Leeds (1862)

Edward Usher wrote in the Revival, 29th March 1862, that unity was needed in Leeds before God could do anything. 'this town is quite dead and asleep. Secularism is very strong. Popery is rampant, lukewarm protestants hold aloof.'.

Some three or four weeks since, at the invitation of a Christian lady, myself and Robert Craig, known to many of your readers as a London theatre preacher, went to Leeds and commenced some services. At the first our success was indifferent. We had one interesting case, however, that of an old soldier, who came to the meeting in great distress of soul. I spoke to him at the close and pointed him to the crucified One. At first, he was inconsolable, but at length, light from on high broke in, and he said, "Stop! I see it all now." A change came over him, and he could and did sing,

"I can believe, I do believe, that Jesus died for me."

Before we left the meeting, he said, "I came into this room with a load on my heart that I could hardly bear, but now I feel as if fifty knapsacks were taken off my back." He attended each meeting afterwards and gave every sign of being a true soldier of the cross.

We subsequently carried on our meetings at a much larger place, with evident blessing, and eventually. in a commodious chapel situated in the very heart of the town. This chapel for years has been closed. About two months back God put it into the heart of some dear Christian men to obtain the use of it for the purpose of holding special services. They commenced few in numbers, but true of heart. Night after night they met for prayer with apparently no result; at length, the Lord appeared for them; one here and one there came in, and some conversions took place. Things were in this state when Br. Craig and myself came to Leeds. These dear brethren heard of us and invited us to hold meetings in their chapel. This we gladly consented to, for the work there was thoroughly unsectarian both in principle and practice. We commenced; numbers increased; power came down, and sinners were converted. After a few days Robert Craig was obliged to leave to fulfil an engagement near London, but the Lord provided another labourer. Colour-Sergeant W. Mason arrived from Abergavenny, full of love and zeal. We were old friends, and right glad to meet and work together again. We had a daily prayer-meeting at noon, and a meeting every evening. God blessed our efforts. In one week upwards of sixty professed to have found peace and joy in believing. Some of these were backsliders. Altogether, from first to last, some eighty cases of apparent conversion had taken place when I left on Saturday. Several boys and girls professed conversion, but their names were not taken. These eighty were nearly all persons advanced in years and belonged to various sections of the Christian church. Their names, residences, &c., were carefully recorded, and proper persons were found to visit them. On Sunday night the 20th ult., seventeen professed conversion; that was the most in one night.

Yours in Christ, JOHN ROCHFORT.

From, 'The Revival', Volume vi, 8th May 1862.

With pleasure and thankfulness to Almighty God, the following brief report of his work in Leeds is communicated. Since our last report He has unmistakably manifested his willingness to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Christ Jesus our Lord. In February last God put it into the heart of a good brother, who was supported in money matters by a true Christian philanthropist, to commence a series of revival services on neutral ground. For this purpose, a commodious chapel in the centre of the town, that had been closed for some time, belonging to the New Connexion, was, in a most kind and liberal manner, granted. Numbers began to multiply, a few from different denominations soon gathered round, and prayer without ceasing was made night and day, and we can truly say the Lord has far exceeded our expectations.

Our list since the commencement gives no less than 694 souls professing to have received blessing through faith in the blood of our dear Redeemer. Since May 17, when the Rev. J. C. Milbourn came among us, sceptics, Catholics, and backsliders have been snatched as from the brink of the gulf of destruction. Prayer is offered up every night in the week, and preaching five nights, and at twelve o'clock at noon daily, and once in three weeks a midnight prayer-meeting. At our last, on the 2nd inst., while we were engaged in solemn prayer for Leeds sinners especially, the present power of God was felt by all. At the morning service, while our dear brother was exhibiting the saving faith of the gospel, numbers came to the communion rail, and others hurriedly left the chapel with tears in their eyes and the arrow of conviction in their hearts. We have pledged ourselves to cry day and night until God moves the whole town. Every Lord's-day at our love-feast the testimony of friends for eight and ten miles distant is most encouraging. Brethren, pray for us, especially for our brother Milbourn, whose health from constant labours is evidently giving way. S.

From 'The Revival', Volume vii, 14th August 1862.

Additional Information

Most likely at Ebeneezer Chapel which was to the right of Harewwod Street above the St Georges Street Car Park.

Related Wells