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taining all sorts of religion, and many of them entertaining no sort at all; these, and various other causes, inevitably tinge, if they do not radically corrupt, the revivals of religion which prevail. The Christian carries his political, or his money making spirit into the meeting for praise and prayer. If it be suppressed for a time, it is sure, at length, to break out, and show its bitter fruits,
Such facts, however, do not disprove the Divine origin of these influences. The fountain is pure; the conduit is earthen. The effects are mixed, because man, after his spiritual transformation, remains, to a lamentable extent, under the power of error and sin. The effects cf these revivals, nevertheless, are great and salutary. The nuinber of pious persons now living, is, undoubtedly, much greater than at any former period. Many of them are not superficial religionists, but they know in whom they have believed, and understand, to some extent, the hope of their calling They cherish a fraternal affection for each other. With the miserable sectarian divisions of the times, they have little sympathy. Some of them are prevented by ecclesiastical barriers from manifesting their charity, but the true feeling burns in their breasts, and, at the proper time, it will flame forth. One genuine result of these revivals is seen in the upholding of the benevolent enterprises of the day. We say upholding, for they might be commenced in a mere temporary excitement. But that spring.time has passed away. The trial and the burden of the hot and long summer days are now to be borne. And there is no shrinking fron, the dust and the sun. The feelings which multitudes have exhibited in every part of the land in respect to the embarrassments of our principal benevolent societies are wortlıy of particular observation. It shows an undying attachment to the work. It proves that many Christians have embarked in the cause for life and for death.
We are impressively taught, by the signs of the times, the importance of maintaining a calm and serene trust in God. There is no occasion for excessive anxiety. We are not to conclude that strange things are happening to us. Neither the world nor the church have ever been free, for any con. siderable time, from great excitement. If we imagine that our generation is more remarkable, in this respect, than
any which has preceded it, we only shut our eyes to the light of history. It is not to be compared, for instance, with the period when our Saviour was on the earth. The Jewish state was near its final catastrophe. The heavy tread of the invading Roman legions could be heard in the distance. Fearful signs were just ready to break forth in the earth and in the skies; and men's hearts were failing them for fear. At this eventful crisis, our Saviour was perfectly undisturbed, while he addressed to his disciples this most weighty admonition: in your patience possess ye your souls. He is a poor soldier who is scared by the shaking of a leaf.
The duty of exercising a kind and courteous spirit is equally obvious. No manner or degree of ill-treatment will justify those bitter retorts, and cutting invectives, which are 80 common. If one feels called on to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, let it be his object to win over the caviller, or skeptic, to the cause of truth. It is certainly possible to defend what is right, with those deep convictions of its importance, with that dignity and decorum, with that serenity of mind and candor of judgment, which will do more to commend Christianity, than all which the arts of the most practised logician can accomplish without them. We are to show that our religion is what it claims to be-urbane, generous, harmonizing whatever it touches, and shutting away no living thing as an outlaw from its sympathy. On the other hand, there is no occasion for wavering, fickleness, veering now to one extreme and then to its opposite. We may not shrink from a manly avowal of opinions which we honestly entertain. The most laudable enterprise is liable to imperfection ; the most praiseworthy undertaking may be mismanaged. We are not justified in renouncing the right because of the wrong, in abandoning the great good because of the collateral and subordinate mischief. When there is a mad rush to one extreme, none but a fool will precipitate himself to the other.
Once more, we are bound to cherish confident and cheering hopes of the ultimate and universal spread of truth and righteousness. The world, indeed, lieth in wickedness, Its dark places are full of the habitations of cruelty. The great empire of darkness seems to be hardly entered. A few outposts only have been captured. Civilization -- with a nominal Christianity--has its atiendant vices, some of them
of deep root and of enormous growth. Improvements in the arts and sciences open wider channels for corruption, and more expeditious modes for doing mischief. The extension of our settlements westward is connected with flagrant injustice to the aborigines. We cheat them out of their land one day, and murder them with our whiskey the next. The ends of the land are brought together by means which are destroying the sanctity of the Sabbath day. Our canvass is said to whiten every sea, but too frequently it wafts that poison which strows every shore, that it touches, with dead men's bones.
But we must not dwell exclusively on these dark pictures. Men are not predestinated to do wrong. It is very possible to linger so long on the sad condition of ruined human nature, that we shall become inisanthropic seers of evil, and nothing but evil, perpetually brooding over the degeneracy of the age, unfitting ourselves, and all around us, for the world in which we live. God has spread out before us encouragements of the most ample import. For instance, there are certain wants which men feel, which all men feel, which no ingenuity of skepticism can eradicate, nor, for any long time, darken. These wants exist in the nature of man, and they must remain. The need of an atonement, and of an almighty, sanctifying Spirit, are not arbitrary, conventional matters. They do not depend on law, or agreement, or fashion. They are as indestructible as the soul of man, while he exists in a state of probation. From such facts as these, we draw strong encouragement. They are, in a sense, safeguards, in respect to fatal error. They remonstrate against him who seeks to drown his conscience in any specious delusion.
Besides, Christianity is making progress. She is effecting some advance every year. This can be said of no false religion. Islamism and Paganism do not hold their own. Every change in them is for the worse. Every alteration is a deterioration. The Christian nations are gradually becoming stronger and more united, growing into an aggregate that nothing on earth can resist. The countries which are principally affecting Pagan and Mohammedan nations, are Great Britain and the United States. To these, Divine Providence seems to have intrusted, in a great measure, the destinies of the unevangelized world,
The more we look on general movements, abstracting our eyes from particular evils, we shall be encouraged and filled with hope. Under the guidance of an Almighty Providence and a regenerating Spirit, powers are at work which no malice of men or of devils can arrest. The world is given to Jesus, and his it shall be.
INQUIRIES RESPECTING FREE AGENCY.
INTRODUCTORY NOTE.-BY THE EDITOR.
The author of the following “Inquiries" is unknown to ourselves. They are, however, furnished by a highly respected correspondent, who urges their publication in the present No. of the Repository, and assures us of the sincerity and candor with which they are propounded by the writer. They are addressed to the Rev. Dr. Woods, and appear to have been principally suggested by his article on the same subject in our last No., page 174, seq. As we hope to hear again from Dr. W. on this subject, we presume that he will gladly avail himself of the hints here presented in regard to several points, on which the positions maintained in his former article are supposed, by some, to be vulnerable. We cannot doubt that he will be gratified with the publication of these Inquiries at the present stage of the discussion. They will furnish him with an occasion to present more fully his views on the points referred to, and we doubt not that he will answer them in the same spirit of candor with which they are here urged upon his attention. He will also excuse us for presenting them, in compliance with the request of our correspondent, and for the reasons urged by the writer, anonymously.—EDITOR.
To the Editor of the American Biblical Repository : SIR,
I understand that one of your rules as an editor is, that no anonymous composition shall be printed in your Miscellany. But this rule, as one might reasonably expect, is not like the law of the Medes and Persians; for you have already pubup.
lished, more than once, pieces of considerable length, without the name of the writer; and your brief notices, at the end of each number of your work, are anonymous. Are we to regard all which is anonymous as editorial? In cases where nothing is said to the contrary, I suppose we may presume that the compositions are editorial. On the other hand, where you make an apology for publishing an anonymous piece, you tell us at once, by implication, what your general principle is; and the mass of readers are satisfied, as I would hope, that you have sufficient reasons for a departure from a general principle in the particular case which you specify. To save you the necessity of apologizing in the present case, I shall make my own apology ; and this is, that I do not take the attitude, in the present communication, of one who expresses or defends his own views on a subject, in respect to which those views are definitely and finally made
I come before the public, through your Miscellany, principally as an inquirer. I have difficulties in respect to the subject of FREE AGENCY, which neither Dr. Woods, nor your anonymous correspondent on whom he criticises, has wholly removed. And as I do not undertake to teach, I may be excused, when I take the attitude of a learner and not of a master, for not developing my tyro-condition, in the way of committing my name to the public. Enough that I am obliged to develop so much of it, by the questions which I have to ask.
These inquiries are not, or at least they certainly are not designed to be, as is often the case, an assumption of the attitude of a master who undertakes to shew his pupil how dull he is, by putting questions which he feels that dulness itself might answer, or which it must surely feel reproved for not answering. Dr. Woods, to whom I specially address the following inquiries, because he has fairly given his name to the public, will not, I sincerely hope and trust, indulge the suspicion, that I am aiming at any degradation of his character, or of his critique in your last nuinber, when I present my questions to him, and make the basis of them his remarks on Fatalism and Free Agency. I am, in reality, an inquirer, in the general sense of this word, as to the science of Mental Philosophy. In my present remarks and questions, I am simply so. So far as I have formed opinions on this deeply interesting subject, they are of the Eclectic