High Church, Paisley - D L Moody (1874)

The Rev A. Henderson, United Presbyterian minister, sends us the following account of the work in Paisley:-

During the week of prayer in the beginning of the year, we had a series of daily meetings in Free St Georges Church, which were attended by numbers that steadily increased till the close. A deep impression was produced, and earnest desires were expressed that Messrs Moody and Sankey might visit the town.

Shortly after the close of the week of prayer, a meeting of ministers of various denominations was called in the usual way, by circular signed by the senior minister of the town.

Almost all denominations were represented at the meeting, and it was unanimously agreed to send a requisition to Messrs Moody and Sankey, asking them to visit Paisley. This requisition was signed by more than two-thirds of the evangelical
ministers of the town. It was agreed at the same time that a daily prayer meeting should be commenced. That meeting has been regularly held since the end of February in Oakshaw United Presbyterian Church. United evangelistic meetings have been also held on Monday and Thursday evenings. These meetings have occasionally been addressed by those who had taken a part in the movement in Edinburgh and Glasgow. After some of these meetings a few inquirers remained to be conversed with and some were brought to peace in believing. Thanksgiving was offered the other day for one who was brought to the light while Mr Wilson of the Barclay Church was speaking. 

On Wednesday this week Mr Moody came among us. The mid-day prayer meeting held in Mr France's church was crowded. Long before the hour announced, the Abbey was filled to hear one of his Bible lectures, and in the evening the Free High Church was crammed in every corner. More than 2000 people must have been present. Mr Moody spoke from John iii, on the
necessity of the new birth. A very deep impression was made, and about forty inquirers were individually conversed with, many of whom departed rejoicing. On Thursday Mr Sankey came. The Free High Church was again crowded an hour before the time of meeting. Free St. George's was also opened and filled to overflowing. A number of inquirers were spoken to in the
latter place and about sixty remained in the Free High Church. Mr Moody returned yesterday. He addressed the mid-day prayer meeting, gave a Bible reading in the Free High Church at 4 o'clock on "Heaven" and addressed the meeting in the same place in the evening. An hour before the time the large building was crowded in every part; not an inch of standing
room was left. About 200 inquirers remained. The scene was most impressive. The whole area of the church was occupied by groups of men and women, many of whom were weeping most bitterly, while ministers and Christian friends were engaged in speaking to them of Christ. At the close, Mr Moody gathered the inquirers together and asked all who could say now that they could cast themselves on Christ to stand up and sing "Just as I am," when the great majority stood up. It was a sight to be remembered for a lifetime. The cloud of blessing has burst over us at last. The prayers of God's children have been
answered, and their hearts refreshed. Brethren of all denominations have come together and have wrought together for a common end.

"Times of Blessing," April 18th, 1874.


"A friend in Paisley favours us with the following interesting communication: During the past fortnight Paisley has been favoured with a visit from the American evangelists, Messrs. Moody and Sankey. It was at one time feared by us that they would not be able to give us more than two or three days of their valuable services; but, to our great joy, they have given us in all eight days — six of Mr. Moody, and two of Mr. Sankey, separately. Their appearance among us was looked forward to with great interest and high hopes of spiritual blessing; and, through God's great goodness, we have not been disappointed. Mr Sankey's singing drew vast crowds, and afforded a rich treat, alike to those who looked merely to the vocal performance, and to those who valued also the simple Gospel truth which it proclaimed and illustrated. The Bible readings and evangelistic addresses of Mr Moody greatly surpassed, I believe, the expectations of those who had only heard of him, or listened to a few brief utterances at the Glasgow daily prayer meeting. We were not prepared to hear such wonderfully clear, pointed, and able expositions and appeals, conveyed in singularly simple and nervous English. Far less did we expect such melting tenderness and dramatic power. But his discourses, as a whole, have the far higher and rarer element of spiritual power. Under no preacher have we seen such effects produced. Multitudes have been led to realize and appreciate divine things as they had never done before.

We were not wholly unprepared for the visit of these brethren. Hearing of the blessing that was attending their labours in other parts of our land, and longing for a share in that blessing, we had been holding daily prayer meetings, together with various evangelistic meetings, for several weeks previously. A large proportion of the evangelistic ministers in the town took part in these and evinced a growing spirit of love and harmony. Great good was accomplished at these meetings. Many of God's people were refreshed, and some careless persons were awakened and converted. Our prayers, we can not doubt, came up for a memorial before God.

We thirsted and waited for increased droppings of the heavenly shower; and, in connection with the labours of our American brethren, we rejoice to say God has been graciously pleased to vouchsafe these. Not a few Christian people who were walking in darkness have received spiritual light, and are now rejoicing in the liberty of God's children. And who can doubt that, filled afresh by the Spirit, they will, under the promptings of love to Christ and compassion for souls, labour as they have never done before to promote the glory of Christ in the salvation of others? Large numbers, too, have been awakened to a sense of sin, and a considerable proportion of these profess to have received Christ as their Saviour. The young have in a special degree shared in the blessing. Every night, out of the two or three hundred that stayed at the close of the meetings to be conversed with, about a third of these were young persons of both sexes under twenty. The readiness of many of them to receive the truth was remarkable. Some of them had their doubts and difficulties, but when the way of life was clearly set before them, all at once, their eyes brightening up, they raised their heads as if their burdens were removed, and said joyously, 'I see it now.'

I can not tell how many Christian parents have been made happy this last fortnight by the change wrought in their families. One, two, three, in this family and in that, seem to have entered upon a new life. The Bible is now to them a new book; the novel is cast aside, and some work upon Christian privilege and duty has taken its place; their temper and ways of acting in their homes and among their companions are changing; the alteration looks as like real conversion as could be expected; and may we not hope, while prepared to hear of some cases proving spurious, that many are real? We know that all the blossom in spring does not eventually become fruit, nor does it all drop to the ground; much comes to maturity, and we hope and pray that much, very much, of this tender spiritual blossom, will ripen into rich fruit, that Christ's Father may be glorified. The ministers that have sympathized most deeply with this gracious work have had their spirits cheered unspeakably. Many have been the sad hours they have passed, bewailing the apathy to divine things in their congregations and in the general community. All at once they see thought and inquiry, a readiness to receive counsel and instruction, and in many cases the wakening up out of sleep, and the joys and activities of a new life. How cheering to every true minister of Christ! Would to God this blessed work may spread and deepen! May it be among us and elsewhere as the wave-sheaf before an abundant harvest! c I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours' (John iv., 38)."

From "The British Evangelist."

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