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How does it come that such results are produced? One knows nothing. Often the attack occurs in the midst of a meeting, but also frequently, in all the districts, in other places. It is not even necessary that the persons seized should have been previously occupied with religion. The indif. ferent, the unbelieving, are themselves unexpectedly seized. It is a characteristic trait that one can assign no explanation. It is proper, however, to observe, that the large meetings are generally, if not the means, at least the occasion, where the “striking down" takes place.
Among the meetings which I saw, there is one that ought, in this aspect, to be described.
On Friday evening, the first July, at eight o'clock, a meeting was assembled in the church of the Rev. Mr. Toy. The crowd was so great, that it became necessary to hold it in the street. There a preacher mounted upon a table, and spoke with animation. He was a simple artisan, awakened less than five weeks before. The crowd grew larger and larger, until it became so large that a second speaker could plant himself at the other extremity without disturbing the first. The street was very broad ; there were about 4,000 or 5,000 hearers, all attentive, all closely gathered together. After the workman-preacher, an aged pastor spoke with great animation. After him another pastor, more calmly-and still patience and attention were sustained. After this pastor, or rather beside him, from a small fir table, a girl spoke, who appeared to be about ten or twelve years of age. She spoke, exhorted, preached to the crowd of 4,000 auditors ; she said how joyful she was, how joyful! that she did not wish any more for a new dress, nor hat, nor flowers ; that she wished one only flower Jesus. “I do not desire virgin nor saint (she had been a Roman Catholic), but Jesus alone. Oh, come to Jesus, if you would know my joy!” And all this she said with life, with joy, with perfect naturalness. This young girl, who spoke without fear before 4,000 hearers, was listened to with marked and serious attention.
They wished a companion, who had been enlightened in the same manner, to speak after her. She was, however, too feeble. The first spoke again for her. “I will tell you what she wished to say." She then recounted with the same animation the history of her friend.
During these services of such varied character, the people not only listened, but wept; they cried “ Amen! amen !” And from time to time, one after another fell, “ stricken down" by the conviction of their sins. They were carried to the church, which thus became an hospital for receiving the stricken ones, who were successively borne into it.
I went to the church, and there saw the strangest spectacle I had ever witnessed. Eight or ten of those“ stricken down” were here and there on a bench, surrounded by friends, who prayed for them, sung suitable hymns, or exhorted them. Those“ stricken down” are some on their knees ; others stretched out; all cry, weep, pray, despairing or rejoicing; it is a spiritual confusion, impossible to describe. At the same time, the assembled people chant a hymn, and afterwards the pastor, who is not in the pulpit, nor has even turned towards the flock, prays in a high, high voice, as if he would besiege heaven with his words. All this took place with a seriousness, and even with a certain degree of order, in so far, at least, that no accident occurred.
This is not all. I pass to the garden, and there, under every tuft of verdure, I find again little groups praying and singing around one of the “ stricken down." Those in the church, in the garden, and at the door of the pastor, amount in all to about twenty, stricken at the same time. I
do not reckon those who were immediately carried elsewhere. It is ten in the evening. All continues as before, and I retire.
On the following day, I speak of these twenty before a young man at a prayer meeting of the Rev. Mr. Knox, and this young man informs me that, without any excitement, without any noise, twenty persons have been “ stricken down” that morning in the place where I now was. In fact, I see yet there a young girl, who, for three hours past, has been without movement, except that she speaks in a suppressed voice of her sins.
Here, then, are two instances, in each of which twenty cases have occurred; in the one, in the midst of much excitement; in the other, in the midst of calmness.
On the following Sabbath, there were in Mr. Toy's church fifty cases of awakening at the morning and evening services.
As I desired to know whether many cases were produced without the physical attack, I devoted my attention to searching into such cases, and I now relate what was told me, or what I saw.
The Rev. Dr. Morgan, who, without venturing to speak against the physical crisis, desires to avoid it, and who has not always succeeded in this, assured me that, for some time past, three different persons of his flock had come to him daily to speak of their religious feelings all new, as they proved. Now, observe that his congregation is chiefly composed of merchants, bankers, &c. Dr. Morgan, also, while regretting the physical aspects, recognises them as possibly a means of attracting the attention of the world, and of serving for a short trial to those who are afflicted by them. The views of Dr. Cook are similar, and he adds, that these attacks are inexplicable to medical science. He also believes that excitement is hurtful to the cause.
I have seen men and children who have been converted without the crisis, and equally suddenly. One of these men, for example, was constantly swearing at the workmen under his direction, violent in his family, almost insolent to his superiors. After a month's frequenting of the prayer meetings, he was no longer the same man, and finally the last day, or rather the last night, he encountered a severe struggle. It terminated by victory in Jesus Christ. In the same manufactory I saw two boys of thirteen and fourteen years of age, who, the manager told me, had been formerly the greatest blackguards, insolent and impertinent, and I found them seated on the ground, the Bible in their hand, reading it to four other younger children. These boys spoke with so much humility and wisdom, that I was astounded when their master told me what they had been a short time before.
The following fact tends to show that the line of demarcation between the “stricken down” and the others does not arise solely from excitement produced by external causes. I saw a woman who withheld herself from every prayer meeting, who even prayed to God that the physical crisis might not visit her, because she said she had not time, and that she must attend to her children. This woman was afterwards stricken down without being present at any meeting, without any desire on her part, and I saw her lying weeping for her sins.
After passing many days at Belfast, I went to Ballymena, where I visited many persons. The following are some of the leading characteristics which struck me:
1. The change of habit is so great, that many spirit-sellers have given up, or are about to give up, their business from want of customers, or on grounds of principle.
2. I saw here the case of a vision-seer, but this person acknowledged that her visions were without importance.
3. According to the experience of a pastor, if the physical attack itself cannot be avoided, the outward expressions of joy which sometimes after wards seize the converts may at least be overcome. Thus, when the pastor witnesses a commencement of this in his church, he partly ridicules it, and the convert becomes tranquil.
4. A Christian physician, who closely observed the revival at Ballymena, told me that, according to his observation, the “striking down" did not resemble any malady. He gave a very simple explanation of it. “ We Irish,” he said, “ are very excitable.” The people in general, when visited with a stroke of affliction, are accustomed to wring their hands, raise their arms, extend their limbs, &c. Now, in the case of conviction of sin, the outward signs are exactly the same. The only difference is, that they are more violent and longer sustained; a difference which is easily explained on the ground of the effect being in proportion to the cause.
I abridge my narrative, in order to give my conclusion. After much reflection, and after having got rid of the feeling of surprise which I felt during my visit, I have wished to attain to a calm judgment.
I begin by saying that I put myself very strongly upon the defensive. I so kept the feelings of my heart in abeyance to the questionings of my intellect, that in the midst of all these meetings, all the excitement, all the striking cases, I was not myself moved, Great astonishment overcame me, but any emotion when I met with converts who thoroughly satisfied me, as in the case of the child of thirteen, whose conversation I have described, only gradually strengthened into conviction, which grew but slowly day by day.
Now, I have considered all the natural explanations without finding any that thoroughly satisfies me.
Have the clergy got up the movement for their profit? No; for often the laity have been originators, and often there has been no agent.
Is it the work of a particular church ? No; for the conversions have not profited any church in particular, or any secondary ideas. The revival has not made Episcopalians, nor Presbyterians, nor Baptists, but only Christians.
Is it illusive? Is it hypocrisy? It may be so in some cases, but how are the hundreds and thousands to be accounted for ?
There remains only one other natural hypothesis. Is it a physical or mental malady? But then how does this malady produce always the same results exactly ; results, note well, which do not bear any trace of previous opinions, nor of opinions foreign to Christianity ; but in every case the elementary, fundamental opinions of the doctrines received by all-the sin of man, pardon through Jesus Christ, and sanctification of the Holy Ghost? It would be a wonderful and a blessed malady which could always produce humility, love, holiness, especially when one thinks that there are among the converts those who were formerly noted sinners, as well as the haughty and the basely selfish. No! the conclusion is forced on the mind, it must be admitted, or the eyes and ears be closed - this is a great work of God.
This conclusion satisfies me. I give thanks to the Lord for having placed before me a new evidence, which I may call a miraclea second Pentecost; and I believe that this favour granted me of God makes new duties devolve upon me, or rather makes me feel anew the old duty of working perseveringly for the advancement of His kingdom in the world, and specially in my own heart.
RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT IN IRELAND. The abiding results, rather than the indi- | steps to an audience of some thousands. The vidual and outward signs indicating the com | Rev. G. Cron preached in the fields near mencement or progress of the work of grace Trinity Street. and mercy," says the Banner of Ulster, * are what now chiefly engage the earnest attention
BERRY STREET CHURCH. of those ministers and Christian laymen who The services in this church, on Friday are, in every direction around us, labouring to evening last, were very largely attended. The spread and deepen it. From all quarters, we sermon, preparatory to communion, was are gratified to state, the reports which reach preached by the Rev. J. S. Denham, Holyus are of the most gratifying and hopeful wood, and was listened to with great apparent character, in this respect. There is no fall profit and satisfaction by the audience. On ing-off among any of those known to have Sabbath, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper been really conyerted; and the cases of colla was celebrated, and a more solemn day teral conversion-that is, of relatives and has been seldom witnessed. It was most neighbours being brought to a knowledge of touching to witness the manner in which this the truth, under the power of the Spirit opera impressive ordinance was celebrated by the ting through the means of such examples recent converts, of whom there was a large are numerous almost beyond belief. At the number. Mr. Hanna was assisted by the Rev. same time, the instances of sudden conversion, Mr. Bullock, Crew, England ; Rev. Mr. Anderunattended by any strong emotional symptoms, son, Morpeth ; and Rev. Mr. Thompson. In are quite as frequent as heretofore; while the the evening, the Rev. Andrew A. Bonar great and happy change in the habits, man preached to communicants, offering many ners, and demeanour of large masses of the very valuable counsels, and making many community is observable to all who know powerful appeals to the conscience of the what the moral and religious condition of our sinner. The day will long be remembered by industrial population was before the revival many as a day of rich blessing and pure season-the most remarkable era, in a large enjoyment. There were several cases of consense of the Church's history in Ireland. We viction. The Rev. H. Hanna, as is his believe we are correct in saying, that there is custom, preached to a large and attentive not one Presbytery in Ulster in which conver audience at two o'clock on Saturday, at Sandy sions, directly traceable to this spiritual awa Row Bridge. kening, cannot be numbered-in many of them by hundreds."
GREAT GEORGE'S STREET PRESBYThe meetings in Belfast, on Sabbath last,
TERIAN CHURCH. were attended by very large congregations, This church is still the scene of a great and and great solemnity appeared to pervade all gracious work. Not a night passes but there of them. The churches and chapels were is abundant evidence of the power of the crowded to excess, and ministers from other Spirit in awakening and converting sinners. parts of the three kingdoms officiated in many In contrasting the work now with what we of the pulpits. In the York Street Church, formerly reported, we would say that it is the Rev. Dr. Weir, of London, preached ser much on the increase. An interesting circummons appropriate to the present movement. stance occurred on Friday night. A young The Rev. A. A. Bonar, besides preaching in man from Scotland, intending to go in the the Second Presbyterian Church, Holywood, steamer sailing that evening, failed in getting in the morning, also occupied the pulpit in a ticket in consequence of the great press of Fisherwick Place Church in the afternoon. | people, and went to the prayer meeting for that On each of these latter occasions he delivered evening, and he there found peace with God, discourses applicable to the revival movement. and stood up and told the whole circumstance The Rev. Dr. Cooke also preached in reference to the people. Sabbath last was the time of to the recent awakenings, specially adapting communion, and such a season was never exhis discourse to the young converts. At the perienced there, the number of communicants meetings in the Methodist Chapels the congre being almost treble the largest nnmber ever gations were very large. The Rev. T. G. assembled in the church on such an occasion. Robey, Methodist New Connexion minister, So powerfully was the feeling experienced, Chester, preached in the morning in Salem that the sobbing and weeping could not be Chapel, and in the evening in the open air, at restrained. In the evening, after the usual six o'clock, to a large congregation. The Rev. sermon, the Rev. Mr. Thomson, of Wick, S. Jones, Methodist New Connexion minister, Scotland, opened the prayer meeting. The Burslem, took part in the evening meeting in 16th verse of the 66th Psalm was then sung ; Salem ; and the Rev. E. Johnson, Baptist after which, the converts and others stood up minister, Hanley, joined in the “love feast" and told what God had done for their souls. service held in the same place of worship There were some very interesting cases, which both after the morning and evening services. space will not permit us to record. We may The Rev. Mr. Johnson and the Rev. Mr. mention, however, that one young man stated Turnock conducted an open-air service in that the origin of his conversion was hearing Little George's Street, at three o'clock. In the the Rev. Mr. Toy repeating the text"PreBaptist Chapel, Academy Street, the Rev. Mr. pare to meet thy God," as he was passing Johnson preached in the evening, at seven down the aisle. A Roman Catholic woman o'clock. when the house was well filled. The rose up and thanked the Lord that she had open-air services were exceedingly numerous. nothing more to do with penance; and The Rev. Mr. Craig, successor to the Rev. another declared that she had no more busiJohn White, preached at the Custom-house | ness with the Virgin Mary, but that she would
go direct to Christ himself. For nearly two / OPEN-AIR MEETING AT CALEDON. hours, one after another rose to express their deep feeling of gratitude for the great mercy
On Thursday last an open-air union prayer which they had seen and felt, and their deter
meeting was held in the Water Park, Calemination to devote their lives for the promo
don. The arrangements for the meeting were tion of God's glory.
made by James Clow, Esq., of Caledon, by
whom no effort was spared to render it sucEWART'S ROW.
cessful. Before the hour of meeting it comThe great work of revival has not in the
menced to rain very heavily, and during the least abated, or lost any of its interest in this
meeting there were frequent showers. Notlocality. Recent cases of conviction, and it is
withstanding the inclemency of the weather, hoped of conversion also, are frequent. The
not less than 1,500 people must have been converted continue steadfast, and many are
assembled, and these remained, anxiously abounding in the work of the Lord. A thirst
attending to the solemn services till their for the Waters of Life, and a desire to grow in close, about three o'clock. On the motion of grace, are striking features of the movement
Mr. Clow, seconded by Mr. Worthington, the in this favoured district. An oath is now
chair was taken by Hugh Simpson, Esq., of
Anghnaclov. Mr. Clow then stated that he never heard, and all manner of vice has disappeared. The night-school established for the had received letters from various gentlemen, improvement of the mill girls is likely to prove
apologising for their non-attendance, and read extremely useful, and though just established, those from Rev. T. Campbell, and Rev. C. there are already well nigh 100 female
Seaver, of Belfast, expressing their sympathy scholars. This school owes its existence to
in the object of the meeting. The Rev. John the Christian zeal and devoted energy of Miss
Bleckley, the venerable Presbyterian minister Semple, herself a young convert, and the
of Monaghan, then opened the proceedings writer of the delightful little tract—"Another with praise and prayer; and afterwards the Stone in the Temple.” Her efforts to do good
following ministers and laymen addressed the to souls are untiring, and have been much
audience, devotional exercises being interblest.
mingled :-Mr. Harpur, Aughnacloy; Rev. CARNMONEY.
J. R. M'Alister, Armagh; År. Shillington, During the past two months the work of
Portadown; Rev. A. Gray, Minterburn; Rev. awakening and conversion has been going on
J. Carlile, Armagh ; Rev. Wm. Henderson, in this congregation most extensively, and
Armagh ; Mr. Montgomery, Portadown; Mr. with the most signal results. We have not
E. Atkinson, Tandragee; Rev. Mr. Reid, been in a position to present our readers with
Banchory, Scotland ; Rev. Mr. M‘Bride, such ample details, from time to time, as we
Boardmills; Rev. Robert Wallace, Glennan; could have desired; but we are delighted to
and Rev. J. Stinson, Ballymagrane. Each be able to state, on the best authority, that
speaker was limited to a quarter of an hour,
and the time was intimated by the ringing of those who profess to have“ tasted that the Lord is gracious,” since the “times of refreshing"
a bell. Near the close of the meeting three have visited this congregation, amount to about
cases of conviction took place, the persons 300. Surely “the Lord hath done great
stricken being females. Their piercing cries things ” for this people. We rejoice with their
for mercy deeply affected all present. They pastor-whose self-sacrificing zeal is beyond
were removed to different parts of the meetall praise-at the return of so many wan
ing, and ministers and others endeavoured to derers, and at the finding of so many lost
impart comfort to their troubled hearts. ones ; and we earnestly pray that “the plea
BOARDMILLS. sure of the Lord” may continue to prosper in his hands. A most delightful and refreshing
The young converts here appear to be meeting was held on Thursday evening last, keeping very steady. Some of them “refor the purpose of addressing a few words of lapse” sometimes, as it is called, but a numcounsel and encouragement to those in the ber of these are by no means in distress or congregation and neighbourhood who profess doubt when relapsed. Their hearts just to have been savingly changed. During the appear to be overflowing with love to their past few weeks the lower part of the chapel Saviour, so that the very name of Jesus, or was reserved for their use, and was well filled any mention of His sufferings or death, puts with “converts” of both sexes and of all ages, them into such an excitement that their poor from ten years to seventy. A goodly number bodies can scarcely stand it. "Two of my of on-lookers occupied the galleries. The meet scholars," says the writer, “had to be helped out ing was addressed in succession by the Rev. two different Sabbaths. I cannot say there Joseph Barkley, Rev. D. Quern, Independent was anything wrong with them; they just minister, Ballycraigy, and the Rev. Joseph appeared sick of love. I do wish there Davidson, of the Free Church, Saltcoats,
would be shed down into my cold heart some Ardrossan. The grand object of the several of the love and tenderness that they feel for speakers was to warn the young Christians their Saviour. I think I can say that there before them against temptation in its many is by no means any decrease of the revival and insidious forms, to confirm and establish here. There are not so many of the outward their faith, and to offer such practical counsels cases,' but I think that there has been made as might enable them to "adorn the Gospel of a lasting impression on every heart. We have God their Saviour in all things.” Such meet prayer meetings here every night. The minisings are much needed in many congregations, ters agreed to have them only four nights in and we doubt not that they will be much the week, including Sabbath, but the people blessed to the building up of many young have them the other three in Mr. Dobbin's saints in their most holy faith.
school-room, and we have lost the count of