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sceptical or the scoffing opponent would desire to have conceded? Now it is much, it is every thing, when christians intelligently, and on settled grounds, believe in the value and existence of revivals of religion; when they have so examined the subject, so read the New Testament, and so made it a matter of prayer, as to see that, in the estimation of the Redeemer, the descent of the Holy Ghost on the world, in powerful revivals of religion, was to be the triumph of his work, and a blessing worth the selfdenials and toils of this life, and his unspeakable agonies on the cross. Such a feeling in the churches is usually a precurser of such a work of grace; and we cannot hope for such descending influences on our cities until christians shall think as the Saviour thought, and feel as the Saviour felt. This is the great thing now needed among christians; and that day which shall convince all, or the great body of professing christians in cities, of the reality and desirableness of revivals of religion, will constitute a new era in the history of religion, and will precede the manifestations of the power of God like that on the day of Pentecost.
2. For the promotion of religion in places like this, christians should be firm and settled in the principles of religion. There should be no yielding of principle, no improper compliance with the customs around us. Our views of religion should be drawn from the Bible, and not from the books which uninspired men have written, or from the views which the gay and fashionable, the rich and vain, and even the literary and scientific world may entertain of religion and its duties. Literature and science, poetry and the arts, are to be allowed no more to give us our vicws of religion than gayety and fashion. From the Holy Bible—the unerring word of the living God-christians are to derive their views of the nature of religion. There we are to go to learn what the soul is worth ; what it cost to redeem it; what is its condition as it comes into the world; what is the state of man by nature ; what dangers beset him ; why man is placed on the carth, and for what objects christians are to live. Fresh with the views drawn from the living fountains of truth, what estimate should we form of the multitudes around us ?-what but that they are lost, ruined, dying, and that every thing should be done that can be done for their salvation ? And when we have drunk deep at that living fountain, what views should we derive of the duty of christians here? That they should be every where the firm and unwavering friends of God; the advocates of truth and holiness; the rebukers of sin by their lips and by their lives; and the laborers in the vineyard of their Lord to save souls from death. On all the questions that divide the religious from the irreligious world, the christian should have settled views, and should abide by them, come contempt, or cursing, or flame. There should be no vacillating; no wavering; no taking sides with the foes of the Redeemer; no yielding a point which the Redeemer would not yield. In the great questions pertaining to
the new birth and the atonement; to revivals of religion and to missions; to temperance, chastity, and the Sabbath; to the spread of the Bible and to Sabbath-schools; in regard to the theatre, the ball-room, and the splendid gayety and folly, there ought to be singleness and uniformity of opinion and conduct among the friends of the Redeemer. It ought to be known where each friend of Christ could be found. There ought to be the same views and feelings which the Redeemer would have; the same course of life which he would advise and recommend. Is it so? So far from it, that you can hardly go into a promiscuous assemblage of professed christians without finding on many of the most important of these points as many different views as there are different minds; and so far from it that you cannot calculate on the efficient and harmonious co-operation of any considerable portion of such a group to put down any one of these evils. - So it ought not to be ; so it was not in the days of apostolic decision and independence in religion.
3. It is the duty of christians to provide means for the religious instruction of the masses of mind that are thrown together in cities, the means of bringing all under christian influence. Just now, not very far from one half of the population in all our cities would be excluded from places of Worship, should they be disposed to attend, for the absolute want of room. Now it is in the power of the various denominations of christians in this city, and in other cities, to provide ample accommodations for all the population that could attend on public worship. It is in their power to get all the wandering and neglected children into Sabbath-schools. It is in their power to place a Bible in every family. It is in their power to keep up prayer-meetings, and other religious services, in every lane and alley where it would be desirable. It is in the power of christians, aided by what they might depend on in other classes of the community favorable to morals, to close the thousands of dram-shops and low taverns that infest us. What can be done should be done; and I am saying only that which all men will admit to be well-founded, when I say that all these things should be done in this city, and when done we might look for a general revival of religion.
4. It is the duty of christians in a city, as every where, but principally here, to bring the influence of religion to bear on the members of their families. We look abroad, but let us also look at home. If we wish a revival of religion, it must be sought in our own hearts; in our own dwellings. Whatever there is in our hearts that grieves the Holy Spirit of God should be removed, and what there is we may easily know. If we have forgotten our first love; if we have laid aside the simplicity of our confidence in the Lord Jesus; if we have neglected prayer; if our secret devotions are cold, formal, heartless, often intermitted ; if we are seeking the world, its wealth, its pleasures, its bonors; if we have become rich, and at the same time proud and selfconfident; if avarice has grown as covetousness has been gratified; and if for our families we are seeking the world rather than heaven, it is time for us to pause, and to retrace our steps, and with penitent hearts to begin life anew. These things hinder religion; these things prevent revivals. And whatever there is in our families that grieves the Spirit of God should be laid aside. The God that sees all knows what that may be. If family devotion is cold and formal, or is not maintained at all; if the love of dress, and vanity, and parties of pleasure, and the gayeties of the world have seized upon the minds of our children, and if we feel that they must be indulged; these then are things that prevent religion: these the things that shut the heavenly influences from our dwellings and from the city of our habitation.
5. There should be prayer for a revival of religion ; prayer distinctly and definitely for that. O could twenty thousand christians in this city unite in that one supplication, “ O LORD, REVIVE THY WORK, would not the ear of God be open to their cry? When shall this be? When shall the time come that we can feel that such a prayer ascends to God from the hearts of the thousands of his professed friends in a city like this? This, brethren, is what we need; the spirit of that ancient man that wrestled till the break of day, saying, “I cannot let thee go except thou bless me;" the spirit of that prophet of the Lord, who in the name of the church said, “For Žion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake will I not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.” Isaiah, 62 : 1.
Christians, God has placed you in this city to do good; to show the power of his Gospel; to promote religion. What are the prospects of the immortal souls around you? Where will they soon be? Soon they and you will be together at the bar of God. You will meet when the gayeties of life shall have died away; when fashion and wealth shall have lost their glitter; when the eternal doom of the soul is to be pronounced, and when your chief joy then will be found in the reflection that you have done as much AS POSSIBLE FOR THEIR SALVATION.
If religion is to be revived, it is to begin at the house of God. There are the hopes of man in regard to his immortal welfare. There is not a vice in this city that might not be crippled or destroyed if every christian had the burning zeal of Paul. Christians should drink anew of the fountain of the waters of life. Time was, in the days of the martyrs, when a female, trained in the refinements of the Roman capital, would not throw a grain of incense on a pagan altar to save her body from the flames. O come those times again; times when all who bear the christian name shall, with such firmness, resist all the forms of sin. Come those times when every christian, dead to the world but alive unto God, shall resist sin, if need be, even unto blood,” and when he shall labor and pray unceasingly FOR A REVIVAL OF PURE RELIGION !
BY REV. GEORGE SHEPARD,
PROF. IN THEO, SEM. BANGOR.
THE METHODS OF THE ADVERSARY.
“ In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which
believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Cor. 4: 4.
There are good influences in this world, at the head of which is God. There are also bad influences, at the head of which is the devil. In preaching, we often speak of the good influences, and admonish men not to defeat them. It is equally proper that we speak of the bad influences, emanating from the wicked agent referred to, and apprise men of their reality and power, and urge them to a decisive resistance.
The wicked agent who stands at the head of the bad influences is called in the text "the god of this world." We hesitate at first in applying a phrase of so broad and exalted meaning to any other than the supreme Ruler, the rightful Lord of this and all worlds. But we find the Saviour, alluding to the same agent, saying, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” He is called "god of this world," and "prince of this world," on account of the sway which he exercises over the greater part of it, and on account of the service, the obedience, and homage which are generally paid to him rather than to Jehovah. Sometimes the agent in question is called “the adversary,” as arrayed against all divine and human interests. The name “Satan,” which he more commonly bears in the Bible, signifies an adversary, an enemy, an accuser. In one passage, (Rev. 20: 2,) there are four terms by which he is designated : “dragon ;” “old serpent ;" "devil;” and “Satan." "He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand
I go into no argument to prove the existence of such a being as is described in the language just quoted; or the fact of his agency in our world. I take the doctrine as it stands revealed on the sacred page. It is there revealed; through the whole inspired volume variously and luminously revealed; as luminously revealed as the doctrine of the divine existence and agency. The principles and style of interpretation which would blot out the doctrine of the existence of the devil, would blot out also the doctrine of the divine existence. When I open and read the holy volume I cannot be an atheist. I am compelled to believe in the existence of God, the universal Creator and moral Governor; at the same time, and with equal force, am I compelled to assent to the existence and agency in our world of Satan.
From the same book, the Bible, which teaches us the existence of this great fallen spirit, we learn also the character and style of his agency. Of these it is proposed to speak in the present discourse, namely, the character and methods of the adversary's operation. While I shall not confine myself to the one main point or power brought to view in the text, that of blinding men, it is intended to keep within the manifest teachings of the Bible respecting the agency in question. We mean to allege nothing against the wicked one, to the support of which we cannot adduce the unqualified divine warrant.
I shall lead you to consider the agency of the devil under the three following heads :
I. His INTENT TO DO EVIL.
1. The first point, his intent to do evil, we may soon dismiss. His nature is represented as essential malignancy. He is the implacable enemy of God and man. His warfare upon the human race is intense and universal, because they are the objects of redeeming regards—because God is meaning to raise up a great multitude from this fallen race to heaven; there to occupy, it may be, the very mansions out of which Satan and his hosts were thrust. We can easily conceive the bitterness of his hate against the whole scheme of redemption, especially against its Author and all those who are in the process of being redeemed. His one rabid purpose, according to the Bible, is to defeat, as far as he can, the scheme of redemption, and secure as many as he can from earth for his own dominion of sin and death. Hence the names he has, of "murderer from the beginning," “ destroyer," "angel of the bottomless pit.” Hence his one great business of going about seeking whom he may devour. Our second point is,