On the Sunday morning we went to Biddulph where Richard was living at the time of his conversion. On the road we passed a cripple who had been brought in under him at Macclesfield. He was driving a velocipede made to work by hand, as he could not use his feet. He had come all the way from Macclesfield, about a dozen miles, on a rainy morning, along a heavy road. Weaver was to preach that day at Bradley Green, and, as we went to the chapel, he showed me the sand-pit where he wrestled with God till the day broke upon his soul. The chapel was crowded. in the morning, and at night when we got there we found the place crammed and a thousand or two of people filling the road outside. So those in the chapel had to come out, and a wagon being procured, he preached in the field opposite. At the close a number of anxious ones assembled in the chapel, and one of the first who came forward seeking salvation was the widow of Weaver's brother Thomas, who was killed in the coal-pit. She and many others found peace that night. In the afternoon there was a band-meeting similar to those at Macclesfield and Congleton. I have only space for the few sweet remarks made by Mrs Weaver. I think she was the last who spoke, "I feel thankful to stand up and bear my testimony. I am nothing, but Christ is all in all. Glory be to God forever, he has kept me fifteen years and He can keep me to the end. A dear companion who set out with me is now in heaven. She said when dying, ‘There's light in the valley.' Ay, friends, it's good to have light in the valley when we come to die. Let us hold fast living grace and He will give us dying grace. Let us live a day at a time. I've been glad to hear these dear young ones tell what the Lord has done for them. May God ever keep them. And keep my dear husband. I will bear him up when he is far away from me." It was a real pleasure to me to make the acquaintance of this dear sister, who I am sure is a help meet for him.
I left Biddulph on the day after these meetings, and I have since heard of two very solemn occurrences: the sudden death of two men who had been affected under the preaching. The first was killed on the next day (Monday), in the coal-pit, and his body carried home in a bag. He had been spoken to by Weaver and had promised to turn to the Lord. On the next Monday a backslider fell dead as he was going to the meeting at Withington, where he had heard Weaver preach three times the day before. Since my return I have received an interesting account from a dear Christian brother (Mr Hearpy, of Macclesfield) of the two last meetings held at Bradley Green.
"Good Friday. —It was a beautiful morning, and as I strolled along the lane leading to Bradley Green, I remembered hearing Weaver state that it was in a sand-pit here that the Lord pardoned his sins; I felt desirous to see the spot, when I heard singing, and as I went nearer, I distinguished the words of that blessed hymn, Jesus the name high overall.'
"I at last stood on the summit of the identical pit, where, to my agreeable surprise, I found between two and three thousand people assembled to worship God. And in a cart stood the Converted Collier,' Richard Weaver, who, after prayer and reading the word, preached from Isa. xxxv. 10. It was beautiful to watch the effect of his address on his old. companions, and to hear their hearty responses. He told them it was not so much their heads as their hearts he wished to reach. Ay, (said an old chum), thee'd'st used like fort' give 'em a tug under before.' An old man who stood by my side, each now and then, heartily responded, ‘There.'—'Well done Dick.'— 'That'll do.'—'It's true.'—' Go on lad.' It now began to rain, but the people stood, and he went on preaching until the storm abated. Many of those men were much affected. The tears stood in their eyes; their big chests heaved with emotion. Then the preacher asked whoever in that pit would now start for heaven and decide for Christ to hold up their hands. An old woman put up hers, and then with another tottered to the cart and began to cry for mercy. A circle was formed of pious men, when several big rough colliers came forward to be prayed for and pointed to Christ by their fellow-workmen. One man's case was very interesting: he was one of the most notorious characters about the place for drinking, fighting, and other sins, although the father of a large family. I watched him as he came forward, holding his head down, with his hand clasped to his heart, when he fell like an ox to the earth, while the air rang with his cry, Lord, have mercy on me.' Lord save me,' &c. At last, fixing his mind's eye on Christ, he cried out, ' I do believe He died for me. He does save me.' And then, oh, how beautiful was the scene. With their hands clasped in each other's, several who had just embraced Christ stood up singing, nay, they even danced for joy as they sang, `The Lord has pardoned all my sine,' &c.
"One man pointed me to a farmer seeking mercy, and said, he did not think that man had ever bent his knee in prayer in his life, though he seemed to be about sixty years of age. Another was a young man for whom his parents had pleaded for years. Oh, how happy would they be when he carried the tidings home.
"I went to another sand-pit at night. The chapel would hot have held a third of the number assembled to hear their old companion's farewell address. When Richard. Weaver asked who that night would start for heaven, hands were uplifted in every part of the assembly. Three large rings were formed by pious persons, and within these were led those seeking mercy. One of them was a tall man in ragged clothes, a backslider. He fell on his knees and cried earnestly for pardon. When he rose to his feet he praised God for having heard him, and afterwards ascended the cart, and said, 'You all know me. I am no stranger to the religion of Jesus. You know that I have preached the gospel myself, and it has proved the power of God unto salvation to some through my instrumentality. But I was led away through drink, and you see the degrading state to which it has brought me …..But the Lord has pardoned me; I believe, nay, I am sure He has,' ....and tears of joy coursed down his cheeks. As I entered the chapel I saw several of Weaver's old companions. I spoke to them of the importance of at once deciding to serve God. One who found peace in believing was formerly Weaver's constant companion in sin, and in whom he felt a deep and special interest. Many men who had never attended a place of worship, but had lived in the grossest ignorance, were wounded by the sword of the Spirit and healed through faith in the bleeding Lamb." M.
From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume IV, page 134.
Bradley Green is now Biddulph. The meeting was in a field opposite the Primitive Methodist (now Methodist) Chapel.