“Memorials of Methodism in Virginia,”
Dr. W.W. Bennett relates the following incidents in the life of John Easter, one
of the pioneer ministers who labored there nearly one hundred years ago. He
is represented as being the most powerful exhortatory preacher of his day.
His faith was transcendent, his appeals irresistible, his prayers like
talking to God -face to face. Perhaps no man has ever been more signally
honored of God as an instrument in the conversion of souls. -- On one of his
circuits eighteen hundred members were added to the church in a single year.
Many thrilling scenes under his preaching yet linger in memory of the people
in those counties where he principally labored. A most extraordinary display
of his faith was witnessed in Brunswick.
At Merritt’s meeting house a quarterly meeting was in progress, and so vast
was -- the concourse of people from many miles around, that the services were
conducted in a beautiful grove -- near the church. In the midst of the
exercises, a heavy cloud arose, and swept rapidly toward the place of
worship. From the skirts of the grove they could be seen coming on across the
fields The people were in consternation; no house could hold one third of the
multitude and they were about to scatter in all directions Easter rose in the
midst of the confusion, “Brethren,”’ cried he at the top of his voice, “be
still while I call upon God to stay the clouds, till his word can be preached
to perishing sinners.”
by his voice and manner, they stood between hope and fear. He kneeled down
and offered a fervent prayer that God would stay the rain that the preaching of
his word might go on, and afterward send refreshing showers. While he was
praying, the angry cloud, as it swiftly rolled up to them, was seen to part
asunder in the midst, pass on either side of them, and close again beyond,
leaving a space several hundred yards in circumference perfectly dry. The
next morning a copious rain fell again, and the fields that had been left
dry--were well watered. -- Records of Prevailing Prayer.