Hereford - William Carter (1861)

Extract from a Letter, sent by Mr, Carter to a Friend.—On Saturday (March 30) we left for Herefordshire I will just give you a brief outline of two meetings I was at: one at Ludlow, the other at Hereford. We went to Ludlow on Wednesday and found that much prayer had gone forth before us. The Christians there were prepared for the blessing. Indeed, God had already begun to work, for in a boarding-school which we visited, there were between thirty and forty of the young ladies converted; but the work had not yet extended outside that house. This raised my expectations and strengthened my faith for the evening meeting. The Mayor granted the Market Hall for preaching. It seats 1000, but very many more were crammed in; every available spot was occupied, the Christians retiring to adjacent rooms. The Lord gave power with the word. Sinners were riveted to the spot. After speaking, we began to sing—" There is a fountain," &c.; but before we had sung one verse, three young gentlemen, who were kneeling by my feet, bowed down their heads and sobbed aloud, and yet sung, " I do believe," &c. I knelt down by them, and whispered to one, "Do you believe?" He instantly responded, " Oh yes, Jesus has taken all my sins away." The other two fell on my neck and confessed they had realized the same precious grace in the forgiveness of sins; and at the same moment, in another part of the hall, the sister of these brothers was brought to rest in Christ. These were four children of a godly clergyman in the neighbourhood.

When I arose from my knees, and before the first verse was finished, the power of God had come down in such a remarkable manner on the whole assembly, that when I looked over the hall sinners were prostrated in every part. I was beckoned to go to the further end where were some in deep distress. In passing I was accosted by many who testified that God, for Christ's sake, had pardoned all their sins. The singing was now stopped, but I felt I dare not close the meeting. All was solemn and quiet save the groans and cries of broken-hearted sinners, which could be distinctly heard. One dear little boy sobbed and cried aloud for half-an-hour, and then in broken accents, said, "Yes, He has blotted them all out, every one."

Many more cases might be cited, but space will not allow but just another. Three old women had been kneeling for some time with no one to speak to them, till at last their sobs were hushed; they got up and looked so peaceful. Mrs Carter said to one of them, "My dear woman, what is it you are thinking about?" "Oh," said she (pointing to her heart), "I am think­ing how light he is." Mrs C. said, "Who is light?" She said, "Why, my heart." Mrs C. said, "Was it ever heavy then?" "Oh yes," said she," I never felt myself to be a sinner until I came here tonight." And the three of them testified that the Lord had saved them on the spot. It was now getting late, and seeming there were several ministers present, I asked if there was anyone who could lend me a room to meet the anxious the next day. No one proposed a room for some time. Presently, a young man said, "You can have Brand-lane room." I accepted it and arranged to meet the anxious there at nine o'clock in the morning. I left the hall exhausted, seeking souls all over the place. The next morning I went to Brand-lane room, and found, as near as I can judge, a hundred and fifty anxious souls waiting to receive me. I continued with them till near noon, and I do not think that one went away who had not left the burden at the foot of the cross. The dear Wesleyan minister was there with me, and many others who helped in the work. There is just one remarkable circumstance in reference to this instance of God's power and grace in Ludlow. In this very room a few Christians had been patiently persevering in prayer for about sixteen months, believing that the blessing would come to Ludlow; and now God's answer. Individuals, it may be from a hundred families, had left their homes in dis­tress about their souls on this morning, and had wended their way to this obscure room to be pointed to Jesus. This in itself is a testimony for God. Where prayer was made on the very same spot God gives the answer, Is anything too hard for the Lord?

The following is from a letter received since my return from Ludlow:—

"I am truly happy and thankful to inform you that the young converts are happy and rejoicing in the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free. God, in his mercy, has made an inroad upon families. I cannot give you the exact number of those converted, as there are many that I see and hear of, who have had their hearts broken up by the love of Jesus and the power of the Holy Ghost, that and not observed the night of the meeting in the Market Hall. Most in communion with us who have servants have witnessed God's quickening power. In this house there are six who say they have found peace during the last week. On Thursday night our house was a Bochim, the place of weeping; but it was mingled with sweet joy. The like joy is known in many families. It was cheering to our hearts, who have borne the heat and burden of the day, to see the boys and youths meet on the first day of the week." On Friday, at the request of a godly brother, a clergyman of the Church of England, Mr Venn, I preached in his school­rooms, Hereford, to a crowded congregation. The place seats a thousand, but there must have been several hundred more who found standing room. The power of God came down upon the people also; indeed it was quite a "Bochim" scene after preaching. Many professed to be saved on the spot, and at a late hour, when we left, there were sorrowing ones all over the place. Dear Mr Venn held an anxious meeting the next morning, and I have received a letter since, and find that fifty anxious ones met him there upon the occasion. There is one blessed feature in this work, viz., prayer always goes before success in preaching. I have since discovered that continuous prayer has been made here in London by Mr Garratt and the brethren with him for Mr Venn and the work of God in Hereford.

From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume IV, page 127.

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