Cane Ridge Revival
Cane Ridge Revival
Church of Christ Truckee
Cane Ridge Revival

Cane Ridge Revival

1801

1804, a small group of Presbyterian ministers from Kentucky and Ohio, including Stone, penned and signed a document, "The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery", at Cane Ridge that resulted in the birth of a movement seeking unity among Christians along non-sectarian lines. They would call themselves simply "Christians.  The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Churches of Christ (non-instrumental), and the Christian Churches (independent) of the Stone-Campbell movement trace their origins here. This movement is often noted as the first one indigenous to American soil.

 

Subject: Cane Ridge Revival

My sister came across a book in the York College
library in York, Nebraska called "The Cane Ridge
Reader" by B.W. Stone, Hoke S. Dickinson Editor, put
together, I think, in 1972 which includes much of
another book "The Biography of Eld. Barton Warren
Stone", written by himself: with additions and
reflections. By Elder John Rogers, Cincinnati:
Published for the Author By J.A. & U.P. James, 1847.

This book contains numerous comments by Barton Stone on
the "exercises" that were occurring in the early 1800's
in Kentucky and Tennessee.

I will quote from a few paragraphs...

"Two or three of my particular acquaintances from a
distance were struck down. I sat patiently by one of
them, whom I knew to be a careless sinner, for hours,
and observed with critical attention every thing that
passed from the beginning to the end. I noticed the
momentary revivings as from death-- the humble
confession of sins-- the fervent prayer, and the
ultimate deliverance then the solemn thanks and praise
to God-- the affectionate exhortation to companions and
to the people around, to repent and come to Jesus. I
was astonished at the knowledge of gospel truth
displayed in the address. The effect was, that several
sunk down into the same appearance of death. After
attending to many such cases, my conviction was
complete that it was a good work-- the work of God; nor
has my mind wavered since on the subject (46 years
later-- my note, Keith). Much did I then see, and much
have I since seen, that I considered to be fanaticism;
but this should not condemn the work. The Devil has
always tried dot ape the works of God, to bring them
into disrepute. But that cannot be a Satanic work,
which brings men to humble confession and forsaking of
sin-- to solemn prayer-- fervent praise and
thanksgiving, and to sincere and affectionate
exhortations to sinners to repent and go to Jesus the
Saviour.

"I am always hurt to hear people speak lightly of this
work. I always think they speak of what they know
nothing about. Should everything bearing the impress of
imperfection be blasphemously rejected, who amongst us
at this time could stand? But more on this subject
hereafter."

"At our night meeting at Concord, two little girls were
stuck down under the preaching of the word, and in
every respect were exercised as those were in the south
of Kentucky, as already described. Their addresses made
deep impressions on the congregation. On the next day
I returned to Caneridge, and attended my appointement
at William Maxwell's. I soon heard of the good effects
of the meeting on the Sunday before. Many were
solemnly engaged in seeking salvation, and some had
found the Lord, and were rejoicing in him. Among these
last was my particular friend Nathaniel Rogers, a man
of first respectability and influence in the
neighborhood. Just as I arrived at the gate, my friend
Rogers and his lady came up; as soon as he saw me, he
shouted aloud the praises of God. We hurried into each
others' embrace, he still praising the Lord aloud. The
crowd left the house, and hurried to this novel scene.
In less than twenty minutes, scores had fallen to the
ground-- paleness, trembling, and anxiety appeared in
all-- some attempted to fly from the scene panic
stricken, but they either fell, or returned immediately
to the crowd, as unable to get away. In the midst of
this exercise, an intelligent deist in the
neighborhood, stepped up to me, and said, Mr. Stone, I
always thought before that you were an honest man; but
now I am convinced you are deceiving the people. I
viewed him with pity, and mildly spoke a few words to
him-- immediately he fell as a dead man, and rose no
more till he confessed the Saviour. The meeting
continued on that spot in the open air, till late at
night, and many found peace in the Lord."

"The effects of this meeting through the country were
like fire in dry stubble driven by a strong wind. All
felt its influence more or less. Soon after, we had a
protracted meeting at Concord. The whole country
appeared to be in motion to the place, and multitudes
of all denominations attended. All seemed heartily to
unite in the work, and in Christian love. Party spirit,
abashed, shrunk away. To give a true description of
this meeting cannot be done; it would border on the
marvellous. In continued five days and nights without
ceasing. Many, very many will through eternity remember
it with thanksgiving and praise."

August 1801, Caneridge...
"Many things transpired there, which were so much like
miracles, that if they were not, they had the same
effects as miracles on infidels and unbelievers; for
many of them by these were convinced that Jesus was the
Christ, and bowed in submission to him. This meeting
continued six or seven days and nights, and would have
continued longer, but provisions for such a multitude
failed in the neighborhood."

"To this meeting many had come from Ohio and other
distant parts, who returned home and diffused the same
spirit in their neighborhoods, and the same works
followed. So low had religion sunk, and such
carelessness universally had prevailed, that I have
thought that nothing common could have arrested the
attention of the world; therefore these uncommon
agitations were sent for this purpose. However,this
was their effect upon the community. As I have seen no
history of these bodily agitations of that day, but
from the pens of enemies, or scorners; and as I have
been an eye and ear witness of them from the beginning,
and am now over three score and ten years of age, on
the brink of eternity, into which almost all of the old
witnesses have entered, therefore I will endeavor to
give a description of them in a distinct chapter, for
your information."

"Chapter VI. An account of the remarkable religious
exercises, witnessed in the beginning of the 19th
century."

"The bodily agitations or exercises, attending the
excitement in the beginning of this century, were
various, and called by various names; --as, the falling
exercise-- the jerks-- the dancing exercise-- the
barking exercise-- the laughing and singing exercise,
%c.-- The falling exercise was very common among all
classes, the saints and sinners of every age and of
every grade, from the philosopher to the clown. The
subject of this exercise would, generally, with a
piercing scream, fall like a log on the floor, earth,
or mud, and appear as dead. Of thousands of similar
cases, I will mention one. At a meeting, two gay young
ladies, sisters, were standing together attending to
the exercises and preaching at the time. Instantly
they both fell, with a shriek of distress, and lay for
more than an hour apparently in a lifeless state.
Their mother, a pious Baptist, was in great distress,
fearing they would not revive. At length they began to
exhibit symptoms of life, by crying fervently for
mercy, and then relapsed into the same death-like
state, with an awful gloom on their countenances.
After awhile, the gloom on the face of one was
succeeded by a heavenly smile, and she cried out,
precious Jesus, and rose up and spoke of the love of
God-- the preciousness of Jesus, and of the glory of
the gospel, to the surrounding crowd, in language
almost superhuman, and pathetically exhorted all to
repentance. IN a little while after, the other sister
was similarly exercised. From that time they became
remarkably pious members of the church..."

"The jerks cannot be so easily described. Sometimes
the subject of the jerks would be affected in some one
member of the body, and sometimes in the whole system.
When the head alone was affected, it would be jerked
backward and forward, or from side to side, so quickly
that the features of the face could not be
distinguished. When the whole system was affected, I
have seen the person stand in one place, and jerk
backward and forward in quick succession, their head
nearly touching the floor behind and before. All
classes, saints and sinners, the strong as well as the
weak, were thus affected. I have inquired of those
thus affected. They could not account for it; but some
have told me that those were among the happiest seasons
of their lives. I have seen some wicked persons thus
affected, and all the time cursing the jerks, while
they were thrown to the earth with violence. Though so
awful to behold, I do not remember that any one of the
thousand I have seen ever sustained an injury in body.
This was as strange as the exercise itself."

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