Swinton Free Church (1874)

THE interest in spiritual things which has been so largely manifested during the past winter in different parts of our land has been experienced here. We observed with much pleasure, as indications of this, the response which was given to the invitation for united prayer for missions in December last and the invitation for united prayer in the first week of the year. Not a few date serious impressions from this week of prayer. Shortly thereafter we agreed to have a fortnight of evangelistic services towards the end of April and the beginning of May. This was announced to both congregations and was made the subject of earnest prayer, both in public and in private, for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, to prepare the hearts of all for such a solemn time. The congregations were also informed, occasionally from the pulpit, and more frequently in the weekly prayer meetings, of the work of grace going on in the large cities of our land. Many, too, read with great interest of the movement in these cities in one or other of those periodicals which are almost exclusively devoted to a detailed account of it.
Hence it was that, even before our fortnight's special services began, there was a silent work going on in many a heart and mind; and the interest manifested itself at once when the meetings began, on Sabbath evening, 3rd May. It was intimated that they would be held at first in one of the schoolrooms in the village, - used as a meeting place on former occasions, when
such services were held,- and in the event of the schoolroom proving too small, the meetings would be held in one
of the churches. On Monday evening, the 4th, the schoolroom was filled in every corner, so uncomfortably crowded, that before the services began it was intimated that the meetings would be held in the Free Church, it being the more central and commodious. There the numbers increased night by night, the largest audiences amounting to about 500. In these meetings, there were apparent the same features which have characterized the movement in other places, viz. deep earnestness, rapt attention during the preaching of the word, remarkable stillness, especially in silent prayer, a seeming expectation of blessing, and a hearty joining in the singing of the gospel hymns. Requests for prayer, and, towards the close of the meetings, thanksgivings for answers to prayer, were handed in before the services.

At the conclusion of the meetings, many anxious inquirers remained for conversation and prayer, and we have reason to believe that many of those are now rejoicing in the light and liberty of the children of God and that many of those who did not remain have received serious impressions. One very interesting and encouraging feature of the work is the large proportion of the Bible classes in both congregations who have received a blessing. On Wednesday evening, the 20th, we held a service of thanksgiving in behalf of all who felt that they had occasion to bless God for this time of awakening and refreshing.
The attendance was large, and the spirit devout; and many, who had previouly been "walking with God" have testified to having experienced during the movement, an unusual degree of  Christian joy. Our best thanks are due to brethren and
friends of different denominations, both in the district and from a distance, who have given their willing services, and we feel sure that they are ready to acknowledge with us that the work is not of man, but of the Lord.
ROBERT HOME, Minister of Parish.

"Times of Blessing," June 4th, 1874.

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