Dear Sir,—In reply to the question at the commencement of the 'Revival', No. 160, "How do the converts stand?" I have pleasure in forwarding extracts from a letter received a few days since from the parish of Hitcham, Suffolk, in which I worked for three years as curate.
During the winter of 1860-61, a great awakening took place there, in answer to much prayer for an outpouring of the Spirit, and many (among whom were some notoriously bad characters) came out and boldly testified of Christ and his precious salvation. A year having now elapsed since my removal to another sphere of labour (owing to the death of my rector), being anxious to ascertain a correct and unbiased account of the dear converts' progress, I employed a judicious Christian friend, well known to all the people, to visit each of them in person, and both by private conversation and by the report of others, closely to investigate their real progress; after which my friend writes thus:
"I think I have at last seen most, if not all, that you mentioned, and spoken to them about the one thing, and I trust they, as well as myself, have been strengthened and refreshed. I have spent much of my time with them; there was so much to say that I felt I could not leave them, and they were all so thankful to have someone call and speak to them; but I have not felt my time wasted, for it has been a time of great refreshing to my own soul. I cannot express the joy I have felt in seeing them; excepting the few; who have gone back: they are all so full of Jesus, and seem to have grown in grace, so that one cannot help being struck with it; and I believe that the enemies of the work have been put to silence by the walk of the dear Christians, for no one has said a word to me against the work this time, because they have seen such different results from those they expected.
"I have seen —. Poor woman, she is as weak as she can be, but through all her affliction she is able to rejoice in Jesus, who cheers her through so many weary hours; she says she never feels dull. "Mrs A. holding fast, and growing in grace. She is as regular at church as ever, and her words seemed full of life. " Mrs B. still a quiet and earnest Christian.
"Mrs C. the same. "Mrs D. holding fast. "Mrs E. as ready as ever to testify for Jesus, and does all in her power to uphold his work here. "Mrs P. holding fast. "Mrs G. looks brighter than ever, if possible. She does one good to see her, she is so full of Jesus, and she seems to have so much joy and peace in believing. "Mrs H. holding fast. I was told she had gone back, because she had not gone to the meetings; but she has not been well for some time, and was unable to go. "Mrs.I. is still holding fast. "Mrs J. could not be mistaken. Her face bears testimony to the settled peace within, and Jesus and his love is her chief and only theme; she cares to speak of other things but little. Mrs K. holding fast; Her husband has been brought to the Lord. "Mrs L. holding fast; her husband also. "Mrs M. the same as when you left; she must stand amid much discouragement. "Mrs N. says Jesus is her only strength and stay, her all in all. "Mrs O. still a very quiet and consistent Christian. "Mrs P. has evidently grown much in grace."
Then follow the names of eight young men, who she says " are most valiant soldiers of the cross ' • they have faithfully obeyed the command to come out and be separate, and "all may take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus." One feels in speaking with them that they might say truly, "Come with us and we will do thee good."
“X. not quite so steadfast. “Y. and Z. gone back, though not to their former vices. “Q. (I think) fell, overcome by temptation, and is now ashamed to return; even now he is a changed boy to what he formerly was, and I trust will be brought back again. Since you left, his mother has and to Jesus, and she told me it was his words which were blessed to her. “R. continues a faithful follower of Jesus and -grows in grace. "I have talked a great deal with —. She is still steadfast, and I trust will be enabled to stand, whatever be the influence around her. "S. and T. I am doubtful about."
Then follow several more names, all "holding fast," and some "testifying for Jesus." She concludes:— "I need not say how pleased I am to be able to send you so good an account of all. I have felt the weakness of my faith, for I did not expect to find the Christians so strong in faith, and so con¬sistent as they are."
A letter received this morning gives equally cheering accounts of the dear converts, and we can but be filled with thankfulness at so bright a testimony of the stability of the work. I remain, yours faithfully,
From, 'The Revival', Volume VII, page 121/2.