Lincoln Circuit - John Smith (1830)


Meanwhile, in his own circuit, the work of God greatly prospered. Writing to his friend Mr M'Dermott, in the month of March, he says, "Oh how the Spirit has been poured out upon this circuit! It is spring in nearly every place. The wilderness has become a fruitful field; the desert, as the garden of the Lord. I think it certain, that more than five hundred have been added since conference. What may we not expect? for we have many men in full action."

Almost all the neighbouring circuits appeared, in a larger or smaller degree, to share this holy influence. Some of them were visited by Mr Smith himself; and individuals from others, who had been blessed through his instrumentality in Lincoln or its immediate vicinity, returned to their several places of residence, carrying with them a portion of his ardour, and becoming in their turn the partakers of his success. Thus the word of the Lord had free course and was glorified, to a degree, rarely, if ever known in that country. Mr F. Eggleston, one of the local preachers at Newark gives the following account of a visit paid by Mr S. to that circuit. " In March I830, we gave him an invitation to preach our anniversary sermons for Newark and Bennington chapels, I offering to supply his place at Besthorp on the Monday evening. His letter on that occasion, I have before me. ' I intend, God willing,' he writes, 'to stay over the Monday, according to your request respecting Bennington. Our friends at Besthorp will, I doubt not, be very glad to see you. I will thank you as opportunity may serve, to caution the friends at Newark, against looking too much to man. We must not forget that all good flows from God and that He will not give his glory to another. May. the blessed God hold me in his right hand, and use me for his glory! ' His labours were singularly owned of God on that day. After preaching in the evening, I requested him to leave the chapel, and I would conduct the prayer meeting. He reluctantly retired for a time. The altar rail was surrounded with penitents crying for mercy, and several found peace with God. I attended for him at Besthorp, and when I returned on Tuesday morning, I found a blessed change in my own family. My eldest daughter and my apprentice, — who is now on the Lincoln plan as an exhorter, — had found mercy. Mr. S. spent the day with me, and such a day, he declared, he had not spent since he was born. His soul seemed filled with glory and with God. He wept, he prayed, and shouted aloud, "Glory, glory be to God!" Sometimes, as if holding intercourse with the Triune God, he for a few moments appeared abstracted; and then bringing his mind among us, he said, 'Come, brother E., let us praise God.' A favourite verse was sung, we prayed together, and then entered into conversation respecting the prosperity of Zion. Many penitents found their way to our house that day, that he might pray with them. Their anxiety, that of returning backsliders, and of others who had found peace, to see him, — was such, that until he entered the coach to return, he had constant employment.

He appeared to carry with him the spirit of his Master, wherever he went. We have a great number," Mr E. adds, "who are members of our society in Newark, who are indebted under God to John Smith as their spiritual father, and there is scarcely a society in the circuit, which does not contain one or more of his spiritual children."

R Treffry's 'Life of John Smith' p286-8.


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