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 Godís 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 Kingís 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 Kingís Cross he was to take up. Stepping into the crowd Hambleton shouted to the scoffer, "Yes, itís the Kingís Cross Ė the King of kings, and Lord of Lords;" and taking the old manís 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 didnít 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. Hambletonís 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 barbersí shops about the time of service, to give tracts and preach quietly to the men, unwashed after the Saturday nightís 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 Godís 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 Satanís 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 Lordís 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 oíclock 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 Godís 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 Lordís 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.