Wootton (1861)

A lay preacher gives the following extracts from his diary of some few weeks since:—

Sunday, Gave an address in the Independent Methodist chapel, Oswestry, morning and evening. We sang through the streets, followed by a vast crowd of people. Chapel soon crowded, and numbers unable to get in. Held a prayer-meeting after evening service. As we were singing, many persons were broken down, apparently under a sense of their guilt and danger. Numbers wept and cried aloud for mercy. One very wicked young man came forward to be prayed for; he was the rebellious son of a pious preacher of the gospel, whom God had called to his reward sometime before. This young man's mother was in the chapel, pleading with God on his behalf. In a short time he got relief by believing on Jesus and gave glory to God for his deliverance. Another man came forward desired to be prayed for: he wept and sought earnestly, and soon obtained a knowledge of salvation by the remission of his sins. He said, "I little thought when fixing the type for the bills announcing these services, that I should be one of the number who should attend them and find the pardon of all my sins." A number of others sought and obtained an interest in the blood of Jesus. Scores retired from the chapel apparently deeply affected on account of their sinful condition. Glory to the bleeding Lamb. Monday. In the same chapel, the Lord of hosts was with us again, and a glorious victory was gained on the side of Jesus. Four precious souls found peace through believing in Jesus; two of them backsliders. Several persons ran out of the chapel, as if afraid lest they also should be arrested by the Spirit, and be led to cry for mercy in the way many others did. A number of people stood outside the chapel, saying and, to all appearance, wondering whatever was the matter; such things appeared quite new to them. Tuesday. Gave an address at a place called Wooton to a crowded audience, many of whom during service appeared bathed in tears. One dear youth wept very much, and in a short time declared he had given his heart to Jesus. Wednesday. Addressed the people again at Oswestry. A solemn sense of God's presence seemed to pervade the assembly, Sinners crying for salvation in all directions. One old man, sixty years of age, who had been a member of a Christian church for many years, but had neglected the one thing need­ful, was very much wrought upon by the Spirit of God. He sought and obtained the divine assurance, and rejoiced in a sin-pardoning God. He said the preacher had done right in telling the congregation what God had done for his soul. Several others applied to the blessed Jesus for salvation, and found that "Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out." When we had concluded the meeting, there were two persons who appeared determined to find mercy that night before they went home. We commenced the meeting again and found that the Lord was still present to heal. The Lion of Judah in a very short time came to the help of these penitent souls, snapped every fetter, and set them free. Thursday. Gave an address at Morda, to a large congrega­tion in the open-air. God gave us a proof that He could save sinners upon the hard pavement. Five or six precious souls professed to find the Lord in the prayer-meeting. One man knelt, crying aloud for the water of life; and the stream that maketh glad the city of God flowed into his soul, and imme­diately he gave vent to his feelings by blessing and praising God. Friday, Spoke for Jesus at Oswestry, in the open-air, oppo­site the Railway Inn. Commenced singing the praises of God. There was a club-feast held at the inn, and while their band was playing behind the inn, God's children were singing and praying in front of it. Hundreds left them and came to us, and listened attentively to the word of life, and in a short time we had the largest company, and the power of God, was present to heal. We walked past the public-house door singing­

"Come, ye singers, poor and wretched," &c.

We continued singing till we arrived at the chapel, which was soon filled, and many outside. Saturday night. Held a band meeting. About fifty persons present, fourteen of whom stood up and witnessed for Jesus. One woman found peace through believing. Sunday. Addressed a large congregation in Oswestry chapel in the morning. Spoke in the evening in the same place. Numbers could not get in and listened outside. Felt my soul gloriously unshackled. At the prayer-meeting two women came forward to be prayed for. They were in great distress about their souls. One of them has been a very vile woman, a bad wife and a wicked mother, whose husband had been killed sometime before in a coal-pit. She was left with nine children. He who rejected not the Magdalene of old, accepted this woman; her sins which were many were all forgiven, and she began to praise Him. Monday. Advocated the claims of Jesus in the open-air. Sang through the streets to the chapel. Held a prayer-meeting. Many souls in distress. Spoke to two penitents kneeling at the same form. Pointed two more to Jesus, who were weeping at another form. Tried to conclude the meeting, but the people would not go. Commenced again, and in a short time some half-dozen or more struggled into liberty. Glory to Jesus.

From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume V, page 126-7.

About six weeks ago the Wesleyans at Wootton Bassett commenced in the friends' houses a midday prayer-meeting, to pray expressly for a Revival of the work of God. We had six to begin with, but the number continually in­creased, so that when Mr Rodway was here, we had even two hundred souls at midday in the chapels; meeting alternately with the Primitive Methodists in their chapel.

Also, five weeks ago, we had special preaching services each evening. For the first week we had nothing parti­cular, but on the following Sabbath several were seeking mercy, and some professed to find Jesus. We continued the services all that week and someone or two were saved every night, and some the week following. On the fourth week we were favoured providentially with the valuable services of brother Rodway, of Stroud. He commenced on Saturday evening with an address to the church, on the importance of work, faith, and prayer.

On Sunday morning a local brother addressed the con­gregations on the operations of the Holy Spirit. In the afternoon Mr Rodway addressed the Sunday schools, Inde­pendents and Wesleyans. In the evening he addressed Christian professors and sinners, and afterwards there were several penitents who retired to the schoolroom, and several were made happy in Jesus. On Monday evening we had a crowded congregation and more found the Lord; the same on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday evenings, local brothers preached and some each night were made very happy. We have had some most ex­traordinary conversions. Some of the worst of the town have been brought to the Lord, and one most remarkable case of prostration, which created a great sensation in the town, on the Wednesday morning.

Mr R. addressed the children in the British school when a very great interest was excited in the minds of the children. A great many of' the dear little ones have professed to find Jesus. They are having prayer-meetings amongst themselves in the fields and woods about. I met eighty of them last Friday afternoon in our schoolroom for a prayer-meeting, when at least twenty of the dear ones prayed and said they were so very happy in Jesus. These prayer-meetings will be continued weekly. During the last six weeks we have had in the Wesleyan society be­tween forty and fifty brought to the Lord and a great number of them young men, who have been champions for Satan, but we trust now will become useful for Jesus. The good work is still going on. We had one of the most notorious drunkards of the place converted last Sunday night, and our friends the Primitives have had several brought to Jesus. It was a most exciting scene when Mr Rodwav left here. Some sixty or seventy young persons went down to the station to see him off and sung that beautiful piece, "Shall we ever all meet again?" &c. I may say the good work is going on nearly all over this Swindon circuit; more than two hundred have professed to find the Lord this last twelve months; seventeen at New Swindon last Sunday night. Praise be unto the Lord. Yours, truly,

H. BEVAN, a local preacher twenty years.

From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume VI, page 159.

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