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those who turn their eye to“ the poet's corner," and who there, after having been gratified and delighted through a number of stanzas, have so often come to-L. H. S.
A single article from the January number, with which the work commences, expresses so perfectly our own views and feelings, that we cannot but insert it.
“ To the Editor of the Mother's Magazine. “It is, with me, a matter of unspeakable surprise, that the field of useful. ness, which you are bevinning to cultivate, has so long remained untouched. For every thing else, we have our magazines. Even the raising of cattle and corn, is deemed of sufficient moment to call for periodicals devoted to those interests. Is the training of immortal beings a minor object? Yet the mother, with a train of responsibilities upon her, which stretch over the vastness of eternity, has been supposed, it would seem, to need no such assistance.
“In my opinion, your first and last difficulty will be to awaken a sense of maternal responsibility. Without this, nothing can be done. To every mother is given, in solemn charge, the disposal of intelligence and immortality. She, beyond any and every other acting cause, stamps its enduring characteristics, upon the mind and heart of her child. Is this a trivial responsibility? In my apprehension, it needs a prudence and wisdom, such as few mothers have. It is an art, not inherited, not innate, attainable only by diligent research. To govern her child, a mother should know well the principles of the infant mind. Especially should she understand the science of its affections and passions. It is an instrument of inconceivable delicacy; easily unstrung, broken, and ruined. And yet to this task, deserving the utmost preparation, many a mother comes utterly untutored. Were she going to set up for a milliner, for that she must have served a due apprenticeship. But the mere training of her offspring, on which hangs the issues of two worlds, that any body can do, and do without the trouble of preparation. In my apprehension, months and years of study and attention, should precede the entrance upon a station so full of responsibility. But can mothers be made to feel this responsibility ? It will be a new era in the history of our race, when they are thus aroused. But really it is painful to contemplate the inconsistency of so many, who are practising this consummate ignorance upon many hundred thousands of the rising generation. Go abroad in this city ; see what multitudes of embryo immortals are germinating, like noxious weeds, amid the ignorance, and folly, and vice, under whose polluting guardianship they are thrown. Go over the length and breadth of our land, and every where, the evidence will stare you in the face, that a mother's magazine is greatly needed.
“We have generally considered, that the efforts of infant and Sabbath schools promised the greatest good to the rising generation, because they commenced so early. I would go back still further. I would begin with the mothers; for every body knows that the best directed labors of the Sabbath school avail but little, unless sustained by a mother's care at home. You will then be casting salt into the fountain, instead of the streams.
“I know,of no better service that you can render your generation, than to arouse the attention of mothers. First get them to feel their responsibility, then they will try to qualify themselves for their station. I believe it to be a fact of nearly universal application, that a hundred fold more pains are taken to study economy, house-keeping, making puddings, and mending stockings, than is bestowed on what, after all, is the most material attribute of a mother -the talent to train up her children. I do not wonder that so many children are ruined. A quack may be expected to kill half his patients, and spoil the constitution of the rest.
“I hope your magazine will succeed. I think it must. Its importance is ko manifest, that it must command patronage and attention. If it does not, I shall feel that the evil is even greater than I had feared, and is, in fact, incurable. Yours, sincerely,
H. P. 0."
[The following Resolution was adopted by the Pastoral Association, at their meeting in Boston, May, 1832—to wit:-)
“ Deeply sensible of the necessity of continued and powerful revivals of religion, to sustain and replenish our churches, bless our country, and save the souls of men; acknowledging our unspeakable obligations to the Great Head of the Church, for the numerous revivals of the last year; and impressed with the importance, by a free and fraternal interchange of views, of making ourselves acquainted with the most effectual means of promoting revivals, and the best method of conducting them, and of giving a permanent influence to the Gospel of Christ :
* Therefore, resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed, to correspond with the ministerial associations in the state, on this interesting subject; obtain an expression of the views of ministers, and the results of their experience; embody a statement of the same, and cause it to be published, as soon as may be, in the Spirit of the Pilgrims, or in such other manner as they may think proper.”
[The following ministers were chosen, as the committee, namely, Rev. Dr. Woods, Rev. Dr. Beecher, Rev. Mr. Ide, Rev. Dr. Osgood, Rev. Mr. Fiske, Rev. Dr. Hyde, and Rev. Mr. Storrs. In pursuance of the above resolution of the Pastoral Association, the Committee proposed to each of the evangelical associations of ministers in Massachusetts, the following inquiries; soliciting returns as soon as might be convenient, viz.]
1. What recent Revivals of Religion have taken place within the limits of your Association ?
3. What have been the characteristics and the fruits of those revivals ?
3. By what means have they been promoted? What are the doctrines, and the mode of preaching, which have apparently been most successful ?
4. What estimate have you been led to form of the utility of Protracted Meetings ? And, in your opinion, how should they be conducted, and what cautions respecting them should be observed, in order to secure them against abuse, and render them most conducive to the interests of the church? VOL. VI.-NO. IV.
5. Are there any errors in doctrine, or irregularities in practice, against which, it appears to you specially important to guard the churches at the present day?
6. What, in your view, ought ministers and Christians to do, in order to secure the continuance and increase of the special operations of the Holy Spirit, and render the influence of the Gospel general and permanent ?
[How many of the Associations have made returns, we do not know; but such as have not, we hope will make them without delay. In the mean time, we publish the following, just received from the Committee, to which we earnestly invite the attention of Ministers and Churches.]
REPORT OF THE SUFFOLK SOUTH ASSOCIATION.
1. REVIVALS OF RELIGION.
1. What is a revival ? Every kind of excitement about things of a religious nature, is not entitled to tlie name of a revival. As animal and social beings, we are liable to be excited on any subject which may affect our interest, or happiness. We hear of military conflict and civil revolution. We see the community divided into parties about public men and measures, acts of legislation and candidates for office. And what should hinder that the great things, pertaining to God and eternity, should sometimes absorb the soul, and awaken intense feeling, while there is little sorrow for sin, or practical obedience? The people of Israel, on the bank of the Red Sea, made promises which their subsequent conduct did not well sustain ; and when trembling at the foot of Sinai, they said, “ All that the Lord hath spoken, we will do." There were many, who followed in the retinue of Christ, at one time wishing to proclaim him king, and at another, shouting hosanna to the Son of David, whose love was of a very doubtful character. If a concourse of people weep around the grave of a friend, why may they not weep when their own death, or some kindred topic, is urged in the discourse of the living preacher? The thronged assemblage, the shades of night, plaintive strains of music, solemn appeals to the passions, mąy contribute to such a result.
Nor is a special zeal about the visible forms and ordinances of religion, entitled to the name of a revival. Jehu boasted of his zeal for the Lord of hosts, when he exterminated the idolatrous house of Ahab, to render more secure his own seat on the throne of Israel. Saul of Tarsus, when a persecutor of the disciples, exhibited much zeal. Sectarians often exhibit a high
degree of zeal. Loud talk and violent measures about the external forms of religion, even a profuse liberality to support the dignity of the church, or to introduce a particular creed or mode of worship, give no decisive evidence of genuine love.
Nor is a multiplication of religious meetings entitled to the name of a revival. This appears well ; but fair appearances, like the flowers of spring, often disappoint expectation. A disposition to attend religious meetings may be the result of education, or a temporary sympathy, or a selfish wish to merit heaven by works. For the same reasons, any disposition in a people to crowd into the visible church, and attend on its peculiar ordinances, is no satisfactory evidence of increasing piety. In all cases, we must inquire into the motives, and endeavor to trace out the moral temper of the heart.
The question returns:- What is a revival ? It is a special visitation of the Holy Spirit in any place, giving efficacy to the word and ordinances of the Gospel, in the editication of saints and in the conversion of sinners, -so that public morals are reformed, --works of piety and benevolence are promoted,—God is honored,--and souls are stamped with a heavenly seal. This accords with the official work of the Spirit in the econcmy of human redemption,--teaching the ignorant, convincing the obdurate, consoling the humble, and sanctifying the penitent. Some of the ordinary features of a revival are such as these :
A spirit of inquiry is apparent among the people. Levity yields to reflection, and scenes of festivity and mirth to sober and rational pursuits. They read the Bible with more frequency and serious thought. They visit the sanctuary with more punctuality and reverence. They resort to the teachers of religion, to guide them in the ways of peace and truth. 'They no longer despise the catechism, the humble tract, and the place of social prayer. They contemplate God in his being and attributes, in his decrees and works. They contemplate their own soul in its nature and destiny, in its moral and ultimate prospects. They contemplate the interests and objects of the invisible world in their neur approach and incomprehensible magnitude. The eye and the ear are open to the know ledge of truth, and the dormant powers of thought are excited to vigorous action. The great question is asked, What shall we do to be saved ?
A deep conviction of sin is apparent among the people in a time of religious revival. Such conviction is indispensable, or the inquiry will not be urged respecting the possibility or terms of salvation. And such conviction is the natural consequence of serious reflection. When the predigal came to himself, he was impressed with his folly and guilt. Any people who come to a true knowledge of themselves, are constrained to confess the holiness of the law in their condemnation. It is of little importance what may be the incidental and immediate means of conviction, as the application of the law by the Spirit to the conscience and the heart, is always the primary cause. One is impressed with the fact that he is a lost sinner, in some hour of retirement; another, when in the great congregation ;--one is suddenly overwhelmed, another is gradually impressed ;one suffers domestic bereavement, another is affected by the conversion or exhortation of a friend ;--one is alarmed by the thunder of Sinai, another is subdued by the voice of mercy from Zion. They all agree in this, that they have offended a holy God, whom they were under the highest obligation to honor and serve. They all agree in this, that if they were treated on the principles of strict justice, their condemnation is sure. Hence,
A penitential sorrow for sin is another feature of a genuine revival. Some kind of regret is nearly inevitable. possess an instinctive dread of suffering. The culprit, when detected and led away to punishment, cannot conceal his inward conflict of shame and remorse. Convicted sinners often struggle with their convictions, and endeavor to banish anxiety by bardening the heart. But in a genuine revival of religion, under the illuminating and convincing energy of the Spirit, there is much godly sorrow for sin. This consists, not in unavailing grief for the event itself, but in self-abasement and selfcondemnation, in an honest acknowledgment of the holiness of the divine law and in a penitent confession of personal and aggravated guilt. The sincerity of this repentance is evinced in à reform of vicious habits, in a reparation of injuries, in a mutual confession of faults, and in a new devotion to God in works of piety and duty. The happy effects of such repentance are often apparent in the improved state of society, and command the notice of the transient observer. When controversies are adjusted and jealousies allayed, -when the proud become humble, the fraudulent honest, the intemperate sober, and the profane prayerful,—the change is visible. They, who cease to do evil, cannot fail to learn to do well.
Habitual prayer is another ordinary feature of a revival. Worldly men cast off fear and restrain prayer; but when the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, it is a spirit of grace