Charles Stanley



Chapter 8






But I must still go back a little, and linger in that remarkable work of God in so many places.  In the city of York there was a blessed work, though some excitement was mixed up with it, and some cases turned out to be such as had no root.  The meeting-room was so crowded that people got up to the windows.  The meetings at six in the morning were times of great refreshment and communion.  In the evening believers would go out into different parts of the city, and bring the unconverted to hear the word.  One lady would go into the lowest parts, and almost compel them to come.  She would marshal them in rows, and walking by their side, would bring them to the room.  The little tract, “Awake, awake,” expresses very much the character of the preaching at this time, also “Justification in the Risen Christ.”


 Similar scenes were witnessed in the Mechanics Hall, Bradford, also in Rochdale.  It was in the latter place John v.24 began to be used so remarkably.  Precious words of Jesus which have been used of the Lord in giving certainty and rest to thousands.  There was a young woman in distress of soul at the after meeting.  She had longed for some time to know, with certainty, that she had eternal life; and from the various doctrines she had heard, she was perplexed to know how this certainty could possibly be enjoyed.  She said, “How am I to know that I am saved?”  The words of Jesus were quoted, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me , HATH everlasting life, and shall not come in condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.”  The amazing fact that it was Jesus that spoke these words of assurance, broke in upon her soul.  She then said, “But my sins.”  Then the words of the Holy Ghost were quoted to her, “Be it known unto you. . . . that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him, ALL that believe are justified from all things.” (Acts XIII.38.) The change that took place was even manifested in her countenance.  It was from the gloom of unbelief to the brightness and joy of simply believing God.  The same precious verses were quoted to a number of anxious souls at the other end of the room, and a similar change passed over them, like a bright ray of sunshine.  From that memorable night those two verses have been used of God where ever the gospel of His grace is preached.


If an anxious soul reads these lines, let me ask, What can you want more than the assurance of the words of Jesus, that believing God, you have eternal life (compare 1 John V. 10-13), “And this is the record .that God HATH given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life.  These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life.”


Are you oppressed with sins?  Does the remembrance of them overwhelm you?  Oh look back at Jesus, dying on the cross, the propitiation for sins.  See Him raised from among the dead for the justification of all who believe God.  For God has thus accepted the atoning sacrifice.  And now does not God most distinctly proclaim to you the forgiveness of sins?  Does He not declare that ALL who believe are justified from all things?  Then if you believe Him are you not justified, accounted righteous before God?  Will you answer these questions in the presence of God?


Here I would make a few remarks on the before and after meetings we were accustomed to hold at that time.  The before, or early meetings, at six a.m., were greatly blessed.  My own room at Rotherham was crowded at six a.m. almost every morning;.  There was earnest and continued prayer.  Then, as a result, the room in the Crofts, an old hay-loft turned into a meeting-room, would be crowded at night, and many an anxious soul professed to find peace with God.  Early preachings, to, were often owned of God.  We were having preaching at 6 a.m., at Exeter, near the castle.  A young woman was passing, and just heard the sentence, “The greatest sinner in Exeter is welcome to the Lord Jesus Christ.”  It was a message from God to her soul.  She went home, and kneeling by her bed, she sobbed out, “Lord, I am the greatest sinner in Exeter! Oh, am I welcome to Thee?”


Some months after this, a brother in Christ was called to see a dying woman.  From the character of the neighbourhood and the house, he expected to find a sad case of a soul about to pass into eternity unsaved.  He was surprised to see a face radiant with heavenly peace.  It is a lovely sight to see one just about to depart and be with the Lord.  He was so surprised he could scarcely speak.  At last he said, “What has made you so happy ?  Has any one been to see you? Or have you had some tract given you?” “Oh no,” she said, “No one has been to see me.  I have been here alone with the Lord Jesus.”  She than related what she heard at six o’clock one morning; how she came and kneeled by that bed; what she said to the Lord: and the everlasting welcome she had found to His infinite love.  Many years has she now been with the Lord.  Oh, ye dear servants of the Lord, that have bodily strength, will you not try a few meetings at six o’clock in the morning?


But we must not forget the after meetings.  These have, no doubt, been greatly abused.  What has not been?  That God was pleased to work in them by the Holy Ghost, there can be no question.  The people had not to be asked to stay.  They would not leave.  God was working by the Holy Ghost, and very many found peace during the after meeting.


Unbelief might be ready to say, that many of these apparent leadings of the Spirit were but incidental occurrences.  In many cases this could not be.  Take the following;-


On one occasion I felt a very distinct call to go and preach at a place I had only seen once in my life: a town on the left-hand side coming from the Potteries to Derby.  I did not know the name of the town, but it was vividly before my eye, and I felt assured that I must go there and preach Christ.  I described the town to a person from Staffordshire, and he told me at once the name of the place was Uttoxeter.  I continued in prayer during that week; and on Friday I received a letter from Tenby, South Wales, enclosing a letter from Mrs. H., of Uttoxeter, asking the lady in Tenby if she knew my address, to forward an enclosed letter to me; which letter was an earnest request for me to go to Uttoxeter, and preach the gospel.  I immediately went, the word was owned, and a number were gathered to Christ.  Was this a mere accident, on the day that I was called to go and preach at this, to me, unknown place?  A Christian was also led to write a letter, to ask me to go?  Why should we doubt the presence and guidance of the Holy Ghost now, as He was manifestly present in the beginning?  Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall send you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.”  Yes, He abides with us; and if we were more simple we should know far more of His divine guidance in our path of service.  It is just as ecclesiastical arrangements increase, that the direct guidance of the Spirit is set aside.  We have little idea how much we lose by this.