A Great Revival of Religion
Transcription of Article in the Christian Messenger by Isaiah Potts
God has visited Filey. A tidal wave of spiritual power, has come over, the town. The air is full of spiritual electricity. Filey has not had such a spiritual visitation for more than a quarter of a century. We have had the old-time life, and the old-time light; the old-time fire, the old-time power, the old-time glory, and the old-time conversions. The year 1902 will never be forgotten in Filey. It must be an historic year. We have had calamity after calamity, and disaster after disaster, until, in the month of September last, Filey was one of the saddest towns in the nation. Many of us felt that we had only God to cling to; and we clung to Him with a tenacious faith. And amid the greatest discouragements our Church kept to its spiritual work. At times we have had but few helpers, and many hinderers. However, amid all, our congregation was most encouraging. Sunday after Sunday a congregation has gathered in our beautiful house of prayer, and listened attentively to the burning truths of the Gospel. After the visitors left the town, at the end of September, our people gathered together for prayer. The spirit of prayer came upon the people, and they “had a mind to work.” We have had as many as ten and eleven cottage prayer-meetings at the same time, in different parts of the town. Each prayer meeting closed at 7.45; and then each praying band sang to a centre, where an open-air service was held, and as many as 500 people have worship with us in the open air, and many people gave themselves to the Lord.
And now Mr. and Mrs. Harrison came to us in much love and faith, simplicity and power. To describe the faith, pathos, and holy power of Mr and Mrs. Harrison is impossible. They are really two flames of fire. They are as fearless as Elijah, and as full of tenderness and love as John. They are very original, and their aptitude is amazing. You never know what Mr. Harrison is going to do and we very much question if he knows him self a quarter of a minute before he does it and yet he always seems to do the right thing. His strength is the special gift of God. He is “abundant in labours.” The Filey people loved Mr. and Mrs. Harrison from the first, and worked with them in every way as Mr. Harrison directed. The congregations were large, and the beautiful house of prayer was packed both on Sundays and week-days. The services were full of the presence and the power of God, and about 200 souls have decided for Jesus Christ. We have not an enquiry room, but every convert has come bodily forward to the communion-rail, and in the presence of the large congregation have consecrated their lives to Jesus Christ. Sometimes there was the stillness of death in the service, and strong men came forward and yielded themselves to God. There have been many striking and interesting cases of conversion. Many have been converted in their homes. When one family was retiring to rest the father began to weep, saying he could not “stand this any longer.” The family knelt on the hearth, and the father gave himself to the Lord. He is now a bright and happy Christian. Our open-air missions have been a splendid success We have noticed as many as 600 people in the streets singing the praises of God with all their might. We visited the public-houses, and sang Gospel hymns for the tipplers, which moved many of them very deeply.
Mr. Harrison’s lecture “On the Slums of Liverpool” was a most able one. He gave a fine description of the city, its docks, railways and historic buildings. But when he referred to the sins and sorrows of the city, the large congregation was deeply moved.
The “faith tea” was a great success. There was no previous arrangement, no tea committee, and yet everything was in perfect order. The tables were attractive and beautiful. The people sent tea, sugar, milk, bread, butter, beef, ham, cheesecakes, tarts, and, indeed, everything that was necessary. More than one vestry was filled with provisions. We had never seen such a sight before. About 700 sat down to tea, and then we had so much left that we made up about 80 parcels of wholesome food, and sent them to God’s poor. And after we had sent the parcels to the poor we knelt down and then thanked God that we had something to give away.
This has been a mighty spiritual move. And the glorious work of saving men is still going on. Men are giving themselves to the Lord. A few nights ago one of the principal business men of the town came forward and gave himself to the Saviour‘ He said, “Mr. Potts, I had made up my mind to be converted; but I did not mean to be converted in a hole and corner fashion. I meant to do it publicly. I want the whole town to know about it.” And now he is going about telling others what God has done for his soul. Our congregations are very large, our beautiful chapel is filled with people. The class meetings are crowded. The Sunday school, the Bible Class and the Christian Endeavour are well attended. We must go on until we have won Filey for Jesus Christ.
Christian Messenger 1903/6