« AnteriorContinuar »
These meetings were usually opened with a short address, after which all knelt and united in a short prayer. The ministers present then proceeded to converse with every individual, in a low tone of voice, so as not to interrupt each other, or break the solemn stillness of the scene. The meeting was then closed with suitable exhortation and a prayer. It is impossible to convey to those who have not witnessed such an assembly, an adequate idea of its impressive solemnity. There was evidently much emotion, although no noise,—there were many tears, although no outbreaking of the agony of the mind, save in the expressive look and the half-stifled sigh. To stand and attentively survey a multitude of immortal beings, convened for such a purpose,—the salvation of the soul,—that for which the Lord of glory left heaven, and came down to earth-was an almost overwhelming sight. We have never beheld an assembly, the bare view of which was so affecting and solemn. The fascina. tions of sense, with all the glory of time seemed to fade away, and an approaching eternity alone to occupy the thoughts. The effect was increased by the fact, that meetings were usually held the same evening for prayer,—with special reference to the additional effusions of the divine Spirit on this anxious assem. bly. Meetings held from day to day, in private houses, consisting of from eight to fifteen 'or twenty persons, proved highly useful in awakening the attention, as well as in deepening the impression of religious truth on the mind. Both have been signally blessed of God, and made the birth-place of many souls. One week in September, from twenty-five to thirty, it was judged, were hopefully converted. The week following only a few less; and, on one occasion, eight or nine were, in the compass of an hour, to human view, brought out of darkness into light. Our ordinary conferences, which were frequent, and held in different places at the same time, were always crowded, and from that which was the most public and general, hundreds have been obliged to return home for the want of room.
The object, in speaking on these occasions, was not to address the passions,—but to impress the simple truth on the conscience; to show sinners, from the word of the living God, that they are guilty, condemned, lost, and must be miserable forever without a change of heart, and that it is their duty immediately to submit to God, and become reconciled to him through the efficacy of atoning blood.
Some weeks after the revival had commenced, the Rev. Mr. Nettleton, providentially directed, came and spent a number of weeks, as an evangelist, among us. He was received with joy, and his labors were eminently blessed of the great Lord of the harvest. Is it not important to the churches, that there be many men of this tried character to assist their wearied brethren, at such times? Several other ministers rendered seasonable and efficient aid.
The brethren of our two churches have also manifested a very becoming zeal and activity for the salvation of souls and the glory of God. They have come forward like men sensible of their duty and desirous to do it, and contributed much, very much, to relieve the labors and strengthen the hands of their pastors. Their conferences and prayer meetings, conducted altogether by themselves, have been important auxiliaries to the great work carried on by the divine Spirit. This revival has by no means, been confined to the denomination with which we are officially connected ; but all the other denominations in the place have, more or less, experienced its benign and saving efficacy. Indeed, so great and extensive has been the effect produced, that the community at large wears the aspect of seriousness.
This work begun among the young, and was for some time almost exclusively confined to those between twelve and twenty years of age. But it now comprises many of maturer age, some quite advanced in years. There are those as young as nine or ten, who have, it is hoped, by regeneration, become children of God.
Very few instances are known of those who, having been par. ticularly anxious, have relapsed into a state of stupidity.
There is, as has always been the case, a great variety in the former character and condition of those who appear to have been awakened, convicted and converted. Husbands and wives, in some instances, have been separated, in some they have both been taken, and together made to magnify the grace of God. The amiable, lovely, and accomplished youth who once thought he wanted nothing new, has been distressed for sin, and made a subject of that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. The man proverbial for his honesty and morality whose life for three-score years had been uniformly exemplary, has been brought to feel that morality could not save him, and made a new creature in Christ Jesus. The profane swearer has been struck dumb by a sense of guilt, and his oaths and curses have given place to prayer and praise to God and the Lamb. The scoffer has been taught to admire the grace he once despised, and the supercilious, sarcastic infidel prostrated at the foot of the cross, imploring mercy as a ruined, hell-deserving sinner. Where sin did abound, grace has much more abounded.
We have made no calculation as to the exact number of this accession to the constantly accumulating hosts of the Lord.About one hundred and eighty have been examined and propounded to the two Congregational churches in the city; perhaps somewhat more than half of the whole who entertain a hope. From fifteen to twenty have recently been admitted into the church in Yale College.
The number that remains to be added to the foregoing list, must depend on the copiousness of the showers of divine grace, that shall in the mean time descend.
And blessed be God that his compassions toward us fail not ! blessed be his holy name that we may still speak, not merely of what is past, but of that which is progressing. This is the seventh month of the continuance of the work, and for aught that at present appears, it may be prolonged through as many successive years. “ Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear." What he has done, if it do not serve as the pledge, may well encourage the hope, that he will do more. There is not indeed the same general excitement, nor the same degree of notoriety attached to the subject now, that there was during most of the month of September. But although the novelty of the thing is gone, its importance is still felt, and that with a deepening interest. Although the number of persons now awakened and hopefully converted, from week to week and day to day, is not so large as it was at that period, fresh instances are still occurring some of which are uncommonly illustrious displays of divine power and grace. The progress of the revival remains the great and general subject of inquiry and conversation. The attention to religious meetings is undiminished. There is no abatement of the animation, zeal and activity of professing Christians. And never among us was there such a spirit of prayer as at the present time.
NATH'L. W. TAYLOR. New Haven, January 26th, 1821.
On one occasion during this revival, seventy-three made a profession of religion at one time in the Centre Church; and on another, one hundred in the North Church. The whole number received by profession into these two churches and the church in College at the sacramental seasons in February and March, 1821, was two hundred and twenty-four. The College shared very largely in this work. si sa
In August, 1821, the Editor of the Religious Intelligencer, a weekly paper then published in New Haven, informed his readers that the revival was still in progress, though more than twelve months had gone by since it commenced. “ This highly favored city," he says, “ is still refreshed by the vivifying influences of the Holy Spirit. We believe there has been no period since the commencement of the revival, which is now more than a year, when there have not been some anxiously inquiring what they should do to be saved.” In these twelve months more than three hundred souls were added to the Congregational churches of the city, and a large number to churches of other denominations; and yet these were but a part of the whole number hopefully converted during that period.
Nor was this work of grace confined to the city of New Haven; it extended to the neighboring villages and towns, and finally over almost the entire State. Its general prevalence may be inferred from the following extracts taken at random from the Religious Intelligencer:
October 7, 1820. “A revival has commenced in Woodbridge, and in North Killingworth, (towns adjacent to New Haven,) within a few weeks. In the latter place there are already about thirty hopeful subjects of the work."
January 6, 1821. “The revival in Woodbridge still continues, and nearly one hundred are hoping in the mercy of God. We understand, also, that be