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the personal visits of brethren from New Haven, and the attention of the people was awakened to receive their communications.
“The first visit was made to the church in Derby, by a request communicated through their minister. Soon after this, applications were received from other churches in the vicinity, that similar visits might be made to them; and as the animating effects of these efforts became apparent, the solicitude to see the brethren became greater and greater. · I have now on hand, of those which have been preserved, a file of nearly fifty letters, received from the pastors of churches, urging the New Haven brethren to come and hold meetings with their people. In order to prevent jealousies, at an early period in this course of labors, a rule was adopted not to go to any place when the minister did not unite with the church in the application; and this regulation was strictly adhered to, except in one or two cases, and in those instances it was departed from only through erroneous information.
“The labors of the Christian brethren who went out two and two on these occasions, after the primitive example, were substantially as follows :-they met the assemblies of people when they were invited, at the time appointed, usually at the meeting-house, as the numbers drawn together were too large in most instances for a common dwelling-house, and held a conference in the manner customary throughout New
England. Reading the scriptures, prayer, singing a hymn, and exhortation to the impenitent, always formed the chief part of the exercises. The object of the speaker in his exhortation was to elucidate some important scriptural truth, and to apply it to the conscience in a pungent and familiar manner. The condemnation of the sinner by the Divine law, and the only way of escape by repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, were held up to view in a prominent manner. The members of the church were likewise addressed with affection; a rehearsal of the most remarkable incidents in the great work of saving love at New Haven, was made ; individual cases of conversion which were peculiar, were related; and all the means within their power were used by the visiting brethren to arouse the church to prayer and labors for a revival of religion among themselves.
“There was no person who insisted on immediate submission to Christ more strenuously than Mr. Williams. This was a theme on which he delighted to dwell. He appealed to the commands of God, to the sinner's love of happiness, to the worth of the soul, to the love of Christ, to the influences of the Holy Spirit, and to the retributions of eternity. His addresses to Christians, and his prayers, warmed their hearts, rekindled their zeal, animated their resolution, and stimulated them to active exertions in the salvation of those who were in danger of perishing. Neither the heats of summer nor the frosts of winter stopped him in these visits of mercy; and in several instances, he breasted severe snow-storms rather than fail to meet those who had assembled to hear from him the wonders of redeeming love. He acted upon the principle, that the present moment must be improved, because we know not what a day may bring forth. Christians were exhorted to commence their operations before the meeting closed, and plans were discussed and matured for attending conferences every week or oftener, in different districts of the town; and when practicable, the persons who were to conduct them, designated; plans for visiting from house to house were formed, and female circles for prayer recommended and urged. A part or the whole of the next day was spent in calling on individuals, both in and out of the church, exhorting and warning them to come to an immediate decision—to commence at once a life of active obedience.
“The effects of these labors were surprising. It seemed as if it was the pleasure of God to work by feeble means, that it might appear in a lucid manner, that although he chose to dispense the gift of eternal life through the instrumentality of his children, yet the efficiency was entirely from Him. It seemed as if God had determined to exhibit in sunbeams to the churches, the strong and intimate connection between the means which were used means appointed by himself, and the blessing which followed -the regeneration of the soul.
“The effect on the people was great. Large assemblies collected in almost every instance. It was no uncommon thing to learn that persons who had not attended public worship on the Sabbath for five years, were present on these occasions. An unusual degree of solemnity was apparent; agitations of mind were visible in the countenance ; the impenitent were pricked in the heart; God was present by the influences of the Holy Spirit ; saints were revived and animated. I have been informed by a pastor living in a neighboring town, that when he came to examine the candidates for admission to his church, he found twenty-five individuals who dated their first impressions to a meeting held by two of our brethren in his society. The effect on the church of Christ was great. Christians awaked from their long slumbers; they shook off the torpor which had been accumulating for years ; they humbled themselves before their Lord and Master; they became earnest and fervent in prayer,—and proved their prayers to be sincere, by entering vigorously into the field of labor. Revivals of religion commenced, and spread over this section of country. The intelligence received from one week to another, cheered and animated the disciples of Christ; and when conveyed to the heavenly world, undoubtedly awoke new raptures of joy among the saints and angels who surround the throne of God.'
“The number of visits made by the brethren to the churches within fifty miles, was more than one hundred and fifty. It formed a part of the plan of operations, that in every instance where a church were visited, within a week or two they should be seen a second time, in order to learn their progress. in active obedience—thus copying the example of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, when he said to Barnabas, “Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the Lord, and see how they do.” Three or four times the brethren went out to those places, which were within a convenient distance. The number of revivals which followed this course of measures, was between thirty and forty; and some of them, powerful effusions of the Divine Spirit.
“In contemplating the wonderful success attending these operations, not one of those who entered the field of labor, would be more ready to disclaim any personal merit than our respected brother, who has bidden us and the world a final farewell. The spontaneous emotions of his heart were, 'not unto us, not unto us, but to thy great name be all the glory.'”.
It will be seen from the preceding narrative, that these labors of the brethren were in no way designed to interfere with the prerogatives of pastors; nor were they supposed to interfere with them at the time. On the contrary, they met the hearty approbation of pastors throughout the State. Many inter