Black Down Hills (1864)

The Lord's people who continually cry to Him for fruit, will be rejoiced to learn, through the Revival, that His work of saving souls is still progressing among these hills. The desire to hear the gospel is still unabated. Many of the Christians who live in our cities and towns, and who reside but a little distance from their places of worship, would do well to take a pattern from these hill people, who scarcely ever are hindered by weather, though their dwellings are generally miles distant from their meeting-place. The Lord has indeed wrought a great work in many hearts, cleansed them from their defilement in the precious blood of Jesus, and made them His dwelling place, so that they are filled with joy. I have been asked by some, "How do these people stand?" I answer, the people who have given evidence by their lives of a thorough change of heart are many.
The names before me at this time are over 120. Of these I know not one of whom I have any real doubt, though there is one who has fallen into sin, but who is at this time very much humbled on account of it. If the former habits of these people, their
temptations, and the persecutions they have to endure at the hands of some of their old companions, be taken into account, the work of God is truly marvellous. Let me tell some of my Christian brethren and sisters a little of the trials of these people during this very severe winter among these wild hills. There are no high houses to screen you from the cold, no friendly  shelter to protect you from the blast of the storm, but intense frost and snow has been felt by these poor people , who have but eight shillings per week, when the husband can work, to support a family of four, six, and, in some cases, seven children, besides paying house-rent. When wet days come, or frost and snow, then the family feel the pinch, and this has been the case very much of late. Now is the time to try what their faith is. Let me take the reader to a cottage of a poor man and his wife with four little children. The husband is sick, and has been so for some days. It is Tuesday, the day after the monthly pay-day. The wages paid for a month's work are two shillings, after deducting some corn which they have had for bread and this two shillings is all they have for the next four weeks. Through snow and sickness this trial has come upon them. What is their remedy? Come with me and see. We are at the door; the snow is driven before the tempest. But hark! what are those
Look through the chinks of the door, for you may. There kneels the man and his wife while she is reading to God some of the precious words which He has caused to be written for the sake of those who are in trial, "How much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him." There is no fire in the grate; although the rods are lined with wood broken down by the frost, yet they will rather suffer the bitter cold than steal a stick, lest they should grieve the Lord that saved them. There is neither food nor money to buy any, for the two shillings have gone to pay a little debt that was owing.  But the Lord has said He will hear the needy when they cry to Him and He sent to supply their wants. I might multiply these eases for there are many such. The time was when they would not endure cold and hunger but would help themselves to their neighbour's food; but now they have learnt to trust God rather than to steal.

"The Revival," March 16th, 1865.

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