First Presbyterian Church, Belfast - D L Moody (1874)

The work of God in Belfast continues to make steady and marked progress. The outward aspect may appear somewhat different, as contrasted with the period of the visit of our beloved American brethren. Then it appeared in a concentrated form  - in our mass meetings - with all the force and fire of a great conflagration. Now it assumes the appearance of many fires, breaking out unexpectedly, and in many places. In our factories, warerooms, workshops, and houses of business, we hear of a very gracious and gradually extending work, causing our hearts to rejoice.

Today we held a Conference of ministers upon the work and its progress. It was very delightful to hear from every one of them, without exception, that the demands of the work in his own district and congregation have prevented a more regular attendance and aid at the united meetings,

On Friday, Oct. 16, Mr Moody held his last meeting for converts. A short account of that meeting I have placed before your readers. On last Friday we held a similar meeting. It was equally remarkable. A very wonderful sight, such as a man may rarely if ever, see during his Christian course-some 2,000 converts called of God in the space of six weeks. In order to follow up the work and for future reference, the name, address, denomination, and any circumstances he or she wished to mention, of each professed convert, have been taken down accurately. From this list it appears that in some cases as many as 280 have been added to particular churches.

As has been often proved in other cases, many of the most efficient workers are found among the recently converted, True, they may be greatly deficient in experience and knowledge of Christian doctrine, but they are God taught on the fundamental facts of our faith. They have learned in the school of Christ, sin and grace, ruin and redemption. They have been taught the facts concerning themselves - that they were lost, and helpless in this lost condition, exposed to the wrath and curse of God due to sin. They have been taught the truth concerning Christ, His everlasting love, His atoning death, His abiding Priesthood and under the revealing light and all-conquering power of the Holy Ghost, they have received Jesus as the Gift of God. And so under the constraining power of this new affection, Jesus possesses them, and their loving words burn their way into the hearts and consciences of their companions and they also are led to Jesus.

In the various mills in Belfast, the work of God is spreading, greatly through the agency of the mill workers themselves. So also in many of the warerooms. In one, where some eighty young men are employed, already the converts number more than forty. "A singular circumstance has occurred in our establishment. Our room, occupied by about twenty, was entirely empty on last Sabbath for the first time, all the young men being about at some religious service. Usually, it was well filled with some lying in bed or by others lying about reading novels.

It would give the readers of  THE CHRISTIAN a bird's eye view of the spiritual state of our town if I could in a few sentences vividly bring before them a meeting of a private kind which I attended last night. The meeting was held in our Mission Room and consisted of about fifty Christian workers met for conference and prayer. "In our works above 56 now appear on the Lord's side. We have a meeting every day at dinner hour and we are receiving additions to our numbers continually." I was profoundly struck with the graphic power of a "sermon" which the foreman preached with saving efficacy, during the meal hour. It had all the merit of being short. When men are speaking and while they watch for the steam whistle which is to call them to their hard toil, their words must be packed, few and well chosen.

One of the little company of listeners was very anxious, it appears, but equally unbelieving. He believed all the truths of the gospel story, but had no appropriating faith and consequently no peace. "What is your name?" said the preacher in his very personal and pointed address. "John Roberts" replied the hearer. "A cry was heard from the Throne of the Eternal," continued the foreman, "saying, 'I have compassion on John Roberts; who will go down to earth and save him?' To the call there was no reply from all the angels in heaven. At length a voice was heard, saying, 'Father, I will go and save John Roberts!"' The Eternal Son came down, and served and suffered for John Roberts, and died in the room and stead of such guilty sinners, and rising again, ascended to heaven, and appearing in the presence of God, said, 'Father, I have suffered, the Just for the unjust, that I might bring John Roberts to God. Are you satisfied, Father, by what I have done in the room and stead of John Roberts?' 'My beloved Son, I am well pleased; it is enough." John Roberts, thus addressed, gazed with fixed eyes upon the speaker, and at last his stony look of despair, turning into the brightness of faith, he cried, "I see it: Jesus Christ died in my room and stead; I accept Him as mine."

Another of our little company of workers said, "In our workshed, at the breakfast hour, we usually spent the time in playing cards. Lately, some of us brought to God said, "Come, we will sing one of the Songs of Zion!' Our card-playing fellow-workers looked at first amazed; at length hid the cards, and listened to our songs." Another recently brought to Jesus, said, "In my workrooms, I do not think there were any true Christians, until these late weeks. Now there are more than thirty. It is delightful to hear their songs of praise. Their number is increasing. I am aiding it in every way in my power. I am placing on the walls of all my workrooms large Scripture texts, to catch the eyes of all engaged." Similar testimony was borne by others as to the spirit of earnestness and life everywhere abounding. Yet, with all this, it must be remembered that in our large towns there are thousands still unreached.

The progress of the work, under God, depends upon the state of mind manifested by the Lord's people. While they continue hungry, importunate, hopeful, above all in sympathy with Jesus, desiring to see of the travail of his soul, the work will continue to make progress. Most earnestly asking the prayers of all who read this brief account, that God may still much more abundantly pour floods upon the dry ground until Ireland become a fruitful field, I am, etc.,


"The Christian," November 5th, 1874.

THE past week has been, in many respects, the most wonderful of all the weeks since this happy movement began in Belfast. During the first four days of it, Mr Moody and Mr Sankey were in Derry, but the meetings were well kept up in their absence. On Thursday morning they returned. Mr Moody presided at the noon prayer meeting, and gave a very racy and interesting address upon the life of Jacob. He puts Jacob rather low in the Christian ranks. He was a very worldly man; he loved Shechem more than Bethel. And in later years God punished him smartly for his sins. He held him up as a warning to professing Christians who hold on to the world as tightly as they can. The meeting was a very large and a very lively one. Various views of Jacob's life were set forth by various speakers. Prayer was several times engaged in, and it seemed as if the sweet hour of prayer had passed in half its usual time when the hand of the clock pointed to one, and it was necessary to close. At the two o'clock meeting Mr Moody's subject was the "Question Drawer." He was in his happiest vein as he proceeded to answer the questions which had been sent in. The Witness, a copy of which I send you, gives these questions and answers pretty fully. On Friday Mr Moody again presided at the noon prayer meeting. His subject was "Trust;" and at two o'clock he continued his address upon the Holy Ghost. But the two meetings of the week were on Thursday and Friday evenings. It was announced that Mr Moody would address those who were really anxious about salvation on Thursday evening in St. Enoch's, and those who have found Christ during the present movement here on Friday, in St. Bnoch's Church, at eight o'clock. Admission was to be by ticket, and for four days we were busily engaged giving out these tickets. Great care was exercised that none but anxious inquirers should receive them for the one evening, and none but those who made a credible profession of having been brought to Christ during the past few weeks for the other. The name and address of the
applicants were taken down, and the name of the congregation with which they professed to be connected, so that every minister may obtain a correct list of his own people who have been moved and blessed. As far as we can judge - for our lists were only finished last night - we gave out somewhere about 2,200 tickets for the first meeting, and about 2,000 for the second. That is to say, more than 4,000 persons profess to have been brought under serious concern about salvation, or to
have accepted Christ, during the past few weeks. We cannot pronounce on all, or indeed on any of these cases; we must wait to see the fruit of the new birth in the life and conduct. But the mere fact that such a vast number have professed to be anxious or to be converted shows how widespread and mighty this movement must have been.

Among those who came to get tickets, there were many cases of the deepest interest. One man had attended some of the services at the beginning. He had then fallen ill of fever, and as he lay in the hospital, he thought over what he had heard and came out of it, he believed, a new man. A young woman came for a ticket for the converts' meeting. Her face was beaming with joy. She had found peace, she said, only an hour or two before, as one of her companions was talking to her about the way of salvation. More than one bore witness, as he received his ticket, that he had been a slave of strong drink, but Christ had broken his bonds and set him free. One little girl of eight received a ticket. She seemed to have a clear and correct conception of the gospel plan and said she trusted Christ and loved Him. She was not the only child who applied to be admitted to the converts' meeting. Many boys and girls came asking for tickets and gave us clear evidence that they understood the profession they desired to make. Two said they had found Christ through reading the little book, 'Learning to Float;" several through the singing of "Safe in the arms of. Jesus," and other of Mr Sankey's hymns. Some had trusted Christ during one of the services; a vast number in the inquiry meetings; while others had gone home to think over what they had heard, and in their own quiet room had first seen the light. And a considerable number came on Friday morning to ask for tickets for the convert's meeting in the evening, stating they had decided for Christ during the great meeting for anxious inquirers the previous night. By far the greatest number who told us about themselves were able to point to some text or texts of Scripture which had been to their souls a window through which they saw the truth. John ill. 16 and John vi. 37 seem to have been useful to hundreds; John i. 12 and 1 John i. 7 were very precious to many; John iii. 14 and 15 had enabled others to see the simplicity of the way of salvation. -Matt. xi. 28 and John xiv. 1 seem to be not only full of comfort for Christians. but full of guidance and comfort also for the anxious and inquiring. Isa. liii. was often quoted as the passage on which the soul was resting, and sometimes 1 Pet. ii 24. Rev iii 20 was mentioned by others who had opened the door to the Saviour who
knocked so long. It is well that those who have to instruct inquirers should know these passages, which have been useful to so many.

How can I describe these two great meetings? On Thursday night, after those who had inquirers' tickets and those who had workers' tickets were admitted, 500 or 600 of the general public were accommodated in the galleries. Amid breathless silence, Mr Moody preached to an audience of nearly 3,000 persons, taking up text after text, trying to make the way of salvation plain and easy, and pressing home the truth upon every heart. Earnestly did he urge the duty of immediate decision.
When he had finished, Mr Sankey sang "The farewell hymn," and the assembly was at once dismissed, to go home, and think and pray.  Great numbers were in tears. Many were unwilling to leave the church. At length, all seemed to have gone away, and the lights were put out, when the minister of the church (Mr Hanna), passing down the aisle, thought he saw dimly
some figures in a pew. He found two women waiting with a companion, who was in deep anxiety about her soul. He took them into the vestry; he talked to her and prayed with her. He asked her companions to pray for her also, which they did; and before she left the room the darkness had passed and the brightness of pardon and peace was shining in her face. This case no doubt was but one of many. On Friday evening none were admitted except those who had received tickets and Christian workers. The singing was magnificent and as Mr Sankey led the hymns, it seemed as if everyone was joining in the song, and everyone joining from the heart. Mr Moody's address was on the word "able". He quoted from several passages of Scripture in which it occurs and showed how Christ is able to help the struggling, to save the tempted, and to keep that which we have committed to His care. He urged all the young converts to work. He told them of two pictures he had seen. The first was that of a woman who had been ship-wrecked but had reached a rock and flung both arms round a great cross which, founded on it, rose right up in the midst of the raging sea. He delighted in that picture until he saw a second, which charmed him beyond description. It was the same woman, with one arm round the cross, and with the other trying to hold and help some poor sinking fellow-sufferer beside her. That is the true picture of the Christian life. He ended by pointing his hearers to the crown of glory which is prepared for those who overcome. Mr Sankey sang "There's a beautiful land on high," and in earnest prayer Rev. W. Johnston and Rev. Geo. Shaw commended Mr Moody and Mr Sankey to God's care, and asked for a blessing upon their labours in Dublin. It was a meeting long to be remembered by those who were present. The tickets were only shown at the door and kept, and next Friday evening all are to meet again for a similar service, when each person will receive a book which Mr Moody has ordered, containing suitable advices for young converts. Regular weekly meetings, we hope, will then be organized.

"Times of Blessing," Oct 22nd, 1874.

The question is often asked, "Is the good work going on as earnestly since Mr Moody left?" The answer must be, "It is;" but the method of the work is somewhat altering. The one united evening meeting is gradually ceasing to be the great centre of interest and attention, for a host of evangelistic services are springing up on every side throughout the town and suburbs. Every congregation is now busily engaged cultivating its own field and its own vineyard and in almost every mission station nightly meetings are being held in which ministers and laymen take part chiefly for the benefit of the working classes, and for the purpose of bringing the gospel to the very doors of the non-church-going population. These meetings are all well attended, and in every case I know of they are followed by inquiry meetings, for which large numbers are anxious to remain. In this way, it might safely be said, the inquirers are more numerous now than ever, though they are not collected as formerly into one place. The young men in considerable numbers are offering themselves for the conducting of cottage meetings in various districts of the town. There are few parts of Belfast in which earnest and well-directed Christian work will not be carried on throughout this winter.

7th November 1874

Wm Park

"Times of Blessing," Nov 12th, 1874.

Meetings have been tried on week evenings for working men in working dress, and with great success; hundreds are ready now to attend such services who would have laughed at them some months ago. Bible classes have been formed for the instruction of the young women working in our mills and factories, who in hundreds have made a profession of conversion; and, as stated a fortnight ago in your paper, a Young Women's Christian Association has been begun and promises well already. Among these classes Mr Sankey's hymn are wonderfully popular, and have been greatly blessed; it is not an uncommon thing to hear them sung in houses as you pass through the lower parts of the town, or even by groups of young men or women along the streets. One of our ministers stated, at the noon prayer meeting the other day, that of 250 professing converts in his congregation - a great proportion of whom belong to the working class - he has not yet found any who have in any way brought discredit on their profession.

Among young men in warehouses a great good has been done, and it is chiefly from their ranks that the accessions have come to the Young Men's Christian Association. So much has appeared in your columns from time to time in regard to this class, that I need only refer to them, and pass on. There has been a wonderful movement among the boys. Two or three boys' meetings are now held regularly, and the interest is by no means abating. In all our churches, almost without an exception, there has been a large increase to the communicants' roll, and the 2,000 who received tickets for the converts' meeting do not by any means represent the whole number of those who received benefit and blessing during Mr Moody's visit.

What has been said of Belfast applies also to Derry. A united prayer meeting had been begun there last winter, but it was not largely attended. The news of the glorious work in Belfast stirred Christians up to pray and work for a blessing in their own city also. Mr Moody said that more good seemed to be done in Derry, during his visit of three days, than anywhere else he had been for the same length of time. When he and Mr Sankey left, Mr Drummond of Stirling continued the work for a number of weeks. Many young men from the shops were led to seek for mercy. A few Roman Catholics, chiefly servant girls, seem to have been brought to the knowledge of the truth. Some very wild young fellows were changed, and the Young Men's Christian Association was much increased. Three evangelistic services continued to be held weekly till Christmas and were largely attended, and the noon meeting goes on regularly from day to day.

In Derry and in Belfast the influence of these special meetings, it will be seen, was wide and deep. Yet when we compare it with what we need and long for, how small it seems! The higher and middle classes, fear, have been but little reached, and a great number of professors seem to have passed through this time of blessing as hard and cold and careless as before. The little stone, by God's hand, has been cast into the waters of our busy town life and circles of blessing have risen all around; but as yet these circles are small in their circumference when we compare them with the great surface which lies outside of them. If 1874 has been a year of grace, we need greater grace and blessing in 1875, that these waves of spiritual life may spread far and near, that not one home or heart in all our community may remain unblessed.

Immediately after Mr Moody and Mr Sankey left us, the aspect of the work began to change. During their stay it was almost entirely confined, at least as far as outward appearance was concerned, to Belfast and Derry; and in these towns it was the one grand central meeting each evening which drew the crowds and attracted public attention. Soon after their departure, this central meeting in Belfast began to grow less in size and importance; but at the same time a host of other meetings of a similar kind sprang up in every corner of the town. Away through all the districts inhabited by the working classes, the churches were crowded nightly, and the inquirers were always numerous. Similar services began in the schoolhouses connected with the Town Mission, and with like happy results. A few weeks after our American brethren left us, it was stated by those who were most closely connected with these meetings that twice the number of people were attending evangelistic services nightly, compared with the audiences during Mr Moody's stay. This state of things goes on, and in some localities these services have been attended with almost marvellous results. At the same time the movement has spread far beyond Belfast itself. Even during the stay of our friends crowded meetings had nightly been held in Bangor, and one hundred and more professed there to In all our churches, almost have found Christ. In Carrickfergus, Henry, Lisburn and Antrim, and a great many other towns, special services have been held for weeks and the inquiry meetings have been large and fruitful. To name all the places which are being moved would, in an article like this, be impossible. One fact will suffice to prove how widespread the movement is. Applications were received by the convener of the General Assembly's Evangelisation Committee from some 30 places in Ulster, requesting that deputies from Belfast might be sent, to tell them of the blessed work which has been going on in the midst of us, and in most cases to take part in special united meetings which already have begun. A large number of ministers and laymen offered themselves for this work and prepared to go forth two by two, after the week of prayer was over, to various districts, with the hope and earnest prayer that the Master might use them to carry the good news of mercy to many a sin-laden soul. All through the province it is evident there is at this moment a great
shaking among the dry bones; and our brethren in the ministry, who have laboured long and faithfully, sowing in tears, are beginning to hope for and to receive a harvest of exceeding joy.

We hope that in Belfast also there is the beginning of better things than any we yet have seen. As we look back upon the past year, ours must be words of praise; and as we look forward to the weeks and months of this year, we may well take up
the language of joyous confidence.

"Times of Blessing," Mar 18th, 1875 

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