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At the close of his labors in Albion, Mr. Redfield went directly to Bridgeport, Conn., for the last protracted meeting of the season. Here he found a pastor with a clear head, a pious heart, and unflinching integrity. But the meeting had scarcely commenced before he felt one of his old burdens coming on. At first, as usual, he misread the feeling, and concluded it was preparatory to an attack of apoplexy. H attempted to leave the meeting, but failed. He then turned to his medicine case, and took a remedy he thought would leave him; but with no good effect. He then began to see that it was a “burden,” — the spirit of prayer. His agony for souls became very great. The sensation was as if mighty hand took hold upon his brain, drew it up, and then thrust it back with a painful shock. This occurred several times. Every time he would cry out, “I will hold on until salvation comes.” When suddenly he was relieved, and the power of God fell upon the people in a wonderful manner.
A Baptist deacon arose from the altar, and went reeling and tottering about, his face all radiant with the joy that filled his soul, and professed to have experienced the great blessing of perfect love. This was a surprise to his people, for they thought him eminent for piety, and in their opposition to the doctrine of holiness, they had been known to say: “But there is Deacon O_____, and he never says anything about holiness.” But, now, after the deacon had professed to have experienced it, they said: “Well, we have always been a little suspicious of him.”
So great was the ingathering of souls during this meeting that it was necessary to build a new church to accommodate them.
The following are some of the incidents of the work:
A lady member of one of the city churches came and was convinced that she was without the saving grace of God. This brought her into great distress of mind. Her mother came to Mr. Redfield and made a statement of the case. She said: “My daughter is in despair. She has been a member of the church for ten years. Her minister has been to see her, and has tried to persuade her not to give up her hope. But she told him that she had been deceived for ten years, and had just found it out. She then requested him to let her alone, and not to deceive her again. The deacons of the church came to see her, also, but she tells them the same story, and refuses to be comforted. Now, what shall I do? Shall I try to comfort her?”
“No, madam,” said Mr. Redfield, “by no means; unless you desire to deceive her again. When she yields up her will to God she probably will find relief.”
“But I fear she’ll become deranged,” replied the mother.
“Better be deranged and die so, in trying to be honest and to get right, than to go on as a deceived person, and die in that condition.”
“But she has eaten nothing for three days.”
“Well, some spirits have to be starved out.”
“Well, what shall I do?”
“You can pray for her; deal faithfully with her, in pressing her to yield to God. But for her soul’s sake, don’t speak peace; let God do that.”
About 12 o’clock the next night God spoke peace to her soul. Mr. Redfield was greatly encouraged when she related her experience the next afternoon. She told the congregation, that at first she was very angry at Mr. Redfield for disturbing her peace of mind, and then with a radiant face, she exclaimed, “But, oh, how glad I am that he dealt faithfully with me”; and turning toward him, said, “Do let me exhort you to be faithful wherever you go.”
For a day or two during the meeting, Mr. Redfield had missed a brother who had taken a very strong stand for holiness, when one day he and his wife called. He seemed in great distress of mind. He said: “When I went from meeting a few days ago, I was fully determined to follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit. When I got home the Spirit said, “Lie down on the floor and prophesy that you will now die.”
“But you did not die?” interrupted Mr. Redfield.
“Oh, no!” said he; “then the Spirit told me to prophesy that the man in the house opposite would die before morning,”
“Did he die?”
“No! Then the Spirit told me to go into the streets and sing, “Pink and senna”; and to go singing it into the drug store, and call for a large amount of it. Then I was to make a decoction of it, and give it to my children, to guard them against sickness. I did so, all but giving it to the children. Next the Spirit told me that as I had once loved a lady before I married my present wife, that, therefore, I was guilty of adultery with her; and I must go and confess it to her. But I knew I was innocent of such a crime. The Spirit then told me I must now part with my wife. Now what shall I do?”
“Were you all this time led by this spirit?;
“Let me ask you further, when this spirit was upon you, did you not feel wretched?”
“I did! and it seemed I would die, my agony of mind was so great.”
“Well, brother, when any such influence comes upon you, no matter how like conviction of duty it may appear, if it brings distress of mind instead of filling you with love and peace, resist it as you would the devil, for it is the devil. God’s Spirit never distresses one except those burdened with guilt. He leads by light, and love, and peace.”
In connection with this incident Mr. Redfield penned these thoughts upon the subject:
“I have occasionally met with similar cases. To my sorrow, I have known some of the best of people to get frightened, and thinking insanity was being caused by the meetings, have insisted upon their being closed. I saw, I thought, that in “following the track of Jesus, we must pass these temptations also; and if the church did not have the discernment to distinguish between temptation and insanity, we would be liable to do irreparable injury to the work of Christ.”
From Bridgeport Mr. Redfield went to the scenes of his childhood. There he attempted to do his duty in the fear of God. He preached the same gospel that he had heard in the same pulpit from the lips of Wilbur Fisk, A. D. Merrill and John Lindsay, all of precious memory. God responded to his truth with power, but in the midst of it, the unspiritual pastor arrested the work by bringing the meetings to a close. Full of sadness, Mr. Redfield visited the graves of his mother and other saints who, in former days, had worshipped God in the church near by. Here he wept over the desolations of Zion, and consecrated himself anew to the work of spreading holiness over the land.
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