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asylums for them, so it has been with the blind;—their condition has been thought hopeless.
But the star of hope has at length risen to bless them. Having been remembered for some years in other countries, they are now beginning to be more thought of in this country. An institution has been formed for their relief. The light of the sun, it is true, it cannot impart; but it can the light of knowledge. As appears from the report of its Trustees, it is already in successful operation, and proposes to educate and prepare the blind for usefulness and enjoyment in life.
The address contains“ remarks on the blind; on the light in which they have been held, and the manner in which they have always been treated by their fellow men.” There are, too, useful suggestions as to the manner in which the blind should be treated by friends, &c. From the Report of Dr. S. G. Howe, the Superintendentofthe Institution, who has visited similar institutions in Europe, it contains also some account of those institutions, pointing out their excellencies and defects. Besides this, accompanying the address, is a Map of New England, and the Lord's Prayer in raised characters, made tangible and sensible to the touch. Also a Lithographic Fac-Simile of the hand-writing of Mr. Trencheri, a blind teacher in the institution.
Many of the facts presented in the address, will be new to most readers, and not a little interesting. Among them, we have noted the proportion of the blind to the seeing, and the variation of the amount of blindness according to the variation of climate, soil, &c. It appears that in high latitudes blindness is less common than in low, and that it prevails most in the torrid zone, or in those parts of the temperate zones bordering on the torrid. The proportion is from 1 in 300 to 1 in 1000; and so far as investigation has been made, is greatest in Egypt and least in Denmark. Investigation has not been made in the United States, but the address states that there are in this country not less, probably, than 8000 who cannot see.
Among the objects pointed out in the address, towards which the attention of the blind may be successfully called by way of education, there are mentioned music, mathematics and languages. Of the handiwork to which they may be trained, mention is made of the making of baskets, mats, mattrasses, &c.-Music is the most eligible where there is a taste for it. There have been instances of great success, also, in the study of mathematics, and some blind men have become admirable teachers. For the blind, indeed, they are always to be prefered. The New England institution has two, one a teacher in science and literature, the other a mechanic, the former from Paris, and the latter from Edinburgh.
We had intended to give a fuller view of this address, but for want of room, we must close, by recommending it to our readers with the hope that having read it they will remember with livelier interest the unfortunate class of persons for whose benefit the New England institution has been established. It was incorporated four years ago, but has been in operation but about five months, and is now inviting attention and looking for patron ge.
To the Committee of the Revival Association in the Theo
logical Seminary, Andover. GENTLEMEN,
Some general results of the revivals I have been describing, are now to be mentioned.
The cases of apostacy, which occur among hopeful subjects of renewing grace, always constitute an interesting topic of enquiry in narratives of revivals. These cases are lamentable indeed, if we regard only the individuals who thus apostatize; but beyond comparison more lamentable still, if we take into view the consequences to the cause of religion generally. Hence, in estimating the character of a past revival, the most judicious Ministers and Christians, have thought proper to ask, “What proportion of its professed subjects have fallen away?" Such an enquiry is reasonable, because it enters fundamentally into the principles of that revival, and the methods in which it was conducted.
In reviewing the glorious work of God, of which I have undertaken to give you some account, the fact is to be stated, to the honor of divine grace, and as a just testimony to the wisdom and fidelity of those who were the chief instruments in promoting this work, that the cases of apostacy were very few. The Rev. Dr. Hyde, of Lee, in referring to a revival, which prevailed among his people sixteen years before, menVOL. VI.-NO. III.
tions one hundred and ten who united with the church, among whoni there were afterwards a few apostacies; but in the narrative of two subsequent revivals, he states no instance of this sort. Excepting the above case, all these narratives, while they have special respect to this point, and while they extend to a compass of many hundred miles, and were generally written after a lapse of time sufficient for a full developement of character, in the professed converts, yet mention but three instances of apostacy, among the thousands that were added to the church. Besides these, a few others are referred to, as having entertained hopes, who fell away, without having made a profession of religion.
Now, on the supposition that there were more cases of defection, and even many more than are included in this statement, still I presume that the real fact, as to the small number of such defections, is without a parallel in the history of the church. But results so unusual did not take place without the influence of causes adequate to account for them. Before these revivals, the prevalent strain of preaching, for a considerable period, had been such as to promote sound, doctrinal knowledge in the churches. In all the means too, which were employed for carrying forward these revivals, ministers proceeded with their eyes fixed on certain things, which were then universally regarded as the mistakes of good men, in similar seasons of divine influence that were past. It was perfectly well remembered what an overwhelming tide,--partly of sectarian acrimony, and partly of unhallowed prejudice against all evangelical religion, came in upon the church, from the grievous indiscretions of Davenport and others about 1740. It was remembered that the fanatical excesses of that period were followed by a dire reaction, in which, for a third of a century, special divine influence was withdrawn from the land. These facts, after the modern period of revivals commenced, made ministers cautious in their management. There were, indeed, occasional indiscretions. During a powerful work of grace, which prevailed in my childhood, a zealous preacher, at the close of a public lecture, called on all impenitent sinners
, “ who would then make up their minds to be on the Lord's side," to rise and declare that purpose by speaking aloud. Scores of hearts in the assembly were ready to burst with deep anxiety, but the incongruity of such a proposal, in the regular worship of God, was instinctively and generally felt. After a dead silence of a few moments, five or six men rose, and made the declaration which was desired. I was old enough to observe them all as they spoke; but among the blessed fruits of that work, not one of these was numbered, and some of them soon became open infidels. But one other instance like this occurred within my knowledge, till I became a preacher myself, and not one, in all the revivals during my pastoral life.
The small number of apostacies attending these revivals, I must now add, was owing to the ample instructions given by ministers, as to the evidences of grace, and the incessant warnings on the dangers of self-deception. As this is a point of much practical importance, I shall here give some extracts, as a specimen of the manner in which ministers were accustomed to treat these subjects.
The Rev. Asahel Hooker, at the close of a revival among his people, says of the hopeful converts, “ They have generally conducted hitherto as well as could reasonably be expected. It is hoped that their religion will not be as the early cloud, and the morning dew that passeth away. But it is greatly to be feared that all will not persevere,—that some will be found with a lamp of profession, but no oil in their lamp. Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not ate and drank in thy presence ? to whom he will say, Depart from me, I never knew you.'” Again he says, "Whether all those who appear to have set out, and to run well for the present, will hold on their way, and obtain the prize of their high calling, must be finally known by the event. If some, of whom the best hopes have been entertained, should make shipwreck of the faith, return again to folly, and thus evince that they were never cleansed from their filthiness, it will determine no characters but their own. Some may have deceived both themselves and others, and their last state may be worse than the first."
The Rev. Jeremiah Hallock, in the same spirit, says, “When I find Peter, an Apostle, deceived in Simon Magus, and hear bim, when speaking of the faith of Silvanus, using the cautious language, 'a faithful brother, as I suppose,' it makes me tremble for fear how we shall hold out. We cannot tell what shall be on the morrow, and man is ignorant of the heart. Hence my desire is, that all whom I have alluded to in the above narration, will remember that this is not an hour of boasting, but of putting on the harness; and that it still remains to be proved from their fruits, whether they have true religion or not.”
It were easy to fill pages with similar quotations, but I will add only one more, from Rev. Joseph Washburn. “I would remark further, with respect to those whose experiences have been now related, and all who entertain a hope, and have been
respected in this narrative, that, after all, it is very possible they may be deceived. We speak of them as hopeful converts, and we are bound in charity to do so, while they do not contradict their professions by their external deportment. But the Lord trieth the hearts. Whether their relief from distress, and present hopes are the consequence of a renewed, humble heart, or of their being left to blindness and self-deception, must be decided by their conduct, and by the light of the great day. As yet we have not been pained with any instances of special apostasy ; but it is not improbable that among so many, some may prove to be stony ground hearers. May God, who alone is able, keep them from falling, and strengthen, establish, settle them, that they be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel; and that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."
The above extracts are sufficient to show what was the general habit of ministers in warning their hearers against that presumptuous confidence, which is the prolific origin of apostacies, in revivals. A zeal perhaps equally sincere with theirs, but more impetuous, may censure the course they pursued, as cautions to an extreme. I cannot view this censure as just, while I regard the solid fruits of a revival as consisting in the addition to the church of such as shall be saved ;' not such as will become apostates and reprobates.
Among the happy fruits of these revivals, the decided tone of practical piety which they produced, ought to be mentioned.
It was a common thing that the hopeful converts exhibited a strong desire for improvement in religious knowledge. The time which had been employed by the young in scenes of frivolous amusement, and by the more advanced in idle conversation, was devoted to the study of the Bible, and other useful books, and to attendance on meetings designed especially to promote their advancement in intellectual and spiritual knowledge. Under this impulse of religious feeling, the progress actually made by many, in a correct understanding of Christian doctrines, was greater in one month, than it had been during their whole lives. As to the people of my own charge, I cannot speak on this subject, without recollections of the most intense interest. From the beginning of my ministry, my attention had been directed towards one standing obstacle to the preacher's success, namely, that the greater proportion of his hearers come to the sanctuary, expecting to be merely passive under his preaching. They calculate to understand and feel, only so far as he compels them to understand and feel. It would be out of place to dwell on this point, except to mention