“Well, I have talked considerably over an hour. I did not intend to. But hear me, let’s think about these things. I tell you I never – I tell you I never want to see a revival in this city, or anywhere else, that isn’t bottomed on bed rock. Let’s go down until you hear your boot heels grating and grinding against the Rock of Ages. None of your corn stalk revivals!
“We want the sort of revival that will make men do the clean thing. If we can have that sort of revival I want to see it – but not corn stalk revivals. Do you know what a corn stalk revival is? Well, if you were to pile up a lot of corn stalks as high as this house, and burn them up, there wouldn’t be a hodful of ashes. We want a revival of righteousness – we want a revival of honesty; we want a revival of cleanness and purity, of debt paying, of prayer meetings, of family prayer, and of paying our brothers a little more salary. That’s the sort of revival we want. The Lord give us this sort!
“One more illustration in conclusion. Some months ago a man was fearfully crippled in his right leg by a railroad accident. It was fearfully mangled and bruised. They wanted to amputate the leg, but he said: “O I don’t want to lose my limb; preserve it if you can.” They watched at his side until at last the surgeon said: “My friend, the crisis has come when we must amputate your leg.” He said: “Doctor, has it reached that point?” “Yes,” said the surgeon. “Well,” said he, submissively, “if there is no chance to save my leg, get your knife and go to work.”
“When they got all ready and laid the patient on the table to commence the fearful operation, the surgeons desired to administer chloroform, but the mangled man said: “I do not want to take that; if I die I want to die in my full consciousness, but I want you to let me know by some sign when I begin to sink, so that I can breathe my spirit out in prayer.” They told him that he couldn’t stand the operation without chloroform, but he said that he could.
“The doctor picked up the knife and said to the patient, “If you see me lay the knife down on the table you may know that you are sinking.”
“The doctor commenced the operation, and the man did not flinch. When he struck the arteries he laid his knife down to adjust them, and the young man took it for a sign that he was dying, and commenced praying. The surgeon picked up the knife and resumed his work. In a few minutes the operation was over, and he saw he was saved, and he turned to the surgeon and said: “Doctor, when you picked the knife up from the table and began your operation, it was the sweetest sensation I ever felt in my life.”
“What do you mean?” said the doctor. “I mean,” said he, “that those sensations meant life for me.” Now, brother, when God Almighty throws down the pruning knife it is a sign that you are sinking – the sword of the Divine Spirit cutting through the tendrils of sin; but, thank God, He has not laid down the sword. The sword of the Spirit means life. O brother, come to life in the presence of Jesus, and die in his love. God help us to take these things home with us!
–from Quit Your Meaness!
Wherever American evangelist Samuel Porter Jones preached, liquor stores closed, theaters and jails emptied, and cursing was reduced to whispers. The Reverend Jones (1847-1906), or “just plain ‘Sam Jones,'” as he preferred to be called, was born at Oak Bowery, AL, and reared at Cartersville, GA. He studied to be a lawyer, but drinking and gambling soon brought him to the brink of ruin.
At his father’s deathbed, he fell on his knees and repented of his sin. He preached his first sermon one week later and was licensed to preach in the Methodist Church after only three months. He served several pastorates but gained fame as a lecturer and evangelist. Soon he was conducting campaigns in some of America’s largest cities, reaching the peak of his popularity in the early 1880s. Rarely spending time at his home in Cartersville, Jones preached his “quit your meanness” theology in cities across the United States.