Exeter (1861)

On the 3rd and 4th inst. the Exeter races came off and knowing that our beloved brethren, Jeffcock and Pugh, were at Dartmouth, I wrote to them to help us, at this place of sin. Jeffcock immediately complied, with a brother from the Open-air Mission, London. We had a good supply of tracts, and after much prayer to God for his blessing, we set off to the place of conflict, where we found a very small number of people, compared with former years; but most of those with whom we had opportunity of speaking received the tracts with pleasure. Among many cases of interest I notice the following: A man came up to the entrance of the course on horseback, and found he had to pay two shillings for entrance, which he did not at all relish; and while he stood debating with the man, brother Jeffcock went up to him, and said, "You have to pay two shillings to be damned; you can have a tract for nothing, and you can be saved for nothing." The man seemed much struck at these words, and repeated them. "I must pay two shillings to be damned, and I can have a tract for nothing, and be saved for nothing;" and after repeating the words, and weighing them over in his mind, he left. Sometime after, he came back without his horse, and found Jeffcock again, and said, " These words I cannot get rid of: 'Two shillings to pay to be damned, a tract and be saved for nothing.' 'After some conversation, he left, adding, "I wish I had never come to this place. I will never come here again." Another case was a poor man to whom Jeffcock gave a tract, and said, "Would it not have been better if you had kept your money for a better purpose than spending it at such a place as this?" The man said, "I have been working very hard for some months, I want some fun now; for all work and no play won't do." Jeffcock added, "How long will it take you to make up the money you have spent here? Would it not have bought the wife a nice dress, and made you comfortable in many little things?" The man considered a little and said it would take time to make up the money he had spent here, and added, "I have not any to spare. I wish I had not come; my wife wished me not to come." He also left me and was not seen thereafter. A gentleman's coachman, who some time ago had found peace through faith in the blood of Christ, came, after having read the tract given him, and said, "Sir, can you advise me what to do, as I am very miserable in such a place as this. I don't like to be here, but am obliged to, because, my master loves it, and I am his servant. Would you advise me to leave the situation "The brother said, "No; the Lord found you in the situation; He can keep you, and He will, if you look to Him for help. When He would have you leave it, He will show you, and provide a way of escape for you." The man was so rejoiced to find such timely help, that he said, "I am sure the Lord sent you here, for what you have said to me makes my heart glad, while it was filled with sorrow before."

Another remarkable case was as follows. Brother Jeffcock having taken his stand near the grandstand, began to sing the "Lion of Judah;" then a brass band struck up to oppose him; but he still sang on, and having finished his song, the cry was, " The race is over." Jeffcock said, "No, the race is not over. There are four more horses to run, a white one, a red one, a black one, and a pale one, whose rider is Death, and Hell follows after." He spoke to them for about twenty minutes. Then one young man came over and said, "Sir, I wish you would pray for me. Will you come out to someplace and pray for me? I am very miserable;" and as they went, another man followed them to some distance on the common, when all three fell on their knees; and while I was praying for them, they both began with tears and sobs to cry for mercy; and while he was praying the second time, one of them said, " Sir, will you pray for my wife?" That is always the way of the new-born soul; as soon as it finds peace it becomes anxious for the souls of others. Jeffcock then went and found the wife ill in one of the drinking-booths. Another was a scoffer, who said he had met me at all the races, fairs, regattas, &c., and had had tracts at each, had heard me often preach at these places, but that he was no better for it, it did not stop him from his sport; of what use were the tracts and preaching, I said, 'Your own mouth testifies against you; for you confess that you have heard the gospel at all these places of amusement which you have visited for years, thus showing that God has sent salvation to the very gates of hell to you. This will be the good of the tracks in your case. When you have to stand before the great white throne you will have to glorify God in your eternal damnation; for you will have this miserable reflection, that as you loved the wages of sin, so the reward of your hands is given to you." He went away with these words, and may the Lord fasten them on his heart. We met with a showman, who said that some years ago he was happy in the knowledge of God, but had fallen through unwatchfulness, and had gone, further and fur?ther away from the Lord until he now believed there was no hope for him. I said, " Are you sure that you once knew salvation through the blood of Christ, for yourself?" He said, "Yes, and not only did I know it, but preached it, for I was a preacher of the gospel, and I was the means of bringing many to Christ." Then," said I, "there is a scripture that exactly suits you, it is this, ?O Israel, thou hast fallen by thine iniquity, but in me is thine help. Return unto me, for I have redeemed thee; I have blotted out thy transgressions, and will not remember thy sins.' "He shook my hand very heartily, while the tears stood in his eyes, half doubting, half believing, and said he hoped he should meet me in heaven. There were many other cases of interest besides those named, sufficient to stimulate us to more active service. On the 11th and 12th instants we hope also to visit the Totnes races, also North Tawton on the 17th instant. Pray for these places, that the Lord may make his word a great blessing to many souls.

G. B.

From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume V, page 94/5.

Additional Information

Location unknown.

Related Wells