Wick Free Church - D L Moody (1874)

I happened to be in Wick last Sabbath and saw bills announcing the various services to be conducted during the
day by Mr Moody. Shortly after nine in the morning, I found my way to the Wick Free Church (Mr Renny's), where Mr
Moody was giving an address to Christian workers. The church was well-filled and the hearts of all present were
touched by the address, rendered by Mr Moody in his happiest manner.

At a quarter past eleven came a Bible reading in the Pulteney: Town Free Church (Mr Stevenson's), the building, holding about 1,000 persons, being completely filled. The discourse was on "What Christ is to us," showing the various relations
subsisting between Christ and the believer. All were greatly impressed by the earnest and touching words.

At two p.m. meetings were held in the Free Churches of Wick and Pulteney-town when Messrs Torrance of Montreal,
and Grant of Tain addressed large audiences.

At five Mr Drummond addressed a large number of children in the Wick Free Church, a considerable number afterwards remaining in anxiety about their souls.

Six o'clock was the hour fixed for the open-air meeting. The weather was extremely favourable and 5,000 to 6,000 persons
were present, a great number of them being fishermen engaged in the herring fishery, which is carried on on a very
large scale at Wick.

Mr Moody spoke with wonderful power on the loving compassion of Christ for lost sinners, illustrating this by
various appropriate and touching anecdotes, and keeping his hearers spellbound during the whole of the discourse.

It was an imposing sight to see the vast multitude of thirsty souls eagerly drinking in the words of life. Mr Moody concluded with an earnest appeal to all to decide for Christ without delay.

At seven o'clock the open-air meeting was dismissed, and an adjournment made to the Wick Established Church (Dr.
Lilly's). This large building, holding 2500 persons, was in a few minutes crammed to the doors, and hundreds went away
unable to gain admittance. An overflow meeting was held in the Free Church, Wick, conducted by Messrs Drummond and

The subject was the parable of those bidden to the great supper, but who "all with one consent began to make excuse." Mr Moody went one by one through the various excuses still raised by those who reject salvation, showing that they were all of no avail when viewed in the light of eternity. The Holy Spirit was present in great power in the meeting and all were deeply impressed by the word. At the close female inquirers were invited to remain behind for conversation, while the men's meeting was adjourned to the Wick Free Church, close at hand. Mr Moody remained at the Established Church, along with other Christians, dealing with the anxious, of whom there were a considerable number.

Meanwhile, the men, to the number of at least 200, had assembled in the Free Church. Prayer and singing were carried on until Mr Moody arrived from the women's meeting. He spoke for a few minutes earnestly pressing all present to accept without delay the Saviour so freely offered. He then asked those who wished to be conversed with about their souls to step into the vestry, just beneath the pulpit stairs. For a few seconds, no one moved, and then one and another left his seat and walked down the aisle toward the vestry. In a few moments, there was a stream, and for fully ten minutes they kept coming steadily on until the word was given that both the large vestries were full. The sight was an overpowering one, and the hearts of the Christians present were lifted up in devout thankfulness to their heavenly Father for this wonderful manifestation of his power.

Mr Moody at once saw that the number of workers was not sufficient to deal with all these anxious souls, so he requested them to come back again into the church. He then explained, in a simple way, the freeness and fulness of salvation, as shown in texts such as Isa. 43:6, John 24:1 Pet. 2:24, and then asked those who would just then decide for Christ to stand up. At once three-fourths of the congregation rose to their feet, not less than 150 thus expressing before men their determination to accept Christ as their Saviour. There was throughout the meeting an entire absence of anything like excitement. Mr Moody prayed for those who had thus expressed their willingness to serve Christ and then requested
them to leave, at the same time entreating those who had not risen to remain for conversation. This was accordingly done,
about fifty remaining, a number of whom after being spoken to by Christians, professed to rest upon the finished work of
Christ, while the remainder went away under deep conviction, but without peace.

Surely there was much joy in the presence of the angels of heaven that Sabbath evening over so many lost sheep returning to the fold! The work has been cordially joined in by ministers of all denominations.

Mr Moody left on Monday morning for Thurso, but Messrs Drummond and Torrance remain at Wick to continue the meetings nightly.

On Thursday evening there was a meeting in the Wick Free Church, addressed by Messrs Torrance and Drummond which was well attended, about sixty-five men remaining behind for conversation, many of whom professed to receive Christ. There were also a good many inquirers at the women's meeting in an adjoining hall.

Wick has, indeed, been stirred to its centre, and eternity will alone reveal what has been the fruit of these meetings.

"The Christian", August 27th, 1874.

YOUR readers have already received from an esteemed correspondent brief notices of Mr Moody's labours
here till the close of Friday, 14th August. On Thursday the 13th, Mr Moody, with a party of friends, visited John 'Groats and Duncansbay Head. The news of his presence spread rapidly amongst the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, and a considerable gathering of men and women, attired in their Sabbath dress, with Bibles in their hands, intercepted him as he stood upon the site of John O'Groat's House, and urgently requested that he might address a few words to them. This he kindly consented to do, and the following is the brief account given in one of the local papers of interesting meeting held on this spot, famed as. the northernmost point of the mainland of Scotland: "He took for his text John i. 12, - subject, Reconciliation with God. It is almost needless to say that the clearness, terseness, and earnest zeal of the preacher had the usual effect of rousing his audience to a deep conviction of the truth in Christ Jesus, and of the necessity for immediate reconciliation with God. The address, which occupied about twenty minutes, was listened to with the most earnest attention and was illustrated by the most apt analogies and telling anecdotes, while the simplicity of the style and language recommended the subject matter, to everyone present. Mr Moody made passing allusion to the circumstances of his visit, to the probability of his never meeting his audience again in this world, to the scenery, the situation, and the tradition of the place. The speaker, standing as he did on the northmost mainland of Britain, with the blue waters of the broad Atlantic rolling between him and his home, seemed as a link binding the two nations together in that unity and brotherly love which are the main characteristics of his doctrine. This was probably the first sermon ever preached on John O'Groat's House.

Saturday, 15th August.

On Saturday a noonday prayer meeting was held in Pulteneytown Free Church and a children's meeting at 3 o'clock at Wick Free Church. The latter was addressed by Messrs. Drummond and Robertson of Edinburgh; the Rev. George Morgan of Cape Town, South Africa; and the Rev. Wm. Omand of Orphir, Orkney.

Open-air meeting

In the evening, at 7 o'clock, Mr Moody, who had been resting since Thursday, held a meeting in the open air, which was well attended. His chief object was to reach the fishermen, who are here from all parts of the Highlands and of the Banfishire coast. There were considerable numbers of them present, and there would have been many more were it not for the difficulties of language, as their knowledge of English is too imperfect to enable them to benefit fully by an address in
that tongue. The meeting was opened by singing the 100th Psalm, and prayer by the Rev. George Renny, of the Free Church. Mr Moody preached from Luke i. 10, 11, illustrating his subject in his usual feeling and happy manner. A deep impression was made, and on adjourning to the Parish Church at 8 o'clock, where, after praise, the Rev. Mr Reid, of the Established Church, Pulteneytown, offered up a suitable and impressive prayer, the place was filled by an eager and
deeply solemnized audience. Mr Moody read the following portions of Scripture:- Ezek. xxxiv: 11-19, and Luke xv. The hymn, "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by;" was then sung, after which Mr Moody delivered an eloquent and most earnest appeal to sinners to accept the saIvation offered by Christ. At the close or the meeting there were many inquirers, and all felt encouraged to anticipate a great blessing on the labours of the following day.

Sabbath, 16th August.

This will be a day ever memorable in the history of Wick. We were like them that dream. "The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad." Such were the feelings with which we retired to rest that night. The special services were begun by
meeting of workers at 9 o'clock in the morning, and was attended by over five hundred people. Mr Moody took as his subject, "To every man his work." We cannot describe how his words penetrated and swayed his hearers. Deep solemnity reigned in every countenance, while the still silence and the evident effort to stifle the rising emotions told how thoroughly all were moved. The Spirit was manifestly present, and not a few Christians, who felt how little they had done for Jesus, went from the place with the cry in their hearts, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" At a quarter past eleven o'clock, Mr Moody gave one of his apprecited Bible readings in Pulteneytown Free Church. The church was crowded from floor to ceiling. At six o'clock in the evening an open-air service was held, when our evangelist spoke to an audience of not fewer than six or seven thousand persons, gathered from all parts of the country. The preacher was evidently moved by the vast concourse of people before him; and with a pathos and power which riveted every ear and broke down many hearts, he discoursed on the compassion of Christ, as pictured in the character of the Good Samaritan. At the close of this service, meetings were held in the Parish and Free Churches, Mr Moody preaching in the former, and giving a powerful address.

Meetings for Inquirers

The meetings for inquirers that evening were beyond all description. It reminded us of, and enabled us for the first time in some measure to realise, what must have been the feelings of the apostles on the day of Pentecost. Many amongst us could not speak of it; our hearts were too full, and one could feel that day as moved through the town that a solemn awe prevailed
over the Christian community, The public (late parish) school was thrown open for the anxious amongst the women, and was crowded with inquirers. None could enter into that inquiry room and speak to souls without feeling that the Spirit of passion
was present, curing of sin and taking of the things of Christ. But the most remarkable scene of that night was witnessed at the
men's meeting in the Wick Free Church. Here there was an assembly of at least seven hundred males, who had gathered for the purpose of prayer and praise. There was no address, properly so called, delivered. Mr Moody came in, spoke a few telling words, full of tenderness, and urged the unconverted to immediate decision. He made feeling allusion to its being the last time he would have the opportunity of speaking with them, and expressed the earnest longing of his soul that not one of them should go home without an interest in Christ. He requested those who were yet unsaved and anxious to cross the platiorm where the pulpit stands, and retire to the hall below. Slowly one and another and another rose, and in the face of the audience moved to the place appointed. It soon became full of inquirers, so much so that there was not standing-room. Mr Moody then intimated that the church would be cleared for them to return, but that if there were others still anxious they should in the meantime move below. The minister's vestry was thrown open, and was filled. Thereafter the back stair which leads to the pulpit was also crowded. It was found that not fewer than two hundred men - a few of them with silvery locks, and a few young in years, but the vast majority in the full vigour of manhoodand occupying various positions in the social scale - confessed themselves unconverted and anxious for salvation. Christians accustomed to speak to the anxious were requested to occupy - a certain place in the church; other Christians were asked to adjourn to the Baptist Chapel, and pray for direction and the revelation of Christ to those who remained, and the promiscuous assembly separated. The inquirers then returned, and took their seats in front of the pulpit. The way of salvation was explained by Mr Moody in a very simple and forcible manner, and the texts of Scripture which had been most blessed in the way of delivering and assuring his own soul were dwelt upon. The gospel was brought home with such simplicity that one felt how true it is. The wayfaring men, though fools, need not err therein. Regret was expressed that the souls before him could not be spoken with individually. He then requested that all would engage in silent prayer, and that as many as were enabled to trust in Jesus should in these solemn moments receive Him as their Saviour. This done, he then asked that those who had now committed their souls to Christ for salvation should rise up, when slowly, one by one, there rose 150 or thereby - every countenance bearing the imprint of seriousness, every eye bedimmed with tear, but no excitement and no outburst of feeling. It was a sight for angels to witness. Mr Moody after this requested them to repeat audibly the words of a dedication prayer, so full of directness and simplicity, that as every lip, quivering with emotion, slowly echoed the words, we seemed carried back to the days of the Covenant. This concluded, there burst from the heart of the audience a prayer from a young man who has been much identified with this work of grace, such as told of the tremulous joy which was present to the minds of all of us, and the earnest desire that all who had witnessed the good confession might by grace be found faithful to the end. 

In a brief time the newly-professed converts retired, and those who had kept their seats and were still anxious were conversed with, some of whom seemed to find their way to the light. Never never will that night be forgotten. Many doubtless will watch for the halting of these men. Let us continue instant in prayer that they may be kept stedfast and immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord."

Mr Moody left this for Thurso on Monday, but meetings have been continued this week by Messrs Drummond and Torrance.
These have been largely attended, and there have been many inquirers, the largest number being found amongst the young men. The ministers and others are acting cordially and lovingly together in the good work.

"Times of Blessing," Aug 27th, 1874.


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