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upon the soul, and even to arrest, if need be, his incessant care for worldly gain and for fame.
But there would be excitement, it may be said, if this great multitude were to attend to the subject of religion, and if there were a general revival. There are excitements, it is said, in all revivals. But, I pray you, is there no excitement in these cities now? From whence comes the objection that revivals are mere scenes of excitement? From that man excited throughout the whole week in the pursuit of gain-feverish and restless, and unacquainted for one whole hour at a time with calm thought and repose ; from that man whose life is spent in the whirlwind of political controversy or in the career of ambition; from that calm and interesting group preparing for the splendid party and the dance. O there all is calm and serene; but in religion all is excitement and commotion! Well may this objection be heard from the excited, agitated, tumultuous population of a city; a population more than any other on earth living in scenes of excitement; unhappy when they are not excited; fostering every where the means of excitement; and resisting all the means which the friends of religion can use to bring them to sober thought and calm reflection. What we aim at is that this excitement may be laid aside, and that the now busy multitude may be brought to think soberly about the immortal destiny beyond the tomb. We aim that they may lay down the exciting romance or novel, and take up the Bible--full of sober truth; that they may forsake the theatre--a place of mere excitement, and find happiness in the calmness of the closet, and the sober employments of the fire-side; that they may turn away from the agitating scenes of political strife, and from the exciting of envy, and malice, and green-eyed jealousy, and ambition, and from the intoxicating bowl and the dance of pleasure, and devote themselves to the sober business of religion. Excitement, say you, in a revival! O, if Christ required me to endeavor to produce such excitement in a vival as I see every day in this city; if he required that men should give themselves up to the mere influence of feeling, and daydreams, and agitating passions, and unfounded hopes, as they are required to by the world ; I should expect to hear the objection that it was all mere excitement, and that such a work could not be the work of God. But no. I plead for soberness of thought; for calm investigation; for a state of mind where every improper emotion may be allayed, and where the soul may be brought to look calmly and soberly at the great realities of eternity. Do I address one here who does not know that such sober feeling would become the condition of man, and that it is desirable that such deep emotion should take the place of the agitated and tumultuous feelings which reign in a great community like this?
(3.) A revival of religion is desirable in cities in order to avert the wrath of God and save them from the judgments of heaven. Evils pour into our great cities like floods from all quarters of the world; and who can be ignorant of the doom of cities in times
past? It has been on cities that the most fearful of all the plagues of heaven have fallen; and not a few dilapidated walls, or halfruined temples stand now amidst far extended ruins as monuments of the wrath of heaven. Not a few have been blotted out, and the places where they stood made pools of water or uninhabitable deserts, by the vengeance of heaven. Who can forget Sodom and Gomorrah, or Babylon, or Tyre, or Thebes, or Memphis, or Petra ? And who can be ignorant of the desolations by plague and the pestilence that have swept through these abodes of congregated human guilt? The reason has been that God could smite many guilty there while few of the innocent would suffer. All over the world the principal monuments of the divine vengeance have been cities and large towns. Long may the walls of a city stand, but death shall have done its last work within ; long may temples, like that at Baalbec, stand, while all the worshippers, long since smitten by the wrath of God, may sleep with the dead; long may a city be marked out and distinguished by its ruins and its sepulchres, like Petra, without a solitary living inhabitant, a city of the dead. All over the ancient world the plains are strewed with the ruins of cities, the monuments of indignant heaven against their follies, their pride, their luxury, and their sensuality.
We know what would have saved them. Ten righteous men would have saved one of the worst of them. Nineveh was saved by repentance; Babylon might have been spared if she had humbled herself; and Jerusalem would have been saved if she had not crucified the Son of God. Religion, prompting to temperance, and industry, and chastity, and honesty, and prayer, would have saved Babylon, and Tadmor, and Tyre, and Ephesus, and Alexandria, and Athens; and, occupying as they did the most eligible situations on earth for commerce, they might to-day have been splendid cities smiling under the favor of the Almighty.
And what can save the cities of our land ? The same thing only that would have saved Gomorrah and Babylon. Let us not dream that they are beyond the wrath of God. Let us not suppose that the eyes of God are closed on the enormous masses of guilt in these abodes of congregated sinners. Babylon was once as secure as we are, and as confident of her future glory as we can be of the prosperity of this beautiful city. The inhabitants of Rome once breathed as pure an air as we do, and Tyre commanded as wide a commerce as any sea-port in our land. The God who turned Babylon into standing pools and made wild beasts cry in her desolate houses, and satyrs dance there, (Isa. 13 : 21, 22,) and who has caused the malaria to settle around Rome, spreading death on the once healthful plains of Italy, and has made Tyre a barren rock where the solitary fisherman dries his net, can as easily destroy our commerce, or fill our streets with pestilential air. Have our aged men forgotten the sad desolation of 1793, when the angel of death walked through these streets as he did once in the camp of Sennacherib? Have we ceased to remember the scenes in 1832, when the pestilence that walketh in darkness and the destruction that
wasteth at noon-day spread a universal gloom over this city ? How easy for that God to visit us again !
(4.) I refer to one other consideration, showing the desirableness of revivals of religion in the cities of our land. I refer to their influence on future times. The question whether revivals of religion may exist there, and in what way they may be promoted, is of not less importance than any other which pertains to the welfare of our nation. Look over the map of our country. Only about two hundred years have elapsed since the foot of the pilgrim first trod these western shores. Then a vast interminable forest spread its shades all over this land—broken in upon only by the prairies or the lakes that opened their bosom to the sun, or by the floods that rolled on to the ocean. There the sound of the woodman's axe had not been heard. The vast solitude had been disturbed only by the savage war-cry. Not a bridge was thrown over the streams; not a road penetrated the deep forest; not a sail whitened these bays and seas; not a boat, save the fragile bark of birch, was upon the waters; not a city sent its hum up to heaven; not a village, save the temporary abodes of wandering savages, was on the vast landscape. Two centuries have gone, and how changed the scene! Our cities already rival those of the old world; and when some half a dozen on other continents are named, ours come next in the numbers of their population, and are already among the first in commercial importance. As if by magic they start up all over the land; and even while the remains of the forest stand around them, palaces rise, and wealth flows there us to a centre, and the din of commerce is heard afar.
Can any one fail to see in this fact the necessity of revivals of religion in those cities? How else sball it be propagated, but by that rapid mode where the Spirit of God bears the truth to the hearts of multitudes, and turns them simultaneously to God? They are adapted to the excited and ardent movement every where manifested in our land. All in those cities is free, and generous, and active, and mighty. There is an energy and zeal in the affairs of the world, which is fitted to make men great and glorious in religion as in commerce. There is an ardor that needs only to be directed to the concerns of the soul, to be adapted to the times in which we live, and to the great enterprise of the conversion of the world.
What vast multitudes are yet to swarm in those cities! What countless numbers are there to live and to die! How soon will the present busy generation be gone, to give place to another as busy, as active, as immortal! What is to be the doom of the advancing millions ? That inquiry is to be answered in part by the character of the present generation, and by the answer to the question, whether the Spirit of God shall descend in glorious revivals of religion. In these streets other generations are to tread-as busy as we are. They will occupy the stores which you now occupy; dwell in the houses where you now dwelluntil the time shall come for them to pull down those houses
and stores, and to build new ones for other generations to come. They will moor their vessels to the same wharves—until those vessels shall be useless, and shall give place to others. They will go forth and look upon our graves; read the letters on our tombs until they become illegible; and then they will lie down in the grave, to be superseded, and in their turn, too, to be forgotten. Unless some judgment is stirred up in heaven, “ red with uncommon wrath,” that shall sweep this city with the besom of destruction, more millions by far may yet live here than now comprise the whole inhabitants of our country. We are just beginning our career. The cities of our land are just starting into being. In the far distant future I see the shadowy forms of advancing inillions of men. They are coming to enter into our houses, and churches, and stores, and to receive their impressions from what they shall find there when they arrive.
Now what I wish to say is, that these cities can be saved from being corrupting spots ; concentrated pests in our land, only by the influence of religion; and religion now. Tell me, ye who doubt this, whether power and wealth saved Babylon and Rome. Tell me, whether the ship laden with gold and the merchandise of the East saved Tyre. Tell me whether philosophy and learning saved the cities of Greece and Egypt. Tell me whether the chisel of Phidias and Praxiteles saved Athens. Tell me whether the Colisaeum saved Rome, or its splendid marble structures saved Corinth. Ono,--not one of them: nor will colleges, or schools, or marble palaces, or fountains, or luxury, or wealth save one of the cities of our land. Without religion they will lie as corrupt and corrupting masses on the bosom of the nation, till heaven can bear it no longer; and then they will be swept with the vengeance of an offended God. Religion, religion only—the pure religion of the cross-descending like floods, and flowing like rivers, only can save these cities from destruction. When we think of these things; when we look over the numbers of the cities of our land; when we remember their accumulating guilt; when we look onward to future times, and see what they are destined yet to be, and backward and see the memorials of wrath standing thick where cities once stood on the plains of the old world, how appropriate the petition of our text, “O LORD, REVIVE TILY WORK, IN THE MIDST OF THE YEARS, IN THE MIDST of 'THE YEARS MAKE KNOWX; IN WRATH REMEMBER MERCY!”
Entered according to Act of Congress in the Clerk's Oflice of the Southern District of New-York.
~ And when he was come near, he beheld the city and wept over i',
saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the
things which belong to thy peace.” Luke, 19 : 41, 42. “ Jerusalem! Jerusalem ! thou that killest the prophets, and stonest
them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not !" Matt. 23: 37.
What tender and affectionate language is this! What love and compassion are here evinced! What a scene is here presented ! The Son of God IN TEARS! The Redemer weeping in view of the impending doom of a great and guilty city! Why were those tears? And why these expressions of love and tenderness? It is not difficult to answer these questions. In no situation can we well conceive of more emotions crowding into a human bosom than struggled in the heart of the Son of God, and that constrained him to weep. Before him was the capital of the nation; the temple standing with rich magnificence; the altar of sacrifice; the place where the praises of Jehovah had been celebrated for ages. In that city he had preached the Gospel, and called the inhabitants to embrace him as the Messiah—but in vain. There he had sought to turn them to God, and thus to avert the heavy doom impending over them for their sins. But all in vain. He had been there rejected, bis ministry despised,