West Free Church, Brechin - D L Moody (1874)

One more day's work for Jesus means a great deal in the hands of those heaven-impelled servants of the Lord, who at present are breaking up new ground and going forward in the work with unabated zeal.

The following day at Brecon was a very memorable one to those who were privileged to mingle in such hallowed scenes of God's abounding grace. It is a rare sight to see a country town stirred from one end to another by a gospel service and to find a church on a weekday morning filled to overflowing with eager listeners to the sweet songs and precious truths of God's own word, so tellingly taught by these much-esteemed evangelists.

The preparedness of the soil in this place, through the earnest labours of the Rev M Rose, a name honoured and lovingly identified with the movement in Edinburgh, left one in no doubt of the coming blessing.

Mr Moody's subject at the morning meeting in the Free West Church was, "what Christ is to us," and suffice it to say, Jesus was set forth in His fullness, ready to meet the guilt and need of every seeking or unsatisfied soul.

The afternoon meeting at Brechin was a very remarkable one, both as regards speaker and heroes. The power of the Lord seemed to fall on the meeting and with more than his wonted fire and thrilling pathos the momentous question of the new birth was charged home by Mr Moody on the consciences and hearts of his breathless hearers. The writer, who has seen many such scenes of blessing, never can forget the upturned faces of that thirsty multitude who seemed indeed to feel that the Kingdom of God had come nigh unto them.

Mr Moody had to hurry onto Forfar, but as he was leaving the church, inquirers followed to inquire the way of life and others to tell him that they had decided for Christ.

"The Christian", July 9th, 1874


Wednesday, 1st July.

The visit of Messrs Moody and Sankey to the "Ancient City" was a brief one, but it will be long remembered. In view of the two meetings which they were to hold on Wednesday, we held a united prayer meeting in the West Free Church on the previous evening. That meeting was well attended, and ministers of the Established, Free, and United Presbyterian Churches in the town took part in conducting the exercises. 

Forenoon Meeting.

At an early hour on Wednesday, people came flocking in from all the country districts around Brechin and long before the hour of meeting (11 am) the large church was quite full, every available space being occupied. There must have been fully 1,300 people present, while many who could not get in had to go away disappointed. Before Messrs Moody and Sankey arrived, the time was occupied by the singing of some of Mr Sankey's hymns and in prayer. Punctually at the hour, our American brethren made their appearance. The meeting was opened by Mr Sankey singing "Nothing but leaves." This hymn seemed to tell upon the audience with great effect. Rev. Mr Burns of London engaged in prayer. Mr Sankey then said he would sing a hymn he did not often sing, but which he felt moved to sing on that occasion: the hymn was, "Room among the angels." Mr Moody thereafter gave out as the subject of his Bible lecture, - "What Christ is to us." He exhibited Christ as our Redeemer, Life, Way, our Light, our Teacher, our Shepherd, our Burden-bearer. When exhibiting Christ as our Shepherd, he paused and asked Mr Sankey to sing the hymn "Ninety and nine," which, he said, would come in very well at that particular part of his address. And indeed it did. No one who has once heard that hymn can soon forget it. It thrilled the audience: many were strongly moved. After the hymn was sung, Mr Moody resumed his lecture, which was listened to throughout with the profoundest attention; it was in his very best manner. This meeting was brought to a close by Mr Sankey singing, 'Go bury thy sorrows."

Afternoon Meeting (2.30 p.m.)

This meeting, which was first intended to be held in the open air, was, on account of the state of Mr Moody's voice, held in the Parish Church. This is the largest building in Brechin, being seated for between 1,500 and 1,600 people, but capable of holding at least 2,000. It so happens that every Wednesday afternoon is a half-holiday with the shopkeepers. This was a fortunate circumstance. And it ought to be mentioned to the credit of our manufacturers, that, without a single exception, they afforded to their workers the opportunity of attending the afternoon meeting if they wished to do so. The School Board also gave the children attending the schools and their teachers a holiday, that they too might have an opportunity of hearing the strangers from America. The large building was packed in every corner, so that it was with the utmost difficulty that Mr Moody, under the Rev. Mr Gardner's pilotage, made his way to the pulpit. Many could not get inside the building; but as all the doors were left open, those who remained standing round them outside heard quite well. Many of the factory workers were present in their working clothes. Mr Sankey opened the meeting by singing "I am coming," Rev. Mr Rose engaged in prayer. Mr Sankey then sang, "Jesus of Nazareth passethg by;" after which Mr Moody read part of the third chapter of John. A request for prayer on behalf of Lord Dalhousie, who is at present lying very ill at the castle, was then read by the Rev. Mr Gardner, one of the parish ministers, who afterwards engaged in prayer.

Mr Moody gave out as his text John iii, 3, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," from which he preached one of the most powerful and telling sermons the present writer has ever heard him preach. He got complete command of the vast audience of over 2,000 people at the very outset, and held it to the very last. The sermon itself occupied an hour, but the attention of the audience never for a moment flagged. Mr Moody seemed to realise very vividly that it would be the only opportunity he should ever have of addressing those before him on the all-important subject of the new birth, of Christ the one way of life for sinners, and of the necessity and simplicity of faith in Him in order to life eternal, and he plied them accordingly with every kind of argument and every kind of appeal. He had no time to hold an after-meeting, but such a sermon must have lasting effects, which no doubt will be seen after many days.

Mr Sankey sang with great power, "Almost persuaded;" Rev Mr Halkett pronounced the benediction.

The people of Brechin will long remember these two meetings. The ground here had been well prepared. During the previous winter and spring, meetings had been held every night for seven weeks together without a break, and at the end of the series they seemed to be better attended than at the commencement. They were conducted conjointly by the ministers of the Established, Free, and United Presbyterian Churches in the town. We got admirable help also from friends in Edinburgh. There was a good deal of blessing, - not a few, it is believed, underwent a saving change, while God's own people were greatly refreshed and strengthened. We are not a very demonstrative people in this town; so that one is not able to estimate precisely the extent of the blessing we have received. But of this we are sure, that we have not been passed over. The substantial and lasting spiritual results, however, of Mr Moody's two powerful and stirring addresses in Brechin yesterday, the day alone will declare. The coming of these two evangelists to our town was heralded by many prayers for the place of our habitation and these prayers will have their answer.

"Times of Blessing," July 9th, 1874.



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