How the Flood Gates of Heaven Were Opened in Answer to Believing Prayer

A. Sims

Fourth Edition--Twentieth Thousand

Zondervan Publishing House

Grand Rapids Michigan






THIS REMARKABLE man of God, who might truly be called an Apostle of revival, was born at Warren, Conn., in 1792. In all probability he was one of the most Spirit-filled ministers and marvelously used evangelists in the history of the Christian Church. For more than forty years he labored in the United States and Great Britain. Everywhere he went sinners were converted and revival fires were kindled.

The selections in this booklet are chiefly from Mr. Finney's Autobiography. They describe in his own deeply impressive style how, through reading the Bible he became convicted of sin, was some time after this soundly converted to God. and then filled with the Holy Ghost. In describing this experience, he says; "There was no fire, and no light, in the room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It did not occur to me then, nor did it for some time afterward, that it was wholly a mental state. On the contrary, it seemed to me that I saw Him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at His feet. I have always since regarded this as a most remarkable state of mind; for it seemed to me a reality, that He stood before me, and I fell down at His feet and poured out my soul to Him. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. It seemed to me that I bathed His feet with my tears.

"As I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I have ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.

"No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart. The waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, 'I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.' 1 said, 'Lord, I cannot bear any more'; yet I had no fear of death.

"In this state I was taught the doctrine of justification by faith, as a present experience. I could now see and understand what was meant by the message, 'Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.'

I could see that the moment I believed, all sense of condemnation had entirely dropped out of my mind; and that from that moment I could not feel a sense of guilt or condemnation by any effort that I could make. My sense of guilt was gone; my sins were gone; and I do not think I felt any more sense of guilt than if 1 never had sinned.

"After receiving these baptisms of the Spirit I was quite willing to preach the Gospel. Nay, 1 found that I was unwilling to do anything else. I had no longer any desire to practice law. Everything in that direction was shut up, and had no longer any attractions for me at all. I had no disposition to make money. I had no hungering and thirsting after worldly pleasures and amusements in any direction. My whole mind was taken up with Jesus and His salvation; and the world seemed to me of very little consequence. Nothing, it seemed to me, could be put in competition with the worth of souls; and no labor, I thought, could be so sweet, and no employment so exalted, as that of holding up Christ to a dying world.

"I spoke with many persons that day, and I believe the Spirit of God made lasting impressions upon every one of them. I cannot remember one whom I spoke with who was not soon after converted. Just at evening 1 called at the house of a friend, where a young man lived who was employed in distilling whiskey.

"I sat down with them to tea, and they requested me to ask a blessing. It was what I had never done. I had scarcely more than begun before the state of these young people rose before my mind, and excited so much compassion that I burst into weeping. Every one around the table sat speechless for a short time. The young man moved back from the table and rushed out of the room. He fled to his room and locked himself in, and was not seen again till the next morning, when he came out expressing a blessed hope in Christ. He has been for many years an able minister of the Gospel."



Prayer was the great secret of his revivals. Mr. Finney emphasized both private and united prayer. In speaking of the beginning of his revival work, he says: "I had been in the habit of rising early in the morning, and spending a season of prayer alone in the meeting-house; and I finally succeeded in interesting a considerable number of brethren to meet me there in the morning for a prayer-meeting. This was at a very early hour; and we were generally together long before it was light enough to see to read. One morning I had been around and called the brethren up, and when I returned to the meetinghouse but a few of them had got there. My minister was standing at the door of the church, and as I came up, all at once the glory of God shone upon and around about me, in a manner most marvelous. The day was just beginning to dawn. But all at once a light perfectly ineffable shone in my soul, that almost prostrated me to the ground. In this light it seemed as if I could see that all nature praised and worshipped God except man. This light seemed to be like the brightness of the sun in every direction. It was too intense for the eyes. I recollect casting my eyes down and breaking into a flood of tears, in view of the fact that mankind did not praise God. I think I knew something then, by actual experience, of that light that prostrated Paul on his way to Damascus. It was surely a light such as I could not have endured long.

"I used to spend a great deal of time in prayer; sometimes, I thought, literally praying 'without ceasing.' I also found it very profitable, and felt very much inclined to hold frequent days of private fasting. On those days I would seek to be entirely alone with God, and I would generally wander off into the woods, or get into the meeting-house, or somewhere away entirely by myself.

"The spirit of prayer that prevailed in those revivals was a very marked feature of them. It was common for young converts to be greatly exercised in prayer; and in some instances, so much so that they were constrained to pray whole nights, and until their bodily strength was quite exhausted, for the conversion of souls around them. There was a great pressure of the Holy Spirit upon the minds of Christians; and they seemed to bear about with them the burden of immortal souls. They manifested the greatest solemnity of mind, and the greatest watchfulness in all their words and actions. It was very common to find Christians, whenever they met in any place, instead of engaging in conversation, to fall on their knees in prayer.

Not only were prayer-meetings greatly multiplied and fully attended, not only was there great solemnity in those meetings, but there was a mighty spirit of secret prayer. Christians prayed a great deal, many of them spending many hours in private prayer. It was also the case that two or more would take the promise: 'If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven,' and make some particular person a subject of prayer; and it was wonderful to what an extent they prevailed. Answers to prayer were so manifestly multiplied on every side, that no one could escape the conviction that God was daily and hourly answering prayer.

"If anything occurred that threatened to mar the work, if there was any appearance of any root of bitterness springing up, or any tendency to fanaticism or disorder, Christians would take the alarm, and give themselves to prayer that God would direct and control all things; and it was surprising to see, to what extent, and by what means, God would remove obstacles out of the way, in answer to prayer.

"I am convinced that nothing in the whole Christian religion is so difficult, and so rarely attained, as a praying heart. Without this you are as weak as weakness itself. With it you are irresistible. This, by some would be thought a strange remark, and to savor strongly of fanaticism, But I will tell you the Church will have to turn over a new leaf on this subject, and a new lesson on the subject of prayer. Frequent seasons of secret prayer are, in my own mind, wholly indispensable to keeping up an intercourse with God. Let me say again and again, if you lose your spirit of prayer, you will do nothing, or next to nothing, though you had the intellectual endowment of an angel. I cannot contemplate a more loathsome and abominable object than an earthly-minded minister. The blessed Lord deliver and preserve His dear Church from the guidance and influence of men who. know not how to pray,"



"In regard to my own experience, I will say that unless I had the spirit of prayer I could de nothing. If even for a day or an hour I lost the spirit of grace and supplication, I found myself unable to preach with power and efficiency, or to win souls by personal conversation. In this respect my experience was what it has always been."

In recounting the beginning of one of the most powerful of his early revivals at Western New York, which spread from place to place until the awakenings were known as "The Western Revivals," Mr. Finney says: "My mind was much exercised in prayer; and I found that the spirit of prayer was prevailing, especially among the female members of the church. The wives of two of the elders of the church, I found, were almost immediately greatly exercised in prayer. Each of them had families of unconverted children; and they laid hold in prayer with an earnestness that, to me, gave promise that their families must be converted.

"It was the next week, I think, that I called in at Mr. H---'s {one of the elders) and found him pale and agitated. He said to me 'Brother Finney, I think my wife will die. She is so exercised in her mind that she cannot rest day or night, but is given up entirely to prayer. She has been all the morning,' said he, 'in her room, groaning and struggling in prayer; and I am afraid it will entirely overcome her strength.' Hearing my voice in the sitting-room, she came out from her bedroom and upon her face was a most heavenly glow. Her countenance was lighted up with a hope and joy that were plainly from heaven. She exclaimed, 'Brother Finney, the Lord has come! A cloud of mercy overhangs us all; and we shall see such a work of grace as we have never yet seen.' Her husband looked surprised, confounded, and knew not what to say. It was new to him, but not to me. I had witnessed such a scene before, and believed that prayer had prevailed; nay, I felt sure of it in my own soul."



From Western the revival spread to Rome, New York, where the work was pentecostal in character. Mr. Finney says: "The state of things in the village, and in the neighborhood round about, was such, that no one could come into the village without feeling awe-stricken with the impression that God was there in a peculiar and wonderful manner. As an illustration of this, I will relate an incident. The sheriff of the county resided in Utica. There were two courthouses in the county, one at Rome, and the other at Utica; consequently the sheriff had much business at Rome. He afterwards told me that he had heard of the state of things at Rome; and he, together with others had a good deal of laughing, in the hotel where he boarded, about what they had heard.

"But one day it was necessary for him to go to Rome. He said that he was glad to have business there; for he wanted to see for himself what it was that people talked so much about, and what the state of things really was in Rome. He drove on in his one-horse sleigh, as he told me, without any particular impression upon his mind at all, until he crossed what was called the old canal, a place about a mile, I think, from the town. He said as soon as he crossed the old canal a strange impression came over him, an awe so deep that he could not shake it off. He felt as if God pervaded the whole atmosphere. He said that this increased the whole way, till he came to the village. He stopped at Mr. F---'s hotel, and the hostler came out and took his horse. He observed, he said, that the hostler looked just as he himself felt, as if he were afraid to speak. He went into the house, and found the gentleman there with whom he had business. He said they were manifestly all so much impressed they could hardly attend to business. He said that several times, in the course of the short time he was there, he had to rise from the table abruptly, and go to the window and look out, and try to divert his attention, to keep from weeping. He observed, he said, that everybody else appeared to feel just as he did. Such an awe, such a solemnity, such a state of things, he had never had any conception of before. He hastened through with his business, and returned to Utica; but, as he said, never to speak lightly of the work at Rome again. A few weeks later, at Utica, he was hopefully converted.

"The Spirit's work was so spontaneous, so powerful and so overwhelming, as to render it necessary to exercise the greatest caution and wisdom, in conducting all the meetings, in order to prevent an undesirable outburst of feeling. They kept up a sunrise prayer-meeting for several months, and I believe for more than a year afterwards, at all seasons of the year, that was very fully attended, and was as full of interest as perhaps a prayer-meeting could well be. The moral state of the people was so greatly changed that Mr. Gillett often remarked that it did not seem like the same place. Whatever of sin was left was obliged to hide its head. No open immorality could be tolerated there for a moment. I have given only a very faint outline of what passed at Rome. A faithful description of all the moving incidents that were crowded into that revival would make a volume of itself.

"The town was full of prayer. Go where you would you heard the voice of prayer. Pass along the street, and if two or three Christians happened to be together they were praying. Wherever they met they prayed. Wherever there was a sinner unconverted, especially if he manifested any opposition, you would find some two or three brethren or sisters agreeing to make him a particular subject of prayer."

From Rome the work spread to Utica, New York, where the largest hotel in the town became a center of spiritual influence, and many were converted there. The stages, as they passed through, stopped at the hotel; and so powerful was the impression in the community that I heard of several cases of persons that just stopped for a meal, or to spend the night, being powerfully convicted and converted before they left the town. Indeed, both at this place (Utica) and in Rome, it was a common remark that nobody could be in the town, or pass through it, without being aware of the presence of God; that a divine influence seemed to pervade the place, and the whole atmosphere to be instinct with a divine life.



While at Utica, Mr. Finney visited a factory a few miles distant. "As I went through. I observed there was a good deal of agitation among those who were busy at their looms. and their mules. and other implements of work. On passing through one of the apartments. where a great number of young women were attending to their weaving. I observed a couple of them eyeing me, and speaking very earnestly to each other, and I could see that they were a good deal agitated, although they both laughed. I went slowly toward them. They saw me coming, and were evidently much excited. One of them was trying to mend a broken thread, and I observed that her hands trembled so that she could not mend it. I approached slowly, looking on each side at the machinery as I passed, but observed that this girl grew more and more agitated and could not proceed with her work. When I came within eight or ten feet of her, I looked solemnly at her. She observed it, and was quite overcome, and sank down, and burst into tears. The impression caught almost like powder, and in a few moments nearly all in the room were in tears. This feeling spread through the factory.

"The owner of the establishment was present, and seeing the state of things, he said to the superintendent, "Stop the mill, and let the people attend to religion; for it is more important that our souls should be saved than that this factory run.' The gate was immediately shut down, and the factory stopped, but where should we assemble? The superintendent suggested that the mule room was large and, the mules being run up, we could assemble there. We did so, and a more powerful meeting I scarcely ever attended. It went on with great power. The revival went through the mill with astonishing power, and in the course of a few days nearly all in the mill were hopefully converted."

From Utica the awakening spread to Auburn and Troy. In each place large numbers were saved. In speaking of the prayer atmosphere at Troy, Mr. Finney says: --'In this revival, as in those that had preceded, there was a very earnest spirit of prayer. We had a prayer-meeting from house to house, daily, at 11 o'clock. At one of those meetings I recollect that a Mr. S---, cashier of a bank in that city, was so pressed by the spirit of prayer that when the meeting was dismissed he was unable to rise from his knees, as we had all just been kneeling in prayer. He remained upon his knees, and writhed and groaned in agony. He said, 'Pray for Mr.---,' president of the bank of which he was cashier. This president was a wealthy, unconverted man. When it was seen that his soul was in travail for that man the praying people knelt down and wrestled in prayer for his conversion. As soon as the mind of Mr. S--- was so relieved that he could go home we all retired; and soon after the president of the bank, for whom we prayed, expressed hope in Christ. He had not before this, I believe, attended any of the meetings, and it was not known that he was concerned about his salvation. But the prayer prevailed, and God soon took his case in hand."

After laboring for several years in the State of New York, Mr. Finney went to Wilmington, Delaware, and then on to Philadelphia. In telling of the work of grace that followed, Mr. Finney says: "The revival spread, and took a powerful hold. All our meetings for prayer, for preaching, and for enquiry, were crowded. I labored in Philadelphia about a year and a half. In all this time there was no abatement of the revival that I could see. The converts became numerous in every part of the city; but I never had any knowledge, nor could I form any estimate of their exact number. I never had labored anywhere where I was received more cordially, and where Christians, and especialy converts appeared than they did there.



"In the spring of 1829, when the Delaware was high, the lumbermen came down with their rafts from the region of the high land, where they had been getting the lumber out during the winter. At that time there was a large tract of country, along the northern region of Pennsylvania, called by many 'the lumber region,' that extended up toward the head waters of the Delaware river. Many persons were engaged in getting out lumber there, summer and winter. Much of this lumber was floated down in the spring of the year, when the water was high, to Philadelphia. Many of the lumbermen were raising families in that region, and there was a large tract of country there unsettled and unoccupied, except by these lumbermen. They had no schools, and at that time had no churches or religious privileges at all.

"These men that came down with lumber attended our meetings, and quite a number of them were hopefully converted. They went back into the wilderness and began to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and to tell the people around them what they had seen in Philadelphia, and to exhort them to attend to their salvation. Their efforts were immediately blessed and the revival began to take hold, and to spread among those lumbermen. It went on in a most powerful and remarkable manner. It spread to such an extent that in many cases persons would be convicted and converted who had not attended any meetings, and who were almost as ignorant as heathen. Men who were getting out lumber, and were living in little shanties alone, or where two or three or more were together, would be seized with such conviction that it would lead them to wander off and inquire what they should do, and they would be converted, and thus the revival spread.

"In the spring of 1831 two or three men from this lumber region came to see me, and to inquire how they could get some ministers to go in there. They said that not less than five thousand people had been converted in that lumber region; that the revival had extended itself along for eighty miles, and there was not a single minister of the Gospel there. I have never been in that region, but from all I have ever heard about it I have regarded that as one of the most remarkable revivals that have occurred in this country. The spark that was struck into the hearts of those few lumbermen that came to Philadelphia spread over that forest and resulted in the salvation of a multitude of souls."



Three times Mr. Finney was called to Rochester, New York, and each time a great awakening swept over the city. In speaking of his first visit to the city Mr. Finney says: "The revival made a great change in the moral state and subsequent history of Rochester. The great majority of the leading men and women in the city were converted. The wife of a prominent lawyer in that city was one of the first converts. She was a woman of high standing, a lady of culture and extensive influence. Her conversion was a very marked one. The first that I saw her, a friend of hers came with her to my room, and introduced her. The lady who introduced her was a Christian woman, who had found that she was very much exercised in her mind, and persuaded her to come and see me.

"Mrs. M--- had been a gay, worldly woman, and very fond of society. She afterward told me that when I first came there she greatly regretted it, and feared there would be a revival: and a revival would greatly interfere with the pleasures and amusements that she had promised herself that winter. On conversing with her I found that the Spirit of the Lord was indeed dealing with her in an unsparing manner. She was bowed down with great conviction of sin. After considerable conversation with her, I pressed her earnestly to renounce sin, and the world, and self, and everything for Christ. I saw that she was a very proud woman, and this struck me as rather the most marked feature of her character. At the conclusion of our conversation we knelt down to pray; and my mind being full of the subject of the pride of her heart as it was manifested, I very soon introduced the text: 'Except ye be converted and become as little children ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.' I turned this subject over in prayer; and almost immediately I heard Mrs. M---, as she was kneeling by my side, repeating that text: 'Except ye be converted and become as little children--as little children--except ye be converted and become as little children.' I observed that her mind was taken with that, and the Spirit of God was pressing it upon her heart. I therefore continued to pray, holding that subject before her mind, and holding her before God as needing that very thing to be converted--to become as a little child.

"I felt that the Lord was answering prayer. I felt sure that he was doing the very work that I asked him to do. Her heart broke down, her sensibility gushed forth, and before we rose from our knees she was indeed a little child. When I stopped praying, and opened my eyes and looked at her, her face was turned up toward heaven, and the tears streaming down, and she was in the attitude of praying that she might be made a little child. She rose up, became peaceful, settled into a joyous faith, and retired. From that moment she was outspoken in her religious convictions, and zealous for the conversion of her friends. Her conversion, of course, produced much excitement among that class of people to which she belonged.

The work in Rochester took powerful hold upon the students of a high school of which the principal was a sceptic. The students attended the meetings and many of them became deeply concerned about their salvation. One morning the principal "found that his classes could not recite." When he came to have them before him, they were so anxious about their souls that they wept, and he saw that they were in such a state, that it very much confounded him. He called his associate, and told her that the young people were so exercised about their souls that they could not recite; and asked if they had not better send for Mr. Finney to give them instruction. She afterward informed me of this, and said that she was very glad to have him make the inquiry, and most cordially advised him to send for me. He did so, and the principal himself was soon hopefully converted, and nearly every person in the school. A few years since, Miss A--- informed me that more than forty persons that were then converted in that school had become ministers. A large number of them had become foreign missionaries.

The spirit of prevailing prayer came upon many of the people so that they "spent a large part of their time in prayer." One of those who did not attend the meetings but gave himself wholly to prayer was a visiting minister named Abel Clary. Mr. Finney says: "The first I knew of his being at Rochester, a gentleman who lived about a mile west of the city, called on me one day and asked me if I knew a Mr. Abel Clary. a minister. 1 told him that 1 knew him well. 'Well,' said he, 'he is at my house, and has been there for some time, and 1 don't know what to think of him.' I said, 'I have not seen him at any of our meetings.' 'No,' he replied, 'he cannot go to meetings, he says. He prays nearly all the time, day and night, and in such agony of mind that 1 do not know what to make of it. Sometimes he lies prostrate on the floor, and groans and prays in a manner that quite astonishes me.' I said to the brother, 'I understand it, please keep still. It will all come out right; he will surely prevail.

Mr. Finney says of Mr. Clary in another place, "I think it was the second Sabbath that I was at Auburn, at this time I observed in the congregation the solemn face of Mr. Clary. He looked as if he was borne down with an agony of prayer. Being well acquainted with him, and knowing the great gift of God that was upon him, the spirit of prayer, I was very glad to see him there. He sat in the pew with his brother, the doctor, who was also a professor of religion, but who had nothing by experience, I should think of his brother Abel's great power with God.

Mr. Clary, with his brother, met me at the pulpit stairs, and the doctor invited me to go home with him and have some refreshments. I did so.

"After arriving at his house we were soon summoned to the dinner table. We gathered about the table and Dr. Clary turned to his brother and said, 'Brother Abel, will you ask the blessing?' Brother Abel bowed his head and began, audibly, to ask a blessing. He had uttered but a sentence or two when he broke instantly down, moved suddenly back from the table, and fled to his chamber. The doctor supposed he had been taken suddenly ill, and rose up and followed him. In a few moments he came down and said, 'Mr. Finney, Brother Abel wants to see you.' Said I, 'What ails him?' Said he, 'I do not know, but he says you know. He appears in great distress, but I think it is the state of his mind.' I understood it in a moment and went to his room. He lay groaning upon the bed, the Spirit making intercession for him, and in him, with groanings that could not be uttered. 1 had barely entered the room when he made out to say, 'Pray, brother Finney.' I knelt down and helped him in prayer, by leading his soul out for the conversion of sinners. I continued to pray until his distress passed away, and then I returned to the dinner table." A wonderful revival broke out in Auburn, hundreds of souls were converted in six weeks. Oh, for hundreds of people in Christendom who know how to pray like that man.



The work of grace was so wonderful that simply the news of it was often sufficient to kindle revival fires in other places. Mr. Finney says:

"During this great revival, persons wrote letters from Rochester, to their friends abroad, giving an account of the work, which were read in different churches throughout several States, and were instrumental in producing great revivals of religion. Many persons came in from abroad to witness the great work of God, and were converted.

"The work spread like waves in every direction. I preached in as many places round about as 1 had time and strength to do, while my main labors were in Rochester. Wherever I went, the Word of God took immediate effect; and it seemed only necessary to present the law of God, and the claims of Christ in such relations and proportions as were calculated to secure the conversion of men, and they would be converted by scores.

"The greatness of the work at Rochester, at that time, attracted so much of the attention of ministers and Christians throughout the State of New York, throughout New England, and in many parts of the United States, that the very fame of it was an efficient instrument in the hands of the Spirit of God in promoting the greatest revival of religion throughout the land that this country had then ever witnessed. Years after this, in conversing with Dr. Beecher about this powerful revival and its results he remarked: 'That was the greatest work of God, and the greatest revival of religion, that the world has ever seen, in so short a time. One hundred thousand were reported as having connected themselves with churches as the result of that great revival. This is unparalleled in the history of the church, and of the progress of religion.' He spoke of this having been done in one year, and said that in no year during the Christian era had we any account of so great a revival of religion.

"In giving my narrative of revivals thus far, I have passed over a great number of cases of crime committed by persons who came to me for advice, and told me the facts. In many instances in these revivals, restitution, sometimes to the amount of many thousands of dollars, was made by those whose conscience troubled them, either because they had obtained the money directly by fraud, or by some selfish over-reaching in their business relations.:

"The winter that I first spent in Boston resulted in making a great many such revelations. I had preached there one Sabbath in the morning upon this text: 'He that covereth his sins shall not prosper'; and in the afternoon on the remainder of the verse: "But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.' I recollect that the result of these two sermons was most extraordinary. For weeks afterwards, persons of almost all ages, and of both sexes, came to me for spiritual advice, disclosing to me the fact that they had committed various frauds and sins of almost every description. Some young men had defrauded their employers in business; and some women had stolen watches and almost every article of female apparel. Indeed, it seemed as if the Word of the Lord was sent home with such power at that time in that city as to uncover a very den of wickedness. It would certainly take me hours to mention the crimes that came to my personal knowledge through the confessions of those that had perpetrated them. But in every instance the persons seemed to be thoroughly penitent, and were willing to make restitution to the utmost of their ability."



Mr. Finney believed that revivals follow the use of divinely appointed means just as truly as the natural harvest follows the sowing of the seed by the farmer. He says: "A revival is a purely philosophical result of the right use of constituted means. It is not a miracle, nor dependent upon a miracle. There has long been an idea prevalent that promoting religion has something very peculiar in it, not to be judged by the ordinary rules of cause and effect. No doctrine is more dangerous than this to the prosperity of the Church. Suppose a man were to go and preach this doctrine among farmers about their sowing grain. Let them tell that God is a sovereign and will give them a crop only when it pleases Him, and that for them to plough, and plant, and labor, as if they expected to raise a crop, is very wrong, taking the work out of the hands of God. And suppose the farmers should believe such doctrine. Why, they would starve the world to death. Just such results would follow the Church's being persuaded that promoting religion is somehow so mysteriously a subject of Divine sovereignty that there is no natural connection between the means and the end. I fully believe that could facts be known it would he found that when the appointed means have been rightly used, spiritual blessings have been obtained with greater uniformity than temporal ones."


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