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indeed appear to be honestly and simply engaged in the most useful work of their sacred function: yet perhaps the skilfulness, boldness, self-denial, diligence, zeal, and faithfulness, even of this remnant, fall much beneath the degree which "men "of like passions" have at more favoured seasons been known to display.
These things should not be considered as a censure of modern times; for the case has been nearly the same in almost every age and part of the church. No external appointment to the ministry no engagement or mode of worship, can, by its own efficacy, dethrone the selfishness of the human heart, or induce the carnally-minded to act from pure motives, and to delight in the spiritual service of the Redeemer. But, when "the Spirit shall "be poured upon us from on high," we may expect that such ministers, as have feebly sought the glory of God in the salvation of souls, will feel their hearts enlarged with more abundant zeal and love; and that a vast accession will be made to their wisdom, and knowledge of Christ and his holy doctrine. They will probably be to a great degree delivered from the fear of men; raised above the love of the world; emancipated from a bigoted regard to systems and parties; filled with most tender compassion to perishing sinners, and fervent love to their brethren; occupied with realizing views of eternal things; prepared for perilous and self-denying services; and disposed cordially to unite with their fellow-labourers in promoting the common cause; without regard to competition, personal interest, or reputation.
Those who have preached the truths of the gos
pel without application or animation will then probably feel and insist upon their practical tendency, and manifest it in their own conduct. Some who have been adverse to the truth will be won over to preach the faith which once they opposed loiterers and hirelings will be converted into faithful, diligent, able, and disinterested pastors: many labourers will be sent forth into the vineyard; and every one who partakes of these fertilizing showers will "take heed to the ministry "which he hath received of the Lord, that he "fulfil it."
The change which took place, even in the apostles themselves, after the descent of the Holy Ghost, with the conduct of the primitive ministers of the gospel, and the exhortations addressed to them in the New Testament, abundantly warrant these expectations.
If we next survey the mass of people called Christians, and observe their disposition and conduct; we shall readily understand what effects would be produced by the pouring out of the Spirit upon us. Let us, for instance, consider the inhabitants of this city, and their behaviour in respect of the Lord's day, of public worship, and of the preaching of the gospel. We shall in this review see cause to lament that vast multitudes retire into the country for irreligious recreation, or employ the holy sabbath in travelling; that crowds assemble in places of intemperate indulgence, or frivolous amusement; and that many spend part of the day in adjusting some worldly business, and the residue in sloth or festivity. 'A few, compared with the whole immense number,
attend at the several places of public worship; the majority of whom, it is to be feared, having paid their weekly tribute, think no more about it; being "as a man who dreameth that he eateth, but he "awaketh, and his soul is empty." Others frequent the places where the word of God is preached, with considerable regularity: but continue "hearers only, and not doers." In short, few comparatively seem to receive the "gospel not 66 as the word of man, but as the word of God, " which effectually worketh in them that believe;' or "to worship him in spirit and truth :" and even these see cause to lament their want of zeal and fervency; and too often manifest languor and a defect of earnestness and activity, where the glory of God and the benefit of mankind are concerned. But, if" the Spirit were poured upon us from on high," the hearts of such persons would expand with holy affections, and be filled with divine consolations. They would become fervent in every religious duty, and earnest in prayer for their ministers and brethren, and for a blessing on every attempt to propagate the gospel; they would bestow pains to impress the instructions of scripture on the minds of their children, relatives, and servants; to recommend the truth by their example, and to enforce it in their conversation: they would say to those with whom they had any influence, "Come ye, and let us go to the house of God, and " he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in "his paths." And, as Andrew brought Peter, and Philip Nathanael, to an acquaintance with Christ;
they would endeavour, by letters, books, and all other means in their power, to lead such as had been unacquainted with the gospel, to the knowledge of "the truth as it is in Jesus," and into the way of life and salvation.
At such a season formal worshippers would find their hearts engaged, in a new manner, to attend on the ordinances of God: and many of them would become true believers. Those who had imbibed false doctrines, would perceive that God was of a truth present in our congregations, and be induced to join themselves to us: a general attention and inquiry would be raised; and "the Lord would "daily add unto the church such as should be "saved."
In this manner it has frequently been known that great multitudes, through large districts, have in a short time been brought "to consider their "ways:" the veil that hides God and eternal things from men's minds has been apparently rent; and more has been done in bringing men to receive the gospel and "to walk in newness of life," during a few months, than the very same ministers had been able to accomplish in the course of many preceding years. These effects are also proved to be genuine by their permanency, and by the holy lives of numbers, after the first vehement affections and remarkable circumstances of such revivals have ceased. Thus the thousands that were converted, when the Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, "continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship;" they were "of one heart," they "had all things in common,' and "great grace was upon them all." But, when
a religious commotion arises from enthusiasm, false principles, and selfish affections; it often leaves men more immoral and ungodly than they were before.
Again, if we consider the more pious part of our congregations; how often have we reason to lament that there is no more union and affection among them! and that they are kept at so great a distance from each other by their stations in life, their different employments, talents and dispositions; or even by trivial resentments, suspicions, and prejudices! But the blessing of which we speak would deliver Christians from such contracted and selfish passions; and they would be ready, without hesitation, cordially to forgive all who had offended them, to make concessions and amends to those whom they had injured, and to seek reconciliation with every one who had been in any respect alienated from them. An increase of divine illumination and brotherly love would terminate or moderate our differences of opinion; men would less regard the trivial disparity of outward rank, except as it reminded them of their several duties; they would readily unite in social worship and profitable conversation; and, in proportion as these sacred influences rested on their souls, they would abound in self-denying beneficence, and in active endeavours to supply the wants of the indigent, to soothe the anguish of the afflicted, and to alleviate the miseries of mankind. An attentive meditation on the apostolical exhortations, and the conduct of the primitive Christians, may suffice to convince us, that these must be the effects of the pouring out of the Spirit upon