This is the first report from the monthly Salvation Army Magazine.
ONLY six miles from Sunderland, where our mighty host of blood-washed warriors are eager to rush upon the foe, this little town seemed to offer us a ready prey, and the brief extracts from reports to hand will show how well our expectations of an easy and complete capture have been realised.
"You could not have opened a better place for the Mission work. It is a grand place; plenty of sin and ·devilmtent. But we shall have a grand work here, I do believe," says one of the sisters appointed.
"At two o'clock on the first Sunday afternoon, a force of some thirty men and women arrived from Sunderland, and, with the 'Hallelujah Lassies,' who had charge of the work, stormed the place, getting the theatre half full in the afternoon, and filled at night. At the close eighteen souls came out crying for mercy."
As the week went on the work improved daily. Says one of the sisters:-
"I preached one night about Zaccheus being up the tree, and I told them that they were up a tree, so eighteen came down that night ancl received Him joyfully.
"The next night I preached upon 'Seek the Lord while He may be found,' and they ran out in all directions. We could scarcely count them.
"On Sunday thirty souls came out crying for mercy.
"We can't get the meetings closed. They want to stay all night. Some of the biggest roughs have been compelled to confess all to the Saviour and we believe that God is going to do more.
"We cannot conclude better than with the remark of the local paper: 'I wonder what next! This week the walls and all conspicuous places have been well placarded with the important announcement that the 'Hallelujah Lassies' would conduct divine services at the Theatre Royal, and shall I say other places of worship? They have had the inhabitants in a perfect fever. I have both seen and heard them, but I will say no more."
From, 'The Christian Mission Magazine', August 1878, page 202.
Nowhere has God wrought more gloriously, moving a whole population by us than in this place, as the following letters, received since the last report abundantly show.
On Sunday night 43 precious souls professed to find peace in Christ. May God Almighty keep them.
"I have been trying to get the young men to give up their pipes. I have prayed that God may give them light and I believe it is working upon their hearts."
Shortly after the Congress, we were alarmed to hear of the serious illness of Sister Lock. But the receipt of the following letter was a great relief:-
"I am glad to tell you that I am quite well. Last week I thought I should have to come home. I never felt so ill before, but praise God that He has given me strength again.
"We had a grand day yesterday. I went and took the open air in the evening, and God came down in such a way that the people stood and couldn't move.
"We came inside. I opened the meeting. The place was crowded. I never saw such a sight before in my life. Our own people could not get in, so they had an open-air meeting.
"After I had opened the meeting, and the collection was made, all was silence, Miss Brewer preached her farewell sermon: and after we had sung, 'Oh, do not let the world depart,' twenty-four precious souls came out crying for mercy, including some of the greatest drunkards in the place. So we had a grand time of it. Hallelujah!
"This morning I went visiting down some of the horrible streets and I was talking to a dear man and woman and some great rough man came and insulted me. I took hold of the man and talked to hiM about his soul, and while I was speaking to him some people got around me sobbing and crying. If ever I felt the need of being earnest it was this morning.
Fine men and women who might have been of a great use in this world, were sunken in drunkenness. They call the street a little hell, and I should think it is. Some of my people were afraid that they would abuse me; but, oh, I thought, 'Filled with God we'll shake the kingdom,' and oh, I find it is true. May God help us in this Seaham Harbour. I feel quite sure He will.
"One publican yesterday stood at his door while I was leading the band along the streets. He laughed and went on about us. He was well and hearty, and this morning he got up the same as usual; but before long ho was found a corpse.
"On Sunday we had a grand time. Twenty precious souls came out crying for mercy. Great men and women. Praise God! Conviction is going from street to street, and when we stand out in the open air they are crying for mercy. Sister Hugill and myself were praying last night for God to send conviction to the people and this morning a young woman came into our room and said. ' Oh, Miss Look, I have good news to tell you. I was not converted last night, but when I got into bed the Spirit of God took hold of me, and I was obliged to rise and cry for mercy and God has saved me, and I am so happy! Oh, glory to God!' Last Tuesday night I explained the rules of the Christian Mission to the meeting, and God took hold of me, and I spoke to them. I told them about dress, smoking, and drinking; and when I told them if they did not comply with the rules and were not led by God to join, they could have their names removed from the book and go where they wished and God bless them. But praise God, instead of leaving me, over fifty joined us, and said they were willing to do anything for the Lord, willing to be trod upon for God. Oh, God bless them! God has given us the victory over the Devil."
The other night a lot of spiritualists had a meeting in the house and they got us in by telling us there was a man who did not believe in Christ and they said we might have a prayer meeting and get him saved, so being willing to do anything for the Lord, we went in and they shut the door, and the table was dancing and the spirits were talking through them.
I sat down as if I was struck, but after they had done for a short time I got up and spoke to them. They were struck at me talking. They said if I would only let the spirit enter me I'd make a good one. The Lord save the people! They told me not to let you know anything about it. I told them we did not do anything or go anywhere and be ashamed to let you know. Before my sister and Miss Hugill and I left them God took hold of them, and I believe some of them will be saved. I only wished Mr. Cadman had been here. He would have done them good.
From, 'The Christian Mission Magazine', October 1878, pages 276-7.
They were still going on at the end of 1879. For future reports see 'The War Cry' which began January 1880.
I think it is where marked. It was next to the Golden Lion Hotel and it was demolished in 1975.