The cause of Methodism in Durham was struggling for existence against the efforts of some who ranked high in station and influence; but who, because of some petty annoyances, had been led to dissever their long connection with the church of their fathers: in consequence of which, under their patronage and support, the Kilhamite, or New Connexion Preachers, had been invited to form an establishment in the place. A Society was soon raised, consisting principally of members who had seceded from the old body, the number of whom was so considerable, that Mr Casson, on his arrival, found Methodism, to adopt his own language, in “a state of bankruptcy.” However, he addressed himself to his work, knowing his resources, and confidently relying on the promise of Him who hath said, “Lo, I am with you always.” He cordially united with his excellent and highly esteemed Superintendent, the Rev. Edward Jones, who had already been one year in the Circuit, in devising plans and schemes for ministerial usefulness. Prayer-meetings, which for some months past had been dwindling away, were again revived, and soon began to assume a more healthy aspect. Mr Casson’s fame, as a revivalist, had preceded him; and, in a little time, the avenues leading to the almost deserted house of prayer were seen crowded by numbers of persons, eagerly flocking together to hear the strange man of whose eccentric proceedings they had received so many marvellous reports. But whatever might be the primary motive which led men to the sanctuary, to numbers the Gospel proved the power of God unto salvation; and the earnest inquiry was heard proceeding from the lips of many a sincere penitent, “What must I do to be saved?” It soon became the delightful task of the rejoicing servants of God, to point the anxious inquirer to “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” Never was Mr. Casson so much in his element as on these hallowed occasions: surrounded by the cries of distress, and the triumphant rejoicings of new-born souls, he could not refrain from giving full play to the joyous emotions of his spirit, mingling his songs with the glad exultations of those who Reformation had obtained mercy through the atoning blood.
Christianity in Earnest as exemplified in the life and labours of the Rev. Hodgson Casson by A. Steele, published by Simpkin, Marshall & Co., London, 1853, Chapter 8.
For more see Andy Williamson's website, 'Revival in the North East of England'. www.vision.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/revival/cumhdgdu.html
The Methodist Chapel stood near here.