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S the summer advanced, it was laid on my heart to go and preach in the parish of Perranzabuloe, where I had ministered in my unconverted days. The vicar, however, would not consent to my having the church; but he told me, in writing, that he could not prevent my preaching on the common or the beach. I thanked him for his suggestion as to the latter. As soon as I was able I made arrangements, and giving due notice, went down to the old familiar place; but this time on a new errand, and it was to me a fresh start in my work. I took my gown for this first open-air service; and on arriving, found many hundreds of people already assembled at the appointed place, on Perran beach.
After giving out a hymn, which was most heartily sung, I prayed, thanking God for the change He had wrought in my soul, and begging Him to show that He had forgiven the past, by bestowing a manifest blessing upon the present service. All this was loudly responded to, in Cornish
PREACHING ON THE BEACH.
fashion, with hearty "Amens," and various other ejaculations to which I was well accustomed. Then I read the beginning of the fifth chapter of St. Luke, taking for my text the words, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught."
Having reminded the people how hard I had worked amongst them for four years without seeing any conversions, I went on to show them, by way of parallel, that Simon Peter had toiled all night and taken nothing, but that when he went forth at the Lord's command, he enclosed a great multitude of fishes. "Here," I said, "is encouragement for us to expect a blessing now. Why did Simon Peter fail at first? and why did he subsequently succeed? Why did he fail?—1, Because he went out in the night. 2, At his own desire. 3, In the wisdom of men. Why did I fail?—1, Because I preached and laboured in the night of my unconverted state. 2, I laboured at the bidding of the Church. And, 3. According to the wisdom and tradition of the fathers. Why did Peter succeed?-Because, 1, He went out in the morning. 2, At the Lord's bidding. 3, With the Lord's presence.
"I am come (I was thankful to be able to say) in the bright sunshine of my first love. Jesus, the Saviour, is the 'Sun of my soul, my Saviour dear."" The people cheered me so much with their responding, that I felt as happy as they. The opening heaven seemed to shine around us, indeed, "with beams of sacred bliss." They shouted again and again, "Glory to God! Glory to God! Hallelujah!" "I am come now," I continued, "to tell you, from my own personal experience, about salvation and the forgiveness of sins." "Yes, yes!" "Thank the Lord!" "Bless Him!" "I am come, dear friends, at the Lord's bidding. I feel sure that He put it into my heart to do so. Oh, how much I longed to do you good when I was your minister · but I
could not, for I knew nothing about the Way myself. Now, that I do, I am constrained to tell you. The love of God within, and the Word of God without, compel me.
"I feel I have the Lord's presence, for He not only promised it where two or three are gathered together in His name; but also to those who preach the Gospel, He said, 'Lo, I am with you alway!' His presence is power. It is His word I bring you, not mine; I merely deliver it. He is here. And be sure He loves you, and, what is more, takes a deeper interest in this preaching than we can. He died for you, and shed His blood for your forgiveness; how, then, can He do otherwise than take an interest in the delivery of His message, and, more, in the result which is to follow ?
"When Simon Peter let down his net, he was astonished; mark, it was a net he let down into the deep, something which enclosed the fish, in order that he might bring them out of their native element, the water. So I preach the Gospel, not merely for the sake of preaching, but to bring you from the power of Satan, in which we all are by nature, to God, that you may receive the forgiveness of your sins.
"We read that he enclosed a great multitude of fishes: I have faith to believe that the Lord will bring many to Himself to night."
With shouting and praise the address was concluded, and prayer was offered. At the close, we found at least fifty people in that great throng on their knees, crying for mercy. It was a most triumphant and joyful time, and the people were loth to separate. We slept that night at Porth, is that part of the village is called.
The next morning two fishermen came to my lodging, bringing a large basket of fish as a present. Their hearts had been cheered the preceding night, and taking my word
THE PET KID.
in a natural as well as a spiritual sense, they went out once again and let down their nets. They had gone out many nights before and taken nothing; but this time their venture was crowned with success, and they came back rejoicing in the Lord, who had shown them that temporal as well as spiritual blessings come from Him. The basket of fish they brought me was an acknowledgment of their heartfelt gratitude.
After breakfast, as we were walking on the sea-shore, under the majestic cliffs which have stood as a wall against the Atlantic waves for centuries, we heard our good-natured Newfoundland dog barking at something on the rocks; we looked up, and behold! there was an exquisitely graceful fawn-coloured kid, with a scarlet collar and bells, bounding about playfully on the narrow ledges of the rocks. It seemed to us to be leaping about on the face of the cliff, for we could not see the little ledges on which it picked its way. It was quite out of the dog's reach, and appeared to know it, judging from the coquettish and defiant manner in which it was jumping about, in high glee at its independence. While we were standing watching the pretty and graceful creature, a young lady came out from behind other rocks, and called to her pet, which arched its little neck, and looked at her, then at the dog, as if it would say, "How can I come down?" I walked towards her, and on speaking, found that she knew me, and that I had seen her when she was a child. After a little talk about the playful kid, I asked if she had been to the meeting; she said "she had, and she had not!" I waited silently for an explanation. Presently, she said that her mamma had forbidden her to go to such wild meetings," but that her father had asked her to walk with him under a wall in the garden, where they could and did hear every word; and she added, "I think papa has found peace-he is so very happy!"
"And have not you also?" I asked. "Ah," she replied, "I wish I could."
The more I talked with her, the more convinced I felt she was in earnest, but that something stood in the way. She said she did not know what it was-that she really wished for salvation, and was willing to give up everything. I said, "Do you think your mother would let you return with
us on a short visit? We are just going back to Baldhu."
She said, "Mamma is not at home: she has gone away for three days; but I think papa would let me go. Shall I ask him?"
She did; and soon returned saying that she might do so if we could promise to bring her back in two days. This being settled, she hastened to get her things ready, and sent her maid to fetch home her pet kid, which she bade her take great care of during her absence: then we set off.
On arriving at our house she went straight to her bedroom, and there on her knees implored God's mercy, and remained pleading and praying for five hours, before she found peace. Then she came down among us, rejoicing in the Lord. That evening she spent at the meeting, and the next day in visiting among the cottages. On the third day, after a happy visit, we took her home to her father, rejoicing in the liberty of the children of God.
Her mother returned the day after, and when she was told of the change in her husband and her daughter Lucy, she became exceedingly angry, and wrote, not to thank, but to forbid us the house; also prohibiting further intercourse. At the same time, she declared her intention to get all that nonsense out of her daughter's head as soon as possible. She dragged this poor girl out to parties and amusements of every kind, against her will, which had the effect of making her dislike them the more, and caused her to cleave steadfastly to the Lord in prayer.