Notices from the Circuit Reports taken in March 1838

From the Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838

At page 213 of the present volume, there is a notice relative to raising new classes, with an instance of it at Tunstall; and as our friends may wish to know more of the progress of the cause there, we give, the following from the circuit report:-

Number of members in the circuit is one thousand one hundred and eighty-five.  Increase for the year one hundred and one.  Deaths twenty five.

“The work of the Lord is reviving in many places.  Sinners are turning to God every week, and the converting work is mighty.  We owe our prosperity, under God, to the unity, peace, and good understanding among our preachers and official characters, and to the incessant labours of our warm-spirited praying companies, who are formed into missionary parties, and whose success is great.  Scores of souls will have to bless the Lord to all eternity for their indefatigable zeal in this glorious work.  Glory to the Lord for all his mercies.  What shall we render to him for all the benefits we receive.”

In Tunstall and other places in this circuit, it may be said, as in Neh. iv. 6. “The people had a mind to work.”

It may not be unedifying to give a few more notices from circuit reports.

Ramsor. — “During the past year twenty-six have removed out of the circuit, 64 have fallen away or withdrawn, and five have died, in all ninety-five.  Still, after filling up our ranks, we have an increase of ten members.  Wehave made Leek into a separate circuit; and we have built a new chapel at Ellaston, and have rebuilt and enlarged Ipstone’s Chapel

Burland. — Nine hundred members, increase for the year is seventy-six, and fifteen deaths.

“During the year that is past some new societies have been raised up, and many sinners have been converted to God.  The prospect presented to our circuit in general is very pleasing.”

Wrockwardine Wood Circuit — Four hundred and seventy members, and four deaths.

“We are unfeignedly thankful to the great Head of the church, for the peace and harmony which have pervaded every part of our circuit, during the past year; and for the success which has attended the labours of our itinerant, local, and other brethren.  We have filed up our ranks in which breaches had been made by deaths, removals, backslidings, &c., and have an increase of forty members for the year.”

Ludlow. — “We have had many removals, but our circuit is in a rising state.  Many precious souls have been converted, and believers have been built up in their most holy faith.

“We have, during the past year, built two new chapels, which are doing well; and we have established some Sunday schools.”

Birmingham. — “Various have been the difficulties we have had to struggle with during the year: but hitherto the Lord hath helped us.  We have eight hundred members, and our increase for the year is seventy-five. — Deaths seven.

“In consequence of the great embarrassment in trade, fifty-two members have removed from the circuit, principally from the town of Birmingham; and many others are considerably reduced in their circumstances; and this has affected our finances.  But though poor in this world’s good, the Lord hath made numbers rich in faith, and heirs of his eternal kingdom.  In December, 1837, we made Lichfield into a new circuit with one hundred and twenty members.”

Presteign. — “The number of members given in last year was two hundred.  And during the present year fifty-eight have left society, twelve have removed to other circuits, and two have died, being a total of seventy-two.  We are happy to say that the ranks have been filled up, and we have given in an increase of twenty.”  The number is now two hundred and twenty.

Dudley. — The number in society is seven hundred and eighty.

“Through the blessing of God we have had a peaceable and prosperous year.  We did, indeed, suffer materially through political agitation during the time of the election of members to parliament.  Some of our old members fell into sin, and many who had been awakened to a sense of their danger, fell away.  In a few months, however, we recovered the shock; and, we are thankful to report an increase of one hundred and fifty.  Encouraged by our success, we have called out another preacher, and intend devoting one half of his labours to missionary operations.

“Among the means which it has pleased God to lender effectual in the conversion of sinners among us, open-air services may be regarded as one of the most eminent.

“The distribution of religious tracts has also tended in some places to increase our congregations; though we have had no regular system for their circulation, a few members, at different places, have purchased tracts at their own expense, and, with a praiseworthy zeal, have circulated them among their neighbours, and invited them to the means of grace.”

Macclesfield and Congleton union circuit. — Seven hundred and forty-seven members; the increase for the year is sixty-five; deaths eighteen.

“Upon the whole, our circuit is in a prosperous state; the causes of which are, the peace and unity that dwell among the travelling and local preachers, the leaders and members; attention to discipline and the doctrines of the connexion.”

This is now formed in two, the Macclesfield circuit and the Congleton circuit.

Longton. — “There is an increase of piety in our societies, and the arm of the Lord has been made bare amongst us; souls have been converted to God, and the work is still going on.

“Four of our members have died, and some have removed to other parts.  Our increase for the year is fifty-five.”.

Stafford has been separated from Longton, and made into a new circuit.

Loughborough. — Three hundred and thirty members; increase thirty; deaths three.

“We feel a pleasure in presenting our annual report, inasmuch as God has given us a prospect in the midst of difficulties.  Our congregations, in most of our places, are increasing through re-missioning; and our Sunday schools are improving.”

Sheffield. — Five hundred and thirty-two members ; increase twenty-seven; deaths two.

“In the home branch, after making up for ninety-eight, who have left, and one that has died, we have an increase of twenty-six.

“In the Doncaster branch, after making up for twenty-five who have left, and one that has died, we have an increase of one.”

Barnsley. — Four hundred and forty members; increase thirteen; deaths seven.

“Local and travelling preachers have laboured hard; out-door preaching and processioning have been attended to with good effect, and the Camp meetings have been powerful; but the great depression of trade has been keenly felt by many of the members, who have suffered much.”

Belper. — Five hundred and ninety-four members.

“We have had ten happy deaths, fifteen removals to other circuits, and 35 cut off from membership for not walking according to the gospel; yet after all we have a clear increase of fifty-eight members.”

Chesterfield. — Three hundred and thirty-six members; increase twenty-seven; deaths seven.

“At several of our places the converting work has gone on, and is going on, and other places are improving.  We have had to encounter unpleasant circumstances, but the Lord has been our help; and the discipline of the circuit is improving.”

Leicester. — Eight hundred and sixty members; deaths eleven.

“Through God’s blessing on our united labours, our circuit is in a good state. We live in peace, love, power, and glory; and our increase for the year is one hundred souls.”

Winster. — Four hundred and sixty-eight members.

“We have had three-deaths, fourteen removals, and fifty-one have fallen or left; yet we have an increase of eighteen members.  We attribute our prosperity to the blessing of God attending the united efforts of our travelling and local preachers, leaders, and members.”

Mansfield. — Two hundred and ten in society; two deaths.

“We have had to lament the depression of trade.  Nearly the whole of our members are in the hosiery branch, which department has been so intolerably bad, that most of them have been reduced to a state of suffering and distress.  Many of them have been brought to a morsel of bread.  This has had a disastrous effect on our finances.  In addition to this, no less than eighty members have been removed from our class-books.  This has been a stroke awfully felt in so small a circuit.  But the Lord of hosts has been with us; our ranks have been filled up, and we have an increase of ten.  We attribute our prosperity to the Divine blessing on our united efforts in enforcing the doctrines of a present, free, and full salvation.

Boston. — Two hundred and sixty-one members; two deaths.

“Many poor sinners have been converted, and brought into the fold of Christ.  We have realized an increase of fifty members.  We have built a new chapel on the mission, which is settled on the connexion, and is in good circumstances.”

Derby. — Two hundred and sixty-six in society; increase thirty; deaths four.

“Both in things temporal and spiritual the Lord hath helped us; and we trust he will still continue to help us.”

Melton Mowbray. — One hundred and eighty-two in society; one death.

“ Through a variety of local circumstances the work of God was low in our circuit until about Christmas, when a general quickening took place, which was followed by a revival.  Many of the vilest sinners were suddenly arrested by the power of God, cried for mercy, and then and there obtained pardon through Christ; while others have wrestled with God for hours, and in some instances nearly all night, before they found deliverance from the guilt of sin.  God has graciously set his seal to the doctrine of a free, full, and present salvation.  Our clear increase is forty.

“We attribute our prosperity to — First, a day of fasting and prayer for a revival of the work of God, which was appointed by the December quarter day to be the last Friday in January.

“2. To the untiring efforts of the brethren.

“3. To the God of all grace, who has owned the preaching of his word, and answered the prayers of his people.”

Donington. — One hundred and eighty members; increase thirty-nine, and three deaths.

“We have an increase of members through the conversion of sinners to God.  To him be all the glory.”

HULL. — Four thousand six hundred and seventy-one members.  Increase for the year, six hundred and twenty-five.  Deaths thirty-seven.

Scotter. — One thousand two hundred and forty-four members.  Increase forty-nine; ten deaths.

“Through the blessing of God on the labours of another year, we are enabled to report our circuit as being in a healthy and working condition.”

Lincoln. — Two hundred and fifty-two members; fifty increase, one death.

Grimsby. — Five hundred and fifty-three; increase fifty-eight; twelve deaths.

“The circuit is in a rising state; the cause is the promotion of peace, and the Unction of the Holy One attending the labours of our preachers and people.”

Pocklington. — “Members four hundred and sixty-one; increase eleven; deaths eight.  The improvement we anticipated last year has been to a considerable extent realized.”

Malton. — Seven hundred and twenty-six; increase fifty-two; deaths six.  “Matters with us, through the Divine blessing, assumes an encouraging aspect.”

Leeds.— “ During the past year we have witnessed the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit to save sinners and establish believers.  Our number is one thousand five hundred and seventy-one, being an increase of two hundred and eight”  Deaths eighteen.

Halifax. — “During the year, 8 have died, 7 have removed to other circuits, and 66 have left or fallen.  But, through the blessing of God on our united exertions, we have been able to fill up the ranks, and to realize an increase of one hundred and fifty.

“We have opened a new chapel at Greetland, which is regularly settled on the connexion ; and the Lord has there made bare his arm in the conversion of sinners.  And a Sunday school has been instituted.”

Wakefield. — Three hundred and sixty-seven.  “We have had various removals and 3 deaths.  Our increase is fifty-seven.  We attribute our prosperity to the zealous and efficient labours of our travelling preachers, seconded by the local preachers and praying labourers.”

Louth. — Members six hundred and ten; deaths 5.  Increase one hundred.  “The cause of our prosperity has been the travelling and local preachers pressing upon the people a free, full, and present salvation, and urging them to a HOLY walk with God.”

Bradford. — Seven hundred and seventy members; deaths seven.  “One chapel has been opened since May last year.  We have a good work in several places, and a general quickening in the circuit.  Our increase is one hundred.  God is with us.”

Swinefleet. — Three hundred and fifty; increase 10, deaths 8.

Knowl Wood. — Three hundred and six; deaths 3.  “We have seventeen increase; our congregations are good, and our societies generally doing well.”

Horncastle. — Two hundred and eighty-five; increase 30; deaths 6.  “We have now a revival in some of the places, and our prospects with regard to the future are pleasing.”

Sunderland . — One thousand two hundred and forty; increase forty; deaths 9.

“Our congregations are good throughout the circuit; and during the year we have had some revivals in country places; and still more so in the circuit town, amongst a neglected and ignorant class of people, — the pilots of this harbour, who are daily exposed to many dangers.  Several of them, notorious for drunkenness, have recently got converted to God; and, with their families, are experiencing the blessings of the gospel.

“We have had a special meeting or two of the official characters, to devise the best means to promote a general revival of religion in the circuit; to cultivate a spirit of Christian unity among the brethren, and an increase of personal holiness; and to set apart a particular hour daily, to pray for an especial out-pouring of the Spirit of God in our congregations, in our classes, and in our families.

“We have purchased a chapel at Durham, and erected another at Hylton.”

Ripon. — Seven hundred and thirty; deaths 7.  During the year there have been removed, excluded, dead, &c.  96. But their places have been supplied, and our increase is two hundred and fifty.

“In the home part we have a general revival going on; congregations in most of the places overflowing, sinners getting converted, and experimental and practical religion more prominent in the societies.

“In our Thirsk and Bedale mission we have a great work in many places; and an ingathering of precious souls.

“Borough Bridge mission, opened after our September quarter-day, is going on tolerably well.

“We cannot ascribe our prosperity to any particular persons or circumstances.  But we may safely attribute it to the blessing of God on the united efforts of the preachers, leaders, pious praying members, and Sunday School teachers, who in their respective offices have generally been aroused to a more faithful discharge of their duties. ‘I (Paul) have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.’  To him be all the glory.  Amen.”

North Shields..It affords us considerable gratification to be able, at length, to report to you some degree of prosperity in this corner of the vineyard.  A recital of all the great difficulties through which we have had to wade, would be more tedious than edifying.  But we have the consolation to know that an EYE hath beheld us in all our sufferings; and with a benignity compatible with his own nature hath said, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee.”  And, praise God, obeying the mandate, we have not been disappointed.

“Our congregation in North Shields is mightily increased, and the society about doubled.  We have re-established our Sabbath school, and have also commenced two new ones in the circuit, and several children are converted to God.

“We have had the loss of many members by removals and otherwise, and four have died.  But still we have four hundred and seventy-four, being a neat increase for the year, of twenty-three; so that, through the aid of the ever-blessed Spirit, we have succeeded in gathering about 158 precious souls out of the kingdom of darkness this year.”

South Shields. — Four hundred and sixty eight.  “Most places in the circuit are improving; the converting work is going on in several of them, and our prospects are pleasing.

“Fifty-eight members have removed from our circuit during the year, and six have died; yet we have an increase of forty-eight.  To God be all the glory.  We attribute our prosperity, under the blessing of Almighty God, to the united labours of our itinerant and local preachers, and leaders, and pious praying labourers.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne. — “We have been involved in difficulties by the failure of — , and the sickness of Brother G. Thompson.  Still the places have in general been well supplied, and many of them have increased both in numbers and congregations.  The Lord hath in a special manner owned the labours of our preachers, leaders, members, and Sunday school teachers, in the town of Newcastle.”

The chapel in Silver-street being too small, they, some months before this, entered upon erecting a larger; and they say, “We may well exclaim, ‘What hath God wrought!’  Our number in March, 1837, was seven hundred and twenty-two; but — took sixty away; and July 6,1837, we found that 18 more had either removed or fallen.  But after filling up these deficiencies, as well as the places of seven who have died, we find an increase of thirty-three.  Praise the Lord.”

Darlington. — Six hundred and seventy; increase one hundred; deaths eleven.

“The Lord has poured out his Spirit, and many have been truly converted to God, especially in the country places.  We attribute our prosperity to the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit; the regularity of the travelling preachers in attending their appointments, and the local brethren in co-operating with them; and the zeal of the leaders and members.”

Glasgow. — Ninety-nine; increase eighteen; one death.  “We have had many difficulties; but, thanks be to God, the day is dawning upon us; the wilderness begins to bud as the rose, and the dew from heaven falls in gentle showers.”

Glasgow has made Paisley into a separate circuit.

Edinburgh. — One hundred and thirty; increase forty-six; one death.

“We have had many difficulties to encounter; many have left us; and, during the winter, our people have suffered much.  But, under the blessing of God on the exertions of our travelling preacher, local brethren, and praying labourers, we have been enabled to press forward.  We have opened a mission in Alloa, a seaport town, on the north side of the Frith of Forth, in the county of Clackmannon, about thirty miles from Edinburgh, and have twenty-two members there.  We have also missioned Dunfermline, a town midway between Edinburgh and Alloa, and have there a society of fourteen members.

Paisley. — Formed from Glasgow, in December, 1837.  Members, one hundred and ten; increase five; one death.  “We are steadily advancing in numbers, stability, and piety.”

Fakenham. — Six hundred and thirty; increase sixty; six deaths.  “We are thankful to be able to report our circuit in a rising state.”

Yarmouth. — Eight hundred and twenty.  “The Lord has poured out his Holy Spirit, sinners have been converted, and believers have felt the precious blood of Christ applied to their hearts; and many have joined us who were prejudiced against us.  We have had eleven deaths; and many have been the vacancies through removals, apostasies, and otherwise.  But the Lord of hosts has been on our side; his arm hath been made bare in the salvation of others; so that after all we have to report forty of increase.  We attribute our prosperity to combination of effort, and strict attention to the discipline of the connexion.”

Upwell . — Four hundred and fifty; increase twenty.  “We have lately received of the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit; some of the vilest have been saved (and the work of salvation has extended), from the child of tender years to the sinner of threescore; and the work of holiness is extending and deepening in believers; and our circuit plan is made for a general re-missioning of the whole circuit.

“We have built one connexional chapel, and another is commenced; and we are raising a fund to build a Sabbath school-room contiguous to our chapel at Upwell.

“We have had three deaths, and have lost many members by removals and otherwise; but still we have an increase.”

Brandon .. Eight hundred; deaths nine.  “We have had to labour under many difficulties; but by the interference of Providence, we have been brought safe through.  Praise the Lord for all his mercies; and the work is still going on.  And though 210, like Demas, have left us, yet our ranks have been filled up, and we have a goodly increase of two hundred and eleven.

“We attribute our prosperity to the blessing of the great Head of the church on the united exertions of our travelling and local preachers, together with the praying members; to the love, peace, and harmony which subsists amongst us; and to the scriptural doctrine of a free, full, and present salvation, which has been faithfully, affectionately, and constantly preached by all our preachers.  And God has crowned their efforts with abundant success, giving them souls for their hire.  Another means of our prosperity has been the attention paid to discipline.”

High Wycomb. Two hundred sixty; increase ten; one death,  “We have had much persecution in some places; but, through Divine help, we have got on hitherto.”

Wisbech. — “Through the tender mercy of God we have been brought through the trials of another year, and have witnessed the arm of the Almighty in the salvation of many souls.  Our number is three hundred and seventy-nine, having an increase of forty-six.  The last year we admitted no less than one hundred and seven into the society; but still the falling off was greater than the increase till the last quarter; and many were our anxious thoughts and fears.  But now the Lord is pouring out the genial showers of his grace; and in some places we have had quite a revival.  Backsliders have been reclaimed, and young and old converted to God.  And we have eight Sabbath schools, doing well”

Wangford. — Five hundred and two; increase eleven; four deaths.

Saham and Watton union. — Two hundred and seventy; increase twenty; deaths five.

Ipswich. — Four hundred; increase fifty; one death.  “Our brethren appear still more united on the all-important matters, the glory of God, the extension of the Redeemer’s kingdom, and the salvation of immortal souls.

“We have before us a large missionary field, into which we feel disposed to enter as soon as our financial affairs will admit of it.  And it gives us pleasure to state, that Colchester mission, in the county of Essex, which is now (by Yarmouth ), attached to our circuit, is likely to become a flourishing place.  We have bought a piece of land, on which we intend to erect a connexional chapel.”

Cambridge. — One hundred and fifty-six; increase forty; one death.  “We have been much engaged in missionary labours.”

Kelsale. — One hundred; increase four; two deaths.  This new circuit experienced such difficulties that “the whole circuit was shaken.”  But they say, “In November, 1837, the gloom began to disperse, God drove back the enemy, and cheered our drooping minds; and from that time we have experienced a steady progressive rising.”

Stowmarket, made from Rockland, in December, 1837. — One hundred members; increase five.  “We have begun a Sunday school at Stowmarket, which we hope will do well.”

 

Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838.  Pages 352-355; 380-384.

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