Theatre Royal, Sheffield - William carter (1860)

I was next invited to Sheffield. Richard Weaver preached in the theatre to a crowded house the Sunday previously. He told the people that William Carter, from London, was coming on the next Sunday. He spoke of me a great deal better than I could speak of myself. The consequence was that the people besieged the theatre long before the time to commence. A few Christians met by appointment for prayer. An hour before the time, crowds were thronging the place and it was with difficulty that we got access through the stage door. Numbers pressed in with us. I suggested it would be best to open the doors and let the people in. To my astonishment I found this had been done and that the house was full, and the doors have been shut to prevent any more from entering. On reaching the stage we found that the people had climbed up from the pit and filled the stage, so that there was scarcely any standing room. When I gazed upon the thousands present my soul was stirred within me. We began the service half an hour before time and the Lord gave special power in testimony. The people were riveted and hundreds were deeply affected. At the close I invited the anxious to remain and as near as I can judge 1,000 stopped behind. Big fellows were broken up and sobbed aloud. Never shall I forget the scene that presented itself in the inquirers' meeting.

THE first man I spoke to was leaning against the wall, with his hat half on, and his eyes closed. I accosted him and said, “Friend, how do matters stand between your soul and God?” There was a twitch of the muscles of the face and an evident attempt to speak, but he could not. I then put my hand upon his shoulder and repeated my question. He made a great effort, opened his eyes, and looked at me so imploringly. Immediately his eyes dropped, and he sank again into a state of torpor. I saw how it was with him, so after I had whispered a scripture in his ear, I left him, and he remained in that same position for one hour.

I then turned round and saw a man sitting intently gazing upon something. I tapped his shoulder and said, “My dear fellow, is your soul saved?” He mournfully shook his head and said, “I wish it was.” I then said, “Do you, in your heart, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?” “Oh yes, Oh yes!” was his instant reply. “Then,” I said, “you know your sins are forgiven.” He again shook his head and said, “I wish I did.” I opened my Bible and read several suitable scriptures, for I saw that he was a convicted sinner. I said, “Now my dear fellow, you have heard the Word, and you tell me that in your heart you do believe God’s testimony about Christ?”

“Oh yes, I do,” was his reply. “Then hear what Jesus declares.” ‘Verily verily I say unto you, he that heareth my Word, and believeth on Him that sent me, HATH everlasting life, and shall not come unto condemnation, but Is passed from death unto life.” “Now my friend,” said I, “here are three links in the blessed chain of truth, HEARING, BELIEVING and HAVING. The devil always tries to cut these links off, and gives three links of his own forging viz., DOING, PRAYING, and FEELING; but Jesus says, “He that heareth my Word, and believeth on Him that sent me, HATH everlasting life.” Mark! HATH everlasting life. Now listen, ‘Verily verily I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me HATH everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but Is passed from death unto life.’” I then paused for a moment, the man clasped hands and cried out, “Glory be to God then, I am saved, I am saved,” his eyes glistened, his face shone with joy and he was saved on the spot. While I have been writing the above, many very blessed incidents connected with that night’s service have vividly passed before my mind. The great want was that of wise, judicious helpers. There were many that were willing to pray or sing, but very few who would take the Bible and sit beside anxious souls and instruct them scripturally in the way of salvation. I have known many who have been prayed happy, or sung happy, who have afterwards gone back, and proved bad cases; but I never knew one that was brought to rest on God’s faithful testimony that ever retrograded. I was informed the next day by eyewitnesses that there were scores of seeking souls in the gallery. Many men were prostrate on the floor, and not a Christian to speak to them. Myself and wife were occupied in the pit until a late hour. I left Sheffield with a firm conviction that I should meet many scores of those who heard the testimony that night, in Heaven.

"The Power of God," page 22-4, by William Carter.


Additional Information

The Theatre burned down in 1935 - it was opened in 1773. It was roughly where the Crucible is today.w

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