A Brief Narrative of the Revival of Religion in Virginia,
THE ARMINIAN MAGAZINE. Issue 2. Fall 2013. Volume 31.
Date Posted Nov 03, 2013
Jarratt is now up to January 1776 in his account. This account will be continued in the next issue of The Arminian Magazine.
As there were few converts in my parish the last year, I was sensible a change of preachers was wanting. This has often revived the work of God: and so it did at the present time. Last December one of the Methodist preachers, Mr. Shadford, preached several times at the three places abovementioned. He confirmed the doctrine I had long preached; and to many of them not in vain. And while their ears were opened by novelty, God set his word home upon their hearts. Many sinners were powerfully convinced, and mercy! mercy! was their cry. In January, the news of convictions and conversions was common; and the people of God were inspired with new life and vigor by the happiness of others. But in a little time they were made thoroughly sensible that they themselves stood in need of a deeper work in their hearts than they had yet experienced. And while those were panting and groaning for pardon, these were entreating God, with strong cries and tears, to save them from the remains of inbred sin, to "sanctify them throughout, in spirit, soul, and body;" so to "circumcise their hearts," that they might "love God with all their hearts," and serve him with all their strength.
During this whole winter, the Spirit of the Lord was poured out in a manner we had not seen before. In almost every assembly might be seen signal instances of divine power, more especially in the meetings of the classes. Here many old stout-hearted sinners felt the force of truth, and among the dry bones was increased from week to week: nay, sometimes ten or twelve have been deeply convinced of sin in one day. Some of these were in great distress, and when they were questioned concerning the state of their souls, were scarce able to make any reply but by weeping and falling on their knees, before all the class, and earnestly soliciting the prayers of God's people. And from time to time he has answered these petitions, set the captives at liberty, and enabled them to praise a pardoning god in the midst of his people. Numbers of old and gray-headed, of middle-aged persons, of youth, yea, of little children, were the subjects of this work. Several of the latter we have seen painfully concerned for the wickedness of their lives, and the corruption of their nature. We have instances of this sort from eight or nine years old. Some of these children are exceeding happy in the love of God - and they speak of the whole process of the work of God, of their convictions, the time when, and the manner how, they obtained deliverance - with such clearness as might convince an atheist that this is nothing else but the great power of God.
The outpouring of the Spirit which began here, soon extended itself, more or less, through most of the circuit, which is regularly attended by the traveling preachers, and which takes in a circumference of between four and five hundred miles. And the work went on, with a pleasing progress, till the beginning of May, when they held a quarterly meeting at Boisseau's chapel, in my parish. This stands at the lower line of the parish, thirty miles from White's chapel, at the upper like of it, where the work began. At this meeting, one might truly say, the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain of Divine influence poured down for more than forty days. The work now became more deep than ever, extended wider, and was swifter in its operations. Many were savingly converted to God, and in a very short time, not only in my parish, but through several parts of Brunswick, Sussex, Prince George, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Amelia counties.
The second day of the quarterly meeting a love feast was held. As soon as it began the power of the Lord came down on the assembly like a rushing mighty wind; and it seemed as if the whole house was filled with the presence of God. A flame kindled and ran from heart to heart. Many were deeply convinced of sin; many mourners were filled with consolation; and many believers were soon overwhelmed with love, that they could not doubt but God had enabled them to love him with all their heart.