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people, and by every effort which they could make, to overwhelm their understandings with terror? No man dare say this, who has ever read those two books. How ihen was this revival of religion brought about? It was by reading the Bible, and pointing out to the people, how far they had departed from what God had commanded in his word, and showing them that all their sufferings originated in this departure from God. This statement of the means by which this revival was produced we think no one will dispute. Nor will the man be found, who will venture to assert that preaching hell torments to the wicked had any
share in effecting it. We should rejoice to see such : a revival of religion among all professors of religion,
in the present day, from studying the Scriptures, to see how far they have departed from the law of the
Lord. We trust we should not be wanting in giving - it all the aid in our power. I pass over attempts
made by Jeremiah, and other servants of the Lord,
to produce revivals of a similar nature among the • Jews, but without success. I only observe in passing,
that they used similar means to effect it , as did Ezra and Nehemiah. But when those means failed, they did not betake themselves to the means, so efficacious in our day, to work on the passions of men, by preaching the doctrine of hell torments, to effect iheir purpose.
A second instance of a revival of religion mentioned in Scripture, is that in the days of John the Baptist. Was it produced by preaching hell torments ? John never used the word hell in all his preaching to the people. It was produced by preaching repentance, and pointing them to the Lamb of God, who was to take away the sin of the world. But the most extraordinary revival of religion, is that which took
place at the day of Pentecost, and during the minisi try of the apostles. Now let all read the Acts of the
preaching endless misery in hell! Let men only me
apostles, and see if they can find, in a single instance;
, become censorious, bigoted and dogmatical, and with reluctance will they admit that persons, who certainly give as much evidence as themselves of Christianity, can really be Christians. They get attached to their minister, and to their sect, and zeal for these is often mistaken for a zeal for God and his glory. Strong excitement of the animal passions, sometimes even to extravagance, is ascribed to the power of God, at work among the people. As to understanding and believing the gospel, of the grace of God, little is said, and as little perhaps, cared about. We think we may say to such persons, in their own language,
u who ever beard or read of such kind of revivals of religion among the apostles and primitive Christians, or who ever heard of their producing any kind of revival whatever by terrifying people with fearful descriptions of eternal misery?" The course which the apostles pursued was open, manly, and dignified; and the doctrine they preached was glad tidings of great joy to all people. Their object was not to save men from Gehenna or bell, but from ignorance, idolatry, licentiousness, and unbelief, and to instruct them in the knowledge and obedience of the one living and true God. But, the primary object of preaching in the present day, seems to be, to save men from hell; to attach converts to some religious party, and enjoin on them to believe neither more nor less, all the days of their lives than is contained in the creed, which they subscribed to on their admission.
No one will certainly construe what is said in the foregoing remarks, into a disapprobation of revivals generally; but only of such as are produced by terror. We maintain. yea, we advocate irue Scriptural revivals of religion. We know of nothing which could afford us more heartfelt joy, than 10 see all parties in religion, yea, all mankind, attending to the oracles of God, and sincerely searching them to know and obey all that the Lord hath commanded. In our remarks we have considered terror the principal means in producing revivals in the present day; and to such, and
such only, the preceding observations are intended to - apply. Divest modern orthodoxy of this most powsi erful mean of producing religious excitements, and
henceforth it would probably have as few revivals of religion to boast of, as Universalism itself. We know not, why the truth of God preached by Universalists, should not produce a real 'Scriptural revival of relig
ion, equally as when preached by others. Is it the in particular medium or manner of communication, that
to te do
is to give the word of God effect? Or is the power of
It is objected," That this doctrine is a very pleasing
When i of hell z chara
2d, I might in my turn say, the opposite doctrine is a very harsh doctrine. Perhaps there is as much, if not more, force in this objection against it, than in the one against my views. If they must be false because they are pleasant, does it follow that the opposite must be true, because it is harsh? We should think it rather an argument against its truth. That the objector's doctrine is not a harsh doctrine he has got to prove. The very saying that my doctrine is pleasant, implies that he is sensible that his own is harsh. We presume many have thought it so, who have been afraid to speak freely their minds on the subject. Yea, we doubt if any man can seriously meditate on the doctrine of eternal misery, and can truly say that it is a pleasant doctrine. Influenced by religious prejudices, and overawed by public opinion, persons rather acquiesce in the doctrine, than feel convinced in their judgments, or satisfied in their minds about it. When they begin to reflect seriously on the eternity of hell torments, and compare it with the well known character of God, as a God of goodness, mercy, and truth, the jnind is at a stand what conclusion to come to concerning it. They think the Bible teaches it, and therefore they must believe it, but with the character of God they are unable to reconcile it.
3d, The gospel of the grace of God is a very pleas. ing doctrine, and if the objection has any force against my views, it equally lies against it. li seems then that he has pleasing doctrines as well as the one I have been stating, against which he cannot make his objection to bear. But why is this the case, for if the pleasant nature of any doctrine proves it false, why is it that he believes the gospel of God to be the iruch ?-It is certainly a very pleasing doctrine to hear that there is even a possibility that any of the human race will be saved. It is still more pleasing, that there