Drill Hall, Edinburgh (1875)


We went to the Drill Hall last Sabbath morning, by the way of the West Port and the Grassmarket. The hour was early and we expected to find the streets deserted. We had not gone far, however, when we were saluted by one pair of "workers" after another as we entered their respective beats; and already small groups of men and women might be seen issuing from very many of the closes.  The smart pace and purposeful looks showed they had not come out to lounge and the general conversation told that the destination of all was the Drill Hall. One little fellow, whose scanty ragg afforded but slight protection from the biting north-cast wind. was hurrying past in great haste, when we asked him where he was going. He answered, "To my breakfast," and rushed on. A little further on an old man was slowly making his way along with the aid of a staff, assisting a woman who was still more helpless than himself. Though outstripped by most of their fellows, they were quite sure, they said, that they would be looked after when they did arrive and they were not disappointed.

The attendance was larger than at any previous meeting, about 560 in all being present. After breakfast, Rev N Wight, in the course of a gospel address, earnestly urged those who had not closed with Christ as their Saviour from sin to do so there and then. By both men and women close attention was paid to what was said, At intervals many hymns were sung, and always with the most marked effect on the audience. This was most noticeable while two solos, "Waiting by the well," and "Wondrous love," were being sung by a lady who does valuable service by her solo-singing.

In the afternoon the usual evangelistic meeting was held, The number present was about the same as on former occasions. The same quiet attention was manifested throughout the short addresses, and at the close several stayed behind for conversation. One young man came up and said he had wandered in, for the first time, that afternoon, was very thankful he had done so. He had been struck by what he had heard and wished to know if such meetings were held during the week. We told him of the services in St. Giles' Refreshment Rooms, and he went away, saying he would be present as often as he could.

One other case may be referred to, it is a woman who, a week or two ago, was very troublesome by coming to the morning meetings tipsy. She now atTends most regularly at both meetings, and her behaviour is quite exemplary. She comes with washed face and as neatly dressed as possible. We have learned that she has got regular employment lately, and that her life is quite changed. Another interesting fact in connection with our work comes from the policemen. We have heard it said frequently said that the breakfasts are having a manifest effect on the trade of the shebeens. About a fortnight ago, we were told that one of the very worst of these haunts of vice was closed, mainly, it was said, because its Sunday customers preferred a substantial breaklast to a dram.

This whole work is developing fast and requires much prudence to carry it on.

"Times of Blessing," Feb 25th, 1875.

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