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Clipston Revival

July 10th 1800

An account & remarks of the revival in the congregation at Clipston derived from the Church Records.

Last year was most remarkable for the church. Zeal and service for God had declined. Everybody was dejected and dismayed. There was so much deadness, carnality and inattention that many of us were greatly discouraged, fearing our usefulness was finished.

Often some of us would talk about the unpromising state of the congregation and lament to see so little fruit arising from our labours. It was particularly affecting to behold the spirit and conduct of the youth. Many were brought up in church the children of pious parents. They attended church but were unimpressed, untouched and indifferent. Some were trifling and indecent in behaviour at church and disrespectful and rude.

The minister gave an annual address to them every year. However, their profligacy and profanity amidst so many ineffectual works for their spiritual improvement so disheartened him he could not face speaking to them. Such was the state of things amongst us we were sinking into deep despondency. Amidst all these discouragements however, there were those amongst us whose hearts trembled for the work of God, were fervent in prayer and joined in endeavours to promote the interests of true religion. We frequently set apart days for solemn prayer by the whole church, these times bought refreshment and comfort amidst our bondage. At such times we hoped we should live to see better days, and greater things than these.

During January 1800, one young man, John Gulliver, had for some time been under religious impressions, was now awakened by a deep sense of religion by the death of his mother.

He became serious and fervent and stirred up others to a great diligence and fervency in the ways of God. Our monthly prayer meetings attendance grew, the conversation at those meetings was how to promote religion, the general state of the churches at home and abroad, and sharing what God was doing elsewhere. The attendance at prayer grew.

Two or three young people attending these meetings wanted to pray more often, they started a prayer meeting among themselves. Soon after these meetings began, accounts were received of revival happening elsewhere. This news caused the sparks which had been kindled in the bosom of a few to burst into a flame which spread from heart to heart.

The young people meeting for prayer now increased and outgrew the meeting place so they met elsewhere. They then began to meet every evening, the meeting became so well attended they started to meet in the church building.

It was very common with the young people to have several meetings of a more private nature. Late in the evenings after coming from public worship half a dozen of them will retire to one friend’s house and half a dozen to another for the purpose of sharing their thoughts and feelings more freely. Some times a few of them have met together in the vestry to pray at four o’clock in the morning for mutual prayer. At noon hour some of them retire into the fields and spend a little time in prayer and spiritual conversation before they return to the labours of the day.

We had not really rejoiced over this work due to our fears as to whether or not it was genuinely of God and many of the impressions false. However, we have had time for observation and have concluded that the work is of God. The work has not been accompanied by noise and excitement but with repentance and prayers.

Meeting for Prayer was the cause of this revival more than preaching, Preaching however has led many to inquire about the way of salvation. The youth Invited others to church meetings and many who came were deeply touched. In tears and weeping they have sought the way to Zion.

This work has effected a change among the youth in Clipston. Their behaviour is now mild and gentle. The streets during summer evenings were thronged with misbehaving idle youth, now they are silent and still. They walk together in groups praying and talking about religion.

The effect is mainly among the youth.

The Clipston congregation experienced considerable growth averaging 700 – 800 people in a service.

In 1803 a new church building was commissioned.

Pastor Sean Carter Clipston Baptist Church

In 1792 the leadership of Clipston Baptist Church reported how that Sutcliff’s reprint of Jonathan Edwards’ “Humble Attempt” had been a tremendous encouragement to them in the whole matter of praying for revival. The congregation decided to set aside 25th February 1795 in particular for prayer and fasting for revival in their locality.

Psalm 85:6

Will You not revive us again that your people may rejoice in you?

To pray for Revival implies decline, that as the covenant people of God we are not experiencing what we should be as the psalmist realised in this case.

Revival is from God!

will YOU not revive us again.

It is the church and God walking together in covenant relationship which releases His power through us. When the church lacks the power of God for service and ministry, it is then God stirs us to pray the above prayer.

In our church record books there is such an occasion when the church had experienced much decline and staleness, yet in answer to public and private prayer –

God brought revival!

Let us learn the lessons here and seek God for similar today.

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