Diary of Rev Edward Stevens

Thursday, 25th July, 1878 

St. James’ Day. Divine Service at 9.15. Visited School and taught for an hour. Mr. Elley told me he thought he could not manage the extra subjects, Grammar, Geography and History yet as the children forget the other subjects.

Friday, 16th August, 1878

Tarver Jnr. from the Colony called this evening and asked me to lend forms belonging to the School for use in a preaching tent set up in Temple Close opposite Mr. John Enoch’s where Miss Cobb and other ladies are to hold prayer meetings and services. I told him I could not lend the School property for such a purpose without the sanction of the Trustees, and that I could not conscien­tiously do so under any circumstances as I did not think the coming into the Parish of dissenting preachers, like the body alluded to, was calculated to do much good, and even the good they could do would be more than counterbalanced by the harm likely to result; and that there did not seem to be any need for an extra place of worship in a small village like this where there is a church and two chapels. I warned that excitement was not religion and that the doctrines taught in the tent might be very much opposed not only to those of the Church of England but also of the Society of Friends, to which he professed to belong, as well as to those of the Methodists. I added that I thought each religious body in the Village was doing its best and that there was not need of any tent preaching here, and that the “Missioners” as they called themselves might find plenty of work in the slums of Liverpool, London and such places.

Sunday, 18th August, 1878 

Taught in Sunday School morning and afternoon.

A prayer meeting was held in the “preaching” or “Gospel” tent at 7 o’clock this morning. A great number of strangers came from the neighbouring villages to the services this afternoon and evening. In my Church this afternoon the congregation was only 117 instead of the usual 190 or more. Harry Manning, John Harris and F. Horsman and R. Austin were absent from Choir. Some others of my choir had been asked to the “Gospel tent” to lead the singing. Joseph Manning I am told replied that he did not think it consistent to go to Church one part of the day and to a Dissenting place of worship at another.

Wednesday, 21st August, 1878

Services in the “Bethel” Gospel Tent are being held every morning and evening this week and I am told the “Missioners” intend to remain here for a fortnight. I am told that C.H.Spurgeon is one of the committee of the Mission at least and that Mr Ker one of the preachers out-Spurgeons Spurgeon in the vulgarity of his illustrations of religious truths and the irreverential familiarity with which he speaks of God and Divine things.

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Read about the Rev Edward Stevens here.