First Presbyterian Church, Belfast - D L Moody (1874)



The work of God in Belfast continues to make steady and marked progress. The outward aspect may appear somewhat different, as contrasted with the period of the visit of our beloved American brethren. Then it appeared in a concentrated form  - in our mass meetings - with all the force and fire of a great conflagration. Now it assumes the appearance of many fires, breaking out unexpectedly, and in many places. In our factories, warerooms, workshops, and houses of business, we hear of a very gracious and gradually extending work, causing our hearts to rejoice.

Today we held a Conference of ministers upon the work and its progress. It was very delightful to hear from every one of them, without exception, that the demands of the work in his own district and congregation have prevented a more regular attendance and aid at the united meetings,

On Friday, Oct. 16, Mr Moody held his last meeting for converts. A short account of that meeting I have placed before your readers. On last Friday we held a similar meeting. It was equally remarkable. A very wonderful sight, such as a man may rarely if ever, see during his Christian course-some 2,000 converts called of God in the space of six weeks. In order to follow up the work and for future reference, the name, address, denomination, and any circumstances he or she wished to mention, of each professed convert, have been taken down accurately. From this list it appears that in some cases as many as 280 have been added to particular churches.

As has been often proved in other cases, many of the most efficient workers are found among the recently converted, True, they may be greatly deficient in experience and knowledge of Christian doctrine, but they are God taught on the fundamental facts of our faith. They have learned in the school of Christ, sin and grace, ruin and redemption. They have been taught the facts concerning themselves - that they were lost, and helpless in this lost condition, exposed to the wrath and curse of God due to sin. They have been taught the truth concerning Christ, His everlasting love, His atoning death, His abiding Priesthood and under the revealing light and all-conquering power of the Holy Ghost, they have received Jesus as the Gift of God. And so under the constraining power of this new affection, Jesus possesses them, and their loving words burn their way into the hearts and consciences of their companions and they also are led to Jesus.

In the various mills in Belfast, the work of God is spreading, greatly through the agency of the mill workers themselves. So also in many of the warerooms. In one, where some eighty young men are employed, already the converts number more than forty. "A singular circumstance has occurred in our establishment. Our room, occupied by about twenty, was entirely empty on last Sabbath for the first time, all the young men being about at some religious service. Usually, it was well filled with some lying in bed or by others lying about reading novels.

It would give the readers of  THE CHRISTIAN a bird's eye view of the spiritual state of our town if I could in a few sentences vividly bring before them a meeting of a private kind which I attended last night. The meeting was held in our Mission Room and consisted of about fifty Christian workers met for conference and prayer. "In our works above 56 now appear on the Lord's side. We have a meeting every day at dinner hour and we are receiving additions to our numbers continually." I was profoundly struck with the graphic power of a "sermon" which the foreman preached with saving efficacy, during the meal hour. It had all the merit of being short. When men are speaking and while they watch for the steam whistle which is to call them to their hard toil, their words must be packed, few and well chosen.

One of the little company of listeners was very anxious, it appears, but equally unbelieving. He believed all the truths of the gospel story, but had no appropriating faith and consequently no peace. "What is your name?" said the preacher in his very personal and pointed address. "John Roberts" replied the hearer. "A cry was heard from the Throne of the Eternal," continued the foreman, "saying, 'I have compassion on John Roberts; who will go down to earth and save him?' To the call there was no reply from all the angels in heaven. At length a voice was heard, saying, 'Father, I will go and save John Roberts!"' The Eternal Son came down, and served and suffered for John Roberts, and died in the room and stead of such guilty sinners, and rising again, ascended to heaven, and appearing in the presence of God, said, 'Father, I have suffered, the Just for the unjust, that I might bring John Roberts to God. Are you satisfied, Father, by what I have done in the room and stead of John Roberts?' 'My beloved Son, I am well pleased; it is enough." John Roberts, thus addressed, gazed with fixed eyes upon the speaker, and at last his stony look of despair, turning into the brightness of faith, he cried, "I see it: Jesus Christ died in my room and stead; I accept Him as mine."

Another of our little company of workers said, "In our workshed, at the breakfast hour, we usually spent the time in playing cards. Lately, some of us brought to God said, "Come, we will sing one of the Songs of Zion!' Our card-playing fellow-workers looked at first amazed; at length hid the cards, and listened to our songs." Another recently brought to Jesus, said, "In my workrooms, I do not think there were any true Christians, until these late weeks. Now there are more than thirty. It is delightful to hear their songs of praise. Their number is increasing. I am aiding it in every way in my power. I am placing on the walls of all my workrooms large Scripture texts, to catch the eyes of all engaged." Similar testimony was borne by others as to the spirit of earnestness and life everywhere abounding. Yet, with all this, it must be remembered that in our large towns there are thousands still unreached.

The progress of the work, under God, depends upon the state of mind manifested by the Lord's people. While they continue hungry, importunate, hopeful, above all in sympathy with Jesus, desiring to see of the travail of his soul, the work will continue to make progress. Most earnestly asking the prayers of all who read this brief account, that God may still much more abundantly pour floods upon the dry ground until Ireland become a fruitful field, I am, etc.,

H. M. WILLIAMSON.

"The Christian," November 5th, 1874.


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