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A GREAT REVIVAL.
(BÏ W. BRADLEY.)
Four year» «go the North of Ireland presented . »cene of chaos. An armed camp marke 1 the border between Kortli and South Fear and uncertainty filled the minds of the neonle. Politicians were at
their wits- end. Mulder and destruction prevailed The hopelessn.B* of the situation appeared almost l.c.von.i description aa condltlous drifted from bad
Into tlio arena stepped a man-not a politic- ian or military autocrat, but a mere Itinerant evangelist, to proclai'o the Evangel of pond- on enrtb and good will towards men. As the outcome of his arresting message, flames of religious fervour swept the whole country- side. Bloodshed gave place to religious re- vival. Bitter strife and unrest was sup planted by pence and liberty. The central figure of Ulster's wonderful revival was none other than the Rev. W. P. Nicholson, who arrives In Sydney to-day on his fifth voyage mund the world. He Is still an ambassador of the same Evangel, and for tlio next 12 months will command public attention throughout Sydney and other cities of the State. An ex-British Cabinet Minister was so Impressed w'th N cholson'a remarkable work in the North of Ir.dand during 1820-1 as the only possibly, solution of Ireland's civil war, that he paid the expenses ot the evangelist and his family In order to brine him back from America. This was a unique recognition of tlio tremendous value of his
It wns In 1922, when the political warfare was at Its height, that Mr. Nicholson began his mission In Belfast. Republicans wert dissatisfied with the treaty, particularly with the pnrtltlon clause, and gunnvsn endeavoured to crea to a division by, opening an attack on the northern citadel, Belfast. The border wns patrolled by special conttabloj. Shots were frequently exchaugr . between the hos- tile foroes, and periodic raids were mad«. Belfast was held at numerous vantage points by snipers. Trains enterlug or leaving the city were frequently subject to a fusilado of shot, sometimes with fatal consequences. Passengers flung themselves on the floor as the trains were rushed -.cross the dangor -one
ht top speed.
Infuriated sections extracted stern reprisals. Householders were attached and murdered In tb<r own homes. Barricades had been thrown across the streets ut strategical pointa and ehootiug was the order of the day. Mili- tary detachments wero hurried fro.n place to place' In the attempt to quell the sporadic warfare. Cars with armed police,.sometimes accompanied bj armoured cars, wero to be seen In nil directions. The regular military establishment had boon increased, apart from the enlistment of spoclal constables; men ".-.rmed to the teeth," soldiers In full fight- ing kit, Including shrapnel helmets, were stationed at evo.-y corner. >
In uninviting conditions such as these, when men's passions were unloosed, whilst the lawless section of the community seized the opportunity to rob and plunder, the Rev W. p. Nicholson resumed lils evangelistic mission. Holding a special passport to all zono^areas, In official recognition of bis out- standing Influenco, Mr. Nicholson stepped out I into bia unparnlled undertaking. Facing sen-
tries and a hall of bullets, ho took up his work. His success was so outstanding as to form the subject of cables to tbe Australian
REVIVAL BREAKS O-T.
Surely there was never such an atmosphere for a spiritual revival in which to break out. Christlnn people, in the grave extremity of the situation, were thrown upon God, and prayer moetings were organised from house to house. Some of the fiercest fighting look place at _ Marrowbone. For a time only the very adventurous would attempt to enter or loave that area. Notwithstanding the dangers incurred, so great was the attraction of the mission from that dlstr ct, several not only attended, but subsequently many became the brightest converts. The men's moetlugs were a sight long to bo remembered. On Sunday afternoons they packed the hall. Tension and conviction were widespread. Bodies of men volunteered to enlist under the blood- stained banner of the Cross. What a con- trast these Ecenes presented to the open war- fare transpiring outside, often close to the mission hall. The crack of rifles and machine guns could be beard whilst the services were In progrrss.
A new spirit was Introduced Into the com- munity as the outcome of Mr. Nicholson's campaign. Largo nu bera who otherwise wouid have been caui.bt In the excitement of tho hour, wore icld night after night under the powerful spell of Mr. Nicholson's fearless and uncompromising preaching of the Gospel. The advent of a new spiritual force bom In the midst of all this tribulation, came to tbe aid of the authorities who wero struggling with the bloody situation.
G.cat credit ,was due to the brave men, who, in f, ce of all danger, stood between the opposing factions and gave protection to life aud property. Both civil authorities and Christian loaders »fflrro that the Influence of the spiritual revival, appealing to the better Instincts of thousands of men, was the great- est factor in stilling wrath and hatred, and bringing about the cessation of bloodshed. It was moro effective than all the c|\II and mili- tary forces then in oporatlon.
Scores of gunmen and hotheads wore truly converted, whilst law-breakers banded tuem selvos over to the authorities. Indescribable scenes of religious enthusiasm were witnessed In many centres as the revival spread through- out Ulster. Thousands wero brought to Christ. Shipyard workers on two occasions marched In procession from the shipyard of Harland and Wolfe's to the revival meetings. Gates and railways were carried away by the pressure of the throngs to gain admission. Two hundred men at one of these meetings openly made their stand for ChrUt, and many publicly destroyed their betting cards. The dally Press devoted considerable space .each day to the revival. Salvation became epide- mic, and In street and nar tbe topic was Nicholson and bis worlc. Trumway men, railway mon, policemen, and postmen were caught In the movement, and tlio spiritual fervour of the people rose to a height Un- paralleled since the famous '59 ro-lval. Never In all his wide and varied experience bad the evangelist Been sucb a marked and definite movement amongst men of 50 years of ago and upward. The work was deep, and thoroughly masculine In character. Thi -e Was not a town where he visited but that churches were enlarged, and membership In places was even
Apart from Ulster, Mr. nicholson has con- ducted equally successful missions In other centres, notably at Dublin. The Presbyterian General Assembly of Ireland lent bim the Belfast Auditorium, seating .000 people, the largest building of the kind In Ireland. Here for a month, despite the holiday season, the premises were packed night after night. The Koswick Convention last July, on the rccaslon of their fiftieth annivereary, gave Mr. Nichol- son tlie honour of conducting their largest evangelistic meetings. At Cambridge Uni- versity recently, he «as associated witb such men as Dr. Stuart Holden, and Dr. Norwood, of London, also Dr. Temple, Bishop of Man- chester. Here at this trl-ennial mission Mr Nicholson was given the leading part, and nearly 200 undergraduates responded to his
His undaunted and uncompromising stand for truth, lils fearless denunciation of sin, his faithful warnings, and unBcathing exposure of religious hypocrisy, have commanded the at- tention of the religious press of tho Old Coun- try, and have won thousands of recruits to the cause of Christianity.