Table Of Contents
The Life Of James McGready
The Great Revival and the Accompanying Phenomena
Rev. James M'Gready, And The Revival Of 1800
In Search Of James McGready
Grave Location Of James McGready
Logan County Revival
The Life Of James McGready
James McGready now infrequently repeated his early excursions to Indiana. Nature had commissioned him as an exhorter, and with the populace he was a great favorite. On special occasions, and with the populace he was a great favorite. On special occasions, during the ten years previous to 1817, the pastor at Vincennes often summoned him to his aid. His tremendous oratory at "the Presbyterian Stand" in the woods, addressed to thousands of people attracted from an incredible distance, was as stern and faithful as the ''crying in the wilderness " of Judaea. A large man, inclined to corpulency, with a voice of thunder, the "hideousness"1 of his face seemed only to render his habitual denunciations of sin more terrible. He was born of Scotch-Irish parents, on the Monongahela, in western Pennsylvania, in 1763, but while he was still a child the family removed to North Carolina, near the present Greensboro. In 1783 he was converted, was soon persuaded of his call to preach the gospel, and after a course of study in Dr. McMillan's school, subsequently known as Cannonsburg College, he received licensure from Redstone Presbytery. Returning to North Carolina, at a funeral, in compliment to the young minister he was invited to ask a blessing preparatory to the usual unstinted dispensation of whisky on such occasions. His prompt refusal to ''insult God by asking a blessing on what was wrong"2 produced great excitement, and the pungency of his subsequent preaching resulted in a remarkable revival which extended through Guilford and Orange Counties—the second general revival in North Carolina after the War of the Revolution.
This revival was attended with no unusual appearances or exercises. The opposition to the close and practical preaching and renewed discipline never broke out into violence but in one case. At Stony Creek there were some families of wealth and influence that had become loose in their religious views and morals during the disturbance of the war and the presence of the armies ; these opposed Mr. McGready's course and preaching, and proceeded from one step of opposition to another, till their dislike exceeded all bounds. Some of these, during one of their nights of revelry, made a bonfire of the pulpit, near the church, and left in the clerk's seat a letter written with blood, warning him that unless he desisted from his way of preaching, their vengeance would not be satisfied with the destruction of the pulpit, and his person would not be inviolate. McGready, as might have been expected, not in the least intimidated by the burning of the pulpit or the letter, continued to preach as usual,3 and the opposition, confined to a few, died away. In a few years the dissipation of these families became the ruin of their character and property, and after the lapse of a short period not a descendant of theirs could be found in the congregation.4
In 1796 McGready removed to the southwestern part of Kentucky, and assumed charge of the Gasper, Muddy, and Red River congregations. His fearless proclamation of the law produced here the same results that had been witnessed in North Carolina, the revival of 1800 having its commencement under his ministry. Its earliest manifestations are described by McGready himself.
In July the sacrament was administered in Gasper River congregation. Here multitudes crowded from all parts of the country to see a strange work, from the distance of forty, fifty, and even a hundred miles; whole families came in their wagons ; between twenty and thirty wagons were brought to the place, loaded with people and their provisions, in order to encamp at the meetinghouse. On Friday nothing more appeared during the day than a decent solemnity. On Saturday matters continued in the same way until in the evening. Two pious women were sitting together conversing about their exercises ; which conversation seemed to affect some of the bystanders; instantly the divine flame spread through the whole multitude. Presently you might have seen sinners lying powerless in every part of the house, praying and crying for mercy. Ministers and private Christians were kept busy during the night conversing with the distressed. This night a goodly number of awakened souls were delivered by sweet believing views of the glory, fulness, and sufficiency of Christ to save to the uttermost. Amongst these were some little children, a striking proof of the religion of Jesus.5
The subsequent extravagances of this period found in McGready a sincere and powerful apologist, and he was finally involved in the controversies out of which grew the Cumberland church. He was, however, too clear in his theological views, too thoroughly in sympathy with Presbyterian forms, and too strongly attached to the old church, to be contented in the work of schism. He went far enough to receive censure, but made suitable acknowledgments and was restored to his former ecclesiastical standing. The Cumberland church, however, still revere him as their founder6 and after his decease, which occurred in Henderson County in 1817, most of his adherents united with that body.
Too eccentric and excitable to be safe in his leadership, no doubt the evangelical preaching of McGready was most useful to the feeble Indiana church. It is likely that many of the discourses which constitute the volume of his "Posthumous Works" were heard by the immense audiences attracted by his fame to the sacramental meetings along the Wabash and the Ohio. Their titles sufficiently suggest their vividness and force—"The Blinding Policies of Satan," "The Sinner's Guide to Hell," "The Hope of the Hypocrite," "The Deceitfulness of the Human Heart," "The Doom of the Impenitent." In a letter addressed to Samuel J. Mills, during his tour of observation in the West, McGready writes, April 27, 1815, from Red Banks, Henderson County, Ky.
If some religious tracts were in my possession showing the vanity and soul-destroying nature of giddy balls and vain amusements, some treating of the importance of secret prayer, some of the danger of quenching conviction, some giving an account of extraordinary conversions—such, I think, I could distribute to advantage.7
Everything this mighty backwoodsman said and did showed the singleness, the intensity, and the sagacity of his aim.
To those who at this period came from Kentucky upon an occasional preaching tour must be added the name of James Kemper. He had been from 1791 to 1796 the first settled minister''8 of the First Church, Cincinnati, constituted by " Father Rice," but he afterward returned to Kentucky. As early as 1804, and for several years subsequently, he visited Rising Sun, Samuel Fulton, a worthy pioneer, opening his cabin for the religious services which Mr. Kemper conducted.9
Such irregular and infrequent efforts as have been described could effect but little however. There was need of systematic ecclesiastical supervision, and Transylvania Presbytery may claim the honor of making the earliest recorded appointment of missionaries to Indiana. At Danville, April 14, 1803, it was resolved that Archibald Cameron supply "in the Illinois grant and at Post Vincennes settlements,"10 James Vance being associated with him ; and although neither performed the duty assigned, their reasons for failure being presented and sustained at Hardin's Creek, October 5, 1803,11 as Archibald Cameron is a name well known in Indiana, whither subsequently he came more than once to preach, we may pause a moment to look at this Kentucky John the Baptist, the forerunner of the whole vast army of missionaries since commissioned to the same field. A native of Scotland, brought by his parents to America when a child, he became a thorough mathematician and classical scholar, studied theology under Father Rice, after seven years' service at Simpson's Creek took charge in 1803 of the Shelbyville and Mulberry churches, and remained with them until his death, which occurred in 1836. He was an old bachelor, blunt in his manners, independent as a Highland chief, shrewd, satirical, and orthodox to a fault.12 "He often preached three full hours, and when he got waked up on baptism could preach six hours." In his later years, helpless from paralysis, surrounded but often neglected by his blacks, contented with corn and bacon, on a small plantation near Shelbyville he maintained a gruff baronial hospitality. He published a number of able pamphlets13 and in the Cumberland controversy was a prominent and useful conservative.
"Supplications for supplies" were now frequently submitted to Transylvania Presbytery. At Danville, October 17, 1804, "a petition was received from Post Vincennes praying for supplies."14 April 9, 1805, "a petition from a number of inhabitants of Knox County, Indiana territory, praying for supplies was presented and read." Two days later "Mr. Cleland was appointed to supply in Indiana territory as much of his time as he can with conveniency."15 He discharged the duty, and thus became the first official delegate who labored upon this field. If his own qualities had been less captivating, and his service of the church in Indiana less important, the lending of a son for so many years to that service would still require us to review his career and character.
1 (Davidson's "Kentucky,” p. 132.)
2 Foote's "Sketches of North Carolina," pp. 371, 372. Later in life, when suffering from exposure, he unfortunately indulged too freely in a needed stimulant, and was so ashamed and penitent that he ever afterward observed that day of the month as a day of fasting and prayer. See Davidson, pp. 260, 261.
3 The following Sunday he gave out the psalm beginning "How are the seats of worship broke."
4 Foote's "Sketches of North Carolina," p. 375.
5 McGready's "Posthumous Works," pp. ix., x.
6 Smith's "History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church" contains full notices of his character and career.
7 "Report of Smith and Mills's Tour," p. 52.
8 Kemper came from Virginia to Tennessee as early as 1783, and thence to Kentucky in 1785. He was licensed to preach, after four years' study under David Rice, being already the father of ten children. He was the first minister ordained north of the Ohio, and preached the first sermon at the first meeting of the first Presbytery that convened in Ohio, it being his own ordination sermon. Born in Fauquier County, Va., November 23, 1753, married July 16, 1772, to Judith Hathaway, he died August 20, 1834, his widow following him March 1, 1846. Fifteen children were born to them. Cf. "Presbyterianism North of the Ohio," a semi-centennial discourse delivered before the Presbytery of Cincinnati, April 9, 1872, by the Rev. Joseph G. Monfort, D.D.
9 Goodrich and Tuttle's "History of Indiana," p. 491.
10 "Minutes Transylvania Presbytery," Vol. II., p. 72.
11 "Minutes Transylvania Presbytery," Vol. II., p. 75.
12 His orthodoxy, at least on one occasion, was the cause of some embarrassment to him. Dr. Beatty was fond of relating that in the Assembly of 1835, when the irregularities in the Western Reserve were under review, and when he himself had to make his maiden speech in the Assembly, Cameron, jumping upon a seat, delivered a violent philippic against the disorders in the region referred to. Upon the Assembly's adjournment, Cameron, returning home, was overtaken by the Sabbath at Cleveland, and called upon young Mr. Aiken, the pastor there, expecting to be invited to preach. But Aiken, who had been at the Assembly and had heard Cameron's speech, slyly suggested that upon the " Reserve " they had had so much trouble with impostors that they were compelled to refuse admission into their pulpits to ministers without written credentials. So the doughty Kentuckian had to listen patiently next day to two good "New-school” sermons. See also Sprague's " Annals," Vol. IV., pp. 168-72.
13 Among these are: "The Faithful Steward, being an impartial investigation of the subject: is the church justifiable in baptizing adults without evidence of their faith and repentance, and in baptizing the children of any parents who do not likewise give evidence of being the subjects of faith and repentance," Louisville, 1806; and "A reply to some questions on Divine Predestination, with some remarks on a pamphlet entitled, ‘The Trial of Cain,'" Shelbyville, 1822.
14 "Minutes Transylvania Presbytery," Vol. II., p. 103.
15 "Minutes Transylvania Presbytery," Vol. II., p. iii.
-Contributions To The Early History Of The Presbyterian Church in Indiana: Together With Biographical Notices Of The Pioneer Ministers, by Harford A. Edson, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago: Winona Publishing Company, c.1898, pages 32-37
The Great Revival and the Accompanying Phenomena
The revival of 1800 was one of the most wonderful events of modern times. It appeared more like the sudden conversion of a nation than the regeneration and reformation of individuals. If a traveller had passed through the whole breadth of the settled portions of North America, in 1799, he would have heard the songs of the drunkard, the loud swearing and and obscenity of crowds around taverns, and the bold, blasphemous vaunting of infidels, in every village and hamlet. If he had returned in 1801, he would have heard, instead, the proclamation of the gospel to awed multitudes, earnest prayers in the groves and forests, and songs of praise to God, along all the public thoroughfares. While this wonderful religious awakening spread with great rapidity over the entire country, from the Atlantic coast to the extreme frontier settlements in the Great West, in no other locality was it so deep and powerful as in Kentucky, where the people had been most profane in their every day conversation, and blatant in the coarsest type of infidelity. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
The revival began among the Presbyterians, in Logan county. James McGready was pastor of the Presbyterian churches at Red River, Muddy River and Gasper River, as early as 1796. At that period, there was not a single Baptist church, in all that part of Kentucky, lying south of Salt river, and west of the present line of the Louisville and Nashville railroad, except one at Severns Valley, forty miles south of Louisville. The Presbyterians had the entire control of religious affairs in that large and now populous region of the State.
Mr. McGready was well suited to exercise a powerful influence. With a strong, stentorian voice, he denounced sin in unsparing terms, and exhorted the people with boisterous fervor, to flee to Christ for refuge from the wrath of a sin-avenging God. As early as May, 1797, there began to be exhibited some religious excitement in Mr. McGready’s congregation on Gasper river. One woman who had been a member of the Presbyterian church, professed to be converted, and a number of others appeared very serious. The interest at Gasper River continued during the summer, but it was confined to a single congregation, and, in the fall entirely disappeared. During that year the Baptists gathered their first two churches in that region of the State, the Head of Muddy River, a few miles from Russellville and Hazle Creek, near the present site of Greenville. But under what circumstances can only be inferred.
In July, 1798, the revival spirit was again manifest at Gasper River, and in the following September, extended to Mr. McGready’s congregations on Muddy and Red Rivers. The religious interest became general in the vicinity of these churches. But, about this time, James Balch, a Presbyterian minister, came into this region, and visited Mr. McGready’s congregations. He "had no sooner arrived, than he commenced opposing the doctrines preached, viz.: Faith, repentance and regeneration. He ridiculed the whole work of the revival, formed a considerable party and involved these young churches in disputation and confusion. In consequence of which the whole work was stopped, and the people sunk back into a state of darkness and deadness.16
This circumstance originated a dispute among the Presbyterians in Kentucky, which soon led to the formation of two parties, known as the Revival and Anti-Revival parties. The dispute continued during the great revival, and for many years afterward, and ultimated in a permanent division of the church. But these things had only an indirect bearing on Baptist history, and may be more properly treated in a subsequent chapter.
The religious excitement was only briefly checked by Mr. Balch's violent opposition. In July, 1799, it returned again with greater power, and in August following, the excitement became so great at Gasper River that the unconverted, under a deep sense of guilt and condemnation, fell from their seats, and lay helpless on the floor. This was the beginning of the “falling exercise” that prevailed so extensively among the Presbyterians and Methodists during the great revival and for some years afterward. The revival continued to increase in power and extent, till, by the following spring it had reached all parts of Kentucky, then settled, and had spread far southward into Tennessee. All denominations of Christians were now aroused and heartily engaged in promoting the revival. But as it begun among the Presbyterians, at least, so far as history records the facts, we may as well follow its course among that denomination, observing at the same time, that the Methodists united with them most heartily, in all their great meetings, and that the Baptists declined attending, except as spectators. The greatest excitement prevailed, at what they called the sacramental meetings. Here the Presbyterians and Methodists "communed together" while the restricted communion principle held by the Baptists would not have permitted their engaging in these meetings, had they been otherwise disposed to do so. Their principles and polity have usually disposed the Baptists to avoid union meetings, and, during this revival, as at other times, they held their own meetings, and labored in their own quiet, unpretending way. There may have been a few instances in which some of them took part in the great ostentatious meetings, but these occasions, if indeed such occasions occurred at all, were rare, and were exceptions to their general rule of action. The wisdom of their course will be unquestioned, when the history of the great revival and its fruits is studied.
In June, 1800 a sacramental meeting was held at Mr. McGready's church on Red river. Much feeling was manifest on Sunday, under the preaching of John McGee, a Methodist minister. "On Monday, many had such clear and heart piercing views of their sinfulness, and the danger to which they were exposed, that they fell prostrate on the floor, and their cries filled the house. In all quarters, those who had been the most outbreaking sinners, were to be seen lying on the floor unable to help themselves, and anxiously inquiring what they must do to be saved. In a word, persons of all classes and of all ages were to be seen in agonies, and heard crying for redemption in the blood of the Lamb. Twelve precious souls, during the occasion, professed to have passed from death unto; life and many left the place, pungently convicted of their sin and danger."17
A Camp Meeting was appointed to be held near Gasper River church, in July of the same year. Some families had camped on the ground during the meeting recently held at Red River. This suggested to Mr. McGready the idea of a camp meeting. He immediately had it proclained "far and wide," that such a meeting would be held at Gasper river in Logan county, as specified above. This was, according to Mr. Smith, the "first camp meeting in Christendom." The people came forty, fifty, and even a hundred miles. An immense concourse was in attendance. The people had no tents or cabins erected, as in after years, but slept in their wagons, or under temporary shelters formed of bed covers. The preachers for the occasion were James McGready, William Hodge, and William McGee, all Presbyterians, and perhaps some others. No special interest was noticed, till Saturday evening, when two pious females were conversing together about the state of their souls in a manner that deeply affected some persons standing by. "Instantly the divine flame spread through the whole multitude. Many of the unconverted became so deeply affected that they fell powerless on the ground, and cried aloud for mercy. Ministers and pious Christians passed among them, giving them instructions and encouragement to close with Christ, as he is offered in the gospel. In this way the night was spent, and before Sabbath morning, a goodly number obtained peace and joy in believing. From this time the work continued to advance both day and night, until Tuesday morning, when the meeting closed. The result was, that forty-five precious souls were believed to have passed from a state of nature to a state of grace."18 A few weeks after this, a similar meeting was held at Muddy River church, at which fifty souls professed to have passed from death unto life.
The revival influence now spread rapidly in all directions. Camp meetings were held in rapid succession all over the Green River country, and a large part of Middle and East Tennessee. The same exercises accompanied all these meetings, and the same results followed. The character of the exercises may be further illustrated by Dr. Davidson's description of a scene in one of the Gasper river meetings, held in 1799, just at the beginning of the revival. While Mr. Hodge was preaching, a woman gave vent to her feelings in loud cries. The people were so wrought upon, that, when they were dismissed, they kept their seats, and wept silently all over the house.
"Such was the state of things when John McGee, the Methodist, rose in his turn to speak. Too much agitated to speak, he expressed his belief that there was a greater than he preaching; and exhorted the people to let the Lord God omnipotent reign in their hearts. Upon this, many broke silence, and the renewed vociferations of the female before mentioned, were tremendous. The Methodist preacher, whose feelings were now wrought up to the highest pitch, after a brief debate in his own mind, came to the conclusion that it was his duty to disregard the usually orderly habits of the [Presbyterian] denomination, and passed along the aisle, shouting and exhorting vehemently. The clamor and confusion were increased ten fold. The flame was blown to its height, screams for mercy were mingled with shout of ecstasy, and an universal agitation pervaded the whole multitude, who were bowed before it as a field of grain waves before the wind. Now followed prayer and exhortation; and the ministers found their strength soon taxed to the utmost to keep pace with the demands of this intense excitement."19
"During the year 1800, ten sacraments were held in the Green River and Cumberland River settlements, all more or less partaking of the nature of those already described, the result of which was that three hundred and forty were added to the churches."20
The camp meetings, which originated with the Presbyterians, soon became immensely popular, and took the name of General Camp Meetings, on account of the Methodists' joining in them with the originators. The Baptists were also invited to join with them, but, as stated above, declined.
In the spring of 1801, Barton W. Stone, pastor of Concord and Cane Ridge Presbyterian churches, in Northern Kentucky, having heard of the great revival among his brethren in the Green River country, visited that region, andattended one of the great camp meetings. On his return, he introduced the new methods among his own people. Here the camp meetings speedily became more popular, and the exercises more wildly extravagant, if possible, than in the region where they originated. No less than six of these meetings were held, between May and August, varying in continuance from four days to a week, viz.: at Cabin Creek, Concord, Pleasant Point, Indian Creek, and Cane Ridge, in Kentucky, and Eagle Creek, Adams county, Ohio. The scenes witnessed in these meetings, in which children, ten and twelve years of age, were often prominent actors, were similar to those already described. The subjoined description of one of these meetings, given by Dr. Davidson, will suffice to give an idea of how they were conducted. This General Camp-Meeting was held at Cane Ridge, beginning August 6, 1801, and lasted a week. "Cane Ridge was a beautiful spot, in the vicinity of a country church of the same name then under the pastoral care of Mr. Stone, in the county of Bourbon, about seven miles from Paris. It was finely shaded and watered, and admirably adapted to the purpose of an encampment. A great central area was cleared and leveled, 200 or 300 yards in length, with the preachers’ stand at one end, and a spacious tent, capable of containing a large assembly, and designed as a shelter from heat or rain. The adjoining ground was laid off in regular streets, along which the tents were pitched, while the church building was appropriated for the preachers' lodge. The concourse in attendance was prodigious, being computed by a revolutionary officer, who was accustomed to estimate encampments, to amount to not less than 20,000 souls. Mr. Lyle says that, according to the calculation of one of the elders, there were 1,000 communicants present. Others said 800.
"Here were collected all the elements calculated to affect the imagination. The spectacle presented at night was one of the wildest grandeur. The glare of the blazing camp fires falling on a dense assemblage of heads simultaneously bowed in adoration, and reflected back from long ranges of tents upon every side; hundreds of candles and lamps suspended among the trees, together with numerous torches flashing to and fro, throwing an uncertain light upon the tremulous foliage, and giving an appearance of dim and indefinite extent to the depth of the forest; the solemn chanting of hymns swelling and falling on the night wind; the impassioned exhortations; the earnest prayers, the sobs, shrieks or shouts, bursting from persons under intense agitation of mind; the sudden spasms which seized upon scores, and unexpectedly dashed them to the ground--all conspired to invest the scene with terrific interest, and to work up the feelings to the highest pitch of excitement."
"When we add to this the lateness of the hour to which the exercises were protracted, sometimes till 2 in the morning, or longer; the eagerness of curiosity, stimulated for so long a time previous-the reverent enthusiasm which ascribed the strange contortions witnessed to the mysterious agency of God--the fervent and sanguine temper of some of the preachers; and lastly, the boiling zeal of the Methodists, who could not refrain from shouting aloud during sermon, and shaking hands all round afterward, in what Mr. Lyle calls 'a singing ecstasy,' and who did every thing in their power to heap fuel on the fire--take all this into consideration, and it will abate our suprise very much when informed that the number of persons who fell was computed by the Rev. James Crawford, who endeavored to keep an accurate account, at the astonishing number of about 3,000."21
From this period, the exercises in general camp meetings, which continued to be held jointly by the. Presbyterians and Methodists, gradually degenerated to the close of the revival in 1803. The Falling exercise was supplemented in turn by the Jerks, Rolling, Running, Dancing and Barking exercises, and, finally, by visions and dreams. Dr. Davidson labors to prove that the measures which led to all these strange, and some of them disgusting exercises in public worship, originated from the Methodists. This will hardly be considered just when we remember that the revival commenced under the ministry of James McGready, who lived and died in the Presbyterian church; that he instituted camp meetings, and that he had the sympathy and active co-operation of more than half the Presbyterians of Kentucky. That the Methodists readily adopted the new measures, and fanned the flame, already lighted by Mr. McGready, is certain, but to give them the credit of originating the measures would be unjust, both to them and to Mr. McGready and his faithful co-laborers.
While the strange and unaccountable exercises connected with the revival of 1800, have little direct connection with Baptist history, the general reader cannot but be interested in all the features of so wonderful an upheaval of the whole social fabric of that period. That the revival itself was of divine origin can be no more doubted by spiritual christians, than they can doubt the genuiness of the revival which occurred in Jerusalem on the day of Pentacost. The power with which it suddenly moved the multitudes to repentance for sin, and reformation from immorality, the self-sacrificing zeal with which it stimulated all classes of christians, the suddenness with which it converted multitudes of bold, blaspheming and licentious infidels, to humble, pious, and patient christians, and the speedy, widespread, thorough reformation it wrought in public morals, all attest it to be the work of God. But, as in the olden time when the sons of God came together, Satan also came among them; and during the revival which began on the day of Pentecost, Ananias and Sapphira played the role of artful hypocrites, and Simon, the magician, sought to purchase the gift of God with money; so we may expect the power of the devil to be manifested beside the work of God, and human devices to mimic the pious devotions of saints. So weak and ignorant are men, at their best estate, that it is often difficult, if not impossible, for them to distinguish the genuine from the counterfeit. There was much in this revival that benefitted men and honored God, and, doubtless, there were some things connected with it that were spurious and degrading. We have but one standard by which to decide between the good and the evil. The WORD of GOD is given to direct us in all things.
The suddenness with which the revival commenced at various isolated points, almost simultaneously, over a wide and thinly populated territory, and the power with which it suddenly moved individuals and then the masses, was one of its marked features. Within a brief period of a few months, this work began unexpectedly at four different points; near Nashville, Tennessee; and in Logan county, Woodford county, and Carroll county, Kentucky, and at all of them with the same apparently irresistible power. The part that children took in this revival was a new feature, as well as a very remarkable one.
A lad named David McCorde, some eight or ten years old, professed conversion in the vicinity of Nashville. On meeting a playmate near his own age, he said to him: "Hitherto you and I have been companions, but unless you alter your course, we must be separated hereafter, for I am determined to serve the Lord." The boy was so powerfully affected that he ran home and threw himself on abed in great distress. He expressed a desire to see David McCorde, who was soon brought to his side. The parents of these boys were much amazed to hear them talk, in rapturous language, of the pardon of sin and salvation through Christ, while each wept profusely. The neighbors were notified to collect for a prayer meeting. The people coming together expressed a desire to hear the boys talk. Each, in turn, related, with tears of joy, what God had done; and, in truly evangelical language, expressed his dependence on the righteousness of Christ for salvation. The people were affected deeply, and many in the settlement were converted.22
At a sacramental meeting held near Flemingsburg, Ky., in April, 1800, two little girls cried out in great distress during the preaching. "They both continued for some time praying and crying for mercy, till one of them received a comfortable hope, and then turning to the other, cried out: 'Oh! you little sinner, come to Christ! take hold of his promise! trust in him! he is able to save to the uttermost! Oh! I have found peace to my soul! Oh! the precious Savior! come just as you are, he will take away the stony heart and give you a heart of flesh. You can't make yourself any better just give up your heart to Christ now. You are not a greater sinner than I. You need not wait another moment.' Thus she continued exhorting, until her little companion received a ray from Heaven that produced a sudden and sensible change. Then rising with her in her arms, she cried out in a most affecting manner: ‘Oh! here is another star of light.’ These children were perhaps nine or ten years old."23
At a general meeting held at Indian Creek, Harrison county, Ky., July 24, 1800, “a boy, from appearance about twelve years old, retired from the stand in time of preaching, under a very extraordinary impression; and having mounted a log, at some distance, and raising his voice, in a very affecting manner, he attracted the main body of the people, in a few minutes. With tears streaming from his eyes, he cried aloud to the wicked, warning them of their danger, denouncing their certain doom, if they persisted in their sins; expressing his love to their souls, and desire that they should turn to the Lord and be saved. He was held up by two men, and spoke for about an hour, with that convincing eloquence that could be inspired only from above. When his strength seemed quite exhausted, and language failed to describe the feelings of his soul, he raised his hand, and dropping his handkerchief, wet with sweat from his little face, cried out: ‘Thus, O sinner! shall you drop into hell, unless you forsake your sins and turn to the Lord.’ At that moment some fell like those who are shot in battle, and the word spread in a manner which human language cannot describe."24 Scenes like these were of common occurrence in the general camp-meetings, and produced a wonderful effect on those in attendance. It can hardly be regarded a matter of astonishment that the multitudes looked upon such wisdom, boldness, and zeal in children as the fruits of spiritual illumination.
THE FALLING EXERCISE. This very common result of a high state of religious excitement was neither new, nor very strange. It had often occurred under the preaching of Whitfield, Wesley and many others. Men have often fallen down helpless, fainted, and even died, from sudden fits of anger, transports of joy, overwhelming fear, and sudden surprise. Can it be less credible that they should he overcome by a sense of guilt, remorse and danger, suddenly revealed to them by heart-searching preaching and the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit? The first falling that occurred during the great revival, as before observed, was under the ministry of M'Gready and M'Gee, in 1799. From thence it spread rapidly all over Kentucky and Middle Tennessee, and soon became inseparable from all the sacramental meetings."Some fell suddenly, as if struck by lightning, while others were seized with a universal tremor the moment before, and fell shrieking. Piercing shrieks were uttered by many during the whole period of prostration, intermingled with groans, cries for mercy, and exclamations of 'Glory! glory to God!' In general there was no complaint of pain, but of great weakness, during and after the paroxysms. Women would fall while walking to and from the meeting-house, engaged in narrating past exercises, or drop from their horses on the road. In this condition the subject would lie fifteen minutes to two or three hours; and we are even told of a woman's lying without eating or speaking, for nine days and nights. Some were more or less convulsed, and wrought hard, in frightful nervous agonies, the eyes rolling wildly. But the greater number were quite motionless, as if dead, or about to expire in a few moments. Some were capable of conversing, others were not. During the syncope, and even when conscious, and talking on religious topics, the subject was insensible of pain. Vinegar and hartshorn were applied with no perceptible effects.
"The numbers affected in this singular manner were astonishing. At Cabin Creek camp-meeting, May 22, 1801, so many fell on the third night, that, to prevent their being trodden upon, they were collected together, and laid out in order on two squares of the meeting-house, covering the floor like so many corpses. At Paint Creek sacrament, 200 were supposed to have fallen; at Pleasant Point, 300; but these accounts are beggared by the great meeting at Cane Ridge, August 6, 1801, when 3,000 were computed to have fallen."25
THE JERKING EXERCISE, or, as it was commonly called, the jerks, was not only a singular affection, but was wholly unprecedented. The first recorded instance of this phenominon occurred at a sacrament in east Tennessee, where several hundreds of both sexes were seized with the strange contortion. Like other exercises of the great revival, it was speedily communicated to other similar meetings, and, soon became common in all the great camp-meetings, and finally became a common disorder among all classes of people.
In this strange exercise "the subject was instantaneously seized with spasms or convulsions in every muscle, nerve and tendon. His head was jerked or thrown from side to side, with such rapidity, that it was impossible to distinguish his visage, and the most lively fears were entertained lest he should dislocate his neck, or dash out his brains. His body partook of the same impulse, and was hurried on by like jerks, over every obstacle, fallen trunks of trees, or in a church, over pews and benches, apparently to the most imminent danger ofbeing bruised and mangled. It was useless to attempt to restrain or hold him, and the paroxysm was permitted gradually to exhaust itself.26
The most graphic description of "the jerks" that has appeared in print was written by Richard McNemar, an eminent Presbyterian preacher who was both an eye witness and an apologist. He says: "Nothing in nature could better represent this strange and unaccountable operation, than for one to goad another, alternately on every side, with a piece of red hot iron. The exercise commonly began in the head, which would fly backward and forward, and from side to side, with a quick jolt, which the person would naturally labor to suppress, but in vain. The more one labored to stay himself, and be sober, the more he staggered, and the more his twitches increased. He must necessarily, go as he was stimulated, whether with a violent dash on the ground, and bounce from place to place like a football, or hop around with head, limbs and trunk twitching and jolting in every direction, as if they must inevitably fly asunder. How such could escape without injury, was no small wonder to spectators. By this strange operation, the human frame was so transformed and disfigured, as to lose every trace of its natural appearance. Sometimes the head would be twitched right and left to a half round, with such velocity that not a feature could be discovered, but the face appeared as much behind as before. In the quick, progressive jerk, it would seem as if the person was transformed into some other species of creature. Headdresses were of little account among female jerkers. Even handkerchiefs bound around the head, would be flirted off almost with the first twitch, and the hair put into the utmost confusion. This was a great inconvenience, to redress which the generality were shorn, though directly contrary to their confession of faith. Such as were seized with the jerks, were wrested at once, not only from under their own government, but that of every one else, so that it was dangerous to attempt confining them, or touching them in any manner, to whatever danger they were exposed; yet few were hurt, except it was such as rebelled against the operation, through willful and deliberate enmity, and refused to comply with the injunctions which it came to enforce."27
That this exercise was involuntary and irresistible, there is abundant evidence in the writers of the period, Benedict says: "At first it was experienced only by those under religious concern, but in the end it became a nervous affection, which was sympathetically, communicated from one to another.
"A Presbyterian minister heard that a congregation of his brethren which he highly esteemed, had got to jerking. He went to persuade them out of the frantic exercise, but in conversing with them, he got the jerks himself. On his return home, his people assembled to hear the result of his visit. While he was describing how people appeared with the jerks, he was suddenly taken with them, and the whole assembly soon caught the distemper.
"Wicked men were often taken with these strange exercises, and many would curse the jerks, while they were under their singular operation. Some were taken at the tavern with a glass of liquor in their hands, which they would suddenly toss over their heads, or to a distant part of the room. Others were taken with them at the card table, and at other places of dissipation, and would by a violent and unaffected jerk, throw a handful of cards all over the room."28
THE ROLLING EXERCISE was only another form of the nervous disorder, called "the jerks." It consisted in falling on the ground or floor, and rolling over like a log, very swiftly. Dust, mud or water formed no barrier to the movement. The subject continued to move in the same direction until the spasm exhausted itself, or some immovable obstruction stopped his progress. He sometimes got up much in the plight that the swine comes from his wallowing in the mire.
THE RUNNING EXERCISE was another species of the same disorder. The excited subject started with his nerves strung up to high tension, and ran with preternatural swiftness till his strength was entirely exhausted. He then fell down and lay till he recovered strength to get up and return to the place of worship, or make his way home.
THE DANCING EXERCISE: Dr. Peck, who was a dispassionate observer of religious affairs in the west, thinks that this exercise was originally a form of the jerks. It was introduced after, rather than during the revival. The first instance recorded was at Turtle Creek on the occasion of a sacramental meeting of the Newlights, in the spring of 1804. Rev. John Thompson, one of the ministers of the Springfield Presbytery, commenced dancing around the stand at the close of the meeting, and continued about an hour, repeating all the while, in a low tone, “This is the Holy Ghost! Glory!” During the following winter and spring, it became a common religious exercise, and was enuraged among the Newlights, as an appropriate method of worship. They encouraged each other "to praise God in the dance," and quoted the example of David dancing before the Ark. The dancing was performed by a gentle and not ungraceful motion, to a lively tune, but with little variation of step. As all classes of the worshippers engaged in the dance when they felt the impulse orinclination to do so, it was often performed very ludicrously. But if this form of public worship began among the Newlights, who had recently seceded from the Presbyterian church, it was not confined to that schism. "A writer in the Biblical Repertory," says Dr. Davidson, “states that, during the administration of the Lord's Supper in the presence of the Synod of Virginia, he witnessed a young woman performing this exercise for about the space of half-an-hour. The pew in which she had been sitting had been cleared and she danced in the vacant space from one end to the other, her eyes being closed and her countenance calm. At the close of the halfhour, she fell, and was agitated with more violent emotions. He saw another whose motions, instead of being lateral, consisted in jumping up and down." Mr. Lyle saw several women leaping most nimbly, at Point Pleasant, in 1803, and a young girl who sprang, a dozen times, near two feet high. The dancing exercise seems to have soon fallen into disrepute, even among the enthusiastic Newlights. A considerable number of these enthusiasts soon joined the Shakers, among whom dancing still continues to be a prominent exercise in public worship.
THE BARKING EXERCISE, or the barks, as it was commonly called, was the most ludicrous of all the strange contortions that accompanied camp-meetings during the great revival. The exercises frequently accompanied the jerks, and Dr. Peck reckons it a form of that nervous distemper. "The exercise consisted in the individual taking the position of a dog, moving on allfours, growling, snapping the teeth, and barking, with such exact imitation as to deceive any one whose eyes were not directed to the spot. The persons affected were not always of the humblest or most vulgar classes; but persons of the highest rank in society; of cultivated minds and polite manners, found themselves involuntarily reduced to this mortifying situation."29 "A worthy old Presbyterian minister, in East Tennessee, retired from the meeting-place to the woods for private devotion, when he was seized with jerking spasms. He caught hold of a sapling to avoid falling, and as his head jerked back, he uttered sounds. He was seen in this position by a mischievous wag who reported he was barking up a tree."30 "A minister in the lower part of Kentucky," says Dr. Benedict, "informed me that it was common to hear people barking like a flock of Spaniels, on their way to meeting. There they would start up suddenly in a fit of barking, rush out, roam around, and in a short time come barking and foaming back."31
"The only method of securing relief from this wretched condition," says Dr. Davidson, "was to engage in the voluntary dance, and the opinion became prevalent that it was inflicted as a chastisement for remissness of duty, and as a provocative of zeal. Such as resisted the impulse, and declined the dancing, continued to be tormented for months, and even years. From being regarded as marks of guilt, the barks at last assumed the dignity of tokens of Divine power, and badges of special honor. Ludicrous as it may seem to us, at this distance of time, to hear of such extraordinary sounds as 'bow, wow, wow,' interspersed with pious ejaculations, and quotations of scripture, as 'every knee shall bow-wow-wow, and every tongue shall confess,' we are not at liberty to doubt the truth of the assertion, that then the effect, or at least one of the effects, was to over-awe the wicked and excite fearful apprehensions in the minds of the impious. It is easily conceivable that the dread of being reduced to this humiliating condition would check any disposition to indulge in ridicule."32
THE LAUGHING EXERCISE: This has been of such frequent recurrence that it need not be described. Most persons who attend revival meetings among the methodists have been eyewitnesses of this mode of expressing religious joy. It was confined to religious people, and like the various exercises described above, was at least in many cases, irresistible. As witnessed by the writer of these pages, in several different congregations, as late as 1852, there was nothing in it offensive to the most grave and serious worshipper. In these cases there was an indefinable peculiarity about it that inspired seriousness and awe, rather than levity. It was confined to young converts, at least in a great measure. In audible expression, it was soft, gentle, and monotonous. It exhibited no indications of excitement, except that of gently enrapturing love. However indecorous it may seem to such as only hear of it, there was nothing displeasing in it to those who witnessed it, except that it attracted attention from the preaching. There was nothing in it, kindred, to the boisterous haw! haw! that is sometimes heard at the present, in exciting revival meetings among the Methodists.
This exercise commenced rather early in the great revival. Dr. Davidson says: "Hysterical laughter was at first sporadic, but in 1803, we find the 'Holy Laugh,' introduced systematically as apart of worship. While Mr. Findley was preaching a lively sermon at Silver Creek Sacrament, in June of that year, the people, at some sentences, laughed aloud.Sometimes half the professors of religion laughed in this way, appearing all the time solemn and devout."33
VISIONS AND TRANCES were concomitants of camp-meetings, during the great revival. They occurred sometimes in night dreams, sometimes in daylight ecstacies, and oftner during the unconscious state which succeeded the falling exercise. The visions were of various characters. Sometimes they exhibited to the entranced spirit, or dreamer, the dreadful doom of the lost, sometimes he was transported to Heaven, where he saw, and talked with, departed friends, and even received messages from them to the living. Sometimes the visions partook of the prophetic character, and the dreamer would be able to predict the results of an impending meeting, as who would preach, who would fall, who would be converted, and other particulars. Some of the dreams were very beautiful. One woman walked on the tops of the trees, another had a vision of Heaven, with a small door; one man saw a glorious mountain, covered with trees having silver-tipped foliage. He thought the mountain led to God and Heaven. Above it he saw a great dazzling light, and sighed and sank before it as the great All in all. They had much confidence in their dreams, and either interpreted them themselves, or sought out persons whom they deemed more skillful in solving such mysteries.
Much injury was inflicted on the cause of Christ by encouraging confidence in these dreams, visions, trances and impressions, by some of the ministers who were leaders in the sacramental meetings and camp meetings, especially those who afterwards went off with the Newlight schism. It diverted popular attention from the Bible, which must always be the sole standard of truth among intelligent christians, and fostered a fondness for those mysticisms, superstitions and novelties, so congenial, and yet so degrading to fallen men. The departures from the Bible teaching was very rapid, and the adoption of delusive speculations, correspondingly accelerated. As the great revival among the Presbyterians and Methodists degenerated into a misguided and corrupting enthusiasm, some strong, brave men exerted all their powers to stay the swelling tide that was sweeping away their bulwarks of safety, but all in vain. The demon they had unconsciously aided in evoking was too strong for them. The tide was with the enthusiasts, and the opposers were overwhelmed, and temporarily, at least, brought into popular contempt. With the close of the year 1803, the revival may be said to have subsided. The Methodists, who "were freely admitted" to the general meetings of the Presbyterians, early in the revival, “from assistants, became leaders,"34 rode on the tide, or rather headed it, had their number greatly increased -- probably doubled, while the Presbyterian church, which received the first fruits of the revival, but opposed its excesses, perhaps injudiciously, was well nigh in ruins. The particulars of this disaster, and some of its more permanent results, must be reserved for another chapter.
16 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, pp. 567, 568.
17 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, pp. 571, 572.
18 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, pp. 574, 575.
19 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, p. 134.
20 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, p. 135
21 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, pp. 137-138.
22 Rev. J. M. Peck, D.D., in Christian Review, Vol. XVII, p. 50
23 Western Miscellany, Vol. I, p. 275.
24 Western Miscellany, Vol. I, p. 278.
25 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, p. 143, et.seq.
26 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, pp. 145, 146.
27 McNemar, pp. 51, 52. Quoted by many authors.
28 History Baptists, Vol. II, p. 255.
29 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, p. 152.
30 Christian Review, Vol. XVII, p. 503.
31 History of Bap., Vol. II, p. 256.
32 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, p. 152.
33 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, p. 157.
34 Smith's History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, p. 141.- A History of Kentucky Baptists, By J. H. Spencer, Chapter 27, page 505-522
REV. JAMES M'GREADY, AND THE REVIVAL OF 1800.
THE name of McGready is connected with revivals. He was blessed in being an instrument of a revival of religion in North Carolina, in his early ministry, the salutary effects of which are felt at this day in churches in different States, enjoying the labors of faithful men, that then came in to the visible church of Christ, on profession of faith. Subsequently, he was honored of God to be the first agent, that moved successfully in breaking up the deep sleep that weighed down the Christian public, and was personally active in the commencement of that revival that began in 1800, in Kentucky, and soon was felt in Tennessee and Ohio; in 1802, on to 1804, was enjoyed in parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The fruits of this revival remain to this day, and will be felt in their remote consequences for ever, in these United States, and wherever else the Gospel has been preached, by those who may be considered the fruits, more or less direct, of this great display of the Divine Spirit upon the hearts of men.
There has been no memoir of this man given to the world; but it is not right for the church community to let his memory perish. To have looked at him, in his early days, as he was laboring in the fields in Carolina; or to have seen him when he was become angry that an honest man doubted his religion; or to have listened to him when he passed through Virginia, at the close of the revival, under Smith and Graham, we probably should not have said this is the man whom God has chosen to put in motion the whole community, on the greatest of all subjects, and the one to which the human heart is most averse. But God sees not as man sees, and he chooses whom he will for his divine purposes of mercy, both as agent and recipient. Let man honor whom God honors; and let us rejoice in him whom God first made a vessel of mercy, and then a jewel of honor.
In the preface to a volume of sermons, which a few years ago were published from his papers, in Louisville, there is a brief account of the commencement of the revival in Kentucky, drawn up by his hand. In the preface to the second volume, which appeared some time after, is the apology of the Editor, for not fulfilling expectations  he had excited in the first, of having a memoir of the able and blessed servant of God, whose sermons he was sending out to the world, and informs the public that he had entirely failed in obtaining any information about his early life and labors. McGready left no son, and no memoranda of himself, among his papers, except the short account of the commencement of the revival; modestly estimating himself, and his labors, and usefulness, he was willing to wait the developments of the Great day, and abide the providence of God.
At several different times, in the year 1843, the Rev. Ebenezer B. Currie, of Orange Presbytery, who was a pupil of McGready in his youth, gave the writer an extended account of the labors and successes of that eminent servant of God, and is the authority for the principal facts in his early history, and very many respecting his maturer years. He, the Rev. James Hall, D.D., and S. E. McCorkle, D.D., are the authority for the statements about the revival in North Carolina. They all speak of things they saw and heard and knew.
The parents of McGready were of the Scotch-Irish race, but whether they emigrated from Ireland, or were born in Pennsylvania, is not now known. When he was quite young, they removed to Carolina, and settled in Buffalo congregation, in Guilford county, near where Greensboro, now stands, about the time that Dr. Caldwell became the pastor of the congregation, which is now occupied by Mr. Caruthers. Here James passed part of his boyish days, and part of his youth, in such labor, as persons of no very extensive property were, in those years, accustomed to in Carolina.
The sedateness of the youth and his punctuality in religious duties, united to a desire for mental improvement, so pleased an uncle of his, who was on a visit at his father's, that he conceived the idea of having James educated for the ministry, and prevailed on the parents to consent to his taking his son with him to Pennsylvania to secure an education in preparation to his preaching the gospel. His uncle believed him to be religious; he thought so himself. In speaking of these, his early days and impressions, Mr. McGready used to say that he never omitted private prayer from the time he was seven years old, and having been preserved from outbreaking sins, from profane swearing, from intoxication, and sabbath breaking, and other excesses, he had begun to think that he was sanctified from his birth. When about seventeen years of age he united in the communion of the church, professing a full belief in the doctrines of the Bible, in which he had been carefully instructed, and in the formulary, the catechism  of the Westminster Assembly, in which, at that time, all children of Presbyterian congregations were reverently taught.
While he was studying for the ministry, fully satisfied of his own interest in the redemption of Christ, an incident occurred that destroyed all his peace. He overheard a conversation between the gentleman with whom he boarded and a neighbor who had stepped in one day. "Do you think," said the neighbor, "that this young man you have studying here has got any religion?" "No," said the gentleman, "not a spark." The meaning was, that he did not think him a converted man, and that he, of course, had not felt in his heart the doctrines of grace. McGready felt himself much aggrieved at this opinion, and peculiarly at this expression of it; and resolved to change his abode, not willing to live any longer with one that thought so little of his piety or his knowledge of religion. After the first rush of his indignation had somewhat subsided, the thought arose in his mind, that perhaps there might be some ground for the gentleman's unfavorable opinion. He, therefore, commenced a thorough examination of his principles of belief, his practice, and his feelings. Of hisprinciplesof belief, after examination, he was satisfied that they were correct. Of hispractice,it appeared to him that he loved what the Scripture required, and turned away from those things the word of God forbade. Thus far he felt safe. But when he came to examinehis feelings,to try them by such passages as, being"filled with the spirit; filled with joy; filled with the Holy Ghost; joy of the Holy Ghost; the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace,"it seemed to him that he did not understand these things experimentally. Like Paul, "When the commandment came, sin revived and he died." The conflict in his soul was severe and protracted. He said that the first actual sin of which he felt convicted was his having communed improperly; and then the sin of his whole life stood up before him in awful array. He had no rest in his soul till he believed Christ gave him peace in believing, and his heart tasted some of the joys of the Holy Ghost.
This part of his experience gave a peculiar cast to his preaching through life, and made it peculiarly pungent in Carolina, where he commenced his labors. Through life he was famous for pointing out the hiding-places of the hypocrite and self-deceived, and bringing out the thoughts of men's hearts and revealing to them their secret purposes, and setting them at war in their own souls, lead them to Christ Jesus for peace. Formal professors had generally a very great dislike to him, accusing him of personality and undue severity.
Redstone Presbytery gave him license to preach when he was about thirty years of age. His education was finished under Dr. McMillan, the founder of the Literary and Theological school, that ultimately grew into Cannonsburg College, the first institution of the kind west of the Alleghanies. Three institutions were commenced by the Scotch-Irish before the Revolution; one in Western Pennsylvania, one in the valley of Virginia, and one in Charlotte, North Carolina. The latter was broken up during the Revolution; the two former are now flourishing institutions. Dr. McMillan was the means of rearing many useful preachers, by whom the wants of the rising West were for a time supplied.
After his licensure, McGready returned to Carolina to visit his connexions. On his way he passed through the places in Virginia visited by the Revival, which spread so far and wide under the ministrations of J. B. Smith and William Graham, in 1788 and 1789. He made some stay in Prince Edward, at Hampden Sydney College, then under the care of Mr. Smith, that eminently successful minister of Christ. With his heart warmed by what he heard and saw, and cheered in his soul with the expectations of good to come from the Great Head of the church to Zion, through the instrumentality of the excellent young men he saw in preparation for the ministry, and of whom Pattillo speaks encouragingly in his letter to Synod in 1793, he reached Guilford, prepared to bear a testimony to men in favor of divine truth in its spiritual application.
The form of religious instruction and worship had been continued by the churches in Carolina, with commendable exactness, during the trying scenes of the Revolutionary war. The attention to catechetical instruction in families had not much abated. But the life and spirit of religion had suffered much from the necessary irregularity in attending on the public ordinances, and from the harassing cares and indescribable vexations and suffering from the protracted campaigns of Cornwallis, preceding the battle of Guilford Court-house. There was much true piety nourished in the congregations, and much of the heavenly temper cherished in the closet and family circle; but much formality had also come in, and close upon its footsteps outbreaking sin. The march of armies is marked by plunder and vice; and dissipation and immorality follow in their train. The most moral and retired neighborhood suddenly found themselves in the track of hostile forces, and felt the moral shock in their families with painful sensibility.
As the subjects naturally presented for discussion, during the contest between the colonies and the mother country, by the patriotic  Presbyterian ministers, were of a general nature--more often referring to the wise providence of God; the necessity of contending for liberty of conscience, of person, and of property; the propriety of resistance to blood in a good cause, than to the more spiritual and devotional duties of the gospel; it came to pass that the subjects of experimental religion were less insisted upon or heeded than they might have been, or than they had been in former and more quiet times. It is not to be understood that the standard of piety or morality was either intentionally abrogated or changed, but the subjects pertaining to the war in which all were involved, assumed a paramount controlling influence, and the sacred fire burned less purely in the congregation and the family; and the scenes of bloodshed and plunder witnessed so frequently, hardened the heart against the commands of God.
After the settlement of peace, many things were found to have crept into at least some of the congregations in Carolina, which could not be justified or tolerated; more easily introduced than eradicated; more clamorously defended than adroitly extenuated. Parties for dancing were considered by many as harmless as they were fascinating; the use of spirituous liquors had become more free and dangerous; and in some neighborhoods horse-racing was tolerated as an innocent amusement, from which improvement of the breed of useful animals might be looked for as a natural consequence. All had sought for freedom of opinion and of conscience through the mortal strife of the Revolution; and many considered freedom from moral obligation as part of civil liberty. It is scarcely to be wondered at, though much to be mourned over, that in breaking down the opposition to religious freedom, and the unjustifiable hindrances to the exercise of religious liberty, the necessary barriers to vice and transgression should receive a severe shock, and even some of the outworks be broken down.
Among other things of a very objectionable nature which had become prevalent, was the habit of distributing spirituous liquors at funerals. Provisions of some kind were set out, commonly before the door, or carried round in baskets, and spirits offered freely to those who desired. The solemnity of the occasion was sometimes lost in the excitement, and scenes of drinking invaded the house of mourning. To preserve the appearance of religion, some one, an officer of the church, if present, was called upon to open the scene of eating and drinking by asking a blessing on the refreshments prepared.
Mr. McGready attended a funeral soon after his return to Guilford,  and in compliment to the young minister just returned, he was called upon to ask a blessing that they might commence their drinking. "No," he replied, "I will not be guilty of insulting God by asking a blessing upon what I know to be wrong." A great sensation was produced, and McGready stood up for his defence, a champion not to be despised, large in form, some six feet high, of prominent features, grave in demeanor, solemn in speech, plain and neat in his style of dress, unaffected in his manners, with a powerful voice, and somewhat ungainly in his address, with the appearance of great weight and bodily strength.
The attention of the neighborhood being turned to him, he commenced preaching along Haw River, and in various other places in Guilford. His first sermons were to alarm church members. Under his ministrations very many gave up their hopes of salvation which they had been cherishing, and confessed themselves deceived hypocrites. Under his searching addresses they felt themselves to be, as he had been, unworthy to be acknowledged members of Christ's visible church, and abhorred themselves in dust and ashes. He would often say to them, "An unworthy communicant in such circumstances as yours, is more offensive to Almighty God than a loathsome carcase crawling with vermin set before a dainty prince."
His pulpit preparations, while he lived in Carolina, were made with much study; what were his habits after removing to the West is not known. In Carolina he used to devote some two days of each week in writing out his sermons for Sabbath with great care. He considered the word of God as truth to be taken for granted, and of course not to be reasoned about as if to be proved, but to be explained and enforced by the various considerations presented by revelation itself, by man's condition, and by providence. His written discourses were carefully perused and re-perused before he appeared in public, but were never seen in the pulpit. By his care in preparation the subject was sufficiently impressed upon his mind for him to speak with fluency and correctness without reference to notes. His spoken sermons were much longer than his preparations, the different heads being more fully explained, and the application very much enlarged. The volumes of sermons printed at Louisville a few years since, were composed of preparations of this sort. The Rev. Mr. Currie, who was for a time his pupil, recollects to have heard some of those sermons delivered in Carolina. From these circumstances the printed sermons, exhibiting much good thought and power of language, will be less impressive than the discourses that fell from his lips, possessing all the excellences of  the written ones, and enriched by the tide of feeling from a burning heart.
He excelled in public prayer, and the prayer before sermon was usually long, free from repetitions, and filled with earnest wrestlings with God for the assembled people. Often the congregation was in tears, under the influence of his devotions.
In his delivery he was always solemn, and sometimes very animated from the commencement. Generally he began very calm and waxed warmer as he progressed, and in the application was always fervent. Avoiding metaphysical discussions, he preached the plain word of God with much point and great plainness and effect. To his hearers he often seemed a "Son of Thunder," and always a warm experimental Calvinistic preacher.
The congregations in which his labors were more particularly expended, were Haw River and Stony Creek. Haw River has declined from being a congregation; the place of preaching is removed and is now called Gum Grove. Stony Creek is still a congregation and enjoys the labors of a pastor. In these congregations, and wherever else he preached in the neighboring charges, the excitement on the subject of religion was great, and the inquiry about experimental godliness became very general. After he had been in Carolina about a year, he was married to a Miss Nancy Thompson, from the bounds of Redstone Presbytery, in Pennsylvania, and took his residence some three or four miles below High Rock, about midway between his two congregations. A school was opened at his house, under his direction, but taught principally by his brother, who was himself pursuing a course of study. This location being near his parents' residence, Mr. Currie attended upon its instruction for a length of time, and under the preaching of Mr. McGready became permanently impressed with a sense of religion, which was ultimately ripened into a desire to preach the gospel.
Buffalo and Alamance, the congregations of Dr. Caldwell, received many profitable visits from Mr. McGready, who frequently called upon the school under the Dr.'s care, and became a favorite of the students. His intercourse with these young men had an abiding influence over their hearts and lives. Many became hopefully pious in consequence of his exhortations and instructions. At one time he lay confined by great debility of body, brought on by excessive labors, and a consequent fit of sickness, and was very kindly and assiduously attended upon by the more serious of the young men. He used occasionally to send for the more thoughtless  and hold a short conversation with them on the subject of their salvation; and seldom did any one, says Mr. Currie, leave him without tears. One young man made himself merry at the tenderness of the others, till one day McGready sent for him for an interview, from which he in a short time returned, more deeply affected than the others by the kindness and solemnity of the manner, and the importance of the subjects presented to his mind.
The excitement that spread over the congregation of Hawfields, Cross Roads, Alamance, Buffalo, Stony Creek, Bethlehem, Haw River, Eno, and the churches in Granville, and those on the Hico and the waters of the Dan, was great, and ultimately exceedingly beneficial. Dr. Caldwell, a very sound but dispassioned preacher, stood by him and improved the influences in his own congregations. Cross Roads and Hawfields were vacant at the commencement of the revival. Mr. John Debow, the successor of Henry Pattillo the first pastor, who is spoken of by tradition as an excellent preacher, had died in September, 1783, and lies buried in the church-yard at Hawfields. His brother-in-law, a Mr. Lake, preached to the congregation for a time; and under his ministrations the congregation of Cross Roads was set off, composed of portions of Hawfields, Eno, and Stony Creek. The next preacher was contemporary with McGready, a Mr. Hodge. He had been hopefully converted under the preaching of Mr. Debow, and had commenced preparation for the ministry; but had become discouraged after the death of his pastor and abandoned his design. Mr. McGready's preaching kindled his desire anew, and finishing his preparatory studies with Dr. Caldwell he commenced his labors as a minister at Hawfields and Cross Roads. He went heart and hand in the work of the gospel with McGready; and often made excursions with him. Agreeing in principles and designs, these men were different in their temperament and their manner of dispensing the gospel. From his tender and affectionate manner Hodge was styled "the Son of Consolation."
While the work of revival was going on in the counties of Orange and Guilford, and in parts of the neighboring ones, the congregations in Granville, where Pattillo lived and preached, and along the Hico, were visited by Nash Legrand and Carey Allen, young men from Virginia, the fruits of the revival which had prevailed under the preaching of John B. Smith, particularly at Hampden Sydney College, of which they were members. Great effects followed their preaching. When their mission was ended, multitudes followed them into Virginia to attend the sacramental seasons in Prince Edward and Charlotte. A friendly intercourse was then commenced  between the congregations of the two Synods, which has continued more or less to the present day.
This revival, which commenced about the year 1791, continued for some years in the upper part of what is now Orange Presbytery. Many professors of religion renounced their hopes and became, as they thought, truly converted to God; others were greatly enlivened and strengthened in their faith, and rejoiced in renewed graces; and many hopeful converts were added to the church. This was the SECOND REVIVAL OF RELIGION in North Carolina, after the Revolutionary war, of any extent, of which any account or tradition has been preserved; the FIRST having been in Iredell.
Mr. Currie relates the interesting fact, that in the year 1801, in the month of March, at Barbacue church in Cumberland county, five young men, Messrs. Brown, Murphy, McMillan, McNair, Shaw, Matthews, together with himself, were licensed to preach the gospel by Orange Presbytery. All had received part of their education at Caldwell's school, in Guilford; and some, the whole. Part of them had grown up there, and been more or less under the influence of McGready. Of these, Matthews and Brown have received the degree of D.D. from respectable colleges.
This revival was attended with no unusual appearances or exercises. The opposition to the close and practical preaching and renewed discipline never broke out into violence but in one case. At Stony Creek there were some families of wealth and influence, that had become loose in their religious habits and morals during this disturbance of the war and the presence of the armies; these opposed Mr. McGready's course and preaching, and proceeded from one step of opposition to another, till their dislike exceeded all bounds. Some of these, during one of their nights of revelry, made a bonfire of the pulpit near the church, and left in the clerk's seat a letter written with blood, warning him that unless he desisted from his way of preaching, their vengeance would not be satisfied with the destruction of the pulpit; and his person would not be inviolate. McGready, as might have been expected, not in the least intimidated by the burning of the pulpit, or the letter, continued to preach as usual; and the opposition, confined to a few, died away. In a few years the dissipation of these families became the ruin of their character and property; and after the lapse of a short period not a descendant of theirs could be found in the congregation.
Throughout the country, the pious, and the sedate who were not pious, favored the labors of the ministers that were engaged in this work of grace, whose effects have been a blessing to the church and  community to this day. Some of the ministers that were brought in to the church, during those years the revival continued, yet live, crowned with years and usefulness, soon to follow to the judgment of God the generations that were actors in these scenes.
In the year 1796 Mr. McGready, who had been ordained in 1793, removed to Kentucky; in the year 1799 the Presbytery of Orange dismissed Rev. Wm. McGee, and Barton Stone, a licentiate, to Pennsylvania Presbytery, and in 1800 the Rev. Messrs. Wm. Hodge, Samuel McAdo and John Rankin, to remove to the West; and the part these men acted in the succeeding events in the West forms an interesting page in the history of the valley of the Mississippi.
The following is an extract from McGready's own statement, and shows the state of things in Kentucky.
Logan county, Kentucky, Oct.28th,1801.
"In the month of May, 1797, which was the spring after I came to this country, the Lord graciously visited Gasper River congregation (an infant church under my charge). The doctrines of Regeneration, Faith, and Repentance, which I uniformly preached, seemed to call the attention of the people to a serious inquiry. During the winter the question was often proposed to me,Is religion a sensible thing? If I were converted would I feel it and know it?In May, as I said before, the work began. A woman who had been a professor in full communion in the church found her old hope false and delusive. She was struck with deep conviction, and in a few days was filled with joy and peace in believing. She immediately visited her friends and relations from house to house, warned them of their danger in a most solemn and faithful manner, and pleaded with them to repent and seek religion. This as a mean was accompanied with the divine blessing to the awakening of many. About this time the ears of all in that congregation seemed to be open to receive the word preached, almost every sermon was accompanied with the power of God to the awakening of sinners."
"In the summer of 1798, at the administration of the sacrament of the supper in July, on Monday the Lord graciously poured out his spirit, a very general awakening took place. Perhaps but few families in the congregation could be found who less or more were not struck with an awful sense of their lost estate."
A blessing appeared to follow the labors of this man and the other preachers of the gospel in the new settlements, from time to time in different places, till the year 1800, when an excitement commenced, which, for influence, duration, and extent, has been  unequalled in the southern and western States; and as pervading and resistless, and as fertile in novelties as that which spread over the middle and eastern States between the years 1740 and 1750, in which Edwards, Tennent, Davenport, Blair, Wheelock, Davies, and others, took a prominent part.
The first laborers in this work were McGready, Hodge and McGee. At first it was but a powerful excitement, soon it was accompanied with bodily exercises of a strange and unaccountable nature, which for a time bewildered the judgments of the most clear-sighted ministers, and are with difficulty accounted for at this day. Previous to the June sacrament, in his Red River congregation, McGready was greatly depressed on account of the state of religion in his own charge and in the congregation around him. In conversation with an elder he told him his distress, and his mournful anticipations. His elder began to tell him his own exercises, which were full of hope and expectation, and among other things told him of a dream he had lately had, about seeing him and Hodge and McGee catching abundance of fish on the side of a dry ragged mountain, out of a little clear stream that brake from the summit. The effect of the elder's conversation on McGready was cheering, awaking anticipations of success, like the dream heard by Gideon in the enemy's camp. These brethren just mentioned assisted at the June meeting, in 1800, and before the close a most wonderful excitement commenced. Of this McGready says, "But the year 1800 exceeds all that eyes ever beheld on earth. In June the sacrament was administered at Red River. On Monday multitudes were struck under awful conviction. The cries of the distressed filled the whole house." From this place it spread that summer wherever meetings for continued preaching were held, in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio; and ultimately over the whole South and West.
Soon after the commencement of this excitement, persons began to be struck down during religious exercises, lying like persons in a swoon for a length of time; and then rise with songs of praise for the deliverance they had experienced of a spiritual nature. This falling was at first preceded by great anxiety of mind on the subject of salvation, and succeeded by joyful exercises. The subjects, unable to move or speak, were entirely sensible, and were often deeply exercised, and could tell many things that passed around them in that apparently lifeless state. After a time, persons who had not expressed or felt any peculiar anxiety were stricken down at the meetings, and rose rejoicing. The account which these persons gave of their mental exercises and their religious experience, was  such as to satisfy the most rigid inquiries. And this exercise became connected in the minds of people generally, with conversion; by what invisible link no one pretended to declare, or what was the peculiar influence upon the mind. The pious and thoughtful, at first, were amazed, and afraid to oppose what appeared to be connected indissolubly with the work of God; and finally, for a time, gave in to the opinion that it was a necessary part of the revival, and, being according to the will of God, must not be opposed.
People came in crowds to the meetings that were held, to satisfy the demand for preaching, on horseback, in wagons, and on foot, and remained on the ground for days; and continued engaged day and night, in religious services, with little intermission, listening to sermons and exhortations, and uniting in prayer and praise.
The report of this extensive and most unusual excitement soon reached North Carolina; and the old friends and hearers of McGready and Hodge were moved with great anxiety to witness the revival of God's work as they had experienced in days past themselves, or as they now heard it was manifested in the West.
In August, 1801, a communion season was held at Cross Roads, in Orange county. The stated minister, Wm. Paisley, was assisted by Rev. Messrs. Dr. Caldwell and Leonard Prather, and two young licentiates, Hugh Shaw and Ebenezer B. Currie. Nothing of especial interest appeared in the congregation during the days preceding the Sabbath, or during the administration of the ordinance. Great solemnity prevailed, mingled with evident anxiety as well as prayer, among Christians, that God would bless the congregation and revive his work. On Monday, the 28th, the public services were conducted by Messrs. Prather and Shaw, without any expression or appearance of emotion among the people. The pastor arose to dismiss the people, intending first to say a few words expressive of his sorrow that apparently no advance had been made in bringing sinners to God. Overwhelmed with his sensations of distress that God had imparted no blessings to his people, he stood silent a few moments and then sat down. A solemn stillness pervaded the congregation. In a few moments he rose again; before he uttered a word, a young man from Tennessee, who had been interested in the revival there, and had been telling the people of Cross Roads, during the meeting, much about the state of things in the West, raised up his hands and cried out, "Stand still and see the salvation of God!" In a few moments the silence was broken by sobs, groans and cries, rising commingled from all parts of the house. All thoughts of dismissing the congregation at once vanished.  The remainder of the day was spent in the exercises of prayer, exhortation, singing, personal conversation, and midnight came before the congregation could be persuaded to go to their respective homes. The excitement continued for a length of time, and many were hopefully converted to God. No irregularities appeared in this commencement of the great excitement in North Carolina; the sobs and groans and cries for mercy were unusual, but seemed justified by the deep feeling of individuals on account of the great interests concerned.
In October following, the usual fall communion was held in Hawfields, the other part of Mr. Paisley's charge. The expression of feeling was great from the first; the people from Cross Roads were there in their fervency of excitement and hope; and multitudes whom the report of what had been done at the August meeting drew together, were full of expectation, some wondering, and some seeking their salvation. People from a distance came in their wagons, and remained on the ground all night. The meeting was continued for five days without intermission; the various religious services of prayer, singing, sermons, exhortations and personal conversations succeeding each other, with short intervals for refreshment during the day, and a few hours for sleep during the night. Impressions of a religious nature were very general and very deep, and in a great multitude of cases abiding. THIS WAS THE FIRST CAMP-MEETING IN NORTH CAROLINA. They soon became common all over the South and West. Log-cabins were built at the accustomed or designed place of meeting in sufficient numbers to accommodate a large assembly; and from an occasional meeting, they became regular appointments, which are not yet entirely discontinued. Once or twice a year the congregations assemble at their usual place of worship, and continue on the ground some three or four days, or more if desired. This custom has its conveniences in accommodating those who live at a distance from regular preaching, and also its inconvenience; and is differently estimated in different neighborhoods, and is passing away from some, but is retained in Cross Roads and Hawfields in its original spirit.
The excitement spread rapidly over the congregations in the upper part of Orange Presbytery, which then included all the State east of the Yadkin river, and in the early part of the year 1802, the Presbytery of Concord, embracing the section of the State west of the Yadkin, felt its influence; and the eastern part  of the State, now embraced by Fayetteville Presbytery, also began to be visited.
The bodily exercises were intermingled in the meetings in Carolina as they were in the West, but in neither place had they, at this period, assumed the remarkable extravagance to which they afterwards arose in some parts of the country. Among the thoughtful these exercises caused great anxiety; "were they the work of God? were they the necessary accompaniments of the work? or were they accidental things? or were they delusions?" were questions that led to many discussions. The opinion that finally prevailed most generally was, that they were inseparable accompaniments of the true work of God. This opinion prevailed for some years, and slowly gave way to the more correct conclusion, that in all cases they were accidental circumstances and not necessary, and in many cases were entirely delusive.
The ministers west of the Yadkin were much exercised on the subject of the revival in the West, and in Orange Presbytery, and also about the accompanying exercises. Until 1802, however, no appearance of revival was seen in their congregations. Some years previous, as has been noticed in the proper place, there had been some precious works of grace in Iredell and Cabarrus counties, but the congregations of the Presbytery were not generally visited; and now there was a feeling of anxiety manifested everywhere.
Rev. David Caldwell, of Guilford, appointed a meeting to be held at Bell's meeting-house, near Bell's Mills, on Deep River, in Randolph county, on the last week of January, 1802, and invited the brethren west of the Yadkin to attend, and bring some of their people with them, and witness and share in the work then in progress. Four of the ministers, and about one hundred of their people, attended. The pastor of the extensive congregation of Thyatira, in Rowan county, Samuel E. McCorkle, a man of sound and extensive theological attainments, of scientific and literary acquirements above most of hiscotemporaries, anxious about the revival, but strongly prejudiced against considering the exercises as a part of the work of the spirit, and through his prejudices against them very much inclined to doubt the genuineness of the whole work, yet desirous of a revival amongst his people, went and took some of his people to witness the effects of that meeting. Lewis F. Wilson, pastor of Concord and Fourth Creek in Iredell, less prejudiced against the work than Mr. McCorkle,  but not prepared to vindicate altogether the exercises, though he greatly desired a revival in his change, a man of ardent temperament, great self-possession, sound mind, and much acquaintance with the world, went accompanied by some of his charge. Joseph D. Kilpatrick, of Third Creek, of warm heart, and ardent spirit, anxious for a revival in his charge, and not anxious about the attending circumstances of swoons or exercises, might his people be revived, went and took some of his people with him. The venerable James Hall, of Bethany, who had served his country and the church in the Revolution, and had been blessed with a revival soon after its close, tremblingly alive to the interests of religion and the welfare of his people, believing in the work as of God, and not much troubled about the accompanying exercises, went with a larger company of his people than either of the others.
The preachers reached the ground on Friday evening, and took some part in the services. The people came up on Saturday morning, with their wagons. The meeting proved to be one of great excitement, and the people that came from a distance shared largely in it. Dr. Hall's people began to be exercised on Friday night before they reached the place of meeting, while they were encamped about five miles off. During the meeting, all the companies, one after another, were more or less affected. The brethren returned to their charges satisfied that the excitement was a revival of true religion, and these bodily exercises were connected in a manner inexplicable, and not to be questioned.
Dr. McCorkle held out a long time, at first rather confirmed in his opinions that the work could not be of God, there was so much disorder. Conversations with the new converts, and those under conviction while struck down, had gone far towards changing his mind, when a messenger came to him, as he was walking round in deep thought, bearing a request from his son, who had been struck down, to come and pray for him. He went and kneeled by him and began to pray, and as he prayed his whole heart and soul became so interested in the work that was going on, and so filled with desires for the conversion of all the world, that when he arose his doubts had given place to deep conviction that the work of God was going on notwithstanding the bodily exercises.
 "An Interesting Narrative of the Revival of Religion in that part of North Carolina which lies southwest of the Yadkin River. In a Letter from theREV. JAMES HALL.
"Iredell county, North Carolina, May 4, 1802.
"SIR:--Please to accept of my grateful acknowledgments for the copy of your proposals for publishing extracts from the Evangelical Magazine, &c.; you may expect my interest in promoting your laudable design. As the revival of religion has, through the goodness and mercy of God, reached this part of his vineyard, a few sketches as to its rise and progress in that part of our State which lies between Yadkin and Catawba Rivers, may not be unacceptable to you; and if they should contribute to the promotion of your design, will tend to our mutual satisfaction.
"Last August the revival began in Orange and Guilford counties, which lie northeast of the Yadkin. To those the work was chiefly confined until the last week of January, at which time a general meeting was appointed in Randolph county, to the southward of Guilford, where some of my fellow-presbyters and myself were invited to attend. Accordingly, Dr. McCorkle, Messrs. Lewis F. Wilson, Joseph D. Kilpatrick, and myself, set out with about 100 of our people, having to go from fifty to eighty miles. We who were ministers went on horseback, and the rest in wagons. My people, about forty in number, were alone, except two families who travelled with them. The clergy passed on before the wagons, and arrived at the place of meeting on Friday. That night my people lodged within five miles of the place, where a remarkable circumstance happened among them. At evening prayer in the house where they lodged, a man about thirty years old became deeply affected, who I believe was pious from an early period of youth. Impressions immediately ran through the assembly like fire along a train of powder; so that in a very short time almost all the young people, who composed about three-fourths of the company, became religiously exercised. The fathers were filled with astonishment, as none present had ever beheld such a scene. Nothing but cries could be heard for a considerable time. When those had in a measure subsided, the fathers spent the greater part of the night in prayer and exhortations.
Public worship was begun next day before they arrived at the place of meeting. They took their seats, and attended with composure until the assembly separated, which was in the evening twilight. They then retired to their tent. I did not follow for  about half an hour, allowing them some time of relaxation, as I expected our meeting would be a tender scene. When I went to them they exhibited to me a spectacle truly affecting. Not less than twenty of the young people were lying in sore distress, and uttering ardent cries for mercy. A multitude had collected round them before I came. My brethren and I could do nothing but pray for them, as they were in no situation for conversation.
"Some of them, who, I believe, were pious before, obtained comfort that night; the others remained in distress. Dr. McCorkle had previously mentioned to me his desire that his young people and mine should spend the evening together. After some time spent with us in prayer, he returned to his young people, and found the greater part of them religiously exercised. Next morning, which was the Sabbath, Mr. Kilpatrick came to me in much distress, and told me he feared God had forsaken his little flock, as not one of them was affected. About that time his young people, and some of Dr. McCorkle's, retired to the woods, and spent some time in social prayer. When the hour of public worship approached, and they were about to return, some of them were struck down; and in a short time the greater part of them were so affected that others were obliged to supply them with fire and camp-furniture; and they lay there until nine o'clock the next day, before they could return to camp. In fine, before our return home more than nine-tenths of our young people were deeply impressed with a sense of the great importance of salvation.
"Only two families of Mr. Wilson's people went with him, as they lay most remote from the place of meeting; but of those who went, as great a proportion were affected as of others. I would not have entered into such a minute detail of so many local circumstances, which, singly viewed, might not appear very interesting to the public, only for this consideration: In all our charges, those who followed us to that place were of those families who had been principally engaged in promoting and holding religious societies, and were engaged in fervent prayer for a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; some of them for more than eighteen months before that time. And should this little narrative be thought worthy of the public eye, my design in it is to encourage God's children to be fervent at the throne of grace, not only in secret, but social prayer. From what I have known of the fervency and persevering importunity of those families upon whom that remarkable effusion of divine grace fell, I think I never saw a geometrical proposition demonstrated with more clear evidence, than I have  seen an answer given to the prayers of those pious parents who sent or conducted their children on that happy tour. As the greater part of our young people received comfort before they returned home, it is easier to conceive of than describe the joy of the parents and children at their meeting. On my return I preached at four different places before I came home; consequently my people were at home a Sabbath before my arrival. Societies were holden in three different parts of my charge, in all of which the work broke out like fire, and was making rapid progress before I had an opportunity of attending even at one society.
"Our meeting in Randolph was on the first week of January. Since that time religion has made rapid progress among my people; and so happy are we in unanimity of sentiments respecting that glorious work, there is not one among us who will suffer himself to be accounted an opposer, and very few seem to view it with disgust. But in many of our neighboring societies it is far otherwise. Many of our people are opposed to the work; but of those some of the most obstinate have already submitted to it as a display of the mighty power of God.
"There are two denominations scattered among us, who bear the Christian name, who are almost to one individual opposed to the work. But this need not be thought strange, as it has been a uniform case with them to oppose themselves to what other denominations call the effects of the effusion of the Holy Spirit on the church of Christ.
"As to the progress of the work in the counties of Orange, Guilford and Randolph, you will probably have an account from the members of the Presbytery of Orange, whose bounds include those counties.
"From a view of the advantages apparently arising from general meetings, the members of the Presbytery of Concord, of which I am a member, appointed one on the last week of January, near the centre of this county. The number of wagons which came to the ground, besides riding carriages, was about 108. The number of persons who attended on Sabbath, about four thousand. Divine service began on Friday at 2 o'clock. At that juncture a rain began to fall, which continued until near night. A considerable number were exercised that evening. Next morning a considerable heavy sleet began to fall about 9 o'clock, then snow, which terminated in a heavy rain. This continued until four in the afternoon; and the day was without exception the most inclement of any during the whole winter. Notwithstanding this,  the people collected at ten, in two assemblies, and all ages and sexes stood there exposed until sunsetting. Exercises went on rapidly, and large numbers were deeply affected. The work went on gradually increasing, until Tuesday morning, except a few hours before day on Monday morning, when the camp was chiefly silent. At 9 on Tuesday morning the people were assembled in the centre of the square, and after some time spent in prayer and exhortation, were dismissed. Many who went away unaffected were struck with convictions on their return, and others after they went home. No attempt was made to ascertain the number of those who were affected with religious exercises, but there must have been during the meeting, several hundreds. There were present eight Presbyterian, one Baptist, and two Methodist ministers.
"Two weeks after the above meeting we held another, near Morganton, 60 miles to the westward. The country there is thinly inhabited, and the professors of religion few in number; yet a considerable number were deeply affected, and circumstances were as promising as could be expected from the state of the country.
"On the second week of March we held another general meeting, ten miles to the southward of the first, at the Cross Roads, near the lower end of this county. The number of wagons, besides riding carriages, was 262. Divine service began on Friday afternoon, and we continued together until Tuesday at noon. Religious impressions began to appear in an early period of the business,aadhad a remarkable growth until the close of the meeting. Many hundreds were constrained to cry aloud for mercy, of whom many went home rejoicing, as well as others who came to the place under deep distress. The number of those who were present on Sabbath was estimated from 8000 to 10,000. They were divided into four worshipping assemblies. Those were all numerous. Of ministers present as far as recollection serves, there were fourteen Presbyterians, three Methodists, two Baptists, one Episcopalian, one Dutch Calvinist, and two German Lutherans. It was pleasing to those who were friends of vital piety to see such a gradual and increasing work going on, day after day, until Monday, on which day and that night, I suppose that the number of exercised persons was equal to all who were affected on the preceding days. Many left the place with comfortable sensations of mind, both of those who had been formerly and latterly convicted; and many others went away under deep and heavy convictions.
"Two weeks after this meeting we held another in Mecklenburg county, near the southern boundary of this State. The number present was about a third less than that last mentioned.
"Twelve Presbyterian ministers, one Baptist and one Methodist, attended. Worship began, as usual, on Friday, and continued until near noon on Tuesday. Never did I see a set of men labor with more assiduity than the ministers labored from Friday noon until Sabbath night at 9 o'clock, during which time, among the vast multitude which attended, not more than ten persons were visibly affected with religious exercises. When night came on, the people had assembled at five different places in the encampment, at which the ministers attended. Near the above hour, religious exercises began in all the assemblies; and, from what could be ascertained, there were not more than fifteen, perhaps not more than five minutes of time, when the work began in those several places. Exercises, prayers and exhortations continued during the whole night. That dispensation, in the eye of the impartial inquirer, is sufficient to obviate the objection against the work, "That it is the work of man--from the power of oratory," &c., as I am certain there were, before that time, many instances of more powerful oratory than we are capable of exhibiting at that late period, in such an exhausted state. Nor could such effects be produced by communications from one assembly to another, either by intelligence or noise; for no two of the several assemblies knew how each other was affected until a considerable later period of the night. At break of day public instructions ceased until nine in the morning. At that time a sermon was preached  at the public stand in the centre of the encampment. Few, if any, were exercised until after sermon, when six ministers continued worship by prayer in rotation. This exhibited a scene to which I never saw anything similar. I am well assured that many more than a hundred sunk down in less than half an hour; and what was remarkable in such a scene, there was scarcely a cry to be heard. This I perfectly recollect, that the speakers were distinctly heard during the concert of prayer. But fervent supplications and cries for mercy soon began. Shortly afterwards, one of the ministers rose to read, and make a few observations on the vision of thedry bones(Ezek., 37 chap.), but such were the cries, and the astonished state of the audience, that I suppose he could not call the attention of twenty persons: he read a few verses and sat down. Those in distress were generally taken to their respective tents, where many followed. Some of the ministers continued at the public stand, others went to the tents, where crowds attended. The work went on all that day, and a great part of the following night; so that, I believe, could the aggregate have been ascertained, although the work began at so late a period, as great a proportion was affected as had been at any former meeting.
"At our first meeting in this county, we had prepared to administer the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; but so numerous were the persons in distress, and so loud were the cries, that we declined the administration of the ordinance. At the two latter, we removed the communion table to a considerable distance from the places of preaching, where we administered the ordinance without embarrassment. At the first, we had about six hundred, and at the second, near five hundred communicants.
"At all our meetings, a considerable number professed to obtain the comforts of religion, and of those, I have not heard of one whose conduct has dishonored their profession. Praying societies are formed in all our congregations, both supplied and vacant. In those the work seems to be promoted as much, and often more, than in our congregational assemblies. The face of the public, in point of morals, is evidently changed for the better, even in those places where the good work has not reached. It is to me no inconsiderable proof that the work is carried on by the same divine, omnipresent Spirit, when I behold such a sameness of exercises in the different subjects.
"It is granted, that those exercises, or affections, which are merely bodily, are very different, which no doubt arises from the different temperament or habit of body. The same difference is obvious in different constitutions or habits of body, as to swooning, outcries, &c., when the matter of grief or terror is the same, and the distress equally pungent. But those exercises which are mental, appear generally to run in the same channel. This can either be from sympathy nor imitation; for I have observed the same in the State of Tennessee more than eighteen months ago, as well as in various places in this State, where the subjects had never seen any other person in a similar situation. The first cry is usually for mercy, although I have attended upon sundry persons, who, when first struck, have been so overwhelmed with a sense of guilt, that they have told me, they were afraid to ask for mercy. But this state is usually of short continuance. And among the hundreds to whose exercises I have attended, have been pleasingly surprised to find so few cases of despondency, and not one instance of what may be called despair. This has been  the more remarkable, when such sluices of conviction have been opened upon the consciences of sinners, as to extort such bitter outcries, and produce such terrible effects upon the body. After fervent cries for mercy, there are usually complaints of unbelief, obstinacy and hardness of heart, together with importunate pleading that those may be renewed. Then there will appear glimmering hopes of salvation through a Redeemer, who seems to appear afar off. Here are pleadings indeed! Sometimes one person of the adorable Trinity, and sometimes another is addressed, according to his respective province in the economy of man's salvation. This is more especially the case with those who have been previously well instructed in the doctrines of the gospel. In the supplications of those who are ignorant, there is not such a variety; but even their addresses, especially those of children, are really astonishing. When hopes of pardon appear, the importunity, if possible, becomes more incessant. Never did an humble and dutiful child, pleading for a favor from a compassionate father, offer more humble, fervent and affectionate petitions, than are here used for acceptance with God through a mediator. O for faith, for more faith, is the usual cry. When the patient receives comfort, he generally lies silent; wrapt in deep contemplation. Then some rise in raptures of joy and praise; others in silence, with a placid serenity spread over the countenance. In both it is almost incredible what change it makes on the countenance, which in many will be visible, not only for days, but weeks.
"In attending on some of those cases, I have often thought, that were I to set down and commit to writing the manner in which I believe, from the scriptures of truth, the spirit of God deals with a sinner, in bringing him from a state of nature to a state of grace--from the time he is first convicted of the evil of sin until he has a saving discovery of the mercy of God through the mediation of Christ, I know not how I could succeed better than by recording the exercises of some on whom I have waited; although as to others, who are the subjects of severe exercises, it is evident to those tolerably well read in the anatomy of the human heart, that though they rise comfortable, they may be still in the bond of iniquity. This is not saying, but the most scrutinizing Christian may be mistaken as to the experiences or exercises of another; but we must form our opinion according to our best evidence drawn from the word of God. And if among the subjects of the present work some should persevere, and others draw back, this is no more than can be expected; as the production will be  according to the nature of the soil on which the seed of the word is sown in the human heart. When comfort is not obtained in those exercises, the subjects are generally left under deep convictions of sin, and are usually exercised again, some five or six times before they obtain comfort. Of those who have received comfort the first time they have been exercised, I have not known any whose religious hopes have not been afterwards shaken, and have fallen under exercises again. Frequently such will rise under clouds, which will not be removed until they have undergone another, perhaps frequent exercises, before their comforts be restored. Those exercises do not appear to be confined to those who never had experienced the power of religion before. I believe many are the subjects of them who have long been acquainted with vital piety. This answers many valuable purposes, as it quickens their graces, brightens their evidences, attaches them more warmly to the revival, and makes them more assistant to the ministers of the gospel.
"Nor is this happy revival confined to those who are under visible bodily exercises. I believe that many more are effected in what may be called God's usual way. With many such I have conversed, who appear to be under deep and rational conviction, and who think they have no valid impressions, because they are not the subjects of those violent exercises. Some of this class, with whom I have conversed, who, I have every reason to believe, have availed themselves of the benefits of Christ's mediation, dare not appropriate the comforts of religion, because they have not those ecstatic joys which they perceive in others. It is a matter of gratitude to every pious mind to see how a propitious Providence has smiled on our general meetings. These have instrumentally spread the work two hundred miles, in a greater or less degree, from east to west, and near one hundred from north to south; though in those bounds a very small minority have felt its happy effects. But the work is evidently spreading, and we hope will diffuse itself until the whole be leavened. We are extremely happy in the coalescence of our Methodist and Baptist brethren with us in this great and good work. Party doctrines are laid aside, and nothing heard from the pulpit but the practical and experimental doctrines of the gospel. To-morrow I expect to set out to a general meeting, appointed near the boundary of Guilford and Rowan counties, on middle ground between the Presbyteries of Orange and Concord. Another commences on Friday, the 21st instant, on middle ground between the first Presbytery of South  Carolina and Concord. Our members are to divide between those meetings.
"May 13th. This day I returned home from the meeting near the Guilford and Rowan boundary. Five Baptist, four Methodist, and four Presbyterian ministers attended. The place of meeting was at a house of worship, supplied with a stated pastor of the Baptist church. The happy fruits of our meeting at Randolph now appear there. So great is the work there, arising from that meeting, that the pastor of that church baptized twenty-eight persons on the first Sabbath of this month. Appearances at our general meeting were much as above described at other places. Many were awakened, and a considerable number professed to obtain the comforts of religion. A letter I received to-day, soliciting my attendance at another general meeting, in Rutherford county, eighty miles to the westward, to commence on the first Friday of next month, at which I expect to attend. The letter gives pleasing accounts of the happy effects of our little meeting near Morgantown. The contemplated meeting is to be about thirty miles to the southwest, where it appears that the happy influence of the other meeting has reached them.
"What shall we render to the gracious King of Zion for his goodness and for his wonderful works to the unworthy children of men! What I have written are mere introductory sketches to what might be said on what I have seen during the last three months. Volumes might be written on the subject. Many of the scenes to which I have been witness baffle description. At a communion in my own church on the first Sabbath of this month we had a solemnity from Friday noon until Tuesday morning, during which time there was scarcely any recess of exercises day or night, and a far greater proportion of the assembly were religiously affected than I had ever seen at our public meetings. May God carry on his work until righteousness cover the earth as the waters cover the seas, and the nations of the world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ!
"I am, Sir, your affectionate friend, &c.,
 "Important Letters communicated by the Rev.SAMUEL M'CORKLE,North Carolina, through the hands of Mr. John Langdon, of Salisbury, Rowan county.
Dated Westfield, December 16, 1801.
"SIR,--I had before received some imperfect accounts of the revival in Guilford, Caswell, and Orange counties; but have now received a more perfect account by the Rev. Mr. Flinn. A remarkable libertine, says he, has been lately struck down, and the stroke has silenced and confounded his companions. The preacher and people frequently remain all night on the ground in prayer, exhortation or praise. At a late meeting three young men were struck down in the act of cutting whips to correct some poor negroes who were crying for mercy. Our brethren from Orange have invited us to meet them at a sacrament in Randolph on the first day of the New Year. I design to attend. May the work come this way."
"January 8, 1802.
"SIR,--I now sit down to give you a narrative of the transactions at Randolph, commencing on Friday, January 1, 1802, and continuing until the ensuing Tuesday.
"On Thursday, the last day of the last year, I set out from home for Randolph, and lodged in Lexington with some preachers, and a number of people, mostly from Iredell, going on to the same place. The evening was spent in prayer and exhortation, without any visible effect. Next day the preachers arrived at the Randolph meeting-house; but the Iredell company lodged five miles behind.
"On Saturday, in the interval of two sermons, the congregation (near 2,000) were informed that the Iredell company were religiously exercised, in a sudden and surprising matter, at evening prayer, in the family or house where they lodged. This struck with seriousness every reflecting mind, because the effect did not appear to arise from oratory or sympathy, the causes commonly assigned for this work. The second sermon was delivered and the benediction pronounced as usual; but the people paused, as if they wished not to part, nor go either to their homes or encampments.
"Just then rose a speaker to give a short parting exhortation: but wonderful to tell, as if by an electric shock, a large number in every direction, men, women, children, white and black, fell and cried for mercy; while others appeared, in every quarter, either praying for the fallen, or exhorting bystanders to repent and believe. This, to me perfectly new and sudden sight, I viewed with horror; and, in spite of all my previous reasoning on Revivals, with some degree of disgust. Is it possible, said I, that this scene of seeming confusion can come from the Spirit of God? or can be who called light from darkness, and order from confusion, educe light and order from such a dark mental, or moral chaos as this! Lord God, thou knowest. The first particular object that arrested my attention was a poor black man with his hands raised over the heads of the crowd, and shouting, 'Glory, glory to God on high,' I hasted towards him from the preaching-tent; but was stopt to see another black man prostrate on the ground, and his aged mother on her knees at his feet in all the agony of prayer for her son. Near him was a black woman, grasping her mistress' hand, and crying, 'O mistress, you prayed for me when I wanted a heart to pray for myself. Now thank God, he has given me a heart to pray for you and everybody else.' I then passed to a little white girl, about seven years old. She was reclining with her eyes closed on the arms of a female friend. But oh! what a serene angelic smile was in her face! If ever heaven was enjoyed in any little creature's heart it was enjoyed in her's. Were I to form some notion of an angel, it would aid my conception to think of her. I took her by the hand, and asked how she felt, she raised her head, opened her eyes, closed them, and gently sunk into her former state. I met her next day with two or three of her little companions, I asked her how she felt yesterday. 'O how happy,' said the dear little creature, with an ineffable smile, 'and I feel so happy now, I wish everybody was as happy as I am.' I asked her several questions relative to her views of sin, a Saviour, happiness and heaven; and she answered with propriety, and as I thought rather from proper present feelings than from past doctrinal or educational information: for when I was afterwards called to examine her in order to communion, I found her defective in this kind of knowledge, and dissuaded her from communicating at that time, though she much desired it. This I have since regretted, for I do believe, on cool reflection, that she possessed that experimental knowledge of salvation, which is infinitely preferable to all the doctrinal or systematic knowledge in the world without it.
"But to return. I pressed through the congregation in a circuitous direction, to the preaching tent, viewing one in the agony of prayer; another motionless, speechless, and apparently breathless; another rising in triumph, in prayer and exhortation. Among these was a woman five hours motionless, and a little boy under twelve years of age who arose, prayed and exhorted in a wonderful manner. After themselves I observed that their next concern was their nearest relations. After this, I went to the nearest encampment, where seven or eight were prostrate on the earth; while viewing this scene, a stout young man fell on his knees behind me, and cried for mercy. I turned about. He asked me to pray for him. I attempted it. He arose with some assistance, called for a brother, and gave him and the bystanders a most pressing dissuasive against delaying repentance; 'this,' said he, 'has been my own case until I saw the Iredell company passing by. They left me restless and wretched. I was forced to follow. I have just come; and have been running from camp to camp, until I was able to go no farther. I now cry for mercy, and feel determined to cry until I find it.'
"After I had gone round the encampments I went into the wood to see a large number, some of them my own charge, at a distance from the camps. Two or three had retired for prayer and conversation, and were struck; others were led to them by their cries, some of whom were also struck, until there was a large company of spectators, and persons exercised. I had now viewed the whole as a spectator. My mind seemed to be made up of a strange mass of sensations, and I retired for a moment to make some serious reflections. Still did the notion of disorder perplex me. What is disorder, said I, and wherein consists its criminality? There is an external disorder, which disturbs formal organized worship. This disorder may arise from the fainting of the speaker, or of any of the hearers, or from any sudden alarm, as Hervey has stated in the story of a press-gang in a seaport in England. Has organized worship been disturbed in Randolph? No. Would the disturbance be criminal if it were involuntary? Certainly not. If so, Peter might have been disturbed with the cry of his hearers, and Paul with the fall of Eutychus from the third loft. Yet there was no crime. Where then is that disorder which involves guilt? It is in a multitude of improper, incoherent, and wandering thoughts. Do such thoughts pass through the minds of the exercised, or of serious spectators? No. An awful sense of the majesty of God--a painful sense of sin--an  earnest desire to be delivered from it, &c., &c., surely there is no disorder here. I see criminal disorder through roving eyes, and vacant features. I see it in the conversation of an intoxicated youth. I see it in the giddy crowd running from camp to camp, without a fixed object, and I see it in the conduct of those profane persons who have overturned the sacramental tables, and trampled them under their unhallowed feet. This is disorder voluntary, and awfully criminal. But who will dare to say this of the poor sinners constrained to cry, even in the great assembly, 'Men and brethren, what must we do to be saved?' But who constrains? I answer, the impression is God's, the expression ours, and will ever be as the suddenness of conviction, the weakness or energy of the mind, and the sense or aggravation of its guilt. I had often viewed the unity and variety of God's works, and thought I began to see these traits here. What a sameness in the exercises of all, and yet what a wonderful variety in time, place, means, and degrees of exercises! What a sameness and variety in the persons, faces, and voices of men; and also in the natural powers and dispositions of the mind. Surely the God of nature is the God of grace. Natural affections begin with self, and then spread around; so do the affections that show themselves in this work. First, what shall I do to be saved? Then, O my child, my brother, or sister, 'Repent and believe.' Surely this must be the work of God, and marvellous in our eyes! After all, it seems an astonishing way to reform mankind. It is not the way I would take to do it. But what is conducted as I would conduct it?--peace or war, plenty or famine, pestilence or health, life or death? No. I can but say, O God, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are thy thoughts above our thoughts, and thy ways above our ways.
"On the last evening of the solemnities were my difficulties completely removed by the ardent exercise of a man near three score, a man far, very far from enthusiasm, and its constituents, melancholy and irrational devotion; a man whose mind was enlightened, long enlightened with the rays of science and religion. This man felt no pain nor anxiety for himself. The ardency of his desire, or prayer, was first excited for a particular person who was impressed; but his ardency seemed to rise as high as the heavens, and to extend wide as the earth. It seemed as if God then vouchsafed to answer his prayer, to rend the heavens, and come down; to shine into his heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus, and the joy unspeakable,  even raptures, that arise from such a view. Never was prayer offered with more ardor for the extending of this work, nor with more firm and unbounded confidence that it would be extended. He seemed to see the glory of all the divine attributes at one view, and to see them all displayed in the progress of this glorious work. He has never since suspected that it was delusion, but has mostly since enjoyed.
'The soul's calm sunshine, and the heart-felt joy,
Which earth can't give, and which earth can't destroy.'
And he has ever since expressed an ardent zeal to promote this work."
"February 4, 1802.
"The subject of this letter is the first meeting in Iredell, called the Third Creek meeting; on this I have nothing different from Mr. Hall's statement, except these remarks: 'That persons who had obtained a religious education, and were moral in their general deportment, continued longer under convictive impressions than others who were ignorant and immoral; but the former had greatly the advantage in the regularity of their exercises, and in the facility and perspicuity with which they communicated them. And that, though very young and bashful persons might pray and exhort well under the first exercises or impressions, yet they seldom or never succeed so well in future. And that, though very young people have gone as far as education or genius could go, yet I have never seen them go beyond. It is indeed saying a great deal to assert that they have gone so far.' "
"March 17, 1802.
"The subject of this is the meeting at Cross-roads, in Iredell. The extract not noticed by Mr. Hall, is that a system of rules was agreed to by the ministers for the more uniform conducting of the work. These rules are:--
"1. That persons exercised and crying for mercy, should neither be disturbed with prayer nor exhortation, unless when they requested it,  or were verging to despair, or becoming careless without gaining consolation.
"2. That when consolation came, thanks should be given; yet not in such terms as if conversion and salvation were entirely certain; but only in a judgment of charity hopefully begun, and to be manifested by a future humble active course of obedience to all the divine commandments. These rules were suggested by viewing the conduct of some, who seemed to push impressed persons too hastily along, and hazard the mistaking of convictions for conversion. Here too much caution cannot be taken; for, on the one hand, is danger of kindling sparks, and on the other, of establishing a righteousness of our own, or of getting confidence or consolation that comes not from the comforter. To these two rules might have been added two more. 1. Never to make it an object in prayer, preaching or exhortation, to excite bodily affections; for, in this sense, bodily exercise profiteth little. It is not essential to true religion, and is even now but an incidental circumstance which the wisdom of God is directing to purposes most important indeed. 2. That young people, and especially children, who had spoken feelingly and sensibly under their first impressions, should not be pushed forward by their friends to speak again, after these impressions were abated or gone.
"Opposers here had time to combine, and show themselves. They were rather sentimentally than really united. One class were infidels, curiosity brought them, they laughed at the disputes of Christians, and cared little about them. Another class were the Associates--they were in angry earnest, and wished for disputation. Another class were of the baser sort, low, vulgar drunkards, buffoons and debauchees. These several classes were seldom opposed otherwise than by prayer."
"April 2d, 1802.
"The subject of this is the meeting at New Providence.
"Extract, not in Mr. Hall's Narrative. At this meeting has been demolished an infidel objection that only weak nerves and minds are affected in this work. Here I saw prostrate, a young man, remarkable for the robustness of his body, and energy of his mind, and for opposition resolute and determined. 'O God,' were his very words, 'and must I shrink now? Must I lie here an  humble spectacle to the gazing crowd?' After a pause, 'O God, have mercy:'--but after another--'Did I ever ask it before? No! but often for curses.' Another young man, the largest in the Assembly, was stricken down. But the most remarkable of all was a gentleman of a strong constitution, and a mind enlightened, and enlarged by science, and knowledge of the world--and in the school of infidelity, a master. This gentleman I saw soon after he was struck. He passed a night in horrors indescribable. I heard him declare the next morning that he believed this to be a supernatural work; and urged in proof the first of the above young men, 'whom I know,' said he, 'to have both strength of nerves, and energy of mind; and yet he fell.'
"His own Narrative first obtained from another, April 27, 1802, and afterwards directly from himself, May 22, is in my letter-book, and is exactly as follows."
"I was," said he, "nearly a confirmed deist; and though religiously educated, despised religion until about four weeks ago.
"About that time a large meeting was held at Providence. I had the curiosity to attend. For nearly four days I continued on the ground, though often determined to leave it without any unusual impressions, except what were occasioned by the cries of the distressed. Although at some times I prayed to be religiously impressed, I never was more careless and hardened in my life until Monday evening, when sitting in Mr.--'s tent, reflecting on the strength of my body, and happy state of mind, notwithstanding my fatigue and want of rest, I was at once struck with an unusual sensation in my heart, which in a little time pervaded my chest in general. I felt no pain, but apprehended immediate death. I endeavored to remove it by walking, but in vain. Having returned to the tent, the sensation pervaded my whole body, and convulsions and involuntary gnashing of teeth ensued. Instantaneously these ceased, and I became as one dead, unable to move. While this continued, which was said to be about two hours, I experienced a dreadful gloom, and confused horrors of mind, but had no particular view of my sins. This resemblance of death was succeeded by other convulsions, and again I felt quiet; and until morning experienced more dreadful horrors, which increased as  my bodily strength returned. When the exercise of my bodily organs was tolerably recovered, my horrors ceased without my being able to assign the particular cause of their removal. My first reflections were how I could possibly make a public profession of religion, and exhort as others were doing. A plan was immediately suggested how I might avoid it, which was to attribute all I had felt to fits; and say I had been subject to them before. This, however, I immediately detected as a suggestion of the devil, and discarded, resolving to love God and profess the religion of Jesus Christ, let the consequence be what it would. I then began to inquire what could be the cause of these new and sudden resolutions; for, thought I, it is scarcely possible, that I, who have been one of the most abandoned sinners, could experience a change of heart, without being more dreadfully humbled for my sins. I then indeed saw that they were great and of a most aggravated kind, being committed against so much light and goodness. And although I could not feel humbled for them as I wished, and as I know I ought, yet the glory, wisdom, justice, grace, and condescension of God, as displayed in the device of salvation through a mediator, broke in upon my mind. My soul was filled with admiration and love, at the fulness and freeness of his grace in Christ. My heart acquiesced in this glorious way of salvation, and my soul was drawn out in love to the holy and blessed Jesus. Never before did I know anything of true joy, and blessed be God, for this week past, he has permitted me to enjoy his smiles almost without interruption. But I am not satisfied, and at some times am led to fear the whole is a delusion but glory to God if it should be so; it is an incomparable sweet one. O! how sweet to contemplate the glorious character of Almighty God, and his infinite love to sinners through his dear Son. I am indeed often jealous of my own heart, and this often leads me to examine, with great care, my exercises, and compare them with the word of God; and the gracious experience mentioned in other good books. And if I am not greatly deceived, I can freely renounce all that is most dear to me in the world, for Christ and his religion. I pray the Lord may enable me to persevere. I desire to thank him I have been enabled to day, at court, to silence near a dozen of my old deistical companions, by stating to them my own experience. My case evaded all their objections, and they appeared to be struck with solemnity and alarm."
 "Connected with the foregoing, which I had from the gentleman's own hand, is the following, which I had from the hand of my friend and neighbor, the Rev. John Carrigan, and also from the lips of three other clergymen, who were eye and ear-witnesses. To render the account more authentic, I have made no alterations in it, and indeed I saw no need to make any.
"SAMUEL E. M'CORKLE."
"North Carolina, Cabarrus County, May 29, 1802.
"REV. SIR,--I here transmit you a short, but I think important, statement of facts, to which I had the pleasure of being an eye and ear-witness.
"On a late sacramental occasion, in a neighboring society, where I had the happiness of attending, my attention was frequently excited afresh by new and extraordinary instances of awakening. None, however, appeared so pointedly to arrest the public mind as that of a certain gentleman, who experienced his first impressions on Sabbath evening. His own declaration was, that he was sensibly struck in the forehead, as if by the end of a person's finger. He, supposing the stroke to be of the apoplectic kind, became alarmed with the view of instant death--he earnestly desired to have blood drawn, crying out, 'I cannot live.' His alarm of death gradually abating, he spent the night almost in silence; but still disbelieved it to be the work of God's spirit.
"On Monday morning I was awaked by his bitter and piercing cries at a distance. When I went to him, the crowd (many of whom were in tears) was listening to his lamentation, which was to the following purport:--'O God, what a night I have spent in struggling against thy spirit; I have been an opposer and a despiser of this work; I came here with no better design yesterday morning, leaving my wife and children without calling them together for prayer, or even a wholesome advice; I would not let them come; I thought I was strong; I so despised the work and its friends as to begrudge it my presence; I had philosophized upon it, and could account for it all to my satisfaction, and that of my deistical friends with whom I had the greatest happiness for ten years past. But where did that philosophy come from, that struck me in the forehead yesterday; O God, what a creature have I been; and yet in thy unbounded  goodness thou hast taken hold of me; O the unbounded goodness of God; O the unbounded goodness of God; O the unbounded goodness of God; when I came here yesterday morning I could not have prayed before four persons, or sung a piece of a hymn: no, the fact was I would not have done it; but now I could wish the world to hear me; O my friends, it is the work of God, it is the work of God; O yes it is; I have heard of Christians loving one another, and of one person feeling interested for the salvation of their fellow-sinners, but I never knew what it meant, or even believed that there could be such a thing till now;' pausing awhile he added: 'what a change has taken place in my mind since yesterday morning; my wife will be glad to see it, and all the friends of Jesus will rejoice with us; O God, may these impressions continue; I am afraid of high professions, but am constrained to acknowledge, from my present feelings, that if this world with all its glory was in my offer, I would not receive it as an inducement to exchange my present state for that in which I was yesterday; I came here and I knew not what brought me, for I confess I had not the approbation of my own will; I came not to hear sermon, and when I was here I tried to hear as little as I could; but God has laid on me his hand in mercy, when I was not seeking him.' His importunate exercises in prayer and exhortation, should they be all noted, would fill many pages; but I have noted his soliloquy in the above lines, as that through which we may take the most immediate view of the soul's exercises, when under the convictive operations of God's spirit. The gentleman has the advantages of a liberal education, and has always, so far as I have been acquainted, supported a good moral character; but till that period, by his own confession, had never suspected that there was any reality in religion, but scoffed at such pretensions. I suppose he is a little above forty years of age."
"May 28, 1802.
"I have just returned from a general meeting at Waxhaws in South Carolina, which commenced on Friday 21st instant, and closed on the ensuing Tuesday.
"About twenty ministers of various denominations attended, one hundred and twenty wagons, twenty carts, and eight carriages, and by a rough computation about three thousand five hundred  persons, of whom more than one hundred were exercised on the occasion, few of whom received the sensible comfort of religion. I am happy that I attended, because I have returned with answers to two or three objections which were made here, against the least degree of divine agency in this work. These objections originated from facts that had taken place at two common sacramental occasions, which I had just before attended--one in the vicinity--the other at home. At the first of these the opposers were numerous, wretched, restless and daring. They cursed, and scoffed, and threatened, and fortified themselves with ardent spirits to prevent the stroke, or animate for opposition. And yet not one of them was struck down. At the other sacrament a number of females were afflicted, but not one man. These circumstances could not escape observation, united with another, viz., that it is at the close of all our meetings, when the body is debilitated and the mind impressed with a long series of dreadful sights and sounds, that by far the greater number fall.
"At Waxhaws I saw these objections vanish away. About twenty persons fell the first day, the far greater number throughout the whole occasion were men, and few opposers escaped; not less than twelve of the most notorious fell. The second person that I saw struck was a man who had boasted that he would not fall. However, struck he was, fled, fell, was found, and brought to a tent where I saw him, and heard him cry for mercy. Curiosity had compelled another to attend, and the fear of falling had induced him to drink freely: so that it was doubtful when he was struck down, what was the true cause. Time determined. I saw him twelve hours after, and he was trying, in ardent language, to express his repentance, love, joy, gratitude, resolution, and hope. I saw another soon after he had fallen. His companion was gazing on. A respectable bystander told me that they were racing horses into the encampment that morning, that they were swearing and talking profanely, that the fallen had boasted that nothing but his bottle should ever bring him down, and that he would not for the value of the whole camp be degraded by falling for anything else. Another was struck down, and by one of the ministers (who told me) he was urged to pray. This he peremptorily refused. He was urged again, and then declared that he would rather be damned than pray. Such a comment on the enmity and pride of the human heart I never heard before. After lying all night on the ground, he crept away the next morning, and I heard of him no more.
"A remarkable occurrence took place on my return, not far from  the encampment. A young man was exercised in a thick wood, he was found, and then called for his relatives and neighbors, to whom he gave a very ardent exhortation. His exercises were joyful, as they respected himself; but became painful when his thoughts turned on his thoughtless or opposing relatives and neighbors. But the most singular circumstance was his own solemn declaration, that he had experienced this painful work in that very wood long before he had ever seen it in others; and therefore he cried out with unusual animation, 'O my friends, this work is the work of God, and not sympathy, as some of you suppose.'
"Narrative of Proceedings at Jersey Settlement, Rowan County,North Carolina.
"June, 4-8, 1802.
"A sermon was delivered on Friday to a large, thoughtless, disorderly crowd, which became gradually composed and serious, until Monday, which was the most solemn day that my eyes ever beheld. Near three thousand persons attended, and of these near three hundred were exercised throughout the occasion, and perhaps not fewer than the half of them on Monday.
"Nothing very unusual at such meetings appeared, until Sunday evening, when a stout negro-woman, who had been all day mocking the mourners, fell; and fell in a state of horror and despair that baffles description. In this state, she continued with intervals, for three hours. I viewed her all the time, and it was impossible for my imagination to conceive of her being more tormented had she actually been in hell. She often roared out, 'O hell! hell! hell! Thy pangs have seized me! O torment! torment! What torments me! Hell can't be worse. Let me go there at once. It is my dreadful doom.' She said she saw hell-flames below, herself hung over by a thread, and a sharp, bright sword drawn to cut it through. Her exertions, at this moment, nor angel nor devil could describe. Two stout negro-men were no match for her struggles. I thought of the man among the tombs with his legion. Such an exercise I never beheld, and I have seen not less than a thousand. No one that saw it, ever beheld anything that would stand in comparison. At intervals she cried, 'O for mercy! but what have I to do with mercy? No mercy for poor miserable me. Hope, however,  began to prevail, and at last she shouted, 'Glory, glory,' as loud, and as long as she had roared out, 'Hell-torment' before. 'Astonishing,' said she, 'I have mocked the mourners, boasted that I could stand, been in hell, and, O praise God, praise Him, praise Him, He has brought me out. Never, never, let me forget to love, and praise, and serve my God, my Redeemer.'
"Very different, but less noticeable was another exercise on Monday. After a sermon and two exhortations, arose, with trembling and wild consternation, a man who adjured the preachers before God, to say on their conscience, whether they did believe the necessity of these convictions which they had been urging. The whole assembly was struck with solemn astonishment. The preachers, after a pause, said with one voice, 'We do, we do believe it.' He then turned to the assembly, and begged of those who had felt conviction, to pray for him, and others who had not. He sat down. An awful silence ensued, and then a prayer was performed for them. When this scene ended, he rose, and called on all who had not felt conviction, to join with him in prayer for themselves. After a short, pathetic prayer, he retired. I afterwards conversed with him. He said that he had never suspected our sincerity, but wished to have the assembly impressed with our public declaration; that his first feeling was a bodily sensation rising from his bowels toward his breast, and that with this sensation arose his resolution to speak, and an impulse irresistible to execute it. And certain am I that, had he studied for a year, he could have devised no plan that would have produced such a solemn effect on the assembly. In the evening he was severely exercised, and obtained as much consolation as, in his own words, 'such a sinner could expect.' 'This,' said he, 'is the chief ground of my consolation, that I feel resolutions made with a temper which I never experienced before. I think I feel that I am acting from principles, and that I feel the principles from which I act.' This man possessed a large portion of natural understanding, and a liberal education, but regrets that he has been too long wandering through the wilds of infidelity and intemperance. He has firmly resolved to abandon his old companions, and choose new ones, and be another man. May God enable him so to do.
"What wonders are doing around us! What think you of a wedding, a gay giddy bride, and a severe exercise on her bridal day? All this has happened in the vicinity of this meeting, and but a few days before it, I conversed with the bride. She said she had thought seriously of this work before; but was not, when struck,  thinking seriously about anything. She was struck soon after the ceremony was performed, and struck in such an awful manner, that for some time she knew not what was the matter. Her friends were prodigiously alarmed, and their mirth turned into sober sadness. She at last obtained a little consolation, and told me she was earnestly seeking for more. In the vicinity of this place is a man of mid-age, who was struck in his bed; and a young woman, who experienced all this work in secret five or six years before ever she saw it in others. I know her, and believe that she abhors a lie.
"Westfield, August 9, 1802. To Mr. Langdon in Salisbury, Rowan County, N. Carolina.
A True Account of a Great Meeting held in the District of Spartanburgh, South Carolina.
"Abbeville (S. C.), July 7th, 1802.
"MY FRIEND:--I have just returned from Nazareth, where I have seen and heard things which no tongue can tell, no pen can paint, no language can describe, or of which no man can have a just conception, until he has seen, heard, and felt. I am willing that you should have a perfect detail of all the circumstances attending this meeting; and of all occurrences which there took place. But you must accept the acknowledgments of my inadequacy to draw a just representation; yet, as far as I may be able, I will now give you an account of some things.
"The meeting was appointed some months since by the Presbytery, and commenced on Friday, the 2d inst. The grove wherein the camp was pitched was near the water of Tyger River; and being in a vale which lay between two hills gently inclining towards each other, was very suitably adapted to the purpose. The first day was taken up in encampment until two o'clock, when divine service commenced with a sermon by the Rev. John B. Kennedy. He was succeeded by the Rev. William Williamson, in an address explanatory of the nature and consequences of such meetings. The assembly was then dismissed. After some short time, service commenced again with a sermon by the Rev. James Gilleland; who was followed by the Rev. Robert Wilson, in a very serious and solemn exhortation. Afterwards the evening was spent in singing and prayer alternately. About sundown the people  were dismissed to their respective tents. By this time the countenances of all began to be shaded by the clouds of solemnity, and to assume a very serious aspect. At ten o'clock two young men were lying speechless, motionless, and sometimes to all appearance, except in the mere act of breathing, dead. Before day, five others were down; these I did not see. The whole night was employed in reading and commenting upon the word of God; and also in singing, praying and exhorting; scarcely had the light of the morning sun dawned on the people, ere they were engaged in what may be called family worship. The adjacent tents collecting in groups, here and there, all round the whole line. The place of worship was early repaired to by a numerous throng. Divine service commenced at eight by one of the Methodist brethren, whom I do not recollect. He was followed by the Rev. Mr. Shackleford, of the Baptist profession. Singing, praying and exhorting by the Presbyterian clergymen continued until two o'clock, when an intermission of some minutes was granted, that the people might refresh themselves with water, &c. By this time, the audience became so numerous, that it was impossible for all to crowd near enough to hear one speaker; although the ground rising above the stage theatrically, afforded aid to the voice. Hence, the assembly divided, and afterwards preaching was performed at two stages. An astonishing and solemn attention in the hearers, and an animating and energetic zeal in the speakers, were now everywhere prevailing. Service commenced half after two by the Rev. John Simpson at one stage, and at the other, by the Rev. James M'Elhenney, who were succeeded by the Rev. Francis Cummings. After these sermons, fervent praying, &c., were continued until, and through the night, in which time many were stricken, and numbers brought to the ground.
"The next morning (Sabbath morning), a still higher, if possible, more engaged and interesting spirit pervaded the whole grove; singing and praying echoed from every quarter until eight o'clock, when divine service commenced again at both stages, before two great and crowded assemblies. The action sermons were delivered by the Rev. Robert Wilson, at one stage, and the Rev. William Cummings Davis at the other. I did not hear Mr. Wilson. But Mr. Davis's was one of the most popular orthodox gospel sermons that I ever heard. No sketch, exhibited in words, would be adequate to portray the appearance of the audience under this discourse. Imagine to yourself thousands under a sense of the greatest possible danger, anxious to be informed in all that related to their  dearest interests, in the presence of a counsellor, who, laboring with all his efforts, should be endeavoring to point out the only way to security; and you will have some faint conception of this spectacle.
"Thence ensued the administration of the Lord's Supper. To the communion sat down about four hundred persons. It was a matter of infinite satisfaction, to see on this occasion the members of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches united; all owning and acknowledging the same God, the same Saviour, the same Sanctifier, and the same Heaven. We are sorry to add that the Baptists refused to join; whether their objections were reasonably justifiable, I shall not presume to say.
"The evening exercises, although greatly interrupted by the intemperance of the weather, progressed as usual, until about dark; when there commenced one of the most sublime, awfully interesting and glorious scenes which could possibly be exhibited on this side of eternity. The penetrating sighs, and excruciating struggles of those under exercise; the grateful exultations of those brought to a sense of their guilty condition, and to a knowledge of the way to salvation; mingled with the impressions which are naturally excited by the charms of music and the solemnity of prayer on such occasions; and to all this added the nature of the scenery, the darkness of night and the countenances of the spectators, speaking in terms more expressive than language, the sympathy, the hope and the fear of their hearts, were sufficient to bow the stubborn neck of infidelity, silence the tongue of profanity, and melt the heart of cold neglect, though hard as adamant. This scene continued through the night. Monday morning dawned big with the fate of its importance. The morning exercises were conducted as usual. About half past seven the assembly met the ministers at the stage, and service commenced by the Rev. Mr. Waddel. After which ensued singing, exhorting and a concert of prayer. At length the business closed with an address, energetic and appropriate, by the Rev. Francis Cummins. In the course of this day many were stricken, numbers of whom fell.
"I cannot but say that the parting was one of the most moving and affecting scenes which presented itself throughout the whole. Families, who had never seen each other until they met on the ground, would pour forth the tears of sympathy, like streams of waters; many friendships were formed, and many attachments contracted, which, although the persons may never meet again, shall never be dissolved. Not one quarter of an hour before I mounted  my horse to come away, I saw one of the most beautiful sights which ever mortal beheld. It would not only have afforded pleasure to the plainest observer, but the profoundest philosopher would have found it food for his imagination. The case to which I allude was the exercise of Miss Dean, one of the three sisters who fell near the close of the work. Her reflections presented mostly objects of pleasure to her view. But sometimes, for the space of a minute, she would lose them; the consequence of which was painful distress. By the very features of her face I could see when her afflictive sensations approached, as plain as ever I saw the sun's light obscured by the over-passing of clouds. In her happy moments she awakened in my recollection Milton's lively picture of Eve when in a state of innocence.
"Another extraordinary case occurred at the very moment of departure. Two men disputing, one for, the other against the work, referred their contest to a clergyman of respectability, who happened to be passing that way. He immediately took hold of the hand of the unbeliever, and thus addressed him: 'If you were in your heart's desire to wait on the means of grace, God would show you the truth. You may expect mercy to visit you; but remember, my hand for it, it will cost you something; a stroke would not now come at a successless hour.' Scarcely had the words dropped from his lips, when the man was on the ground, pleading for an interest in the kingdom of heaven, and begging pardon of God for his dishonoring him and the cause of religion, through unbelief. I understood the man to be a pious man, and his hesitations of a religious and conscientious kind. The other men who had been in the crowd, where many were lying under the operations of the work, attempted to run off. One, leaving his hat in his haste, ran about twenty or thirty paces and fell on his face. His shrieks declared the terrors and anguish under which he labored. The other ran a different course about fifty yards, and fell.
"The number of those who were stricken could not be ascertained, but I believe it to be much greater than any one would conceive. On Sabbath night, about twelve or one o'clock, I stood alone on a spot whence I could hear and see all over the camp; and found that the work was not confined to one, two or three places, but overspread the whole field; and in some large crowds the ground appeared almost covered. In the course of one single prayer, of duration about ten minutes, twelve persons fell to the ground: the majority of whom declared, in terms audible and explicit, that they never prayed before.
"There attended on this occasion thirteen Presbyterian preachers, viz.: Messrs. Simpson, Cummins, Davis, Cunningham, Wilson, Waddel, Williamson, Brown, Kennedy, Gilleland, sen'r., M'Elhenney, Dixon and Gilleland, junior; and, an unknown number of Methodists and Baptists.
"The multitude on this occasion far exceeded anything which had come under my observation. There were various conjectures of the numbers present; some allowed three, some four, some five, some six, some seven, and some eight thousand. I had not been in the habit of seeing such multitudes together, and therefore do not look upon myself capable of reckoning anyways accurately on the subject. But I do candidly believe five thousand would not be a vague conjecture. The district of Spartanburgh, where the meeting was held, contains no less than twelve thousand souls. Men of information who reside therein, said, to one who might be travelling, the country would appear almost depopulated, and hesitated not in the least to say two thirds of the inhabitants were present. Now supposing only one third to have attended, from that district itself, there would have been four thousand. Besides, there were multitudes from the districts of Union, York, Laurens and Greenville; Numbers from Pendleton, Abbeville, Chester and Newbury, and some from Green, Jackson, Elbert and Franklin counties, of the State of Georgia. Of carriages, the number was about two hundred, including wagons and all other carriages.
"In a thinking mind, an approach to the spot engendered awful and yet pleasing reflection. The ideas which necessarily struck the mind were, thousands in motion to a point, where to meet, tell, hear, see and feel the mighty power of God. Believe me, sir, no composition can exaggerate the spirit of one of these occasions, although facts may be misrepresented. For a lively miniature, I refer you to an extract of a letter, contained in a book lately published and entitled, 'Surprising Accounts;' where this expression is used, 'The slain of the Lord were scattered over the fields.'
"I cannot omit mentioning an idea expressed by Mr. Williamson. After taking a view of the general prevalency of dissipation and slothful neglect in religious affairs, he concluded, saying, 'These works appear like the last efforts of the Deity to preserve his church, and promote the cause of religion on this earth.' To see the brilliancy and sublimity of this idea, we need only recur to the state of society for a few years back; especially in the southern States of United America, when and where, Satan with all his influence appeared to be let loose and was going about like a roaring lion  seeking whom he might devour. This extraordinary work carries in itself, demonstratively, the truth of the Christian religion. Men who fall, and many there are who have paid no attention to the holy scriptures, yea, even infidels of the deepest dye, cry out 'their sinful state by nature,' 'their alienation from God,' 'and man's incapacity to satisfy the justice of the law under which he stands condemned,' 'and of course the absolute necessity of a Redeemer.' When receiving comfort from this last consideration, I heard none crying for Mahomed, Bramma, Grand Lama or Hamed; none but Christ was their healing balm, in him alone was all reliance fixed, on him alone was all dependence placed.
"It would be exceedingly difficult to draw an intelligible representation of the effects of this work upon the human body. Some are more easily and gently wrought than others; some appear wholly wrapped in solitude; while others cannot refrain from pouring out their whole souls in exhortations to those standing round; different stages, from mild swoons to convulsive spasms, may be seen; the nerves are not unfrequently severely cramped; the subjects generally exhibit appearances as though their very hearts would burst out of their mouths: the lungs are violently agitated, and all accompanied with an exhalation; they universally declare that they feel no bodily pain at the moment of exercise, although some complain of a sore breast and the effects of a cramping, after the work is over; the pulse of all whom I observed beat quick and regular, the extremities of the body are sometimes perceptibly cold. In short, no art or desire would imitate the exercise. No mimic would be able to do justice to the exhibition. This demonstrates the error of the foolish supposition of its beingfeigned.I will conclude, my dear Sir, acknowledging that all I have here written is incompetent to give you any complete idea of the work. Therefore to you and all who wish to be informed, I say, come, hear, see, and feel.
I am your's, respectfully,
"EBENEZER H. CUMMINS."
As the attention to religion spread wider, and became more general, the variety and degree of the bodily exercises greatly increased in the Carolinas, and renewedly called the attention of the considerate and judicious. The extravagances of some parts of the West never found their way east of the Alleghanies, such as running back and forth, barking like a dog, and uttering  inhuman sounds, like nothing imaginable. Some individuals, that had been affected with these extravagances, visited their friends east of the great mountains, and, during the meetings they attended, gave some specimens, apparently involuntary, of the manner of these peculiarities: happily the example was not contagious. Loss of strength, swoons, outcries, sobs, and groans, and violent spasmodic jerkings of the body, became in a degree common through the Carolinas.
A venerable clergyman now living (1846) was affected by the jerks a few times, and the account he gives will probably help to a right understanding of those singular affections. He was licensed in the spring of 1801, and went soon after to preach statedly at Bethany, in Caswell county, or Rattlesnake, as it was often called--(the congregation is not now known by either name, having been divided into Gilead and Yanceyville)--and with it associated Greers or Upper Hico. The interest on the subject of religion had been felt through Granville and Caswell. The bodily exercises were common, but had not gone to great excess or extravagance. He had attended a communion season at Bethany on a certain occasion with much enjoyment, and, on his way home to his residence, tarried a night at the house of Mr. James Greer. As the hour of evening worship approached, he felt deeply impressed with a sense of the presence of Almighty God in his holiness and majesty. God's purity and grace appeared wonderful. This sense increased upon him during worship. After worship, the sense of the presence of a pure and holy God overawed him: it seemed to him he should sink under it. He felt astonished that God, such a God, should be so good to such an unworthy creature. He walked out to get by himself, and started to go across a little piece of corn to a small retired valley. Before he could reach the retirement he was seized in a most surprising manner. Suddenly he began leaping about, first forward, then sideways, and sometimes, standing still, would swing backward and forward "see-saw fashion." This motion of his body was both involuntary and irresistible at the commencement; afterwards, there was scarcely a disposition to resist, and in itself the motion was neither painful nor unpleasant. The people in the house heard the noise, and came running to his relief, and carried him in their arms back to the dwelling. The fit lasted about an hour, during which time, if the attendants let go their hold, he would jerk about the room as he had done in the field. Gradually it passed away and he retired to rest, humbled at the exhibition he had made.
On the next day he felt more ashamed of the matter, as he had fully believed that, at the first outset at least, the jerks could be resisted. As he rode away, he felt mortified, and wished he had charged the people where he lodged to make no mention of the matter, believing that it would make against him, and that he could and would resist them for the future. But, on that very day, while visiting a neighbor, without any special excitement, talking about the meeting, he was suddenly seized again, and jerked across the room, and continued under the influence of the exercise for about fifteen minutes. He went home very much confounded.
He once afterwards had a return of the exercise in the pulpit at Hawfields. Mr. Hodge, who had once been the preacher there, and had been so prominent in the revival in the West, was visiting the congregation. After the services of public worship were concluded, sitting with him in the pulpit, he began to inquire of his old friend about the revival in the West. Suddenly the exercises came on, but soon passed away. He did not then believe them, nor has he since considered them, as being of the nature of true religion, or as having any necessary connection with it; but, judging from his own experience, and what he saw in others, he concluded there was no capability of resisting them, as they came on, nor any disposition to do so, after they had begun.
By degrees the bodily exercises lost their hold upon the public mind as being a part of religious experience; persons who had no sense of religion were seized by them both at places of public worship and while about their ordinary business, and sometimes were left as unconcerned as ever, and at other times appeared to be greatly irritated by them; and the preachers generally not only discountenanced them, but openly opposed; and long before the attention to religion ceased, these exercises were confined to a few neighborhoods in North Carolina, and became connected with irregularities that required the censure of the church, which in a few cases was inflicted, as appears from the records of the Synod of the Carolinas for the years 1809 and 1810.
As a specimen of the extent to which the exercises were carried in the West about the time the Presbyterian ministers set themselves in opposition, the following narrative or extract from a diary is presented, taken from the Virginia Religious Magazine for 1807, published in Lexington, Virginia. The narrative was drawn up by Rev. John Lyle, then living in Kentucky.
"Saturday, Nov. 6th, 1805.--I went to the Beach meeting-house, where a meeting was appointed by the Presbyterians and  Methodists, called in the country, the Union Meeting. There I heard a sermon delivered by a Mr. N--, who has lately been licensed by the Cumberland Presbytery, and is said to be a man of learning. There was nothing remarkable in his sermon except his pressing exhortations to the people to pray out, shout, dance, &c., in time of divine worship. He told them to shout, to pray aloud, or do whatever duty they felt an impression to do. Said he, 'I believe it will not offend God, and I am sure it will not offend me.' The people, though prior to this seemingly careless and inattentive, were roused to action,--shouted, prayed aloud, exhorted, and jerked till near the setting of the sun.
"I am well aware that it is impossible to describe an assembly thus agitated, so as to give those who have never seen the like, a just and adequate idea of it; I would just observe that though I had been accustomed to seeing strong and indescribable bodily agitations in the upper counties of Kentucky, and had frequently seen the jerks, yet all this observation and experience did not prepare my mind to behold without trepidation and horror the awful scenes now exhibited before me. The jerks were by far the most violent and shocking I had ever seen. The heads of the jerking patients flew with wonderous quickness from side to side in various directions, and their necks doubled like a flail in the hands of a thresher. Their faces were distorted and black, as if they were strangling, and their eyes seemed to flash horror and distraction. Numbers of them roared out in sounds the most terrific. The people camped in wagons and tents round the stand. I returned to the Rev. William McGee's."
The like scenes were expected the next day. Mr. Stone, the leader of the New Lights, was there, but was not permitted to preach. Such scenes as these brought the bodily exercise into entire disrepute with the sober and sedate, and the Presbyterian Church generally; and the work of revival went on without these where they were vigorously opposed.
Such scenes never prevailed in North Carolina; the nearest approach was in one neighborhood in Lincoln County, to which sufficient reference is made in the minutes of the Synod. These things are recorded, both as matters of historical fact, and as warning against yielding to irregularities, however specious their appearance.
The revival in North Carolina, separated from all these objectionable things, was extensive and most salutary in its effects in reforming the life and elevating religious and moral principle, and promoting the domestic and civil welfare.
We have no written account of the progress of the revival in the lower part of the State, drawn up by the hand of one of the actors. In default of this account, which would have been highly prized, we are guided by the accounts from other sources, and particularly by the statements of Dr. Hall, the author of the pamphlet, which makes a part of this chapter. He visited the bounds of Fayetteville Presbytery, and made report to Synod in the year 1810. From these sources it appears that the revival spread rapidly and most extensively through the Scotch settlements; that the bodily exercises prevailed to some degree for a time, but never reached the objectionable height they did in some places in the West, and were probably more circumscribed than in the upper country. The ministers that were living in that section of the State at that time, were Samuel Stanford, who is reported in the records of Synod for 1799, as preaching on Black River, and Brown, Marsh, Angus, M'Diarmid, at Barbacue Bluff and McCoy's; John Gillespie, at Centre, Laurel Hill and Raft Swamp; Robert Tate, South Washington and Rockfish. Murdoch McMillan and Malcolm M'Nair were licensed in 1801, and reported as ordained in 1803. Nearly all of these were young men; and Mr. Hall testifies that they were active, laborious and successful in their Master's work. The existing churches were greatly enlarged, and new ones formed, so that previous to 1812, the ministers and churches of the Scotch settlements, and those between them and the Ocean, were sufficiently numerous to form a Presbytery. Some eminently useful ministers in this work had but comparatively a short race, as M'Nair; others are living to this day, as the venerable Robert Tate.
As the fruits of the revival, many ministers of the gospel were raised up; two men in the middle age left their occupations and prepared for the ministry, and became eminently useful. One of them, Mr. Peacock, died in the year 1830; the other, Mr. McIntyre, who commenced his preparations for the ministry in his forty-fifth year, still lives, and is able occasionally to preach, having continued his most active ministerial life till within a few years. This is noticed by Mr. Hall in an honorable manner.
Throughout Carolina, wherever the revival prevailed, the community received unspeakable blessings, and the church, in succeeding ages, can but remember with thankfulness, the mercy of God, and bear in her heart and preserve in her records the names of men whom God honored as the instruments of so many blessings to their fellow-men.-Foote, William Henry, 1794-1869, Sketches of North Carolina, Historical and Biographical, Illustrative of the Principles of a Portion of Her Early Settlers, pages 367-413
In Search Of James McGready
The name of James McGready is recognized widely among students of the Second Great Awakening in American History, as being center to the effort of spiritual renew during that period. His efforts in Logan County, in southern Kentucky on the Gasper River and Red River, are often the focus of historians who seek to understand how the Kentucky Revival began. It has been the pleasure of this writer to visit the location of the Red River Meetinghouse, an old log cabin that has been rebuilt several times over the years to signify the great work that was done there at the turn of the 19th century.
According to local histories in Henderson, Kentucky, James McGready was performing marriages in Henderson county as early as 1800, but did not move to the township until 1809. He died December 28, 1815, and his funeral was held in the log courthouse. His funeral was preached by Rev. Scott of Vincennes, Indiana. He was buried in the City Cemetery, now referred to as Old Fernwood.
After much research, and visits to Henderson County's library, it has come to light that the old Cemetery was moved due to expansion of the township. In the process, the tombs of Old Fernwood were opened, and those interred were moved to the new Fernwood Cemetery, further south of downtown. GPS: 37.825523,-87.590605. According to present records, no grave in the new cemetery reflect the burial of James McGready in the area where the bodies were re-interred in the new cemetery. It is supposed by town managers that the body James McGready was either never marked, or those in charge of moving the body to new cemetery was negligent in seeing that the body was moved. Further research continues, and there is still hope that something will come to light to designate the burial place of James McGready. Suffice it to say, James McGready did die in Henderson, and it is assumed that he was buried there. Photos below show the location of old Fernwood as it looked in October, 2013.
Directions To The Grave of James McGready
The Old Fernwood Cemetery was officially moved to the location of Fernwood Cemetery. All the bodies were to be exhumed and moved to Fernwood Cemetery. There is a section in it where the graves moved from the old cemetery were located in the new. For some reason, the grave of James McGready was lost in the move. Either he did not have a clear marker in the old one, or as some expect, those in charge of moving the graves to the new cemetery were negligent in making sure all the graves were moved. Hence, the McGready plot is lost to history. His remains may still rest under the sod of Old Fernwood. The photos & GPS Location below is where the old cemetery was located. Today, industry and family dwellings are located on the grounds of Old Fernwood. The old Cemetery was located in the block just north of the train tracks, between North Ingram St. and North Green St. from east to west and 4th St and 5th St. from north to south.
GPS Location Of Old Fernwood Cemetery
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Photos Taken 10.08.2013
Page Produced 11.29.2013
Courtesy of Scott Harp