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every species of infidelity. Supreme love of the world has a fatal influence upon ministers. It leaves them to adopt and propagate corrupt principles of religion, and to preach so as to please men, rather than God. Demas, having loved this present evil world, forsook his fellow apostles, and neglected his duty. And too many preachers of the gospel are following his pernicious example.
Supreme love to the world has a fatal effect upon the rich, exposes them to every snare, and to be drowned in perdition. Supreme love to the world stupifies, corrupts and hardens the hearts of the poor. It makes thousands thieves, or robbers, or pirates. Supreme love to the world blinds and infatuates the young, and turns their childhood and youth into vanity, and total forgetfulness of their Creator. Supreme love to the world is now constantly and insensibly leading all unbelieving and impenitent sinners in the broad road to final perdition. There is no sin, at this day, producing more insensible and fatal effects every where. It takes fast hold of the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands, and bars them against seeing God in his works, and hearing his voice in his word.
Let those therefore, who would learn wisdom and obtain salvation, be instructed to turn off their attention and affections from the world, and place them upon Him, who made it, and is constantly governing it for the wisest and best purposes. SENEX.
TO PATRONS AND CORRESPONDENTS.
The Hopkinsian Magazine, which is so arranged, as to make a thick octavo volume in two years, completed its third volume, and sixth year, in December 1829. It was then found necessary, for various reasons, chiefly of a pecuniary nature, to suspend the publication. Owing to circumstances which could not be controlled and need not be detailed, the suspension has been longer than was anticipated. As to the expediency of resuming the work at all, there will no doubt be different opinions. That there is increasing need of a periodical publication, alike free from sectarian influences and ecclesiastical domination, open to a candid discussion of controverted points, and not afraid to admit a statement and defence of any doctrine believed to be important and scriptural, we presume is the general sentiment of rea! Hopkinsians. There are doctrines, believed to be plainly taught in the sacred oracles, and lying at the foundation of the system of revealed truth, which the Magazines and Reviews of the day, in this country, dare not touch; while the religious newspapers, which have recently inundated the land, are, with few exceptions perhaps, either attached to some sect, or devoted to some particular subject. While we fully appreciate the value of these weekly papers, as vehicles of religious intelligence, we must be permitted seriously to doubt, their general tendency to augment the sum of doctrinal knowledge in the christian community, or to increase a relish for those simple and essential truths of the gospel, without an acquaintance with which, religious affections will be spurious, and moral practice unsound. There is need of a periodical, which shall keep back nothing that is profitable,' so plain as
to be intelligible to the unlearned,' the great majority of the churches, and at the same time so cheap as to be within the reach of the poor in this world' who are more frequently the rich in faith.' Whether the Hopkinsian Magazine has been a work of this kind, is for the christian public to judge. That it may be made so in future, is unquestionably within the means and abilities of its patrons and supporters. There are yet many in this favored land, who, believing the Hopkinsian system to be the truth of God, and deploring the deadly influence of the prevailing errors of the day, are able to wield the pen of a ready writer.' We respectfully, but urgently, call upon all such, to improve the talent which God has given them to use to his glory, and to come up to his help against the mighty champions of seducing error and selfish religion. We see not how they can innocently hold their peace' in such a time as this,' when a denial of some of the first principles of the oracles of God' and the dissemination of Antinomian and Arminian sentiments in their stead, are, it is to be feared, inflating thousands with false hopes, and preparing them for an awful disappointment.
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FEBRUARY 14, 1831.
PSALMS, LXXIV. 22.-Arise, O God, plead thine own cause.
David, in this book of Psalms, generally speaks in the name of the church, and expresses the views and feelings of the people of God, under the various circumstances in which they were placed. Though they all professed to love God, and engaged to walk in obedience to his commands, yet they were not always steadfast in his covenant. There were times when the love of many waxed cold and iniquity greatly prevailed through the nation. It appears to have been a day of degeneracy, when David composed this Psalm. He laments that God had withdrawn his gracious presence and influence from his people, and suffered their enemies to unite in their counsels and exertions to destroy. In this low and languishing state of Zion, he realizes his own weakness and the weakness of all created beings, and looks to Him, who alone is able to disappoint the hope of the wicked, grant the desire of the righteous, and accomplish all his own purposes. "Arise, O God, plead thine own cause." This was the proper language of the people of God, under their then present circumstances. And hence we may justly draw this general conclusion: That when the people of God realize that the cause of God is declining in the world, then they are prepared to look to God in a proper manner, to promote it. I shall, 1. Consider what we are to understand by the cause of God. 2. Consider when the people of God realize, that his cause is deelining in the world.
3. Show, that when they do realize this, then they are prepared to look to him to promote it.
I. Let us consider what we are to understand by the cause of God.
It appears from this whole Psalm, that David is speaking of the church of God, and the cause of religion; and of consequence, it is evident, that by the cause of God, he means the cause of religion.He begins the psalm with this pathetic lamentation: "O God, why hast thou cast us off forever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? Remember the congregation which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt." The cause of Zion, or the cause of true religion, may be properly called the cause of God, for two reasons:
1. Because God is primarily concerned in true religion. It im
mediately respects him as the great object of it. All true religion essentially consists in loving, obeying, and serving God. His object in forming rational creatures was, that they might glorify and enjoy him. He has always been highly pleased with the pure spirits in heaven, who have given him their supreme affection, and rejoiced in him as their supreme good. And the prayer of the upright in this world, is his delight. He is said to dwell in those who exercise proper affection towards him. "He that dwelleth in love dwellin God, and God in him." All religious affections centre in God, who is the only proper object of supreme love, and religious homage. True religion directly tends to please and glorify God Were all men to love and serve God perfectly, they would completely subserve the end of their being, and God would be perfectly pleased with them. So that religion is the only thing which God really esteems and values in this world. Though mankind esteem and value ten thousand other things, yet this is the only thing in which God places his interest. Hence religion is emphatically his cause. And,
2. It is so in another respect, as it is the only object, which he is seeking to promote, by all his operations in the kingdoms of nature, providence and grace. To promote religion, he causes the sun to rise, the rains to fall, and the seasons to revolve. To promote religion, he raises up and destroys whole nations and kingdoms, and directs all the counsels and concerns of men. And for this sole purpose, he preserves the whole world in existence. For when he has formed all his vessels of mercy, and carried religion to the height he originally intended, he will take down this theatre of the world, and remove all the actors from it. God created the world, and now governs it, in subserviency to the work of redemption, or the scheme which he formed for the salvation of sinners. He is doing every thing for the sake of reconciling this rebellious world to himself. The apostle says, "All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself, by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." He adds, "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain."All that God is doing by himself or by the instrumentality of his creatures, he is doing to reconcile mankind to himself, and prepare them for his future and eternal kingdom. This is the cause which lies nearest his heart, and is the supreme object of all his operations, in this lower world. Let us now enquire,
II. When the people of God realize that his cause is declining. Though all religion really lies in the heart, yet there are some very vissible marks of both its increase and decline, but especially of the latter; for it is more easy to determine when religion is declining, than when it is increasing. It appears many times to increase more than it really does; but it commonly decreases more than it appears to do, because men are apt to perform the externals of religion, after they have lost the power and spirit of it. When it does decline, however, there are commonly plain and convincing evidences of it;
so that all the people of God may discover it,and lament it. Here then, it may be observed,
1. That the people of God realize his cause to be declining, wher the number of professors of religion is diminishing. This was visibly the case in the time of Elijah. He was ready to imagine, that God had scarcely a single servant left: which threw him into great darkness and despondency. The case was the same in Isaiah's day. "In that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean.— And it shall be as when the harvest man gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim. Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three branches in the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof." And again the same prophet says, "Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah." The visible church, in various ages and parts of the world, has often gradually diminished, till it has become totally extinct. Where are the seven churches of Asia? Where are many other large and flourishing churches in other parts of the world? They are totally gone.The same changes are now vissible. Some churches are declining, while others are increasing. And wherever churches are diminished in number, there the cause of God is apparently declining. And wherever churches in general appear to be growing less and less, the people of God realize that his cause is decaying. So they do,
2. When they observe that professors of religion are growing indifferent and inattentive to the means of grace and the interests of religion. When professors lose the spirit of the gospel, they often manifest it, by neglecting the public worship of God, as well as by neglecting the more private and secret duties of religion.When the ways of Zion mourn, and few attend her sacred instructions, then the real friends of God look upon his cause as in a low and languishing state. They know that these are marks of sad declension.
3. The people of God realize that his cause is declining, when opposition to it is rapidly increasing. While christians live agreeably to the gospel, and their numbers are visibly increasing, the enemies of religion give way, and hide their heads in silence. But when they imagine that professors are growing careless and negligent, they then apppear and oppose with united courage and boldness. They are not afraid to speak, as well as act out their feelings towards God, and all who profess to be his servants. They vainly hope to bear down Christ's little flock, and free themselves from all the painful restraints which the prevalence of religion never fails to lay upon them. It was the opposition of the enemies of truth that alarmed the church in David's day, and made them realize the languishing state of Zion. They said unto God, "Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns