It was at the close of the spring semester exactly 160 years ago when revival came to Brown University. It was under the direction and leadership of Dr. Francis Wayland that God did a mighty work among the students in the year 1847. It was common knowledge that Dr. Wayland earnestly longed for and diligently labored for the conversion of all students at Brown, and it has been recorded that he made great impressions on students both in private conversations as well as public addresses and sermons. Consider the account of one man who had recently been converted and shared a testimony of what God was doing in their midst.
There was not a particle of excitement. Not a single man, as far as my knowledge extended, seems to have been converted under excitement. Many, I know, took works on the Evidences of Christianity, and, reading with a determination to learn the truth, were convicted of their sins, and taught to cry out, ‘What shall I do to be saved?’ Several, myself among the number, who had unconverted room-mates, have been gratified by seeing them turn to the Saviour. Two or three who had been brought up in the doctrines of Universalism were convinced that these were unscriptural and absurd, and taught to look to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith. Nor did we expect it to end here; we are determined, with the aid of God’s Spirit, to continue this work during the next term, and not to rest until not a soul can be found here who has not felt and known the pardoning grace of God. Many of those who have recently become converted will labor among their impenitent friends at home, and return, we trust, strengthened in their faith in Christ. Never have I felt until this revival what a blessed privilege it is to save a soul. May my prayer evermore be to God that he may make me instrumental in his hands in the salvation of many! It is indeed a glorious and blessed privilege to labor in the vineyard of my Master.
May God once again sweep away our hearts in unspeakable joy and passion for the salvation of souls through unending delight in His glorious gospel!