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The Secret of James Caughey's Wonderful Success

This wonderful evangelist was known to only a few of the present generation. He died at a good old age in New Brunswick, N.J., but two or three years before the publication of this book.

James Caughey (1810 – 1891)

In one of his books, Mr. Caughey says: “I am now fully persuaded that in proportion as the Spirit of God shall condescend to second my efforts in the gospel message, I shall be successful. No man has ever been signally used in winning souls to Christ without the help of the Spirit. With it, the humblest talent may astonish earth and hell, by gathering into the path of life thousands for the skies; while, without it, the finest, the most splendid talents, remain comparatively useless.”

Mr. Caughey was called of God to visit England and Ireland, in which countries he labored seven years with the most signal success. During this time, " nearly twenty-two thousand persons professed conversion under his immediate labors, and nearly ten thousand entered into the rest of full salvation.” He gives the following account of his call, in a letter to a friend, from which we extract as follows:

“You will remember our Conference of 1839 was held in the city of Schenectady, N. V. That year I was appointed to Whitehall, N. V. Shortly after, I had my library study furniture forwarded to my station.”

“It was then I began seriously to reflect upon the propriety of choosing a wife, believing that ‘marriage is honorable in all men.’ I had traveled a number of years, studied hard, and expended all my time and strength in winning souls to Christ. My brethren approved of my intention. But while indulging in this purpose-for some reasons I could not explain-my heart became very hard. The Lord seemed to depart from me; and that countenance, which so often beamed upon me from above, and had daily, for many years, brightened my soul into rapturous joy, appeared now to be mantled in the thickest gloom.”

“The more I reflected thus: ‘I can see no good reason why I should be singular among my brethren, nor continue to lead this solitary life, my heart became harder, and my darkness increased. I was soon involved in a variety of evil reasonings. My will seemed to be in a conflict with some-thing invisible. God, who had honored me with such intimate communion with himself since my conversion, apparently left me to battle it out alone. So it appeared to me then; but now I see God himself was contending with me. I was about to step out of the order of his providence; and he was resolved to prevent it, unless I should refuse to understand why he thus resisted me. Had I continued the conflict, I believe he would have let me take my own course; nor would he have cast me off; yet I solemnly feel he would have severely chastised my disobedience.”

"My distress and gloom were so great, I could not unpack my library, nor arrange my study. I began to reflect most solemnly upon my unhappy state of mind, and became more concerned to regain my former peace and joy in God, than to obtain any temporal blessing whatever. The world was a blank, a bleak and howling wilderness, to my soul, without the smiles of my Savior. In fact, that I could not live, but must wither away from the face of the earth, without his comforting and satisfying presence. Like a well-chastised son, I came back to the feet of my Heavenly Father, and with many tears I besought him to reveal his face to my soul; that if my purposes were crossing his to show me; and whatever was his will, I would at once, by his help, yield my soul unto it. "Lord God," I said, "if my will crosses thy will, then my will must be wrong; for thine cannot but be right."

Now I cared not what he commanded me to do, or to leave undone; I stood ready to obey. I felt assured clear light from God on some points would soon reach my soul; and I was fully prepared for it. But I no more expected such an order as came soon after, than I expected he would command me to fly upward and preach the gospel in another planet. During three days I cried to God, without any answer.

On the third day, in the afternoon, I obtained an audience with the Lord. The place was almost as lonely as Sinai, where Moses saw the burning bush. It was under open sky, a considerable distance from the habitations of men; steep rocks and mountains, deep forests, and venomous reptiles, surrounded me. Here, and in a moment, the following passage was given me to plead: "And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed: "The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty." -- Exodus 34: 5-7.

I took hold of this; many of the words were as fire, and as a hammer to break the rocks in pieces before the Lord. The fountains of tears were opened, and the great deep of my heart was broken up. I left the place, however, without receiving any light; but my heart was fully softened and subdued, and I felt assured I had prevailed in some way with God. I was confident light and direction were coming; but of what nature I could not tell.

“This was on the 9th of July,1839. The same evening, about twilight, eternal glory be to God! When reading in, small, room adjoining my study, a light, as I conceived from heaven, reached me. . My soul was singularly calmed and warned by a strange visitation. In a moment I recognized the change; the following, in substance, was spoken to my heart; but in a manner, and with a rapidity, I cannot possibly describe. Every ray of Divine glory seemed to be a word that the eye of my soul could read, a sentence which my judgment could perceive and understand: ‘These matters which trouble thee must be let entirely alone. The will of God is, that thou shouldst visit Europe. He shall be with thee there, and give thee many seals to thy ministry. He has provided thee with funds. Make thy arrangements accordingly; and, next Conference, ask liberty from the proper authorities, and it shall be granted thee. Visit Canada first; when this is done, sail for England. God shall be with thee there, and thou shalt have no want in all thy journeyings; and thou shalt be brought back in safety again to America’

‘I arose from my knees under a strong conviction that God had called me to take this tour. Letters were written immediately to Canada, etc. The next day my soul was calm and happy. My books were unpacked, and everything in my study arranged with a glad heart and free. Eleven months were before me, to criticize the impressions on my soul.

With delight I commenced my pastoral work, visited from house to house, and had the pleasure of seeing a most powerful revival of religion in my circuit. During this period not the least wish entered my heart to form any connection or engagement whatever that would entangle or hinder me from fulfilling what I conceived to be the high and solemn commission I had received from the Lord. I continued to resign the whole matter to God, entreating him to overrule all to his glory, and to hedge up my way if it were not his will I should leave America.”

Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893

For more information about James Caughey and links to his sermons:

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