Darlington - Salvation Army (1879)

This is the first monthly report from the Salvation Army station here.

Over and over again we have been asked to do something for Darlington, and during our last visit to the North, we spent some part of a day looking at buildings, and so on.

The Livingstone Hall will seat nearly 2,000 people; has been used as a theatre, as a music hall and we believe as a rink. We have taken it for twelve months certain and opened it in the name of Almighty God as the headquarters of the Salvation Army for that town. And already more than our most sanguine expectations have been realised. To God be glory both now and forever, Amen.

After much consideration, for she was down for quite another command, we decided to appoint Sister Rose Clapham to take charge, sending Sister De Vanney (of Leamington) as her No. 2.

Accordingly, on Sunday, July 6th, our Sisters having got their guns into position, opened fire, and from the first meeting all the victory has been on Israel's side. Rarely even have we Salvationists been permitted to see more glorious slaughter, more triumphant captures, and more marvellous deliverances from the power of Satan unto God. Darlington is moved. Darlington shall be saved.

We must let our sister tell the story, her first dispatch a telegram, simply announced that the congregations were large and there had been a little approach to disorder during the afternoon service. Writing on the same day, July 7th, she says:

The place was packed at night; we could scarcely move. One old woman told me she had been praying for the Army to come for years. This morning I saw---. He said the people were all moral in this town, and if we stayed for years we could not make them any better. God help us to get them saved.

On the next day: -

"We had a rough meeting inside last night. The roughs jumped and shouted, but we had the power of God in the meeting, and 26 souls stepped into liberty. Glory be to God! The Hall was packed; scarcely anybody went out at the prayer meeting, so it was impossible to get among the people, the crowding was so great."

We desired another Sister to proceed to their help at once as the heavy work of the large prayer meetings was too much for the two. On the 11th, Sister Clapham says: -

"Much better or order last night; Hall packed; four saved. We had an inspector and several police in; Sister Wheatley came."

Again on the 12th: -

"We had a blessed time last night (Friday). Hall full; good order considering; 22 saved. Good open-air meeting in the market this afternoon-hundreds listening. Glory to God!"

"P.S.- Sunday morning. Last night (Saturday) was glorious. I do not think I was ever in such a meeting before; Hall full, not packed. I went in to make everybody happy. Fifty short testimonies, mostly from our converts. A mighty power all through, and 50 men and women came out and got saved.

Glory be to God for our first week in Darlington. Victory all along the line, Hallelujah.

The blessed history of the second Sabbath is told in the following wire received at headquarters on Monday morning.

"Mighty day! Hall packed each service! Hundreds turned away! Fair order! Forty-two saved! Victory!

The second week was evidently going to outdo the other, and we directed Bro. Howe to get over at once to help, and already he has seen some serious slaughter among the King's enemies.

In the course of her letter on the 16th, Captam Clapham says:-

"Men and women are coming from all parts, and we have to open doors half an hour earlier, because of blocking up the roads. Blind men and invalids are being brought; the converts are coming out well. Folks from all parts arc coming to see the revival.

"When the open-air procession comes up there is no room for anybody; could do with place double the size.

"We have had a comic singer saved; a mother, father, son, and two daughters; an infidel and his wife and they say he was the worst man in the town. No master would ever employ him, but now he is singing with us, 'Glory to the bleeding Lamb'; also a woman who has been in prison three times."

From, 'The Salvationist', August 1879, page 204-5.

GOD is moving this town. His blessing is flowing in upon us like a constant stream. Night after night the Livingstone Hall is packed, and numbers turned away, even on week-nights. Sundays it is far too small. The congregation that fills our hall are those who have never or scarcely been in a place of worship before. At times we have had it extremely rough, but we have been more than conquerors. Upwards of five hundred in five weeks have been seeking and finding the pearl of great price at the penitent form, and our determination is to go on until hundreds more in this town have found it.

When I entered the town it was said that the place was in a "good state-all were moral and good. There has been a great change in the town since the Army came. Even the horses know it that have been ill-used by their drivers. Instead of that now there is kindness shown to them.

The publicans are crying out, saying their houses are empty nearly every night, and that a hundred pounds would be well spent to get the Hallelujah Lasses out of Darlington.

We have had two holiness meetings, which have proved very successful. At the first fifty came out, and sought and found the blessing. The second was a wonderful meeting. Seventy down at the penitent form. The blessing of holiness not only makes them clean but bold as lions to stand up for Jesus, and pull others out of the fire.

From, 'The Salvationist', September 1879, page 258.

I spent a few of the happiest days of my life in this town. Thursday, September 18th, we had a Holiness meeting and over 40 professed to obtain a clean heart. The experiences I listened to from the converts were enough to melt an angel. One man had been 39 times in gaol and said, " I have paid away hatsfull of money to the police-courts for fines"; but now he is a new creature in Christ Jesus.

Another said, "When I got saved I felt my sins roll all down my back. I saw the Hallelujah Lasses and I thought what a lump of difference between them and me. The old devil said, 'Don't go to the repentant form,' but I did go, and the Lord saved me."

We could give 50 similar cases if time and space would allow. I would recommend all our friends (that possibly can) to go and see the work for themselves.

From, 'The Salvationist', November 1879, page 303.

For future reports see, 'The War Cry' which began January 1880.

Additional Information

A petrol station is now where the Livingstone Hall was.

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