St Nicholas Church, Newcastle (1878)

(This is very interesting. The town had had an awakening through Moody only five years earlier, but I believe the Anglicans were not involved much. Clearly, this mission was inspired by what happened then. The anointing was not just carried by Aitken, but it seems to have been in several Anglican churches. My question is, was God hovering over the town all these five years, or was it two separate visitations?)

For many months past prayer was offered up by the clergy and many Christian families of this town, for a blessing upon
the mission to be held in their midst. Week by week the Lay and Clerical Committees appointed to carry out the work met, not only to make arrangements but to wait upon God.

Now the mission is over, and truly we have seen "great and mighty things." Never before in the history of the town have such congregations been gathered together, such a spirit of religious inquiry awakened, or such numbers enabled to rejoice in God their Saviour.

Night after night the grand old parish church of St. Nicholas, which holds from 2,000 to 3,000, was crowded with men and
women listening to the Gospel preached by the Rev. W. Hay Aitken, hundreds staying for the after-meetings to be spoken
to individually about their souls. Every afternoon during the past fortnight Mr Aitken preached to business men in the same place, and it was marvellous to see merchants leaving their offices at the busiest time of the day, and crowding the church to listen to the practical discourses of the preacher, who at their close stated that these had been the most interesting services of his life.

At Jesmond Church--the suburban and fashionable church of the town - the Ven. Archdeacon Prest conducted the services the first week, with large and appreciative congregations; here special services were held for mothers, children, servant-girls, &c., with great success. At one of these no less than 500 servant-girls were present. During the second week the Rev. W. Hay Aitken was the preacher, and morning and evening the church was crowded; and here, among a class the most difficult of all to move, the Spirit of our God was manifestly present, convincing of sin, leading into truth, and sending down showers of blessing.

At Christ Church, where the Rev. Campbell Douglas was the preacher, the adjoining school room had to be utilised for
an overflow meeting, so large was the number who sought access to the services of the church. At St. John's the Rev. J. Dunlop appears to have been signally blessed, almost the whole of the congregation remaining for prayer and conversation at the close of the services. At All Saints', St. Andrew's, St. Paul's, St. Stephen's, and the other churches, similar success was manifest, the missioners preaching not only in the various churches, but visiting the workshops, factories, foundries, &c., in the town, and addressing the workpeople, and thus not only communicating the truth but creating within them a thirst, which brought them to the various churches in the evening. In some of the churches, services specially for working men were much blessed. A monster meeting was held on the Saturday evening in the Corn Exchange, when suitable addresses were delivered by the missioners, and when Mr Aitken, in a powerful manner, kept the assembly in rapt attention for an hour.

A noon-day prayer meeting was held daily, for Christians of all denominations, at which short addresses were given by the missioners and the hall was filled. In fact, one pleasing feature throughout the mission was the eagerness in which the multitudes thronged the churches, irrespective of sect or party. I believe most of the Nonconformist ministers of the
neighbourhood have attended some of the services and many of them have been constant attendants at those conducted by the Rev. W. H. Aitken.

In a word, the mission has been a wonderful success. The town has had a blessing - its inhabitants have sought the "one thing needful"; the Church has had a blessing -- its members have been aroused from their spiritual slumber, and the clergy have had a blessing -- they have been shaken off their stilts and driven out of their grooves, and constrained by the love of Christ to go out of their way to grasp the hands of perishing sinners and urge them to escape for their lives. These results we acknowledge involved much labour, much anxiety, and many prayers, but the evident success and the manifold blessings are worth them all; and while the clergy of Newcastle rejoice at the sight of the fruit of their labours, they hasten to thank their Lord and Master, the "Giver of every good and perfect gift," for "upon Himself shall the crown flourish."

"The Christian," March 14th, 1878.

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