Rotherfield - Thomas Collins (1841)

“Saturday, August 14th 1841. We held a prayer-meeting at Mr Austen's house. William Cox found mercy.

Sunday, 15th. I preached in the morning at Sandhurst. One was saved. Afternoon and evening I preached at Hawkhurst. The enemy raged, but the power of the Lord was present to heal. A cursing Shimei a miserable backslider waited at the door to revile me. He had got his head full of some stupid story, which was refuted as easily, and amazed me as much, as the rumour of his own death which once reached Sammy Bardsley did him: " Brother," said that simple-hearted man, "I never heard of it before. I do not think that there is a word of truth in it!" For matter and manner, my answer was much the same.

Monday, 16th. Early in the morning I sought the Lord for a blessing on the day. It came. Under the sermons, and in the homes, many were affected. Henry Smith's daughter and one of Mr Roger's children found the Lord.

Tuesday, 17th. I preached twice at Staplecross. Young Trill entered into liberty. Another person having joyously proved the virtue of the cleansing blood, I asked of what Society he was. "O," he replied, "I am not one of you: I am a Bible Christian." Is it wise for a sect to assume as its own a title which belongs to every branch of the Protestant Church alike? Such a name fails to be distinctive; and is in sound, to say the least, discourteous.

Wednesday, 18th. I preached at Northiam. Among the penitents, a young woman, who had been brought up a Socinian, was clearly saved, felt the peace of God which comes through receiving the atonement, and gave praise to Christ as "over all, God blessed forever."

Thursday, 19th. In the morning, Mrs Austen's maid, Harriet, was set free. Willy Wenham, the servant man, had been very satirical about these conversions; but, as last night the convincing Spirit had shaken him, I called him early into my room. For a time his groans filled the house, but at length his sorrow turned into joy. At Ewhurst Green, I went to see Mrs Piper, long imprisoned by lameness. As we prayed, the glory and beauty of the Lord were sweetly manifested unto us. All were in tears, but poor Mrs Piper so trembled with emotion that the bed shook under her. My soul, remember that hour! Oliver drove me to Robertsbridge. As we went, I pointed out house after house in which, of old, on that road I had held services. Those were happy days. I then sought souls continually; and, blessed be God, I do so still. Owing to intense heat, the evening meeting dragged heavily at first; but, ere we finished, the Lord drew near in saving power preciously.

Friday, 20th. Souls were saved at Wadhurst. At my host's, a crazy boy seemed fired with most unaccountable fury against me. He used rough words,and kept up a dreadful din by beating the floor of his room, which was just over mine. Why was this? Had the devil, who did not like my errand there, any power over that poor mad brain? That I knew not: but I did know that lifting my heart to Christ could not in any case be wrong. I prayed therefore and at once the wild creature became calm and still.

Saturday, 21st. The Lord was with us at Kiln Down. Souls were saved.

Sunday, 22nd. A triumphant day at Goudhurst. I preached three times. The distress of the mourners and the joy of the saved were unutterable.

Writing of this day to the Rev. James Harris, Mr Collins says: In return for your Conference intelligence, I send you the better news that the Lord saved your brother yesterday. His distress was deep, and his deliverance clear. How many consciences found rest in Jesus, and how many hearts by His precious blood were made clean, I do not know; but the work equalled anything I ever saw."

A letter from Mr H. Tompsett, referring to the same day, says: "Mr Collins lodged with me. We told him we wanted our three eldest children converted. ‘Three eldest?' said he, 'why not all? My God says, ‘Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.' I will not ask Him for less than all!' That large-hearted prayer was answered. All were given. One was saved in the chapel, and the other three at the family altar. Of those four, three already are landed in heaven."

"Monday, 23rd, I preached at Rotherfield. Many from Tunbridge Wells were there. The shout of a king was in the camp, and the right hand of the Lord did valiantly.

"Tuesday, 24th. Praising the Lord for this noble week, in which so many poor sinners have been brought to Jesus, and so many believers filled with perfect love, I returned to Clapham, and found my loved ones well.”

From ‘The Life of the Rev Thomas Collins, by Samuel Coley, p164-5.

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