Chatham - Salvation Army (1873)

A revival began after Catherine Booth did a series of meetings, ending in November 1873.

I am glad to say God has been blessing us every day since we raised the Christian Mission flag in this town. All our open-air meetings have been well attended. Great crowds have listened to the story of the Cross from the lips of some of our brethren, myself, and wife. \Ve have mercifully been favoured with fine weather so that we have been able to hold four open-air meetings during the week, besides three every Sunday and we have had evidence of much good being done and many sinners awakened;
at every meeting men and women, some of them of the lowest order, spell-bound while we spoke. On two nights persons have followed me on my way home; to ask me what they must do to be saved. 

...We have cottage prayer meetings on Tuesday evening, and blessed times we have; the unction of the Spirit rests upon us; we want to pray and prevail. If we prevail with God, we shall prevail with men and sinners. The people are beginning to feel the effect of this meeting in that street.

Thursday, a believers' class meeting. We have now twenty members, all, I believe, consistently walking in the way of life. These meetings are seasons of joy; as the converts tell their experiences, we cannot but praise the Lord with them, for what he has done for their souls. Hallelujah!

...Sunday, December 7th, at 2:30, Mrs Dowdle preached from 'Lord help me' to 300 people and exhorted all to pray that short prayer. Many wept, both saints and sinners, several under conviction. At 6:30 I preached to about 700 people, and bless the Lord, He was seeking in the Lecture Hall and he found some. Praise the Lord, ten souls professed to find Him, to the joy of their hearts.

... At 6:30 we processioned to the hall. I preached on, 'God so loved the world'; felt very hard at first, but after a while the Lord gave me liberty. I saw eyes filling with tears, and could not help weeping; the Spirit came down upon the people, and eight surrendered to Jesus and professed conversion. One man ran away: he felt himself going, as he called it. A woman was leaving under conviction and fell down the gallery stairs, but came and got converted, and went away rejoicing in Jesus, but many wept and felt that God was there.

From, 'The Christian Mission Magazine', January 1874, pages 26/7.

Praise the Lord, I have more good news from this station. souls are coming to Jesus and backsliders returning home to the Father's house, and the work is spreading through the neighbourhood. Many who have been blessed have gone forth-telling others what great things God has done for them.

...Sunday, the 18th January, was a grand day with us-fifteen were present at the seven-o'clock prayer meeting where we commenced our day's work for God. It was a blessed time. We asked, in faith, for souls, and had the earnest of the answer; the Holy Ghost was with us at 11:40 in the open-air meeting. The people listened well, some evidently under conviction. The evening service was the best of the day - the Spirit broke us all down; some wept for joy, and some for mercy. Ten souls came out and gave themselves to Jesus, whilst several others went away under deep conviction, some of whom have been converted since. Three found Salvation on the Monday after.

The next Sunday Mr Stevens, from London, was with us. Twelve souls sought the Saviour in the evening, and several others on the Monday.

From, 'The Christian Mission Magazine', February 1874, pages 89, 90, 91.

During the month we have had a visit of the gipsies and crowds have heard the simple story of salvation through the blood of the Lamb at their lips. In the streets, every day, we have preached Christ, at noonday meetings souls have been saved, while the People's Hall on week-nights and the large Lecture Hall on Sabbaths, have been packed to hear them. We had the Theatre Royal, Rochester for two nights. Many working men came and souls came on to the stage seeking the Saviour. During the visit of the gipsies, seventy have professed to find mercy, some of whom have been among the very worst sinners in the neighbourhood. 

From, 'The Christian Mission Magazine', July 1874, pages 189/90.

The following letter from Mr Irvine will be read with interest, we are sure:-

At the request of the Rev. Mr Booth I consented to extend my campaign into Chatham and, a little over two weeks ago, commenced in the public halls used by 'The Christian Mission, a series of revival services for the promotion of scriptural holiness among believers and the conversion of sinners. :From the commencement our meetings have been seasons of wonderful spiritual power and blessing. Scores of believers have professed to find the full blessing of sanctification and scores of sinners pardon and peace with God. Others left our meetings in tears and, I believe hundreds have been deeply Impressed by the convIctions of the Holy Spirit who have not yet yielded their hearts to Christ. The power of evil is so prevalent in this modern Sodom that it requires almost a miracle of grace to bring a sinner to face the persecutions and temptations consequent upon confessing Christ and espousing His cause. The work among believers has been especially gratifying. At our morning service on last Sabbath I gave a short time for Christian testimonies, and though a number of those who had received the blessing were absent, about forty-five, in less than half an hour, clearly and definitely testified that the blood of Christ had fully cleansed them from all sin. On another occasion, I think sixty stood up to signify that they enjoyed the same blessing. It is truly wonderful to find such a noble band of earnest. Christians raised up through the instrumentality of the Mission in less than a year in such a town as this. 

From, 'The Christian Mission Magazine', December 1874, pages 329/330.

During the last few weeks, our open-air bands have been making attacks on the town on all sides. The enemy has been aroused; but, thank God, through Christ, who strengthens us, we have been able to take the prisoners from the devil, and lead them to Jesus, who breaks their chains and sets the prisoner free. Amongst them have been sailors and soldiers, and some of the lowest characters in Chatham.

On Good Friday we commenced an open-air service at 3"30; marched through the street into the hall to tea at 5:30. After tea we again processioned the principal streets, here and there saying a word or two, and inviting the people to the hall, which was well filled. The meeting was addressed by Miss Pollett, Mr Bramwell Booth, and myself, at the close of which nine souls found Jesm. Praise the Lord!

On Easter Monday MIiss Pollett preached; in the afternoon three souls were brought to Jesus, and in the Lecture Hall at night nine more found their Saviour, onto which were six man-of-war men, five on one vessel.

On Monday night Miss Pollett preached again and five sinners found the sinner's Friend, praise God! making twenty-six souls at our Easter festival.

On the following Sunday, we had a blessed time; at night eight souls found peace in God; others cried and groaned all over the hall. Glory to God!

On Monday night I spoke again in our own hall; three came out for Jesus.

From, 'The Christian Mission Magazine', May 1875, page 137.

It has been a long time since I have seen a report of a revival here. It seems that things started perking up again. More reports can be seen in 'The War Cry' that began in January 1880.

The enemies of Jesus are very busy at Chatham, but amidst water, flour, turnips, &c., that are thrown at us we are rising. God !s with us, stronger than all that are against us. Drunkards and some of the worst characters are being saved. One young woman came to me and asked what she should do to be saved. I said, "Go down on your knees and pray to God for mercy." She did so and soon found joy and peace in believing. She is now on her way to glory and speaks well in the open air. God is at work in Chatham. We are believing for a gracious outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We have better congregations, better collections, and better every way. The Vicar of St. John's Church, Chatham, stood by us one evening in the Military Road, and gave me 3s. 6d. to distribute Magazines amongst the people, saying," God speed you! You are doing a good work." Hallelujah! the Lord is with us.

From, 'The Salvationist', November 1879, page 288.

This was one of the Salvation Army's first stations, but it went relatively quiet for some time.

We are going on better and better at this old station. Hallelujah! Since our arrival here they have been about 140 out for pardon, some most remarkable cases.

From, 'The War Cry', October 1881.

These are examples of what was happening here. More reports can be seen from the War Cry in future years.

Additional Information

I do not know where the Lecture Hall was.

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