Imatges de pàgina

mediately subsequent to the conversion of the three thousand, there was little true religion in them. Peter told them, after they were pricked in the heart," to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and then they should have the gift of the holy spirit '—then they would become spiritually-minded.

There is certainly nothing more desirable than attention to the subject of religion, nothing more deplorable than a cold indifference. Yet attention is not religion itself, though it may result in it. The means of exciting attention to it are various; as are the means of exciting attention to any other important subject. When these means are deliberately concerted, when plans are carefully and judiciously arranged, and the effect ensues, it seems to us somewhat presumptuous to attribute it to a particular divine interposition.

There is no object for which we would labor and pray more earnestly than for a revival of pure religion. Nothing would contribute more to our joy than the belief that the holy spirit animated the hearts of this whole community. But we are free to confess, we should prefer the still small voice, to the earthquake, or the whirlwind. We would rather behold a peaceful and silent work, than those tremendous bursts which sometimes agitate and convulse the church. We are satisfied if the spirit of God is here, if it is operating in our souls, even though we may not be able to say, when, or how, or whence it came,'

In conclusion, we adjure all to give good heed to the declaration, 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' Let us now make the resolve, which no temptation can overcome, that from this time we will serve the Lord ; that we will follow Christ so as to be made happy by him. Let us examine our hearts, and ascertain their maladies, and hasten to apply the remedy. There is balm in the Gospel for us all. Here is hope which reaches heay

Here are promises as sure as the throne of God. Here are rules as clear and as salutary as the light of heaven. Let us embrace them cordially, and follow them promptly, if we would experience the joys of the Christian in this life, and in that which is to come.

T. N.





The general state of religious opinion with the more liberal clergy, about the time of the commencement of the Revolutionary war, may be gathered from the acceptableness of Dr Doddridge's Family Expositor, and his other works. The strict Calvinists appeared to look upon the writings of Doddridge with suspicion and disapprobation. But they did not think it prudent, as it seemed, to speak loudly against works so serious and popular. A number of clergymen were more liberal than Doddridge, and preferred such authors as Clarke, Lardner, Tillotson, &c.

At that period, infidelity made an alarming progress. Voltaire, Hume, and similar authors, were eagerly sought and read; and the minds of more than a few were unsettled and corrupted. The infection found its way into Colleges, into Harvard University. I knew a number of young men who then professed to be deists. But good evidence afterwards appeared that only one of them continued and died in that state of infidelity. After the revolution, they became believers in Christianity, and were distinguished among our first civil and political characters. Soon after the revolution, infidelity met a very serious and powerful check, especially at Cambridge, by the dying testimony of Dr Winthrop. In his last hours, he said to Professor Sewall, “The wise men of ancient times used their knowledge and learning to show the need of divine revelation ; but some of the wise men of modern times have used their knowledge and learning to show that mankind do not need a revelation. I have examined the evidence in favor of Christianity, and, in my mind, it amounts to demonstration. And I am convinced that the gospel hope alone can support a man in a dying hour. This declaration of so great a man and philosopher, so learned and revered a Professor, had great and happy effect. Infidelity, however, continued in our country during the revolutionary war. Very little time was devoted to reading on religious subjects. More than a sew, elated with the idea of liberty and independence, immediately hurried on to the extremes of licentiousness and immorality. Some popular publications and emigrant infidels from Europe contributed to unsettle the minds and corrupt the morals of a considerable number, as did the war itself.

But this state of things did not long continue. The great body of the people remained firm in faith and virtuous in practice. And soon after the war, attention to religious subjects was revived, the evidences for the truth of Christianity were circulated, examined, and found to be full and satisfactory. The effect was, infidelity declined, and the belief and practice of Christianity increased. Evils, however, of a moral nature, still attended the revolution. But in the midst of them, one great advantage was gained, viz. the growth of a spirit of free and impartial inquiry. The minds of the people became more inquisitive, more unsettered, and they felt that they could think and act for themselves, as they had not before done. It is true, excess, in many instances followed. But when peace was established, the public mind calm and settled, and the blessings of “liberty with order' actually enjoyed, the truth of revealed religion was almost universally acknowledged, and its good influence extensively and deeply felt. Men of learning and distinguished rank gave their attention to religious subjects, and publicly avowed their attachment to the bible and the christian religion. The influence which Christianity then exerted has continued to the present time; and religious persons are encouraged in their holy cause by seeing a large propor

tion of our learned, honorable, and professional men, and a larger number of our best informed women, among the professed disciples of Jesus Christ.

I am aware that infidelity is again showing itself in our happy country. But it is believed, that the same arguments, which heretofore put down infidelity in Europe and America, will again prevail. All considerate persons, observing the wretched consequences of infidelity, even in this life, will rationally conclude, that the principles advocated by infidels never could have proceeded from God, and never can lead to Him.

Previous to the revolution there was comparatively but a few religious sects in New England. Congregationalists, Baptists, and Episcopalians were the most conspicuous and numerous. The Baptists have divided; a part have continued in the creed of Calvin, and a part have adopted that of Arminius. These latter are called Free-will Baptists. Some of both sects, it is believed, have renounced close communion. The Calvinistic Exclusionists of the present day, and the close communion Baptists, act in concert against other sects, and appear to have imbibed nearly the same spirit of uncharitableness.

About the year 1760, the celebrated Whitefield made his last visit to this country. He established a sect of Calvinistic Methodists, which has been superseded by the Wesleyan Methodists, who are Arminians. This sect is very numerous; but it is rare to find a Calvinistic Methodist society.

In the year 1771, or near that time, the famous Murray collected a Universalist society, at Gloucester, Cape Ann. He preached in Boston, and in some other cit

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