Isle of Wight and Portsmouth Missions
From the Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838
THE ISLE OF WIGHT AND PORTSMOUTH MISSIONS OF HULL CIRCUIT.
Camp Meetings. — During the summer of 1837, we held six Camp meetings. The first was held at Newport, in the Isle of Wight, on the 21st of May.
The singing through the town went well, and had a good effect. The latter part of the day was wet, which shortened the afternoon services; but God worked.
The lovefeast in the evening was very powerful, and three souls professed to find peace with God.
The second was held at Southampton, on the 28th of May. The day was remarkably fine. The scene of action was the race ground.
The enemy raged furiously. A policeman tried to stop us from beating to arms, by our usual method of singing through the main parts of the town in the morning. I told him we should use our own judgment, and proceeded onwards. He made a second attack, but as unsuccessful as the first; for I informed him that I should do just as I thought proper, regardless of him or his prison. The company was now great, and the singing very powerful.
After we had cleared the town, the “baser sort”assailed us with dung out of the grass fields, and threw dust and gravel into the air. On the field, the battle was very hot, and some people doubted whether we should maintain our position. But it was evident to me that the courage, of God’s host increased in proportion as the foe became more daring. Many impressive discourses were delivered with great energy and good effect; for the men of might, at intervals, could not find their hands, nor move their tongues; but were evidently cut to the heart by the two-edged sword of the Spirit, and awed to silence by the solemn presence of the God of the armies of Israel. But still the day’s services might be justly termed “a fight;” for though the troops of satan were routed, they rallied again; and when re-routed, they re-rallied ; but as often as they renewed the combat, so often were they met with the invincible armour of meekness and patience, of firmness and zeal, and of courage and confidence, which enabled Immanuel’s army to bear away the palm, and rejoice over the spoil taken on the day of the first, and never-to-be forgotten, Camp meeting, held at Southampton.
The day closed with a good lovefeast; and though many were left bleeding under the wounds of an awakened conscience, two were healed of their wounds, by faith in the blood of the Lamb that was slain for the sins of the whole world.
“Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, I will repay.” E— D—, a young man, not twenty years of age, one of the worst persecutors we had at Southampton Camp meeting, who, when we went on to the ground, said, “Make way, and let the Ball people come,” went home at night and was taken very ill. On the Tuesday after, about noon, he said he thought he could eat a mutton chop; but before his father, who went for it, could return, he was Dead. He had engaged to play at cricket on the following Sabbath, on the said camp ground; but the Sovereign of the universe, and Saviour of his injured people, called him away to answer for his conduct in another place. “Verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.”
Another was so alarmed that he could not sleep in his bed, and cried out in terror and distress, “Do you not hear those people preaching and praying?”
The third Camp meeting was held at Rookley, in the Isle of Wight, on the 25th of June. The day was fine, but the congregation small. There was a good feeling on the ground. The lovefeast was very powerful, and several professed to obtain full redemption through faith in the great atonement.
The fourth was held at West Cowes, Isle of Wight, on the 23rd of July. The day was excessively hot. The procession in the morning moved the town. The power of God fixed the attention of all descriptions of people. In the afternoon about one thousand people were present. Persecution was attempted, but the arm of the Lord was too powerful for the enemy.
At night the best lovefeast, in the speaking department, was held, that I had ever seen in this part of the kingdom. One got saved, and another got fully sanctified, by faith in Jesus. This was the first Camp meeting held at Cowes.
The fifth was held at Portsmouth, on the 30th of July. — The first we have held in this place. The weather was unsettled. Rain fell both morning and afternoon; and on that account we were partly confined to the chapel. The services through the town were very mighty. The lovefeast good. Two found peace with God, and several professed to obtain full redemption during the day, through faith in the once crucified, but now exalted Saviour of men.
The sixth was held at Ryde, Isle of Wight, on the 27th of August. The day was cold. Congregation small. A very gracious feeling was evident; and real spiritual profit closed the day in a cottage-house lovefeast. I missioned this fashionable town in the open air. Since the Camp meeting we have taken a room here.
The cavillers against Camp meetings in this country are numerous. What will they say to this fruit? Perhaps dispute its reality. But if they will accompany us, we can take them to persons who owe their conversion from sin to holiness — and from rebellion to obedience, under God, to Camp meetings. And the fruit of these six meetings is but small, as compared with the effects of Camp meetings generally. To instance one out of many:-I attended a Camp meeting held in the month of June, the same summer, at Hull, conducted by Bro. Wm. Clowes, at which there were not less than ten thousand people. And at the evening lovefeast it was believed by us, who were engaged in the work, that more than twenty souls were brought into the liberty of the children of God, by faith in Jesus.
Yours in Christ,
(Approved by the Hull Quarter Day.)
Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838. Pages 458-459.