Stroud (1860)

Dr and Mrs Palmer, from America, have been labouring during the past eight days at Stroud, Gloucestershire, since which, an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit has commenced in that quiet little town, whose inhabitants number about 6000. A letter written by Mrs Palmer to a friend has been handed to me, which I copy for insertion in your excellent paper.

DEAR BROTHER,—The triumphs of the cross here are amazing. Yesterday was as one of the days of the Son of man, to a very extraordinary degree. He who is the Lord of the Sabbath drew great multitudes together from near and remote regions, and wondrous were the manifestations of his convicting, heal­ing, and sanctifying power. Though the congregation was dense, and hundreds, I presume, went away for want of room, yet there was no confusion. The solemnity of the felt presence of the High and Holy One seemed to be an outspoken reali­zation depicted on every countenance.

Would that I could with my pen give you a conception of the solemn, stupendous, penetrating influences that pervaded the congregations of yesterday afternoon and evening, but more particularly the evening. Said a Christian lady about this, "I opened my lips to sing, but I seemed so overawed, with the solemnity of God's presence, that I paused." Others ex­pressed themselves in a similar manner. For my own part, I can say that an experimental apprehension of the Divine presence seemed so to pervade my whole being, that the veil separating the two worlds seemed. well-nigh uplifted. My spirit looked out upon that vast concourse as standing upon the verge of eternity, many on slippery rocks, while fiery billows were rolling beneath, liable any moment to take the fearful plunge. Truth appeared to be invested. with unwonted spirit­uality. I have never regarded the tones of the organ as peculiarly desirable in Revival services, but as its majestic tones, intermingling with the voices of the people went up as the sound. of many waters, it only seemed to add to the solemn majesty of the scene. As Dr P. gave out the hymn, commencing,—

"Almighty Maker of my frame,

Teach me the measure of my days,"

I presume there was not one in the house whose heart, if it had spoken out, would not have said in continuation of that solemn hymn,— .

“A little point my life appears,

· How frail at best is dying man;

How vain are all his hopes and fears."

Dr P. then read the first forty verses of the 12th chapter of Luke, ending" Be ye therefore ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh. We then talked about time as but the dressing-room for eternity; and the importance of laying up treasure in heaven if we would not be hurried away, at an unlooked-for hour, from the shores of time as the fool who said to his soul, "Eat, drink, and be merry." It is my belief that there was not an unconvicted sinner in the house; and Dr. P. desiring that not one might be permitted to leave without having an opportunity to strengthen those convictions by publicly acknowledging the work of the Holy Spirit on their hearts, asked that all in the house, who were resolved to seek the favour of God, and all who were enjoying his favour, would signify it by rising, when nearly all the people in the gallery and below rose simultaneously to their feet. He then asked that all those who were seeking pardon, and those only who desired to go and help these seeking ones to the cross would accompany them. Immediately the vestry was crowded with seekers. Probably not more than three minutes had passed before a person went to Dr P. imploring him to ask the prayers of the congregation for the multitude of penitents in the vestry, and stating that doubtless as many as a hundred were there seeking. mercy and no more could be admitted—the crowd and the heat being so great. Dr P. then invited the seekers to the communion-rail, which was quickly filled, and many standing on the outside unable to find a place to kneel. Two seats were afterwards filled with persons seeking mercy, and others were taken to the upper vestry. Before the meeting closed we have reason to believe that the largest portion of those who sought obtained. The work seemed to be only bounded by our want of room to meet the emergency, and labourers to point them to Christ, the crowd being so dense as to render it seemingly impossible to converse with all the seekers. We need scarcely tell you of the difficulty in bringing the service to a close, but many had come from miles distant, and we regarded it as inexpedient, our own health also considered, to protract the service beyond half-past ten. Since I have been writing, a lady who was present at the services from four miles distant has come in. Her agony in view of her sins was so great, that she was despairing of the mercy of God. She has now gone. Jesus spoke peace to her soul.

“What a change his word can make,

Turning darkness into day;

Ye who weep, for Jesus' sake

He will wipe your tears away."

The work is the more extraordinary in view of the fact that the work of religion has so long been in a low state in Stroud, and throughout the circuit. The superintendent tells us that it has seemed impossible to get the people enough aroused to say "Amen" to any petition, however fervent. These are the Lord's doings and marvellous in our eyes. We are astounded at the magnitude of the work. "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous works and blessed be his glorious name forever and ever, and let the whole earth be filled with his glory."—Amen and Amen.

I have heard no estimate of the number saved within the past eight days, but I am sure hundreds must have received pardon.

From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume III, page 134.

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