Messrs Moody and Sankey were yesterday in Edinburgh, and in
connection with their visit a series of meetings took place in the Free
Assembly Hall. In the forenoon there was a crowded attendance to hear an
address from Mr Moody. Admission was by ticket up till a quarter before eleven,
but so many non-ticket holders put in an appearance as to block the approaches;
and to a large extent those who had tickets and those who had not were on the
same footing as regards admission. The gathering was so large that it was found
necessary to have an overflowmeeting in the Free High Church, which was
addressed by Dr Andrew A. Bonar, Glasgow.
At the Assembly Hall meeting, in addition to the general audience, there was a considerable gathering of ministers from various parts of Scotland, among them being Principal Rainy and Principal Cairns, and the members of the professoriate of the Free Church and United Presbyterian Church Divinity Halls. Principal Cairns was out for the first time for several months. In the preliminary devotional service Mr Sankey sang a couple of solos to his own accompaniment on the American organ, and Principal Cairns and the Rev. Dr Stalker, Glasgow, engaged in prayer. Mr MOODY, in an address lasting nearly an hour, spoke on the subject of "The Holy Spirit," and in particular the work of the Holy Spirit. In the first place, he said, the Holy Spirit convicted of sin. That was why a good many people did not like to go to religious meetings where the Holy Spirit was at work. He made them "kick up cross," and go out of the door and stamp their feet. It was better that way, however, than that they should go to sleep. People said, Our minister is eloquent, and so forth. Why does he not convert men? But if the angel Gabriel wore to drop down from heaven with every hair on his head lit up, and to preach for five hours, there would not be one convinced if the Holy Spirit was not there. The Holy Spirit, he went on to say, shed abroad love in the hearts of men. That was the atmosphere in which it worked, and it was because of the absence of that atmosphere that they had the spectacle of several ministers living in a small town and not speaking to one another. The Spirit of God imparted hope and gave liberty. The ministers who were present knew what was meant by the lack of liberty. He did not think an angel from heaven could come down and preach if people only took their places in the pew to say, We will sit down here and watch that man. They wanted to get that accursed spirit of criticism out of the pews. One man wanted an appeal to his emotions, another to his intellect, as if he had any. They took a man to pieces and wondered why he had not any influence.
Mr Moody went on to say that the Spirit of God testified of Christ. There were a good many who had the spiritual life without power. Their spiritual well was dry in the summer and frozen in the winter. They had in Spurgeon an example of the man who was filled with the spirit, and from whom there flowed accordingly rivers of living water. On the other hand, they had the example of a man in the pulpit whom they saw pump and pump, and they heard the pump squeak for the reason that there was not much in it. They sometimes saw notices of shops to let "with or without power," meaning that there was an engine at the back which could be turned on if need be. It would be well, when a member wanted to join the Church, if it were put to him whether he wanted to join with or without power. If the latter, they might tell him they had enough of that kind already.
In the afternoon a conference took place on Christian life and work, which was largely attended.
Mr J. Campbell White of Overtoun presided, and among the speakers were the Rev. Dr Andrew A. Bonar, Glasgow; the Rev. Dr Stalker, Glasgow; the Rev. John Smith, Edinburgh; the Rev. William Ross, Glasgow; and the Rev. William Robertson, Home Mission Deputy of the Church of Scotland.
Dr BONAR argued that expectation was one of the great means of getting power, and Dr STALKER said that God's power went in the channel of our honest efforts. People blamed such a movement as that of Mr Moody's when it passed away without much effect, but it might be that the servants of God did not gather where He gave. In the course of the proceedings prayer was offered by Professor Blaikie on behalf of the Royal Family.
In the evening a united evangelistic meeting was held in the Free Assembly Hall. Professor Simpson, M.D., presided over an attendance which filled the hall in every part. After prayer and praise, the Rev. R. J. Drummond, Lothian Road United Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh, delivered the first of a series of addresses, the other speakers being the Rev. James E. Houstoun, Dundee, and the Rev. Alexander Leo, Nairn. The proceedings, which lasted two hours, were also taken part in by the Rev. John M'Ewan, John Knox Free Church; the Rev. George Davidson, St Mary's Free Church; and the Rev. Mr Grant, Bristo Street Baptist Chapel, Edinburgh. In the course of the prayers and addresses feeling reference was made to the death of the Duke of Clarence.
The meetings of yesterday were organised by an Edinburgh Committee, of which Professor Simpson is Chairman and Mr G. A. Barclay is secretary. The same Committee are arranging Mr Moody's other meetings in the East of Scotland.
In Dr Bonar's diary this day is mentioned as
Thursday 21st January 1892 - "Yesterday memorable because of the funeral of the prince (the Duke of Clarence), all the nation feeling it as a calamity. But in another way yesterday was memorable (like 'the year that King Uzziah died'); we had a remarkable meeting with Moody and Sankey at Edinburgh, and a day of prayer for the Holy Spirit.
We were seeking that like Isaiah 6 ministers especially, but also all God's people, might be visited by the outpouring of the Spirit. This is our Communion week. The Lord helped me greatly yesterday at Edinburgh when called upon quite unexpectedly to take an overflow meeting. It was a time of great blessing".
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