Northiam - Thomas Collins (1831)

(There was a general revival across the circuit.)

"Sunday, September 16th. Preached at Wadhurst, In the morning service two young women whose hearts had been broken the Sunday before, and who had passed the week in deep affliction were comforted. In the afternoon I preached again. For the evening, went on to Ticehurst; preached there, and held a prayer-meeting. The work was hard, and the impression small. The people seemed untrained for such services. I had to dismiss them with little visible fruit. O God, come down upon this place." "Sunday, September 23rd. Preached at Tanhouse. Many wept under the word. I gave tickets after and then passed on so Northiam, where, in the afternoon, I preached and gave tickets again. The evening service was at Brede. In the prayer-meeting with which we closed the day there many wept aloud, and some entered into liberty." The Rev. James Harris informs me that he had but recently joined the Northiam Society when Mr Collins preached his first sermon there, the notice of which has just been given. The text was, "No man cared for my soul." The word laid on the hearer such a spell that quite against his wont he followed the preacher to Brede. Special power as the Journal has told descended there. The loud cries of the awakened, and of those who interceded for them, sounding strangely in the unaccustomed ears of the young Methodist, he, next morning, asked Mr. Collins, " Was there not much wildfire last night?" who answered, "Well, brother, even that might be better than no fire. Do not judge too early, or too harshly. Consider, God employs workmen upon different work. Naturally, and wisely, their gifts and methods vary. As I do not complain of quiet labourers who slowly and silently bring pillars of the temple to polished perfection, so neither should they murmur at me because blasting in the quarry makes a noise, and raising rough stones proves to be rough work."

From ‘The Life of the Rev Thomas Collins’ by Samuel Coley p62.

The supplementing of Sabbath efforts by extemporized old-fashioned services on the morning of the next day became common. The journal shows it to have been done at St. Leonard's, at Tenterden, and at other places. Of Rye he writes, " I preached there at five o'clock: two mourners were comforted." At the close of a glorious Monday service at Northiam, Mr Collins announced that they would gather again for early prayer next morning. "Will any this winter weather be such fools as to come?" said one of the auditors, in his heart: "they will not catch me there." Ah, he little knew! He was so scared with dreams and visions of the night, that he gladly left his bed at three o'clock, paced the cold street with weight of trouble on him that made him forget the frost, and was the first, when the door was opened at five o'clock, to enter it. In that meeting the Lord saved him, and he remains to this day a Local Preacher and Leader in the Wesleyan Society.

From ‘The Life of the Rev Thomas Collins’ by Samuel Coley p63. Mr.Collins's preaching was often attended by Divine unction almost resistless. Large congregations bowed beneath its influence as trees in a wood before a mighty wind. An auditor remarks, "While discoursing at Northiam, from Isaiah xliii. 25, 26, feeling grew until the people instinctively rose from their seats. During the final appeal preaching merged into praying; all seemed carried to the throne; the chapel resounded with loud amens. Many were saved, and more abundantly comforted."

From ‘The Life of the Rev Thomas Collins’ by Samuel Coley p72.

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