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maintain the expediency of artificial revivals, or who believe that these movements are to be resolved into special influences of God's Spirit, will not find it easy to set aside.
“But stop, sir, look here, - you like improvements in every thing excepting religion? Must things always go on the same old
When I was young, we used to winnow grain with a fan, and it was slow work. Afterward, a machine was invented that would work much faster. And if an invention should be sought out by which one man would winnow an hundred bushels in a day, you would be pleased with it. The more work it would turn off, the better. So it should be in revivals. I used to work a week, as hard as I could, to get eight, nine, ten, eleven, converted. And when we made twenty converts in a week, it was noised all about the country, as though we had wrought wonders. But now you see I count an hundred, and a hundred and ten, as at Grafton, Chester, Springfield, and Acworth. And I expect to live to see the day, when I shall see three thousand souls converted in a day. Yes, three thousand souls saved from hell in a day!" — Ibid., pp. 48, 49.
As for advising people to go home, and examine themselves, and read their Bibles, and pray, he does not hesitate to pronounce it to be “a delusion of the old tempting Devil," mere fetch on the part of the Enemy of souls, in order to gain time. He also says, in another place,
“ There is no merit in a long conviction. God never required any such thing. If a boy hated his father, do you think he would get any praise for delaying to do his duty and becoming a dutiful son? No! every day he continued in rebellion would enhance his guilt. There is an error which prevails very extensively in regard to this subject. A man is seeking for salvation : he has been four weeks under conviction. The minister tells him to go home and read his Bible and pray, and if he continues in the same state of mind, he may conclude that he has got the effectual calling,' and if not, that it's only the common calling.' Well, if the man concludes that he has got the effectual calling, at the end of some weeks he is taken into the Church. “There,' says the deacon, mark my words, there's a man that 'll wear. Now, my friends, this is wrong - wholly wrong.” — Sermons, fc., p. 18.
Again, in a discourse on our Lord's stretching forth his hand to save Peter, he goes into the following characteristic defence of his own way of doing these things, in an imaginary conversation between the Apostle, after he is safely on board the vessel, and the Saviour. Another
query which might have arisen in Peter's mind. 'I don't know as I was in the water long enough. I rather think I
ought to have been there about three weeks!'
• What's that, Peter ?' 'Why I am afraid I was not in the water long enough. -- If I had only laid there three weeks, then the Master might have taken me out, and it would have been a complete cure. -I should have felt perfectly safe.' 'Well, Peter, is there any other reason why you feel dissatisfied ?' O
I don't know -- I believe I didn't feel bad enough when I was in the water! I ought to have gone down two or three times, (I believe they drown the third time,) but if I remember, I didn't go down at all. I don't believe I felt bad enough. They say it is indispensably necessary to feel like death in order to be safe.' 'O! what nonsense!'". Ibid., p. 25.
The two measures on which Mr. Burchard chiefly relies as the means of “ breaking down” sinners, and inducing them to “submit to God," are Special Prayers, and the Anxious-Seat. The converts, on saying at the Anxious-Seats that they give up their hearts,” are passed next into the Inquiry Room, where they are called upon to answer a series of questions proposed by Mr. Burchard, and introduced thus ; "Now if you will tell me the truth, I will tell you eighteen times out of twenty; yea, ninety-five times out of one hundred; yea, more, ninetyeight times out of one hundred, who are Christians.” This done, their names are immediately enrolled for admission into the Church. Mrs. Burchard, also, has her “ Department," meanwhile, doing for the children what her husband does for the adults.
Mr. Burchard's own account of what once befell him at the Anxious Seats, will let our readers sufficiently into “ the history and mystery
of his operations. “In one of our large towns, where I held a protracted meeting, some years since, salvation was flowing like a mighty river. Forty or fifty frequently gave up their hearts to Christ in a single day, and it continued so for days together. Well, one day, (we had the anxious-seats in the basement story,) I sent some of the professors up stairs to pray, while I was conversing with the sinners on the anxious-seats. The result was glorious. Seat after seat full gave up their hearts to God, and I felt the spirit of God in my very soul. At last I got the seat filled, (it was the third or fourth time, I believe,) and they would n't give up their hearts, not a soul of them. I sent the deacon up stairs to see what the matter was, for I concluded the trouble was there if vhere, for I felt cold, stupid, and disheartened. Well, the deacon went up; not a single professor was praying ; but, there stood a great, tall, country - 30 s. VOL. II. NO. III.
gawky, speechafying! The deacon told me what the case was; I went up, and ordered the fellow to stop, and told the people to get down on their knees, and go to God in prayer. They did so. I felt the Holy Spirit come right down rush! rush! rush! into my soul. Salvation came right into the hearts of those very sinners, who just before had been so obstinate. They submitted to Christ, the very moment I asked them. They were converted and I had the pleasure of seeing them taken into the Church myself. Well, I got on another seat full; I couldn't do any thing at all with them. So I went up myself to see what the matter was now, and found the people had all cleared out home! I went back and dismissed the meeting immediately. It was n’t of any use to go on and keep 'em there waiting, unless prayers were ascending up to the throne in their behalf. Now, there is nothing but prayer - the prayer of faith, that will bring salvation to the people of Burlington. You can't speechafy a soul out of hell." - Ibid., pp. 118, 119.
It is hardly to be supposed that there are many among the
judges, and senators, and generals, and colonels, and captains” of Vermont, who can be made to witness such proceedings, or listen to such discourses, except with feelings of unmitigated disgust. The Protracted Meeting at Woodstock, which asted twenty-six days, was regarded, we believe, by those engaged in getting it up, as signally blessed ; yet what were the immediate results ? It divided and estranged families and friends; it gave infinite occasion for scoffing at religion in general ; it was pronounced by a vote of the town a public nuisance; and of those whom it made serious for a time, but a very small proportion, judging from past experience, can be expected to persevere, the rest relapsing into a state of sin or indifference, which, all admit, commonly proves much worse, and more hopeless, than before.
“Let not an intelligent community," says Mr. Streeter, “be deceived by the rumors of Mr. Burchard's success, in this place, as well as others. For, considering the duration of the meeting, the efforts that were put forth, and the circumstances of the case, it was 'a mountain in labor.' There are, in this town, and those adjoining, ten thousand souls. The weather and sleighing were excellent, during the whole twenty-six or twenty-seven days, and people came from various directions, in the circumference of more than an hundred miles in diameter. Whole families of children, from three or four years old and upwards, were put under M and Mrs. Burchard's care, to manage or mangle them as they pleased; and all who would be made to say that they 'gave their hearts to
God,' were reckoned as converts. Some of them, as facts declare, only said it, to get out of the clutches of the inquisitor. Well, instead of thousands, the braggadocio reported only four hundred, not half of whom can now be produced. And, although people were hurried into the churches, before they got cold, (lest, as Mr. Burchard said, the Devil should catch more than half of them,) including unstable youth, and little, inexperienced children, yet the whole number amounted to only one hundred and twenty. Why, a Mormonite with half the advantages that Mr. Buchard had, would make three converts to his one. - Mirror, foc., pp. 165, 166.
At the same time, in another view of the subject, it is gratifying to trace the wisdom of Divine Providence, in permitting these extravagances, for the good they have done, and are still doing, indirectly. They serve to open the eyes of the public, and keep them awake, to the flagrant abuses incident to the revival system, and lead to inquiries and discussions which can hardly fail, sooner or later, effectually to expose the radical error on which that system proceeds. Moreover, it is due to the revival system itself, to say, that we are indebted to it for creating life under the ribs of a dead orthodoxy, which had previously lain like an incubus on the mind of the country, and for diffusing, among the Orthodox themselves, a freer spirit in regard to doctrines as well as measures, which, by paving the way to the establishment and triumph of what is called the New-School party, is likely, in no great length of time, to rid the American Churches, at least, of every vestige of proper Calvinism.
NOTICES AND INTELLIGENCE. A Sketch of the Reformation. By Thomas B. Fox. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1836. 12mo. pp. 257. — We have here the fourth volume of Professor Ware's “Sunday Library for Young Persons.” One on a more interesting and suitable topic could hardly have been desired. Though "A Sketch," merely, as it could not but be, within the limits assigned, it is evidently drawn up with much study and care; and the selection and arrangement of the materials, and the general style of the composition are such, as cannot fail to make it a popular, as well as useful work. Mr. Fox has judged wisely, considering the age and character of the readers for whose benefit it is particularly designed, in throwing his narrative as much as possible into the form of a series of biographies of the leading reformers in different countries, and in interspersing liberally personal anecdotes, illustrative of the times,
as well as of the men and their cause. Were we to object to the book on any account, it would be, that the writer has touched too gently on the glaring faults of many of the reformers, and particulariy of Luther; and that he has not taken sufficient pains to mark and enforce the distinction between the “ Principles of the Reformation, properly so called, and the doctrines, or theological system of the reformers themselves, in the leading articles of which they did not differ materially from the Catholics.
Hug's Introduction to the New Testament. Translated from the Third German Edition. By David Fosdick, Jr. With Notes by M. Stuart, Professor of Sacred Literature in the Theological Seminary, Andover. Andover : Gould & Newman. 1836. Svo.
We are happy to announce the appearance of a second English version of this valuable work, the first, by Dr. Wait, (London, 1827, 2 vols. 8vo.,) being absolutely intolerable. The present translation is executed throughout with ability and taste, and is taken, moreover, from a later edition of the original, revised, and considerably enlarged by the author. Hug, to borrow Professor Stuarı's words, “is a Roman Catholic, with a kind of Protestant heart," and is said by Gesenius, with direct reference to this Introduction, “to excel all his predecessors in deep and fundamental investigations.” The “ Notes are valuable as containing a summary of, or references to the more recent German Literature on the various subjects discussed. This work in its present dress, will, at much less expense, more than supply the place of Bishop Marsh's edition of Michaelis, or Mr. Horne's indigested, superficial, unsatisfactory compilation.
Passow's Greek Lexicon. - We understand that Professor C. C. Felton, of Cambridge, is engaged in the preparation of a new Greek Lexicon. It is to be an exact translation of Franz Passow's German Greek Lexicon, accommodated as nearly as possible to our English idioms. Passow's Dictionary has already reached the fourth edition, and is acknowledged, by the London Quarterly Review, and by eminent Greek scholars of our own country, to be unrivalled. Although there are Greek Lexicons in English of considerable merit, the want of one more full and exact is beginning to be widely felt; and this want Professor Felton proposes to supply, by giving the whole of Passow, including his last additions, worked up into the body of the book. Professor Felton is already known to the public by his accurate and beautiful edition of Homer, which has met with universal favor among competent judges; and this, together with his zeal in the pursuit of Greek literature and his fine classical taste, leaves no doubt on our minds, as to the success, in every point of view, of his new enterprise.