I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Samuel Chadwick---A Life Knowing God


Do you long to know God like Moses? How do you do it?
Samuel Chadwick was born on September 16, 1860 in Burnley, England. He was small and thin, “always looking as if he had not long to live.”
At eight years old, Samuel awoke at 6 AM to work with this father in the cotton mills for a twelve-hour shift, giving his earnings to his mother. He received one shilling for church collections.
At 10, he wished to do everything for Jesus and began praying three times a day.
By 15, he felt called to the ministry. Lacking education didn’t hinder him. After working his twelve-hour shift, he studied from 7 PM to midnight.
When he became a lay evangelist, he walked ten miles each Sunday to preach to his audience of quarrymen and factory workers.
He was appointed at 21 years as lay pastor of a chapel at Stacksteads, Lancashire.
He attended Didsbury College from 1883-1886 to learn Greek to be equipped to minister the Word.

But education didn’t make him know God.
Chadwick had been trained to prepare well-researched and interesting sermons to bring crowds. He had fifteen well-constructed sermons, deemed “sufficient to produce a revival.” Later he wrote of those sermons, “This led unconsciously to a false aim in my work. I lived and labored for my sermons, and was unfortunately more concerned about their excellence and reputation than the repentance of the people.”

Nothing changed. His sermons lacked power.

He wanted to know more of God. He heard from someone’s testimony of being empowered by the Spirit. He, with a few friends, covenanted to pray and search the Scriptures until revival came. Praying over his next sermon, he was convicted of his pride in human methods. After wrestling through the night, he repented, and burned his precious well-constructed sermons.

The Spirit fell upon him. He said, “I could not explain what had happened, but it was a bigger thing than I had ever known. There came into my soul a deep peace, a thrilling joy, and a new sense of power. My mind was quickened. I felt that I had received a new faculty of understanding. Every power was vitalized. My bodily powers were quickened. There was a new sense of spring and vitality, a new power of endurance, and a strong man’s exhilaration in big things.”
Next time, he preached, seven were converted. Chadwick says, “One for each of my barren years.”
He called for a week of prayer. People filled the chapel and were saved. The following Sunday, most of the church was baptized.
Revival spread through the valleys. Hundreds came to know Jesus.
He supported the Gospel Temperance Crusade, which prayed for revival and conversions, earning him the title “Methodist devil.”
As Chadwick moved to other places, the revival followed.
Chadwick spend his Saturdays with local workers. Once, when his wife was away, he invited anyone who was lonely to come for Saturday tea.
Six hundred arrived.
God had awakened a baker during the night “to bake for all he was worth.” He provided the refreshments.

In Leeds, in 1890, he was appointed superintendent of the Mission, “a haunt of criminals and a stronghold of vice, poverty and slum dom.” The chapel filled half an hour before the service. Police controlled the crowds. People came to God.
The rough, dirty neighborhoods became clean and respectable.
The Chief Constable wrote his thanks.

Chadwick recalls, “We were always praying and fighting (the devil), singing and rejoicing, doing the impossible and planning still bigger things. The newspapers never left us alone, and people came from far and wide. Opposition was swept away and within a few years the chapel had to be demolished and a substantial Mission Hall built.”
He preached through the Apostles’ Creed. “I am still of the opinion that the preaching most appreciated by the crowd is sound theology.”
While evening class attendance rose from 400 to over 2500, Secularist orators proclaimed Christianity was dead, but had to concede that Oxford Place Chapel was the exception. They called it a “mystery shop.”
In his last sermon at Oxford Place, he said, “There is no other gospel, there is no other Saviour. But if you reject this gospel of Jesus Christ, you will be lost, you will be damned, and that forever.”
Twenty-five came to know Christ that night.
He preached with Moody at the Chicago Exhibition in 1893.
In 1907, he tutored at Cliff College.
In 1911, in the middle of a labor dispute, he held open-air meetings at Cardiff docks.
On Mondays in villages, his terse, epigrammatic sermons brought farmers from miles to hear. His titles  included “The weather and the Word—for as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven,” based on  Isaiah 55:10.
In 1918, as elected President of the Methodist Conference, Chadwick’s address confronted modernism: “The church has been judged, it has been weighed in the balances and found wanting. What we want is a revival of religion. Until you have got a gospel that works—shut up. This is not an age for twiddling your thumbs.”

At the end of the Great War, he conducted a Thanksgiving service at Royal Albert Hall, the first in English history when the King and Queen attended a Nonconformist service.

The following year, revival came to Cliff College and Chesterfield. Men knelt in the streets confessing their sins.
Chadwick discipled converts to read their Bible, which he held was “inspired, complete, infallible revelation of God and the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct.”

His preaching was unique. He used illustrations but wasn’t anecdotal. He instructed students that sermons should have a theme, contain evangelical doctrine, practical teaching and persuasive application. Exposition of related passages of Scriptures should be sustained. Grammar and diction correct. Figures of speech well chosen. He required his students to know and sympathize with human nature. He advised, “What you want in a spear is a point; and to get a point you need to sacrifice much material, but a sharp spear needs no polish.”

After Thomas Cook’s death, Chadwick became principal of Cliff College. He demanded discipline.
A student, wanting to smoke his pipe (which was banned at Cliff), came to Chadwick’s office, “dying for a smoke.”
Chadwick looked at the student from his toes to his head. “Are you really dying for a smoke?”
“I am, sir.”
Chadwick pointed to the seat beside his desk, “Sit down in that chair and die.” Chadwick knelt with the student and prayed until the craving disappeared.
Chadwick edited Joyful News, a weekly evangelistic paper.
Dr. Campbell Morgan praised its quality, literary style and “loyalty to the really fundamental things of our faith.”
Chadwick wrote fairy stories for the Christmas edition. One was sent to Princess Mary for her wedding.

In 1920, after visiting, Prime Minister David Lloyd George wrote of Chadwick, “There was beyond question, a consummate mastery of the speaker’s art…but always it remained his obedient and unnoticed servant, entirely subordinate to his purpose of convincing, persuading, moving and uplifiting his hearers. He had a great gift of friendship. It was the essence of the man. One of the most delightful memories of my life is of a stay with him at Cliff College. His whole being was full of light.”

He wrote The Call to Christian Perfection, Humanity and God, The Path of Prayer, and What is Meant by Conversion.

While completing his work at the College, he wrote, The Way to Pentecost. He wrote, “I owe everything to the gift of Pentecost. For fifty days, the facts of the Gospel were complete, but no conversions were recorded. Pentecost registered three thousand souls. It is by fire that a holy passion is kindled in the soul whereby we live the life of God. The soul’s safety is in its heat. Truth without enthusiasm, morality without emotion, ritual without soul, make for a Church without power. Destitute of the Fire of God, nothing else counts; possessing Fire, nothing else matters.”

Chadwick’s last words to his colleagues began, “Stand together for the Word of God, but not in any stupid sense. Stand in a spirit of unity, of faith, of doctrine, according to the fourth chapter of Ephesians. This will be the great consummation of my work and my hopes.”

His frail, small body kept him going for 72 years, as he sought to know God.
Samuel Chadwick died Sunday morning, October 16, 1932.

But like Moses, Samuel Chadwick left behind words that told where his heart lay.

These words he gave for us to continue the work of “knowing Christ and the power of Him crucified.”

Click on book cover for details.




Tell of My Kingdom's Glory
Three Book Series



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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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Evangelical Times. Samuel Chadwick. n.d. (accessed May 30, 2017).
Jesus Army blogs. Radical Christian History: Preacher Burns His Sermons Then Catches Fire HImself. May 20, 2007. (accessed May 30, 2017).
Telling Ministries. Quotes by Author--Samuel Chadwick. n.d. (accessed May 30, 2017).
Turnham, Joe. Samuel Chadwick. June 9, 2011. (accessed May 30, 2017).
Wikipedia. Samuel Chadwick. n.d. Chadwick (accessed May 30, 2017).

Displaying all 2 comments

Read this again, but since it's been so long I'll admit, I'd forgotten it and needed to reread the article. It truly is inspiring and much food for thought.

What an inspiration he is, thanks so much for sharing. God bless.