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Past and Present
Revival Coincidence

By this caption we mean the sudden breaking out of a revival under similar circumstances in two several places and on two occasions far distant from each other.

In the year eighteen thirty-one, the writer labored alone on the P. circuit. He had been very anxious to see the work of God revived. Still, little good was done, although he labored hard. At length in his youthful zeal and simplicity, he projected a camp-meeting (none had ever been held in those parts) to be convened within a mile of a town where Scotch Presbyterianism was in the ascendant. In this project he was seconded by a few old simple-hearted Methodists of strong faith. We must not be prolix, but hasten to say, that though censured by our Presiding Elder for irregularity, the meeting was a decided success. A number were converted, and that work of conversion gave an impulse to all the surrounding societies.

Among those converted were two Scotch lads, “ Johnny A.” and Johnny B.” They lived in a neglected neighborhood in the township of D-, about seven miles beyond my most distant appointment. They went home in a flame and began to recommend religion to their friends and neighbors. They incurred a good deal of persecution, but God rewarded their efforts by giving each of them a sister to go with him to heaven. They came out from home seven miles and united with the class at the place above referred to. This, however, did not satisfy them: they wanted preaching in their own neighborhood that their friends might hear the saving truth of God.

I was about to leave the circuit for Conference, but sent on word that I would preach to them one sermon before I went. It cost me an extra ride of fourteen miles, but 1 was well recompensed for my pains. It is true, on arriving there I felt unfruitful in thought and depressed in mind, and wished I had not come. But a walk in the woods and earnest prayer to Almighty God somewhat assured me; I returned and found the congregation assembled in a barn ; I took for my text, “ How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation,” and began. I had scarcely commenced before I began to feel uncommon liberty of speech and power resting on my soul. It seemed as if I were pulling the words through the roof of the building. The Lord laid too his helping hand—all the unconverted were struck with conviction and “ cried with a loud and bitter cry.” My voice was soon drowned. And as Jehovah was now preaching I thought I might as well give over. We went to prayer and all cried amain to God. Soon one after another entered into liberty and began to sing praises to God, till all were made happy but one. The whole united in class before I left. They were all Scotch but one.

Now for the coincidence. About ten years after that, nearly a hundred miles from that place, I had gone one evening to a neglected ^neighborhood, where an old Irish class-leader had settled himself, to fulfil a volunteered appointment. I had selected another subject for the evening. But in the course of conversation after tea, I related the above mentioned occurrence. My host wished I might preach on the same text that night. I feared to promise: the text was never any great favorite with me, or rather, my sermon on it was not; and the thoughts had gone from me. Nevertheless I turned it over in my mind on the way to the place of preaching. When we arrived there I found the school house filled with people. The preliminary devotions were attended to, and I took “ How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation,” and began. And, strange to say, nearly the same state of feeling, as in the former case, fell on me and on the people. I had uncommon liberty and power; and the people wept and cried so loud as to drown my voice. I desisted as before, when about two thirds through, and engaged in prayer. They cried mightily to God—many were delivered—and, after continuing the services a few evenings, a lonely class of twenty-two was organized. I mention the coincidence without any remark by way of accounting for it, giving God all the praise.

Would that both these classes had been better handled than they were in after years.

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