Emerson Andrews (1806-1884) was born in Mansfield, Bristol County, Massachusetts in 1806 to godly parents, James and Mercy Andrews. They were from English stock and were strict Puritans in faith and lifestyle. Although young Emerson was raised in the Congregational Church he was far from God in his teens and twenties. Nevertheless, periodically, he experienced intense conviction, usually through his parents’ counsels and prayers but particularly through two unforgettable sermons delivered by the eccentric revivalist, Lorenzo Dow. Soon after this he was converted under the ministry of another revival preacher, Asahel Nettleton.
He was a very educated man formerly studying at Chesterfield Academy and, at the time of his conversion, at Plainfield Kimball Union Academy, in New Hampshire. In the spring of 1832 whilst studying further at Union College in Schenectady, New York, he was baptised by immersion in the Mohawk River. It was his convictions about the Bible’s teaching on water baptism that caused him to join the Baptist’s instead of the Congregationalists or Presbyterians.
We have included 4 of the 16 chapters.
My father, James Andrews, was born in the town of Norton, Bristol County, Massachusetts. He was the youngest of the five sons of Joseph Andrews, who was a son of Isaac Andrews, who was one of the four brothers, from the Andrews family in England, who emigrated to America. My father was above medium size and height, very erect and quick, punctual and executive — a good, wise, full, live man. He was a large farmer, a manufacturer, a mechanic, and often graced many other responsible offices and occupations. His mottoes were, “Righteousness, temperance, economy, industry, promptness, perseverance, godliness,” and always, “Pay as you go” —your vows or debts. He was a model man — “well to do, and independent.” He died at the age of forty-seven.
My mother, Mercy Lincoln Andrews, was born in the town of Taunton, Bristol County, Massachusetts. She descended from a branch of the Lincoln family, of English stock; from which origin sprang, also, a noted general, a wise governor, a just judge, an eminent divine, and the late honest president.” My mother is large, robust, industrious, discreet, and cheerful, and strongly manifests the noble family characteristics. Now, in her ninety-first year, she retains well the use of her different faculties of body and mind, and is very active, healthy, hearty, helpful, heavenly, happy. What a blessing of health, piety, industry, and green old age! The Lord be praised!
My dear parents were united in marriage when quite young; had ten children; shared mutual duties, sorrows, and joys; were well adapted to each other, affectionate, kind, faithful, cheerful, successful, and grateful. They were also strict “Puritans” in doctrine, profession, and practice — devoted, exemplary Christians, at church, at home, and abroad — everyday “good livers.” On Lord’s days, Fast and Thanksgiving days, no work was allowed on our premises, except that of necessity or mercy. No social visiting, no gaming or sporting, no vain pleasure, nor even an idle song or a whistle, was tolerated on sacred days.” But we were enjoined to attend public worship, to read the Bible and religious books, and to give ourselves to devotion, deeds of mercy, and Christian duties. May the Lord be glorified, and our souls be grateful, and all the world be blest for such parents. Yea, let earth and heaven be honored by our lives.
I was born in the town of Mansfield, Bristol County, Massachusetts, on the 24th of November, in the year of our Lord 1806. I was the eldest son of the said James and Mercy Lincoln Andrews. I was ever large, robust, active, bold, resolute, faithful, careful, persevering, and successful, from early childhood up to manhood. I was very healthy, — except for a short time, — considerate, diligent, temperate, truthful, forward, enterprising, studious, acquisitive, ambitious, sensitive, proud, mirthful, strictly moral, and honest.
I was sometimes thoughtful and devotional, while yet living without hope, and without God in the world.” But I reasoned, and philosophized, and moralized, and resolved, and sought salvation, till at length, by sovereign grace, I experienced the new birth, — the Christian birth, — and became an heir of God and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. But did the angels rejoice over my repentance and second birth? Well, then, might I, the happy recipient of Christ’s love, rejoice and praise God in the highest.
From this memorable period my relations to my heavenly Father, and the claims of my Savior in his kingdom, have absorbed the powers of my body, heart, mind, and soul, and engrossed my cheerful services, till the present. By grace I am what I am; and by the cross of Christ, I hope to gain the victory and the crown.
Our family, of ten in all, was healthy. When I was some sixteen years of age, my father sold our pleasant homestead in Mansfield, Mass. Then, after exploring a number of states in search of a new home, we removed, in the fall of 1824, to the town of Westmoreland, Cheshire County, New Hampshire. Here we settled on a large farm, and hoped to live more retired and easily, and to be much happier than ever. For a while we all enjoyed health and prosperity. Yea, everything seemed delightful, profitable, and promising. But, alas! our bright hopes were soon blighted— our sun set in a dark cloud! A pestiferous blast blew upon us; and death, with awful violence, overtook our helpless family.
In the fall of 1825, — only a year after our arrival, — in the short space of six sad weeks, malignant typhus fever, with the grim messenger of death, invaded our once hopeful, happy, healthy family circle, seized upon my dear father, two choice brothers, and two lovely sisters, and thus suddenly swept them from life into their graves, and into eternity! O, inscrutable Providence!
But, behold, even this dire calamity was mingled with mercy. Marvelous as it may seem, I was the first, and apparently the sickest one of all attacked and prostrated by this malignant fever, and was sick, too, with three others of the surviving portion of the afflicted family, and seemed very nigh unto death. I was bled, salivated, purged, blistered, tortured, delirious, emaciated, weak, nervous, and racked with burning pains. For a while I was given over by my physicians and friends —to die. “Alas!” said they, “poor boy! he is dying!” But yet a gracious and all-wise God had otherwise decreed.
After this terrible crisis, and six weeks of untold sufferings of body and mind, I began slowly to amend — to recover strength; and in a few months was restored to usual health, to unspeakable earthly privileges, and to a gracious spiritual probation.
Lo! what a wonderful change I then beheld! Half of our large, precious family was gone — gone to another world! But here was I myself, a brand plucked from the burning.” I stood amazed. I studied, and reflected, and cried in agony, Lord, what shall I do?” At that critical period, under the counsel and prayers of my dear, pious mother, under my own convictions, and under the power of sovereign grace, I was measurably constrained to deny myself, change my plans and course of life. But O, how dilatory, unstable, and perverse I was! As I was now the only surviving son and brother, l felt bound, by a sense of filial duty, to remain at home with my bereaved mother and three sisters, to assist in settling a large estate, and to make some plans and preparations for the future.
Here, for two full years, I labored, reasoned, studied, inquired, and sometimes prayed — in my way — for useful knowledge, for wisdom, and for prevailing power. Thus my former desires and resolutions were strengthened and encouraged to develop and cultivate all my powers, and to improve every privilege, perchance, for the glory of God and the good of mankind.
I was very early and carefully taught and trained to obey my kind parents, to read, to study, to work at farming, and many kindred pursuits. Thus my physical system gathered size, firmness, proportions, and strength, to endure hardships, to sustain me in the exercise and development of mind, heart, and soul — so necessary to our usefulness, to the battles of life and crowning victories.
I was gradually educated at home, in common-schools, in Sabbath schools, and in Bible classes, under the auspices and instructions of the old Standing Order,’ or Congregational church.
I was made to observe most strictly the stated fasts, thanksgivings, catechisms, family and private devotions, and the public worship of God on the Lord’s day. O, how grateful I now am for such early instructions, examples, and culture, and how responsible!
Our family altar” was wont to burn daily with holy incense. “Grace” was said at the table; yea, my ears were saluted with our good old revival hymns, so sweetly sung by my devoted, happy parents, — sung with such life, and fervency, and spirit as to make a powerful, and lasting, and blessed effect on my young and plastic soul. Heavenly songs and sacred seasons! O, how sweet and precious is their memory still! These impressions, and associations, and suggestions are yet vivid and valuable beyond computation.
At different periods I attended numerous select schools, especially for penmanship, for grammar, and enjoyed, also, many profitable terms at some of the best academics, while pursuing only my English studies. Thus l was soon qualified for teaching, which I often did, — and then for more extensive pursuits or business. But I very modestly and cowardly hesitated for a while before venturing to make the effort, sacrifice, and expenditure so necessary for obtaining a liberal education, or for either of the learned professions.” Yet time rolled on, and Providence directed.
At the riper age of twenty-two, after wise counsel and earnest deliberation, I resolved to obtain a good collegiate education” at whatever cost, and thus to store away my little paternal patrimony, diligently, economically, and quickly as possible, in my own head, as being the most safe and profitable investment — yea, safe from rogues and robbers, and yet profitable for all times and occasions; and, if sanctified by grace, I then hoped to make the world better by my living in it, and also be better prepared to give my account to God at the last day.
I had always desired a thorough education, but was, by many doubts and difficulties, deterred, resolving and re-resolving, until I at length gained the victory. I had doubted my mental natural talents, and all possible acquisitions, to raise me up to, and sustain me in, a tip-top place,” or enable me to live in any learned, easy, or respectable style. I said, if I were educated I could not enter the sacred ministry, being unfit — for I am not an experienced Christian, nor do I see any immediate prospect of my becoming such. The other professions, I thought, were pleasant enough to read, and very useful, but I did not desire the practice of either.
About this time, while journeying over the Green Mountains of Vermont to New York in a stage-coach, I met with an “honorable” stranger — a member of the Vermont legislature. After a little free conversation, he very kindly gave me good, practicable, encouraging advice, and stimulated me to try to get an education by all means immediately, nothing doubting. He seemed so sympathetic and unselfish, wise and fatherly, that I regarded this as a “godsend;” and so it was, for I was led on safely in a mysterious and gracious way.
Soon after this, on re-crossing the Green Mountains by the way of Bennington, Vermont, I met, while walking, a minister of the cross, riding on horseback, who, after passing by me a few rods, wheeled about, and called after my name, object, whereabouts, and prospects, saying, “You remind me of my own dear son.” He then gave me much fatherly and Christian counsel, and encouraged me to press onward, adding, I expect to hear and know more of you at some future day.” This was truly as apples of gold in baskets of silver,” and another “oasis in the desert” on the Green Mountains. Angels, indeed, ministered unto me.” I was greatly strengthened by these interviews.
After visiting my dear mother again for a few days, I began my “fitting for college” at Chesterfield, New Hampshire, by studying Latin under Larkin Mead, Esq. and then my Latin and Greek at the old Academy, under Edward Harris, A.B.
At this important juncture I dispensed with all “fashionable amusements” and vain pleasures. All narcotics, and stimulants, and dissipation I utterly discarded, as unnecessary, injurious, and sinful in their common use, and unfit for the healthy, robust, successful student. “It was enough,” I said, “for the old and sickly ones to indulge themselves and run the sad risk, but, as for me, I would give myself to education, to mankind, and to God, and have no participation in such low pursuits and pleasures, nor in their results.”
After studying the languages in Chesterfield more than a year, I entered the Academy at Plainfield, Meriden parish. Here, under the instruction of Rev. Dr. Newel and Professor Shed, l finished my “preparation for college.” But best of all, I here entered the “school of Christ,” and began my preparation for heaven.”
In September, 1831, l entered the Sophomore class of Union College, at Schenectady, New York, under the popular and efficient presidency of the wise, learned, eloquent venerable, and renowned Rev. Eliphalet Nott, D.D.
Within a few weeks thereafter I joined the Adelphic Literary Society, and enjoyed many privileges and derived great advantages from my associations with this noble fraternity. I became not only a full member, but the honored president of the society.
In college my rank, throughout the entire course, was at about four hundred and ninety-five degrees in five hundred on the “Merit Roll.” My absences for preaching usually cut me down one or two degrees. In scientific and literary attainments my uniform standing was much above the large majority of my “college class,” which numbered sometimes more than one hundred students.
Besides my other studies, I read also, under competent professors, French, medicine, law, and theology. (All of these studies, with divers lectures and foreign languages, have often since received my earnest attention. So without vain boasting, let me say, that I have, at various times, read and spoken six different languages, and obtained a convenient “smattering” of three more.) To God be all the glory!
AT our “Commencement,” in the month of July, 1834, I had an excellent appointment assigned to me, and was graduated with all the “honors of college.” “What hath God wrought!”
In conclusion, I would say that my domestic, school and collegiate education, numerous associations, religious privileges, spiritual victories, revival experience and successes, all daily furnish me with blessed and grateful recollections and deep humiliation, and incite me to prayer, consecration, and thanksgiving to Almighty God. May I be learned in the Scriptures, wise in winning souls, valiant unto death, and, at last, graduate in heaven.
But let me now give you a short sketch of my
At the early age of three years my memory served me well; and at four years, on a Lord’s day, in our “new house,” I recollect very distinctly that my dear father talked to me plainly about our God, and of our going up to heaven. This kind of conversation was often repeated.
A few years after this I often heard and saw my dear mother in her closet or private chamber praying and weeping under deep convictions and distress for her sins. Then again, after a few days, I witnessed her devotions — but how wonderful the change! Her heart was full of love, faith, and hope, and her prayer flowed most sweetly. She now sang praises to God in the highest, and so went on her way with a face radiant with heavenly peace and joy. O, how like an angel was she — so lovely, happy, and glorious, yea, Christ-like!
These occasions and manifestations left their indelible impressions on my young and plastic soul. Yet my exercises were quite various, and often transient, from early youth up to manhood. Sometimes I was very thoughtful and serious, and occasionally devout, like Saul of Tarsus, but had no heart to give up the flesh and the world for Jesus, to make the entire surrender and firm resolve for life and salvation. I was quite active, cheerful, ready, thoughtful, frank, moral, virtuous, temperate, respectful to religious observances, and communicative to Christian friends and to faithful ministers. And though I was not pious, I was fully convinced that I ought to be a Christian, and rather preferred religious society long before my own conversion to God.
My body, mind, and, soul were gradually being developed for the future, and passed through many critical period but Sovereign grace prevailed over the flesh, world, and Satan, and I was at last led by the Holy Spirit to trust in the Savior for salvation.
At the age of six or seven years I was often excited to tears, and was deeply impressed, by seeing and hearing my dear father at evening prayers, standing up and holding on to the back of a chair as if really talking with God about our family. I was sometimes much affected at table while he was asking a blessing and returning thanks; then, also, on Lord’s day mornings, while he was reading and praying, but especially when both father and mother joined so heartily and fervently in singing the old spiritual songs” (now in my book of “Revival Songs”).
I recollect very well that between eight and twelve years of age, when severe gales or thunder— storms came upon us, my sins and faults, in awful array, would roll up to my affrighted vision, and I would run or steal away to pray, fearing death and hell. At other times, when feeling deeply sorrowful, I would leave my business or company for secret devotion. On Lord’s days especially I was more serious usually than on other days, being closely restricted and instructed at home, in the Sabbath school, and at church. But how often I forgot my “Sunday vows” during the week! How strange, and what a paradox!
Between the age of twelve and sixteen, while laboring on the farm, going to neighboring villages and towns, or journeying to Boston, Mass. I would frequently retire to groves, graveyards, open schoolhouses, and unlocked churches to read the Bible and to pour out my heart’s bitterness in prayer. However gay and cheerful I seemed or felt among my playful companions, I also felt the “aching void” within. When Christians talked with me on religion I was respectful and grateful, especially if they seemed at all reasonable and pious. Yes, I courted such interviews. Sometimes I vainly fancied that I might grow up by degrees into religion, and that I really wanted to be a Christian, but could not possibly be converted just then, nor until the Spirit should strive more powerfully; or till my burden and distress should be increased manifold. Then I would try to comfort myself as best I could with the plea of inability; and thus blindly, cruelly, and wickedly, by perverting the blessed doctrine of election. In some of my apparently wild and happy moment, I would feel powerfully some kind of presentiment, and would say cheerfully to my friends, “I may, like some other gay youth, or like Saul of Tarsus, be converted and become a preacher. Who knows?”
Thus, you see, I thought, felt, spoke, acted, and staggered on, till I was led to the strait gate.
From the age of sixteen to eighteen years, I was severely and wickedly tempted by some professors, sinners, and Satan; so that I almost gave up the idea of seeking salvation; but deliverance came, and I was saved from the “jaws of the lion and the pit.” Grace enabled me to say, “No, never,” to the tempter, and he vanished.
I protested against all gross sins and temptations; and they passed behind me. Yea, when the devil seemed to try his worst, and to rally all his forces, devices, and seductive charms, just then powerful motives drawn from heaven, and earth, and hell, addressed and saved me. When Satan suggested and argued that some “youthful indulgences would not harm me, nor injure my prospects, were I to become a physician, a lawyer, a statesman, or a man of business,” just then some blessed monitor would sound a voice of warning, and ask me these thrilling and effective questions: “What if God should spare your life, make you a Christian, and call you to the sacred ministry — how, or what then? Could you boldly stand up before an audience, and face an offended witness, an accessory, or an accuser? Then, if you were created with birthright blessings, will you stultify, fetter, and disgrace yourself? or sell out heaven and earth for paltry gratifications? Will you sin against God, and destroy your own immortal soul?” Conscience and the spirit said, “Stop! and now seek your salvation.” Thus, by marvelous grace, I was again rescued from the jaws of hell.
Blessed be the Lord for his mercy, and for his overruling providence! Yea, in infinite wisdom I seemed to be preserved and permitted to live on, to see, to hear, and to learn something while unconverted, which, very possibly, I could not so well have acquired afterwards; and perhaps to make me a better judge of human nature, a better “detective” in the field, a better or more efficient preacher to all classes of men; nay, to be a more expert, skillful, moral, and spiritual detective or instructor in revival meetings. O, it is a matter of great joy that God makes all things to work for the good of his cause and people!
I was most wonderfully preserved from mortal contamination of life, of heart, and character; yea, from the vitiating influences of bad company, bad books, silly novels, profanity, gambling, and every gross immorality. I was verily trained to veracity, temperance, virtue, and religion. And whatever superficially appeared, there was a deep sentiment within. My conscience was not dead.
The word of the Lord is sure. It shall not return void, and will endure forever. The counsel and prayers of my dear parents; the earnest sermons which I heard in early youth, especially the two discourses from the eccentric Rev. Lorenzo Dow; and the convictions I then experienced, were never wholly erased from my memory. So likewise the later death scenes in our afflicted family, and my many marvelous hairbreadth escapes, with their wise lessons, often rushed upon my anxious mind.
Especially did I reflect, and feel smitten, bereft, and stripped of friends and fond hopes, between the age of eighteen and twenty-two: fatherless, frustrated, afloat, with no adopted chart or compass, but surrounded by storms, breakers, whirlpools, and landsharks. I felt greatly my sin and danger, and my need of the Captain of Salvation. My pious mother’s prayers, I trust, prevailed with God to save me from swift destruction.
Amidst these windings and ruminations, I attended two school terms to improve my penmanship, two to improve my grammar, and two to improve my physical graces (?), besides attending some others of similar character. I seemed to be ripening in haste for something. But when I reflected anew on my sin and folly, I felt sad and grieved. O, how l must have grieved the Spirit! I now became more serious, and soon lost all my relish for vain amusements. I wanted something more substantial, useful, higher, satisfying, than fashionable indulgences. I felt more deeply my moral responsibility, and the sinfulness of wasting my powers in the short-lived pleasures of the flesh and the world, which, in the end, ever bite like a serpent, and sting like an adder.” What a moral labyrinth I was in!
I resolved and re-resolved, but as yet I had only partially succeeded, in my own estimation, in any reformation. I had taken good counsel of my old friends, and of traveling strangers. I had attended many terms at the academy, and had taught numerous schools in Vermont and New Hampshire; and had often felt condemned that I was not prepared to give religious instruction to my scholars; and had tried, by some serious advice in my farewell addresses, to apologize or atone for some past religious deficiencies. But I could not be satisfied with my life. I had not the spirit, nor the confidence, to pray with my scholars, though I vaguely wished I were fit to lead in devotions. I tried to ease my conscience a little by saying, at one time, in a farewell address, that I hoped we should so live that we should all be prepared for death, judgment, and heaven.” I could say no less, nor more. About this time I enlisted in the light infantry, then in the cavalry, and afterward was offered an important commission; but l soon declined office, and gave up all military business. l thought I had no money nor tune to spare in that direction, and feared it would divert my mind, and, perhaps, endanger my soul’s salvation. Yet, having no settled course marked out, having no special object before me, and seeing no flattering prospects to satisfy my craving desires, I took a journey to New York State, in hopes that something might turn up.” On my arrival in the city of Troy, I felt quite solitary, solemn, and more thoughtful, and was solicited by an old boon companion to become, like him, a Universalist minister; but I, by grace, repelled the wily tempter, and besought the precious Savior.
On leaving the city, while crossing the Hudson River on the rotten ice, late in February, suddenly my foot broke through; and but for a powerful spring and effort, I must have gone down and under the ice. My life was saved, and I thought and shuddered. O, what a narrow escape,” said I, “of my life and soul!” I could not forget it.
After visiting and viewing the city of Albany, I left in the steamboat Dewitt Clinton, on the 4th of March, for New York city. Being the first boat out that spring, many thousands of spectators lined the shore, and covered many of the houses. When we, with the steamer, were pushed off from the dock, amidst the floating ice, — being slowly separated from the gazing multitude on shore, and leaving constantly a wider chasm between us, like a gulf between me and heaven, I thought, — I seemed, all at once, to see my great guilt, and the parting scenes of the general judgment. Awful! I was struck — struck with piercing convictions, and with deeper feeling than ever before. Many gross sinners appeared on the docks; but, on reflection, I recriminated myself as being worse and viler than any of them; for I had received early instructions, and so much light; had experienced such convictions; had enjoyed so many gracious opportunities; had made so many vows, and broken them all; had often felt the strivings of the Spirit, and heard the calls of mercy, and had long known my duty with-out loving God, or becoming a Christian. I thought that “I deserved the lowest hell;” and wondered that I was not with Dives in torment. I cannot describe my painful exercises. They were deep, awful, lasting, effective! I ruminated, re-resolved, and tried again to pray.
On landing at Poughkeepsie I sought out a prayer meeting at the “old Baptist Church” where since I have held a revival meeting with much success. There the brethren prayed and spoke with apparent unction, while I felt very solemn and devout, and made some Christian promises. Soon after this I went on my way, musing, observing, repenting, praying.
After spending a few days in New York, I crossed over to New Jersey, and inquired of vacant schools.” But learning that in one district a master was tolerated as a teacher who would both drink and swear, — thinking of my character and the school teachers of New England, — I turned away in disgust. Such society, I thought, would not be agreeable, profitable, or safe for an “inquirer” like myself. I valued education, morality, temperance, and religious observances, and I could not remain where such principles could not be appreciated and respected. (A change here, I am happy to say, has since taken place; and I have enjoyed much revival success in this state.)
In New York city I visited relatives and friends, went sightseeing, and hunting for enjoyment; but seeing so much intemperance, vice, wretchedness, pride, and folly, I became discontented and disgusted here, also; and after a sojourn of ten days, under a sense of duty to myself, to man, and to God, — while feeling sad that I was not prepared to address the people on morality nor religion, — I there resolved, God helping me, to return to New Hampshire, and fit myself for college as soon as possible. I did return a wiser if not a better man. I resolved to attend to my soul’s interests, to consecrate my powers to education and to God’s service, and to be ready for duty, death, and heaven, as grace should assist me. I felt my obligation to consecrate my all upon God’s sacred altar for my soul’s sake, and the reformation of the world. So I often thought that I would, and even thought that I had yielded. But O, my old wicked heart kept up its former deceitful habits, and gave me great trouble; yes, and greatly endangered my soul’s welfare for two years more. But my dear Mother’s prayers finally prevailed.
I soon returned to Chesterfield Academy, in New Hampshire, and commenced fitting for college with a hearty good will, hoping that some brighter way might soon open to view. I here became more regular, serious, devotional, and earnest, and saw and felt more of my depravity of heart. I was, at times, severely tempted to become a Universalist, a Unitarian, a Fatalist, or an infidel; or to think sometimes that I had at least a spark of latent goodness or grace in my poor heart, and that in process of time it would increase and blaze out; or that my morality and religious devotions might, in some mysterious way, atone for my defects, and at last secure my salvation. But each sinful excuse, delay, deviation, or substitute, only left a worse and more painful void in my wretched soul.
From the age of twenty-two to twenty-four years I was most constantly and intensely burdened by my conviction of sin, guilt, and danger. Sometimes, however, after striving hard for the prize, and hoping that I should “get the blessing,” but being disappointed, I would almost sink down in despair. I would then try to wrest the word of God, pervert his decrees, and rely on wrong ideas of election; but I could find no satisfaction in my sinful efforts.
After studying at Chesterfield for a year, I entered the Kimball Union Academy at Plainfield, New Hampshire. Here I met with many pious students and citizens. Truly it seemed to me that it was “now or never — the set time”— the most favorable time and place for me to seek directly, earnestly, and decisively my soul’s salvation. Here was progress. The eventful Crisis was near at hand. Grace directed. I sought the company of “the pious students;” but not then knowing my secret feelings, they were very chary of me, and seemed loath to engage in any conversation. How strange and inconsistent it appeared to me! But afterward they confessed their fault, and meekly apologized, saying that they “feared a rebuff or a nonplus, as I had so easily matched them in our debates.” A poor excuse it was, even if it were true. But I was then very forgiving.
Very soon I entered their prayer meetings, and felt still more, and asked their counsel and prayers. They again confessed, with tears, their sin of neglect, and promised to be more faithful to God and to me. And they were. God truly heard their vows, and blessed their faithfulness.
About this time I attended an experience meeting there, under the auspices of the Congregational church. Three female candidates related their “experiences,” and were received as members. I thought their evidences were good. But l could go but a little way with them in experience before each would leave me far behind in the dark, as I had gone no further than mere conviction. They had gone through the “strait gate,” and left me on the broad road.”
I then thought that I must have much more feeling in order to ever be converted. And Satan tempted me to try a dangerous experiment, to my sorrow and consternation. At three different times, in my special attempts to work my feelings up to a high point, I imagined myself right over hell; prayed earnestly and gesticulated vehemently, till my excitement rose to such a high pitch that I became stiff, speechless, and entranced. After experiencing these and some other strange and rather pleasant emotions, I was severely and dangerously tempted of the devil to hope that all these might be the exercises of the new birth, and that my soul was now quite safe. But “what a phenomenon! What a marvelous experiment!” said l. Is not this the crisis, the great change? or what?” But after a few days of false rest, hopes, and exercises, while reasoning and praying with some anxiety and distress, and after the last of the three deceptive translation, I felt alarmed, and cried out, “This is old Satan’s wily work, assuming angelic light to deceive me, and to give me a false experience and hope, that he may thus, after all, destroy my soul.” I trembled as I viewed the awful crisis, and prayed to Jesus for help. I soon became more terribly distressed in view of my guilt, my danger of deception, and hell. The devil was ever working his cunning strategies, and my heart was so desperately wicked that I dared not trust myself. Sad predicament! Truly an object of pity I was. I feared, sometimes, lest I might be left to myself to commit suicide.
About this time I heard the celebrated, revival preacher, Rev. Asahel Nettleton, preach a cogent gospel sermon from the text, “Quench not the Spirit.” I had often tried to think that I must wait patiently, and would be somewhat excusable, till the Spirit should strive with me more unmistakably and powerfully. But under this sermon I saw that I had felt not only rational convictions for sin, but had for years grieved the Spirit, and for months had withstood the evident and powerful operations of the Holy Spirit. It now seemed to me a great miracle of grace that I had not long ago grieved away the Spirit, and already committed the “unpardonable sin.” My convictions now were more deep, broad, and intense, suggesting that I was near the point of being “sealed over to perdition.”
From this period for two or three weeks I neither enjoyed sleep, rest, food, company, books, nor anything else, but was constantly reflecting, musing, moaning, confessing, self reproaching, praying, wailing, and agonizing under a sense of my sin, guilt, and danger. O, a sinner against an infinite God, against the Spirit, against the blessed Savior! I felt that I richly deserved damnation; to be banished from Christ, heaven and all blessings, for eternity, and to be shut up in hopeless despair in the torments of hell, with the devils and all the wicked beneath, the “vilest of the vile.” “O, my heart, my wicked heart, my deceitful heart of cruel unbelief! O, how miserable, how depraved, how helpless, how dependent! Can a sinner like me be saved?” “On the billows of wrath I am tossed; I am sinking in misery down, and must awake in hell before long!” Thus I felt the anguish inexpressible. O, my life and soul seemed fast going to destruction. My body was reduced to a skeleton, my health and strength fast declining, while “death and hell drew near.” My eyes red, weak, and inflamed by grief and loss of sleep, I could not read, study, nor recite. I begged to be excused from my study of Latin and Greek. But my prudent preceptor, Dr. Newel, only partially granted my request, saying that he feared the injurious effect on my mind. “but,” I replied, “what shall I do? The more I learn, the more power I have, and all I possess are still raised against God till I submit.” Try,” said my excellent teacher, to love God and trust the Savior. Come in with your class and answer questions, and soon you will be able to go on with your recitations.” So I did try, and so it gloriously eventuated. But what a labyrinth, what a ‘Slough of Despond,” I went through! I felt justly condemned of God, of my conscience, of everything, and deserving of hell forever. I often saw my awful, fearful, hastening doom, and even felt that I was lost, and sealed over to eternal damnation, unless the Savior should very shortly interpose and rescue and save my sin-ruined soul. What a crisis! How eventful! How much hung on the moment! O, grace, grace!
While I was thus halting, trembling, resolving, praying, and watching under the law, — under the thunders of Mount Sinai, — the Holy Spirit in a moment, as with the lightning’s flash, showed me my sad and helpless condition, pointed me to the mighty Savior, lit up my pathway, and led me to Calvary. O, the cross, the bloody cross! I turned, I saw, I heard, I felt, I obeyed, under the power of the Spirit. At first I “saw men as trees walking,” while reading that text of Scripture, and then “all things clearly.” The Lord opened my eyes, and I beheld “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” O, why go so far round, like sinful Israel! Only trust God. My heart melted at the sight. I saw light in Christ’s light, and began to “read my title clear to mansions in the skies.” I now rejoiced in Jesus, my friend, physician, mediator, high priest, and Savior. O, how he loves! Yes, and how lovely! I can but love the Beloved, who died for me, convicted me, converted me. “What hath God wrought!” I was born again, anew, a second time, born of God. To Jehovah be all the praise. I now felt “peace in believing, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” So I heartily resolved to consecrate my entire body, and soul, and time, and property, and influence, yea, everything to God and his cause. I believed, I trusted, I loved, and obeyed by grace divine, and sang, “How happy are they who the Saviour obey!” But to be called a Christian, to be numbered among the older saints, to be honored as a child of heaven, was truly an idea so great as almost to overwhelm me. I now felt myself so unworthy! “What! is the crisis past? and am I an heir of God? Have the angels rejoiced over me? Will Jesus give me the prize, the crown, the kingdom? O, matchless grace!” I shouted aloud. Many of my Christian friends said, “Andrews is converted; he is happy. See how he looks, and talks, and acts. O, he has become a Christian!” “I’m glad,” says another; and much of the like, before could really say the word, or give a name to this “great change.” I had no adequate or glimmering conception of its marvelous features and feelings till revealed by happy experience. Then I knew. God had “forgiven me much, and I loved much.”
For more than a week, after God, for Christ’s sake, forgave all my sins, I was so exceedingly happy that I could not duly attend to my set lessons, nor to my secular affairs. “The old things were passed away, and all had become new.” I could hardly spend time to sleep, if I had felt like it; nor to eat, if I had not lost my appetite; nor to lie down for rest, without finding sleep. For so intense and overpowering were my love for God and desire for the salvation of precious souls. I was also very much reduced in flesh, strength, health, and nervous power. But I would talk and pray with saints and sinners at every opportunity, and my heart burned with intense desire to win perishing souls to Christ.
“O, stop!” said a friendly voice; “you must rest, sleep, and eat, or you will soon be sick, insane, or useless in the vineyard.” It was a timely revelation. I knew well that I could not safely bear the loss, sacrifice, and strain much longer; so I prayed to God for wisdom, grace, and help. “I must now have more physical exercise in the open air,” thought I, and less strain upon the brain and nervous system. I must, without a miracle, soon be refreshed and restored to health of body, or sink into the grave.”
I thought of home and of my dear mother while sitting in church, and burst into tears. I wept for joy in anticipation of meeting and greeting her, and of the cordial embrace and welcome, like to that of the prodigal and his father.
Duty was clear, and soon I started on foot, and talked to those I met on the way about their souls and the precious Savior. I stopped and prayed at a few places, and caught a few chance short rides, but walked some forty-five miles in two days, and so embraced my dear mother with open arms and heart. O, how we rejoiced, and wept, and sang together! Glorious meeting!
I then talked to my mother and three sisters about their souls, their hopes, our Savior, and then bowed together in sweet prayer and thanksgiving. Thus, walking and sowing the “good seed of the kingdom,” I super-induced fatigue, hunger, sleep, and desire for rest.
After the cordial salutations, table refreshments, and family prayer, I retired to “my old room,” and fell into sweet and recuperating sleep, as the Lord “gives his beloved sleep.” l was greatly refreshed thereby, and arose at early dawn to render thanks to God. It was the first really quiet and refreshing sleep that I had felt, or recognized, or known, or enjoyed for more than three weeks. And from this visit I began to recover fast my powers of body and wind. All hail, the great Physician!
I took this opportunity to visit my old associates and neighbors, and tell them about Jesus and the blessings of religion. But they heard and gazed with astonishment, as if they understood not. I seemed to them as beside myself, and my theme but an “idle tale.” Yet I was blessed in the discharge of my duty. Soon afterward I returned to Plainfield, and to my old studies.
DOUBTING CASTLE TRIALS.
I had heard of “Doubting Castle;” but not half has ever been told. Who would have thought it, or believed it, that in so few days, and after such consolation in Christ, I should be again tempted of the devil”? But so it was; and for a little season I was in a hot, purifying furnace. God permitted it, and overruled it for good — a victory. Satan, under the guise of a friend, and a critical spiritual adviser in his assumed “angelic colors,” thus tempted me sorely, saying, that I had deceived myself once before; that I had even swooned or ‘ballooned’ at three different times; that I had experienced unspeakable things; that I had gone to awful extremes of ecstasy and depression; that I had seen my heart to be treacherous; that I had rejected these as impositions, once, twice, and thrice; and that my last experience was, or might be, the very climax of fatal delusions.” I was sadly surprised and shocked at this satanic onslaught of “fiery darts” and spurious friendship. It was my first Christian battle under the banner of the cross. “What is to be done?” I cried. Alas! I remembered my old sinful, deceitful, depraved, treacherous heart; the falsehoods, heresies, counterfeits, wily strategies, and my narrow escape therefrom, while under previous, conviction; and that the devil had cheated and almost fatally charmed and befooled me many times.
I felt thrice aghast. I pondered, I ruminated, I feared, I trembled. O, I began to look back, and within, and around for brighter and more tangible evidences, for some perfect assurances. At first I hesitated a little about speaking or praying again in religious meetings, feeling unworthy and unfit; or that I might be too forward, and do much harm; or that I was so ignorant, precocious, impulsive, and singular, as to do more injury than good. So I began to stand afar off, like Peter of old; to shirk responsibility; to delay duty in public, unless called upon; to feel lean, blue, weak, and useless. I saw myself so faulty and imperfect in everything, beyond all my former imaginations, that I seemed to question the good opinions of Christians and wise friends, which they had so often expressed in my favor, and also the worthiness of their charity for the genuineness of my Christian experience, as I doubted the correctness of my own feelings and judgment. “I did not wish to deceive any one,” I said, “nor to do any harm; but what, after all, if I should turn out to be no Christian? How I might wound the cause of Christ, throw stumbling-blocks in the way of sinners, and grieve the Spirit and the heart of Christ by testifying unworthily.” “Would it not, on the whole, be wiser and better for you to be still and silent?” said the tempter. Thus for a while I fought with “legions,” and waged a hot battle with fiends, and felt, by times, like sinking Peter, till I cried mightily to Jesus Christ for help and for deliverance. Suddenly, as if by lightning struck, the devil let go of me and fled. My doubts and troubles were all gone. Nay, my soul gained new strength and courage by the victory. “O, I triumphed in the Lord!”
During this battle with the devil and my doubts, I read prayerfully and profitably the Bible, Doddridge’s “Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul,” Flavel’s “Touchstone,” and other good books. I criticised my feelings, hopes, and evidences by truths, facts, and models, trusting to the guidance of the Spirit. But the more I examined and tested my union with Christ by love, faith, hope, and obedience, the more I felt constrained to rely on him, “to thank God, and take courage.”
By mighty grace I arose with increased power to resist self, Satan, and the world, and strove more effectively to win souls to the Savior. I began to know better the use of the “gospel armor,” and to feel its adaptation to success and victory. I could go to work again in good earnest for God and for souls, resolved to persevere in duty to the end; to follow the precepts and example of my Savior as the Captain of Salvation. So I shouted, “Glory to God in the highest,” for grace and triumph!
I first stood up and testified for Christ and his cause while at Plainfield Kimball Union Academy, New Hampshire, in the fall of 1830, while living in the godly family of Deacon D. Morrell. My former works, hopes, exercises, motives, resolutions, and evidences “were weighed in God’s balances and found wanting.” My self-righteousness vanished as I saw the exceeding sinfulness of my sins, and my utter unworthiness before the bloody cross. The law was to me a schoolmaster,” and the Spirit my sure guide. I was constrained to yield, to believe, and obey; to repent, to witness, to rejoice. I resolved to stand up for God, and for religion, and righteousness, whether, at last, I were saved or lost; that I would now trust my Savior with all my heart and soul. When rumor once said, “Andrew is converted,” I hoped with much trembling. I knew that Satan had counterfeited the holy angels, and might try me again; and so it was But redeeming love soon vanquished the enemy, and compelled me to testify more fully, boldly, and effectively than ever, by word and deed, to saints and sinner in public and private.
I labored much among the students, and especially with the impenitent, to bring them to the heavenly reconciliation. My feeble efforts were blessed. I spoke and prayed often in private houses, and school-houses, and in the Academy hall, and enjoyed the crowning presence of the Spirit. I often thought of making a more public profession of Christianity by joining the Congregational church, in Meriden parish, but was hindered from time to time. I had some cloudy views about the “doctrine of election,” or, rather, about the erroneous and mystifying versions of it. So I stumbled a little, or delayed for more light. As to other articles of faith and practice, taught in their Catechism, I had at that time no question or hesitation. But soon after I left Meriden, and reached Schenectady, N.Y. I thought seriously of uniting with the Presbyterian church, and soon began to discuss the doctrine of “particular and general atonement.” I found that the word meant covering, propitiation, reconciliation, atonement by a sacrifice, — by the sacrifice and intercession of Jesus Christ, — and was just as particular as repentance, faith, regeneration, and our own union with God. The sacrifice is ample and infinite as the creation, or providence, or the Bible, or salvation, or the Savior; and the costly redemption and mediation are now free to all true believers. This point was well settled.
I then began a critical search of the ordinances for joining a “Pedobaptist church,” and supposed the way to be so clear that all I had to do was to refresh and confirm myself in their peculiar views. But soon I was all afloat, finding, to my surprise and mortification, no Bible precept or example for sprinkling or pouring water on infants or adults. So I examined, prayed, and obeyed. The same Spirit convicted, converted, and led me to
Long had I desired a union with the Congregational church, as was natural, for I was not only trained and educated, but converted, under its auspices. I was constrained, however, by truth, love, and the Spirit, to yield my predilections, sever fond associations, and sacrifice earthly prospects for Christ’s sake. And I have blessed God’s grace ever since.
I read the New Testament in Greek, critically, and the “standard works” of different denominations, earnestly, to know what was my Christian duty on the subject of baptism. My mind soon became doubly clear, despite of my former; yes, I was firmly fixed, and have not since doubted the correctness of my decision and testimony on this important or vital point. I resolved, by grace assisting me, to keep inviolate all the commands and ordinances just as they were delivered; “to live in close communion” with God, truth, duty, and the faithful. My responsibility seemed so great and imperative, and the privilege so inviting and eloquent, that I could no longer neglect or defer this divine and volume-speaking ordinance of baptism.
In the spring of 1832, in the city of Schenectady, N.Y. while a member of the Sophomore class of Union College, I related briefly my Christian exercises before the Baptist church, and also my desires. I was then unanimously accepted as a candidate for baptism and church membership. On the Lord’s day following, in the presence of my fellow-students, my brethren, and a multitude of citizens, standing on the banks as interested spectators of the glorious scene, I was immersed in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, by the Rev. A. D. Gillette, D.D, in the Mohawk River. Thus I publicly and joyfully confessed before the church and the world my faith in Christ and “hope of the resurrection,” by celebrating his “death, burial, and resurrection” in my immersion. This was truly a glorious day, a wedding day, a birthday, a Pentecostal season to myself and to many Christians. Here, in due form and figure, I triumphed over sin, death, and the grave by symbolizing and commemorating our first resurrection in Christ.”
I had ever admitted the immersion of believers to be Christian and apostolic, but supposed that the substitute by popery and expediency would answer in modern days, as so many, called wise and pious, indorsed a spurious baptism. Even Christian scholar of all names, and scholars of the literary world, agree on the meaning and force of the Greek word “baptizo.” It is established to ever signify, to immerse. So say, and so practice, some eighty-five millions of the “Eastern” or Greek Church at this day.
I happily learned that strict, spiritual, literal gospel obedience was required and accepted, and not the inventions nor the “commandments of men.” So I obeyed, and so l was blessed, and have assisted also many hundreds, yea, thousands, to thus follow Christ.
WORK OF PREACHING.
CALL TO THE MINISTRY.
It was special, spiritual, divine. Shortly after I was born anew, born the second time, born of God, and had experienced the evidence of my adoption, I felt that I had learned the “new song,” and received the Christian “trumpet,” and was called to proclaim the “gospel jubilee.” My soul was full and happy, my cup ran over; so I spake for Jesus, and sowed the good “seed by the side of all waters.” Necessity compelled me to publish the “good news” abroad, to stir up slothful professors and encourage Christians, to exhort and urge wandering sinners to flee from sin and wrath, and to look and flee to Christ for salvation. I had no battle, or doubt, or hesitation, nor hindrance on this subject, but went right to work.
I had consecrated all to Christ, who had redeemed me by his own blood, and I felt willing, ready, anxious, and determined to use all my powers of body, mind, property, or position to glorify God, and bless the world at any cost or hazard. I now felt that I was especially called by the Holy Spirit to the sacred ministry — to the work of an evangelist — to preach the whole gospel to the “whole wide world.” I also felt and believed that “woe was unto me” if I did not mind — if I did not preach, and obey the heavenly mandate. I remembered my nuptial vows. My Bible made me a Baptist. The Savior’s commands and example, the apostolic precedents, and teachings of the Spirit endued me with power to prevail with God and with men.” I had no disposition to shirk this plain duty, like Jonah, nor to get around the cross by following the devices of popery, nor to confer with the flesh, nor with the world, but to mind my Lord and Savior. How can I or any one hear the Judge say, Well done, good find faithfull servant,” if we obey men, and follow their traditions, rather than God? Blessed be God that I was made willing in the day of his power.”
Readily and cheerfully, like good little Samuel, I said, when God called, “Here am I; speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” And, like Paul, I have tried to preach and live the gospel, so as to demonstrate the power and practicability of Christianity.
While at Plainfield I was busy and bold in witnessing for Jesus, and at college I labored as Providence opened the way. Under my instructions in Sunday schools, conference meetings, and at preaching stations, many were converted; and some of my spiritual children from the surrounding country came into the city and were immersed, and united to the Baptist church, while I was investigating the subject of baptism, and before their preacher had been immersed. Strange as that may seem, I felt resolved to preach, and to practice divine truth, and that just so far and fast as the light came, and so to keep on the good old way.”
The brethren of said church and others, knowing my habits and success, invited me to preach in the city, which I did very soon after my baptism and union with the “regular Baptist church.” They, by unanimous voice, voted me a license to preach — “first in their midst, and then to all the world, as the Lord might direct;” thus ratifying my ministerial call, having been already convinced of my adaptation to w n souls by my previous success, if not so much by hearing me themselves.
I continued to labor in the city and rural districts, and to supply vacant pulpits in the vicinity, and to teach in Sunday schools, or to instruct teachers and Bible classes, as the Spirit directed. Thus engaged, I was blessed while blessing. After I graduated I left the city for a wider field.
After visiting and counseling with my friends and ministering brethren for a while, I accepted an invitation to preach for a feeble, small, poor Baptist church in Waterford, New York. I lodged here in the family of my good old friend, brother Dort, preached in the “old town and school-house,” taught a large Bible class, and labored from house to house. In the period of some three months, old church difficulties were settled, union prevailed, and an excluded licentiate was restored to membership and church privileges. And as he had been their former preacher, and as there was a mutual willingness that he should again occupy the pulpit, I gladly resigned my place immediately for another field, and left.
I next accepted a call to supply the low and destitute Baptist church in West Troy for the winter months. Here I lodged most of my time with my good brother Myron Peake. The church was much divided, discouraged, diversified in expression about Arminianism and Antinomianism, Masonry and Anti-masonry, Temperance and Intemperance, and many other things. But, as it was, God blessed us. The church was refreshed, and souls were made glad. I read the Bible and polemic theology, Andrew Fuller’s, Robert Hall’s, and many other
works, during this time.
I grew sharp, precise, and careful, and so correct withal, that the most critical or seedy Calvinists would say, “Andrews throws out no ragged expressions for us to get hold of, to mark down, or object to.” But, improved as I was intellectually under such restrictive circumstances, my heart wept and withered. I longed, in my youthful efforts, for more social, spiritual, Christian sympathy — for soul-liberty, co-operation, and revivals. They have since become a strong and prosperous church. I was solicited to settle as pastor, but I thought they needed an under-shepherd of more years and experience, and introduced to them Elder Parkes, whom they wisely accepted. Soon and cordially I bade the good brethren farewell, and in a few days went east to visit my dear mother and friends for a few weeks.
ORDINATION AS EVANGELIST.
In the spring of 1835 I received and accepted a call to supply the Baptist church in the village of Lansingburg, New York. I found them few, feeble, poor, rent, and scattered, by differences about Freemasonry, Calvinism, Temperance, and their own doings. But, as success attended our preaching and efforts for their spirituality and union, I accepted a call to the pastorate, and remained for a season.
In the spring of 1836 l was ordained as an evangelist. This seemed especially to be my work and calling for the future.
A large council was called, which attended my public examination as a candidate for recognition in the gospel ministry. In due time and order, the council, by unanimous vote, proceeded to my ordination. Rev. Isaac Wescott, D. D. preached the sermon — text, “It is required of stewards that a man be found faithful;” Professor Kendrick, D.D. of Hamilton, gave the charge; Rev. B. M. Hill, D. D. of Troy, presented the hand of fellowship; and other brethren with these engaged in addresses, ordaining prayer, and “laying on of hands.” This was a solemn, thrilling, melting, precious day to me. I shall never forget my feelings of unworthiness and incompetency, and the crushing responsibilities which seemed then to roll in upon me in mountain floods. Here I accepted the position, and assumed the responsibilities.
ACTING AS PASTOR.
I discharged this duty six months. So, after a precious season of fifteen months, with an increase of union, prosperity, and membership, I tendered my resignation. Having bespoken my own successor, Elder Crandall, I soon bade the dear church an affectionate farewell. My star of empire seemed to move west, and I went out and onward, as led by the Spirit.
God directed me. Here I was two years. In the fall of 1836 I received and accepted a unanimous call to the pastorship of the Baptist church in Rome, Oneida County, New York. This church too, had experienced severe trials, but was convalescent: Abolitionism, Antimasonry, and kindred subjects had divided them; but signs of better days encouraged our efforts.
Here I did the work of a pastor and an evangelist — visiting, praying, and preaching from house to house, also in school-houses and churches, as opportunities offered. I attended as many funerals and weddings as all of the four pastors in the village, and availed myself of these occasions to advance the Redeemer’s cause — to get the people to church — to have them converted and baptized, and prepared for life, death, and heaven.
God wonderfully led and blessed me here in temporal and spiritual things, and the church enjoyed two years of great prosperity. The membership about doubled in number and in strength, and improved in position, piety, energy, and influence. During this interesting and happy period, one hundred and fifteen were immersed, and, with others by letters and experience, were added to a prosperous church. General Jesse Armstrong, Mrs. Rev. C. P. Sheldon, D. D. many adults and youth, were of the happy number. They were a noble people, generous and alive. So I was well sustained by salary, co-operation, and encouragement; but duty was imperative. I was also invited to larger and richer churches, with great inducements, from city and country; but I declined a permanent settlement anywhere.
I felt thankful for their appreciation and good opinions of my labors and ability, but thought that I was especially called and adapted to the work of evangelizing, as the sequel has proved. My conviction, experience, education, and success urged me, as a preacher, to go to the poor, sick, weak, forsaken, discouraged, or distracted, and to the worst, or least promising, everywhere, and labor faithfully, trusting in Jesus for support, converts, and success. The Lord has directed me.
In the fall of 1838 I accordingly resigned my happy charge, much against the wishes of my friends and spiritual children in Rome, for a wider range, and especially for a wider sphere of usefulness, wishing them, too, all prosperity.
For a number of years after leaving the pastoral office, I was almost constantly in revivals — holding extra meetings, far and near, in cities, villages, and country places.
In Reading, Penn. 1845—6, I consented to act as pastor and evangelist for one year, to assist and edify a church which, three years before, was more than doubled under my labors in a powerful revival. My health having already been severely reduced by excessive labor and exposure, I needed a change; and the church wanted my help and a new meeting-house. Verily, God blessed our united efforts and objects. My health improved, and some fifty persons united with the church. We also built a fine, large, brick meeting-house, and dedicated it. We enjoyed a constant revival season all winter, and baptisms almost every Lord’s day. The church fixed my ample salary, and paid it. And instead of depending on the Baptist State Convention as usual for assistance, they became not only self-reliant and sell-supporting, under God’s blessing, but made generous contributions to the cause of benevolence.
The names of brethren Johnston, Mills, Morgan, Miles, Kirby, Rankin, Steinbach, and many others are still fragrant in my memory. I have never removed my membership to any other church. Thus, with a unanimous call to continue as their pastor, and with prosperity crowning our labors in temporal and spiritual efforts, and with partially recovered health, I felt it to be duty to decline any further engagement at the time, and so gave them my farewell.
After visiting my dear mother, in New England, for some weeks, and after a good outfit, I took a “tour to Europe” for my health, for knowledge, for usefulness, and as an accredited delegate to the “World’s Conventions” in London, and also to visit the continent.
With the exceptions of these few years in the pastorate, my ministry was emphatically the work of an evangelist, and has been so ever since; in all, more than thirty-five years. After returning from my European tour, I immediately resumed my evangelical labors with blessed results, and have hitherto continued in revivals, with God’s blessing on my ministry, till the present day. To God be all the praise!
Nay, by mighty grace, in “doing” rivers, oceans, isles, continents, I have not been “left,” nor missed a meeting, nor used fatal “arms,” nor for thirty years taken a “potion” of medicine, nor been “confined” a day! So, I have preached some three, ten, fifteen, or twenty-one sermons a week.
May the Lord ever guide, bless, save, and make us successful, victorious, — Christ-like!
When I was quite young I had a strong desire to see the wide world, and this feeling increased with age and experience, till I was willing to make almost any sacrifice to realize my beau idéal of traveling abroad. But though I had enjoyed much home travel, the way seemed to be hedged up against my foreign travel, or beset with so many difficulties that it was deferred from time to time, till Providence smiled. For years I was preparing, with hope firm and buoyant; and the wished-for boon at last was enjoyed.
Soon after my dear father’s decease I might have seized the opportunity, having the time and needed funds; but I felt constrained, by moral and filial obligations to my dear mother and to the younger members of our family, to decline the tempting pleasure and privilege, and try to make home a paradise for a while.
I was also very anxious for an education — a liberal if not a professional one, and would willingly make any sacrifice to secure the coveted prize. My means, however, being limited, I resolved to husband my patrimony, and use every available resource to get through college, and then to travel the world over.
About this time I became exceedingly anxious about my soul’s salvation, gave all up to Christ, found peace in believing, and went on my way rejoicing.
The whole world, with a “new world,” now opened to my expanded vision, and a higher line of travel. A new era in my life had now commenced. I saw many millions of my fellow-beings, of divers nations, afar and near, lying in sin and the darkness of heathenism, ensconced in ignorance, morality, formality, or vice, popery or infidelity, and living without hope or God in the world. Alas! alas! Already a missionary zeal had been kindled in my breast, and now broke forth into a constant flame.
In Union College I soon became a member of the Society for Missionary Inquiry. I read, thought, talked; and while I mused the purifying fire burned, till I felt like going anywhere and preaching the glad tidings, faithfully and freely as air, water or sunlight, for the welfare of all mankind. I was commissioned, and “signs followed.”
So, I was seriously considering and praying over the subject of establishing a mission in France, and was studying French with that in view. But orders were received, that it was indispensably necessary, or highly important for a minister, before being sent out, to secure a wife.” Well, here was an unexpected, if not an insuperable obstacle thrown directly across my cheerful path. In the first place, I knew of none willing, ready, or fitted to go with me as missionary, or to make me an eligible or happy partner. And must I wait, or relinquish the whole enterprise? In the second place, though in a state of mind and heart to appreciate a true helpmeet, and to be grateful for any such god-send, yet from my soul I protested against such official usurpation, expediency, dictation, or intermeddling with our personal and private affairs. The pope binds his priests to celibacy, and now the Board of Missions demands the opposite. Both extremes seemed equally unscriptural, unreasonable, and ungenerous — alike anti-Christ and anti-Paul — a Spirit-grieving assumption of power. Neither the church, nor pope, nor missionary board has any godly right to legislate on this matter.
But while looking for a more effectual open door, or whatever way God
might reveal to me, I entered with all my heart into revival work at home, and awaited God’s time for my traveling voyage. I was very successful in building up feeble churches, and was thus almost continually engaged for the first four years of my ministry. Subsequently I labored constantly as an evangelist.
Year after year rolled away, but I was so engaged in “home work” that I could not, without crossing Providence, go abroad to recuperate my energies, or to spy out a foreign field. I did deny myself in this respect, till, by overworking in powerful revivals, my health and strength became much reduced, and called loudly for rest, recreation, and recovery. My calls to conduct “extra meetings” were so numerous that it was difficult for me to break away and enjoy a vacation.
Sometimes, though much debilitated, I would question, whether on the whole I could not accomplish more good by staying at home than by going abroad to preach or visit. I felt weak and fearful.
I hesitated lest I should go before “I was sent,” or lest I might act like Jonah. I then thought of waiting at home and preaching, what I was able to do, till the great revival harvest, then being gathered and gleaned, should be “shouted home.” Again I was too much worn to labor as I had done, and felt unfit to travel, or to preach abroad. Here I was in a fix, bad enough.
I lingered a while longer, tried various expedients for my restoration to health with but little or no success. I then resigned my temporary charge of the Baptist church at Reading, Pennsylvania, and visited my dear mother and friends in New England, and made ready for my foreign enterprises.
After much prayer and deliberation, — after much pious counsel, and many wise suggestions from Rev. Baron Stow, D. D. of Boston, and Deacon William Colgate, of New York, and many other good, sage, and godly brethren, — I thanked God and took courage, ignoring my old objections and conscientious scruples about “spending so much time and money in traveling abroad to other countries, while there were easier or more promising fields at home.” Trusting in God, and having made all due preparation, without fear or hesitation I bade my friends a cheerful farewell.
In June, 1846, with my fare paid, passport in hand, money in pocket, and all things arranged, I took cabin passage in the sail ship Liberty, Captain Norton, for Liverpool, England. I paid only fifty dollars fare.
Here I gave up all worrying about myself and prospects, and committed myself, friends, churches, and converts to the care-keeping God, feeling that “all was well.”
I fared well on board, enjoyed the sail, and after a voyage of three weeks, arrived safely in Liverpool. On our passage I was delighted with the fine porpoises playing about our ship, and with the whales afar off. The nautilus, with their extended sails, in swarms swimming on the surface by wind-power, looked beautifully.
As we were entering the Channel the fog-bells arrested my attention, being hung on anchored buoys so as to ring by the agitated waves, and sound a warning voice to the befogged or lost mariner. O, how much like the gospel preacher! thought I. Rocks, or shoals, or woes were near.
ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND.
Having spent a delightful week in the city and vicinity, visiting the chief
buildings, places, personages, sights, and cemeteries, I left for the Emerald Isle.
A city two miles square, well laid out and built, beautiful and neat, containing two hundred thousand citizens. Here I spent a week; heard the truly great and eloquent O’Connell speak for two hours, in Conciliation Hall, to two thousand interested and spellbound hearers. I was introduced to him, and was honored with a seat at his side. At his request I also visited him at his fine mansion. This “old metropolis” is an excellent, grand, costly, model city; one of the finest I have ever visited. The Parliament buildings, Trinity Colleges, monuments, and mansions were of excellent material, proportions, finish — really superb — like the first class Irishmen, no “blarney.”
O’Connell was tall, bony, broad-shouldered, erect, sinewy, dark-complexioned, strong-featured, quick-spoken, emphatic and precise, bold and self-possessed, and often very sarcastic. I found him very hearty and genial in conversation and hospitalities. Our southern Calhoun was, perhaps, the most like him of any one whom I can name.
I next went via rail and stage to Belfast, through a thickly-settled, rich, well-cultivated country. By the way, it was expected by most of the country people, that Father Mathew, the hero of temperance in Ireland, was to pass by on that day. So they lined the stage road with multitudes of all classes to see the great high priest, and supposed they were enjoying the unspeakable privilege, when, with uncovered heads, open arms, flying handkerchiefs, and vociferous shouts, they bowed and paid their devotions to myself, greatly to the amusement of our appreciative traveling company. If the self-deceived zealots have not yet discovered their mistake, many still vainly rejoice. But it may have been just as well for them as the reality.
This city is a well-constructed, “Scotch-Irish,” fine, enterprising, manufacturing, thriving town of forty thousand inhabitants. I was here at the time of their great potato-blast famine,” while there was much anxiety, beggary, prostration, distress, crime, and mortality all over the island. I found the common people quite in the advance of those in Dublin, and possessed of Scottish habits.
I soon left, by steamboat, for this enterprising Scotland city, of one hundred and fifty thousand people. This is a wide-spread, but in parts thickly-settled, filthy, smoky, disagreeable town, noted for its tall, smoking, gassy chimney-stacks. It is a manufacturing place, with much vice, ignorance, and poverty around the moneyed aristocracy.
The cemetery and the “upper part” were really the only obvious clean, tasty, delightful spots. The churches and some of the public buildings were very fine. The cemetery is one of the most beautiful, and variegated, and grand to be imagined.
I next went, via rail, through a rich, cultivated, thickly-settled country, overrun with rabbits, crows, and other ordinarily wild creatures, tame as barnyard pets, till I reached the clean, picturesque, literary, monumental city of Edinburgh. This celebrated city is on the sea-side, overlooking most splendid scenery in rich variety. The old part is nice as eastern cities in general, but the new part is excellent, well constructed of fine light sandstone, with splendid public buildings on large squares and wide streets. The ground is just uneven enough, and the hills are delightful. The colleges, court-house, Waterloo Rooms, churches, and monuments, are worthy of the place. The monument of Walter Scott is a splendid novelty
Everything bespoke mind, taste, wealth, literature, energy, power. Would that all were sanctified to virtue, temperance, and religion! I attended one of their great hustings; heard great political speeches from doctors of divinity and the honorables, full of fire and Scotch eloquence. I visited the palace and death-room of the “bloody Mary,” Queen of Scots.
After a pleasant and profitable week amidst beauty, wisdom, style, education, greatness, conventions, and celebrities, I took leave, via steamboat, for Newcastle-on-Tyne. Beautiful scenery by the way. Here I spent Lord’s day; enjoyed worship in a plain chapel; made many new acquaintances. Met our brother Pangilly, the “Baptismal Essayist;” enjoyed good Christian privileges around their coal fires for a while, and left, via railroad, for the great metropolis.
In this metropolitan city of the Protestant world I spent quite a number of weeks. As I was a delegate to the World’s Temperance Convention, and to the Evangelical Alliance, and other meetings, to be held in England, I shared special privileges among the dignitaries, and great doings at Exeter Hall and in divers halls and rooms, with Frederick Douglass, Elihu Burritt, Dr. Cox, Dr. Baird, Dr. Jabez Burns, and many other notables of the wide world. Here we spoke on temperance, on Christian union and missions, with success.
WORLD’S TEMPERANCE CONVENTION.
This was very interesting, and well attended.
It was also the second to which American delegates had been accredited.
At the former Elder N. Colver, D. D. and others, were the honored delegates. But the latter much excelled in numbers and power. “Many of the former delegation,” said an Englishman, “broke their pledges before the wine-cup.” Besides those already noticed, there were delegated Rev. Drs. E. N. Kirk, P. Church (?), Peck, Marsh, Lyman Beecher, and many others, from the United States. We were received in London with open arms, hearts, and homes. Frederick Douglass had just escaped from American slavery, and become a volunteer to unfurl the banner of Liberty and Temperance in England. Many English Quakers took a prominent part in our meetings, and were really the most active and conspicuous in the temperance reform. Mr. Stewart, a gentleman of great wealth and influence, did much, and gave largely of his substance. English ministers, with a few marked exceptions, stood aloof, as then they generally drank wine, ale, beer, and sometimes whiskey and brandy. We met with some scaly opposition and invidious thrusts from the worshipers of Bacchus, but found some godly temperate ministers and honest laymen to stand by us in the good work — which has since prospered. Said an Englishman to me, Drinking is the rule, and abstinence is the exception, even among the clergy.” I was an honored guest, during our convention, of a Quaker merchant, near the spot where John Rogers suffered martyrdom, being burned to death at Smithfield for his godliness, under the persecuting reign of the “cruel Queen Mary” in l555. l often gazed on this memorable spot, asking myself whether l might possibly prove worthy, or ever wear the martyr’s crown, as many other preachers and reformers had done. I said, “I will do my duty, cost what it may.”
Here the sainted Professor Caldwell, of Pennsylvania, was a star, an electric speaker with us, and a devoted minister. You may recollect that he died soon after his return, saying to his dear wife while on in death-bed, “Don’t, my dear, visit my future grave in the glooms of the evening shades, but in the bright morning, when the birds are singing so sweetly — as I shall be in heaven singing.”
Truly we had some choice spirits there, even godlike. The pioneers of temperance were energetic and prompt at the meetings, and others dropped in occasionally. One special meeting was held at the Covent Garden Theatre. Mr. Stewart was in the chair. Here Drs. Lyman Beecher, E. N. Kirk, Cox, and Mr. Frederick Douglass delighted us with their great and flowing eloquence.
Subsequently a meeting was held at Dr. Jabez Burns’ Chapel, at which Dr. Beecher, Mr. Muzzy, M. D. author of the Temperance Stomach Plates,” and Emerson Andrews were the honored speakers. Truly we had a precious season. I was then invited to preach in the same Baptist chapel on the coming Lord’s day; and so I did. (I have preached for Dr. Burns a number of times since. At a Sunday school celebration I was introduced as the chief speaker. I there gave an outline of my late “Travels in Bible Lands,” and took the occasion officiously to call for a special vote on this wise: “All who wish more on the subject of Palestine, better said or made into a book, and will raise money to send your beloved pastor over the same fields, please signify the same by rising.” This was unanimously carried. The next year he went; and sent me, in America, his regards.)
Much good was done at the daily meetings at the hall, and in the evenings at remote and scattered school-houses in various parts of the city, by our gatherings and social interviews, and by preaching on Lord’s days in different pulpits, as well as by our strict example. Only one clerical delegate — a D. D. from America — was known to betray the temperance cause. But he was rebuked there by myself, and, after his return to America, was publicly disowned in New York city, at the “Reunion Jubilee,” by our faithful delegates.
We continued in regular session, and in evening itinerate speaking, for two weeks, and then “adjourned to ratify our principles and resolutions,” thanking our hosts. The cause there has slowly and surely gained, and is now flourishing.
We met in London, and soon commenced our preliminary sessions or preparations, in the London Division, with which I was very early associated. Having been invited by the English brethren to their convention, and delegated by the Baptist church of Reading, Penn. to represent them abroad, I, of course, was early on the ground, and at my post. By courtesy I was permitted to serve with the English Division in preparing a program for the proposed regular Alliance meeting. We met daily for a week, and did our best to secure the object.
Our meetings were interesting and profitable, and our social intercourse generally pleasant. I loathed the English drinking and smoking proclivities. Our cordial reciprocity, fervent love, and close fellowship were greatly diminished by such habits. But I was very grateful for what blessings I did experience.
The day before the opening of the regular sessions of the Evangelical Alliance, we held a kind of general conference, or class meetings in which each member gave an epitome of his religious views, experience, desires, and resolutions. This was truly one of the most interesting, warm, inciting, weeping, joyful, and Pentecostal meetings I ever attended. I doubt if such a precious season had been witnessed since the days of the apostles, except in some of our most powerful revivals in America.
For three weeks, in regular session, we enjoyed much of the earnest reciprocity of heaven. We fared well in soul and body. Our meetings generally were very spirited, harmonious, dignified, and devotional. Now and then something on temperance, or baptism, or slavery, or sectarianism, would awaken a little of old Adam, or a little rejoinder, and break a few lances over the subject. Then all would go on in glowing brotherly love. Occasionally the red, sparkling, deceitful wine manifested its power. The Americans generally stood up boldly for their principles.
Sir Cullen Eardley Smith presided with great ability, dignity, and impartiality, and exerted a very spiritual influence upon all around.
You can hardly imagine a more imposing spectacle than these solemn, diversified, active conclaves since the day of Pentecost. More than twelve hundred delegates were in attendance from all parts of Christendom, and the major part were ministers of the gospel. Here you see Revs, or Drs. Bunting, Cumings, Raffles, Wardlaw, Bickersteth, Cox, Hoby, Nowel, Burns, Wilson, Clarke, Hinton, Steine, J. Oneken, Monod, Beecher, Cox, Kirk, Peck, Church, Olin, Baird, Brainard, CaldweIl, De Witt, Marsh, Andrews, and many other representatives — comprising a nucleus of wisdom, piety, energy, worthy of the visible ecumenical church of Christ on earth. What a body! O, behold them! What a power for good if filled with the Spirit! Lo, the aged, the learned, the venerable, the pioneers, the persecuted, the victorious, the missionary, the eloquent, the pious, the honorable, the hero, the successful, joined here in “close communion sweets.” Our union was wonderful and glorious. The wise, noble, and live men of the world spoke, prayed, and did important business, moving three worlds. A radiating council, — the lights of the world in debate and exhortation, in devotion and enterprise, — how momentous, lasting, and salutary in reforming sects and the world!
The real and avowed object of the Alliance was a noble, good, stupendous, Christian work the union of all the gospel elements in the churches; the extirpation of sin, error, and infidelity; the revival. of pure religion, and the conversion of the whole world.
May the Lord, by his word, his spirit, people, and providences, give us continued success. O, let us give God all the glory, as we shall possess the kingdom.
One of our rules was, to “cultivate the points of union till all the others should disappear.” And another rule was, that “Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and other denominations represented, might and should declare and act their peculiar sentiments freely. But if any one could not therewith exhibit the graces of the Spirit, and act the Christian gentleman, he should, or had better, change his creed and life speedily as possible.” But any “departure from these injunctions would render the offending member subject to Christian discipline.” Good!
I love to reflect on those refreshing days, when Dr. Kirk and other good Pedobaptists confessed, as they said, with shame and repentance, their former sectarianism, and made their firm resolves to amend for the future, so as to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.” There was evidently a right breaking up and mellowing of heart and soul. Yes, it is soul-ennobling, heart-elevating and invigorating, to contemplate an organization with an object so comprehensive, evangelical, spiritual, and sublime. Whatever else of minor moment, of side issues, of local interests, of superficial differences might rise up to view, the grand essentials of doctrine, experience, and practice wonder fully united us all to the great center. We felt the focal refining power of love in Christian union.
Our resolutions, rules, by-laws, and recommendations were salutary in application, and are even felt strongly at the present day. Many improvements, doubtless, may have been suggested and applied by experience. Much good has been effected already, and infinitely more, God helping, shall be done. The danger to be guarded against is seen in the gathering of strangers, heterogeneous elements, the old devices of Satan, slothful confidence, and faithless worriment. Pride may go with a sickly conscience, while death steals in upon us. We may differ world-wide about the form, time, and expediency of doing things; but Christians agree wonderfully upon the key-note for accomplishing good objects. Our captain, trumpet, and destiny are all one — good. The name of Jesus has the magic ring, charm, and harmony in practice as in the cross. What lovely days we shared! and how sweet their present and future memory!
We met day after day at the hall of the Free Mason’s Tavern,” in holy conference. We prayed, we sang in divers languages the songs of Canaan. We spoke with numerous tongues, and gave the friendly look, the cheerful smile, and open hand. We debated great points at issue, settled important questions, took sweet counsel together, formed good resolutions, ate and drank except the wine, ale, and brandy, and acted together, till we gave each other a blessed farewell, with the doxology.
Some of the English delegates and their neighbors, I am sorry to say, “imbibed” quite too freely. This I saw for myself, and it was also verified at the tune by sifted facts. The butlers of the tavern where we met informed me that “they served out to the Alliance guests, at each dinner, on an average, at four o’clock P.M. all of six gallons of beer or ale, thirty-six bottles of wine and some brandy.” My heart recoiled at the sight, and the record. I blushed with shame for those who had no blush but that of wine. How inconsistent it was with our professed object! O, we should reform, and rebuke intemperance and treason as occasion offers. These discrepancies aside, we enjoyed a paradise. Differences ignored, suspended, or buried, we were one in Christ, in object, in effort, in hope, and final home. Here on our pilgrimage, we enjoyed another oasis in the desert — a soul-refreshing feast.
Each person promoting and extolling the alliance, by consequence elevated himself without selfish intentions. Often, of one, the magic influence fired up as with electricity the whole company. At times we were under eloquent speaking, loud shouts, constant cheering, as, “Hear! Hear! Glory! Amen! Thank God!” accompanied with clapping of hands, tapping of feet, and pounding of canes. (I disliked the raising of dust more than the discordant, vulgar sounds of applause.) But I could, in charity, make allowances for these irregularities, as some of the speakers were very eloquent, and some of the hearers were apparently stimulated otherwise, and must act accordingly as they felt. Yet many, no doubt, committed these episodes from habits of intercourse with politicians.
The English are generally very firm, if not stubborn — a little dictatorial and dogmatical — a little heavy and dry — sometimes awkward, impatient, severe, arrogant, haughty, officious, disputative, especially so before Americans. Often they seem to ask, “Shall the mother take lessons of her daughter?” But John Bull has taken some, and may learn many more practical lessons of wisdom and submission. Yet the mother bears pretty well the growth, precocity, and prosperity of Young America. A little of the angular, antique, pompous, or envious would occasionally crop out; but it was with as dignified grace as could well be assumed by the “bred classes.”
They would at times feel nettled because we could not conform to all their habits and prejudices; and also seemed disinclined to equality, liberty, temperance, and to our independence. Truly we have inherited some of these traits. So we discovered our human weaknesses, and the power of grace in our elevation and the points of union.
Thus, after days and weeks of precious interchanges, devotions, efforts, comfort, successes, enterprises, triumphs, and abounding hospitalities, and substantial courtesies, we sang a hymn in four different languages, in the spirit of Canaan, and bade each other an everlasting farewell, hoping to meet and reunite in that holy alliance in glory, to sing the new song forever. Thus we separated, and were scattered to all points of Christendom.
This city is well situated on the River Thames, and contains a population of some three millions. The Parliament House, and Westminster Abbey, just opposite, are large, solid, splendid structures, well adapted to their uses. They are on the north bank of the river, at the west end of the city, of Gothic style, with fine finish, furniture, and surroundings.
Trafalgar is truly grand and worthy of contemplation. The British Museum is large, and full of rich, fine, numerous, common, and rare specimens from all parts of the world; but the arrangement is inversely poor and unworthy, as compared with the Paris museums. Order and taste are necessary as fine materials. Manner is sometimes — matter.
The Towers of London, and their concomitants, are worth seeing and studying. St. Paul’s Church, the old Bailey, the Colosseum, the Thames Tunnel, the bridges, the parks, gardens, squares, animals, groves, plants, with majestic country seats, queenly palaces, in and out of the city, are well worth the visit, and will pay an American scholar, on sight, to cross the Atlantic. You may learn of antiquity and modern things.
VISIT TO FRANCE.
After spending some weeks in London, I took the steamer to Havre and Rouen, then the rail to Paris, the finest city of the world. Havre is the seaport of France, old, small, and rather forbidding, except the new part, which is very promising.
Rouen, at the head of ship navigation, is old, antiquated, and marked with signs of former prosperity. Our ride to Paris was delightful — through a rich and well-settled and cultivated country.
This is the great capital of France, or is France itself, in miniature and power. It is a condensed, active, liberal, political, and fashionable centre of the civilized world. Here the world comes and goes. It is situated on the beautiful meandering River Seine; containing a population of over a million and a half; is finely built, and is surrounded with splendid mansions, villages, gardens, farms, and factories. The ground and country about are beautifully undulating, rich, and productive.
Here arts, science, literature, luxury, refined vice and crime, sinful, artistic, and new fashions, occupy an influential center, and give tone, taste, models, inventions, influence, and character to leading nations of the globe. Would to God that all were ruled for moral and religious purity and happiness! But what a “white-washed Sodom!”
The city is large, populous, walled, moated, fortified, and beautified. The Tuileries, the monuments, the statues, the squares and parks, the Zoological and Botanical Gardens, the Louvre and museums, the fountains, cemeteries, cathedrals, hotels, palaces, ample streets except the old parts, groves and pools, claim the attention of all tourists, the student or divine.
I was delighted with the exhibitions at the “grand fêtes” of Napoleon I. on the 27—29th of July, in memory of French liberty. The celebration was a magnificent and splendid affair, especially that of the last day and evening. It was thought that one hundred thousand people of all classes, from city and country, were present. The chief places were all thronged by divers classes, of all tastes, amusements, and gratifications, apparently enjoying the anniversary festivities. The Boulevards, the Champs Elysées, the gardens and squares, were moving with merry life and novel scenes.
The soldiers were in grand display. The citizens were walking, riding, sporting, or observing sights. The ladies and gentlemen were manifest in great numbers, of all classes, styles, and manners, going to and fro, or gazing at lofty tumbling, riding the fandangoes, sharing games of chance, dancing, or other amusements. Exquisite music was a constant accompaniment. Delicious viands, fruits, drinks, cakes, candies, cordials, and sparkling wine gave specious charm to the jubilee.
I was happily surprised to see such general quiet, order, temperance, civility, philosophic taste, easy activity, and mutual satisfaction evinced at this great entertainment. No apparent drunkenness, quarreling, rowdyism, profanity, vulgarity, or immorality was seen, to mar the object of their memorable festivities.
The 29th — the last day of the feast — was the crowning holiday, and the evening gave the climax of grand exhibitions.
While the multitudes were thronging the squares about the great Tuileries, to behold and hear the king, — all eyes being fixed, — Louis Philippe appeared on the balcony, and was instantly shot at by one of the crowd.
A momentary sensation, the culprit arrested, order restored, and the king delivered his oration. At first he hesitated and trembled, but soon recovered his royal tone and firmness, and closed with animated feeling and earnest eloquence.
Soon after came the wonderful pyrotechnics — the most artistic, ingenious, costly, brilliant, exciting, and sublime fire-works that I ever witnessed or imagined. At first up flew the rockets, high and fast, burning and bursting with vivid, various colors in all directions. Next rose up and leaved out majestically, in mid heavens, a big pot of ribbon grass, standing for a minute in full view, and then vanishing away. Soon a mammoth vase of variegated flowers began to bloom out in its ascension, making a huge bouquet as it culminated and stood out in bold relief— a splendid sight! — and it was gone.
Then appeared rising something like a new moon, gradually filling up to the size of a large globe, growing clearer with lines, bounds, sea and land, till all the four quarters of the globe stood forth with their defined limits, in bright, legible marks and characters, — America, Europe, Asia, Africa, — with names of islands. All parts were evolved in clear and quick succession, in skillful order, with surpassing grandeur — blooming out and looming up in high positions, full, flush, and conspicuous for a moment, to the astonished multitudes of delighted witnesses, and then disappeared.
But what next? A grand climax — a crowning finale! The posts, columns, statues, monuments, arches, fences, bridges, wires, — like water fountains flying, — all at once seemed glittering and streaming with playful fires — whistling, dancing, running, quivering, throwing their freakish, fantastic flames in circles, jets, waves, forks, fitful scintillations in all directions — more varied, picturesque, grand, and captivating than thousands of water fountains playing all possible antics. Last of all the scene, a terrific explosion was heard, as of running musketry or light artillery. Soon a volume of dense smoke ascended the starry heavens. A glimmering coruscation blazed forth. Then came a rolling flame, making darkness visible — lighting up the entire city with awful grandeur! But alas! “What is this? I hear a bursting, as of thunder, or magazines! Is there a mighty mishap? — a fatal, awful catastrophe?” I cried aloud. Has the powder magazine exploded? Or all the fire-works at once got on fire? Why so careless? Shall we all be burned to death?” I thought of the judgment. But O, the delusion! it was the glorious finale — it capped the climax — and the scene was closed.
The hallucination passed away and I took a long breath. I never shall forget these wonderful exhibitions, and the varied and thrilling emotions of the “Jubilee Celebration.” All displays of fire-works which I have since witnessed seem really faint and puerile.
O, if France were as wise and energetic in morals and religion, what a nation of power and salvation to the world we should see! Would that they were filled with truth, the spirit, and the glory of the cross!
Returning, I came via rail to the Straits of Dover, so through old England,
and home to America, eventually.
On my way I enjoyed the sight of Birmingham, a noted manufacturing town, and the home of the departed Rev. John Angell James, whom I once knew only to love and enjoy. His books are like himself: “The Earnest Ministry,” “Earnest Church,” and other works, interesting and immortal. This is an old city of one hundred thousand citizens, with many spacious buildings, surrounded by a fine, fertile, thickly-settled country, highly prosperous.
We passed on, at the rate of forty miles per hour, through an undulating, productive region, interspersed with fields, groves, villages, and factories, shooting through tunnels a mile long, till we merged into the light and liberty of Liverpool, where I first landed.
This city is a grand seaport, comprising six docks, covering one hundred acres of ground, besides other dockage, and a population and influence second only to London. The center is chiefly occupied with a heavy, bulky, and wholesale business, and of a multifarious order. Yet much other business is done. Some of the public buildings are good and even splendid, amidst many “eye-sores” in the dark places. The market places are superb. The cemeteries are beautified by nature and art. I was much delighted.
I preached in the mariners’ Bethel ship, and enjoyed other services. Drs. McNeil and Hugh Stowel Brown were the pulpit “stars” of the religious galaxy, and their influence was powerful and extensive. Their eloquence was not surpassed in England.
The morals of Liverpool, like its streets, were on a par with the worst of seaport places. The sailors and their vile associations were very obvious.
I had a slight view of Wales, with its romantic and delightful scenery. After some two weeks more of pleasant sojourn, I took passage on board the sail ship Metoka, Captain McLarran, for New York.
On the 10th of September, 1846, we set sail for America. On the 20th, the equinoctial Storm came upon us with great power and vehemence. Our company comprised three hundred and forty-six souls, mostly Irish emigrants.
At every fell stroke of the sea, most all on board seemed badly frightened. Some yelled as each successive wave broke over us; others prayed, till at length a mountain wave rolled over us, carrying away our masts and tackle, and sweeping the decks. The sea rushed into the cabins, down the hold, and made wild desolation before and abaft. O, the consternation! What fear, anxiety, cries, and prayers! l shall never forget them, or erase the spectacle. God, in mercy, spared us, “and we were glad.” We lightened the ship, fitted up old sails and jury-masts, and made sail, as best we could, to the “passage” of Cork, Ireland. Blessed refuge. Here we found Irish hearts, big as the Emerald Island.
I often preached, gave temperance addresses, supped, dined, visited schools and nunneries, with the brethren, the nobility, and with the Very Right Reverend Father Theobald Mathew. The company, hospitalities, and privileges I here very much enjoyed for nine weeks.
This is a city of some two hundred thousand inhabitants, of every variety of style and charm. The elevation, terraces, cemeteries, the fine streets and water-courses give it great beauty.
The “potato-blast” famine made awful havoc, and proved the benevolence and kindness of the upper classes. I really enjoyed the friendship of the warm, whole-hearted Irish, and regretted our separation.
On the 8th of December, on the same ship, repaired at sixteen thousand dollars’ cost, with fresh outfit, we again sailed for New York. For eight ensuing days we sailed swiftly on, and made the Great Banks of Newfoundland. Then a dead calm overtook us, and for two weeks we gained only two hundred miles. Soon as we had mastered the calm, numerous squalls, and head winds, we sailed fast into New York Bay, and were thrice glad to return safe and sound, after a varied, interesting, successful, seven months’ tour.
The following letter, as published, on my return to America, in the Christian Chronicle, may be of interest.
GREAT STORM AND SHIPWRECK.
WRECK OF TUE METOKA.
MR. EDITOR: Permit me, through your excellent Chronicle, to give a short detail of my recent voyage.
“I left New York on the 10th of June ultimo, in the ship Liberty, and after twenty-four days of fine sail reached Liverpool. I went rather as an invalid, for the restoration of health, than as a delegate or a tourist. After visiting Ireland, Scotland, England, and France, and attending the ‘World’s Temperance Convention,’ ‘Evangelical Alliance,’ and various other meetings, I bade my transatlantic friends farewell, and took passage, at Liverpool, in the ship Metoka, Captain McLarran, for New York. We sailed, September l0, with twelve passengers in the cabin, three hundred and twelve in the steerage, and a crew of twenty-two men. With a fair breeze and fine ship we soon lost sight of land, and entered the wide Atlantic. With the exception of seasickness, all was pleasant till the 18th, when signs of a storm constrained us to shorten sail. The I9th brought the equinoctial gale with dread vehemence. The officers and men were vigilant and active; reparations were soon made, and we lay to under close-reefed fore and main topsails. The storm grew more violent. The morning of the 20th came with no small tempest. Our ship rolled and pitched badly; so great and quick was her motion, that we could not stand, sit, or lie still, but were jostled about, thrown down, wrenched or bruised severely by every lurch. Articles of furniture, in the cabin and state-rooms, often broke loose, and dashed about with much noise and violence — exciting most painful apprehensions. This was a memorable Lord’s day. The Bible was closely read — the twenty-seventh Chapter of Acts faithfully examined, the one hundred and seventh Psalm better understood, and many prayers fervently offered to Almighty God. Night came on — all was awful and portentous. A death-gloom hung over us — solemnity rested on every countenance — eternity seemed just in view.
About eight o’clock a heavy sea broke amid-ships, dashed fore and aft, and down the hatchways, drenching some and terrifying others. A general yell, a groan, a prayer, and all were silent. It was a prelude, a summons to preparation. A severer stroke was in reserve, while the raging storm held us in painful suspense. Sleep fled. Retrospect and prospect alternately took the precedence. Regret, hope, and prayer were oft commingled, as every moment whispered, ‘The time is short’— ‘the sea will have its victim, and none escape to tell the story.’ Here one felt for a widowed mother, anticipating the anxiety and suspense which our sad fate might awaken in her bosom, unable to know our dying words or latest history, while others evinced a like sympathy for partners, kindred, and friends. It was a prayerful night. Many were deeply anxious, and felt themselves shaking over an awful gulf. They saw their impotence, and sued for grace. At this juncture it was consoling to believe our Father was at the helm, and would rule all for good, for the welfare of his children and the glory of his name.
The morning of the 21st came, and with it a dreadful blow, as if a thunder-clap, an earthquake, or death itself had come. Tremendous shock! Our ship trembled from stem to stern, as if going to atoms. Terror seized afresh the timid soul, as if lost and sealed for the judgment. A shriek, a rush, a wild exclamation, and the tale was told. A mighty sea had struck our ship’s bow, carried away the bowsprit, jib-boom, fore mast, main-topmast, with ten yards and sails, figurehead, stem, and cut-water, leaving bare the apron and plank ends down to the water’s edge, and fast filling the hold — washed the sailors from their berths, destroyed the galley, cook-house and apparatus, swept overboard our fresh provisions, stove ten hogsheads of water, and left on deck some thirty tons of sea, dashing fore and aft, sending every movable adrift to consummate the wreck. It was an awful crisis. The sailors stood aghast, and said all hope was lost. The passengers thought the ship was sinking, and their destiny sealed forever. But no; though mind and nerves were tested, skill and courage came to the rescue. The officers, true and prompt, sprang forward, axes in hand, knee-deep in water, amidst the drifting fragments, cut away the hanging wreck, opened ports, stopped leaks, setting all right. This done, all hands were turned to the pumps. Our chance was small — only a glimmer of hope remained. The ship leaked badly. After lightening her bow of fifty tons, a change of hands pumping constantly could only keep her clear. The storm was yet vehement, the motion of our ship terrible, oft rolling to her beam-ends, or plunging under the huge waves. The billows roared, the winds howled and whistled through the shattered rigging — a horrid dirge. Mysterious requiem!
Diversity of expression marked the company. Some kept silence, while deep thought and emotion struggled within. Looks oft spoke volumes, though not a word was uttered. Others indulged in soliloquies, regrets, wishes, resolutions, exclamations, or ejaculations. Some, who had played at games, trifled with religion, drank, and danced, and profaned the name of God, now fell prostrate, wept and howled, as if conscious of guilt and need of mercy. Some grew surly and stubborn, while others gave up to mad despair. In the cabin a majority seemed pious and consistent — they bent the knee in fervent prayer, as if trusting the chastening arm. Some, who had been sick and confined, nervous and timid, were raised up with new vigor and confidence. The Rev. Mr. Galpin and myself oft took sweet counsel, and joined in Christian alliance, while the elements seemed wrapped in fury and dark conspiracy, as if commissioned for our destruction.
“The storm, at two o’clock P. M. began to abate. As the wind lulled and sea calmed, hope and joy beamed on every countenance. Some were enthusiastic; others praised God and took courage. But our trials were not yet over. After two days the gale returned afresh, and with it the late terrific scene. It lasted but for a day, and the storm ceased. Here we had been tried for six days, in lat. 54 and lon. 28 or 30, lying in the trough of the sea, drifting on the mountain swells, or covered with the breaking surge, at the mercy of Providence. During this time we suffered untold severities. The cook then wounded, and steward sick; the fire kindled only to be upset, or quenched by seas; no cooking done, no table laid, or set for days, — we were constrained to regale ourselves on hard sea-bread, raw ham, or a bit of cheese, taken in the simplest style. Thus sick, weak, sleepy, hungry, tossed, and bruised, till little but life remained, we wedged ourselves into our berths, sat on the sofa or floor, braced and fastened as best we could. Three persons died. They soon were wrapped in weighted canvas, and buried in the ocean grave. The sailors sick or lame, officers fatigued, the ship wrecked, rigging rent, and tools overboard, left us in a sad condition. We spied a ship, and made signs of distress; but it was not the ‘Good Samaritan.’
Having survived the tempest, what to do next was the question. We were anxious to proceed; but disabled, short of water and provisions, with a protracted passage and three hundred and forty-six souls, we dared not. Starvation stared us in the face. To return was the only alternative. We did our best — made slight repairs, erected jury-masts and old sails. Providence smiled. A fresh breeze, filling our tattered canvas, wafted us directly to the Irish coast. Though deprived of much by the way, we rejoiced, after eight days’ sail, to find ourselves safely anchored in the Cove of Cork.
Here for eight weeks I enjoyed the society and hospitality of Father Mathew, and many other generous, warm-hearted Irish friends — at the table, temperance and religious meetings. Then I gave my farewell,
Our ship, repaired and refitted, at sixteen thousand dollars’ expense, left the port December 3, and sailed again for America. The weather was boisterous. Head winds, squalls, and gales revived the past scenes. One sailor was lost overboard, and another, by timely aid, just escaped a watery grave. Suffice it to say, that after experiencing a severe passage of thirty-five days, I hailed New York with invigorated health and a mind to work. Yours, &c.
Wilmington, Del. March 4, 1847.”
On my arrival I was soon engaged in my accustomed work as an evangelist, and have cheerfully and successfully pursued my special calling till the present year. “All hail to Jesus’ name!”
SECOND VISIT TO PARIS.
My second visit to Paris in 1858, deserves a brief notice here, which I give from notes taken at the time.
I find the city much improved, and also many other towns in France far advanced.
Napoleon III. possesses great power and skill at this time. The energies and wealth of Frenchmen, I observe, are also taxed to the utmost, but with great success. The public places and buildings are much improved under his reign. The Père la Chaise Cemetery, Tomb of Napoleon I. Notre Dame, Pantheon, Triumphal Arch, and the Madeleine, have deeply impressed my memory of Paris. Yea, verily, this is a city of cities, powerful in its influence on moral’s, politics, arts, fashions, and professions. In a moral and civil point of view, this metropolis of the world has, for some years past, improved but a little. Prices for living have enormously increased, till the laboring classes complain, as much as they dare do, under the thrice galling yoke. A volcano may smoke and bellow for a while, and then blaze out and belch forth destruction.
At present (in 1858), Louis Napoleon is popular with certain classes; is energetic in various improvements; is loading down the citizens with taxes; is exerting a most powerful influence at home and abroad. But the times are ominous. The smoldering elements are waiting their time. “Man may propose, but God will dispose.” “A wise man foresees the evil and hides himself, but fools rush on to death.”
I have a fine time at sight-seeing, and have refreshed my mind by associations of a former visit here, when I had my first look at the superior attractions of this “center of the civilized world.” O for the purifying and sanctifying power of the Cross to make this a model city!
The Crystal Palace — a splendid and spacious structure — is a great ornament, and is said to be exerting good and potent influences upon the patrons.
Parisians glory in their honor, style, order, living, amusements, philosophy, refined morality, and political power. But, “weighed in the balances,” they are found wanting. The gorgeous cathedrals, with magnificent, costly, vain decorations, and the short-lived amusements, seem to occupy their minds more than God and eternity. Religious forms, even, seem to have lost their former power upon the many and the few, except on some special occasions. The Catholic religion seems to have turned to infidelity, and is mostly but a mere form, without power upon its own devotees or abettors. But, notwithstanding all, spiritual religion, I trust, is reviving in Paris, and gaining a firmer footing in France. O Lord, revive thy work!
The various chapels, American, Scotch, English, Independent, and Methodist, are receiving increased attention and blessings; and a revival feeling, or a desire for a work of grace, like that in America, is the constant prayer of many Christian members. May the Lord hear and bless them in their efforts!
“But where are the Bible and religion?” Few are the experienced, evangelical churches and institutions. We see gayety, gorgeous pomp, priestly ceremonies, candles, pictures, images, kneeling devotees, priestly robes, crosses, beads, holy water, the wafer, and the crucifix. But what of the popish cathedrals, and paraphernalia, and inventions, without the gospel faith, order, practice, power? France needs pure religion. I have looked over the ground I once thought of occupying as a missionary, and have wept.
The American chapel is a fine Gothic structure, with some one hundred and fifty attendants.
The pastor, in silk, read service in the morning, like the Episcopalians, but in the afternoon conducted service as a Presbyterian. Such forms and principles seemed hard to reconcile — strange mixture! I do not wonder the Presbyterian pastor resigns his “double charge,” to enjoy liberty of spirit and consistency of ministrations.
The Scotch church, at the Oratorio, is thinly attended. The Wesleyan Methodists’ chapel is well filled. Here we helped celebrate their “semi-centennial anniversary” in word, and spirit, and deed. Eight ministers were present, besides some laymen, who heartily participated in the exercises. It was a second and a double feast to me in Paris — of prayers, songs, speeches, shouts, and donations.
Religion is good and glorious anywhere. Rev. Mr. Seeley and myself, by request, made two or three speeches each. A committee was chosen to secure a place and fix the time for a “union prayer meeting.” This was successful — this was a blessed finale. I was convinced that I was right in occupying the home field. So we bade them farewell.
TOUR TO PALESTINE AND HOME.
I left Paris for Dijon, Lyons, Marseilles, and Rome, —here preaching, seeing sights, and the pope. Then “doing” Naples, Vesuvius, Pompeii, Malta, Alexandra, the Nile, Pyramids, Cairo, and preaching too, I left for Athens. Here I gave sermons and the “Lord’s Supper,” saw old ruins, new thrift, the king and queen. Next, I went, via Smyrna, “Patmos,” Beyroot, and Joppa, to the “Holy City.”In Jerusalem I “tarried” four weeks, preached, visited Mount Olivet, Bethlehem, the pools, sepulchres, gardens, and fields, bathing in Jordan and the Dead Sea, — beholding THE WONDERS OF THE WORLD!
Returning, I came, via Geneva, down the Rhine, up the Thames to London, preached, and attended the “May Anniversaries,” and steamed on to New York.
Blessed tour! All praise to God! Amen.
For more interesting particulars, see my “TRAVELS IN BIBLE LANDS,” AND “REVIVAL SECTIONS.”
“Do the work of an evangelist.” — 2 Tim, IV. 5
PAUL, the great apostle, commands Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. This was a special department of gospel preaching. God gave some evangelists, pastors, and teachers for the ministry of the truth, and the perfecting of the saints.”
But evangelists were especially commissioned to leave all, to go forth, and preach the word — first, where it had or had not been preached, beginning at Jerusalem, and on, to encompass all the world.
They were men of wisdom, discernment, spirituality, boldness, and power —not time-servers, hirelings, or servile essayists, living on the fruits of other ministers.
They raised up and established churches; and so, by grace, do we. (See: “Evangelist,” in my “Revival Sermons.”)
Evangelists helped such as were “called by the Holy Spirit,” and ordained them for this work, or to be pastors of the collected flocks. Then the evangelists visited churches to see how they prospered, and often refreshed their dear children. So we disciple and baptize, and then go about visiting the churches, “to see how they do.”
How very blind and unwise was that doctor of divinity — an accredited agent of a missionary society — who declared, “ex cathedra,” but not by the Spirit, that “our idea of evangelists and their duties was not in God’s plan.” Does he presume to tell us — active, live, successful ministers in the wide field — that “our place, office, and work are always in the front,” or frontier, He did not so learn of Christ. Nor can we, or the spiritually-minded, sit at his feet. But “go tell that fox” that we shall preach, under Immanuel’s commission, till the ends of the earth give God glory. Spiritual things are spiritually seen and understood.
This work is laid upon us, and it is distinct. We are called, consecrated, and especially appropriated to the “work of evangelism,” as truly as the Greek term ‘baptizo’ is set apart to signify actual immersion, and nothing else. The Lord be our teacher, guide, victory, and crown. God promises, and ever gives us success.
Ever since I was regenerated, and received the evidences of my adoption into the family of Christ, I have felt the call to preach the gospel; and the special work of evangelism has also loomed up before me, and commanded my attention. I have felt constrained, by love and the Holy Spirit, to labor in this department particularly, and have, when practicable.
In 1830 l was much instructed, and finally blessed, by the preaching and prayers of that sainted evangelist, Dr. A. Nettleton. At this time the familiar names of those celebrated evangelists, J. Burchard, C. Finney, and others, were sounding through the land. Great and glorious meetings were held, and many Pentecostal revival’s were enjoyed. Satan, infidels, hypocrites, prodigals, drunkards, and their associates raved, opposed, and persecuted revivalists as they found opportunity. But live Christians were generally enlisted, united, and much refreshed. Many backsliders, too, confessed and returned. Many thousands of sinners, of all classes, were truly converted to God. Large numbers and great strength were added to the different churches. God was glorified.
About this period the celebrated reformer and “hero-evangelist,” Elder Jacob Knapp, with Dr. E. N. Kirk, Elder Jabez Swan, and some others, were active and conspicuous in the protracted meeting field, doing glorious service for Jesus. A great advance in our churches, in moral reforms, in missions, in winning souls to Christ, was then made, and is powerfully felt to the present day. There was a waking up, a renovation, and a heavenly impulse imparted, as in the days of Whitefield, Wesley, Edwards, and the Tennents, but more powerful and extensive. The wicked raged, as in primitive times, where Christ was preached, and when Pentecostal revivals were experienced. Infidelity, Unitarianism, Universalism, Antinomianism, Formalism, Intemperance, and Slavery were severely exposed, rebuked, routed, and mortally wounded. They of course cried out like the demons who entered into the swine, opposing us by the rostrum and the press; by mobs, violence, and slander; by ecclesiastical and civil courts, or by any other means in their power. But God worked mightily with his elect to overthrow the works of Satan and his army. The fruits of victory and complete triumph over the powers of darkness were great and multiplied, and are still much enjoyed. According to God’s decrees, despite the hatred and devices of the adversary, sinners were compelled to help the church, to be hewers of wood and drawers of water for the children of Israel, and to confess to God’s glory.
Evangelists, pastors, and revivalists were in many instances arrested, and summoned to answer before the tribunal of courts, councils, and churches But they came out of their trials like the ancient worthies and apostles, or like gold and silver purified by the fires. These men of God preached the law and the gospel by the Spirit, in all plainness and in earnest, till the community was aroused, reformed, and made to glorify God. Signs attended and followed, as in primitive revivals. O, memorable, glorious times!
My precious soul was first liberated from sin and Satan for heaven in 1830, during these great revival days,” and I was so fired up with love to God and love to souls, that I could hardly delay long enough to get through my college and theological studies, before engaging in the “revival campaign.” As it was, I labored in Sabbath schools, conference meetings, and from house to house, and, by the blessing of Jehovah, brought in many “sheaves” before I was licensed or ordained to preach.
I read the Bible, the great reformers, the revival records of Whitefield, Wesley, Edwards, and the works of more modern evangelists, till I was confirmed in my convictions of duty. So I prayed, meditated, studied, took counsel of pious friends and of the Holy Spirit, and firmly resolved, after experiencing some success, to consecrate myself directly to evangelism as the Lord might indicate.
Many obstacles, objections, and adversaries loomed up with formidable power; but mighty grace soon vanquished them all. I then enlisted, with renewed strength, courage, and earnestness in the great revival and reformation battles, to hold up the colors — the banner of the cross.
Truly I have had my panoply, contests, and trophies. But I have suffered much less than many of my predecessors in the gospel field, and less than I should have done if I had been more like my Master, or more efficient in battling against Satan’s works and the wicked. Yet I have had no small share of “fiery darts” to ward off, or “troops to run through.” But by mighty grace I have succeeded. To God be all the glory.
But what a great revolution has been effected! How times, men, and measures have become changed! God’s word, spirit, and providences, the institutions of grace, have declared liberty to millions of slaves and myriads of penitent sinners, given many refreshings to the churches, and sent a wave of salvation around the world. What hath God wrought!
Behold the protracted meeting revivals, missionary enterprise, Sunday schools, temperance cause, and other reforms, pushing on the car of salvation for the millennium, despite infidelity, vice, crime, clans, and leagues!
Now, then, labor on, fight on, “ye braves,” under the bloody cross! Soon the song of “Bethlehem’s Babe” will be sung in universal triumph. Christ will soon reign on earth supreme!
For more than thirty-five years I have labored in revivals, and tried to do the work of an “evangelist,” as Paul charged Timothy. Not willing to be a novice, or to be entangled with the affairs of this world, I have studied hard, denied myself daily, and tried to preach the whole gospel, by word and deed, at all times and places, that I might glorify God and win souls to Christ. How far I have been wise and successful, let the fruits, recorded facts, and eternity decide. Christ is my advocate.
I love “close communion” with God, with his word, with his ordinances, and with the godly. Herein is my strength. This choice, strict rule of living I know is not popular with the world, with prodigals, formalists, or the unsanctified in our churches. Signs even now are seen as in Christ’s day. But duty is our sweet privilege, and we must obey. O Lord, thy will be done! O, how unworthy I am of success and such a crown!
The apostles and their coadjutors went forth to preach, to hold protracted seasons of worship, to save sinners, and evangelize the world. They were much opposed, abused, slandered, persecuted, and many were even killed for righteousness’ sake. But God, — Father, Son, and Spirit, — the angels, and all true Christians sustained them till salvation rolled through all the Roman empire.
In the days of Martin Luther, Whitefield, Edwards, Tennent, Nettleton, Finney, Knapp, Swan, Earle, even down to the present moment, successful protracted meetings have been held, with similar and glorious results. The same Bible doctrines, ordinances, and practice are the means set forth. Similar tests and measures, in substance, have ever been instituted among the wise and successful, and like signs, opinions, and actions from different classes, fruits and results have often followed. Those usually of different denominations, who have been most engaged, —either of the ministry or the membership, — and have seemed to enjoy a large measure of the Holy Spirit, and constant prayer, laboring for reform and the immediate salvation of sinners, have generally been fast friends and promoters of protracted meetings. Others, of less experience, knowledge, or wisdom, or piety, would speak and act as they thought or felt. Backsliders, hypocrites, rummies, gamblers, prodigals, criminals, unbelievers, and infidels of course oppose us, as does their master —Satan. It is just like them. But God, and truth, and right being for us, we resolve, act, preach, labor, and succeed, and glorify God.
Christ is our great model, teacher, captain, and Savior, our power and success in preaching the gospel. Young converts inherit the spirit of benevolence, especially those who are called to preach; and they early manifest their desire to save sinners.
Since I was born the second time, this precious work has been my daily passion, my food, my life. Christ precious “has been my theme, and shall be till I die.” The whole world is my open field and aim.
While I was a member of Union College, I belonged to the “Society for Missionary Inquiry.” I might have gone to a “foreign field” but for some requirements, imposing a yoke which neither Christ nor apostles commanded. I had left Pedobaptism behind on becoming a Baptist, and could not in conscience aid or submit to Popery, or come under a shadow of a feather of its left wing. The ‘animus’ of arrogance is the same, interdicting or dissuading single persons, though full of the spirit of missions, from obeying. No wonder some wheels go so heavily. But God rules.
Soon the home fields lay wide open for me to enter, and I did so. The poor and destitute have had the gospel preached freely. God never makes any mistakes or omissions, to be corrected by human devices, when he calls persons, single or married, to work in his vineyard. So, if they are not permitted to labor in one place, they may do so in another; and they will obey. Thus the Spirit helps.
Verily, when I have acted as pastor, missionary, or evangelist, I have always taught Christians and sinners from the same book, and have urged the church and young converts to use their gifts; to speak, pray, and sing, both male and female, as all one in Jesus Christ; “to do gospel work in their own hearts, homes, Sunday schools, meetings, and sanctuaries, in their own way; then to go abroad in person or by proxy, and, by all means, consecrate their time, money, pleasures, powers, body, and soul upon God’s altar; thus to grow in grace, to cultivate a revival and missionary spirit, sow and reap, and gather timely harvests of souls; to bless the whole world, and crown the Savior Lord of all.
l have uniformly sought the poor and weak churches, rather than the rich; but have taken no remuneration from conventions, benevolent or missionary societies, to support me at home or in foreign climes. Yet, I have always had enough and to spare, and expect to have all my days. I stowed away all my available patrimony in my head. So, when I was converted, it was all consecrated to God. Thus we sow, reap, eat, grow, and bless God.
I have traveled and preached, at great expense, in twenty-eight states of our Union, in Canada, in Europe, in Africa, and Asia.
I organized the Baptist church in Brattleboro’, Vt., from forty young converts, whom I baptized there in a powerful revival and reformation. By God’s blessing I have resuscitated many feeble, destitute churches, and confirmed others in cities, villages, and rural districts, holding some three hundred revival meetings.
I have often hesitated, wept, prayed, and groaned under the cross, in sight of the vast, sinful world, and under a sense of my deficiency, responsibility, and unworthiness. But God has ever heard me, sustained me, and crowned me with much success. He has led me marvelously.
I think about forty thousand have been truly converted in meetings where I have labored; of whom I have immersed some one thousand in pools, rivers, lakes, and waters, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. About ten thousand others have also been immersed by the respective pastors. But many more have joined other churches. Some thirty of my “gospel Sons” have preached. I have had over thirty calls to pastorates — eight in cities. In “graduating,” my funds were stored in my mind. My expenses since have exceeded the stated average of Baptist pastors. I have fared well on the “field,” by faith, free gifts, temperance, and economy. I have donated, yearly, an average of three hundred dollars; and lately five times that. I have traveled as far as three times round the globe, without personal injury or assault, and am still bound for HEAVEN.
To God be all the glory! Amen.
“Wilt thou not revive us again?” — Psalm lXXXV. 6.
REVIVAL is new life, renewed action, awaking to righteousness, a refreshing from God. Revivals were numerous and powerful in prophetic and gospel days, and have been glorious in modern times.
When religion became low, and the saints burdened and anxious about Zion and souls, a cry went up to God for a revival, and the cry to sleepy, careless, erring, barren, guilty souls, “Awake! Awake!” So God is confessed anew and glorified, Zion revived, and sinners converted. We see, feel, cry, and experience the like in our revivals
God — Father, Son, and Spirit —- uses his word, providences, ministers, and people, and overrules sinners to promote revivals. Christians then have a mind to work. All things work really well for the good. Even sinners must “hew wood and draw water” for the righteous, and nothing shall hurt Christ’s anointed. Their success and victory are sure.
Watchman, what of the night?” Zion, what of thy sadness? or thy glory? What of thy prospects and joy?
Do we not need, desire, seek revivals? “O, yes,” you reply; “but how can we have revivals? and how best promote them?”
“Let the watchmen, deacons, and burden-bearers get full of love, spirit, truth, faith, peace, joy, and holy fire; look, examine, mark, pray, sing, speak pointedly and faithfully, and act earnestly, crying mightily to God and to men, and you shall prevail.” Hearts will melt, sinners repent, Christians rejoice anew, and God be glorified.
Let us gather Christians in unity, like sparks of fire and the fuel, — in numbers of two, ten, or more, — pray, sing, confess, exhort, or preach till the multitudes shall come together, proud hearts break down and cry for mercy, as on the day of Pentecost!
Thus, when Christians get on the whole panoply, rally delinquents, backslider, and prodigal sinners, unite, believe, labor, and persevere, success is sure, and equal to the preparation. Travail in Zion, agonizing prayer, heroic faith, and earnest efforts, power of the Spirit and word, are absolutely necessary to great and pure revivals.
Led by spiritual indications, let us unify, continue, increase, and prolong our meetings, efforts, and forces, have present or foreign aid, secure different gifts, pastors or evangelists, as God may direct. O, “bring in all the tithes,” till the millennium.
Let us learn a lesson from history, observation, and modern experience. How much less opposition now to extra efforts, measures, tests, fruits!
It is very natural and rational to prolong our secret, and social, and congenial interviews, or to duly linger and discuss a rich repast. Surely nothing can be more inviting to the sane, wise, philosophic, devout, and spiritual, than frequent religious, protracted, scriptural meetings. Of all the feasts of reason, boundings of heart, and flowings of soul, all earth cannot furnish such ample, congenial, satisfying entertainments as do our religious banquets of days and weeks.
King David said, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” This is gloriously true in Christian experience. The wicked and backslidden, with all their wealth, fame, pleasure, power, and learning, are still greedy, envious, dissatisfied, rebellious.
Satan’s children are discontented when alone or in company, at home or abroad, in the dark or in the light. But the righteous drink constantly at the streams of salvation, in secret, in public, in society, in revivals, in “graduating” for heaven, and never clog, tire, or repine at their feast of obedience; nor will they in their protracted worship in eternity. How good it is to meet here on earth, to sing and pray, to read and speak, to exhort and preach, to console and refresh one another, and to labor for Christ, and saving souls! This is recreation, service, satisfaction, benevolence, honoring God, and blessing man.
Mistaken souls desire happiness and dream of heaven; but take the opposite, deceitful, destructive, way of sin, folly, intemperance, delusion, misery, and death.
Poor sinners may be enthroned by riches and honors, surrounded by servants and the world of vanities, adorned and matched in the whirling, foolish, licentious dance, and be enticed, under the plea of innocence, to trifle with conscience, Bible, reason, and their day of probation, till it is too late for mercy. Some may engage in Sabbath-breaking, in liquor-selling and drinking, in tobacco and opium-using or traffic, in card-playing, in lotteries, in other games of chance, yea, in open gambling, horse-racing, pilfering, vile licentiousness, bribery, slander, and red crime, till their measure is full, and they all drink it to its very dregs. They never will, in sin, be satisfied, but experience within an aching, fiery, terrible void. But how different the Christian’s life, experience, company, kingdom, hope, fruition, and home!
In our religious meetings we have a foretaste of heaven, an earnest of eternal greeting, worship, glory, and union with God, angels, and saints, in that everlasting meeting in the mansion above.
Who, then, can wonder that the good, the holy, the godlike, and true
Christians, of all ages, — filled with the Spirit, and blessing the cross, — have loved, and held, and promoted, and enjoyed continuous, protracted, revival, religious meetings?
Christians of depth and height, with broad attainments, experience, and success, are wonderfully united in reformatory principles, efforts, means, and ends. Practical and prosperous persons are usually well and happily agreed. Nature and grace work harmoniously, beneficially, and gloriously for faithful ministers, Christians, and churches.
God’s people, in “ancient times,” loved to assemble together to glorify God, revive each other, and exhibit their distinguished blessings before the whole wide world. The children of Israel had numerous gatherings, and special seasons of long continuance. These meetings, under the spirit and smiles of Heaven, were often much blessed in pushing forward the cause of moral reforms, spiritual and practical religion, and in promoting the temporal and eternal welfare of souls.
Whenever a great and mighty impulse was to be given to Zion’s onward march, and a great victory gained over sin, Satan, or the world, there was usually a meeting and a communing with God — a mutual feeling of love, reciprocity, prayer, and holy enterprise, which ever secured success. They often spent days, and even weeks, in their occasional and periodical meetings, brought in their tithes and offerings, and experienced great and overwhelming blessings — not having room in their hearts, homes, nation, or in the world to contain them. At no time have great reformations taken place without a conference, a revival or protracted meeting — longer or shorter, as God directed. Christians are agents.
We see how it was in the days of John the Baptist, and Christ and his disciples. The gospel bell was rung, audiences assembled, the Spirit attended the word, converts were multiplied, while they tarried long and late. So the rising sun dawned upon the world.
On the day of Pentecost they held a primitive, model, protracted, revival
meeting. God blessed the assemblage, his word, and penitent souls, and gave a great momentum to his cause and kingdom.
Many revivals and protracted meetings of one, two, or more days, and some for weeks and months, have been held, in New England and elsewhere, within, my personal remembrance. These have sent out their hallowed influences, as the light of the world and salt of the earth. Just before and at the time of my second birth, many sweeping and glorious revivals, under the celebrated Dr. Netteton, John Leland, Jedediah Burchard, C. G. Finney, were hailed, enjoyed, and sounded all around and over the country.
As soon as I was converted I cherished the good news of revival’s; and I sought a place and portion with live Christians, that I might speak for Christ and win souls to salvation. I asked God for direction and help, and was answered.
FOUR DAYS’ MEETINGS.
The first “day’s meeting” that I attended after my regeneration was held in the town of Windsor, Vt. It was called a “four days’ meeting.” But many such were held in different places about that time. This came off in the summer of 1830. I was much delighted, fed, and strengthened by such a sight, experience, exercise, and spiritual supper. It was a precious banquet, adapted to develop and enlarge the young convert’s soul.
The four pastors of the town, with their respective churches and congregations, and some from neighboring towns, met with the Baptist church, of which Elder Leland Howard was the long honored pastor. Some twenty other pastors also came in from adjacent towns, and a few Lawyers and teachers, who took leading parts in the services. Large congregations were constantly in attendance, and all the various exercises and meetings were interesting and profitable.
Divine services began early in the morning with prayer and singing, attended with confessions, exhortation, reading Scripture, and telling experiences. Happy, melting seasons!
After an hour or two thus sweetly spent, a good, searching, arousing, convicting, sanctifying sermon was preached. Then followed warm exhortations. Then a hymn was sung, while all the church members assembled in the aisles, facing the pulpit. Then their four pastors rose, and successively confessed their own faults before God, the churches, and the world asked pardon, and made good resolutions and promises for the future.
Next in order, a written confession for the church members was solemnly read to them, before all, to which they immediately and respectively assented. Then the pastors and members all knelt or bowed down, while a few able ministers led in confessing, beseeching, consecrating, grateful prayers, closing these thrilling exercises with singing and the benediction.
Good homes and hospitalities were amply provided, where we enjoyed precious reciprocity.
The same order was generally observed in the afternoon and evening, and so on for four days, — with the omission of the formal and general confessions, and the addition of verbal and written requests for special prayers, or some occasional and extra prayer or inquiry meeting.
Some of the sermons and prayers were most powerful, melting, and effective. Sinners often arose, requesting prayers, or sent up short petitions to be read. A lawyer by the name of Shepherd, from New York, was found to be very able, pointed, and specific in prayer, and so effective and precise in noting each different request more perfectly than the ministers, that he was often invited to lead in prayer — especially when there were some ten or twenty different, or some difficult requests presented. He seemed to be full of the Spirit, and was especially gifted and successful. Ministers learned something valuable from his wisdom and tact. I confess that his pointedness made a powerful and lasting impression on my mind and practice.
The professors and ministers were much blessed, and many sinners were converted in the meetings. The gospel was preached and the Spirit poured out, prayer and sacrifices made. Novelty and wonder attracted many. Here God crowned the effort.
HANOVER, N. H.
Shortly after this I attended a similar meeting at Hanover, N. H.; but there was less manifest power and, success than at Windsor. The numerous ministers present were two days in deciding how to conduct the meeting, and just what particular measures should be inaugurated, but were not unanimous. One efficient minister, at such a time, may be better than a hundred! We had prayers, singing, preaching, and exhortation, however, and many of the students and others shared in the revival. But there was a cog to the wheels.”
Here the inquirers were invited to an adjacent hall, and instructed en masse; but there seemed to be great fear of personal addresses, and of any “innovations or extras.” Yet I got a feast to my mind and soul, and much to profit withal
Soon after this I entered Union College, at old Schenectady, N.Y.; and have since shared and enjoyed many extra meetings, conducted by Drs. Beman, Kirk, Revs. Parr, Wescott, Knapp, Swan, Burchard, Kingsley, Earle, and other noted evangelists and revivalists.
In more modern times, we have DeWitt, Hammond, Aitken, Burnell, Fuller, Romine, Moody, Varley, Meecham, Whittier, Leonard, Whittle, and many others; but few, if any of them, rival the earlier STARS, — in pulpit talent, revival power, or final success. Among those of the other sex: Miss Smiley, the Misses Smith, and Mrs. Van Cott, have few equals in revival efforts.
May the Lord multiply HOLY SPIRIT EVANGELISTS AND GOSPEL REVIVALS!
Chapter 1.Early History
Chapter 2. European Travels
Chapter 3. Evangelism
Chapter 4. Religious Revivals
Chapter 5. Protracted Meetings.
Chapter 6. Protracted Meetings.(2)
Chapter 7. Published Letters
Chapter 8. Miscellany
Chapter 9. American Travels
Chapter 10. Sketches Of Sermons
Chapter 11. Perils Of Childhood
Chapter 12. Saved With My Sister
Chapter 13. Gracious Rescues
Chapter 14. Ample Anecdotes
Chapter 15. Marrow Maxims
Chapter 16. Jewel Gems
His preaching zeal and effectiveness were quickly recognised and he was soon licensed to preach and for a four year period served brief pastorates in New York State - Waterford, West Troy, Lansingburg and Rome (1834-1838) In 1838 began an itinerant evangelist for thirty-five years, mainly in America, but also in Europe, Africa, Asia and Canada. His estimates were that 40,000 were converted through his ministry.