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imperative command of his conscience, compelled him to start. He rode for two days over lonely roads, through beech forests, in a dazed and wondering state. Hardly was he off his saddle before brother Jewett was at his elbow, and said, “You have done well to come. You must preach tonight.” In a moment the cloud lifted. The reluctance was gone. He was there three weeks working with indefatigable zeal and wondrous success. Here is his own account of that glorious time: “I used to get up early in the morning, and immediately after breakfast take a horse and ride from house to house and converse with people. I worked in that way till ten o'clock. Between ten and eleven I attended the daily prayer-meeting that was held there. Then I rode with the pastor till dinner-time. After dinner I rested till evening, when I attended another meeting. This I continued for two or three weeks.”
The memory of that first revival is fresh in his mind to this day. In thinking of it very lately, while standing for the first time since on the very identical spot, he exclaimed, “ Three memorable weeks, at a time when events stamp the memory and the heart as the die stamps the coin. I could almost take those days, one after another, in their order, and tell you just what I did. Those days were almost without selfness, and yet they are clear to my memory. They stand out-ribs, bones, and all."
However heartily and enthusiastically he may have thrown himself into that revival, evangelistic work, and however great his delight in it may have been, it was necessary at length to turn the face homewards; but “when the time came to return home, did ever heart swell with stronger and more unutterable feeling? To go back to the ordinary round of church life from this glowing centre seemed so intolerable that my whole nature and all my soul rose up in uncontrollable prayer. Through the beech woods, sometimes crying, sometimes singing, and always praying, I rode in one long controversy with God. 'Slay me if Thou wilt, but do not send me home to barrenness. Thou shalt go with me. I will not be refused. I am not afraid of Thee ! I will prevail or die!' These and even wilder strains went through the soul.” Such earnestness and importunity in prayer, such intense going out of the whole soul towards God, could not have been in vain. Our Father in heaven invariably listens to such pleading. It was another Jacob struggling with the Angel; and the result in this instance could not possibly have been otherwise than it was in the first.
When he arrived home his heart burned within him, and he had no doubt whatever but that the Lord would bless him. It was a crisis. Success or death was at the door, and an internal voice secured him that it was the former. Oh ! how he rejoiced in the prospect of having a revival in his own city and in his own church! It would be nothing in the world but heaven on earth. Well, a revival did come, and this was the manner of its coming: “On Sunday I gave notice that I would preach every night that week. We had a dingy lecture-room in my church that would hold about two hundred people. I preached Monday night, and we had a storm. Tuesday night it rained again, and when I called upon any who were awakened to remain, no one stayed : and I said, 'It makes no difference ; if the Lord wishes it to be so, I do!' On Wednesday night I preached again with more power, and called for inquirers at the close. One poor little thin servant girl stopped ! She smelt of the kitchen and looked kitchen all over. When I dismissed the congregation, my first feeling, I know, as I went towards her, was one of disappointment. I said to myself, that after so much work it was too bad. It was just a glance, an arrow which the devil shot at me, but which went past. The next minute I had an overwhelming revulsion in my soul, and I said to myself, “If God pleases, I will work for the poorest of His creatures. I will work for the heart of a vagabond if I am permitted to do it, and bring him to Christ Jesus.' I felt it, and I thanked God that night for that girl's staying. He paid me the next night, for two of my sweetest children—not my own, but they were like my own to me—stopped on the next night, and after that the work went on.”
His interest in revival and evangelistic work became intense. Nothing afforded him so much pleasure and delight as to be engaged in special efforts to save and to elevate mankind round about him. It was his meat and drink to go in and out among them as an ambassador for Christ, pleading with them, even with tears in his eyes, to become reconciled to God. The centre of his theology was Emmanuel, God with us, and the central fact in his preaching was the incarnation, God made manifest in the flesh. Himself exceedingly loving, sympathetic, and forgiving in disposition, nothing laid such a deep hold of his heart as the thought of the infinite love of God in Christ Jesus. Men were low and sinful, and self-centred, absorbed in the interests of this life; but God loved them and was patient with them, and it was his blessed mission to press this truth home to their hearts. In order, therefore, to bring all the influences within his reach to bear upon them, he would hold special services, and preach daily for a number of weeks, and sometimes through several months. The success of one revival was so encouraging that the meetings were continued for eighteen consecutive months without the exception of a single day. During the whole of that time he was in the happiest of moods, thrilled through and through with unspeakable rapture.
Conversions were frequent and numerous. The most desperate characters were brought to their right mind. On every side the old cry of the Philippian jailer was raised, “What shall I do to be saved ?" and was followed in almost every instance with prompt and glad obedience to the old-fashioned but only comfort-giving answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” What wonder that the young minister's heart leaped within him for joy! He was indeed the happiest man living.
No exertion was too much. No duty was too heavy. Cross-bearing was a joy. His heart was right before God. His ministry at Indianapolis was attended with many such revivals. He believed most thoroughly in their genuineness, and still believes ; and it was his conviction that every minister ught to employ all possible means to develop them in his own church. In a recent lecture on the conduct of revivals he makes use of this language: “As to the means that are to be employed to develop a revival in the church, first and foremost I mention preaching; and, in order to this, much
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depends on your own state of mind. I think that almost always a man has in his own heart the prophecy of these things. I have waked up in spring mornings, and the air has smelt differently from what it did before. out of doors not thinking that it was spring, but it was brought home to me by the changed aspect of things around. So I have found in my own ministry, that when my
heart was right for this work of God, I somehow had it brought to me in a way which inspired courage and zeal and purpose; an intensity of feeling that assured me I was going to succeed, —not I, but the grace of God that was in me.
I had a courage, a sort of certitude in me—the time has come! the time has come !'—and I went down into the work with the feeling, "I will not be denied ! I will have this blessing ! Slay me, but give me this !' And where a man has even the smallest beginnings of this feeling, he is pretty sure to impart it.” There is a question, however, in this connection which is often very perplexing to those who have the conduct of evangelistic meetings, which it will be better both to ask and to answer in Mr. Beecher's own words. He says: “How long ought they to be protracted ? Just as long as you want them. Four-day meetings? Yes; four days, or eight days, or twelve days, or sixteen days, or twenty-four days, or forty-eight days. You own all the time there is, and you can keep them up as long as they are profitable. Suppose my boy should come to me and ask, “Father, how long ought I to shake the chestnut tree?' As long as the chestnuts fall; as long as there is a chestnut left,' I say to him. 'Shake till
you can get no more nuts. As long as they fall, club it.' I remember in one case carrying on a protracted meeting in my own parish for over eight, nine, ten weeks; and when on Sunday morning I made up my mind to close the series of meetings, I had looked over the congregation and could count but ten that were not hopeful Christians.”
But how was he able to retain health and vigour under those heavy and continuous labours? Ordinary men, if called upon to work so hard and unremittingly, would certainly break down, and that very soon. To preach every day without a single exception through eighteen consecutive months is a task which no man can accomplish without
damaging his constitution, unless he can find relaxation of some sort. Mr. Beecher's method of giving himself rest was very peculiar and amusing. Those who have read his sermons know that some of his most beautiful and striking illustrations are drawn from horticulture. He is perfectly at home among fruits and flowers. On his farm at Peekskill he has one of the best gardens in America ; and on matters relating to farming and gardening he is considered an authority. But how did he cultivate his taste for these things? How did he acquire such exhaustive knowledge of them? We subjoin his own explanation, which was written in 1859 :
The continued taxation of daily preaching, extending through months, and once through eighteen consecutive months without the exception of a single day, began to
nerves, and made it necessary for us to seek some relaxation. Accordingly we used, after each weeknight's preaching, to drive the sermon out of our heads by some alterative reading.
“In the State Library were Loudon's works-his encyclopædias of Horticulture, of Agriculture, and of Architecture. We fell upon them, and for years almost monopolised them. In our little one-story cottage, after the day's work was done, we pored over these monuments of an almost incredible industry, and read, we suppose, not only every line, but much of it many times over, until at length we had a topographical knowledge of many of the fine English estates quite as intimate, we daresay, as was possessed by many of their truant owners. There was something exceedingly pleasant, and is yet, in the studying over mere catalogues of flowers, trees, fruits, etc.
“A seedman's list, a nurseryman's catalogue, are more fascinating to us than any story. In this way, through several years, we gradually accumulated materials and became familiar with facts and principles which paved the way for editorial labours. Lindley's Horticulture and Gray's Structural Botany came in as constant companions. And when at length, through a friend's liberality, we became the recipients of the “ London Gardener's Chronicle," edited by Professor Lindley, our treasures were inestimable. Many hundred times have we lain awake for hours unable