own judgment, or the judgment of some other; according to his own pleasure, or the pleasure of some other being; can any reflecting mind entertain a single doubt? Does he not say, and do we not all believe him, "I will do all my pleasure?" This is proper and right, because it is a wise administration. "Shall any teach God knowledge?" O, the depth both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!". Therefore he is styled "God only wise," "God only wise," or God who alone is wise. The wisdom of other beings is folly compared with his. He charges the angels with folly. And who, my friend, should govern-God, who alone has wisdom, or men or angels? And if he govern, shall it be in a sovereign manner, according to his own mind, or according to the wishes of men, or of angels charged with folly? Will not all wise men choose the sovereign administration of God, because it is infinitely wise?

The goodness of God is an equal argument for his sovereign authority. He is abundant in goodness." No good. thing will he withold from those who walk uprightly. He does good to all." How abundant is his goodness to angels, to saints in glory, to all the works of his hand!

Will not every good being choose to have the universe and himself directed by infinite goodness? Is there one saint or angel of goodness, but will cheerfully subscribe to this? If any being beside God direct or influence events, it must be a being less good than God, therefore the direction will be less perfect.

It is also well for us that God governs the world in a sove reign manner, because he alone is infinitely merciful. "The Lord is merciful and slow to anger." The Lord is gracious." He waits that he may be gracious. He shows mercy not only to those now willing to receive it, but waits, and waits on those who repel his offers, that he may do them good hereafter. This ought to endear his sovereign administration to a guilty world; especially when they read of " the riches of his grace," and that he is "the God of all grace." He spoke in mercy to trembling Adam. Of the first gospel sermon God was the preacher, paradise the temple, and our first parents the hearers. He has been showing his mercy in every age to the present moment. Thousands of thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand are now drinking rivers of mercy in the world above. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name."

Can you, my dear sir, oppose the merciful sovereignty of God? We are all under condemnation; God is under no obligation to save any one of the human race. We have no

claim. It is wonderful to angels that any soul can be saved. It is just that all should be destroyed. It is not partiality, but mere benevolence, sovereign mercy, that some are made heirs of glory. Permit me also to say, I think the sovereignty of God necessary. It is unavoidable in the nature of things. If there be a world, it must be governed; if it be governed, it must be governed by God; if it be by God, he must govern in a sovereign manner; for no one else is able to govern it himself; no one is able to direct him how to govern it. Who can teach God knowledge ?" can sinners, can saints, can angels? There is therefore not only a necessity that God should govern, but that he should govern as a sovereign, or according to the counsel of his own will.

You will therefore, my friend, I hope, spontaneously reflect that all you enjoy is owing to the favor of God. You do not direct events. You have not carved your present portion. You cannot make a hair white or black; you cannot make a brother live. By the sovereign grace of God you are what you are. I hope you will also be impressed, by the remarks I have made, with the unreasonableness and wickedness of objecting against the decrees of God. If God governs according to his own mind, or in a sovereign manner, he must certainly determine how he will govern. It would be very unreasonable to expect the farmer and mechanic to labor in their callings without determining in what manner, without allowing them design and plan in their business. If God bring creatures into existence, he must determine what kind of creatures. If he bring men into existence he must determine when, and where, and what their characters shall be, else all will be random and chance. If God save a part of mankind, he must determine how, whether by the death of his son, and the instrumentality of the gospel, or by some other means. If he save men, he must determine how many and whom. He must choose them before the foundation of the world; he must write their very names in the book of life. He must have mercy on whom he will have mercy. To object against the doctrine of divine determination is to object against the sovereign authority of Jehovah; it is to object against all authority of God.Such an objection if allowed to operate would hurl the Almighty from the throne of the universe as effectually as atheism itself.

The propriety and necessity of divine sovereignty ought to render us thankful to God for governing the world, for governing us. Instead of murmurs and complaints, the voice of praise should burst from every tongue. We ought to bless

God for disposing things in a wise, good and merciful manner, because it is not only right but necessary. Accordingly Nebuchadnezzar, from the field of banishment, did bless and honor him whose dominion is an everlasting dominion," Job in the furnace of misery spoke in the same style.

To conclude, my friend, the doctrine of divine sovereignty should make us and the world happy. A dreadful portion of the distress in this world, and of the torments in hell, rises from opposition to this doctrine. It is a happy article of our creed, when it obtains a cordial belief. If the world viewed it as they ought, it would excite confidence and joy. It would render them strong in divine consolation while weak in strength. Nothing is more calculated to soothe, support and ravish the heart, than this doctrine. If infinite, sovereign goodness, wisdom and mercy rule the world, wo may all feel safe and happy. Deploring our own ignorance and errors, the thought that sovereign wisdom reigns, is like good news from a far country. Amazed and overwhelmed with the evils of the world, a view of infinite goodness on the throne is like the morn of liberty to the chained eaptive. Agonizing with a sense of guilt, faith in the divine mercy is like the dawning of heaven to the departing saint.

Adopt then, my dear friend, the language of holy men, and say, "I will extol thee, my God, O King, forever and ever." Adopt the language of heaven, and in the sincere joy of your heart say, "Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be glory forever and ever;" and "Amen" subscribes Your affectionate Minister,

M. M. Mag.



REVIVAL OF RELIGION, IN ȘPRINGFIELD, (NEW JERSEY.) Copy of a letter from the Rev. G. Williams, Pastor of the Presbyterian Congregation in Springfield, (N. J.) to his friend in Philadelphia.

Springfield, February 28, 1814.

My dear friend,

I know your heart will rejoice to hear of the prosperity of Zion. God has appeared in glory amongst us. He has passed over this whole congregation, as with a mighty rushing wind. This is the seventh revival, which has taken place where I have lived; thoughr two of them were previous to my ministry; but this exceeds what I ever before witnessed. Though there were some hopeful pros

pects last spring, and again in January after a season of stupidity, the great work did not appear until the second day of this month. It exceeds our former revivals in its rapidity, in spreading thro' all parts of the congregation in a few days; its power, producing the severest anguish of soul, carrying some nearly to despair, and in some instances issuing in conversion in a few days; and in its being so general among the youth, and almost entirely confined to that class. The first evening which I appointed to converse with persons under religious impressions, 23 attended; (all youths but two.) At the next appointment, 30 were present, and only two of them were over 25 years of age. Last week, on Monday evening, one of my elders who attended with me, and took account, said there were 70, exclusive of 7 who had professed religion. And last Monday evening he said there were 100, beside 20 others not reckoned under deep impressions. These were only what could assemble in the midst of the town in the evening. The night was very dark, and the trayelling quite muddy; so that many could not attend; and especially from the extreme parts of the parish. In the afternoon of Tuesday last, I appointed to commune with persons under religious impressions, in the most distant corner of the parish; and 32 attended, nearly all youths; and but one had obtained a hope.

"In this general shock, it is difficult to ascertain the number of persons under awakenings: Some say there are not less than 200; but I should say about 150. The work is rapidly progressing and new cases occur every day. Within a few days past it has begun to pass from the children to the parents, and I hope, many who have sinned away the days of youth will yet find mercy. I have just been informed, that one of my neighbors of about 70, and another of 50 years of age, have lately experienced the love of God shed abroad in their hearts, and are now rejoicing in the hope of glory. One of our elders has 7 children under 25 years of age, who are subjects of this work, and six of them, together with a daughter-in-law, have obtained a hope of pardoning mercy. I have conversed with 45 who have obtained a hope, that their sins are pardoned through the blood of Jesus. Such a time was never before known in Springfield. We had a revival in 1803, and only sixty were added to the church in one year. In 1808 we experienced another time of refreshing, and only 54 were received into the Church in the same period. But though we cannot tell what will be the issue of this work, the number will probably be greater. My labors at present are unusually arduous. I feel as though the apostolic direction, Preach the word; be instant in season and out of season, is now to me particularly applicable. During 24 days past, I have been attending the devotions of religious assemblies every evening except two; and though the season has been muddy, and the nights dark, these assemblies have been full. I bless the Lord that my health has not yet failed, though it has been shaken; and I am not without fears. Yet, in the present state of things I dare not relax for one day."


THE Missionary Society of Connecticut' is one of the oldest in the United States. And it may be affirmed with safety, that no Society in proportion to its means, has performed an equal quantity of missionary labor; and, in no instance, have those labors been more judiciously and successfully directed.-Scores of Christian churches which are now flourishing in various parts of our country, have been planted and reared, under the blessing of Heaven, by the fostering hand of this Society. The labors and influence of Connecticut missionaries, have also had a great effect in many of the infant settlements, in laying the foundation of many public and social institutions, from which the most distant posterity will derive a benefit.


The Narrative' of the Trustees is accompanied with a very interesting account of the western parts of the United States. This account is taken for religious purposes, and will be found highly gratifying to those who feel solicitous the welfare of the American Church, This will probably appear, at length, in two or three succeeding Numbers of the Magazine.


From the Narrative' of the Trustees, it appears that they are desirous of extending the field of missionary service, which they hope to be able to occupy, in consequence of continual and pressing calls from the destitute people of the western country. It is earnestly hoped that the Christian people of this State, on whose liberality this Society must ever chiefly depend, will not suffer the judicious efforts of the Trustees to be disconcerted, through a failure of the needful pecuniary supplies. Such assistance, is at present, their principal want. The western country is continually presenting the most extensive fields for missionary service, affording every needed encouragement for gospel instruction. The good Providence of God provides faithful men, ready to devote themselves to his service. The western country looks particularly to this Society, knowing that its operations are conducted in a steady, systematic manner, and that they have been signally attended with the divine blessing. Were the resources of the Society equal to the urgent calls upon the Trustees, and to the plan which they would gladly prosecute, double and treble, the number of missionaries now employed, would be laboring faithfully, and we might hope successfully, in dispersing Bibles and religious books, and preaching the gospel of salvation, to thousands destitute of the bread of life. Those who direct their pious charity to the aid of this Institution, will always enjoy the pleasing reflection that they give to a definite object; that their donation will be managed in a judicious manner; that it may be immediately productive of great good; and, that it is given for the furtheran of a design which has received the signal approbation of heaven. God has placed his American church in an extensive, uncultivated field, with innumerable calls for labor immediately at hand, and his great direction is, 'Occupy till I come.'

The Narrative' of the Trustees sufficiently shows, that their labors in the past year, have been accompanied with the gracious in

« ElőzőTovább »