LONDON, March 18th, 1861,
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Several weeks have now elapsed since my last Circular was sent out. During this interval my week-days have been mostly devoted to the Country towns; whilst on the Sundays, I have generally been engaged in the City of London Theatre. In this way, for the East of London, I set apart a number of Sundays; but the calls to the Country towns have now become so many and so important that, for a while at all events I feel constrained to throw myself loose for the Provinces, on Sundays as well as week' days, leaving behind me the poor, needy, neglected hundreds of thousands in the East of London.
There are there dear devoted ministers who have not fled away to more inviting spheres, but who stand nobly to their posts; as well as volunteer laymen and earnest hearted women—some paid, such as Bible-women, but more unpaid; and yet how small is all this agency altogether when compared with the vast need of the dense East of London? Here iniquity has "come in like a flood," and is settled down as a deep, dark, stagnant water; yet, thanks be unto God, the Christians there are not discouraged, but, hanging on the arm of the Omnipotent, are expecting and seeing souls brought to the Lord. They are "faint, yet pursuing." What an honour for those at a distance to sustain them by their prayers! What an honour, for those near enough, to run to their help as disinterested volunteers! This East belongs not to London merely; but is the centre of iniquity of all Britain. Nay, indeed, some out of the tribes of almost the whole earth gather here; and in this spot, where a vast proportion of our own fellow-countrymen never enter a place of worship, and actually look with suspicion upon all who are supported by the Gospel, whether ministers or city missionaries, what an urgent call there is for unpaid volunteers, men and women, rich and poor, to flock into the East—holy, humble, sympathizing, loving ones, ready to help the circumstances as well as the souls of their fellows.
I believe the Lord called me to the East as a bird of passage, and now I appear to be clearly called away; but my heart is there still, and oh, shall this appeal be in vain?
I have just now returned from holding meetings in large halls in Norwich, Lowestoft, and Ipswich, where we had to thank God for souls, who professed to be brought to the Lord at each place. Mr Henry was with me, and he purposes accompanying me into Derbyshire, the west of England, and then Suffolk again.
My engagements are as follows: Tuesday, 19th, Ashbourne; Wednesday, 20th, Mayfield; Thursday, 21st, Derby (in the theatre); Tuesday, 26th; Exeter.
For these meetings let me entreat your earnest prayers.I am glad to say two cheering things about my dear comrade Richard Weaver, namely, that his words appear to have been more blessed lately than ever, and that his bodily health is better than it has been for a long while. Let me ask you to pray for him.
I have lately seen in the Provinces a greater readiness to receive Christ than I have ever seen before. Indeed this makes it almost painful to stay one night in a town, and next morning to have to tear one's self away from babes in Christ and distressed souls to fulfil engagements elsewhere. The cry has, therefore, become loud, that thousands of earnest men and women should rise throughout England to this work, and no longer leave such an impossible task to the faithful and regular ministers of the gospel.
Three of us have had prayer for this circular before writing it, and now may it specially accomplish help to the East of London and a cloud of volunteers for our native land.
Yours lovingly in our Lord, REGINALD RADCLIFFE. From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume IV, page 94.
The City of London Theatre was where marked. It burned down in 1871. The address was 36 Norton Folgate, Bishopsgate.