Imagens das páginas

there is joy in heaven over one sin-, some individuals, under serious imner that repenteth, so the knowl. pressions ; and from six to eleyen edge of the hopeful conversion of had been annually added to the finners must afford peculiar pleas-church. But for a year or two beure to the godly and benevolent on fore the revival began, the people earth. These therefore are im- appeared to be uncommonly inatportant reasons, why special revi- tentive to their eternal concerns. vals of religion should be made pub- | For more than a year, but one had lic. ; since the knowledge of them made a public profession of reli. has such a tendency to display the gion, not more than one, appeared perfections of God, confiim and to be enquiring the way to Zion. illustrate the truths of his word, The concerns of the present life and give joy to the friends of Zion. | appeared to engrols the attention

From the history of divine prov. of most. Many appeared to become idence in past ages, it appears, that more and more opposed to the the most dark and gloomy seasons truths of the gospel, and numbers in the moral world often immedi- were inclining to Deism, Univerately precede times of great light falism, and other loose, irreligious and joy. God often suffers his sentiments. There was an increa. church and cause to sink to the low. sing neglect of public worship. The est ebb, before he appears for their youth in general appeared regardsupport, that his grace and power less of divine things, fond of vain may be the more evidently mani company and amusements, and fested in their relief. When his some of them were greatly opposed cause appears to be sinking, his peo- to divine truth, and infected with ple almost despond, like the disci- infidelity, and other dangerous er. ples at the crucifixion of the Sa- rors. It was even suggested by viour, and his enemies, rejoice and fome of the opposers, that those triumph, flattering themselves that who were coming on the stage, and they shall soon be wholly liberated would soon take the lead in society, from the irksome restraints, and were too enlightened to believe offensive doctrines of the bible ;- such unreasonable doctrines, as at such times, the Lord Jesus fre were taught from the desk ; and quently appears in a very unexpec- that when the elderly people should ted manner for the support of his be removed, the rising generation church and cause, by awakening would not bear such sentiments. and renewing sinners; thus disap- To render the prospect still more pointing the expectations of his threatening, the society was invol. enemies, and disposing numbers to ved in a violent contention about leave the service of fin and Satan, school districts ; which produced and cordially engage on his side. I much ill will, perfonal animosity

This was in some degreethe case and altercation, and a number of in this society, when the Lord, in disagreeable law-fuits. In short his unspeakable mercy was pleased the prospect, with respect to the to come down, by the special ef. cause of religion, was exceeding: fusions, of his spirit, to arrest the ly dark and threatening, and the attention of careless finners, and friends of peace and religion weri to revive his work. For the greatly discouraged. most part of the time since my! This was the situation of the fa settlement in the work of the min- ciety, when the revival began i istry in this place, there had been several neighboring places in th . latter part of the year 1798. The one part of the society, I conversed minister of one of those focieties with three young persons who appreached here, the last fabbath in peared to be feelingly convinced of January, 1799, and gave some ac- their sin and danger ; who were count of the work of God in thofe | the first that had any conversation towns, which considerably enga- with me respecting their eternal ged the attention of the hearers, concerns. But within a week from and appeared to affect the minds this lecture, perhaps fifty appeared of some individuals. ;

to be under a deep conviction o. A conference being appointed guilt and danger ; and ten or on this and the next succeeding twelve entertained a hope, that they week, the people assembled in ivere reconciled to God. Thus greater numbers, and heard with the divine fpirit, in its quickening more apparent attention than was influences, seemed to descend like expected ; conlidering what had a shower in the different parts of been the general appearance for the society. Almost all appeared some time past. The friends of to be so far affected, that the genreligion were therefore agreeably eral inquiry and conversation were disappointed to see so many present, / about the things of religion. At on such an occasion.

first it was in fome, perhaps, an afOn the second fabbath in Feb. fection of the passions, but as this information was given, that a lec- subsided, it was in many instances ture would be preached at the meet- fucceeded by a deep and rational ing-house on Wednesday, and that conviction of their guilt, danger, feveral ministers were expected. and need of the Saviour, and the The people generally assembled, renewing influences of his spirit. and three neighboring ministers For several months the work of conwere present. The exercises were viction continued to extend, tho introduced with some observations with less rapidity than at first, and on the peculiar attention to religion there were frequent instances of which had begun in places around, hopeful conversions ; till by some and two fermons were delivered on disagreeable occurrences the work the occafion. An unusual atten- appeared to be greatly retarded in tion and solemnity were foon very | the month of June. At that time apparent in the congregation, and a sectarian controverly about cernumbers appeared deeply affected tain sentiments, little connected and in tears. A conference being with the essential truths of religion, appointed in the evening, a large unhappily arose, and for a time school-house was thronged; and engaged much of the attention and divine influences appeared more conversation. This produced dif. powerful than in the afternoon. putes and ill feeling, and seemed The assembly was folemn as the greatly to divert from that anxious grave. All seemed deeply impres- concern for the salvation of the fed with a sense of the importance | foul, which had before prevailed. of their eternal concerns, and to And altho in a few weeks this dishear with the most eager and anx-l pute in a great measure subsided, ious attention. The exercises con. yet the revival never recovered its tinued till o o'clock, and yet the fornier life and power. And there hearers appeared as if unwilling to l bas appeared to be very few new leave the house.

instances of conviction or conver

This shews
The next day, being on a visit in 'fion Gnce that time.
Vol. I. No. 2.


the pernicious tendency of such | after a while those, who remained controversies to check religious unawakened, or had worn off the awakenings, and quench and grieve Night impressions, with which they away the spirit of God. How had been at first affected, generally cautious then should all be of in- neglected the religious meetings and troducing such disputes in times of grew more hardened and opposed peculiar attention to divine things, than ever. Their situation apleft they be the means of retarding pears very dangerous and deploraThe work of the Lord and pre- ble, and all, who have a benevolentventing the salvation of souls ? regard for the souls of their fel. Those, who will do it, to promote low-creatures, must be disposed to a private party interest, manifest, pity and pray for them, however that they are more influenced by lightly they may treat such things. selfish party feelings, than by a re. For to them, these affecting words al disinterested regard for the cause of the prophet are in some degree of religion and the good of souls. / applicable, “ The harvest is past,

But to proceed in narration, it | the summer is ended, and they are may be observed, that the most, not saved.” who have had a thorough convic- There has appeared among those, tion of their entire depravity, great seriously affected, a peculiar difpoguilt and danger ; entertain a hope sition to hear, and get divine inthat they have become reconciled struction, and an unwillingness to God. A few yet remain un to leave religious meetings after der serious impreslions, who do not the public exercises were conclusuppose they have embraced the Sa- ded, as long as they could hear re. viour ; while some, it is to be fear- | ligious conversation. It was pleaed, who have been in some meas. | sing to see, with what folemn ature awakened to a sense of their tention and apparent satisfaction, fin and danger, have worn off their many of the youth listened to diconviction.

vine instruction, who a few weeks How affecting is it to consider, before were thoughtless of the im. that there is reason to fear, that portant concerns of religion, and all the folemn calls, warnings and took their greatest pleasure in balls, serious- impressions, with which vain company, and amusements. they have been favored, will by But the ball-chambers and card-tabeing thus abused, harden them in bles were now forsaken. And sin, and dreadfully increase their those, who were serious, were final condemnation ?

deeply impressed with a sense of Religious conferences or lectures the hurtful tendency of such things, have been attended almost every to divert the attention from divine week since the revival began, and things, quench the strivings of some times several in a week in God's spirit, and harden in lin. different parts of the society. For One hundred have made a proa number of months, people flock- | feffion of religion, and been reed to them in crowds, and listened ceived into this church, since the with a moft eager attention, to revival began, of whom 61 are fewhat was delivered. These meet males, and 39 males. About 60 ings, were attended with order and are under 30 years of age, and regularity, and appeared to be great there may be perhaps 12, who ly blessed as means of promoting | are nearly 50, or upwards. This convictions and conversions. But shows the great iinportance of cor

dially engaging in religion in the ger. They generally set out with season of youth, and the danger- a resolution and expectation to do ous and critical situation of those, something to make themselves betwho have continued impenitent till ter--commend themselves to God, on the decline of life ; fince so I and procure his favor, having no few appear to be renewed or bro't just sense of their entire depravity to repentance in this latter period. of heart, or moral inability. But The most, who have made a pub. the more they attended to the dulic profesjon, suppose, that they ties of religion, and endeavored have become reconciled during to make themselves better ; the this peculiar effufion of the Holy more sensible they became of their Spirit ; but some, who date their exceeding depravity and guilt.--converfion several years back, have Like the woman, who spent all now been more quickened, and she had to be healed of the phyconfirmed in their hopes. Others sicians, they were sensible, that they have been shaken from their old were nothing bettered, but rather hopes, been brought to see that grew worfe. They were soon they were building on the fand, brought to fee, that their hearts and have now hopefully embraced were full of sin and opposition athe Saviour, and thus built on the gainst God ; and thus were feelrock of ages. There are perhaps ingly convinced of the truth of 20 who entertain a hope of hav- these declarations of scripture coning made their peace with God,cerning finners that they are dead and who have yet made no public in trespasses and fins—are enemies profession.

to God—that every imagination It may be remarked, that the of the thought of their heart is converts are chiefly from families only evil continually, and that where one or both the parents were none can go to Christ, unless drawn profeffors or hopefully friendly to by the Father. When under thorreligion, and where some serious ough convi&tion, they would readregard had been paid to divine ily acknowledge, that they were things. This consideration affords sensible, that they were greatly opparents a very powerful motive to posed to God's character, laws, engage in religion, and bring up and government that they had their children in the nurture and always acted from a wicked, selfish admonition of the Lord. By heart, and therefore had never done neglecting these things, parents are any thing right in the sight of God. destroying both themselves, and They would obferve, that they their children.

formerly had no idea, that they Having given this general sketch were opposed to God, but used to of the beginning and progress of suppose, that they had some love the revival ; I fhall proced to some to him, and did many things which observations, to illustrate in a more were right and acceptable in his particular manner, the nature of view, and that it therefore appearthe work.

ed as if it would be hard and unIt has been remarkably free just in God to doom them to defa from all irregularity and enthusi-truction : but that they were now asm. The convictions have been sensible, they had always been in oprational, but deep and powerful. position against God—had always When first awakened, persons were acted from a finful temper, and so generally moved by a sense of dan.' had been finning against him in all

their moral conduct, and that he , dered them sensible of their need might justly cast them off forever. | of the Lord Jesus, as their Sa. In this stage of their convictions viour, to deliver them both from they did not feel, as if their great the power and punishment of fin, finfulness consisted in any particu- and so prepared them to trust in lar sinful misconduct or imniorali him alone for salvation. ties, but in their hearts, that great These were generally the views fountain and source of all wicked and feelings of those, who now ness, and in the general temper, hope they are reconciled, while which actuated them in all their they were under conviction, alconduct. They were feelingly though there might be some circum. convinced, that they never could Itantial differences. The convicenjoy any real peace or happiness, tions of some were more sharp and or participate in the holy enjoy- powerful than those of others.ments of heaven, unless their hearts Some experienced them for a lonwere renewed by the divine spirit. ger, some for a shorter term. But They were also fully sensible, that when they were very powerful, such was their depravity and op the subjects of them commonly position to God and holiness, that found relief the sooner. A certain they never maould repent, and cor person, who is among the hope. dially embrace the gospel, unless ful converts, was not under real influenced by the spirit of God; conviction more than half a day, and that he might, in justice leave before her mind was filled with them to go on and perish in their comfort.' She lived in a remote sins. Thus they felt, that they lay part of the society, which renderat mere, sovereign and uncovenan ed it difficult for her to attend pubted mercy—that their only ground lic worship and so had not been at of hope was, that God, through any religious meetings, since the Christ could have mercy, on whom uncommon attention began. But he would have mercy. In this hearing of it, and of the conver. situation they were sensible, that sation of some youth, who appear. the doctrine of divine sovereignty ed to be converts, it struck her or election, which mankind natur- mind, that it must be something ally oppose and deny with such bit- great and powerful to produce such terness, was their only ground of a change in their feelings and con. hope. For if God were not to have versation; and that therefore conmercy upon them, till they had version must be a great and impor. done something to recommend tant change. Soon after this the themselves to his mercy, or to pro attended a meeting one evening, cure his grace they felt that their and thought she never before heard case would be hopeless. Neither such truths and exhortations, as did they feel, as if their hearts be- were delivered by the speaker. As ing wholly depraved or opposed to he endeavoured to thew the impor. God, would afford them any just tance of religion for support on a excuse for remaining impenitent ; dying bed, and preparation to meet but they were feelingly convinced our judge in peace, she was affecthat should they perish, the blame ted with a sense of the dreadfulness would fall upon themselves. This of being" called to meet death, view of their character and situation while in a state of fin and oppofistripped them of their self-right- tion against the Almighty. These cousness and self-dependence, ren. I thoughts lay with weig'it on her

« AnteriorContinuar »