High Free Church, Paisley - D L Moody (1874)

Before the visit of Messrs Moody and Sankey, we were not without tokens that the Lord was owning the special efforts that were being made for the ingathering of souls. The daily prayer meeting, held at noon in Oaksham Street United Presbyterian Church, was growing in interest, whilst evangelistic services, held on the evenings of Sabbath, Monday, and Thursday, were coming to be largely attended. All along the impression produced by the addresses given at these special meetings was evidently very deep; whilst during the month of March, a few inquirers would remain at the close to be spoken to, and others would find their way to their ministers for private conversation. Good was being done, the first droppings of the shower were falling when our American brethren appeared among us. 

Moody first reached us on Wednesday, April 8. At twelve o'clock he presided at the prayer meetings Oaksham street,   United Presbyterian Church, which was filled with those who evidently were in earnest for a blessing; at four o'clock he
delivered his grand lecture on "Grace," in the venerable Abbey, which was quite crowded; and in the evening he gave a most powerful discourse from the words, "Ye must be born again", in the Free High Church, where there must have been upwards of 2,000 people packed together. 

The sight of the vast audience moved Mr Moody deeply and his words to them were felt to be spirit and life. At the close about 40 inquirers remained.

Next day, Mr Sankey was with us at our noon prayer meeting and at our evangelistic service in the evening. His singing, besides being popular, was very powerful. The vast audience literally hung up on his lips; the silence in itself was profoundly impressive, especially when he was pleading with sinners in the hymn, “almost persuaded,” which he very aptly chose at the close of a strikingly eloquent address from the reverend Mr Robertson of Newington, Edinburgh on “plenteous redemption.” About 60 inquirers remained and very peacefully God seemed to be shining into some of their hearts, giving them the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

On Friday Mr Moody presided at the noon prayer meeting, gave his beautiful lecture on “Heaven” at 4:00 o'clock in the Free High Church and in the evening preached in the same place from the words, “He was wounded for our transgressions,” to upwards of 2,000 people, whose emotions could not be concealed, as Christ was evidently set forth crucified among them. Many date their impressions from this evening. About 200 inquirers remained, who were scattered in little groups over the area of the church and addressed by ladies and gentlemen, who previously had been furnished with workers’ tickets. It was a deeply affecting site, when one remembered the interests that were at stake. More than one worker remarked with gladness at the close of this meeting that it was well they had for guidance that precious text, “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.” And whilst this earnest work was proceeding in the church, some friends were conversing with about 60 boys, who were in the Sessions House. The anxiety here was very marked and great liberty was experienced by the speakers in pointing the young to the Lamb of God. And here it may be remarked that the young have shared largely in the blessing which has come upon us. Godly parents have had their hearts gladdened by what they have seen and heard at home during these last few weeks; and instances are not wanting where the joy of the children has led the parents to seek the Lord.

On Tuesday, the 14th, Mr Moody was again with us. In the afternoon he gave his lecture on “The Blood”, and in the evening preached from the text, “The Son of Man is coming to seek and to save that which was lost." about 400 inquirers remained, many of whom seemed to pass from darkness to light. Much good seemed to be done this evening, especially among the young men, about eighty of whom were present in great anxiety of soul. Many of them had travelled in from the neighbouring towns and villages. They came expecting a blessing and were not sent away empty. Indeed, we have heard that in a town about 3 miles from Paisley, so many young men have been blessed at this season that a Christian association is to be at once formed.

On Wednesday evening Mr Sankey visited us. Three churches had to be opened to accommodate all who wished to hear him sing the gospel, whilst addresses were given by Messrs Howie and Scott, from Glasgow and by various ministers in town. About 300 inquirers remained.

On the evening of Thursday, the day of the great Convention in Glasgow, Dr Cairns, of Berwick gave a most impressive address from those words which are always prominent in revival periods – “And the spirit and the bride say come.” There was a very solemn stillness in the audience while the gifted preacher pleaded. God was near us and in the after meeting a feeling of awe kept possession of us all. Mr Leitch of Newcastle, who was present taking part in the services, remarked the work seemed to be very deep and very solemn in Paisley.

On the evening of Friday, there were again inquirers at the close of the meeting.

On Sabbath morning, at 9:00 o'clock, the Free High Church was filled to hear an address to Christians from Mr Moody. The same place of meeting was crowded at 5:00 o'clock to hear an address to the unconverted; and in the evening at 9:00 o'clock, St. George’s Established Church, which is seated for about 1,800, was completely filled with men only, who were privileged to listen to one of the most telling addresses Mr Moody has given in Paisley. The fruit of this meeting and of the afternoon meeting, appeared on Monday evening, when upwards of 150 inquirers met with Mr Moody and others in the Free High Church. Conversation with them was engaged in for upwards of two hours and many departed professing to have found joy and peace in believing. Amongst this number were many men, some of them far advanced in life.

On Tuesday evening the Free High Church was again crowded. Mr Moody pointed out with great vividness that many refuges of lies to which men will flee when pressed with the gospel invitation. Close up on 200 inquirers remained, who were joined, as the evening wore on, by many who had received a blessing during the past fortnight. Before separating, a hymn was sung with deep feeling. And then our beloved brethren were commended in prayer to God. With united hearts as with one voice, we prayed that God’s servants might be blessed wherever they went, as they had been blessed in Paisley.

For a season at least, we have parted with Messrs Moody and Sankey. We have great reason for thankfulness that the Lord sent them here. A great and good work has unquestionably been done since they came among us. The movement here is deep and widespread. More have come under its influence than those who have appeared in inquiry meetings.

"The Christian", April 30th, 1874.

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