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bells on the Lord's day. I have no doubt that in some instances it has proved fatal; and I have frequently heard the evil complained of by those in health, as one which much annoyed them.

In the country towns, where the population is scattered over a considerable circuit, a bell may be useful, and one or two in a city would not be objectionable; but a larger number serves no good purpose, and only tends to create confusion. Almost every family has a time-piece, and but very few pay attention to the ringing of the bell as a call to meeting.

No one will pretend that the ringing of bells on the sabbath is scriptural. In fact, the practice appears to me to be wholly contrary to the spirit of revealed religion. We should infer from scripture that the sabbath ought to be a day of stillness and quiet, and not one of noise, ringing of bells, &c. If, therefore, there is not absolute necessity for the noise of numerous bells on the sabbath, I know not how it can be justified; and, as it causes much suffering, especially among the sick, I hope it will be, in a considerable degree, abandoned.

The Mahometans use no bells, and yet their meetings are very frequent, at least, five times in the course of twenty-four hours. Public notice of their meetings is given by the muzzeims, or criers, from the galleries of the minarets, attached to the mosques.

As I have hinted, the general possession of time-pieces renders a public notice of stated meetings unnecessary, and when such notice is necessary, some more silent method of giving it might be adopted than by ringing half-a-dozen or more bells. The early settlers of this country had recourse to various methods of giving notice of the time of meeting. By the records of towns on

Connecticut river, I learn that this was done by blowing a horn, or by beating a drum, or by hoisting a flag as a signal, on some elevated place. This last method, appears to me, might answer all the useful purposes that bells now do.

may

But however ridiculous this noise on the sabbath be, it has, to many, become sacred, and so strong is the feeling on the subject, that I do not expect, very soon, so good and great reform, as a total relinquishment of bells on the Lord's day. But I do hope and trust that soon a less number will be rung, and less frequently, and for a shorter time, in our cities, and thus much unnecessary labor on that day may be avoided, and the Christian sabbath be made a day of comparative stillness, and of quiet for the sick and well, instead of being, as it now is, a day of more noise than any other in the week.

CHAPTER VI.

OBSERVATIONS ON MODERN REVIVALS OF RELIGION, AND WHAT ARE CALLED THE "SPECIAL" EFFECTS

OF THE HOLY SPIRIT; COMPARISON OF THESE EFFECTS WITH THE PHENOMENA OF DISEASE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, AND EXCITEMENTS OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM, &C.

In commencing this chapter, I feel under great embarrassment; an embarrassment arising not merely from the gravity and importance of the subject, but also from the great mass of facts relating to revivals of religion, and which I am desirous so to select, arrange and present to the reader, that correct conclusions may be drawn, and the truth established. It will be impossible for me, (without far too greatly extending this work,) to refer but to a small part of these facts. All, therefore, that I shall aim to do, will be to briefly notice the history of revivals, from the time of Wesley and Edwards, until the present day, to compare them with religious excitements in ages past, and also to compare the phenomena they present with those of animal magnetism, and the effects resulting from the influence of the imagination upon the body. I believe I am not insensible of the importance of this subject at the present time, and I hope to treat it with the candor and solemnity due to it, and with a desire pre

dominating over all others, that the truth may be elicit

ed.

This subject is one eminently philosophical, (z) and in many respects deserves the profound attention of inquiring men. Innumerable clergymen, of unimpeachable veracity, and some of them of considerable learning, assert and publish to the world, that the Holy Spirit of God is specially imparted to mankind for their salvation; that its effects are first upon the consciences of men, convicting them of sin, making them serious and sorrowful, and frequently affecting them so as to cause them to weep and tremble, to cry out in agony, to be convulsed, and to feel differently from what they ever have before; then, secondly, this Holy Spirit operates "on a different department of man's nature," and converts him. This is done by the "Holy Spirit renovating man's moral nature." "The will has naturally a wrong direction, and in regeneration it is set right, and a change of disposition occurs." [See Sprague and others on revivals.]

These same authorities assure us that this special influence of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for man's salvation; that unless it is imparted, no human being can escape indescribable torments in hell forever.

They

I have

(z) I am not aware, however, that it has been so treated. carefully examined the works of Edwards, Sprague and Finney, all standard authorities, on this subject, and regret to say that they are illogical, inconclusive, and evidence but little research or reflection upon the subject: and I may add, also, that they are so contradictory of each other in important points, that the reader knows not what to believe. They abound with careless if not erroneous statements, some of which, if believed, would justify the most wild fanaticism the world has ever known. Proof of this will be found in the succeeding pages, and the reader is referred to the works themselves.

also assure us that this influence of the Holy Spirit is not constantly imparted to men, but only occasionally; and then not to mankind scattered through various countries, but to the individuals of one country; and not to all the inhabitants of a country, but only to the members of some one religious congregation; and not to all of them, but only to a few. For instance, there are times when to all appearances, this influence of the Spirit is no where observed; then it descends as a shower, (I use the phrases of the writers on this subject,) upon one of our large cities, or a town wherein are Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Universalists, Quakers, Jews, and other religious sects; but it only descends upon one of these sects at a time, and then only upon a few individuals. (a)

When we consider the immense number of mankind on the globe, and the myriads of human beings who have lived, to whom this spirit has not thus been imparted, and notice to how few it is now given, even in countries where we hear most of it, we are lost in a maze of sorrow, wonder and doubt. A feeling of sorrow naturally arises at the thought of the unutterable misery of innumerable millions of beings, created in the image of God himself;-of wonder, how it can be reconciled with the plans of infinite benevolence,—with the plans of that Omnipotent Being who created for his own good pleasure these suffering mortals; and a feeling of doubt, if

(a) I am aware that revivals are spoken of almost universally as great and powerful works; but if these accounts are examined carefully, the converts will be found to be but few-very few indeed, compared with the whole number of individuals in one town or congregation.

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