William Haslam - Veryan (1853)

Haslam had a friend who was vicar of Veryan and an Evangelical. They always disagreed with one another because their beliefs were diametrically opposed and now he was not a High Churchman any longer Haslam was surprised that his friend still opposed him because he now considered him to be a dissenter. One day his friend asked him if he could to his church so that he could see his work and Haslam assented. He spoke in the morning and was pleased with the atmosphere and with how his sermon was received and in the evening he heard Haslam speak and watched him minister later to the several people who were ‘awakened’ that evening. His friend was very excited and said he had never heard such things as he had seen. He said ‘Your congregation is like the waves of the sea and mine like a glassy mill-pond’ and he invited Haslam to his church to preach. Two Sundays later the Veryan church was packed and many remained behind for prayer and it was the same for the afternoon service and then they were asked to do an evening service as well but the vicar was not at all keen. He finally consented and this time they could hardly get into the church.

The following day there was a meeting in a barn two miles away and that too was crammed to the rafters. At one point in the meeting a large man fell to the ground shouting out for God’s mercy. Almost simultaneously there was a universal outcry; the whole place was filled with a confused din of voices; some were praying, some shouting, some singing and some exhorting at the top of their voices. The poor vicar was dismayed and took him outside to talk to him as he hoped that things would get back into order if Haslam was not there. A little later they went back in but the tumult was still going on and some lads on seeing him cried out ‘The parson is here! The parson is here!’ and in a moment we were surrounded by a number of happy people who were so demonstrative that they made the poor vicar tremble with a strange fear.’ On some people asking if he would return the next day the vicar said ‘Oh no, on no account. One night of this work is quite enough – more than enough.’ A man then said ‘Never mind, we will carry it on. This revival will not stop for a week or fortnight for certain.’ This was terrifying news for the vicar, who turned and looking at me with astonishment said reproachfully, ‘How did you do it?’ Haslam told him that it was nothing to do with him and warned him that he knew of some people who were brought under heavy judgement for hindering a revival. The next day it was announced that there would be a meeting in the Methodist chapel that evening. How often have the Church of England turned away revival so that others have received the blessing.