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By James Ray
I lived in his city. I walked in his steps. I preached
in his church. I would love to have known him.
I t has been this author’s privilege
on a number of occasions to
speak at Melbourne Hall in
Leicester, England. This great
church was once pastored by Dr.
F. B. Meyer. I will never forget
the awesome feeling of standing
behind the same pulpit and on the
very spot where Meyer stood and
preached for so many years of his
life. I wish that I could have known
him but Leicester made him more
real to me than ever before.
he laid, and walked the streets that he walked. I identified with Meyer in
Leicester. I had moved to Leicester to assist in the planting of a new church
and to reach the people for Christ. The Pastor of the church at the time, Pastor
Paul Bassett, was a great encouragement to me. One hundred years before,
Meyer lived in the city for the same purpose. In Leicester, he poured out his
soul to those in darkness. Meyer, writing about his mInistry in Leicester said:
One of the most popular legends of Brittany is that relating to an
imaginary town called Is (pronounced Iss), which is supposed to have
been swallowed up by the sea at some unknown time. There are several
places along the coast, which are pointed out as the site of this city, and
the fishermen have many strange tales to tell of it.
According to them, the tips of the spires of the churches may be seen
in the hollow of the waves when the sea is rough, while during a calm
the music of their bells ringing out the hymns rises above the waters.
In Leicester, I preached in his
church, saw the cornerstone that
Similarly, as it has always seemed to me, amid the submerged masses,
deep down at the bottom of the ocean of human life, there are yearnings
and desires for a better life that ring sadly and perpetually. It has been
the aim of my life to listen for these, and where I have detected them,
to present the only answer—the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. 1
F. B. Meyer had at one time pastored in York. It was there that he met D. L.
Moody. Moody and Sankey had arrived from America to discover that the
two men who had invited them to England were both dead. Fredrick Meyer,
a local pastor, met Moody and invited him to preach. He then introduced
Moody to other pastors. Soon the powerful preaching of D. L. Moody swept
through the whole country with thousands of conversions. D. L. Moody
imparted to F. B. Meyer a love for souls and evangelism. Meyer wrote:
From the beginning of my ministry, I had desired to reach the large
masses of the people that are outside our churches…. This desire was
deepened during my pastorate at York, where…Moody and Sankey, not
4 F. B. Meyer, The Bells of IS (New York: Flemming H. Revell Company, 1894). 5–6.