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dice and enmity, be the occasion of a vast deal more evil than good."-Dr. Hawes.
"The distinguishing doctrines, and the ecclesiastical order of our church, have, at such periods, always suffered. The doctrines of God's sovereignty, original sin, the entire dependence of the sinner on the special influence of the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration and conversion, and justification solely by the righte ousness of Christ imputed to the believing penitent, and received by faith alone, have almost invariably been either denied, or perverted and misrepresented, in a manner that was equivalent to a denial. The order of our church has been disregarded."
"It has even happened that a minister who has led others into extravagance, has at length found himself left behind them, and been considered and treated as a mere formalist, for whose conversion prayer needed to be made, and has been made accordingly, in the social meetings of his former disciples.”—Dr. Green. "If you ask me, what means and measures have been most eminently blessed, in the revivals which have fallen under my own personal observation, in college and elsewhere, I answer,substantially the same as were " mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds" in the Apostolic age--the same as were employed by Edwards, and Bellamy, and Brainard, almost a century ago the same that have been so remarkably owned of God, under the labours of our beloved brother,* now in a foreign land.”— Dr. Humphrey.
"We have known here nothing, except by report, of the 'new measures,' for building up the kingdom of Christ. We have no machinery for making converts; and we could allow none to be introduced. We should be afraid to make, or suffer an impression upon the young men under our care, many of whom will be ministers of Jesus Christ, that the Gospel can be helped, or the work of the Holy Ghost facilitated by human devices. And I think we shall hold, on this subject, to our general principles, too long settled by the experience of ages, and confirmed by the blessing of God attending the application of them, to be now thrown away in the ardour of questionable excitements, or for the love of innovation, or even to escape the imputation of being the enemies of revivals. I cannot tell you how much I sometimes fear, when I look abroad upon our country, that Christianity will degenerate in our keeping. Yet let us hold to the old foundations."-Dr. Lord.
"The use of anxious seats, and putting the people to the test of a public vote, under the influence of strong feeling."
"Public confession of sins, in the face of promiscuous assemblies."
*The Rev. Mr. Nettleton.
Calling upon zealous but unauthorized persons to perform the appropriate duties of ordained ministers."
Hasty admission to the communion, of very young persons, or of those who have given but little proof of their knowledge of the Gospel, or of their having experienced a gracious change of heart."
"A neglect of the ministers of the Gospel, who are not considered thorough-going revival men."-Dr. Neill.
"Reliance on means, instead of reliance upon the spirit of God."
"A tendency to exaggeration is specially to be avoided."
"A tendency to spiritual pride needs frequently to be corrected." -Dr. Wayland.
"The agency of the Holy Spirit, as the beginning and ending, has been almost or entirely set aside. A revival has been represented and sought for as an article of manufacture for which you have only to set the machinery and raise the steam of excitement, caring little with what fuel, and converts will be made to hand. Artifices to catch attention; devices to entrap the careless; representations to create impression; an exaggerated style of preaching to produce alarm, have in some cases been put in requisition, over which truth, and reverence, and humility, and faith must weep, and which have done more to injure revivals in certain places, than all the direct opposition of coldness and unbelief." -Rev. C. P. M'Ilvaine.
"From these two excesses two special evils are sure to follow; one among the ignorant, the other among the learned and refined. That among the ignorant is gross, palpable disorder. The other evil referred to is, that these excesses, (I speak not of the disorders,) prejudice men of learning and taste against revivals, and arm the influence of society against them. And thus, while they throw discredit on the most precious of God's works and obscure his glory where it was chiefly to be shown, they lay stumbling blocks before the blind, over which millions will fall into hell."-Dr. Griffin.
From the above extracts it must be apparent that dissatisfaction at the measures referred to, does not result from sectarian feelings, for here are the representatives of six different denominations: nor from party-spirit, for here are venerable, and learned, and pious men of all the schools, we were going to say, except that which has adopted these excesses, making one great common party, in defence of a great common cause: nor from inexperience in revivals, or secret opposition to them, for here are men who have been for a series of years, and still are, the accredited friends and successful promoters, under God, of revivals of religion.
It is proper to say before closing this article, that we, by no means, intend to charge these abuses indiscriminately upon all who, in part, approve, or use what are called the new measures. Some of our best and most beloved brethren, who live far away from the seat of these evils, and have not yet seen the issue from the beginning, filled with a praiseworthy desire to realise the blessings of a revival of religion, have, we fear, without due reflection, introduced some of them into their congregations. It is, however, a grave question, "What shall be the end thereof?" They ought well to weigh the whole matter, at a crisis such as this, and to enquire whether the transition, which they and their people need, be not rather to a new spirit, than to new measures.
In regard also to protracted meetings we say, that unless, in connection with abuses, they are not to be numbered among new measures. They are as old as the Kirk of Scotland, yea, as the Church of Christ; and are virtually recommended in our directory for worship. Nor is a measure evil because it is new, any more than because it is old. Protracted meetings, when properly conducted, (a people being properly prepared for them) are often highly useful. They combine the labours and prayers, of many ministers, and of a whole church at once; they protract and deepen the impression of the truth upon the principle and after the manner of the Sabbath; they arrest attention, throw off for a time, the weight of the world's cares, and callings, and especially amidst the intensity and pressure of a city life, give time for the mind to think, and the heart to feel. It must be admitted, however, that they have been greatly abused; and afford peculiar inducements to substitute excitement, for divine impression, and concentrated means, for continued devotion.
We only add, that there are those to be found in the church, who oppose revivals of religion, if we may speak so, on principle, and who do well nigh as much harm as all our errorists and innovators. They give an ill savour to orthodoxy, by identifying it with inactivity, and utter deadness of spirit. Their opposition favours, as their life aids, in producing the opposite extreme, in the Church of God. To them belongs no small part of the evils of which we speak; and we should esteem it a real calamity to be called to choose between these evils. It were like selecting between stupor and intoxication; between madness and death.
In fine, from the signs of the times, our hope is high, that
good and wise men (especially among ourselves, where it is so much needed) are about to unite to save the Church of God, in this eventful day of its history, by rebuking the extremes to which we are exposed, and recalling the spirit with the success of the apostles.
There is one aspect of the general subject which we regard with peculiar hope, and which we cannot close this article without noticing. It is, that the friends of order and truth in New England, and in the Presbyterian Church, are beginning to understand each other better, and to act more in concert. Such men have too long been strangers to each other, and fostered mutual and ill-founded prejudices. The best men of the Congregational Churches of New England, and of the Presbyterian Church, think and feel very much alike on most subjects, and entirely alike on fundamental ones. It is time, that burying jealousies, without the surrender of principle, they should unite their labours, influence, and prayers, to arrest the progress of those errors in doctrine, and excesses in measures, which are now rampant in their respective denominations; and which, by abuses of revivals, by corrupting the fountains of religious knowledge, and turning to their account the power of the periodical press, threaten to overrun the land. We conclude with the memorable words of Robert Hall, in reference to another subject: "A growing unanimity has begun to prevail among the good in different parties, who, finding a centre of union in the great truths of revelation, and in a solicitude for their interests, are willing to merge their smaller differences in a common cause. The number of the sincerely pious, is, we trust, increasing among us, whose zeal, far from suffering abatement from the confidence of (those opposed to them) has begun to glow with a purer and more steady flame than ever. These are pleasing indications that the presence of the Holy One of Israel is still in the midst of us.'
A FRIEND TO REVIVALS.
Philadelphia, Oct. 3d, 1832.
Note. The Preliminary Essay is worthy, in all respects, of its distinguished author; and the letters, to which little or no reference is made, are also truly excellent. But it so happened that the train of thought which the writer pursued led him to select topics, which called more specially for the extracts which have been introduced.
VOL. IV. No. VI.-3 Q
ART. II.-AN ADDRESS
Delivered at Princeton, by the appointment of the Board of Directors of the Theological Seminary, at the close of the annual examination of the Students, in May, 1832. By Rev. Gardiner Spring, D.D.
I HAVE never appreciated the embarrassment of addressing you, my young friends, until I am now, in the providence of God, called to this service. I shall not probably suggest a thought that has not frequently been suggested by those who have been called to this service before me. But if I shall be so happy as to present a few topics before your minds in such a light as shall have the least tendency to increase and extend your usefulness as men, as the ministers of Christ, I shall be abundantly gratified in the few moments I am allowed to enjoy with you. The tendencies of piety are to produce good. "A good tree bringeth forth good fruit." The high aim of the true Christian is to be useful. This is the tendency of his spirit, his affections, his desires, his hopes, his efforts, his whole renewed character. It is not that he may be a splendid man, but a useful man.
A minister of the Gospel presses after a prize of very questionable lawfulness, when he aims at being a splendid minister; but he has no misgivings of conscience when he honestly aims at being a useful minister. He will be very apt to be disappointed if he aims at being a great and splendid minister; but he will rarely, if ever miss his mark, if he aims at being a useful minister.
You have a thousand times been told, that to meet the high claims of the work for which you are preparing, you must possess ardent and uniform piety. Your usefulness will, in a great measure, depend upon the power which the religion of the Gospel exerts upon your own soul. To this, more than any other cause, may be traced the secret power of such men as Baxter, Edwards, Brainerd, and Payson. One reason why so many ministers live to so little purpose is, that while they may perhaps be good men, they are obviously deficient in that personal piety which has a transforming effect upon the heart and deportment. God and heaven are not the point of attraction toward which their minds and efforts are