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slurlurd of Orthodoxy. The Presbyterian ministers became men of polished manuers-partook largely of the biblical knowledge, and the elegant and scientific literature of the age, dropped in every generation something of the Orthodoxy of their forefathers, and while their fiocks gradually diminished, contented themselves with being the rational instructors of a few, rather than the idols of the mullitude. Of late, they seem to have discovered, that as a religious community, they must speedily become extinct by adhering to this plan; new controversies have sprung up among them, and though, with a new principle of cohesion and repulsion, they may still maintain themselves, as a distinct body, the history of Presbyterianism, as a sect deducing itself from the time of the great separation from the Establishmenl, in 1662, must be considered as very nearly close ed.' Monthly Review, New Series, vol. Ixxxi. p. 411.”

Individuals may examine for themselves whether the suggestion that the "aristocracy of Presbyterianism" has had any thing to do with the question of the extension of Unitarianism is true or not.-And if any one should spend a thought upon it, we hope be will not say, 'I always thought Presbyterianism was a bad system of church government, and thus jump at the above conclusion;—or that he always thought it a good system, and therefore the above suggestion is false.

The only security for any church, that they will continue in the main pure, rests on their assuming such a form, that they cannot operate and accomplish their purposes without a perpetual resort to the principle of piety, as lying at the foundation of their organiza, tion. This must be the spirit pervading their form, and if their form will, for a long season, permit them to go on without self-destruction, disregarding the spirit, and without the spirit, then it is demonstrative from scripture, from philosophy and from fact, that error will come in like a flood, and destroy every thing but the form of godliness. We have often wondered that pious thinking men have not studied this subject in the sad history of some of the branches of the protestant church. The reason probably is, they have been so pressed in spirit, as they looked abroad upon the world, and bebeld the awful ravages of sin, that they have been constrained to put forth every energy to stay the overwhelming food, even though it were only by a temporary expedient. And while thus engaged, they have forgotten that the only sure hope is the energy of vital piety pervading and shooting up through the public form of religion, and varying that form in any way that can give new egress to the principle. Christianity comes to us without forin, that it may be omniforin;—that it may be seen and known any where and every where as a collection of vital principles. This the protestant church have to a great extent forgotten, while they have been compassing themselves about by bulwarks of their own construction. They bave their systems, their forms, their courts, their canons, their liturgies, their rituals, and all the el celera of establishments and authorities; and what has been the result? Look at Geneva. Her churches dea serted, except by a few women! Her pastors Socinians and Rationalists! Look at France. Her churches, too, in many instances deserted, and ler Pastors little better than those of Geneva! Look at Germany, and the protestant church in the north of Europe. And what is it, but a mighty temple in ruins, with only bere and there a stone in its place! Look at England! The party, which par excellence call themselves the church, and are the majority, including the dignitaries, are Arminian or Grotian in their religious sentiments, breathing much of the spirit, though they scorn the name of Unitarianism. Look at Scotland! And how long is it since Robertson, the historian, was among her most influential ministers!! And with such mighty men as Gordon, and Thomson, and Chalmers in the Evangelical party, they are still out numbered by the opposers of the truth. And it las not fared much better with Presbyterianism in Ireland. It is but the last year, that sixteen or twenty clergymen in the Synod of Ulster, who all along had agreed to the Assembly's Catechism, on being required explicity to state whether they believed the doctrine of the Trinity, withdrew and cried “persecution!" And this, while not a single Independent congregation in Ireland has become Arian or Unitarian!! We wish thinking men, who love religion and men's souls more than any ism or any doxy, would ask how all this has come to pass, and how its recurrence may be prevented? And in connexion with this topic, we wish them to note one or two facts;—that of all the hopeful appearances on the continent of Europe of a revival of religion in the protestant churches, none of it has originated from, or in connection with, their forms of church government, but in spite of them; and, in some cases, in actual opposition to them;—and that of all the benevolent operations originated in Great Britain, within the last thirty-tive years, scarcely one has arisen from, or in agreement with, the existing forms of church government, if we except those of the Independents, who had almost no ecclesiastical forms to consult, but were left to follow the living principle within.

It should be further inquired, in connexion with the same subject, whether nearly all the Evangelical piety, which is beginning to pervade the Protestant churches abroad, is not coming ir ab extru, in distinction from growing up out of their various forms where they exist; and whether, indeed, a long and tedious warfare is not to be maintained with the mere forms which have been superinduced upon the church, before the spirit of religion shall be the pervading principle of all church organization. Nor do we think it necessary that the examination should be confined to the churches across the water. Could we suppose even-handed charity, the charity inculcated by the apostle, (i Cor. xiii.) coming into our land to take inquisition of the various denominations, how they are, or have been fulfilling their high commission, as churches of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should rejoice to hear her ask, “Where did the Missionary spirit arise? Among whom is it most extensively prevalent? Who have taken into their hands most of those weapons which are not carnal, and are most active in using them for truth's sake, and not for name's sake? Who have most of the energy and determination of faith requisite for the conversion of the world? Among whom are the most frequent disputes about modes of doing, and modes of acting? Among whom is the fire of zeal most idly wasted in agitating questions of names and forms? We should rejoice to hear her command justice to bring the scales, that it might be known who is most wanting ;-to hear her command fire from Heaven, to see who would suffer most loss, when the wood, ard the bay, and the stubble should be consumed; and then to hear her say, 'Follow me,' that it might be seen what companies would obey, and receive her spirit, and become incorporate with her form; and what would cry out, “Stop, stop,” you are violating our book of discipline, or our canons, or our modes. We should rejoice to see this, for we have no fear that any would suffer materially; and if we should be among the denuded, we would endeavor to feel and to say, “Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness; let him reprove me, it shals be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head.”


A serious and sensible writer, over the signature of SilvaNUS, has commenced a series of numbers in the N. Y. Evangelist of February 19, which he entitles Thoughts on Prayer. This is truly an important subject, and one which of late has received an uncommon share of attention. Without stopping to enquire, whether the term prayer, is ever used in sacred scripture, in what this writer calls its "largest sense,” i. e. as 'comprehending all the worship which we render to God'--and whether it is “a positive institution,” or “one of the duties of natural religion?”—I would express my entire assent to his observations, when he says, that “no duty is more plainly and fully inculcated in the sacred scriptures, than that of prayer” --that in the scriptures, this duty“ is made one of the discriminaling marks of a good man”--that "prayer has an internal character," without which “the external of the duty does not gain the divine approbation,” which internal character" is entirely wanting in all prayers of the unregenerate." I am pleased also to find my own sentiments espressed by Silvanus, in his answers to the first and second of bis Enquiries.

First. “Does not God require unregenerate men, as well as others, to pray?" Certainly be does, answers S. and pertinently quotes Isaiah, 1v. 6, 7, in proof of it.

Secondly. “What is the character of those prayers required of the unregenerate?" 8. truly answers, “ The same as of the prayers which are required of other men-the unregenerate are required to make the same humble, penitential, believing, submissive prayers as the regenerate."

Thus far S. appears to me to give a correct and scriptural answer to his enquiries. But when he comes to his third and fourth enquiries, he says some things, on which I wish to make a few remarks.

Thirdly. Are men required to know that their hearts are right, in order to give them a warrant to make the attempt to pray? I dislike the terms in which this enquiry is stated. A warrant to make an attempt to pray-when it is acknowledged they are required to pray, and it is their duly to pray, and, consequently, they are well able to pray aright!--The terms in which S. answers this enquiry, are, in my view equally exceptionable. He says, “ The command which is addressed to them to call on the name of the Lord, is a sufficient warrant for them to attempt to pray.” Why is not such a divine command a sufficient warrant for them to pray, as well as otlempt to pray? Does it not require a “rectified heart," to allempt, as much as to perform a duty? S. makes a distinction between prayer and other duties, where, in my view, there is ro material difference.

If - the prayer of the wicked is sin;" I do not see why it is not necessary to have 'satisfactory evidence of a right heart,' in prayer, as well as in professing religion, or peforning any other duty. By comparing the atlempt of a sinner to pray, to the attempt of the man to stretch forth his withered hand at the command of Christ, S. seems to me (contrary to his own belief, I presume) to represent the sinner as naturally unable to pray, without a miracle accompanying bis allempt to perform the duty. The natural effect of such a representation upon the mind of an enquiring sinner, I should think, must be, to lead him to conclude, tbat he can attempt to pray, with such a heart as he has, and that he cannot be blamed for not doing any more, till God shall be pleased to give bim a better heart.

Fourth. "Are the prayers of sinners, while remaining in unregeneracy, of any use?I must here object again to the ierms of the enquiry. The prayers of sinners"-And do sinners, then, the unregenerate, ever pray? They may use a form of words, and think they pray: but is there the internal character,” which is an essential ingredient in prayer? Do they ever pray, according to the definition of the Assembly of Divines ? -“Prayer is the offering up of our desires to God, for things agreable to his will, in the name of Christ.As the hearts of unrenewed men are admitted to be "unreconciled to God;" if they should express their real desires, it is presumed the reason would be very apparent, why their seeming prayers are “all vain oblations" and abomination to God.

But,” says Silvanus in answer to the enquiry, “there is a point of light, in which the prayers of the unregenerate, especially when their minds are in a state of excitement, may be considered of great

God makes use of the eyes of the unregerate to read bis word, and of their ears to hear it; by means of which they receive that knowledge of divine truth, which has a great influence in effecting their conversion. In like manner he makes use of their tongues to state their case in the way of prayer ; and these statements of


theirs, God often makes use of to deepen in their minds that work of conviction which is the necessary precursor of regeneration."This is plausible; but I must think very exceptionable. Is it true, that God makes use of the false or hypocrilical“ statement of their case," made by sinners in their selfish prayers, as means to prepare then for regeneration? Has He anywhere in scripture, appointed the 'abominable sacrifices of the wicked,' as means to be used for the conviction and conversion of sinners, as He has the reading and hearing of his word? True, God may make the seeming prayers of sinners, the means of deepening their conviction,' as He sometimes does their acts of gross immorality; but it seems to me a perversion of language, to call either of them" means of grace."

Silvanus does not infer from his answer to the enquiry, that the unregenerate should be exhorted to pray with such hearts as they have, in order to deepen their conviction and prepare themselves for regenerating grace; indeed, he says, that they do not themselves, in any proper sense, use the means of grace.” But what is the inference which the varegenerate themselves will be likely to draw, " especially when their minds are in a state of excitement," from the doctrine, that their reading, hearing, and praying, are "means of grace,” which God is using with them, to enlighten and convince them, in order to “effect their conversion?”—Though God may, sometimes, overrule the prayers, as well as the other sins of the wicked, for their good; yet the natural and direct tendency of all such unregenerate doings,” is, to feed their self-righteousness with the imagination, that they have done some part at least of their duty, and commended themselves to the divine notice and favor, and thus to harden their hearts against the sovereign grace of God. And this, I apprebend, is the more common effect of those religious services, which sinners are encouraged to perform with impenitent hearts; and which are pot unfrequently followed by an Antinomian conversion. As sinners' never use the means of grace,' so there are no means appointed for them to abuse. They are required, as their immediate duty, to “repent and be converted”—Let them do this, and then they may read, and hear, and pray, and use all the means of grace, in a manner pleasing to God, and savingly beneficial to themselves.



Every thing that relates to the subject and means of revivals of religion, is intimately connected with the present character and future prospects of the church of Christ. Though a time of revivals of religion in the land, imperiously demands action; yet it no less

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