|« Prev||Chapter 33||Next »|
While work was moving in great power in New Haven, a deputation from Stamford waited upon Mr. Redfield and invited him to that city. He accepted the invitation, and, immediately after closing his work at New Haven, repaired to that place. On being introduced to the pastor, the following conversation took place:
“How many inhabitants have you here?”
“About eighteen thousand.”
“How many churches?”
“Eight or ten. Our own people have three, but one is closed.”
“What is the prevailing tone of religion?”
“How long since the Methodists had anything like a revival?”
“About thirty years. But we have become quite respectable. The time was when we could not get a spot in the place on which to build a church, and we had to build some miles outside the town. A great change has come over Doctor O_____, who so bitterly opposed us then, and now he says we ought to have the same privileges the other churches have. Now we have this fine edifice in, an eligible part of the city.”
Mr. Redfield said nothing, but he feared that this respectability had been gained by abandoning real Methodism.
In due time he proceeded to the church for the first service. The message was to the church; the theme — the New Testament standard of religion, and the unlawfulness of all others. The meeting closed, and he returned with the pastor to the parsonage. As soon as they were seated, Mr. Redfield was asked:
“Is that the course you design to pursue?
“I do not think it will do here. I think I can give you some valuable advice if you are willing to receive it.”
“Very good; good advice is always acceptable. Tell me just what you think.”
“Well, I think our conference preachers have done admirably here for many years. Brother_____, who was here years ago was a perfect gentleman, and the people all loved him. Brother_____, who followed him, took the same course; and so all of them down to the present time. These men won their way into the affections of the people, and have gained for us the position we occupy now.”
“Then you think that is the course for me to pursue?”
“Will you tell me what time the next train leaves?”
“You do not think of leaving, do you? We have sent for you to hold these meetings, and we want a revival.”
“Brother,” said Mr. Redfield, “God has made me a rough man, and given me a rough gospel for rough hearts. I shall leave; for if you think a little more of the same stuff which you have had is necessary, and which you acknowledge has been a failure for thirty years, you have all the tools necessary, and have no need of me. I will go where the people will allow me to use God’s only tools for saving men.”
After some moments of silence, he replied: “Well, my time is nearly out, as this is near the close of my last year; and I will allow you to go on.”
Two days after, in an afternoon meeting, an old man, a member of the church, arose and said: “I went home from meeting last night, and went to bed, but I could not sleep. I thought I was sick, and would die before morning, and I dared not sleep. I arose and knelt down and tried to pray. I struggled the remainder of the night, but about the break of day God spoke peace to my soul.” And then raising his voice very loud he cried: “My brethren, this is the same kind we used to have thirty years ago.” Then arose a sister, who said: “Brethren, when I heard what a great revival was in progress in New Haven, where Brother Redfield was laboring, I thought, “If he will only come here, what a good time we would have.” But when he came, and began to preach, I said: “O Lord, I can’t have it come this way.” I thought he would put it on to the sinners, but when he preached so sharp to us, I thought “I never can endure it.” But last night, when I went home I could not go to bed, so I sat up all night and prayed God to have mercy on my soul. And early this morning he came in power to me. Oh, this is the same kind we used to have years ago!” and she fell, as though dead, to the floor.
Another and another arose, and gave in substantially the same testimony. Dr. O_____, who had come to the meeting, evidently out of curiosity, by this time had become quite angry, and now arose and left the house. As he passed out he said to one: “Such things ought not to be tolerated; and Mr. Redfield ought to be shut up at once.”
The meetings went on in great power for several weeks, and many were saved.
|« Prev||Chapter 33||Next »|