Mow Cop - First Camp Meeting - Primitive Methodists (1807)

Bourne wrote, “'Mow camp-meeting was held on Sunday, May 31st, 1807. The morning proved unfavourable, but about six o'clock the Lord sent the clouds off and gave us a very pleasant day. "The meeting was opened by two holy men from Knutsford, Captain Anderson having previously erected a flag on the mountain to direct strangers; and these three, with some pious people from Macclesfield, carried on the meeting a considerable time in a most vigorous and lively manner. The congregation rapidly increased, and others began to join in the holy exercises. The wind was cold, but a large grove of fir trees kept it off; and another preaching stand was erected in a distant part of the field, under the cover of a stone wall Returning [from the second stand] I met [with] a company at a distance from the first stand, praying for a man in distress. I could not get near; but I there found such a degree of joy and love, that it was beyond description. I should gladly have stopped there, but other matters called me away. I perceived that the Lord was beginning to work mightily. Nearer the first stand was another company, praying with mourners. Immediately the man in the former company was praising God, and I found that he had obtained the pardon of his sins. Many were afterwards converted in the other company. Meantime preaching went on without intermission at both stands, and about noon the congregation was so much increased that we were obliged to erect a third preaching stand. We fixed it at a distance below the first, by the side of the fir-tree grove. I got upon this stand after the first preaching and was extremely surprised at the amazing sight that appeared before me. The people were nearly all under my eye, and I had not before conceived that such a vast multitude was present. Thousands hearing with attention as solemn as death, presented a scene of the most sublime and awfully-pleasing grandeur that my eyes ever beheld. "The preachers seemed to be fired with uncommon zeal, and an extraordinary unction attended their word, while tears were flowing and sinners trembling on every side. Numbers [of them] were convinced, and saints were uncommonly quickened. "Many preachers were now upon the ground, from Knutsford, Congleton, Wheelock, Burslem, Macclesfield, and other places, and an extraordinary variety appeared. One who was a great scholar and philosopher, and who had been an infidel, till he was converted under the preaching of Lorenzo Dow, and who had been in the field of war, and seen death flying in every direction, and walked in blood over fields covered with the dying and the dead; shewed the happiness of this land, and the gratitude we owed to God for being far from the seat of war. Another, who had seen the horrors of rebellion lately in Ireland, persuaded us to turn to righteousness, because we were exempt from such calamities. E. Anderson related the devotion he had beheld in other parts of the world and exhorted us to turn to God, lest the devout in these parts should rise in judgment against us. All the preachers seemed to be strengthened in their work; persuasion dwelt upon their tongues, while the multitudes were trembling or rejoicing around. ''The congregation increased so rapidly that a fourth preaching stand was called for. The work now became general, and the scene was most interesting. Thousands were listening with solemn attention; a company near the first stand were wrestling in prayer for mourners, and four preachers were preaching with all their might. This extraordinary scene continued till about four o'clock, when the people began to retire, and before six they were confined to one stand. About seven o'clock a work began among children, six of whom were converted before the meeting broke up. About half-past eight this extraordinary meeting closed; a meeting such as our eyes had never beheld, a meeting for which many will praise God both in time and in eternity. Such a day as this we never before enjoyed. It was a day spent in the active service of God; a Sabbath in which Jesus Christ made glad the hearts of his saints, and sent his arrows to the hearts of sinners. The propriety and utility of camp-meetings appeared to everyone. So great was the work effected that the people were ready to say, ‘We have seen strange things today.’" From, ‘The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion from its origin, by John Petty, 1860. p15-17

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