Rushden Argus, Friday, November 7, 1902, transcribed by Greville Watson
REV.G.ARMSTRONG BENNETTS AT RUSHDEN
On Sunday the services at the Park-road Wesleyan Church, Rushden, were conducted by the Rev.G.Armstrong Bennetts, Connexional temperance secretary. In the morning the rev. gentleman preached a stirring sermon on “A saint ensnared by drink” to a large congregation, and in the afternoon he gave an interesting address to the scholars and teachers of the Sunday School on “A living temple.” The chapel was crowded for the evening service, which was of an impressive character. The choir sang an anthem, “Daughter of Zion,” and during the collection “Have courage, my boy, to say no” was sung as a solo and chorus. Mr.Bennetts’ subject had been announced as “The faith cure versus the gold cure,” and he based his remarks upon the words, “Be faithful, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil has a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter v., 8-9). Touching on Christ’s warning to Peter, and the latter’s fall, the speaker remarked that in the text Peter was fulfilling the commission to “strengthen his brethren,” he revealed the fact that men were surrounded by a cruel and insatiable foe, bent upon their destruction. This fact could only be known through revelation, but, once revealed, Satan’s existence became the only rational explanation of many facts in human life. Without that knowledge they could not understand man’s life, nor be prepared to meet its claims. When men said that there was no hell he (the speaker) wondered where their eyes were, as even in England so many people were living in torture and agony, springing out of their own wickedness. Let them taken one instrument only used by the devil the devastation wrought by drink and they could no longer be sceptical as to his presence. Could they but have a vision of the mischief wrought in this direction they would go mad. Through drink men were literally “gulped down” by the evil one, and this was at the base of all manner of mischief. Then out of his own experience Peter showed how the adversary was to be met. First of all, don’t drink. It was significant that when the philosophical minds of the Greeks wanted a word to express sobriety and temperance in all things they chose a word which in itself was a warning against drink. Liquor went at once to the root of man’s self-control, and even people who were not drunkards were led into evil by it. Then they must be wideawake, as the devil continually tried to persuade them that evil was really good. They had to stand up face to face with him and resist. The whole Christian Church was to blame in this matter. In a few weeks they stopped the Sunday newspapers, and he asked, Whose was the chief blame that public-houses were open on the Sunday? It was through theneglect and apathy of the Churches. Were the Christian churches of Rushden really trying with all their might to save the lost people in their midst? When the Church was faithful to her mission success must be achieved. Lastly, the key to the whole position was that they should be solid in the faith. Through faith alone could they realise the nature of the evil that was to be met, and faith in spiritual realities was absolutely necessary to right living. By the same means came the power by which victory was assured. Much had been said recently of the gold cure, but he did not believe in curing moral evil by medicine. Faith in the all-sufficient Saviour was the only safeguard. Collections were taken throughout the day on behalf of the new building fund.
Rushden Argus, Friday, January 30, 1903, transcribed by Greville Watson
By the visit of the Rev.Samuel Chadwick to Rushden on Wednesday the Wesleyan Methodists of the town not only stirred interest in their scheme for raising money on behalf of the proposed new place of worship, but also secured for a large number of people the privilege of hearing addresses that must have stimulated thought in many minds. By his sermon in the afternoon Mr.Chadwick must have given his hearers a deeper sense of responsibility with regard to the spiritual welfare of those around, seeing that he indicated plainly the source of power and influence open to all. Then by his lecture in the evening he doubtless brought home to the minds of all present a sense of the importance attaching to a clear conception of the principles underlying the various problems, public and personal, that continually present themselves. In a lucid and entertaining manner he traced the way in which the settling of its own difficulties by one age gives rise to the peculiar conditions confronting the next, and indicated how a clearer grasp of all problems may be gained when once their historic setting is realised. His clear exposition of the social, political, and religious problems presenting themselves in England to-day would do much to prepare his hearers for taking a decided stand and an intelligent part in the conflicts, whilst his eloquent and forceful presentation of the hopeful facts underlying all history would serve to nerve and strengthen courage and hope.
|Rushden Echo, Friday, October 7, 1904, transcribed by Greville Watson
The Park-road Wesleyans have been fortunate in securing the much-sought-after services of the Rev.George Hooper, the famous London orator, for Thursday, Oct.20. At 3.30 he will preach, and in the evening give his great lecture on "Peter Mackenzie: The man, the wit, the preacher." The subject is a fascinating one, and the lecturer, born mimic that he is, is well qualified to deal with it.
Rushden Echo, Friday, October 21, 1904, transcribed by Greville Watson
LONDON ORATOR AT RUSHDEN
Rev.George Hooper on “Peter Mackenzie”
Specimens of Mackenzie’s Wit
In celebration of the anniversary of the Park-road Wesleyan Church, Rushden, two able and impressive sermons were preached on Sunday by the Rev.H.J.Atkinson.
Yesterday afternoon the Rev.G.Hooper, the well-known London orator, preached to a large congregation, and a public tea followed.
Last night the chapel was crowded to hear Mr.Hooper lecture on “Peter Mackenzie: The man, the wit, the preacher.”
Mr.Hooper’s lecture was one of the finest orations ever delivered in Rushden. He was for many years a personal friend of the Rev.Peter Mackenzie, and he gave his Rushden hearers a vivid idea of Mr.Mackenzie’s deep spirituality, inborn drollery, abounding generosity, and real genius. Over and over again Mr.Hooper convulsed the large audience as he told of Peter Mackenzie’s quaint sayings, and his imitation of his hero’s voice and manner was perfect.
For over 50 years said Mr.Hooper the name of Peter Mackenzie has been a household word, and it can truthfully be said that England was Mr.Mackenzie’s parish. He was large in his charity, and, while he never winked at sin, yet in all men he could see the very best that could be found. He was broad in his sympathies, and, while he was to the backbone a loyal Methodist, yet there was hardly a Free Church denomination that he did not at one time or another serve, and, as he himself said, the only reason why he did not preach in St.Paul’s Cathedral or lecture in Westminster Abbey was because they never asked him. Then, too, he was deep in his piety, deeper than he was sometimes credited with. I have known Peter Mackenzie all my life; he nursed me when I wore long clothes; I have travelled with him and sat the table with him; but I never met him without feeling that I had been in touch with a deep spiritual force. His quaint manner was thoroughly natural to him. He was a hard worker, and for over 30 years he never took a holiday. Almost the last thing he said as he was dying was, “I have had a hard life’s work, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it.” In dramatic power he was perhaps the greatest production of Methodism. Physically he was a strong man, or he could not have accomplished the work he did, for in the last year of his life, when he was 71 years of age, he preached 304 sermons, delivered 252 lectures, visited 253 different churches, and travelled 17,000 miles. But he was just as strong in character and mental power as in physical strength. You never met him in the train without finding him with some of the finest literature you could lay your hands on. I have never seen a finer library than his, and I never met a man who could so quickly digest a book and make it his own.
Mr.Hooper then gave some interesting details of the life of his hero, who was born on Nov.11, 1824, in Perthshire, his father being a small farmer. At the age of twenty Peter settled in Durham and became a collier, entering into the sports of the day, especially donkey racing. Peter’s conversion, his wonderful call to preach the gospel, and his entering the Wesleyan ministry were vividly traced by the lecturer, who showed that in Mr.Mackenzie’s ordinary circuit work the churches were always filled, the finances good, the spiritual tone of the churches high, and the conversions numerous.
Mr.Hooper wisely devoted a considerable portion of his lecture to some of Peer’s sayings and doings. We append a few samples.
Mr.Mackenzie was lecturing on “Joseph and his brethren.” “Don’t be too hard,” said Mr.Mackenzie, “on the brothers when they put Joseph into the pit. They perhaps thought it was a good opening for the lad.”
In Conference one minister, anxious for the “dignity” of Methodism, urged that Mr.Mackenzie should “clothe his ideas in more fitting language.” Peter’s reply was “My friend can easily clothe all his ideas, but my ideas come so fast that I can’t even get their shirts on, much less clothe them.”
Lecturing on “The advantage of disadvantages,” Mr.Mackenzie used to say: “It is a disadvantage to have no money, but there is one advantage in that all the pickpockets in London can’t rob you.”
When lecturing on “Jonah,” he said: “When Jonah was thrown overboard, the whale said, ‘Come in, it’s our turn to take in the travelling preacher.’ And Jonah replied, ‘Well, perhaps it is, but I’m a bit sucked in this time.’”
Speaking of David and Goliath, he would say, “It was a great surprise to Goliath when he was hit with David’s stone such a thing had never entered his head before.”
Peter’s best story, Mr.Hooper considered, was that of a poor woman who was told by a doctor to get champagne and oysters for her husband who was ill. Next time the doctor came the husband was much better. “I thought the champagne and oysters would cure him,” said the doctor. “But I couldn’t afford champagne and oysters, so I got him the next best thing I gave him some ginger pop and cockles.”
Having dealt with Peter’s wonderful generosity to the cabmen, porters, and others, Mr.Hooper described the great man’s sudden and fatal illness in 1895, and said that even on his death-bed he was making a sermon, the text being “Mine eyes shall see the King in His beauty.”
On the motion of the Rev.H.J.Atkinson, a cordial vote of thanks was passed to the chairman and lecturer.
The financial proceeds, £24, were for the new church building fund.
|Rushden Echo, Friday, January 20, 1905, transcribed by Greville Watson
A good story was told on Sunday morning at the Park-road Wesleyan Church by the Rev.E.E.Dewhurst, in the course of a very interesting and helpful sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Showing that some people liked to be "generous" at the expense of others, he told the true story of a Yorkshire landlady who was asked by a mendicant for help. At first she refused to assist, but was so moved with the applicant's tale of woe that she went and cut him a slice of bread - from her lodger's loaf!
|Rushden Echo, Friday, May 5, 1905, transcribed by Greville Watson
Lecture at Rushden by the Rev.S.Chadwick
"Revivals, revivalists. and revivalism" was the subject of a lecture in the new Wesleyan Church, Rushden, on Monday night by the Rev.S.Chadwick, of Leeds. The Rev.H.J.Atkinson presided over a large attendance. Points from Mr.Chadwick's lecture are appended:-
Every Free Church in this country is the product of a revival, and emphatically that is true of the Methodist Church.
There is a great difference between a revival and a mission. A mission is all very well if it develops into a revival, but a mission can be organised and engineered and carried through. You cannot engineer a revival.
We are privileged to see in these days what promises to be a great revival of religion. I have never seen such a rise in the temperature of the churches or such a spirit of inquiry on the part of the world outside the churches. I never found it easy to get men to come to church or chapel, to sign the pledge, or to accept the gospel invitation.
In Leeds we have had an experience corresponding to some extent to the revival which is spreading throughout Wales.
I should like to pay a tribute to
The Secular Press
of this country and to testify to the discrimination and charity and enthusiasm with which they have lent themselves to the spread of this glorious work.
We have had all-day prayer meetings in Leeds. We had no preaching and no programme. The meetings practically started themselves and closed themselves.
One of the things we found in Leeds was that in the case of so many of the people who were supposed to be Christian people and Christian workers, when the revival came there came with it a revelation that brought them into condemnation. People came to discover that their consecration was not complete or that their faith was not firmly founded. One of the things that struck me most was the number of people who thought it possible to be at peace with God while they were at variance with some of God's people. No man can be at peace with God who has not forgiven the transgressions of his brother. This revival begins with insisting that you must cast out of your heart everything of resentment, and you must live at peace with your neighbour. Worse than drunkenness or Sabbath breaking is the sin of an unforgiving spirit.
said at one of his meetings, and repeated it at other meeting because it took so well, "When I am hit, I like to hit back." And the crowd cheered the sentiment. But after he said it at one meeting, there was a great silence, in which one man shouted out, "Ah, that is hell." That is the most profound thing I have heard about hell. Hell is a place where they do not forgive, a place where there is no love, and in that spirit no man can enter heaven.
The editor of the "Freethinker" wrote lately about the revival. He said there had been many revivals of religion or it would have died out, and added that it must be a poor thing that wanted reviving so much. But the editor's logic is at fault. That is true of many things besides religion. It is true of the editor himself. It is true of trade. A businessman told me recently tht he had been carrying on his trade at a loss. "Then why do you continue in it?" I asked. "Because
Trade will Revive
presently," he answered. You would be glad to see a revival of trade in Rushden, and the sooner it comes the better.
The distinctive note of the present revival is four-fold, namely, that men
1. Must made confession to God.
2. Must forgive one another.
3. Must be prompt in their obedience to the Spirit.
4. Must make open confession of the name of Christ.
A revival never comes to a frozen church, a worldly church, or a dead church.
When God chooses a revivalist, He always gives the church a surprise. The very last man that any Church Assembly would choose is always the man God picks out, and God is always right.
|Rushden Echo, Friday, May 12, 1905, transcribed by Greville Watson
PARK-ROAD WESLEYAN CHURCH
The opening services in connection with this church were continued on Sunday, when the Rev.J.Davison Brown, of London, preached two excellent sermons to large congregations. A largely-attended young people's service in the afternoon was conducted by the Rev.M.E.Parkin (Congregational minister). Special music was rendered by the choir during the day under the conductorship of Mr.F.Betts. At the morning service the anthem, "How lovely are Thy habitations," was given, Mr.Herbert Waring taking the tenor solo and the duet being given by Miss Haddon and Miss Scott. In the evening the anthem was "The Lord is my strength." The solos were taken by Miss Waring, who also took part in the duet with Mr.J.Perkins. Miss Rose Knight was the organist throughout the day. Mr.Davison Brown's sermons made a great impression.
|Rushden Echo, Friday, May 19, 1905, transcribed by Greville Watson
The Secretary of the Wesleyan Conference (the Rev.J.Hornabrook, of Manchester) was the special preacher at the Park-road Wesleyan Church on Sunday in continuation of the opening services. There were large congregations. In the afternoon a young people's service was held, the Rev.W.F.Harris conducting the meeting. at the morning service Mr.Hornabrook referred to the new building. It is - he said - a very beautiful chapel. I have been familiar with the plans from the beginning, and had something to do with the scheme in its various stages. I am very glad that you decided to spend a little more money than was originally contemplated, and so do the thing well. There were some few features about the original plan which, if they had been embodied in the building, would, I think, have been a source of regret. The present building is substantial, harmonious, symmetrical. The acoustics are good. The whole impression that one receives, both within and without, is good. You have done exceedingly well, too, in the efforts you have put forth thus far with regard to finances.
Rushden Echo, Friday, June 9, 1905, transcribed by Greville Watson
The Rev.G.H.Hayes, of Hitchin, preached in the new Wesleyan church, Park-road, Rushden, on Sunday last, these being the last of the opening services. Mr.Hayes was recently the superintendent minister of the circuit, and crowded congregations assembled, including a large number from Higham Ferrers, Irthlingborough, Riseley, and other parts of the circuit. At the morning service Mr.Hayes said: You have a magnificent chapel. How kind it is of you that I should be allowed to come on one of your opening Sundays. I saw the building on paper, perhaps as frequently as most of you. Now I am delighted to see it built. I am delighted with the building itself. I cannot make any appeal to you for finances - my modesty will prevent that. I am glad to see a number of friends from a distance here this morning. After the astonishing amount you raised at the stone-laying and again at the opening services, I do not know how much money you have left in Rushden. But I am here to gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost, and if there are twelve basketsful the stewards will be all the better pleased. Mr.Hayes proceeded to preach a most interesting discourse on "Pressing towards the mark." In the evening he preached a masterly sermon on "The rich young ruler."
|Rushden Echo, Friday, September 1, 1905, transcribed by Greville Watson
The Rev.George Hooper, the well-known London orator, will preach on Rushden Feast Thursday afternoon in the Park-road Wesleyan Church, and at night he will lecture in the same place on "London's Poor." Those who heard Mr.Hooper in his lecture on "Peter MacKenzie" last year will not forget the rich treat they had.
|Rushden Echo, Friday, October 20, 1905, transcribed by Greville Watson
SPECIAL MISSION AT RUSHDEN
Park-road Wesleyan Church
Mr.William Norwell, one of the connexional evangelists under the Wesleyan Conference, is conducting a mission in the Park-road Wesleyan Church, Rushden. Mr.Norwell is a most interesting and impressive preacher, and large congregations have assembled. The missioner had been ably assisted by the pastor of the church (the Rev.H.J.Atkinson) and the various church workers. The Free Church Hymnal is being used, and strong choir has been in attendance nightly.
Mr.Norwell met the workers on Saturday evening and dealt with the methods which he proposed to adopt.
Large congregations assembled on Sunday, especially in the evening, when the spacious church was crowded. In the afternoon Mr.Norwell held a service for the young people. At the close of the evening service an immense crowd of people formed a procession and sang through the streets, the missioner giving brief addresses at various points. The services have been continued nightly. Prior to the evangelistic meeting on Tuesday, Mr.Norwell conducted a special service for young people, which was well attended. On Wednesday afternoon there was a meeting for women. Yesterday Mr.Norwell conducted a Bible Reading Service.
Mr.Norwell writes weekly in "Joyful News" under the 'nom de plume' of "Zachariah Ploughshare."
|Rushden Echo, Friday, November 10, 1905, transcribed by Greville Watson
The Rev.John Grimshaw, of Manchester, preached in the Wesleyan Church, Park-road, on Sunday, large congregations assembling. Mr.Grimshaw, who is an expository preacher of a high order, delivered two able discourses. The choir sang Jackson's "Te Deum" in the morning and an anthem at night, Mr.H.W.Wooding taking the solo. The collections were for the building fund.
|Rushden Echo, Friday, March 16, 1906, transcribed by Greville Watson
The Rev.J.W.Eacott, in the course of a powerful sermon at the Park-road Wesleyan Church on Sunday morning, severely denounced the ownership of slum property by professing Christians. He instanced a case in which a member of a Christian Church, asked who was the owner of some foul and unhealthy cottages, replied "I am." "Then why don't you pull them down?" he was asked, and his reply was "They pay me too well." Such a spirit was entirely opposed to scriptural teaching on covertousness.
|Rushden Echo, Friday, April 6, 1906, transcribed by Greville Watson
“Some Humours of the Pulpit”
The Rev.J.Davison Brown at Rushden
Wise and Witty Words
In Praise of Laughter
Christianity and the Present Life
The Rev.J.Davison Brown, of London, whose outspoken address at Rushden, six or eight weeks ago, was fully reported in our columns at the time, attracting considerable attention, was the special preacher at the Park-road Wesleyan Church, Rushden, on Sunday last. The occasion was the first anniversary of the opening of the spacious new edifice. Large congregations assembled. Mr.Brown’s subject in the morning was “The known and the unknown,” and in the evening he dealt with “The Socialism of Jesus.” In the afternoon Mr.Brown addressed the scholars of the Sunday school.
Jackson’s “Te Deum” was sung by the choir at the morning service. A half-hour’s musical programme was given prior to the evening service, as follows:- Anthem, “Sing, O Heavens,” choir (soloist, Miss Clarice Button); solo, “The Outcast,” Mr.Welch; quartette, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,” Miss Haddon, Miss Scott, Mr.Herbert Wooding, and Mr.A.Clarke; chorus, “Hallelujah” (Handel), choir. At the evening service the choir sang the anthem, “Abide with me.” Mr.F.Betts was the conductor, and Mr.C.Wooding presided at the organ.
On Monday a public tea was well attended.
“Some Humours of Preaching” was the subject of
An Able Lecture
on Monday evening by the Rev.J.Davison Brown. The Rev.H.J.Atkinson presided over a large attendance.
Mr.Brown began his lecture by quoting the saying of a well-known London Missioner, “My one mission is to make men love God and laugh.” He (Mr.Brown) was sure that Jesus Christ’s man should be a man of cheerful spirit. He had always believed in good honest laughter, which was God’s own medicine for sad hearts and weary lives. Men and women should learn how to laugh, and they should laugh as often as they can. After a good laugh work becomes a delight instead of a drudgery. Some very “pious” people seemed to think it was wrong to laugh and that when a man accepted Christ’s gospel he must be deaf to the infinite harmonies of the universe in which he lived and ignorant of pleasure and delight. This mis-timed Puritanism was a great mistake. Christianity was a joyous religion. It was the luxury of a Christian man to enjoy a happiness unknown to any other man. There was no more pernicious sophism than to suppose that a sallow-visaged dyspeptic was a better Christian than a hopeful, cheerful, buoyant man or woman.
Mr.Brown proceeded to give many humorous incidents connected with preachers and preaching, including the story of a Scotch minister, who one Monday saw
A Daft Man
scribbling on a piece of paper. In reply to the minister the half-wit said he was writing shorthand, adding that it was the minister’s sermon of the previous day. “That’s no shorthand,” said the preacher, “it’s all nonsense.” “Yes,” replied the daft one, “that’s just what I thought your sermon was.”
Another anecdote referred to a Dutch preacher returning home after the servicewhen he saw a little man carrying his big wife on his back. “Why are you doing that?” asked the minister, and his hearer replied, “You told us to take up our cross, and my wife is the biggest cross I’ve ever had.”
Mr.Brown did not think that he was altogether out of place in the pulpit, but it must be kept in a subordinate position to illustrate a point, to clinch an argument, or to arrest the wandering attention. Humour was a gift to use sparingly and wisely. There are, Mr.Brown urged, three notes which must mark the ministry of today, notes without which every ministry will be imperfect and defective. The minister must be:- 1. Holy. 2. Cultured. E. Practical.
To my mind, holiness is the fundamental quality. The Christian minister must live in the highest altitudes; he must breathe
The Purest Moral Ether.
Then, there must be culture. Ignorance and Christianity are not synonymous terms. The Christian minister must be a man of strong intellectual attainments.
Thirdly, the ministry of to-day must be practical. With a few bright exceptions, the Christian ministry has kept itself from the every-day lives and affairs of men. We have been too other-worldly in our conceptions. We have forgotten that human spirits cannot be separated from mortal bodies. The Christian Church is not a great fire insurance agency to save men from hell in the future but to save men from the hell of blighted and blasted careers and from the mildew of useless lives here and now. Christianity is not a system to save you from punishment in the other world but a system to give you power over temptation in this life and to help you make this life worth living. The cry we often hear for “the salvation of souls” is the random language of a shallow orthodoxy. You cannot say where the soul begins and where the body ends. Christ did not come simply to save the soul He came to save the whole man. You cannot divorce the soul from the body, and the salvation was have through grace is a
Physical, Intellectual, and Spiritual
salvation that beautifies and purifies the whole nature and brings it into harmony with God. The ministry of to-day must take a practical interest in all that affects the welfare of the people, whether social or political. I have been told it is my duty to preach the old gospel. But the old gospel that Christ preached was a gospel which struck at the root of every injustice. What is the use of speaking about physical regeneration unless you are prepared to acknowledge that physical regeneration must go hand in hand with social regeneration? Questions of employment, of housing, of political rights these all come within the scope of the practical ministry of the present day. We must have the courage of our convictions, to go behind the dogmas of our church and preach the plain and thorough-going social reformation that Christ preached, for the legitimate outcome of the gospel of Christ is the establishment in some form of the brotherhood of man. For my part, I am glad to take an interest in the municipal affairs of my own borough. I was not afraid though a good many goody-goody parsons were shocked to take the platform of that political party which is working for progress and
The Betterment of the People,
for, after all, the Christian Church stands for justice and for this great fundamental truth that every child of man has a right to every possible chance of developing the powers and capacities it possesses. Wherever there is injustice, the Christian minister should denounce it. Wherever there is oppression, the Christian minister should be its foe. The Church must stand for what is right and just. We shall never with the allegiance of the masses until we show a practical interest in their welfare. If the Church does not stand for justice it will have the mortification of seeing a very considerable portion of its work and that, not the least important performed by an altruistic agnosticism, a philanthropic scepticism or a humanitarian infidelity. Of what use is it talking to man about his spiritual necessities when every power he possesses is taken up by one long and unsuccessful effort to keep body and soul together? How many are there who, from their sickly, stunted, starved childhood to their
Premature and Miserable Death,
have never had a chance? “Man’s inhumanity to man” is great, and the un-Christliness of Christian England passes all imagination. If we are to meet the needs of to-day, if we are to save this country from an industrial revolution that may be the worst the world has ever known, if we are to save our people for all the high and glorious possibilities we must see that our religion is no mere figment of dogma and sentimentality, but that it is a practical and potent and God-inspired force that shall move and mould and uplift the common life of the people amongst whom we live.
The address was punctuated with loud cheers.
The choir sang the final chorus from Root’s “David, the shepherd boy,” its effective obbligato for soprano and tenor being taken by Miss C.Button and Mr.F.Betts.
The proceeds, for the trust funds, amounted to about £20.