Revival Accounts 3

An Account from Acworth, New Hampshire 1815 – 1818

In a school in the western part of the society, a regular course of biblical instruction was introduced. Questions were proposed weekly, and one evening in each week set apart for their discussion. The answers to these questions were required in scriptural language. As soon as this mode of instruction was introduced, a visible alteration was seen in many scholars [students]. They began to discover a greater relish for the scriptures. In searching for the answers to their questions, they felt an increasing desire to know more of the lively oracles of divine truth. Every vacant moment when relieved from their other school exercises, the Bible was taken up, and the unheeded tear which now and then would drop over the sacred page, showed that its precious sentiments penetrated their hearts. On Tuesday evening, Jan 14, 1817, when assembled as usual for the discussion of their scriptural questions, occurred a scene on which memory dwells with delight; and which no doubt excited those fresh acclamations of joy in heaven, which takes place on the return of every penitent sinner.

The house on a sudden became a little Pentecost. The first question which was asked a young woman of twenty years of age, was, What is regeneration? She rose, attempted to answer, failed, and sunk under the weight of a wounded spirit. The next in order was called upon, but was unable to reply, from the same cause as the former. The third issued in the same manner; and in a few minutes the whole school consisting of about twenty-six, were overwhelmed in a flood of penitent grief; and cries such as these were heard in every part of the room: How can I live? What shall I do? God me merciful to me a sinner! With these were mingled the pressing anxious request, Do dear master, pray for me—pray for me in particular.

In the scene of general distress, the master [teacher], though no stranger to the throne of grace, and who had previously attended prayers in his school daily, was too much agitated by the occasion to govern his passions to commend his pupils to the Lord Jesus. At this time there was sitting in the midst of this weeping assembly, a young man, who was remarkable delivered from the dominion of sin, and made a trophy of redeeming love a few days before; who had just found a throne of grace for humble suppliants to approach; and how possessed no distinguishing qualifications to fit him to recommend his despairing school-mates to the mercy of God,–seeing the perturbation of the master, and the distress which prevailed on every side, he rose, and with apparent composure said, Let us pray. He prayed; and it was evident God heard; for he was an instrument of His own choosing. A modest youth, naturally diffident, a new born soul of yesterday, committing in language perfectly appropriate, the wants of his distressed companions to that wonder-working God, who alone is able to forgive sins, and impart spiritual life to the soul. It was a scene sufficiently interesting to rouse from lethargy the most stupid sinner and kindle within him a lively sensation of the day of judgment. When this prayer was ended, the master had do far recovered himself, as to be able to offer up a fervent petition in behalf of his school.

RS Notes:
1. Serious study of the Scriptures is needed.

2. Asking questions to learn rather than to be skeptical is a way of seeking God.

3. God brings a deep conviction of sin as He pleases.

4. God shows grace when and where He pleases.

5. Deep despair can accompany the conviction of sin.

6. Deep joy can accompany the forgiveness of grace when a sinner comes out of despair.

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