Fisherwick Place Church, Belfast - D L Moody (1874)

I resume my chronicle of the progress of the work of God in Belfast, in connection with the visit of these beloved brethren. As stated in my communication of last week, there is no building in Belfast adequate to contain the crowds seeking admission, Mr Moody wisely adopted the expedient of separating the sexes - holding a meeting for women at 2 pm each day in Fisherwick-place Church, and one for men in the evening in Rosemary-street Church. The interest in both meetings, since Thursday, the 10th, the date of my former letter is manifestly deepening and extending. It is certainly a marvellous sight, filling the mouth with laughter, and the tongue with singing, to see the crowded meeting of women of all ranks and classes, as they listen with rapt attention to the message of mercy; to mark the manifestations of deep feeling and subdued emotion visible everywhere and the numbers willing to remain in the inquiry-meeting for conversation and prayer.

The interest in the meeting in the evening increasing equally. It is dangerous and unprofitable to speak of numbers, but one may say with confidence that from fifty to a hundred, at least remain each evening, under anxiety of soul, desiring to be pointed to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. These are found of all classes, and of all shades of moral and religious character--backsliders, notorious sinners, moral young men, whose consciences are yet tender, and sceptics, whose hearts have been blasted as by an east wind. The majority of the inquirers are young men. This is a special and I may add a most hopeful, feature of the work. Many seem clearly, in the judgment of man, to have embraced the offered gift, and to be rejoicing in God.

On Saturday, the 12th, there was held one meeting for children -presided over by Mr Sankey. The meeting was most interesting and crowded with earnest young faces.

On Sabbath, the 13th inst., Mr Moody held a meeting for Christian workers at the early hour of eight, and not-withstanding the hour the place was crowded, so much so that the overflow filled an adjoining room. The address was touching entire consecration to God, and more whole-hearted activity in his service. An open-air meeting was advertised for half-past two o'clock. It was held in an open space, in the midst of the mill workers of our town. Few if any of the thousands who attended that meeting, will ever forget it. Very many, I believe, will remember it with joy in the Father's home on high. The attendance was exceedingly great, estimated variously at from ten to twenty thousand! The weather was exceedingly favourable. Mr Moody's address was founded upon Mark xvi. 15, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Mr Sankey sang "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by." While he did so, I could observe in the glistening eyes and the deep sighs of many around where I stood, that it was even so.

In the evening Mr Moody held a meeting exclusively for inquirers; none else were admitted, the attendance far exceeding our hope--upwards of three hundred. All human computation on this subject must be very indefinite, but when we consider the many who were not present, seeing that the Evening Service was held at the same hour in all the churches, and add also the numbers at inquiry meetings held in many of the churches, it will seen that the shaking among the dry bones has been very great; in Mr Moody's judgement, fully greater than during the first week in any other place.

The attendance at the meetings on Monday, 14th, seem to be on the increase. At the meeting for women in Fisherwick-place, there were present about fifteen hundred and at the meeting for inquiriers a marked increase; more, indeed than the Christian women present could overtake.

As time advances this gracious work of God continues to extend and deepen rapidly. On Tuesday the experiment was tried of holding a meeting in the evening exclusively for women, in order to reach the workers in mills and warehouses. More than an hour before the time of meeting the streets around were packed with a dense mass of women; and when the gates were opened, the place was filled almost in a moment; and after that, with the overflow, 3 large churches. In all these meetings, the anxious, willing to be spoken to, were more than could be overtaken. We have reached a blessed difficulty - inability to find Christian workers in sufficient number, who are able and willing to point the seeking sinners to the Lamb of God.

The number of strangers, who from long distance visit Belfast to attend the midday meetings, is daily increasing. In this way the work is already extending and I trust will cover the whole island.

I think it would not be profitable for your readers to occupy your space by giving an account of the various addresses of Mr Moody or the equally effective service of Mr Sankey. A report of the progress of the work is I think, more fitted to stimulate the zeal of all who you see rest and to call forth praise and prayer. At its present stage of progress, the most marked features are the desire to hear the word of God, willingness to be spoken to  on the state of the soul, frank confession on the part of many that they do not savingly know Jesus and most blessed of all, the equally frank confession on the part of many that they have "found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth.”

Last night the number waiting to be spoken to was so great that an attempt to speak to each individual it was scarcely made. Two or three addresses were given in the way of pointing them to the Lamb of God.

Today the midday meeting is solely for professing Christians - the subject “Assurance." In the evening the meeting is intended for such only as are seeking Jesus. Mr Moody has adopted these expediencies because of the want of any hall or building sufficient to contain the crowd seeking admission. Let me venture to suggest to any of your readers who live in cities likely to be visited by Messrs Moody and Sankey, the wisdom of erecting a temporary structure if there is a suitable place. It would save the strength of these beloved brethren greatly and help to concentrate at first the work. 

It is a very hopeful feature of the work that it has begun to spread to the adjacent towns. Meetings have been held for some four nights in Bangor, 10 miles from Belfast, by H Moorehouse, myself and some others, and considering the size of the town, the work there was equally great. Thus we are looking forward that the work shall extend over the whole province and over the whole island.             H M WILLIAMSON

"The Christian," September 24th, 1874.

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