The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
Revival at Gouverneur
Brother Nash accordingly returned the next day, and made an appointment for me to meet the church on the day that I had appointed to be there. I had to ride nearly thirty miles, I believe, to reach the appointment. In the morning it rained very hard, but the rain abated in time for me to ride to Antwerp. While I was getting dinner at that place the rain came on again, and literally poured until considerably late in the afternoon. It seemed in the morning before I started, and at noon, as if I should not be able to reach my appointment. However, it abated again in time for me to ride rapidly to Gouverneur. I found that the people had given up expecting me that day in consequence of the great rain. Before I reached the village I met a Mr. Smith, one of the principal members of the church, returning from the church meeting to his house, which I had just passed at the time I met him. He stopped his carriage, and addressing me said, "Is this Mr. Finney?" After my reply in the affirmative he says: "Please to go back to my house. For I shall insist on your being my guest; and you have rode so far, and are fatigued, and the roads are so bad, you will not have any meeting tonight." I replied that I must fulfil my appointment. I asked him if the church meeting had adjourned. He said it had not when he left; and he thought it possible I might reach the village before they would dismiss. I rode rapidly on, alighted at the meetinghouse door, and hurried in. Brother Nash stood in front of the pulpit, and had just risen up to dismiss the meeting. On seeing me enter he held up his hands and waited till I came near the pulpit, and then he took me right in his arms. After thus embracing me he introduced me to the congregation. In a word I informed them that I had come to fulfil my appointment, and, the Lord willing, I should preach at a certain hour which I named.
When the hour arrived the house was filled. The people had heard enough for and against me to have their curiosity excited, and there was a general turning out. The Lord gave me a text, and I went into the pulpit and let my heart out to the people. The Word took powerful effect. That was very manifest to everybody, I think. I dismissed the meeting, and that night got some rest.
The village hotel was at that time kept by a Dr. Spencer, an Unitarian in sentiment, and an avowed Universalist. The next morning I found the village excited, and I went out, as usual, to call on the people and converse with them about their souls. After making a few calls I dropped into a tailor's shop, where I saw that a number of people were assembled; and I thought that they were discussing the subject of my sermon the night before. I found this to be the fact. Dr. Spencer at that time I had never heard of; but I found him among the number at this tailor's shop, and defending his Universalist sentiments. As I went in the remarks that were made immediately opened the conversation; and Dr. Spencer stepped forward, manifestly sustained by the whole influence of his comrades, to dispute the positions that I had advanced the night before, and to maintain, as opposed to them, the doctrine of universal salvation. Somebody introduced him to me, and told me who he was, and I said to him: "Doctor, I should be very happy to converse with you about your views; but if we are going to have a conversation, we must first agree upon the method upon which we are going to discuss." I was too much used to discussing with Universalists to expect any good to come from it unless certain terms were agreed upon and adhered to in the discussion. I proposed, therefore, first, that we should take up one point at a time and discuss it until we had settled it, or had no more to say upon it, and then another, and another, confining ourselves to the point immediately in debate; secondly, that we should not interrupt each other, but each one should be at liberty to give his views upon the point without interruption from any one; and thirdly, that there should be no caviling and mere banter, but that we should observe candor and courtesy, and give to every argument due weight, on whichever side it was presented. I knew they were all of one way of thinking; and I could easily see that they were banded together, and had come together that morning for the sake of sustaining each other in their views.
Having settled the preliminaries we commenced the argument. It did not take long to demolish every position that he assumed, and to drive him from step to step. He really knew but little of the Bible. He had a way of disposing of the principal passages, as he remembered them, that are generally arrayed against the doctrine of Universalism. But as Universalists always do, he dwelt mainly on the utter injustice of endless punishments. I soon showed him, and those around him, that he had but slender ground to stand on so far as the Bible was concerned; and very soon forced him on the ground, that whatever the Bible said about it, endless punishments were unjust, and that therefore if the Bible threatened men with endless punishments, the Bible could not be true. This settled the question so far as the Bible was concerned. In fact I could easily see that they were all skeptics, and would not at all give in because they saw that the Bible contradicted their views. I then closed in with him on the justice of endless punishments. I saw that his friends became agitated, and felt as if the foundations were giving way under them. Pretty soon one of them went out; and as I proceeded another went out, and finally they all forsook him, seeing, as they must have done one after the other, that he was utterly wrong. He had been their leader, and God gave me thus an opportunity to use him entirely up in the presence of his followers. When he had nothing more to say, I urged the question of immediate attention to salvation upon him with warmth and very kindly, bid him good morning, and went away. I felt very sure that I should soon hear from that conversation again.
The doctor's wife was a Christian woman, and a member of the church. She told me a day or two after, that the doctor came home from that conversation apparently greatly agitated, though she did not know where he had been. He would walk the room, and then sit down, but could not sit. He would thus walk and sit alternately; and she could see in his countenance that he was greatly troubled. She said to him, "Doctor, what is the matter?" "Nothing," was his reply. But his agitation increased, and she inquired again, "Doctor, do tell me what is the matter!" She mistrusted that he had somewhere fallen in with me, and she said therefore, "Doctor, have you seen Mr. Finney this morning?" This brought him to a stand; and he burst into tears and exclaimed, "Yes! and he has turned my weapons on my own head!" His agony became intense, and as soon as the way was opened for him to speak out, he surrendered himself up to his convictions and soon after expressed hope in Christ. In a few days his companions that had embraced his views were brought in one after the other, till I believe the revival made a clean sweep of them.
I have said that there was a Baptist and a Presbyterian church, each having a meetinghouse standing upon the green not far apart; and that the Baptist church had a pastor, but the Presbyterian church had none. As soon as the revival broke out and attracted general attention, the Baptist brethren began to oppose it. They spoke against it, and used very objectionable means indeed to arrest its progress. Their own children attended our meetings, and numbers were converted. They carried their opposition to such lengths, that I have known them to come into our meetings when we were kneeling in prayer, and take their young people off from their knees, and take them out of meeting and forbid them to return. This encouraged a set of young men to join hand in hand to strengthen each other in opposition to the work. The Baptist church was quite influential, and the stand that they took greatly emboldened the opposition and seemed to give it a peculiar bitterness and strength, as might be expected. Those young men that joined hand in hand--and there were a good many of them--seemed to stand like a bulwark in the way of the progress of the work; and they were manifestly sustained by the Baptist church, and sundry of them by their own parents who belonged to that church. In this state of things, Brother Nash and myself, after consultation, made up our minds that that thing must be overcome by prayer, and that it could not be reached in any other way. We therefore retired to a grove and gave ourselves up to prayer until we prevailed, and we felt confident that no power which earth or hell could interpose would be allowed to permanently stop the revival.
The next Sabbath, after preaching morning and afternoon myself--for I did the preaching altogether, and Brother Nash gave himself up almost continually to prayer--we met at five o'clock in the church for a prayer meeting. The meetinghouse was filled. Near the close of the meeting Brother Nash arose and addressed that company of young men who had joined hand in hand to resist the revival. I believe they were all there, and sat braced up against the Spirit of God. It was too solemn for them really to make ridicule of what they heard and saw, and yet their brazen-facedness and stiff-neckedness was apparent to everybody. Brother Nash addressed them in a very warm manner, and pointed out the guilt and danger of the course they were taking. Toward the close of his address he waxed exceeding warm, and said to them: "Now, mark me, young men! God will break your ranks in less than one week, either by converting some of you, or by sending some of you to hell. And He will do this as certainly as the Lord is my God!" He was standing where he brought his hand down on the top of the pew before him so as to make it thoroughly jar. He sat immediately down, held down his head, and groaned with pain. The house was as still as death, and most of the people held down their heads. I could see that the young men were agitated. However, I regretted that Brother Nash had gone so far. He had committed himself that God would either take the life of some of them and send them to hell, or convert some of them within a week. I was afraid that in his excitement he had said what would not turn out to be true, and that would embolden the young men all the more in their opposition. However, I think it was on Tuesday morning of the same week, the leader of these young men came to me in the greatest distress of mind. He was all prepared to submit; and as soon as I came to press him he broke down like a child, confessed, and manifestly gave himself to Christ. Then he said, "What shall I do, Mr. Finney?" I replied, "Go immediately to all your young companions and pray with them, and exhort them at once to turn to the Lord." He did so, and before the week was out, nearly if not all of that class of young men were hoping in Christ.
There was a merchant living in the village by the name of Hervey D. Smith. He was a very amiable man, and a gentleman, but a deist. His wife was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. She was his second wife, and his first had also been the daughter of an Old School Presbyterian minister. He had thus married into two ministers' families. His fathers-in-law had taken the greatest pains to secure his conversion to Christ. He was a reading, reflecting man. Both of his fathers-in-law were Old School Presbyterians, and had put into his hands the class of books that taught their peculiar views. This had greatly stumbled him, and the more he had read the more was he fixed in his convictions that the Bible was a fable. His wife, Mrs. Smith, urgently entreated me to come and see and converse with her husband. She informed me of his views, and of the pains that had been taken to lead him to embrace the Christian religion. But she said he was so firmly settled in his views, she did not know that any conversation could meet the case. Nevertheless, I promised her that I would call and see him. I did so.
His store was in the front part of the building in which they resided. She went into the store and requested him to come in. He declined. He said it would do no good. That he had talked with ministers enough. That he knew just what I would say beforehand, and he could not spend the time; beside, it was very repulsive to his feelings. She replied to him, "Mr. Smith, you have never been in the habit of treating ministers who called to see you in this way. I have invited Mr. Finney to call and see you to have a conversation on the subject of religion, and I shall be greatly grieved and mortified if you decline to see him." He loved and greatly respected his wife, and she was indeed a gem of a woman. To oblige her, he consented to come in. Mrs. Smith introduced me to him, and left the room. I then said to him: "Mr. Smith, I have not come in here to have a dispute with you at all; but if you are willing to converse, it is possible that I may suggest something that may help you over some of your difficulties in regard to the Christian religion, as I probably have felt them all myself."
As I addressed him in great kindness, he immediately seemed to feel at home with me, and sat down near me and said: "Now, Mr. Finney, there is no need of our having a long conversation on this point. We are both of us so familiar with the arguments pro and con, that I can state to you in a very few minutes just the objections to the Christian religion on which I rest, and which I find myself utterly unable to overcome. I suppose I know beforehand how you will answer them, and that the answer will be utterly unsatisfactory to me. But if you desire it I will state them." I begged him to do so; and he began, as nearly as I can recollect in this way: "You and I agree in believing in the existence of God." "Yes." "Well, we agree that He is infinitely wise, and good, and powerful." "Yes." "We agree that He has in our very creation given us certain irresistible convictions of right and wrong, of justice and injustice." I said, "Yes." "Well, we agree, then, that whatever contravenes our irresistible convictions of justice cannot be from God." "Yes," I said. "What according to our irresistible convictions is neither wise nor good, cannot be from God." "Yes," I said; "we agree in that." "Well now," said he, "the Bible teaches us that God has created us with a sinful nature, or that we come into existence totally sinful and incapable of any good; and this in accordance with certain preestablished laws of which God is the author. That notwithstanding this sinful nature that is utterly incapable of any good, God commands us to obey Him and to be good, when to do so is utterly impossible to us; and He commands this on pain of eternal death." I replied, "Mr. Smith, have you got a Bible? Will you not turn to the passage that teaches this? "Why, there is no need of that," he says: "you admit that the Bible teaches it." "No, I do not," I said, "believe any such thing." "Then," he continued, "the Bible teaches that God has imputed Adam's sin to all his posterity--that we inherit the guilt of that sin by nature, and are exposed to eternal damnation for the guilt of Adam's sin. Now," said he, "I do not care who says it, or what book teaches such a thing, I know that such teaching cannot be from God. This is a direct contradiction of my irresistible convictions of right and justice." "Yes," I replied, "and so it is directly in contradiction of my own. But now," said I, "where is this taught in the Bible?"
He began to quote the catechism, as he had done before. "But," I replied, "that is catechism; that is not Bible." "Why," said he, "you are a Presbyterian minister, aren't you? I thought the catechism was good authority for you." "No," I said "we are talking about the Bible now--whether the Bible is true. Can you say that this is the doctrine of the Bible?" Oh, he said, if I was going to deny that it was taught in the Bible, why that was taking such ground as he never knew a Presbyterian minister to take. He then proceeded to say that the Bible commanded men to repent, but at the same time taught them that they could not repent: commanded them to obey and believe, and yet at the same time taught them that this was impossible. I, of course, closed with him again, and asked him where these things were taught in the Bible. He quoted catechism, but I would not receive it. The Bible taught also, he went on to say, that Christ died only for the elect; and yet it commanded all men everywhere, whether elect or non-elect, to believe on pain of eternal death. "The fact is," said he, "the Bible in its commands and teachings contravenes my innate sense of justice at every step. I cannot, I will not receive it!" He became very positive and warm. But I said to him: "Mr. Smith, there is a mistake in this. These are not the teachings of the Bible. They are the traditions of men rather than the teachings of the Bible." "Well then," said he, "Mr. Finney, do tell me what you do believe!" This he said with a considerable degree of impatience. I said to him, "If you will give me a hearing for a few moments, I will tell you what I do believe."
I then began and told him what my views of both law and Gospel were, in short order. He was intelligent enough to understand me easily and quickly. In the course of an hour, I should think, I took him over the whole ground of his objections. He became intensely interested, and l saw that the views that I was presenting were new to him. When I came to dwell upon the Atonement, and showed that it was made for all men--dwelt upon its nature, its design, its extent, and the freeness of salvation through Christ--I saw his feelings rise till at last he put both hands over his face, threw his head forward upon his knees, and trembled all over with emotion. I saw that the blood rushed to his head, and that the tears began to flow freely. I got quickly up and left the room without saying another word. I saw that an arrow had transfixed him, and I expected him to be converted immediately. It turned out that he was converted before he left the room.
Very soon after I left his room the meetinghouse bell tolled for a prayer and conference meeting. I went into the meeting, and soon after the meeting commenced Mr. and Mrs. Smith came in. His countenance showed that he had been greatly moved. The people looked around and appeared surprised to see Mr. Smith come into a prayer meeting. He had always been in the habit of attending worship on the Sabbath, I believe; but for him to come into a prayer meeting, and that in the daytime, was something new. For his sake I took up a good deal of the time at that meeting in remarks, to which he paid the utmost attention. His wife afterwards told me, that as he walked home when the prayer meeting was over he said to her, "My dear, where has all my infidelity gone? I cannot recall it. I cannot make it look as if it had any sense in it. It appears to me as if it always had been perfect nonsense. And how I could ever have viewed the subject as I did, or respected my own arguments as I did, I cannot imagine. It seems to me." said he. "as if I had been called to pass judgment on some splendid piece of architecture, some magnificent temple; and that as soon as I came in view of one corner of the structure I fell into disgust, and turned away and refused to inspect it farther. I condemned the whole without at all regarding its proportions. Just so I have treated the government of God." She said he had always been particularly bitter against the doctrine of endless punishments. But on this occasion on which they were walking home he said, that for the manner in which he had treated God he deserved endless damnation. His conversion was very clear and decided. He warmly espoused the cause of Christ, and enlisted heartily in the promotion of the revival. He joined the church, and soon after became a deacon, and to the day of his death, as I have always been told, was a very useful man.
After the conversion of Mr. Smith, and of that class of young men to whom I have alluded, I thought it was time, if possible, to put a stop to the opposition of the Baptist church and minister. I therefore had an interview first with the deacon of the Baptist church, who had been very bitter in his opposition, and said to him, "Now you have carried your opposition far enough. You must be satisfied that this is the work of God." Said I. "I have made no allusion in public to any opposition made by yourself or by any of your people, or your minister; and I do not wish to do so, or to appear to know that there is any such thing as this. But you have gone far enough; and I shall feel it my duty, if you do not stop immediately, to take you in hand and expose your opposition from the pulpit." Things had got into such a state that I was sure that both God and the public would sustain me in carrying out the measure that I proposed, if the Baptists continued their opposition. He confessed, and said that he was sorry; and promised that he would make confession, and that he would not oppose the work any more. He said that he had made a great mistake and had been deceived, but that he also had been very wicked about it. He then went after his minister, and I had a long conversation with them together. His minister confessed that he had been all wrong; that he had been deceived, and had been wicked; and that his sectarian prejudices had carried him too far. He hoped that I would forgive him, and prayed God to forgive him. I told him that I should take no notice whatever of the opposition of his church, provided they stopped it, which they promised to do. But I then said to him: "Now a considerable number of the young people, whose parents belong to your church, have been converted." If I recollect right, as many as forty of their young people had at that time been converted in that revival. "Now," said I, "if you go to proselyting, that will hurt the feelings of the Presbyterians, and create a sectarian feeling in both churches, and will be worse than any opposition which you have offered." I said to him, "In spite of your opposition the work has gone on; because the Presbyterian brethren have kept clear of a sectarian spirit, and have had the Spirit of prayer. But if you go to proselyting, it will destroy the Spirit of prayer, and will stop the revival immediately." He knew it, he said, and therefore he would say nothing about receiving any of the converts, and would not open the doors of the church for their reception until the revival was over; and then, without any proselyting, let the converts all join which church they pleased. This, I told him, was what I wanted them to do.
This was on Friday. The next day, Saturday, was the day for their monthly Covenant meeting. When they got together, instead of his keeping his word, he threw the doors of the church open and invited the converts to come forward and tell their experience and join the church. As many as could be persuaded to do so told their experience, and the next day there was a great parade in baptizing them. The minister sent off immediately and secured the help of one of the most proselyting Baptist ministers that I ever knew. He came in and began to preach and lecture on baptism. They ransacked the town for converts in every direction; and whenever they could get any one to join they would get up a procession, and march, and sing, and make a great parade in going to the water and baptizing them. This so grieved the Presbyterian church as to destroy their Spirit of prayer and faith, and the work came to a dead standstill. For six weeks there was not a single conversion. In the meantime the subject of baptism was rung throughout the place, and the whole excitement of the revival fell into that channel. All, both saints and sinners, were discussing the question of baptism, for this was lectured upon nearly every day by this old proselyting minister.
There were a considerable number of men, and some of them prominent men, in the village, that had been under strong conviction and appeared to be near conversion, who had been entirely diverted by this discussion of baptism; and indeed, this seemed to be the universal effect. Everybody could see that the revival had stopped, and that the Baptists, although they had opposed the revival from the beginning, were bent upon having all the converts join their church. However, I think that a majority of the converted could not be persuaded to be immersed, although nothing had been said to any of them on the other side. I finally said to the people on Sabbath day: "You see how it is--that the work of conversion is suspended, and we do not know that a conversion has occurred now for six weeks, and you know the reason." I did not tell them at all how the pastor of the Baptist church had violated his word, nor allude to it; for I knew that it would do no good, and much hurt, to inform the people that he had been guilty of taking such a course. But I said to them: "Now I do not want to take up a Sabbath in preaching on this subject; but if you will come on Wednesday afternoon at one o'clock, and bring your Bibles and your lead pencils to mark the passages, I will read to you all the passages in the Bible that relate to the mode of baptism; and I will give you as nearly as I understand it, the views of our Baptist brethren on all those passages, together with my own, and you shall judge for yourself where the truth lies."
When Wednesday came the house was crowded. I saw a considerable number of the Baptist brethren present. I began and read first in the Old Testament, and then in the New, all the passages that had any reference to the mode of baptism, so far as I knew. I gave the views that the Baptists had of those texts, and the reasons for their views. I then gave my own views, and my reasons for them. I saw that the impression was decided and good, and that no bad spirit prevailed, and the people appeared satisfied in regard to the mode of baptism. I found that it took me just three hours and a half to read and explain those passages of Scripture. The Baptist brethren, so far as I know, were quite satisfied that I stated their views fairly, and as strongly as they could state them themselves, and also their reasons for them. Before I dismissed the meeting I said: "If you will come tomorrow, at the same hour, at one o'clock, I will read to you all the passages in the Bible that relate to the subjects of baptism, and pursue the same course as I have done today."
The next day the house was crowded, if possible more than the day before. Quite a number of the principal Baptist brethren were present; and I observed the old elder, the great proselyter, sitting in the congregation. After going through with the introductory services, I arose and commenced my reading. At this point the elder arose and said, "Mr. Finney, I have an appointment, and cannot stay to hear your readings. But I shall wish to answer you; and how shall I know what course you take'?" I replied to him: "EIder, I have before me a little skeleton, whereon I quote all the passages that I shall read, and note the order in which I discuss the subject. You can have my skeleton, if you please, and reply to it." He then went out, and as I supposed went away to attend his appointment. I then began in Genesis. I took up the covenant made with Abraham, and read everything in the Old Testament that directly bore upon the question of the relation of families and of children to that covenant. I gave the Baptist view of the passages that I read together with my own, with the reasons pro and con as I had done the day before. I then took up the New Testament, and went through with all the passages in that that related to the subject. The people waxed very mellow, and the tears flowed very freely when I held up that covenant as still the covenant which God makes with parents and their household. The congregation was much moved and melted. I found that it took me just three hours and a half to read and expound the passages relating to the subjects of baptism. Just before I was through, the deacon of the Presbyterian church had occasion to go out with a child that had sat with him during the long meeting. He told me afterwards that as he went into the vestibule of the church he found the old elder sitting there with the door ajar, and listening to what I was saying, and absolutely weeping himself.
When I was done the people thronged around me on every side, and with tears thanked me for so full and satisfactory an exhibition of that subject. I should have said that the meeting was attended, not only by members of the church, but by the community generally. Those two readings settled the subject of baptism. I was told that as the people went out one of the principal of the unconverted men in the village, who had been under conviction and had been diverted by this discussion on baptism, said to the elder: "EIder, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You have come here as a religious teacher, and have been teaching us continually by your lectures that this covenant made with Abraham was a covenant of works and not of grace. And here you have been getting up all this excitement through your ignorance of the teachings of the Bible on the subject of baptism. And yet you are a professed Baptist, and don't understand the subject yourself. I have heard what you have said" said he, "and I have heard Mr. Finney, and it is perfectly plain that you are wrong and that he is right." The old elder left the place, I believe, immediately. I am not aware that any more of the converts united with the Baptist church. The question was intelligently settled, and soon the people ceased to talk about it. In the course of a few days the Spirit of prayer returned, and the revival was revived and went on again with great power. Not long after, the ordinances were administered, and a large number of the converts united with the church. Several Baptist families who had attended my readings were convinced, and came and united with the Presbyterian church, and I baptized their children.
I have already intimated that I was a guest of Mr. Benjamin Smith. He had a very interesting family. By his wife, called by everybody "Aunt Lucy," he had no children. But they had from time to time, through the yearnings of their hearts, adopted one child after another until they had ten; and they were so nearly of an age that at the time of the commencement of this revival his family was composed of himself, and "Aunt Lucy," his wife, and ten young people, I think about equally divided, young men and young women. They were all soon converted, and their conversions were very striking. They were bright converts, and very intelligent young people; and a happier and more lovely family I never saw than they were when they were all converted. But Aunt Lucy had been converted under other circumstances, when there was no revival; and she had never before seen the freshness, and strength, and joy of converts converted in a powerful revival. Their faith and love, their joy and peace, completely stumbled Aunt Lucy. She began to think that she was never converted; and although she had given herself heart and soul to the promotion of the work, yet right in the midst of it she fell into despair in spite of all that could be said or done. She concluded that she never had been converted, and of course that she never could be.
This introduced into the family a matter of great pain and concern. Her husband thought she would go deranged. The young people, who all regarded her as a mother, were filled with concern about her, and indeed the house was thrown into mourning. Brother Smith gave up his time to converse and to pray with her, and to try to revive her hope. I had several conversations with her; but in the great light which the experience of those young converts, to which she was daily listening, threw around her, she could not be persuaded to believe either that she ever was converted or ever could be. This state of things continued day after day till I began myself to think that she would be deranged. The street on which they lived was a thickly settled street, almost a village for some three miles in extent. The work had gone on, on that street until there was but one adult unconverted person left. He was a young man by the name of Bela Hough, and was almost frantic in his opposition to the work. Almost the whole neighborhood gave themselves to prayer for this young man, and his case was in almost everybody's mouth.
One day I came in and found Aunt Lucy taking on very much about Bela Hough. "Oh dear!" she said; "what will become of him? Why, Mr. Smith! He will certainly lose his soul! What will become of him?" She seemed to be in the greatest agony lest that young man should lose his soul. I listened to her for a few moments, and then looked gravely at her and said: "Aunt Lucy, when you and Bela Hough die, God will have to make a partition in hell and give you a room by yourself." She opened her large blue eyes, and looked at me with a reproving look--"Why Mr. Finney!" said she. "Just so," I said. "Do you think God will be guilty of so great an impropriety as to put you and Bela Hough in the same place? Here he is, raving against God; and you are almost insane in feeling the abuse which he heaps upon God, and with the fear that he is going to hell. Now can two such persons, in such opposite states of mind, do you think, be sent to the same place'?" I calmly met her reproving gaze, and looked her steadily in the face. In a few moments her features relaxed, and she smiled, the first time for many days. "It is just so, my dear," said Mr. Smith, "just so. How can you and Bela Hough go to the same place?" She laughed and said, "We cannot." From that moment her despair cleared up, and she came out clear and as happy as any of the young converts. This Bela Hough was afterwards converted.
About three quarters of a mile from Mr. Smith's lived a Mr. Martin, who was a strong Universalist, and for a considerable time kept away from our meetings. One morning Father Nash, who was at the time with me at Mr. Smith's, rose up, as his custom was, at a very early hour and went back to a grove some fifty rods perhaps from the road to have a season of prayer alone. It was before sunrise, and Brother Nash, as usual, became very much engaged in prayer. It was one of those clear mornings, on which it is possible to hear sounds a great distance. Mr. Martin had arisen and was out of doors at that early hour in the morning, and heard the voice of prayer. He listened, and could distinctly hear Father Nash's voice. He knew it was prayer, he afterwards said, though he could not distinguish much that was said. He however said that he knew what it was, and who it was. But it lodged an arrow in his heart. He said it brought a sense of the reality of religion over him, such as he never had experienced before. The arrow was fastened. He found no relief till he found it in believing in Jesus.
I do not know the number that was converted in that revival. It was a large farming town, settled by well-to-do inhabitants. The great majority of them, I am confident, were in that revival converted to Christ. After I left, as I have been informed, the Baptists dismissed their minister, he having become very unpopular from the course he pursued toward that revival. They gave up their own separate meetings, and went over to the Presbyterian meetinghouse as a body; and they worshipped with them, if I remember rightly, some year or two before they revived their own separate meetings. I have not been in that place for many years. But I have often heard from there, and have always understood that there has been a very healthful state of religion in that place, and that they have never had anything like a discussion on the subject of baptism since.
The doctrines preached in promoting that revival were those that l have preached everywhere. The total moral and voluntary depravity of unregenerate man; the necessity of a radical change of heart, through the truth, by the agency of the Holy Ghost; the divinity and humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ; His vicarious Atonement, equal to the wants of all mankind; the gift, divinity and agency of the Holy Ghost; repentance, faith, justification by faith, sanctification by faith; persistence in holiness as a condition of salvation--and indeed all the distinctive doctrines of the Gospel were stated and set forth with as much clearness, and point, and power, as was possible to me under the circumstances. A great Spirit of prayer prevailed, and after the discussion on baptism, a Spirit of most interesting unity, brotherly love, and Christian fellowship prevailed. I never had occasion, finally, to rebuke the opposition of the Baptist brethren publicly. In my readings on the subject of baptism, the Lord enabled me to maintain such a spirit that no controversy was started, and no controversial spirit prevailed. The discussion produced no evil results, but great good, and, so far as I could see, only good.
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