W. (William) Haslam.

From death into life: or, Twenty years of my ministry online

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he said, " Ah, I know what we will do ! Jump into the
carriage again " ; and putting my luggage in, he got up, and


drove me to the next town. He said, " We will take a
post-chaise, and make the coach people pay for it ; that's it
— that's what we will do."

I suggested that I did not think we could do that,
having received the money back.

"Ah, that's nothing," he said; "that's nothing. We
will take a post-chaise."

This scheme was prevented; for on arriving at the
hotel, there was not a carriage of any kind to be had.
" Are you sure of that ? " said the vicar (as if all the world
was in league with the coach proprietor). " Are you quite
sure ? "

" You had better come and see for yourself," said the
ostler, in a surly tone.

We went into the yard, and found the coach-houses
quite empty,

"That's very remarkable," said the vicar; "but these
people are connected with that coach — it changes horses
here. We will go to the next inn."

There they did not let out carriages at all !

"Well now," said the vicar, "this is very remarkable,"
and was silent.

" Perhaps the Lord does not mean me to go to-day,"
I said meekly.

" It seems so, certainly. I must say it is very remark-

I suggested that I would stay at the inn till the next
morning, as there was no means of getting on. " Shall I
do so?"

"Oh, no; certainly not— certainly not," said the kind
man. " Not at all — not at all. We will go back again."

"But," I said, "what will they think when they see

Poor dear man, like many others he was dreadfully


frightened at the thought of "what will 'they' think?"
As if "they" did not go on thinking whether one gives
them occasion or not.

In due course, we arrived again in sight of tlie vicar-
age gate, and there we saw the vicar's wife, with her hands
up in astonishment. She exclaimed, " What ! are you
come back ? "

•' Yes, we are indeed ! " said the vicar, and he was
going to tell her how it was, but she was too impatient to
listen, having, as she thought, something more important to
communicate. She said, " After you went away this morn-
ing, the weather being so fine, I thought that I would go
into the village, and see some of the people who were at
church last evening. In passing by widow S.'s cottage, on
my way to another, I saw her door and wandow open, and
heard her praying very earnestly, ' Lord, bring him back ! —
bring him back ! ' I thought she was praying about her
husband, who had recently died ; and that I would go in
and try to comfort her. So I knelt down by her side, and
repeated the words, * I shall go to him, but he shall not
return to me,' when she turned round and said, ' Oh, I
don't mean that ! ' and then, as if she grudged every
breath which was spent in other words, she went on repeat-
ing, ' Lord, bring him back ! Lord, bring him back ! '

" ' Who do you mean } ' I said, ' what can you mean ? '

" She went on, ' O Lord, I saw him go away. I saw
them take him away. Lord, bring him back ! — bring him

" I again said, ' Who do you mean ? '

" She took no heed, but went on, ' O Lord, when I
opened the window I saw him coming out of the vicarage
gate. Lord, bring him back ! — do bring him back 1 '

"At last I understood that she was praying for jiw/ to be
brou^ht back. Then I said to her, ' Dear woman, do get


" BRING HIM BA CK ! » 171

up from your knees, and let me talk to you,' No, she
would not get up.

" ' No, I can't get up. Lord, bring him back ! bring
him back ! '

" * It cannot be,' I said \ ' he is on the coach by this
time — a long way off.' The woman became frantic at the
thought. ' Oh, what shall I do ? what shall I do ? Lord,
bring him back ! '

" Seeing that I could do nothing in the matter, I went to
call on some other people, and coming back found the
widow still on her knees, urging the same petition without

" Well, that is remarkable," interposed the vicar.

Without a moment's pause, I set off to show myself to
the widow.

" Now, there you are," she said ; " the Lord has sent
you back. I lay awake best part of the night, thinking of
some questions I wished to ask you ; and when I saw you
go away like that, so early in the morning, it gave me quite
a turn. I thought I should be lost for ever ! "

Her questions concerned her soul's condition. On my
putting Christ and His salvation before her for her accept-
ance, she found peace ; and afterwards became a good
helper in the parish. There were some other anxious ones
she urged me to visit, which I did. On referring to my
letters, written at the time, I find a record of five persons
who professed to find peace that morning.

In the evening, we had a kind of service in the school-
room, with as many as we could get together, and spent a
very happy time in prayer and praise.

The next morning I started for home, which I reached
late on Saturday night, or rather early on Sunday morn-
ing, and appeared quite unexpectedly among my people


again. I gave them an account of the state of things in
the '■' shires." This, my first experience of *' foreign mis-
sions," was not encouraging.

Ever since my conversion, I had been over head and
ears in conversion work, and, as a loyal young convert,
thought at that time there was nothing else in the world to
live, or to work for ! How surprised I was when I found
that this was not by any means the first thing in the minds
of my Evangelical brethren ; and more so still when I saw
that even preaching for the salvation of souls was put aside
altogether, if it did not fit in with the stated service-day of
the week, or public opinion. If people came to church, or
better still, to the communion table, they were considered
quite satisfactory enough, even though they were dead in
trespasses and sins. I did not, of course, expect anything
from my own neighbours, for I knew them of old ; but
from, accredited " standard bearers," I did expect something
and got nothing.

While I was still feeling sore and disappointed, intend-
ing not to go out on such errands any more, I found my-
self promised to another mission in a most unexpected
manner ; but this did not happen to be out of Cornwall,
and therefore prospered better, as we shall see.



^ ^trang^r from %anhon.


LADY in London, reading in the Cornish news-
papers about our revivals, became much interested,
and having a strong desire to witness such a
movement personally, proposed a visit to her
in Truro, who had sent her those papers. Being

accepted, she came down — a long way in those days, when
railway communication was not so complete as it is now.

This same lady was present at my church on Sunday
morning ; and expressing a wish to attend the afternoon
service, we gladly welcomed her to the parsonage. In
course of conversation, she spoke of churches in London
where the Gospel was preached in its fulness ; and I naturally
asked her whether they had "after-meetings." She said, she
did not know what I meant.

" Prayer-meetings, for conversion work, I mean."

" What is that ? " she inquired. " Is not conversion
God's work ? "

" Yes," I answered, " indeed it is ; but so is the harvest
yonder in the corn-fields : it is all God's work, but men have
to plough the ground and sow the seed."

" Oh, is that what you call revival work ? I have read


of it \ and, to tell the truth, I have come all the way from
London to see it."

She evidently had an idea that revivals were something
like thunder-storms, which come of themselves, no one
knows how or why ; or something that is vented, like an
occasional eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

I said, " Revivals — that is, the refreshening of believers
and the awakening of sinners — ought to take place wherever
the Gospel is preached in faith and power."

She could not understand it, and said, ''It is not so in
churches, is it ? "

" Yes," I replied, " in churches as well as in cottages,
halls, and chapels too."

" I am sure Mr. in London preaches a full Gospel,

but I have never heard of a revival there ; indeed, I feel
convinced they would not allow it."

"Is he converted?" I asked.

She smiled at the question, and said, "I suppose he is."

"I mean, does he preach about the forgiveness of sins? and,
more than this, does he expect people to have forgiveness ? "

She said she could not understand my Cornish way of
talking — "They do not speak like that in London."

" Your sins are pardoned," I said, by way of explanation,
in order to get her to comprehend my meaning from her
own experience. " Your sins are pardoned." She got very
confused. " You know," I continued, " that it is a happy day
when Jesus takes our sins away." This only made matters
worse. She became greatly embarrassed. While we spoke
of London and Gospel preaching she was free enough ; but
the moment I made a personal application of the subject,
she was altogether bewildered.

At last, with a kind of forced effort, she said, " I have
been a child of God for eleven years."

"Thank God ! " I said, much relieved ; "that is -what T


mean. You have been converted and pardoned for eleven
years. It is all right, then. I did not intend to perplex you,
and am sorry I did not convey my meaning in a better

But I could not smooth down her ruffled feathers so easily,
and was glad when the five minutes' bell began ringing to
summon us to church. We got ready, and went. It hap-
pened to be a children's semce, and our subject that after-
noon was Joseph's reconciliation with his brethren. Three
questions, among others, were asked and dwelt upon.

First, " Was Joseph reconciled with his brethren while
they were self-convicted before him, and condemned them-
selves as verily guilty concerning their brother? " — " No."

Second, " Was he reconciled when he feasted with them,
and made merry ? " — " No."

Third, " When, then, was he reconciled ? " — " When
they surrendered themselves, and all the eleven were pros-
trate at his feet, like the eleven sheaves which bowed to
Joseph's sheaf in the harvest field ; then he made himself
known to them, and forgave them. It is not when a soul
is under condemnation, nor yet when it is happy, that it is
saved ; but when it is actually, once for all, surrendered
to Christ for salvation, then it is He makes himself known
to them, even as Joseph did to his brethren."

The lady went away. I did not ascertain who she was,
nor where she came from ; I was not much taken with her,
nor was she with me. Hers was evidently a kind of religion
which I had not met with before, and did not care to meet
with again.

The next day I went for a few hours' rest and change to
the sea-side at Perran, but there was a burden of prayer on
my soul. I could not thank God for that unknown lady,
but I could pray for mercy for her. The impression on my


mind was very clear : I felt that she Avas not saved. The
day following the burden was heavier still, and I was on my
knees praying for her for several hours in the day. In the
evening I was quite in distress. The next day I was most
anxious for her, and could do nothing but pray, even with
tears. This lasted till the following day (Thursday), v/hen
I happened to go into the drawing-room for something, and
there I observed a strange Bible lying on the table. I
remembered that I had seen that same book in the lady's
hand on Sunday. I took it up, and saw a name, and on
making inquiry of the servants I found out that she came
in Mr. 's carriage on Sunday.

This was enough. I wrote a note immediately, and sent
the Bible, saying that I was greatly burdened for her soul,
and should much like to see her. She sent me a kind letter
in reply, appointing the following Monday for my visit.

On that day I called, and found her very kind, and
seemingly thankful for the interest I expressed in her
welfare. I said that she had nothing really to thank me for,
for I could not help myself; the burden had been laid upon
me. Then I asked her if she would tell me how she
became a child of God.

She did so readily, and told me that once she was in the
world, and as fond of dancing and pleasure as others with
whom she associated ; that in the midst of her gaiety she
was called to the death-bed of a cousin, who was just such
a lover of pleasure as herself Her cousin said, " Oh, Mary,
give up the world for my sake. I am lost ! Oh, Mary,
give it up ! " Soon she died, poor girl, just awakened
enough to see and feel herself hopelessly lost — a dying
worldling. No one was near to point her to the Saviour, so
she departed as she had liked to live, without salvation.
Mary wept at the remembrance of that solemn scene, and
said she could never forget it.


" Well," I said, '' and what did you do then ? "

She answered firmly, " I knelt down then and there, by
the side of the bed where my poor cousin had just died, and
I called God to witness that I would give up the world. I
did so ; and have never had any inclination to go back into
its gaieties and pleasures since. I began from that time to
pray, and read my Bible, and go to church ; and I love
these things now better than I did the things of the
world before."

At the time of this change, she was led to a church
where Evangelical truth was preached simply and plainly ;
and thus became distinctly enlightened as to the way of
salvation. She fully assented and consented to what she
heard, and therefore became a very earnest disciple, enthu-
siastic about the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of
grace, and all such matters. She understood the meaning
of the Levitical types and offerings ; could speak of dispen-
sational truth and prophecy ; was very zealous about mis-
sions to the heathen, and was also earnestly devoted to
many charitable works at home.

There was, however, one little suspicious thing in the
midst of all this manifest goodness. She had not much
patience with elementary Gospel sermons, or much interest
in, or sympathy with, efforts made to bring in perishing
souls ; she loved rather to be fed with high doctrines, and
the mysteries of grace with its deeper teachings. There are
some men who love to preach exclusively about these things,
even before mixed congregations, addressing them as if they
were all real Christians.

It is surprising how many people there are just like
Mary, who seem to care more for doctrines than for God
Himself — more for favourite truths than for souls. A simple
elementary Gospel address, with some clear illustrations,
was just the very thing which Mary wanted for her own


soul's good, more than anything ; but, unfortunately, this
was the thing against which she was prejudiced, for she
abhorred "anecdotal sermons."

After hearing her story, I said, " It is very interesting ;
but there is one great deficiency in it. You have not told
me anything about Christ ; have you nothing to say abou
the blood of Jesus, and about your sins ? Have you had no
real transaction with God about them ? "

She said she "did not know what I meant."

" Did you never come as a sinner, and obtain the for-
giveness of your sins ? "

" No," she repUed ; " that is what I do not understand
about _>w/r teaching."

I showed her, as plainly as I could, that she had not
told me about conversion, but reformation. " You have
only turned over a new leaf, and kept your resolutions
prayerfully and well for eleven years ; but this is not turning
back the old leaves of your past life, and getting them
washed in the blood of the Lamb. ' He that covers his
sins ' in this way, ' can never prosper.' If a man owes a
debt for which he is very sorry, and determines that in
future he will pay for everything he gets — this will not pay
his past debts."

She v/ent on to justify herself, and said, " that she
knew a great many good Christian people, and that none of
them had ever suspected her as I did."

I endeavoured to assure her that I was dreadfully
alarmed about her condition, and was certain that if she
died like that, there would be no more hope for her salva-
tion than for her cousin's. This seemed to rouse her
hostility, and I saw that I had lost influence. However, I
could not blame myself, for I had only said what I felt to
be true. I returned home and prayed for more wisdom.
All that night I could not sleep, and most of it was spent in


pleading with God. I felt as if a restless bird was flying
about the room, and something was saying, " She will be
lost for ever." I urged my petition again and again.

The next day I called, and found this lady quite broken
down, and ready to pray and listen to my teaching. I was
most thankful, and greatly relieved after the night's rest-
lessness. I had much happiness in pointing out the way of
salvation as an experimental thing. She knew, before I did,
the doctrine of the Atonement, but she had had no expe-
rience of its real efficacy. Now that her eyes were opened,
she was in right earnest to know the reality of sins forgiven.
Soon she found this, though not yet the joy of deliverance ;
she knew the peace and shelter of the sprinkled blood
(Exod. xii. 13), but not yet the joy and liberty of being on
the rock on the other side of the Red Sea (Exod. xv. 2).
I was sure that it would all come in due time, and therefore
was able to take comfort, and also to comfort her.

I saw a good deal of her at that time, and one day she
told me that a relation of hers, a clergyman, was coming to
have it out with me for saying that she was not converted

" Certainly," I replied, " I shall be happy to meet him.
and hope you will be in the room."

When the dreaded man arrived, we were introduced to
one another.

" Well," he said, " you are a very different-looking man
to what I imagined. I have heard a deal about you. So
you are a Puseyite turned Evangelical, eh ? I have often
heard of people going the other way, but must say I have
never met a man who had come in this direction." He then
asked about the results of my ministry.

I told him what was the effect in my church and parish,
and that the same signs followed the preaching of the
Gospel wherever I went.


" I wish," he said, " you would come and preach in my
parish. You know a great friend of mine at Veryan, and
have preached in his pulpit. Will you do the same for

" Oh, yes," I said, ''' certainly, with pleasure."

*' Now, look at me, for I am a man of business : w^hen
will you come ? Name your day."

I looked at my pocket-book, and fixed upon a certain

Then he arranged that we should have a kind of mis-
sionary meeting, *' in course of which," he said, " you can
preach as much Gospel as you like. If it goes well, we will
have a lecture the next evening on * Heart Conversion,' and
another the evening following, on something else. He was
*' quite sure no one would come to hear a sermon only. It
must be a missionary meeting, or something of the kind, to
bring the people out."

On the day appointed, the barn where we were assembled
was well filled, and seeing that the people were interested,
the vicar gave out, " Mr. Haslam will lecture to-morrow
evening on Heart Conversion."

The next evening, when we arrived, we found the barn
quite full, and numbers standing outside; besides, there
were many more whom we passed on the road. So it was
determined that we should go into the church and have a
short service. The edifice was soon lighted, and filled,
and after a few collects and hymns (for they had a hymn-
book in that church), I went up into the pulpit, and
preached upon the absolute necessity of conversion — no
salvation without it. As to " heart conversion," what is con-
version at all if the heart is not touched ? Then I treated
my subject from another point of view. " Every converted
person here knows what heart conversion is ; and if any one
does not, it is clear he is not converted. If he dies in that

« LORD, SA VE ME I " i8i

state, he will be lost for ever ! " I concluded the sermon
with prayer ; and while I was praying in the pulpit, one
after another of the people in the pews began to cry aloud
for mercy. My friend Mary likened it to a battle-field, and
me to a surgeon going from one wounded one to another to
help them.

At eleven o'clock we closed the service, promising to
hold another the next day.

On Wednesday morning Mary awoke from her sleep
with a voice saying to her, "Behold the Lamb of God,
which taketh away the sin of the world."

'' Then all my sins are gone. He has borne them. He
'Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree.'"

She was filled with joy unspeakable, and came to break-
fast rejoicing. The lady of the house was in tears, the
servants were troubled, and the vicar alternately glad and
sorry, for he was not sure whether it was excitement or the
work of God, and did not know what to make of it. How-
ever, in the evening he broke down in his reading-desk in
the middle of the sermon, and burst out, " Lord, save me ! "
In an instant the whole congregation was up, and the
people everywhere either crying for mercy, or rejoicing.
The power of the Lord was present to heal them, and many
souls were saved that night ; and besides these, there were
others who were troubled.

Amongst this number was the young squire of the
parish. He was afterwards decidedly converted to God,
and took great interest in the work. When twitted on the
bench by his brother magistrates about the revival, he stood
his ground manfully, and gave good testimony. He con-
tinues to this day a bold champion for the truth as it is in


(Balani iEissicn.


T Is a good plan to strike while the iron is hot ; and
as the people at Golant were in an interested and
receptive state, I put off other things which had
been appointed, and made arrangements to return
to the battle-field as soon as possible. My people were
much excited to hear what I was able to tell them of my
three days' visit, and they wished me " God speed " for my
next venture, praying most heartily for great blessing.

Accordingly, on the following Monday I went back to
Golant, and found the place (an unusually quiet country
village), together with the whole neighbourhood round,
including two or three small towns, all astir. As a rule, in
order to insure success in a mission, there needs prepara-
tion, visitation, and prayer ; and I have observed that when
there has been no preparation in the way of public announce-
ments of services, the people have not come out, and the
mission has been a failure. Where there has been a regular
system of visitation, without prayer, the congregations have
been abundant, but the services have been dry and hard ;
but in places where preparation and visitation have been


made with much prayer, there has ever been a most unmis-
takable blessing. So much for human agencies, which are
necessary to us, though God is not bound to them.

There had been no preparation for the mission I am
about to tell of, no visitation, nor any special prayer ; and
yet it pleased the Lord to give in this little village such an
outpouring of His Spirit and demonstration of His power as
is rarely known. There was a great running together of the
people, notwithstanding the difficulties of access to the
church. Some had to come several miles from the towns
by road, some by sea, and others across a tidal river where
mud abounded ; and after landing, they had to climb a
steep hill. None of these things, however, deterred or dis-
couraged them ; they came, and they would come, in spite
of everything which was urged at other times as an excuse
for staying away, even on dark nights. It was the day of
the Lord's power, and He made them willing; so much so,
that in some places work was suspended, and people came
even three times a day.

On the Monday evening, when I arrived, I found that
the church would scarcely hold the people who had gathered
to hear the Word of God. It was a time of much blessing,
and we remained there hard at work till eleven o'clock,
when, having four miles to go in order to get home, I closed
the service, offering to meet any anxious souls there at half-
past ten the next morning. This I did, and was surprised
to find a number of persons waiting, even at this early hour.
There were too many to speak to individually, so I ad-

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Online LibraryW. (William) HaslamFrom death into life: or, Twenty years of my ministry → online text (page 13 of 23)