Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

At Liverpool great preparations had been inade. A large building, to be named Victoria Hall, was especially erected, in Victoria Street. It was throughout a wooden structure of enormous strength; the internal dimensions of the building were 174 feet long by 124 feet wide, divided by two rows of upright columns, which formed the front supports of the galleries, leaving an open central space 72 feet in width, and on either side a gallery 26 feet in depth. At the bottom end of the hall the gallery was 40 feet in depth, while the platform--40 feet square and 4 feet high-was at the other end. The total height of the building, from the floor to the ridge, was 52 feet, and to the eaves 25 feet. The hall would seat 8000 persons, but the passages were wide, and, with the standing room, nearly, if not quite, 11,000 persons might be able to hear easily what was going on. For the purposes of daylight over 80 windows were provided. For evening services the building was lighted by twelve pendent circular gas coronæ, six on each side, each fitted with 150 jets. Underneath the galleries there were 14 smaller coronæ, each of these latter having 15 jets. The arrangements for lighting, warming, and ventilating the building were excellent. There were 20 doors, all Gpening outwards, from 4 to 8 feet in width each. There was a large “inquirers’-room "adjoining the platform end of the building, 116 feet long by 34 feet broad. Arrangements were made by which this room might be divided if necessary by means of a curtain, thus giving two good-sized rooms, each nearly 60 feet long by 34 feet broad. This inquiry-room was lighted by skylights and gas-burners, and was entered by three large doors, one on either side of the platform, and one from the street. Near to each of the entrance doors small wooden huts were erected for colporteurs, who disposed of hymn-books, Bibles, religious publications, and books.

The acoustic properties of the hall were very good. This large building was constructed within forty days, and cost £3500.

The first meeting was held on Sunday, the 7th of February; the last on Sunday, the 7th of March. A Liverpool correspondent thus describes the services held in the town :

" At the evening meetings the hall is always crowded with something like 10,000 people, and if it were not that the committee keep a great part of the passages clear to allow of access to the inquiry. room, every inch of standing ground would be occupied. The attendance at the noon prayer-meetings averages 4000 to 5000, the audience, of course, not being so mixed as those in the evening. One gratifying circumstance, however, in connection with the noon meetings should be noted, and that is, the presence of so many of the Liverpool merchants and business men. I have heard it stated that between twelve and one, when the noon-prayer meeting is held, 'Change is half deserted, and it has been remarked that no other source of attraction has ever drawn so many of these busy men away from their money-makivg for an hour in the middle of the day. May they carry away some truth that will cling to them when they are tempted to forget God in their haste to get rich! The requests for special prayer have been very numerous and so varied that it would be impossible to characterize them. The notices of the secular press, while not expressing any hearty sympathy with the movement, have been very fair and honest, as a rule, considered as simple reports of the proceedings. A very happy feature of the work here, as elsewhere, is the sympathetic co-operation of many clergymen and ministers of various denominations. They appear on the platform and take part in the services, as well as in the personal dealing with the anxious. This is matter for thanksgiving, though some correspondents of the Liverpool papers assert that the very presence of the evangelists here, and the admitted need there is for their labour, is a slur upon their own zeal and fitness for the work of evangelizing the destitute and depraved masses of the town.

THE LONDON SERVICES.

The services announced to be held in the metropolis by Messrs. Moody and Sankey were looked forward to with great interest by the religious public, and by a large number of persons wl.o, without professing decided conv were desirous of hearing a preacher who had made so great an impression in other districts, and of forming their own opinion as to his powers. The press could not avoid noticing, if only, as a matter of news, the interest which the evangelists had excited throughout the country, and, as might have been expected, some of the publications which

affect to represent the “cultured” classes, sneer politely at the enthusiasm which had been aroused. The Pall Mall Gazette referred to the announced services as “ the coming Jubilation;" and the Saturday Revieu', which appears to suppose that the faculty of preaching the gospel can only be acquired by means of matricu. lation at one of the Universities, and by “superior persons," devoted an amusing, if not particularly instructive, article to the subject. It doubted whether, in London, the couple of itinerant Americans ” would be as successful as in the provinces :

“ They are now coming to London, where it is possible that they may not be so triumphant as in the country. The fact is that London is such a big place and has such a various population that it is scarcely possible to rouse it thoroughly on any subject. Here and there groups of people may be stimulated by agitation, but the general world around them is not in the least affected Moreover London has already so many public entertainments of all kinds that a new one is scarcely noticed. It is not perhaps surprising that in a particular state of mind people should prefer the performances of these Americans to the ordinary services of native churches and chapels, in which, for the most part, a quiet decorum is usually observed ; but they have also apparently been able to compete successfully with theatres and concert-rooms, and are entitled to boast that they have placed prayer-meetings in the first rank of popular amusements. This must be admitted to be in itself a remarkable feat, and we are quite willing to do justice to the cleverness of those who have achieved it. Messrs. Moody and Sankey are no doubt sincere, and have an honest faith in the efficacy of their exercises, and they are of course entitled to practise them whenever they can get a chance. Those clergymen and ministers of various denominations who have come forward to give them countenance and support have, however, a very serious question to answer. It is evident that, if the revivalists are in the right, the ordinary course of clerical teaching in this country must be radically and hopelessly wrong. If the wild state of mind into which Mr. Moody's converts are thrown is the only one in which any person has a chance of salvation, it is obvious that the whole theory and practice of Christian life in this country has hitherto been a mistake, and it must, therefore, be expected that those who take this view will lose no time in conforming to the new

6

6

fashion. If it is good to resort to the most vulgar expedients of the stage and the concert-room in order to produce spasmodic excitement, they will now, we suppose, be introduced as widely as possible."

The Daily Telegraph was more generous in its estimate of the im. portance of the visit:- “Wherever those people come they seem to effect at once that which archbishops and rural deans and curates from the Universities cannot do: they convince people of sin;' they wake hundreds of thousands of hearts to the consideration of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come. Unless, then, we are to call all religious feeling hysteria and mania ; unless St. Paul preaching on Mar's Hill, and Dr. Vaughan in the Temple, are equally appealing to the excitable nervous systems of automata, we cannot clearly see why the churches should be scandalized at the work done by the two revivalists. No doubt it depends upon the faculty which large bodies of men and women exhibit to thrill with a common emotion which reacts upon the individual, and produces remarkable elevations of character. It seems to us that when Moody and Sankey come to London, the dignitaries and ministers of all the churches would do well to go and see what amazing things real genius and unselfish ardour can accoinplish even in the present age."

The Echo also gave a leader on the subject on the evening before the first services, and remarked that A point to mark in the present movement is the novel tone of cheerfulness and mother wit wherewith these American gentlemen have undoubtedly much commended themselves to the British public. Their theological note' (concerning which we shall pass no opinion) is the same as that with which all the world has been perfectly familiar since the great Revival of Wesley and Whitfield in the last generation. But formerly all this extreme evangelical doctrine was set forth in the most lugubrious terms, accompanied by mournful hymns. Mr. Spurgeon, indeed, has done much to introduce another, a livelier and manlier tone into preaching of this class, but, so far as appears, these American gentlemen, following the custom which has somehow grown up in the Free West, go beyond Mr. Spurgeon. From what we have observed concerning the progress of those gentlemen, we are inclined to think that their work is and has been beneficial. Their method is novel, that is indispensable to success

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Intense realization of the life of Christ in language suited to bring the sense of reality to the densest, darkest mind, seems to be the art of Mr. Moody; and, while we have no doubt whatever of his sincerity, we have an impression that his work would be more beneficial if this realism were somewhat more controlled.”

The largest hall in London, the Agricultural Hall at Islington, was engaged for the services; an enormous temporary edifice was prepared for use at the East-end, and it is stated that the splendid, but hitherto unused building, Her Majesty's Theatre, in the Haymarket, will be appropriated for the West-end meetings. Arrangements have also been made for daily prayer.meetings at Exeter Hall, at which Messrs. Moody and Sankey will generally attend. A series of preliminary services, conducted by well-known London ministers, were held in the Agricultural Hall. Tuesday, the 9th of March, was the day appointed for the opening of the services in London, and at noon the first of the prayer-meetings in Exeter Hall was held. Lord Radstock presided. On the platform were the Right Hon. W. Cowper-Temple, Mr. S. Morley, M.P., the Revs. Tbain Davidson, Dr. Donald Fraser, Newman Hall, Samuel Hebditch, Ll. D. Bevan, R. D. Wilson, G. D. Macgregor, E. Jones, and others. The hall was about half full, Mr. Sankey's hymns were used, and the singing was led by some six or seven female voices from the platform. The chairman, in his opening prayer, specially entreated God to take the lead in “ this great work,” and asked that “the flesh might be, as it were, burned up.” An address was given by the Rev. Mr. Chapman, on 2 Samuel v. 22-5. He regarded the present as a solemn epoch in the Church's life, and took the passage selected as setting before us our position, and what should be our conduct. The “sound of a going in the tops of the mulberrytrees," was to be heard in the tidings of revival from various parts of the kingdom, and in the spirit of prayer and expectation resting on London now. He pointed out that our duty, like David's, was twofold-to wait the Lord's time, and to work in the Lord's own way. A long list of requests for prayer was then read by the Rev. R. D. Wilson.

They were of the usual order-requests from mothers for their children and from sisters for brothers being most prominent. One was “for a young man who is to be married to-day, both of whom (so we heard the request) are outside the covenant of grace.” Another was for a husband who is a Christian in his

« НазадПродовжити »