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Church Members' Magazine.
PROFITS DEVOTED TO THE BENEFIT OF AGED MINISTERS.
MAY BE HAD OF ALL BOOKSELLERS.
J. UNWIN, GRESHAM STEAM PRESS, BUCKLERSBURY, LONDON.
The Christian Witness.
THE AUTUMNAL MEETING will be held in ABERDARE, SOUTH WALES, on
277104 ASTOR, LFNT AND
TILDENECUND REVIVALS OF RELIGION. The necessity and importance of a revival of religion have of fate occupied a considerable portion of public attention. This has been occasioned not so much by indications of a declension of religion in this country compared with its state in former periods, as by reports from, America of the extraordinary measure of Divine influence, which, in many parts of that interesting country, has attended the work of God. Considering the highly respectable quarters whence these reports have proceeded, no reasonable doubt can be entertained of their substantial correctness. In many districts and congregations in the northern part of that vast continent, à general and powerful impression of the infinite importance of religion has been produced, where formerly only a cold and barren profession of the Gospel existed ; and multitudes, young and old, rich and poor,
every class and profession, have been led to receive the Word of God. This delightful effect has been produced in general by no extraordinary measures or efforts, but by the silent and efficient influence of the Spirit of God, in connexion with the diligent and faithful use of divinely appointed means. It has been attended by no extravagant manifestations of excited or impassioned feeling, but by the better evidence of a real change—the fruits of holy conversation and sanctified life.
Without adverting more particularly to Transatlantic circumstances, I may be allowed to say, that the state of religion in our own souls, among our Christian connexions, or in the country to which we belong, is a subject peculiarly appropriate for consideration at the commencement of a year. At such a time we are naturally led to review the past, to look round on the present, and to anticipate the future. Some are, perhaps, engaged in pensive musings, and in reference both to temporal and to spiritual things are, perhaps, disposed to exclaim, “O that it were with me as in days that are past, when the candle of the Lord shone brightly upon me!” Others, perhaps, are exulting in the abundance of their enjoyments, and contrasting with delight their present circumstances, with scenes of desolation and sadness, which, they trust, have passed away for
Some are looking forward to the future with wishful anticipations of coming joy; and others are, perhaps, dreading it as big only with the promise of suffering and calamity. The past, with respect to usefulness, but not to account, is gone for ever. The present only is ours; we know not what a day may bring forth. Whatsoever our hands, then, find to do, let us do with all our might.
A revival of religion supposes either that religion has fallen into decay, or that it has not reached that vigour and elevation to which it might be expected to arrive. In both senses it is a phrase of a comparative nature. It also implies that there is some standard or period with which we are disposed to compare " the present line of things.” And, therefore, before we can speak intelligibly upon the subject, we must have a correct idea of the standard by which the nature and degree of religious feeling and attainment should be tried. Without this, everything must be vague and indefinite. Instruction will be unsatisfactory, reproof and admonition administered at random, and exhortation and excitement, however well intended, either miss their aim, or produce only general impressions, indefinite in their nature, and temporary in their duration,