Clapton-in-Gordano (1862)




A very interesting tent tea-meeting was held here on Wednesday (6th), on the lawn in front of my house, the Rectory. This is the second one of the kind we have held since I came here two years ago, when I found the village, which only contains 170 persons, in a very dark and neglected state. I found a Scripture reader here had been labouring for a while. He was I believe a. good man, and had mach to contend with.

God has been pleased to bless the preaching of the gospel since I came here two years ago. I have thrown open my school-room to several preachers; and Mr. Hill, Capt. Rochfort, Wilbraham Taylor, Esq., Capt. Wellesley, Capt. Hawes, and the Woolwich Boys, have all spoken in it. Many have been converted, and the light has been spread­ing around. Several from the neighbouring parishes have come to the services, and found Christ. Thus we have a little band of soldiers of Christ in this secluded little vil­lage; and amongst them several of our farmers.

I proposed about this time last year to have a tent meeting, and these cordially entered into it. At great trouble they erected a large tent, and we had between 500 and 600 present from all the neighbourhoods round. It was an interesting and novel scene here, and a deep impression was made. Several then found the Lord. This year we have had a similar gathering. I presided on the occasion, and in an introductory address expressed the pleasure I felt at seeing so many there. (There were up­wards of 400 persons present, and but for the rain and un­favourable state of the weather, there would have been many more). I spoke of the love of Christ, as the key note to be struck by the succeeding speaker's; and dwelt on the sweetness and necessity of Christian unity and love.

The Rev. S. A. Walker, of Bristol, in a solemn and powerful address, spoke of several cases of conversion which had come under his notice. One man had been a great drunkard, but, disgusted with the landlady refusing to trust him, determined never to enter the house again. He was true to his word, and the next time he got his wages he went and purchased a leg of mutton. The joy it occasioned his wife, and the tears shed over this altered state of things, led to his coming to the house of God, and to his complete change. Another instance was that of a thoughtless young man, who was on Sunday going to a dog-fight, but hearing the sound of his church bell, he was arrested and led to think. He went to the dog-fight, but felt miserable. On his return home he continued so. He thought he would go where he heard that bell sound. This led to his hearing the gospel, and to his conversion, and he is now adorning emi­nently the doctrine of God his Saviour.

The Rev. W. Haslam, minister of Avon-street Episcopal Chapel, Bath, followed in an interesting address. He was succeeded by Mr. S. Short, of the Seaman’s Chapel, Bristol. The Rev. Mr. Probert, of Bristol, also spoke, and Mr. F. Wills, of Clevedon. Hymns were sung between each address, and prayer was made. After singing the hymn­--"Shall we ever all meet again?" the company separated.

It is to be hoped a rich blessing may follow this meeting. There is a spirit of inquiry, and thing's, which are stagnant enough all around, are changing for the better. The harvest is plenteous but gospel-preachers few. I remain, yours faithfully, HENRY JAMES MARSHALL,

Rector of Clapton, Somerset.

From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume VII, page 74.

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