Newhaven (1860)



About the beginning of March, a very remarkable work of grace appeared in the town of Newhaven. A young man from Cellardyke went to spend a few days in that place; and, on his return, excited deep interest among his praying friends by a recital of what he had seen.

On the morning of Sabbath, the 11th March, the fisher?men's fellowship meeting was unusually solemn. They resolved to hold another in the evening, which was marked, if possible, by still greater solemnity?a solemnity which was increased by a young man present being awakened ; his sister, about the same time, also exhibiting spiritual con?cern. On Monday the young man went to sea, where his mental distress went on increasing in intensity. It fortu?nately happened that he had a praying skipper, (an elder of the Free Church,) and a sympathising crew; and for three days that boat presented a scene such as probably was never witnessed in a boat before?the anguish and cries of the heart-stricken lad, the tears of his companions, the tender earnestness of the skipper, as he alternately directed him to the Saviour, and pleaded with God on his behalf. At length, in the afternoon of the third day, and while the crew were standing round him in prayer, the young man suddenly sprang up from his prostrate posture in the bottom of the boat, and declared, with tears of joy, that he had laid hold on Christ. An indescribable tumult of emotions at this relief, after three days of intense anxiety, filled the breasts of the crew. They could attend to nothing; and how their boat drifted safely into the har?bour they cannot yet tell. The skipper sat buried in deep thought as he reflected on those three days of agonising earnestness, and now looked on the visible change on the face of the young fisherman. His mind passed through a conflict. And was this indeed?just this which had hap?pened in his own boat, just this which he saw before his eyes?was this the outpouring of the Spirit, the work of God, which he had so long prayed for? He carefully sur?veyed the evidence. Doubt and unbelief at length gave way; and the mental struggle ended by his adopting the words of Peter,?" What was I, that I could withstand God?"

While this was going on in the case of the brother at sea, the sister and her friends were similarly employed on shore. And when the news of her brother's relief was brought to the house of another Free-Church elder, where they were assembled, she was ready to say, "I have found Christ, too." The joy of the meeting of these two young people and their mutual friends may be imagined. Crowds gathered in and around the house to witness the scene or learn the cause of the commotion; and for several days that elder's home was the focus of an intense religious interest and a powerful religious movement.

From ?Authentic Records of Revival, now in progress in the United Kingdom, published in 1860, re-printed and edited in 1980 by Richard Owen Roberts.

Related Wells