St Mary's Church, Welshpool (1873)

On Sunday morning last, at St. Mark's Church, the Rev. J. H. Gibbon, in his discourse, alluded to the mission at Welshpool. He said: I am going to depart in some measure from the custom that I have hitherto observed, and I am going to tell you in as simple words as I can what I have seen and heard during last week. 1 have attended what is commonly called a "mission," or series of revival services in the Church of England in a neighbouring county. And why not? It is no extraordinary thing for a preacher to tell you of God's work in Africa among the untutored savages, and why should I not tell you of God's work among the civilised heathen at home? The mission was conducted by the Rev. George Body, at Welshpool. I may say that I went there certainly with some misgivings and a certain amount of prejudice against those of that way of thinking. I may tell you at the outset that he was supposed to hold what are commonly called "High Church views;" but I can assure you that if I were to preach to you this morning in the words that he used, you would say I was a Methodist; you wouid say I was a Dissenter; that I was not a Church of England man at heart. I may say also that he is what I should call a true "catholic." He is the most charitable and humble man that ever I heard speak and I believe he is one of the most holy and godly men that ever stood up to work for Jesus.

I will now give you some kind of notion of what it was. There was holy communion in the Parish Church every morning at eight o'clock, and there was an address by different clergymen to the communicants on the communion service. And just to show you the effect of such services I may say that on Tuesday there were forty communicants; on Wednesday about seventy or eighty; on Thursday rather more; and on Friday morning at eight o'clock, although the weather was cold, 132 persons communicated in the church. On the first evening the church, which is about the size of this, was pretty well filled on the ground floor, there being two large galleries from end to end. On the second night, the whole church was crowded, galleries and all; and on the third night, chairs and benches from the schools were placed in the aisles to accommodate the hundreds of people of all classes who came, from nobility downwards, from titled ladies to the poorest pauper in the town, and embracing people of ail possible shades of view, among them there being those who believed higher doctrine, as it is usually called, and Dissenters of all denominations. At half-past ten and five there was the ordinary morning and evening prayer; at half-past eleven there was a meeting for the clergy only and for two hours every morning, and for an hour and a half every afternoon, he sat under the chancel arch and addressed about fifty clergymen, most of them twice his own age at least. And it was an impressive sight—one that I shall never forget—to see a young man, apparently about seven-and-twenty, sitting there, and in the audience, old men with perfectly white hair sitting at his feet and learning of him. And yet this was done, as I have said, with the greatest humility and diffidence. There was no party collection, for there were men there who hold extreme evangelical views, and they expressed themselves one and all without any difference of opinion on the subject. They said they were not only pleased but perfectly delighted. One man, 70 years of age, said they, as clergymen, had never had such an opportunity before, and that they had never heard the truth of Jesus preached more forcibly or with greater simplicity and love. Then at half-past seven every evening there was what was called the mission service proper. He came in, and sat just under the chancel arch, and gave out what the service would be. Hymn 82 was given out— Lord, in this Thy mercy's day, Ere it pass for aye away, On our knees we fall and pray. Holy Jesus, grant us tears, Fill us with heart-searching fears Ere that awful doom appears. This was sung kneeling; and then the 51st Psalm from the commination service- "Have mercy upon me, 0 God, after Thy great goodness"—and then the prayers following. Next, the hymn we have sung this morning was given out- "Jesus, Lover of my soul." It was not only simple, but I assure you most impressive; and when we came to the second verse he knelt down, and was evidently engaged in earnest prayer, the whole congregation singing slowly and with solemnity,—" Other refuge I have none, Hangs my helpless soul on thee; Leave, oh leave me not alone, Still support and comfort me. All my trust on Thee is stayed, All my help from Thee I bring, Cover my defenceless head With the shadow of Thy wing." And after this united prayer, he went into the pulpit and trusting not in his own strength and talent, which was great, but trusting that God would overshadow him, and bless his intentions and his acts. He then gave out the text, the 12th verse of the Isi. chapter of Lamentations, and I will endeavour to recall as much as I can of what he said.rhe rev. gentleman concluded by giving an outline of the sermon that had been preached by the Rev. G. Body.

"Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser," November 1st, 1873.

Additional Information

There is no report on salvations, but from the impressive description, Holy Spirit was obviously moving powerfully there.

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