Malvern (1861)

A few weeks since, the Rev. Mr. Skerne, of East Barnet, visited Malvern, and the Lord blessed his labours in converting sinners and arousing slumbering Christians. The next week a brother from London went there, and he also was made the means of doing much good. Another friend from London is now at Malvern, and thus writes: "The Lord is blessing me. You sowed, I am reaping; you watered with your tears and prayers, I am plucking the precious fruit. The chapel is crowded when the service is conducted in it, and the schoolroom and vestries are filled with penitent seekers of Jesus. In some of the meetings, especially those of Sunday and Mon­day night, the scenes were heart-rending, yet glorious; strong men were bowed down and oppressed beneath a sense of guilt and sin, and their powerful frames seemed convulsed with emotion, and others, in the pangs of the new birth, earnestly groaned seeking deliverance. Not a few found Jesus. The new song was sung by young and old. Some, who like those of old, did say, Where is the promise of his coming,' did feel Him first as a quickening fire, and then as the balm of Gilead, and saw Him as the Rose of Sharon. Yesterday morning I visited, in company with the Scripture-reader, an old, grey-headed swearer, scoffer, and drunkard. On entering his cottage the hoary sinner was apparently turning over the leaves of his Bible. We asked, ‘Are you converted? No,' was his reply. 'I try to pray, and I do all I can, and if I can't get Jesus I can't help it 'We prayed with him, and he seemed a little sere softened down. We prayed again, and then said to him, ' Di you think Jesus can save you? ’Yes,' was his prompt reply ‘in his own good time.' We turned him to 2 Cor. vi. 2, ‘Behold now is the accepted time: behold today is the day of salvation.’ The Holy Ghost applied it, and the hardened one began to weep and pray, 'Jesus, wilt thou forgive me now. Oh, sweet Jesus. forgive a poor drunkard, swearer, and wife-beater.' We turned to Rom. iii. 24, 25. He added to his prayer, ‘For thy blood's sake, Jesus.' We then prayed. He groaned being burdened; his cries were heard in the road, and some stopped to look. We then turned him to 1 Pet. ii. 24, and iii. 18, and to Gal. iii. 13, and then to John iii, and the first clause of the 18th and 36th verses. The Spirit blessed the word, and God put honour upon his anointed One.' The poor old sinner looked up and cried, I thank thee Jesus, that I am not condemned, because thou has bore my sins upon the tree; I do believe, I can believe. Oh God, I shall go to heaven,' &c. We commenced singing, Praise God from whom,' &c. He sang till the whole neighbourhood rang with his joy shouts. He is seventy-five years old. Is not this a brand plucked out of the burning? 'In the evening I preached at Barnard's Green. Several of the navvies found Jesus. The little chapel was crowded with seeking souls after the open-air service. Thus a poor, ignorant, wilful worm is blessed, because his dear brethren and sisters in London and elsewhere are praying for him. I will, to all my other requests, beg you to pray for me more and more.

From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume V, page 31.

A short statement of the Revival here having appeared in-your number of July 20, I believe that a few brief details of the work, by an eyewitness, may be acceptable. That holy man of God, the Rev. Claremont Skrine, Incumbent of Trent, near Barnet, spent a fortnight here at the end of June. His account in private of the Lord's work in his parish and at Barnet led to an out-door meeting, where, to a large assembly, he told the tale in fervent, simple language ; the Lord accom­panied the word with power, and many who had hitherto been careless were convicted of sin and found peace in believing. So intense was the interest, that Mr. Skrine held frequent meet­ings, and fervently prayed with many anxious inquirers who found Jesus, His zeal and love warmed the hearts of lukewarm or timid Christians, and many who before hid their light under a bushel were, by his earnest faithfulness and the Holy Spirit's power, emboldened to kneel down by the side of the inquirers, and enabled to present those texts which led, the sinner to the Saviour. Mr. Shrine was obliged to return to his flock, but made immediate arrangements that some other servants of the Lord should take his place. Mr. Smyth came for a few days, and his work also was crowned with the wonted blessing. On July 7, Mr. Cox came to Malvern, and now the blessed work was carried on with power. I will not speak of Mr. Cox; but Malvern will bless the day when he came; and many a labourer in the brickfields, many a navvy at the shaft, many a bowed-down and broken-hearted wife, many a parent, and many a child, will rise up and call him blessed. The great day of un­folding all hidden things will tell that his labour has not been in vain, and many a bright jewel will sparkle in his crown. I had never before seen the Lord's work in a Revival; a few things have struck me much. First, there has not in any case been the slightest approach to excitement; a solemn, still reality is the prominent feature. After a heart-searching address, in­quirers are invited to remain, or go into the school-room or neighbouring cottage; then groups are quietly and imper­ceptibly formed; prayer is made, and suitable passages read from the word of God, almost always in an under-tone. You see some hard-featured labourer, or some gentle girl, or some sober matron, sobbing audibly but noiselessly; you watch, and see an earnest Christian man or woman say a few words in an undertone to the inquirer; they kneel down together—the low murmur of prayer is heard; the Christian man rises, and another and another kneels down beside the inquirer and prayer is continued, and God's word is applied; and then you see that inquirer rising from his knees, his countenance radiant with unspeakable joy, he returns thanks, and those touching lines are sung

"I will believe, I do believe,

That Jesus died for me," &c.

In the second place, I have been struck with the fact, that as far as I have observed, no inquirer has been brought to the Lord, through the instrumentality of one individual. God shows us it is not of man, that He alone may have the glory. Sometimes five or six persons are successively engaged in prayer with the same inquirers; most frequently the Spirit applies the word soon, but I have known cases of intense agony of mind, and conviction of sin, which have lasted for days and days, and then light and power have filled the soul. Next, I cannot help speaking of the radiant joy that beams in the countenance—it must be seen to be believed. Have you ever seen the shine of glory which lights up the countenance of the departing saint, and which lingers for awhile on that countenance, even after the spirit has fled? Very similar is the first lighting up of the young believer's face—not only the peace of believing, but the joy of assurance shines in every feature. My own heart has been filled with gladness and happiness in looking upon this shining forth of the Spirit's witness, and this leads me at once to trace the source of this radiance; it is this—all the believers have the assurance of salvation; not the hope merely, but the precious assured reality. In the last place, I must note the earnestness of the newly-awakened souls for the conversion of others. Both old and young, as soon as they themselves have tasted of the heavenly grace, bring all their heaven-born love and energy to the Saviour's feet, that others may be partakers of the like precious promises. Let us who have long known Christ, go and do likewise.

I will name a few cases which have come under my own personal observation. One evening, I was kneeling in the class-room of the school, by the side of a young girl, when the stillness was broken by a man's voice; there was a fine, tall, upright man, about fifty, the tears were chasing each other down his cheek, which was, nevertheless, lighted up with that peculiar glow, and he said that ten days before he had been standing outside, smoking and laughing at the people who were going in. A gentleman came up and urged him to come; he refused, saying it was all humbug. The gentleman persevered; he came in, utterly regardless of what was going on, but was gradually aroused, then rivetted. The sermon was over, he went away, but a chord had been struck. He said, but he knew not why, he became restless, followed Mr. Cox un­observed to every meeting, and when on the Friday inquirers were invited to remain, his conviction of in became so great, that he yielded to the Spirit's power; and now much prayer was made for him, but he could get no peace. His sins seemed, as he said, to rise like a wall of fire between him and his Saviour, and he had to go through a fiery ordeal, before he could come like a little child, and believe that the Saviour had nailed them all to his cross. " Ah, little did I think (he said) when I rose this morning in such dreadful misery for my sins, that it was possible to have such joy as now fills me; but you who love the Lord well know what I mean." After a while, when all was again hushed, I went up and spoke to him. I asked him to join me in praying for the little girl. "Dear lady (he said), I am but a babe in Christ, but I will pray God to bless her!" And then he knelt down and offered up a fervent prayer, rich in Scripture phrases, for the conversion of the child. Oh, it was a precious evening! Then, one evening there was a bright young French woman. She understood all that had been said. The arrow of con­viction had entered her soul, but she could scarcely speak a word of English. Mr. Cox at once perceived her anguish. He asked an earnest Christian in the congregation to read and pray with her in her own tongue; and soon that bright young face was lighted up with Heaven's own smile, and with joyful lips she exclaimed, "Je suis pardonnee." And when she felt that she was pardoned, she rested not, day or night, till two other young persons with whom she was living were brought to the Saviour. A touching tale is that of little Jack: his friend Freddy had been led to Jesus; he sought Jack, and brought him one even­ing, and after the sermon took him into the school-room, and putting his arm round his neck, said, "Jack, I should not like to go to heaven alone: won't you love Jesus and coma with me?" and the two boys knelt down in a corner and prayed, and one and another knelt beside that sorrowing child, but he found no peace. He went home; it was night. He got into the little garden at the back of the house, and throwing him­self upon his knees, hid his face on the earth, and wept and cried for mercy; and then, to use his own simple words, " Jesus came into my soul, and I became as happy as an angel." Only one fact more will I narrate. It is a fact I narrate with awe, for it seemed to bring me into the almost visible presence of Jehovah. Christian friends wore deeply interested in some young women: they came to the sanctuary of the Lord; they heard the faithful missionary narrate the story of Agrippa, the "almost Christian." They felt convicted and went away in deep distress. The next night they came again. Oh, how fervent were the prayers that Jesus would manifest himself to their souls, and again the precious promises of God were brought before them; and I saw—oh! how wonderful was that sight! the deep grief in the face of one of the young women dispelled by the holiest, sublimest expression I ever saw! Her eyes were closed, her lips moved in silent prayer, her hands were clasped. I gazed at her with reverence and awe. After a few minutes I touched her hand gently, but she put mine aside, as if to say she must be alone with God. A few minutes more, and she raised her eyes, and lifted her hands with intense fervour, while in a voice scarcely audible, but full of emotion, she exclaimed, "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." M. A. M. From the 'Revival Newspaper', page 53-4.

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