Richard Weaver - Glasgow Green (1860)

We reached Glasgow on the following day. We had been advertised to preach on Glasgow Green. A large platform had been erected. A Glasgow gentleman pre­sided. Each speaker was allowed ten minutes. As soon as the ten minutes were up the chairman rang a bell. When my turn came, I looked at the vast concourse of people and said :

" I will sing first." I sang:

In evil long I took delight,

Unawed by shame or fear,

Till a new object met my sight,

And stopped my wild career.

Oh, the Lamb, the bleeding Lamb,

The Lamb upon Calvary;

The Lamb that was slain, that liveth again,

To intercede for me.

As I sang, I heard the ministers on the platform saying:

"This might do for England, but it will never do for Scotland."

Before the hymn was finished the people had joined in the chorus. I began to speak. The Lord was with me. The bell was rung for me to stop. I turned round and said:

"Thee can ring the bell, but I'm not going to stop."

I went on preaching. The Spirit came in such power that many were struck down under the word and had to be carried into a neighbouring church. There they lay on the floor as if dead. For a time they seemed to be unconscious of everything around them.

Taken from 'Richard Weaver's Life Story' by J Paterson.

Another account from Roy Weaver (Richard's ancestor)

They, and some others were advertised to preach on Glasgow Green. Each speaker had to stop after ten minutes when a bell went. Weaver decided to open with singing (there were hardly any instruments in churches in 1860). He overheard one of the ministers on the platform saying that singing might do for England, but it was not for Scotland. This echoed the thoughts of ‘The Record’, the mouthpiece of the established Church. ‘One of the devices resorted to for the purpose of arresting the attention is to sing a hymn to a merry, jovial tune. Mr Weaver probably adopted this extraordinary plan for the purpose of arresting the attention of poor colliers to whom he was accustomed to speak in the mines. But this plan can hardly be commended, and whilst a merry jig brings good feeling, and is calculated to dispel solemnity, it seems utterly repugnant to the dignity of the everlasting gospel.’ Weaver was quite ahead of his time in bringing this type of singing to his meetings. Sankey was to bring this to an art form a few years later and would achieve incredible popularity with DL Moody (see this website). He put together a Hymn Book that became popular.

After singing Weaver preached. After his ten minutes the bell rang, but he refused to stop as he felt that the Lord was with him. The Spirit came in such power that many had to be carried into a neighbouring church. One woman was checked by a doctor to see if she was dead. This woman had run away from home nine years earlier, and after her experience of God she immediately started out for her mother’s home, begging by day, travelling by night. Barefooted, she arrived at the little cottage in the country late at night. She knocked at the door, but there was no response, though she could see a lamp burning. She knocked again, but her mother was in bed, not knowing who could be there at that time of night. She tried the latch, the door opened. Her mother leapt out of bed to hug her. Later the daughter asked her mother why the door had been open. She replied, ‘My dear child, that door has never been locked since you left nine years ago.’

The reporter for ‘The Record’ was clearly shocked at what he saw in Scotland. He wrote, ‘young men and women, boys and girls, embracing each other in transports of religious delirium—swaying their bodies backwards and forwards-standing on seats and stamping their feet to the tune, and holding forth at the pitch of their voices: “Christ for Me”’. How shocking!