Lowestoft Town Hall (1861)

About the commencement of February this town was visited by Messrs. Radcliffe and Henry. The Town Hall was engaged and was filled to overflowing. Several professed to find peace in the Saviour. On the following Sabbath it was found that not less than 100 cases of inquiring ones had come under the notice of the different ministers of the town. Encouraged by these gracious tokens, these meetings have been daily continued to the present time. Hundreds have been awakened, and many—very many—hopefully converted to God. On Monday, Feb. 25th ult., we were favoured with a second visit from Messrs. Radcliffe and Henry. It being found that no building in the town would accommodate the numbers expected, application was made to the authorities of the Eastern Counties Railway for the use of their Continental Goods Depot. Leave was granted, and soon 3000 persons gained admittance. Such a scene was never before witnessed in this town. The meeting was presided over by the venerable vicar, the Rev. P. Cunningham. The addresses delivered, spiritual conversation followed; and scores, if not hundreds, were found anxious about their spiritual state. Another meeting was held in the Town Hall the following morning, filled to overflowing with persons professing concern about their souls. It appears that many of the fishermen and beach-men have been awakened. A tea-meeting was given them on Tuesday, March 5, and addresses delivered bearing upon their duties and dangers in reference to the Spring fishing which they are about to commence. Feb 1861.

Reginald Radcliffe, Biography p95.

We have before us information from Lowestoft, which we must not suppress. It informs us of the remarkable scenes of which the good people of that town have been suddenly and unexpectedly made spectators. The number of converts added to the different communions in that town, within the past few weeks, reaches to nearly 500—an almost incredible number within so short a time and so limited a space, Were Norwich to be similarly visited, the number of converts, to correspond to the difference in population, would be at least 5000! We hear of numerous cases of drunkards reclaimed, or swearers turned from cursing to praying, of men sunk in immorality reformed. It is as if a genial atmosphere had suddenly come over the spirits of the population, with its life-giving, balmy influence, turning waste places into beautiful gardens and adorning human characters with all that is lovely and promising, where nothing was seen before but dreariness and desolation. We have been careful to ascertain the facts, and in a general form politician we have stated them. The figures lie before us of the additions to the several communions; these we prefer not to give, though each—both Church and Dissenting— seems to have gained largely and to have no ground for jealousy. The Norfolk News

'The Revival' Volume IV, page 143.

Suffolk.—In every-day life we not infrequently find things hard to be understood; there are certain appearances which we did not anticipate; or the modus operandi, by which they are brought about, may not coincide exactly with our preconceived notions, yet as to their reality we cannot possibly entertain a doubt, and therefore we unhesitatingly declare our belief in them and are ready at once to place them in our category of facts. With all our knowledge we understand but little at present, of that subtle agency, electricity; but who doubts its reality? or who would now pretend to call in question its power? We have become acquainted with its effects, and the results we see it accomplish are the most convincing proofs we could possibly have of its reality.

Now the Revival movement in this county and elsewhere must be judged of in somewhat a similar way. It will not do to ask is this or that the best means, the one most calculated to accomplish the end, or not; but looking beyond the machinery employed, we may come to a far safer, and, we believe, wiser conclusion by inquiring what is actually accomplished, and what are the results which this Revival movement has produced? We pen these remarks because we find in Ipswich a drawing back from the movement; a disposition to let it alone; by no means from a feeling of indifference to the success of the truth; but, as we have previously stated, simply because the mode of operation is not exactly approved, or does not quite accord with what may be termed the orthodox method, according to man's wisdom. The Great Teacher entrusted his work to the poor fishermen of Galilee; and the sages of old could not understand this; their philosophy was passed by their wisdom was treated as foolishness by Him who, in his own way, and by his own means, was preparing to vindicate his own cause, and to establish his kingdom.

Feeling deeply the importance of a genuine Revival, we have, during the past week, visited those parts of Suffolk where the work has made the most rapid strides and where, as with a sudden shock, it has aroused men who have slumbered long in ignorance, forgetfulness, and vice; and has raised and. elevated their minds, making them feel the true manliness of their nature, but, at the same time, their utter dependence upon God. Lowestoft appears to have been blessed beyond measure. It is reported that 500 individuals have been added to the various churches of the town, established and dissenting, and considering the population of that town, under 10,000, surely this must be seen to be a marvellous percentage of the adult population. Yet this adding to the churches, it may be said, in no proof that any real change has actually taken place. But let us look again. What are the moral aspects of the case? Drunkenness has declined. Instead of the police-officers having 120 besotted men and women every night to turn out from dens of infamy and vice in that town, it is seldom now that they find twenty! Men, too, whose blasphemies have frequently caused. those who surrounded them to shudder, are now known to be men of outward morality and respectability, and, what is better, men of prayer; the employments they once delighted in now they hate, and, before all who have once known them, they give indisputable evidence that a wonderful change has been brought about. These are facts which cannot be argued away, nor will any man who has the welfare of his fellow-being at heart think lightly of them. The means may not seem to be the most appropriate, but outcomes results in abundance, and who will dispute the means if the end be but secured? Whatever men may say of this movement, of this we are sure, that in those towns where it has been or is still being witnessed, it is producing a great moral and social reformation; and if this were the only good, it would surely be quite sufficient to induce us to wish it God speed!—East Suffolk Mercury. May 1861.

'The Revival', Volume IV, page 150.

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