MESSRS. MOODY AND SANKEY IN SHEFFIELD.
FROM SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTS.
Our hearts are filled with praise and thanksgiving to God for the marvellous display of his grace which we have seen in Sheffield this first week of the new year. When the large assembly was bowed in prayer in the Albert Hall, during the closing moments of the old year, a united cry went up to God, from many hearts, that, as 1874 had been a year of rich and exceptional blessing, the year 1875 should see a still more wonderful display of the mighty power of God in the salvation of souls.
Already we see the beginning of the answer to that prayer in the meetings which have been held this week. Day after day the hall has been thronged with eager crowds of listeners, while hundreds have been unable to gain admission. There is most wonderful and blessed unity amongst the various sections of the Church of Christ represented on the platform. It seems to be the desire of each of the dear servants of God, that Christ alone may be exalted, and his name be glorified in the salvation of souls. This oneness of heart and purpose is the real secret of the power which is seen in the meetings. It is this that gives such unction in the noon prayer meeting, and such point and effect to the word preached and sung by our beloved brethren.
At the afternoon meeting on Tuesday, Mr Moody said his heart had been very sore the last twenty-four hours, since he had received that telegram, yesterday morning, about the fathers and mothers of the three young men who had been executed in Liverpool. Feeling thus, he devoted this hour to a most impressive address to parents on their duties towards their children, urging on all to see that they brought their children to the Lord in the days of their youth.
At the noon-day meeting on Wednesday, Mr Moody again dwelt on the subject of Prayer; as this is the work of special prayer, he is dealing with this important subject in all its aspects. Today he was largely insisting upon our asking great things, as long as it was for spiritual blessings for ourselves and others; but he warned us to be careful in asking temporal things. From the examples of Moses, Elijah, and Paul, he showed that men who were mighty with God in prayer, when they came to God for personal blessings, failed. Moses asked to get into the promised land, he failed to get an answer; Paul asked to get his thorn removed, but God did not hear him. They got something better than they asked--grace; and thus it is, we must be willing to take for ourselves whatever God sees best to give us. And let us all come boldly to the throne of grace, seeking mercy and grace, and God will hear this prayer and answer it. "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
As in the towns he has previously visited, Mr Moody is determined to get at the young men.
Since Sunday the interest and results of the meetings have increased every day! There have been three meetings daily in the Albert Hall; the noon prayer meeting, Bible reading at three, and preaching at 7:30. Besides this there have been meetings for inquirers at the close of the afternoon and night meetings; on Wednesday night there was a meeting for men only at nine o'clock. The public meeting closed that evening at about 8.30, and then when the inquirers had removed to the lower room, and the hall had been cleared, the doors were again opened, and an immense crowd of men which had been gathering in the street rushed in en masse and filled every corner of the large building in a few minutes. It was a very remarkable meeting. The word was in great power, and in concluding his address Mr Moody gave some most interesting details of the work amongst young men that is at present going on in Glasgow, Belfast, Dublin, and other places, and invited all who wished the meetings for men to be continued nightly, to stand up. The greater part of the audience stood up at once, and it was arranged that a young men's meeting should be held every night in the Temperance Hall. On Thursday Mr Drummond came over from Manchester to take charge of these men's meetings, and at the appointed hour the Temperance Hall was crowded, and there were many inquiring the way of life at the close of the meeting.
On the morning of the same day, Mr Moody, referring to Isa. xii., "Declare ye his doings among the people," gave some further details of the wonderful work in other places amongst young men; yet, he said, in none of these towns had there been such a meeting, at the outset, as there had been in Sheffield that night. The Lord is working and working mightily. in this town, and woe be to those who let such a day of grace go by; to them will be addressed the solemn words, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and ye are not saved."
The meeting in the Albert Hall, on the same evening, was one of the most remarkable I have ever been present at. The subject was the latter part of Luke xvi, and there was a solemn awe over the large assembly crowded into the building which was almost painful at times. The speaker was himself deeply affected, and near the close of the address, persons were sobbing in uncontrollable emotion all over the hall.
When the meeting was over, the inquirers flocked down into the lower hall by scores, to be spoken with personally. It was indeed a most memorable night, and will not easily be forgotten by those who were there.
As Mr Moody had to be in Manchester on Friday, it was arranged that the noon prayer meeting would be conducted on that day by the Rev. Rowley Hill (the Vicar of Sheffield), who takes a deep interest in the present movement; and several ministers were appointed to conduct the evangelistic meeting at night. Mr Sankey agreed to remain in Sheffield, so as to keep up the interest at the meetings.
"The Christian," January 14th, 1874.
The Times on Monday says – “The services held by Messrs Moody and Sankey at Sheffield yesterday were more largely attended than on any previous day. Albert Hall was crowded in the morning long before the commencement of the service and hundreds were turned away from the doors. It had been arranged to hold in the afternoon a special service for women and the multitude assembled was greater than in the morning. Every available space in the saloon, the orchestra and the galleries were occupied. There was an immense crowd of women outside who despaired of ever being able to hear the men whose reputation had probably drawn hundreds of them to the doors day after day. The disappointment was however, reserved for those who succeeded in gaining admittance; For when Messrs Moody and Sankey ascended the platform, the former announced that he purposed holding a meeting in the parish churchyard, considering that so many found it impossible to find places in the hall. Mr Moody proceeded to the churchyard where he and the vicar held an open-air service.”
Sunday was one of the most glorious days for the work of God ever seen in this town. The day commenced with a crowded and enthusiastic meeting of Christian workers in the Albert Hall. At 11:00 there was a special service for those who are not in the habit of attending any place of worship. Admission by ticket. It was evident that the greatest part of the audience consisted of the class whom it was desired to reach. In order to reach as large a number of persons as possible, a meeting for women was announced at three o'clock and a meeting for men at 7:30, but the hall was crowded to excess long before 3:00 o'clock and the streets outside were thronged with thousands who were unable to obtain admission. Mr Moody announced that he would preach in the parish churchyard, which is only a few minutes walk from the Albert Hall and in the very centre of town. Very soon there was an immense crowd of probably not less than 10,000 persons gathered round the large raised tombstone, which served Mr Moody for a pulpit; Mr Sankey remained in the Albert Hall, which was quite full; So that altogether they had the largest number of persons as yet reached by them in this country at any one time. It was most impressive to see that very vast crowd of human beings listening with breathless interest, as the speaker pressed one appeal after another home to his hearers, using the solemn associations by which they were surrounded with telling effect.
The men's meeting commenced an hour before the time announced, as the hall was crowded to excess at that time. The thousands outside the hall who could not get admission were gathered into groups and addressed by several ministers in the open air and Mr Henry Drummond conducted another meeting in the Temperance Hall…(a few paragraphs missing) The result has been eminently encouraging. The hall was densely packed and the vast majority were evidently of a class little accustomed to the sound of the gospel. This meeting had been made a matter of special prayer and the Lord answered. The Holy Spirit was very manifestly present. Mr Moody's subject was just the "gospel" in all its glorious fullness and freeness. He sought first to remove the false impression so many had of the gospel, as a sad, dreary thing; showed what it was in truth - glad tidings. What it could do for all - set them free - free from death, free from sin - and concluded by a most solemn appeal to all, no matter how lost, how fallen, how sin burdened, to accept and be set at liberty. The effect of this address was most astonishing; everywhere could be seen strong, rough men bent in sorrow, tears streaming from eyes that had evidently been long strangers to such feelings. The inquiry room was crowded with men and women, all with one question - what must I do?
"The Christian", January 14th, 1875.