John Easter's Prayer.
In his "Memorials of Methodism in Virginia," Dr. W.W. Bennet relates the
following incidents in the life of John Easter, one of the pioneer
ministers who labored there nearly one hundred years ago: He is
represented as being the most powerful exhortatory preacher of his day.
His faith was transcendent, his appeals irresistible, his prayers like
talking with God face to face. Perhaps no man has ever been more
signally honored of God as an instrument in the conversion of souls. On
one of his circuits eighteen hundred members were added to the church in
a single year.
Many thrilling scenes under his preaching yet linger among the people in
those counties where he principally labored. A most extraordinary
display of his faith was witnessed in Brunswick. At Merritt's meeting-
house a quarterly meeting was in progress, and so vast was the concourse
of people from many miles around, that the services were conducted in a
beautiful grove near the church. In the midst of the exercises, a heavy
cloud arose, and swept rapidly towards the place of worship. From the
skirts of the grove the rain could be seen coming on across the fields.
The people were in consternation; no house could hold one-third of the
multitude, and they were about to scatter in all directions. Easter rose
in the midst of the confusion--"Brethren," cried he at the top of his
voice, "be still while I call upon God to stay the clouds, till His word
can be preached to perishing sinners." Arrested by his voice and manner,
they stood between hope and fear. He kneeled down and offered a fervent
prayer that God would then stay the rain, that the preaching of His word
might go on, and afterwards send refreshing showers. _While he was
praying, the angry cloud, as it swiftly rolled up to them, was seen to
part asunder in the midst, pass on either side of them, and close again
beyond, leaving a space several hundred yards in circumference perfectly
dry. The next morning a copious rain fell again, and the fields that had
been left dry were well watered_."
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