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enlarged, respecting the extent to which the instrumentality of private brethren can be profitably employed in promoting the revival. The suggestions in part fifth, of what things should be done directly to promote the work, are not all as applicable to the present state of society, as they were when written ; though they are still valuable, for the developement of important prineiples. And the most of them are of universal application. In particular, it is clearly implied in what he says, that the means of revival are to be varied from time to time, according to the aspects and circumstances of a community. And every engine of influence, which can be used consistently with truth, ought to be employed in forwarding the work. Ministers should exhibit great zeal and resoluteness in pushing the work forward. Mr. Whitefield's success was greatly owing to this. Coldness and irresolution in dealing with worldly, unconverted sinners, only confirm them in their course. The importance of external reformation, and of abounding in deeds of charity, as a means of revivals, is clearly set forth by Edwards, and has been abundantly evinced in the blessing which has every where followed the temperance reform, and the unusual displays of Christian benevolence, in the last two years.
In short, the work is full of the wisest practical instructions, based upon the most profound knowledge of the true principles on which these things proceed. And the hope is now fondly cherished, that the circulation of a complete and beautiful edition among the churches, at such a juncture as the present, will be eminently serviceable,.in giving force, consistency, purity, and permanency, to the revivalş now in progress throughout the country, That the blessing of God, and the enlightening and sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, may secure such a result, is the earnest prayer of
THE EDITOR. New York, March, 1832.
A FAITHFUL NARRATIVE
SURPRISING WORK OF GOD,
CONVERSION OF MANY HUNDRED SOULS
AND THE NEIGHBORING TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF NEW HAMPSHIRE,
IN NEW ENGLAND:
In a Letter to the Rev. Doctor Colman,
At that time Pastor of Brattle street Church, Boston.
BY PRESIDENT EDWARDS.
WITH PREFACES, By the Rev. Dr. Watts and Dr. Guyse of London, and by the Boston Ministers.
BY DR. WATTS AND DR. GUYSE.
The friendly correspondence which we maintain with our brethren of New England, gives us now and then the pleasure of hearing some remarkable instances of divine grace in the conversion of sinners, and some eminent examples of piety in that American part of the world. But never did we hear or read, since the first ages of Chistianity, any event of this kind so surprising as the present narrative hath set
The Rev. and worthy Dr. Colman, of Boston, had given us some short intimations of it in his letters; and upon our request of a more large and particular account, Mr. Edwards, the happy and successful minister of Northampton, which was one of the chief scenes of these wonders, drew up this history in an epistle to Dr. Colman.
There were some useful sermons of the venerable and aged Mr. William Williams, published lately in New England, which were preached in that part of the country during this season of the glorious work of God in the conversion of men; to which Dr. Colman subjoined a most judicious and accurate abridgment of this epistle: and a little after, he sent the original to our hands, to be communicated to the world under our care here in London.
We are abundantly satisfied with the truth of this narrative, not only from the pious character of the writer, but from the concurrent testimony of many other persons in New England; for this thing was not done in a corner. There is a spot of ground, as we are here informed, wherein there are twelve or fourteen towns and villages, chiefly situate in the county of Hampshire, near the banks of the river of Connecticut, within the compass of thirty miles, wherein it pleased God two years ago to display his free and sovereign mercy in the conversion of a great multitude of souls in a short space of time, turning them from a formal, cold, and careless profession of Christianity, to the lively exercise of every Christian grace, and the powerful prac
tice of our holy religion. The great God has seemed to act over again the miracle of Gideon's fleece, which was plentifully watered with the dew of heaven, while the rest of the earth round about it was dry, and had no such remarkable blessing.
There has been a great and just complaint for many years among the ministers and churches in Old England, and in New, (except about the time of the late earthquake there,) that the work of conversion goes on very slowly, that the Spirit of God in his saving influences is much withdrawn from the ministrations of his word, and there are few that receive the report of the gospel, with any eminent success upon their hearts. But as the gospel is the same divine instrument of grace still, as ever it was in the days of the apostles, so our ascended Savior now and then takes a special occasion to manifest the divinity of this gospel by a plentiful effusion of his Spirit where it is preached : then sinners are turned into saints in numbers, and there is a new face of things spread over a town or country : “ The wilderness and the solitary places are glad, the desert rejoices and blossoms as the rose;" and surely concerning this instance we may add, that “they have seen the glory of the Lord there, and the excellency of our God; they have seen the outgoings of God our King in his sanctuary.”
Certainly it becomes us, who profess the religion of Christ, to take notice of such astonishing exercises of his power and mercy, and give him the glory which is due, when he begins to accomplish any of his promises concerning the latter days; and it gives us further encouragement to pray, and wait, and hope for the like display of his power in the midst of us. “ The hand of God is not shortened, that it cannot save,” but we have reason to fear that our iniquities, our coldness in religion, and the general carnality of our spirits, have raised a wall of separation between God and us: and we may add, the pride and perverse humor of infidelity, degeneracy, and apostasy from the Christian faith, which have of late years broken out amongst us, seem to have provoked the Spirit of Christ to absent himself much from our nation. Return, O Lord, and visit thy churches, and revive thine own work in the midst of us."
From such blessed instances of the success of the gospel, as appear in this narrative, we may learn much of the way of the Spirit of God in his dealing with the souls of men, in order to convince sinners, and restore them to his favor and his image by Jesus Christ, his Son. We aknowledge that some particular appearances in the work of conversion among men may be occasioned by the ministry which they sit under, whether it be of a more or less evangelical strain, whether it be more severe and affrighting, or more gentle and persuasive.