Dudley Circuit - Primitive Methodists (1849)



This is included because it sounds like a revival, although it came about through fear of cholera.

Stepping into the neighbouring circuit of Dudley, in the same populous district, we meet with almost equal prosperity. This circuit had more than doubled its members daring the four preceding years, having risen from 620 in 1836, to 1,350 in 1840; and during the ten years under consideration it also made great progress. The first four years were marked by considerate advancement; then followed the panic in trade, to which reference has been made in our account of Darlaston Circuit, and the number of members was reduced in 1845 to 1,224. In 1845, the number is not inserted in the minutes of Conference. In 1847, it is reported at 1,200. The tide of prosperity now returned. In 1848, the number had risen to 1,320; and in 1849, to 1,620. The succeeding year, however, was still more prosperous. Tokens of large success were everywhere apparent, and the societies were full of life and energy when the dreadful cholera began its fearful ravages, and .filled with consternation and dismay multitudes who till then had lived in utter negligence of their eternal interests. The chapels were crowded night after night, and cries for mercy were heard from persons of all ages and various conditions in life. ''Young men and maidens," aged matrons, and hoary-headed sires of three-score years and ten, were seen kneeling at the penitent bench, humbly supplicating pardoning mercy, and were afterwards heard to sing in joyous strains the praises of their God and Saviour. Some persons of decent morals, and in comfortable worldly circumstances, were found among the new converts, and many of a very different character, and in widely different circumstances; abandoned drunkards, card-players, prize-fighters, and even thieves and harlots became trophies of Divine grace, and evinced much zeal in the service of their new Master. In some instances, almost whole families were converted to God, and gangs of evil-doers were broken up; the major part of them having been brought to the Saviour, they ceased to do evil, and learned to do well! In scores of families a delightful change was apparent. Sobriety and industry, peace and concord, domestic order, cleanliness and comfort took the place of intemperance and sloth, brawls and contentious, poverty and filth, misery and degradation. Most of those who experienced the power of regenerating grace, united in church -fellowship, and consequently great accessions were made to most of the societies. Death, indeed, hurried a goodly number of the members into the world of spirits, some of them very suddenly, in a few hours after they had been praying with their afflicted and dying neighbours; yet after filling up the vacancies occasioned by these translations to the Church above, and making prudent deductions on account of the great influx of persons into the Churches under such exciting circumstances, the December Quarterly Meeting of 1849 found 2800 members being an increase of 600 for the preceding six months.

From, ‘The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion from its origin, by John Petty, 1860, p329.

http://www.archive.org/details/historyprimitiv01pettgoog

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