By Basil Manly, Sr. (1798-1868)
July 29, 1822
It is with pleasure I am now able to tell you of the good things which God is doing for us at Stephen’s Creek… The meeting began on Friday, and nothing special appeared until near the close of the exercises on Saturday, when suddenly, and like an electric shock, the Divine power seemed to be poured out on the whole congregation. As many as 25 or 30 rose with an involuntary effort, and without particular invitation, came up crying for mercy, and begging the people of God to pray for them. It was truly astonishing—I never saw such things before—so universal an effect; such deep and agonizing sorrow, attended with so little noise and confusion.
On Sunday the effect was still greater. Although we had been longing and looking for a revival…yet after the first transport of joy and gratitude had subsided, I had most distressing doubts and fears. My heart was cold and callous, and even indifferent in prayer. I was in a distressing state of inquiry as to the cause of these feelings: whether God was showing me that it was not his work, and that it would soon subside; or whether I was to learn that it was not our prayers nor preaching, but his gracious arm alone, that we might be deeply humbled before him. [Another brother] and myself being mutually under these views and feelings, set out the next week following through the neighborhood, to see what God the Lord would say to us. The further we went the more were our hearts strengthened and I bless God for the great things we saw and felt on that day. The hand of the Lord is in the work, and in a most powerful manner. In one settlement not far from the meeting-house, the people have literally left off their domestic business, and are going night and day, far and near, where they can hear of a prayer meeting. As the fruit of this revival, which is fast increasing and seems like to spread, I have baptized twenty-five within the last three weeks; sixteen of them last Friday at Stephens’s Creek, when more than a thousand persons were present; and two in the village of Edgefield yesterday.
Truly yours, B. Manly