Guernsey - William Booth (1854)

After the visit to Lincolnshire William Booth returned to London, but was soon called to a series of services in Bristol, from Bristol he went to Guernsey, where his efforts seem to have reached a remarkable degree of success. “Last night,” he writes from there in October 1854, “I preached my first sermon. The congregation was middling; very respectable, stiff, and quiet. I let off a few heavy guns at the lazy formality so prevalent, and with some effect. 'They opened their eyes at some of the things I said.” Three days later he says: “My preaching is highly spoken of. The Lord is working. I trust that tomorrow we shall have a crash — a glorious breakdown.” Still later: “Tonight many went away unable to get into the chapel. The aisles were crowded, and up to eleven o’clock, it was almost an impossibility to get them up to the communion-rail owing to the crush.” When he departed from Guernsey numbers of people came down to the pier to wave their adieux to him.

'The Life of General William Booth', by Harold Begbie, Volume I, page 230.

Sunday. – Rose with a delightful sense of God's favour and anticipating a good and successful day. In the morning the congregation was very good and the word, I am convinced, went with power to many hearts. At night the chapel was crowded. It was their anniversary. The collections were double in amount those of last year and in the prayer meeting wonderful victory was ours. We took down about 26 names – some most interesting glorious cases. Many went away under a deep conviction.

Monday. – Good news comes in on every hand. Tonight, although the weather is most unfavourable, the congregation has been very good and the prayer meeting even more successful than the one last night. Many very clear cases of conversion. About 35 penitents.

Tuesday. – The excitement increases, the congregation was much larger and a great number of penitents came forward.

Wednesday. - The chapel tonight has been packed – fuller than it was on Sunday night – and the prayer meeting was a most glorious one. We did not conclude until 10:30 pm. Very many had been seeking all the week found peace. 

Thursday. – Tonight many went away unable to get into the chapel. The aisles were crowded and up to 11 o'clock was almost an impossibility to get them up to the communion rail, owing to the crush. We had near 60 penitents, many very clear cases and I doubt not over 60 more were in deep distress in different parts of the chapel. The parting with the people was very affecting.

Friday. – I paid farewell to Guernsey. Many came down to the pier to wish me goodbye and when the packet bore me away, I caught the last glimpse of their waving hands and handkerchiefs. I felt I had parted with many very dear friends and that I have bidden adieu to a fair spot, where I had certainly passed one of the happiest fortnights of my brief history.


Catherine Booth, the Mother of the Salvation Army by Booth-Tucker, volume one, pages 108-109.




Additional Information

He stayed in this street, but I do not know where the meetings took place.

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