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Dialogue between Candour and Prejudice.

606 principles, and moral character are unex- beard all these faults committed by those ceptionable; and 3. I am deeply aware whose piety I had the most sufficient reason the infirmity of man renders him extremely to believe was genuine. liable to run into extremes; and that per- P. I am glad that these glaring evils sons of warm passions are not more apt to meet with your unqualified discountenance. be excessively animated, than those of the I wish to have your sentiments on another opposite description are to be dull and subject; I refer to what is called a revival. frigid ; and as one is a fault equally as con- You know, that in these revivals, divine siderable as the other, the same degree of worship is conducted in a very noisy and indulgence ought to be extended to both.- disorderly manner-that people will cry, or P. I acknowledge the propriety of your roar out, in the most hideous manner, and, remarks; but must maintain, at the same after a number of people have bustled and time, that a similar apology cannot be made prayed about them for some time, they are for excessively loud praying: for as prayer is declared to be converted. Now, in such addressed to an omnipresent and omniscient proceedings, there is no resemblance of the Being, an extraordinary exertion of the order and reverence with which sinful crealungs can no more be necessary to convince tures should worship their Creator.-C. You Him of our sincerity, than to accommodate would have no siner, then, cry for mercy, the faculty by which he hears us; besides, so as to be heard ; but have you forgot, the bold and bawling manner in which that when the jailer was awakened, he cried some people offer up their petitions, to me out, “ What must I do to be saved ?" and discovers excessive irreverence, and is highly that, under one sermon of St. Peter, on the unsuitable to the character of guilty and day of Pentecost, 3000 were pricked to the dependent creatures supplicating mercy. heart, and cried, “Men and brethren, what

C. I readily admit that the tone, and shall we do!" Your conversion might indeed the whole manner, of a person who have been brought about in a more silent is engaged in prayer to God, should be in- and gradual manner; but you must not dicative of the profoundest reverence and limit the operations of Jehovah, nor forget humiliation; and I do not deny, that there that he often proceeds in the accomplishis something manifestly indecorous in a ment of his purposes in a way that, to human vociferating mode of praying. But I attach wisdom, might seem foolish. If you were more importance to the language and the in the condition of some notorious sinner, sentiments that are uttered, than to the when he was suddenly visited by the spirit loudness of the voice; and, I confess, in of conviction, when his enormous guilt and these particulars I have sometimes observed numberless crimes were exhibited to his a shocking want of reverence. For instance, view; when he was overwhelmed with a I have occasionally heard people address sense of the wrath of God, and the alarming themselves to God, with something like a apprehension of dropping into hell--you familiar pertness, or in some such manner might then be constrained to “roar out for as you would talk to one who is not quite the disquietude of your soul,” and be thank your equal; others I have heard express ful for any serious person to unite his themselves in a boisterous and threatening prayers with yours for mercy. At the same manner, as you would talk to one you were time, I will not deny, that in these revivals scolding. Some people betray a want of re- there may often be a good deal of human verence in pronouncing the name of God. folly and infirmity displayed ; some appaGenerally, when we mention that awful rent confusion is necessarily connected with name, it should be accompanied with the an extraordinary out-pouring of the Holy mention of some of his high attributes; Spirit; but much of the wildness, noise, that we may by this means recall to our and disorder thạt is witnessed on such occaminds, and those of our fellow-worshippers, sions, may arise from mere human and the majesty of that Being we are worship- ungoverned passion.-P. But serious misping: but to pronounce the name of God takes, I apprehend, are committed relative in that bold and careless manner which to what are called sudden conversions. To some people are in the habit of doing, is me, it seems absurd to suppose, that a vile to offer him a real indignity. Finally, I sinner may experience, in a few minutes, a am always grieved to hear people pray in a change so marvellous as to entitle him to style that seems to be laboured and fine; the appellation of a saint of God. Such an for this would seem as if the worshipper idea of conversion, is not that which we was preposterously endeavouring to gratify obtain from the Bible, which continually the taste of his fellow worms, when he ought represents a man's whole life as a period to be presenting their sincere and ardent not more than sufficient for the great busidesires for mercy. But, after all, I have ness of preparing for eternity. The inspired

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400

SEVENTY-FOUR THOUSAND EIGHT HUN

writers compare the operation of divine

MORAL CONDITION OF LONDON, &c. grace in the soul, to the operation of leaven, and to the growth of corn, both of which

(From Appendix to Blackburn's Sermon.) are gradual. Reason also corroborates this “ There is great difficulty in obtaining representation. What is holiness ? Not the an accurate return of the various places of performance of so many single acts; but worship in this vast city, yet the following the possession and exemplification of holy statement will, I believe, approach very habits. Now habits of holiness, like habits near to the truth. of sin, and like all other habits, are never

Episcopal Churches and Chapels formed instantly, but by a persevering repe- ludependent Chapels tition of holy actions. The principle, I con

Wesleyan Methodist Do. fess, namely, the desire and the love of holi

Baptist Do.

Calvinistic Methodist Do. ness, as it is divine in its origin, may be Presbyterian (Scotch and Unitarian) Do. communicated instantly; but no one would Roman Catholic Do. call that man converted, on whom the first

Quakers' Meetings dawnings of divine grace have but just risen.

“ If we calculate that the average atC. You confound two things that are distinct; namely, the conversion of a sinner, which is certainly the greatest extent we

tendance at each place is 500 persons, and the progressive sanctification of a be

can allow, and add 250 more for the liever : the latter must be gradual ; but the

Auctuating hearers at the several services former may be instantaneous. Indeed you

of each Sabbath, it will give a 'result of grant this, when you admit that the divine influence may suddenly descend upon the

300,000 persons. Now, the population of soul of a sinner. For instance, under one

this wide-spread metropolis is estimated, sermon, or by a single sentence, a man may from which subtract the feeble minority

by the last census, at 1,274,800 souls; receive an awakening discovery of his guilt above, and we find nine HUNDRED AND and danger, when, groaning for redemption, he may in the same hour receive power to trust in the meritorious sacrifice of Calvary, ship of God ! And though considerable

DRED persons neglecting the public worand to believe with his heart unto justifica- deductions are to be made for young tion. Now, such a person is converted, and is a saint of God. It is true, he is not children, sick persons, and the aged and a mature Christian ; but though a babe, he infirin, yet, after all, the multitude without

even the forms of religion, around us, is exhibits the perfect image of a child of God; his heart has undergone a thorough change, will illustrate the occupations of the Sab

most appalling. The following statement he is a new creature ; old things are passed bath :-“It appears, that of the papers at away, and all things have become new. acknowledge, in these sudden transitions present published in London on the Sunfrom darkness to light, the agency of the day, there are circulated, on the lowest divine Spirit is so pre-eminently visible, estimate, 45,000 copies, and that

, upon that to an ignorant observer, the man might 2 and 300,000 readers of these papers are

the most moderate computation, between seem to be entirely passive; but though

to be found in the metropolis alone, while there is nothing of that gradual formation of habits, towards which our own unwearied

the great number of pressmen, distributors, efforts are indispensable, yet there is a

master-venders, hawkers, and subordinate concurrence with the Spirit's operation-a agents, of both sexes and of all ages, who yielding to conviction, and an obedient

are necessarily employed on the Sabbath, reliance on Christ. Habits are in general

all tend to the most flagrant breach of the formed gradually; but not always so. Im- day of rest.?

In such a state we cannot wonder at portant habits may be strongly formed in a very short time, when the mind is under the

the report of Mr. Wontner, the excellent influence of strong impression. This is

governor of Newgate, by which it appears, often verified in the conversion of sinners.

that during the year 1826 there were comWe have seen wicked persons suddenly

mitted to that gaol, converted, and from that time exhibiting Males under 21 years of age habits of virtue as uniform and inflexible as if they had been the product of an age. In this case, strength of impression, or rather the power of divine grace, effects what generally requires years to accom- Being an increase of 547 commitments in plish.

W.R. the past year!”

Females ditto ditto
Males above 21
Females ditto

1227

442 1092 166

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Solitary Hours : On the Evidences of Christianity.

610

Thy praises, with th' innumerable sound

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Milton's Par, Lost, Book III.

SOLITARY HOURS.

Under such circumstances, it is the No. XX. - On the Evidences of

indispensable duty of those who feel conChristianity.

Introductory Observa- cerned for the honour and standing of wtions. Necessity of a Divine Reve- Christianity, to render it. secure against "lation ; tind the" Probability that such the assaults of its enemies by erecting im" Revelation' would be vouchsafed to penetrable bulwarks around it; and the 'Mankind.

most efficient 'manner in which this may "O Father, gracious was that word which clos'a

be done, appears to be, by giving a due Thy Sovereign sentence, that man should find

grace; degree of prominency to the most forcible For which both heaven and earth shall high extol

arguments which can be adduced in its Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne defence. Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest.”

The writer is aware, that the most con

clusive evidences for the truth of the Chris. Among the many important circumstances tian dispensation, have already been triwhich are at present transpiring in the umphantly stated by Butler, Doddridge, world, the zeal with which the emissaries Paley, Watson, Chalmers, and others; of infidelity are endeavouring to increase and were it not that their treatises are too their numbers, is peculiarly deserving the abstruse and lengthened for some, and are attention of all who feel interested in inaccessible to others, they would almost the happiness of mankind. If the deluded supersede the necessity of further argumenvotaries of this wretched school, are not, tation on the subject. This, therefore, at the present day, possessed of the intel- under the impression that the following Ject which is displayed in the works of observations may meet the eye of some such men as Voltaire, D'Alembert, Volney, who have not sufficient time or opporHume, Gibbon, Paine, and other distin- tunity, for bestowing an attentive perusal guished champions of infidelity, who flou- on the works of the authors referred to, or rished in the course of the preceding cen- any others of a similar description,--that tury,--their deficiency of talent is perhaps they are submitted to the consideration of more than counterbalanced by the intense all unprejudiced inquirers after truth ; and, enthusiasm with which they propagate though he can scarcely presume to pertheir pernicious principles.

suade himself that they will be the means There is an opinion at present too of reclaiming the confirmed infidel, they mournfully prevalent among the genuine may,' under the i accompanying agency friends of Christianity,--that the character of the Divine Spirit, be rendered suband talents of those who are now so indus. servient to the establishment of some triously engaged in the circulation of infidel wavering Christian, or may serve as a tenets, are such as to render their sophistry preservative to some inexperienced mind, wholly undeserving of the slightest notice. against the plausible insinuations of moc None can form a lower estimate, than the dern deism. writer, of the character and talents of the Having made these preliminary obser. present avowed disciples of the infidel vations, the writer will now endeavour as school; but he is not certain whether there concisely as possible to demonstrate the be not, on this very account, more danger necessity of a divine revelation ; and the to be apprehended from their zealous strong probability that such a revelation exertions to propagate poisonous principles would be vouchsafed to mankind. : throughout the world. It is a fact incon- There are few probably of the inteltestably demonstrated by daily observation, lectual portion of the modern infidel that those men whose character and school, who affirm, as Tindal and others abilities are of this description, feel least have done, that the light of nature is of hesitation with regard to the honourable- itself amply sufficient to lead to happiness : ness of the means which they employ for the more enlightened deists of the present the accomplishment of their unhallowed day have abandoned this position, from a purposes ;-and making, as they do, a conviction of its utter untenability and fixed principle to come in contact with they feel themselves compelled to admit the thoughtless, and inexperienced in life, that some kind of supernatural revelation with the view of inculcating, as their own, or other, was absolutely necessary for the the second - hand arguments of the indi- world. And indeed this important fact viduals whose names have just þeen men- is undeniably evident from the well-autioned, together with their own disgusting thenticated records of profane, as well ribaldry ; their diabolical exertions, are, as from the testimony of sacred history.,.; it is to be feared, in too many instances To place this momentous part of the unhappily attended with success.

subject in a sufficiently clear and con103.-VOL. IX.

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clusive light, we have only to advert to 1 —which could bespeak its assimilation

I to the are at this moment situated, and to observe population of the nether regions ; -- and their conduct under those circumstances, which is calculated to render one lovely in order to form a correct estimation of part of heaven's creation, a representation, the condition of mankind, previously to to some extent, of the abodes of ceaseless their being favoured with a revelation despair,—was daily and hourly practised by from heaven. The world, at that period them. Robbery, adultery, polygamy, murof its existence, was enveloped in the der, deeds of revenge, and those other crimes densest moral darkness, and its inhabitants which constitute the deepest guilt in the were addicted to the most revolting prac black catalogue of human delinquencies, tices. Every trace of the image of the were the occurrences of every moment of Supreme Being, which had originally been their being. In a word, they were in that impressed on the mind of man, had been mournful state so forcibly depicted by the obliterated; and if some of them had any apostle Paul in the first chapter of his ideas of a future state, their knowledge on epistle to the Romans. the subject only amounted to something Now, we appeal to the common sense like dark intimations that such a future and common candour of mankind, whe: state might possibly exist ;-at all events, ther the world, under such circumstances, it had not attained such firm conviction did not stand in the greatest need of some in their minds as to have the slightest supernatural revelation, to exterminate beneficial influence on their conduct. from their minds such horrible opinions, The nations of antiquity, like the heathen and to lead them into the path of truth, nations of the present day, were addicted duty, and happiness? Or, to present the to idolatrous worship in its most debasing same question in another form, we ask, and revolting forms. The bare recital of whether the heathen nations of the present those sacrifices they offered, and the bow day, in whose minds there is not a vestige mage paid, to those portions of inanimate of the knowledge of the Supreme Being, matter which, in the climax of their or any idea of the legitimate rules of life, mournful infatuation, they invested with or any knowledge respecting a state of the attributes of deity, -is irresistibly cal- future rewards and punishments, even culated to inspire the human mind with according to the acknowledged sentiments emotions of the deepest horror. Nay, in of deists themselves on these subjects, proportion as they excelled each other in we ask, whether under such circumstances, the cruelty of the modes in which they they do not stand in need of some special worshipped their imaginary gods, they divine interposition in their behalf ?' The persuaded themselves would be the extent great majority of enlightened deists answer to which they would be propitiated. this important question in the affirmative, Hence, their imaginations were exerted although they reject the claims of Chriswith the utmost vigour in the invention of tianity to a divine origin. those forms of self-torture which blacken Admitting, then, that the state of the the annals of their history.

world was such as to stand in urgent need Nor did the votaries of ancient heathen of some dispensation superior to the mere idolatry confine their appalling mode of light of nature, the question fairly arises, worshipping their deities, to themselves : Is there any probability that such a superthey extended it to all of their fellow men natural revelation would be vouchsafed to over whom they exerted sufficient influ- mankind ? ence. The husband, with a kind of To this question it is replied, that there fiendish exultation, beheld in anticipation is abundant reason, both from the chathe partner of his life, extended on the racter of the Divine Being, and from the immolating pile, or crushed to pieces by relation in which the dictates of natural the wheels of some mighty car. And religion represent him as standing to his with emotions of the same description, rational creatures, to believe that he would, the mother has witnessed the child of her in this respect, make some special interwomb undergoing the same or a similarly position in their favour. excruciating death.

Purposely waving the consideration of In striking conformity with their horrific many of those attributes of the Supreme modes of invoking the favour of their Being, which constitute strong presumptive incensed deities, were the other parts of evidence in favour of the probability that their conduct in life. Every crime which he would condescend to reveal his will has a tendency to sink humanity still to his rational creatures, the evidence si sper in the mire of moral debasement, arising from the mere contemplation of 613 Solitary Hours : On the Evidences of Christianity. 614 his perfections of unbounded goodness, almighty power to confer a special revealmighty power, and infinite wisdom, - lation of his will on mankind. amounts to something like moral cer- Now, as he is unbounded in goodness tainty, that a supernatural revelation would and almighty in power, we may deduce be given them.

it as extremely probable, that a superThat Jehovah is a Being of unbounded natural revelation would be vouchsafed to goodness, is an admission which infidels meng-unless it can be shewn that he is themselves are among the foremost to deficient in wisdom. But his possession make. This attribute of the divine cha- of infinite wisdom is as clearly demonracter is so incontestably demonstrated strated from the works of creation and by the innumerable mercies which we providence, as any other attribute of his behold him conferring on the world, that character, and, therefore, we are fully we question if there be an individual in warranted in concluding, that as he is existence who feels the smallest scepticism possessed of unbounded goodness to on the subject. And is there not then, suggest, and infinite power and wisdom it may be asked, something inconceivably to carry into complete execution his gramonstrous in the supposition, that his cious purposes, --we have the highest progoodness should extend to every part of bable degree of evidence to believe that such our world, in infinitely diversified forms, a revelation would be given to mankind. and yet that he should withhold from his And we are still further warranted in accountable creatures such a revelation of regarding such a dispensation as extremely bis will and their duty, as was indispen- probable, from the relation in which Jeho sably necessary for their present happiness, yah stands to us. It is equally a dictate as well as for their future felicity? This of natural as well as revealed religion, would be nothing more or less than to that as the Supreme Being is our Creator, represent the Divine Being as conferring Preserver, and bountiful Benefactor, he is just so many of his blessings on his likewise our Governor; and that in return rational offspring, as would preserve their for all the blessings of his creation and existence, in order that they might par- providence, he should require of us the ticipate of the evils of the present life, and homage of our hearts, and obedience to be rendered amenable to the misery of a his laws,—especially as he has endowed future state of being.

us with faeulties of mind for the purpose. It will be readily admitted, indeed, that Now, we cannot conceive of the bare posJehovah is laid under no necessity to sibility of serving him acceptably without favour his creatures with a revelation of having previously a knowledge of his his will : by their culpability they have will; and as the history of the world does already forfeited all claims to his favour; not furnish us with a single individual's and he might, according to the principles having, by his own unassisted efforts, of the most rigid justice, have left them attained to the knowledge of the will of to reap the direful consequences of their the Supreme Being, even according to own guilt; and ere now have justly the deistical notions of it, it is surely most inflicted on them the deserved punishment; consonant to every principle of sound but if there be one attribute of the divine reasoning to expect, that he would have character, which shines forth with a greater vouchsafed such a revelation of his will to lustre than another, it is the attribute of his rational and responsible creatures. his merey or goodness; and the manifes. Agreeably to this supposition, we find tations which have already been made to that an opinion has been very prevalent us, of this attribute of divinity, lead us to among many nations of the world, that regard it as in the highest degree probable, some superior power would favour marthat it would be exercised in a subject of kind with a revelation of the path that infinite and eternal importance.

leads to virtue and happiness; and surely In order, bowever, to the communi- the Supreme Being could not have imcation of a special revelation from God, planted sueh a principle in the human it is necessary that he should also possess mind in vain. the attribute of sufficient power. Now, But it will, perhaps, be objected, that if that the Deity is invested with this per- it were so exceedingly probable that Jefection, infidels are as ready to admit, as hovah should vouchsafe to favour his rathey are to allow the preceding position. tional creatures with a supernatural revelaThe mere eircumstance of his having tion of his sovereign pleasure, and if the created innumerable worlds, gives evi- Christian dispensation constitutes that redenee of bis omnipotence, and furnishes velation, wherefore is it that it was not an unanswerable demonstration of his communicated at once, and conferred on all

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