Revival: from Melbourne 1902 to Wales 1904 ?

R A Torrey

It is said that following the Great Melbourne Revival of 1902 in Australia, R.A. Torrey & Charles Alexander were invited to Wales. They specifically requested that Charles bring the worship hymns  that has been composed during their month in Melbourne.

“Reuben Archer Torrey (1856–1928) was both an evangelist and a Bible scholar. Long associated with D. L. Moody, he became most prominent during world preaching tours in 1902 and 1921. His preaching in Wales in 1902 has been noted as one of the causes of the Welsh revivals of the early 1900s.” Source: https://www.ywampublishing.com/p-1237.aspx?searchEngineName=ra-torrey

“Getting a leave of absence from his Chicago responsibilities, he quickly began to ponder that God might use him as the human instrument to bring worldwide revival–his burden for many years. He was to see some 102,000 come to Christ in the next few years in the most globe-girdling enterprise ever undertaken by an evangelist.

He wired a former student, Charles M. Alexander, to meet him in Australia. Torrey went to Japan and China on the way, where he preached with great power and saw hundreds of converts made during his brief visit there.

It was April, 1902, that Torrey and Alexander met in Melbourne, Australia, and began their work there. This movement was known as the Simultaneous Mission and it lasted a month. For the first two weeks, meetings were held in fifty different centers by fifty different ministers and evangelists. The “Glory Song” (O That Will Be Glory) seemed to set the nation on fire. During the last two weeks the meetings were held in the Exhibition Building seating 8,000 people. Up to 15,000 were trying to get in nightly. W.E. Geil, another American evangelist, assisted in the meetings. Some 8,600 converts were recorded and the news of the awakening stirred all Christendom. Calls came from other key cities of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, where they ministered for the next six months. In Sydney, Torrey spoke to thousands in the massive city hall with hundreds converted. In Bendigo, Alexander met and led Robert Harkness, a brilliant young musical genius, to Christ, and he became his pianist, soon joining the team for the rest of their tour. In one Australian city, a largely build man thundered at Torrey, “I am not a Christian, but I am moral, upright, honorable and blameless–and I’d like to know what you have against me!” Torrey looked him straight in the eyes and replied, “I charge you, sir, with high treason against Heaven’s King!”

Up to 2,000 prayer bands were conducted in various sections of the country praying continually for revival!

Two campaigns were held in Tasmania in Launceston and Hobart. The heavyweight boxing champ of Tasmania confessed Christ as Saviour the same night a member of Parliament did. Thirty days in New Zealand climaxed their tour. Revival fires broke out with a total of 20,000 decisions for Christ in the land “down under.”

Calls now came from England and they headed that way, stopping in India for six weeks en route. Campaigns were held in Madura, Madras, Calcutta, Bombay, and Benares. Hundreds were saved. A convention of 400 missionaries listened to Torrey for four days receiving much blessing to bring back to their people.

They were welcomed in London in a great meeting in Exeter Hall by the leading clerics of England. They spent three weeks in Mildmay Conference Hall in North London stirring up church members to fresh zeal in soul-winning and witnessing, resulting in large numbers of conversions. They went on to Edinburgh, Scotland, for a four-week campaign held in Synod Hall. In the weeks to follow, they also ministered in France and Germany.

The team made a brief trip to America during July and August, 1903, where a welcome home crowd of some 10,000 endeavored to gain admission to the Auditorium of the Bible Institute.

In September, 1903, they were back in England, and beginning the Liverpool crusade. In four weeks they saw about 5,000 converts. The crowds became so large that two meetings per night had to be held, one for women, and the second for men. At Dublin, Ireland, at the Metropolitan Hall, some 3,000 accepted Christ.

By 1904, some 30,000 persons around the world had committed themselves to pray for the team and worldwide revival. In January, 1904, the Birmingham campaign began. It was probably the most successful campaign held anywhere on their tour. Meetings were held in Bingley Hall, seating 8,000 with space for 2,000 standees. The thirty-day crusade had some 7,000 conversions! Here Alexander met his future wife, Helen Cadbury, whom he married in July.

In September, 1904, the team was in Bolton, Wales (3,600 saved), then on to Cardiff to a 7,000-seat auditorium which filled nightly (3,750 saved). Evan Roberts led that nation to God the next year and surely the sparks of revival were lit at those meetings.

From Cardiff, the evangelists went back to Liverpool to conduct a nine-week campaign. The Tournament Hall, seating 12,500, was reserved. At times it proved inadequate and it is estimated some 35,000 were turned away on the last day of the meetings. Some 7,000 were saved and an old resident said it surpassed the Moody-Sankey revival many years previously. The choir numbered 3,658 alone, which was the largest evangelistic chorus ever organized up to that time. Two banquets were held, averaging 2,200 each for the poor people of Liverpool, averaging about 225 decisions for Christ at each.

From February to June 1905, the famous London Crusade was held. Total expenses amounted to $85,000 with nearly 15,000 professed conversions. Meetings were held at the Royal Albert Hall for the first two months; an iron and glass building seating 5,500 in South London for the next two months; and another great iron building seating over 5,000 in the heart of London on the Strand for the last month. A 1,000-voice choir helped nightly. The crusade began at the 11,000-seat Royal Albert Hall on February 4 with a welcome by many of the cities’ dignitaries. The first evangelistic service was held the following night with 10,000 unable to secure admission. Some 250 were saved. A well- known concert hall singer and entertainer by the name of Quentin Ashlyn was saved soon after. It seemed as though all of London was singing revival hymns. The “Glory Song” captured the city. It was sung at every service. Tell Mother I’ll Be There was also greatly used. Some 6,500 were saved at the Royal Albert Hall with special meetings for men and children also packing out the hall. Meetings held in South London produced 5,000 converts and then in the final month another 2,500 were saved. A closing service at the Royal Albert Hall announced the totals–202 meetings, 1,114,650 attended (average 5,500 per service) with over 17,000 converts!

Wherever they had gone- Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen or Dundee in Scotland; to Dublin and Belfast in Ireland (4,000 saved); to Manchester (4,000 saved) and the other above mentioned crusades in England and Wales-the halls were unable to hold the crowds. Not since the days of Moody and Sankey had Great Britain been so stirred. A total of 70,000 came to the Lord during these three years of ministry there.” Source: https://believersweb.org/view.cfm?ID=62

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