"It does seem as if the Lord, has been doing a very considerable work amongst us." This was the modest testimony uttered by Mr Aitken at Trinity Church on Sunday evening,while giving the announcement of a closing service for thanksgiving appointed to be held on Tuesday last. And the words may be said to be a faint epitome of the latter half of this Hampstead Mission. Like every really successful evangelist, Mr Aitken disdains all boasting or trumpeting of results; they will always speak for themselves, still, it is only the bare, unadorned, but most blessed truth, that during the past week Trinity Church has been, the scene of many a wondrous transaction between human hearts, and the Saviour of the world. God has been most manifestly present in power, speaking by the lips of his honoured servant, who has had the rare - we do not mean the infrequent but the transcendent - joy of seeing the work of God prospering through his instrumentality.
The congregation have grown in numbers, and have for the mosst part been composed of well-to-do, educated people, - the
hardest class to win perhaps, but not the least likely, we believe, to become centres of that spiritual power and influence which have changed the current of their lives. The preacher, among the other elements of encouragement in this mission, has had the happiness of bringing a multiplied blessing into some families by the clear conversion or various members of them.
Space would fail us to give even an outline of the truly grand discourses which it has been our privilege to hear from Mr Aitken's lips. Every time we listen, with mind attent and heart aglow, to the singularly fresh, to the marvellously searching and irresistibly attractive expositions of truth which overfow from his heart and lips, we feel constrained to thank God that he has devoted himself to "the work of an evangelist." We hardly know to whom his ministry is the more valuable - the believer or the unbeliever. To the one his wide grasp of truth and his vivid presentation of it give it almost the force of a fresh revelation; to the other the way of salvation is made so plain, and God's dealing with men are so vindicated and magnified, that it must cost every unsaved hearer a tremendous effort not, to accept, but to reject, the offer of mercy.
The addresses each afternoon have been suited both to Christans and to the unconverted. On Friday afternoon the text
was "Jesus in the midst" (John xix, 18). From these words Mr Aitken lifted up the Crucified One - first, as the centre of unity, around which all things in heaven and earth, all sections of the one Church, revolve; next, as the central point of contact between God and his estranged creation; and, lastly, the point at which separation takes place between God and his estranged creation; and lastly, as the point at which separation takes place between man and man, according to the relation which they bear to Him. And the lifted Christ, of a truth, drew many to himself, as the after-meeting testified. The evening service was one of muchbsolemnity and spiritual power. Speaking from the remontrance of God with his people, "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?" the privileges and responsibilities attaching to those who had attended the mission were carried home with great persuasiveness and effect.
Sunday last was a full day - full of testimony and full of rich results. At the afternoon service, for men only, Mr Aitken addressed his brethren from the words of the great Master to his disciples, "Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of his Father, with his holy angels." By argument, by illustration, by reproach, by appeal, the rapt and rivetted attention of the assembly was sustained through a long discourse, while the preacher exposed the sin, the folly, the meanness, the suicidal
madness either of being ashamed of Christ and his words, or of being anything else than ashamed of serving the devil, as
many, alas! do so faithfully, to their everlasting cost.
Another "eager, anxious throng" crowded into the church at the hour of the evening service, and to look upon the vast
assembly, listening with breathless interest and attention while the preacher recapitulated the by-paths into which seeking souls wander instead of going straight to the cross of Christ, would have been a strange experience for those philosophers of our time who have eliminated the supernatural from the world's economy, and have reduced man to the outcome of "a
a particle of nucleated protoplasm." We heard Professor Tyndall say only on Saturday afternoon, while advocating the secularisation of the Lord's day by the opening of Government museums, &c.. that when giving lectures to some 600 working men in Jermyn-street on Sunday afternoon, he had been so touched by their apparent eagerness to acquire knowledge that he had sometimes had to "exercise severe control over the proper muscles to keep back the dewiness which threatened to invade his eyes!" We could not help wondering what his success in this direction would have been had he looked into the faces of this audience of cultivated men and women as they hung upon the words of the preacher so steadfastly and so long that Mr Aitken actually thought it necessary to apologize for detaining them.
What further would have been the feelings of the tender hearted scientist had he mingled with the hundred or so of protessedly anxious men and women, some of them wearing the snows of age, and some in the heyday of youth and beauty, who tarried at the close, to hear faith exalted at the expense of feeling? We know not and are not careful to discover; but this we know, and are sure of, that there was joy in the hearts of the workers, whose occupation seemed to be gone, since Mr Aitken had made the matter so plain that no further words of advice were needed. We cannot be presumptuous in saying that there was still greater joy "in the presence of the angels."
"The Christian," May 17th, 1877.
Demolished 1974 - replaced by current church