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that will have it so. It is carried by the vote of the majority, and that vote, prompted by the passions and appetites, carrying the day over the reason and responsibility of man. When, therefore, a stand is made for the truth on principles of truth, alarm is spread amongst these secure ones. Even one holy person, evidently worshipping God in spirit and in truth, will send a conviction of the reality of these things over many a careless one, who yet anew hides his concern, or forgets it amongst the multitudes. But let another and another be added to this number of witnesses for God-let these things grow apace till a time of revival appears-let a general and growing concern pervade a once careless congregation, and the whole ground of the careless man's confidence is removed; every new convert is a new alarm to him; neutrality becomes impossible, and he must either harden himself more and more, or be found amongst those who seek the Lord while yet he may be found. The very atmosphere of such a place breathes a new life; the very prayers, the very praises, the very sighs and tears of such a people, all speak of the world men are neglecting-of the souls men are ruining-of the Saviour men are forgetting. A word will evoke from some dark heart the concealed and forgotten sins of bygone years. The swell of a note of praise will break a rocky heart into tears of penitence and prayer; and again, calm the heaving waves of an agitated people as by the breath of God's Spirit: the very aspect of the people hearing as for eternity will arrest and solemnize. The simplest statement of the truth will fall with the power of God upon the soul; and he is indeed a very hardened sinner, he may well tremble for himself, who can pass through this sea with God's host, and not be sprinkled with its baptizing waters—who can come out of such a meeting of his fellow-creatures and fellow-sinners, and not be led to say, Tell me, tell me also, what must I do to be saved?
And now, brethren, we must close. If conversion is necessary, if regeneration is necessary, if salvation is necessary, then is a revival necessary. Ah! my friends, we have not understood what it is for souls to perish: we have not understood what is the meaning of the souls of our children perishing— of the souls of our neighbours perishing-of unconverted men and women and children dying in their sins; else we could not cease to pray and to labour till the windows of heaven were opened, and the Lord "rained righteousness on the people, and saving health on all our families."
INFLUENCE OF THE CROSS ON CONVERSION.
THE effects of the cross are not fully enumerated when we consider only those produced upon the individual Christian; we must travel the circumference of its widely extended influence, and look upon it as exerting itself upon the whole world, and continuing to be felt until the strongholds of error, superstition, and delusion shall be levelled to the dust, and the day dawn, and the day-star arise in every heart. This world that lieth in wickedness, is yet to awake from its moral death. The dark atmosphere of condemnation, in which it is enshrouded, must vanish away; all crime and error will be stayed; all iniquity, as ashamed, shall hide its head, and a light shall spring up to those who sit in darkness and in the region of
the shadow of death. The stone cut out of the mountain without hands, shall roll onward, crushing every impediment, and enlarging itself till it shall fill the whole earth. A temple shall be reared, as ample as space, whose basis shall be the earth, and whose spire shall tower to heaven, and men of every nation, kindred, people, and tongue, shall be seen gathering into its wide embrace. The noise of blasphemy shall be hushed, every thing that exalteth itself shall be brought low, and the clash of furious passions shall no more be heard. But judgment shall run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream; the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall blossom as the
rose. Christianity is essentially progressive; she knows no watchword but onward. Onward, when the sun of prosperity beams upon her; onward too, when the furious waves of adversity lash her sides; and she knows no boundary to her progress, but the compassing the whole earth, and the conversion of its every inhabitant. The walls of Jerusalem were never built to pent up within them the songs of Zion; nor were the boundaries of Judea marked out to confine within them the religion of Jesus: but it is destined to extend from family to family, and from country to country. Like the eddying of the pebble cast in the stagnant water, it will widen, expand, and enlarge, until every nation and kingdom is brought under its healthful influence, and the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea.
Now, whence the cause adequate to this glorious result! whence the machinery to put forth such a mighty force? and whence the sun to dispel this spiritual night? and whence the power to uphold a fallen and ruined world? Hear the voice of Him who, pointing to the cross, exclaimed, "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." If I go to yonder Calvary, and be baptized with that baptism, I shall erect a beacon light to those who sit in the region of the shadow of death; and if I be lifted upon yonder cross, I will make it the point of attraction, to which a willing people shall be drawn in the day of my power; and this cross, around which now gathers the thick volume of disgrace and shame, shall one day be viewed as the full ransom and the plenteous redemption of a ruined world. By it the works of the devil shall be destroyed, and his hold upon the world shall be loosed; sin shall be presented in all its deformity, and holiness shall be seen in its native beauty and loveliness. And if sin has abounded, grace shall much more abound; and if sin has reigned unto death, grace shall reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ, even Him who endured the cross." The influence of the cross upon the world is the same as that on the individual Christian, only operat ing in a higher and more enlarged degree; for as the world is made up of individuals, that which could convert one member would convert the whole, if sufficiently extended in its operations. The church, as the pillar and ground of the truth, is placed in the world as the instru
ment for its conversion. The gospel invitation could have been proclaimed from heaven, with the voice of an archangel and the trump of God, and the great Shepherd have gathered his sheep into his fold without forming any church in the world; but Christ had wise purposes to serve by a different arrangement, and one of these evidently was, that it might operate upon the world for its conversion. When one individual is made the subject of Christianity, he is laid under contribution for bringing others into the same condition, and thus the work progresses until a church is formed, and onward still, until a number of churches are formed, and, gaining influence at every step, for every accession but adds to its influence-it at length becomes the mighty agent for good upon those without. And if the church, as a whole, did its duty, and every individual member performed the part allotted to him, what a powerful influence would it necessarily produce! what shade of vice, of error, or infidelity could abide it for a moment! If the church does not exert that influence which we have right to expect, and which we know she does not, it is easily accounted for, not from any defect in her organization, but by referring to that want of zeal and entire consecration to the service of God, which exists in her members.
The cross of Christ is the light and glory of the church; the weapon by which she makes her conquests. This preaching of Christ and him crucified, this holding up the cross as the alone dependence for salvation, is the great instrument in bringing souls to Christ; for when understood and felt in the bosom of one, the love of Christ constrains him to publish it to his neighbour, and he, in turn, heralds it to a third, and onward it goes, widening and expanding, until it shall fill the whole earth, and none shall need to teach another, saying, "Know the Lord, for all shall know him from the least to the greatest." And thus the cross of Calvary shall eventually become the centre of a more powerful, and more unerring attraction to the moral beings on this earth, than the sun can be to the planets which revolve around it. But time and the earth are not the boundaries of the cross. It will not only encompass the earth, but shall spread onward in its influence until it shall be as high as heaven, deep as hell, and lasting as eternity; ascending above, it will tune the harps of the redeemed to the praises of the Lamb for ever and ever; and descending to
where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, it will bring upon the despisers and neglecters of the great salvation a deeper damnation than was prepared for the devil and his angels. In view of these important truths, should not every one adopt the language of Paul, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT.
Ir is not our design to adduce the direct Scriptural evidence, that a great and general outpouring of the Spirit, in the latter days, is among those unchanging promises of God which are yet to be fulfilled. All that has been seen of his agency in the world hitherto, has been in the first instance to plant, and then to preserve a church upon the earth, rather than to make that church universal. His presence has been, as it were, local and occasional, rather than general and constant. The church has looked to this grandly decisive outpouring as yet to come, rather than rejoicing in it as already happened. Her present attitude is that of waiting for the coming of the Spirit, just as the Saints of old did for the coming of the Saviour, and it is her privilege to wait with prayer, with earnest hope, and with joyful expectation. For he will surely come. Perhaps not every where at once, but wherever there are the due preparations for his operating upon the minds of men. But he operates by means of the truth. Sanctify them through thy truth," is a part of our Saviour's intercessory prayer. And we hence infer, that whatever is done to increase the amount of religious knowledge, prepares the way for his coming. While, therefore, he gives the hearing ear, the awakened conscience, the understanding heart, the willing obedience, he does it in connection with the truth of his revealed Word, which usually precedes his direct agency;-for "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
tian mother has made her nursery the school of Christ. The Christian father has sought to instil into the members of his household the great leading principles of the gospel. And it is from families thus trained, that the Spirit selects the richest trophies of his grace, whenever he revives his own work. And without referring to the public ministry of the Word the importance of which cannot be too highly estimated, the private Christian can often do much in preparing the way for the advent of the Spirit, and especially as a teacher of the young. This preparation is two-fold-first, as it relates to himself; and secondly, as it relates to those whom he instructs. It brings his own understanding, conscience, and heart, in contact with the Word of God; and, if he be a Christian, he is greatly profited by it. It also brings the same word in contact with the understandings of the children under his charge, and becomes the seed which is planted, and which needs only the sun and the dew of the Spirit to cause it to spring up, first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. In revivals of religion, Sunday scholarsscholars who have been faithfully taught the rudiments of the gospel,-usually constitute a majority of those who are brought into the fold of Christ.
But there are other preparatory measures to which it would be difficult to attach too much importance-that the seed sown in the nursery, in the sabbathschool, and in the church, may not be picked up and devoured by the birds of the air. We allude now to that moral training which our youth should enjoy during the whole process of their mental culture. A Christian influence should be brought to bear upon them in every department of their studies, and the Word of God should hold its appropriate, and that is a permanent, place. among the motives and principles by which their character is to be formed. For the teacher is apt to infuse his spirit—whatever it may be-into the minds and habits of his pupils. If he is a sceptic and a scoffer, they are apt to be sceptics and scoffers also. If he reverence the authority of God, and love his word, it will have a powerful effect in moulding their principles and habits. And it is from institutions where the Scriptures are taught, both by precept and example, that there goes forth a healthful, moral, and religious influence, to bless the world.
But if the way is to be prepared for the advent of the Spirit, the question arises whether the church is duly engaged in the work! In those local and occasional outpourings of the Spirit which have been witnessed, it is worthy of notice, that they have usually been preceded by a diligent searching of the Scriptures, and by efforts both to acquire and impart religious knowledge. The Chris
Does it not, then, devolve upon the church to make this preparation for the advent of the Spirit? Can she act the part of a faithful mother to her own children, while she neglects it? Has she done her whole duty, when she provides the preaching of the gospel, and the administration of its ordinances, by means of the ministry! We think not. She must also provide instructors of such principles and character as she can approve; nor must she by any means withdraw her watchful and guardian care over her youth, while under a course of mental training. Her schools have heretofore in a measure proved fountains, which have sent forth streams to gladden the church of God. They have often been visited by his Spirit; and this is encouragement enough to make still greater exertions in preparing the way of the Lord.
"IS THERE NOT A CAUSE?"
If there is one lamentation more general than another, at the present time, among evangelical Christians, it is that our churches live at such a "dying rate," and that the power of religion is no more felt in society at large. The fact thus lamented, is obvious. It is unquestioned and unquestionable. It stands out on every side. It is felt in the prayermeeting, at the communion-table, in all the services of the sanctuary. It is seen in the ungodliness of our youth, in the decreasing number of professing Christians, and the comparative inefficacy of preaching. The worldliness of the worldly has a peculiarly reckless character that shows the distance and absence of God from all their thoughts. The faintness of the righteous, of whom ten thousand seem to be easily put to flight by one, shows the same thing. All goes to make plain the forlorn and desolate condition of our Zion, in fact; while we confess that, in appearance and in externals, there is, in many places, much that looks like progress and prosperity.
For all the real backwardness and decay, is there not a cause, and one as wide and effectual in its operation as are its results? Is it a chance-matter that this consumption has come upon the churches? Is it without fault of ours, and without displeasure from God? Afflictions spring not from the ground, and least of all, that greatest of afflictions to churches and Christians, the hiding of God's face. They are all planned and
purposed beforehand, not only in goodness but with a wise aim at the good of the afflicted; and are sent, because, under the circumstances, nothing else would answer the same wise and benevolent purpose.
These things being so, no inquiry at the present time begins to compare with that which seeks for the true and definite cause for the evident separation between the churches and their God, and for the hiding of his face. We should ask, why he turned away from us in the day of battle, and suffered us to be smitten down before our spiritual foes? So did Israel, when wrath and discomfiture came upon them before Ai. With true spiritual philosophy, did the leader of the Lord's hosts then search for the cause of Israel's failure and defeat, till he had found it, and put it away. So should we search; and with like true philosophy, we should assume that the cause is in ourselves. There is no need of beating the bush, and hunting everywhere but in ourselves for what might be found at once and at home, if we were willing to lay our hand upon our own sick head and our own faint heart. It is no learned and elaborate investigation that is needed. Science will not help us here. Her lights are of use in their proper place; but in a question of this kind, they are as unavailing as would be agricultural skill in astronomical investigations. It is the Divine science of opening the heart to the candle of the Lord, that we need-of meeting the naked heart alone; of finding fault with ourselves, and giving glory to God; of feeling that we have been shamefully negligent and remiss in duty, and of being willing to repent and do works meet for repentance.
Would the host of God's elect but awake to solemn self-questioning in this spirit, and, with this natural and necessary result, we should soon see a shaking among the dry bones in the valley of our vision; and life would enter into dead forms, and the army of God would be reinforced with great numbers and mighty power.
DUTY OF PEOPLE TO PASTORS. THE present is a time of rest and peace throughout the land and the church. Such a season has its duties on the part of ministers, even to have their loins girt and their lamps burning, and be ready to let all go the moment their Lord commands; it has duties also on the part of
of the Word of the Lord, and you be found wandering from sea to sea, to seek it, your ministers will the more cheerfully abide with you, and endure all things for your sakes, if you have first proved your kindly affection towards them, and give you, without sorrow, ministrations, for which you may be able to offer no return, when you remember that you had freely shared with them your abundance.
We have spoken thus frankly, dear brethren, not because we desire a gift, but because we desire fruit that may abound to your account; but we cannot forget that all our givings and receivings, our ministrations and our waitings on the ministry, our words and our works, are sadly mingled with sin and with self; and we would, therefore, pass from all these and lift our eyes to Him, who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich, and unite with you in saying, Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
the people, to share with their ministers the temporal blessings of a time of quiet so long as it endureth. It is written of all the members of the visible church, that if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. Now, we grieve to think that your spiritual teachers are not always in circumstances to observe this rule, for their present means are often inadequate to enable them to provide for their families in a time of sickness, or to furnish a suitable education for their children. There are many other duties which a Christian minister must discharge, not only in common with the members of his flock, but as an example of the believers, such as remembering the poor, and supporting missions at home and abroad, and, not seldom, aged parents. To take a single instance out of these, the Word of God sets it forth as one of the indispensable characteristics of the bishop or pastor of a Christian church in a settled condition, that he must be given to hospitality. We would, then, affectionately, yet earnestly, inquire of you, brethren, who compose the churches of these lands, whether you are all placing your pastors in circumstances to discharge the duties of hospitality, without infringing the fundamental law of owing no man anything, but to love one another? If those who watch for your souls are not so provided for in a time when the churches have rest, then assuredly in you the whole Word of God has not free course and is not glorified. Still further, from the days of your fathers, the humblest amongst you have prized a well-educated ministry, provided it be also godly, and you have inherited the healthy feeling, that your whole mental, moral, and religious condition is thereby elevated; but such a boon you cannot hope to retain, unless you shall conscientiously and zealously aid in supporting and augmenting_the great central fund of our church, (Free Church of Scotland,) so as to raise the annual income of our ministers to the lowest sum secured to them when you were united to the State. But this present period of calm may be only a breathing time before the storm; and if so, you shall now do wisely to give a portion to seven and also to eight, for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. If in your own or your children's days, as in the days of your fathers, a time of distress should overtake the church, where there shall be a famine
PRAYERFULNESS OF PRIMITIVE
(From the German of Neander.) CHRISTIANS of this period regarded prayer as the sweet and strong aspirations of the soul after that life-giving Spirit which assimilates the heart of man to itself. The whole life ought, in their estimation, to be but one prolonged, continued prayer, of which the principal burden should be, thanksgiving for the grace of God in the gift of a Saviour, and supplication for continued supplies of that grace to sanctify them wholly unto himself. "The entire life of the Christian," says Origen," should be but one continued prayer to God; and each individual act of devotion should only be a part of this perpetual prayer." Clement, of Alexandria, says: "Prayer is habitual intercourse of the soul with God. Whether whispered in secret, where none but God can hear, or whether only felt in the silent aspirations of the soul after him, it is equally heard and answered in heaven. There may, indeed, be appointed seasons for prayer, but the advanced Christian will pray always; ever striving after closer communion with God." And Cyprian also says: "We that are in Christ Jesus, and walk in true light under the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, ought all the day long to be held in a prayerful frame of mind; and when night succeeds to day, our prayers should