Whole congregations bowed at the same moment beneath the mighty power of Divine truth, looking as with a single eye upon the realities of eternity, and feeling, as with a common emotion, the powers of the world to come; so that a thoughtless stranger, coming into the assembly, is made to feel as if, by stepping over the threshold of the house, he had passed the boundary-line between things seen and temporal and things unseen and eternal, and entered a region where though surrounded by thronging multitudes, he was left alone with God and his conscience—of scenes where hundreds of heart-stricken, anxious inquirers after salvation, just awakened from the long deep slumber of an unregenerate state, and musing on thoughts too deep for utterance, were asking by their looks, rather than their words, what they should do to be save.
Whole churches blending their common and fervent supplications at the footstool of the divine throne, with such oneness of intense desire as caused them to feel that there was scarcely a single object in the universe to be coveted, or thought of, at that moment, but the salvation of souls—of colleges of learning, where the pursuits of literature were almost suspended for a season, by a still deeper solicitude to become wise unto salvation—of towns so filled with the power of divine truth, that all the adult population have yielded to its influence, and turned unto the Lord—of Christian churches increased in a single year to an exceptional magnitude, by the accession of hundreds to their communion.
The prayer of my heart:
O that I had at command, "thoughts that glow, and words that burn!" I would turn them in a stream of impassioned eloquence upon your spirits, and endeavor to bear you away from that guilty selfishness, which has engrossed the people of God, and impel you to a combined, and vigorous, and anxious effort for the revival and awakening of lukewarm professors, and the conversion of impenitent sinners!
Everything yet devised by the wisdom of the church for the benefit of the world, languishes for lack of a genuine love for your Glory.
And now, dear brethren, may that Divine Spirit, in answer to united prayer, descend on the church, baptizing it with celestial fire and qualifying it for its high and holy vocation to evangelize the nations, by illuminating it with heavenly light, and adorning it with the beauties of holiness, as well as endowing it with love and power—come down into our minds and hearts in all the plenitude of His gifts and graces, reviving that which is dull, cleansing that which is impure, strengthening that which is weak, uniting that which is severed—in order that in this way you may be prepared for a more abundant participation of all the fullness of God, and closer fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ—in everything that relates to the salvation of this lost world!
John Angell James, 1832