On a November day in 1802, at a sacramental celebration at the church at Upper Buffalo, Washington County, Pennsylvania, John McMillan turned to Elisha McCurdy and asked him to preach a sermon while the Communion was being administered to a part of the great multitude. McCurdy ascended the wagon pulpit with fear and trembling, not knowing what he should say. After a hymn and a prayer, he opened the Bible at random and his eye fell on the Second Psalm—"Why do the heathen rage?"
The Whisky Rebellion and the terms of amnesty offered by the government were still fresh in the memory of the congregation. McCurdy startled his hearers by announcing that he would preach a sermon on politics. He said he had just received a letter from the government, informing him that an insurrection had taken place and that measures had been taken to suppress the rebellion, and amnesty had been proclaimed to all who would return to their duty. Since many of the rebels were present in his congregation, he said he would read them the proclamation of the government.
He then read the Second Psalm as describing the condition of sinners and announcing the terms of amnesty offered them in Christ (v. 12): "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry." During the sermon which followed, many fell to the ground, crying out in their anguish that they had been rebels against God. The scene was like the close of a battle in which every tenth man had been wounded.
This sermon on the Second Psalm, famous as McCurdy's War Sermon, played a mighty part in the Great Revival, which swept the country in the first decade of the nineteenth century and left behind it the missionary society, the prayer meeting, and the agitation against slavery and strong drink. Meditation upon God's Word, upon any part of his revealed truth, is never without profit; for it is only when God's truth begins to work upon individuals and in society and among nations that great results follow.
Due to report of successful revivals by Gipsy Smith, a certain preacher approached the noted evangelist to ascertain the secret of his success. He was asked to explain the best method to start a revival. The answer was: "Brother, go back home, lock yourself up in a private room. Take a piece of chalk and mark a circle on the floor, get down on your knees inside the circle, pray God to start a revival inside this circle. When this prayer is answered, the revival will be on."—C. A. Curry, in Western Recorder.
During the revival which some years ago swept through the land of Wales, and whose power that principality feels to this day, a friend of mine went down from London to take part in some of its services. He got out at a country station and asked the policeman standing in the village square, "Where is the Welsh revival?" The man in blue drew himself up to his full height, patted his chest, and said: "The Welsh revival, sir, is under these buttons!"—Sunday School Times.
In a certain town there had been no revival for many years. The church was nearly run out. The people were unconverted. Spiritual desolation reigned. There lived in the town an old blacksmith, who stammered so greatly in his speech that it was painful to hear him speak. At work in his shop his mind became greatly exercised about the church; his agony was so great he locked the door and spent the afternoon in prayer. He prevailed with God. He then obtained the reluctant consent of his pastor to appoint a meeting, but with no hope on the preacher's part of any attendance. But the room was more than filled. All was silent for a time until one sinner broke out in tears and begged, if anyone could pray, to pray for him. Others followed, and it was found that persons from every quarter of the town were under deep conviction—all dating their conviction from the hour the old man was praying in his shop. A powerful revival followed. The stammering man prevailed and, as a prince, had power with God.—Gospel Banner
John Newton, who lived in a dark day, in common with faithful ministers and their people, was praying for the reappearance of revival. He wrote to a friend: "A revival is wanted here with us as it is with you, and some of us are praying and also singing for a revival. The song we are singing will be found on the reverse side of my letter." This was their revival song:
Saviour, visit Thy plantation,
Send, oh send, a gracious rain;
All will come to desolation
Unless Thou dost bless again.
Break the tempter's fatal power,
Turn the stony hearts to flesh,
And begin this very hour
To revive Thy work afresh.
Once, O Lord, Thy garden flourished;
Every part looked gay and green;
Then Thy Word our spirits nourished:
Happy seasons we have seen.
But a drought has since succeeded,
And a sad decline we see:
Lord, Thy help is greatly needed:
Help can only come from Thee.
Let our mutual love be fervent:
Make us prevalent in prayer;
Let each one esteemed Thy servant
Shun the world's bewitching snare.—Sunday School Times.
"We still remain true to the faith of our fathers who established religious liberty when the nation began," the President said. "We must remember, too, that our forebears in every generation, and wherever they established their homes, made prompt and generous provision for the institutions of religion. We must continue their steadfast reliance upon the providence of God.
"I have said and I repeat to this solemn eucharistic congress that no greater blessing could come to our land today than a revival of the spirit of religion. I doubt if there is any problem in the world today—social, political, or economic—that would not find happy solution if approached in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount."—Franklin D. Roosevelt.
A native of India, writing to a friend about a great revival they were having, said, "We are having a great rebible here." The Church needs to be rebibled.—C. E. World.