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the church, and Christianity, their friends were roused to the necessity of aggressive warfare. The rallying cry rung throughout all evangelical Christendom, and the age of associations, of combined effort in aggressive movements upon the lines of Infidelity, Paganism, and Popery, was ushered in. From the formation of the Missionary Society, in 1792, by Andrew Fuller and others, in England, we may date the era of revivals. Then set in that tide of influences, seen in the formation of Tract, Bible, and Missionary Societies, with other benevolent associations, which now covers the whole face of the Protestant world, and which is to-day sending abroad its healing waters over the perishing nations of the whole earth. The Angel is now seen flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. Now many run to and fro, and knowledge is increased.
That the missionary spirit of modern times, which has revolutionized the church, and which is now turning the world upside-down, caught its inspiration from the revival of religion, no one conversant with the history of the times will doubt. It is equally true that the revival of religion and of missions both received their new impulses from the life-invigorating spirit of prayer—social and concerted prayer, eminently. Their historic connection and spiritual affinity are clearly traceable, awarding to the prayermeeting that awakening power which has vigorously put into operation those world-renowned agencies which are now so gloriously, under the Captain of our salvation, evangelizing the world.
Dr. Humphrey says, in his "Revival Sketches," p. 45, that “The eminent Andrew Fuller was a leading spirit in establishing the monthly concert of prayer for Foreign Missions, and planting at Serampore the first of modern missions in India."
Again, in regard to missions, he says, p. 116: “This revival, says the author of Mills' Life, was among the most signal expressions of favor to the church. He alludes to the well known fact, that by means of this influence, Mills prevailed to diffuse, through a circle of choice spirits, that zeal for missions which actuated his own breast. On Wednesday afternoons they used to retire for prayer to the bottom of a valley south of the west college: and on Saturday afternoons, when they had more leisure, to the more remote meadow on the bank of the Hoosack, and there, under the hay-stacks, those young Elijahs prayed into existence the embryo of American Missions. They formed a society, unknown to any but themselves, to make inquiries and to organize plans for future missions. They carried this society with them to Andover, where it has roused into missionaries most that have gone to the heathen, and where it is still exerting a powerful influence on the interests of the world. I have been in situations to know that from the counsels formed in that sacred conclave—the prayer-meeting in the valley and under the hay-stacks or from the mind of Mills himself, arose the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the American Bible Society, the United Foreign Missionary Society."
All these, and many kindred benevolent agencies of the age, have, confessedly, their origin in the prayer-meeting. The same writer says again, p. 103: “ It cannot be denied, that modern missions sprung out of these revivals." Nor can it be denied that revivals are the offspring of prayer. God's Spirit prepares for revival and for mission work, as for every other good work, first by pouring out upon his people a spirit of grace and supplication. This leads them to the prayer-meeting, to ask, in concert, for revival; they are revived, and so fitted for every good work, in answer to prayer.
From even a limited collection of histories of revival, we find a judicious selection and arrangement of historic incidents, in relation to the prayer-meeting, a difficult task. So numerous are the references, and so prominent the place assigned to these conference meetings in collateral history, to select and omit seem but to mar the entire narrative, so full and conclusive. We shall be content with making leading, or representative, selections illustrative of principles.
The author of “ Revival Sketches,” giving reminiscences of Rev. Jeremiah Hallock, of Connecticut, says:
6 In 1779, at the age of twenty-one, he was impressed with the sinfulness of his heart, though he had neither seen nor heard of awakenings; and conviction, conversion, and revivals, were terms with which he was unacquainted. Soon after he was called to do military duty, and he and his fellow-soldiers had entered a barn, he found himself surrounded by his young companions and others, exhorting them on the subject of religion, one of whom was then awakened, and afterwards obtained hope. It was the beginning of a revival; meetings were appointed, and became frequent, full, and solemn, and as they had no minister, and Mr. Hallock was the first of the apparent converts, it often devolved on him to lead the meetings. The years immediately succeeding his settlement-1785—were a period of darkness in the churches generally. In 1795, Dr. Griffin was settled in the adjoining parish of New Hartford. They both had tasted the blessedness of revivals, and together they mourned, and wept, and wrestled, for perishing souls and the languishing interests of Zion. One or more of the groves is still pointed out, where they, with neighboring pastors, used to retire from the world to agonize for the descent of the Holy Spirit. The day of mercy was near. At length the revival burst upon them.” Of the beginning of this revival, Hallock himself writes : “ This was, indeed, a trying hour. No fond parent ever watched the fever of his child at the hour of its crisis with more anxious and interested feelings, than numbers of God's praying friends watched the work of the Spirit at this critical moment.'
When Zion travails, she brings forth her children. So, revivals are the offspring of the travails of God's people in concerted prayer. For, as the writer adds, “The work was now evidently on the increase. Conferences meaning prayer-meetings—were set up in every part of the parish, and every week, and sometimes every day, would bring the animating news of some one hopefully converted."
These prayer meetings were called conference meetings, because conference on religious subjects formed a very interesting and important part of their exercises, so often impressive and awakening. Thus, the same, again:
“At a certain conference, in which the conversation turned on the divine purposes, the subject was not attended to now for disputation, but with fear and solemnity. They did not appear to be dry, uninteresting, disputable points, but divine realities, calculated to convict the sinner and refresh the saint. At the close of the meeting a question was asked of this import: ‘Does a person who is truly seeking after God, feel afraid that any of his purposes will cut off from salvation ?' The question was answered in the negative; and the divine purposes were no more against prayer, than against attention to common matters, and that the only reason why men brought them against prayer was, their having no heart to pray."
The fearers of the Lord will speak often one to another. They will not forsake the assembling of themselves together; but exhorting one another—they will admonish one another in Psalms, Hymns, and spiritual songs. They will love to say to one another, Come, hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he did for
soul. Dr. Sprague, of Albany, N. Y., gives, in his Lectures on Revivals, a letter from Dr. Hyde, of Lee, Mass., in which the writer says: “The first season of 'refreshing from the presence of the Lord,' which this people enjoyed, commenced in June, 1792, a few days after the event of my ordination. There was at that time no religious excitement in this region of country, nor had I knowledge of any special work of God's grace in any part of the land. The church here was small and feeble, having only twentyone male members. It was, however, like the primitive Christians, continuing with one accord in prayer. Immediately, on being stationed here as a watchman, I instituted a weekly religious conference, to be holden on each Wednesday, and in succession, at the various school-houses in the town. These were well attended in every district, and furnished me with favorable opportunities to instruct the people. A marvellous work was begun, and it bore the most decisive marks of being God's work."
Rev. Joseph Washburn, Farmington, Conn., writing of revival, (Rev. Sk.) says:
“In 1798, God began to appear in power and great glory, in a number of towns in this vicinity. Accounts of these things reached us, and became the subject of conversation among Christians, but appeared to have little or no effect.
“This first appearance of special divine power and grace was in February, 1799. It began in an uncommon attention and concern among the people of God, and a disposition to unite in prayer for the divine presence and a revival of religion.
“Soon after this, numbers in different parts of the con