Tovil (1860)

In The Revival, No. 84, a short notice was given of this village, though not by name. The account as far as it went was correct, but as the work is spreading in a remarkable manner, and talked of in many places, it is deemed desirable that some particulars should be stated. It is deeply interesting to be enabled to look back and see how the Lord has been working in this place, the population of which is 800, and it will be most for his glory, and for the encouragement of his people, that the facts of the case should be known. They are these. In the autumn of 1859, owing to the reading of the book The Power of Prayer, accounts were given at the weekly school-room meeting, for prayer, and the reading of God's word, of the work of the Lord in different parts of the world; prayer being especially offered for the Spirit. The meetings were small, but there was a growing interest. In the spring of 1860, an interesting work in the case of some young man began to be manifested. First one, and then another; others afterwards being in like manner taught by the Spirit, were brought to peace, as they "took God at his word," and rested in the finished work of Jesus. In August 1860, a valued clergyman from the neighbourhood of London visited the place. Special services and prayer-meetings were held and were much blessed. The work then steadily and quietly grew. At the request of the people themselves additional prayer-meetings, held at the parsonage, were established, whilst the weekly prayer-meetings at the school-room continued to increase in interest and useful­ness. At the latter end of November 1860, two devoted servants of the Lord were invited to the place, their visit was much blessed.

The various classes and meetings for prayer had many added to them. Souls who had been anxious and inquiring were drawn to the Lord by the cords of his love; and the work amongst the grown-up people of the place and young women as well as amongst the young men, greatly advanced. Two of the paper-mills were visited by the kind permission of the owners, who themselves for some time had been interested in the work, and endeavouring to spread the knowledge of Christ, prayer being offered at the same time for the outpouring of the Spirit. Then there was the week of prayer in January 1861, during which many meetings were held both at the school-room and in one of the paper-mills. It pleased the Lord to give a blessing, and souls were quickened to newness of life. Then occurred that which is mentioned in The Revival, No. 84, viz: "A lady writes from a village in Kent to a friend who had visited that neighbourhood. You will see some rich fruit of your labours and your prayers while at — Wonderfully are our prayers answered. One of our mill-hands was at a meeting at —, came back in deep anxiety, and finally was enabled to accept God's offer of salvation through Christ. He proved but a first-fruits and, one after another, his family and fellow­ work-people have been led to Jesus. We have had quite a Re­vival at the mill. Oh, it is with a heart full of joy I write these words." That young man was brought to the meeting by another who lived in the same part of the parish as himself, and whom it had pleased God to convert the week before. From this time the numbers at the meetings increased greatly; many attending from the neighbourhood. There has often been scarcely room to kneel. A weekly meeting has been established in a distant part of the parish, held in a cottage kitchen, adjoining that mill where the awakening took place, which is always particularly well attended. At this meeting, as well as others, and at the classes held for the young, in the Sunday-school, and in the Tract-distribution Society, those who have been brought to the Lord are most useful, God stirring them up to be active for Him, and giving them grace to work for his glory. Their consistent conduct, patient endurance of ridicule, and constant attendance at the means of grace (the Sunday services being much prized and particularly well attended) stamp the work as God's. To Him be all the glory.

From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume IV, page 94.

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