Belfast (1874)

That of a very unusual awakening and that of a very deep and remarkable character is just now pervading Belfast, and not only Belfast, but many districts of the surrounding country, the reports from various quarters amply testify. Three months ago it would have been simply impossible to obtain the meetings which are now going on all over the town. There is a thirst for the Gospel which is as novel as it is gratifying, and the preaching of the Gospel is producing results which were not surpassed in famed 59. The past week has been the most wonderful since the departure of Messrs Moody and Sankey. Indeed, it may be questioned whether even during their stay there was such activity as now prevails all through the town. Then there was one grand meeting nightly, but now in almost every quarter of the town there is a special nightly meeting, largely attended, and followed by the most blessed results. Truly " the Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad."

Lord's Day, November 1, was Communion Sabbath in most of the Presbyterian Churches of Belfast, and it is the universal testimony of the ministers that the attendance was the largest which they ever recollect. It was "a day to be remembered." In one church--not one of the largest eighty-nine more communicants attended than at last communion. In another there were fifty for the first time, and a similar tale could be told of many others. The various congregations also are setting themselves vigorously to work for the winter. Rosemary Street, York Street, Townsend Street, Crumlin Road, and Duncairn are already in the field, and others will be at work next week If matters go on as they bid fair to do, this winter will see such work done in Belfast as it has never witnessed.

The Rev. H. M. Williamson writes this week in a contemporary: "In the various mills in Belfast the work of God is spreading greatly through the agency of the millworkers themselves. So also in many of the ware-rooms. In one, where some eighty young men are employed, already the converts number more than forty. 'A singular circumstance;' said a young man the other evening, 'has occurred in our establishment. Our room, occupied by about twenty, was entirely empty on last  Sabbath for the first time, all the young men being out at some religious service, Usually it was well-filled by some lying in bed, or by others lying about reading novels."

The Rev. Hugh Hanna speaks of the good which is being done in his Sabbath schools. In one class no fewer than twenty profess to have been converted recently. Mr Wm. Shaw tells of a group of gentlemen, some of whom the other day were pooh-poohing this movement, when one of them said -"Let us tell the truth. I don't think much of this myself. But one thing I know - in my place of business, where cursing and swearing used continually to be heard; that is all gone, and things have a different look from what they ever had." Rev. George Shaw speaks of a very happy Communion in his church on Sabbath, 27 coming forward for the first time. Rev. R. Crawford Johnston speaks of the large evangelistic meetings being held nightly in Ballymacarrett, sixty or seventy inquirers sometimes waiting. Mr Thomas Sinclair, J.P, mentions the special meetings in the Currie school house, where on one night there were more than sixty inquirers, and much good done. At the Cave Hill School house, also, there were many conversions.

"Signs of Our Times," November 12th, 1874.


Work - earnest, quiet, general work - work attended by results of the most remarkable character - is at present the characteristic of the awakening in Belfast. Monday's noon meeting is always a kind of thermometer of the movement. By a very wise arrangement it is devoted to the reception of reports of the progress of the good cause in the town and neighbourhood, so that by attending it one can form a pretty accurate estimate of the advance which is being made. Judging by this standard, matters are in a very happy state indeed. Despite the inclemency of the weather, seldom have we seen a finer meeting than on Monday last, while the accounts given by ministers and laymen, by Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists and Independents, of what is being done, were such as to fill every heart with adoring thankfulness.

We learn from well-informed sources that the "mission", conducted in so many of the Episcopalian Churches of the town last week has been attended by excellent results. A very considerable number of the non-church going classes were gathered in by it. Much solemnity prevailed during the services, and the congregations in many of the churches where the "mission" was held, showed on last Sabbath a marked increase in the attendance. In some of the churches the services are being continued this week, and in more than one instance, ministers of the Presbyterian Church have been invited by their Episcopal brethren to take part in these services in their churches - a proceeding which not long ago would have been regarded in certain quarters with absolute horror. It is, however, but what should be. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"

We are glad to be able to say that the work seems to be extending in the country as well as in the town. During the week there have been many applications to the ministers of Belfast for help. A meeting of the General Assembly's Evangelisation Committee was held on Tuesday, at which arrangements were made for sending out brethren, two and two, like the Apostles of old, into various parts of the country. This is a step in the right direction.


The snow and sleet and bitter cold of Monday morning did not prevent a very large meeting--one of the largest we have seen--from assembling in Donegall-place Methodist Church. The Rev. John Donald, D.D., presided, and wisely dispensed with the usual address, that there might be more time for


The requests for prayer having been read by the Rev. J. H. Dickson, prayer was offered by the Revs. Dr Knox and Dr Macloskie. Reports being then called for, the Rev. Hugh Hanna spoke of a neighbouring town which he had visited, where special meetings had been held, but with no after-meetings for inquirers. At his suggestion this defect was remedied, and the first night thirty inquirers remained. He also spoke of the zeal of the young converts in Belfast. A lad connected with one of his Sabbath schools went out the previous evening (Sabbath) into a brickfield near the school and spoke to a number of persons who were there amusing themselves, with such effect that sixteen of them accompanied him back into the school as pupils. There were 1891 scholars at his district schools on Sabbath evening.

The Rev. W. Turner spoke of the good work in the Sandy-row district, where there were crowded meetings and many conversions.

The Rev. J. W. Dickson described a scene which had occurred at an inquiry meeting in his church (the Mariners Espiscopal Church) last week. An old woman, apparently nearly ninety years of age, was among the inquirers, and beside her a little child, so young that he scarcely thought of speaking to her. Having talked, however, with the old woman, he asked the child what

He asked her some questions, believing it to be almost impossible that she could understand what she said; but he had seldom heard a clearer or more simple description of entire dependence on Jesus.

In Lisburn a meeting had been held last week of those who believed they had found Christ during the last fortnight; 135 had attended. In Newry and Bessbrook he had letters saying that the work was progressing most remarkably.

The Rev. John White said that one of the most pleasing features at present was the anxiety of those who were converted to bring their friends to Christ. He had had many illustrations of this. Last Sabbath the Lord's Supper was administered in his church, and 100 sat down for the first time. It was a scene of great interest.

The Rev. A. Armstrong said he had never seen anything to equal the present revival. There was not a meeting at which conversions did not occur. He had addressed a most interesting meeting of the young men of the Methodist College, where numbers professed to give themselves to Christ's service.

Rev. Dr Knox spoke of the good done by persons who could not take any part in public meetings, but who in their places of employment were quietly working for Christ. He knew one young woman in humble life who had thus brought ten persons to a knowledge of the truth. He wished there was more of this personal speaking for Christ among the upper classes. Rev. R. O. Johnson reminded the meeting that with all that had been done there were vast masses still untouched. The movement had been chiefly among the middle classes.

The very lowest and the very highest had not yet been much affected. Rev. T. Y. Killen took a more hopeful view of the work among the upper classes than Mr Johnson. He believed many of them had been stirred. Although they did not attend the inquiry meetings, many of them had been moved to a secret concern for themselves. Every opportunity should be taken to speak to them on religious matters. Mr William Edgar argued the importance of sending a suitable tract to persons,


have been held this week in Frederick-street Wesleyan Church, and have been attended with much interest.

The meeting last Saturday night in the schoolroom of York-street Presbyterian Church was the largest which has yet been held,


have been held during the week in every district of the town, and in almost every case have been very largely attended.--The Witness.


THERE is no way, perhaps, in which I could convey to your readers a better idea of the work that is going on in this town at present, than by giving a short account of the reports which were made at our noon prayer meeting on Monday last. One clergyman stated that he knew a gentleman, a large employer of labour, who gives his men half an hour at the end of the day; three days in the week, to hold a religious service. He has fitted up a room for the purpose and presided at the opening meeting himself. A Christian worker, a layman, gave an account of meetings which have been held for some time past in one of the mills in town. At these meetings 81 professed to have found Christ during the past week alone. Another clergyman told of three lads who had begun a prayer meeting in one of the lower districts of the town, The attendance was small at first, but they swept the whole neighbourhood, visiting from house to house, till their attendance reached 100, and the room could hold no more. A second boy's meeting, it was stated, had been started in Brown's Square Schoolroom, and that the attendance was about 120. Another schoolroom in the same neighbourhood, where a meeting could never be got up before, was now full nightly, and there were many inquirers remaining behind. The minister of Crumlin Road Presbyterian Church are an account of evangelistic services which had been going on in his church for the past three weeks. There were From 600 to 800 present every evening, almost all of the operative class. The first night there were 9 inquirers, but their number rapidly increased, and frequently there were from 100 to 150 remaining at the close of the meetings to be talked to about salvation. There was now, he said, a separate meeting for young converts every evening in the schoolroom behind the church, and the room, which holds from 200 to 300, is often full. He was glad to state that in many cases the New Testament occupies the place in the mechanic's linen jacket which used to be occupied by the pack of cards. The minister of the Independent - Church in Donegal Street reported that 58 persons had already applied to him for admission to the Lord's table as young communicants and that when on the - previous evening, he asked those who believed they had recently found Christ to meet with him after service, about 100 responded to the call. He also stated that he had taken part in evangelistic services in Newry during the past week.
The meetings there were large and earnest, and on Wednesday evening there were some 50 who remained for personal conversation, a great number of whom were young men. Several others, clergymen and laymen, had statements of a similar kind to make, but the hour expired before they could be heard. 

In other towns in Ulster many such meetings as these are being held. A friend of mine writes from Derry that 30 young men came forward at one prayer meeting to volunteer for the work of tract distribution; and every Sabbath they go, two by two, to the districts which have been assigned to them. What was said at the Monday prayer meeting about Newry might also be said about Larne, Banbridge, Lisburn, and many other places. May nothing hinder the progress of the good work!

"Times of Blessings," Dec 3rd, 1874.


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