William Booth first London Meeting - Quaker Burial Ground (1865)

SEEING that the "EAST LONDON EYANGELIST" will contain from time to time copious reports of the operations of this mission some sketch of its history will, we doubt not, interest our readers. Its 'origin was thus described in a report of the Mission issued twelve months ago: -

In the month of August 1865, being about to leave London for Derby, on an evangelistic tour, I was requested to conduct a week's religious services in a tent erected in the Quaker's burial ground, Whitechapel: These meetings were largely attended, gracious lnfiuences were vouchsafed, many sinners were awakened, and a very general desire was expressed, by Christian friends interested in the East of London, that I should devote the whole of my time to that part of the metropolis. At first sight I felt the Importance of the sphere. In every direction were multitudes totally Ignorant of the gospel, and given up to all kinds of wickedness -: infidels, drunkards, thieves, harlots, gamblers, blasphemers, and pleasure-seekers

Without number. Out of a population of nearly a million souls it was confidently asserted that some eight hundred thousand never crossed the threshold of church or chapel. Here, in deed and truth, Satan seemed to have his seat. Sunday was regarded as a day of pleasure, Idleness, or business. The strangest and falsest notions of God, religion and a future state prevailed; and, consequently, misery and vice were rampant everywhere. To meet and stem this flood of iniquity some few were labouring arduously and effectively: but around them was this vast and troubled ocean of depravity, foaming and dashing still.

A voice seemed to be ever sounding in my ears, "Why go to Derby, or anywhere else, to find souls who need the gospel? Here they are, tens and hundreds of thousands, at your very door. Preach to them the unsearchable riches of Christ I will help you-your need shall be supplied." ns ·

"I deliberated and prayed, consented, and went to work.

At once God set to his seal by converting souls; and services were continued in the tent for about six weeks. Meetings were held three times on the Lord's day, and every night in the week, seldom without some penitents seeking the Saviour and frequently as many as twelve and fifteen in one evening.

From, 'The East London Evangelist', october 1868, page 5

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