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the public holidays. It was started by those who attended the morning meeting, and the committee which had charge of one had charge also of the other. Crowds flocked to the chapel, at that business hour, the busiest of the day. The merchant left 'change, the clerk his counting-room, and at high noon, prayers went up “ like an incense-cloud from hearts that never falter.” It was a spectacle such as Boston had never before seen. Some clerks, in their anxiety to attend the meeting, took their dinner hour, from twelve to one o'clock, and spent it in the chapel. For a long time the place was thronged with business men. Merchants from the country, who came to the city to purchase goods, sought the meeting. The Holy Spirit was there, and blessings rich and full descended upon the people. It seemed as though the year of jubilee had come. Men who had long lived in sin-young men, in the very morning of life, and old, grayheaded men, at the eleventh hour—rose to give in their testimony in favour of the power of God's grace. Those were melting scenes, and oftentimes the tears ran down the cheeks like rain.
The large audience would be sometimes startled and electrified, as a young convert would rise and tell what God had done for his soul. The songs of praise from male voices were inspiring ; and, as some one would strike up, in the right time, the words, “All hail the power of Jesus' name, "' it seemed almost as though the songs of heaven had begun below. One of the clergymen of the city, who was present at one of these meetings, caught the heavenly flame, and said he felt like standing still, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good-will to men.”
During the summer and autumn the meetings dwindled down to thirty or forty, but still there were enough to support it well. As the cold weather approached, and the religious interest throughout the city increased, the meeting again filled up, and continued deeply interesting through the winter.
We give below a condensed report (taken from the Congregationalist) of the anniversary of the meeting held March 8, 1859 :
ANNIVERSARY OF THE BOSTON BUSINESS MEN'S
UNION PRAYER-MEETING. The Anniversary of the Business Men's Union Prayer-meeting of Boston was held in the Old South Chapel, on Tuesday afternoon last, at three o'clock. Most of our readers are aware that this meeting has been regularly held, every day, Sunday excepted, at twelve o'clock noon, for one year.
It was established on the 8th of March 1858. Although Tuesday last was quite stormy, yet the chapel was well filled at an unusual hour.
Deacon Edwin Lamson occupied the chair. The meeting was commenced with singing the hymn,
“Come, Thou Almighty King,
Help us Thy name to sing.' Deacon Boynton of Lynn offered the first prayer, after which all joined in singing the hymn,
“A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify." After reading a few verses of Scripture, Deacon Lamson gave a brief history of the organisation of the meeting. A committee was appointed by the morning meeting to select a room. It was thought by some that Faneuil Hall would be the best place ; others preferred a room on State Street. An effort was made, without success, to secure the room where the brokers held their meeting. It was decided, however, to commence in the Old South Chapel, as, on the whole, the best place; and the meeting has been continued, without interruption, to the present time. The wave of salvation which visited the city at the time the meeting was established had subsided ; yet God had again appeared in mercy, and was now converting large numbers in different parts of the city, principally among the poor. He then gave an account of the conversion of two or three men, one of whom was brought to the knowledge of the truth at this meeting, and the other was awakened at the same place. He thought the Holy Spirit had been present in a very peculiar manner at this business men's prayer-meeting during the entire year.
Other remarks were made by Mr. Arthur Merrill, of Cambridge ; Mr. Amos Tappan, of Newburyport; Dea. Henry Hoyt, Mr. M. H. Sargent, Mr. F. A. Choate, of Beverly; Dea. Holland, Mr. S. G. Deblois, Mr. David Snow, Dea. J. R. Bradford, of Jamaica Plain; Rev. Phineas Stowe, Mr. H. Hamlin, Mr. Blanchard, and Dea. Proctor.
Nearly every one who spoke gave an account of one or more conversions in connection with the meeting. One of the speakers said that about a year ago, a man was induced to attend for the first time, without his dinner. At the close, being obliged to go to his store, he bought some crackers. Some one said to him, “I guess you haven't had your dinner.”—“Yes, I have,” said he; “I have had the best dinner I ever had in my life. I have been
to the prayer-meeting.' This was said to two persons, both of whom afterwards went to the meeting, and all three were hopefully converted.
Instances were related of persons from the country who had attended the meeting, and had gone home to establish prayer-meetings, some of which had been continued up to the present time:
An account was given of some who, by attending the meeting, had been induced to establish a prayermeeting in a private house, where ten, at one time, prayers,
and where a number had been converted.
Some one spoke of the conversion of a lawyer in connection with the meeting. He very gradually came into the light. On a certain Sabbath day he was tempted to open his law books for the purpose of preparing a case for the court. His eye rested on the Bible, and upon opening it, the first passage that met his eye was the one relating to the man who gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day, and was stoned. He closed the law books, and has not opened them on the Sabbath since. He is now trusting in his Saviour.
Another stated that he believed the number who had received their first serious impressions at the noon prayer-meeting, could be counted by scores.
The following hymn, composed by Mr. Hodges Reed of Taunton, was sung in Auld Lang Syne, the whole congregation standing:
"Into this place, a year ago,
To seek the heavenly boon,
Where the flocks do rest at noon.
Their ledgers laid aside,
“They sought the better pearl, and found,
Ai length, the heavenly boon;
Where the flocks do rest at noon.
And few his power withstand ;-
More year of God's right hand.
To seek the heavenly boon;
Where the flocks do rest at noon.” One young man rose near the close, and said he wished to state that the meeting had been the means of leading him to the Saviour. Another, in middle life, said he thought he ought to testify that the meeting had had a great influence over him in his efforts to find the cross.
One man rose for prayers, after which Deacon Charles D. Gould addressed the throne of grace, asking God to appear for that man, and cause him to rejoice in Christ. A hymn composed by Mr. H. Hamlin, commencing,
“Stand up for Jesus ! though the world
And grave that motto on my heart !" was then sung.
Thus closed a meeting which will never be forgotten. Although it was held two hours, the time seemed short. It was an heavenly place, and it seemed to those who were there that the Saviour was present as one of the number. As verses of hymns were struck
"All hail the power of Jesus' name,” &c., it seemed as though all hearts were in unison with the glorified spirits on high.