they ever enjoyed. They careless habits. A reflection on appear to delight exceedingly in this gave me some alarm, and I God, and their religion is to them ' resolved, and entered on the bus a refreshing feast.

“siness again and again, but to no A number of those, whose ex- better effect than before, until at ercises have been here described, length, I felt, in some measure, were formerly opposed to the doc- my dependence on God, to ena. trines of God's decrees, and par- ble me to keep my resolutions. ticular election; but are now, with. All this time, my confidence in out any exception convinced of l' universalism gradually weakened. their truth and importance, and of \' I now had much anxiety and conthe total depravity of the natural |' cern of mind for several weeks ; heart. Two or three were incli- ' but remained opposed to the docned to universalism; but have now ' trines of the entire depravity of abandoned those opinions, and the carnal heart, divine sovereignview them as falfe and pernicious.: ty and election ; til! on a certain One in particular was a confirmed • day, as I was alone, on some bu. universalist, and had been so for finess ata distance from my house, some years. He is a man, about 1' God discovered to me my owa forty years of age, of a determi heart to that degree, that for a ned spirit, disposed to be confident ' considerable time, I can have no in his own opinion, and to give lit- recollection of any circumstance tle heed to the opinions of others, or object about me. My atten. in matters of religion. Ishall here |tion was so entirely swallowed up, give an abstract of the account, by the dreadful discoveries of my which he gave me of himself. “I own heart, that I know of noth(was,' said he, à real univer ing else, which passed in my • falist, and fully believed those ' mind, until at length, I found < sentiments. After the awaken myself prostrate on the earth. + ing began, I had some conversa "I left the business on which I . tion with a religious neighbor on i went out undone, and returned

the subject, and left him with a home, with an heavy load on my • sensible inquietude on my mind : mind, and was unable to do any I went home, took my bible for business for several days. I got « relief, and turned to those texts, no relief, until feeling my absoI which I had long considered as lute dependence on the sovereign " a full proof of my sentiments ;will of God, to dispose of me

but on carefully reading and con- | as he should see fit, I refigned 'sidering them, they did not ap- ' myself into his hands, sensible, "pear so conclusive as they had that if he should renew me, I • done. I knew that I had no re- should be saved ; but if not, and ·ligion myself, and I determined if he should send me to hell, he • I would now attend to it, and would be perfectly just, and I ' repent, and believe on Christ 1. should see it and know it forever.” Vol. I, No. 1,

D

« AnteriorContinuar »