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change of heart. After her convictions of sin, she felt in her own heart, that she had found peace and joy in believing, and the love of Christ constrained her to try to do good to others. She observed that her father had employed several men who were working near the house, and she went out to them and began to converse with them on the immense importance of the salvation of the soul. Her father, who was a man of the world, took notice of her conduct, and called her to him, and inquired what was the subject of her conversation. When he learned that his daughter was talking to the men on religious subjects, he reproved her sharply, and forbid her taking up their time again with her idle talk. The little girl retired to her chamber, and poured out her heart to God, and asked the divine direction relative to her duty in this particular. When she rose from her knees, she felt strengthened, and in a little time went out again, and exhorted the men to a life of religion. Her father again saw her, and calling her to him, said with anger, if you again disobey and talk to these men on the subject of religion, you shall not stay in my house. She went to her closet the second time to ask counsel of her heavenly Father, and returned from it strengthened and comforted. A day or two afterwards she went the third time, like a young missionary, to the men, and exhorted them to flee from the wrath to come. Her father saw her and his wrath was kindled; he told her immediately to take her clothes and begone out of his house. She went up to her room very calmly, gathered up her clothes in a bundle, and took them under her arm, to go she knew not whither. As she was going out of the front door, she saw her father, and running up to him, she embraced him, saying, “My father I do love you,”—and went from the house. The course she took was up a neighboring hill, and as she ascended it she was followed by her father's eye. His heart began to soften; he called her but was not heard, and she was soon out of sight. The father followed his daughter a little over the hill, and found her on her knees praying for him. As soon as her prayer was finished, he embraced her, and invited her to return to her home. This incident awakened the father's mind to consideration and conviction of sin, and by the operations of the Holy Spirit on his heart, he was induced in a short time, to give himself up to the Lord Jesus Christ. Med
The effect produced on my own mind by the scenes I witnessed at this Conference of the churches, was so powerful, that it seems as if it could never be effaced. Very many revivals of religion have followed these meetings, and I think it may be said with truth, that in the region of country where they have been held, there have been more instances in which the Lord has poured out his Spirit in answer to prayer, than were ever known since the first settlement of the country. The good work still goes on and prospers; Christians pray with some good degree of faith in the declarations of the Gospel, and sinners are converted to God.
When a person unaccustomed to these Conferences first visits them, this idea will strike the mind very forcibly—that the aged and most experienced brethren of the churches, have taken up the subject of building up the kingdom of Christ in earnest, and that they have engaged in it as a matter of business. Our Lord declared when he was on earth, that “the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light;" and the experience of all Christians must coincide with this declaration. But in these Conferences of the churches, it seems as if the best and wisest means were used, to awaken Christians and churches to prayer and labor ; those means which are of divine appointment, and which of course will be attended with a blessing. This result does follow, and when Christians exhort one another daily, then sinners will be alarmed, and consider their ways, and turn unto the Lord. The Psalmist understood this subject when he said, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee."
It ought not to be omitted, that in all that region of country where the churches send delegates to the Conference, they hold a concert of prayer on Tuesday evening, of each week, to cry unto God for the
Divine blessing on the meeting which will be held the succeeding day. I am yours affectionately,
The religious newspapers of this period are filled with interesting accounts of revivals of religion occurring in connection with these Conferences. The number of applications to a Conference for a visit would sometimes be so great, that a church would have to wait three months before its turn would come. This system at length became so prominent as to awaken suspicion, and even jealousy to some extent, in different parts of the State. Fears were entertained, that the Conference would come to be in time, a permanent ecclesiastical organization, exercising an undesirable supervision over the churches and their pastors. That such might have been the fact, that when the circumstances which gave birth to the Conference no longer existed, it might have been turned from a simple agent in promoting revivals into an engine of spiritual oppression, no one familiar with the rise and history of ecclesiastical establishments will deny. That which is framed to be an instrument of benevolence is often turned into an instrument of evil when improper persons get control of it, or when better uses fail.
But on the other hand, the continuance of these fraternal conferences might have done much to prevent that jealousy and alienation which, in connection with a theological controversy now happily ended, afterwards separated ministers and churches which, having “one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” ought ever to dwell “in the unity of the Spirit and the bonds of peace.”
But however we may speculate upon the probable results of a permanent system of intercourse among sister churches by lay-delegates, it is certain that the design for which the Conference of the churches was established, was simply the extension of revivals of religiòn, and that it was eminently blessed to this end. No one concerned in the movement appears to have harbored the intention of establishing an ecclesiastical court, of instituting a censorship over either ministers or churches, or of restraining in any degree their Christian liberty. The principles on which it
could have been farther from the subject of this memoir than such a design. He was the uncompromising enemy of ecclesiastical dictation in every form, whether on the part of ministers or churches, or of any combination of ministers and churches. He contended for the rights of the brotherhood, not as against the rights of ministers or of ecclesiastical bodies, but as against any stretch of authority on the part of any ecclesiastical organization, whether clerical or lay. His views on this subject, which were sometimes misunderstood, are precisely expressed in