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“As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”

When I wrote you last, I hardly dared to hope, that you would so soon the salvation of God.” You think there are now undoubtedly tokens of the Divine presence in your congregation, and that a revival has actually begun. I do not wonder, that this new state of things excites great solicitude in your mind. I should be alarmed for

you, if it did not. The crisis is extremely momentous. In all probability, the eternal destiny of a great many of your hearers will be decided in a few weeks. If they are not converted, they may be finally given over to a hard heart and a blind mind. I know how to feel for you. I have a vivid recollection of the first revival under my own ministry, almost thirty years ago. It is surprising how many questions a young and inexperienced pastor wants to ask at such a time; and it is certainly the duty of a father to answer as many of them as he can, when they are asked by a beloved son in the ministry.

Your people now begin to call in earnest for more religious instruction.

Deaf ears are unstopped. Your congregation on the Sabbath is increased, and there is a general solemnity throughout the house. Your week-day meetings are thronged. Those who never used to attend them at all, now wish to meet every night, and you will undoubtedly be requested by some of the best members of your church to gratify them. You will be told, that when the Lord works, he expects his servants to rise up and build with all their might, and it is true. Extra labors and more frequent meetings are undoubtedly called for; but when you ask me how many,

I cannot tell. No general rule can be given. It must depend upon a great many circumstances, which are never exactly similar in any two congregations, and which are alınost daily changing during a revival, even in the same congregation. I have no doubt, that where a people have not regularly enjoyed the instruction of a faithful and orthodox ministry, they need more preaching, when the Spirit is poured out, than those who have been better taught. And I am quite sure, that wherever a revival continues six months, or even three months, more meetings are required some weeks than others. As a general rule, I believe there ought to be more preaching in the early part of a revival than towards the close, or even than when it has been long enough in progress fully to develope its character.

But although it is impossible to give definite advice, without being on the spot and knowing all the circumstances, there are certain general principles which you should study, and which will help you to a right decision. There is what may be called demand and supply, in the religious state of a community, as well as in its economical state. This demand is far greater when christians are revived and the spirit of God is striving with sinners, than when


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there is no special excitement; and it ought to be promptly and fully met. There can be no excuse for not feeding the hungry as often and as much as they need, when “there is bread enough in our Father's house and to spare.” You must meet your people much oftener, and furnish them with more preaching in the midst of a revival, than would be either necessary or profitable under different circumstances. Were you merely to preach, and to preach ever so well on the Sabbath, or to add only one more good sermon about the middle of the week, you would not meet the demand. Those who are enquiring what they must do to be saved, and those who are beginning to feel a little interest would be liable to lose it in the intervals. If awakened sinners are not addressed often, they are very apt to become stupid again; and if the stupid are not addressed more than once a week, after the Sabbath, there is great danger that they will never be thoroughly awakened at all. But there is danger of going to the opposite extreme. Meetings may be multiplied too much ; and I believe this is the more common error. They may crowd so closely upon each other as to leave very little time for retirement, reading the scriptures, and secret prayer; or may in a few weeks, so deaden the sensibilities of saints and sinners by mere exhaustion, as to disqualify them for deriving any advantage from preaching, even on the Sabbath. There cannot be a greater inistake than to suppose, that the power and continuance of a revival must be in proportion to the number of week-day meetings. I have known revivals seriously checked,


and they have often been stopped by multiplying meetings too much.

Some ministers and many excellent members of the church infer, that, because two or three extra sermons in a week are obviously blessed in the awakening and conversion of sinners, adding more public labor must give an increased impulse to the work. But I venture to say, there is nothing either in scripture, in the constitution of the human mind, or in general experience to justify such a conclusion. There are limits beyond which all extra public labors are worse than lost. No man in the world, whether converted or unconverted, can hear preaching two or three times a day, week in and week out, to any advantage. What good does it do to keep pouring into a vessel which is already full? What judicious physician or nurse would give a sick man food faster than he can digest it, because he has a craving appetite ? Even the most healthy person in the world, cannot be always indulging himself at a well spread table. So far as a revival is to be carried on by preaching, the great thing is to keep up a healthy attention, and to give the people instruction, as fast as they can receive it, but no faster.

As I said before, it is impossible to lay down any general rule with regard to the frequency of public meetings. Every pastor must judge for himself, in view of the existing state of things in his congregation. I have never seen a revival, (and I have witnessed several in which the Spirit of the Lord wrought mightily), but I have never seen one, judgment required more than two sermons a week,

which in my

in the church or lecture room, besides three regular services on the Sabbath. During the very remarkable revival of 1821, in P-, of which you must have some remembrance, we had a general enquiry meeting on Monday evening, preaching on Tuesday evening, a meeting for prayer on Thursday evening, and preaching again on Friday evening. Besides these there were lectures in remote parts of the town, to interest as many as we could and bring them to the centre, and for the benefit of those who could not regularly come. There were also many little prayer meetings in the several neighborhoods. In looking back to that memorable season, I think we had quite as many meetings as the mighty progress of the revival called for, and subsequent experience has confirmed the opinion which I then formed, that the state of things must be very peculiar, to require more, I mean, after the work has fairly commenced. If christians had nothing else to do but attend meetings, and if sinners had nothing else to do but to hear preaching, if they had no Bibles to read, and no private instruction to receive, and no wicked and deceitful hearts to examine, and no secret places in which to pray, the case would be different. But if “the kingdom of God cometh not with observation;" if there is any danger of too much running abroad and outward bustle, to the neglect of private duties, then we should be on our guard, not to let the public means of grace in a revival encroach too much upon the religion of the family and the closet. That christian must have been very superficial in self-examination, who does not know how much easier it is


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