Some General Heads of the Causes why the LORD contends with the Land, agreed upon (after seeking of the LORD) by the Commission of the GENERAL ASSEMBLY 1650, with the advice of divers Ministers from several parts of the Kingdom, met at Edinburgh, October 1651, so far as for the present they could attain light therein, which they offer and advise to be made use of by all the LORD’s People in the Land, leaving place to add, as the Lord shall make further discoveries hereafter of the guiltiness of the Land, and intending more fully and particularly to enlarge this Paper.
We have not been men of prayer. The spirit of prayer has slumbered among us. The closet has been too little frequented and delighted in. We have allowed business, study or active labor to interfere with our closet hours. A feverish atmosphere has found its way into our closet, disturbing the sweet calm of its blessed solitude. Sleep, company, idle visiting, foolish talking and jesting, idle reading, unprofitable occupations, engross time that might have been redeemed for prayer. Why is there so little concern to get time to pray? Why is there so much speaking, yet so little prayer? Why is there so much running to and fro, yet so little prayer? Why so much bustle and business, yet so little prayer?
The doctrine of the day of judgment, in which men are taught that Christ will come with glory, majesty and mighty power on the clouds of heaven to judge the quick and dead, and that all, both small and great, must stand before him to give an account, is a very awful and awakening doctrine, tending very much to rouse both saints and sinners, and excite to watchfulness and diligence that they may be ready for such a day. But this doctrine has been preached in the world now for many ages, but men see nothing of the accomplishment of it; and many that hear of it are the less moved by it, because they look upon [it] as at a great distance. They hear that there are many things yet to be accomplished in the world before the day of judgment, and they never expect to see it while they live, nor till a great while after they are dead.
Now from all this, it follows as clear as day that our true sanctification, our true holiness of heart, our true and full and final salvation, all lie in the rectification, the simplification, and the purification of our motives. The corruption and pollution of our hearts—trace all that down to the bottom, and it all lies in our motives: in the selfishness, the unneighbourliness, the unbrotherliness, the ungodliness of our motives. We are all our own motive in all that we do: we are all our own main object and our own chief end. And it is just this that stains and debases so much that we do.”
Introduction: the word Revival defined. The Connecticut Evangelical Magazine. The authors Heman Humphrey, Bennet Tyler, Ashbel Green, and other key pastors in this history. Authentic narratives from numerous first-hand accounts.
I would by no means flatter you concerning this work, or go about to make you believe, that you shall find an easy light business of it: no, I would not have you expect any such thing. I would have you sit down and count the cost; and if you cannot find it in your hearts to engage in a great, hard, laborious, and expensive undertaking, and to persevere in it to the end of life, pretend not to be religious. Indulge yourselves in your ease; follow your pleasures; eat, drink, and be merry; even conclude to go to hell in that way, and never make any more pretenses of seeking your salvation.
There was too little discrimination between true and false religious feeling. There was too much encouragement given to outcries, faintings, and bodily agitations, as probable evidence of the presence and power of God. There was, in many, too much reliance on impulses, visions, and the pretended power of discerning spirits. There was a great deal of consciousness, and of a sinful disregard of ecclesiastical order. The disastrous effects of these evils, the rapid spread of false religion, the dishonour and decline of true piety, the prevalence of erroneous doctrines, the division of congregations, the alienation of Christians, and the long period of subsequent deadness in the church, stand up as a solemn warning to Christians, and especially to Christian ministers in all times to come.”
I have been just a dying now for more than a week; and all around me have thought me so. I have had clear views of eternity; … oh, what anguish is raised in my mind, to think of an eternity for those who are Christless, for those who are mistaken, and who bring their false hopes to the grave with them! The sight was so dreadful I could by no means bear it: my thoughts recoiled, and I said, (under a more affecting sense than ever before,) “Who can dwell with everlasting burnings?” Oh, methought, could I now see my friends, that I might warn them to see to it, that they lay their foundation for eternity sure.
Temptations – Introspection: We speak of a continual peering inward
on their thoughts, emotions, affections, convictions of sin, and various exercises of mind, instead of looking away from them all to
Christ. It is the natural proneness of a doubting and fearful mind, which it is often hard to resist.
Now the question we have to put upon all this is, whether the righteous of our day, or those who deem themselves to be so, are really comporting themselves in a way answerable to such a representation? Are they running, so as that they may obtain ? Are they fighting, so as that they may gain a hard-won victory? Are they striving, so as that they may force an entrance of great obstruction and difficulty?