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CHAPTER 13

The great awakening with which the last chapter concluded continued without interruption for fourteen months.

Mr. Redfield was invited to preach in different churches in New York. His health rapidly improved, and he conscientiously used it for God’s glory. Many remarkable incidents occurred during these labors. Great manifestations of divine power often attended his ministry. Persons under conviction would sometimes fly from the house to avoid yielding to Christ, and afterwards be found lying upon the walks, helpless. At first, the policemen would take them to the station house, and lay them side and side upon the floor, and watch them until they “came to.” The first night this occurred it created no little excitement. Quite a number had thus been gathered in, and a large crowd stood around the door wondering what it meant. While they were gazing and commenting, and endeavoring to account for the strange phenomena, the head of one of the prostrate ones raised, and a shout of “Glory to God!” came from his lips. Then, another, and another, and another, did likewise, until all of them were at it at once. The station was made to resound with unaccustomed noise the praises of God instead of cursing and blasphemy. When it was discovered that such persons were neither harmed nor harmful, the officers ceased to take them to the station, but watched them where they fell, until they “came to” and were able to care for themselves.

Singularly, this timid, shrinking man, who dreaded the responsibilities of the Christian ministry so much, was providentially thrown into the great metropolis of the nation to commence his work; where the people, gathered in such masses, made the responsibility so much the greater.

In the midst of this great victory, Mr. Redfield was not without temptation. His clear perceptions of what was meet and right, sharpened by his struggles with unbelief, the rough handlings of providence, and the rougher handling of his fellowmen, made him feel intensely his weakness and his dependence upon God. Above all, the constant dread of his wife making an evil use of the facts of his family life, and of evil-disposed persons making a worse use of what they did not understand, kept him in the dust at the foot of the cross. Now and then he seems to have had a glimpse of the benefit God was making these things to him, but generally this fact was hid from his mind. His greatest fear was concerning the harm they might work to the cause of Christ. He resolved to say nothing about his matters, except when asked, and then to be perfectly frank with all who sought for information. But he soon learned that a story once out was likely to grow into untruthful details. At last he came to the conclusion that this was to be his “thorn,” and his best way was to bear it in silence and alone.

He now instinctively turned toward the mercy-seat, and asked for greater grace to meet his great responsibilities. To fit himself especially for the work before him, he once more began to seek the experience of holiness. The next chapter relates this experience in his own words.

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