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Superintendent. On account of the mean opinion which he formed of his piety and talents, his appointment to that important office greatly exercised his mind. During his stay at Norwich, a revival took place, in the course of which several experienced the renewing and comforting influences of the Holy Spirit.
“ After staying (saith Mr. Shadford,) two years at Norwich, I went to the Leeds Conference, where I first saw Captain Webb. When he warmly exhorted the preachers to go to America, I felt my spirit stirred within me to go ; more especially when I understood that many hundreds of precious souls were perishing through lack of knowledge, scattered up and down in various parts of the woods, and had none to warn them of their danger. When I considered that we had in England many men of grace and gifts far superior to mine, but few seemed to offer themselves willingly, I then saw my call more clearly. Accordingly, Mr. R. and I offered ourselves to go the spring following, when I received a letter from Mr. W. informing me that I was to embark with Captain Webb at Bristol.”
In censuring a superstitious attention to dreams, it is going to an unwarrantable length, to assert that none of them are of a divine nature. Surely the Father of spirits can instruct by “visions in the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men;" and that he frequently does so, we have indubitable evidence. What proper judge and lover of truth, however much opposed to superstition, can possibly imagine that the following dream was the product of “either” a “multitude of business," or the effect of thought driven at random?
“When I arrived at Pill, (saith Mr. S.) where the ship lay, an awful dream, which I had six years before, was brought to my mind. I thought in my sleep I received a letter from God, which I opened and read, the substance of which was as follows: You must go to preach the gospel in a foreign land, unto a fallen people, a mixture of nations. I thought I was conveyed to the place where the ship lay, in which I was to embark, in an instant. The wharf and ship appeared as plain to me as if I had been awake. I replied, Lord, I am willing to go name ; but I am afraid a people of different nations and languages will not understand me.' An answer to this was given, Fear not, for I am with thee.' I awoke, awfully impressed with the presence of God upon my mind, and was really full of divine
love ; and a relish of it remained upon my spirit for many days. I could not tell what this meant, and revolved these things in
iny mind for a long time. But when I came to Pill, and saw the ship and wharf, then all came fresh to my mind. I said to brother R. this is the ship, the place, and the wharf, which I saw in my dream six years ago. All these things were the means of strengthening and confirming me that my way was of God."
On Good Friday, Mr, Shadford and the companion of his voyage, set sail for America ; and after a comfortable voyage of eight weeks, they arrived safe at Philadelphia, where they were kindly received by a hospitable and loving people. In a few days after their arrival, Mr. S. crossed the river Delaware, and went to Trenton, where, in the course of a month, he added thir. ty-five to the Society, many of whom experienced much divine consolation.
In his tour through the Jerseys, he had an opportunity of conversing with Mr. John Brainard, brother to the justly celebrated missionary, Mr. David Brainard. " We conversed (saith Mr. S.) about two hours very profitably, about his brother David, and the Indians he had the care of ; about Methodism and inward religion. He heartily wished us good luck, and said he believed the Lord had sent us upon the Continent to revive inward religion amongst them."
Mr. Shadford's next remove was to New York, where he spent four months, with great satisfaction. He went to that city with fear and trembling; being much cast down, from a sense of his unworthiness, and inability to preach to the edification of so polished and sensible a people. But his God, whom he found to be better to him than his boding fears had suggested, made him the instrument of a blessed revival there. During his short stay at New-York, fifty members were added to the society; several backsliders were restored to their first love ; and an earnest desire was excited in many believers for all the mind that was in Christ.
Mr. S. gives a very pleasing account of the Society at Philadelphia, in which many, during his stay there, were turned from the evil of their ways. When he was about leaving that city, the following remarkable circumstance happened, an account of which will be given in his own words.
“When I went, saith he, to the inn where my horse was, and had just entered into the yard, I observed a man fixing bis eyes upon me, and looking earnestly until he seemed ashamed, and blushed very much. At length he came up to me and abruptly said, “Sir, I saw you in a dream last night. When I saw your back as you came into the yard I thought it was you; but now that I see your face, I am sure that you are the person. I have been wandering up and down until now, seeking you.' Saw me in a dream, said I, what do you mean? "Sir, said he, I did, I am sure I did: and yet I never saw you with my bodily eyes before. Yesterday in the afternoon I left this city and went as far Schuylkill river, intending to cross it, but began to be uneasy, and could not go over it ; I therefore returned to this place, and last night, in my sleep, saw you stand before me; when a person from another world bade me seek for you until I found you,
and said you would tell me what I must do to be saved. He said - also that one particular mark by which I might know you was,
that you preached in the streets and lanes of the city.' Having spoken this, he immediately asked, “Pray Sir, are not you a minister ? I said, : Yes, I am a preacher of the gospel ; and it is true that I preach in the streets and lanes of the city, which no other preacher in Philadelphia does. I preach also every Sunday morning at nine o'clock in Newmarket.' I then asked him to step across the way to a friend's house, where I asked him from whence he came. He answered, · From the Jerseys.' I asked whether he had any family; he said, “Yes, a wife and children.' I asked where he was going ; he said, he did not know. I likewise asked, Does your wife know where you are ; he said, “No ; the only reason why I left home was, I had been very uneasy and unhappy for half a year past, and could rest no longer, but came to Philadelphia.'
" I replied, “I first advise you to go back to your wife and children, and take care of them, by obeying God in the order of his providence. It is unnatural, said I, to leave them in this manner : for even the birds of the air provide for their young. Secondly, you say you are unhappy; therefore the thing you want is religion; the love of God, and of all mankind; righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. When this takes possession of your heart, so as to destroy your evil tempers, and root out the love of the world, anger, pride, self-will, and unbelief, then you will be happy. The way to obtain this is, you
must forsake all your sins, and heartily believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. When you return to the Jerseys, go to hear the Methodist (preachers constantly, and pray to the Lord to bless the word ; and if you heartily embrace it, you will become a bappy
" While I was exhorting him, tears ran plentifully from his eyes. We then kneeled down to pray, and I was enabled to plead and intercede with much earnestness for his soul. When we arose from our knees, I shook him by the hand : he wept much, and had a broken heart; but did not know how to part with me.
He then set out to go to his wife in the Jerseys, and I saw him no more ; but I trust I shall meet him in heaven."
In this plain, unadorned account, we have another proof that God, by dreams, sometimes deigns to instruct men in the path of duty.
Soon after this, Mr. S. went to Baltimore, where a young man came to him with two horses, and intreated him to go with him to his father's house, to visit his distressed brother who was chained in bed, and supposed to be either mad, or possessed of a devil. When he entered the room, he found the young man in the depth of despair. He told him that Christ died for sinners; that he came to seek and to save lost sinners; yea, that he received the chief of sinners; and added, “ There is no other name given under heaven whereby men can be saved, but in and through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The young man laid hold on those words, “ The name of Jesus Christ;" and said he would call upon Jesus Christ as long as he lived; and he found some little hope ; but knew no more how he must be saved than an Indian.
Mr. Shadford sung a part of a hymn, and then the father and mother of the young man joined him in prayer. The power of God was present; and, saith Mr. S. “We had melted hearts, and weeping eyes, and indeed there was a shower of tears amongst us.
I know not when I felt more of the divine presence, or power to wrestle with God than I did at this time.After we rose from our knees, I gave an exhortation. They loosed the young man that was bound; and the Lord shortly after loosed him from the chains of his sins, and set him at perfect liberty. He soon began to warn his neighbours, and to exhort sinners to flee from the wrath to come ; and before I left the country, he began to travel in a circuit; and was remarka
Bly successful. I followed him in Kent in Delaware; and verily believe that he was instrumental in awakening a hundred sinners that year.”
The next year, Mr. S. was appointed for Virginia, where, for some time, he was much dejected in spirit. He says that he saw himself so vile and worthless as he could not express; and that he wondered God should employ him in his work. Before honour is humility; and hence, after Mr. Shadford bad been deeply humbled, such success attended his labours in Virginia, that he seldom preached a sermon without some being convinced or converted, and often three or four at a time.
The singular case of one of the converts in Virginia deserves particular notice ; nor can it be better represented than in Mr. Shadford's own words. “ Among these (the new converts) was a dancing-master, who came first to hear on a week day, dressed in scarlet; and came several miles again on Sunday dressed in green. After preaching he spoke to me, and asked, if I could come to that part where he lived some day in the week? I told him I could not, as I was engaged every day. I saw him again at preaching that week, and another man of his profession. When I was going to preach one morning, a friend said to me, Mr. Shadford, you spoiled a fine dancing-master last week. He was so cut under preaching, and feels such a load of sin
his conscience, that he moves very heavily; nay, he cannot shake kis heels at all. He had a profitable school ; but hath given it up, and is determined to dance no more.
He intends now to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic.' I said it is very well, what is his name? He said, “he is called Madcap! I said, 'a very proper name for a dancing-master; but I found this was only a nick-name, for his real name was Metcalf. He began to teach school, joined our society, found the guilt and load of his sin removed from his conscience, and the pardoning love of God shed abroad in his heart. He lived six or seven years after, and died a great witness for God,, having been one of the most devoted men in our connexion."
(To be concladed in the nexl.)