Transcript from show #268, February 26, 2023
We continue in the keeping of Timing Revelation, end times and prophecies, today looking at the question “why no revival”, Part 3. I pick up from the last article and get into some of the details of what was called the Great Hamilton revival of 1857 that I talked about in the last article, with Dr. Walter and Mrs Phoebe Palmer.
In the book “Memoirs of Mrs Phoebe Palmer”, which is over 600 pages by the way, there are records of the Palmers’ experiences from the journals and letters Phoebe wrote in their travels, from their hometown in the state of New York in the U.S. right up westward to Napanee and northward to Barrie, Ontario, and even some later on further Eastward to Quebec and the Maritimes from where they would receive invitations to conduct revival meetings.
It is interesting that when speaking of the revivals they undertook in Canada, Mrs Phoebe calls it Upper and Lower Canada. It brings to mind the fact that this was still in the timing vicinity of Confederation!
Every day I hear believers say that there is a Revival coming… it sounds wonderful and I do hope there will be… However my Bible says that there will be an apostasy in the end time… Speaking of the end time, Jesus said … “… when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
(Please note that scriptures quoted are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.)
In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us that in the end time, it will be as in the time of Noah. We know that in that time of Noah, God could only find 8 righteous people. Whoa, that's pretty serious.
I’m not saying there will only be that few people at this time of the end, but we know that it will be only a remnant – and a remnant is about 10-15%. Now I’m not saying that the same percentage will be applicable to the believers at that time either. But all this simply means that only a few will be ready for the return of Christ at the end time.
Yearly rounds of revivals
After another Summer and Fall round of yearly Revival camp-meetings in Canada, it is recorded in the book that the Palmers had already attended glorious meetings with hundreds being converted through their typical four-day events. People were receiving “pardon and purification” as she calls it and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Following the revival of Georgetown where they had seen crowds of up to 5,000 being drawn to the meetings and hundreds being saved, sanctified and baptized, they went on their way to Hamilton through Oakville to return to their home in New York.
When they arrived in Hamilton on a Friday in October 1857, they were delayed and while they were there, some of the church ministers had heard of their visit and urged them to attend their prayer-meeting.
Mrs Palmer’s many letters endeavoured to tell the readers she is writing to, how the work began and proceeded.
Gleaning through some of the details she wrote which give principles to be extracted from their experience should serve as material for us to pray about, if we want revival in our midst…
Still emerging from the blessings of the previous weeks of the mighty work of God that her and her husband had experienced, in that initial meeting Phoebe felt God telling her to urge the people to set themselves apart immediately to work for God in promoting a revival.
Opening the windows of heaven
Phoebe Palmer felt the Holy Spirit direct her to assure the people that if they would bring all the tithes into the Lord’s store-house, proving Him by this -- a critical part of testing as we read in the book of Malachi, which we don't honour much any more today -- He would open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that would overflow. Not only upon them but upon the regions around them and that hundreds would be saved.
She asked the approximately seventy-five people who had come from the three local Wesleyan churches, to bring all the tithes of time, talent, estate, reputation, body and mind, into the Lord’s treasury so as to begin at once to act on the principle that all these instrumentalities should be devoted to the work of soul winning.
Thirty or more lifted their hands in the presence of God that they would begin to work immediately. And all were resolved to put out invitations to their friends, family members, neighbours and bring with them at least 1 person to the next appointed meeting.
One of the Ministers is reported to have said: “The battle was set in array so suddenly that Satan himself had not time to contemplate a defence.”
The idea was that the laity would be the driving force. Everybody expected a move of God as never seen before. The ministers arranged for a large and central church to be open for the event. Hundreds came out to this unusual meeting that no-one really knew the purpose of it, except only that of the gospel invitation from the laity, which spread rapidly.
Within 5 minutes of the time appointed, the altar was crowded and before the meeting closed, some 21 earnest-seeking penitents were rejoicing in God, the report said.
Phoebe writes: “The most, or all of these, were persons gathered in from the world, and brought to the house of God by the urgent solicitations of those who lifted their hand to work for God the evening previous. You will not wonder that we dared not leave now.”
Phoebe wrote of this:, “The invitation had been accepted and the glorious result of the first day’s effort was that a score of souls were added to the ranks of the saved, and now the newly saved were pledged in turn, to unite with those already in the field in bringing their unsaved friends to Jesus.”
A meeting was set for the next day, Saturday afternoon for the church to pray and then in the evening again for sinners. The number of people who came was again more than expected and about another 20 were saved. The following day, Sunday, again some 30 were saved. Altogether in the 3 days of meetings, about 75 were saved.
She writes: “Surely these are the Lord’s doing, and marvellous in our eyes.”
After a week of this some 100 to 200 had been converted from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s Son.
And again Phoebe writes: “Nightly we pledged ourselves anew to bring yet one more the coming day; and thus the hosts of Zion are enlarging daily, and new cases are being ferreted out, which would never have been reached but by this system of vigorous daily effort. Wonderful! “
Such meetings had never been seen, which were held from 7 o’clock in the morning till 10 in the evening. In all meetings people were saved.
Salvation and sanctification by the Holy Spirit
Very little preaching was given except for the preaching of the people who told about their salvation and sanctification experience by the Holy Spirit.
“Though favored with the constant aid of their 3 resident ministers and other ministers,” Mrs Palmer wrote, “visitors of high position, district chairmen, etc., -- yet this revival took its rise mainly with the laity.
“It did not commence in laborious pulpit effort, neither has it progressed in this way. We had but one very short sermon, during the whole week. One of the ministers would generally say a few introductory stirring words, and then leave the meeting with ourselves to follow up the remarks.”
Speaking of the effectiveness of the laity’s anointed work, Phoebe reminds her reader, of the time when Saul (before he became Paul) threatened and killed the Christians… men, women and children scattered in all direction, but these laypeople went preaching the word wherever they were, proclaiming the glad tidings of salvation and urging the gospel invitation.
In another report, Mrs Palmer writes:
“Any way may not all these instrumentalities again be brought into use? Have we not men, women, and children in our various churches, whose personal realizations of the blessedness of salvation empowers them to urge others to the gospel feast?
“O, will not the ministers of the sanctuary at once bring all these instrumentalities into action? Dormant power is in the church, which, if brought into immediate use, would result in salvation of thousands speedily.
“Will not the captains of the hosts of Israel call upon the people to come up at once to the help of the Lord against the mighty? O, if we may only have a ‘laity for the times’, how soon will this redeemed world be brought back to God !”
"Repent and do the first works"
A scripture comes to my mind as I read this, from the book of Revelation uttered by our Lord to the churches: “… nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works…” Revelation 2:4-5).
Phoebe writes, “It is with exceeding carefulness that we speak of these wonderful displays of saving power. The revival has been progressing ten days, and nearly 500 souls have been newly gathered into the fold of Christ. “
The on-going afternoon meetings were comprised of a great work of mostly purification in the church and were very largely attended and mostly featured by witnesses rising up to testify of the power of Christ to save to the uttermost and to baptize them with the Holy Spirit.
In one of her letters to a friend back home, Phoebe writes: “If you think the contents of this letter would interest the attendants on the Tuesday meeting, you are at liberty either to read it, or to relate such portions of it as you think will redound to the glory of God. “
After this revival of 1857, the downtown Methodist churches were overcrowded. Some of them had to enlarge their premises, some were built anew.
But many of the other denominations ignored these momentous days – apparently each one because it wasn’t happening in their church. Many were largely untouched, except to awaken afterwards to the reality of the divine visitation that had taken place and that they had missed.
Speaking of the Methodist churches involved in this revival, the various reports say that in 1857 there were 523 members in fellowship in three churches and one mission in Hamilton. In 1858, the number had jumped to over 1,000.
Great religious revival
In a couple of weeks the news of the Hamilton revival reached New York and sparked the famous Noon Hour Prayer Meetings that led directly to what church historians call the Third Great Awakening.
This is how the account that the great religious revival of the mid-nineteenth century had begun in Hamilton.
There have been many books and articles written on this great revival that actually spawned outward throughout Canada, U.S., Great Britain, Europe, over some three years, many giving variations of the events from various points of locations. You can look up some of these writings and reports through a google search.
I will conclude with some observational notes, that can help those of us who want to see revival take place in our midst.
But, all in all, these revivals and awakenings whatever we call them, have one ultimate purpose and that is that all people would come nearer to God.
Some significant observations
In conclusion, there are some significant observations from this last Great Hamilton Revival of 1857, that can be noted by Christians who want to see revival take place in their geographical location:
1._The prominence of the laity who brought people from their neighbourhood and gave their testimonies… and the participation of local officials in the city had a great influence on the community for credibility of what was happening, as seen in the conversion and subsequent enthusiasm of the Mayor of the city of Hamilton.
2._ Rapid growth takes place best in a harmonious group through practical usefulness of the denominations working together.
3._The uniqueness of the camp meetings that set aside all the rules of formalities for the time of the events, such as sermons being replaced by the prominence of the exhorters in their delivery of the inspired testimonies.
4._The revivalistic heritage of early Christianity being put to work again in a real time, prayed-up pursuit of the Kingdom.
5._Christians must repent if revival is to take place. The church often spends time with “healing meetings”, or going off to far-away countries, rather then spending their energy and resources to local outreach.
6._Every revival begins with prayer. But fervent prayer with the Kingdom in mind… not just fluffy uneducated and proud prayer about oneself. And we saw that with Wesley, Whitefield earlier as well as the three Methodist ministers who called the prayer meeting on the Palmer’s stay-over.
7._and very importantly, the resulting events must be prolifically written and sent to local newspapers and Christian publications. This is how, we now know of the Hamilton revival – because of the extensive writing of Mrs. Phoebe Palmer on all the events that her and her husband led.
Fervent prayer and repentance
From Christianity.com/church/church-history/, we read this from revival historian J. Edwin Orr:
“Researching revival, Orr found that every one began with prayer. For example, in the Cane Ridge revival, James McGready "was such a man of prayer that not only did he promote the concert of prayer every first Monday of the month, but he got his people to pray for him at sunset on Saturday evening and at sunrise Sunday morning. Then in the summer of 1800 came the great Kentucky revival. Eleven thousand people came to a communion service. McGready hollered for help, regardless of denomination.
“Orr also taught that Christians must repent if revival is to flower. "Little by little, the church loses its grip on essential things, becomes a social club, goes to sleep or flies off at a tangent. All over the world we find sleeping churches, and all round them are the gospel-starved masses. Instead of performing the first thing of importance, evangelizing the masses, they are engaged in a bewildering variety of pastimes--anything but the real thing."
Yes, repentance is a pre-requisite for revival the church -- the body of Believers -- needs to repent if we want to see revival… let’s pray for repentance instead of for revival, or together with revival !
People say that as the judgment of God comes down more and more in the last days, we will have revival… people will turn to God…
No, the Bible says that as the judgment of God comes down harder, people will get more and more angry at God.
Think of it, the church has to be careful what it preachers so as not to offend people… today, people don’t want to be shown their sins, so we don’t preach it any more…
People don’t want to hear that there is a hell -- so we don’t preach that either.
When some do preach sin, or uphold the law, there is rebellion instead of repentance.
People have changed.
I just heard in the news not long ago, about a young man who got into an accident because he was using the road for skateboarding. When the municipality held him responsible because of his unlawful activity, he retaliated against them. And that’s just one incident, there are many every day… people sue their government for upholding the law that has always been there for the protection and security of the people. It’s madness.
People want to do their own thing… as it says in the book of Judges… “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
And where did that get them? Into oppression by the enemies.
Why no Revival?
We say there is revival coming... but are we seeing what it takes, what precedes Revivals?
Are we preparing to see it?
Are we too affluent today to think about the need for revival.
Are we too busy, are we too intellectual – “Professing to be wide, they became fools” God says in the book of Romans, chapter 1 and verse 22.
Reading the whole passage from verse 21 to 25, it says:
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
“And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”
You might say, we don’t do things like that. Well we did when these scriptures were written. Today we worship other things: cars, mega homes, cruise ships, music, food, divorce and remarriage for selfish reasons... worse yet, promiscuous sex, pornography, evil movies and on and on – these things come before God, and between us and God.
v.24 "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
Why no revival?
Because the government has become our God in many places. Because we rather turn on the TV then go to church and prayer meetings. We rather turn to our creature comforts in our times of distress rather than to God… because faith has become some magic wand that we point here and there but discard the moment we don’t see our wishes come true…
Faith has become the spare tire in the trunk of our life’s vehicles – just in case we need it.
It doesn’t take dozens or hundreds or thousands to have revival… it only takes one individual… one heart who is hungry for God and who comes and says “fill my cup” Lord.
If you’re there right now and you heard this message, and want to ask Jesus Christ into your heart, just ask Him... say Lord, as I am hearing Your Gospel, Your good news, I want to become a child of God, come into my heart, I repent of my sins and ask that you would come in, cleanse me and be my Lord and Saviour.
If you said that prayer and meant it in your heart sincerely, He has received you and you are now a born-again child of God… it is important that you tell someone as a witness, as a confession and a confirmation of your new turning point this day…
And that you join a Bible-believing church in your area, where you can worship God with other Bible-believing Christians, hear the word of God and grow in your new-found faith – or your renewed and re-dedicated faith.
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