Stoke Mandeville (1863)

Aston Clinton, Buckland, Lee Common, Scrub Wood, Ellesboro', Chalkeshire, Nash, Leigh, Stoke Mandeville and Kimble, have each their several converts.

In Aston Clinton there are probably not less than from thirty to forty. Residing as they do at considerable distance from each other and having lived previously as aliens and strangers from the commonwealth of Israel, they were for a while unknown to each other. It was not long however before one of them opened his cottage for reading the Scriptures and prayer. This was speedily filled on two or three evenings a week, then the next one to it. These two houses overflowing, and no more suitable place being offered, a publican welcomed them to his skittle-alley, where from 200 to 300 persons have assembled for more than two months to hear the word of life from the lips of a Primitive Methodist local preacher of twenty years standing.

In Ellesboro' the converts have been sufficiently numerous to alter the character of the entire village. Bible classes have been formed, prayer meetings are held, and an extra service is conducted, all of which are sustained from the attendance of the new converts and inquirers. A member of your committee testifies that, with one or two exceptions, all the labourers in his employ, men and lads, are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; other employers afford similar testimony.

And though, in the remaining villages named, the numbers have not been quite so numerous, there are abundantly sufficient to testify of the power of the grace of God.

The former character of the converts varied from downright ungodliness to high moral consistency. A small number compared with the whole had been of intemperate and profane habits; others had lived lives of easy carelessness and stifling indifference. Some, the victims from youth of stifled convictions woke up to see a rejected gospel like a falling rock, threatening "to ground them to powder." But the larger number came from the thoughtful and serious class, persons who had oft been awakened by sermons, hymns, and prayers in public worship, by the friendly word in season, and by bereaving and other alarming providences. Of these there were some who had been sighing in secret for rest in Jesus for a year, two years, three, five, and one seven years. Nearly the whole of the two hundred were either the children of praying parents or other praying relatives or were so connected  with congregations as to show they had been the subjects of many prayers,

The final step towards these results was taken in December last, when Mr Samuel Jeffeock, an evangelist of London was invited to preach for three or four nights. The announcement of his coming excited a spirit of expectation not to be accounted for. He had no sooner commenced his series of services, than the people assembled in overflowing numbers. He took hold of the attention, created an interest and moved to their depths the feelings of every hearer. Social distinctions, religious differences were ignored, if not forgotten. Jesus, and Jesus only was set forth before all eyes as if He had been literally crucified among us. This was effected as much by his introduction of Weaver's hymns, his singing which was very sweet and peculiarly adapted to the hymns, and his comments on Scripture, as by his discourses. Nothing could exceed the profound quiet and solemnity of those services, though every available corner was choked up with hearers. The simple announcement of a prayer meeting at the close of each service soon drew into the schoolroom above a hundred under deep impression from the truth and then and there took place events which cannot and will not be forgotten forever.

"The Revival," February 19th, 1863.

Related Wells