His early life and conversion
His calling to preach the Gospel
Ministry around the North
Ministry in the South & West
Ministry in Eire & Scotland
John Hambleton was "a burning and shining light" and "a bold and fearless ambassador for Christ," ¹ to the people of his generation. He was described by Jane Radcliffe as "a lion like man for boldness in His Master’s cause." Many and many a time, she said, was the story of his conversion told by her husband, both in English and by interpretation, in other languages. His long weary journeys to proclaim the Gospel, and the work of Bible carriage in many towns, contribute, she said, a marvellous story of faithful and successful service, and the record of his life and that of his companion Edward Usher would fill a volume.
With regard to the last point made by her, it is a shame that no such volume exists. The book that he wrote, "Buds, Blossoms, and Fruits of the Revival," is simply a record of what God had done in his life, mainly during the period 1851 to around 1865, so that this only covers part of his life. The book actually starts with his arrival in Liverpool in 1851, when he was 31 years of age, although he does on a couple of occasions refer to his early life. I have not had, therefore, a complete picture of his life, so I have consequently only been able to put this together with incomplete information.
It is my hope, however, that the contents of this booklet, incomplete as it is, will be sufficient to inspire and strengthen the faith of all who read it, as it has done mine.
¹ Chief men among The Brethren – Henry Pickering
His early life and conversion
John Hambleton was born in Toxteth Park, Liverpool in 1820. He does not mention his father but his mother was a very godly woman who taught him the scriptures from an early age. Unfortunately as a youngster he got into bad company and was drawn into a sinful life through his association with them. At the age of 14 he ran away from home, emigrated to Australia, and entered the theatrical profession. He went to Geelong and commenced work managing a small company of theatricals. One night by the door of a public house he, along with a number of actors engaged in foolish conversation. One young man whose father had been an atheist began to mock the Bible, and said that the Book of God was a lie. This caused Hambleton to remember the times when he sat on his mother’s knee reading chapter after chapter of the Bible. He simply made the comment to the young man that "it is a mystery beyond man’s comprehension." But the young man’s words entered his heart causing a great commotion within it. Walking alone at night he reflected on creation and how it all came into being and began to reflect on the days of his childhood, the Sunday School and his companions, and a desire to investigate the pages of the Book. He came to the conclusion that there was a Supreme Ruler of all things and with that conclusion went to bed. During the night, however, he had a vision of heaven and hell, and he screamed with horror and woke up with fright, with his bed wet with perspiration. This seems to have left a deep impression on him, but no more.
When the news of the discovery of gold in California reached him he left Australia crossing the Pacific to America. Over the following years he travelled around North America as an actor, theatrical manager, adventurer and gold digger. He was again attracted to the worst of company, mixing with murderers and robbers, although in his heart he believed every doctrine of the Christian faith, though he had not accepted God’s offer of salvation. During this time he faced death on a number of occasions with American pistols being loaded for his life in one place, Mexican bayonets pointed at his breast in another, and at one time being delivered when lying under a tree, a spot of earth having been marked out for his grave. On another occasion he had lain down to die in a journey through a desert and on another he was delivered from drowning when long weeds entwined his body in water, so that he couldn’t swim. Not surprisingly he recognised the hand of God in all these escapes from death, and in his bedroom in San Francisco one day he decided to go home to Liverpool and "be religious."
On 1st April 1851 he arrived back at Liverpool after an absence of 17 years. He went in search of his family and found two of his sisters, his godly mother having died some years previously. Before her departure she had asked one of her daughters to take a sheet of paper and write upon it a declaration that God would save her son John and bring him back to Liverpool, that he might become a Gospel preacher. The welcome greeting of his sisters, however, had not been long over when their company and teaching, so opposite to the reckless life he had lived, became irksome to him and he came under heavy conviction. Finding a brother living in Hull he went to live with him in order to get away from them. He tried to be merry with his new friends but he couldn’t find rest for his troubled soul, so he left them and made his way to the World’s Great Fair, being held in London on 1st May 1851. On the morning of that day as the multitudes of people from the nations of the world made their way to the fair he stood in the midst of Hyde Park, burdened with the weight of sin, unaware of the crowds, groaning for that peace which the world couldn’t give him. Hurrying from the scene of pleasure to walk alone, street after street was passed until he stopped at a bookshop and bought a Bible and began to read through it. Still under terrible conviction of sin he decided that he must return again to Liverpool.
Having arrived back in Liverpool, his troubled soul kept him wondering day and night in fields, lanes, and streets, going to prayer meetings where he cried aloud for sorrow, but could find no comfort. It was impressed upon him that some of his theatrical books and dresses that he had brought home with him should have been destroyed, but they had been sold by his brother’s wife and sister. Immediately, leaving a meeting in breathless haste and running about a mile, he pleaded with them to take him to the place of sale. The purchasers, however, would not sell them back to him, despite offering double the price they had paid, so he dropped down on his knees and cried aloud to God that they would give them back to him, this attracting a large crowd to the door. The people were startled, trembling under the power of his presence, and they restored them at once. The things were burned and a temporary peace was brought to his conscience. After this he engaged in conversation with a cousin who knew something of salvation and his cousin asked him if he knew what the unpardonable sin was. This brought him back into a state of distress, causing him to be awake all night in prayer and reading of the Bible, which he had bought in London. When morning came he was clutching his Bible, saying that if his soul went down to hell, it would be with the book at this breast crying for mercy. Eventually light began to dawn upon him and God ministered to him when he went into a church called St Judes where the minister spoke on the scripture in Colossians 3:3 i.e. "for your life is hid with Christ in God: when Christ who is your life shall appear then shall you also appear with Him glory." His description of a soul quickened by the power of God’s Spirit showed what he had already passed through, a death unto sin and a new life in righteousness. God met him at that meeting, and his life was transformed from that moment on.
Probable location of Lime Street Lamp
His calling to preach the Gospel
One of his first trials as a Christian was in the area of finance. All his nuggets and dust from the gold digging were gone in the desire to help an unconverted brother. His sisters and he were left in delicate health and this brought them to destitution.
God’s wonderful provision
One day they were without bread and had no friend to assist them. Wandering into the town about a mile away he asked the Lord what he should do for food. His body was too weak for labour. He went along the streets trusting God to provide, expecting to pick up some money or to see a loaf of bread somewhere for him, and in this expectation reached his sister, but finding her just as she was when he left, faith began to fail, and he began to think that his mind was under a delusion. Scarcely had he had time to sit down, however, when a knock came to the door and his married sister who had been away at another part of town and who they had not seen for some time, stood at the door with a loaf of bread under one arm and a basin of stewed duck under the other. John immediately went upstairs and falling down before Him said "Lord, I shall never doubt again; my bread shall be given, my water sure." Many years later when writing his book he could testify that he had travelled thousands of miles all over the country under no man’s pay, sent by no committee, sect or party, looking for God alone for support, not having made a single collection for preaching. During this time, however, he had on average been enabled to send his sisters at least one pound per week (quite a lot of money in those days). At the same time he was able to remember the needy of God’s children with many pounds, having never saved anything in banks or business, having given it as it came, paying rent and taxes, to all who demanded it, owing no man anything but love.
Called to preach
One evening before getting into bed, being much exercised about outdoor speaking he asked the Lord for special direction as to whether it was His will for him to preach the gospel or not. That night whilst asleep his thoughts were directed to James’s Lamp near the Market place. Crowds of people were busily engaged in the world’s pursuits passing rapidly on and with a loud energetic voice warning them he stood repeating over and over again Mathew 24:14. When he awoke, not knowing what it said he found that it said "the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations." Again when asleep a man appeared to be carrying bills about town, saying with a loud voice "you will find it written in the first chapter of Jeremiah, the fifth verse." Waking again he read the text, "before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee and before thou camest forth from the womb I sanctified thee and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Taking this as a call from God he read it to his two sisters. Within a short time he was speaking in open airs and it wasn’t long before he was in trouble. He was beset by a mob, who kicked his legs to get him down. Throwing up his hands he cried out "I am in the hands of my God." At that moment a gentleman forced his way through the crowd, and another man after him, each taking an arm, pulled him out and thus the Lord delivered him. The gentleman’s name was Reginald Radcliffe. It was the first time they met, but by no means the last, because God was about to do a wonderful work in Liverpool.
His prayer for a fellow labourer
At this time he felt that he should pray for a fellow labourer who could sing, in order that in the open air they might be able to attract people and then when gathered, to preach Christ in all the simplicity of his glorious gospel. After waiting about 3 weeks the right man was given. At Lime Street Lamp, an old man with white hair and feeble-toned voice was preaching. When he gave out a hymn a young Irishman, having a clear tenor voice pitched the tune. They joined together and drew many hearers, and the hand of the Lord from that time yoked them together.
The man’s name was Edward Usher, a dockyard labourer, who had only been saved a few weeks and had asked the Lord for a companion to be with him who could preach in the streets. Edward had already seen God’s hand on his life. When he was first converted he used to sing hymns to his children after work until the whole street could hear him and his family singing, and he also held prayer meetings in his cellar for any of the neighbours who chose to come in. His witness in that street led to the wonderful conversion of one of his neighbours.
The mysterious voice at the Pier Head
A lady, lying sick in bed, heard Edward Usher and his family singing often, and at last came down to the meeting. She got wonderfully saved there and then revealed her terrible history. She had come from a well to do family, but had, step by step, fallen into a very sinful life. Driven to wretchedness and despair, she was tempted to kill herself. One night, finding herself on the Pier Head, she was just about to plunge into the river, when a voice suddenly cried out, "Don’t!" Thinking that someone was near, she returned the next evening, when she again came to the Pier Head, and the second time prepared to plunge into the deep water. "Don’t," again shouted the voice. She saw no man, but concluded some one was watching her. The third night, after midnight, when she thought all was clear, she was about to plunge, when the same voice cried, "Don’t!" Then, terrified, she thought that some invisible agency had been sent to prevent her from committing the rash act. The following day a Christian man passing her in the crowded street was struck by her haggard look. Letting her pass he went home but could not get the presence of this woman from his mind; he could not attend to his business till he went in search of the woman. After two days he again met her, and hastily taking her by the arm asked who and what she was. Suicide was still in her mind. He took her home and would not leave her. She told him her history – all. He took lodgings for her, but went about his business from place to place, and continued supporting her. It was in the lodging where she heard Edward Usher singing, and where she now found salvation. She became a wonderful trophy of His grace, and went to be with the Lord she loved two years later.
From that hour people were brought to God. The stone of a lamppost known as Lime Street Lamp, became their general pulpit. Prayer meetings were held after preaching and many were born again there. The Lord now gave them from the back lanes and open streets a band of original labourers. About twelve of them met together, all with different talents and all supportive to one another, visiting the sick and dying, in lanes and alleys, preaching in cellars and under lamps, for three years. Thus brought together, this band was invited to the house of Reginald Radcliffe who lived at Chatham Place, Edge Hill, Liverpool. It had been laid on Mr Radcliffe’s mind to engage a new building called the Teutonic Hall in Lime Street, if he could get a company of working men to preach in it on Sundays from morning until night, without ceasing. They accepted the invitation and a week’s prayer was offered, night and day, for a mighty outpouring of God’s Spirit on that day. They were up night after night, other labourers joining in with them, and an extraordinary power of God rested upon the whole company, for many at Lime Street Lamp had already been brought to Christ, and numbers began to swell.
A remarkable dream
During the week of prayer one of John Hambleton’s sisters, Hannah, had a dream, as follows. Some parts of this are difficult to understand but the term "running waters" flowing through the streets of Liverpool is clear enough. I have put in brackets his own interpretation of parts of the dream:
When busy in a large house with other servants, all of a sudden they appeared to relinquish their several employments to inquire into the cause of running waters (streams of gospel grace) which had issued forth from the house, and soon filled the streets of Liverpool in every direction. The scene then began to change. The heavens were covered with a black cloud, which, passing over, exposed three skeletons of unclean beasts of different kinds which denoted war, famine, and death. This cloud having passed over, high mountains were seen and green fields down their slopes. Beautiful white clouds now came alternately from behind the mountains, bringing up from various parts, multitudes of animals (converts, who, during the many clouds of revival which have since passed over all parts of the world, have been leaping upon all mountains), mingling together happily in sport. A plainly dressed woman (the church) now stood on the high mountain with two preachers of the gospel (evangelists) in the dress of ancient Jews, one standing on either side, while the woman, with a shrill clear voice, described the joyous scene, repeating the passages from Isaiah, "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose," and "the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb." When the last animal had left the cloud, a majestic lion (the Lion of the Tribe of Judah), with two feet, stood on the top-stone of the highest mountain, in triumph and complacency, overlooking the whole. People had now assembled in crowds, every one eager to know the cause of all this, and a Jew stood alone looking up at the scene also, whilst Hannah, filled with a spirit of interpretation was eagerly expounding the meaning of it from the old prophets. Two gentlemen arm in arm now came past, and one asked the other the meaning of it, and the other answered "Oh, it is a revival of religion!" Now on her way home, as she thought, to tell this wonderful news about the coming millennium, her progress was impeded. A huge black beast (infidelity) lying in the road, set her with his eyes, and thrust his horns at her, his back rising higher and higher, while his two horns stuck in the bank of earth; Hannah lay between them crying out for the coming of the Lord Jesus; and unhurt she awoke.
A revival in Liverpool
On 22nd April 1855 the Teutonic Hall in Lime Street, was taken for meetings. The hall was to be open on Sundays from 10.00am until 9.30pm, without a break. Each service was to continue for only half an hour, and include a short pointed address. All classes were welcome. There was no difficulty in getting speakers for the services, but would the people come? On the first Sunday the hall was opened they all went down in good time. When they entered the lower hall nobody had come in. Jane Radcliffe testified that she shut her eyes and prayed that God would send the people in, fearing what fools they would appear before all the town of Liverpool if no one even came to hear, and much had been said in disparagement of the effort. In a few minutes, however, when she opened her eyes and though she had not heard them coming in, the hall was full. The workers went out to stations in the open air, not far from the hall. Jane Radcliffe related that John Hambleton (who had been given a special hymn for this occasion) was one of the most earnest and successful of this devoted company. By 11.00am God’s power began to take hold of the unsaved and by 12 noon it was necessary to remove anxious people groaning under conviction of sin, to an upper room. A company of singers from the Park-end had been led of the Lord to Lime Street Lamp with the special hymn for the occasion. The company marched up towards the hall singing:-
The blast of the trumpet, so loud and so shrill
Will shortly re-echo o’er ocean and hill
When the mighty, mighty, mighty trumpet sounds,
Come, come away
Oh, may we be ready to hail that glad day.
The blending chorus of voices sounded to a distance, bringing hundreds from every direction. On entering the hall, the singers marched down the centre, towards the platform without any pre-arrangement. A meeting was already in progress and the person conducting the service inside ceased speaking, so as to allow the congregation to stand up and join in the hymn that the crowd coming from the open air was singing. Mr Radcliffe taking it as it came, leaped on the platform, called out half a dozen singers and sent them off to a certain part of the town, then another half dozen to another place, and thus despatched singers to several locations, in order that they might march down from there to their centre, the lamp. Never was there a more glorious sight than when those people came marching, their voices pealing over the town in praises to God. Prostitutes and drunkards broken under the mighty power of God were brought along with each company all of which, joining at Lime Street sang and filled the hall and streets. Jane Radcliffe observed, "never could those present forget the solemn effect of this. It was a scene never to be forgotten, as poor women came from the dismal neighbourhood of Stanley Street, Sir Thomas Buildings, and Victoria Street, then a mass of tumble-down buildings, pig-sties, and brothels. In they marched with shawls over their heads, dishevelled locks and burning cheeks, down which their tears were dropping." Preachers then began to address the people all around; people were crying out all day, some springing into liberty. Rich and poor alike were brought under the power of the gospel, ladies in silk and satin dresses huddled up with poor ragged girls, men wearing gold chains and thieves down on their knees together, imploring pardon for their sins, until midnight.
These were the running waters that broke out in 1855, and they were still running many years later.
Visit to the Liverpool Races and the angelic visitor
Shortly after this the team of workers, after much prayer, arranged that large texts of Scripture should be printed and taken on the racecourse, so that while the men were preaching, the crowds might read the Word of God. They each took his work as led by the Lord, some distributing tracts, others holding boards, others preaching and conversing with the people. They formed a circle for a prayer meeting, an unusual thing on such occasions. The people could see what they were doing, but they allowed them to continue uninterruptedly. One group of troublemakers, however, determined to give them trouble. John Hambleton invited the ringleader on to the platform and said that he would allow him to speak if he could answer one question. Persuaded by his comrades to accept the invitation, he stepped on the platform, whereupon Hambleton asked, in solemn tones: "Why did Cain murder his brother Abel?" There was something in the question that laid hold of the man, for he rushed from the platform a convicted sinner, and the questioner was enabled to expound to the audience, salvation through the precious blood of Christ. On the second day they marched around the grandstand in single file with text boards above their heads. Sporting gentlemen, with their eyeglasses, read the words of truth; some were convinced, while others were hostile to them. On the third day, however, a plot was formed to attack the preachers. After having spoken at some length Hambleton sat on the grass when an unknown man tapped him on the shoulder, saying, "Come this way." With streaming eyes he grasped him by the hand saying, "you are my brother." Again he repeated the same words, "you are my brother," crying as he held his hand. Hambleton replied that he was indeed his brother if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. By this time a band of hired ruffians from the grandstand had attacked the workers. Mr Radcliffe was thrown over the rail, Shepherd was bleeding at the forehead, Summers was receiving blows on the head, and a Negro preacher was struggling with a man for his text pole. Edward Usher had thrown up a bundle of tracts into the air presumably to divert the attention of the mob. In the meantime Hambleton stood at a little distance absorbed by the unknown man who had drawn his mind entirely from the scene, still crying and saying, " I am your brother," although he had not seen him before or since. Suddenly, coming to himself he leapt over the wall, put one hand on Edward Usher’s shoulders and said "stand still and see the salvation of God." Then filled with the most exquisite joy he could not help leaping and dancing about, shouting "Hallelujah, my brother!" for he knew that the Lord had made himself known through the strange man. The mob now seeing one of the preachers gone mad, as they thought, left off beating the workers, to look at the mad fellow dancing and leaping about. By this time the police arrived and marched them off the course, and they went into a sister’s house and sang praises to God for their deliverance. This all became the pioneering work for future labourers at the races, where many gamblers and immoral characters were delivered, and became themselves messengers of grace to others.
Visit to Chester and a remarkable conversion
The Lord, having sent the team to Chester where he gave blessing in the bringing of many people to Jesus, both he and Usher were engaged in preaching on the Bowling Green. A strong built man, with shirtsleeves, turned up, and whilst Hambleton was describing the return of the prodigal son, he broke through the crowd, crying for mercy. He was conveyed into a nearby cottage, and fell down groaning, but in about 20 minutes, sprang up, saying that he felt all his sins forgiven. He then went out and at once began exhorting the people to come to Jesus. He had been a well-known drunken villain, a wife-beater, and indeed a terror to the town of Chester. It astonished the people who could scarcely believe it was real. Following him home they found the most wretched picture of misery – a drunkard’s home, rags, poverty, and wretchedness. Calling there again 5 years later they were as astonished at the power of God as the people were at this man’s conversion. He became an instrument in God’s hands of winning many people to Jesus, including the whole of his family.
Ministry around the North
In August 1854 it was laid on the hearts of John Hambleton and Edward Usher to preach the Gospel to some of the great populations in the towns and villages. They were going to go under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, looking to no man, save "Jesus only" with the sum of one shilling between them. They would preach the gospel without money or price not knowing where they should sleep each night, unless it was under the first convenient haystack.
A venture of faith
They started out from Chatham Place and Mr Radcliffe accompanied them as far as London Road, where he knelt down and commended them to the grace of God. On the first day they walked to Prescot where they found a believer residing in a cottage, who gave them something to eat and they then made their way to St Helens, in order to hold an evening meeting. At this open-air service an old man was greatly moved by their message, and invited them for supper and gave them lodging. The next day they arrived in Warrington where they found a minister, whose heart was in evangelistic work, who had been with the team at the Chester Races, and knew of the revival in Liverpool. He joined them in preaching to a crowd of factory people and God really moved. They wept under the preaching of the Word, and Hambleton himself wept at the wonderful leading of God, who was bringing them into a large field of labour in those manufacturing districts, where they found hundreds of thousands of poor people, like sheep running without shepherds. Another night’s lodging was offered by the minister, who also gave them a shilling, not knowing that their original money had by now run out. On the third day they arrived in Manchester and this time were entertained by a Mr Hilditch, a well-known barrister, and they stayed in a beautiful country house. Their first stand was in Stephenson’s Square where they encountered opposition hitherto not experienced. Their very faces quivered with rage; loud yells of men, women and children pierced the air, so that it seemed as if Satan’s kingdom trembled at these two men preaching the simple gospel. The terrible noise drowned out their voices, but they continued with their witness and a poor man’s heart was touched by their testimony. They were then directed to take their stand at a lamp between the old cathedral church and a notorious singing saloon. They determined not to give up the spot until dragged from it. One night a man arrived leading a gang of ruffians with all the rage and malice it was possible to conceive. They both scoffed and beat them and whilst this was happening a total stranger rushed between them taking hold of both their arms and said, "Brethren, let us pray." While they were praying, however, the leader of the group put his hand on Hambleton’s mouth, went on mocking still, and they were carried by the crowd from the spot by force. Walking through the streets hundreds following them like dogs, biting into bits the tracts they had given out, jumping on the bits, which they had spat from their mouths. An old woman whispered in Hambleton’s ear, "Cranmer, Cranmer, Cranmer." At first he thought that she had said "Tranmere" (Birkenhead), where a few weeks before they had received similar treatment, and one of his attackers had played at his back with an open knife. God, however, delivered them, and they returned yet again to the lamppost that they felt that God had given them. In the years that followed people came to Christ in that very spot, and other preachers were raised up to continue the work there. Their pioneering work around lanes, streets, and the lampposts of Manchester were well rewarded in the years that followed. Many preachers were raised up, with numbers brought into the kingdom. They were sometimes beaten, sometimes stoned, dragged by the police before magistrates, locked up as disturbers of the peace, but though Satan raged, the Lord always delivered and gave them great blessing.
Thus they continued on their travels, preaching at every opportunity. Some weeks later they returned to Liverpool. Jane Radcliffe testified that they both stood before her and said "look at us, we are better dressed than when we started, and have lacked nothing." God had blessed their words to many people.
Continued ministry in Lancashire
After this John Hambleton and Edward Usher were directed to the crowded markets and fairs in and around Lancashire with their Bible Stall
At Oldham while singing in the street to attract the crowd, that the gospel might be preached, hundreds of factory children, having learned the hymns, walked hand in hand, and sang with them at the lamp-post, where they remained until after the preaching; they sang again on their way down to a school kept by a Christian lady, who though in poor circumstances herself took them in and gave them lodging. Meetings were being held in her school and God gave such power to the Word that the children from the factories were converted and parents were subsequently converted through their children. Thus a great work went on and many people were brought to know the Lord.
Revival in Wigan
During the 12 months that they laboured in this town hundreds received the Word and thousands of copies of the Scriptures were circulated. It was a wonderful sight to see the tears running down the black faces of the rough colliers, as they stood around the lamp in the open market; and in no place did Hambleton remember where such simplicity of character lay, buried beneath a rough exterior, as in that town. Whilst they stayed in Wigan it was most blessed, with the presence of the Lord Jesus as their only Lord and Master; but there were no gifted pastors already taught in the Word, and as their call was that of fishermen more than shepherds it was necessary for them to remove to other places. They simply put the Bible into their hands, told them to search for themselves, and to look to God by faith and prayer, and then left them in the hands of the Lord, who had begun a good work, and would continue it. They cried like little children the morning they took their leave of them. There were husbands and wives who now had happy homes, where previously poverty, drunkenness, misery, and sin had reigned. They followed them to the early morning train, and it was a truly weeping time at parting, but the Lord raised up some among them who became leaders and preachers, and the work was still growing there some time later.
While they were at Manchester they were joined by John Latham, one of the Liverpool team. He had been led to give up his trade of cigar-making and go forth without any support, to preach the gospel. He followed Hambleton and Usher to Manchester where he laboured successfully in cottage meetings and sick visitations, the Lord supplying his daily need, as he had done for them.
Man from Knutsford
When they were in Manchester a man from Knutsford, a recent convert, (whom Hambleton described as being in a different line of service) came to see them, a man who was very strange in his dress and general appearance. He wore no hat (very unusual in those days), but had a long beard and his hair was thrown back. A piece of green baize was thrown over his shoulders, shawl fashion, and he wore leathern knee breeches, stockings and boots. He carried a good-sized Bible under his arm, full of strings, pencil marks, and leaves turned down. He was the son of a cotton-spinner, his mother being a poor factory woman. He therefore believed himself to be one of those base things, spoken of by the apostle Paul, and raised up as a witness against the pride of dress and spirit of wickedness so prevalent in those days. He was an extraordinarily plain spoken man. All fear of man had left him. His method of exhortation was to walk up and down, either in the street, or before a grandstand on a race course, denouncing all alike, rich and poor, who were still unconverted, shouting at the top of his voice, "The way to the race-course is the way to hell-fire; it is a hotbed of blacklegs, harlots, and whoremongers, gamblers, thieves, pickpockets, and all kinds of vice. You are all going down to hell-fire, except you repent and get washed in the blood of the Lamb!" repeating this over and over again, in carriages and omnibuses, to foot passengers and those riding on horseback, striking terror into the consciences of some, whilst others mocked and persecuted him. He had been drawn off the course with a rope around his neck, crying aloud his one theme. He travelled many miles, always on foot, sleeping out of doors, in empty houses, or anywhere he could lie down, always giving away tracts when he had them, living temperately but always appearing washed and very clean. On one occasion Hambleton went with him to the Stockport fair, when without any ceremony, he walked on to the stage of a show, and began to speak to the crowd as if it belonged to him. His appearance drew a crowd of people, who, after listening a few minutes to his terrible denunciations, stayed for the gospel, and there they had a good hearing. On another occasion when they went to the Radcliffe races to preach the gospel, the Knutsford man was there alone at his post. The jockeys had carried him into the public house and covered him with flour, and his white face and head, gave him a singularly attractive appearance. Rich and poor alike stopped to look, while he went on with his sermon, "The way to the races is the way to hell-fire etc., fearless of what any might say or do. A man took hold of his coat; he slipped it off and let him take it, without being interrupted in his warning words. Reference is made to this unusual man in the following testimony in which he gave a very timely word from God for another of God’s servants Henry Moorhouse (who in turn would have in later years a powerful effect on the ministry of D L Moody, the greatest evangelist of the 19th Century).
Conversion of Henry Moorhouse
The conversion of Henry Moorhouse from Manchester was very remarkable, and will be covered in a separate booklet on his life. In the early days of his evangelistic labours he came under the influence of John Hambleton, whose kindness and experience greatly helped him. Together they visited cities, towns, villages, and unfrequented rural parishes, preaching Christ as they went. Prior to embarking on his evangelistic endeavours he was tempted to auctioneer for his employer and this work was gradually leading him away from his walk with the Lord. One evening, when engaged with his auctioneer’s hammer the Lord sent the hammer of his Word into his conscience. The unusual man from Knutsford appeared on the scene, suddenly entering the shop and crying aloud "Thou ought to have thy Bible in thy hand out amongst the people, and not that hammer for the devil" and then immediately departed. This speech was like a thunderbolt falling on Henry, and the words gave a harder blow than he could stand. He at once dropped the auctioneer’s trade, and went to Liverpool, stayed one night with John Hambleton, who was then directed by the Lord to take the young lad on a journey into Yorkshire and other places.
A solitary pilgrim
Edward Usher having decided to settle in Manchester, Hambleton became a solitary pilgrim, journeying through England, Ireland and Wales, a stranger in every place, with His guidance who gives to each his own work and path of service, waiting on Him alone and watching the providential cloud which at every place directed him to go or stay.
Accosted by an atheist
Whilst speaking in an open air a man, half intoxicated, rushed into the crowd, seized him by the collar, and in a rage like a demon said at the top of his voice, snatching a Bible from the stall, "What! In the nineteenth century you hold this book up in public! You ought to be ashamed of yourself;" and in terrible enmity, he dashed the book on the table as though it were something loathsome. Still grasping him by the collar, he said again, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself." Quietly looking at him for a moment, then pitching his voice in the same key, he shouted back again into his face. "And so I am ashamed of myself. But I’m not ashamed of Christ!" At that moment another man rushed in, stronger than he, seized him by the collar, and dragged him out of the crowd; while three blind men, singing for money in the middle of the fair, came close to the stall, and sang most appropriately as he was hurried away a chorus "Down came an angel, and rolled away the stone." He joined in with these poor singers, and the crowds who witnessed the transaction were astonished, and bought up the Bibles, which were so despised by the atheist.
The conversion of a gypsy and his family in Liverpool
Whilst sitting down beside his Bible-stall in Southport one day, not knowing anybody amongst the multitude, a happy faced gypsy woman came, without ceremony and placed a plate of beefsteak, onions, and potatoes on the stall, saying, "There, sir, is your dinner. Perhaps you don’t remember me; but I do you, sir, and shall never forget the blessing you brought to both me and my family." She related how five or six years previously whilst in Liverpool there was a man who travelled in the capacity of a pincushion-maker. One Sunday evening he heard Hambleton’s voice and an arrow of conviction struck him to his soul. He went to his miserable home – his furniture consisting of a little straw upstairs, where his wife and children lay – a poor, miserable, wife-beating, drunken fellow. On the solitary broken chair downstairs he leaned his head, whilst he knelt before God crying aloud all night for mercy. The neighbours heard him groaning under conviction, and his wife called out to know what was the matter, saying, "You seem turned upside-down tonight." "No mother," said the little boy: "father is turned right side up," for the little fellow had heard the cries of his father calling upon God for mercy in the bitterness of his soul. For six weeks this man followed the preachers about Liverpool, under terrible conviction, before he spoke to them. Then he was taken to a prayer meeting in Elizabeth Street, and he fell down before God, and the entire congregation, and found Jesus to the joy of his heart. After the visit of the woman Hambleton called upon the man and found that he carried his pocket Bible always with him. His business prospered, and both at Southport and Blackpool he had a stall of seaside sundries, and the Lord had blessed his soul as well as his basket and store. The woman told him that she was happy now, but had led a most wretched life before her husband’s conversion. This was one of many of thousands of homes that were transformed during those days.
Having been driven from the market place in Preston, where his text boards were pulled down and he was even threatened by the police, the Lord directed his steps to Blackpool, where thousands of factory people and others assembled for health or pleasure. It proved to be a great opportunity for the gospel. Having procured a small four-wheeled wagon, and filled it with Bibles, Testaments, and tracts, he commenced a summer’s campaign. At first sight the people bought up the books and listened to the Word preached with eagerness. But it was not very long before Satan stirred up the landlords and landladies, who, fearing their business was in danger, commenced a persecution against anything in the name of Christ being elevated in front of their premises. Consequently, the wagon, being moved from one place, was wheeled off to another, and everywhere that the text boards were raised up opposition was immediately forthcoming. Nevertheless the Lord stood by him, so that preaching on the sands to crowds of people, and the sale of two thousand copies of the Scriptures, with the circulation of many thousands of tracts, compensated for the continual assaults of the haters of God and lovers of pleasure.
Fair in Yorkshire
One Sunday in the midst of a fair in Yorkshire his spirit within him was stirred when crowds filled the market place, and scenes of drunkenness and cursing made his heart sick. His mind was impressed that he should go and stand on the end of a wall, which was some ten or twelve feet high, the end of it opposite the open window of an upper room in a public house, where drunkards, with pipes, and pots were singing and playing music to sacred tunes. At that moment some local preachers came into the market and began to sing. Not knowing who they were he waited to hear them speak, but his mind was soon put at rest by what they said. Immediately climbing up the old wall, and taking his open Bible, he stood as a living witness, yet silent as a statue, without his hat, on the end of the high wall, for an hour and a half. It was the most solemn time he could remember. The moving mass of people soon crowded together to gaze at the strange sight; faces were upturned at the open Bible in a man’s hand, while he uttered not a word. The preachers themselves were astonished at the intense silence, which permeated the whole scene. Soon and suddenly the revellers in the tavern hurried off; the preachers went on preaching to such an immense audience as they had never had either before or since. The whole mass of people seemed spellbound for an hour and a half; then when the preachers pronounced the blessing he came down and went on his way.
Another angelic intervention
Whilst in Lancaster one evening after a day’s work around the villages of that neighbourhood, with his two bags of Bibles across his shoulders, a young man stood outside a cottage with a bundle tied in a handkerchief. He was a simple-looking man, and appeared to be a stranger waiting for some one in the cottage. He saw a man inside the cottage and an extraordinary sensation came over him all at once that the man inside was a murderer. He drove the thought from his mind, however, and gave the young man outside a tract and spoke to him a few words, and moved on the road towards Lancaster. It was not long before these two men had come up behind him, the other man being a big ruffian, who was carrying a bludgeon. The ruffian asked him what it was he had. Giving him a tract, at once he began to preach Christ and told him of the terrible judgement coming on the wicked who rejected the offer of mercy through the blood of a crucified Redeemer. The young man was very attentive, but the scowl of the ruffian showed him that he was planning mischief, and being on a very lonely road, it appeared to be rather an awkward position for him. However, looking to the Lord he felt secure and went on preaching Christ, telling them what the Lord had delivered him from and that there was pardon for the vilest. No impression, however, was made upon the ruffian and they then came to a by-lane, which the ruffian desired him to go through. He said to him that the main road was his route and that he had work upon it. The ruffian was very urgent, however, that he should go the by-way. Just then, an old woman, unseen before, who was standing upon a manure heap at the edge of a field, called out to them, "Go this road, and you are safe," pointing to the main road. The big man immediately went down the by-path without another word. Hambleton warned the young man about evil company, and told him to flee to Christ, but he left him reluctantly. Hambleton went on the right road, knowing the Lord had delivered him from danger, by the sudden appearance of that old woman, who still kept saying, "Go on this road, and you are safe – perils of robbers."
Bolton – man in pursuit
As he was talking one night to the people round his Bible-stall in Bolton a woman without a bonnet and her hair flying, ran across the street and through the crowd, and thus made her escape from some one evidently in pursuit of her. A moment after, a man followed, with an open knife in his hand, bent upon stabbing the woman, who was his wife. He got into the midst of the people, and they immediately began to turn him out. Hambleton, however, begged them to leave him, and asked the poor drunkard to sit and listen while he read and talked to him. He got the man to sit upon the stones on which he stood, whilst he went on talking to the people. God’s mercy drew him there as he spoke of the love of God; the Holy Spirit took the words and applied them to his heart. He hung his head upon his breast, the hot tears running down his face, and he sobbed aloud, as Jesus’ love came into his heart. Melted by that love, the drink soon died out of him. Calling at his house the next day the door was opened by his now happy wife, who for ten years had endured his drunken cruelty. They found the husband clear and calm, his face shining with gratitude to God. The first thing that he did was to get his family Bible from the pawnshop, and in himself, his wife, and children, it could be seen what the grace of God had done.
Revival at Preston
Hambleton’s first visit to Preston was attended with much opposition, but on his second visit there was a great outpouring of God’s spirit. Crowds listened to the preaching of Christ crucified and Bibles and Testaments were circulated in hundreds. A company of local preachers came together and the Lord opened a large school-room for them. They sang hymns in the streets and the fire of God’s love and power took hold of the poor people and a glorious revival broke out. One man with his coat off, drunken and ready to fight any one in the middle of the road, followed them into the room and was broken down under conviction. After six nights he confessed aloud before God with bitter tears his terrible sins, and he also became a labourer for Jesus. Another, scarcely an hour out of gaol, heard and followed them and found the Lord. Prostitutes came in dozens, weeping on account of their sins. As many as eight people were carried from the room insensible at one meeting, having fallen down as if struck suddenly, and some were taken home in cabs. Many also cried out for mercy, and others rejoiced in having found the Lord. This was a new phenomenon in the work going on, following the revival that was spreading from America, and Ulster. Every night for ten weeks people were saved, and the praises of the Lord went up as a sweet incense before Him from many hearts at Preston rejoicing in sins forgiven. One night a little girl pulled him by the coat tail, in the street, asking him to come quickly as her mother was dying. Going into a deep cellar there upon a straw bed lay a dying woman. After asking about her soul she said that nearly two years ago in another house a man came one Sunday and prayed, and she had never forgotten it. Hambleton remembered the time on his first visit when the Lord had led him into a house where drunkards were carousing. This woman was there and the seed was sown. She recognised the voice again and having found the Lord, died happy in Jesus, praising and blessing God.
Ministry in the South & West
About midwinter one dark morning, he was desirous to catch the early morning train. His sisters and he rose from their knees, having asked God’s blessing on his next journey, not knowing particularly where to go, save, as his mind was led, to the South of England. He just had enough for his fare to Birmingham so he set off having a little box on a pair of wheels, full of Bibles and Testaments, which was to follow him when he found a suitable place to pitch his stall. This was first of all found at Coventry in an open market place, where the Lord ordered him to tarry for a while, and then he moved on to Birmingham.
Bible stall in London
After travelling through the midland counties he went to London via Bristol. Passing King’s Cross in London towards night, very weary, he saw a crowd of people and an old man endeavouring to preach to them, while several people were mocking the servant of God. His spirit was stirred within him for this aged brother, for he could see that he was an old disciple and very feeble. When this brother read the words, "If any man come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me," somebody in the crowd, thinking himself to be very witty at the expense of the old man and the Word he read, pointed to the cross in the middle of the road, and asked if it were the King’s Cross he was to take up. Stepping into the crowd Hambleton shouted to the scoffer, "Yes, it’s the King’s Cross – the King of kings, and Lord of Lords;" and taking the old man’s place, the Lord appeared to take all the weariness of body from him, and gave him His presence to preach Christ for three-quarters of an hour, and shut the mouths of the mockers, while the old man thanked God for help, and the people wept, and some rejoiced under the Word.
Man without a tongue
At a Methodist fellowship meeting that he attended, a man who didn’t have a tongue rose up to speak. In the most extraordinary manner, and with the greatest spiritual energy, he endeavoured to glorify God without a tongue. No words could be distinguished but the power of the Holy Spirit took hold of the whole meeting in such a manner as to bring down a fire of joy and gladness in the heart of all present. Hambleton’s own soul rejoiced at the power of God, who could speak through the unknown and tongueless man such blessings to those present.
In Nottingham one Sunday when congregations were assembled at their different places, he thought to go, as was his custom at that time to meet the groups of working men always found at public-house corners or barbers’ shops about the time of service, to give tracts and preach quietly to the men, unwashed after the Saturday night’s drink. Coming around a certain corner, he was surprised at the discovery of an immense crowd of working men of all trades, on a large open space of ground, listening to a man on a chair with a manuscript in his hand, addressing the people. Hearing him say that he had copied that writing from the Scriptures during the past week, and that "as there were seers in old time, like the seer of Endor so there were seers now," he immediately pushed his way through the crowd and took his stand opposite him, with an open Bible, to let him see him fully, without opening his mouth. He looked at the man, and he stopped and looked at Hambleton, and the crowd looked at both of them. Whether he lost his sight all of a sudden he did not know, but the man looked at his paper and tried to read, but stammered; then his hands trembled, and he looked again at Hambleton, and again he looked at the man, and the man looked again at the Bible in his hand, and like Belshazzar of old, his knees began to knock together, and being unable to see any longer, he began to feel, for he leaped off the chair, and picking up his pulpit hurried off out of the crowd with his companions. Hambleton then opening his mouth called to the spiritualist to come and hear him read his character described in God’s book; but another mightier Spirit had so rapped at his guilty conscience that he set to running. The crowd was then in confusion; the open Bible held out in the name of the living God made a great commotion amongst the spirits of evil. Many of the people surrounded him with faces filled with rage as he stood still with the Bible in his hand. He managed to speak for about 20 minutes until they came rushing upon him with all sorts of hideous noises to prevent the hearing of the Word, so he took out tracts and gave them out warning the people to beware of Satan’s ministers who were going to hell themselves, and aiming to drag others with them. Some years later Hambleton visited this place again but this time he had the joy of seeing hundreds brought to Christ.
Calling to the West country
At a time when Hambleton had been in Preston for three months, experiencing great blessing there, he felt strongly that God was calling him to another part of the country. Not knowing in what direction the "pillar of cloud" would lead him, he left his Bible Stall with a friend and went to Manchester in the expectation that he would see Mr Radcliffe there, and give direction through him. And this was how it happened because in a few days Mr Radcliffe came from London to preach at the Corn Exchange.
Without letting Mr Radcliffe know anything about the impression on his mind he waited for the Lord’s guidance. Mr Radcliffe then said that several evangelists from London had gone to Bristol, and asked if both himself, Edward Usher, and John Latham would go and meet him on Durdham Down, as many thousands of people were expected to assemble there. Thus, without his Bibles, he went there to preach with his colleagues to the gathering crowds, which were becoming hungry everywhere after the Word of Life. Great crowds listened to the simple gospel, and many were bent on their knees in the open air at the after meeting. One woman, returning from a shop with her purchases in her hand, received conviction of sin under the preaching of the Word, and cried out for mercy. Others also were down on their knees, and the Lord used a little boy from London powerfully as he pleaded with people to come to Jesus. The immense mass of people was so moved by his words that tears rolled down their faces and great power rested upon the people. On the Down the people fell under the power of the Word. Many labourers were engaged amongst the anxious, and it was late at night before all had left.
A wagon placed in an open field was to be their next pulpit and from miles around villagers came to hear the Word. Enquirers were taken to one corner of the field after preaching, and the revival fire took hold of the people. It was 10 o’clock before the field was cleared. About 80 people were subsequently baptised by their host a Mr Wreford the leader of a fellowship in Gillscott, and his church greatly flourished after that.
The Lord having opened the way, Bideford and its vicinity were next visited, and many were brought to Christ. He was received here by a Mr Tardrew, who, though not a visible labourer, was mighty in prayer. He very much felt the influence of his petitions when he was preaching. Hambleton attributed his prayers to much of the blessing that followed.
Revival in Barnstaple
Some, having heard of God’s blessing on his ministry in Bideford and Appledore, invited him to Barnstaple. The people here did not at first understand the energy of the Holy Spirit in revival work. Being so engrossed with the Second Coming, they had almost forgotten the gospel of his first coming for sinners. The Lord then opened their eyes to see that they must "occupy till He come" and to "preach the gospel to every creature" whilst waiting the Lord’s return. A music hall was hired and more than 1,000 people crowded the hall to hear the gospel and then a general revival broke out; all sects and parties were brought together on one platform; then breaking out in their own places, preachers had to give up preaching, and begin to pray and sing praises. All types of people were brought to the feet of Jesus. A man playing cards in a public house was, in an instant, struck with conviction. He threw down the cards, leaped up, and ran for his life to the meeting; he rolled in agony on the floor for an hour or two, and then found peace. Backsliders cried aloud in the open street, and men left their work, unable to do anything, so troubled were they on account of their sins.
Ministry in Eire & Scotland
Not many people will be aware that parts of Eire experienced a time of revival in the mid-19th century, notably in County Kerry, Cork, Limerick and Dublin. Though it didn’t experience the startling effects of the Ulster Revival in 1859 it nevertheless saw many conversions, particularly in the movement known as the Kerry Revival. ¹
In 1862, Hambleton sailed over to Eire for the first of two visits to that country. Edward Usher was going to see his relatives, and he asked him to travel with him. Knowing it to be the mind of the Lord he went.
They arrived in Dublin where Grattan Guinness had previously heralded the name of Christ to thousands with extraordinary power. J Denham Smith, also, having visited the North came back endued with power from on high and was used to good effect. The first day of their preaching was sufficient to stamp the truth to any stranger that they were in a country of spiritual darkness. It was a Sunday and Bishops and priests dressed in scarlet and fine linen were at the head of 20,000 people from different localities, all in a state of excitement, with ensigns and religious paraphernalia, following the drums and fifes through the streets of Dublin to lay the foundation-stone of a new college.
The Metropolitan Hall had been provided for them to hold meetings there, but the attendance the first day was scanty. The following Thursday, however a great number attended, and for five weeks the place was crowded, during which time much blessing was given of the Lord in people getting saved. It was cheering to witness some 2000 faces drinking in the words of life each night of their preaching, and many remained for the after meetings.
Edward Usher having fulfilled his mission of bringing Hambleton to his native country then returned to his family in Manchester. Hambleton then moved down South, preaching the gospel in various towns there. Whilst at a place called Mallow he received news from Cork, the place of his next movement, that Gavazzi, an Italian ex-priest had gone there to lecture against Popery, and the thought came into his mind that he would stir up trouble prior to his visit. However, he was confident that the Lord had directed him to the south of Ireland to sow gospel seed. The Protestant Orphan Hall was booked for two nights and the hall was filled on both occasions. Although there was a little opposition it was not significant, but then a newspaper reporter said that "This man is worse that Gavazzi, because he came to openly attack us, but this fellow neither speaks about the Pope, nor the great whore of Babylon. With him it is ‘Jesus only’ therefore he is a greater enemy than Gavazzi." The next meeting was to be held in the theatre, and news had come from Tralee that Gavazzi had been obliged to flee for his life at 3 o’clock in the morning, and that there had been a riot, with pistol shots having been fired. This then brought thousands to the Cork theatre bent upon the slaughter of the Italian’s pupil, as they supposed him to be. The Lord, however, was with him, and although the noise was excessive, yet his voice, being loud and strong, was heard distinctly through yells and howlings, breaking of boards, and knockings of sticks. After less than half an hour’s great shouting, a great quiet came in the hall. With the place being so crowded no one was able to get in or out, so he determined to give them another hour to sit and hear the gospel, as though they should never hear it again. Many who had been almost sweating with exertion of noise and shouting, now, with open mouth and caps pulled off, were wiping away tears from their eyes as they heard of the love of Jesus. Many people remained behind, anxious for their souls.
This town was the next place at which he had promised to hold meetings there, but he was well aware that a nest of hornets would be there to encounter. The Italian had been stirring up the people to such an extent that a riot had taken place, and serious damage had been done, but he had escaped the pistol shots and fled away in the early morning when he was surrounded at the hotel where he was staying. Whilst on the way there Hambleton met two young ladies who told him of the great revival that had been going on in Kerry, where many people had been brought to Jesus.
Having arrived at Tralee he made his way to the hotel where the meeting room was, and the results of a recent disturbance were evident to see. He found that what the young ladies had told him was true, and he first of all ministered in a loft to the many new converts who had come to Christ. They had all come with open Bibles listening to the expounding of the Word, and such a time of refreshing was experienced that it was as though heaven had come down to earth. He was then taken to a wild place called Toherbawn, where there were more converts and there was much blessing.
When the time came for him to go to the hall where he was to speak, he found it full when he arrived. The evidence of the mischief effected during the previous week was visible on the walls and platform, and was also manifested in the dilapidated windows of the building. The presence of God, however, was very powerful, and tears were running down the faces of many that heard the Word. Not a dog moved its tongue that night, for the streets were as quiet as though it was an empty town. The enemy was defeated, and the Lord alone was exalted that night.
After visiting various towns and villages, including Yougal, Limerick, Ennis, Kilkishen, Clonmel, and Waterford he returned to England from Dublin in December 1862. He had been there 6 months, and he was again to return there in 1864.
Trip to Scotland
Having been led of the Lord to accompany Harrison Ord, another much used evangelist, from England to Glasgow, a large circus was opened for meetings, and, during the fair week, a local minister erected a large preaching stand on the Green.
Glasgow Fair 1865
About twelve of the Scottish Clergy, and many evangelists, were joined together in the Lord’s work; while at the other end of the Green, thousands were engaged, with shows and the other entertainment. It was a time of great spiritual power and thousands heard the word preached, and many people came to Christ. Country people, who came in for worldly enjoyment, went home praising God for the knowledge of sins forgiven. For eight hours successively each day the crowds listened to the simple message of salvation, and to Hambleton it was remarkable to hear so many, who had been brought up from childhood to attend the Kirk and read the Bible, coming forward confessing their ignorance of these things, and discovering the Bible to be a new book to them altogether. Harrison Ord carried a large banner, containing texts of Scripture and the voices of thousands rang through the air, singing: -
"Come to Jesus, come to Jesus,
Come to Jesus, just now,
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you, just now."
while the nunnery windows opposite were filled with heads both of priests and nuns, looking one over the other to read the texts and on the banner the words "Jesus only," which were printed on a separate board.
During his three months there with Harrison Ord, they preached the Word of life, and an extraordinary power was felt upon both speakers and people. The Lord gave great blessing there and hundreds of people were brought to Christ during that time.
Mr Radcliffe had visited this place some five years previously with great blessing, and when Harrison Ord and John Hambleton visited there again the blessing was being maintained. Thousands collected together on the Links. They had the happiness of preaching to the masses who sat on the hill, forming a natural amphitheatre. They listened with profound attention, and when they sang in the town, thousands of voices joined in the praises of Him who had called them out of darkness into his marvellous light. The Kirk was also crowded, and the blessing from the Lord was their happy portion at Aberdeen. The great outpouring of the Spirit at Mr Radcliffe’s visit had left fruits of living faith. Some of the converts had gone from this place and also from Banff to other countries, carrying the seeds of life with them.
¹ The Second Evangelical Awakening in Britain p56
As previously stated most of the information for this booklet came from his book "Buds, Blossoms, and Fruits of The Revival" which appears to have been written around 1870, about 20 years before his death, although the book actually finishes with his visit to Scotland which was in 1865. There is, therefore, little information about the last 20/25 years of his life.
It appears that he continued his ministry in this country until 1879, ministering as he had done in open airs, hall and chapels, or anywhere where opportunity presented itself, as well as Bible carriage work. He also did some lecturing work on a chart which he entitled "Ezekiel’s Tile."
Among those who were converted during his ministry were some well known names i.e. Dr Barnardo and the Commissioner of the Salvation Army, James Dowdle.
The last 10 years of his life was spent in Australia, where he continued working for the Lord until he died on 8th December 1889, aged 69 years.
John Hambleton wrote two books i.e.
1. Buds, blossoms and fruits of the revival.
2. The leaven of the last days.
The second evangelical awakening - Dr J Edwin Orr
Chief men among The Brethren - Henry Pickering
Buds, blossoms and fruits of the revival - John Hambleton
Recollections of Reginald Radcliffe - Jane Radcliffe
Henry Moorhouse, the English Evangelist - J Macpherson
The Revival - 23/11/1861
The Revival - 7/12/1861
Revivals in Merseyside - G R Green