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Christ may give you light. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.--Psal. ii. 12. They shall not be ashamed nor confounded, world without end.
QUESTIONS ON THIS ESSAY.
What is the subject of it? What are the texts ? What is the mistaken sentiment of the poet ? What is the error of others who entertain opinions more correct ? What more than the head is concerned in faith? What must sinners first experience in order to the exercise of justifying faith? What did Scottish writers call it ? What is the object of faith? What offices of Christ as a Redeemer does faith regard ? What did Paul preach? What is often substituted for Christ ? What is considered thirdly? Where is faith called coming to Christ? Where is it called receiving him ? What is it called by John the Baptist and Paul ?
What one word is expressive of it ? What is it called in the Catechism? What is the first great blessing enjoyed by faith? What does justification imply? What are the consolations that flow from faith? What is the power with which it is attended ? What does it work by? What will believers be careful to maintain ? Who are unbelievers ? Why should they kiss the Son ?
A PRAYER ADAPTED TO THIS ESSAY.
Great God, pity and enlighten those who are still in unbelief. Let them no longer trust to their own righte. ousness which cannot justify, nor to mere opinions which have never affected their hearts. Show them, O Gods that ihy wrath abideth on them. Awaken them to a con viction of their sin and misery ; let them feel their need of a Saviour, and earnestly inquire what they must do to be saved ?
And, O thou God of salvation ! direct them to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Lord, help their unbelief, and give them power now to believe with the heart unto righteousness. They come weary, O give them rest. They have nothing to pay, Father, for. give them. They are in trouble, O speak peace to their soul. Give them power to love thee, and enable them by grace to serve thee with perfect hearts and willing minds.
Increase, O Lord! the faith of thy children. Let their consolation abound more and more; and may they show forth thy praise in all holiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. And to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be glory for ever.
RELIGIOUS REVIVALS IN CONGREGATIONS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN, SIR,
The majestic river, which diffuses wealib as it flows and opens a course for the commerce of nations, is itself indebted to the humblest rill which bears to it its tributary waters: and “the advancement of society in knowledge and religion," is under equal obligations to the cheapest periodical which brings to the distant cottages and hamlets of the land its weekly or its monthly portion of intelligence. In this class is your Magazine, which, I rejoice to find, has commenced its second year. It has already done good, and I am convinced that its usefulness will increase with the experience which a little time has taught to its Editor. The publication of such a work being a novel undertaking, it was hardly to be expected that perfection should be attained at the outset.
There is one subject, however, which has been hitherto overlooked, and which deserves a place in your pages, viz. the several plans which have been successfully tried for reviving religion in congregations where it had gone to decay. By making The Orthodox Presbyterian a channel for communicating information on this subject, you will confer no small benefit upon the Church in this province. Pious laymen would hail the discovery of new plans of usefulness, ' by which they may be able to assist in promoting the Lord's cause in their respective neighbourhoods, without the danger, on the one hand, of appearing visionaries by attempting what could not succeed, or, on the other, of being accounted forward or self-sufficient in recommending schemes of tbeir own devising.
Let the plans proposed be only such us have been tried and found efficient; and young Ministers will also find that kind of information in your pages, which many of them have sought in vain in larger and more expensive publications. Often
has the young man, —just called to the sacred office of the ministry, with glowing zeal, and but limited experience, read in books more than in men, accustomed to contem. plate the church as she appears, in unsullied loveliness, in the description of the sacred word, or as she stood be. fore the eye of his imagination, in the ardent musings of his youthful devotion, all purity, and love, and peace, been but little prepared to find her, spotted in her vesture, and despoiled of these her ornaments, as she is too often exhibited in our land. When discipline is long departed, and knowledge and piety are hastily following; wben the "thrones of judgment are removed from Zion, and the people, as of old, when no one ruled in Israel, do "each as he listeth;" when to exclude from the ordi. nances of the Lord's house, even the most careless professor, is counted an incroachment on the religious liberty of individuals; when catechising, the most powersul agency for rousing attention and communicating knowledge, has been long discontinued, and a generation have grown up, who will not meet him for that purpose, partly because they know not its importance, and partly, perhaps, from the secret consciousness that they are unprepared to answer the questions he may propoce; when candidates for admission to the communion of the church are met once or twice, on the sacramental week, and then are all received without farther examination; while, from bashfulness, and the awkwardness of appearing to answer the questions of their Minister, for the first time, in the presence of other young people, to whom they are strangers, they are unable generally to express what they do know, or to remember the advice or instruction that is given to them; when the Elders seem not to believe that the Holy Ghost has made them “overseers of the flock," and the member once received into it is never again to appear before them, be his conduct what it may; when tokens are distributed to all who desire them, without discrimination, and thus are become like the keys of a city whose walls are broken down, and which therefore prevents no one from entering; when the Elders, who should strengthen his hands and confirm his resolutions, are quite reconciled to matters as they are, perhaps a little jealous of innovations, and, though not openly opposing him, are yet offering the most effectual opposition, that of total inertness; and when the house of worship, a meet emblem of the church within, is totiering to its fall; often with a desponding heart does he lift up his eyes to the
perpetual desolations,” and often does he feel at a loss where to begin to build up the breaches, to prop what is declining, or to strengthen the things that remain.
The pulpit may raise its voice, from Sabbath to Sabbath, and many a solemn'warning, many an affectionate expostulation, and many an earnest appeal may it send forth to the ears and the hearts of an assembled au. ditory; yet it too often loses half its power, from the imperfect previous instruction of the people who hear. With this he is familiar. For in this sphere of his la. bours, the Minister of each particular congregation has nearly the same forms and successions of duty; but be. yond this much must be done, and when we come to the additional means of instruction which individuals may have adopted, in different situations, we have a most important subject for inquiry, and one on which it is most desirable to have information more widely circulated. For whatever system each has struck out for himself, has, generally, been the fruit of his own experience, improved by many a failure, and bought by the loss, too frequently, of a portion of the usefulness of a few of the most health. ful and active years of his ministry. And yet, however excellent they may be, his plans are seldom known be yond the limits of his own immediate charge, or at most of the neighbourhood in which it is situated ; leaving his younger brother, only a few miles distant, to go the same round of trials and failures, to experience the same disappointments, and to lose the same precious time of use. fulness, which he himself had lost. Whereas, could all the plans pursued by different individuals be brought thus into a common repository, it would form a kind of spiritual armoury, from which each might select the weapons best suited to his strength, from the complete harness of Saul to the stone and the sling of the shepherd boy.
This subject might open a way for many a communi. cation by which the interests of truth would be advanced, while charity would never have cause to grieve.
And while error is most effectually suppressed, not hy direct attacks made against it, but by the simple and the diligent teaching of the truth ; as Almighty God, on the morning of creation, banished the darkness, not by bringing an accusation against it, but by calling light into being ; 80 whoever assists in promoting scriptural knowledge, assists, at the same time, to overturn every doctrine opposed to the Word of God. In directing our thoughts to such subjects, the mind is soothed and quieted; while in theo. logical discussions, and in directly assailing error, it is too often ruffled and inflamed. In the unobtrusive path of Christian exertion, the heart is made better, while entering the stormy region of modern polemics, we have reason to adopt the prayer of a Christian now no more, (Leigh Richmond.) “Preserve me, O my God! in the wiles of controversy, from the neglect of practical reli. gion.” There might be an accession of strength to a work not so much a vehicle for controvertect questions, as for useful religious instruction. And as the sage of old understood not to play on any instrument of music, and yet knew how to make a small city become a large one; so there are not a few who understand but little of con. troversial theology, who are yet wise to win souls to Christ. And while we might be instructed by the com. munication of their experience, we would be encouraged by their co-operation. As when, in the time of Nehe. miah, (chap. iii.) the walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilded, each patriotic citizen, while urging on the work, in the part assigned to him, could see the efforts of his brethren, to rear their portion of the fences of the city, and thus felt the glad assurance that his labours would not stand alone, and therefore be comparatively useless; but that the joint exertions of a united people would at last render the holy city secure from the assaults of their enemies ; so those who are engaged in the sacred office of raising an enclosure round the church of God, against the inroads of ignorance or infidelity, would feel their hearts cheered and confirmed by seeing the same work progressing on every hand.
Having called your attention to this subject, I may perhaps prepare a few articles upon such parts of it as are most familiar to myself. And I shall rejoice to find that. I have provoked any other to enter upon those parts of church reformation with which I am less acquainted. Convinced that there are many of my brethren who have more experience, more habitude of writing, and who may have less frequent calls of ministerial duty to attend to.