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´╗┐Title: From Death into Life - or, twenty years of my minstry
Author: Haslam, William
Language: English
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FROM DEATH TO LIFE: Twenty Years of My Ministry.


Rev. William Haslam,

(Late Incumbent of Curzon Chapel, Mayfair)

Reprinted by Rev. W. J. Watchorn.

This edition completes 130,000 copies.

Standard Book Room, Brockville, Ontario


The Broken Nest, 1841.

Religious Life.


Antiquarian Researches and Ministry, 1843-46.

The New Parish, 1846.

The Awakening, 1848-51.

Conversion, 1851.

The Awakening, 1848-51.

The Visitor, 1851.

The First Christmas, 1851-52.

Dreams and Visions, 1851-4.

Billy Bray, 1852.

Cottage Meetings, 1852.

Open-Air Services, 1852.

Drawing-Room Meetings, 1852-53.

Opposition, 1853.

Individual Cases, 1853.

A Visit to Veryan, 1853.

A Mission in the "Shires." 1853.

A Stranger from London, 1853.

Golant Mission, 1854.

The High Church Rector, 1854.

A Mission in Staffordshire, 1854.


The Removal, 1855

Plymouth, 1855

Devonport, 1855

A Mission to the North, 1855

Tregoney, 1855

Secessions, 1856

Hayle, 1857-58

Bible Readings, 1858-59

The Work Continued, 1859

The Dismissal, 1860-61


This volume is not so much a history of my own life, as of the Lord's
dealings with me; setting forth how He wrought in and by me during the
space of twenty years. It will be observed that this is not, as
biographies generally are, an account of life on to death; but rather
the other way--a narrative of transition from death into life, and that
in more senses than one.

I had been given over by three physicians to die, but it pleased the
Lord, in answer to prayer, to raise me up again. My restored health and
strength I thankfully devoted to a religious and earnest life. In the
height and seeming prosperity of this, the Lord awakened me to see that
I was dead in trespasses and sins; still far from Him; resting on my own
works; and going about to establish my own righteousness, instead of
submitting to the righteousness of God. Then He quickened me by the Holy
Ghost, and raised me up into a new and spiritual life.

In this volume the reader will meet with the respective results of (what
I have called) the Religious, as distinguished from the Spiritual, life.
The former produced only outward and ecclesiastical effects, while the
latter brought forth fruit in the salvation of souls, to the praise and
glory of God.

One object in writing this book is to warn and instruct earnest-minded
souls, who are, as I was once, strangers to the experience of salvation,
seeking rest where I am sure they can never find it, and labouring to do
good to others when they have not yet received that good themselves.
They are vainly "building from the top;" trying to live before they are
born; to become holy before they have become justified; and to lead
others to conversion before they have been converted themselves.

A second object is--to draw the attention of every earnest, seeking, or
anxious soul, to consider the Lord's marvellous goodness in first
bearing with me in my religious wanderings, and then using me for His
glory in the salvation of hundreds.

Another desire I have is--to cheer the hearts of believers who are
working for God, by relating to them what He has done through me, and
can do again, by the simple preaching of the Gospel. Here the reader
will meet with narratives of the Lord's work in individual cases, in
congregations, and in parishes--wonderful things which are worthy of

I have not shunned to tell of the mistakes I fell into after my
conversion, hoping that others may take heed and profit by them; and
then I shall not have written in vain.


The Broken Nest, 1841.

At the time in which this history begins, I had, in the providence of
God, a very happy nest; and as far as temporal prospects were concerned,
I was provided for to my liking, and, though not rich, was content. I
had taken my degree; was about to be ordained; and, what is more, was
engaged to be married; in order, as I thought, to settle down as an
efficient country parson.

With this bright future before me, I went on very happily; when, one
evening, after a hard and tiring day, just as I was sitting down to
rest, a letter was put into my hand which had been following me for
several days. "Most urgent" was written on the outside. It told me of
the alarming illness of the lady to whom I was engaged, and went on to
say that if I wished to see her alive I must set off with all haste. It
took me a very short time to pack my bag and get my travelling coats and
rugs together, so that I was all ready to start by the night mail. At
eight o'clock punctually I left London for the journey of two hundred
and eighty miles. All that night I sat outside the coach; all the next
day; and part of the following night. I shall never forget the misery of
mind and body that I experienced, for I was tired before starting; and
the fatigue of sitting up all night, together with the intense cold of
the small hours of the morning, were almost beyond endurance. With the
morning, however, came a warm and bright sunshine, which in some degree
helped to cheer me; but my bodily suffering was so great that I could
never have held up had it not been for the mental eagerness with which I
longed to get forward. It was quite consonant with my feelings when the
horses were put into full gallop, especially when they were tearing down
one hill to get an impetus to mount another.

At length, the long, long journey was over; and about thirty hours after
starting, I found myself staggering along to the well-known house. As I
approached the door was softly opened by a relative who for several days
had been anxiously watching my arrival. She at once conducted me
upstairs, to what I expected was a sick chamber, when, to my horror, the
first thing I saw was the lid of a coffin standing up against the wall,
and in the middle of the room was the coffin, with candles burning on
either side.

I nearly fell to the ground with this tremendous shock and surprise.
There was the dear face, but it seemed absorbed in itself, and to have
lost all regard for me. It no longer turned to welcome me, nor was the
hand stretched out, as theretofore, to meet mine. All was still; there
was no smile--no voice--no welcome-nothing but the silence of death to
greet me.

The sight of that coffin, with its quiet inmate, did not awaken sorrow
so much as surprise; and with that, something like anger and rebellion.
I was weak and exhausted in body, but strong in wilful insubordination.
Murmuring and complaining, I spoke unadvisedly with my lips.

A gentle voice upbraided me, adding, that I had far better kneel down in
submission to God, and say "Thy will be done!" This, however, was not so
easy, for the demon of rebellion had seized me, and kept me for three
hours in a tempest of anger, filling my mind with hard thoughts against
God. I walked about the room in the most perturbed state of mind, so
much so, that I grieved my friends, who came repeatedly to ask me to
kneel down and say, "Thy will be done!" "Kneel down--just kneel down!"
At length I did so, and while some one was praying, my tears began to
flow, and I said the words, "Thy will be done!" Immediately the spell
was broken and I was enabled to say from my heart, again and again, "Thy
will be done!" After this I was conscious of a marvellous change in
mind; rebellion was gone, and resignation had come in its place. More
than that, the dear face in the coffin seemed to lie smiling in peace,
so calm and so lovely, that I felt I would not recall the spirit that
was fled, even if it bad been possible. There was wrought in me
something more than submission, even a lifting-up of my will to the will
of God; and withal, such a love towards Him that I wondered at myself.
God had been, as it were, a stranger to me before. Now I felt as though
I knew and loved Him, and could kiss His hand, though my tears flowed

The funeral took place the same morning: it was a time of great emotion;
sorrow and joy met, and flowed together. I thought of the dear one I had
lost, but yet more of the God of love I had found; and to remember that
she was with Him was an additional comfort to me. The funeral service
was soothing and elevating beyond expression; and yet, when it was all
over, such a sense of desolation came upon me, that I felt utterly
forlorn and truly sad.

My nest was now completely stirred up; but instead of bemoaning its
broken state, I could see the eagle fluttering over her young ones
(Deut. 32:1). I was conscious that God was looking on, and that He had
not forsaken me in this great wreck.

The strain and excitement I had undergone naturally brought on an
illness. I was seized with inflammation of the lungs, and was
dangerously ill. From this, and other complications which supervened,
the doctor pronounced that I could not recover, and bade me prepare for

Judges and doctors, when they pass sentence of death, seem to regard
religion as necessary preparation for it. Too common, also, is this
idea, even among those who do not belong to these respected professions.
My own opinion was much the same at that time.

Having received this solemn warning, I took down the Prayer-book, and
religiously read over the office for the Visitation of the Sick. I
became so interested in this exercise, that I determined to read it
three times a day. The prayer for a sick child especially commended
itself to my mind, so that, by changing a few words, I made it
applicable to my own case, and used it not only three, but even seven,
times a day. In substance, it petitioned that I might be taken to heaven
if I died; or that, if it should please God to restore my health, He
would let me live to His glory. I did not at that time expect my days
would be prolonged, nor had I any wish to live, for the world was now
perfectly blank and desolate to me. I felt as if I could never be happy
again; to be with God would be far better!

I little dreamed that if I had died in that unpardoned and Christless
state, I should have been lost forever; for I was profoundly ignorant of
the necessity of change of heart--perfectly unconscious that I must be
born again of the Spirit. This vital truth had never come to my mind; I
felt a love for God, and in my ignorance I wished to die.

One morning the thought came to me, as I was sitting all alone by the
fire, "What have I been praying for?--that the Lord would take me to
heaven if I died; or, if I lived, that He would let me live to His glory?"
Why, this is heaven both ways!--heaven in heaven, or heaven on
earth--whichever way it pleases God to answer my prayer. Somehow I felt
certain that He would answer it. I was exceedingly happy, and could not
help thanking Him. From that day I began to feel better, and became
impressed with the idea that I was to live, and not die. The doctor
smiled at me when I told him so, for he did not believe it. He, and two
other physicians, had told me that my lungs were diseased; indeed, six
months afterwards, all three sounded me, and declared that one lung was
inoperative, and the other much affected.

Yet, notwithstanding the doctor's discouraging announcement--for he told
me, also, that "it was one of the fatal signs of consumption for the
patient to feel or think he was getting better"--I had a certain
conviction that I was to recover. As soon as the medical man had gone, I
put on my coat and hat and went out for a walk. I trembled much from
weakness, and found it necessary to move very slowly and stop often; but
under the shelter of a wall, courting the warmth of the bright-shining
sun, I managed to make my way to the churchyard.

While I was sitting there alone, the great bell struck out unexpectedly,
and caused me to shake all over; for I was in a very weak condition. It
was the sexton tolling to announce the departure of the soul of some
villager from the world. Having done this, he came out with his boards
and tools to dig the grave. He did not observe me sitting by; so he at
once commenced, and went on diligently with his work. The ground had so
often been broken before that it did not take him long to accomplish his
task; he gradually got deeper and deeper into the ground, till he
disappeared altogether from my sight. I crept to the edge of the narrow
pit in which he was, and looking into it, I could not help thinking of
those words of Kirke White--

"Cold grave, methinks, 'twere sweet to rest
Within thy calm and hallowed breast!"

I had no fear of death, but rather felt that I should welcome it even
more than restoration to health.

I have even now a most vivid remembrance of this, and place it on record
to show how delusive' are our feelings: because I did not feel any
danger, I took it for granted that there really was none. That day,
however, was an eventful one in my life; for, in the gladness of my
heart, I gave myself to God, to live for Him. I had given my will
before, and now I gave my life, and was happy in the deed. I did not
know at that time that faith does not consist in believing that I have
given myself, even if I meant it ever so sincerely; but in believing
that God has taken or accepted me.

At the outset, I began with the former--a merely human faith--and its
result was consequently imperfect. I was spiritually dead, and did not
know it. Alas! What multitudes there are who are utterly unconscious of
the fact of this spiritual death, though there are few things more
plainly declared and revealed in the Word of God.

The full meaning of the word death is too often misunderstood and
overlooked. There are three kinds referred to in the Word of
God--spiritual, natural, and everlasting. The first is a separation of
the soul from God; the second, that of the body from the soul; and the
last, that of the unbelieving man, body and soul, from God forever.

It will be seen that there is one characteristic which is common to all
three kinds--that is, separation; and that there is no idea of
finality--death is not the end. When the Lord God created man, we
suppose that He made him not merely in the form of a body, but a man
with body and soul complete; and afterwards that He breathed into this
living man the Spirit, and he became a living soul. As such, he communed
with the eternal God, who is a Spirit. In this spiritual state he could
walk and converse with God in the garden of Eden. When, however, he
disobeyed the command which had been given to him, he incurred the
tremendous penalty. The Lord God had said, "In the day that you eat of
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall surely die." He
did eat, and he died there and then; that is, he forfeited that 'Spirit
which had quickened his soul, and thus became a dead soul; though, as we
know, he remained a living man for nine hundred years before his body
returned to its dust.

By his one act of disobedience, Adam opened in an instant (as an
earthquake opens a deep chasm) the great gulf, the impassable gulf of
separation which is fixed between us and God. By nature, as the children
of Adam, we are all on the side which is away from God; and we are
become subject also to the sentence pronounced against the life of the
body. We know and understand that we are mortal, and that it is
appointed unto men once to die; but we do not seem to be aware of the
more important fact of the death of our souls. Satan, who said to our
first parents, "Ye shall not surely die," employs himself now in
deceiving men by saying, "Ye are not dead;" and multitudes believe him,
and take it for granted that it is actually true. Thus they go on
unconcerned about this awful and stupendous reality.


Religious Life.

With returning health and strength, I did not think of going back into
the world, but rather gave myself more fully to the purpose for which I
supposed that my life had been restored. I felt a thankfulness and joy
in my recovery, which confirmed me more and more in my determination to
live to the glory of God.

When I was able to return to the South, I did so by easy stages till I
got back to the neighbourhood of London; and there it was ordered that I
should be shut up for the remainder of the winter.

During this season of retirement, I spent my time most happily in
reading and prayer, and found great delight in this occupation. I was
able to say, with the Psalmist, "I love the Lord, because He has heard
my voice and my supplication;" and, like him, I could say, "I will call
upon Him as long as I live; I will walk before Him in the land of the
living; and I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of
the Lord." That is, in secret or private life; in social intercourse
with my fellow-men; and in the worship of the sanctuary, I will seek the
glory of God. I used to have much pleasure every day in asking God to
give me a deeper sense of His love, that I might unfeignedly thank Him,
and show forth His praise with my life as well as my lips.

All this, be it observed, was because God had saved not my soul, but my
life; for as yet I had not, like the Psalmist, felt any trouble about my
soul. I knew nothing of what he describes as the "sorrows of death and
the pains of hell." I had not been awakened by the Spirit to know the
danger and sorrow of being separated from God (which is spiritual
death). I was perfectly unconscious that between God and myself there
was the "impassable gulf" I have already referred to, and consequently I
had not experienced such overwhelming anxiety as made the Psalmist cry
out, "O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul." I knew nothing of the
necessity of passing from death to life, and therefore I could not say,
"The Lord has delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my
feet from falling."

The only thing I knew was that God was good to me, and therefore I loved
Him, and was thankful, not for the sake of getting His favour, but
because I thought I had it. I turned over a new leaf, and 'therewith
covered up the blotted page of my past life. On this new path I
endeavoured to walk as earnestly in a religious way, as I had before
lived in a worldly one.

This mistake into which I fell was natural enough and common as it is
natural; but for all this it was very serious, and might have been fatal
to me, as it has proved to multitudes. I did not see then, as I have
since that turning over a new leaf to cover the past, is not by any
means the same thing as turning back the old leaves, and getting them
washed in the blood of the Lamb.

I have said before that I did not know any better; nor was I likely to
see matters in a clearer light from the line of study in which I was
chiefly occupied. I was absorbed for the time, not so much in the Bible
as in the "Tracts for the Times"--a publication which was engaging much
attention. These Oxford tracts suited me exactly, and fitted my tone of
mind to a nicety. Their object was the restoration of the Church of
England from a cold, formal condition, into something like reality--from
a secular to a religious state; this also was my own present object for
myself. I read these writings with avidity, and formed from them certain
ecclesiastical proclivities which carried me on with renewed zeal.

I suppose I learned from the perusal of them to interpret the Bible by
the Prayer-book, and to regard the former as a book which no one could
understand without the interpretation of the Fathers. Certain it is,
that I did not look to the Bible, but to the Church, for teaching, for I
was led to consider that private judgment on the subject of Scripture
statements was very presumptuous. I got, moreover, into a legal state,
and thought my acceptance with God depended upon my works, and that His
future favour would result upon my faithfulness and attention to works
of righteousness which I was doing. This made me very diligent in
prayer, fasting, and almsdeeds; and I often sat and dreamed about the
works of mercy and devotion which I would do when I was permitted to go
out again.

Like persons in this state of mind, I also relied on ordinances, and was
subject to them. I took it for granted that I was a child of God,
because I had been baptized and brought into the Church; and having been
confirmed and admitted to the Lord's Table, I concluded that I was
safely on the way to Heaven. I see now the error of this very earnest
devotion, and that I was going about to establish my own righteousness
instead of submitting to the righteousness of God. I like to remember
these days and tell of them, not because I am proud of them-far
otherwise; but because they show the kind forbearance and patience of
God towards me, and, besides this, they give me a clearer idea of the
state of very many earnest people I meet with, who enter upon a
religious path in much the same way.

Such persons make the two mistakes already referred to. They start with
believing in their surrender of themselves, instead of God's acceptance
of it; and secondly, they make their continuance therein depend upon
their repeated acts of devotion. They live and walk by their own works,
not by faith in the finished work of Christ. What shall I say to these
things? Shall I denounce them as delusions, or superstitious legality?
No. I would far rather that people should be even thus religious than be
without religious observances--far rather that they should be subject to
the Prayer-book teaching than be the sport of their own vain imaginings.
If men have not given their hearts to God and received forgiveness of
sins, it is better that they should give themselves to a Church than
yield themselves to the world and its vanities.

If I had to go over the ground again under the same circumstances, I do
not think I could take a better path. Church teaching by itself, with
all its legalities, is superior to a man's own inventions; and the form
of godliness required by it, even without spiritual power, is better
than no form or profession of religion.

To say the least, Church teachings, when it is correctly followed,
instructs the conscience, restrains and guides the will, and imparts a
practical morality which we do not find in any other system. I have more
hope of people who rest in some distinctive and positive dogmas than of
those who merely deal with negations. The former may be reached by
spiritual teaching; the latter are but shadowy adversaries with whom it
is impossible to engage.

Therefore, when I see a man, for conscience towards God, giving up the
world, and taking up with reverential worship, with even superstitious
veneration for ecclesiastical things, because they are so--when I see a
man, who was careless before, become conscientious and true in all his
outward dealings, very particular in his observance of private and
public prayer, exercising self-denial, living for others rather than
himself, bearing and forbearing in all quietness and meekness--I cannot
do otherwise than admire him. This, surely, is far more lovely and
admirable than the opposite of these things.

Instead of joining in the outcry against such persons, I feel rather in
sympathy, and have a desire in my heart to win them to still better
things, and to show them "the way of God more perfectly." I feel that
they are stirred as I was, and are struggling in self-righteousness, not
because they wilfully prefer it to God's righteousness, but because they
are yearning for true and spiritual reality. They are in a transition
state, and the more restless they are, the more assured I am that they
will never attain real rest and satisfaction to their souls till they
have found God, and are found of Him in Christ Jesus.

But the question may be asked, "Is it possible for unsaved people
(spiritually dead) to be so good and religious? Is not such a state an
indication of spiritual vitality?" I answer, without hesitation, that it
is possible. Religion by itself, irrespective of the subject-matter of a
creed, may have a quieting and controlling effect upon the soul. The
Hindoo, the Moslem, the Jew, the Romanist, as well as the Protestant,
may each and all be wonderfully self-possessed, zealous, devout, or
teachable, or even all these together, and yet remain dead souls.

As a boy in India, I remember being greatly struck with the calmness of
the Hindoos, as contrasted with the impatience and angry spirit of the
English. On one occasion I observed one of the former at his devotions.
He, with others, had been carrying me about in a palankeen all day in
the hot sun. In the evening, he most reverently took from his girdle a
piece of mud of the sacred river Ganges, or Gunga, as they call it, and
dissolving this in water, he washed a piece of ground, then, having
washed his feet and hands, he stepped on this sacred spot, and began to
cook his food. While it was preparing, he was bowed to the ground, with
his face between his knees, worshipping towards the setting sun. A boy
who was standing by me said, "If you touch that man he will not eat his
dinner." In a thoughtless moment I did so with my hand, and immediately
he rose from his devotions; but, instead of threatening and swearing at
me, as some might have done who belong to another religion, he only
looked reproachfully, and said, "Ah, Master William!" and then emptying
out the rice which was on the fire, he began his ceremony all over
again. It was quite dark before he had finished his "poojah," or
worship, and his meal. This man's religious self-possession made a
greater impression on me than if he had abused or even struck me, for
hindering his dinner. I thought to myself, "I will be a Hindoo when I
grow up!" And truly I kept my word, though not in the same form; for
what else was I in my earnest, religious days!

This is an important question to settle, and, therefore, I will give
three examples from Scripture.

No one can doubt the zeal of Saul of Tarsus. This was no easy-going,
charitable creed, which supposes all good men are right. He was sure
that if he was right, as a natural consequence Stephen was wrong, even
blasphemous, and as such worthy of death. Therefore, he had no scruples
about instigating the death of such a one. Notwithstanding all this
uncompromising and straightforward religiousness, he needed to be
brought from death to life.

Again: look at Cornelius, who was "a devout man that feared God with all
his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway"
(Acts 10:2). There can be no mistake about this man with such a
testimony; and yet he also needed to hear words whereby he and all his
house should be saved (Acts 11:14). Next: Nicodemus, I suppose it will
be admitted, was an earnest and religious man. Evidently, he was one of
those who "believed in the name of Jesus, because he saw the miracles
which He did" (John 2:23). This man, humble and teachable as he was,
came to Jesus, and said, "Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come
from God, for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God
be with him." Yet he was told, "Except a man be born again, he cannot
see the kingdom of God." "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be
born again" (John 3). As surely as all mankind are dead in Adam, so
surely every man needs spiritual life. In this respect it was no new
thing which the Lord Jesus propounded to Nicodemus. The spiritual change
of heart he referred to has always been the one condition of intercourse
with God. All God's saints, even in the Old Testament times, had
experienced 'this. Hence the Lord's exclamation, "Art thou a master of
Israel, and knowest not these things?"

It may be urged that these three men were not in the Christian
dispensation. Let this be granted; but the point at hand is that they
needed spiritual life, though they were such good religious men. It will
not be very hard to prove that even baptized men in the Christian
dispensation need to be raised from death unto life just as much as any
other children of Adam. It is clear, both from Scripture and experience,
that baptism, whatever else it imparts, does not give spiritual

St. Peter's testimony is this, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no
respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth Him and
worketh righteousness is accepted with Him" (Acts 10: 34, 35). Accepted
to be saved, not because there is any merit in his works, but because
God sees that there is real sincerity in his living up to the light he
has. The heathen who know there is a God, and do not worship His as God,
are given over to idolatry (Rom.1); but, on the other hand, those who do
worship Him, and give Him thanks, are taken in hand to be guided into
life and truth. Therefore are we justified in hoping that earnest and
religious men, though they be dead, if their religion is really towards
God, will be brought to spiritual life.

It was a happy winter to me, however, notwithstanding my spiritual
deficiencies; and the recollection of it still abides in my memory. I
had now no desire for the world and its pleasures. My mind had quite
gone from such empty amusements and frivolities; even the taste I used
to have for these things was completely taken away.

I was happier now than ever I had been before, so that I am convinced
from personal experience that even a religious life may be one of joy,
though by no means so satisfying and abiding as a truly spiritual one. I
was happy, as I have already said, and longed for the time when I could
be ordained, and devote my energies to work for God in the ministry.


Ordination and First Parish, 1842.

On the returning spring, as I was feeling so much stronger, and
altogether better, I thought I would go and see the physician who had
sounded me some months before. He, after a careful examination, still
adhered to his previous opinion, and gave very little hope of my
recovery, but suggested that if I went to the north coast of Cornwall
there might be a chance for me.

On my return home, I took up an "Ecclesiastical Gazette," though it was
three months old, and looked over the advertisements. There I observed
one which invited a curate for a church in that very neighbourhood. It
was a sole charge; but, strange to say, a title for holy orders was
offered also. In reply to this I wrote a letter, asking for particulars,
in which I stated my Church views, and that I was ordered to that part
of the country for the benefit of my health.

The Vicar, who resided in another parish, thirty miles off, was so eager
to get help for this one, that he wrote back to say he had sent my
letter to the Bishop, with one from himself, and that I should hear from
his lordship in a few days.

I was surprised at this precipitation of affairs, and all the more so
when I received a note from the Bishop of Exeter (Phillpotts), bidding
me come to him immediately, that I might be in time for the Lent

Accordingly, I started westward, and having passed my examination, I was
sent with letters dimissory to the Bishop of Salisbury (Denison), to
whom I was also sent, a year afterwards, for priest's orders. I was very
weak, and much exhausted with travelling, but still went on, though I
know not how.

The long-desired day at length arrived, and I was duly ordained; but
instead of being full of joy, I became much depressed in mind and body,
and could not rouse myself from dwelling upon the Bishop's address,
which was very solemn. He told us that we were going to take charge of
the souls of our parishioners, and that God would require them at our
hands; we must take heed how we tended the Lord's flock. Altogether, it
was more than I had calculated upon; and feeling very ill that
afternoon, I thought that I had undertaken a burden which would
certainly be my ruin. "What could I do with souls?" My idea of
ordination was to be a clergyman, read the prayers, preach sermons, and
do all I could to bring people to church; but how could I answer for
souls which had to live for ever? and what was I to do with them?

In the evening, I so far roused myself as to go amongst the other
candidates, to sound them, and ascertain what were their feelings with
regard to the Bishop's solemn address! They merely thought that it was
very beautiful, and that he was a holy man; and then some of them
proposed that we should all go in a riding party, to see Stonehenge, the
next day. It was especially thought that a drive on the Wiltshire plains
could do me a great deal of good, if I did not feel strong enough to
ride on horseback. I agreed to this, and went with them to see this
famous temple of Druidical worship; and after that set off for Plymouth,
on my way to the far west. But, alas! the charm of ordination had fled,
and I was more than half sorry that I had undertaken so much. It had
been done so precipitately too, for even now it was only ten days since
I had seen the physician.

After resting a day, I proceeded to Truro, and then took a post-chaise
and drove out to my first parish, called Perranzabuloe, which was
situated about eight miles from Truro, on the north coast of Cornwall. I
alighted at an old manor house, where I was to have apartments with a
farmer and his family. Being much fatigued, I soon retired to bed,
anything but happy, or pleased with the bleak and' rough-looking place
to which I had come.

I slept well, however, and the next morning felt considerably better,
and was revived in spirits. After making many inquiries about things in
general, I obtained the keys, and made my way to the parish church,
which was about ten minutes' walk from the house. Here, again, I was
greatly grieved and disappointed to see such a neglected churchyard and
dilapidated church; and when I went inside, my heart sank, for I had
never seen a place of worship in such a miserable condition. Moreover, I
was told that the parish was seven miles long, and that its large
population of three thousand souls was scattered on all sides, excepting
round the church.

I had left my friends a long way off, and was alone in a strange place,
with an amount of work and responsibility for which I knew I was
thoroughly unprepared and unfit. However, I sauntered back to my
lodgings, and began to ruminate as to what was to be done.

I had now sole charge of this extensive parish, for the duties of which
I was to receive the very moderate stipend of forty pounds a year; but
of this I did not complain, for my board and lodging, with washing, and
the keep of a horse included, was only twelve shillings a week, leaving
me a margin of nearly ten pounds for my personal expenses. The questions
that troubled me were--what was I to do with three thousand people? And
how was I to reach them?

In due course Sunday morning arrived, and with the help of a
neighbouring clergyman, who kindly came over, as he said, "to put me in
the way," I got through the service (being the only one for the day at
that time), having about a score of listless people, lounging in
different parts of the church, for a congregation. This was my first
Sunday in my first parish.

Just at this time a book was sent me by a kind friend, entitled "The
Bishopric of Souls," which terrified me even more than the Bishop's
charge had done; for I felt that, notwithstanding my ardent desire to
serve and glorify God, I had not the remotest conception how to do it,
as regards winning souls. The author of this book took it for granted
that every one who had the office of a pastor, had also the spiritual
qualification for it; but experience proves that this is by no means the
case. My ordination gave me an ecclesiastical position in the parish;
the law maintained me in it; and the people expected me to do the duties
of it: but how to carry all this out, except in a dry and formal way, I
did not know.

As time went on, my parochial duties increased. I had to baptize the
children, marry the young, visit the sick, and bury the dead; but I
could not help feeling how different was this in action, to what it was
in theory. I had had a kind of dreamland parish in my head, with daily
service, beautiful music, and an assembly of worshipping people; but
instead of this, I found a small, unsympathizing congregation, who
merely looked upon these sacred things as duties to be done, and upon me
as the proper person to do them. When I went to visit the sick I had
nothing to say to them; so I read a few Collects, and sometimes gave
them a little temporal relief, for which they thanked me; but I came out
dissatisfied with myself, and longed for something more, though I did
not know what.

Notwithstanding all these trials and disappointments, my health was
gradually improving. I found that the air of this place was like meat
and drink, and gave me an appetite for something more substantial. I
very often frequented the beach, with its beautiful cliffs, and was much
exhilarated by the bracing sea air; indeed, I had, and still retain,
quite a love for the place. As my strength and energy increased, I rode
about the parish all day, making the acquaintance of the people, and
inviting them to come to church.

During my visits, I found out that the church warden was a good
musician, and that he knew others in the parish who were able to play on
various instruments; so in order to improve the services, and make them
more attractive, I urged him to invite these musical people to his house
to practise; and in due course we had a clarionet, two fiddles, and his
bass viol, with a few singers to form a choir. We tried over some
metrical psalms (for there were no hymn-books in those days), and soon
succeeded in learning them. This musical performance drew many people to
church. The singers were undeniably the great attraction, and they knew
it; consequently I was somewhat in their power, and had to submit to
various anthems and pieces, such as "Vital Spark." "Angels Ever Bright
and Fair," and others, not altogether to my taste, but which they
evidently performed to their own praise and satisfaction.

Finding that the people were beginning to frequent the church, I thought
it was time to consider what steps should be taken about its
restoration, and made it the subject of conversation with the farmers.
It awakened and alarmed many of them when I said that the church must be
restored, and that we must have a church rate. The chief farmer shook
his head, saying, "You cannot carry that;" but I replied, "According to
law, you are bound to keep up the fabric, and it ought to be done. I
will write to the Vicar at once about it." He was a non-resident

The farmer smiled at that, and said, laughing, "I will pledge myself
that we will do as much as he does." It so happened that the Vicar,
equally incredulous about the farmers doing anything, promised that he
would do one half, if they would do the other.

Having ascertained this to my satisfaction, I immediately sent for the
mason of the village, who played the clarionet in the church, also his
son, who was "one of the of the fiddles," and consulted with them as to
how this matter was to be accomplished. They, being in want of work at
the time, readily advised me in favour of restoration. The churchwarden
(the "bass viol") said "that he had no objection to this proceeding, but
that he would not be responsible. In two months," he added, "would be
the annual vestry meeting." "That will do," I said, interrupting him;
and I made up my mind that I would at once restore the church, and let
the parishioners come and see it at that time.

Having made all necessary preparations, we commenced one fine Monday
morning with repairing the roof and walls; and while the men were
employed outside, we took out the windows and opened all the doors, to
let the wind blow through, that the interior of the building might be
thoroughly dried. This done, we next coloured the walls, also the stone
arches and pillars (they were far too much broken to display them); and
having cleaned the seats and front of the gallery, we stained and
varnished them, matted the floor, carpeted the sacrarium, and procured a
new cloth for the Communion Table, and also for the 'pulpit and

All this being completed, I painted texts with my own hands on the
walls, in old English characters. I had great joy in writing these, for
I felt as if it was to the Lord Himself, and for His name, and finished
with Nehemiah's prayer, "Remember me, O my God, concerning this; and
wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and
for the offices thereof" (Neh. 13:14).

Altogether, it was a pretty church now, and a pretty sum was to be paid
for it. I told the vestry that I alone was responsible, but that the
Vicar had promised to pay one half if the vestry would pay the other. It
seemed to be such a joy to them to get anything out of him, that they
made a rate at once; and upon the Vicar's letter, raised the money and
paid off the debt.

The people were much pleased with their church in its new aspect, and
brought their friends and neighbours to see it. Besides this, I observed
something which gratified me very much. It was that when they entered
the church they did so with reverence, taking off their hats and walking
softly, in place of stamping with their heels and coming in with their
hats on, as they too often had previously done, without any respect or
concern whatever. A neglected place of worship does not command

My church now began to be the talk of the neighbourhood. Numbers of
people came to see it, and among them several clergymen, who asked me to
come and restore their churches.

There were many places where the people could not afford to rebuild the
structure. In such, I was invited to exercise my skill in repairing, as
I had done with my own; in others, I was asked to give designs for
restoring portions of the edifice; and in some, for rebuilding
altogether. In this district, schools were not built nor
parsonage-houses enlarged without sending for me.

For several years I was looked upon as an authority in architectural
matters. I rode about all over the county from north to west, restoring
churches and designing schools, and was accounted the busiest man alive;
and my horse, my dog, and myself, the "three leanest things in
creation," we were to be seen flying along the roads, day and night, in
one part or another.

The Bishop of Exeter, who at that time presided over Cornwall, appointed
me to make new "Peel" districts.* I designed nineteen, and made all the
maps myself, calling on the Vicars and Rectors for their approbation. I
was at this time a very popular man, and it was said that "the Bishop's
best living" would be given to me in due time.


* The "Peel" districts were the new ecclesiastical districts
created under the Church Extension Act, introduced by Sir Robert Peel.


Antiquarian Researches and Ministry, 1843-6.

Another thing which raised my name in and beyond the county was the
"Lost Church" at Perranzabuloe. There was an old British church existing
in some sand-hills in the parish, and it was said to be entire as far as
the four walls. The hill under which it was buried was easily known by
the bones and teeth which covered it. The legend said that the patron
saint, St. Piran, was buried under the altar, and that close by the
little church was a cell in which he lived and died. This was enough. I
got men, and set to work to dig it up. After some days' labour we came
to the floor, where we discovered the stone seats, and on the plaster of
the wall the greasy marks of the heads and shoulders of persons who had
sat there many centuries ago. We found the chancel step, and also the
altar tomb (which was built east and west, not north and south). It was
fallen, but enough remained to show the original shape and height of it.

I put a notice in the newspapers, inviting people to come and see the
old church which had been buried for fifteen hundred years. In the
presence of many visitors, clerical and lay, we removed the stones of
the altar, and found the skeleton of St. Piran, which was identified in
three ways. The legend said that he was a man seven feet high; the
skeleton measured six feet from the shoulder-bones to the heel Again,
another legend said that his heart was enshrined in a church forty miles
away; the skeleton corresponded with this, for it was headless.
Moreover, it was said that his mother and a friend were buried on either
side of him; we also found skeletons of a male and female in these
positions. Being satisfied on this point, we set the masons to work to
rebuild the altar tomb in its original shape and size, using the same
stones as far as they would go. We made up the deficiency with a heavy
granite slab.

On this I traced with my finger, in rude Roman letters, "SANCTUS
PIRANUS." The mason would not cut those crooked letters unless I
consented for him to put his name in better ones in the corner. I could
not agree to this, so his apprentice and I, between us, picked out the
rude letters, which have since (I have heard) been copied for a
veritable Roman inscription.

My name was now up as an antiquary, and I was asked to be the secretary
(for the West of England) to the Archaeological Society. I was supposed
to be an old gentleman, and heard myself quoted as the "venerable and
respected Haslam," whose word was considered enough to settle a knotty
point beyond doubt. I was invited to give a lecture on the old Perran
Church, at the Royal Institution, Truro, which I did; illustrating it
with sketches of the building, and exhibiting some rude remains of
carving, which are now preserved in the museum there.

The audience requested me (through their chairman) to print my lecture.
This I undertook also; but being very young in literary enterprises, I
added a great deal of other matter to the manuscript which I was
preparing for the press. There was much in the book * about early
Christianity and ecclesiastical antiquities. I imagined that this parish
was, in British and Druidic times, a populous place, and somewhat
important. There was a "Round," or amphitheatre, for public games, and
four British castles; also a great many sepulchral mounds on the hills,
the burial-place of chieftains. I supposed that St. Piran came here
among these rude natives (perhaps painted savages) to preach the Gospel,
and then built himself a cell by the sea-shore,+ near a spring or well,
where he baptized his converts. Close by, he built this little church,
in which he worshipped God and prayed for the people.


* "The Church of St. Piran." Published by Van Voorst.
+ This little building still remains entire, under the sand. Some pieces
of British pottery and limpet-shells were found outside the door.

The words of the poet Spenser do not inaptly describe this scene of
other days:--

A little, lowly hermitage it was,
Downe in a dale--
Far from resort of people, that did pas
In treveill to and fro: a litle wyde
There was a holy chappell edifyde,
Wherein the hermite dewly wont to say
His holy things each morn and eventyde;
Thereby a crystall streame did gently play,
Which, from a sacred fountaine welled forth away.

Here then, more than fourteen centuries ago, people called upon God; and
when their little sanctuary was overwhelmed with the sand, they removed
to the other side of the river, and built themselves another church; but
they still continued to bury their dead around and above the oratory and
resting-place of St. Piran.

When my book was published, there ensued a hot controversy about the
subject of it; and some who came to see the "Lost Church" for
themselves, declared that it was nothing more than "a modern cowshed;"
others would not believe in the antiquity I claimed for it: one of these
even ventured to assert his opinion in print, that "it was at least
eight centuries later than the date I had fixed;" another asked in a
newspaper letter, "How is it, if this is a church, that there are no
others of the same period on record?"

This roused me to make further research; and I was soon rewarded by
finding in the registry at Exeter a list of ninety-two churches existing
in Cornwall alone in the time of Edward the Confessor, of which
Lam-piran was one. With the help of another antiquary, I discovered nine
in one week, in the west part of the county, with foundation walls and
altar tombs, of which I published an account in the "Archaeological
Journal." This paper set other persons to work, who discovered similar
remains in various parts of the country; and thus it was proved to
demonstration that we had more ecclesiastical antiquities, and of
earlier date, than we were aware of.

Next, my attention was directed to Cornish crosses; about which I also
sent a paper, with illustrations, as a good secretary and correspondent
to the same Journal. My researches on this subject took me back to a
very remote time. I found crosses among Roman remains, with
inscriptions, something like those in the Catacombs near Rome--these
were evidently Christian; but I found crosses also among Druidic
antiquities. I could not help inquiring, "Where did the Druids get this
sign?" From the Phoenicians. "Where did they get it?" From the
Egyptians. "Where did they get it?" Then I discovered that the cross had
come to Egypt with traditions about a garden, a woman, a child, and a
serpent, and that the cross was always represented in the hand of the
second person of their trinity of gods. This personage had a human
mother, and slew the serpent which had persecuted her.*


* These traditions came to the Egyptians from an ancestor who had come
over the flood with seven others.

Here was a wonderful discovery! The mythology of Egypt was based on
original tradition, handed down from Antediluvian times! From further
investigation, it was evident that the substance of Hindoo mythology
came from the same source; as also that of the Greeks, Chinese,
Mexicans, and Scandinavians. This is how the Druids got the cross also:
it was in the hand of their demi-god Thor, the second person of their
triad, who slew the great serpent with his famous hammer, which he
bequeathed to his followers.

I was beside myself with excitement, and walked bout the room in a most
agitated state. I then made a table or harmony of these various
mythologies, and when placed side by side, it was quite clear that they
were just one and the same story, though dressed up in a variety of
mythological forms, and that the story was none other than that of the

In my architectural journeys I used to entertain, people with these
wondrous subjects; and one evening I had the honour of agitating even
the Bishop of Exeter himself, who, in his enthusiasm, bade me write a
book, and dedicate it to him. I did so. "The Cross and the Serpent" is
the title of it, and it was duly inscribed to his lordship.

It excites me even now to think about it, though it is thirty-five years
since I made these discoveries. The old librarian at Oxford declared
that I was mad, and yet he could not keep away from the subject, and he
was never weary of hearing something more about it. This reverend Doctor
said, "If you are right, then all the great antiquaries are wrong." I
suggested that they had not had the advantage I possessed of placing
their various theories side by side, or of making their observations
from my point of view.

Notwithstanding all these external labours, which engrossed my earnest
and deep attention, I did not neglect my parish. I felt, however, that
my parishioners did not know anything about ecclesiastical antiquities
or architectural science; and that they knew nothing, and cared less,
about Church teaching. They did not believe, with me, that in order to
be saved hereafter, they ought to be in the Church, and receive the Holy
Communion--that there is no salvation out of the Church, and no Church
without a Bishop. They were utterly careless about these things and from
the first had been an unsympathetic and unteachable people. I feel sure
that had it not been for other interesting occupations which engaged my
mind, I should have been altogether discouraged with them.

I tried to stir them up to a zeal worthy of their ancestors, who were
such good and loyal Churchmen, that King Charles the First wrote them a
letter of Commendation, and commanded that it should be put up in all
the churches. I had a copy of this letter well painted, framed, and
placed in a conspicuous part of my church. Then I prepared an original
sermon, which I preached, or rather read, to inaugurate the royal

My text was taken from Heb. 12:22-24, "Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and
unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an
innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the
first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all,
and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator
of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh
better things than that of Abel." I applied these words to the Church of
England, and rather reproached the Cornish people for not being more
loyal and scriptural!

I think I was more roused by my sermon than any one else; and no one
asked me to print it, but I did for all that, with a copy of the king's
letter. I am sorry to say that the public did not care sufficiently
about it to buy copies enough even to pay for printing.

It fell very flat, but I attributed that to the degeneracy of the times,
and of Cornish people in particular. The fact was, they understood that
text far better than I did, and knew that "the Church of the first-born"
was something more spiritual than I had any conception of.

From the commencement of my ministry I did not, as a general rule,
preach my own sermons, but Newman's, which I abridged and simplified,
for in that day I thought them most sound in doctrine, practical and
full of good common sense. Indeed, as far as Church teaching went, they
were, to my mind, perfect. They stated doctrines and drew manifest
conclusions; but my people were not satisfied with them then; and I can
see now, thank God! that, with all their excellences, they were utterly
deficient in spiritual vitality.

Their author was one whom I personally admired very much, but by his own
showing, in his "Apologia." he was a man who was searching not for God,
but for a Church. At length, when he grasped the ideal of what a Church
ought to be, he tried by the Oxford Tracts, especially No. XC, to raise
the Church of England to his standard; and failing in that, he became
dissatisfied, and went over to the Church of Rome.

Once, when I arrived at a friend's house in the Lake district, I was
told that there was a most beautiful view of distant mountains to be
seen from my window. In the morning I lifted the blind to look, but only
saw an ordinary view of green fields, hedges, trees and a lake. There
was nothing else whatever to be seen. In the course of the day, a heavy
mist which had been hanging over the lake was dispersed, and then I saw
the beautiful mountains which before had been so completely veiled that
it was difficult to believe in their existence.

So it was with me. I could see ecclesiastical things, but the more
glorious view of spiritual realities beyond them, in all their full and
vast expanse, was as yet hidden.

Whether my extracts from Newman's Sermons were more pointed, or whether
I became more impatient with my congregation, I cannot tell, but it was
very evident that my words were beginning to take effect at last; for as
I went on preaching and protesting against the people and against
schism, my "bass viol" called on me one day, and said, "If you go on
preaching that doctrine, you will drive away the best part of your
congregation." "Excuse me," I answered, "not the best part; you mean the
worse part." "Well," ho said, "you will see."

On the following Sunday, I gave out my text, and had scarcely read three
pages of my manuscript when I heard a voice say, "Now we will go." With
this, the "bass viol," the other fiddles, the clarionet, the ophicleide,
and the choir, came stumping down the gallery stairs, and marched out.
Some of the congregation followed their example, with the determination
never to come back to the Church again. I waited till the noise was
over, and then went on with my sermon meekly, and thought myself a
martyr for Church principles.

I little thought that the people were being martyred; yet they were
right, and enlightened in the truth, while I was altogether in the dark,
and knew nothing about it. From this time there was a constant feud
between the parishioners and myself. I thought that they were
schismatics; and they knew that I was unconverted, and did not preach
the Gospel.

One day, a Dissenter called to pay a burial fee for the funeral of his
child, which he had purposely omitted paying at the proper time because
he wished to tell me a piece of his mind. I was absent on the occasion
on some architectural or archaeological business, which was to me all
important. "I know," he said, "why you went away and would not bury my
child." "Do you?" I asked. "Yes; it was because I am a Dissenter." "Oh!"
I said, "I would bury you all to-morrow if I could; for you are no good,
and can do none either."

This went round the parish like wildfire, and did not advance my
popularity or do my cause any good.

Seriously at this time I thought that separation from the Church of
England was a most deadly sin--it was schism. Idolatry and murder were
sins against the Mosaic law; but this was a sin against the Church. I
little dreamt then that many of the people with whom I thus contended,
and whom I grieved so much, were real spiritual members of Christ, and
had only ceased to be members of the Church of England because I did not
preach the Gospel; that, in fact, I was the cause of their leaving the
services; that I was the schismatic, for I was separated from Christ:
they only, and that for a good reason, had separated from the communion
of the Church of England, which I misrepresented.

The Church of England's teaching since the Reformation, like that of the
primitive Church, is based not on baptism, but conversion. Baptism was
intended according to the Lord's commandment (Matt 28:19), for the
purpose of making disciples*--that is, to graft members into the body of
Christ's Church outwardly. Whatever special grace is given to infants
and others at baptism, is given upon the condition of personal faith and
repentance. Until a baptized person has been enabled by the Holy Ghost
to repent and believe the Gospel, he is not really a new-born child of
God, or raised from death into life, though nominally, in the words of
the Catechism, he has "been made a child of God."


* See Greek

Since the feuds and dissensions in my parish, the church was almost
deserted, and left chiefly to myself, my clerk, and a few poor people,
who, for the most part, were in ill favour in the chapels.

One day I was absorbed in writing, or rather rewriting, a text over the
porch door of the church. It was, "This is none other but the house of
God, and this is the gate of heaven." A man who was standing at the foot
of the ladder said, "Heaven is a long way from that gate, I reckon." I
pretended not to hear him, but his speech stuck to me. I knew only too
well from this, and many other indications, that the people had no
respect for the church under my ministrations.


The New Parish, 1846.

About this time the news reached us that the Vicar was dead; and thus
ended my connection with Perranzabuloe. As the Dean and Chapter would
not appoint me to succeed, I had no alternative but to make arrangements
for my departure.

In one sense I was not sorry to go; but for various other reasons I much
regretted having to leave a place where my health had been so
wonderfully restored and sustained, and in which I had received so many
tokens of God's favour. It is true that my labours were of an external
character; but these I thought most important, and did them with all my
might as unto the Lord. I took the work as from Him, and did it all to
Him, and for Him, thanking Him for any token of success or commendation
which I received.

I also regretted leaving the place before I had done any good to the
people; for, with all my endeavours, I had not succeeded in persuading
them to receive my idea of salvation by churchmanship.

However, the door was shut behind me; and this crisis happened at the
exact time of another important event in my life. I was just engaged to
be married, and therefore had an additional interest in looking for a
sphere of labour which would suit me, and also the partner of my choice,
who was in every respect likely to be an effectual helpmeet This was
soon found and we agreed together to give ourselves to the Lord's work
(as we thought) in it.

One of the "Peel" districts in the neighbourhood of Truro, which I had
designed, called Baldhu, was on the Earl of Falmouth's estate: it came
to his Lordship's mind to take an interest in this desolate spot; so he
bought the patronage from the commissioners, and then offered it to me,
to Be made into a new parish. This I accepted, with many thanks, and
began immediately to dream about my plans for the future.

It was a time of great distress in that place amongst the tenants, on
account of the failure of the potato crop; so his lordship employed some
hundreds of the men in breaking up the barren croft for planting trees;
there he gave me a good central site for a church.

Now I made up my mind to have everything perfect, and with my own rules
and regulations, my surpliced choir, churchwardens, and frequent
services, all after my own heart, it could scarcely fall to be
otherwise. I thought that having free scope, mine should be a model
place. The district was in a barren part of a large palish; three
thousand souls had been assigned to me; and I was to go and civilize
them, build my church, school-house, and, indeed, establish everything
that was necessary.

To begin with, I took a room which was used for a village school in the
week, and for a service on Sunday. This succeeded so well, that in a few
months I determined to enlarge the building in which we assembled, as
speedily as possible. Having made all necessary plans, and procured
stones, timber, and slate, we commenced operations at five o'clock one
Monday morning, and by Saturday night had a chancel (which I thought
most necessary) ready for Sunday use!

All the world came to see this sudden erection. This temporary church
now held three hundred people; and with the addition of a new choir and
hearty service, it was a great success, or, at least, so I imagined, for
in those days I did not look for more.

I entered upon my work here with renewed energy and sanguine hope. I
had, of course, gained more experience in the various duties of my
ministry, and had, moreover, a clearer perception, as I thought, how
sacramental teaching, under the authority of the Church, ought to work.
I preached on holy living, not conversion, for as yet I knew nothing
about the latter.

In 1847, I went on a visit to a very remarkable man, who had a great
effect upon me in many ways. He was the Rev. Robert Hawker, of
Morwenstow, in the extreme north of Cornwall.*


* See his "LIFE," by Rev. Baring Gould.

This friend was a poet, and a High Churchman, from whom I learned many
practical lessons. He was a man who prayed, and expected an answer; he
had a wonderful perception for realizing unseen things, and took
Scripture literally, with startling effect. He certainly was most
eccentric in many of his ways; but there was a reality and
straightforwardness about him which charmed me very much; and I was the
more drawn to him, from the interest he took in me and my work.

He knew many legends of holy men of old, and said that the patron saints
of West Cornwall were in the calendar of the Eastern Church, and those
in the north of Cornwall belonged to the Western. His own patron saint,
Morwenna, was a Saxon, and his church a Saxon fane. He talked of these
saints as if he knew all about them, and wrote of them in a volume of
poems thus:--

"They had their lodges in the wilderness,
And built them cells along the shadowy sea;
And there they dwelt with angels like a dream,
And filled the field of the evangelists
With thoughts as sweet as flowers."

He used to give most thrilling and grand descriptions of the storms of
the Atlantic, which broke upon the rocky coast with gigantic force, and
tell thrilling stories of shipwrecks; how he saved the lives of some of
the sailors, and how he recovered the bodies of others he could not
save. Then in the churchyard he would show you--there, a broken boat
turned over the resting-place of some; here, two oars set up crosswise
over several others; and in another part the figure-head of a ship, to
mark the spot where the body of a captain was buried.

The Vicarage house was as original as himself. Over the door was

"A house, a glebe, a pound a day;
A pleasant place to watch and pray.
Be true to Church, be kind to poor,
O minister, for evermore!"

The interior was furnished with old-fashioned heavy furniture and the
outside was conspicuous for its remarkable chimneys, which were finished
off as models of the towers of churches where he had served. The kitchen
chimney, which was oblong, perplexed him very much, till (as he said) "I
bethought me of my mother's tomb; and there it is, in its exact shape
and dimensions!"

He had daily service in his church, generally by himself, when he prayed
for the people. "I did not want them there." he said. "God hears me; and
they know when I am praying for them, for I ring the bell."

He had much influence in his parish, chiefly amongst the poor, and
declared that his people did whatever he told them. They used to bring a
bunch of flowers or evergreens every Sunday morning, and set them up in
their pew ends, where a proper place was made to hold them. The whole
church was seated with carved oak benches, which he had bought from time
to time from other churches, when they were re-pewed with "deal boxes!"

On the Sunday, I was asked to help him in the service, and for this
purpose was arrayed in an alb, plain, which was just like a cassock in
white linen. As I walked about in this garb, I asked a friend, "How do
you like it?" In an instant I was pounced upon, and grasped sternly on
the arm by the Vicar. "'Like' has nothing to do with it; is it right?"
He himself wore over his alb a chasuble, which was amber on one side and
green on the other, and was turned to suit the Church seasons; also a
pair of crimson-colored gloves, which, he contended, were the proper
sacrificial colour for a priest.

I had very little to do in the service but to witness his proceedings,
which I observed with great attention, and even admiration. His
preaching struck me very much; he used to select the subject of his
sermon from the Gospel of the day all through the year. This happened to
be "Good Samaritan Sunday," so we had a discourse upon the "certain man
who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho," in which he told us that "the
poor wounded man was Adam's race; the priest who went by was the
Patriarchal dispensation; the Levite, the Mosaic; and the good Samaritan
represented Christ; the inn was the Church; and the twopence, the

He held his manuscript before his face, and read it out boldly, because
he "hated," as he said, "those fellows who read their sermons, and all
the time pretend to preach them;" and he especially abhorred those who
secreted notes in their Bibles: "Either have a book, sir, or none!"

He had a great aversion to Low Church clergymen, and told me that his
stag Robin, who ranged on the lawn, had the same; and that once he
pinned one of them to the ground between his horns. The poor man cried
out in great fear; so he told Robin to let him go, which he did, but
stood and looked at the obnoxious individual as if he would like to have
him down again and frighten him, though he would not hurt him--"Robin
was kind-hearted."

"This Evangelical," he continued, "had a tail coat; he was dressed like
an undertaker, sir. Once upon a time there was one like him travelling
in Egypt, with a similar coat and a tall hat; and the Arabs pursued him,
calling him the 'father of saucepans, with a slit tail.'" This part of
his speech was evidently meant for me, for I wore a hat and coat of this
description, finding it more convenient for the saddle, and for dining
out when I alighted.

He persuaded me to wear a priestly garb like his, and gave me one of his
old cassocks for a pattern; this I succeeded in getting made to my
satisfaction, after considerable difficulty.

I came back to my work full of new thoughts and plans, determined to do
what was "right" and this in spite of all fears, whether my own, or
those of others.

I now began to think more of the reality of prayer, and of the meaning
of the services of the Church; I emphasized my words, and insisted upon
proper teaching. I also paid more attention to my sermons, having
hitherto disregarded them; for, as I said, "the Druids never preached;
they only worshipped."

I help up my manuscript and read my sermon, like Mr. Hawker; and I wore
a square cap and cassock, instead of the "saucepan" and the "tails."
This costume I continued to wear for several years, though I was
frequently laughed at, and often pursued by boys, which was not
agreeable to flesh and blood; but it helped to separate me from the
world, and to make me feel that I was set apart as a priest to offer
sacrifice for the people.

In course of time I began to make preparations for my permanent church.
I drew the designs for it, passed them, and obtained money enough to
begin to build. There was a grand ceremony at the stone-laying, and a
long procession. We had banners, chanting, and a number of surpliced
clergy, besides a large congregation.

The Earl of Falmouth, who laid the stone, contributed a thousand pounds
towards the edifice; his mother gave three hundred pounds for a peal of
bells; and others of the gentry who were present contributed; so that
upwards of eighteen hundred pounds was promised that day. Just twelve
months after, July 20, 1848, the same company, with many others, and the
Bishop of Exeter (Phillpotts) came to consecrate the "beautiful church."

In the meantime, between the stone-laying and the consecration, the
Parsonage house had been built, and, more than that, it was even
papered, furnished, and inhabited! Besides all this, there was a garden
made, and a doorway, after an ecclesiastical mode, leading into the
churchyard, with this inscription over it:--

"Be true to Church,
Be kind to poor,
O minister, for evermore."

In this church there were super-altars, candles, triptych, and also a
painted window; organ, choir, and six bells; so that for those days it
was considered a very complete thing. "The priest of Baldhu," with his
cassock and square cap, was quite a character in his small way. He
preached in a surplice, of course, and propounded Church tactics, firmly
contending for the Church teaching. The Wesleyans and others had their
distinctive tenets, the Church must have hers: they had their members
enrolled, the Church must have hers; therefore he would have a "guild,"
with the view of keeping his people together. Outwardly there was an
esprit de corps, and the parishioners came to church, and took an
interest in the proceedings; but it was easy to see that their hearts
were elsewhere. Still I went on, hoping against hope, "building from the
top" without any foundation, teaching people to live before they were


The Awakening, 1848-51.

He more earnestly I wrought among the people, and the better I knew
them, the more I saw that the mere attachment to the Church, and
punctual attendance at the services or frequency of Communion, was not
sufficient. I wanted something deeper. I wanted to reach their hearts in
order to do them good.

Whether this desire sprang up in the ordinary progress by which God was
imperceptibly leading me, or from a story I heard at a clerical meeting,
I know not--perhaps from both. My mind was evidently as ground prepared
to receive the warning. The story was about a dream a clergyman had. He
thought the Judgment day was come, and that there was, as it were, a
great visitation--greater than the Bishop's. The clergy were mustering,
and appeared in their gowns, but instead of being alone, they had part
of their congregations with them. Some had a few followers, others had
more, and some a great many; and ail these received a gracious smile
from the Judge when their names were called. The clergyman who dreamed
was waiting, as he supposed, with a large number of people at his back
When his turn came he went forward; but, as he approached, he saw that
the Judge's countenance was sad and dark. In a sudden impulse of
suspicion he looked back; and lo! there was no one behind him. He
stopped, not daring to go any further, and turning to look at the Judge,
saw that His countenance was full of wrath. This dream had such an
effect upon him that he began to attend to his parish and care for the
souls of his people.

I also was beginning to see that I ought to care for the souls of my
people-at least, as much as I did for the services Of the Church. As a
priest, I had the power (so I thought) to give them absolution; and yet
none, alas! availed themselves of the opportunity. How could they have
forgiveness if they did not come to me? This absolution I believed to be
needful before coming to Holy Communion, and that it was, indeed, the
true preparation for that sacred ordinance. I used to speak privately to
the members of the Church Guild about this, and persuaded some of them
to come to me for confession and absolution: but I was restless, and
felt that I was doing good by stealth. Besides this, those whom I thus
absolved were not satisfied, for they said they could not rejoice in the
forgiveness of their sins as the Methodists did, or say that they were
pardoned. In this respect I was working upon most tender ground, but I
did not know what else to do.

I used to spend hours and hours in my church alone in meditation and
prayer; and, while thinking, employed my hands in writing texts over the
windows and on the walls, and in painting ornamental borders above the
arches. I remember writing over the chancel arch, with much interest and
exultation, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our
God, and the power of His Christ." (Rev. 12:10).

I imagined, in my sanguine hope, that the kingdom of Christ was come,
and that the "accuser of the brethren" was cast down. I thought I saw,
in the power of Christ given to His priests, such victory that nothing
could stand against it. So much for dwelling on a theory, right or
wrong, till it fills the mind. Yet I cannot say that all this was
without prayer. I did wait upon God, and thought my answers were from
Him; but I see now that I went to the Lord with an idol in my heart, and
that He answered me according to it (Ezek. 14:3).

One day I saw a picture in a friend's house which attracted me during
the time I was waiting for him. It was nothing artistic, nor was it over
well drawn, but still it engaged my attention in a way for which I could
not account. When my friend came down we talked about other things; but
even after I left the house this picture haunted me. At night I lay
awake thinking about it--so much so, that I rose early the next morning,
and went to a bookseller's shop, where I bought a large sheet of
tracing-paper and pencil, and sent them out by the postman, with a note
to my friend, begging him to give me a tracing of the picture in

I had to wait for more than a fortnight before it arrived, and then how
great was my joy! I remember spreading a white cloth on my table, and
opening out the tracing-paper upon it; and there was the veritable
picture of the Good Shepherd! His countenance was loving and kind. With
one hand He was pushing aside the branch of a tree, though a great thorn
went right through it; and with the other He was extricating a sheep
which was entangled in the thorns. The poor thing was looking up in
helplessness, all spotted over with marks of its own blood, for it was
wounded in struggling to escape. Another thing which struck me in this
picture was that the tree was growing on the edge of a precipice, and
had it not been for it (the tree), with all the cruel wounds it
inflicted, the sheep would have gone over and perished.

After considering this picture for a long time, I painted it in a larger
size on the wall of my church, just opposite the entrance door, so that
every one who came in might see it. I cannot describe the interest with
which I employed myself about this work; and when it was done, finding
that it wanted a good bold foreground, I selected a short text-"He came
to seek and to save that which was lost."

God was speaking to me all this time about the Good Shepherd who gave
His life for me; but I did not hear Him, or suspect that I was lost, or
caught in any thorns, or hanging over a precipice; therefore, I did not
apply the subject to myself. Certainly, I remember that my thoughts
dwelt very much on forgiveness and salvation, but I preached that these
were to be had in and by the Church, which was as the Ark in which Noah
was saved. Baptism was the door of this Ark, and Holy Communion the
token of abiding in it; and all who were not inside were lost. What
would become of those outside the Church was a matter which greatly
perplexed me. I could not dare to say they would be lost forever; but
where could they be now? and what would become of them hereafter? I
longed to save John Bunyan; but he was such a determined schismatic that
it was impossible to make out a hope for him! Sometimes I was cheered by
the thought that he had been duly baptized in infancy, and that his
after-life was one of ignorance; but this opened the door too wide, and
made my theory of salvation by the Church a very vague and uncertain
thing. So deeply was the thought ingrained in my mind that one day I
baptized myself conditionally in the Church, for fear that I had not
been properly baptized in infancy, and consequently should be lost
hereafter. I had no idea that I was lost now; far from that, I thought I
was as safe as the Church herself, and that the gates of hell could not
prevail against me.

I had many conversations with the earnest people in my parish, but they
were evidently resting, not where I was, but on something I did not
know. One very happy woman told me, "Ah! you went to college to larn the
Latin; but though I don't know a letter in the Book, yet I can read my
title clear to mansions in the skies." Another woman, whenever I went to
see her, made me read the story of her conversion, which was written out
in a copy-book. Several other, men and women, talked to me continually
about their "conversion." I often wondered what that was; but, as I did
not see much self-denial among these converted ones, and observed that
they did not attend God's House nor ever come to the Lord's table. I
thought conversion could not be of much consequence, or anything to be

I little knew that I was the cause of their remaining away from church,
and from the Lord's table. One thoughtful man told me, "Cornish people
are too enlightened to go to church! A man must give up religion to go
there; only unconverted people and backsliders go to such a place!" Yet
this was a prayerful man. What did he mean? At various clerical meetings
I used to repeat these things, but still obtained no information or

I made it a rule to visit every house in my parish once a week, taking
from twelve to twenty each day, when I sought to enlighten the people by
leaving Church tracts, and even wrote some myself; but they would not
do. I found that the Religious Tract Society's publications were more
acceptable. To my great disappointment, I discovered too, that
Evangelical sermons drew the people, while sacramental topics did not
interest them. So, in my ardent desire to reach and do them good, I
procured several volumes of Evangelical sermons, and copied them,
putting in sometimes a negative to their statements, to make them, as I
thought, right.

Now I began to see and feel that there was some good in preaching, and
used the pulpit intentionally, in order to communicate with my people,
carefully writing or compiling my sermons. But I must confess that I was
very nervous in my delivery, and frequently lost my place--sometimes
even myself; and this to the great confusion of the congregation.

I will tell how it pleased the Lord to deliver me from this bondage of
nervousness, and enable me to open my lips so as to plainly speak out my

One day, a friend with whom I was staying was very late in coming down
to breakfast; so, while I was waiting, I employed myself in reading the
"Life of Bishop Shirley," of Sodor and Man. My eyes happened to fall on
a passage, describing a difficulty into which he fell by losing his
sermon on his way to a country church. When the prayers were over, and
the psalm was nearly sung, he put his hand into his pocket for his
manuscript, and, to his dismay, it was gone. There was no time to
continue his search; so he gave out a text, and preached, as he said, in
dependence upon God, and never wrote a sermon afterwards.

When my friend came to breakfast, he asked me what I had been doing all
the morning. I told him. "Ah!" he said, quietly. "Why do you not preach
in dependence upon God and go without a book like that good man? .... I
preach like that!" I said in amazement, terrified at the very thought.
"Yes." he answered, mischievously, "You. Who needs to depend upon God
for this more than you do?" Seeing that I was perturbed at his
suggestion, he went on teasing me all breakfast time, and at last said,
"Well, what is your decision? Do you mean to preach in future in
dependence upon God?" I said, "Yes; I have made up my mind to begin next
Sunday." Now it was his turn to be terrified, and he did all he could to
dissuade me, saying, "You will make a fool of yourself!" "No fear of
that," I replied; "I do it already; I cannot be worse. No; I will begin
next Sunday!"

I came back with the determination to keep my promise, but must confess
that I grew more and more uneasy as the time approached. However, on
Sunday, I went up into the pulpit, and spoke as well as I could, without
any notes, and found it far easier than I had feared. In the evening it
was still easier; and so I continued, week by week, gaining more
confidence, and have never written a sermon since that day--that is, to
preach it. Once I was tempted to take a book up into the pulpit, feeling
I had nothing to say, when something said to me, "Is that the way you
depend upon God?" Immediately I put the volume on the floor, and
standing on it, gave out my text, and preached without hesitation. This
going forward in dependence upon God has been a deliverance to me from
many a difficulty besides this one, and that through many years.

One day I went, in my cassock and cap, to the shop of a man whom I
regarded as a dreadful schismatic. He sold the publications of the
Religious Tract Society. On entering, he appeared greatly pleased to see
me, and took unusual interest and pains in selecting tracts, giving me a
double portion for my money. His kindness was very embarrassing; and
when, on leaving, he followed me to the door, and said "God bless you!"
it gave me a great turn. A schismatic blessing a priest! This, indeed,
was an anomaly. I was ashamed to be seen coming out of the shop, and the
more so, because I had this large Evangelical parcel in my hand, I felt
as though everybody was looking at me. However, the tracts were very
acceptable at home, and in the parish. I even began to think there was
something good in them. So I cent for more.

Three men, one after another, told me that they had been converted
through reading them. One of these said that "the tract I had given him
ought to be written in letters of gold;" and a few months after this
same man died most happily, rejoicing in the Lord, and leaving a bright
testimony behind. I mentioned the conversion of these three men to many
of my friends, and asked them for some explanation, but got none. Still,
the thought continually haunted me---What can this "conversion" be?

I had made it a custom to pray about what I had to do, and anything I
could not understand; therefore I prayed about this. Just then (I
believe, in answer to prayer) a friend offered to lend me Southey's
"Life of Wesley," and said, "You will find it all about conversion;" and
a few days after came a tract, "John Berridge's Great Error Detected."
This tract was carefully marked in pencil, and had several questions
written in the margin. I found out that it came from a person to whom I
had given it, and who was anxious to know its meaning.

I read it with much interest, for I saw that the first portion of the
history of Berridge corresponded with mine; but as I went on reading, I
wondered what he could mean by "Justification." What was that wonderful
thing which God did for him and for the souls of his people? What could
he mean by having his eyes opened to see himself a wretched, lost man?
What was "seeing the way of salvation"? He said that he had preached for
six years, and never brought a single soul to Christ; and for two years
more in another place, and had no success; but now, when he preached
Christ instead of the Church, people came from all parts, far and near,
to hear the sound of the glorious Gospel; and believers were added to
the Church continually. I grappled with this subject; but I could not,
by searching, find out anything, for I was in the dark, and knew not as
yet that I was blind, and needed the power of the Holy Spirit to awaken
and bring me to see myself a lost sinner. My soul was now all a stir on
this subject; but, as far as I can remember, I wanted the
information-not for myself; but because I thought I should then get hold
of the secret by which the Wesleyans and others caught and kept their
people, or rather my people.

Soon after, my gardener, a good Churchman, and duly despised by his
neighbours for attaching himself to me and my teaching, fell seriously
ill. I sent him at once to the doctor, who pronounced him to be in a
miner's consumption, and gave no hope of his recovery. No sooner did he
realize his position, and see eternity before him, than all the Church
teaching I had given him failed to console or satisfy, and his heart
sank within him at the near prospect of death. In his distress of mind,
he did not send for me to come and pray with him, but actually sent for
a converted man, who lived in the next row of cottages. This man,
instead of building him up as I had done, went to work in the opposite
direction-to break him down; that was, to show my servant that he was a
lost sinner, and needed to come to Jesus just as he was, for pardon and
salvation. He was brought under deep conviction of sin, and eventually
found peace through the precious blood of Jesus.

Immediately it spread all over the parish that "the parson's servant was
converted." The news soon reached me, but, instead of giving joy,
brought the most bitter disappointment and sorrow to my heart. Such was
the profound ignorance I was in!

The poor man sent for me several times, but I could not make up my mind
to go near him. I felt far too much hurt to think that after all I had
taught him against schism, he should fall into so great an error.
However, he sent again and again, till at last his entreaties prevailed,
and I went. Instead of lying on his bed, a dying man, as I expected to
find him, he was walking about the room in a most joyful and ecstatic
state. "Oh, dear master!" he exclaimed, "I am so glad you are come! I am
so happy! My soul is saved, glory be to God!" "Come, John," I said, "sit
down and be quiet, and I will have a talk with you, and tell you what I
think." But John knew my thoughts quite well enough, so he burst out,
"Oh master! I am sure you do not know about this, or you would have told
me. I am quite sure you love me, and I love you--that I do! but, dear
master, you do not know this--I am praying for the Lord to show it to
you. I mean to pray till I die, and after that if I can, till you are
converted." He looked at me so lovingly, and seemed so truly happy, that
it was more than I could stand. Almost involuntarily, I made for the
door, and escaped before he could stop me.

I went home greatly disturbed in my mind--altogether disappointed and
disgusted with my work among these Cornish people. "It is no use; they
never will be Churchmen!" I was as hopeless and miserable as I could be.
I felt that my superior teaching and practice had failed, and that the
inferior and, as I believed, unscriptural dogmas had prevailed. My
favourite and most promising Churchman had fallen, and was happy in his
fall; more than that, he was actually praying that I might fall too!

I felt very jealous for the Church, and therefore felt deeply the
conversion of my gardener. Like the elder brother of the Prodigal Son, I
was grieved, and even angry, because he was restored to favour and joy.
The remonstrance of the father prevailed nothing to mollify his
feelings; in like manner, nothing seemed to give me any rest in this
crisis of my parochial work. I thought I would give up my parish and
church, and go and work in some more congenial soil; or else that I
would preach a set of sermons on the subject of schism, for perhaps I
had not sufficiently taught my people the danger of this great sin!

Every parishioner I passed seemed to look at me as if he said, "So much
for your teaching! You will never convince us!"


Conversion, 1851.

This was a time of great disappointment and discouragement. Everything
had turned out so different to the expectation I had formed and
cherished on first coming to this place. I was then full of hope and
intended to carry all before me with great success, and I thought I did;
but, alas! there was a mistake somewhere, something was wrong.

In those days, when I was building my new church, and talking about the
tower and spire we were going to erect, an elderly Christian lady who
was sitting in her wheel-chair, calmly listening to our conversation,
said, "Will you begin to build your spire from the top?"* It was a
strange question, but she evidently meant something, and looked for an
answer. I gave it, saying, "No, madam, not from the top, but from the
foundation." She replied, "That is right--that is right," and went on
with her knitting.


  * See Tract, "Building from the Top," by Rev. W. Haslam

This question was not asked in jest or in ignorance; it was like a
riddle. What did she mean? In a few years this lady passed away, but her
enigmatic words remained. No doubt she thought to herself that I was
beginning at the wrong end, while I went on talking of the choir, organ,
happy worship, and all the things that we were going to attempt in the
new church; that I was aiming at sanctification, without justification;
intending to teach people to be holy before they were saved and
pardoned. This is exactly what I was doing. I had planted the boards of
my tabernacle of worship, not in silver sockets (the silver of which had
been paid for redemption), but in the sand of the wilderness. In other
words, I was teaching people to worship God, who is a Spirit, not for
love of Him who gave His Son to die for them, but in the fervour and
enthusiasm of human nature. My superstructure was built on sand; and
hence the continual disappointment, and that last discouraging
overthrow. No wonder that my life was a failure, and my labours
ineffectual, inasmuch as my efforts were not put forth in faith. My work
was not done as a thank-offering, but rather as a meritorious effort to
obtain favour from God.

Repentance towards God, however earnest and sincere, without faith
towards our Lord Jesus Christ, is not complete or satisfying. There may
be a change of mind and will, producing a change of actions, which are
done in order to pacify conscience, and to obtain God's favour in
return; but this is not enough. It is like preparing the Found without
sowing seed, and then being disappointed that there is no harvest. A
garden is not complete or successful unless the Found has been properly
prepared, nor unless flourishing plants are growing in it.

Repentance with Faith, the two together, constitute the fullness of
God's religion. We have to believe, not in the fact that we have given
ourselves--we know this in our own consciousness--but in the fact that
God, who is more willing to take than we to give, has accepted us. We
rejoice and work, not as persons who have surrendered ourselves to God,
but out of loving gratitude, as those who have been changed by Him to
this end.

I will go on now to tell how I was brought at this critical period of my
life to real faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. This was done in a way
I knew not, and moreover, in a way I little expected. I had promised a
visit to Mr. Aitken, of Pendeen, to advise him about his church, which
was then building; and now, in order to divert my thoughts, I made up my
mind to go to him at once. Soon after my arrival, as we were seated
comfortably by the fire, he asked me (as he very commonly did) how the
parish prospered. He said, "I often take shame to myself when I think of
all your work. But, my brother, are you satisfied?"

I said, "No, I am not satisfied."*

"Why not?"

"Because I am making a rope of sand, which looks very well till I pull,
and then, when I expect it to hold, it gives way."

"What do you mean?"

"Why," I replied, "these Cornish people are ingrained schismatics."

I then told him of my gardener's conversion, and my great

"Well," he said, "if I were taken ill, I certainly would not send for
you. I am sure you could not do me any good, for you are not converted

"Not converted!" I exclaimed. "How can you tell?"

He said, quietly, "I am sure of it, or you would not have come here to
complain of your gardener. If you had been converted, you would have
remained at home to rejoice with him. It is very clear you are not


* See Tract, "Are You Satisfied?" by Rev. W. Haslam.

I was vexed with him for saying that, and attempted to dispute the
point; but he was calm and confident; while I, on the other hand, was
uneasy, and trying to justify myself.

In the course of our conversation, he said, "You do not seem to know the
difference between the natural conscience and the work of the Spirit."
Here he had me, for I only knew of one thing, and he referred to two.
However, we battled on till nearly two o'clock in the morning, and then
he showed me to my bed-room. Pointing to the bed, he said (in a voice
full of meaning), "Ah! a very holy man of God died there a short time
since." This did not add to my comfort or induce sleep, for I was
already much disturbed by the conversation we had had, and did not enjoy
the idea of going to bed and sleeping where one had so lately died--even
though he was a holy man. Resolving to sit up, I looked round the room,
and seeing some books on the table, took up one, which happened to be
Hare's "Mission of the Comforter." Almost the first page I glanced at
told the difference between the natural conscience and the work of the
Spirit. This I read and re-read till I understood its meaning.

The next morning as soon as breakfast was finished, I resumed the
conversation of the previous night with the additional light I had
gained on the subject. We had not talked long before Mr. Aitken said,
"Ah, my brother, you have changed your ground since last night!"

I at once confessed that I had been reading Hare's book, which he did
not know was in my room, nor even in the house. He was curious to see

He then challenged me on another point, and said, "Have you peace with
God?" I answered, without hesitation, "Yes,"---for, for eight years or
more I had regarded God as my Friend. Mr. A. went on to ask me, "How did
you get peace?" "Oh," I said, "I have it continually. I get it at the
Daily Service, I get it through prayer and reading, and especially at
the Holy Communion. I have made it a rule to carry my sins there every
Sunday, and have often come away from that holy sacrament feeling as
happy and free as a bird." My friend looked surprised, but did not
dispute this part of my experience. He contented himself by asking me
quietly, "And how long does your peace last?" This question made me
think. I said, "I suppose, not a week, for I have to do the same thing
every Sunday." He replied, "I thought so." Opening the Bible, he found
the fourth chapter of St. John, and read, "'Whosoever drinketh of this
water shall thirst again.' The woman of Samaria drew water for herself
at Jacob's well, and quenched her thirst; but she had to come again and
again to the same well. She had no idea of getting water, except by
drawing, any more than you have of getting peace excepting through the
means you use. The Lord said to her, 'If thou knewest the gift of God,
and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have
asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water,' which would be
'a well of water springing up into everlasting life'" (John 4:10-14). My
friend pointed out the difference between getting water by drawing from
a well, and having a living well within you springing up.

I said, "I never heard of such a thing."

"I suppose not," he answered.

"Have you this living water?" I continued.

"Yes, thank God, I have had it for the last thirty years."

"How did you get it?"

"Look here," he said, pointing to the tenth verse: "You wouldest have
asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water." "Shall we ask
Him?" I said.

He answered, "With all my heart;" and immediately pushing back his
chair, knelt down at his round table, and I knelt on the opposite side.
What he prayed for I do not know. I was completely overcome, and melted
to tears. I sat down on the ground, sobbing, while he shouted aloud,
praising God.

As soon as I could get up, I made for the door, and taking my hat, coat,
and umbrella, said that "I was really afraid to stay any longer." With
this I took my departure, leaving my carpet-bag behind. It was seven
miles to Penzance, but in my excitement I walked and ran all the way,
and arrived there before the coach, which was to have called for me, but
brought my carpet-bag instead. In the meantime, while I was waiting for
it, I saw a pamphlet, by Mr. Aitken, in a shop window, which I bought,
and got into the train to return to Baldhu. My mind was in such a
distracted state, that I sought relief in reading. I had not long been
doing so, when I came to a paragraph in italics: "Then shall He say unto
them, Depart from Me; I never knew you." The question arrested me, "What
if He says that to you? Ah, that is not likely. But, what if He does? It
cannot be. I have given up the world; I love God; I visit the sick; I
have daily service and weekly communion. But, what if He does?--what if
He does? I could not bear the thought; it seemed to overwhelm me."

As I read the pamphlet, I saw that the words were spoken to persons who
were taken by surprise. So should I be. They were able to say, "We have
eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou has taught in our streets: in
Thy name we have cast out devils, and done many wonderful works." Yet,
with all this, He replied, "Depart from Me, I never knew you." I did not
see how I could escape, if such men as these were to be rejected.

Conviction was laying hold upon me, and the circle was becoming
narrower. The thought pressed heavily upon me, "What a dreadful thing,
if I am wrong!" Added to this, I trembled to think of those I had
misled. "Can it be true? Is it so?" I remembered some I had watched over
most zealously, lest the Dissenters should come and pray with them. I
had sent them out of the world resting upon a false hope, administering
the sacrament to them for want of knowing any other way of bringing them
into God's favour. I used to grieve over any parishioner who died
without the last sacrament, and often wondered how it would fare with

My mind was in a revolution. I do not remember how I got home. I felt as
if I were out on the dark, boundless ocean, without light, or oar, or
rudder. I endured the greatest agony of mind for the souls I had misled,
though I had done it ignorantly. "They are gone, and lost forever!" I
justly deserved to go also. My distress seemed greater than I could
bear. A tremendous storm of wind, rain and thunder, which was raining at
the time, was quite in sympathy with my feelings. I could not rest.
Looking at the graves of some of my faithful Churchmen, I wondered, "Is
it really true that they are now cursing me for having misled them?"

Thursday. Friday, and Saturday passed by, each day and night more dark
and despairing than the preceding one. On the Sunday, I was so ill that
I was quite unfit to take the service. Mr. Aitken had said to me, "If I
were you, I would shut the church, and say to the congregation, 'I will
not preach again till I am converted. Pray for me!'" Shall I do this?

The sun was shining brightly, and before I could make up my mind to put
off the service, the bells struck out a merry peal, and sent their
summons far away over the hills. Now the thought came to me that I would
go to church and read the morning prayers and after that dismiss the
people. There was no preparation for the Holy Communion that day, and I
had deputed the clerk to select the hymns, for I was far too ill to
attend to anything myself. The psalms and hymns were especially
applicable to my case, and seemed to help me, so that I thought I would
go on and read the ante-communion service, and then dismiss the people.
And while I was reading the Gospel, I thought, well, I will just say a
few words in explanation of this, and then I will dismiss them. So I
went up into the pulpit and gave out my text. I took it from the gospel
of the day--"What think ye of Christ?" (Matt. 22:42).

As I went on to explain the passage, I saw that the Pharisees and
scribes did not know that Christ was the Son of God, or that He was come
to save them. They were looking for a king, the son of David, to reign
over them as they were. Something was telling me, all the time, "You are
no better than the Pharisees yourself-you do not believe that He is the
Son of God, and that He is come to save you, any more than they did." I
do not remember all I said, but I felt a wonderful light and joy coming
into my soul, and I was beginning to see what the Pharisees did not.
Whether it was something in my words, or my manner, or my look, I know
not; but all of a sudden a local preacher, who happened to be in the
congregation, stood up, and putting up his arms, shouted out in a
Cornish manner, "The parson is converted! The parson is converted!
Hallelujah!" and in another moment his voice was lost in the shouts and
praises of three or four hundred of the congregation. Instead of
rebuking this extraordinary "brawling," as I should have done in a
former time, I joined in the outburst of praise; and to make it more
orderly, I gave out the Doxology--"Praise God, from whom all blessings
flow"--and the people sang it with heart and voice, over and over again.
My Churchmen were dismayed, and many of them fled precipitately from the
place. Still the voice of praise went on, and was swelled by numbers of
passers-by, who came into the church, greatly surprised to hear and see
what was going on.

When this subsided, I found at least twenty people crying for mercy,
whose voices had not been heard in the excitement and noise of
thanksgiving. They all professed to find peace and joy in believing.
Amongst this number there were three from my own house; and we returned
home praising God.

The news spread in all directions that "the parson was converted," and
that by his own sermon, in his own pulpit to. The church would not hold
the crowds who came in the evening. I cannot exactly remember what I
preached about on that occasion; but one thing I said was, "that if I
had died last week I should have been lost for ever." I felt it was
true. So clear and vivid was the conviction through which I had passed,
and so distinct was the light into which the Lord had brought me, that I
knew and was sure that He had "brought me up out of an horrible pit, out
of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a Rock, and put a new song into
my mouth" (Ps. 40). He had "quickened" me, who was before "dead in
trespasses and sins," (Eph. 2:1).

I felt sure, as I said, that if I had died last week I should have been
lost for ever. This was a startling and an alarming word to many of my
earnest people, who said, "What then will become of us?" I replied, "You
will be lost for a certainty if you do not give your hearts to God."

At the end of this great and eventful day of my life--my spiritual
birthday, on which I passed from death to life by being "born from
above"--I could scarcely sleep for joy. I awoke early the next morning,
with the impression on my mind that I must get up and go to a village a
mile off to tell James B---- of my conversion. He was a good and holy
man, who had often spoken to me about my soul; and had been praying for
three years or more on my behalf.

I had scarcely gone half-way before I met him coming towards me: he
seemed as much surprised to see me as I was to meet him. He looked at me
in a strange way, and then, leaning his back against a stone fence, he
said, "Are you converted?"

"Why do you ask me?" I replied. "I am just on my way to your house, to
tell you the good news--that I have found peace. My soul is saved."

The dear man said, "Thank God!" and it came from the very depths of his
heart. Shedding tears of joy, he went on to say, 'This night I woke up
thinking of you; you were so strongly in my mind, that I got up and
began to pray for you; but I could not 'get hold;' I wrestled and cried
aloud, but it was all of no avail; I begged the Lord not to give you up;
but it seemed I could not pray. After trying for more than two hours, it
came to my mind that perhaps you were converted. This thought made me so
happy, that I began to praise the Lord; and then I had liberty, and
shouted so loud that it roused up the whole house, and they came rushing
into my room to know what ever was the matter with me. 'I am praising
God,' I said; 'praising God--the parson is converted!--I feel sure he
is. Glory be to God! Glory be to God!' They said, 'You must be dreaming;
you had better lie down again, and be quiet.' But it was of no use, I
could not sleep; and so soon as the light began to break, I dressed
myself, and have come out to see whether it is true,"

"Yes," I said, "it is true; the Lord has saved my soul; I am happy!" I
thanked him then and there for all the help he had been, and for the
patience he had so long exercised towards me. We spent a happy time
together, thanking and praising God, and then he returned home to tell
his friends and neighbours the news.

After breakfast a visitor arrived, who was on an errand of quite another
kind. The report had by this time spread far and wide, that I was
converted in my own pulpit, and by means of my own sermon; also, that I
had said, "If I had died last week, I should have been lost for ever!"
My friend having heard this, immediately mounted his horse and rode over
to see me about it. He at once put the question, "Did you say, last
night, in your pulpit, that you were saved; and that if you had died
last week you would have been lost for ever?" I answered, "Yes, indeed,
I did; and I meant it." He looked quite bewildered, and stood for a long
time arguing with me; then taking a chair he sat down, and began to
sympathize and pity me, saying how grieved he was, for he could see
madness in my eyes. He tried to divert my thoughts, and begged that I
would go out for a ride with him. Seeing that he made no impression by
his various arguments, and that he could not prevail upon me to recall
my words, he ordered his horse; but before mounting he said, "I cannot
agree with you, and will oppose you as hard as I can."

"Very well," I replied; "but let us shake hands over it: there is no
need that we should be angry with one another."

Then mounting, he started off, and had not gone more than a few yards,
when, suddenly pulling up, he turned, and placing his hand on the back
of his horse, called out, "Haslam, God stop the man who is wrong!" I
answered, "Amen," and off he trotted.

On the Friday following he broke a blood-vessel in his throat or chest,
and has never preached since. His life was in danger for Several weeks,
though in course of time he recovered, but I have heard that he has
never been able to speak above a whisper. God has most undoubtedly
stopped him; while He has permitted me to preach for the last
nine-and-twenty years, on the average more than six hundred times a

From that time I began to preach the Gospel, and was not ashamed to
declare everywhere what the Lord had done for my soul. Thus from
personal experience I have been enabled to proclaim the Word, both as a
"witness" and a "minister."

I, who before that time used to be so weak, that I could not preach for
more than fifteen or twenty minutes for three consecutive Sundays
without breaking down, was now able to do so each day, often more than
once, and three times every Sunday.


The Revival, 1851-54.

In the providence of God, my conversion was the beginning of a great
revival work in my parish, which continued without much interruption for
nearly three years. At some periods during that time there was a greater
power of the divine presence, and consequently more manifest results,
than at others; but all along there were conversions of sinners or
restoration of backsliders every week--indeed, almost every day.

I was carried along with the torrent of the work, far over and beyond
several barriers of prejudice which had been in my mind. For instance, I
made a resolution that if I ever had a work of God in my parish, it
should be according to rule, and that the people should not be excited
into making a noise, as if God were deaf or afar off; also, that I would
prevent their throwing themselves into extraordinary states of mind and
body, as though it were necessary that they should do so in order to
obtain a blessing. I intended to have everything in most beautiful and
exemplary order, and that all should be done as quietly and with as much
precision as the working of a machine. No shouting of praises, no loud
praying, no hearty responding; and, above all, no extravagant crying for
mercy, such as I had witnessed in Mr. Aitken's parish.

But notwithstanding my prudence and judicious resolutions, "the wind
blew as it listed; we heard the sound thereof, but could not tell whence
it came, or whither it went" (John 3: 8). In spite of all my prejudices,
souls were quickened and born of the Spirit. I was filled with
rejoicing, and my heart overflowed with joy to see something doing for
the Lord.

Anything is better than the stillness of death, however aesthetic and
beautiful, however reverential and devout a mere outward ceremonial may
appear. Imposing pageants and religious displays may excite enthusiastic
religiosity or devotionism; but they do not, and never can, promote
spiritual vitality. Far from this, they draw the heart and mind into a
channel of human religion, where it can sometimes over-flow to its own
satisfaction; but they never bring a sinner to see himself lost, or,
unworthy by nature to be a worshipper, and consequently, as such,
utterly unfit to take any part in religious ceremonies.

On the Monday after my conversion we had our first week-day revival
service in the church, which was filled to excess. In the sermon, I told
them once more that God had "brought me up out of an horrible pit, out
of the miry clay, and set my feet upon the Rock, and... put a new song
in my mouth" (Ps. 40:2-3). I had not spoken long, when some one in the
congregation gave a shriek, and then began to cry aloud for mercy. This
was quickly followed by cries from another and another, until preaching
was altogether hopeless. We then commenced praying for those who were in
distress, and some experienced men who were present dealt with the

I cannot tell how many people cried for mercy, or how many found peace
that night; but there was great rejoicing. I, who was still in my
grave-clothes, though out of the grave, was sorely offended at people
praying and praising God so heartily and so loudly in the church. I
thought that if this was to become a regular thing, it would be akin to
"brawling," and quite out of order. Practising singing and rehearsing
anthems in the church, I did not think much about; but somehow, for
people to cry out in distress of soul, and to praise God out of the
abundance of their hearts, was too much for me. I was sadly perplexed!

At the close of the service, I told the people I would have a short one
again the next evening, in the church, and that after that we would go
into the schoolroom for the prayer-meeting. Thus ended the second day of
my spiritual life.

On Tuesday evening we assembled in the church, and then went to the
schoolroom for the after-meeting. There the people had full liberty to
sing, praise, and shout too, if they desired, to their hearts' content,
and truly many availed themselves of the opportunity. In Cornwall, at
the time I speak of (now twenty-nine years ago), Cornish folk did not
think much of a meeting unless it was an exciting and noisy one.

In this schoolroom, evening by evening, the Lord wrought a great work,
and showed forth His power in saving many souls. I have seldom read of
any remarkable manifestations in revivals the counterpart of which I did
not witness in that room; and I saw some things there which I have never
heard of as taking place anywhere else. I was by this time not afraid of
a little, or even much noise, so long as the power of the Lord's
presence was evident. The shouts of the people did not hinder me, of
their loud praying, or their hearty responses.

There were some subjects on which it was impossible to venture without
eliciting vehement demonstrations. A friend of mine, who had come from
some distance on a visit, went with me on one occasion to an afternoon
Bible class. I asked him to address the people, and in a quiet way he
proceeded to talk about heaven. As he described the city of gold, with
its pearly gates, its walls of jasper, its foundations of sapphire and
precious stones, and to tell them that "the city had no need of the sun,
neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten
it, and the Lamb is the light thereof" (Rev. 21:2-3), I began to feel
somewhat uneasy, and feared that he was venturing on tender ground, when
all at once there was heard a shriek of joy, and in a moment almost the
whole class was in an ecstasy of praise. My friend was greatly dismayed,
and also frightened at the noise, and seizing his hat, he made hastily
for the door. "Stop! stop!" I said; "you must stand fire better than
that." I quietly gave out a hymn, and asked some of them to help me
sing, and then we knelt down to pray. I prayed in a low voice, and soon
all was still again, excepting the responsive "Amens," and the gaspings
of those who had been thus excited.

It may be asked, why did I permit such things? I lived amongst a people
who were accustomed to outward demonstrations; and by descending to them
in their ways I was enabled to lead many of them to higher things, and
to teach them to rest not so much on their feelings, as on the facts and
truth revealed in the Word of God. But theorize as we would, it was just
a question, in many cases, of no work, or of decided manifestation. We
could not help people being stricken down, neither could they help it
themselves; often the most unlikely persons were overcome and became
excited, and persons naturally quiet and retiring proved the most noisy
and demonstrative. However, it was our joy to see permanent results
afterwards, which more than reconciled us for any amount of
inconvenience we had felt at the time.

When the power of God is manifestly present, the persons who hear the
noise, as well as those who make it, are both under the same influence,
and are in sympathy with one another. An outsider, who does not
understand it, and is not in sympathy, might complain, and be greatly
scandalized. For my own part, I was intensely happy in those meetings,
and had become so accustomed to the loud "Amens," that I found it very
dull to preach when there was no response. Prayer meetings which were
carried on in a quiet and formal manner seemed to me cold and heartless.
"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great
waters; these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep"
(Ps. 107:23, 24). Some spiritual mariners never venture out of a calm
millpond, and rejoice in very quiet proceedings; they do not look like
rejoicing at all. They resemble the people who are going through a
formal duty, and, "like a painted ship upon a painted ocean," they are
never tossed. Most undeniable it is that many trying things happen in
the excitement of a storm.

I was hardened against criticism, and only wished that my criticizing
friends could show me a more effectual way of working, and a way in
which God's glory might be advanced, without giving offence.

The very remembrance of these times warms my heart as I write; and
though I do not know whether I am still young enough to enter into such
things in the same way, yet I am sure that the manifest presence of the
Lord, under any circumstances, would still stir and rejoice my spirit.
My friend Mr. Aitken used to rise above it all most majestically, and
shout as loud as the loudest. It was grand to see his great soul at full
liberty rejoicing in the Lord. He was quite at home in the noisiest and
stormiest meetings, and no doubt he thought me a promising disciple, and
a very happy one, too.

Oh, what tremendous scenes we witnessed whenever Mr. Aitken came to
preach at Baldhu. The church, which was built to hold six hundred, used
to have as many as fifteen hundred packed into it. Not only were the
wide passages crowded, and the chancel filled, even up to the communion
table, but there were two rows of occupants in every pew. The Feat man
was king over their souls, for at times he seemed as if he was endued
with power whereby he could make them shout for joy, or howl for misery,
or cry aloud for mercy. He was by far the most effective preacher I ever
heard, or ever expect to hear. Souls were awakened by scores whenever he
preached, and sometimes the meetings continued far into the night, and
occasionally even to the daylight of the next morning.

To the cool, dispassionate outside observers and the newspaper
reporters, all this vehement stir was very extravagant and
incomprehensible, and no doubt they thought it was done for excitement;
certainly they gave us credit for that, and a great deal more. They did
not esteem us better than themselves and consequently we had the full
benefit of their sarcasm and invective.

Cornish revivals were things by themselves. I have read of such stirring
movements occurring occasionally in different places elsewhere, but in
Cornwall they were frequent. Every year, in one part or another, a
revival would spring up, during which believers were refreshed and
sinners awakened. It is sometimes suggested that there is a great deal
of the flesh in these things--more of this than of the Spirit. I am sure
this is a mistake, for I am quite satisfied that neither Cornish nor any
other people could produce revivals without the power of the Spirit, for
they would never be without them if they could raise them at pleasure.
But, as a fact, it is well known that revivals begin and continue for a
time, and that they cease as mysteriously as they began.

Sometimes I have known the children of the school commence crying for no
ostensible reason; when a few words about the love of God in giving His
Son, or the love of Christ in laying down His life, would prove enough
to kindle a flame, and they would begin to cry aloud for mercy
forthwith. I have seen a whole school of more than a hundred children
like this at the same time. An awakening of such a character was
generally a token of the beginning of a work of God, which would last in
power for four or five weeks, if not more; then the quiet, ordinary work
would go on as before. Sometimes, for no accountable reason, we saw the
church thronged with a multitude of people from various parts, having no
connection with one another, all equally surprised to see each other;
and the regular congregation more surprised still to see the unexpected
rush of strangers. After a time or two we began to know the cause, and
understood that the coming together of the people was by the Spirit of
the Lord, and so we prepared accordingly, expecting a revival to follow.

On these occasions it was very easy to preach, or pray, or sing; we had
only to say, "Stay here, or go to the schoolroom;" "Stand and sing;" or,
"Kneel and pray;" and it was done at once: such was the power of the
Spirit in melting the hears of the people into entire submission for the


The Visitor, 1851.

In the midst of these things, we had a scene quite characteristic of
Cornwall, which was the funeral of my late gardener and friend, John
Gill. This man's conversion, it will be remembered, was the event by
which it pleased God to bring my religious state to a crisis. After my
sudden exit from John's cottage, which I have already described, he
continued to pray for me, as he said he would, until the following
Sunday, when he heard of my conversion. Then he praised God, and that
with amazing power of mind and body for a dying man. Day by day, as his
life was prolonged, he was eager to hear of the progress of the work.

At last the day of his departure arrived, and he was quite content and
happy to go. A large concourse of people assembled at the funeral,
dressed in their Sunday best. They gathered by hundreds in front of
John's cottage, several hours before the time fixed for the service.
During this interval they sang hymns, which were given out two lines at
a time. Then they set out for the church, singing as they went along.

In the West it is not the custom to carry the coffin on the shoulders,
but by hand, which office is performed by friends, who continually
relieve one another, that all may take part in this last mark of respect
to the deceased. At length, they arrived at the "lych" gate, and setting
the coffin upon the lych stone (a heavy slab of granite, put there for
the purpose), they sang their final hymn. At the conclusion of this, I
came out with my clerk to receive the funeral party and to conduct them
into the church. After the service I was about to give an address, when
I was told that there were more people outside than within the church.
In order, therefore, not to disappoint them, we came to the grave-side
in the churchyard, and from thence I addressed a great concourse of

I told them of dear John's conversion, and of my disappointment and
distress on account of it; then of my own conversion, and John's
unbounded joy; taking the opportunity to enforce the absolute necessity
of this spiritual change, and the certain damnation of those who die
without it.

This funeral caused a solemn feeling, and as the people lingered about,
we re-entered the church, and further improved the occasion. Then we
went to the schoolroom for a prayer-meeting, and many souls were added
to the number of the saved.

Among the strangers present was a gentleman who had come all the way
from Plymouth, in order to witness for himself the wonderful work, of
which he had read an account in the newspaper. After attending several
of our services, he came up to speak to me, and said that he had seen an
account of "the fall of a High Churchman into Dissent," which was
regarded as a very extraordinary thing, for at that time some Dissenters
were becoming High Churchmen, or what used to be called then
"Puseyites." Having seen me, and heard for himself of my conversion, and
my adherence to the Church, he was satisfied, and asked me to spare time
for a little conversation with him.

He came to my house the next morning, and commenced by asking, "Do you
really think you would have been lost for ever, if you had died before
you were converted?" This he said looking me full in the face, as if to
see whether I flinched from my position. I answered, "Most certainly;
without a doubt."

"Remember," he said, calmly, "you have been baptized and confirmed; you
are a communicant, and have been ordained; do you really think that all
this goes for nothing?"

"Most assuredly, all these things are good in their place, and fully
avail for their respective purposes, but they have nothing whatever to
do with a sinner's salvation."

"Do you mean to say," he continued, "that the Church is not the very ark
of salvation?"

"I used to think so," I replied, "and to say that 'there was no Church
without a Bishop, and no salvation out of the Church;' but now I am sure
that I was mistaken. The outward Church is a fold for protecting the
sheep; but the Church is not the Shepherd who seeks and finds the lost

"Well," he said, "but think of all the good men you condemn if you take
that position so absolutely."

Seeing that I hesitated, he went on to say that he "knew many very good
men, in and out of the Church of England, who did not think much of
conversion, or believe in the necessity of it."

"I am very sorry for them," I replied; "but I cannot go back from the
position into which, I thank God, He has brought me. It is burned into
me that, except a man is converted, he will and must be lost for ever."
"Come, come, my young friend," he said, shifting his chair, and then
sitting down to another onslaught, "do you mean to say that a man will
go to hell if he is not converted, as you call it?"

"Yes, I do; and I am quite sure that if I had died in an unconverted
state I should have gone there; and this compels me to believe, also,
that what the Scripture says about it is true for every one."

"But what does the Scripture say?" he interposed. "It says that 'he that
believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed' (John
3:18); and in another place, 'tie that believeth not shall be damned'
(Mark 16:16). As surely as the believer is saved and goes to heaven, as
surely the unbeliever is lost and must So to hell."

"Do you mean Gehenna, the place of torment?"

"Yes, I do."

"This is very dreadful."

"More dreadful still." I said, "must be the solemn reality; and
therefore, instead of shrinking from the thought and putting it off, I
rather let it stir and rouse me to warn unbelievers, so that I may, by
any means, stop them on their dangerous path. I think this is the only
true and faithful way of showing kindness; and that, on the other hand,
it is the most selfish, heartless, and cruel unkindness to let sinners,
whether they are religious, moral, reformed, or otherwise, to go on in
an unconverted state, and perish."

"Do you believe, then," said my visitor, "in the fire of hell? Do you
think it is a material fire?"

"I do not know; I do not wish to know anything about it. I suppose
material fire, like every other material thing, is but a shadow of
something real. Is it not a fire which shall burn the soul--a fire that
never will be quenched--where the worm will never die?"

"Do you really believe all this?"

"Yes," I said, "and I have reason to do so." I remembered the anguish of
soul I passed through when I was under conviction, and the terrible
distress I felt for others whom I had misled. "When our blessed Lord was
speaking to the Jews, and warning them against their unbelief and its
fearful consequences, He did not allow any 'charitable hopes' to hinder
Him from speaking the whole truth. He told them of Lazarus, who died,
and went to Paradise, or Abraham's bosom; and of Dives, who died, and
went to Hell, the place of torment" (Luke 16).

"But," he said, interrupting me, "that is only a parable, or figure of

"Figure of speech!" I repeated. "Is it a figure of speech that the rich
man fared sumptuously, that he died, that he was buried? Is not that
literal? Why, then, is it a figure of speech that he lifted up his eyes
in torment, and said, 'I am tormented in this flame'(Luke 16:24). My
dear friend, be sure that there is an awful reality in that story--a
most solemn reality in the fact of the impassable gulf. If here we do
not believe in this gulf, we shall have to know of it hereafter. I never
saw and felt," I continued, "as I do now, that every man is lost, even
while on earth, until he is saved, and that if he dies in that unsaved
state he will be lost for ever."

My unknown visitor remained silent for a little time, and I could see
that he was in tears. At last he burst out and said, "I am sure you are
right. I came to try you upon the three great "R's"--'Ruin,'
'Redemption,' and 'Regeneration,' and to see if you really meant what
you preached. Now I feel more confirmed in the truth and reality of the
Scriptures." I thought I had been contending with an unbeliever all
along, but instead of this I found that he was a man who scarcely
ventured to think out what he believed to its ultimate result--he
believed God's Word, but, like too many, alas! held it loosely.

This gentleman had experienced the truth of the three "R's"--that is to
say, he had been awakened to know himself to be lost and ruined by the
fall, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and regenerated by the Holy
Ghost. In other words, he had been converted, and he knew it.

I found out that at the time of his conversion he was a beneficed
clergyman, and that, as such, not being responsible to any rector or
vicar, he began to preach boldly the things he had seen. His changed
preaching produced a manifest result, and the people were awakened, even
startled, and it would appear he was startled too. Instead of thanking
God and taking courage, he became alarmed at the disturbance amongst his
congregation, and finding that his preaching made him very unpopular, he
was weak enough to change his tone, and speak smooth things. Thus he
made peace with his congregation, and gained their treacherous good
will; but as a living soul he could not be satisfied with this state of
things. He knew that he was not faithful to God or to his people; so
being a man of competent means, he resigned his living, and retired into
private life--"beloved and respected," as they said, for being a good
and peaceable man.

At this distance of time I continue to thank God for his visit to me; it
helped to fix the truth more firmly in my own soul, and to confirm me in
the course in which I was working, and even contending, in the face of
much opposition. I must say that I have had no reason to waver in my
conviction, and still feel that I would not, for ten times that man's
wealth, and twenty times the amount of good-will which he enjoyed (if he
did enjoy it), stand in his place.

After long observation, I perceive that it is not the sword of the Word
which offends congregations, for preachers are commended and promoted
for declaring the whole truth, so long as it is judiciously put, and
with "much discretion," so as not to wound the prejudices of the people.
The majority of congregations rather like to see the sword drawn out to
its full length and flashed with dexterity, and they do not always
object to being hit with it, and even hit hard, so long as it is done
with the flat of the sword; but they very quickly resent a touch with
its edge, and more a thrust with its point. They admire sheet lightning,
which is beautiful, as it is harmless; but forked lightning is something
to be dreaded and avoided. For instance, a man may preach most
eloquently and acceptably on the three "R's" if he does not apply the
subject too pointedly, by telling the people, both in the pulpit and out
of it, that they are now ruined and lost; and that, having been
redeemed, they are responsible before God; and that, if they will not be
regenerated by the Spirit, they will be damned. They do not object to
your laying, "You hath He quickened," but to turn these same words into
a personal question is too often considered impertinent; though, indeed,
it is the sincerest kindness and truest Christian love.

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15). He came, and
is spiritually present now, everywhere, for this purpose. His real
presence with power is particularly promised to the preacher of the
Gospel (Matt. 28:20). The Lord Jesus is ever present to take especial
interest in the result of preaching. How disappointing then must it be
to Him, to find His servants so often spending their time and energies
upon other objects, however great or good they may be! When they do
preach the Gospel, it must grieve Him to see that their object is too
often not the same as His; and when He does apply the Word by the power
of the Spirit, it must also grieve Him to see that they are afraid of
the result.

Gospel preaching should not be to entertain people, nor even to instruct
them; but first to awaken them to see their danger, and to bring them
from death into life, which is manifestly the Lord's chief desire.

This was the definite object of my work: I preached for and aimed at it;
and nothing short of this could or would satisfy my longings. In the
church, in the school-room, or in the cottages, we prayed that the Holy
Spirit would bring conviction upon sinners, and then we sought to lead
them to conversion with the clear ringing testimony, "You must be born
again, or die to all eternity."


The First Christmas, 1851-52.

The first Christmas-day, during the revival, was a wonderful time. The
people had never realized before what this festival was, beyond
regarding it as a season for domestic rejoicing. It surprised many to
see that their past Christmases were a true representation of their past
lives that they had cheered and tried to make themselves happy without
Christ, leaving Him out of their consideration in His own world, as they
had on His own birthday. What a Christless and hopeless life it had
been! What a Christless religion! Now we praised the Lord together for
His marvellous goodness to us, and desired that we might henceforth live
unto Him, singing in heart and life, "Glory to God in the highest, and
on earth peace, good-will towards men."

When New Year's eve arrived we had a midnight gathering, and dedicated
ourselves afresh to God's service. It was a blessed season, and several
hundreds were there, who, together with myself, were the fruits of the
revival during the previous two months. The new year opened upon us with
fresh manifestations of divine power and larger blessings. I endeavoured
to show the people that the Lord was called Jesus, not that He might
save us from hell or death, but from our sins; and this while we lived
on earth--that our heart and all our members being mortified from all
carnal lusts, we might live to His glory; that Christ's religion was not
intended for a death-bed, but for a happy and effectual Christian
life---a life showing forth the power of His grace.

After the Christmas holidays, our schoolmaster and his wife returned.
They came back full of disdain and prejudice against the work, and even
put themselves out of the way to go from house to house, in order to set
the people against me and my preaching. They said that they could bring
a hundred clergymen to prove that I was wrong; but their efforts had
just the contrary effect to what they expected. It stirred the people to
come more frequently to hear, and contend more zealously for what they
knew to be right. The master was particularly set against "excitement"
and noise. He said, "It was so very much more reverent to be still in
prayer, and orderly in praise; it was not necessary to make such an
unseemly uproar!" I had, however, discovered, long before this time,
that the people who most objected to noise had nothing yet to make a
noise about; and that when they had, they generally made as much or more
noise than others.

If a house is seen to be on fire, people cannot hello making an outcry;
which they do not, when they only read about it. Witnessing a danger
stirs the heart; and when people's eyes are open to see souls in eternal
danger, they cannot help being stirred up, and crying out. I am
sometimes asked, "Is there not such a thing as a feeling which is too
deep for expression?" It may be that at times people are so surprised
and astonished at some sudden announcement of good or bad news, that
they are stunned, and for a time unable to give vent to their joy or
grief; but soon there is a reaction, and then expression is given.
Generally speaking, these so-called "deep feelings" are only deep in the
way of being low down in the vessel--that is to say, very shallow, and
by no means sufficient to overflow.

We read that "the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice, and
praise God with a loud voice, for all the mighty works that they had
seen" (Luke 19:37). And we are told, over and over again, in the Psalms,
to "praise God with a loud voice," and to "shout." When we lift up our
voice, the Lord can stir our hearts; and surely the things of the Lord
have more right, and ought to have more power, to stir and arouse the
soul of man, than a boat-race, or a horserace, or a fictitious scene on
the stage. I think people would be all the better for letting out their
hearts in praise to God. It may lie it is trying and exciting to some,
but perhaps they are the very ones who need such a stimulus, and this
may be the best way of bringing it out.

Notwithstanding the schoolmaster's opposition, he still came to church,
and was very attentive to the sermons, taking copious notes. One Sunday,
when I had been preaching on the text, "Cut it down; why cumbereth it
the ground?" he was heard to say, "Thank God, I am not cut done yet;"
and then he proceeded for the first time to the after-meeting in the

When I entered I saw him low down on his knees, and said how happy I was
to see him there. "Oh," he cried, "I fear there is no mercy--the
sentence is surely gone forth against me, 'Cut him down! cut him down!'"
And then the poor man howled aloud in his distress. The people prayed
for him with shouts of thanksgiving, while he threw himself about in
agony of mind, and made a great noise, which only drew still louder
acclamations from the people. In the midst of this tremendous din he
found peace, and rejoiced with the others in unmistakable accents, and
as loud as the loudest. Evidently he was not ashamed or afraid of
excitement and noise now.

While he was thus engaged I went round to his house to see his wife, and
tell her the news. I found her sitting on the stairs in profound dismay,
as if some dreadful calamity had happened. She was literally dumb with
fear and astonishment. When she could speak, she said, "What will happen
to him now? Will he die? What will become of us?" When I assured her
that her husband was only just beginning to live, she said, "Must we be
Dissenters now? Oh, what will become of us?" Her sister, who was staying
with her, became very angry at hearing of the master's conversion.
Finding that I could not do much with these two, I left them, and
returned to the schoolroom, where the people were even more uproarious
and happy than before; several others having also found pardon and

The Sunday after, the master was seen moving out of church as quickly as
he could; and when he reached the churchyard he was observed to run, and
then leap over a wall, and next over a hedge into a field. They could
not hear him, but he was shouting all the time as well as running. He
afterwards said that the Prayer-book was full of meaning; it was like a
new book to him; and that if he had stayed in church, he should have
disturbed the whole congregation. He became a very earnest Christian,
and took much pains and interest in the religious instruction of the
children. There were several revivals in the school while he was there,
and many of the children were converted. It was not long before he was
able to rejoice over the conversion of his wife, and her sister also.

I had been anxious about my clerk for some time; he was a good man in
his way, and most attentive to his work in and out of church; he was
also a regular communicant, and exemplary in his life; but with all
this, he was unconverted. I often warned him of his danger; and one day
it came to my mind to tell him of the man who went in to the marriage
supper without the wedding garment. I said, no doubt he thought himself
as good as others, but when the King came in to see the guests, he was
speechless; and because he was so, and had not on the wedding garment,
the King commanded that he should be bound hand and foot, and put into
outer darkness. Now, I continued, the King has often come in to see us,
and we have rejoiced before Him; but you have never spoken to Him, or
asked for mercy. It is a very hardening thing to hear so much as you do
and remain unsaved; and a very deadening thing to come to the Lord's
table as you do, going through the form without any real meaning. You
receive the bread and wine in remembrance that Christ died for you, and
yet you do not believe enough to thank Him. I was led to say, "I must
forbid your coming to the Lord's table till you have given your heart to
God. You know it is right to do it, and that you ought to be converted.
I will not have you come here again till you are."

The man looked at me as if to see whether I meant it, and then appeared
so sorrowful that I nearly relented. All through the service he was low
and dejected, and went away at the time of the administration of the
ordinance, and sat at the other end of the church. My heart ached for
him, for I had never seen him so touched about anything. Afterwards,
when he came into the vestry, I could see that he had been crying. "Ah,
friend," I said, "it is bad to be left out from the Lord's table here;
what will it be to be left out of heaven?"

In the evening he was more miserable than ever, and at the close of the
service came into the school-room, where he broke down, and asked the
people to pray for him, for he was a hard-hearted, miserable sinner.
"Pray the Lord to melt my heart." We did so: and soon the poor
broken-hearted man sobbed and cried aloud for mercy; and it was not long
before, to our great joy, he found peace. He afterwards told us that he
had been getting hardened by forms ever since he had been clerk, reading
solemn words without any meaning, which at first he trembled at doing.
He was right; it is good to hear the Gospel, good to attend the means of
grace, good to assemble in the company of God's people; but to rest in
the habit of doing these good things, without conversion, is most
dangerous, and calculated to deaden the heart. He said that he felt it
very much when 'master' was converted (meaning myself), and was also
dreadfully condemned; for he had believed in the necessity of conversion
all his life; and though he knew that I was unconverted, yet he never
told me, but rather encouraged me to go on as I was. He said that he had
had many sleepless nights about it; "but now, thank God" he added, "it
is all right; my feet are on the Rock, my soul is saved. I can praise
the Lord in the congregation."

The clerk's conversion did not stop with himself, for it was a call to
some of the ringers; they were still outside and unsaved, though they
knew, as well as he did, that they ought to be otherwise. One of these
men began to attend the meetings regularly, but we could not get him to
pray, or speak a word. I said to him one evening, "You will never have a
sound from the bell till you move it or its tongue; in like manner, you
must move your tongue, for you will have nothing until you speak, nor
get an answer until you pray." Still he remained silent, and shut up to
himself; till one night, as we were putting out the lights at ten
o'clock, the meeting being over, I said to him as he stood by, "James, I
wonder when you will ever give your heart to God?" He looked at me and
said, "Now." "That is right," I replied; "thank God! let it be so." I at
once stopped the extinguishing of the lights, and invited him to pray
with me, but he took no heed. It was evident he had deliberately made up
his mind what he would do, for he took off his coat, undid his neck-tie,
turned back his shirt-sleeves, and then, setting a form about nine or
ten feet long, square with the room, he knelt down and began to say,
"Lord, have mercy upon me!" "Lord, have mercy upon me!" This he repeated
with every returning breath, faster and louder as he went on, till at
last he worked himself up into a condition of frenzy. He went on without
cessation for two hours, and then stopped in an exhausted state, gasping
for breath. I pointed him to the cross, and told him of God's mercy in
giving His Son to die for sinners; but he was quite absent, and did not
appear to hear me, or take the least notice. After a little rest, he
commenced again praying as before, and got into terrible distress. What
with his noise, and the energy he put forth, it was frightful to see the
struggle. He cried, and beat the form till I thought his arms would be
black and blue; then he took up the form and beat the floor with it,
till I expected every moment it would come to pieces. The noise he made
brought some of the neighbours out of their beds in a fright to see what
was the matter.

At two o'clock in the morning, four hours after he began, he laid
himself across the form, and begged with tears that the Lord would not
cast him off. I told him that the Lord was actually waiting for him. At
last he found peace, or felt something, and, springing up, he began to
shout and praise God; and we all joined with him. When this was done, he
put on his coat and neck-tie, and saying "Good night," went home. From
this time he became a changed man, and an earnest and steadfast


Dreams and Visions, 1851-4.

During the revival, the outpouring of the Spirit of God was very
manifest and unmistakable, and was seen in various ways. It was not, of
course, by power or might of men, but by divine influence, that souls
were awakened to see themselves in their true condition. The candle of
the Lord was lighted, and there was a searching of and for immortal
souls, as typified by our blessed Lord in the parable of the lost piece
of silver.

We read that the woman with her lighted candle discovered her treasure;
so the Divine Spirit, by awakening and searching hearts, found souls,
though they had been buried under sins, worldliness, and neglect, and
that for many years. It was astonishing to hear persons who had been
dull and silent before, break out into full and free expression of
spiritual truth; and their liberty and power in prayer were not less
remarkable. It was truly an opening of eyes to see, and ears to hear,
and hearts to understand--a raising of the dead to spiritual life and
animation. It was as wonderful as the speaking of tongues on the day of
Pentecost, with this difference--that those people spoke what they knew,
in tongues they had not known; and these, in their own speech, declared
things which they had never seen or known before.

We had another distinctive sign of Pentecost, which was, that while
believers rejoiced with overflowing joy, and sinners were pricked to the
heart, and cried out, "What must I do to be saved?" there were those who
mocked, saying, "These men are mad, or drunk." But, as St. Peter
testified long ago, these men, women, and children were not drunk, but
under the influence and power of the Holy Ghost.

We had yet another sign. The prophet Joel predicted, "It shall come to
pass that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and
your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your
young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the
handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit" (Joel 2:28, 29). And
I think my narrative would be very incomplete, and I should be holding
back the truth, if I did not tell of some of the dreams and visions
which continually happened at this time amongst us.

Every week, almost every day, we heard of some remarkable dream or
striking vision. Such things may be called "superstitious" by
incredulous people, but I merely state what actually took place without
attempting to explain or account for it. My own feeling is that I would
rather be among the superstitious than the incredulous; for I think that
the former lose nothing by believing, and the latter gain nothing by
their unbelief.

Among the people who are alive to spiritual realities these remarkable
tokens are not suspected or doubted. To believe nothing but what you can
understand or account for, is to believe nothing at all. Cornish people
at that time--and they may still be the same--lived in a spiritual
atmosphere, at least in their own county; so much so, that I have often
heard them complain, when they returned from the "shires," of the
dryness and deadness they felt there. I can certainly set my seal to
this testimony, and declare that those of us who had visions in Cornwall
have not had them in the same way out of that district.

I will give a few specimens, but only one of a kind, for it would fill
the volume if I told all; the reader can judge if there was meaning or
import in some of them or not.

At one time, when there was a depression or check in the congregation,
and preaching was hard, praying formal, and singing flat, I invited the
people to join with me in prayer, that the Lord would show us what was
the hindrance in the way of the work. They prayed with one accord and
without consulting one another, almost in the same words, whether in the
school-room or in the cottages; the substance of their petition was,
that we might know and put away the obstacle to spiritual blessing,
whatever that obstacle might be.

One night I dreamt that I was in the church, feeling very desolate and
forsaken; there were very few people there, but soon my eyes lighted on
an ugly-looking stranger, who tried to evade me. He was a very
disagreeable, sullen-looking man. When I spoke to him he gnashed his
teeth, and as I approached he drew out a knife and held it out before
me. I pursued him notwithstanding, when he backed towards the door and
went out. I followed him through the churchyard till he was outside the
lych-gate. As soon as he was gone, I saw a troop of happy people, all
dressed in white, come in at the same gate, leaping and running like so
many joyful children, and swinging their arms for gladness: they went
into the church and began to sing. The dream was as vivid to me as a
daylight scene.

I went out the next evening, intending to tell it at the school-room
meeting; but before I began to do so, I observed that the people sang
more freely than usual, and I also noticed that two men who prayed
omitted to offer the usual request for hindrances to be removed. When I
told my dream, a man arose and said, "I know all about that; there has
been one among us whom we thought was a good man, but instead of this we
have discovered that he was most immoral and deceitful, doing a deal of
mischief, secretly undermining the faith of some, and misleading others;
he has been detected, and is gone." Sure enough our old happy freedom
returned, and there was liberty in preaching, praying and singing, and
souls were saved.

Another time, when I was getting a little impatient with the people, I
took a leaf out of my Scripture-reader's book, and preached a furious
sermon about "damnation," representing God as pursuing the sinner to cut
him down, if he did not repent there and then. I thought I had done it
well, and went home rather satisfied with myself, supposing that I now
knew how to make the congregation feel. The next morning, a yeoman
called to me as I was passing her cottage, and said, "Master, what d'yer
think? I dreamt last night that the devil was a-preaching in your
pulpit, and that you were delighted at it!" A sudden fear fell upon
me--so much so, that I returned to the church, and shutting the door,
begged God's forgiveness; and thanking Him for this warning, asked that
I might remember it, and never transgress again.

As my Scripture-reader continued to denounce wrath and vengeance,
instead of preaching the Gospel, I parted with him.

Next, let me tell of a vision which refers to others. My sister came to
me one morning, and said, "William, I had a vision last night of a young
man in a tall hat, with a green-and-red carpet-bag in his hand. I saw
him so plainly, that I should know him again anywhere. He was walking up
the road when you met him, shook hands, and returned with him to the
house. Then you and F---- brought him in at the glass door. On the hall
table there stood a basket containing four beautiful and fragrant
fruits. You took up the basket and offered it to the visitor, who,
putting his hand upon one, said, 'Oh, thank you!' Then touching the
three others in order, said, 'That is for mother, and that for sister,
and that for --.' I could not hear who. You may smile," she continued,
"but I heard that, and saw it all as plainly as I see you now."

I was accustomed to hear such things, and consequently thought no more
about it, but went on to speak of other subjects. In the course of the
afternoon, as I was going out, I met a relative coming along the road,
and took him back with me to the house; there my wife came out to him,
and we led him in through the glass door. When he had sat some time and
had had some luncheon, my wife said, "I wonder whether this is the young
man we heard about this morning? .... What young man?" asked our
visitor, hastily; "What young man do you mean? .... I should not wonder
if it is," I replied; "We will see presently." He seemed very
suspicious, having heard before he came that some mysterious change had
taken place in us, and so looked again and again to see if he could
detect anything different.

"Come and see my sister," I said; to which he assented, and we went
across to her house. As soon as we entered her room, she said, "How do
you do? I saw you last night." "What do you mean ?" he replied,
withdrawing his hand. "Why, I was on board the steamer last night."
"That may be," she said, "but you are the gentleman I saw. Have you not
a green-and-red carpet-bag? and did not William meet you on the road?"
Poor young man! he looked dreadfully perplexed. "Never mind her," I
said; "sit down and tell us about your journey."

After we had talked of this and other subjects, we return home. I then
told him that we were converted and asked if he had given his heart to
God. He said he had. Not being satisfied, I put the question in another
form, and yet remained unsatisfied with his answer. "Do you doubt me?"
he asked: "I will prove it to you." He then went up to his room for a
little while, and returned with a paper in his hand, in which was a
dedication of himself to God, duly signed and sealed. I had never seen
an instrument of this kind before, and asked if he really believed in
it? "Yes, certainly," he replied; "and I mean it, too."

"But," I said, "do you not see that faith does not consist in believing
what you write, but in what God has written? The Word says that God is
more willing to take than you are to give: you believe you have given;
but do you believe that God has taken? He is far more ready to take your
heart than you to give it; as surely as you have given, so surely He has
taken. Cannot you see that?"

He replied, "I knew that there was something wrong about this, but I did
not know what. Thank you! thank you!" Then thoughtfully folding up the
paper, he went out of the room.

The bell was rung for dinner, but he did not appear; and then for tea,
but he declined taking any. After we had gone to church, he found his
way down and followed us there; and when the service was over he
returned again to his room. I was detained at the schoolroom that night,
and until two o'clock in the morning, praying and talking with anxious
souls, and returned home very tired. Going up to bed I saw a light
shining under my visitor's door, and hesitating there a few moments, I
heard him pleading earnestly for mercy. I had a great mind to knock, but
was afraid of disturbing him; so I prayed for him, and went to bed.

In the morning he came down smiling. "Thank God," he said, "it is all
right now; I am saved." In his hand he held three letters--one to his
mother, one to his sister, and the other to a cousin, in which he
invited them earnestly to come to Jesus. Within the week all four were
in our house, praising God for salvation.

As the vision indicated, we had nothing to do but hold the basket to
him. He accepted it, and the fruit for himself and his relatives.

Amongst other people and characters I met with at this time was a good,
respectable man, who had a remarkable dream. He came to me one day,
after I had been speaking about Jacob's ladder, and said that my sermon
had reminded him of his dream. I begged him to sit down and tell it to
me. He said, "I dreamt that I and nineteen other young men were living
in a beautiful house and place, where we had everything provided fer us,
and were free to enjoy ourselves as much as we pleased. We all
understood that the premises belonged to Satan and that we were his
guests. As such, we were permitted to take our pleasure upon two
conditions--one was, that we were not to pray; and the other that we
were not to go away. We smiled at this, and said it was not likely we
should do the former, for we were not the praying kind; and less likely
that we should do the latter, for why should we be such fools as to
forego or give up our enjoyments?"

I thought to myself, What a wonderful dream that is and how true to
reality! What numbers of young men there are, and young women too,
besides: many other people, who hold their worldly happiness on this
tenure, and of course from the same master.

Well, to continue the story of the dream, he said, "In the course of
time we all became heartily tired of the place and its pleasures, and
longed to get away, but we could not. One of us made an attempt to do
so, but he was captured and brought back, and made more of a slave than
ever. At last, I and a few others agreed to pray at a stated time in
different places, in the hope that if one was caught, yet the rest might
escape. Upon a set day and time we began praying, each in his appointed
place. I had fixed upon a dark corner in a large deserted room, where we
had stowed away bales and bales of goods we did not care to open.
Climbing over the top of these stores, I landed on the other side, and
went to the spot I had chosen. I had not prayed long before I heard
master coming, cracking his whip, and saying, 'I'll teach you to pray.'
This made me tremble exceedingly, and pray all the harder; but hearing
that he was very near and coming after me, I opened my eyes, and to my
surprise there was a beautiful silver ladder before me. As quick as
thought, I sprang with hands and feet upon it, and began to climb for
dear life. 'Ha!' said master, 'I'll teach you to climb.' Then I felt the
ladder shaking under me, and knew that he was coming up. I expected
every moment to be seized and dragged back, so I climbed all the faster,
and looked up to see how much farther I had to go. Oh, it was such a
long way, and there was only a very small hole to get to at last. My
heart began to fail me, so that I almost let go my hold, till I felt the
master's sulphurous breath on the back of my neck, which made me rush
forward more vehemently. At last I reached the top, and thrust my arm
through the hole, then my head, and then my other arm; thus I got
through altogether, leaving my old enemy blaspheming and cursing down
below. It was a most beautiful place that I was now in, and angels were
flying about, just as the birds do in this world. I saw the Lord
Himself, and fell down before Him to give Him thanks. As I remained a
long time prostrate. He said to me. 'What is thy petition?' I answered,
'Lord, grant that that hole may be made larger, for I have nineteen
friends down there in the power of the cruel master.' The Lord smiled,
and said, 'That hole is quite large enough.' So I awoke."

Where there is a will, there is always a way of some kind; and if
worldlings are really tired of Satan's service, they can easily call
upon God to deliver them, and He will most surely do so when He sees
they are in earnest. This dream had the effect of spiritually awakening
the man who had it, and of bringing him to the foot of the cross for
mercy and salvation.

I noticed that in dreams and visions in Cornwall  the Lord Jesus very
often appears, and the devil also; these are real persons to the Cornish
mind, and their power is respectively acknowledged.

During the summer, a young gentleman, whom we invited to our house in
the hope of reaching his soul, came to stay with us; and this in spite
of his avowed prejudice against us and our proceedings. I took this as a
token of encouragement, for I was sure that the devil would have
hindered his coming, unless the young man had been constrained by a
higher power. He spent his time in riding about or smoking, and made
great fun of our meetings and services, though I observed that he was
very attentive to hear the sermon whenever he did come.

One week-day evening, while we were sitting in the drawing room, and
little expecting it, he burst into tears and cried out, "I don't know
what to do; I shall be lost for ever!" We immediately sprang up to his
help, always delighted at such opportunities of working for the Lord. We
knelt down to pray, and as we continued to do so, he fell into great
distress, and even agony of soul; he literally writhed as if in
excessive pain, too great for utterance, and looked as if he was
fainting with the struggle. We called all the servants into the room to
help in prayer, and while I was praying by the side of my young friend,
and pointing him to Christ, one of the servants rose up and walked
straight across the room, and, with a firm hand pushing me aside, said,
"The Lord is here Himself." I rose instantly and moved out of the way,
while she stood with her hands together, adoring.

She afterwards told us that she saw the Lord stoop down to the low chair
where my young friend was kneeling, and putting His hand on his head, He
said something, and then stood up. Immediately upon this she saw the
verandah crowded with ugly-looking devils, all with their eyes fixed on
the young man as he knelt. The Lord then waved His hand, and the ugly
company vanished. At that instant the young man lifted up his head, and
turning towards the side on which she had discerned the Lord as
standing, said, "Lord, I thank Thee," and then fainted away.

When the vision was over, the servant came, with tears in her eyes, to
ask pardon for so rudely pushing me aside, but said that while the Lord
was there she could not help herself: "Oh, He is so beautiful, so
grand!" The young man was soon restored to animation, and began to speak
in a voice and tone very different to his former utterance. He was
altogether a remarkable instance of a change of heart and life.

A careless, worldly man in my parish dreamt one night that he was in the
market hall of a certain town. He was surprised to see, in a wall, a
doorway, which he had never noticed before--so much so, that he went
forward to examine it, and found that it really was a door, and that it
opened to his touch. He went inside, and there he saw an impressive and
strange scene. There were a number of men and women walking about, who
appeared to be very woeful, end in great agony of pain. They were too
distressed to speak, but he recognized most of them as persons who had
been dead some time. They looked mournfully at him, as if sorry that he
had come there, but did not speak. He was much alarmed, and made his way
back to the door to escape, but was stopped by a stern, sullen-looking'
porter, who said, in a sepulchral voice, "You cannot pass." He said, "I
came in this way, and I want to go out." "You cannot," said the solemn
voice. "Look, the door opens only one way; you may come in by it, but
you cannot go out." It was so, and his heart sank within him as he
looked at that mysterious portal. At last the porter relented, and as a
special favour let him go forth for eight days. He was so glad at his
release that he awoke.

When he told me the dream I warned him, and begged him to give his heart
to God. "You may die," I said, "before the eighth day." He laughed at
the idea, and said he was "not going to be frightened by a dream." "When
I am converted," he continued, "I hope I shall be able to say that I was
drawn by love and not driven by fear." "But what," I said, "if you have
been neglecting and slighting God's love for a long time, and He is now
moving you with fear to return to Him?" Nothing would do; he turned a
deaf ear to every entreaty. When the eighth day arrived, being market
day, he went to the hall as usual, and looked at the wall of which he
had dreamed with particular interest, but seeing no door there, he
exclaimed, "It's all right; now I will go and have a good dinner over
it, with a bottle of wine!"

Whether he stopped at one bottle or not, I cannot tell; but late on
Saturday night, as he was going home, he was thrown from his horse and
killed. That was at the end of the eighth day.

Whether these dreams and visions were the cause or effect of the
people's sensitive state, I do not know; but certainly they were very
impressible, and even the cold and hardened amongst them were ready to
hear about the mysteries of the unseen world. I attributed this to the
spiritual atmosphere in which they were then living.


Billy Bray, 1852.

After the events narrated in Chapter 10, and when all the people who
dwelt on the hill on which the church was built were converted, there
came upon the scene a very remarkable person, who had evidently been
kept back for a purpose. This was none other than the veritable and well
known "Billy Bray."* One morning, while we were sitting at breakfast, I
heard some one walking about in the hall with a heavy step, saying,
"Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!" On opening the door, I beheld a
happy-looking little man, in a black Quaker-cut coat, which it was very
evident had not been made for him, but for some much larger body. "Well,
my friend," I said, "who are you?"


* See "The King's Son; or, Life of Billy Bray," by F. W. Bourne.

"I am Billy Bray," he replied, looking steadily at me with his twinkling
eyes; "and be you the parson?"

"Yes, I am."

"Thank the Lord! Converted, are ye?"

"Yes, thank God."

"And the missus inside" (pointing to the dining-room), "be she

"Yes, she is."

"Thank the dear Lord!" he said, moving forward.

I made way for him, and he came stepping into the room; then making a
profound bow to the said "missus," he asked, "Be there any maidens

"Yes, there are three in the kitchen."

"Be they converted too?"

I was able to answer in the affirmative; and as I pointed towards the
kitchen door when I mentioned it, he made off in that direction, and
soon we heard them all shouting and praising God together. When we went
in, there was Billy Bray, very joyful, singing,

"Canaan is a happy place;
I am bound for the land of Canaan."

We then returned to the dining-room with our strange guest, when he
suddenly caught me up in his arms and carried me around the room. I was
so taken by surprise, that it was as much as I could do to keep myself
in an upright position, till he had accomplished the circuit. Then he
set me in my chair and rolling on the ground for joy, said that he "was
as happy as he could live." When this performance was at an end, he rose
up with a face that denoted the fact, for it was beaming all over. I
invited him to take some breakfast with us, to which he assented with
thanks. He chose bread and milk, for he said, "I am only a child."

I asked him to be seated, and gave him a chair; but he preferred walking
about, and went on talking all the time. He told us that twenty years
ago, as he was walking over this very hill on which my church and house
were built (it was a barren old place then), the Lord said to him, "I
will give thee all that dwell in this mountain." Immediately he fell
down on his knees and thanked the Lord, and then ran to the nearest
cottage. There he talked and prayed with the people, and was enabled to
bring them to Christ; then he went to the next cottage, and got the same
blessing; and then to a third, where he was equally successful. Then he
told "Father" that there were only three "housen" in this mountain, and
prayed that more might be built. That prayer remained with him, and he
never ceased to make it for years. The neighbours, who heard his prayer
from time to time, wondered why he should ask for "housen" to be built
in such an "ungain" place.

At last, after sixteen years, he received a letter from his brother
James, to say that they were hacking up the "croft" to plant trees, and
that they were going to build a church on the hill. He was "fine and
glad," and praised the Lord. Again he did so, when his brother wrote to
say there was a vicarage to be built on the same hill, and a schoolroom
also. He was almost beside himself with joy and thankfulness for all

In the year 1848, when the church was completed and opened, he came on a
visit to Baldhu, and was greatly surprised to see what a change had
taken place. There was a beautiful church, a parsonage, with a
flourishing garden, and also a schoolroom, with a large plantation and
fields round them. He was quite "'mazed," for he never thought that the
old hill could be made so grand as that! However, when he went to the
service in the church, his joy was over; he came out "checkfallen," and
quite disappointed. He told "Father" that that was nothing but an "old
Pusey" He had got there, and that he was no good. While he was praying
that afternoon, "Father" gave him to understand that he had no business
there yet, and that he had come too soon, and without permission. So he
went back to his place at once, near Bodmin, and continued to pray for
the hill.

After three years his brother James wrote again; 'and this time it was
to tell him that the parson and all his family were converted, and that
there was a great revival at the church. Now poor Billy was most eager
to come and see this for himself, but he obtained no permission, though
he asked and looked for it every day for more than three months.

At last, one wintry and frosty night in January, about half-past eleven
o'clock, just as he was getting into bed, "Father" told him that he
might go to Baldhu. He was so overjoyed, that he did not wait till the
morning, but immediately "put up" his clothes again, "hitched in" the
donkey, and set out in his slow-going little cart. He came along singing
all the way, nearly thirty miles and arrived early in the morning.
Having put up his donkey in my stable, he came into the house, and
presented himself, as I have already stated, in the hall, praising God.

We were a long time over breakfast that morning, for the happy man went
on from one thing to another, "telling of the Lord," as he called it,
assuring us again and again that he was "fine and glad, and very
happy"--indeed, he looked so. He said there was one thing more he must
tell us; it was this--that he had a "preaching-house" (what we should
now call a mission-room), which he had built years ago. He had often
prayed there for "this old mountain," and now he should dearly love to
see me in the pulpit of that place, and said that he would let me have
it for my work. He went on to say that he had built it by prayer and
faith, as "Father" sent him help, and that he and another man had built
it with their own hands. One day he was short of money to buy timber to
finish the roof; his mate said it would take two pounds' worth; so he
asked the Lord for this sum, and wondered why the money did not come,
for he felt sure that he was to have it. A farmer happened to look in
the next morning, and Billy thought he had come with the money, but he
merely asked them what they were doing, and then took his departure,
without giving them help. All that day they waited in expectation, and
went home in the evening without having done any work. The next morning
the same farmer appeared again, and said, "What do you want two pounds
for?" "Oh," said Billy, "you are come, are you? We want that money for
the roof yonder." The farmer then went on to say, "Two days ago it came
to my mind to give two pounds for the preaching house, but as I was
coming down the hill on yesterday morning, something said to me, 'if you
give one pound it will be handsome; then I thought I would give only
half-a-sovereign; and then that I would give nothing. Why should I? But
the Lord laid it on my mind last night that I must give you two pounds.
There it is!"

"Thank the Lord!" said Billy, and proceeded immediately to get the
required timber. In answer to prayer he also obtained "reed" for
thatching the roof, and by the same means timber for the forms and

It was all done in a humble manner, so that he did not dream of buying
any pulpit; but one day, as he was passing along the road, he saw that
they were going to have a sale at the "count-house" of an old mine. He
went in, and the first thing which met his eye was a strong oak
cupboard, with a cornice around the top. It struck him that it would
make a grand pulpit, if only it was-strong enough: on examination, he
found it all he could desire in this respect. He thought if he could
take off the top and make a "plat" to stand upon, it would do
"first-rate." He "told Father" so, and wondered how he could get it. He
asked a stranger who was there, walking about, what he thought that old
cupboard would go for? "Oh, for about five or six shillings," was the
reply. And while Billy was pondering how to "rise" six shillings, the
same man came up and said, "What do you want that cupboard for, Billy?"
He did not care to tell him, for he was thinking and praying about it.
The man said, "There are six shillings for you; buy it if you will."
Billy took the money, thanking the Lord. and impatiently waited for the
sale. No sooner was the cupboard put up, than he called out, "Here,
maister, here's six shillin's for un," and he put the money down on the
table. "Six shillings bid," said the auctioneer--"six shillings--thank
you; seven shillings; any more for that good old cupboard? Seven
shillings. Going--going--gone!" And it was knocked down to another man.

Poor Billy was much disappointed and perplexed at this, and could not
understand it at all. He looked about for the man who had given him the
six shillings, but in vain--he was not there. The auctioneer told him to
take up his money out of the way. He complied, but did not know what to
do with it. He went over a hedge into a field by himself, and told
"Father" about it; but it was all clear--"Father" was not angry about
anything. He remained there an hour, and then went homewards.

As he was going along, much troubled in his mind as to this experience
(for he still felt so sure he was to have that cupboard for a pulpit),
he came upon a cart standing outside a public-house with the very
cupboard upon it, and some men were measuring it with a foot rule. As he
came up, he heard them say, "It is too large to go in at the door, or
the window either." The publican who had bought it said, "I wish I had
not bid for the old thing at all; it is too good to 'scat' up for
firewood." At that instant it came to Billy's mind to say, "Here, I'll
give you six shillings for un." "Very well," said the man, taking the
money; "you can have him." Then Billy began to praise the Lord, and went
on to say, "'Father' as good as told me that I was to have that
cupboard, and He knew I could not carry him home on my back, so He found
a horse and cart for me. Bless the Lord!" Promising to bring it back
very soon, he led the horse down the hill, and put the old cupboard into
the preaching-house. "There it is!" he exclaimed, "and a fine pulpit he
does make, sure enough! Now," said Billy, "I want to see thee in it.
When will you come?" I could not fix for that day, or the next, trot
made arrangements to conduct a series of services the next week, and
promised to have them in that place.

Before he left us, he made a particular inquiry about the two other
houses which had been built, who lived in them, and especially if all
the "dwellers were converted." Then he declared his intention to go and
see the parties, and rejoice with them, and testify how fully the Lord
had accomplished the promise He gave him upon that very hill, twenty
years before.

According to promise, I went to Billy Bray's preaching-house, or
mission-hall. It was the first time that I had preached anywhere outside
my church and schoolroom since my conversion. There it pleased the Lord
to give me much help, and a great work followed, such as Billy had never
seen in that place before. Several times we were detained there all
night through, with penitents crying aloud for mercy, and believers

As a rule, the Cornish man would remain at a meeting for hours, and come
again the next day, and the day after, if needful, till he felt that he
could cry for mercy, and then he would begin and continue crying until
he felt he could believe.

At the conclusion of these services we returned to the schoolroom, where
our meetings were continued.

Our friend Billy remained with us at Baldhu, and was very useful. He
spoke in the schoolroom with much acceptance and power in the simplicity
of his faith, and souls were added to the Lord continually.

At this time he was very anxious for a cousin of his, a man somewhat
older than himself, of the same name. This Billy was as famous for his
drunkenness and dissolute habits, as the other Billy was for his faith
and joy. The former used to go by the name of the "lost soul." The very
children in the lanes called after him, "Ah, Billy, you are a lost
soul," and laughed at him. I was then in the freshness and power of my
first love, and could not help regarding this pitiable object, and
considering his case; for I could not imagine why any man should remain
unsaved and without Christ.

Accordingly, one wet morning, when I felt pretty sure that old Billy
would not be out working in the field, I made my way down to his house.
As I expected, he was at home in his chimney comer; so setting down my
dripping umbrella, I told him how glad I was to find him there, for I
wanted to have a talk with him.

"Ah, it's all very well for you gentlemen, who have none else to do but
to go about and talk; but we poor men must work." So saying, he rose up
from his "settle" and went to the door.

"But, Billy, it is raining quite hard; you cannot work in rain like

"Can't help it; we must do our work," and so he slammed the door after
him and departed.

His wife made all kinds of apologies for him, because "he was a very
singular kind of man; he did not mean bad--he was 'that curious,' that
he said and did curious things, and that I must not mind him."

I confess I was much disappointed at his abrupt departure from the
house, but I remained a little longer, till the worst of the storm was

After the lapse of nearly a quarter of an hour, Billy crept back to the
door, and lifting the latch quietly, whispered to his wife, "Is the
passon gone?"

"No, Billy," I said, "here I am. Come in out of the wet. I am so glad
you have come back."

"What d'yer want with me?" he inquired. "I want to talk to you about
your soul. I have been thinking much about you lately, Billy. They call
you a 'lost soul.'"

"What's that to you?"

"Ah, a great deal," I said, "because I have a message for lost people. I
am not a doctor for the body; my business is about the soul."

"I ain't so bad as all that yet," he replied.

"But you are bad enough, Billy--bad enough."

"Yes, indeed," interposed his wife.

"You hold yer tongue; you're no better."

I beckoned to her to be still, and went on to say, "You are bad enough,
Billy, for an old man. How old are you?"

"Up seventy years."

"Seventy years!" I repeated. "Well, now, that's a great age--that's the
age of man. Threescore years and ten! It is like giving you notice to
give up the keys of the old tabernacle. I wonder why God spares your
life? I am afraid you have been a cumberer of the ground all this time,
Billy. Do you know why the good Lord has spared you for so long?"

"I can't tell," he said, getting more and more impatient.

"Well, do you know, I think I can tell you. He is such a loving and
merciful God, He wants to have mercy on you. You could not have greater
proof of it, could you? You set a horribly bad example; you do nothing
but drink, and smoke, and swear. You have asked God to damn your soul
over and over again, and yet here you are still. Why is this?"

He did not answer, but seemed interested; so I went on to speak of the
forbearance of God towards him. I said, "Billy, do you know that I think
the Lord wants to have mercy on you? He wants to save you!" As he
listened, I went on to tell him that God loved him, and gave His Son to
die for him. Then I proceeded to speak of the wonderful patience and
long-suffering of God--a kind of crown upon His love; and what a shame
it was to sin against such love as this.

Poor Billy looked at me with tears in his eyes, and said, "You are a
dear man!"

"Dear man!" I answered. "What, then, is God, if I am 'dear' only for
telling you of His love? Ah, Billy, take and give your heart to God at
once. He is waiting for you. It is a shame to refuse such a God."

I knelt down and began to pray for him. He soon fell on his knees too,
and sobbed aloud; then he commenced to pray in his own way. He needed
much teaching, so when he rose from his knees I said to him, "Now,
Billy, I have been to see you; it is your turn to some and see me next.
When will you come?"

"This afternoon," he said. "Very good; come this afternoon." And he did.
More than that, this poor "lost soul" found peace in my study, to his
great joy; and he was not ashamed to acknowledge it openly, nor afraid
to praise God for His great goodness.

The same evening he stood up in the schoolroom meeting, and told the
people what the Lord had done for his soul. There was great excitement
that night, and well there might be, for every one knew what a daring
and wicked man he had been. One man said that "if a corpse had come out
of the churchyard and spoken, he could not have been more frightened"
(more surprised, he meant).

Old Billy's conversion gave a new and fresh impetus to the work, and
many more souls were added to the Lord.

This dear man lived for three months after this, verifying the words I
was led to say to him at the beginning of our intercourse--that the Lord
was keeping him alive in order to have mercy upon him. At the end of
this time, his daughter came to me one morning in great haste, and said,
"Father is dying, and does so want to see you. Will you come?" I went
immediately. On reaching his house and entering: his bedroom, his wife
said, "You are too late; he is dead!" Softly I moved forward to the bed,
and looking on that face once more, I thought that I could still see
signs of life. Pressing his cold hand, I spoke a few words about the
loving kindness of the Lord. He knew me, and a smile brightened his face
at the precious name of Jesus. While we stood silently round his dying
bed, he said (evidently in reference to what he had heard), "not dead;
just beginning to live." Thus, with a sweet, triumphant smile, he


Cottage Meetings, 1852.

Our steps were now directed to another part of the parish, where we
commenced a series of cottage meetings in alternation with services in
the church. These meetings were inaugurated in a very remarkable manner,
in the house of a man named "Frank," who was well known as an
exceedingly wicked and careless fellow. His wife was among the fruits of
the revival, and prayed much for him; but the more she did so, the worse
he became. I used to try and comfort her with the thought that if he did
not give himself to God to be made better, it was well that he got
worse, for it was a proof that her prayers were telling; total
indifference would have been a far more discouraging sign.

This was poor comfort to her, however, for he came home night after
night drunk; or if not so, swearing about the revival in the church, and
her praying. He often declared that if he ever caught me in his house,
he would "give me something for myself." He was at all times a very
irascible man, and being troubled with a wooden leg, it made him worse.
As he was unable to work in the mine, he was dependent for his support
on the parish authorities, who employed him to break stones on the road.

Notwithstanding his bad temper and ill-feeling towards me, I always
stopped at his heap of stones when passing, and talked to him either
about the weather or some other trivial subject, being quite satisfied
that he knew the plan of salvation, as I had spoken to him about his
soul at the time of his wife's conversion.

One day, when coming along, I observed Frank before me in the road,
busy, as usual, breaking stones, and began to think what I would speak
to him about, having no particular news to communicate. While I was thus
pondering, I came to his place, when, to my great astonishment, he was
not there. I looked around on all sides, and called, "Frank--Frank!" but
in vain--no one answered. There was no hedge or tree within sight for
him to hide behind; where could he be? All at once, I remembered that
there was a small gravel-pit about twenty-five or thirty yards from the
spot, but scarcely thought it possible he could be there. I went towards
it, however, still calling, "Frank--Frank!" and yet received no answer.
On looking in, sure enough, there was my man, lying down in the pit,
close up to the side, with his face to the ground. I said, "Frank, is
that you? What are you doing there? Are you ill?"

"No," he replied, "I'm not. What d'yer want with me?"

"Nothing in particular," I said; "but to tell the truth, I was so
surprised at your disappearance, that I could not pass on without
looking for you. I was so sure that I saw you in the distance, sitting
in your place; and then, when I came up, you were not there. I wondered
whether I had seen your ghost instead of you, and whether you were dead
or what. Are you hiding away from me?"

Rising up, he said, "I had a terrible dream last night which frightened
me very much. A voice said, 'Go and see Mr. Haslam about your soul.' I
said, 'I will, I will, the first thing in the morning.' When the morning
came, I thought the evening would do; and when I saw you coming, it made
me tremble so, that I got up and hid myself here."

I said, "Frank, it is no use for you to fight against God, or to stand
out against your wife's prayers. You had far better give in."

He then told me that his dream referred to something in his past life,
and sitting down on the bank or side of the gravel pit, he said, 'When I
was ill with my leg (which was taken off), the doctor told me what I
should die. I then cried to the Lord to have mercy on me, and said that
if He would raise me up, I would give my heart to Him. I began to
recover from that day, and kept on intending and intending to give my
heart to God; but I never did it. I got quite well in health, but ever
since that time I have been getting worse and worse in mind. When my
wife was converted, it seemed as if the devil took possession of me
altogether, and the Lord warned me again last night."

"Come now," I said, "you had better kneel down here and give up." It was
a lonely road on a bare common. "Kneel down," I repeated, "and let us
pray." He did so, and after prayer he said, "By God's help. I will give

"No," I replied, "that will not do. Say, 'Lord, take my heart. I
do'--not 'I will'--give up.'"

After a short pause, he solemnly said, "I do; Lord, take my heart!" and
then began to cry.

I gave him the text, "God so loved the world, that He gave His
only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). "Think over that," I said, "and
come to the schoolroom to-night." He did so, and was saved, to the great
joy of his soul. After the meeting was over, he remained behind a long
time, and gave vent to his feelings with tears, when he remembered the
goodness of God to him.

"This wooden leg of mine," he said, "is a monument of God's mercy!"

"How is that?" I inquired.

"Several years ago," he said, "I was playing cards for money in a
public-house, and was cheating in order to win, when the man I was
playing with said, 'You would not have won that money if you had not
cheated.' I swore at him, and said, 'God strike my limbs if I did so!' I
knew I had; and the man would not believe that I had not. So we parted."

"The next morning, I was working in the mine, close to a very large
piece of rock, which had been loosened with the blasting, when it
slipped from its place, and carried me along with it into the shaft. As
the heavy end was uppermost, it turned with its own weight, and fell
across the shaft, pinning me against the side. This rock was not less
than two or three tons weight. Notwithstanding the fearful shock, I
retained my senses; but one leg was smashed, and the other severely
wounded. 'God struck my limbs!' I cried for help; and when the men who
were attracted by my screams found me, they saw at once that it was
impossible to extricate me without moving the rock. There I remained for
more than two hours, till they had put a sling around my body. Having
done that, they adjusted a strong chain to the rock and lifted the end.
As soon as they succeeded in raising it, down it went, carrying plate,
ladders, and all before it, to the bottom of the shaft, which was many
fathoms deep, whilst I was left hanging in the sling. They then drew me
up, and took me to the hospital, where one leg was taken off and the
other set; but I was very ill for a long time. Oh, just think, if that
rock had not pinned my legs to the wall of the shaft, I should have been
in hell now! The Lord saved my life then--and has saved my soul now!"

Dear Frank became a very zealous Christian, and for many years preached
the Gospel with much power and acceptance. After his conversion, he came
one morning to beg my pardon for having forbidden me his house, and to
ask if I would come and hold a meeting there for his neighbours.

I did; and there was such a crowd inside, and also outside the house,
and so much blessing, that I was not satisfied with one visit, but went
again and again.

The place was most inconveniently full; they turned out the chairs and
tables to make standing-room inside, and opened the windows and doors
for the people to hear outside; and sometimes, before the address was
over, men and women cried aloud for mercy. We could not kneel down to
pray--praying, singing, and hearing was done standing, and, that very
close together. The house was so uncomfortably thronged, that a miller
in the neighbourhood, who had a large room in the mill, begged me to
come and preach there instead. I accepted his invitation, and we went;
but, alas! there was no power there; it was hard to pray or preach; and
the people were not even attentive. Thus it was clearly seen that it is
not by might or by power of men, but by the Spirit of the Lord; and that
if the Lord was not present to work, no work was done. We went back to
Frank's cottage, and there again the manifest presence of God was
discernible; and every time we did so souls were saved.

Next door to Frank lived a tall, gaunt, gipsy kind of woman, whom they
called "the wise woman." She had a marvellous gift of healing, and other
knowledge, which made people quite afraid of her. This woman took a
great interest in me and my work, and often came to church, besides
attending the meetings at Frank's house.

One day, during these services, she paid a visit to the Parsonage, and
said, "My dear, have you a lemon in the house?" I went to inquire and
found that we had not. "Well, then," she said, "get one, and some honey
and vinegar, and mix them all together. You will want it. Mind you do,
now," she said, drawing herself up to her full height; "mind you do, you
will want it!" Then she put the bowl of her pipe into the kitchen fire,
and having ignited the tobacco, went away smoking.

The servants were very much frightened by her manner and her warning,
and begged of me to get the lemon, saying, "It was about you, master; it
was about you that she came."

I did not know where to get a lemon within three miles, but it so
happened that a man came to the door with a net full, for sale, that
same afternoon. We bought two, just to pacify the servants, and let them
make the mixture, thinking nothing more about it.

In the course of the afternoon a very heavy thunder-storm fell upon us,
deluging the roads and lanes; and before it ceased I had to go to the
meeting. I took the precaution to put on thick shoes, and then set off
and walked through the rain. When I arrived at the cottage, I thought my
feet felt wet; but they were not cold, so that I soon forgot all about
them, and went on with the meeting, which lasted till ten o'clock; then
I returned home. On taking off my shoes, I was surprised to see how wet
and muddy my socks were. I had been standing with wet feet all the
evening. To guard against any ill effects, I put my feet in hot water
before going to bed. However, at three o'clock in the morning I awoke,
nearly choked with a severe fit of bronchitis; the thick, hard phlegm in
my throat almost suffocated me; I had to struggle for breath and life.
After an hour or more of the most acute suffering, my dear wife
remembered the lemon mixture, and called the servant to get up and bring
it. It was just in time. I was black in the face with suffocation; but
this compound relieved, and, in fact, restored me. I was greatly
exhausted with the effort and struggle for life, and after two hours I
fell asleep. I was able to rise in the morning and breathe freely,
though my chest was very sore.

After breakfast, the "wise woman" appeared, standing outside the window
of the drawing-room, where I was lying on the sofa.

"Ah, my dear," she said, "you were nearly gone at three o'clock this
morning. I had a hard wrestle for you, sure enough. If you had not had
that lemon, you know, you would have been a dead man by this time!"

That mysterious creature, what with her healing art, together with the
prayer of faith and the marvellous foresight she had, was quite a terror
to the people. One day she came, and bade me go to a man who was very
worldly and careless, and tell him that he would die before Sunday.

I said, "You go, if you have received the message."

She looked sternly at me, and said, "You go! that's the message--you

I went. The man laughed at me, and said, "That old hag ought to be
hanged." I urged him to give his heart to God, and prayed with him, but
to no effect. He was thrown from his cart, and killed the following
Saturday, coming home from market.

Her sayings and doings would fill a book; but who would believe the

She was not always a bird of evil omen, for sometimes she brought me
good news as well as bad. One day she said, "There is a clergyman coming
to see you, who used to be a great friend of yours, but since your
conversion he has been afraid of you. He is coming; you must allow him
to preach; he will be converted before long!" Sure enough, my old friend
W.B.--, came as she predicted. He preached, and in due time was
converted, and his wife also; but his story shall come in its own place.

The work at Frank's cottage stopped as suddenly as it began. I cannot
theorize about the subject; I merely state that so it was. It began, it
continued, and continued only in that house, and then it stopped.

Another remarkable thing may here be observed--that on visiting the
cottages within a limited distance round Frank's house, people were
softened, and it was easy to persuade them to yield themselves to
Christ. They appeared to be quite ripe and ready. Just beyond this limit
the people were as hard and careless as ever. It seemed as if the power
of God overshadowed only a certain spot, and that all within that were
under Divine influence for the time, though all were not converted. They
acknowledged, however, that they felt the Spirit's power striving with
them, and they knew afterwards that it was withdrawn. "The wind bloweth
where it listeth."


Open-Air Services, 1852.


AS the summer advanced, it was laid on heart to go and preach in the
parish of Perranzabuloe, where I had ministered in my unconverted days.
The vicar, would not consent to my having the church; but told me, in
writing, that he could not prevent my preaching on the common or the
beach. I thanked him for his suggestion as to the latter. As soon I was
able I made arrangements, and giving due notice, went down to the old
familiar place; but this time on a new errand, and it was to me a fresh
start in my work. I took my gown for this first open-air service; and on
arriving, found many hundreds of people already assembled at the
appointed place, on Perran beach.

After giving out a hymn, which was most heartily sung, I prayed,
thanking God for the change He had wrought in my soul, and begging Him
to show that He had forgiven the past, by bestowing a manifest blessing
upon the present service. All this was loudly responded to, in Cornish
fashion, with hearty "Amens" and various other ejaculations to which I
was well accustomed. Then I read the beginning of the fifth chapter of
St. Luke, taking for my text the words, "Launch out into the deep, and
let down your nets for a draught."

Having reminded the people how hard I had worked amongst them for four
years without seeing any conversions, I went on to show them, by way of
parallel, that Simon Peter had toiled all night and taken nothing, but
that when he went forth at the Lord's command, he enclosed a great
multitude of fishes. "Here," I said, "is encouragement for us to expect
a blessing now. Why did Simon Peter fail at first? and why did he
subsequently succeed? Why did he fail?--1. Because he went out in the
night. 2. At his own desire. 3. In the wisdom of men. Why did I fail?--1.
Because I preached and laboured in the night of my unconverted state. 2.
I laboured at the bidding of the Church. And, 3. According to the wisdom
and tradition of the fathers. Why did Peter succeed?--Because, 1. He
went out in the morning. 2. At the Lord's bidding. 3. With the Lord's

"I am come (I was thankful to be able to say) in the bright sunshine of
my first love. Jesus, the Saviour, is the 'Sun of my soul, my Saviour
dear.'" The people cheered me so much with their responding, that I felt
as happy as they. The opening heaven seemed to shine around us, indeed,
"with beams of sacred bliss." They shouted again and again, "Glory to
God! Glory to God! Hallelujah! .... I am come now," I continued, "to
tell you from my own personal experience, about salvation and the
forgiveness of sins." "Yes, yes!" "Thank the Lord!" "Bless Him!"

"I am come, dear friends, at the Lord's bidding. I feel sure that He put
it into my heart to do so. Oh, how much I longed to do you good when I
was your minister; but I could not, for I knew nothing about the Way
myself. Now, that I do, I am constrained to tell you. The love of God
within, and the Word of God without, compel me.

"I feel I have the Lord's presence, for He not only promised it where
two or three are gathered together in His name; but also to those who
preach the Gospel, He said, 'Lo, I am with you alway!' His presence is
power. It is His word I bring you, not mine; I merely deliver it. He is
here. And be sure He loves you, and, what is more, takes a deeper
interest in this preaching than we can. He died for you, and shed His
blood for your forgiveness; how, then, can He do otherwise than take an
interest in the delivery of His message, and, more, in the result which
is to follow?

"When Simon Peter let down his net, he was astonished; mark, it was a
net he let down into the deep, something which enclosed the fish, in
order that he might bring them out of their native element, the water.
So I preach the Gospel, not merely for the sake of preaching, but to
bring you from the power of Satan, in which we all are by nature, to
God, that you may receive the forgiveness of your sins.

"We read that he enclosed a great multitude of fishes; I have faith to
believe that the Lord will bring many to Himself to-night."

With shouting and praise the address was concluded and prayer was
offered. At the close, we found at least fifty people in that great
throng on their knees, crying for mercy. It was a most triumphant and
joyful time, and the people were loth to separate. We slept that night
at Porth, as that part of the village is called.

The next morning two fishermen came to my lodging, bringing a large
basket of fish as a present. Their hearts had been cheered the preceding
night, and taking my word in a natural as well as a spiritual sense,
they went out once again and let down their nets. They had gone out many
nights before and taken nothing; but this time their venture was crowned
with success, and they came back rejoicing ill the Lord, who had shown
them that temporal as well as spiritual blessings come from Him. The
basket of fish they brought me was an acknowledgment of their heartfelt

After breakfast, as we were walking on the seashore, under the majestic
cliffs which have stood as a wall against the Atlantic waves for
centuries, we heard our good-natured Newfoundland dog barking at
something on the rocks; we looked up, and behold! There was an
exquisitely graceful fawn-coloured kid, with a scarlet collar and bells,
bounding about playfully on the narrow ledges of the rocks. It seemed to
us to be leaping about on the face of the cliff, for we could not see
the little ledges on which it picked its way. It was quite out of the
dog's reach, and appeared to know it, judging from the coquettish and
defiant manner in which it was jumping about, in high glee at its
independence. While we were standing watching the pretty and graceful
creature, a young lady came out from behind other rocks, and called to
her pet, which arched its little neck and looked at her, then at the
dog, as if it would say, "How can I come down?" I walked towards her,
and on speaking, found that she knew me, and that I had seen her when
she was a child. After a little talk about the playful kid, I asked her
if she had been to the meeting; she said "she had, and she had not!"

I waited silently for an explanation. Presently, she said that her mamma
had forbidden her to go to "such wild meetings," but that her father had
asked her to walk with him under a wall in the garden, there they could
and did hear every word; and she added, "I think papa has found
peace--he is so very happy'."

"And have not you also?" I asked.

"Ah," she replied, "I wish I could."

The more I talked with her, the more convinced I felt she was in
earnest, but that something stood in the way. She said she did not know
what it was--that she really wished for salvation, and was willing to
give up everything. I said, "Do you think your mother would let you
return with us on a short visit? We are just going back to Baldhu."

She said, "Mamma is not at home: she has gone away for three days; but I
think papa would let me go. Shall I ask him?"

She did; and soon returned, saying that she might do so if we could
promise to bring her back in two days. This being settled, she hastened
to get her things ready, and sent her maid to fetch home the pet kid,
which she bade her take great care of during her absence: then we set

On arriving at our house she went straight to her bedroom, and there on
her knees implored God's mercy, and remained pleading and praying for
five hours, before she found peace. Then she came down among us,
rejoicing in the Lord. That evening she spent at the meeting, and the
next day in visiting among the cottages. On the third day, after a happy
visit, we took her home to her father, rejoicing in the liberty of the
children of God.

Her mother returned the day after, and when she was told of the change
in her husband and her daughter Lucy, she became exceedingly angry, and
wrote, not to thank, but to forbid us the house; also prohibiting
further intercourse. At the same time she declared her intention to get
all that nonsense out of her daughter's head as soon as possible. She
dragged this poor girl out to parties and amusements of every kind,
against her will, which had the effect of making her dislike them the
more, and caused her to cleave steadfastly to the Lord in prayer.

Six months later, she was taken ill, and after a few weeks' suffering
she died, rejoicing that her sins were pardoned, and that she was going
home. It was evident that God would not trust that mother with a
daughter whose soul she was determined to injure. He took His child away
to Himself.


The open-air preaching at Perran led to many similar services there, and
at other places. I will tell of two only, to prevent sameness, and for
fear of tiring the reader.

The former of these, was at a place called Rose-in-vale, in the same
parish, on the lawn of the chief parishioner. He was an uneducated man,
who had risen from the rank of a common miner to that of a mine captain.
Being very shrewd and clever, he had succeeded in accumulating a
considerable sum of money; and though he and his wife had a very large
house, they chiefly occupied two of the smallest rooms. "Them fine
things up in the parlours," he said, he "made no 'count of;" indeed he
was anything but comfortable or easy in his state apartments. Being the
wealthy man of the parish, he sat on Sunday in the large square pew; but
beyond giving personal attendance, and that very regularly, I do not
know what other heed he gave, either to the service or the sermon.

During this summer he invited me to give "a preaching" in his garden.
Accordingly, on a fixed day, I went, and tried to speak, but found it
most difficult to do so. I know not why; but again and again I felt as
though I had lost the thread of my discourse and was rambling--that I
was at a loss for words, and could not hold the attention of the people.
Perplexed, and greatly discouraged, I was not sorry when the time came
to conclude; therefore I did not invite the people to remain for an
after-meeting for prayer. Several persons came up and asked me why I had
dismissed the assembly. "Ah!" I replied, "because there is no power. I
could not get on at all!" They were surprised, and said they thought
that I had been helped more than usual, and were quite sure that the
Lord was working among the people. However, the congregation had gone
now, and could not be recalled. This only made me feel more distressed
than before.

The feeling was very strong with which I had been so burdened while
speaking; and, to add to my perplexity, I observed three coast-guard
men, who had come some five or six miles, behaving badly, and laughing
all the time (as I thought) at my discourse, to the great discomfiture
of my preaching. Open-air addresses were not common in those days, and
for a man to set up (as some said) and pretend to be a second Whitfield
or Wesley, was bad enough, but to fail was most humiliating!

Three years after this, I was travelling outside a coach, when a rough
sailor-looking man came climbing up to the top, although he was told
that there was no room. "Never mind," he said; "I will sit on the boxes.
I want to talk to this here gentleman." So saying, he perched himself on
the luggage, and offered to shake hands with me. "Do you know me?" I

"Oh yes, bless you, of course I do! Don't you remember three coast-guard
men at Captain O--'s garden?"

"Yes," I said, "indeed I do, and am not likely to forget them easily;
they behaved so badly, and disturbed me so much."

"Well," he continued, "I'm one o' them. I don't know why we laughed and
made fun, for we all on us felt your words deeply, and went home to
pray; and a few days afterwards we were all three converted--that we
were. Praise the Lord! After that, we volunteered for the navy, to go to
the Crimea war. I've been in some hot scenes, sure enough. One day we
got a little too near the Russian battery, and they peppered us
brave--no mistake, I assure you; they cut our masts and rigging to
pieces, and ploughed up our deck with their shots. Men were being killed
on every side of me. I thought, now I shall see the King in His glory.
My soul was so happy, I expected every moment to be cut down and sent
into His presence; but not a shot touched me! I had not even a scratch;
and here I be, safe and sound, all through mercy!"

Thus, these three men, who made me at the time so unhappy, and disturbed
me to such a degree, turned out well, after all.

Since then, on several occasions, I have felt as discouraged in
preaching as I was that day; and though again and again I have said that
I will not heed it, I have nevertheless found it difficult to be unmoved
under this mysterious influence. I write this for the comfort and
consolation of others who are afflicted under similar circumstances,
that they may not be cast down by their feelings.

3. Mount Hawke

The next occasion was very different, and quite a contrast in results. I
was invited to a neighbouring parish, which formerly used to be united
with Perran at the time when I had sole charge of it. Here, on the
appointed Saturday afternoon, I found not fewer than three thousand
people assembled on the common. They had erected a kind of platform,
with a canvas awning, to shelter me from the wind, which always blows
with more or less violence in Cornwall, even when it is not raining.

There I stood and beheld this concourse of people, evidently full of
large expectation. I gave out the hymn--

"Oh for a thousand tongues, to sing
My great Redeemer's praise!"

This was heartily sung; and after prayer for a blessing, I announced my
text, and spoke from the fact, that Christ Jesus came into the world to
save sinners. Upon enforcing this as worthy of all acceptation, I
pressed the thought, that the Lord Jesus came more than eighteen hundred
years ago, and that is present still, and able to work greater than He
wrought then; for indeed He only began then to do and to teach what He
is doing and teaching continuously now.

A mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord came on the people, and several
hundreds fell upon their knees simultaneously, and many began to cry
aloud for mercy. The strange part was, that the power of the Lord
appeared to pass diagonally through the crowd, so that there was a lane
of people on their knees six or eight feet deep, banked up on either
side by others standing. It extended from the left-hand corner near me,
to the right-hand corner in the distance.

It was quite impossible to go on preaching, so I gave out a hymn, and
then went in among "the slain of the Lord." After about an hour, some
one suggested that we should go to the school-room; as it was getting
dark. The clergyman of the parish was on horseback in the lane close by,
watching proceedings. I asked him if we could have the use of the
school-room. "Oh yes," he said; "yes, certainly--certainly--anything."
He seemed very frightened. The men and women in distress of soul were
led to the room, crying and praying as they went. When I reached the
place, I found it impossible to get in, far it was already full, besides
a throng standing at the door. I was taken to a window at last, and
getting in through that, I stood on the schoolmaster's table, which was

Against the wall the men had, in miners' fashion, set up with clay some
candles, which were beginning to bend over with the heat of the room.
The place was densely packed, and the noise of the people praying for
mercy was excessive. I could do no more than speak to those who were
near me round the table. As they found peace one by one and were able to
praise God, we asked them to go out and let others come. In this way the
meeting went on till ten o'clock, when I left; and it continued to go on
all night and all the next day without cessation. It will scarcely be
credited, but that same meeting was prolonged by successive persons
without any intermission, day and night, till the evening of Sunday, the
eighth day after it began. This kind of thing was not unusual in
Cornwall, for we had the same in our school-room at Baldhu for three
days and nights; but eight days is the longest period of which I have
any personal knowledge.

I went again and again to see how they were going on; but the people
were too absorbed to heed my presence; and those who were then seeking
mercy were strangers to me, and had not been present at the service on
the previous Saturday.


Drawing-Room Meetings, 1852-53.

From that time I did not confine myself so much to my own church, but
frequently went out to preach in other places, as opportunities
occurred; and these were, for the most part, brought about by remarkable
and unsought-for incidents.

One Sunday a lady and gentleman came to my church from one of the
neighbouring towns; they were professors of religion, and members of
some Dissenting body. My sermon that evening was upon wheat and
chaff--the former was to be gathered into the garner, the latter burned
with fire unquenchable. I said that we were all either one or the
other--to be gathered or burned. They went away very angry, and
complained one to another of my want of charity; they also remarked that
I took good care to let the people know that I was not amongst the chaff
which was to be burned. The arrows of the Lord had evidently found them,
and had pierced the joints in their harness. They could not sleep all
night for anger and distress. In the morning the gentleman rose early,
and before breakfast had his horse out, and galloped over eight miles to
see me. He came with the intention of finding fault, but instead of this
he burst into tears, and told me that he was the greatest of sinners.

He was in sore distress, which increased all the more as he gave vent to
his feelings. I could not help rejoicing, and told him that God had
wounded him, but that He only wounds to heal, and kills to make alive.

"Ah," he said, "that is the first thought of comfort I have had; it is
like balm to my soul."

We knelt down and prayed; then I had the privilege of leading him to
Christ, and we praised God together.

I gave him some breakfast, and after that rode back with him to see his
wife, whom he had left in the morning in great trouble of mind. We found
her up, and rejoicing. It was most touching to witness the mutual
surprise and joy of these two loving ones, when they discovered that
they were now united in the Lord.

She told us, that after her husband's departure she was in such terrible
trouble that she got up to pray, and that while she was on her knees she
saw a vision on the bed-cover. Before her was printed, in large visible
letters, "Thy sins be forgiven thee;" she could scarcely believe her
eyes, but with her own finger she traced the letters, and was sure they
were there. Taking them as a message from Christ, she rose and thanked
Him, and now felt quite sure she was saved. I could not help telling her
not to believe in her eyes or her visions, but in Jesus, and the fact
that He had died for her. Having thanked God together, they next began
to think of their servants; so we sent for them, and both master and
mistress told them what the Lord had done for their souls; and while we
were praying, they all three cried aloud for mercy, and found peace.

This was the commencement of a good work in that town by drawing-room
meetings, and many were gathered to the Lord. Amongst the number was the
mayor of the town, who in his turn wished to have a meeting at his
house. As soon as I was able to fix the day, he invited his friends, but
on finding that so many more desired to come than he could accommodate,
he announced that the meeting would be held at the Town Hall. Great
interest was excited, and it was soon evident that even this building
would not be large enough, so it ended in the Temperance Hall being
selected. The vicar hearing about it, wrote to protest, and asked me to
call on him before I went to the place of meeting. He said it was bad
enough for me to come to his parish to private houses, but to come to a
public room, and that a large one, was quite out of the question.

I endeavoured to show him that the lecture or address I had come to give
was not an official or ministerial act; but he would not see that. I
also suggested that there was no law against it. He, begging my pardon,
said "The 'Conventicle Act' had not been repealed yet, and that no one
could lawfully hold a meeting of more than twenty persons."

"But surely," I replied, "that is virtually repealed by the 'Toleration
Act.' A clergyman ought not to be in greater bondage in England than a
layman, or more restricted. Anybody else can come and preach the Gospel
in your parish, and you cannot hinder it. Do not hinder me. It will do
you no harm."

He said, "I cannot conscientiously allow it. It is against the Canons."

"Which Canon is it against?" I asked.

He took down a book and showed it me, but casting my eyes on the one
before, and another which followed, I found that we neither of us
observed the one or the other. Why, then, be so zealous about this?
"Besides," I said, "you are not responsible; you have not asked me, nor
have I asked your consent. Your conscience need not be troubled about
the matter."

"But," he said, impatiently, "I am determined that you shall not preach
in this parish. I will inform the Bishop."

I replied, that "the Bishop had not any jurisdiction in this case; there
is no law on the subject. The Conventicle Act only refers to worship,
not to service or preaching."

He said, that he "could see no difference whatever between worship and

"But," I said, "I am sure the Bishop knows, and will acknowledge, the
great difference between these two."

Then, changing his tone, he said, "Now, come, there's a good fellow,
don't preach at the Town Hall."

"My dear man," I answered, "I am not a 'good fellow' at all I cannot
give it up."

"Then," he said, "at least please to defer your address for a week, till
we can get the Bishop's decision."

He asked so kindly and earnestly, and made such a point of it, that I
consented to wait for the Bishop's answer, and defer the preaching for a
week. He was very pleased, and said that I was indeed a 'good fellow',
but the praise I got from him barely satisfied my conscience, and I was
ashamed to meet my friends. I had not gone far before my courage failed;
so, going back, I said that "I must withdraw my consent to defer the
meeting. I will take the consequences and responsibilities, and go on."

"No, no." cried the vicar, "I will arrange for the Postponement of your
meeting. Look here, I have written out a notice for the crier; he shall
go round the town at once, and tell the people that the meeting is
unavoidably deferred for a week."

I was very reluctantly persuaded to yield, and then went to my friend
and told him what I had done. He was very much vexed with me, and said,
"Then we must go at once and tell the mayor before he hears the crier."
We did so, and found that this personage was disappointed too, and
advised me to go away out of sight of the people. Accordingly, my friend
and I went to a house which commanded a good view of the town and
principal streets, from whence we could see the people assembling and
dispersing. A large gang of them stood opposite my friend's house, and
asked if I would not preach to them in the open air; and when they
ascertained that the vicar had hindered the preaching, they were much

In the evening I went back to my own parish, and had the usual service,
which I found very refreshing after so much bickering about

The Bishop's letter arrived in due time. In it his lordship said, that
he "always had entertained a great esteem for me and my obedience to
authority, and highly commended me for postponing or giving up my
service at the above town." As he did not say a single word of
prohibition, I immediately wrote to the mayor to expect me on the
following Tuesday, "For the Bishop had not forbidden me," and I also
wrote to the vicar to the same effect. Large bills, with large letters
on them, announced that "the Rev. William Haslam will positively preach
in the Temperance Hall at three o'clock on Tuesday next."

The churchwardens of the parish were requested to attend the meeting,
and protest, on behalf of the vicar, and also to present the
archdeacon's monition. They stood beside me all the time, and after the
service was concluded they showed me the archidiaconal instrument, with
a great seal appended to it. They said that they "dared not stop that
preaching," and so they took their monition back.

This gave rise to a long correspondence in the newspapers, some taking
part on my side, and some against me. Thus the question was ventilated,
and finally concluded, by a letter from some one, who said, "The Bishop
of Exeter is one of the greatest ecclesiastical lawyers we have, and if
he cannot stop Mr. Haslam, the question is settled; for be sure his
lordship has all the will to stop this preaching, and would do so if he
had the power."

From that time I never hesitated to preach the Gospel in any parish or
diocese where I was invited. So few of the clergy asked me, that I was
obliged to go out in spite of them, or, at any rate, without asking
their consent, and in consequence of this, I am afraid I became
obnoxious to many of my clerical brethren. Since then things are much
changed. The Earl of Shaftesbury has succeeded in getting an Act passed
through both Houses of Parliament, to settle the question about such
services. Now any clergyman may preach in Exeter Hall, or any other
public non-ecclesiastical building, without consulting the vicar of the
parish. Besides this, a general disposition has arisen amongst the
clergy, from one end of the land to the other, to have "missions," so
that there is no need to work independently of clergymen, but with them,
and very cheering it is to be thus employed. It was not pleasant to
witness the scowl and the frown, nor to get the cold shoulder. Thank
God, times are changed now; but I must needs tell of some of the scenes
I was in, and the opposition I had to encounter, during the years that
are gone by.


Opposition, 1853.

I have been telling hitherto of blessing and prosperity in the Lord's
work. Many more cases might have been mentioned, and many other things
of not less moment and interest; but enough has been said, I hope, to
show the character of the work, and give some idea of the amount of
blessing which attended it. But it must not be supposed that the offence
of the cross had ceased, or that the enmity of the carnal mind was never
stirred; indeed, I always doubt the reality of a work which moves on
without opposition. On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost was
first given, while believers were rejoicing, and sinners were pricked to
the heart, and some mocked, there arose the opposition of others, who
resisted the influence of the Spirit; and being "cut to the heart," they
gnashed with their teeth, and went forward in furious contention against
the Lord's work. So it was with us.

The opposition ran very high, but I do not think it was of malice or
hatred, but rather "righteous indignation." The instigators of it were
serious and earnest persons, who verily thought they were doing right.
They tried first to save me from what they considered was my
infatuation; and failing that, did all they could to save others from my
bad influence. "I bear them record, that they had a zeal for God, but
not according to knowledge." It was just such a zeal as I had before I
was converted; therefore my heart's desire was drawn out towards them,
and I made continual efforts to win them.

One dear friend of old time said he felt "so hurt" because I was
changed, and often wondered why "God did not strike me dead for all the
harm I had done to the Church." Another said that he "should not be
surprised if the very ground opened and swallowed me up for my
fraternizing with schismatics. The sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram was
nothing to mine." At the Clerical Meeting, which I attended
notwithstanding all this stir against me, I was beset on every side with
something more than loving reproaches; for evidently my old friends were
very much grieved, and could not forgive me for what they considered the
betrayal of Church principles.

A special meeting or synod of the clergy was convened by the Rural Dean,
to take into consideration among other things, my defection, and to
decide what public notice should be taken on the subject of this great
scandal. I also attended this meeting, and found my brethren in a very
angry and excited state. One after another got up and made grievous
charges against me, about the proceedings in my church and parish. The
burden of their distress, however, seemed to be noise and excitement.

They said that "There was brawling in my church, and howling in my
schoolroom, women fainting and men shouting in a most fanatical manner.
They had not witnessed these scenes themselves, but they were credibly
informed of them. Moreover, they asserted, on good authority, that I
preached a very different doctrine to that which was authorized by the
Church. I had declared that there was no salvation by the Church and
Sacraments, but by simple faith in Christ; that any man--it did not
matter what his previous life had been--if he only came to my preaching,
and did as I told him, would be saved." These, and many other such
charges, were made and supported by shouts of "Hear! hear!" and cries of
"Shame!" The Rural Dean said he was glad Mr. Haslam was present to
answer for himself; he had observed that I had sat very quietly to hear
others; and he now hoped that a patient hearing would be given to me.

I rose, and said I was very thankful to be there, and to have this
opportunity of testifying before them all that the Lord had converted my

There was a little interruption here, but after a time I was permitted
to go on. I said that before I was converted, I was even more zealous
than any of them against this change, and greatly prejudiced against it.
I actually flogged a big boy in my school for going to a chapel and
professing to be converted; this I did before all the children, and he
promised that he would "never be converted any more." I could,
therefore, well understand their present feelings, and said that I was
not angry with them, but rather prayed that they might, in their turn,
be enabled to see these things as I now saw them, and be saved as I was.

Upon this, there arose a great disturbance. The Rural Dean gave me
credit for candour, and said he thought I meant well, but that I implied
too much against my brethren; however, he had said before, and would
repeat it, that I had listened quietly' to what others had said, and
that now I was entitled to a patient hearing a little longer.

But this could not be, for I was stopped at every Fresh statement I
made, and had so many questions put to me, that I begged for only one at
a time. I was enabled to stand my ground calmly, and endeavoured to
answer the charges in order as they were brought out. To all
appearances, I had to stand quite alone in that tumultuous party. We had
met at twelve o'clock, and after four hours were still in the heat of

At last, to conclude this extraordinary meeting, one of the Clergy rose
and said that he felt it was his painful yet necessary duty to propose
that "a vote of censure be passed on Mr. Haslam." It was not seconded,
and so fell to the ground. Whereupon, another rose '"to record a protest
against revival meetings, as contrary to the usage of the Church." This
also failed; and as no one else had anything to say, the conclave of
divines broke up. What they would have said or done, if I had not
attended to be torn to pieces by them, I know not; all I can say is,
that they separated without eating me up. Some of them came to me
afterwards and seemed pleased that I had stood my ground so
good-naturedly, and thought that I had had a great badgering.

The opposition did not stop there--sermons were preached in several of
the neighbouring churches, and people earnestly warned against attending
certain services, and told not to countenance them by their presence.
The newspapers also took up the matter, and public report was not behind
in its usual exaggeration.

I give here an extract from a Letter I thought it necessary to write at

"My Dear Sir,--I have been seriously considering, for some time, the
necessity of making a public statement respecting the work of God in
this place; with a view partly of drawing attention to an all-important,
though very neglected subject; and partly with a view of giving some
definite and authoritative form to the various and varied reports which
are in circulation. It is vain to pretend to know nothing about them,
and it is equally vain to suppose that reports about our proceedings are
likely to lose less by repetition, than those on other subjects of less

"I embrace, therefore, the opportunity which your Sermon on RELIGIOUS
EXCITEMENT offers, to make a statement.

"I do remonstrate against your publishing to the world a sermon avowedly
against 'proceedings connected with a neighbouring church;' and that
instead of encouragement, counsel, and cooperation in what I know is the
work of God, I receive this public rebuke. I make this remonstrance the
more earnestly, because several of the opinions you have expressed, are
not, as I believe, consistent with the teaching of our Church; and
lastly, I venture to be the remonstrant, because I am the person, and
mine the church, which are the objects of your animadversions.

"You hold deservedly a high position among us in respect of rank and
esteem for your piety and learning; but at the hazard of incurring the
imputation of arrogance, I cannot, I must not, and I will not be
unfaithful to the light in which I walk, by the grace of God; and
therefore I do simply and plainly protest, in the first place, against
the supposition that Excitement is a means which I am using, or an end I
have in view; secondly, against the supposition that conversion is a
gradual work, which is to be worked out by Sacraments and Means of
Grace; and thirdly, against a teaching which supposes and actually
declares that a Person may believe, may be pardoned, may be cleansed
from sin, yet not know it."

"In the sense in which you censure Religious Excitement, namely, as a
means to 'force, as it were, the Spirit of the Lord,' and 'for the
purpose of strongly working on the animal feelings, etc.,' it may be
justly censurable. Those who make excitement the end and object of their
endeavours in a religious movement, must soon find the emptiness of it;
they throw dust into their own eyes, and will ever verify your words
that 'excitement lifts up for a moment and then lets fall again,' and
that 'like dram-drinking, it leaves those that indulge in it weaker than

"Those who really are engaged in the work of God, and especially
conversion work, must meet with 'excitement.' It is impossible for a
sinner, under connection of sin, to remain in a calm imperturbable
state: or when the despairing sinner comes to a knowledge of that
Saviour who made Atonement for him, to help being excited with joy.
Noble or peasant, gentle or uneducated, I am sure there will be
excitement, and overflowing joy and gladness.

"A man who never felt himself a lost sinner, and never knew his need of
the Saviour, may reason gravely of the impropriety of 'excitement,' and
the man who has never experienced the liberty of deliverance from the
'horrible pit, and the mire and clay,' may seem to be wise on the
subject of Christian joy; but he knows it not. The outburst of joy in
the newly born child of God, is as undiscriminating as the joyous mirth
of children. But it becomes more subdued as the child grows on to 'the
conquering young man,' and more chastened still when the 'young man'
attains to that state which St. John terms 'father.' This I have no
doubt is the kind of Christian joy you expect to see, and without which
you are not satisfied.* But, dear friend, remember the perfect Temple
was not built in one, but three days.


* "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you
for His name's sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known
Him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye
have overcome the Wicked One."--1 John 2:12, 13.

"We are at foundation work; and you rebuke us for an unfinished temple!
Your rebuke is not undeserved in one sense: we ought to have attained to
great advancements, and to have begun long ago; but God has had patience
with us. In this beginning' there seems to be confusion to superficial
observers, and there must be 'excitement;' but this, as I said, is not
the end in view, or the means we use. It is not long since I could
reason a against 'excitement,' and thought as many do now, that in
connection With religion it is irreverent, and unbecoming.

"Oh, what a snare is this unfeeling 'propriety!' It is really a dislike
of being aroused from sleep; a fearful hugging of oneself into apathetic
security, and lying down in the arms of the Wicked One for a fatal
slumber. Oh that I could 'excite' such persons! that I could arouse
them! that by any means I could awaken these souls from the sleep of
death! I would glory in the censure and rejoice in the blame. Would that
I could reach your heart and the hearts of many of my other brethren;
that we might unite together and raise a louder call! There should be a
more excited blast, as from a trumpet, to stir the masses of those who
come duly and regularly 'to hear us every Sunday,' a louder, stronger,
and more urgent and thrilling cry, Repent! Repent! We want more fearless
plain speaking, more personal appeal. It is not refined to preach of the
grave and death, judgment and hell,--it is 'ranting:' but nevertheless
let us 'rant;' let us be faithful; let us tell the sinner that he must
die; and that he will die in his sins and perish for ever, except he
repent and be converted that his sins may be blotted out. Let us tell
him that he 'is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the
Name of the only-begotten Son of God' (John 3:18): that 'the wrath of
God abideth on him' (verse 35). Instead of arguments against
'excitement,' let us have a united cry against sin and frivolity
wherever it is. There is excitement against 'excitement' now; let there
be excitement, if you will, against indifference, and neglect of

Many of the proceedings in our parish were, I confess, more tumultuous
than I could justify, more noisy and exciting than I thought needful;
but I could not control the people. If they had been educated to ideas
of propriety and self-control, the impulse of Divine power, which really
then filled them, might have found expression in a more quiet and
orderly manner. To hinder their rejoicings therefore, though they were
considered so obnoxious, would have been to withstand the Spirit of God.
As the people had not been taught better, I could not interfere with
them; I would rather bear the obloquy of men.

For instance, one day, by way of change, I had a meeting for the Bible
Society, and invited some of the clergy who sympathized with its object.
They attended, and others came out of curiosity "to see these revival
people." We had a large gathering, and everything began smoothly. 'My
Scripture-reader, who was naturally a most excitable and noisy man,
tried to do his best before the clergy; he spoke of the sweet words
which they had heard from the reverend speakers; it was charming, he
said, to hear of a good cause supported in such "mellifluous accents,"
and so forth. He got a little wild towards the end, but on the whole he
was to be praised for his kind efforts to give a quiet tone to the
meeting'. By this time, our friend "Billy Bray" had appeared on the
scene, and gave us chapter and verse from one end of the Bible to the
other, on the subject of "dancing for joy." He propounded his theory,
that if a man did not praise God, he would not rise in the resurrection;
if he only praised God with his mouth, he would rise like those things
carved on the tombstones, with swelling cheeks and wings; if he clapped
his hands (suiting his actions to the words) he would have a pair of
hands as well at the resurrection; and if he danced with his feet, he
would rise complete. He hoped to rise like that, to sing, to clap his
hands, dance, and jump too. The worst of jumping in this world, he said,
was that he had to come down again, but even in heaven he supposed the
higher he danced and jumped, the higher he would be; walking in heaven,
to his mind, was praising God, one foot said "Glory," and the other

Under Billy's original theories the people were warming up, and becoming
a little responsive, and "Billy" himself was getting excited. In
reference to some remarks which had been made by a previous speaker
about Samson, he said that he felt as happy and strong as Samson; then
suddenly he put his arms round me, as I was standing gesticulating and
making signs to the people to be still, and taking me up as he had done
once before, he carried me down the schoolroom, crying out, "Here go the
postes! Glory! hallelujah!" It was useless to resist, for he held me
with an iron grasp; so I remained still, hoping at every step that he
would put me down. I suppose he imagined himself to be Samson carrying
off the gates of Gaza. 'The people got what they called "happy," and
shouted and praised God most vociferously. I gave out a hymn, but the
joy of the Cornish people could not be restrained within the bounds of a
tune, or form of words. Some of them became very excited and
unmanageable; only those who have witnessed such scenes can understand
what I mean. The power of God was great, though the demonstrations were
very human. My visitors trembled with fear, and made their escape as
precipitately as they possibly could. To those who are not in the power
of the Spirit such rejoicings are unintelligible; lookers-on are
stumbled or offended because they only see and feel the human
manifestation, and not the Divine power; they are like people who get
all the smoke, and none of the warmth of the fire.

I made up my mind for the worst, for we had a reporter there, and some
others who were only too ready to make the most of such a scene.
Nevertheless I would rather have the same thing over and over again,
than have the most stately and orderly ceremonials conjoined with
spiritual death. These things, with all their proprieties, are very
chilling to living souls, and all the more hurtful because dead souls
are satisfied by them instead of being disturbed.

Dear Mr. Aitken was very angry with us, when he heard the things which
were reported; and, like a good spiritual father, he came over to teach
us better. He preached one of his own strong sermons, on the difference
between emotion and principle, and after beating us down very hard, his
dear heart relented, and he tried to cheer and lift us up. This last is
always an easy thing to do in Cornwall. The people soon responded to his
efforts, and began to praise God; and then he took fire, and praised
too. Mutually exciting and being excited, his powerful voice could be
heard above the din of hundreds of shouting voices. The dear man was
happy in his soul, and so was I, and we did not care a halfpenny for the
outside world, newspapers, or anything else.

We had obloquy with opposition; and even to my personal friends I could
not give satisfactory explanations of these things. One suggested that I
should read a paper at the next Clerical Meeting, and give a statement
in exposition of my views and practices. This I consented to do, and Mr.
Aitken kindly helped me to write it. On the appointed day I undertook to
read it, on condition that no one interrupted me till I had finished. It
was a hard task for them to sit still, but they managed to do so; and at
the end, burst out upon me in a volley of censure and disapprobation. I
was obliged to tell them that they were not converted, and therefore
could not understand these things.

I wrote a pamphlet to show that the Church of England's teaching was
based on conversion, and not on baptism; and that the Reformation was to
the Church of England what Conversion was to the individual reformers.
Taking my own change as an illustration, I said, that I used to rest on
Baptism and the Church, and that now I was standing on the Rock, Christ
Jesus. Once I worked for life, and now I worked from life; that is,
because I possessed it. I declared that this was the characteristic
difference between the Church of England as it is, and as it was when
connected with the Church of Rome. This pamphlet would not satisfy them.
I then wrote and published a letter to the Archdeacon, in which, in my
young zeal, I charged the clergy with being unconverted, and doing the
devil's work of hindering the salvation of souls, and that they seemed
to stand on their parish boundaries and say, "This is my parish, and you
shall not come here to disturb the sleep of death which now reigns."
This poured no oil upon the waters.

I then wrote another pamphlet upon which I spent much time, thought, and
prayer. I took the manuscript and read it to Mr. Aitken. He walked up
and down in his large room, while I was reading, and ejaculated, as only
he could, "Bless God! Glory be to God!" When I finished, I said, "Shall
I print it?"

He said, "It is worth printing, but it will do no good. It is like a
little doggie barking at a dead elephant. We shall never convert the.
Church as a body: we must try and get at individuals. I am quite
convinced we shall not succeed unless we work in this, way."


Individual Cases, 1853.

An Archbishop of Canterbury, in old times, contrasted public preaching
with personal dealing in this way: When we preach, it is like dashing
water from a bucket upon so many vessels which are arranged before
us-some drops fall into one, and some into another, while others remain
empty; but when we speak to individuals, it is like pouring water into
the neck of a vessel.

I gave up writing and printing pamphlets, and went on as quietly as I
could with my own work, looking out for individual cases as they
presented themselves in the providence of God. In this way, without
fermenting controversy or keeping up public excitement, I was able more
effectually to impart my meaning, than by printed statements, which I
found were misunderstood or distorted; and what is more, I was able to
apply the truth with an individual "Have you?" It would take more space
than I can afford to tell of the souls which were gained in this way. I
will give here only a few instances, which are interesting, and which
will sustain the thread of my narrative. The first was in the case of
one who began an argument on Baptismal Grace. I asked him what it was.
"I know what converting or saving' grace is; but what is this?" He did
not say more, than that in Baptism he was made a member of Christ, a
child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.

"But," I asked, "suppose you have not repented and believed, what then?"
Receiving no answer, I continued, "Then, nothing; but the responsibility
and the name."

A few days afterwards he came to me, saying that I had made him quite
miserable, and asked me whether I meant to deny the necessity of
baptism. I said, "Certainly not, but the condition of faith and
repentance must be fulfilled. Whatever Baptismal Regeneration may be,
Spiritual Regeneration is the work of the Spirit in those who believe in
Christ Jesus." After a long talk and prayer, he appeared to understand
that a conscious change should be wrought in him, and a spiritual
faculty imparted, by which he could "see the kingdom of God." He
remained for the evening service and meeting in the schoolroom and was
much impressed with what he witnessed. Instead of going away, he stayed
with me till after midnight, when he found peace with God (as he said)
in the church where we had been praying. Then he ordered his horse and
rode home; but before he set out, he exacted a promise from me that I
would not mention his conversion to any one. I consented to this, on the
condition that he announce the change which had been wrought in him,
from his pulpit on the following Sunday.

A few days afterwards my friend came to me in a great rage, and charged
me with announcing his conversion all over the town. I told him that I
was not sure enough of it myself to say anything about it, and that I
had not spoken to a single person on the subject. Still he seemed to
doubt me, for he said his brother had been with him, and had told him
that it was known all over the town that he had been to Baldhu, and that
he was converted. Upon inquiry, I found out that my servant, who sat up
till after mid-night to get his horse, had overheard our conversation,
and was the offending party.

I am always afraid of persons who are ashamed to acknowledge their
conversion. My friend, I am sorry to say, made no announcement, but went
on preaching as if he had always been the same, and consequently never
came out to be of any use or help in the work. His testimony was
indistinct also, and without any power. He became a very popular
preacher afterwards, which was his great ambition, for he cared more for
a large congregation than for Wining Souls.

Soon after this, I fell across another of my old friends in the street.
He tried to avoid me, but I went up and shook hands with him. At first
he would not look at me, and said he was afraid of me because I had
changed my views. I assured him that I had not changed anything, but
that I had myself been changed. As he was listening, I went on to tell
him that I had long tried to make myself good enough for God's
acceptance, but finding that Christ would not receive reformed
characters, I came to Him as a poor lost sinner, and He saved me. Seeing
that he continued attentive, I was proceeding to make my meaning
plainer, when he turned round, and looking sternly at me, said, "If I
understand you, I am to cry for mercy as 'a common sinner.'"

"Yes," I replied, being very pleased to find that he had understood me
so well.

"Then." he said, "I will do no such thing." With this, he turned away
and departed. When he saw that I was following him, he said, "I desire
you will not speak to me any more. I do not agree with you."

One morning, a short time after, I was praying and meditating in the
church, when it came to my mind forcibly that I must go to this man's
parish. I rose from my knees forthwith, saying to myself that I would
go; but immediately the thought came to me, "This suggestion is not from
God, for He must know that my horse has lost two shoes, and could not go
all that distance." However, I returned home, and went to the stable to
inquire, when, to my surprise, I found that my man had taken the horse
out very early in the morning, and had got him properly shod. "He is all
right for a long journey, master," he said, "if you want to go."

"Well," I said, "put on the saddle, and be ready in half-an-hour." I
went in to prepare, and started in due time. On the way I was thinking
what I would say, and how I would begin the conversation, for as yet I
did not know the particular message I was to take.

When I arrived at my friend's gate, I saw the marks of his horse's feet,
as if he had just gone out. However, I rode up to the front door, and
rang the bell. His wife appeared, and said that her husband had gone
out, and would not be back before six o'clock; she added, "You look
disappointed"; and so I was, for I thought the Lord had sent me with
some message to him. The lady kindly asked me to put up my horse,
saying, "Perhaps he may return sooner; you had better rest a little." I
thanked her, and doing so, went in.

As soon as we were seated, the lady said, "I have been wishing to see
you for a long time; we have started more than once to visit you, when
my husband's courage has failed him, and we have returned. He says that
he loves you still; but, somehow, he is very much afraid of you."

Then she went on to tell me that when they were removing from their late
parish to where they now were, having sent all their furniture on, they
were driving in their own carriage; and that coming along ever a bleak
and desolate moor, the horse took fright at something, they knew not
what, and ran away. Because it could not get along fast enough from its
imaginary object of fear, it began to kick, and breaking the carriage in
pieces, made its escape, leaving her and her husband on the ground. He
was not much hurt, and soon rose, and came to help her. She was severely
bruised, and her leg was broken besides. He managed to drag her gently
to the side of the road, where there was a little bank, and, colleting
some of the broken pieces of the carriage, he placed them round her for
protection, and hurried off in order to get assistance. He had to go two
miles and was absent nearly three hours. During that time she suffered
great pain, but it came to her mind all at once that her sins were
pardoned; she was exceedingly happy, and could not help thanking and
praising God. In this state her husband found her when he returned, and
on hearing her talk, became very unhappy, because he thought that
besides her leg, her head was broken too; and that she was going out of
her mind. She assured him over and over again that she was wonderfully
well, and really happy; but he could not bear to hear her talk like
that, and said that he should go mad also, if she did not stop.

During the six weeks she was laid up, he continually brought doctors and
clergymen to talk her out of her delusion as he thought it, but without
avail. Her happiness continued for several months, and then gradually
died away. She asked me, "Can you tell me the meaning of this?" I was
deeply interested with her experience, and told her that I had read of a
similar one only a few days before. My heart now began to cheer up, for
I saw why I had been sent to this place. I at once pointed her to
passages of Scripture, where we are told that we have forgiveness of
sins through the blood of Jesus, and I put Christ crucified before her
as the object of faith. I told her, that as certainly as the blood Jesus
had been shed, there was mercy and forgiveness for her. I said, "I
believe it, and have forgiveness: and you may have it too; not because
you feel happy, but because Jesus died." She did believe, and we
rejoiced together.

She exclaimed, "Oh that the Lord would change my husband's heart, and
bring you here for a revival!"

"Very well," I said, "let us ask Him," and we did so. I then rode home
raising God.

Before leaving, I promised to come again on the following Wednesday. I
kept my word, and had an interview with her husband; but it was not
encouraging. He said he could not agree to ask for mercy as a sinner,
because he had been baptized. Some months afterwards his manservant came
to me on horseback at three o'clock in the morning, to say that his
master was very bad, and would I come as soon as possible and see him. I
asked, "What is the matter?" "Oh, bless the Lord," said the man, "it'll
all about his soul! ....That is right" I replied, thanking God; "I will
go with you at once," and immediately I saddled my horse, and rode back
with him.

I found my friend was under deep conviction, and in the greatest misery;
he now thought that he was a most "uncommon sinner," and that there was
no mercy for him, there could not be any! After a time he acknowledged
the power of God to forgive sin, and declared that he believed in
Christ, and I was led to say "he that believeth hath everlasting life."
Upon this text he found peace, and we all praised God together.

The Sunday following, he asked the congregation to thank God with him
for having saved his soul; and in his sermon told them something of his
experience. Subsequently his church became the centre of a work of God,
as Mr. Aitken's church and mine were in our respective neighbourhoods.

The power of the Lord overshadowed the place, and there was as usual a
simultaneous melting of hearts all over the parish, and a running
together of the people to hear the Word, and what is better to obey it.
Then followed a true Cornish revival with full manifestations, and Mr.
Aitken came to preach. The fire was burning and shining before; but when
this mighty man stirred it, it rose to a tremendous height. The
excitement of the parson and people was intense, and hundreds of souls
were added to the Church, who had been brought from the death of sin
into the life of righteousness which all the previous preaching on
Baptism and the Lord's Supper had failed to produce.


A Visit to Veryan, 1853.

Next, I will tell of a clergyman who was altogether different to the
others I have mentioned. He was one to whom I was much attached,
although we were diametrically opposed to one another, especially in my
Puseyite days. He was Evangelical; I was High Church; consequently, we
fell out more or less, at every meeting, though we never really
quarrelled. After my conversion I made sure this friend would sympathize
with me; but I found to my disappointment he was in reality more opposed
now than before, because I had become, as he called it, "a dissenter."
He would scarcely speak to me, and said, he was not so sure of my
conversion as I was, that he would give me seven years to prove it, and
then pronounce.

I said, "You are an old bachelor, and know nothing about the treatment
of babies; we do not put our babies out on the lawn for seven days
before we decide whether they are born or not!"

He could not resist joining in the laugh against his inexperience in
this respect, although he was not over-pleased. With all his
head-knowledge of Gospel truth, he had not seen anything of the work of
the Spirit, and moreover, like too many others, could not distinguish
between death and grave-clothes. Because I announced some sacramental
views after my conversion, he fancied that I must be dead still; whereas
these were only the grave-clothes in which I used to be wrapped. We
shall speak more of this hereafter.

One day, he came to me and said, "I have been thinking for some time
that I should like to come to your church one Sunday, and see your

I agreed to this with thanks, as the first sign of sympathy I had found
in him, and said, "Shall I go and take your services in exchange?"

"Oh no, certainly not; I wish you to be present in your own church. I
will preach in the morning; and in the evening I will be there to see
and hear you." We soon fixed upon the day. He came to dinner with us the
previous Saturday, but before he would sit down he must needs go into
the Church, and adjust the height of the pulpit, and see that all other
things were to his taste. He asked me if I would remove the candlesticks
from the communion table, and let him preach in a black gown. These were
all matters of indifference to me now, so I readily acceded to his
wishes. Having completed his arrangements, we spent a very pleasant
evening together, talking over the work in the place, and then went to
the weekly prayer-meeting; but he took no part. On Sunday morning the
service was conducted at his request, in the usual manner, excepting
that he stood away in the eastern corner of the north side of the table,
"scrootching" away like a Papist, as the people described it. They had
been accustomed to see me stand at the western or outside corner of the
north side. He was much amused at this criticism.

Then he went into the vestry, having asked for an interlude on the organ
before the last verse of the Psalms (for we sang the metrical version in
those days), and while this was being played he came sailing out again,
and swept up the steps into the pulpit. He gave us an excellent
sermon--preached, as the Cornish people say, "to a form," that is with a
manuscript before him; though he did not look at it much. He showed it
to me afterwards; it certainly was a curious thing, done in cyphers and
hieroglyphics of his own; again and again there appeared a figure with
two horns and a tail; this, he told me, stood for Satan; there were also
many other striking signs. He preached with far more animation than was
his wont, and towards the end of his sermon seemed to forget his
manuscript altogether, and leaned over the front of the pulpit,
gesticulating with his hands, and looking at the people. They got very
excited, and followed every sentence with some response, till he became
excited also. When he came down from the pulpit, he said that he had
never preached with such help before; he had quite enjoyed his own
sermon, and that now he thought he understood the secret of what I
called being "converted."

He came in the afternoon to the catechising of the children, and
expressed himself very pleased with their behaviour, and readiness in
answering questions. In the evening, he sat in a part of the church
where he could see the congregation, and the preacher, and so make his
desired observations. The service was, perhaps, a little more animated
than usual, and the sermon may have been the same. After this was over,
he went with me into the school-room, where he heard the people pray,
and also thank God for the morning sermon. Several souls were brought in
that evening.

About ten o'clock at night we returned home, when my friend declared he
had never known a day like this in all his ministry, and never heard of
such things as he had seen. "Your congregation," he said, "is like the
waves of the sea, and mine like a glassy mill-pond. Now I must have you
come and preach in my church. I wonder what the effect will be."

I agreed, and we fixed upon the second Sunday, as he wanted a week to
announce my coming.

I was quite eager for the time, and when Saturday arrived, I set off,
intending to stay for several days. On Sunday morning the church was
filled from end to end, the people being on the tip-toe of expectation.
Many anxious ones remained after the sermon to be spoken with, about
their souls. The church was scarcely cleared, before the men came to
ring the bells for the afternoon service. This time, the passages,
chancel, pulpit-stairs, and every available corner were crowded, and the
congregation certainly did not look like a "mill-pond," but more like
"the waves of the sea."

At the close of this service, the people begged for another in the
evening. The vicar said, "Oh, that is impossible, for I dine at six

"But," I involuntarily added, "do not mind the dinner; I can come, if
you like."

He gave me such a look! I continued, "I have had dinner enough for
to-day. I can take the service alone, if you are agreeable."

"But we have no lamps for the church. It cannot be."

I was silenced now, and gave up the point; when the churchwarden came
forward and said he would be responsible for lighting the church.

The vicar at last consented, on condition that he was allowed to have
his dinner in peace. As the time approached, however, he put off that
important meal, and joined me in a cup of tea, after which we went
together to the third service.

This time it was as much as we could do to get it, and when we did
succeed a most striking sight presented itself. The whole church was
lighted from the pews. Some of the wealthier people had lamps, but the
others had candles, one, two, or more in their respective compartments.
From the pulpit it looked more like a market scene than a church
congregation. I had liberty in preaching, and the people were greatly
moved, some of them greatly agitated-indeed, so much so, that the vicar
thought he would not have another service in the church, and accordingly
announced that the Monday evening meeting would be held in a building
which he named, in a village about two miles off. This was a large
barn-like structure, where they cured fish in the season, but at other
times it was unoccupied.

The next day happened to be very wet, and, added to this, in the evening
it began to blow as well. Notwithstanding this inclemency, when we
arrived at the "fish-cellar," as it was called, we found it crammed with
people, the women and children occupying the ground, and sitting there
on straw, which had been provided for the occasion, the men and boys
were sitting on the cross-beams of the roof. The heat in the place was
stifling beyond all description, for besides being densely crowded below
and above, the wooden shutters were shut, on account of the wind and
rain, the people's wet clothes were steaming, and there was a strong
smell of stale fish. At first we felt as if it would be impossible to
bear it, but after a little time we became used to the disagreeables,
and had other things to think about.

I gave out a hymn, and after a short prayer commenced the address,
speaking as loud as I could, that all the congregation might hear me.
During the sermon, the responses were most vociferous and hearty, and
the attention very encouraging. After speaking for about thirty minutes,
I observed a tall, fine-looking fisherman, in large high boots, who had
come in late. He was standing in the little vacant space before the
table, on which were placed two candles and a glass of water. I saw, as
the address went on, that though he was very quiet, his breast was
heaving with emotion, as if something was passing in his mind. All at
once, without a moment's notice, he fell on the ground, and bellowed out
a loud prayer for "God's mercy--I want God's mercy!" Besides upsetting
the table--candles, water, and all--which went down with a great crash,
he fell on one or two women, who screamed, in their fright and
consternation, as only women can.

If this had been a preconcerted signal, it could not have been more
effectual, for there was instantly a simultaneous as well as an
universal outcry. The whole place was filled with a confused din of
voices; some were praying, some singing, some shouting, and others
exhorting, and that at the top of their voices, in order to be heard. In
the midst of this I began to sing a hymn, hoping to restore order, and
many joined me; but it only added more sound to the uproar.

The good vicar was overwhelmed with fear and dismay, as well he might
be, at this tumultuous scene. It was bad enough to stand and look at the
waves of the sea; but when they rose and broke, as it were, on the shore
where he was standing, and surrounded him, it was altogether too much.
He made for the door, and, waiting there, beckoned me to him. When I
came he suddenly opened it, and drew me out, saying, "There will be no
peace till you are out of this place." The extreme change from the hot
cellar into the cold and pitiless wind and rain was so great, that we
fled precipitately to the cottage which stood opposite. Happily, the
door was on the latch, and we went in. I felt about in the dark for a
chair, but not finding one, sat on the table, listening to the noise and
din of the meeting.

The vicar vainly thought that the tumult would subside as soon as I was
gone, for he said that I "made as much noise, if not more, than any of
them!" He went back into the storm to get my hat and coat, and also the
inevitable umbrella, without which no one can get on in Cornwall. He was
a long time absent, during which a man with heavy boots came into the
dark cottage where I was sitting, and tumbling down on a seat somewhere,
heaved a heavy sigh. He evidently did not suspect that any one was
there. After sighing and groaning several times, he said to himself,
"What shall I do?--what shall I do? The man is right, sure enough; he is
right, I'm sure on it--that he is."

I disguised my voice, and asked, "What man?"

"Oh," he said, "are you there, neighbour? Couldn't yer get in? Why, I
mean the man what's been speaking inside."

"What did he say?"

"Why, said he, 'the devil's no fool!' and of course he ain't. He has
hooks in all his baits, and I have swallowed lots o' them. Oh, what
shall I do? What shall I do?"

Then I heard him shuffling to his knees, groaning and praying. I sat
still on the table, saying, "Amen! amen!" every now and then, to his
prayer, till he became terribly in earnest, and at last got into a which
the Cornish call "wrastling in prayer." In this condition he was quite
past heeding any one's presence. I helped and guided him to the
Crucified and then he found peace, and began to praise. On coming to
himself, he recognized my voice. "You are the very man," he cried, and
putting great heavy arms round my neck, he nearly strangled me! The
vicar (who I did not know was in the room), here interposed, and got my

"Here you are," he said, "at it again, and they are getting worse and
worse in the barn--what ever is to be done? We cannot go home through
this rain, and the carriage will not be here for at least an hour. What
am I to do?"

I said, "Let us go then to the barn for a short time, just to see how
they are getting on."

After some hesitation, he went in with me, and found the people praying
and rejoicing; but, as I expected, far too much absorbed to observe our

After a time, some of the lads noticed me and cried out lustily, "The
parson is here! The parson is here!" and in a moment we were surrounded
by a number of happy people, who were so demonstrative that they made
the poor vicar tremble (as he told me afterwards) with a strange fear.

They said, "You will come again to-morrow?"

"Certainly," I replied.

"Oh, no," rejoined the vicar; "on no account. One night of this work is
quite enough--more than enough."

I was very loth to give up; but a man said, "Never mind, we will carry
it on. This revival will not stop for a week or fortnight, for certain."

This was terrifying news for the vicar, who turned, and looking at me
with astonishment, said, reproachfully, "How did you do it?"

I replied, "This is not my work. I did not begin it, neither can I stop
it; nor would I, even if I could. I dare not. I have known persons
brought under heavy judgment for hindering a revival. Take my advice,
and do not hinder this. Let these men go on; they know what they are

Soon the carriage came, and we returned to the vicarage; but the dear
man was much put out, and evidently very sorry that he had asked me to
come and disturb his mill-pond. Indeed, he said as much; so I concluded
my visit the next morning.

Going through the village, I heard that the meeting on the previous
evening was continued until two o'clock in the morning, and that it was
announced there would be one in the chapel that evening. As the Church
refused the blessing, there were others who were happy to receive it.

I returned home sooner than I was expected, and told my people, at the
evening meeting, the things I had seen and heard; and they "glorified


A Mission in the "Shires." 1853.

At the time of which I am writing, twenty-six or twenty-seven years ago,
special services for preaching were not called by the name of
"Missions." I think that word has been derived from some Roman Catholic
perverts, who made aggressive efforts in London, which they called
"Catholic Missions." From them it has been adopted by some who love to
copy Rome and Romish phrases. Strange infatuation, by which these
Romanizers in vain court a Church which despises them, and gives them
neither place nor quarter! However, the word is now well understood, and
its meaning is plainer than any definitions of mine could make it.

My first journey to "foreign parts" (as the Cornish call it) was to a
town in Devonshire, where I stopped three or four days. The day I
arrived I preached in the church, because it was the regular evening
service; special services were not then known, unless it was for some
Missionary Society, or other such advocacy. The idea of preaching to
awaken souls, was considered very strange and fanatical. The church I
preached in had high pews, which prevented my seeing the occupants. I
was told that it was full, and certainly there were faces visible here
and there; but the whole congregation was so still, that the dropping of
the proverbial "pin" might have been heard. It was all very chilling and
dead, no "Amens!" or "Glory!" as in Cornwall; indeed, the stillness had
such an effect upon me, that I found it difficult to get on. After
making two or three hard appeals, and meeting with nothing but silence
for a response, I concluded, and came away much disappointed and
disheartened. However, the next morning, the vicar showed me some beads,
leathers, and flowers which had been left in the pews of the church. So
I found that the shots had hit somewhere, or something.

Walking through the town in the course of the day, a tall mason, with a
large whitewash brush in his hand, came running after me (not to
whitewash me) but to ask the question, which he did most eagerly, "Are
you the man that preached last night?"

I said, "Yes, I am."

"Oh," he replied, "will you preach tonight?"

I answered him somewhat doubtfully, "I suppose not," for the vicar did
not know what excuse there could be for my preaching a second time.

He continued, "Will you come to my house and preach this evening? I have
a good large room at your service, and can promise you a congregation."

I assented; so we fixed the time, and made all other necessary
arrangements. On coming down in the evening, I found my mason friend had
invited his neighbours, and finding more had promised to come than his
room would hold, he had opened the folding doors between two rooms
upstairs, taken down three large bedsteads, and having borrowed forms
and chairs, he was able to accommodate seventy people. As many as this
came, and more, for men and women stood on the stairs and landing

We sang heartily, and after prayer, I felt a little more at home than I
had done on the previous evening'; but it was not up to Cornwall yet! In
my address I had liberty and power to hold the people, and we had some
conversions that evening, and the following one also. My mason friend
was greatly cheered and revived, and from this time began reaching
himself, carrying on meetings in various cottages and farm places.

From there I went on into Dorsetshire, and arrived at the vicarage to
which I was going, rather late on Saturday night, very tired; so much
so, that I was glad to go to bed as soon as possible. On Sunday morning
I went to church and preached to a large congregation, the words which
God gave me. On coming out, the vicar's wife said, "If I had sat up all
night telling you about the people, you could not have preached more
appropriately; indeed, I am sure that some of them will think that I
told you what to say."

It was so, for this same lady was charged with telling me to put before
some of the congregation things which her husband dared not! In the
evening the church was crammed to excess, and the people were most
attentive and eager. Some of them could scarcely restrain their
feelings, so powerfully did the Word come home to them. At the
conclusion of the service, I announced that I had come there to preach
every night for the week, and would visit them during the day.
Accordingly in the morning I called at several cottages, in one of which
King George the Third used to attend a prayer-meeting with the country

In the afternoon I went to the convict prison at Portland. It was sad to
look upon the prisoners clanking about in their chains, many of whom
were employed in making a road to the sea. I could not help saying to
the chaplain, who was walking with me, "What a picture is that! It is
exactly how Satan employs unbelievers to make their own road to hell. As
such, they are condemned already, because they do not believe in Christ;
and for the same reason, their sins not being pardoned, they are bound
in chains."

"Well," said the chaplain drily, "that seems all clear and scriptural.
Would you like to speak to them?"

"Yes," I said, "I should."

He then made a sign to the warder, who commanded that the convicts
should give attention, and the order was at once obeyed.

Standing on the bank, I spoke to them as they were assembled before me;
but instead of telling them of the devil and chains, as the chaplain
expected, I spoke of God's love to sinners, and said that "chastisement
and sorrows were not sent in anger, but in kindness. God is angry when
the wicked are allowed to go on unpunished; but when punished in this
world, it is not for expiation of sin (for only the blood of Jesus can
do that), but for the purpose of awakening and humbling the
transgressor, that he may with contrite heart return to the Lord, who
alone is able to deliver us from sin and from Satan's power. 'It is
good,' said the Psalmist, 'that I have been afflicted: before I was
afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept Thy word.'"

Many of the men were so affected, that they sobbed aloud, and I could
scarcely refrain from doing the same thing myself. After this I prayed
that the word spoken might be blessed to those who had heard it, and
then took my leave. It was not easy to dismiss this sad scene from my
mind, nor have I ever lost the impression it made upon me.

We had a very good time that evening in the church, and there was much
power and blessing. At the close of the service, I gave out that I would
preach again the following evening, and having no opportunity for an
after-meeting, the word preached was left with prayer for a blessing on

The next morning there came an unexpected, as well as a most abrupt,
opposition to the work; and no wonder, for it was not likely that Satan
would permit it to go on smoothly. A vicar from the neighbourhood, who
had formerly been a military man, and had still the commanding manner of
such, presented himself, and tried to terrify my good and kind friend,
the vicar. He told him that he had heard a great deal about me; that I
was just like Starkie,* and preached the same doctrines; and that he was
deputed by other clergymen to come and ask that my preaching be stopped.
Then he went on to say that I was nothing less than a Jesuit in
disguise; and turning; to me, he said, "Sir, you know you are!" I
replied, begging his pardon, "I can assure you I am not. You must be
altogether misinformed." But he said, again turning round, and sternly
looking at me, "You know I am not mistaken or misinformed; your
countenance betrays you!" I smiled at this, not knowing how my
countenance looked. He was quite satisfied with himself, and rather more
so because he thought he had succeeded in extracting a promise from the
vicar that the services in question should be stopped.


* A clergyman who had associated himself with H. J. Prince and some
others, and founded the "Agapemone" at Spaxton, near Bridgewater.

This officer-clergyman then went away, saying that he was quite
convinced in his mind that I was a Jesuit, and nothing should ever
dissuade him; this interview had confirmed his thoughts on the subject.
My dear good friend was so afraid of that loud, overbearing man, that he
consented to give up the services after that night.

Presently another clergyman, evidently in concert with the former,
called on the same errand. His more gentle manner and plausible words
had greater effect, so that the vicar more than half decided to have no
service, even on that evening.

Before he had fully made up his mind, it so happened that there came on
a tremendous thunderstorm, accompanied with hail and vivid flashes of
lightning. This was considered by him quite providential, and an
indication that God wished the services stopped. When the sexton came
over to the vicarage, a little before the service time, the vicar said,
"Don't ring the bell for church tonight; it is of no use: no one can
possibly come out this weather!"

"Why, sir," said the sexton, "the church have been crammed full this
half-hour. It's no use ringing the bell, sure, for we ain't got no room
for no more people."

"Now, that is remarkable," said the vicar. "I do think, after all, the
Lord would have us go on. What do you think?" he said, turning to me.

I replied, "Without doubt I think so. I cannot suppose that the Lord
would send such men, in such a tone, to stop His work."

"Well, then," said the vicar, "we will go on till the end of the week."

But this could not be; for in the morning, as soon as he had decided to
stop the services, I sat down and wrote to a cousin of mine, in the
neighbourhood (and the letter had gone), to get me the parish church for
the next evening, and said, "I would come to her on a visit for a few
days, as my preaching in this place was brought to an end."

I spoke that evening, and announced that I would do so again on
Thursday. On the following day I went on this promised visit to another
part of the county, and was not long in the company of my cousin, before
I found out that she had been brought up in Evangelical doctrines, and
hated Puseyism; but that she had never been converted. In the evening,
we went to the Minster Church, the use of which she had obtained for me.
There, I preached from the words, "Behold, I stand at the door and
knock." (I did not know then, as I old now, that this is a text for
believers.) Accommodating it for my purpose, I made out that many people
assented to evangelical doctrines, without yielding to them: that is,
they heard the knocking, but did not open the door and receive the
Saviour; therefore, they remained unsaved; and if they died like that,
would be lost for ever!

When I first ascended the pulpit, which stood outside of a high chancel
screen, I looked towards the nave, and saw it filled with high pews,
which, as I thought, were for the most part empty; whereas, I could see
that the choir and chancel, which was brightly lighted, was full of
choir-men and boys, besides many people; so instead of turning my back
upon the many in the lighted chancel, and addressing myself to the
unseen few in the large dark nave, I turned round in the pulpit, and,
looking through the screen, I preached to those I could see. The people
in the nave, however, were most attentive to hear; and after the sermon
came up and asked me why I had turned my back on them, for they could
not hear all I said. Evidently they had heard something which had
interested them. Seeing so many were anxious, we invited those who
wished for further help, or instruction, to come home with us. Many did
so, and we held a kind of after-meeting, in which my cousin and several
others found peace.

I could not promise to stay there any longer, having settled to return
on Thursday to resume services in the church previously referred to.
Accordingly I went back to a neighbouring town, where my good vicar had
appointed to meet me. He did so, and, without delay, commenced telling
me, that he had had a long talk with some of his brother clergymen, and
had given his word that the services were positively to be discontinued
after that night; he also told me he had taken my place by the coach,
and that I was to start for Exeter the next morning, on my way home.
Then he went on to say that he found it would be dangerous to keep me
any longer, for he should have the whole neighbourhood up about it. In
his timidity, he would rather let the work stop, than be embroiled with
the neighbourhood!

The evening service was crowded, and the people were very disappointed
that I was not allowed to remain. However, I told them it could not be,
and that I must go--so took leave of them.

The next morning we rose early, and breakfasted at six o'clock, then
drove out to the turnpike road, to meet the coach at an appointed
corner, at seven. It arrived in due time, piled up high into the air
with passengers and luggage; but having an inside place secured for me,
we were not dismayed at the outside appearance. The coachman got off the
box, and, instead of opening the coach door as we expected, put some
money into my hand, and, with a grinning countenance, said, "There's
your money, sir. Sorry to say can't take you today; hain't got a crevice
of room anywhere. Good morning, sir." In a moment more he was up on his
box, with reins in hand. "Take you tomorrow, sir, same time. Good
morning." And off he went'. Imagine our surprise at being left on the
roadside in this unceremonious way. My good little vicar was most
indignant at being thus treated. "I'll make him pay for that," he said.
"I'll punish him--it's against the law." And then, as if a new thought
had suddenly come to him, he said, "Ah, I know what we will do! Jump
into the carriage again"; and putting my luggage in, he got up, and
drove me to the next town. He said, "We will take a post-chaise, and
make the coach people pay for it; that's it--that's what we will do."

I suggested that I did not think we could do that, having received the
money back.

"Ah, that's nothing," he said; "that's nothing. We will take a

This scheme was prevented; for on arriving at the hotel, there was not a
carriage of any kind to be had. "Are you sure of that?" said the vicar
(as if all the world was in league with the coach proprietor). "Are you
quite sure?"

"You had better come and see for yourself," said the ostler, in a surly

We went into the yard, and found the coach houses quite empty.

"That's very remarkable," said the vicar; "but these people are
connected with that coach--it changes horses here. We will go to the
next inn."

There they did not let out carriages at all!

"Well now," said the vicar, "this is very remarkable," and was silent.

"Perhaps the Lord does not mean me to go today," I said meekly.

"It seems so, certainly. I must say it is very remarkable."

I suggested that I would stay at the inn till the next morning, as there
was no means of getting on. "Shall I do so?"

"Oh, no; certainly not--certainly not," said the kind man. "Not at
all--not at all. We will go back again."

"But," I said, "what will they think when they see me?"

Poor dear man, like many others he was dreadfully frightened at the
thought of "what will they think?" As if "they" did not go on thinking
whether one gives them occasion or not.

In due course, we arrived again in sight of the vicarage gate, and there
we saw the vicar's wife, with her hands up in astonishment. She
exclaimed, "What! are you come back?"

"Yes, we are indeed!" said the vicar, and he was going to tell her how
it was, but she was too impatient to listen, having, as she thought,
something more important to communicate. She said, "After you went away
this morning, the weather being so fine, I thought that I would go into
the village, and see some of the people who were at church last evening.
In passing by widow S.'s cottage, on my way to another, I saw her door
and window open, and heard her praying very earnestly, 'Lord, bring him
back! bring him back!' I thought she was praying about her husband, who
had recently died; and that I would go in and try to comfort her. So I
knelt down by her side, and repeated the words, 'I shall go to him, but
he shall not return to me,' when she turned round' and said, 'Oh, I
don't mean that!' and then, as if she grudged every breath which was
spent in other words, she went on repeating, 'Lord, bring him back!
Lord, bring him back!'

"'Who do you mean?' I said, 'what can you mean?'

"She went on, 'O Lord, I saw him go away. I saw them take him away.
Lord, bring him back! bring him back!'

"I again said, 'Who do you mean?'

"She took no heed, but went on, 'O Lord, when I opened the window I saw
him coming out of the vicarage gate. Lord, bring him back! do bring him

"At last I understood that she was praying for you to be brought back.
Then I said to her, 'Dear woman, do get from your knees, and let me talk
to you.' No, she would not get up.

"No, I can't get up. Lord, bring him back! bring him back!'

"It cannot be,' I said; 'he is on the coach by this time--a long way
off.' The woman became frantic at the thought. 'Oh, what shall I do?
what shall I do? Lord, bring him back!'

"Seeing that I could do nothing in the matter, I went to call on some
other people, and coming back found the widow still on her knees, urging
the same petition without stopping." "Well, that is remarkable,"
interposed the vicar. Without a moment's pause, I set off to show myself
to the widow.

"Now! there you are," she said; "the Lord has sent you back. I laid
awake best part of the night, thinking of some questions I wished to ask
you; and when I saw you go away like that, so early in the morning, it
gave me quite a turn. I thought I should be lost for ever!"

Her questions concerned her soul's condition. On my putting Christ and
His salvation before her for her acceptance, she found peace; and
afterwards became a good helper in the parish. There were some other
anxious ones she urged me to visit, which I did. On referring to my
letters, written at the time, I find a record of five persons who
professed to find peace that morning.

In the evening, we had a kind of service in the school-room, with as
many as we could get together, and spent a very happy time in prayer and

The next morning I started for home, which I reached late on Saturday
night, or rather early on Sunday morning, and appeared quite
unexpectedly among my people again. I gave them an account of the state
of things in the "shires." This, my first experience of "foreign
missions," was not encouraging.

Ever since my conversion, I had been over head and ears in conversion
work, and, as a loyal young convert, thought at that time there was
nothing else in the world to live, or work for! How surprised I was when
I found that this was not by any means the first thing in the minds of
my Evangelical brethren; and more so still when I saw that even
preaching for the salvation of souls was put aside altogether, if 'it
did not fit in with the stated service-day of the week, or public
opinion. If people came to church, or better still, to the communion
table, they were considered quite satisfactory enough, even though they
were dead in trespasses and sins. I did not, of course, expect anything
from my own neighbours, for I knew them of old; but from accredited
"standard bearers," I did expect something and got nothing.

While I was still feeling sore and disappointed, intending not to go out
on such errands any more, I found myself promised to another mission in
a most unexpected manner; but this did not happen to be out of Cornwall,
and therefore prospered better, as we shall see.


A Stranger from London, 1853.

A lady in London, reading in the Cornish newspapers about our revivals,
became much interested, and having a strong desire to witness such a
movement personally, proposed a visit to her uncle in Truro, who had
sent her those papers. Being accepted, she came down a long way in those
days, when railway communication was not so complete as it is now.

This same lady was present at my church on Sunday morning; and
expressing a wish to attend the afternoon service, we gladly welcomed
her to the parsonage. In course of conversation, she spoke of churches
in London where the Gospel was preached in its fullness; and I naturally
asked her whether they had "after-meetings." She said, she did not know
what I meant. "Prayer meetings, for conversion work, I mean."

"What is that?" she inquired. "Is not conversion God's work?"

"Yes," I answered, "indeed it is; but so is the harvest yonder in the
corn-fields: it is all God's work, but men have to plough the ground and
sow the seed."

"Oh, is that what you call revival work? I have read of it; and, to tell
the truth, I have come all the way from London to see it."

She evidently had an idea that revivals were something like
thunder-storms, which come of themselves, no one knows how or why; or
something that is vented, like an occasional eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

I said, "Revivals--that is, the refreshening of believers and the
awakening of sinners--ought to take place wherever the Gospel is
preached in faith and power."

She could not understand it, and said, "It is not so in churches, is

"Yes," I replied, "in churches as well as in cottages, halls and chapels

"I am sure Mr. ---- in London preaches a full Gospel, but I have never
heard of a revival there; indeed, I feel convinced they would not allow

"Is he converted?" I asked.

She smiled at the question, and said, "I suppose he is."

"I mean, does he preach about the forgiveness of sins? and, more than
this, does he expect people to have forgiveness?"

She said she could not understand my Cornish way of talking--"They do
not speak like that in London."

"Your sins are pardoned," I said, by way of explanation, in order to get
her to comprehend my meaning from her own experience. "Your sins are
pardoned." She got very confused. "You know," I continued, "that it is a
happy day when Jesus takes our sins away." This only made matters worse.
She became greatly embarrassed. While we spoke of London and Gospel
preaching she was free enough; but the moment I made a personal
application of the subject, she was altogether bewildered.

At last, with a kind of forced effort, she said, "I have been a child of
God for eleven years."

"Thank God!" I said, much relieved; "that is what I mean. You have been
converted and pardoned for eleven years. It is all right, then. I did
not intend to perplex you, and am sorry I did not convey ray meaning in
a better manner."

But I could not smooth down her ruffled feathers so easily, and was glad
when the five minutes' bell began ringing to summon us to church. We got
ready, and went. It happened to be a children's service, and our subject
that afternoon was Joseph's reconciliation with his brethren. Three
questions, among others, were asked and dwelt upon.

First, "Was Joseph reconciled with his brethren while they were
self-convicted before him, and condemned themselves as verily guilty
concerning their brother?"--"No."

Second, "Was he reconciled when he feasted with them, and made

Third, "When, then, was he reconciled?"--"When they surrendered
themselves, and all the eleven were prostrate at his feet, like the
eleven sheaves which bowed to Joseph's sheaf in the harvest field; then
he made himself known to them, and forgave them. It is not when a soul
is under condemnation, nor yet when it is happy, that it is saved; but
when it is actually, once for all, surrendered to Christ for salvation,
then it is He makes himself known to them, even as Joseph did to his

The lady went away. I did not ascertain who she was, nor where she came
from; I was not much taken with her, nor was she with me. Hers was
evidently a kind of religion which I had not met with before, and did
not care to meet with again.

The next day I went for a few hours' rest and change to the sea-side at
Perran, but there was a burden of prayer on my soul. I could not thank
God for that unknown lady, but I could pray for mercy for her. The
impression on my mind was very clear: I felt that she was not saved. The
day following the burden was heavier still, and I was on my knees
praying for her for several hours in the day. In the evening I was quite
in distress. The next day I was most anxious for her, and could do
nothing but pray, even with tears. This lasted till the following day
(Thursday), when I happened to go into the drawing-room for something,
and there I observed a strange Bible lying on the table. I remembered
that I had seen that same book in the lady's hand on Sunday. I took it
up, and saw a name, and on making inquiry of the servants I found out
that she came in Mr. --'s carriage on Sunday.

This was enough. I wrote a note immediately, and sent the Bible, saying
that I was greatly burdened for her soul, and should much like to see
her. She sent me a kind letter in reply, appointing the following Monday
for my visit.

On that day I called, and found her very kind, and seemingly thankful
for the interest I expressed in her welfare. I said that she had nothing
really to thank me for, for I could not help myself; the burden had been
laid upon me. Then I asked her if she would tell me how she became a
child of God.

She did so readily, and told me that once she was in the world, and as
fond of dancing and pleasure as others with whom she associated; that in
the midst of her gaiety she was called to the death-bed of a cousin, who
was just such a lover of pleasure as herself. Her cousin said, "Oh,
Mary, give up the world for my sake. I am lost! Oh, Mary, give it up!"
Soon she died, poor girl, just awakened enough to see and feel herself
hopelessly lost--a dying worldling. No one was near to point her to the
Saviour, so she departed as she had liked to live, without salvation.
Mary wept at the remembrance of that solemn scene, and said she could
never forget it. "Well," I said, "and what did you do then?"

She answered firmly, "I knelt down then and there, by the side of the
bed where my poor cousin had just died, and I called God to witness that
I would give up the world. I did so; and have never had any inclination
to go back into its gaieties and pleasures since. I began from that time
to pray, and read my Bible, and go to church; and I love these things
now better than I did the things of the world before."

At the time of this change, she was led to a church where Evangelical
truth was preached simply and plainly; and thus became distinctly
enlightened as to the way of salvation. She fully assented and consented
to what she heard, and therefore became a very earnest disciple,
enthusiastic about the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of grace,
and all such matters. She understood the meaning of the Levitical types
and offerings; could speak of dispensational truth and prophecy; was
very zealous about missions to the heathen, and was also earnestly
devoted to many charitable works at home.

There was, however, one little suspicious thing in the midst of all this
manifest goodness. She had not much patience with elementary Gospel
sermons, or much interest in, or sympathy with, efforts made to bring in
perishing souls; she loved rather to be fed with high doctrines, and the
mysteries of grace with its deeper teachings. There are some men who
love to preach exclusively about these things, even before mixed
congregations, addressing them as if they were all real Christians.

It is surprising how many people there are just like Mary, who seem to
care more for doctrines than for Cod Himself--more for favourite truths
than for souls. A simple, elementary Gospel address, with some clear
illustrations, was just the very thing Mary wanted for her own soul's
good, more than anything; but, unfortunately, this was the thing against
which she was prejudiced, for she abhorred "anecdotal sermons."

After hearing her story, I said, "It is very interesting; but there is
one great deficiency in it. You have not told me anything' about Christ;
have you nothing to say about the blood of Jesus, and about your sins?
Have you had no real transaction with 'God about them?"

She said she "did not know what I meant."

"Did you never come as a sinner, and obtain the forgiveness of your sins?"

"No," she replied; "that is what I do not understand about your

I showed her, as plainly as I could, that she had not told me about
conversion, but reformation. "You have only turned over a new leaf, and
kept your resolutions prayerfully and well for eleven years; but this is
not turning back the old leaves of your past life, and getting them
washed in the blood of the Lamb. 'He that covers his sins' in this way,
'can never prosper.' If a man owes a debt for which he is very sorry,
and determines that in future he will pay for everything he gets--this
will not pay his past debts."

She went on to justify herself, and said, "that she knew a great many
good Christian people, and that none of them had ever suspected her as I

I endeavoured to assure her that I was dreadfully alarmed about her
condition, and was certain that if she died like that, there would be no
more hope for her salvation than for her cousin's. This seemed to rouse
her hostility, and I saw that I had lost influence. However, I could not
blame myself, for I had only said what I felt to be true. I returned
home and prayed for more wisdom. All that night I could not sleep, and
most of it was spent in pleading with God. I felt as if a restless bird
was flying about the room, and something was saying, "She will be lost
forever." I urged my petition again and again.

The next day I called, and found this lady quite broken down, and ready
to pray and listen to my teaching. I was most thankful, and greatly
relieved after the night's restlessness. I had much happiness in
pointing out the way of salvation as an experimental thing. She knew,
before I did, the doctrine of the A tenement, but she had had no
experience of its real efficacy. Now that her eyes were opened, she was
in right earnest to know the reality of sins forgiven. Soon she found
this, though not yet the joy of deliverance; she knew the peace and
shelter of the sprinkled blood (Exod. 12:13), but not yet the joy and
liberty of being on the rock on the other side of the Red Sea (Exod. 15:
2). I was sure that it would all come in due time, and therefore was
able to take comfort, and also to comfort her.

I saw a good deal of her at that time, and one day she told me that a
relation of hers, a clergyman, was coming to have it out with me for
saying that she was not converted before.

"Certainly," I replied, "I shall be happy to meet him, and hope you will
be in the room."

When the dreaded man arrived, we were introduced to one another.

"Well," he said, "you are a very different-looking than to what I
imagined. I have heard a deal about you. So you are a Puseyite turned
Evangelical, eh? I have often heard of people going the other way, but I
must say I have never met a man who had come in this direction." He then
asked about the results of my industry.

I told him what was the effect in my church and parish, and that the
same signs followed the preaching of the Gospel wherever I went. "I
wish," he said, "you would come and preach in my parish. You know a
great friend of mine at Veryam and have preached in his pulpit. Will you
do the same for me?"

"Oh, yes," I said, "certainly, with pleasure."

"Now, look at me, for I am a man of business: when will you come? Name
your day."

I looked at my pocket-book, and fixed upon a certain Monday.

Then he arranged that we should have a kind of missionary meeting, "In
the course of which," he said, "you can preach as much Gospel as you
like. If it goes well, we will have a lecture the next evening on 'Heart
Conversion,' and another the evening following, on something else." He
was "quite sure noone would come to hear a sermon only. It must be a
missionary meeting, or something of the kind, to bring the people out."

On the day appointed, the barn where we were assembled was well filled,
and seeing that the people were interested, the vicar gave out, "Mr
Haslam will lecture tomorrow evening on Heart Conversion."

The next evening, when we arrived, we found the barn quite full, and
numbers standing outside; besides, there were many more whom we passed
on the road. So it was determined that we should go into the church and
have a short service. The edifice was soon lighted, and filled, and
after a few collects and hymns (for they had a hymn-book in that
church), I went up into the pulpit, and preached upon the absolute
necessity of conversion--no salvation without it. As to "heart
conversion," what is conversion at all if the heart is not touched? Then
I treated my subject from another point of view. "Every converted person
here knows what heart conversion is; and if any one does not, it is
clear he is not converted. If he dies in that state, he wilt be lost for
ever!" I concluded the sermon with prayer; and while I was praying in
the pulpit, one after another of the people in the pews began to cry
aloud for mercy. My friend Mary likened it to a battle-field, and me to
a surgeon going from one wounded one to another to help them. At eleven
o'clock we closed the service, promising to hold another the next day.

On Wednesday morning Mary awoke from her sleep with a voice saying to
her, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

"Then all my sins are gone. He has borne them. He 'Himself bore our sins
in His own body on the tree.'"

She was filled with joy unspeakable, and came to breakfast rejoicing.
The lady of the house was in tears, the servants were troubled, and the
vicar alternately glad and sorry, for he was not sure whether it was
excitement or the work of God, and did not know what to make of it.
However, in the evening he broke down in his reading-desk in the middle
of the sermon, and burst out, "Lord, save me!" In an instant the whole
congregation was up, and the people everywhere either crying for mercy,
or rejoicing. The power of the Lord was present to heal them, and many
souls were saved that night; and besides these, there were others who
were troubled.

Amongst this number was the young squire of the parish. He was
afterwards decidedly converted to God, and took great interest in the
work. When twitted on the bench by his brother magistrates about the
revival, he stood his ground manfully, and gave good testimony. He
continues to this day a bold champion for the truth as it is in Jesus.


Golant Mission, 1854.

It is a good plan to strike while the iron is hot;' and as the people at
Colant were in an interested and receptive state, I put off other things
which had been appointed, and made arrangements to return to the
battle-field as soon as possible. My people were much excited to hear
what I was able to tell them of my three days' visit, and they wished me
"God speed" for my next venture, praying most heartily for great

Accordingly, on the following Monday I went back to Colant, and found
the place (an unusually quiet country village), together with the whole
neighbourhood round, including two or three small towns all astir. As a
rule, in order to insure success in a mission, there needs preparation,
visitation, and prayer; and I have observed that when there has been no
preparation in the way of public announcements of services, the people
have not come out, and the mission has been a failure. Where there has
been a regular system of visitation, without prayer, the congregations
have been abundant, but the services have been dry and hard; but in
places where preparation and visitation have been made with much prayer,
there has ever been a most unmistakable blessing. So much for human
agencies, which are necessary to us, though God is not bound to them.

There had been no preparation for the mission I am about to tell of, no
visitation, nor any special prayer; and yet it pleased the Lord to give
in this little village such an outpouring of His Spirit and
demonstration of His Power as is rarely known. There was a great running
together of the people, notwithstanding the difficulties of access to
the church. Some had to come several miles from the towns by road, some
by sea, and others across a tidal river where mud abounded; and after
landing, they had to climb a steep hill. None of these things, however,
deterred or discouraged them; they came, and they would come, in spite
of everything which was urged at other times as an excuse for staying
away, even on dark nights. It was the day of the Lord's power, and He
made them willing; so much so, that in some places work was suspended,
and people came even three times a day.

On the Monday evening, when I arrived, I found that the church would
scarcely hold the people who bad gathered to hear the Word of God. It
was a time of much blessing, and we remained there hard at work till
eleven o'clock, when, having four miles to go in order to get home, I
closed the service, offering to meet any anxious souls there at
half-past ten the next morning. This I did, and was surprised to find a
number of persons waiting, even at this early hour.

There were too many to speak to individually, so I addressed them
collectively, giving the ordinary instruction to seeking souls. In the
afternoon we had a still larger number, and in the evening a crowded
congregation; in this way the work continued, with three services a day
throughout the week, accompanied with remarkable conversions every day.
Among the number of those who attended was a surgeon, his wife and
brother, and the wife of a respectable yeoman. These, together with
several more from the village on the other side of the river, were
converted to God. Their rector was amazed to see them so changed, and
wondered by what process this was accomplished. He attended an afternoon
service, and was astonished to see so many people present on a week-day.
Afterwards introducing himself, he asked me very politely, "What is the
secret of all this?" He stud, "I have heard you preach, and certainly do
not agree with most part of what you said, nor do I see anything either
in your manner or matter which can account for this effect and work
amongst the people. I must say, I cannot ask you to my pulpit, but I
should much like a talk with you. Will you come over to luncheon with

I liked the candour and gentlemanly bearing of the man, and wished to
go, but could not fix a time while I was so much occupied; so I promised
I would write, and offer him a visit when I had more leisure.

In addition to the three services in church, we had another in the
morning at seven o'clock, in the town where I slept. There we gathered
the anxious ones who had been at the church the night before, and had
come away early on account of the distance. The little town was all in a
commotion, and the vicar in this place was beginning to get furious
about my holding this meeting in his parish; his daughter, in
particular, went about warning the people against attending it. Some
young men hired a four-oared boat to come to the evening service,
intending to disturb the congregation. They arrived in good time, but,
for all that, they were too late to get a seat. One young man, the
ringleader of the party, instead of causing a disturbance, stood still
and listened most attentively. I preached that evening from the words,
"And the door was shut," referring to the ark, and the awful desolation
and doom of those who were shut out. All the time I was preaching, I
could see this same man standing before the pulpit, with his elbow
leaning on the end of a high pew. He maintained this position throughout
the service, and at the end of the sermon was still there, rigid and
stiff, looking at the pulpit as if in a trance. He would not move or
speak; there he stood, till we feared he had gone out of his mind. His
companions were awed and took him away as well as they could, but did
not embark on their return journey till after midnight, and then the
tide was against them.

Soon after they had started, the wind rose, and there came on a great
storm; the thunder was loud, and the flashes of lightning awful. The
wind became so strong and violent, that, in spite of all their efforts,
the boat was stranded; they managed, however, to get out and pull it out
of the water, and took refuge for a time under overhanging rocks on the
shore. The young man continued as one stunned, and said nothing. There
they remained till between four and five o'clock in the morning, when
the storm abated, and they were able to set out again. At last they
succeeded in reaching home.

While these unfortunate young men were battling with the elements, we
went home by land and had a night's rest, though it was but a short one.
I rose and went to my meeting at seven o'clock, and on arriving found
the room quite full, there being only one chair unoccupied. As I stood
to 'speak, this seat remained vacant, so I beckoned a young man who was
standing at the door to come and take it. He looked worn and sad, and I
thought I recognized in him the same young man I had noticed the
previous night, and who, I was told, was the ringleader of the party who
came in the boat with the purpose of disturbing the meeting. He sat
down, sighing heavily several times.

Almost directly a man came forward and whispered to me, "You have a wolf
near you--take care!"

"All, right," I said, "he is tame enough now; there is no more bite in

"Yes, yes," said the young man, overhearing us, "no more wolf. O God,
change me to a lamb!"

Poor fellow! he was in great trouble all day, and fainted away several
times before he found peace, which he did very dearly. He came to the
evening meeting, shouting "Hallelujah!" and stirred us all greatly.
Several others of the same party were also converted.

The news of this made some of the town's people furious; and, being the
fifth of November, they consoled themselves by making a straw effigy to
represent me. They put on it a sheet in place of a surplice, with a
paper mitre on its head, and, setting it on a donkey, carried it through
the town, accompanied by a crowd of men and boys, who shouted at the top
of their voices, "Here goes the Puseyite revivalist! Here goes the
Puseyite revivalist! Hurrah! Hurrah!" In this complimentary sport the
curate and one of the churchwardens took part.

That same night this churchwarden (who, I should say, had been one of
the boating party two nights before) had a dream. He dreamt that his
house was full of people, just like the church he had been in; all the
rooms, the staircase, and even his own bedroom, were filled with people
standing. There was a tremendous storm of wind and rain; the thunder
rolled, and the lightning flashed. In the midst of this a voice said to
him, "This is all about you, you sinner!" He awoke up out of his sleep
in a terrible fright, and began to cry to the Lord to have mercy on his

I was sent for before five o'clock in the morning to come and see him,
for his friends said that they thought he would go out of his mind.
Instead of this, he came to his right mind, for the Lord heard and
answered his prayer, and brought him from darkness into light, and from
the power of sin and Satan unto God. He went with me to the early
morning meeting; there we had the two chief leaders of the riotous party
in a changed condition, for which we heartily thanked God.

Their friend, the curate, was very excited and angry about this, and did
not quite know who to blame. He said that he would write to the Bishop
and tell him what was going on; and I believe he did not fail to carry
out his intention. As there were many who, from various causes, were
unable to go four miles to an evening service, I managed to secure the
Town Hall for a course of lectures on the "Pilgrim's Progress." The
curate came to the first, and, after hearing the lecture, stood up to
speak, and gave went to his feelings by saying a great many very angry
things. The people were so indignant, that I could scarcely restrain
them from laying hands on him to turn him out.

Some of the old forms and seats in the Town Hall (which was not
accustomed to be so crowded) broke down with the weight of people. The
vicar's daughter suggested that most likely they should hear next that
"the forms and seats were converted, for she had been told already that
they were broken down." This little straw will show which way the wind
blew in that quarter, and what was the drift of this lady's mind.

My friend with whom I was staying was evidently much perplexed, and
found himself let in for far more than he had calculated when he invited
me. He certainly would never have asked me had he foreseen such an upset
as there was everywhere, especially in the town in which he lived, and
the country parish of which he was vicar.

At last he made up his mind to take me with him to consult a clerical
neighbour, upon whose judgment he greatly relied. On our way a sudden
thought of misgiving came over him; he all at once turned to me and
said. "I say, my friend, I'll be done with you altogether if you say Mr.
---- is not converted!"

"Then," I replied, "you may be sure I will not say it."

"But suppose you think so?"

"Well, I must confess I think so already, and not without good reason
(at least, to my mind), for he has taken no interest whatever in this
remarkable work of God, nor has he shown the least sympathy in the
spiritual welfare of many of his parishioners, who have received
blessing at the meetings. His High Church neighbour, who does not
profess to be converted, could not help coming over to ask about it,
while your friend has never been near, nor even sent to make inquiry.
Besides this, one of his own people told me that he was much put out,
and very angry with you for asking me."

"Ah," said my friend, "we are not all revivalists like you, remember."

"Well," I said, "let me hope you are a deal better than I am."

He seemed very uneasy at taking me on after this conversation; but as he
had written to say we were coming, he thought we must go forward. In
order to ease his mind, I made an agreement with him that during
luncheon I would tell about the conversion of one of Mr. --'s
parishioners, and said, "While I do so, you watch his face. If he is at
all interested, I will conclude that I am wrong, and that he is
converted; but if he is not, I will leave you to judge for yourself. I
must say, I cannot understand a converted man not interested in the
conversion of others, even if it does nothing more than remind him of
his own."

My friend agreed to this, and seemed somewhat relieved in his mind.

On our arrival, Mr. -- received us courteously, and asked after the
family--indeed, about everything he could think of but the work.

My friend, after a little pause, said, "Have you not heard of the

"Revival!" he said, calmly. "What is that?"

"The special services in my church."

"What services?"

This evidently was enough. He went out of the room to try and hurry the
luncheon. My friend looked very thoughtful, and said nothing, but was
clearly beginning to suspect that the judgment I had formed was not far

In course of the luncheon I told my story, but not without being
interrupted over and over again by the host's attentions, and
importunities to "take more vegetables." "Have you any salt? .... Will
you take some bread? .... Will you not take a glass of wine?" It was
quite evident he wished the story at an end.

My friend said, "That is one of your parishioners he is talking about."

"I suspected so," he replied. "All I can say is, that if Mr. Haslam had
only known that man as long as I have, he would never speak of him as he
does. This is not the first profession he has made. He has been reformed
and changed several times before this, and has always become worse

"That is just the very thing Haslam says," said my friend--"that some
reformations are all flesh, and not the work of God; and, as such, can
never stand. I believe the man to be converted by God this time."

"We will see--we will see," said our host, quietly helping himself to a
glass of wine. "For my own part, I don't believe in these things."

My friend and I exchanged looks. I was silent, but he continued, "I am
bound to say that I was never converted before, nor yet my wife, my
daughter, or my sister."

"What!" said the vicar, starting, "you mean your sister Mary? Well, that
is enough! I don't wish to hear another word about your conversions
after that! I can only say that if I were half as good as Mrs. S---, I
should be well satisfied."

"Well, now," replied my friend, "do come over and see her, and hear what
she has to say about it herself."

"No, thank you," he replied; "I have no desire to interfere in such

There the conversation stopped, leaving a wall of separation between the
two clerical brothers, who had together professed to be Evangelical, and
cordially hated sacramental religion. They had also professed to believe
in salvation by faith only; but for all this they never urged upon their
people to perform any acts of faith--they only expected them to receive
the doctrine. I found that such people opposed me and my work a great
deal more than even High Church men.

My friend and I returned home, and he told his wife and sister the
result of our visit. They said that they were not surprised, for they
had made up their minds on the subject, and were quite sure that Mr. --
had no personal experience, though he was so intelligent about the
doctrine of salvation by faith.

The work, in the meantime, went on and spread. Some of the people came
over from Mr. --'s parish to ask me to come and preach to them in a
large sail-loft, which they had prepared for the purpose. My friend
would not consent to my going, and I was obliged to give them a refusal.
The next day they sent again, not to ask me to preach, but if I would
just come over to visit a sick man who was anxious about his soul. My
friend hesitated at this also. I said, "Why do you object to my going to
see the poor fellow? You took me to the vicarage to talk to the vicar
himself; surely you can let me go and do the same thing to one of his

"No," he said, "I cannot; that is quite a different thing."

Seeing that he was unwilling, and that it would displease him, I gave it
up, and went to the messengers and said, "I cannot go."

They were not satisfied, and asked "if the ladies would please to go;"
meaning my late dear wife and Mrs. S. (Mary), whom they had seen working
in the after-meetings.

My friend did not see any objection to the ladies going, and the men
seemed better pleased than if I had gone. They visited the sick man the
next day, and after that were asked "just to come and speak to a few
people up here" that was, in the adjoining sail-loft. On entering the
place, to their astonishment, they saw about three hundred people
sitting quietly waiting.

"What is this?" asked my wife.

The man said, "I only asked a few, but all those people are come. Do
give them just a word." She had never yet ventured on addressing a large
company like that, and Mary was shocked at the idea; but still, they
were afraid to refuse; so they mounted the carpenter's bench, which was
placed there with two chairs on it; and after a hymn and prayer, Mrs. H.
gave an address, which Mary told me afterwards "was far better than
anything I ever preached." They had an after-meeting, and some
conversions, and promised to come over again. Thus the work spread to
another part, and I had to go there also.

Poor Mr. -- was very excited about this, and said that he "thought it
most ungentlemanly." I dare say it was, and that I was somewhat uncouth;
but I never stop to consider prejudices and fancies when the Lord's work
is in the way.

It was a widespread and remarkable awakening, and one not without much
opposition and jealousy. I happened to say from the pulpit, that at one
time before I knew the truth I used to be quite a popular man: people
liked me, and clergymen let me preach in their pulpits; but now that I
had something to tell for the good of souls, they seemed to agree to
keep me out. Very few were so bold as the vicar of this parish, who had
not only invited me, but stood by me also.

A neighbouring clergyman, who was an important man--a prebendary, and
what not--wrote to the vicar to ask if it was true that I had said in
the pulpit that my clerical brethren scouted me, and would not let me
preach for them.

The vicar very wisely handed the indignant prebendary's letter over to
me to answer, which I did. In my reply, I took the opportunity to put in
some Gospel teaching, which was supposed to be very irrelevant matter,
and counted evasive. I did not deny that I had said something to the
effect of which he complained, but I pleaded in extenuation that I was
justified in doing so. He was more enraged by my letter than by the
report he had heard, and threatened to publish the correspondence. This
he did, with a letter to his parishioners, in which he warned them
against revivals in general, and me in particular. He told them that I
was "infatuated;" that I had "usurped the judgment seat of Christ;" that
I was "the accuser of the brethren;" that I "acted the devil's part now,
and was to be his companion hereafter." I thought of giving more choice
extracts from this publication, but on second thoughts I consider it
better to pass it over.


The High Church Rector, 1854

Let bygones be bygones. I am thankful to say times are changed, but the
letter referred to in the last chapter, though expressing the sentiments
of one man, yet showed the feeling of many others. I do not complain of
it, for I must say I rather like the outspoken opposition of the natural
heart; it is far better, and much less trying, than smiling indifference
or hollow assent.

The work which began in this part went on and spread. The refusal of the
clergy to take it up sent it to the chapels, where it was continued for
miles round. For this reason I was charged then, and have been since,
with encouraging Dissent, but the accusation sits very lightly on me,
for I know what I would rather have. Nothing would please me so well as
to have the clergy converted, and taking up the work; but if they will
not, then I would rather that the Dissenters had the benefit, than that
it should die out and be lost. Dissent makes division, but it is
necessary for vitality, under present circumstances, and counteracts the
great evil of spiritual death. The light of God ought to be in the
Church of England, for it is the Lord's candlestick in this land; but
when the truth is not represented, and the Church is dark, it is a mercy
that God has been pleased to raise up witnesses for Himself in other

The Calvinist, with a needless bitterness, holds up God's sovereignty,
as if man's will were not free; the Arminian is equally energetic for
man's responsibility, as if God were not sovereign; and the Quaker is a
witness for the work of the Spirit. These, and several others, each
maintain their particular doctrine. They are raised up to show
respectively their own portion of the light, because the Church, which
has in her formularies all these great truths, is remiss in her duty.
The full blaze of light which ought to be emitted from her to all sides,
is shed upon her in detail from others; and her members are too often
lighted from without, and not from within.

In many parishes there was no light, and no life or testimony in the
Church; and had it not been for the chapels, men and women might have
perished in ignorance and error.

Imperfect and erroneous as is some of the Gospel which is preached in
chapels and rooms, there was more vitality in it, and also more saving
power, than in the refined and critical teaching which emanated from
many of the accredited and accepted preachers of the land. Where the
Church was rising up into energetic action, in too many cases it had a
sectarian, and not a catholic object--that is to say, it was aiming to
make Churchmen and communicants, or members of guilds, instead of
proclaiming the Gospel for the salvation of souls.

The sovereignty of God, the responsibility of man, and the work of the
Holy Ghost, were frequently altogether overlooked, although this is the
true catholic teaching. In this I comprehend not only the bringing of
souls from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive the
forgiveness of sins, but also that believers might go on to have "an
inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus."
Churchism, with its sacramentalism, is as sectarian as any form of
Dissent, Romanism included; for it falls short of God's object, as
declared in the Word.

When the work at Golant church abated, I had more time for looking
about; so I proffered a visit to the High Church rector, who had asked
me to come over and tell him the secret of my success. He readily fixed
upon a day, so I went over to luncheon; after which we began to talk.
The curate, who was present, and who had heard some ranters shouting and
screaming in the "shires," kept on every now and then putting in a word
of caution to restrain the rector from admitting too much; for little by
little he was yielding to me. I spoke of letting down the nets for a
draught, and catching men, not to smother and kill them in some Church
system, or by some erroneous teaching, but to keep them alive. "This," I
said, "is the meaning of the word in the original;" and we looked it out
in the Greek. It was very interesting. We then talked over the
difference between the Church system and that of the Bible. The one, I
said, makes apostolic succession and the sacraments the channel of
salvation; the other the Word of God, as applied by the Holy Ghost.

We had a great battle on this point, two against one; but having the
Word of God on my side, I stood by my experience. I had myself been on
the other side, and was then ten times more zealous and earnest than
these two were. I said, "I used to preach salvation by Church and
sacraments once, but I was not saved that way. I used also to teach that
the new birth was by Baptism; but I was not born again when I was
baptized. Were you? Are you quite sure that, with all your faith in
Baptismal Regeneration, you are born again of the Spirit? Are you
satisfied that you are now saved because you are in the Church?"

They were dumb. So I went on to say, "I have no party or sectarian
object in my work; my only desire is to bring souls to Christ Himself
for salvation. I used, as a priest, to think I was mediator between
Christ and the sinner, and that I had received by delegation some power
for this purpose; but now that I have been over the ground
experimentally, I would as soon blaspheme God in your presence, as dare
to absolve a sinner, or come between Christ and him. My orders are to
bring them from the power of Satan to God, and to Christ crucified, for
forgiveness of sins."

At this point the rector brought out a printed sermon by Dr. Pusey, on
Justification by Faith, which he had been carefully reading. I asked him
to read it to me. The first few pages contained statements of the
doctrine in New Testament words, with a fair exposition of them; but
when the author same to his own thoughts about the subject, he said that
Baptism was the cause of justification. Here I challenged the statement,
and said, "Have you any references there--any 'stars' or 'daggers' to
that?" "Yes," he answered, "references to the Fathers." I replied, that
"the Fathers were not inspired, There is no such thing as 'Justification
by Baptism' in the Scriptures; it is by faith only, as you will see in
the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans."

"Yes," he said, "that is just what Dr. Pusey means--Faith, as shown in

"Then," I said, "according to that, in your Baptism you were justified
by Faith; and as a consequence you have peace with God, and have access
into grace, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. You will see
that St. Paul connects this experience with what he calls Justification
by Faith. Evidently he did not expect so much from Baptism as you do, or
for a certainty he would have baptized every one he could reach; but,
instead of this, he thanked God that he had only baptized a few persons
whom he named (1 Cor. 1: 14-17). He had gone about for three years,
teaching the Ephesian Christians, even with tears, and he called them to
witness, not that he had administered the sacraments, and done priestly
work among them, but that he had ceased not to teach, and to preach,
'repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ'" (Acts

My two High Church friends were not convinced, though they could not
answer me. It was a question in their minds who was right, Dr. Pusey, or
this "Fanatical Revivalist."

"Come," I said, "there is your man-servant outside in the garden; he was
converted two weeks ago; and though he cannot read, I feel sure he knows
more about this than the author of that learned sermon. Let us call him
in and read a few pages."

We did, and told him to sit down while we read a little while.

The rector began, and, as he went on, Sam's face lit up with joy, until
the rector came to the sacramental passages; than any one could see
Sam's interest was gone. He became very restless, and at last
interrupting, said, respectfully, "If you please, sir, is there much
more of that?"

"Why, Sam," said his master, "don't you like it?"

"No, sir," he said; "that man ain't converted at all!"

"Well, that is strange," said the rector; "I saw his interest went off
just at the very point where you took exception to the sermon. You and
Sam under stand something that I do not know." Thus our sermon-reading
concluded, and, besides this, my witness had given his testimony.

I had stayed already two hours longer than I intended, and was tired of
talking. The rector asked me to remain, and dine with him, and promised
that he would send me to church in the evening in time for the service.
I agreed to this; so he kindly took me upstairs to wash and rest. Coming
into the room with me, he shut the door, and said in confidence,

"I know you are right; my mother taught me all this when I was young!"

"Then," I said, "we had better kneel down and pray about it."

We did so. In his prayer he entreated very earnestly that the scales
might fall from his eyes, and that these truths which he loved when he
was young might be brought to him again.

He was only praying for truth, and not for pardon and salvation; so I
pointed this out to him.

"Yes--yes," he said; "Lord, save me! Lord, save me! Pardon me!"

I believe he found peace before he came down; but it is more difficult
to pronounce in the case of educated, than in that of uneducated people.
In the latter, the transition from darkness to light and life is often
very manifest; whereas in the case of the educated, the effect is not so

However, he came down to dinner, and it was not long before he roused
the anger and contempt of his wife and curate, by saying, "I am
converted." They tried hard to laugh him out of it, and asked him which
of the chapels he would join? They suggested he had better be a
Bryanite; Mr. Haslam is king of the Bryanires; and so on!

I was happy to hear all this, and could not help telling them so: first,
because the rector was counted worthy of such taunts; and, secondly,
because their natural enmity was raised. I said that I hoped they would
both be converted also, and that very soon.

When I was leaving for my service, the rector, in bidding me good-bye,
said, that he "was sorry he could not go with me; but would I come and
preach in his pulpit on Sunday?" I promised that I would.

On the way, Sam, who was driving me to church, became much excited, and
seemed beside himself for joy. Putting up his arms all of a sudden, with
reins and whip in either hand, in the act of praising God, he frightened
the horse, so that it ran away at full speed.

"Oh, never mind---never mind!" he said, "don't be frightened! No doubt
the old devil 'ud like to upset both on us; but I am sure the dear Lord
will take care of us, don't fear."

Certainly there was need, for the horse went headlong down a long narrow
hill, and if anything else had been on the road, we must have come into
disastrous collision. We were, however, carried safely down, and reached
the church in good time.

Sam's joy, I need scarcely say, was all about the master's conversion,
and the fact that I was to preach in their church on Sunday--two
circumstances he did not fail to announce to every one he met.

He put up his horse, and stayed for the service. In the after-meeting,
when he prayed, he sent up his prayer with a thanksgiving for these two
things, which set the congregation praising God also.

Thus the revival, which began on one side of the river, passed over to
the other, and brought out people from another town, and also villages
beyond. There was a great awakening in that part of the country. The
curate found peace on the Sunday, and many more; but not the rector's
wife. She continued her opposition most vigorously.

The wisdom of the serpent is seen in capturing the wife first; but still
I am sure in this case that the serpent's wisdom was outwisdomed, for
her persecution made her husband pray and work all the more earnestly.

People in these days did not regard "missions" so complacently as they
do now. The very idea of preaching night after night, not for some
Missionary Society, or for collections, but simply for the conversion of
souls and the salvation of sinners, seemed to cast a slur upon ordinary
preachers, as if they did not aim at such a thing; and upon people
generally, as if we meant to imply that they needed it. Most certainly
they did.

I believe ordinary preachers in the churches of that neighbourhood did
not expect conversions; and most of the people were unconverted. I could
not help telling them so, which only roused their wrath so much the

From this place I returned home; for my prolonged absence, I found, was
likely to bring me into trouble. Other clergymen might go away for
months, travelling or salmon fishing; but if I was absent for a few
weeks, I was supposed to be neglecting my parish. On my return, I had
much to tell, and did not expect to be invited out again in a hurry; for
very few clergymen would willingly desire to be drawn into such a
whirlwind of storm and trouble, as my visits usually involved.


A Mission in Staffordshire, 1854.

THE work at Baldhu, which had been going on almost incessantly for three
years, was now beginning to flag; that is to say, there was not that
ardent and eager attendance at the services and meetings, to which we
had been accustomed in the revival time. We had had occasional lulls
like this before, but they did not last more than a few weeks; and then
the "swallows" returned, and the bright hot summer of work came again
with its loud songs and pleasant fruits. This dullness was continuing
longer than usual; the crowded congregations were falling off; strangers
did not come from a distance; the people at home were not so lively.
However, the classes were continued, as also the services at the church,
and the number of communicants did not decrease. Still any one could see
that the revival was over. It was rather discouraging to me, and a cause
of triumph to some outsiders; but we were occasionally cheered by work
amongst visitors, and with sick-bed cases.

The majority of the people were complacently waiting for another tide of
revival; this was their custom, but it sat very uneasily upon me. I did
not like it, nor agree to it; but at that time I knew not what else to
do, but wait as others did. I said that we looked like vessels which had
come so far up the river with the tide; and now that it had turned we
were stranded and fast in the  mud. Sometimes I changed the figure to
one not so ignoble, and likened ourselves to the stately vessels
anchored in Falmouth harbour, which were there because the wind was
contrary. We were wind-bound too, and dependent on circumstances; but my
idea of true religion was that we ought not to be like this. I rather
took for our type the great steamers which are propelled by powerful
engines, and come in and go out, and proceed on their voyage without
regard to wind or tide. We ought to be constrained I said, from within
by the love of God and thus be enabled to show the power of grace by
riding over all obstacles and triumphing in the midst of
discouragements. "He giveth songs in the night." Any bird can sing in
the sunshine.

The self-restraint and self-control I had exercised in my churchy days,
and which I supposed was derived from sacraments, I found wanting in my
new work. We required something with authority, such as church and
priest supply. I could not, however, conscientiously go back to that
legal system, nor did I think there was any need, for I was sure there
was something somewhere, to be had, which should and would supply our
want, if I could but discover it. It appeared to me that my people,
without this, were subject to impulse, and consequently in bondage to
their feelings.

In this time of lull I found that the steadfastness of some was shaken;
but I had known others, who had gone further back than these, return at
a revival time with new vigour. In this way, some of the Cornish people
professed to be converted scores of times. While ruminating on these
things and praying over them, I was surprised by receiving a letter
pressing me very much to come at once and preach in a parish in
Staffordshire, near Birmingham. Mr. Aitken had been on a mission in the
north, and on his return had stopped a night at this place, and preached
one of his alarming and awakening sermons. The effect was so great that
the people, together with their clergyman (a curate in sole charge) were
in much trouble and anxiety about their souls; there was a gloom hanging
over them, as if they had been sentenced to some dreadful doom, and did
not know what to do, or how to avert it.

It is a good thing to wound, but it should be with the object of making
whole; it is a blessed thing to show sinners their lost condition, but
only for the purpose of getting them to lay hold of the great salvation
which is provided for such.

In his perplexity the curate went to see the Bishop (Lonsdale) of
Lichfield. When his lordship had ascertained the cause of the trouble,
he took up a pamphlet which was lying on the table, and said, "If you
cannot get Mr. Aitken back, send for this gentleman, and pay his
expenses." "This gentleman," meant the author of the pamphlet, which his
lordship held in his hand, namely, myself; "his name and address are
here." said the Bishop; "take the book and read it carefully; he seems
to have both knowledge and experience in such matters."

I was written to forthwith, and the letter urged me to "come at once."
In compliance, I started off that night, and reaching the place on
Saturday afternoon, opened a mission the same evening without further
notice. On Sunday I preached three times, and went to the school-room
for the after-meeting. There we had a scene which, for noise and
confusion was quite Cornish. Men and women cried aloud for mercy, while
some believers who were there shouted for joy. The curate in charge was
completely bewildered, but felt he could do nothing; and seeing, as he
remarked, that I appeared to understand it and know what I was about, he
thought he had better remain still, till the noisy meeting was over.
That same night, before he retired, he gave his heart to God.

The work went on in this place with the force as of an explosion; just
as if hungry desires had been pent up a long time, and now they had vent
and opportunity to be satisfied. The church was crowded: every day, even
in the week; and we were kept in the schoolroom night after night till
twelve and one o'clock.

The town was a dark, smoky, sulphury place, and the air filled with
exhalations and iron filings from the various works. It was a dreadful
atmosphere, and everything was black and dirty; the red fires from the
furnaces around glared all night long and presented an awful appearance.
To come from the pure air and beautiful scenery of Cornwall into such a
place as this, was most trying and uncomfortable; but the reward was
great. The work was deeply interesting, and scores of men and women of
all classes, besides five clergymen, professed to be converted that

The devil did not leave us alone; he was very angry, and raised up a
great opposition. The rector of the old church, who used to be most
benevolent and smiling, suddenly changed, and made it his business to
call on the curate in charge of the church, to tell him that he was
quite sure that his friend the vicar (who was away at the time in ill
health) would never have sanctioned this excitement. The curate said
that the Bishop had bid him invite Mr. Haslam, and that he had done so,
not knowing anything further about me or my work. The rector went off to
write to the Bishop forthwith, and in the meantime ordered bills to be
posted all over the town, warning people against "the Cornish fanaticism
at St. James's," which, of course, had the effect of drawing out a
greater concourse of people.

What with excessive work and bad air, by Friday evening I was quite
exhausted. I came out of the pulpit to the vestry, and remembering that
Cornish miners, in order to recover themselves after climbing ladders,
often found it necessary to lie down flat on the ground, I thought I
would try the same plan for a few moments while the people were going
out to the schoolroom. I did so; and while I was in this position a
clergyman came in and asked me if I was ill. "No," I said, "I am only
resting for a short time."

"Very well," he said, "rest on; but listen to me. The Bishop has sent me
here to see and hear you, and this is my report to his lordship."
Opening out a paper he held in his hand, he read: "St. James's crammed
to excess with a most orderly and devotional congregation; their
attention to the sermon marked and riveted; sermon from St. Luke xv,
verse 2, 'This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.' The
exposition of chapter most vivid and instructive; never heard better, or
so good; the application fervent and pointed; altogether, most edifying

"There, that is my report, so you need not be afraid of anything you
hear. I will tell the Bishop all about it. Thank you very much for what
I have heard. God bless you. Good-night!"

"Oh," I said, springing up from the ground, "do not go yet! the best
part is to come. You have only seen me let down the nets; come now and
see them pulled up." "What is that?" he said, "Where am I to come?" "To
the schoolroom," I replied, divesting myself of my gown and bands, and
putting on my coat with all haste. "Come with me!"

He seemed a little afraid, and asked many questions. When we reached the
place we could scarcely get in, and the noise certainly was tremendous.

"What is all this confusion about?" he asked. "I think I had better not
go in to-night."

"Oh, come in, come in!" I said; "do not fear." But somehow he slipped
off in the dark, and I did not see him again. When I entered, almost the
first thing I noticed was the two curates of the parish church, taking
notes. However, I did not heed them, or ask to see what they had
written; for I would always rather have real work, though with a noise,
than orderly, respectable stillness, and spiritual death.

On Saturday I rested, but was very unwell all day, and did not know how
I should be able to work on Sunday. When the morning arrived, my
strength and voice were gone; it was impossible to preach. The people
met together and had a prayer meeting before the service, asking the
Lord to restore me. The curate was so much cheered, that he came to me
and said, "If you only get up and try, we feel sure you will be able to
preach." I got up, but had to go to bed again, for I was very ill.

Just before eleven o'clock a visitor arrived, a very queer-looking
little man, in a black suit of Quaker cut, and a college cap without a
tassel, with the corners of the square board rounded off. Standing by my
bed-side in this costume, he said that he was a convert of Mr. Aitken's,
and had come all the way from Birmingham to hear me. "Moreover," he
said, "I am a herbal doctor. Please let me feel your pulse."

He did so, and looking grave, sounded my lungs, put his ear to my chest
and then asked, "What is the matter with your left lung?"

I replied, "I don't know. Three doctors told me, more than fourteen
years ago, that it was all gone." "Well," he said, "you stay quietly in
bed till I come again at half-past eleven."

When he returned, he bade me get up and dress, and then gave me a cupful
of something very hot with cayenne, at the same time telling me that I
should be quite strong enough to preach by twelve o'clock.

So I was. I preached that morning, and again in the afternoon; after
that I went to bed till six o'clock, when I took another dose, and in
the strength of it preached a long, loud sermon to a crowded
congregation; after which I attended the after-meeting, and was there
till twelve o'clock at night. I then set off to the station, accompanied
by at least two hundred people, and left by the one o'clock train for
Birmingham, to the house of my new friend the herbal doctor. He nursed
me like a mother, and let me go on my way home to Cornwall the next day.

I never heard any more of the rector of the parish, or of the Bishop,
but was frequently cheered by letters saying that the work thus begun
was going on week after week in the same place. Some years after, when I
was passing, I stopped there for a few days, and gave them "a lift," as
they called it; and I then saw with half a glance that they had become
practised workers--that both clergymen and people were fitted to
missionize the whole country side.

One's great object in this mission work is not only to save souls, but
to encourage believers to do their part; that so the effect of a mission
may be continued and extended. God has a twofold blessing for us. He
says "I will bless thee and make thee a blessing;" and it is well to
remember that the benefits we receive are not so much to be kept for
self, as to be imparted and transmitted to others, even as they were
transmitted to us.



Then I returned from the far-off mission in Staffordshire, whether from
over fatigue or other causes, I was much depressed in mind as well as
body, and quite out of heart with the Church of England. It is true I
found the converted people in Staffordshire were not so leavened with
Dissent as in Cornwall, and that there was some attachment to the
Church; but still I could see that Churchmen there, as elsewhere,
distrusted spirituality, and preferred to work on their own
ecclesiastical or sacramental lines; they chose to draw water to quench
their thirst, rather than to ask, and receive (directly from Christ) the
living water.

If a bishop accidentally invited me, of if a clergyman cordially did so,
they were marked exceptions. I felt myself to be obnoxious to the
majority of my clerical brethren who professed to represent the Church;
but somehow, I was convinced that, as a converted clergyman, I
represented the Church of England more truly than they, and that the
principles of the Reformation were the principles I was working upon.
This was trial from outside, which, however trying to flesh and blood,
is by no means so bad as misgiving from within.

I was discouraged also about the work in which I had been engaged; for
there was evidently an imperfection about it. I observed that some
people over whom I rejoiced as converted, went back to their former
worldliness, which perplexed and troubled me more than I can describe. I
knew from my own experience that conversion was necessary to salvation
and a new life; but when people professed to be saved, and did not live
a new life, I was sure there was something wrong. My dear friend, Mr.
Aitken, said, "My brother, this work is the Lord's; you must go to Him
and ask what is wrong. Lie on your face before Him till He shows you His
will about the matter!"

This I did; for, shutting myself up in the church, I cried to the Lord
till I felt that an answer would come in due time. Soon after, I was led
to preach from the text, "Through this Man is preached unto you the
forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all
things" (Acts 13:38, 39). This opened my eyes to see that the
proclamation was twofold-that through Christ Jesus, pardon was offered
to any and every sinner as such, and moreover, that by the same Christ
Jesus, every believer--that is, every one who had received the
forgiveness of his sins--was justified from all things.

Those who know how old familiar texts flash upon the mind with new
meaning, will understand my surprise. God was speaking to me in answer
to my inquiry. I had been preaching forgiveness and salvation through
the blood-shedding and death of Christ; and confining myself to this, as
if salvation were all. I now saw that I had not preached about
Justification to believers, as fully as I had dwelt on the subject of
pardon to sinners; indeed, that I had preached to believers the same
Gospel which I preached to them before they were converted; that is,
that Christ died for their sins, but not the "yea rather, that is risen
again." No wonder they did not stand, if their standing-place before God
their Father was not simply and plainly put before them. Believers
having been brought from death unto life, from the cross to the
resurrection-side of Christ's grave, should be led to the Throne of
Grace, where Christ sits at the right hand of God, making intercession
for them. Once enlightened on the subject, it was easy to see that this
truth was set forth all through the Bible.

For instance, when the prodigal son received pardon, immediately his
father called the servants and said unto them, "Bring forth the best
robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his
feet." Here, besides pardon, is standing--union--strength; and over and
beyond these, the feast of rejoicing.

When the children of Israel were brought out of Egypt, it was not that
they should escape from bondage only, but that they should be led, and
even carried, by God through the wilderness. Moses illustrated this in a
simple yet comprehensive figure, when he wrote, "As an eagle stirreth up
her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh
them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and
there was no strange god with him" (Deut. 32:11, 12).

The thousands who perished in the wilderness were persons of whom it may
be said that they professed to come up out of Egypt, and did so in act;
but God, who looks upon the heart, saw that they were still lingering in
that place; for when they were in trouble, they said, "Would God that we
had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in the
wilderness! Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt" (Num.

This is one secret of the "going back" which I have noticed. People came
out as converted, whose hearts were still entangled in the things of
this world, or in some besetments with which they were fettered. Those
who are really converted should come out, as Caleb and Joshua did. They
left Egypt behind them altogether, and finally, in their trials and
troubles in the wilderness, they looked for deliverance, not in going
back, but in going forward, assured that if lions were before, there
were dragons behind.

Another lesson which we may learn from these two, is, that they compared
difficulties and giants, not with themselves, but with the Lord. It was
true that they were not able to conquer their enemies or take their
cities, but, as they said, "the Lord is able to give us the victory." In
this I saw how Joshua trusted God, also how God wrought a great

I urged the people to consider that we were not created and redeemed to
be saved, but saved to glorify God in our lives; but I grieve to say,
this teaching did not meet with the acceptance I hoped for. I wondered
at their slowness of heart to believe in the "risen" Christ, and was
sure that this was reason enough for their instability; and I felt that
there would be nothing else while they continued to receive only a part
of the Gospel instead of the whole.

One thing leads to another. While I was thus making discoveries, my
attention was drawn to a hymn which spoke of "Jordan's stream," and
"death's cold flood," as if they were the same thing. Now, I had always
regarded Jordan as death; but the question in my mind was--What is all
that fighting and conquering in the land of Canaan, if Canaan represents
heaven? I observed, moreover, that the Israelites were on the defensive
in the wilderness, and on the aggressive on the other side of Jordan;
that they were led by the cloud on the one, and by a living Person on
the other; that they were daily sustained with manna, as children, on
the one side, and ate the old corn of the land, as men of Israel, on the
other, besides sowing and reaping for themselves. These striking' marks
of contrast excited much inquiry, and not obtaining, with sufficient
definiteness, the satisfaction I sought, I went to the Lord about this,
as before. I confessed my shortcomings, and the defectiveness of my
teaching, and pleaded earnestly, "Lord, what wouldst Thou have me to do?
What I know not, teach Thou me!"

Then I was brought into the deepest distress and perplexity of soul, to
think that after my experience of conversion, and all I had done for the
conversion of others, I was still such a vile, self-condemned sinner. I
even began to think that I had never been converted; it appeared to me
that my whole life was nothing but intense selfishness; that I availed
myself of the blood of Christ for my salvation and happiness, and led
others to do the same, rejoicing with them in thus making use of God for
the purpose of getting quit of hell and gaining heaven. It was a clear
case of making God serve me, instead of my serving Him. Many other
things came to my mind, by which I knew there was an immense gap between
my experience and the Word of God. I can see it all now; but at the time
it was very dark and grievous.

When I had been under conviction before, at the time of my conversion,
it was, as it were, with my eyes shut; but now they were open: then I
saw my sins, and the penalty which was due to them; now I saw my
unrighteousness, and the corruption of my nature. I felt as if I were
two persons, and that there was a law in my members warring against the
law of my mind, the flesh contending against the Spirit. "O wretched man
that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" For a
whole week I was in great distress of mind, especially during the last
three days.

On Sunday morning, as I was going to the early Communion, my soul was
set at liberty. I felt as if a great cloud was lifted up; the light
shone into my soul; and I had deliverance. I was exceedingly happy in
the knowledge that the risen Christ Himself was my help---that He who
had hidden His presence in a pillar of cloud and fire, now was Himself
present in person, my omnipotent Friend and leader!

This was quite a new experience, and one I had not known before. I
thought that I had not even heard or read of it, and therefore began to
suspect whether it was a temptation. I determined to be wise, and not
commit myself too soon, so made up my mind that I would not refer to it
in the pulpit. But at the close of the service a stranger came into the
vestry to thank me for my sermon; and when we were alone he put the
question to me, "How long have you known Sanctification?"

I replied, "Do I know it now?"

"Yes," he said, "you preached it experimentally this morning; and I
shall be very much surprised if you have not some inquiries on the
subject before the day is out."

I felt reproved before this stranger's steady gaze, and confessed that I
had received the blessing that very morning; but thinking that it might
be a temptation, I had determined to say nothing about it.

He said, "That was a temptation from the devil, sure enough, to hinder
you; for the Lord spoke on this subject through your sermon as dearly as
ever I have heard. Do not be afraid, but go on and tell others."

So in the evening I preached on Sanctification, and we had an
after-meeting in the schoolroom. Many believers stayed behind to ask
questions upon the subject of my sermon. I do not remember how I replied
to them; but imperfect as my statements must have been, it nevertheless
led others to desire to enter into the experience of this same blessing.

The following morning, I happened to take up a tract by John Fletcher,
of Madeley, in which I read, that at a breakfast party on the occasion
of a wedding, to which he was invited, just in the middle of idle and
frivolous conversation which was going on, he was constrained to rise up
and say, "I have three times had an experience of joy and liberty, which
I believe to be Sanctification, and it has passed away; now that it has
returned again, I take this opportunity to testify." The company were
all struck with amazement; the power of God was present; and the festive
gathering was turned into a meeting for prayer and praise. I took
warning from this tract never to withhold my testimony on this subject.

Soon after this, I was holding an afternoon Bible class in another part
of the parish; we were going through St. Luke's gospel, and had come to
the fifth chapter; I said with reference to the miraculous draught of
fishes, that the fish had been swimming about in their native element in
all quietness and freedom, till they came in contact with a net, and it
came in contact with thorn. Observe, I said, three things: 1. They are
caught in the net. 2. They are drawn out of their native element. 3.
They are laid in the boat at the feet of Christ. So it is, where people
are caught in' the Gospel net--this is conviction; they are drawn out of
the state in which they were--this is conversion; but they are not yet
in the state in which they should be, this is why it is so hard to hold
them: they ought to be drawn to Christ Himself, for this is the ultimate
object of catching souls; the one thing needful is to be brought to the
feet of Christ.

I intentionally abstained from using the word "Sanctification," though I
was endeavouring to typify the experience of it, and to contrast it with
conversion. As I went on speaking, a woman in the small assemble put up
her hands and began to shout and praise God, "That is Sanctification!"
she cried; "I have it! I know it! Praise the Lord!" There was a great
stir the class; some cried, and some asked questions. One woman, who was
more advanced in general knowledge and experience than most of the
others declared, that she did not believe in Sanctification, for she had
known so many who professed to have it, and had lost it. "Lost what?" I
said, "you cannot lose an experience; the joy of it may depart, and
certainly does where people rest on their feelings instead of the fact,
on the effect, instead of the cause." She confused the sanctification of
the believer, with the effect it produced on him. The Spirit which works
sanctification in our souls can keep us in it, if we continue to look to
Him, instead of looking at His work, I said to her, what I have said
ever since to all who are inclined to argue on the subject: Believers
too often dispute about Sanctification, in the same manner as the
unconverted do on the subject of Justification. It is not worth while
for those who know, to contend with those who only think. I told her to
go home and pray about it and ask the Lord if He had anything more to
give, to let her have it.

She was sullen, and hard to persuade; but after a little more
conversation and prayer, she consented to lay aside her prejudice and do
as I had told her. She did so, and came again the next morning to see
me. Fortunately, I was not in my house, but shut up, as my custom was in
the church for meditation and prayer. She followed me thither, but being
engaged with my Master, I answered no knocks or taps, whether at the
doors or windows; even on this occasion I did not respond, although I
heard some one walking round and round the church and knocking
impatiently for admittance. When I came out, I heard that Hannah--had
called and wished very much to see me; for she wanted (to use her own
expression) "to hug the dear head of him, if she could catch him." She
was happy beyond expression, for she had had a dream; and what is more
she said that she had entered into the "second blessing."

In her dream she saw a well of water as clear as crystal; it was
beautiful, and the clean pebbles at the bottom quite glistened with
brightness, so that she could count them. "There, there," she said,
"What does any one want clearer and cleaner than that?" As she looked
into this clear well, my voice said to her, "Throw a pebble into it,"
when she did so; in an instant the water became thick and dirty. "Ah,"
said my voice again, "The water of grace is always clear as crystal, but
the well in which it is--that is your heart is most unclean. The Lord
can give you a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within you" (Ps.
51:10). She woke up from her sleep, and immediately began to pray,
asking the Lord for a clean heart, until she obtained it.

Some may say, "But what did she obtain?" This question is seldom if ever
asked by persons who know the experience of this blessing; but to those
who do not, it is very difficult to convey an idea of what it is by
definitions. Let it be enough to understand that there is something
desirable to be had, which may be obtained by doing as the woman did.
"As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man" (Prov.
27:19). Those who know it, understand one another and rejoice together.
There is no such mutual sympathy and joy as that which brethren have who
are partakers of this higher blessing.

After this, Hannah became a restful, peaceful soul; and many others,
with her, found that quiet confidence which can only belong to those who
can and do trust a risen and living Christ.

It was quite a new era in the work, and called out fresh energies; but
like every new thing, it absorbed too much attention, to the exclusion
of the simple Gospel for the unsaved. "Christ died for our sins," is
only part of the Gospel, though a very important part. "Christ rose
again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3, 4), is
also a part, which should not be omitted in its due time and place.
These two important truths, I am sure, are needful for scriptural work,
and they should both be systematically preached.


The Removal, 1855.

When I was on the eve of leaving Perranzabuloe, and before I knew that I
was to go, I felt there was a gulf between the people and myself.
Whatever else they held they were quite ignorant of ecclesiastical
antiquities, Church history, and Catholic truth; what is more, they were
unwilling to learn about such matters.

Now I began to feel that another gulf was opening between my present
people and myself. It was not as before, about ecclesiastical things;
but on another score altogether. I wanted them to believe in a living
Saviour: they were trying to content themselves with salvation instead.
I wanted them to trust the Giver: they preferred to rejoice in the gift.
I longed to lead them on to trust Christ as the object of faith, and
from this to go on to devote themselves to His service, for very love of
Him--to be loosed from the present world, by the hope of the Lord's
coming. I could not get the people to receive this teaching, though it
was God's truth, and could be verified by the Word.

I confess that this threefold truth was not so satisfying to my own soul
as I expected it would be. I remembered that I had not learned it from
men or books, but experimentally, by God's teaching, in answer to
prayer. I could not imagine what was wanting, and did not discover, for
several years after, that the mere knowledge of a truth by itself, even
though it is about Christ, cannot deliver. It is not the truth of Christ
that delivers, but the Christ of the truth. In itself, it is but an
instrument in the hand of the Spirit; and our expectation should be not
from it, but from the Divine Person, whose it is.

I have found that the power is Christ Himself; that where He is really
the object of faith, He keeps the believer in peace; and that if there
is no peace, it is only because there is a deficiency of trust: that He,
as the object of love, constrains us to work for His Father's glory; and
that He, as the object of hope, can and does separate us from the world
and its entanglements, by drawing our affections to things above and
beyond the present. Not having discovered this simple yet important
truth, I was restless; and from God's Word came down to read the words'
and thoughts of men. I fell in with the "Life of Madame Guyon." Here I
found much sympathy, but somehow not that peace I was looking for. Then
I read the writings of the Port Royal school, the Jansenists, Butler's
"Lives of the Saints," and other such books. These diverted my mind,
employed and interested it; but I cannot say they satisfied me. I was
craving for something which I had not found yet, and had to wait three
years or more before I did so.

About this time I was invited to go to a parish in Plymouth, to a church
where sacramental teaching was the rule. The incumbent was evidently as
much dissatisfied with the state of his congregation as I was with mine.
He wanted something new, and I thought I did likewise. Accordingly I
went and preached in his pulpit, and the word spoken produced a marked
sensation. My sermon brought to the vicar's mind many truths he had
heard and loved in early days, and for this reason he urged me to stay
and preach again. Then, to my surprise. He invited me to leave Cornwall
and come to Plymouth. in order to take a district in his parish, that I
might help him occasionally in his church. This was altogether such an
unsought-for thing, and so unexpected, that I took time to consider. The
next day I told him that I could not entertain his proposition, and that
for three reasons:--

          1. I said, "I am sure that the Bishop would not consent."
          2. "I have a debt laid on me by my patron for nearly 3,000 l.,
             which I spent in building the church for him."
          3. "I am responsible for a debt of 300 l. as security."

He still urged it, and said he would go and see the Bishop, and speak
with him on the subject. In his zeal he set off that very morning. The
Bishop at first said flatly, "No;" and then, upon further inquiry,
recalled the word, and said, "You may try it if you will." He returned
in the evening with this information, which surprised me greatly. But
what made me wonder still more, was the receipt of two letters the next
morning by the same post--one from London and the other from Paris,
releasing me from the responsibility of the two debts; and this without
any request on my part. The three difficulties, which were like
mountains before me only three days before, were now removed. I did not
know what to say, and therefore determined, in all haste, to go home and
consider the step.

When I had related these astonishing circumstances to my dear wife, we
agreed to go together to consult with Mr. Aitken. On arriving I said to
him, "You must please to sit still and hear all before you speak." Then
I told him of the invitation to go to Plymouth, the result of the
preaching, the unexpected proposal to remove thither, the Bishop's
answer, and the remission of the 3,300 l.

"Now," I continued, "what do you say?"

"You must go, my brother," he replied; "for you will never make
Catholics of the Cornish people: the Methodist mind is far too deeply
rooted in them."

Our friend's decision was firm; and so there remained nothing for us to
do but to follow it. The novelty of the proposition, and the surprising
circumstances connected with it were exciting, and took away our
thoughts for the time from the place which was to be left. When the
decision was given and accepted, then Baldhu seemed to lift up its
voice, and urge its claims. Certainly it was a strong tie which bound us
to this place; but nevertheless, on our return home, I wrote to the
Bishop, and' proposed to resign my present incumbency, in order that I
might take a district in Plymouth. He replied in due course, that he
would accept my resignation. After I was thus pledged, my wife's mind
veered from her consent to go; and Mr. Aitken changed his tone also, and
said that the text had come to him, "Cast thyself down," and that I was
tempting God. Yet all the steps I had taken had been in prayer, and had
been taken very reluctantly, for I was much attached to Baldhu.

For nearly three months I was torn with distractions; sometimes hope
lifted up the mist from the horizon, and then let it down again. I did
not know what to do; the work at home had come to a stand; but there was
one thing, my successor was not yet appointed, nor had I signed my
resignation; therefore every now and then the thought came over me, that
I would stay. Then a letter came from Plymouth, urging me to come away
at once, "for the iron was hot for striking." Sometimes people came in
and said, "You had better go;" then others would come in and say, "You
will do no good if you do go." It was desolating, as well as distracting
beyond description.

I had a family of six children and three servants; it was a great
expense to move there; and yet, if God was calling, it was quite as easy
for Him to move eleven people as one; and I had ten claims upon Him. At
last, suspense was over; my successor was appointed, and the day fixed
for our going. I signed my resignation, having to pay four pounds ten
shillings for it; then, suspense was changed into unmitigated sorrow.

I had designed and built that church and house, and had seen them rise;
had made the garden, and had had many happy and wonderful days in this
place. I found it had taken a deep root in my heart, and therefore it
was like tearing one up altogether to go away. But it was done now, and
the friends who had advised me not to resign, seemed to have their
triumph; and those who advised to go, were discouraged and grieved at my
sorrowful state. My dear wife cheered up when she saw me down, and rose
to the occasion; she began to pack up as if delighted at going, and went
about everything most cheerfully.

I told the people that I could not bear a leave-taking, but there would
be a service in the church, and Holy Communion, at seven o'clock on the
morning we were to leave. Many came, but the majority could not sum up
the courage to do so. I put my resignation on the offertory plate, and
gave it to God with many tears. A kind neighbour came to officiate for
me, so that I did not take any part in the service, being exceedingly
dejected and overwhelmed with sorrow. It was chiefly for fear, lest I
was doing that which God would not have me do, and taking my family out
from a comfortable home, I knew not whither, or to what discomforts.

One thing I certainly saw plainly enough, that my affections were too
deeply rooted in earthly things. I had no idea till then, that that
place of my own creation had taken such a hold upon me. It was well to
be loose from that, and free for my Master's service.

After breakfast we left the old place; many people stood weeping by the
roadsides; some ventured to speak, and others only thrust their hands
into the carriage windows for a hearty grasp, without saying a word. It
was indeed a sorrowful day, the remembrance of which even now makes my
heart sink, though it is more than twenty-five years since.

In the evening we arrived at the house of some friends, who had kindly
invited us to break our journey, and remain the night with them; and in
the morning we proceeded on our way to Plymouth. When we reached the
house, we found our furniture unpacked, and distributed in the various
rooms, and the table spread ready for us to take some refreshment. The
word "Welcome" was done in flowers over the door, besides many other
demonstrations of kindness; but I am afraid we were all too sorrowful at
the time to show our appreciation of, or to enjoy them.

We never settled in that house, and did not care to unpack anything more
than necessary, or hang up the pictures or texts.

My work did not prosper here, for I found I was unequally yoked with
strangers, and accordingly felt dry and wretched. I sent my resignation
of Baldhu to Bishop Phillpotts, and with it my nomination and other
necessary papers, saying that I would wait on his lordship for
institution on a certain day.

At the appointed time I went to him, when to my great surprise, he very
calmly said he could not appoint me to that district. I could not
understand this, for as I had told him, I had only resigned
conditionally, and reminded him that I had asked his permission to
resign, for the purpose of taking this district.

"How can I consciously appoint or license you to anything in my
diocese?" he said, looking me full in the face, and then in his
courteous way he laid his commands on me to stay to luncheon, saying he
would be obliged "if I would do him this honour;" he bade me walk in the
garden, as he was busy, and would be occupied till luncheon.

I felt that I needed a little quiet and fresh air to get over this
climax of my troubles--out of one living, and not into another; and that
with a wife, six children, and three servants, with very little to live
on. Here was a state of things! I had plenty to occupy my thoughts and
prayers. I feared and mourned, above everything, lest God should be
angry with me. "Oh, if I could only know this is the will of God, then I
should not care a fig for all the bishops on the bench, and would not
ask one of them for anything!"

I was soon roused from my reverie, by the presence of Miss C. P., the
Bishop's daughter, who had come out at her father's request to show me
the garden and the view. I had known this lady slightly for several
years, and so she was not altogether a stranger to me, or I to her. She
talked so cheerfully and pleasantly, that it came to my mind, "Perhaps
after all, the Bishop is only trying me. He will not appoint me to this
bare district, because he has something better with which he means to
surprise me." This sanguine thought cheered me up greatly. At luncheon
he was as kind and happy as if he had neither done anything
dishonourable, or had any intention of doing so; so that I felt quite
sure something good was coming. I began to wonder at intervals, "What
part of the diocese I was to be sent to?--Where is there a vacancy?" and
so on.

The Bishop was as friendly to me as he used to be in other days. After
the repast, he summoned me to his study again. "Now," I thought, "I
shall hear where I am to go;" but instead of this, he said that he was
"much engaged, and must take leave of me."

I was more than astonished at this, and said, "I can scarcely believe
that you refuse to appoint me!"

"I do then, most positively."

"But I have a copy of my letter to your lordship, and your answer."

"Then you may urge your claim by law, if you please."

"No, indeed, my lord, I do not think I will do that." And then, after a
short pause, I said, "You have done for me what I could not dare do for
myself, though I have often been tempted to do it."

"And pray, what is that?" he inquired.

"To give up parochial ministration, that I may be free to preach
wherever I am led."

"Could you do that?"

"I could not do it conscientiously myself; but now that you have
stripped me of harness, I will put on no more."

The Bishop made his bow, and I made mine; and that was the end of our
interview. In my unconverted days I used to be an ardent and
enthusiastic admirer of this man; his charges, his speeches, and
especially his withering, sarcastic letters to Lord John Russell and
others, who came under his tremendous lash, to my mind made him a great
hero. His straight forward manner also commanded my respect, for,
generally speaking, I had found bishops very smooth and two-sided, or
rather both-sided; but in his ease there was no mistake.

It used to be a proud time for me when this Bishop came into Cornwall,
and I was permitted to accompany him, and to act as his chaplain at the
consecration of a church or burial ground, or to attend him when he went
to a Confirmation. Sometimes I had the happy privilege of rowing him in
a boat on the sea. He seemed to take such an affectionate and
intelligent interest in my parish and my church work. He asked various
questions about my neighbours, just as if he lived among them and knew
all their circumstances. He struck me as a wonderful man, and I was his
champion upon all occasions in my unconverted days. Notwithstanding
this, he was too honest to his own views to favour me after my

On my return home without a license, I had but a poor account to give,
and the future prospect looked very gloomy.


Plymouth, 1855.

I occasionally preached in the parish church, and went to the daily
Communion and the daily service. My spare time I occupied (it was like
going back to brick-making in Egypt) in painting the church. I laboured
for hours and hours to try and make this great chalk-pit of a place look
somewhat ecclesiastical. All round the church I painted a diaper
pattern, surmounted with a border, which went over the doors and under
the windows. Then on the bare wall at the end I painted a life-sized
figure of our Lord, as a Shepherd leading His sheep, taken from
Overbeck's picture. This, together with a few other pictures of Christ,
warmed up the building very well. Then for the chancel I had a most
elaborate design.

First, there was a beautiful gilded pattern over the very lofty chancel
arch, which I managed to reach by means of a ladder. Professional people
need scaffolding and platforms, which I dispensed with, and accomplished
the whole space in less time than it would take to put up all their
needful erections. Inside the chancel I had twelve niches, with
tabernacle work above them, for the twelve apostles; and these were all
duly represented after a true mediaeval pattern.

The local newspaper made great fun of these paintings; and the reporter
would have it, that "these lively saints looked very conscious of being
put up there, and that they were constantly 'craning' their necks to
look at one another--as if they would inquire, 'I say, how do you like
being there?'" My favourite figure, St. John, upon which I bestowed
extra pains, the provoking man would have it, was St. Mary Magdalene,
leering at the apostle next to her, or at the one opposite--it did not
seem quite clear to him which; but her head was down on one side in a
bewitching attitude.

In the middle of the great undertaking I was called away for a few
weeks. During this time the reporter came again and again, but saw no
progress; he therefore put an advertisement into his paper to this

"Stolen or strayed, a monkish priest, who paints apostles. He is not to
be found. Any person or persons who can give information concerning this
absent personage, will greatly oblige."

My preaching was not acceptable in this church, neither was my
connection with it; and my apostles were no better appreciated, for they
were soon after whitewashed over, and disappeared like a dream.
Sometimes, in damp weather, they were still to be seen "craning" their
necks as heretofore (much to the amusement of the chorister boys) though
with a kind of veil upon them. Doubtless, in a future generation, when
the plaster begins to blister, some antiquarian will discover this
"wonderful mediaeval fresco," and call the attention of the public to

My ideas and dreams about catholic advancement were thus brought to a
calamitous end. This church to which I had come was one in high credit
for much private and public devotion; but, alas! I found what I might
easily have expected, that without spiritual vitality everything must be
dry and dead! Dry and dead indeed it was. The conversation of these
supposed ascetics was for the most part secular, and at the highest only
ecclesiastical. Their worship, on which a great amount of pains and cost
was bestowed, was but a form carefully prepared and carefully executed,
as if critics were present; yet it did not, and could not, rise to
spirituality. A lady presided at the organ, and had the teaching and
training of the choir. Much of her own personal and religious character
were imparted to the performances, which in tone and manner were
admirable and precise. She made the boys understand the sense of the
words they sang, till I have seen them even in tears during the singing.
The "chaste old verger" (as our reporter called him), who headed the
procession at least four times a day, up and down the church, was a very
important and successful part of the machinery, and from him, up to the
highest official, everything was carried out with exact precision.

But oh, how unsatisfying and disappointing it was!--to a degree which I
was ashamed to own! How could I be so foolish, to give up a living,
where there was vitality, though it was rough, for a superficial and
artificial semblance of religion? In the book of Ecclesiastes we read,
that "a living dog is better than a dead lion;" and though I had often
quoted this saying, I never felt the truth of it so deeply as now. The
dead lion and the dead elephant are quite immovable things for a live
dog to bark at or fret about. It was a hard and trying time to me in
that place. I could not see my way, or understand at all what was the
Lord's will towards me. While in this state of mind I had a vivid dream.
I thought that the ornamental iron grating, which was for ventilating
the space under the floor of the church, was all glowing with fire, as
if a great furnace were raging there. I tried to cry "Fire!" but could
not. Then I ran into the church, and saw it full of people reverently
absorbed in their devotions. I tried again to give the alarm, and cry
"Fire! fire!" but I could not utter a sound. When I looked up, I saw
thin, long, waving strings of fire coming up among the people through
the joints of the floor. I called attention to this, but no one else
could see it. Then I became frantic in my gesticulation, and at last was
able to tell some of the congregation of the great fire which was under
them; but they looked at one another, smiling, and told me to go about
my business--that I was mad! I woke out of my troubled sleep in a very
agitated and perturbed state. Since that, whenever I have seen or heard
of churches, where Church and Sacraments are preached, instead of
Christ, as the one way of salvation, I long to warn the people of the
fire raging underneath, and to show them the way of the Lord more

One day, when I was feeling more desponding and wretched than before, a
lady called, and said she wanted to speak to me--would I come to her
house for this purpose? I went, and she was not long before she opened
the conversation by charging me with being uncharitable. "You say we are
all unconverted."

I replied, "Of course, as children of Adam we are, till conversion takes
place; there can be no mistake about that! But when did I say that you
were unconverted? Is it not your own conscience that tells you that?
When we preach to people as unconverted, those who are changed, and
brought from death into life, know as well as possible that we do not
mean them; and they pray for a blessing on the Word, that it may reach
others, as it once reached them. They do not sit there and resent the
charge, for they know what has passed between God and their souls, and
are anxious for others to share the same blessing." She was silent; so I
continued, "May I ask you the question. Are you converted? Can you tell
me that you are?"

She replied, "I do not know what you mean."

"Well, then, why do you suppose that I mean something uncharitable or

"Because I know very well it is not a good thing to be unconverted.
But," she added, "it seems such an unkind thing to put us all down for
'lost,' while you suppose yourself to be saved."

"You may know more about this some day, perhaps; but in the meantime
will you allow me to ask you one thing: Do you believe in the Lord Jesus

She replied indignantly, "Of course I do. Now, this is the very want of
charity I complain of-the idea of asking me such a question!"

She was one of the Rev. --'s, (the confessor's) favourite devotees, and
had been absolved by him for several years; the very idea of asking her
if she believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, made her quite impatient, as
well as indignant.'

I said, "Do not be angry with me, but what do you believe about Him?"

"Believe everything, of course! I believe the creed."

"Yes, I do not doubt that, for a moment. But do you believe that Jesus
died for you?"

"Why, yes, certainly: how could I do otherwise; He died for us all."

"That is not the point. I mean, do you believe that He died; and that
you have a personal interest in His death?"

She hesitated, and then looking at me said, "Do you mean objectively, or

"May I ask what I am to understand by these words?"

"Dr. -- taught me that, 'Christ died.' is objective, and that 'Christ
died for me.' is subjective."

"Very good indeed," I answered, "I like that very much; it is quite
true. But it is one thing to know about subjective faith, and quite
another thing to have it. Now I will come back to my question. Do you
believe that Christ died for you?"

"You evidently mean something that I do not understand," she said, in a
perplexed manner. Then looking at the crucifix on her table, I said,
"What does that remind you of?"

"Oh, I pray before that every day, and ask the Lord to take my sins

"Then you do not think your sins are forgiven yet. How can you ask for
forgiveness, and have it at the same time?"

"Do you mean to say then," she replied, with surprise, "that you have no

"Yes, I mean to say that my sins were atoned for, once for all, on the
cross; and that, believing this, I have peace and remission of sins. My
past sins are cast like a stone into the deep; and as to my daily sins
of omission and commission, I do not take them to the cross like a
Romanist, but to the throne of grace, where the risen and living Christ
is now making intercession for me."

She was silent; and so was I, inwardly praying for her. Presently she
looked up and said, "I do thank Him for dying for me. Is that what you
want me to say?"

"Thanksgiving is an indication of living faith. How can I believe that
Jesus died for me, and not thank Him?"

"But I do thank Him, and it is very uncharitable of you to say, we do
not thank Him; we all thank Him!"

She was gone again, and I wondered whether I should ever bring her back!

"You remind me," I said, "of three ladies of good position, whom I met
last year. They all professed to thank God for Christ's death; but yet
they had no peace, and were not satisfied. Seeing they were in real
earnest, I proposed to go over the General Thanksgiving in the
Prayer-book with them. They did so, and thanked God for creation,
preservation, and all the blessings of this life, but above all--then as
I emphasized this 'above all,' they said, almost together, 'That is where
we are wrong. We have not 'put the redeeming love of God as shown in
Christ's death, above all.' These three ladies found peace and pardon
that same evening."

"That has been my mistake too," said the lady, interrupting me. "I have
never put Jesus above all; but I do desire to do so, and that with all
my heart."

"Then do so," I said, "and thank Him for His love in dying in your
stead, and shedding His blood to wash your sins away."

"He shall have all my heart!" she exclaimed.

So saying, she knelt before the crucifix, and bowing gracefully and most
reverently, she reproached herself for not putting Jesus first, and
said, "Thou art worthy! Glory be to Thee, for Thy great love to me."
Then she rose from her knees, and once more tuning to me, said, "Thank
you so much! God bless you for your kindness and patience with me! I
cannot tell you how much I thank you. Do you remember once preaching
about Abraham offering up his son Isaac? You said, 'God the Father has
done more than this for us; and yet how few cry to Him and say, "By this
I know that Thou lovest me!"' I thought, and felt then, that you knew
something which I should like to know; and I have been longing to speak
to you ever since. Oh, I do thank you so much!"

"Dear friend, I cannot refuse your thanks, but I should like to see you
thanking God more than you thank me."

I knew that she could sing and play, so, pointing to the piano, I asked
her if she would sing a hymn. "Yes," she said, "I will. What shall I

"Find 'When I survey the wondrous cross,'" I said.

She did not need to find the music, for she knew it without; so, sitting
down, she began to sing, till the tears came into her eyes, and her
voice broke down. "I never knew the meaning of these words before," she
said; "'Sorrow and love flow mingled down.' How could I be so blind and
ignorant? 'Love so amazing, so divine,' does 'demand my life, my soul,
my all!' O Lord, take it!"

After this, I had a few parting words with her, and pointing to the
crucifix I said, "Remember Christ is not on the cross now. He died; that
is past. He is risen, and has ascended up on high. The throne of grace
is not the crucifix or the confessional, but where Christ sits--at the
right hand of God; and we, as believers, may in heart and mind thither
ascend, and with Him continually dwell. Have done, then, with this dead
Popery; you know better now. Testify for the glory of God."

This lady's conversion vexed her husband greatly, and brought down the
frowns and disapprobation of the reverend doctor; altogether, it did a
deal of mischief in the camp. The "Sisters of Mercy" with whom she was
connected were kept aloof from her contaminating influence, and soon
afterwards were altogether removed from the place. There was one,
however, a particularly hard-headed looking individual, who used to
stare at me through her round spectacles whenever I met her, as if I
were an ogre. I heard that she was a great mathematician. She looked
like it; and evidently there was no fear entertained of her being
converted. She and one other were left behind; but otherwise the house,
which had been built at great cost, was empty. The lady was not allowed
to speak to me any more; but I hope she continued to go to the true
throne of grace, and not to the crucifix to a living, not a dead Christ.

All this, doubtless, was intended to sicken me of my reverence for the
Catholic theory. I was evidently under an infatuation on the subject,
which, for the time, nothing could dispel. I had some poetic or
imaginary fancy of spiritual catholicity before my mind, which I
supposed was something better than the fleshy spirituality of Methodism,
to which I had taken a great dislike; but where to find this Utopia, or
how to embody it, I knew not. These specimens of catholic people I
certainly had no sympathy with; nor had I any patience with their hollow
devotion and their studied imitation of Popery. I plainly saw that light
could have no fellowship with darkness, or life with death. I was more
and more convinced that when a man has more sympathy with dead Catholics
than with living Dissenters, he is not a living soul at all. There is no
necessity to go to one extreme or the other. I believe the reformed
Church of England (in her principles, at least) occupies the middle path
between these two extremes, with the excellences of both, and the faults
of neither. I think I was permitted to be thus unsettled in my mind,
because I did not keep to my work with a single eye to God's glory.


Devonport, 1855.

I was at this time invited to preach in a church in Devonport, where it
pleased the Lord to give blessing to His word. With this exception, my
work was, generally speaking confined to individual cases. I will give
an account of a few which present the most instruction and interest.

The first I will mention is that of one of the curates of the church in
which I was asked to preach. At this time he was preparing for
confession, and his self-examination had brought him to see and feel
that he was a sinner. Under this course of preparation, the preaching of
the Gospel had much effect upon him, and he came to tell me of his
state. I was able to show him from the Word of God that he was in a
worse condition than he supposed--that actually, by nature, we are lost
sinners now. Under the operation of the Holy Spirit he was brought to
feel this also, and was very miserable.

One day, while officiating at a funeral, the Lord spoke peace to his
soul; so great was his joy, that, he said, he could scarcely refrain
from shouting aloud in the middle of the service. After it was over he
went about everywhere, telling of his conversion, and the Lord's
dealings with his soul.

The result of this was that his fellow-curate (who was also preparing
for confession) was awakened, and came to me in great distress of mind,
declaring he "could not say he was converted," and that he was very
unhappy. He acknowledged that he should not like to die as he was, and
therefore knew he ought not to be satisfied to live in that state.
However, when I got to close dealing with him about his soul, he said
that though he could not say he was saved, he certainly thought that he
was being saved by continual absolution and the sacrament. Upon this, I
was enabled to show him that he did not go to the means of grace, or
even to the Lord's table, because he was saved, but in order to be
saved; and that he was working for life, and not from life. He gave up
disputing, and was not long before he too found peace in believing.

The time was approaching for these two curates to go, as usual, to
confession. They came together to ask me about it. I counselled them to
go, by all means, to the reverend doctor, who usually received their
confession, and to tell him in their own words how the Lord had
convicted and converted them. I said that Bilney, one of the first
martyrs of the Reformation, when he was converted, went immediately to
make confession to Latimer, and by doing so he became the means of his
conversion. "Go, by all means; you do not know what use the Lord may
make of your testimony."

They went accordingly, but did not meet with the happy success of
Bilney, for they were sent indignantly away one after the other for
saying their sins were pardoned and their souls save, and that by direct
and personal faith in Christ, without the intervention of a priest. The
reverend confessor, unlike the honest Latimer, said these young men had
come to mock him.

Notwithstanding these instances of usefulness and encouragement, I
continued to be very unhappy, for want of more general work, and felt as
if God had cast me off. I can now see that this testing and perplexing
dispensation through which I was passing, was not altogether such a
barren desert as I felt it to be at the time. It was fraught with many
lessons, which have stood by me ever since, though I must confess I
never revert to this period without many unhappy memories.

I will record one more lesson which I was taught in this place, and then
go on to other subjects.

One warm spring day, while I was sitting in my house with the doors and
windows open, a gentleman came running into it in great haste, somewhat
to my surprise, he being a perfect stranger to me, and I to him.
Standing in the passage, and looking into the room where I was seated,
he said, "Sir, are you a clergyman?"

I replied, "Yes, I am."

"For God's sake, come; follow me!"

So saying, he went away. I immediately took up my hat, and ran after him
down the side of the square, and noticing the gate where he turned in, I
walked leisurely to the same place, and found him in the passage of his
house panting for breath. He had run so fast that he could not speak,
but made a sign to me to go upstairs; then pointing to a door, he bade
me go in. On doing so, I saw at once it was a sick-chamber, and found
myself alone in the presence of a lady, who was sitting up in the bed. I
bowed to her, and said, "Can I help you?"

She said, "Oh, no! it is too late!"

"Too late for what?"

"I am dying; I am lost! I am lost! It is too late--too late!"

"But Christ came, and is present, to-save the lost."

"Oh, yes! I know all that. I taught it to others, but I never believed
it myself. And now it is too late: I am lost!"

"Then believe it now! Why not 'now'?"

"Because it is too late!"

"While there is life there is hope! Lose no more time. 'God so loved the
world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on
Him should not perish'" (John 3:16).

"That is not for me. I know that text very well, but it will not do for
me. I am lost! I am lost! It is too late!"

While I was speaking I saw her falling over the side of the bed.
Springing forward, I put out my arm, and, with her head resting on it,
and her despairing eyes looking into my face, she expired. I could
scarcely believe it, when I saw that flush on her face fade away unto
the pallor of death. She was gone! I placed her poor head on the pillow,
and rang the bell for assistance. Her mother and sister came in, saying,
"Is it not dreadful?"

I said, "Look at her. She is gone. She said it was too late, and that
she was lost for ever."

"Oh," exclaimed the mother, "it is most dreadful!--most dreadful!" This
poor young lady used to be a Sunday-school teacher and district visitor;
but she was never converted, and she knew it. She had full
head-knowledge, but no heart experience, and thus she died in unforgiven
sins. Lost---for ever lost!

Notwithstanding this, and other solemn lessons which the Lord was
teaching me at this time, I was still restless and unhappy. I felt as if
my life, with its work, was cut off in the very beginning of its
usefulness, and that there was no more for me to do. As the weather
became hot with the advancing summer, I was more and more dejected in
mind and body. I lived now among strangers, and had no settled
occupation, nor could I apply myself to study.

One very hot and dusty afternoon, as I was slowly toiling up a steep
hill, two women overtook me; and as they were passing, I heard one say
to the other, in a very sad and disheartened tone, "I wish I had never
been born;" and the other responded much in the same spirit, though I
could not hear what she said. A fellow-reeling makes us wondrous kind,
and has the effect of drawing out our sympathies. I followed these poor
women, and when we were on the top of the hill, I spoke to them, and
then added, "You seem very weary. Will you come in and take a cup of tea
and rest a little?" They thanked me, and consented. So I took them into
the house, and asked for some tea. While it was being prepared, I said
to them, "I overheard you talking on the road as you passed me. Do you
really wish you had never been born?" The poor woman who had uttered
these words burst into tears; and as soon as she could command her
feelings sufficiently, she told me her sad tale of sorrow and trouble.
She was a soldier's wife, as was also the other, and they were both in
the same distress. "Well," I said, "trouble does not spring out of the
ground; and we may be equally sure that God, who sends, or at least
permits it, does so for our good. One thing is certain, that if we
humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, He can and will lift us
up, for He has promised to do so. He will make all things work together
for our good, if we trust Him." I then asked them if they had given
their hearts to God.

One of them said, "Ah, that is what I ought to have done long ago; I
know a deal better than I do. I was brought up well, no mistake; but I
was giddy, and went after the red-coats, and married an ungodly man, and
now I am suffering for it."

"Dear woman," I said, "you may thank God for hedging up your path. He
might have given you over to prosperity and a false happiness, or left
you altogether. Thank God that it is not worse with you; and give Him
your heart. Do you believe that the Lord Jesus died for you?" She would
not speak. Then I turned to the other, who was also crying, and said,
"Do you believe?"

"I did once," she said, in a dejected tone; "but I have gone back from

By this time their tea was ready, so I refreshed them with it; and after
that we resumed our conversation and united in prayer. They both gave
their hearts to God. I found that they lived not far off, so I had the
opportunity of seeing them from time to time, and was able to instruct
and cheer them on their way. I can see now how God was speaking to me
through these women; but somehow I did not hear or recognize His voice

About this time, my dear wife became very prostrate in health and
spirits--so much so, that we felt anxious about her. I went to a famous
physician, who was in the neighbourhood, and asked him to come and see
her. He did so, and after careful examination, said that there was
really nothing the matter more than that she was one of those persons
who could not live in that limestone town in the summer. He said, "She
will be perfectly well if you take her away into the country. You must
do this at once, for the longer she remains here, the weaker she will
be." He refused to take any fee, and said he would send a carriage at
two o'clock, and that we must be ready to start by that time. This was
more easily said than done; for where could I take the children, or how
could I leave them at home? However, as the doctor was very peremptory,
we prayed about it, and considered how we were to accomplish the task.

At this critical moment a friend arrived in his carriage, and said he
had driven in from the country to bring some relatives of his to the
train, and did not care to go back alone. "Would one of us, or both,
take pity on him, and give him our company?" As soon as he heard of our
position he greatly rejoiced, and said, "Come, all of you; I have plenty
of room!" He took the invalid, with some of the children. I shut up the
house, and followed with the others and the nurse, in the fly, which
duly arrived at two o'clock. By five o'clock we were all out in the
green fresh country, and our patient was already revived, and walking
about the garden.

There happened to be a farm-house vacant, which we took, and removing
some of the furniture, made it comfortable for the present. This we
called "home" for a little time during my unsettled state.


A Mission to the North, 1855.

When my family were all comfortably settled and surrounded by kind
friends, I went off to the north of England, on a visit to a clergyman,
who had invited me. He had already suffered for doing this on a previous
occasion, in the diocese of Oxford; where the bishop took away his
licence, because he had me to preach for him. The real cause of offence
was, that there was a revival in the parish; and complaint was made to
the bishop, that people were kept up till "all hours of the night,
howling and praying." His lordship sent forthwith for my friend's
licence; I advised him to send it, saying, "He will be sure to return it
to you; but perhaps with a reprimand." Instead of this, the bishop kept
it, and said that he would countersign his testimonials to go to another
diocese. My friend was at first disgusted and disposed to rebel; but
instead of this, he bore the treatment patiently; and went to another
position and charge at G--, in the north of England.

Thither, nothing afraid, he invited me to come. In this part of the
country I found a hearty lively people, something like the Cornish. Here
I soon regained my spirits, and got to work in right earnest.

In this place a revival began at once; and every day we had people
crying for mercy, very much in the way they did in Cornwall. Among
others, there came to the church on Sunday afternoon, a tall
Yorkshireman, in his working clothes. He stood under the gallery, in his
shirt sleeves, with a clay pipe sticking out of his waistcoat pocket,
and a little cap on his head. I fancy I can see him now, standing erect,
looking earnestly at me while I was preaching, with his hand on one of
the iron supports of the gallery. As the sermon proceeded he became
deeply interested, and step by step drew nearer to the pulpit. He seemed
to be altogether unconscious that he was not dressed for a Sunday
congregation, or that he was the object of any special notice. After the
sermon he knelt down in the aisle, and there he remained. I was called
out of the vestry to go to him, but could not get him to say a word. I
prayed by his side, and after some time he groaned out an "Amen," then
he got up, and went towards the door. I followed him, and saw that
instead of going along the path, he made across the graves in the
churchyard, to a particular one; and then he threw himself on the
ground, in vehement and convulsive emotion. He said something about
"Edward," but we could not distinguish what it was. The sexton said that
this was his son Edward's grave. Poor man! he was in great sorrow; but
he kept it all to himself. He then went home, and shut himself up in his
own room. His daughter could do nothing with him in his distress. We
called several times to see him in the course of the evening, but in

The next morning I called again, when his daughter told me that he had
gone out early, and had not returned to breakfast. She appeared to be in
a good deal of trouble, and said she had been to his mine to inquire for
him, but that he was not there. All day long we searched for him. Some
looked in the woods, half-expecting they might find his body on the
ground, or hanging from a tree; while others inquired in every
direction, with increasing anxiety, till the evening. Then, as we were
returning home in despair and disappointment, whom should we see in the
green lane between the vicarage and the church, but our friend. He was
looking into the shrubs as if watching something; and when we came up to
him, he turned to us with a radiant smile, and said, "The Lord is

I said, "You are right, He is so."

"Yes, I am right, all right! thank God! Think of that! He saved me this

"Are you coming to church to-night?"

"Oh yes, certainly I will be there."

"But," I said, "have you been home yet?"

"Oh yes, sir, thank you; my girl knows all about me."

That man was so manifestly changed, and so filled with the Spirit, that
his old worldly companions were afraid of him. The publican of the inn
he used to frequent was particularly so, and said he was frightened to
be in the same room with him.

There was a great stir among the people in this place; for the fear of
the Lord had fallen on them, so that they were solemnized exceedingly,
and many were converted.

The vicar being somewhat timid, began to be afraid of what was going on;
and wrote to ask counsel of a clerical neighbour at C--, who answered
his letter by inviting him to come over, and bring me with him. He said
that he wanted me to preach in his church on the following Friday
evening, adding, "I have already given notice, and also read parts of
your letter in church. I am sure the people will come and hear this man;
I expect a large congregation. Be sure and bring him over; do not
disappoint me on any account!"

Accordingly, on the Friday we appeared there, and in the evening I
preached to a large and attentive assembly. Many were awakened, and some
remained behind to be spoken with; others, who were too shy to do so,
went home; and we heard the next morning that several had had no sleep
or rest all night. Three men, whom we saw in the morning, had found
peace. After this, we drove slowly back to G--, but a messenger had
arrived before us, and said that I must come back again with him, for
the bills were already out that I would preach on Sunday and following
days at C----. The vicar was most reluctant to let me go, but under
these circumstances, he at last consented; so I went back in the
carriage the messenger had brought for that purpose.

At the Sunday morning service, the manner and tone of the people, and
their eager attention, implied that something was going to happen. There
was a deeply solemn feeling in the church, both morning and evening,
which made it very easy to preach. In the course of my sermon, I know
not why, I was led to Speak about the endless misery of hell; and some
who were present said I asserted, "That there was a great clock in hell,
with a large dial, but no hands to mark the progress of time: it had a
pendulum which swung sullenly and slowly from side to side, continually
saying, 'Ever! never!' 'Ever! never!'" *


* Both Bridaine and Krummacher have expressed somewhat the same idea.

This seemed to make a profound sensation among the people: many stayed
to the after-meeting-they would not go away until they had been spoken
with. Among others, the churchwarden came to me in a very excited state,
and said, "What ever made you say, 'Now or never!--now or never!'?" He
was like one beside himself with emotion when he thought of the pendulum
which I had described. "Now or never!--now or never!" he kept on
repeating to himself, till at last he went away. He was far too excited
to talk of anything else, or to listen either.

Later on in the evening, we were sent for to come in all haste to his
house. There we found him in great trouble of mind, and afraid to go to
bed. After talking to him for a short time, he went on to say that he
had a strange thing to tell us--that that very morning he was lying in
bed (he thought he was quite awake), and looking at a little picture of
the crucifixion which was hanging over the fireplace. While doing so he
saw as plainly as possible some black figures of imps and devils walking
along the mantelpiece with a ladder, which they placed against the wall,
evidently for the purpose of removing this picture from its place. He
watched them intently, and noticed that they seemed much troubled and
perplexed as to how they were to accomplish their task: Some of the imps
put their shoulders to the under side of the frame, while others went up
the ladder; one, in particular, mounted to the top with great dexterity,
to get the cord off the nail, but without success. Enraged at this, they
made various other attempts, but all in vain, and at last they gave up
in despair, if not something worse; for by this time they appeared
furious, and dashed the ladder down to the ground, as if it were the
fault of it, and not of themselves. In rage and disappointment, they
passed off the scene.

Presently the bedroom door opened, as he thought, and who should present
himself but "Paul Pry" (that was the name he had given to a Dissenting
preacher in the village, who was a portly man, and always went about
with a thick umbrella under his arm)--the veritable Paul Pry, umbrella
and all, standing at the door. He said to his visitor, "What do you want
here?" The phantom pointed to the picture over the mantelpiece, and
said, in a quiet, confiding way, "Now or never! Do you hear, man? Now or
never!" The man was indignant at this untimely intrusion, and bade his
visitor begone; but, for all that, he still stood at the door, and said,
"Now or never!--now or never!" He got out of bed, and went towards the
door, but the figure disappeared, saying, "Now or never!--now or never!"

Then he got into bed again, and all was still for a little while, when
suddenly the door opened a second time, and the vicar appeared, just as
Paul Pry had done, and came towards the bed, as if with a friendly and
affectionate concern for his welfare, and said, "My dear fellow, be
persuaded it is 'now or never!'" Then, taking a seat at the corner of
the bed, with his back leaning against the post, he went on talking, and
saying, again and again, "Now or never!"

The poor churchwarden remonstrated in vain against being visited in this
manner, and thought it very hard; but the vicar sat there, and
persistently, said, "Now or never!" He became very angry, and bade him
go out of the room immediately; but the vicar said, "Now or never!"

"I will 'now' you," he said, "if you do not be off;" and so saying he
rose up in his bed; while the vicar glided to the door, repeating, "Now
or never!" and went away. The poor man, in great distress of mind,
turned to his wife, and asked her what could be the meaning of all this;
but she only cried, and said nothing.

Then, who should come next but Mr. F----, a quiet man of few words. He
had thoughts, no doubt, but kept them all to himself. He came gliding
into the room, as the vicar had done, sat on the same corner of the bed,
leant against the same post, and in 'the quietest way possible repeated
the same words, "Now or never!"

"Do you hear him?" said the poor distracted man to his wife--"do you
hear him?"

"Hear him? Hear what? No! nonsense! What does he say?"

"My dear, there! listen!"

"Now or never!" said the quiet man.

"There, did you not hear that?"

"No," she said, "I can hear nothing," and began to cry more copiously.
He got up, and said he would take the poker and punish every one of
them--that he would. The strange visitor made for the door, and, like
all the rest, said, as he disappeared, "Now or never!"

The poor churchwarden continued in a most distracted state, and during
the day met all his three visitors who had caused him so much
anxiety--"Paul Pry," the vicar, and the quiet gentleman, none of whom
looked at him or spoke to him as if anything had happened; but when he
heard me say over and over again in the pulpit, "Now or never!"
pointing, as it were, to the ghostly pendulum swinging there saying,
"Ever!--never!" and inquiring of the people "Do you see it? do you hear
it?" it seemed to bring matters to a climax. He said he turned and
looked at the wall to which I pointed, and almost expected to see that
solemn clock.

I did not wait to hear more, but kneeling down, I begged him to close
with the offer of salvation "now." "No," he said, with a sigh, "I am
afraid I have refused too long!"

"Don't say so! take it at once, 'now;' or perhaps it will be 'never'
with you. A man does not often get such a plain warning as you have had.
You had better take care what you are doing. 'Now!' why not 'now'?" He
did accept salvation, and yielding himself to God, received forgiveness
of his sins; and after that became a very different man.

He had, as may have been suspected from the above narrative, the
besetment of drink, before his conversion, and it remained a trouble to
him after. Conversion and forgiveness of sins do not put away present
bad habits. Such a master habit as this requires a direct dealing with.

Zaccheus was a man who had been led astray by the love of money; when he
was saved, he put his idol away from him at a stroke. This is the first
thing to be done; and if it is done in the power of one's first love, it
is a more easy task than afterwards. But it must be done with a firm and
whole heart; not "Lord, shall I give the half of my goods to feed the
poor?" but, "Lord. behold, the half of my goods I do give." "Behold,
Lord, I do give up the world here, now." "Behold, Lord, I do here, and
now, give up drink, anti will totally abstain from it henceforth." This
is the first step; and the next is not less important, and that is to
carry out the determination in the Lord's power, and not in our own. The
resolution and determination once made, must be given over to the Lord
to be kept by Him; not by our own effort and energy, but with perfect
distrust of self and in dependence upon Him to enable us to keep it.
Without this, there is no security whatever for anything more than
temporary success, too often succeeded by a sorrowful fall. The flesh is
too strong for us, and even if it were not so, the devil is; these two
together, besides the lax example of the world, are sure to overpower
the weak one. Young Christians need to put away at once the sin,
whatever it is, that "so easily besets" them, or they will be entangled
by it. There is no real and thorough deliverance, except by renouncing
sin, and self too, giving up and yielding to the Lord.

That soul was saved; but it was a miserable bondage of fear in which he
lived and died. He was brought home at last, like a wrecked ship into
harbour, who might have come in with a good freight, a happy welcome,
and an "abundant entrance."

The next day, Monday, we heard of other cases which were ordinary in
their character, and therefore need not be detailed; but in the evening
there was one which it will be instructive to mention.

It was that of a clergyman of private means who came to this parish as a
curate; but he had given up "taking duty," because, he said, "it was all
humbug reading prayers, and all that." He drove a tandem,' and smoked
all day instead; nevertheless, he was the object of much and earnest
prayer. He also happened to be at church the day I preached about the
clock; and declared likewise that I said there was a clock in hell. The
sermon had evidently made a great impression upon him. He came to church
again the next day, and heard something else that he was unable to
forget. After the service, as soon as I was free, he asked me to walk
with him, to which I assented, though I was feeling very tired. We
rambled on the beach, and talked about many things. I tried in vain to
bring up the subject of my discourse. When I spoke about it he was
silent; and when I was silent, he went off into other matters. He talked
about Jerusalem and the sands of the desert, and the partridges, which,
he said, were of the same colour as the sand. Was it from looking at
sand always that they became that colour? Do people become alike who
look much at one another? Is that why husbands and wives so often
resemble each other? and so on. These questions made an impression on
me, so that they always come up to my memory in connection with that
evening's walk. Certainly, the apostle says that, "Beholding the glory
of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from...glory to glory;"
therefore there may be something in my companion's idea. But, however
interesting the subject might be to consider. I was far too tired for
anything else but real soul-to-soil! work, and therefore proposed that
we should return home. We did so; and when my friend left me at the
vicarage door, he said abruptly, "Will you let me write to you?"

"Certainly," I replied. "I will write to-night; but do not trouble to
answer in person; send me a written reply. "I said I would. In a few
minutes after I received a short note, the purport of which was, "How
can I be saved?" It is a very simple question, yet one not so easily
answered to a person who already knew the scriptural answer. However, I
had a letter by me which Mr. Aitken had written to some one under
similar circumstances; so, taking that for a model, I wrote according to
promise, adapting and altering sentences to meet the present case. I
sent the note, with a message that I would call in the morning. I did
so, but found my friend was not at home. The landlady said, "Mr. F---
went out last night soon after he received a letter, and has not been
home since." She became alarmed when she heard that we had not seen him.
We too were taken by surprise, and did not know which way to go in
search of him, or what to do. Presently we met the clerk of the church,
who inquired if we had seen anything of Mr. F--; he had called the night
before for the keys of the church, and had not returned them; so he (the
clerk) could not get into the church to ring the bell or admit the

This threw some light on the matter; so we went immediately to the
church, and with the vicar's keys entered by the vestry door. Looking
about in all directions, we found our friend on his knees in the nave,
where he had been all night. I went up to him; and, as he did not speak,
I asked if I might pray with him.

He said, "Yes."

"What shall I pray for?"

"I don't know."

"Shall I ask the Lord to come down from heaven again and die on the
cross for you?"


"Do you believe that He has done that?'

"Yes, I do."

"You do believe that He has died for you-for you?" I inquired, laying
the emphasis on you--"for you, as if you were the only person for whom
He died?"

"Yes; I believe He died for me."

"Do you thank Him for it?"

"No, I do not; I do not feel anything."

"That may be; but do you not think you ought to thank Him for what He
did for you?" He did not reply.

"How can you feel anything till you have it? Or how can He give you any
feelings till you thank Him for what He has already done for you? Make
some acknowledgment."

"Thank you," he replied; and without another word he rose from his knees
and went away. The bell was rung, the people assembled, and we had the
service; but he did not remain.

Again he disappeared for the whole day, until the evening, when he came
into the vestry, and said, "Will you let me read prayers this evening?"
To this the vicar gladly assented; so he put on the surplice for the
first time after several months, and went into church with us.

The fact of his reading prayers again, and more especially the manner in
which he did it, attracted attention. The earnest tone and meaning he
threw into the words of the prayers, and more particularly into the
psalm, penetrated much deeper. One lady knelt down and began to pray for
herself in the pew; others were riveted as by the power of the Spirit.
All through the sermon, I felt that the Lord was working among the
people, and at the close they were loth to go. Many more remained in the
after-meeting than we could speak to; manifest was the power of the
Spirit, and much good was done.

There was great joy in the little village that night, and for several
days following the Lord wrought among the people. Many lasting mementos
remain of this week's ministry, and of the weeks which followed.

Our reticent friend was changed indeed, and immediately gave up the
tandem and the pipes. I do not think he has ever smoked since; he has
had something better to do.

Smoking is an idle custom, and too often enslaves its votaries; and even
if it does not become a dominant habit, it certainly teaches no lesson
of self-denial. A Christian man needs not to seek relief in any such
way. It is said to be very soothing when a man is in any trouble or
anxiety; if so, in this respect it may be said to be next door to the
beer-barrel, or to the use of spirits. If one man may soothe his
feelings with this narcotic, another may stimulate them, when he is low
and cheerless, with alcohol. The Apostle James says, "Is any merry, let
him sing psalms." He does not say, Is any afflicted or low, let him
smoke and drink! No; "let him pray," and depend upon God. Many a lesson
which might be learned from God on our knees, is let slip altogether
because we think there is no ham in relieving ourselves by
self-indulgence. The flesh is a monster which is never appeased, much
less subdued, by gratification.

Our friend put away the smoking, and sold his pipes of various kinds,
which must have cost a considerable sum, for he realized eighty pounds
by them. With this amount, and some addition, he was able to put stained
glass windows into the already beautiful church in which he received his
blessing. This suitable thank-offering was a lasting memorial of his
gratitude, besides being an example to others, not only to give their
hearts to God, but also to give up their besetments, whatever they might
be, and in doing so be free for God's service.

This young man soon after was removed to a more arduous sphere, and
carried great blessing thither; as he did also when he went from thence
to a yet more influential and important place. Though now laid aside by
ill health, he sends tracts and writes letters to many, and so continues
to be, in the hand of the Lord, the means of winning souls; and in
addition to this, sets an example of a holy and godly life.

Another little incident I must notice here. While I was still working in
this place, I received a letter from home, telling me that they were all
well, and very happy in the country, but that they wanted me back again,
and thought I had been away quite long enough. Besides this, it was time
to be getting summer things, for which they would want at least ten
pounds. I had no money to send; and though I might have asked many kind
friends, I felt a difficulty about it. I do not think it was pride. I
had put myself and all my affairs into God's hands; and though I was not
ashamed to tell our circumstances to any one who asked me, I made it a
rule not to mention my troubles or wants to any but the Lord. I read the
cheerful parts of my letter at breakfast, and kept the other till I went
upstairs. There I spread the letter on the bed at which I knelt, and
read to the Lord the part that troubled me. I was praying about it, when
there came a knock at the door, and before I had time to say "Come in,"
my friend F--- entered. Seeing me on my knees, he apologized for
intruding, and in his shy way put a ten-pound note into my hand, saying,
"I am ashamed it is not more; but will you accept that?" With this, he
made for the door; but I detained him, in order to show him the part of
my letter I had not read in the morning. I said, "I was just reading it
to the Lord; and look, while I was still on my knees, He has sent you
with the answer. It is the exact sum I want, so do not apologize for it.
I thank God and thank you. I will send this off at once."


Tregoney, 1855.

It was time now to be returning southward and homeward; which I did by
several stages, stopping to preach in various places on the way. At
length I reached the village in Cornwall, where my family were lodging
in the farmhouse I have already mentioned.

Here, the two clergymen were rather afraid of me, and avoided asking me
to preach in the church. They had both been converted (or, at least, so
they said) more than a year; but instead of working for God, they were
bent on Romanizing. One of them said that there was no salvation in the
Church of England; and the other showed me a sealed letter he had in his
desk, which, he said, he "dared not open." It was from a brother of his,
who went to Rome, and contained his reasons for so doing. "Ah," he said,
"if I open that letter, I feel sure that I shall have to go too." This
fascinating dread was upon him till he really did go, six months
afterwards. I tried to deter these men from the erroneous step they were
contemplating, by getting them into active work for the Lord. Sometimes
I preached in this church, but more often in the open air. I am sorry to
say my friends were but half-hearted in their cooperation, so that after
a few weeks I left, and went to the west.

On my way thither, a clergyman, who happened to be inside the coach,
gave me his card, and then came outside for the purpose of talking with
me. He asked me if I would take charge of his church and parish for six
weeks. I said I would, but could not go for a week or two. We agreed as
to time, and on the promised Saturday I arrived at the place.

I walked there from a neighbouring town, having several calls to make on
the way, and left my luggage to follow by the van. In the evening, about
eight o'clock, I went down to meet this conveyance, and tell the man
where to deliver my bag. I found a crowd of people in front of the inn
where the van stopped, and heard the driver say, in reply to some
question, "I've not got him, but I've got his bag."

"Where is he?" said a voice. "I don't know," one said, "but I saw a
queer little chap go into Mrs. M--'s house."

"That's the place," said the driver; "that's where I'm a-going to take
his bag. Come on, and let's see if he'll have it."

I went in and out among the crowd, as it was dark, asking questions, and
found out that they "would like to duck the fellow if they could catch
him;" they "did not want any such Revivalist chap as that amongst them,"
and so forth. They were greatly excited, and wondered which road he was
likely to come, for they would go to meet him. Some one asked, "what is
he like ?" One answered, "Oh, he is a rum-looking little fellow that
stoops. I should know him again anywhere." Hearing this, I held up my
head like a soldier, in order to look as large as possible, and waited
about till they dispersed.

Then I joined a young man, and, talking with him, ascertained what it
was all about. I passed the house where I was to lodge, for I saw that
the people were watching the door. I came back among them, and, pointing
to the door, said, "Is that where he stops?"

"Yes," one replied, "he is there. The man brought his bag and left it;
he is there, sure enough."

I said, "Let us go in and see him; come along--come!"

So saying, I made for the door and knocked, beckoning to the others to
follow me; but they would not do so. As soon as the door was opened I
went in, and the landlady speedily closed it after me, saying, "I am
glad you are come. How did you manage to get here? I have sent word to
the constable to look out for you, and he is still watching somewhere."

"Why," I asked, "what is it all about? What is the matter?"

"Why, some of the lads here say, that if they could catch you, they
would give you a good ducking in the pond."

"Indeed!" I said. "Then I don't think I will give them that pleasure
tonight." So, sitting down by the fire, I made myself comfortable, and
after supper went to bed.

In the morning, while at breakfast, I saw a number of men playing in the
open space in front of the house. Some were tossing pence, some playing
at ball and other games, while many were standing about smoking, with
their hands in their pockets.

"There, that's the way they spend their Sundays in this place," said the

After watching them from the window for a little time, I put on my hat
and went out, and told them "it was time to go home and get ready for
church; that would be far better," I said, "than playing like this on
Sunday. It is a disgrace to men like you--married men, too, with
families! It would be bad enough if you were a parcel of boys. I am
quite ashamed of you!"

They slunk away one by one, and I walked down the street to look about
me, and to see the school-room where there was no school; but I intended
to have a prayer-meeting there in the evening, after the service. I put
up a notice to this effect, and then came back to my lodgings, till it
was near church-time, when I set out, arrayed in my gown and bands, for
the sacred edifice.

On the way there I observed stones flying past me in every direction;
but I walked on, till at last I was struck on the cheek with a patch of
muddy clay which was thrown at me. There was a universal shout of
laughter when the men and boys saw that I had been hit. I put my hand to
the place, and found that the pat of clay was sticking to my cheek, so I
pressed it there, hoping, by the help of my whiskers, that it would
remain. I said to the crowd, who were laughing at me, "That was not a
bad shot. Now, if you come to church you shall see it there; I will keep
it on as long as I can." So saying, I walked on amidst the jeers of the

When I arrived at the vestry, the clerk was in great trouble when he
knew what had happened. He said, "Do let me wash the mud off, sir."

"Oh, no," I replied, "I mean to show that all day, if I can."

During the morning service, at which there were about fifty present, I
succeeded in keeping on my mud-patch, and returned to dinner with the

In the afternoon I said that I would have a service for children, as
there was no Sunday school, to which about twenty came. Before
addressing them, seeing that they were intently looking at the patch on
my cheek, I told them how it came there, and that I intended to keep it
on all through the evening service.

This news spread all over the whole place, and the consequence was that
such numbers of people came out of curiosity, that the church was filled
to over-flowing. I preached without any reference to what had taken
place, and succeeded in gaining the attention of the people; so that
after the service I said I would have a prayer-meeting in the
schoolroom. We had the place crammed, and not a few found peace. I
announced that I would preach again the next evening.

A revival soon broke out in that place, and the crowds who came to the
meetings were so great, that we had as many people outside the large
school-room as there were in.

At the end of the six weeks the new vicar returned, and I was able to
hand over the parish to him, with a full church, three Bible-classes,
and a large Sunday-school. This I did, thanking God for the measure of
success and blessing He had given to my efforts in that populous and
wicked place.

After I had left I received a letter from some of the parishioners,
asking me what I should like to have as a testimonial of their gratitude
and regard; hat they had had a penny collection amongst themselves,
which amounted to several pounds, and now they were waiting to know what
I should like!

I wrote to tell them that nothing would please me better than a service
of plate for communion with the sick. They bought this, and had a
suitable inscription engraved, and then placed it under a glass shade in
the Town Hall, on a certain day for inspection. Hundreds of people came
to see the result of their penny contribution. After this public
exhibition, the communion service was sent to me with a letter, written
by a leading man in the place, saying, "I was one of the instigators of
the opposition to your work here; but the very first evening you spoke
in the school-room I was outside listening,' and was shot through the
window. The word hit my heart like a hammer, without breaking a pane of
glass. Scores and scores of people will bless God to all eternity that
you ever came amongst us."

The revival in this proverbially wicked place, created such a stir that
the newspapers took it up, and thought for once that I "was in the right
place, and doing a good work!" The member for the borough sent me
twenty-five pounds, "begging my acceptance of the trifle." Who asked
him, or why he sent it, I do not know; but the Lord knew that we needed
help. More than this, the vicar of the adjoining parish, who used to be
very friendly with me in my unconverted days, but who had declared his
opposition pretty freely since that time, sent me a letter one Sunday
morning by private hand, to be delivered to me personally. This I duly
received, but expecting that it was one of his usual letters, and
knowing that I had visited some persons in his parish who were anxious,
I thought I would not open it until Monday, and so placed it on the
mantelpiece. A friend who happened to come in, noticing it there, said,
"I see you have a letter from the Prebendary; I dare say he is angry
with you."

"I suppose he is," I said; "but it will keep till tomorrow; and I do not
care to be troubled with his thoughts to-day."

"Oh, do let me open it," said my visitor; "I shall not be here
to-morrow, and I should like to hear what he has to say."

With my consent he opened it and read, "Dear old Haslam, you have done
more good in that part of my parish where you are working, in a few
weeks, than I have done for years. I enclose you a cheque for the amount
of tithes coming from there. The Lord bless you more and more! Pray for

It was a cheque for thirty-seven pounds. The next morning I went over to
see my old friend newly-found, and to thank him in person for his
generous gift. Poor man, I found him very low and depressed, and quite
ready and willing that I should talk and pray with him. I sincerely hope
that he became changed before I left the neighbourhood, but I never
heard that he declared himself.

By this time, while I was still in Tregoney, Mr. Aitken had found his
way to the village where my family were lodging, and he was preaching at
the church with his usual power and effect. Night after night souls were
awakened and saved. The vicar's wife was in a towering rage of
opposition. Poor woman! she declared that she "would rather go to Rome
than be converted ;" and to Rome she went, but remained as worldly as

It matters very little whether unconverted people join the Church of
Rome or not; they are sure to be lost for ever if they die in their
unconverted state: for nothing avails for eternal salvation but faith in
the Lord Jesus Christ.


Secessions, 1856.

After mission which Mr. Aitken had held, people came out so decidedly,
that the vicar and curate, who had all along kept aloof, doubting, fell
back into a kind of revulsion, and began to read and lend Romish books.
Eventually, they themselves decided to join the Church of Rome. Whether
they were ever really converted or not, I cannot tell. I thought and
hoped they were, but they seldom stood out on the Lord's side. They
certainly had light, and may have had some experience. At any rate, they
chose such a harlot as the Church of Rome for the object of their love,
instead of Christ Himself.

I loved the curate. He was the man who had the unopened letter in his
desk,* of which he harboured such a dread. Sad to say, he ended by
falling away at last. Poor man! he went over to Rome, and never held up
his head any more. Evidently disappointed, and ashamed to come back, he
lingered on for some months, and then died.


* See page 256.

Not long after his secession, we accidentally met in a quiet lane, in
another part of the county, where I was walking for meditation. Perhaps
he was led there for the same purpose. Meeting so unexpectedly, there
was no opportunity to evade one another. I felt a trembling come over me
at seeing him, and he was none the less moved. We held each other's
hands in silence, till at last I said, "How are you? I love you still."

"I cannot stand it!" he said; and snatching his hand out of mine, he ran

I never saw him again, but mourned for him till he died. I cannot help
thinking that he is safe, and that he died in a faith more scriptural
than that of the Church of Rome.

Why do men secede; and break their own hearts, and the hearts of those
who love them? Rome seems to cast a kind of spell upon the conscience,
fascinating its victims much as the gaze of the serpent is said to hold
a bird, till it falls into its power; or as a light attracts a moth,
till it flies into it, to its own destruction. Such seceders mourn and
dread the step; pray about it, think and think, till they are bewildered
and harassed; and then, in a fit of desperation, go off to some Romish
priest to be received. A man who had an honourable position, a work and
responsibility, suddenly becomes a nonentity, barely welcomed, and
certainly suspected.

Romish people compass sea and land to make proselytes; and after they
have gained them, they are afraid of them, for their respective
antecedents are so different, that it is impossible for them to think
together. They get the submission of a poor deluded pervert, but he gets
nothing in return from them but a fictitious salvation. They gain him;
but he was lost the kind regard and sympathy of friends he had before,
and with it all that once was dear to him; and he voluntarily forfeits
all this upon the bare self-assertion of a system which claims his
implicit obedience. The poor pervert is required to give over his will,
his conscience, and his deepest feelings to the keeping of his so-called
"priest" or to the Church, and is expected to go away unburdened and at
peace. Some there are, it is true, who actually declare that they have
peace by this means; but what peace it is, and of what kind, I know not.

Supposing that I was in debt and anxiety, and a man who had no money,
but plenty of assurance and brass, came to me and sympathized in my
trouble, saying, "Do not fear---trust me; I will bear your burden, and
pay off your debt"--if the manner of the man was sufficiently assuring,
it would lift up the cloud of anxiety and distress; but, for all that,
the penniless man would net, and could not, pay my debt. I might fancy
he had done so or would do so; and then, when it was too late, the debt,
with accumulated interest, would fall on me, to my over-whelming ruin,
even though I had been ever so free from anxiety before. So it is with
these deluded ones, who go to the priest instead of to Christ, and take
his absolution instead of Christ's forgiveness.

Any one who carefully reads the Word of God may see that the Church of
Rome has no such priesthood as she claims, nor power to forgive sins, as
she professes to do. The whole supposition is based on a
misunderstanding of the text, "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are
remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained"
(John 20:23).

The disciples (some of them not apostles) who received this commission
or privilege, never understood that they were by these words (men and
women together) empowered to be absolving priests. Even the very
apostles never knew that they had any such power; and it is certain they
never exercised it. They were perfectly innocent of being priests after
the Romish type, and never dreamed of offering a propitiatory sacrifice.
They simply believed that Christ had completed the work of propitiation
once for all; and that there is now no more sacrifice for sin--that
Christ only can forgive sins. Therefore in the words of St. John we are
told, that "if any man sin (apostles and people alike), we have an
advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the
propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:1, 2).

The apostles and early Christians never understood that the power of the
keys meant the exercise of mere priestly authority, neither was the
doctrine known for several centuries after their time; therefore we may
be sure that the peace which perverts have, if it professes to come from
that source, is a delusion. No true remission or peace is, or can be
given, but by direct and personal transaction with Christ Himself.

I am perfectly convinced that the Epistles to the Romans and the
Galatians are the answer to all the pretences of the Church of Rome, and
that a man who will not read and follow them deserves to be misled. God
is perfectly justified and clear on this point.

During that winter six of my friends joined the Church of Rome. One I
have already told about, who died, I am sure, from grief and
disappointment.* Another became bigoted, and with a sullen, dogged
pertinacity, set himself to work for Rome, looking very miserable all
the time, although he used once to be happy in the Lord's work. The
others, without exception, went back into the world, and made no secret
of their conformity with it, its ways, and fashions.


* See page 263.

This was a time of trouble in more respects than one. These secessions
to Rome brought great discredit upon the work, and especially on the
effort to promote Catholic truth, and higher Church life. I found my own
refuge and comfort was in working for God, and therefore went out on
mission work whenever and wherever I could.

Early in the spring of this year I went on a mission to Worcestershire,
and there the Lord vouchsafed a great blessing, which has more or less
continued to this day; though I grieve to say the present vicar has no
sympathy with it. The work is still carried on in an Iron Room, out of
church hours, by people who continue to go to church.

The vicar of that time asked me to go and visit a farmer's wife, who was
under deep conviction, and wished to see me. I did so, and as we
approached the door (which was open) the first thing we heard was this
individual saying, in a very high-pitched: voice, "Confound..."

Seeing us, she suddenly stopped. "Go on with your text," said the vicar,
quietly, "'Confounded be all they that serve graven images;' is that
what you mean?"

"No," she replied; "come in, I am so wretched that I don't know what to
do with myself; it has made me cross. Do come in and pray with me."

We at once consented; and on pointing her to Jesus, she found peace. Not
content with praising God alone, she opened her house for a meeting for
the people in the neighbourhood. This being situated on the confines of
the parish, brought us into collision with the rector of the next
parish. He was most indignant at our coming (as he said), "to entice his
people away."

I tried my best to conciliate this gentleman, but nothing would do,
particularly when he heard that I was thinking of settling down in the
district. This plan was however frustrated in an unexpected manner, and
I was not permitted to remain there.

One day, when I was praying about the matter, a letter was put into my
hand from a lady who had been asking the Lord for nearly six months that
I might be appointed to her late husband's church. She had applied to
Lord Palmerston, who was the patron, and though she had received no
answer, yet she had continued to pray.

At last there came a courteous letter from his: lordship, apologizing
for having delayed his reply, adding that he "had mislaid the
application of her, nominee; if she would oblige him with the name and
address of this person, the appointment should be made out immediately."
She gave my name and address, and sent his letter on to me. I
immediately wrote to his lordship, saying that I had not applied for the
living, nor did I want it; but, for all that, I received by return post
the nomination; and actually, it was to go back to the diocese of
Exeter! I did not think the Bishop would institute me, as I had
committed a great many irregularities since his lordship had taken off
my harness. But he did.

Somehow I was unwilling to go to this living, but was put into it in
spite of myself. Here I had a good house, garden, and church, provided
for me, with so much a year. I wondered whether God was tired of me! He
had provided for me and my family during the past year wondrously, and I
began to like "living by faith," and trusting in Him only. I have great
doubts whether this appointment was altogether in accordance with God's
will. Anyway, I had very little success or liberty in preaching, and
could not settle down to work with any energy.

In the beginning of the summer, as usual, I had my attack of hay fever,
which completely incapacitated me, in this place of much grass. If I
went to a town or the sea-side, it was well; but the moment I returned
to the country I was ill again. Altogether, it was a dull and
distressing time; but God was preparing me for a special work.


Hayle, 1857-58.

While meditating upon my present position, and wondering what I was to
do next, I received an invitation to take charge of a district in
another part of the county, near the sea, which suited my health. Here
there was a large population, which gave scope for energetic action;
and, moreover, the people were careless and Godless, and, as such, were
not preoccupied with other systems. So I thought it was the very place
in which I could begin to preach, and go on to prove the power of the

With the invitation, I received an exaggerated account of the wickedness
of the people, and was told that the thinking part of them leant towards
infidelity, and that some of them were actually banded together in an
infidel club. All this, however, did not deter me from going, but rather
stirred me up so much the more to try my lance against this gigantic
foe. I had learned before now to regard all difficulties in my work as
the Lord's, and not mine; and that, though they might be greater than I
could surmount, they were not too great for Him.

There were two large iron factories here, besides shipping. Many of the
people employed were drawn from other parts of England, and were what
the Cornish call "foreigners." They had no love for chapel services, or
revivals, and no sympathy with Cornish views and customs; so not having
a church to go to, they were left pretty much to themselves.

With this attractive sphere before me, I gave up my living and work in
the country, and accepted the curacy at l. 120 a year, with a house
rent-free. My rector was a dry Churchman, who had no sympathy with me;
but he seemed glad to get any one to come and work amongst such a rough,
and in some respects unmanageable, set. He had bought a chapel from the
Primitive Methodists for Divine service, and had erected schools for
upwards of three hundred children. These he offered me as my ground of
operation, promising, with a written guarantee, that if I succeeded, he
would build me a church, and endow it with all the tithes of that
portion of the parish.

Here was a field of labour which required much prayer and tact, as well
as energetic action. In accordance with Scriptural teaching, "I
determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified." I made
up my mind that I would not begin by having temperance addresses for
drunkards, or lectures on the Evidences of Christianity for the infidel,
but simply with preaching the Gospel.

One thing that simplified my work very much was the fact, that the
people were spiritually dead. I used to tell them, that in this free
country every man is accounted innocent till he is proved to be guilty,
but that in the Bible every man is guilty before God till he is
pardoned, and dead till he is brought to life. In one sense it does not
matter very much whether a man is an infidel, a drunkard, or anything
else, if he is dead in trespasses and sins.

It is of very little consequence in what coloured raiment a corpse is
shrouded; it remains a corpse still.

Taking this position positively, I avoided much religious controversy,
to the disappointment of many eager disputants, who longed to ventilate
their views. 'I told them plainly, that whether they were, right or
wrong, my business was with the salvation: of souls, and my one desire
was to rescue the lost: by bringing' them to Christ.

Hitherto I had been to places where the Lord had previously prepared the
hearts of the people, and therefore it had been my joy to see a revival
spring up, as if spontaneously; that is, without the ordinary
preparation by the people of the place. These extraordinary
manifestations of God's power and love; and they showed me what He could
and do. Now that I was somewhat more intelligent on the subject, He sent
me forth to prepare and work for similar results.

Hayle was to all appearances a very barren soil, and the people I had to
labour amongst were greater and mightier than myself. They already had
possession of the ground, and were perfectly content with their own way.
Moreover, they did not desire any change, and were ready even to resist
and oppose every effort which was designed to ameliorate their
condition, or to change their lives. In this undertaking I knew and
understood that without prayer and dependence upon God to work in me and
by me, my mission would be altogether unavailing, I therefore looked
about, and found some Christians who consented to unite in pleading for
an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We agreed to pray in private, and also
met together frequently during the week for united prayer. Finding that
many of the petitions offered were vague and diffuse, I endeavoured to
set before those assembled a definite object of prayer. I told them that
the work was not ours but the Lord's, and that He was willing and ready
to accomplish it, but that He must be inquired of concerning the work of
His hands. Also, in order that our prayers should be intelligent and
united, I put before them the fact, that the people we had to work
amongst were lost; not that they would be lost by-and-by if they died in
their sins; but that they were actually lost now. It is true that many
were quite ignorant of the way of salvation, and were also unconscious
of the power of the enemy who held them captive; and besides, they loved
their captivity too well; but all this would be overcome in a moment,
when they were once enlightened by the Spirit (in answer to prayer) to
see and feel themselves lost. No one could be more ignorant than the
jailor at Philippi, but as soon as he was awakened he cried out, "What
must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30).

I showed them that the work we had to do was clearly set forth in
Scripture (Acts 26:18), and that the order in which it was to be done
was also made manifest. We must not begin with giving instruction as if
the people were merely ignorant; but rather by awakening or opening
their eyes to see that they were in a lost and ruined condition. Then
they would appreciate being turned "from darkness to light, and from the
power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins"
(Acts 26:18). I strove earnestly to show them that until people had
received forgiveness of sins, our work was not complete. We made this
our definite aim, and prayed about it with clear expectation. Under the
shadow and influence of this prayer, I began to preach to the people;
not to believe, but to awake and see their lost condition; that is, to
repent, that they might believe the Gospel.

At first there were very few people in my congregation, but by degrees
more came, and listened attentively to the Word. After preaching for
four or five Sundays, I asked the people during my sermon, what in the
world they were made of; for I was surprised at them! They came and
listened to God's truth, and yet did not yield themselves to Him. "Are
you wood, or leather, or stone? What are your hearts made of, that God's
love cannot touch or His Word break them?" I then invited the anxious to
remain for an after-meeting, when I said that I would converse with them
more familiarly; but they every one went away.

I returned to the vestry,' feeling somewhat dejected, but still hoping
for better days. As I opened the door to go home, two men ran away like
frightened boys, but it was too dark for me to distinguish who they

That next morning it came to my mind that I must go round to the people
and ask them what they were thinking about? I had done so from the
pulpit; now I would go from house to house and do the same. I went first
to the school, and finding that several children were absent, I took
their names and determined to go after them, in the hope of reaching
their parents.

The first house I called at was a mistake, and yet it was not. I knocked
at the door, and said, "Does Mrs. W-- live here?"

The woman who opened it said, "No, she lives next door."

I apologized for disturbing her, and was going away, when she said,
"Will you not come in for a few minutes?" I assented, and going in, took
a seat. Then I asked her name, and whether she went to church.

She replied, "To be sure I do. Don't you see me there every Sunday?"

"Then," I said, "did you hear my question last evening."

"Yes," she said, "but I was afraid, and ashamed to stay behind. But I do
wish to be saved; I have been wretched for more than a week."

It was very easy to lead to the Saviour of sinners one whose heart was
so prepared. She soon found peace, and became one of my most useful and
steadiest helpers.

Her neighbour next door, was by no means so ready to receive the truth,
and I had to supply another argument altogether. Eventually, she also
found peace in believing; though not for some weeks.

From this house, I visited several others, and in all of them had
serious dealing with individuals about their 'souls' salvation. Then I
set off to see a man I had often observed in church; having noticed the
anxious look with which he always regarded me during the sermon. I found
him at home, and, on entering his house, he said, at once, "I know what
you are come for. Wait a little, sir, please to sit down;" and before I
had time to say a word, he went upstairs. In a few minutes he returned,
with a shilling in his hand. "There," he said, "there it is; that is my
contribution for the Indian Mutiny Fund."

I thanked him for his offering, and promised that it should be given to
the treasurer. "But," I added, "to tell the truth, I have not come about
that, but to see you. I want to speak to you about your soul."

He sat down, looking, as I thought, most unhappy. Then he said,--"Last
night my mate and I made up our minds to speak to you in the vestry;
but, just as we were coming to the door, you opened it, and we ran

"Yes," I said, "I heard you."

"Well, after that, we came home, and prayed the Lord to send you to us:
and here you are!"

"Thank God for the answer to prayer. Now then, what can I do for you?"

He told me that he was born of respectable parents in Germany; but that,
for his bad ways and bad habits, they had sent him to this country to
work for his bread; that he had taken the pledge several times, and
broken it again and again, though he had prayed and done all he could
think of; but it was to no propose.

"If you had stayed last night," I said, "I might have helped you. How
did you come to break your pledge?"

"Oh," he said, "it came to my mind that when I signed, I was only
thinking of beer and spirits, not wine; so I took some, and it flew to
my head; and soon I was as bad as ever."

"Now," I said, "you have renounced wine and all; have you?"

"Yes, I have."

"Well then, will you give your heart to God also?"

In course of conversation it came out, that this man's first impressions
were effected some years before, by a dream, or vision of Christ on the
cross. He was passing by, but, somehow, turned to look at it; when, to
his surprise, he saw that the eyes of the figure were looking at him. As
he approached, the figure appeared to be standing on the ground, and
beckoning, when a sudden fear came over him; he stopped, and the vision
faded away. Ever since that time, he had felt that Jesus was the Friend
he needed; and that nothing less would satisfy him.

Unfortunately, too many, like this man, stop at a critical point of
their history; and, often, the crisis is not prolonged for them, as it
was for him.

A long time ago there was a sinner arrested by a similar vision. He
says, in a hymn which he wrote, giving a description of it:--

"I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agony and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me
As near the cross I stood."

He continues,

"My conscience felt and owned its guilt;" and when he did so, he
received a second look, which spoke forgiveness to him, as distinctly as
the first look brought him under conviction.

I charged this man to make his surrender, and to own or acknowledge
himself the sinner for whom Jesus died. On doing so, he obtained
forgiveness and peace, and has since, by grace, been enabled to live a
happy, consistent, and devoted life, and has been a blessing to many
souls. No sooner had he found the Saviour, than immediately he began to
plead for and with his friend James. I know not what passed between
them; but that same evening he brought him to me with a heart prepared
to receive Christ. We had only to point him to Jesus, and encourage him
to thank God, when he realized the truth in his own experience.

So that Monday I rejoiced over five people brought to the Lord; and then
the work began in real earnest. Every week after that, remarkable
conversions took place, besides many ordinary ones. Some of these,
including the one just mentioned, are described at length in tracts, and
are also published in a volume entitled "Building from the Top, and
other Stories;" but, notwithstanding this, a brief allusion to them in
this narrative may not be out of place, being so particularly connected
with the work here.

A woman called me into her cottage one morning as I was passing by, and
told me of her son, a steady young man, though still unconverted, for
whom she had prayed continually ever since his birth. She said, when he
was a very little child, she heard him one night sobbing and praying in
his room--"O Lord, save me up for a good boy!" She thought this was in
answer to her supplication; but as he grew up he became thoughtless and
careless, like too many others of his age.

"Some five or six months ago," she said, "he had a dream or vision, and
saw you so plainly that he pointed you out to me, among other clergymen,
and said, 'Mother, that man is to be our minister one I saw him a little
time ago, in a dream, as plainly as I see him now; I know that is the
man.' We did not know who you were then, or where you came from, and
never saw you again till you came lately to this parish to be our

"Last night," continued the mother, "after he returned from church, my
William was very unhappy and restless; and in the night I heard him
crying and praying aloud for mercy, in great distress. He told me this
morning, when I asked him about it, that he dreamt that the last day was
come, and that the world was on fire: and he began immediately to try to
pray, but could not; yet he went on trying till he heard some one laugh
out at him, and say, 'Ho! ho! my boy, you are too late!--ho! ho!--too
late! I have got you now---you are too late!' This frightened him so
much that he woke up, and getting out of bed, began on his knees to pray
in earnest for the Lord to have mercy on his soul."

Being much interested in the young man, I begged her to send him to me
in the evening. She did so; and when he arrived I frankly told him what
I had heard about him, and particularly about his distress and prayer
the night before.

"Your mother has prayed for you for years; and when you were a little
boy you prayed the Lord to save you: last night, again, you were
constrained to cry for mercy. These are all tokens of God's good
intentions and purposes towards you. Can you trust Him?" As he hesitated
(for so many like to feel something before they make the venture of
faith), I continued, "These tokens are better than feelings, for they
are facts and sure signs by which you may know that the Lord is calling

We may well understand that it was not long before the Lord, who had so
marvellously opened his eyes to see his sins, enabled him by the same
Spirit to see Jesus as His Saviour, and to rejoice in the forgiveness of
his sins. Then I asked him to sit down again, for I was curious to hear
about the dream or vision which he had had some months before he ever
saw me.

"William," I said, "did you ever see me before I came to this parish?"

"Yes," he replied, "I saw you once in a vision, more than six months

"Do you mind telling me about it?"

After a little hesitation, he answered, "I often dream things. One night
I dreamt that I was walking on a wild barren common; there were many
bare places where people had cut turf, and there were prickly
furze-bushes about. I knew there were some did open mine-shafts there,
for people sometimes fell into them at night; but I was walking along
without thinking of danger, and was not afraid, though it was dark, and
I was alone. I don't know how long I went on like this, but next I found
I was walking with you. I could see you very plainly, just as if it had
not been dark, and you were talking about Jesus and His love to sinners.
I liked your words very much, and was so taken up with them that I do
not know when it became light; for now I could see the rough common, and
a path, and we were walking in it. Going along this path, we came to a
wall, and I could not go any further; but you walked on as if there were
no wall. Presently you stopped, and, turning to me, said, 'Why don't you
come on?'

"I answered, 'I cannot.'"

"Why not?"

"Because there is a wall here."

"No," you said, "there is no wall--it is an open door."

"I was surprised at you saying that, for I feel the wall and see it."

"What would you do if there was no wall? Do that. It is not a wall, but
a door," you said; "walk forward!"

"When I ventured forward I found your were true. It was, indeed, an open
way, leading into a beautiful garden. I was very happy, and said, 'Whose
garden is this?'

"You answered, 'It is the Lord's, and you are to dress it and work in

"Then I saw the Lord Himself. He came forward, and bidding me welcome,
said that you should teach me for three years. Then I awoke."

From this extraordinary narration I gathered three things for myself.

First, that God intended me to come to this place.
Secondly, that I was to labour here for three years.
Thirdly, that I was to teach the people not to wait for feelings, but to
act upon the Word of God.

This last intimation was so clearly signified by William's dream, that
it came upon me with striking force. I had been speaking on this very
subject more than once, and had ventured so far as to say that I thought
this delusion about waiting for feelings was from the devil, to hinder
the work of God in the soul. It certainly did hinder us, very much; and,
moreover, it was most distressing to see people, who were manifestly
impressed under the power of a present God, waiting for Him; because
they did not feel some token, which they had set their minds upon. Day
by day souls were being given in the Church, and also in the cottage
meetings; so that I could not help seeing that the Lord had begun to use
me again. Some came to the meetings who had been awakened under the
ordinary preaching of the Gospel; some because others brought them; and
some out of curiosity. One of the latter cases I will mention.

A married woman, N. R--, heard people talking of the work which was
going on. It seemed to her to be such a strange thing in connection with
a Church minister, that she came to a cottage meeting to judge for
herself, without the remotest idea of being converted. God's ways are
not as ours; while she was listening, the word reached her with power,
so that she was convicted and converted, and came out of that cottage a
rejoicing believer, lost in wonder, love and praise. She was indeed
strikingly and manifestly changed, and did not hide it. It was such a
joy and surprise to her that she could not help telling every one. Out
of the abundance of her heart her lips spoke to tell of the loving
kindness of the Lord.


Bible Readings, 1858-59.

The church (so-called) in which I now ministered had been built by
persons who intended to accommodate the largest number of people for the
smallest amount of money. It was scantily built, and almost square, with
galleries on three sides. On the remaining one there used to be a
pulpit, conspicuously placed in the middle of the wall. This important
portion of the edifice was now removed to one side, to make room for a
Communion table, the seats in front being arranged chancel-wise, facing
one another, for the choir. This was quite a damper to my ecclesiastical
tastes; besides being ugly in the extreme.

I tried by putting ornamental scrolls over the windows, and by staining
the glass in them, to make some improvement. I also painted a diaper
pattern round the side walls; and upon the high blank wall behind the
Communion table exercised all the skill I possessed, but fear it was
somewhat in vain, though I laboured hard. The designs looked very well
on paper, but when displayed on the wall gave no satisfaction; so one
after another they disappeared, till my dissolving views, as they were
called, ended in a large floriated cross of gold, with a monogram
inter-twined in it, on a dark background.

When once, however, the Lord began to bless the Word, and souls were
awakened, despite all anti-ecclesiastical appearances, my heart was
drawn towards the ugly place, and I loved it greatly. I could never have
believed that my former tastes and tendencies could have been so
completely changed as they were.

In those days it was a strange thing to hold an after-meeting in a
church; it was never done, even by the few who had such meetings.
Therefore, I took the anxious ones and others to my own house for the
inquiry meeting, after the evening service. Having taken up the carpet
in the drawing-room, we fitted it up with chairs and forms to
accommodate ninety people, while half as many more occupied the hall,
and often numbers stood outside the windows. In this house it pleased
God to give us very many souls, who were brought in week by week for
several months. I believe every room in that house, like the rooms at
Baldhu Parsonage, was consecrated as the birth-place of one or more of
God's children.

The number of those who attended the after-meeting became so great, that
we found it necessary to go to the large schoolroom. This place will
also be remembered in eternity, and many a soul will say of it, "I was
born there!"

One night, when I returned home from a distant meeting, I was called to
see a person in Feat distress of soul. As I went down the street at
eleven o'clock, I was surprised to see lights in almost all the houses,
and what was more, to hear voices in urgent and importunate prayer, as
also the voice of thanks-giving. The whole street was alive, and indeed
there was a most "joyful noise" on every side. I was praying or
rejoicing in one house or another all through the night, which was one
never to be forgotten.

A glorious work of salvation was going on without the extravagant noise
and excitement we used to have in former years. I was exceedingly
thankful for this also, and began next to consider what was to be done
with these new converts. Besides inviting them to the church services,
for which they needed no pressing, I urged them to read their Bibles at
home, bidding them to mark any passages where they wished for
explanation, that I might have something good and profitable to speak
about when I visited them. Then I invited them to Bible-classes; instead
of to experience meetings, which Cornish people rely upon so much. On
these occasions I endeavoured to instruct the people from God's Word,
and put Christ before them as the object of faith, hope, and love. After
prayer I encouraged them to ask questions, which made these gatherings
interesting and also instructive on the very points upon which they
required information.

I found that these Bible-classes were a great blessing to those who
attended them, but more than all, perhaps, to myself; watering other
souls with the water of life I was more abundantly watered. The
questions of the people drew my attention to distinctions and
differences I had not noticed before, and helped to take off the
coloured glasses through which I had hitherto read the Word.

I observed that the third, sixth, and twentieth chapters of St. John's
Gospel had been held and interpreted by me in a way that I now saw to be
altogether wrong. I had taken the first of these as bearing on Baptism,
the second on the Holy Communion, and the third on Priestly Absolution.

I pondered much over these chapters, and marvelled how they could have
been so diverted from their original and obvious meaning; and, more
wonderful still, that countless millions in Christendom had so received
them for many generations. It was a bold thing, and seemingly
presumptuous to suppose that I was right and all Christendom wrong; but
I soon found that mine was no new discovery, and that if millions who
followed traditions without comparing them with the Bible, thought on
one side, there were also millions who did read their Bibles, and
thought on the other.

It was perfectly clear, moreover, that one obvious motive or policy had
dictated the false application of the three chapters. It will be
observed that priest rule is established in them; for, according to this
teaching, no one can enter the kingdom of God 'without priestly
operation in baptism; no one abide or be fed in it without the same in
Holy Communion; nor any one receive absolution from sin, and final
release from hell to heaven, apart from sacerdotal action.

On the other hand, I saw spiritual men, as sure as they were of their
own existence that their new birth took place, not at baptism, but at
their conversion. Therefore they were convinced that the third chapter
of St. John, in which our Lord's conversation with Nicodemus is
recorded, refers to that spiritual change which takes place at
conversion, and not to baptism, which was not even instituted for two or
three years afterwards (Matt. 28:19).

Again, as to the sixth chapter. A spiritual man knows that he feeds
continually on the body and blood of Christ, it is the "Bread which came
down from heaven" for him. The Lord said, "He that eateth Me, even he
shall live by Me" (John 6:57). They know how they received spiritual
life, and also how it is continually maintained; therefore they could
not allow themselves to be carried away with such a palpable fiction as
transubstantiation, or any other doctrine kindred to it. The sixth
chapter does not refer to the Lord's supper, but the Lord's Supper
refers to the reality which is mentioned in it.

Lastly, as to the twentieth chapter of St. John, on the authority of
which it is supposed and asserted that Christ left power with His Church
and priests to forgive sins. Of this we may say, He has not delegated
any such powers at all. When He gave commissions to His disciples (not
exclusively to the apostles), He said, "Lo, I am with you." Our power is
not imparted to us from Him, but is in Him. We have no power at all, but
in Him, and no grace but 'that which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 2:1). It
is His presence, His real, promised presence by the Holy Ghost, which is
spiritual power; and this is given directly to individuals by God
Himself, and is not transmitted through other channels.

The Lord Jesus, on His resurrection day, said to His disciples, in the
upper room--and, be it remembered, that all the eleven were not there
(and some women may have been)--"Peace be unto you. Receive ye the Holy
Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, 'they are remitted unto them; and
whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained" (John 20:23).

Is it possible or reasonable to suppose that our Lord intended by these
words to constitute all that assembly absolving priests? The apostles
and early Christians (both men and women) never thought so, either
before or even after the day of Pentecost, when they were taught and led
by the Holy Ghost. The apostles did not exercise any so-called priestly
functions; they all preached the Gospel, and as ministers and witnesses,
declared, through Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins. Their testimony
was then, as such testimony will ever be, the savour of life or the
savour of death. It was thus they remitted and retained sins; and yet
not they, but God by them.

While I was thus ruminating, a book came into my hands which interested
me greatly. This I read and re-read, and made an abstract of it. It was
the "Life of Adelaide Newton." What struck me in it so much was, to find
that this lady was able to hold spiritual communion with God by means of
a Bible only. Is it possible, I thought, to have such close communion
with God, apart from the Church and her ministrations? I do not hesitate
to say that this was the means, under God, of stripping off some remains
of my grave-clothes, and enabling me to walk in spiritual liberty,
instead of legal and sacramental bond age.

Human reasoning would say, "What, then, is the use of ministry and
sacraments? Let us dispense with them, and be independent of them
altogether." This is no better than saying that we will continue in sin
that grace may abound; and the same answer which the apostle gives will
do for this also: "God forbid!"

It does not follow, because some people make too much of ministry and
sacraments, making them absolutely necessary to salvation, that we
should, on the other hand, disregard them. There is another and happier
alternative, and that is, to realize they were made for us, not we for
them; therefore we should not be subject to them, but rather they should
be subject to us, and be used by us, not in order to obtain God's grace
and salvation, but to show that we have already done so. In our
obedience to God's ordinances, we acknowledge our allegiance to Him, and
our submission to His will.

For fear that my people should go off, as too many do, into disregard of
the "means of grace," because sacramental people make too much of them,
I began a class for exposition and explanation of the Prayer-book. I
commenced by showing them that the Church of England is the Lord's
candlestick in this country, not the candle, and certainly not the
light, but the candlestick which the Lord set up here, possibly even as
'early as the days of the apostles, to show the true light, which is
Christ. And though, Romish corruptions supervened, it pleased God, at;
the time of the Reformation, to raise up men to deliver us from them,
and to restore true Bible teaching.

Thus I endeavoured to show them, that the system of the Church of
England was one which should commend itself to their regard, as quite
agreeable to Scripture; and if it is not carried out according to its
intention, that is not the fault of the system, but rather of those who
administer it. Next, as to worship.

The object of our assembling in the house of God is not, I said, so much
to hear sermons, or get instruction, as in Bible, or other classes, but
rather "to render thanks for the great benefits we have received at
God's hands, to set forth His most worthy praise, to hear His most holy
word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary as well
for the body as the soul." That worship is devotion towards God; it
consists more in giving than in getting. Some of the people were greatly
interested when I pointed out to them, that the order of our Service was
exactly the same as the order of theft spiritual experience, in
conviction, conversion, and Christian life.

For example, the Morning Service begins with a sentence such as, "To the
Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled
against Him;" then comes the exhortation, which moves us to surrender
ourselves; then the confession, which is the act of surrender.
Immediately after this is declared the absolution and forgiveness of
sins, "to all who truly repent, and unfeignedly believe the Gospel."

Then comes the Lord's Prayer, which leads us, at once, into the place of
children, accepted in the Beloved: then follow acts of thanksgiving":--

"Open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise."

"Oh, come let us sing unto the Lord, let us heartily rejoice in the
strength of our salvation."

These, and such-like explanations, helped to enlist the interest of the
people; and when, as before, they only used to endure the prayers, while
waiting for the sermon, now they engaged in them intelligently, and even
with more delight than in extempore prayer.

As to the Communion Service I bade them notice that it begins with the
Lord's Prayer, in which we draw near to our Father, not as sinners, but
as His children; asking for a clean heart and for grace to live
according to His will; then, we approach the table, unworthy, indeed, to
take even the crumbs under it, but trusting in His mercy. We do not go
there to offer a sacrifice of Christ's body, but of our own as a
thanksgiving to God, offering and presenting ourselves--spirit, soul,
and body--a living sacrifice to His service.

Every week we took some subject from the Prayer-book, noticing the
special seasons in their order, such as Advent, Christmas, Epiphany,
Lent, Easter, Ascension, and Whitsuntide, each with their respective

I was now happy in my work; but it did not, of course, go on as sweetly
as the theory sets it forth. We made, however, as straight a course as
we could, under contending winds and currents. The intelligent part of
my congregation, however interested they were in the work outside the
church and the worship within, nevertheless, had their misgivings and
doubts which they did not hide. They said, "This teaching seems all true
and scriptural; but what will become of us if you go away, and another
man comes who thinks otherwise? We have no security as in the chapels,
that conversion work will go on, and living souls be fed and encouraged.
Very few churches have such a work as the Lord is doing here!"

This, indeed, was the sad part of working in the Church of England then.
Even still, there is much discouragement on this head; and too many
living souls, who would not willingly go, are driven away from their own
Church, to seek teaching in other communions; but they cannot take their
children and servants to witness priestly ceremonials, or to hear
sacramental, as opposed to spiritual teaching; neither can they
conscientiously give countenance to these things, by going themselves.

However, I endeavoured to pacify the people by begging them to be
thankful for present privileges, and to trust God to lead them for the

It is an awful thing to see and know that people come for bread, and get
a stone; for fish, and they get a serpent; and for an egg, they are
offered a scorpion (Luke 11:11, 12). Exceedingly trying it is to be
frowned upon by clerical brethren in the presence of Dissenters, who, to
say the least, do know the difference between life and death. In one
church we have the service elaborately rendered, and the sermon is
nothing; in another the sermon is everything, and the service most
slovenly; and, too often, souls remain unawakened, and perishing on all


The Work Continued, 1859.

While I was at Hayle, I had so much to do among the people, and so many
meetings, that I seldom had leisure to go out for preaching elsewhere;
nor do I remember that I had many invitations to do so. Occasionally I
went to preach at Penzance, where a good work was steadily progressing
at St. Paul's Church; but otherwise. I seldom left my pulpit.

Everything was now going on in a way which satisfied me, after all my
tossings to and fro. I was surrounded with a happy people, who were
living and working for the Lord. All the week they were busy, and also
on the watch for souls. On Sunday they came regularly to church, with an
intelligent idea of worship, and joined heartily in the services of the
day. At eight o'clock in the morning they assembled in large numbers for
the Holy Communion; then we had the usual morning and evening services
in the church, concluding with a prayer meeting. In the afternoon we had
something else. There was the Sunday school for some of our workers;
tract distribution for others: many went out to preach in the villages;
and others went with me either to the sands, the common, or on board
some ship, for an evangelistic service. The day of rest was not one of
inactivity, but of useful and happy occupation for the Lord. Many a
former Sabbath-breaker, now changed and rejoicing in God, was amongst
us, delighting in the Christian privilege of working for the Master. It
was a day that many of them looked forward to and spent with intense
delight; and on Monday evening we met to tell what we had seen and heard
of the Lord's goodness to ourselves and others.

Whenever the good ship "Cornwall" was in harbour, it was expected there
would be a preaching on "board of her," under the well-known Bethel
flag. The mate of this vessel had been a terribly wicked man, and a most
daring blasphemer. It pleased God to convert his soul in a remarkable
manner; and now nothing would do but he must work for God.

One Sunday, when he was at Cardiff, he heard that a vessel which had
left that port on the previous Friday morning had gone down with all
hands. He was greatly grieved about this; for one of the seamen of the
vessel was in former times a friend and companion of his. He had prayed
for his soul, but hitherto without any success, and this added to his
grief. To his amazement, he saw his friend standing on the quay.
"Hallo!" he said, "I am glad to see you. How is it you are here? Have
you heard that your vessel has gone down with all hands?"

"Has she, indeed!" he exclaimed, bursting out into tears; "then it is
all my fault, for I let her go short-handed. After we set sail I had
words with the captain, so he dismissed me, and I came back in the pilot
boat. It is all my fault!"

"This is the third time, then, that the Lord has given you your life,"
said Sam.

"You had better call on Him to have mercy on your soul." So saying, he
fell on his knees, and began to pray for him. His companion soon
followed, crying aloud for mercy. Though a crowd of people quickly
assembled and stood round, he took no heed, but continued his
supplication until he obtained mercy, and could praise God.

Seeing that some of the by-standers were looking anxious, Sam invited
them on board his ship and had a meeting, at which he told them how the
Lord had saved his soul. Having received much encouragement that day, he
determined, if possible, that he would get a Bethel flag, and hold
services whenever and wherever he could.

On his arrival at Hayle from Cardiff, he went at once to see the wife of
the owner of the ship, knowing that she took a great interest in the
welfare of sailors. He told her his plans, and made his request for a
Bethel flag, which this lady kindly and generously gave him permission
to get.

On obtaining it, Sam came and asked me if I would preach at the first
hoisting of it. This I consented to do, and on the following Sunday
afternoon we had a large concourse of people on board, and also on the
quay alongside. I gave out the hymn:--

"O God of Bethel, by whose hand
Thy people still are fed."

While I was giving it out, Sam ran his flag up to the masthead in the
shape of a ball. So it remained while we were singing; and during the
prayer which followed; and when I gave out my text (Gen. 28:19), "He
called the name of that place Bethel," Sam pulled the halyard, and the
flag, some eighteen or twenty feet long, 'flew out in all its grandeur.
Before the sermon was finished, some of the people began to cry for
mercy, and dear Sam was in an ecstasy of delight, and rejoiced aloud.
'Thus his flag was inaugurated with blessing from on high, and "Many is
the time since," said 3am, "when souls have been blessed under it, both
at Cardiff and at Hayle."

I have said nothing about the infidels I had to work amongst when I
first came to this place. Some of them raged and opposed themselves
against us for a time, but one by one the ringleaders of this party were
brought to God, and eventually their club dwindled away. The history
concerning some I have already published in tracts; but there is one
case I feel I must insert here, for besides being a remarkable history,
there is much teaching in it.

It is the story of a man who professed to be an infidel, and used to
speak very freely of things which he said he did not believe. For
instance, he boasted that he did not believe in God or the Bible, Christ
or devil, heaven or hell; though I must say he seemed to believe in
himself very considerably. It was very difficult to deal with a man who
took his stand upon nothing but negatives. He was well known among his
neighbours, dreaded by some and quite a mystery to others. He was
continually to be seen about with a gun, especially on Sundays, when he
was not ashamed to be thus desecrating God's holy day; on the contrary,
he rather prided himself on not "shifting" his working-day clothes, when
other people were dressed in their best.

It was sad to see a man of such intelligence and capacity defying public
respect and opinion, and trampling upon every sense of right and
propriety. There is generally a reason, if we can only discover it, why
people outrage public opinion, and break out of the stream and path of
their fellow-men.

One Sunday evening, however, after a day spent as usual, in idling about
and shooting little birds, our friend John was observed by a woman
standing outside a church, under the window nearest to the pulpit. He
stood there, listening very attentively to the sermon, till it was over;
and then, before the congregation could come out, he made off stealthily
and hastily, to escape observation. But passing near the woman who had
been watching him, she heard him say, with a look of distress on his
countenance, "It's no use--the devil's sure to have me! It doesn't

This woman told me on Monday morning what she had seen and heard; so I
determined to go at once and see the man. It was not his dinner-time
yet; but I thought I would have a little conversation with his wife
before he came home. To my surprise, however, I found him there. "What,
not working today, John?" I said. "What's the matter?"

"I ain't very well," he answered. "I got no sleep last night; but I mean
to work in the afternoon, for all that," he continued, with an air of
determination and defiance.

"What's the matter? Have you got anything on your mind?" I inquired.

"Mind?" he repeated, as if in contempt at the thought. "There is not
much that ever troubles my mind." He then went on to give me a long
account of his bodily ailments.

"But do you never think about your soul, John?" I asked; "never think
about another world and eternity?"

"Soul and eternity! I don't believe in either the one or the other of

"Not believe you have a soul! Come, John, I am sure you know better than
that." And I went on to speak of the joys of heaven and the bitter
torments of hell; of the love of God, who willeth not the death of the
sinner, but rather that he should turn and live; and then I proceeded to
tell him of the atonement which Jesus Christ finished on the cross, and
that now there is pardon for the vilest sinner through the efficacy of
the blood which has been shed once for all.

"You know, John," I continued, "that I do not care to argue about these
things. There is mercy for you, if you will have it. We can bring water
to the horses, but we cannot make them drink. My business is to put the
way of pardon and salvation plainly before you; and after that, if you
reject it, it will be your own fault if you perish. Do you know how to
get forgiveness of sins?"

He seemed very uneasy all the time I was speaking; and at length, after
a pause, he looked me in the face with a hardened expression, and said,
"There's no pardon for me--I know it."

"That cannot be," I said; "I do not believe it."

"No," he continued, "there's no pardon for me. I have known that for
fourteen years." I inwardly resolved to get this dreadful secret from
him, which was driving him to such evident desperation. A few days
afterwards an opportunity occurred, and I pressed upon him for his own
sake to tell me, or some one else, what had happened fourteen years ago;
and what special communication he had had with another world.

"Oh," he said, "I never told anybody; but I would as soon tell you as
any one else. I had a dream once---do you ever have dreams? I have many
things told me in dreams." Then he was silent; but I was more curious
than ever now, and begged him to tell me what had happened. At last he
began, "I dreamt that I was walking along a broad smooth road, where
everything was most lovely; the weather was fine, and the scenery grand;
there were beautiful gardens, churches, chapels, theatres, houses, and
indeed everything you could think of. The people all seemed to be
delighting in it, and as though they were out for a holiday. Some were
walking, some singing, some dancing, and in one way or the other they
all appeared to be enjoying themselves beyond bounds. Seeing a workman
in a field close by, I called to him, and asked 'Where does this road
lead to?' He answered, 'To hell, straight on; you cannot miss!' 'Hell!'
I was surprised; 'Hell,' I said to myself, 'this is very different to
what I thought. Is the way to hell as pleasant as this? and are people
so unconcerned about it?' I was amazed; but though the man told me this
pleasant road led to hell, I did not stop; I went on and on, seemingly
as pleased as others were. However, it did not continue like this long,
for soon I came to a rough part, all up and down, where the atmosphere
was thick and sulphury, and it was almost dark. I did not like it, and
wished very much to get out of the place, but I could not.

"Seeing some people in the distance, I went near to ask them the way
out. They were busy with long rakes raking cinders about on the dry
ground, and would not answer my urgent inquiries. As I approached them I
saw that they did not look like 'humans,' and that every now and then
fire appeared from under ground, over which they raked cinders to keep
it out of sight. They were so absorbed in their work that they did not
heed my question, though I pleaded more and more earnestly. At last, I
observed that one of them ceased from his strange work, and looked at
me; whereupon I addressed myself to him, begging him to show me the way
out of the place." John added, "If I ever prayed in my life I prayed
then; but he shook his head as if he pitied me, and said mournfully,
'The way you came in,' I replied, 'I cannot find it'; then again he
shook his head as if to say, 'You never will.' I was obliged to rise
from my knees, for the ground was so hot, and in my despair I ran I know
not whither. As I passed along in haste, I came to cracks in the ground
full of fire; I stepped over them one after another, and ran on till I
came to such a large chasm, that I could not jump over it. I turned and
went in another direction, leaping and running, in a state of terror,
till at last I came upon a sheet of glowing fire, into which I fell.
Then I awoke. For fourteen years this has followed me; there is no hope
for me!"

By this time he became very much excited and agitated: seizing his cap
he ran out of the house, leaving his wife and myself in mute
astonishment at his strange tale.

I went home pondering over the meaning of this dream, and was struck at
the amount of truth in it. I thought--How fair are the promises of the
world to begin with, and how delusive and disappointing they are at the
end! Of course, Satan, the god of this world, will make the way to hell
as bright and pleasing as he possibly can; and if people take outward
circumstances and pleasing prospects for indications of safety, they
wilfully lay themselves open to this deadly delusion. What a number
there are who know, or might know, that they are on the road to hell;
that they cannot miss; and yet they go on! And then how many people
there are who rake cinders; that is, when thoughts of death, or
judgment, or hell, obtrude themselves, how readily they cover them over
with hopes of escape, or some good intentions to be better, before it is
too late! How often parents do the same for their children, for they
cannot bear to think of their being lost forever; so they hope that
somehow they will be changed before they die! How often preachers rake
cinders also, by addressing their hearers as if they were all safe, and
only wanted a little teaching now and then; and it may be a little
warning occasionally! They cannot bear to tell them plainly that they
are lost now, and may be lost for ever, if they do not repent and
believe the Gospel; they would rather "be persuaded better things of
them, and things which accompany salvation," though they know for
certain that there are many unsaved ones in their congregation. They
entertain them with good hearty services and pleasing sermons, and then
let them go on their way to the solemn end, perfectly unconscious of any

The Lord Jesus had no such false charity as this. He has told us plainly
that we are all perishing creatures, and that there is no hope for any
one of us while we are still on the broad road to ruin and in an
unchanged state; that we must be born again or we cannot see the kingdom
of God; that we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died in our
stead on the cross, or perish for ever. Preachers therefore ought to be
more faithful, because life is so uncertain, and the warnings of God so

Well did John dream that they did not look like human beings, who were
raking cinders to keep the fire out of sight.

After some days I got light on the subject of this awful dream, and
hastened to tell John that I had found the way out of that fearful place
for him. He would not hear me for some time; but I told him, that the
prodigal son said, "I will arise and go to my Father, and say unto Him,
I have sinned." "You see, John," I continued, "he came back the way he
went, and he found pardon; that is the way for you."

I then knelt down and prayed, and he knelt with me at his table. There
he remained for four hours, without speaking a word, until I was
thoroughly exhausted and obliged to go. No sooner had I gone, than
John's heart failed him, and he burst out crying aloud, and said to his
wife, "Oh, Mary, what shall I do? What shall I do?"

"Take the book and read," she said, pushing the Bible along the table to
him. It was open at the fifteenth chapter of St. Luke, where he read the
words aloud, "I will arise and go to my Father and will say unto him,
Father, I have sinned." The spell was broken and the string of his
tongue loosed, so that he cried aloud for mercy.

This was no unusual thing in one house or another; but in this
particular dwelling it was wonderful. His next-door neighbour, who had
often heard the sound of cursing and swearing there, but never the voice
of prayer, was so astonished, that he rose and came to the door to
assure himself of the astonishing fact. It was quite true; surely it was
John's own voice praying. So, lifting the latch, he went in and shouted,
"Glory to God!" The louder William shouted, the louder John cried for
mercy. When listening to his friend, who pointed him to "the Lamb of
God, who taketh away the sin of the world," he found that "There is life
for a look at the Crucified One;" and then they shouted and praised God

It was a joyful meeting when I saw him again, and thanked God with him
for the marvellous change which had been wrought in his soul. His very
face was altered; and instead of the restless and defiant glare there
used to be in his countenance, there was rest and cheerfulness.

I pointed out to him, from that same portion of the Word of God which
had been blessed to his soul, that there was something more to be had
than the pardon that he had already received; that there was also the
best robe, the ring, the shoes, and the feast of rejoicing. The Father's
arms round the neck of the prodigal son is a token of forgiveness---the
robe, of righteousness divine which is imputed to us; the ring, of our
union with Christ; the shoes, of strength, even grace, with which we
walk; and the feast of rejoicing, the believer's privilege of joy and

John's conversion was a remarkable event, and caused a great sensation;
crowds of his fellow-work-mates used to stand round him while he told
his wonderful story. "Oh," he said, "I used to say there was no hell,
when all the time I had it burning in my heart; but, glory be to God, I
am saved from hell to heaven!"

He seldom prayed in public after this, without begging the Lord to loose
the string of the tongue; for, as he said (speaking from experience),
"so many are held captive by that dumb devil." He became a true
missionary for souls, and was very zealous in his testimony, especially
amongst his old companions, who worked in the same factory: he had the
joy of seeing many of them brought to the Lord.

John seemed to realize unseen things in an unusually striking way. He
was a man who in his sleep had vivid dreams, and who in his waking hours
pondered much upon eternal realities, so that he spoke as one who lived
in sight of another world.


The Dismissal, 1860-61

Of this work at Hayle was not "a success," in every sense of the word, I
do not yet know what success in parochial ministry is. If large
congregations may be counted; many communicants taken into reckoning;
with frequent services, and schools full of children--we certainly had
these. But above all, we had a continual ingathering of souls, who will
testify throughout eternity of the blessedness and reality of the work
of God during the time I was there.

It so happened that as we approached the term of three years, of which I
had been premonished when I first came, that my dear friend, Mr. Aitken,
came to pay us a visit. He preached with more amazing power than ever.
His appeals were altogether overwhelming, and I do not wonder that the
people fell on their knees, as they did then and there, and cried aloud
for mercy.

A newspaper reporter who came to hear this "great man" preach, was at
first observed to be writing very diligently; then he paused, and his
hand fell; then his pencil and book went from his grasp; presently he
himself fell on his knees, and began to cry for mercy. We were curious
afterwards to read his report.

In it the grateful man acknowledged his indebtedness, and the blessing
he had received. As to the sermon, he likened it to one of the storms of
the great Atlantic. He said. "At such a time it is interesting to stand
on the shore and watch the sea, and to note the power of wind and waves
while the storm is raging. Even then it is sometimes terrific enough;
but how much more so when the wind veers and the mighty waves come
rolling in one after another, and breaking with tremendous force upon
the rocks on which we stand! So it was with this preacher. All eyes were
fixed on him when he gave out his text, and proceeded with his usual
introduction. Now and then he alarmed and roused us with the power of
his oratory; but when he turned to apply his subject to the consciences
of the people, he became irresistible. Immediately, there was heard on
all sides a cry for mercy. The stentorian voice of the preacher was
audible above all others as he went on to apply the Word with
unrelenting force, till very few hearts, however hard, remained

This was a memorable day with us. Twice was the church filled and
emptied; and again a third time, in the evening, the people crowded in
and filled the place. Far into the night we wrought amongst the anxious
and broken-hearted, bidding them to look at the Crucified One and live.

Mr. Aitken was not a man who raked cinders over the fire, but rather
raked them off and that in true kindness and love; but with terrible and
awful plainness he showed the danger of trifling with the Gospel, and
presuming upon God's love and forbearance.

On Monday evening we invited the people to assemble in the large
schoolroom, which was filled to excess. Here I thought that the
schoolmaster's desk would have been demolished under the tremendous
energy and force, both mental and physical, of this preacher. At the
first sign of a breakdown among the people, the great, tall man, in his
long coat or cassock, came majestically striding out from behind the
desk. That was enough. A hard rough-looking sailor, who was sitting by,
with his eyes fixed on Mr. Aitken for a long time, fell on his knees and
began to roar aloud for mercy, and very many others followed his

I asked this man afterwards what it was that had had such an effect upon
him? "Oh," he replied, drawing his breath, as if he had scarcely yet
recovered from the shock, "that big man was bad enough the other side of
the desk, but when he came forth to the front, I didn't know what would
happen to me. I was obliged to cry out for mercy; I couldn't help it."

The "big man," like the "Stormy Petrel," was just in his element in such
a scene. In the gladness and joy of his heart he rejoiced and shouted,
"Glory--glory be to God!" in a way which no one else could imitate or

In the midst of this scene of confusion (as it must have appeared to an
outside observer, if such an one was there), sat a woman, looking on at
the people praying and praising God, when all at once Mr. Aitken turned
suddenly upon her and said, "And you, my sister!" Immediately she gave a
scream, and was down on her knees in a moment, crying for mercy as loud
as the loudest.

If Cornish people like a noise, they certainly had it that evening to
their hearts' content. As I have said before, when there is a real power
of the Spirit present, the outpouring of the heart with noisy
demonstration is joyous to those who go with the stream, and are in
sympathy with it; but if those present stop to doubt the propriety of
such an outcry, and begin to rebuke those who make it, then I think the
answer that the Lord gave the Pharisees would still be applicable: "I
tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would
immediately cry out" (Luke 19:40).

It was a great triumph, and the rams' horns did more execution in these
two days than the silver trumpets had done in as many yearn.

The next day, as soon as Mr. Aitken had gone, the rector came to see me.
He appeared to be somewhat embarrassed at first, but after a little time
said (looking on the ground), "You know I am no revivalist. I do not
like all this uproar. I cannot have it." He then went on to say that he
wished me to leave, for though he had given a guarantee that if I
succeeded, he would build me a church and endow it, he could not do
anything of the kind now, for he did not consider my work any success
whatever--quite the contrary. "These converted people (as you call them)
are no churchmen!"

I replied, that I had taken his voice as from God in inviting me, and I
supposed that I must take the same for my dismissal, if he really
intended it; but I urged upon him to consider the matter well before he
broke up the work which was going on there, for whatever he thought
about it, it was undoubtedly a work of God, though one certainly not
very common in churches.

Without saying another word he took up his hat and went away. His
departure was so abrupt that I could not believe he intended me to
receive this as six months' notice. Consequently, I went on with my work
as usual, finding plenty to do, more especially after Mr. Aitken's
energetic visit. There were many new converts to add to our classes;
anxious ones to be guided and led to Christ; and broken-hearted and
despairing ones to be comforted and built up. The work under such a
preacher is by no means finished with his visit, however long or short
it may be; but, on the contrary, it may rather be said to begin there.

After some months, the rector came again to remind me that he had given
me notice more than five months before, and that he wished me to leave
at the beginning of the year, as he had secured the services of a
clergyman whose views were in accordance with his own. I was much
grieved at this and could only lay it before the Lord, and beg of Him to
order all according to His will.

The following morning, without any seeking on my part, I received an
invitation from Bath, asking me to come and take charge of the district
of St. Paul's, in the parish of Holy Trinity. Thus was the door shut
behind me, and another opened in front. This was so unmistakable, that I
could not but be satisfied, and acquiesce in the manifest will of God;
though, naturally, I felt great sorrow at having to leave the people and
the work I loved so well. I said nothing about my dismissal, but went on
with my various engagements as usual, though I had only a little more
than three weeks left me.

By some means it appeared in the newspapers, that I was appointed to a
district in Bath, and another clergyman was named as my successor at St.
John's, Hayle. This fell as a great blow upon my people, who were both
grieved and angry; but I could not comfort them, any more than I could
help myself.

The last Christmas-day came and went, a sad and sorrowful day it was;
then the last day of the year, and the last night. We held our
watch-night service as usual, thanking God for the mercies of the past,
and entered upon the new year with thanksgiving and prayer.

Thus ended my work, and eventful sojourn at Hayle, a little more than
three years after it began. A very sorrowful trial it was, and one of
bitter disappointment; but the Lord's leading was clear, and I have
since proved that it was all right, though at the time it was most
mysterious and very dark.

A few weeks before leaving Hayle, as I was sitting by the fire one wet
afternoon, my eyes fell on a little coloured picture on the
mantle-piece, which had been the companion of my journeys for all the
twenty years of which I have been writing. It was a quaint mediaeval
illustration of Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness, copied
from a valuable manuscript (Book of Prayers) in the Bodleian Library at

As I looked at the engraving before me, I began to suspect for the first
time that there was a design in the arrangement of the figures, and that
it was really intended to convey some particular teaching. I took it in
my hand and studied it, when I observed that the cross or pole on which
the serpent was elevated stood in the centre, dividing two sets of
characters, and that there were serpents on one side, and none on the

Behind the figure of Moses, is a man standing with his arms crossed on
his breast, looking at the brazen serpent. He has evidently obtained
life and healing by a look. On the other side, I observed that there
were four kinds of persons represented, who were not doing as this
healed one did to obtain deliverance.

First, there is one who is kneeling in front of the cross, but he is
looking towards Moses, and not at the serpent, and apparently confessing
to him as if he were a priest.

Next behind him is one lying on his back, as if he was perfectly safe,
though he is evidently in the midst of danger; for a serpent may be seen
at his ear, possibly whispering "Peace, peace, when there is no peace."

Still further back from the cross there is a man with a sad face doing a
work of mercy, binding up the wounds of a fellow-sufferer, and little
suspecting that he himself is involved in the same danger.

Behind them all, on the background, is a valiant man who is doing battle
with the serpents, which may be seen rising against him in unabating

I observed that none of these men were looking at the brazen serpent as
they were commanded to do. I cannot describe how excited and interested
I became; for I saw in this illustration a picture of my own life. Here
was the way of salvation clearly set forth, and four ways which are not
the way of salvation, all of which I had tried and found unavailing.
This was the silent but speaking testimony of some unknown denizen of a
cloister, who lived in the beginning of the fifteenth century, in the
days of ignorance and superstition. But notwithstanding this darkness,
he was brought out into the marvellous light of the Gospel, and has left
this interesting record of his experience.

Like him, I also had fought with serpents, for I began in my own
strength to combat with sin, and strove by my own resolutions to
overcome. From this, I went on to do good works, and works of mercy, in
the vain hope of thus obtaining the same for myself. Then, I relied in
the Church for salvation, as God's appointed ark of safety; but not
feeling secure, I took another step beyond, and sought forgiveness
through the power of the priest. This I found was as ineffectual as all
my previous efforts. At last, I was brought (by the Spirit of God) as a
wounded and dying sinner, to look at the Crucified One. Then (as I have
related), I found pardon and peace. Ever since it has been my joy and
privilege (like Moses pointing to the serpent) to cry, "Behold the Lamb
of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). "I have
determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified;" that is,
to tell only of the person and office of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Nearly twenty years have elapsed since the period at which this book
closes,* and, during all that time I have verified the truth and reality
of the teaching and experience I have recorded in this volume. All these
years, with their months, weeks, and days have passed by, and have found
me continually rejoicing in the work of the Lord--often wearied in it,
but never of it--often tempted to falter, but al ways enabled to
persevere. I have seen many rise and start well, who have collapsed or
retired; many who have blazed like a meteor for a short time, and then
disappeared from the scene.


* I may, perhaps, at some future time, give an account of these latter
twenty years.

May I here, in a few parting words to the reader, tell how it is that I
have been kept. I believe it is--first, Because I have never failed to
insist upon the absolute necessity of conversion, saying in the words of
the Master, "Marvel not, Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). Secondly,
Because I have preached nothing but what is taken from the Word, and
required nothing to be believed for Salvation and Edification, but what
can be proved thereby. Thirdly, because I have exhorted living souls
with purpose of heart to cleave unto the Lord; firmly believing that He
who died to save, rose again from the dead, and lives to keep His

When we are saved, we are debtors to God, to devote ourselves to His
service, and for His glory: besides this, we are debtors to men, to make
known to them the grace which we have received; and we, as faithful
stewards of God should be ever ready (and not ashamed) to preach the
Gospel, for, "It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that
believeth" (Rom. 1:16).

Brockville, Canada: The Standard Book Room.

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