South Shields: Work of God in South Shields Circuit, 1837
From the Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838
During the last year, we were called to witness reverses, although there was a progressive movement in some of the societies, and various conversions took place; still we witnessed a decrease in our numbers. This arose from the removing of one hundred and twenty of our members from the collieries in this circuit, to other places. In March we had a decrease of thirty members for the year; and in April following, we had thirty more; only receiving six in lieu of them. Thus, truly appalling were our prospects; — dense was the cloud that hung over us; — and dreary the wastes before us. We did not, however, despair; we rested upon the divine promise; preached a crucified Jesus, and still found that the Lord was with us.
Saturday, June 3. — I attended a missionary meeting at Waldridge Fell. We had a numerous congregation; the speaking was short and lively; there was a good feeling, and the Lord was graciously present.
The day following was appointed for our Camp meeting on the Fell; the Lord favoured us with a fine day. At seven o’clock in the morning, the society assembled, and we sung round the Fell, and held several prayer meetings in the open air. The Lord was divinely near, and a blessed influence rested on the people. At nine we commenced the Camp meeting, the friends from the surrounding villages and collieries, flocked in, in abundance.
In the afternoon the congregation was large and serious; the speakers were short and lively; the doctrine of a free, full, and PRESENT salvation was powerfully enforced, and the Divine Unction attended the word.
The Lovefeast commenced at six o’clock. The speaking had scarcely begun before the Spirit was poured out in rich effusions, and the chapel was filled with the divine glory; believers fell beneath its power, and sinners cried for mercy. At the close, seven souls professed to have found the Lord. To him be all the glory.
June 11.—Attended a Camp meeting at Jarrow. The day was rather unfavourable, it blowing a strong gale of wind, and the meeting having to be held on a ballast hill, by the side of the river Tyne, on a great elevation. But notwithstanding the difficulties under which we had to labour, the prayer of faith prevailed. The local brethren felt diffident at first; but the cloud dispersed, and the God of Israel came down to our help. In the morning there was a mighty shaking in the Valley of Vision. In the afternoon there was a good feeling; the doctrine of present salvation was approved by the seal of heaven. The labours of the praying companies were efficient, and the varied exercises of the day were short, lively, and mixed with conquering faith. One soul found the God of Abraham.
The Lovefeast was held at Hebburn. After tea, the friends assembled at Jarrow, and sung to Hebburn. We then sung down Hebburn, holding several prayer meetings on our way to the chapel. The glory streamed from the skies, and the whole town seemed to shake with the power of God.
The Lovefeast began with power. The speakers were short, and confined themselves to present experience. The chapel was filled with glory; and sinners, in all directions, cried for mercy. Twelve souls professed to find pardon through Jesu’s blood. Praise the Lord.
June 14. — Preached at Ouston. This place is exceedingly low. It was incautiously and improperly left off the plan at the pitmen’s strike. Since then it has been a barren soil. I preached out of doors to a large congregation, and I trust good was done.
15th. — Fatfield. Here we had a tolerable society, but in consequence of the pits being laid in, numbers have removed, and the society is nearly destroyed. I preached out of doors, taking my stand close by a blacksmith’s shop. Bro. Mason, with .a few others, stood by me. Whilst singing the second hymn, a man who was distributing bills, came across the hill, with the apparent intention of annoying us. When he came up, I warned and cautioned him as to his conduct. He muttered something, and I again cautioned him. The worship went on, and I believe good was done.
16th. — Heworth Lane. Preached out of doors to a large and attentive congregation. The Lord is at work here, and several are enquiring their way to Zion.
Sunday, June 18. — Pelton. — Preached in the morning, a good time. Preached at Ouston in the afternoon, a good congregation, and one joined society. I believe the open air worship has done us good here. Praise the Lord. Preached again at Pelton at six; the Lord was present, and one joined society.
Sunday, June 25. — Temple Town. I attended a Camp meeting at this place. The day was fine, and a large congregation was collected. The praying companies were well supported. The preaching services were short and powerful. Present salvation was enforced, and a Holy Unction rested on the people.
The Lovefeast was very powerful, and three souls professed to find the sinners’ Friend.
July 2. — Jarrow. Spoke at half-past ten. It was the opening of a preaching room, kindly given to us by the owners of the colliery. At a quarter before five, spoke in South Shields market-place to upwards of two thousand hearers, from Matt. xvi. 26. A good time, and the congregation attentive. We then sung from the market-place to the chapel, where we had a large congregation. I again spoke from 1 Cor. i.21. The Lord was in the word, and we had a blessed time.
5th. — Spoke at Hebburn, in the open air, to a large congregation. A precious time. The work is still going on here, and sinners are converted.
9th. — Attended a Camp meeting at Heworth Lane. The day was very fine, and the local brethren came up manfully. In the morning the congregation was large, and the glory streamed down. The preaching services were short and powerful. In the afternoon we had a very large congregation. The doctrine of a free, full, and present salvation was most prominently set forth; believers rejoiced, and sinners trembled. The pious praying labourers were very zealous.
In the evening we held a Love-feast. The speaking was short, lively and to the point. A free and intimate communication with heaven was opened; but soon a mighty struggle ensued. The Saviour saith, “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Satan marshalled all his forces, and with his veteran armies advanced to the attack. But the praying host stood firm, presenting their shields of faith, wielding, with prayerful energy, the Spirit’s two-edged sword; and with increasing courage, bade defiance to all their sable foes. For some time the victory hung. But heaven was on our side; the streaming banners were unfurled, and, lo! the powers of darkness fled, and victory was ours. Eight souls professed to find the Lord, and three proved the sanctifying efficacy of redeeming blood. To God be all the glory.
30th. — South Shields. This was the day appointed for our Annual Camp meeting. It was previously arranged for the society to meet in the chapel at eight o’clock, and then proceed to the head of the town and sing down to the Camp ground. The morning was very unfavourable, and not a single local preacher, leader, or member came to the chapel; only myself and two or three of the officers of the school. However I repaired to the head of the town, and was joined by one local preacher, and one leader, with a few of the members. Shortly after we were joined by some of -the country friends. We then commenced singing, and held several prayer meetings as we proceeded, until we came to the market place, the distance of a mile. We were now joined by several of the local preachers and leaders, with the children of the Sunday school. After we had held a short prayer meeting, we formed a procession, the children leading it, preceded by the banner of the school, which had a striking effect. The singing and prayer meetings were most effective. Many were seen in tears as we passed down the town, and the glory of God rested on the people.
On the Camp ground the preaching and praying services were powerful. The doctrine of a full, free, and present salvation was enforced, and the praying services were lively and well supported.
In the Lovefeast, the glory streamed down; the speaking was interesting and powerful; sinners cried for mercy, and believers were quickened. Six souls professed to find the Lord.
August 6. — Walked nine miles to Gallopping Green, and preached in the morning. Had a hard struggle, yet some felt the word. I next walked five miles and preached at Chester-le-street, in the open air, to a small congregation. This is a mission place, it has frequently been attempted, but has never succeeded; but our hope and confidence is in the cross. At six I preached at Waldridge Fell, to a large congregation. A good time, one professed to find the Lord.
7th. — Spoke at Birtley, a good time. The Lord was with us. After preaching renewed the quarterly tickets, and admitted four members on trial. Glory be to God.
11th. — Spoke at Heworth Lane to an attentive congregation, a blessed time; after preaching renewed the tickets, and admitted ten members on trial.
13th. — Walked in company with Bro. Anderson from South Shields to Ouston, a distance of thirteen miles, to attend a Camp meeting, and arrived there by half-past eight o’clock. a. m. — The friends from the surrounding country flocked in, in abundance. We had a large concourse of people. The services of the day were short and powerful; the Lord was present, and although most of the preachers planned disappointed us, the meeting was well supported. And in the Lovefeast, two souls professed to find the Lord.
17th. — Spoke at Burnt Houses, to a crowded congregation. A powerful time, and four joined the society.
20th. — South Shields chapel anniversaries were preached by Miss Elizabeth Newton, from Whickham, and M. Lupton. M. L. preached in the afternoon, and E. Newton in the morning and evening. The congregations were good. In the evening we held a prayer meeting; for some time a severe struggle ensued; but ultimately the prayer of faith prevailed, the converting work began, and eight souls professed to find the Lord. On Monday evening Sister Newton preached, and five souls rejoiced in a sin-pardoning God.
Sep. 16th. — Quarter-day. — Peace and harmony prevailed, cheering accounts were received from most places in the circuit, and the report presented an increase of forty-five members. “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us”.
South Shields , W. Wake, President
Dec. 16, 1837. O. Jackson, Secretary.
Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838. Pages 99-103.