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SOME OF THE CAUSES WHICH HINDER
A REVIVAL OF RELIGION.
ness have been enjoyed not only in N. England, but in nearly all
parts of the U. States. This then Whoever has taken the trouble seems to be the great method, to investigate the early history of adopted by the counsels of infinite New-England, as it respects relig. wisdom for building up the kingion, with a view to settle this ques. dom of Christ in this country.. tion, whether our Fathers had Re- Whether it is owing to any thing -vivals of Religion ? must have be- peculiar in the state of society in come fully convinced that such this land, or in the theology, or was the fact. Several of the first manner of preaching which pregenerations, born in this land, were vails among us, that seasons of nearly all brought into the chris- refreshing in this peculiar form, tian church by a credible profes- are nearly or wholly confined at sion of personal piety. During present to the U.S. I am not able to the prevalence of lax opinions res- determine. Be that as it may, to pecting the qualifications of church us nothing is of more importance membership, and the undisputed than facts respecting Revivals of reign of the half-way-covenant, religion. This field however is these scenes of refreshing from too wide for the present paperthe presence of the Lord, were I shall confine myself to remarks granted sparingly to the churches, on some of the causes which hinand for considerable time, alınost der Revivals-(These causes must wholly withheld. It pleased God, be found in the state of society, of however, to raise up the immortal men's hearts and views, and in Edwards, to reform his churches, their conduct.) True, we are in this land and from his day, we dependent on God for the influence may date the commencement of of the Holy Spirit, without which the New-England Reformation.-- nothing can be done. But he has From that day to this, Revivals of most solemnly assured us, that be great power, purity, and genuine. is more ready to give the Holy
Spirit to those who ask him, than said, be at peace among yourearthly parents are to give bread selves, be exhorted to that, withto their hungry children. We are out which the use of the means of not straitened in him, but in our grace will be unavailing. own bowels. Every man, who 2. Nearly allied to the above, has the bible in his hand, must sub- is a spirit of speculation in matscribe to the sentiment, that on ters of religion. I do not mean God's part 6 all things are ready.” by this a spirit of honest and canAmong the causes then found in did inquiry respecting the funda. our churches and parishes, which mental principles of religion, hinder a Revival of religion, may those which are essential to the be reckoned,
formation of the christian charac1. A state of contention. It is ter. This spirit of inquiry is a of little importance what is the favourable omen; a proof that subject of contention, if contention the deathlike insensibility and inexists. It
may be respecting difference, so natural to man on worldly business merely, or it may the subject of religion, is beginrelate to denominative distinc- ning to yield to the force of contions, or to a meeting-house, or a science and the light of truth. But minister, or politics or any thing when a spirit of eager and zealelse. Wherever the spirit of con- ous disputation arises, respecting tention is found, the Spirit of God points acknowledged on all hands is not This is sure, while it lasts, not to be essential to the christian to prevent the commencement of system, this may be called, and a Revival, and when commenced, this is precisely what I mean, by if it then arises, to bring it to a a spirit of speculation. This spirspeedy termination. It is impos- it is unfriendly to a Revival. Not sible that it should not have this only does it turn off the minds of effect. Contention absorbs public men from great practical and exattention, and chains it down to perimental subjects of vital imthis world. A Revival demands portance, hut it necessarily lowpublic attention, and elevates it ers the tone of earnest piety, manabove the world. Contention de- ifested in a deep concern for the stroys love: but a Revival with- welfare of souls, and the prosperout love, is a Revival without re- ity of Zion. Whatever profezligion. Contention destroys a spir- sions may be made of zeal for the it of prayer. Without prayer, glory of God, as the motive of inthere can be no Revival. God dulging a speculative spirit, if the will be inquired of for these things heart is so absorbed in these specto do them for us. God will be ulations as to leave it cold and known as the God of peace. He dead in regard to the salvation of forsakes every place, where peace souls, all such professions are to is wanting. When the apostle be suspected. Zeal for the glory