Donegall Square Methodist Church, Belfast (1874)




During D L Moody's campaign this church was often used for prayer meetings which were normally full.

This report is likely to have been here and in other Methodist churches in Belfast.

1840. In Belfast, the gracious influences sought, and in some measure realized, descended on the congregations in a most remarkable manner. "Never since we came to this town," says Mr Tackaberry, "were matters in as good a state as the present. Our special prayer-meetings are glorious seasons. I have seldom seen anything like them. That on Tuesday, January 28th, was one of the most hallowed and hallowing I have known. Several obtained forgiveness and the heart-renewing love; but the dis­tinguishing feature of the meeting was, all present bowed in spirit before the Most High and all seemed to receive good; our oldest leaders say they have seen nothing like that evening.

Our leaders are blessed men of God. Of some of them it may be said as of Stephen, they are full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.'" Again, the devoted minister writes, "We have really wonderful times in this town at present. Yesterday we held our March love-feast. I have seen nothing which I thought equalled it in richness, and I do not expect to see anything better this side heaven. There were about eight hundred and fifty present. More than half of those who spoke testified to the all-cleansing power of the blood of Christ. All who spoke, spoke well. There was such a mixture of soundness, propriety, and coolness, and of praise, love, and joy, with solemnity, reverence, and awe. The feeling produced was quite overpowering. We hear of some made happy in the classes and in the homes, and we see some in the meetings every week. All this is without any confusion, I might say without any noise. On the evening of Sunday, March 1st, I saw several weep till you would imagine they should cry aloud or fall down; but they restrained themselves. Some of those very persons at that same meeting were made as happy as human nature could well bear; and yet there was no irreverent joy. I have not kept any account of the numbers saved during the last three months, but they must be very considerable. Perhaps I would not be above the truth if I said there were hundreds. The tide of holy excitement continues to flow, and we—preachers and leaders—seem determined not to expect an ebb. We hold a special prayer-meeting every Sunday evening after preaching, and another on Tuesday evening, at eight o'clock. The school­room seats three hundred and fifty, and it will not much longer contain us if the meetings continue to increase. After three or four persons have prayed, we invite all who are seeking pardon of sin or perfect love to come to what we call the penitents' benches, or if in the chapel, to the communion rails and front. pews. Numbers, varying from twenty to seventy, usually accept the invitation; and I remember no evening, for many weeks, on which from three to twenty did not profess to have received the good they came to seek.

'The History of Methodism in Ireland', Volume iii, by Crookshank, p293.

 

Work - earnest, quiet, general work - work attended by results of the most remarkable character - is at present the characteristic of the awakening in Belfast. Monday's noon meeting is always a kind of thermometer of the movement. By a very wise arrangement, it is devoted to the reception of reports of the progress of the good cause in the town and neighbourhood, so that by attending it one can form a pretty accurate estimate of the advance which is being made. Judging by this standard, matters are in a very happy state indeed. Despite the inclemency of the weather, seldom have we seen a finer meeting than on Monday last, while the accounts given by ministers and laymen, by Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists and Independents, of what is being done, were such as to fill every heart with adoring thankfulness.

We learn from well-informed sources that the " mission", conducted in so many of the Episcopalian Churches of the town last week has been attended by excellent results. A very considerable number of the non-church going classes were gathered in by it. Much solemnity prevailed during the services, and the congregations in many of the churches where the "mission" was held, showed on last Sabbath a marked increase in the attendance. In some of the churches the services are being continued this week, and in more than one instance, ministers of the Presbyterian Church have been invited by their Episcopal brethren to take part in these services in their churches - a proceeding which not long ago would have been regarded in certain quarters with absolute horror. It is, however, but what should be. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"

We are glad to be able to say that the work seems to be extending in the country as well as in the town. During the week there have been many applications to the ministers of Belfast for help. A meeting of the General Assembly's Evangelisation Committee was held on Tuesday, at which arrangements were made for sending out brethren, two and two, like the Apostles of old, into various parts of the country. This is a step in the right direction.

THE NOON MEETINGS.

The snow and sleet and bitter cold of Monday morning did not prevent a very large meeting--one of the largest we have seen--from assembling in Donegall-place Methodist Church. The Rev. John Donald, D.D., presided, and wisely dispensed with the usual address, that there might be more time for

REPORTS OF THE WEEK.

The requests for prayer having been read by the Rev. J. H. Dickson, prayer was offered by the Revs. Dr Knox and Dr Macloskie. Reports being then called for, the Rev. Hugh Hanna spoke of a neighbouring town which he had visited, where special meetings had been held, but with no after-meetings for inquirers. At his suggestion this defect was remedied, and the first night thirty inquirers remained. He also spoke of the zeal of the young converts in Belfast. A lad connected with one of his Sabbath schools went out the previous evening (Sabbath) into a brickfield near the school and spoke to a number of persons who were there amusing themselves, with such effect that sixteen of them accompanied him back into the school as pupils. There were 1891 scholars at his district schools on Sabbath evening.

The Rev. W. Turner spoke of the good work in the Sandy-row district, where there were crowded meetings and many conversions.

The Rev. J. W. Dickson described a scene which had occurred at an inquiry meeting in his church (the Mariners Espiscopal Church) last week. An old woman, apparently nearly ninety years of age, was among the inquirers, and beside her a little child, so young that he scarcely thought of speaking to her. Having talked, however, with the old woman, he asked the child what brought her there. "Oh, sir," said she, with tears in her eyes, "Lord saved me here last night!" He asked her some questions, believing it to be almost impossible that she could understand what she said; but he had seldom heard a clearer or more simple description of entire dependence on Jesus.

Mr Halliday (student) told of two young men in Dublin who had been strongly opposed to the work there and had been in the habit of mocking Mr Moody. Both had been converted, and one of them had since addressed a large meeting in the Metropolitan Hall with great power. In Lisburn a meeting had been held last week of those who believed they had found Christ during the last fortnight; 135 had attended. In Newry and Bessbrook he had letters saying that the work was progressing most remarkably.

The Rev. John White said that one of the most pleasing features at present was the anxiety of those who were converted to bring their friends to Christ. He had had many illustrations of this. Last Sabbath the Lord's Supper was administered in his church, and 100 sat down for the first time. It was a scene of great interest. The Rev. A. Armstrong said he had never seen anything to equal the present revival. There was not a meeting at which conversions did not occur. He had addressed a most interesting meeting of the young men of the Methodist College, where numbers professed to give themselves to Christ's service.

Rev. Dr Knox spoke of the good done by persons who could not take any part in public meetings, but who in their places of employment were quietly working for Christ. He knew one young woman in humble life who had thus brought ten persons to a knowledge of the truth. He wished there was more of this personal speaking for Christ among the upper classes. Rev. R. C. Johnson reminded the meeting that with all that had been done, there were vast masses still untouched. The movement had been chiefly among the middle classes. The very lowest and the very highest had not yet been much affected. Rev. T. Y. Killen took a more hopeful view of the work among the upper classes than Mr Johnson. He believed many of them had been stirred. Although they did not attend the inquiry meetings, many of them had been moved to a secret concern for themselves. Every opportunity should be taken to speak to them on religious matters. Mr William Edgar urged the importance of sending a suitable tract to persons, whom we knew and wished to bring to the Saviour. He had seen the best results following from the adoption of this plan.

YOUNG MEN'S MEETINGS

have been held this week in Frederick-street Wesleyan Church, and have been attended with much interest. The meeting last Saturday night in the schoolroom of York-street Presbyterian Church was the largest which has yet been held,

GENERAL EVANGELISTIC SERVICES

have been held during the week in every district of the town, and in almost every case have been very largely attended.--The Witness.

"The Christian," December 17th, 1874.

 

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