MY DEAR Sister,—I have very little time to write, but I cannot refuse your request, so I will tell you at once that the glorious work is going on, and the church will never again relapse into the indifference in which it was until the beginning of this year. In the school last Sunday I noticed our teacher so overpowered that he left his class, telling me he could not contain the joy of his heart. I took his place for a short time, and, if you can picture to yourself criminals reaching forward to hear their sentence, you may have some idea of the intensity of feeling in this class.
In the afternoon, oh, the melting and subduing influence of the Holy Spirit! numbers of the converted youths were bringing in young heathen from the streets; I had given them "dew drops" to help in this work. At half-past two I rang the bell and called upon the teachers to look into their classes as they would look for fruit in a garden, separating the branches, standing and searching each tree separately. Each class was a garden, each scholar a tree, and ‘look they must,’ as I felt determined to break up the school into pieces. About twenty minutes afterwards I saw one of the female teachers go out with the only unconverted teacher in the school, for conversation. Another teacher asked if he and his class might retire into the side-room for prayer. I said yes, for a short time, I looked in shortly after, and could not bear the sight. I requested the least moved teacher we had among us to look in and ask them to come back to us; I will not stop to tell you the effect it had upon him. I then stated that the first request for prayer sent in was for the immediate conversion of my Charles; and, from the letters I had received from him, I was positive he was unsaved. I called upon the boys who were his companions to pray for him. Four of them prayed most earnestly for the immediate conversion of their superintendent's son. After this I asked some of the classes to move to the side of the room, and, when the forms were placed as I desired, I asked the thirteen boys and girls who had become Christ's lambs on the past Sunday (Jan. 13) to take their seats on my right hand, and those who had given their hearts to Jesus during the week to come and sit in front of them. I then asked how many were desirous of doing as those on my right hand had done, telling them, if they were indifferent to their souls, and determined to be lost, they were to remain on my left hand. The result was that the whole school, with the exception of some six, came over to my right hand, and what followed my pen cannot describe.
Several visitors came in from the church; I called upon brother G. to get me the names of those who had chosen Jesus during the week. The "lambs" were in the meanwhile singing,
"I have a Father in the Promised Land."
I then asked brother G. to pray, which he did, very earnestly. I followed with a short but pointed address, when there was a power felt in our midst more than human, and when the gas was lighted the sight was such as we could scarcely believe— a school bathed in tears, and brother and sister teachers kneeling at the feet of their children, telling them of Jesus. Many of the little hearts seemed as if breaking—some were asking, "Teacher, can I be saved now?" I turned once to brother G. and said, "What ought I to do?" He answered, "I don't know." "Well," I said, "let us pray." But I must stop about the school, by saying that they have a prayer-meeting every night.
Now about the chapel. We have mid-day prayer-meetings, also a separate meeting for young men and young women, each at seven o'clock, and a general prayer-meeting at eight o'clock. We have about fifty every Sunday evening waiting for conversation. As soon as the sermon is over a prayer-meeting begins, and we turn out and invite any we see, careless or anxious. It is wonderful to see how soon they yield and come before the congregation. The pastor and those of us who are able to converse are kept busy, and we pass from one to another questioning and proclaiming the simple gospel. Perhaps a sister will come to me and say, "Brother, will you speak to this person, I can't see where her difficulty lies." I find that the anxious one is trying to prepare herself before she comes to Christ; and, after a few words, I turn her over to a sister, who points her simply to Jesus, and tells her that He saves at once.
One interesting case was that of a young convert, who being very anxious about an unconverted brother at a little distance, sent for him to spend a Sunday. A friend said to him, "Your brother intends you shall be converted." He laughed, and went; but resisted every influence: would not even come with his brother to the Bible-class. The young man came and asked me what he should do: I said, "Pray." He did so, the whole class joining him. With some difficulty they got his brother to evening service, but he resisted all attempts at conversation. At last, he fell on his knees suddenly like a dead weight, his brother weeping in an agony for him. We presented the gospel to him as simply as we could and then knelt down and prayed earnestly. No sooner had I closed than the young man broke out into prayer, I was almost going to say like an angel, for his unconverted father and mother, brothers and sisters, and thanking God for having stopped him in his mad career.
A little lamb, nine years old, sent in a request for his unconverted mother, then persuaded her to come to the chapel, and she went away rejoicing.
A young woman, brought to Christ last week, induced two fellow-servants to come last Sunday evening. I had not talked with them long before one of them said, "Oh, I see now. I see now." The other was longer, thinking that she must repent before she could come to Christ; but as I tried to explain to her the nature of repentance, she seemed to lay hold of the truth, and was willing that I should thank God publicly for her. Oh, if you had seen these servants going away together—so happy, and their gratitude to me,—it would have enlarged your heart.
Dear sister, you must be wholly Christ's, this half work will not do, there must be a consecration of tongue, head, feet, hands, talents, of all. Don't say no man careth,—Christ cares. And you, dear brothers, are you living in the love of God and praying in the Holy Ghost, or are you living in yourself and wondering how it is you are not more God-like? Are you praying as a matter of form, or do you feel you cannot live unless consecrated to God and filled with the Spirit? I doubt not you have taken Jesus as your pardon, but He is just as ready to be your sanctification if you will receive Him as such.
We are not ashamed now of being earnest in prayer; of looking out for or speaking to sinners. I can now say that I am living near to Jesus,—ready to obey His call to work or to come up higher. Lay yourself not half but entirely upon the altar; don't take yourself off to transact some business or meet some evening party, but let it be known you are resolved to live for Jesus alone. Oh, make Christ what He wants you to make Him, and every day grow in grace,—adding to your faith, knowledge, virtue, temperance, (one glass of wine would hinder me now) patience, godliness, &c.Yours, B. . Jan 25, 1861.
From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume IV, page 54.
I think the meetings were in the Evangelical Union Chapel which stood where marked.