DEAR BROTHER, The Lord has for several weeks past been manifesting his mighty power in Barnstaple. The town has been for a long time slumbering in deadly indifference; for two years united prayer-meetings have been held with little manifest blessing. It seemed as though the Lord would pass us by, for our unfaithfulness, in these times of refreshing. But "we walk by faith, not by sight." Some men of faith and prayer expected the blessing ere it came. One holy man of God. told me a few months ago that he heard " a sound of an abundance of rain," and never in his life was so sure that great blessing was coming. May this encourage us to pray and faint not.
On February 5, our beloved and honoured brother Hambleton came over, at our earnest request, from Bideford (where, also, the Lord. used him), and preached in the Music-hall, which was crowded, beyond expectation, with between one and two thousand persons; many others being unable to enter. God was present, clothing his word with power. In the meeting for conversation and prayer many souls were found seeking Christ, and several that night found rest in his love; an earnest, this, of greater blessing. Nor were we disappointed. From that time till the present the Wonderful One has been doing won?drous things, and holy is his name. His "power has been present to heal" among his own people as well as the ungodly. The Christians in the town, the one church of Christ, are more than ever united; and I trust we feel, in a little measure, our responsibility to serve Him who has loved us unto blood. All the chapels but one have been cordially opened to our dear brother Hambleton, and the Lord has signally blessed his Word through him in each. But of man we would not speak; let God, in Christ, have all the glory; still, whom He condescends to honour we should honour also. A great work, with very little excitement, is going on in simple prayer-meetings, where, night after night, sinners, old and young, are touched by the finger of God; and many, very many, have, as we heartily hope, and wait to prove, been brought as self-judged sinners to sit at Jesus' feet. This glorious work is especially among the young, though by no means confined to them; in some cottage meetings the little ones have formed the majority. Many of these have been plunged in the deepest sorrow; and some, on receiving the word with joy, have immediately commenced to press their newly-found Saviour on the acceptance of those around. There have been also sinners of the deepest dye in whose hearts have stuck the searching arrows of God's word; publicans and harlots, gamblers and drunkards, have accepted a holy Saviour as their own. Emphatically, God is bringing the clean thing out of the unclean, the holy from the vile. Hallelujah truly "the Lord is a Man of war."
Mr Hambleton has been, and is still, visiting the villages in the neighbourhood, and wherever he has gone the power of Christ has rested on him, and much fruit has appeared to the glory of the all-worthy Lamb of God. The Lord is also, in his grace, using others of his servants. The hearts of all who sincerely love the Lord Jesus are rejoicing indeed, though it is with trembling, for, " we are not ignorant of Satan's devices;" we know he is working, and earnestly request the prayers of God's people that wisdom may be given to meet his subtlety with the heavenly cunning of faith. I might fill many sheets with details of this glorious work; let this brief notice suffice for the present, and may it rejoice the hearts of Christians, and draw forth not only their thanksgivings for Barnstaple but their prayers of faith. Yours in Christ, R. S. WARE.
March 25, 1861.
From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume IV, page 111.
There was a theatre where marked on an 1889 map. There was another in Honey Pot Lane (now Theatre Lane).