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warning of his approaching end. In a letter to his friend Dr. Drake, dated Dec. 11, 1824, after expressing his gratification that his correspondent should have thought so highly of his work, he adds:
“But I know the danger of even honorable reputation, and I fear the Circean cup. The richest pearl in the Christian's crown of graces, is humility; and when I look back upon myself, and examine my own heart, and see how little progress I have made in that which it most imports us to study, I am sure there is no man breathing who has more cause, not only for humility, but for abasement, than myself: for how often have I neglected the cistern for the stream, and have been pursuing a bubble, instead of giving up all my feeble powers and possessions in purchase of 'the pearl of great price.' What a mercy not to have been allowed to persevere in that neglect!”
During the last three months of his life, his strength declined rapidly, exciting much solicitude in the minds of his family, but no alarm of immediate danger. His last illness was short, but exceedingly severe. From the 24th to the 28th of Dec. (1826,) he continued, with daily increasing difficulty, to be moved from his bed to a sofa ; but, although he suffered much from the nature of his disorder, it was not till the 29th, that his life was supposed to be in danger. On the day following, his friend, the Rev. Mr. Russel, was sent for; and to him, in the presence of his assembled family, Dr. Good thus delivered his solemn confession and testimony to the truth.
“I cannot say, I feel those triumphs which some Christians have experienced ; but I have taken, what unfortunately the generality of Christians too much take, -I have taken the middle walk of Christianity. I have endeavored to live up to its duties and doctrines, but have lived below its privileges. I most firmly believe all the doctrines of Scripture, as declared by our church. I have endeavored to take God for my Father and my Savior; but I want more spirituality, more humility; I want to be humbled.”—Here he became much agitated, yet went on :-“ I have resigned myself to the will of God. If I know myself, I neither despair nor presume; but my constitution is by nature sanguine in all things, so that I am afraid of trusting to myself.” Some remarks being made about the righteousness of Christ, Dr. Good replied: “No man living can be more sensible than I am, that there is nothing in ourselves; and of the absolute necessity of relying only upon the merits of Jesus Christ. I know there is a sense in which that expression of St. Paul's, Of whom I am chief, is applicable to all; but there are some to whom it is peculiarly appropriate, and I fear I am one. I have not improved the opportunities given me. I have had large opportunities given me, and I have not improved them as I might. I have been led astray by the vanity of human learning and the love of human applause."
On Monday, the 2d of January, his hearing had become greatly affected, and he was almost constantly convulsed. He uttered only one or two connected sentences. VOL. 1.
“Mr. Russel called to him in a loud voice, ‘Jesus Christ, the Saviour:-he was not insensible to that sound. His valued clerical friend then repeated to him in the same elevated tone, “Behold the Lamb of God:' this roused him, and with energy, the energy of a dying believer, he terminated the sentence,' Which taketh away the sins of the world;' which were the last words he intelligibly uttered, being about three hours before his death."
When Dr. Good's former Unitarian views are remembered, this touching account of his last moments will appear the more satisfactory and instructive. It serves, we think, to illustrate the remark that, in the case of the philosophic unbeliever, repentance will ordinarily be the result of faith, rather than conduct to it. It supplies us, too, with a striking proof of the vast importance of a mere change of opinion from false to true, in the matter of religion,-a simple rectification of the views, (although very far from answering to the Scriptural idea of conversion,) inasmuch as it involves the removal of a fatal barrier to the influence of truth upon the conscience and the heart. Because a change of opinions does not always issue in a change of character, some persons have, we think, underrated the value of the intellectual revolution. Neither Dr. Good himself nor his friends, ever confounded his embracing Orthodox opinions with that subsequent and essential change, the precise epoch of which was never known, we are told, even to his nearest relatives. “But its reality was indisputable; and they who had the most frequent opportunities of noticing it, deemed it another proof of that striking diversity of operations with which the same Spirit worketh all in all.”
NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
1. Thoughts on Revivals. By Rev. B. B. Smith, Rector of St. Stephen's Church, Middlebury, Vt. Middlebury, 1828. pp. 23.
This little work, though unassuming in title and pretensions, is yet a very candid, temperate, judicious and able discussion of a most important subject. The author begins with defining a revival of religion.
"All experimental believers essentially agree in the opinion that a greatnay, an entire moral change must take place in the heart of every child of Adam before he can become a real Christian. This change, wrought through the word of God as the instrument, and by the Holy Ghost as the divine agent, is called contersion. The circumstances under which this effectual moral reyolution is brought about, are admitted to be very various. In most cases, at least in ages past, this change has been comparatively solitary, silent, and as far as man could judge, progressive. But it is equally plain, that the change may be, as in many cases both in ancient and modern time it has most indisputably been, sudden, powerful, public, and in many persons nearly at the same time.
This multiplication of individual conversions, is what, in correctness of speech and Christian charity, should be understood by REVIVALS OF RELIGION.
By the foregoing definition, a broad distinction is intentionally taken between the real conversions which constitute revivals of religion, and the meetings, visits, conversations, sermons, and prayers which are connected with thein. Many of these meetings may really be out of season, artificially contrived, and
imprudently conducted; visits may be unadvised or intrusive ; conversations unguarded, impertinent, cruel; sermons too declamatory, exciting, passionate; prayers boisterous, irreverent, familiar ;-in a word, a scene called a reviral, may be very unworthy the name; and the scene even of A REAL REVIVAL may be marred and stained with many very deplorable instances of human frailty and passion."
To revivals, thus defined and distinguished from accompanying abuses, Mr. S. observes that he is aware of but one objection. It has been urged " that God, who abounds in mercy and loving kindness, is most kindly disposed, at all times, and in all places, to bestow his Holy Spirit on those who ask it—that he is no respecter of persons, but vouchsafes his grace to all alike, who need and seek his favor-and that his gracious presence fills ali'se all places, and the hearts of all who humbly wait on him." It is hence inferred, that “ his peculiar presence cannot possibly be afforded to particular places or congregations." To this, it is justly replied, in the first place, that if the argument prove anything, it proves vastly too much; and, secondly, that it is refuted by innumerable facts ; it being undeniably evident, “ from Scripture, from history, and from living testimony, that the impartial grace of God is perfectly consistent with seasons of special religious seriousness, and frequent genuine conversions."
Having thus disposed of the objection, Mr. S. admits, that there may be, and have been, abuses and evils connected with revivals of religion-abuses and evils which he has no wish to conceal, and no disposition to palliate. But he insists, “ All the evils of revivals are the faults of man. Their benefits are from God." These benefits he proceeds to enumerate; and, though the extract be somewhat long, our readers shall have his account of them in his own words.
“1. The very excitement attending revivals, serves to awaken attention to the most important, yet still the most forgotten and neglected of all subjects. Often it seems as if nothing else could break the fatal slumber, deeper and more awful than that of the dead, into which a formal, ill instructed, or irreligious community has fallen. By nothing less pungent than the most arousing sermons.prompted and pointed by the zeal of a revival, can stupified and hardened consciences be effectually awakened; and never, under the wisest and most powerful, even of this description of preaching, without the special and more abundant measure of divine grace then vouchsafed in answer to more fervent prayer. A season of revival seems to give a keener edge to 'the sword of the Spirit,' which is the word of God; so that the more desperately depraved aro seldom awakened, except in times of special revivals.
“ 2. They certainly are instrumental, also, in enkindling the languid zeal of many of the children of God, cooled nearly to extinction by long years of comparative ind.fference and declension. They arouse them to their dutiesconstrain them to be fervent in prayer-more watchful over their hearts, and more anxious in the use of the appointed means of grace. They define and deepen the line of separation between the votaries of the world and the real children of God; and are often the means of establishing in private Christians for life, a staid and uniform character of exernplary piety. They are equally beneficial to the clergy-serving, in the most vivid manner to impress upon them the momentous nature of their exalted duties—the value and the danger of immortal souls-and the awful responsibility of their office-affording them the very best and most desirable opportunities of enforcing the efficacious doctrines of the cross-of conversing with individual members of their flocks, and pressing home the great duties of religion, and serving to cherish and confirm in them
that more exalted frame and habit of devotion, which is at once the highest ornament and richest reward of their profession.
“3. By the best and fairest rules of forming opinions on such subjects, revivals do most certainly promote the immediate local interests of religion. They certainly do swell, in a very remarkable manner, the items usually returned in reports on the state of the church. They multiply attendants on divine worship-fill the house of God-swell the number of communicants, and increase the pecuniary resources of religious institutions; and are often the means of procuring the permanent settlement of faithful ministers of the building or enlargement of churches, and of adding to the external prosperity and strength of religious societies.
“Besides these immediate and local benefits of revivals, there are others of a more general, and even more momentous nature, not at all to be estimated by the mere amount of immediate good to the congregation particularly concerned. And, as the world is ransacked, to find out everything which revivals have touched and tainted with the malignant shades of their influence, so it is but fair that the incidental and collateral benefits of revivals should be as fully recounted.
“1. They may justly be regarded as the nurseries of the church, furnishing an extraordinary proportion of ministers to the sanctuary, and maturing them in a remarkable manner for the faithful discharge of their important duties. In these latter days, the preposterous wickedness of training young persons for holy orders, in the same manner they are educated for the learned professions, is suitably abhorred, at least in countries where unendowed churches can present small inducement for the high offence. An infinitely more effectual method has been provided through the guardian care of the Great Head of the church, by arresting the attention of young men, in our colleges and seminaries of learning, or previous to their setting in any of the ordinary pursuits of life; and disposing them to consecrate their earliest and best powers to the sacred work of the ministry-constraining them by the exceeding love of Christ, to labor more abundanily than others, in word and doctrine. Of the beneficiaries of education societies, a surprising portion were early subjects of revivals of religion. And, certainly, many of our most influential and valuable clergymen, and not a few of our noble band of missionaries, have entered on their voluntary career of toil and suffering, under the sustained and glowing ardor of a season of revival. They needed and they received, for the arduous duties they undertook, the more powerful influence of holy zeal which is seldom inparted, except on such favored seasons.
- 2. This train of reflection naturally leads on the mind to the undoubted and blessed fact, that, since the more general and extensive revival of pure religion, the spirit of benevolence has been excited, which is carrying into triumphant operation the numerous Christian and charitable institutions which illustrate and exalt the present age. True, by the wise and gracious provision of the Author of all good, these holy institutions are alternately cause and effect. Revivals furnished the zealous agents by whom they were first put into operation ; and Sunday Schools, Bible Classes, the distribution of the Holy Scriptures and of religious tracts, together with the labors of Missionaries the influence of missionary and charitable celebrations, and especially the superior zeal and faithfulness of clergymen blessed with a missionary spirit, have spread very widely abroad those benign and awakening influences, by virtue of which, under the favoring dews of heavenly grace, such blessed multitudes have been added to the number of God's faithful people. These, in their turn, devote their newly inspired energies and zeal to the improvement and growth of the fostering institutions from which they first derived the light of life. Thus that blessed system has been matured and is still sustained, which has already renewed the face of Christendom, and transformed full many a desert into the garden of the Lord. Thus-and thus only can the missionary enterprise and the Bible cause be sustained and carried triumphantly onward, until the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.
“3. But the last benefit of revivals which shall be mentioned, far exceeds in weight and prominence, any that have hitherto been enumerated. They prove of the most vital and lasting importance to the church, by bringing forth the real fundamental doctrines of the Gospel in the boldest relief. They furnish a
sort of infallible test of every prevailing style of preaching; and become a practical commentary, known and read of all men, of the utter fallacy and fatuity of any preaching but the preaching of the cross. It needeth not that any man should denounce unfaithful stewards—a pure revival of religion instantly puts a brand upon their foreheads. Universalism, Formalism, Pelagianism, Unitarianism, stand forth, touched by this ithurial spear, in naked contrariety to the word and the Spirit of God. By the common sentiment of all experimental Christians, it is admitted, with a force of conviction utterly irresistible, that controversy, abstruse metaphysical niceties, and cold moral discourses, ought forever to be excluded from Christian pulpits; and Christ and his cross alone, faithfully preached-at once the wisdom and the power of God. This strong, spontaneous sentimeni, is well grounded : for the word of God is the appointed instrument in the conversion of sinners. By whatever apparent means the conscience is first touched, still the word of God is the victorious sword of the Spirit. And no other instrument does he ever employ in the conversion of souls. Of course it is the pure word, which is thus honored. Not that word adulterated or perverted by human systems—not that word diluted, misapplied, annulled! But the pure word of God—the simple, genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“ Truly converted, experimental clergymen, when their zeal keeps them near a throne of grace, strongly feel this, as a kind of instinct of their new nature. And they preach the doctrines of grace with unction and love, because they are written on their hearts. But were it otherwise, their zeal would lead them to try various methods—all possible inethods to touch, convince, and awaken unconverted souls. Thus experience would soon teach them that the doctrines of the Reformation--of man's utterly lost and sinful nature-of the exceeding aggravations of his actual offences-of his need of an entire moral transformation by the Holy Ghost-of the blessed atoning efficacy of the blood of Christ -of salvation by faith alone in the merits of his death, and of new obedience under the influence of faith and love, implanted and kept alive in renewed hearts by the Holy Ghost, are the only life-giving doctrines of the divine word. Without the preaching of these, no single soul of man can cver be awakened from spiritual death, and be made partaker of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
On the subject of means to be employed for promoting a revival of religion, our author has the following excellent observations :
" The best means of promoting genuine piety in seasons of the strongest religious excitement, cannot be by devising new and strange methods of deepening human sympathies; but by using the ordinary means of grace with extraordinary diligence and faithfulness. Instead of devising new seasons of uncommon sacredness, the ordinances and sacraments appointed by Christ himself should studiously be exalted as highest in rank, and unrivalled in sanctity and interest: instead of striking out strange, preposterous, and extravagant doctrines-doctrines of revivals-of full assurance-of absolute perfection of the prayer of faith, or whatever else might caricature or subvert the unsophisticated truth of God, the great cardinal doctrines of the Reformation should be preached with peculiar prominence, force, and feeling. Instead of numberless meetings, divided into endless variety of classes, and held at unseasonable hours, let the services of the sanctuary be exalted above all others; and let the necessary prayer meetings of the week be conducted with the same decorum and solemnity as the regular Lord's day exercises. In a word, if by the real and genuine operations of the Holy Ghost, a deeper tide of religious feeling has been set in motion, let it be the aim and effort of God's ministers and people, to turn it into scriptural channels, and wise and salutary directions. Let the serious attention He hath awakened be directed to revealed truth-to revealed duties ;-let it be turned to Christ, and the glory of his pure unadulterated Gospel.
“ Human fancies and dogmas, at such a season, can make a great noise, and do a vast deal of mischief. The truth of God alone can deepen conviction till it becomes true repentance ; can touch the heart till it is formed anew; can exalt Christ till he is loved supremely; can elevate the sacraments till they are received reverently; can enforce the whole of experiinental and practical