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I saw two men sitting smoking their pipes: the woman placed a chair for me.
I sat down and read the titles of three tracts, viz. “ Are you prepared to die?” “Why should I not be saved ?” and “ Prepare to meet thy God.” I read the two first, which seemed to make a solemn impression upon their minds ; after which I began to converse freely upon the nature of sin, the way of salvation, &c. They were very attentive, and I left them apparently in a very different frame of mind to what I found them in.
I also observed that a very powerful impression was made upon the mind of Mr.
by the tract “Prepare to meet thy God!” After I had finished reading it, he said there were some men working with him who did not believe there was a God, and he thought that tract would convince them to the con. trary. He folded it up, with two others, put them in his pocket, and said he would endeavour to get them to read for themselves. The next time I saw this man I inquired about the tracts. He said he had given them to one of the men. I asked him what he said to them? He told me the man would not read them : that he said they were only fit for the Methodists; but that he had since then broke his leg in a fit of drunkenness, and was now in the hospital.
I might also mention the case of Mrs. of No. This woman was formerly very proud and indifferent to everything of a religious nature; she would sometimes tear the tracts, and throw them after the Missionary; but it is not so now. She was induced to attend our prayer-meetings, and the word came with power to her heart. She says she cannot sleep at night as she used to do; when she wakes, she begins to think of her past sins, and it often prevents her from going to sleep again. All she wants now is to feel confident that God would pardon her, and to see her husband attending to the welfare of his soul. She said she used to feel ashamed for any one to know that she went to the house of prayer; but she don't care who sees her now: she is never so happy as when she is there. The last case I would mention under this head is that of Mrs. -> (formerly of
-), whom I visited some time previous to her death. She said, “ That when the tracts were brought to her door, she would often keep it bolted or locked, and pretend to be out.” I endeavoured to direct her mind to those passages which set forth God's willingness to pardon the vilest sinner, who will only come in the name of Jesus. I continued to visit her till her death, and had reason to hope she died a penitent believer in the atoning merits of her great Redeemer.
AFFLICTIONS AND DEATHS. This part of my Report brings many solemn scenes to my mind, which I have witnessed during the past year, standing as I have done by the dying beds of so many whom I have reason to fear had but little confidence in the Saviour; but this was not the case
with all, several having given pleasing testimony of their faith in Christ, being enabled to rejoice in him even in the pains of death. Two or three cases I shall here briefly mention :--The first time I visited Mr. J. of —, his wife said, “ Oh, Sir, how glad I am to see you, my husband has been talking about you day and night.” Mr. J., on seeing me, put out his hand, and as he began to weep, he said in a very affecting manner, “Pray for a dying sinner! Oh! pray for a dying sinner!” I immediately proceeded to offer up prayer on his behalf, after which I read some passages of Scripture, and directed him to look to the Saviour. He said he had been going on in a wrong course for more than forty years, and although he knew he was wrong he still kept on in it; and now he had been made to feel it. I showed him God's willingness to save to the uttermost. I found he had generally some question to ask me whenever I called to see him ; this served to show the working of his mind. One time he asked me to explain the meaning of condemnation, at another time he wished to know what the Apostie meant when he said, “ Oh, death! where is thy sting?” I endeavoured to answer all his questions, by referring to different passages of the Word of God. I generally visited him every other day, and sometimes oftener, until his death. His wife told me she never knew him to open his mind to any one except your Missionary. The last time I saw him, he told me he enjoyed the presence of Jesus. I read and prayed with him, at the close of which he thanked me for my kind attention to him during his illness. When I first visited Mrs. of
I found her in a very weak state; she could not read, and knew nothing of the way of salvation. She lingered for many months, and finding her very anxious about her soul, I continued to visit her regularly, and found her very attentive, and she was soon enabled to comprehend the way of salvation. Upon one occasion she said, “Oh, what should I have done if God had not sent you to instruct me, and explain these things to my mind, I should have been miserable, but now I am happy. Oh, what a blessed thing it is to have such means of instruction ; it is worth thousands of gold and silver ; all the riches in the world are nothing to be compared to it, for these things could never save my soul. No, it is only my blessed Saviour that can do that; and I hope and trust he has done that
I do not doubt it in the least, and I shall be thankful to go my blessed Saviour whenever he is pleased to call me.”. On my next visit, when I said, “ How do you find yourself,” she answered, “Oh! longing for heaven ! praying for heaven! I hope the Lord will soon answer my prayers, and take me to be with my blessed Saviour, that is all my desire. You do not know how much I love him. Ought not I to love him for dying for such a sinner as I have been? You first taught me to pray for mercy,
and directed me to the Saviour, and now I can pray for heaven.” The
fear of death was entirely removed from her mind. She kept telling her mother it would not be long before she should be with her blessed Saviour. I do not remember having witnessed a more firm and simple dependence upon the Saviour for some time.
She was also visited by a clergyman, who had every reason to believe it to be a genuine case of conversion. I have frequently been called upon to visit dying people near the district, where the visits of your Missionary have been highly valued, and I trust, in some instances, have been made useful either to the individual, or to the friends. I might mention several other interesting cases under this head, but it would lengthen this report too much. They will be found in my Journal.
PRAYER-MEETINGS. I have held three meetings weekly for the exposition of Scripture and prayer, which have been blessed to many of the people in the district. One young man who attended told me he liked the meeting, because they were all poor people like himself ; if they had been better dressed he should not have felt so much inclined to come. This young man also told me that he had been a drunkard, a gambler, a reprobate, and everything that was bad ; but now the thought of these things was a source of grief to his mind, and the only thing he wanted to know now was, whether the change he felt was the work of the Holy Spirit. He is now engaged as a Sunday-school teacher. I also have the happiness of knowing, that three individuals who have attended "these meetings have been admitted members of the Church of Christ during the past year.
On Sunday, June, 2, 1839, I felt much encouraged by meeting seven individuals just coming from the table of the Lord, all of whom
your Missionary had been instrumental, in the Lord's hand, of leading there, and what is still more delightful, they continue to adorn their profession by a consistent walk and conversation. Two of the men are now engaged on the Sabbath in distributing tracts. When Mrs.
of first attended our meetings, her former companions used to laugh at her and call her names, but they have at length been so much surprised at the change which has been wrought in her character, that some of them have acknowledged their error, and her sister has become a constant attendant at the house of God. She is much afflicted, and used to be in great dread of death, but now she rejoices in her affliction. She says, she knows it has been a great blessing to her soul. When I look at these individuals, and others which might be mentioned, I feel constrained to say with gratitude and love, “ What hath God wrought !”
I am sorry to say there are many in the district who have no
disposition to read the Word of God themselves, or to have it read to them. One man residing at when he saw me take out my Bible, began to hammer much harder upon a piece of leather which he had before him, thus showing a dislike to my object, but finding I was about to commence reading, he said, with some degree of anger, “ You most know we cannot attend to anything of that kind now ; Sunday is the proper time for those things, if we can get time to read a little then, it is all very well.” I said, “ My friend, I will not interrupt you in your work, you can proceed and still listen to what I read.” “Oh no,” he said, “I should thank you not to read any thing, for I will not attend to it.” I therefore thought it most prudent to relate in substance what I intended to read in detail, viz.: the parable of the great supper, and dwelt particularly upon the excuses made by those who had been bidden. This seemed to shame him—he appeared selfcondemned.
Another man at did not appear very favourable to my visit. I inquired if he ever attended any place of worship, he said, “ No ;" he had no time to attend to any thing of that sort, and a great many who did go had better stop away; they sat turning up their eyes and their thumbs, and on Monday they would go and commit a wholesale robbery. Besides, he said, it took all his time to get his living, and if he was to pray till he was black in the face it would not fill his belly. He had no time to commit sin. I warned him of his sin and danger; spoke of death and judgment, heaven and hell; appealed to his conscience, showed him his sin in using all his faculties against the God who gave them, and who could in a moment deprive him of them and cut him off. 6. Yes," he said, " and why don't he cut off those who oppress us." He spoke with much anger, which I was enabled to bear with patience and meet with kindness. I left him three tracts, which he promised to read. But although there are some who set themselves against the Word of God, there are numbers who read and value it. I will mention one case by way of encouragement. Mr.
-, has been ill for many months ; when I first visited him he seemed very indifferent, and he thought but little of the reading of the Scriptures ; he did not understand it, and it was a trouble to him. Some time ago he told me, if the Lord had called him when he was first taken ill he should have been in hell as sure as he was sitting on that chair. I inquired what it was that first awakened him to a sense of his danger ? He said, “It was reading the Word of God. When you have been reading to me, it seemed to pierce my very heart, and made me often feel quite miserable. I used to feel such a weight that I cannot describe, but I do not feel that now; there is something in it that makes me feel happy.” He then spoke of some passages which had been blessed to him, particularly the 15th chapter of St. Luke which he requested me to read to him again. He never
felt any delight in prayer, and never understood it till lately. When he went to a place of worship he used to go to sleep. He spoke much of the goodness of God in sending your Missionary to instruct him, and direct him to Jesus as his Saviour. He seems to be drawing near to eternity, and it is truly delightful to witness the great love which he feels to his Saviour. All fear of death has been removed from his mind, and he longs to depart to be with his Saviour in glory. This is one proof among many that the Lord still blesses his own Word.
SUMMARY OF LABOUR FOR THE YEAR ENDING MARCH 31, 1840. During the past year I have held 164 meetings for prayer
and exposition of Scripture, the attendance at those meetings averages about twenty persons. I have made 3,652 visits and calls among the people, where I have had 1,938 opportunities of reading the sacred Scriptures or prayer, 699 of those visits have been to the sick and dying ; twenty persons have been induced to attend public worship; seven have become subscribers to the Bible Society; forty-nine children have been sent to the different schools, and 5,327 religious tracts have been distributed among the people in the district. The time spent in visiting and reading the Scriptures amounts to 1636 hours. I have also distributed 3,746 tracts in different parts of London, entitled, “ The Way to be Healthy and Happy.” A report of this part of my labour has been already published in the Magazine for February last, page 19, where a brief statement has been given of the wretchedness and misery of many of the places which I visited. I also gave away upwards of 6,000 tracts at St. Bartholomew fair, and about 800 to persons who were collected together on account of the murder which had been committed at Islington, which for the most part were thankfully received.
In conclusion, I can only pray that the Lord would be pleased to pardon all the failings and imperfections that accompany our most zealous attempts to serve him, and crown with his blessing every effort to promote his cause.
EXTRACTS FROM THE MONTHLY REPORTS FOR MARCH
AND APRIL OF THE NOTTING-HILL DISTRICT, BY MR. LISK, MISSIONARY.
DOMICILIARY VISITATION. MR. J-, No. whom I
reported some months since as a restored backslider, to whom affliction was sanctified and my visits were blessed, has for three months established family prayer and still longs for and values my Sunday afternoon visits, he being as yet unable to go out.