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subject of Revivals. By Rt. Rev. William White, D. D. Bishop of the Diocese. pp. 60 and 21. Philadelphia.
Sacred Lyrics, or Select Hymns, particularly adapted to Revivals of Religion. Intended as a supplement to Watts. By Nathan S. S. Beman.
The Pious Minstrel. A collection of Sacred Poetry. From the London edition. Boston.
Way-Marks, or Directions to persons commencing a religious life. Selected and arranged by G. T. Bedell, D. D. Philadelphia.
A selection of Hymns for the use of social religious meetings and for private devotion. By J. P. K. Henshaw, D. D. Fifth edit. containing nearly 200 addi. tional Hymns. pp. 320. Baltimore.
A Tribute of Sympathy, addressed to Mourners. By W. Newnham, Esq. Ist American, from the 6th London edition. pp. 234. New York.
The Youth's Book of Natural Theology, illustrated in familiar dialogues; with numerous engravings. By Rev. T. H. Gallaudet.
The Daily Commentary ; being a selection from the exposition of Matthew Henry. Compiled and arranged by Rev. Joseph Wilson. pp. 451. N. York.
Contemplations of the Saviour. A series of extracts from the Gospel Histo ry, with Reflections, and original selected Hymns. By S. Greenleaf Bulfinch. pp. 155. Boston. [The design expressed in this title is an excellent one for an orthodox volume, and we should rejoice to see some evangelical author take the suggestion.)
Historical and Philosophical Considerations on Religion. Addressed to James Madison, Esq. late President of the United States. By the late Rev. Dr. Rice, of Prince Edward, Virginia. Richmond. pp. 120. (The contents of this little volume were published anonymously in a series of numbers in the Southern Religious Telegraph, in the year 1830.)
Correspondence between the First Church and the Tabernacle Church in Sa. lem, (Mass.) in which the duties of Churches are discussed, and the rights of conscience vindicated.
Sermons and Sacramental Meditations. By the late Andrew Thomson, D. D. Minister of St. George's Church, Edinburgh. pp. 447. Boston.
Sermons to Christian Families on the most important relative duties. By the late Dr. Payson of Portland.
The Telescope, or sacred views of things past, present, and to come. By Samuel Nott, jr. Boston.
The Messiah. A Poem in six books. By Robert Montgomery. London.
The Mythology of the Hindus, with notices of various tribes in the two peninsulas of India, &c. By Charles Coleman. London.
Lectures on Ultra-Universalism. By A. Wilson McClure. 8vo. pp. 59. Boston.
The Refuge; containing the Righteous Man's Habitation, in the time of Pestilence, being a brief exposition of the 91st Psalm, by William Bridge. Also, an exposition of the 91st Psalm, by Bishop George Horne, with an ertract from an account of the great Plague in the fourteenth cenutry. New York.
ART. 1.-SPRAGUE ON REVIVALS.
Lectures on Revivals of Religion, by Wm. B. Sprague,
D.D., Pastor of the 2d Presbyterian Church, Albany : with an Introductory Essay by Leonard Woods, D.D., also an Appendix, consisting of Letters from the Rev. Drs. Alexander, Wayland, Dana, Miller, Hyde, Hawes, M Dowell, Porter, Payson, Proudfit, Neill, Middledollar, Davis, Lord, Humphrey, Day, Green, Waddell, Griffin, and the Rev. C. P. M Īvaine.-Webster & Skinner, Albany, 1832.
“Draw not nigh hither,-put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground,” is the warning which this momentous subject speaks to all who would approach it! The posture which befits us, is that of Elijah on Horeb, with our faces wrapped in our mantles! Indeed, it would seem as if the Eternal Spirit himself were needed still, as in the “ Acts of the Apostles,” to inspire the historians of his divine operations, in order to shun the stain of human hands, and the fatal consequences of human error, at the seat of life.
It is, no doubt, an impression of holy awe and conscious unfitness for the important work, that has deprived the world of a connected history of Revivals of Religion, in our age,
VOL. IV. No. IV.-3 M
and especially in our own country. This is deeply to be regretted, especially in reference to the American churches, which it has pleased God, in successive periods, for more than a century, to make the theatre of the most extended and glorious revivals that the world has ever witnessed. Such a history, at all times important, has become peculiarly proper, and is even most urgently demanded at the present crisis. Whether we consider the greatness of the work of the Spirit in our own land, or the peculiar and perilous abuses which have in latter years attended that work, silence on these topics has ceased to be a virtue. We hail, therefore, the appearance of Dr. Sprague's Lectures on Revivals of Religion, &c. &c., as most timely and auspicious. Nothing could have been more seasonable; and, in view of the difficulty and greatness of the subject, it is as excellent as it is seasonable. If, as has been intimated, the worthy author has published too much for so young a man, yet taking into the account the plan and execution of the entire work, he w Jd have written too little for the Church, for the world, for posterity, and for his injured Lord, if he had withheld this book from the public. We esteem it one of the most important and useful productions of the American press for the present century.
There is a moral beauty and “meekness of wisdom” in the spirit and manner in which this book is gotten up. The enlightened author, feeling the solemnity of the themes he is discussing, and the weighty responsibility of his work, modestly calls in the superior experience and concurrent testimony of his fathers and brethren around him. A series of letters, written at his request, and in reply to his inquiries, is subjoined to the volume in the form of an Appendix. He thus speaks of them in the preface:
“ In the appendix the reader will find a series of letters on the same subject, from a number of the most distinguished clergymen of our country, and from six different religious denominations. The object in requesting these Letters has been twofold. First, to obtain authentic history of our revivals, in which unhappily we have hitherto been greatly deficient; and, second, to ascertain the manner in which revivals have been conducted by men whose wis. dom, experience, and standing in the Church must at least entitle their opinion to great consideration." “ He allows himself to hope that whatever the decision of the public may be in respect to the Lectures, they will find in the Letters which follow, much authen.
tiç and important information ; and he doubts not that the testimony on this momentous subject of such a representation from our American Church, will not only be gratefully received, but considerately and earnestly pondered.”—p. 6.
For force of truth, fearlessly, yet wisely expressed,- for uniformity of opinion, amidst variety of experience and of circumstances,-for concurrence, without collusion, on the part of a great number (20) of distinguished gentlemen, belonging to six different denominations, and from nearly every state of the original American Union, on the most difficult and important of all subjects—this series of Letters is almost without a parallel. We have read them with unmingled satisfaction. They illustrate with peculiar beauty the essential unity of the Christian church. They constitute a galaxy of truth on the 6 ministration of the Spirit.” They show that there is recovering power, and even healthful life in the midst of 's, notwithstanding all the false doctrines and dangerous iwwovations of the present critical conjuncture. They give augmented hopes of the purity, the combined action, the enlarged influence, and continual Revival of the American Church.
In the following extracts we have an extended definition by the author, of a “Revival of Religion.”
“I proceed to the main design of the discourse, which is to exhibit the nature of a revival of religion. Religion consists in a conformity of heart and life to the will of God. It consists in a principle of obedience implanted in the soul, and in the operation of that principle in the conduct. Religion is substantially the same in all worlds; though the religion of a sinner is modi. fied, in some respects, by his peculiar character and condition. In common with the religion of the angels, it consists in love to God—to his law, to his government, to his service; but in distinction from that, it consists in repentance of sin; faith in the merits of a crucified Saviour; resignation under trials ; opposition to spiritual enemies. Moreover, religion in the angels is an inherent principle ; it begins with their existence; but in the hu. man heart it is something superinduced by the operation of the spirit of God.”
“Now, if such be the nature of religion, you will readily perceive in what consists a revival of religion. It is a revival of scriptural knowledge; of vital piety; of practical obedience. The term revival of religion has sometimes been objected to, on the ground that the revival of any thing supposes its previous existence ; whereas in the renovation of sinners, there is principle implanted which is entirely new. But though the fact implied in this objection is admitted, the objection itself has no force; because the term is intended to be applied in a general sense, to denote the improved religious state of a congregation, or of some other community; and it is moreover applicable in a strict sense, to the condi. tion of Christians, who, at such a season, are in a greater or, less degree revived; and whose increased zeal is usually rendered in. strumental of the conversion of sinners. Wherever, then, you see religion rising up from a state of comparative depression to a tone of increased vigour and strength; wherever you see profess. ing Christians becoming more faithful to their obligations, and behold the strength of the Church increased by fresh accessions of piety (piety ? numbers,) from the world ; there is a state of things which you need not hesitate to denominate a revival of religion.”—Pp. 6, 7, 8.
The Christian religion (which is the only religion of a sinner) depends for its existence and extension in the world on the continued interposition of God.
Nec Deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus,
Inciderit, was a canon-law of the ancient tragic Muse who used “The Gods” to grace the stage and to develop the plot of the drama. But the religion, like the being of a creature is constantly dependent upon God, not only for its origin, but for its continued existence in the soul, at every step. And surely nothing is more supremely worthy of the interposition of a God, than the renovation and eternal redemption of a ruined world! In the economy of redemption the Spirit of God is the great official Agent in carrying forward the religion of Christ in the world. The work of the Spirit is no less necessary than the death of Christ. Indeed it is only the continued divine application of the merits of that death. The gift of the spirit is the comprehensive blessing of Christianity; and in the word of God, it is a term convertible with “all good things.”*
“In the esteem of our Lord, it was more than a compensation to his disciples for the loss of his bodily presence; so much superior to it, that he tells them, it was expedient he should leave them, in order to make way for it: •If I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send him unto you. I have many
* Compare Matthew vii. 11, with Luke xi. 13.