Her Majesty's Opera House, Haymarket, London - D L Moody (1875)




Mr Moody read the story of the transfiguration, as recorded in the ninth chapter of Luke, to whom he said, we are indebted for a knowledge of what was the subject of conversation at that wonderful conference. They did not speak about modern improvement and culture, so much thought of in these days; but about "the decease he was to accomplish at Jerusalem." It seemed as if that was the great event of time and eternity. At this most important of all the councils ever held on earth, there were the representatives of the Law, the Prophets, and the coming Church. Mr Moody mentioned the striking fact that on the only three occasions when God spoke to his Son audibly from heaven, as far as recorded, it was with regard to his death. Let us make much of the death of Christ; let us preach "Christ and Him crucified." Simply to preach the life and example of Christ will never save a dying world. If that was the theme that occupied the minds of these great ones, surely it ought to occupy ours.

I went one day, said Mr Moody, to hear a man preach, and I was greatly disappointed; he preached simply about the death of Christ and I thought I was going to hear something new. I was the guest of an aged pilgrim and as he was engaged talking to a friend, I went home by myself. When I got there I found them seated round the table, talking about the death of Jesus Christ, just as if it had happened in the city they lived in and as they spoke about it the tears trickled down their cheeks. I felt rebuked to see these two old men talking about Christ's death; it had not lost its power over their souls, it was fresh. May we never forget what Christ has done for us, may we never get tired of the old, old story. In season and out of season, let us speak much of the death of Christ; let us love and serve Him.

Mr Moody prayed, his voice anon faltering with emotion, that the precious blood of Christ might be more precious than ever. "As we look at our lives we are ashamed of ourselves." In words of affectionate solicitude, he commended to God Mr Taylor in the North, and Mr Blackwood in the West, while he and his colleague were busy in the East.

Mr Sankey sang the solo part of "Give me the wings of faith to rise," while the audience assisted in the chorus, which partly repeated in the softest pianissimo, sounds very sweetly. A brief season of earnest prayer filled up the hour.


Among the requests for prayer were those "For forty young men;" "For one who disbelieves in the efficacy of prayer himself."
Praise was also returned by two ladies for conversion; and by a teacher for the conversion of four members of his Bible class.

Mr Moody read the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. It was, he said, the old story of Cain and Abel, of Esau and Jacob, of the elder brother and the prodigal. The worst enemy a Christian has is himself, his self-righteousness. In the Pharisee's prayer there thirty-four words and five of these capital I's. All the time he was talking about himself and his prayer, which was no prayer at all, never got higher than his head. It would have been better if he had stopped at the end of the first four words, "God, I thank thee."

The publican's prayer was contained in seven words, yet there was more in it than in many of our prayers half-an-hour long.
"God be merciful to me a sinner." Mercy belongs to God; sin to us. The publican put himself in the right place, and he went down to his house: not only pardoned, but justified. He came as a sinner to God and God blessed him.

After Mr Sankey had sung that sweet hymn, "Pass me not O gentle Saviour."

Mr Radcliffe related an instance of the conversion of a dying person in the East-end, through the joint efforts of one of the house-to-house visitors and a city missionary. He said the people not yet visited in the North, and also the people in the west were absolutely waiting to be called on and wondering what they would say to the visitors. Last Sunday morning, at Exeter Hall, 40 of the Christians present at the meeting went out to the streets close by and returned with numbers of people to the service. He urged one hundred of the Christian men and women to go out an hour before the evening meeting in the Agricultural Hall and bring in the people to hear Mr Taylor. A telegram had reached him stating that the whole of Dublin
was to be visited -- a much more difficult place to visit than London. The stay of the evangelists was passing away; let them all be up and at the work at once.

The Rev. Mr Howie, of Glasgow, said they were beginning there to find out what they wanted, not a periodical, but a continuous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He compared the recent movement in Glasgow to the lifting of vessels to a higher level when passing through the locks of a canal by the water being poured out in from the upper part of the canal. But it was difficult to keep up to the higher level, there was there was such a strange leakage always going on. He urged the Christians of London to embrace the present opportunity for all to come forward and help in personal effort.

Mr Sankey told of a Christian lady in the North of London who, seeing a funeral leave the next house, thought it a favourable time for her to do something for Christ. She went in, found the husband had been carried to the grave and the widow with her maid were left alone. She induced the widow to attend the Agricultural Hall services, where she went to the inquiry-room, and was spoken to by Mr Sankey. He asked all to learn a lesson from the lady and go to seek out those who are in darkness and sorrow and begin at their own door.

Mr Sankey having sung "Scatter seeds of kindness," which he said had been much blessed at other times, the Rev. H. Fox, of Westminster, prayed and pronounced the benediction.


At the noon meeting today, Admiral Sir Crawford Caffin read the following extracts from a letter he had just received from a friend in Liverpool, respecting the continuance of the work there:- 

"I have, during the last few days, had the pleasure of seeing much of the revival work here, as I have done two or three times previously. There is no question of its reality, breadth and permanence; all classes of society have been affected by it. I have spoken with many respectable and educated men, who have come savingly under its influence, although its most observable effects are with the humbler classes.

"It is very impressive to attend the large gatherings, wholly of men, who, after the regular evangelistic service carried on nightly, adjourn to a disused circus, to the number of 600 or 800, where short addresses are given, and the converts relate their experience, and exhort each other to faithfulness, and the undecided present to a decision. Prejudice against this apparently exciting sort of religion disappears as one sees man after man rise and in strong, homely, but earnest language, tell the story of his awakening and conversion. Large numbers of rough lads are among those present, and the prayers of these fellows for their companions are sometimes very touching. Artisans and clerks are in considerable proportion, and not a few gentlemen add their testimony to the blessing they have received from Messrs. Moody and Sankey's labours, and the subsequent services in the hall, in which immense congregations still nightly assemble.

"The inquiry room is still well filled, and working men, themselves recently brought to the Saviour, bring their shop mates to be spoken to by more experienced Christians. There or four sailors were among those who spoke in the men's after-meeting last night and it was really very refreshing to see these fine fellows stand up and tell openly what Jesus had done for them."


Punctual to the hour, Messrs. Moody and Sankey appeared at the Haymarket, notwithstanding that the service at the Tabernacle had just closed. After singing "O bliss of the purified" the requests were read, and included four requests for backsliders; two from drunkards; two from sceptics; from a Roman Catholic, for himself; for the singing of Mr Sankey's hymns at a hospital; for the Rev C D Marston that he might be restored to health and service for the Lord; and for Mr Macleod Wylie, of Weston-super-Mare, who is very ill.

Mr Moody read part of Isa Iv. There is no life, said Mr Moody, without water; and the water of life was free to all. The trouble is, we are not thirsty for this living, pure water. The other day he saw a bread cart, setting forth that the bread was pure, and a milk cart to the same effect; so he could say the bread and milk of the gospel was pure. As the water flows freely out of a fountain, whether people drink or not, so the gospel stream was open to all. Mr Moody contrasted the condition of two farms in California - one that was irrigated with water and was evergreen; and the other, not irrigated was dry and parched. So it was with many churches. "Oh for a draught of water from my father's well!" was the cry of a dying man on the Tennessee River, when he had tasted of the impure water of that stream. That ought to be the cry of every Christian.

Rev. H. G. Guinness said the most wonderful fact in connection with the living water when it flowed from the body of Christ. The second time water came out of the rock for the children of Israel, Moses was commanded only to speak to the rock; it had been smitten before. Moses disobeyed and smote the rock twice, yet the water flowed forth freely. One distinguishing blessing of Israel was the presence of God with them; this was the secret of the success of the present movement.

A gentleman on the platform gave an incident of a boy who died singing, "Safe in the arms of Jesus," and related some interesting experience in the inquiry room. "Go bury thy sorrow." had been the medium of much blessing in one case.

Mr Radcliffe asked and offered prayer for a blessing on the service just held at the Tabernacle, especially in the case of the large number of ministers who were present, and would soon be scattered throughout the country. He also prayed specially for the district round the Haymarket.

After some prayer, a reverend gentleman on the platform said that on the previous evening he had met three young girls in the inquiry room. One of them from Cornwall had been going to class at a Wesleyan chapel for five years, and nobody had spoken to her about her soul all that time. He believed there were hundreds and thousands in our congregations in the same

Mr James Balfour, of Edinburgh, said he was at the noon meeting there the day before, and the most earnest petition presented was that London at this time might be made a wonder in the earth.

The hallowed and profitable hour was brought to a close by Mr Sankey singing the glorious gospel song "Wondrous love," the audience joining softly in the refrain.


We remember hearing Mr Moody say, with legitimate satisfaction, at a meeting in Liverpool that one of the strongest proofs, to his mind of the divine character of this religious movement was the fact that, whenever and wherever a Bible reading was announced there was sure to be a crowded house. It was very clear to his mind that the devil would never prompt thousands of people to meet for the study of the Word of God. Very good logic we think. 

Mr Moody said this before he began his work in London, but he could tell the same tale here with equal truth. The noon prayer meetings at the Haymarket have not been crowded, though very large, the fact has naturally disturbed Mr Moody, who being a man of faith and prayer would wish all his fellow Christians to be the same. But there has been no need for him to urge the people to attend the Bible readings in the afternoon. The tickets have been all taken up in an incredibly short space of time, and if these meetings are to be continued long we shall not be surprised to see the announcement usually made in connection with meetings of a different sort:- "Seats booked a month in advance." The construction of the building is such that the whole of the interior can be taken in at a glance from the stage platform we ought perhaps to say - and the vast sea of heads stretching from the floor to the topmost gallery which merges in the ceiling, really presents a wonderful sight. The interest in Thursday's afternoon meeting was heightened by the presence in one of the boxes of the Princess of Wales, accompanied by the Duchess of Sutherland and others. Her Royal Highness seemed to take a deep and lively interest in the whole service and remained to its close. Without making too much of the circumstance, we feel deeply thankful that "the mother of our kings to be; who possesses such influence in some circles of society and who, at all events, fills her exalted position with singular grace and outward propriety, has sufficient interest in the work of the evangelists to and hear for herself. We pray God, who ruleth among the kings and queens of the earth, to make her visit to the Bible reading fraught with untold blessing to herself and to this nation.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Mr Moody's subject was "The Holy Ghost." His addresses were a full exposition of the scriptual teaching concerning the person and work of the Spirit. He said the subject was one very much neglected, and, indeed, he went so far as to express an opinion that the gift of the Holy Ghost had been by the Church and well nigh lost sight of. He held the bestowal of this gift to be distinct and subsequent thing to conversion. He showed how great and continuous was the need for the outpouring of the Spirit and we are sure his earnest words of teaching and of exhortation will be laid fo heart by many, if not all of the thousands of his auditors.

Thursday and Friday were set aside to the exposition of "Grace." His Thursday afternoon address, delivered in the presence of his royal visitor, we have reproduced fully in other columns. It is brimful of the gospel. The second address on the same subject was, if possible, more attractive and powerful than the day before.

These afternoon meetings in the Haymarket are continued during this week, but all the tickets, we believe, were appropriated on Saturday last.


Meetings have been held in this place every evening during the past week, except Monday, the addresses being given by Mr Stevenson Blackwood. The attendance has steadily increased from the first meeting, when about 1,500 persons were present. This is in some measure due to the recruiting party, headed by Mr Reginald Radcliffe, who on Wednesday, after a short preliminary meeting for prayer, went out into the streets half an hour before commencement of the service to "compel the people to come in." That success is attending their effort is evident from the improved attendance; but Mr Radcliffe is desirous of increasing the number of the band so employed, and would be glad to receive volunteers.

On Wednesday the service was commenced by singing, "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by." Before the last verse was sung, Mr Blackwood asked the audience to pause and think of the thought expressed therein - "Too late, too late will be the cry." In fact," observed he, " we will not sing it; the words are too solemn to be sung in a mixed audience. Read the verse, and think of it.

After prayer had been offered, Mr Blackwood remarked it was a cheering thing to sing about heaven, but the question was, should we ever get there? There were several very solemn passages that were not preached upon so often as they might be, but which point out the way to get to heaven, and what kind of company will be there. God has recorded it in the form of question and answer.

Psalms xv. and xxiv, and Isaiah xxxiii. 14 -18, were then read by Mr Blackwood. In all these passages God distinctly asked, the question "Who shall ascend into the holy hill of Zion? ie "Who shall reach heaven?" Immediately after we have the answers again plainly enunciated. It says distinctly, "Those who lead the holy life." The points to which he urged particular attention were, that God must have a pure life, as heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people, and next how to obtain that preparedness.

We could not obtain it through our own filthy rags of righteousness, but only through the righteousness of God's only Son, Jesus Christ. He pressed upon all to remember that God could not break His word and that only the pure could inherit eternal life. This purity could only be found through the Blood of Jesus which cleanseth from all sin.

He concluded his address by an earnest appeal to the unsaved present, to receive there and then, the gift of God, and to rely upon Christ alone for their soul's eternal welfare.

After each evening's service inquiry meetings have been held, which have not been without results.

The services on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were increasingly interesting, but our space will not permit us to give a more detailed report. 

"The Christian," April 22nd, 1875.

JUDGMENT has been given by the Master of the Rolls, on the application of Mr Leader, the owner of certain stalls, to restrain Messrs. Moody and Sankey from continuing their services at the Opera House. His Honour decided that the plaintiff had right on his side, but seeing that to stop the services would injure the defendants without benefitting the plaintiff, and taking other circumstances into consideration, he would not grant an injunction, but ruled that the plaintiff was entitled to nominal damages, with costs, and stipulated that the defendants should undertake not to renew their engagement.

In consequence of this, the Opera House cannot again be used for services after May 29, if Mr Leader objects.

"Signs of Our Times," May 12th, 1875.

Additional Information

The building has been replaced by Her Majesty's Theatre in 1897.

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