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tations and a bright example, to "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." A few 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 enlarge 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 bigotted regard to systems and parties; filled with most tender compassion to perishing sinners, and fervent love to their brethren; occupied with realiz
ing 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 gospel, 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 ful"fil 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, the publick worship, and 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 publick 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 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 a languor and a defect in 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 re
ligious 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 way, 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 enquiry 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
'Isai. ii. 3.
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 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 acomplish 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 the remarkable circumstances, of such revivals, have ceased. Thus the thousands that were converted, when the Spirit was poured out on the day of pentecost, " conti"nued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fel"lowship;" 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, 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