I had heard a good deal of Richard Weaver, the converted collier, and I expected much from him when he came to Aberdeen in the year 1864. I had a good opportunity of judging of the impression which he produced, as I was on the platform of the Music Hall with him every evening while he was here. I was the only minister of any denomination who was there, or even in the Hall. The numbers were not many at first; but before he left there was hardly standing room and the Music Hall when packed holds three thousand. One who was present told me afterwards that he came there to make sport of Richard Weaver, but two lines of a hymn arrested his attention:
‘his blood can make the foulest clean, his blood availed for me.’
"If there's a foulest upon earth, I am that man,' said he to himself; and if it can make me clean, it must be wonderful blood.' He could not leave the meeting, and that night was the turning-point of his life.
"The hymns, the prayers, and the preaching were all in the same strain. The precious, cleansing blood of Christ was his constant theme, and he put the whole energy of his being into it. I have seen the veins swell on his temples, and his face suffuse with colour, from the pressure of his earnestness, as he bent over the platform swinging his arms while preaching or singing of the love of Christ. He had a voice powerful, yet sweet and full of tenderness, and far-reaching. He said himself he could make it heard by an audience of ten thousand, and I did not doubt it.
"One of his favourite hymns,
Oh, the Lamb, the bleeding Lamb!
made a deep impression. A young man told me of his conversion through that hymn. He had gone, unconverted, with a friend, to a social gathering of young men. The talk turned chiefly on Richard Weaver and his meetings, when one sitting next to him turned and remarked to him, And what do you think of this Bleeding Lamb?’ He was horrified, he said, and started back; he was not accustomed to hear it put in that light. But the words clung to him, and he could get no rest till he himself went and found peace through the atoning blood of the Lamb
"One evening the impression was so great that everyone felt it; and he (Weaver) requested the anxious to go out, the men into one room and the women into another. He asked me to go down into the hall, in case some might be there waiting but unwilling to go into the room. Then I learned that eight men were in a room waiting, with no one to speak to them.
"'Will you go, sir?' said one.
"'Certainly,' I answered. The result will speak for itself by the following incident.
"A year after this someone called upon me, and said to me, 'If you want to see John Strachan alive, you would need to come now, for he is dying.'
" Who is John Strachan?' I asked.
" Oh, you don't know him; but he knows you.'
"I went to see him, and his first words were, Come away sir; I want to see you once more before I go to Immanuel's Land.'
"'But how do you know me?' I asked.
"He answered, 'Do you remember eight young men who went into a room to be spoken to after one of Richard Weaver's meetings? I was one of them. You came in, and I don't know what you said, but you put your arms around my neck, and I thought it must. be a wonderful religion to make a gentleman like you act like that. That night I got no sleep. I knew enough about the way of salvation, and I closed with Christ. I determined then to speak to all my friends of the change which had come over me; and if I had known that I had only one year more to live, I could not have done more, for I spoke to every one of them.'
"I prayed with him and said I was going away for a few days, but would call again soon. When I went, his landlady told me that shortly after I left he had died triumphantly.
"These are but specimens of the impression produced at all of Richard Weaver's meetings, and of the fruit that remained to the glory of God.
"For the personality of Richard Weaver, I may say that I have had him in my own house, and myself and my family were struck with his refined gentleness. The refining power of the grace of God was eminently exemplified in him. It shone in his face. He was anxious to be able to study the Word critically and experimentally, feeling himself to be deficient in theological training. He asked to have a copy of my Commentary on the Gospels, which I was glad to give to him, although his natural insight was uncommonly good."