Pritchett Street, Birmingham (1860)
SIR- We feel it both a duty and a pleasure to inform you of the gracious work which the Lord has begun and is now carrying on in our midst. For the last two months God has been laying bare his mighty arm, and practically demonstrating that Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through him. The place where this Revival work has thus begun is in a room connected with the ?Birmingham Town Mission,? and which is situated in Pritchet-street, New Town-row. Three of the agents of the above society are moving in districts surrounding this room, having it as a central point. Each of them in turn conducts the several religious services held there. It was opened in September, 1859, and for some months the difficulties in the way seemed almost insurmountable. At last the Lord cheered the hearts of his servants, and, in answer to fervent prayer, sent a pentecostal shower. The first drops descended on the evening of the 29th of May, and since that time, more or less the work has been going on.
The means chosen by God for the commencement of the glorious work were the following: A gentleman of the town had kindly proffered to give to Sunday-school teachers, and others engaged in the Lord's vineyard, as many copies of the Revival paper weekly, for six months, as they could circulate, to spread, if possible, a spirit of earnest prayer for the out?pouring of the Spirit of God. Several of the town missionaries availed themselves of this kind offer, and among the rest, those engaged at and around the Mission-room, Pritchet-street. Extracts from ?The Revival? were read on Tuesday evenings, and prayer-meetings held at the close of the religious and other meetings, to ask God to visit us as He had visited those places mentioned in ?The Revival?. The prayers were characterized by earnestness and simplicity.
Indications of the coming blessing were seen in one or two becoming deeply anxious about their spiritual welfare; then came the soul-stirring time when numbers were prostrate on their knees, crying bitterly, and, with sin-stricken consciences, calling upon Jesus to have mercy upon their guilty souls. ?Night after night was this scene renewed, and as many as twelve, fifteen, and even twenty were on their knees at one time. Some of the worst characters of the neighbourhood, well known and feared by all around, were brought under the blessed. influence of the Spirit of God. Sinners, who had blasphemed for years the holy hand of God; backsliders, who had forsaken their first love, and had wandered back into the world ; those who had been awakened, but had not fled for refuge to the hope set before them in the gospel, were all alike quickened into a new and holy life; tongues which had be?fore uttered oaths and curses, and every evil and abominable thing, now sung with rapturous joy the high and holy praises of their Redeemer: so earnest were they, and so deep was the feeling manifested, that it was often eleven o'clock before the meeting would be closed, and then the people would only go with the promise that on the next evening another prayer-meeting would be held. Every night in the week since then there have been prayer-meetings, and the sweet, constraining love of Christ has been visibly manifested. Ministers of various denominations have been present at these meetings, and have expressed their conviction that it was the work of the Spirit. But the test of the genuineness of the work lies in the changed lives of those who have been convinced and brought to Christ for pardon. This test has been applied, and, blessed be God, many have stood it, and, though enduring bitter persecutions on account of Christ, they are still witnessing a good confession.
Some cases of touching interest have occurred, and one of these shall close this letter: For some time a person named had attended the services of the room. She had been utterly careless about all religion, and had not been in a place of worship for years. Induced to attend the Bible-classes held there, she was persuaded to come to the religious services and from that time impressions were made upon her mind. She attended regularly for some time, and soon there came an out?ward change in her conduct. The Sabbath, which had been to her a day like unto the other days of the week, was now observed, and she began to read with interest the pages of the Holy Book. When the prayer-meetings commenced, she attended them, and silently the Spirit of God moved upon her heart, and stirred it to its depths. It revealed her state as a lost sinner, and awakened in her soul a deep and earnest desire for salvation. Unknown to any but herself and her God, she wrestled for the peace she longed for, and at last the Spirit of God revealed to her Christ and Him crucified as her only hope. She was enabled to look upon Him as her Saviour, and to say from her heart, "Lord, I believe." Night after night she came to the prayer-meetings, and at last, one evening, she gave vent to her new-found joy and peace in prayer. That prayer will not soon be forgotten by those who heard it. It lives in our memory still. After blessing God for having led her to see her sinfulness, and then leading her to Jesus, she thanked Him that He had enabled her the evening before to take her little boy, about four years old, and lead him for the first time to the throne of grace. As she knelt down, and bade him do the same, the little one looked wonderingly up into his mother's face and said, "Do mother pray?" That question woke up feelings in the heart not to be described, and, with a trembling voice, she began to pray; when again the little fellow looked up and said, " Speak up, mother." Then, with a feeling none but those who witnessed it can tell, that mother, in her prayer, gave utterance to the following thoughts ?" How sad a thing that a child should ask a mother such a question! How sad for her to have been a mother for four years arid never led her boy to the throne of grace till then!"
During that touching prayer there were no dry eyes in the room, but a deep and solemn feeling came over all. This person is now manifesting the change of her life at home and at the place where she is engaged. at work, and though once a scoffer at religion, now is doing what she can to promote the spiritual welfare of her fellow-creatures, by bringing them to a knowledge of the Saviour. She has won the esteem and love of those around her, and, by the grace of God upholding her, we hope to meet her in that better world, with many others who, during the last two months, have given their hearts to Christ.
July 10. From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume III, page 20/1