Old Parish Church, Arbroath - D L Moody (1874)

As no notice has yet appeared in your paper of the visit of these brethren to the smaller towns of this county, in the first days of July, I have been asked to send you a short account of it. They paid a flying visit, which is all they could find time for to each of the four considerable burghs in this district, Montrose, Brechin, Forfar, and Arbroath in the order I have stated. In each place, all their meetings were densely crowded although they were for the most part held in the very large parish churches. 

After Brechin Mr Moody and Sankey hurried off to Forfar, where they addressed another large gathering, called together on a few hours' notice in the very large parish of that town. We would fain have kept them longer in Brechin, but could not be. In the evening a large number gathered together in one of the churches for Thanksgiving and intercession.

Next day Thursday, July 2nd, our American friends proceeded to Arbroath, with their usual unflagging energy and I had the privilege of being again with them. They addressed two meetings which were both held in the parish church, as the largest place to be had. Mr Moody's state of voice prevented him speaking in the third meeting or in the open air as had been expected. As usual, very many were disappointed of admission, for want of room and many more, as I know, from the country district round, did not attempt to be present, knowing that others would be filling the church before they could arrive.

At the first meeting Mr Moody in his most pithy and telling style preached that “hard lesson for the natural man to learn,” as he called it that before the just God, the moral, respectful man is as hopelessly guilty as the profligate or any other sinner. After illustrating this in many memorable ways and bringing his hearers to acknowledge the law “brings every man in guilty,” he changed his tone, saying, “now the gospel comes right in here,” and preached Christ and His loving substitution of Himself for the guilty sinner with wonderful tenderness, ending with a fine appeal to young men, in which by an anecdote of a shipwreck, he showed the baseness and ingratitude of not taking Christ. Mr Sankey sang and Mr Irvine, the parish Minister, occupied the pulpit along with Mr Moody and led the meeting in prayer.

At the evening meeting the church was even more crowded and the audience included a great many working people. Mr Moody preached and the present writer never heard him tell the message of divine love with greater tenderness or power. He afterwards invited inquirers to meet him in a United Presbyterian Church not far off and about 100, including about 40 children did so. Both then and since there have been many proofs that the Holy Spirit of the Lord is at work in Arbroath.

Evangelistic services have been held every night since Mr Moody's visit to the town and a considerable amount of religious interest has been evinced at these. 

“The Christian,” July 23rd, 1874.


Thursday, 2Nd July,

As it was known beforehand that the evangelists could not remain with us beyond one day, the members of committee had urged the people to seize the opportunity of getting good: and certainly they were swift to obey and hear. Long before the hour of meeting, little knots of people from the country also might have been seen gathering towards the place where the meetings were to be held, giving the town the appearance of having been visited by a large excursion party.

The first meeting was held in the Old Church (Established); and though the hour--three o'clock afternoon--was one at which none of the working classes could attend, the large building, capable of holding 2,000 people, was well-nigh full. The meeting was opened with the 100th Psalm, led by Mr Sankoy and the organ, and Mr Irvine, the pastor of the church, engaged in prayer. "Nothing but leaves' and "Whiter than snow" followed, divided by the reading of Rom iii. In this section was found the theme of Mr Moody's address, "There is no difference," - words which he held up as testifying that all men everywhere stand
on the same platform as sinners in relation to the law of God. The audience listened with rapt attention, the illustrations being specially telling. The writer of this notice heard the same address in Glasgow, but on the present occasion Mr Moody seemed to take a firmer grasp of his subject, and preserved more unity of structure in the address itself. He seems also to be more careful in his way of explaining what faith in Christ is than before, showing by this that if he have given benefit to Scottish ministers by the exhibition of his method, he has also been reaping some benefit from their well-weighed style of expression.

It was intended to have two meetings in the evening, but Mr Moody's voice had suffered from a mist that overhung one of his meetings in Aberdeen, and he had to rest content with only another meeting, held in the same place as in the forenoon. This, duly announced, brought together an overflowing audience, the attendance being considerably above 2,000; and here, as
before, Mr Moody won the hearts of his hearers, young and old, rich and poor, cultured and ignorant, by an admirable address on "The Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost." Anyone who has heard Mr Moody enlarge on this aspect of the gospel will not need to be told of the compassionate yearning for the salvation of sinners that breathes through his every word. The people would have been glad to listen hours longer, and only sorrowed that all of them could not hear him once more. As a meeting for intercessory prayer was going on simultaneously in Princes Street United Presbyterian Church, Mr Sankey, who had gone thither, was not at the close of this meeting; but his place was efticiently supplied by a choir, composed chiefly of ladies from Arbroath, Brechin, and Dundee.

It only remains to add, that a meeting for inquirers was held in the Erskine United Presbyterian Church immediately afterwards when at least between sixty and seventy remained to be spoken to by Christian friends in different parts of the building. Among these was a very interesting group of children, to whom a minister from the neighbourhood spoke with good
results. While Mr Irvine was the only Established Church pastor present, all the other evangelical denominations were well represented; and the committee intend taking advantage of the impulse by holding a series of special evangelistic services, the first of which takes place in Free Ladyloan tomorrow evening. Would Christian friends who know the uphill work this kind of effort presents in Arbroath kindly remember us before the Lord?

"Times of Blessing," July 9th, 1874.

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