W. (William) Haslam.

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

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noise, which only drew still louder acclamations from the
people. In the midst of this tremendous din he found



""OH, WHAT WILL BECOME OF US f* 83

peace, and rejoiced with the others in unmistakable
accents, and as loud as the loudest. Evidently he was not
ashamed or afraid of excitement and noise now.

While he was thus engaged I went round to his house
to see his wife, and tell her the news. I found her sitting
on the stairs in profound dismay, as if some dreadful
calamity had happened. She was literally dumb with fear
and astonishment. When she could speak, she said, " What
will happen to him now ? Will he die ? What will become of
us?" When I assured her that her husband was only just
beginning to live, she said, " Must we be Dissenters now ?
Oh, what will become of us ? " Her sister, who was staying
with her, became very angry at hearing of the master's
conversion. Finding that I could not do much with these
two, I left them, and returned to the schoolroom, where the
people were even more uproarious and happy than before ;
several others having also found pardon and peace.

The Sunday after, the master was seen moving out of
church as quickly as he could ; and when he reached the
churchyard he was observed to run, and then leap over a
wall, and next over a hedge into a field. They could not
hear him, but he was shouting all the time as well as running.
He afterwards said that the Prayer-book was full of mean-
ing ; it was like a new book to him ; and that if he had
stayed in church, he should have disturbed the whole con-
gregation. He became a very earnest Christian, and took
much pains and interest in the religious instruction of the
children. There were several revivals in the school while
he was there, and many of the children were converted. It
was not long before he was able to rejoice over the conver-
sion of his wife, and her sister also.

I had been anxious about my clerk for some time ; he
was a good man in his way, and most attentive to his work
in and out of church ; he was also a regular communicant,



84 FROM DEA TH INTO LIFE.

and exemplary in his life ; but, with all this, he was uncon-
verted. I often warned him of his danger ; and one day it
came to my mind to tell him of the man who went in to the
marriage supper without the wedding garment. I said, no
doubt he thought himself as good as others, but when the
King came in to see the guests, he was speechless ; and
because he was so, and had not on the wedding garment,
the King commanded that he should be bound hand and
foot, and put into outer darkness. Now, I continued, the
King has often come in to see us, and we have rejoiced
before Him ; but you have never spoken to Him, or asked
for mercy. It is a very hardening thing to hear so much
as you do, and remain unsaved ; and a very deadening
thing to come to the Lord's table as you do, going through
the form without any real meaning. You receive the bread
and wine in remembrance that Christ died for you, and yet
you do not believe enough to thank Him. I was led to say,
" I must forbid your coming to the Lord's table till you
have given your heart to God. You know it is right to do
it, and that you ought to be converted. I will not have you
come here again till you are."

The man looked at me as if to see whether I meant it,
and then appeared so sorrowful that I nearly relented. All
through the service he was low and dejected, and went
away at the time of the administration of the ordinance, and
sat at the other end of the church. My heart ached for
him, for I had never seen him so touched about anything.
Afterwards, when he came into the vestry, I could see that
he had been crying. *' Ah, friend," I said, *' it is bad to be
left out from the Lord's table here ; what will it be to be
left out of heaven ?"

In the evening he was more miserable than ever, and at
the close of the service came into the schoolroom, where
he broke down, and asked the people to pray for him,



""MV FEET ARE ON THE ROCK." 85

for he was a hard-hearted, miserable sinner. " Pray the
Lord to melt my heart." We did so : and soon the poor
broken-hearted man sobbed and cried aloud for mercy ; and
it was not long before, to our great joy, he found peace. He
afterwards told us that he had been getting hardened by
forms ever since he had been clerk, reading solemn words
without any meaning, which at first he trembled at doing.
He was right ; it is good to hear the Gospel, good to attend
the means of grace, good to assemble in the company of
God's people ; but to rest in the habit of doing these good
things, without conversion, is most dangerous, and calculated
to deaden the heart. He said that he felt it very much
when ' master ' was converted (meaning myself), and was also
dreadfully condemned ; for he had believed in the necessity
of conversion all his life ; and though he knew that I was
unconverted, yet he never told me, but rather encouraged
me to go on as I was. He said that he had had many sleepless
nights about it ; " but now, thank God," he added, " it is
all right ; my feet are on the Rock, my soul is saved. I can
praise the Lord in the congregation."

The clerk's conversion did not stop with himself, for it
was a call to some of the ringers ; they were still outside
and unsaved, though they knew as well as he did, that they
ought to be otherwise. One of these men began to attend
the meetings regularly, but we could not get him to pray, or
speak a word. I said to him one evening, " You will never
have a sound from the bell till you move it or its tongue ;
in Hke manner, you must move your tongue, for you will
have nothing until you speak, nor get an answer until you
pray." Still he remained silent, and shut up to himself; till
one night, as v/e were putting out the lights at ten o'clock,
the meeting being over, I said to him as he stood by,
" James, I wonder when you will ever give your heart to
God?" He looked at me and said, "Now." "That is



86 FROM DBA TH INTO LIFE.

right," I replied ; " thank God ! let it be so. I at once
stopped the extinguishing of the lights, and invited him
to pray with me, but he took no heed. It was evident
he had deliberately made up his mind what he would do,
for he took off his coat, undid his neck-tie, turned back
his shirt-sleeves, and then, setting a form about nine or ten
feet long, square with the room, he knelt down and began
to say, " Lord, have mercy upon me ! " " Lord, have mercy
upon me ! " This he repeated with every returning breath,
faster and louder as he went on, till at last he worked him-
self up to a condition of frenzy. He went on without cessa-
tion for two hours, and then stopped in an exhausted state,
gasping for breath. I pointed him to the cross, and told him
of God's mercy in giving His Son to die for sinners ; but
he was quite absent, and did not appear to hear me, or
take the least notice. After a litde rest, he commenced
again praying as before, and got into terrible distress. What
with his noise, and the energy he put forth, it was frightful
to see the struggle. He cried and beat the form till I
thought his arms would be black and blue ; then he took
up the form and beat the floor with it, till I expected every
moment it would come to pieces. The noise he made
brought some of the neighbours out of their beds in a
fright, to see what was the matter.

At two o'clock in the morning, four hours after he
began, he laid himself across the form, and begged with
tears that the Lord would not cast him off. I told him
that the Lord was actually waiting for him. At last he
found peace, or felt something, and, springing up, he began
to shout and praise God; and we all joined with him.
When this was done, he put on his coat and neck-tie, and
saying ''Good night," went home. From this time he be-
came a changed man, and an earnest and steadfast believer.




CHAPTER XI.

Drmma anir JJisinns.

1 85 1— 4.

URING the revival, the outpouring of the Spirit of
God was very manifest and unmistakable, and
was seen in various ways. It was not, of course, by
power or might of men, but by divine influence,
that souls were awakened to see themselves in their true
condition. The candle of the Lord was lighted, and there
was a searching of and for immortal souls, as typified by our
blessed Lord in the parable of the lost piece of silver.

We read that the woman with her lighted candle dis-
covered her treasure ; so the Divine Spirit, by awakening
and searching hearts, found souls, though they had been
buried under sins, worldliness, and neglect, and that for
many years. It was astonishing to hear persons who had
been dull and silent before, break out into full and free
expression of spiritual truth ; and their liberty and power
in prayer were not less remarkable. It was truly an opening
of eyes to see, and ears to hear, and hearts to understand —
a raising of the dead to spiritual life and animation. It was
as wonderful as the speaking of tongues on the day of
Pentecost, with this difference — that those people spoke what
6



88 FROM DEA TH INTO LIFE,

they knew, in tongues they had not known ; and these, in
their own speech, declared things which they had never seen
or known before. '

We had another distinctive sign of Pentecost, which
was, that while believers rejoiced with overflowing joy, and
sinners were pricked to the heart, and cried out, " What
must I do to be saved ? " there were those who mocked,
saying, " These men are mad, or drunk." But, as St. Peter
testified long ago, these men, women, and children were not
drunk, but under the influence and power of the Holy
Ghost.

We had yet another sign. The prophet Joel predicted,
" It shall come to pass that I will pour out my Spirit upon
all flesh ; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see
visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids
in those days will I pour out my Spirit" (Joel ii. 28, 29).
And I think my narrative would be very incomplete, and I
should be holding back the truth, if I did not tell of some
of the dreams and visions which continually happened at
this time amongst us.

Every week, almost every day, we heard of some
remarkable dream or striking vision. Such things may be
called " superstitious " by incredulous people, but I merely
state what actually took place without attempting to explain
or account for it. My own feeling is, that I would rather be
among the superstitious than the incredulous ; for I think
that the former lose nothing by believing, and the latter gain
nothing by their unbeHef.

Among the people who are alive to spiritual realities
these remarkable tokens are not suspected or doubted.
To believe nothing but what you can understand or account
for, is to believe nothing at all. Cornish people at that



DREAMS AND VISIONS, 89

time — and they may still be the same — lived in a spiritual
atmosphere, at least in their own county ; so much so, that
I have often heard them complain, when they returned
from the " shires," of the dryness and deadness they felt
there. I can certainly set my seal to this testimony, and
declare that those of us who had visions in Cornwall have
not had them in the same way out of that district.

I will give a few specimens, but only one of a kind, for
it would fill a volume if I told all ; the reader can judge
if there was meaning or import in some of them or not.

At one time, when there was a depression or check in the
congregation, and preaching was hard, praying formal, and
singing flat, I invited the people to join with me in prayer, that
the Lord would show us what was the hindrance in the way of
the work. They prayed with one accord, and without con-
sulting one another, almost in the same words, whether in
the school-room or in the cottages ; the substance of theii
petition was, that we might know and put away the obstacle
to spiritual blessing, whatever that obstacle might be.

One night I dreamt that I was in the church, feeling
very desolate and forsaken ; there were very {qw people
there, but soon my eyes lighted on an ugly-looking stranger,
who tried to evade me. He was a very disagreeable, sullen-
looking man. When I spoke to him he gnashed his teeth,
and, as I approached, he drew out a knife and held it out
before me. I pursued him notwithstanding, when he backed
towards the door and went out. I followed him through
the churchyard till he was outside the lych-gate. As soon
as he was gone, I saw a troop of happy people, all dressed
in white, come in at the same gate, leaping and running
like so many joyful children, and swinging their arms for
gladness : they went into the church and began to sing.
The dream was as vivid to me as a daylight scene.



90 FROM DEA TH INTO LIFE.

I went out the next evening, intending to tell it at the
school-room meeting ; but before I began to do so, I ob-
served that the people sang more freely than usual, and I
also noticed that two men who prayed omitted to offer the
usual request for hindrances to be removed. When I told
my dream, a man arose and said, " I know all about that ;
there has been one among us who we thought was a good
man, but instead of this we have discovered that he was
most immoral and deceitful, doing a deal of mischief,
secretly undermining the faith of some, and misleading
others; he has been detected, and is gone." Sure enough
our old happy freedom returned, and there was liberty in
preaching, praying, and singing, and souls were saved.

Another time, when I was getting a little impatient with
the people, I took a leaf out of my Scripture-reader's book,
and preached a furious sermon about ** damnation," repre-
senting God as pursuing the sinner to cut him down, if he
did not repent there and then. I thought I had done it well,
and went home rather satisfied with myself, supposing that
I now knew how to make the congregation feel. The next
morning, a woman called to me as I was passing her cottage,
and said, "Master, what d'yer think? I dreamt last night that
the devil was a-preaching in your pulpit, and that you were
delighted at it ! " A sudden fear fell upon me — so much so,
that I returned to the church, and shutting the door, begged
God's forgiveness : and thanking Him for this warning, asked
that I might remember it, and never transgress again.

As my Scripture-reader continued to denounce wrath
and vengeance, instead of preaching the Gospel, I parted
with him.

Next, let me tell of a vision which refers to others. My
sister came to me one morning, and said, " William, I had
a vision last night of a young man in a tall hat with a green*



THE BASKET OF FRUIT, 91

and-red carpet-bag in his hand. I saw him so plainly, that
I should know him again anywhere. He was walking up
the road when you met him, shook hands, and returned

with him to the house. Then you and F brought him

in at the glass door. On the hall table there stood a basket
containing four beautiful and fragrant fruits. You took up
the basket and offered it to the visitor, who, putting his
hand upon one, said, * Oh, thank you ! ' then touching the
three others in order, said, ' That is for mother, and that

for sister, and that for .' I could not hear who. You

may smile," she continued, " but I heard that, and saw it
all as plainly as I see you now."

I was accustomed to hear such things, and consequently
thought no more about it, but went on to speak of other
subjects. In the course of the afternoon, as I was going
out, I met a relative coming along the road, and took him
back with me to the house ; there my wife came out to him,
and we led him in through the glass door. When he had
sat some time, and had had some luncheon, my wife said,
*' I wonder whether this is the young man we heard about
this morning ? " " What young man ? " asked our visitor,
hastily ; " what young man do you mean ? " "I should not
wonder if it is," I replied; "we will see presently." He
seemed very suspicious, having heard before he came that
some mysterious change had taken place in us, and so
looked again and again to see if he could detect anything
different.

"Come and see my sister," I said; to which he
assented, and we went across to her house. As soon as we
entered her room, she said, " How do you do ? I saw you
last night." "What do you mean?" he replied, with-
drawing his hand. "Why, I was on board the steamer
last night. "That may be," she said, "but you are the
gentleman I .aw. Have you not a green-and-red carpet-bag ?



92 FROM DEATH INTO LIFE.

and did not William meet you on the road? " Poor young
man 1 he looked dreadfully perplexed. " Never mind her,"
I said; " sit down and tell us about your journey."

After we had talked of this and other subjects, we
returned home. I then told him that we were converted,
and asked if he had given his heart to God. He said he
had. Not being satisfied, I put the question in another
form, and yet remained unsatisfied with his answer. " Do
you doubt me ?" he asked : " I will prove it to you." He
then went up to his room for a little while, and returned
with a paper in his hand, in which was a dedication of
himself to God, duly signed and sealed. I had never seen
an instrument of this kind before, and asked if he really
believed in it ?

"Yes, certainly," he replied ; "and I mean it too."

" But," I said, " do you not see that faith does not
consist in believing what you write, but in what God has
written ? The Word says that God is more willing to take
than you are to give : you believe you have given ; but do
you believe that God has taken ? He is far more ready to
take your heart than you to give it ; as surely as you have
given, so surely He has taken. Cannot you see that?"

He replied, " I knew that there was something wrong
about this, but I did not know what. Thank you ! thank
you ! " Then thoughtfully folding up the paper, he went
out of the room.

The bell was rung for dinner, but he did not appear ;
and then for tea, but he declined taking any. After we had
gone to church, he found his way, down and followed us
there ; and when the service was over, he returned again to
his room. I was detained at the schoolroom that night,
and until two o'clock in the morning, praying and talking
with anxious souls, and returned home very tired. Going
up to bed, I saw a light shining under my visitor's door,



« IT IS ALL RIGHT NO W / " 93

and hesitating there a few moments, I heard him pleading
earnestly for mercy. I had a great mind to knock, but was
afraid of disturbing him ; so I prayed for him, and went to
bed.

In the morning he came down smiling. " Thank God,"
he said, " it is all right now ; I am saved." In his hand he
held three letters — one to his mother, one to his sister, and
the other to a cousin, in which he invited them earnestly to
come to Jesus. Within the week all four were in our house,
praising God for salvation.

As the vision indicated, we had nothing to do but hold
the basket to him. He accepted it, and the fruit for him-
self and his relatives.

Amongst other people and characters I met with at this
time was a good, respectable man, who had a remarkable
dream. He came to me one day, after I had been speaking
about Jacob's ladder, and said that my sermon had re-
minded him of his dream. I begged him to sit down and
tell it to me. He said, " I dreamt that I and nineteen
other young men were living in a beautiful house and place,
where we had everything provided for us, and were free to
enjoy ourselves as much as we pleased. We all understood
that the premises belonged to Satan, and that we were his
guests. As such, we were permitted to take our pleasure
upon two conditions — one was, that we were not to pray ;
and the other, that we were not to go away. We smiled at
this, and said it was not likely we should do the former, for
we were not of the praying kind; and less likely that we
should do the latter, for why should we be such fools as to
forego or give up our enjoyments ? "

I thought to myself. What a wonderful dream that is ;
and how true to reality ! What numbers of young men
there are, and young women too, besides many older



94 FROM DBA TH INTO LIFE.

people, who hold their worldly happiness on this tenure,
and of course from the same master.

Well, to continue the story of the dream, he said, " In
the course of time we all became heartily tired of the place
and its pleasures, and longed to get away, but we could not.
One of us made an attempt to do so, but he was captured
and brought back, and made more of a slave than ever. At
last, I and a few others agreed to pray at a stated time in
different places, in the hope that if one was caught, yet
the rest might escape. Upon a set day and time we began
praying, each in his appointed place. I had fixed upon a
dark corner in a large deserted room, where we had stowed
away bales and bales of goods we did not care to open.
Climbing over the top of these stores, I landed on the other
side, and went to the spot I had chosen. I had not prayed
long before I heard master coming, cracking his whip,
and saying, *I'll teach you to pray.' This made me
tremble exceedingly, and pray all the harder; but hearing
that he was very near and coming after me, I opened my
eyes, and to my surprise there was a beautiful silver ladder
before me. As quick as thought, I sprang with hands and
feet upon it, and began to climb for dear life. ' Ha ! ' said
master, ' I'll teach you to climb.' Then I felt the ladder
shaking under me, and knew that he was coming up. I
expected every moment to be seized and dragged back, so
I climbed all the faster, and looked up to see how much
farther I had to go. Oh, it was such a long way, and there
was only a very small hole to get to at last. My heart
began to fail me, so that I almost let go my hold, till I
felt the master's sulphurous breath on the back of my neck,
which made me rush forward more vehemently. At last I
reached the top, and thrust my arm through the hole, then
my head, and then my other arm ; thus I got through alto-
gether, leaving my old enemy blaspheming and cursing



A PREJUDICED GUEST. 95

down below. It was a most beautiful place that I was now
in, and angels were flying about, just as the birds do in this
world. I saw the Lord Himself, and fell down before Him
to give Him thanks. As I remained a long time prostrate,
He said to me, 'What is thy petition?' I answered, 'Lord,
grant that that hole may be made larger, for I have nineteen
friends down there in the power of the cruel master.' The
Lord smiled, and said, 'That hole is quite large enough.'
So I awoke."

Where there is a will, there is always a way of some
kind ; and if worldlings are really tired of Satan's service,
they can easily call upon God to deliver them, and He will
most surely do so when He sees they are in earnest. This
dream had the effect of spiritually awakening the man who
had it, and of bringing him to the foot of the cross for
mercy and salvation.

I noticed that in dreams and visions in Cornwall the
Lord Jesus very often appears, and the devil also ; these
are real persons to the Cornish mind, and their power is
respectively acknowledged.

During the summer, a young gentleman, whom we
invited to our house in the hope of reaching his soul, came
to stay with us ; and this in spite of his avowed prejudice
against us and our proceedings. I took this as a token of
encouragement, for I was sure that the devil would have
hindered his coming, unless the young man had been con-
strained by a higher power. He spent his time in riding
about or smoking, and made great fun of our meetings and
services, though I observed that he was very attentive to
hear the sermon whenever he did come.

One week-day evening, while we were sitting in the
drawing-room, and little expecting it, he burst into tears,
and cried out, " I don't know what to do ; I shall be lost



96 FROM DEA TH INTO LIFE.

for ever ! " We immediately sprang up to his help, always
delighted at such opportunities of working for the Lord.
We knelt down to pray, and as we continued to do so, he
fell into great distress, and even agony of soul ; he literally
writhed as if in excessive pain, too great for utterance, and
looked as if he was fainting with the struggle. We called
all the servants into the room to help in prayer, and while I
was praying by the side of my young friend, and pointing
him to Christ, one of the servants rose up and walked
straight across the room, and, with a firm hand pushing me
aside, said, "The Lord is here Himself" I rose instantly


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