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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 12:19:38 -0600

Hugh Bourne, a shy carpenter from Stoke, was the unlikely leader 
of a movement that brought a new spiritual awakening to the nation. 

The Methodists, under the dynamic leadership of men like John 
and Charles Wesley, had brought new life to the Church in the 
United Kingdom and greater moral fibre to the nation. The Wesleys 
had taken the gospel to the people, preaching in fields and market 
squares, and planting churches. Yet, with time, the flames had 
dimmed a little. Mass open-air gatherings had stopped and outdoor
preaching had largely given way to more traditional meetings in chapels. 

This was not enough for Hugh Bourne, a quiet and shy carpenter 
from Stoke. He had found new life in Jesus and then joined the 
Methodists in 1799. From the very outset he was filled with a 
burning desire to see souls saved - not just in ones and twos, but hundreds. 

So he just spoke of Jesus to everyone he met. When one of his 
converts, (a local drunkard and blasphemer), joined Bourne in 
witnessing to some coalminers, four of them came under such 
conviction that they cried aloud to be saved. 

Together, they poured out their hearts to God and the miners were saved! 

This taught Bourne two important things: that Jesus saves 
prepared hearts without any 'Minister' involved; and that loud 
earnest prayer carries power with God. 

He began regular prayer and gospel meetings. People flocked to 
them, and soon no building could house their numbers. So they 
began meeting on a hill called Mow Cop, near Stoke. 

One eye-witness of these meetings recalls: "Theiy were wonderful 
sessions of spiritual wrestling, with faith and power. With great 
heart and voice the people laid siege to heaven, and the noise 
could be heard a mile away!" 

When meetings were happening, local residents felt the presence 
of God in their cottages, and came to new life in Jesus. One violent 
lunatic, who had to live chained up in his brother's house, was 
prayed for one day at the Mow Cop meeting over a mile away. As 
the people prayed, the man fell to the ground at the sound of the 
worship, and was delivered from demons and regained his sanity.

Meetings were often so noisy and unconventional that attempts 
were made by local leaders to restrain the people. They made it 
clear there should be no loud praying, no shouts, and no cries of 
"Send the fire!" 

Yet the Holy Spirit was not to be muzzled by man. The whole plan 
broke down at the first meeting when one man fell to his knees and 
cried out after an oppressive and lifeless time, "Lord, bind the devil!" 
he repeated it twenty times. Shouts of "Amen!" and "Glory!" 
thundered from all over them once more.

Hugh Bourne was a reluctant speaker. He had to be begged to 
preach his first sermon, and did so with his hand over his face 
because of his shyness! His vision was mainly personal evangelism 
which spread the gospel far and wide, predominantly among the 
working class. 

But it was the large meetings that carried the revival power of the 
Holy Spirit. They were soon common in many locations in northern 
England, and became known as "Camp Meetings", since many 
people camped overnight, ready for the next day's meetings. 

The works of power were very obvious. At Leicester, several 
thousand people met on a hill. As the preacher spoke on God's 
judgment, it is recorded that many ran away, while others fell upon 
each other in heaps'. 

At Mow Cop in 1807, Bourne arrived at 6am to find the meeting had 
already begun! By noon there were four preachers speaking 
simultaneously to the vast crowd. Songs of joy, cries of distress, 
and shouts of victory mingled, and the awesome presence of God 
was everywhere. The meeting continued for over four days! 

It was all too much for the Methodist mother-church. In 1808 they 
expelled Bourne and his movement so they took the name 'Primitive 
Methodists" (meaning, as in the early days of Methodism) and 
continued what God had begun. Persecuted by mobs, by 
landowners and by clergymen, they travelled the land for many 
years, spreading the power of the Holy Spirit far and wide and
bringing thousands of souls to Christ. 

~[This article has been extracted from 'Revival Fires', available 
online from the Jesus People Shop. Source: "The Romance of 
Primitive Methodism" by Joseph Ritson (PubI. E. Dolton). 
WEB~ http://www.jesus.org.uk/ja/mag_revivalfires_primitive.shtml ]