Forest Gate (1865)

It is about three years since I came as Forest Gate as foreman of Wanstead Flats Brickfield and Forest Gate being the nearest place to the field, most of our men live there. I found that the Lord had given me one Christian in the field to work with. He told me that he and two or three Christians had opened a room where they had preaching every Sunday night. I cast in my lot with them, and we began open-air services on Sunday mornings, and in the afternoons we invited the people to the room. So many came that we commenced morning services as well as evening, and the place soon became too strait for us.
We prayed to the Lord to give us a larger room, and He heard and answered our prayers. Enough ground was soon bought on which to build a chapel and school-room. We soon had the school-room up, which it was thought would do until we could raise funds to build the chapel. I believe we shall soon have the chapel, for the school is becoming too small for us to worship God in. For a long time we have been crying to God to revive his work; and brother Steele and I have tried over and over again to get the men to go with us to the house of God. They have gone just for once or twice, and then they would not come again, although we could get them to our temperance meetings, where many of them became teetotalers: at one time, nearly all of them. That dear and well-known lady, Miss R. Sturges, rendered us great assistance in the work; and, although we have had much difficulty in carrying it out, I am happy to say that nearly all our men are now total abstainers. The Lord heard and answered prayer, and sent us more strength. About three months ago another Christian brother came on to work in our field, and the Lord also sent Mrs. Wooster to Wanstead, where two of our men became converted to God ; and another sister, Mrs. Brock, to Forest Gate. We have been helping Mrs. Brock in her meetings, and the Lord has blessed our labours. Many of our men have attended, and I hae also held meeting for them in the Wesleyan Chapel, Forest Gate. During the last four or five weeks many have given their hearts to God. On February 15th our dear sister Brock held a meeting on which the Spirit of God came down and eight or nine professed faith in Christ. The night before we held a meeting at the chapel, and four of our men were made happy there. February 16th, it came on to snow in the afternoon. Our men, being unable to continue their work, took shelter in one of the sand-houses. There they held a prayer meeting, and two more of their mates believed on Jesus. I never witnessed such a scene in a brick-field before. With the assistance of some Christian friends I gare them a tea the next day. We met at six o'clock and after tea had an experience meeting, when many of them told what the Lord had done for them; one, turning to his wife, said, "I am a better husband and a better father, ain't I, mate?" Never, I think, was I at a meeting where I felt more of the presence of God. One of the men said that when he got home last night he went to bed, but he could not rest. All his efforts to get sleep being useless, the thought stuck him that it was not all right with his heart, so he went down on his knees and tried to pray, but found little relief. The next Saturday he said he should like to see another snow storm that they might go into the sand-house and have another prayer meeting. Instead of snow, it pleased God to send rain. They had another prayer meeting, and the Lord spoke peace to his soul. As I was paying the men, one of them told me it was the first day he had ever passed without swearing. I conversed and prayed with this man, and invited him and his wife to go to the chapel with us on the Sunday. They did so and the Lord met with them and they both went home rejoicing in the God of their salvation. Many of the men's wives as well as six or seven of the lads that work here have, I believe, given themselves to Christ. Eighteen men have expressed their desire to be united with the Wesleyan church, Forest Gate and there are others seeking the way of life. 

"The Revival," March 23rd, 1865.

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