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You might find this hard to believe but one vicar, William Haslam became a Christian through his own sermon – and from that very experience the 19th Century Cornish Revival was born

William Haslam was a high church Anglican vicar in Cornwall in the 19th Century.

In 1851, he had gone to stay with a friend of his, Mr. Aitken who had challenged Haslam that he wasn’t a Christian - that is tht Haslam wasn’t converted.

During that week, Haslam was so shocked that he had nothing to offer his congregation.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday of that week passed and on Sunday Haslam was so distressed that he was quite unfit to take the service.

Let me read you Haslam’s own words

“Mr Aitken had said to me: ‘If I were you, I would shut the church and say to the congregation: ”I will not preach again till I am converted. Pray for me!”’…

The sun was shining brightly and before I could make up my mind to put the service off, the bells struck out a merry peal and sent their summons far away over the hills.

Now the thought came to me that I would go to church and read the morning prayers and after that dismiss the people.

There was no Holy Communion that day and I had deputed the clerk to elect the hymns, for I was far too ill to attend to anything myself.

The psalms and hymns were especially applicable to my case and seemed to help me so that I thought I would go on and read the antecommunion service and then dismiss the people.

And while I was reading the Gospel, I thought, well, I will just say a few words in explanation of this and then I will dismiss them.

So I went up in the pulpit and gave out my text. I took it from the Gospel of the day “What think ye of Christ” (Mt. 22 v. 42).

As I went on to explain the passage, I saw that the Pharisees and scribes did not know that Christ was the Son of God or that He was come to save them….. Something was telling me, all the time: ‘You are no better than the Pharisees yourself- you do not believe he is the Son of God and that He has come to save you, anymore than they did’.

I do not remember all I said, but I felt a wonderful light and joy coming into my soul and I was beginning to see what the Pharisees did not.

Whether it was something in my words, or my manner, or my look, I know not; but all of a sudden a local preacher, who happened to be in the congregation, stood up and putting up his arms shouted out in Cornish manner ’The parson is converted! The parson is converted! Hallelujah!’ and in a moment his voice was lost in the shouts and praises of three or four hundred people. “