In Ayr, Scotland, a man recalling his visit there said, impressively, "his
prayers just shook ye!"
People were regularly saved in his services with cases of men sobbing like
children because of their lost condition.
Whenever it was suggested to him that he should adopt a political career
for himself, he would reply that he was on the top rung of the ladder, and
would not come down!
He would not tolerate sin in their midst if this came to light, making the
remark "how can God bless us if we are not walking before Him in holiness and
sincerity. He would plead with the church that one hypocrite or evildoer
might, like Achan, hinder the united work of the whole.
Although he was a great man of prayer, he was also a man of action. He
wrote in one of his letters, "prayer without effort, when such can be made, is
a mockery of God."
The Office that Lockhart worked from was based at 61 Lord Street,
One of Lockhart’s ministries was attending public executions, when he with
others, would just stand under the gallows, reading the Scriptures and
pointing the crowds to Christ, pleading with them to repent and believe the
Gospel. This included the last public execution in Liverpool in September 1863
when four sailors were hanged. The crowd was about 100,000 people, and it was
really just a question of how far his voice could reach them.
Although he was a God ordained evangelist, Lockhart believed that as a
leader of a Christian Church, he had been able to do one hundred times as much
as he could have done had he worked simply as an evangelist.
On the subject of speaking to people individually about Christ, he said
that "it’s a glorious work, and if your heart is filled with love for Christ
it will be easy, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Remember this must be the great constraining motive, not merely love for
souls, but love for Christ, and a longing for His glory."
A fellow worker of many years standing said of Lockhart "we would have
done anything for him. Was it because of his power with God that he had power
with men? For Power he had. In his early years when it occurred to the
Christian young men in whose circle he moved to confer some characteristic
title upon each other, the name given to W P Lockhart was "Power."
At an address given to the Baptist Missionary Society in 1886 he referred
to the five great evils that were sapping the life of their churches at that
time, i.e. theatre going, card-playing, novel reading, dancing and drinking.
This caused much comment in both Liverpool and London papers who accused the
reverend gentleman of being averse to every pastime.
In an address that he gave to the Baptist Union Conference in 1882 he
referred to a question people sometimes asked him as to why he didn’t have
special services in his church. His reply to them was that all their services
were special and that they had at least one hundred of them every year, two
every Sunday and one during the week. The aim at every service, he said, was
to secure the conversion of souls.
Although Lockhart never introduced politics into the pulpit, nor allowed
it to intrude into his religious ministry, he was always associated with the
Liberal Party and belonged to the branch of it that was represented by John
Bright. He was also an ardent admirer of William Gladstone’s statesmanship,
and he campaigned for local liberal candidates, such as W S Caine, and Samuel
Smith. It has to be said, though, that these two gentlemen did appear to be
He was a lifelong friend of Spurgeon and he often preached at the
Metropolitan Tabernacle. They also often conferred together on the growth of
unsound doctrine and the action that should be taken over it. Lockhart was
chosen to deliver the address at a Memorial Service held in Liverpool when
George Muller was a frequent visitor to Toxteth Tabernacle. Lockhart
considered George Muller and John Plunkett to be the holiest men that he had
ever met. What struck him about these men was that they knew God and
that it was their intimacy with God himself that struck him as their chief
characteristic. Quoting the verse, "The people that do know their God shall be
strong and do exploits" (Daniel 11:32) he said that this was descriptive of Mr
Muller and all his wondrous doings at Bristol and elsewhere. His knowledge of
God, he said, was through reading the Bible, which he had informed Lockhart he
had read through one hundred times (in 1876 – he died in 1898). It is little
wonder, he said, that he knew him whom it reveals.
Though he was only a layman he was a prodigious worker for the gospel. In
one year alone he preached 275 times. – not bad for a layman. Prime Minister
William Gladstone (whose brother Robertson Gladstone attended Toxteth
Tabernacle) once asked him how he could stand up to the strain of preaching so
many times - and that from the man who was running the country!
In his sermon, "A word of encouragement to Christian workers" he makes the
point, below, that the church needs both the experienced Christians as well as
the young converts, and that they are both necessary:-
"My brethren, we need the dogged determination of the
veteran, experienced in the fight, but we need also the fire and impetuosity
of the young recruit. Deal kindly with him. It is a terrible thing, you say,
when zeal outruns discretion; aye and it is a terrible thing when discretion
checks zeal. It is better when, like two well-matched horses, they run in
harness together; but oh! encourage the young worker; give him words of kindly
sympathy and loving encouragement."
There are three books by Lockhart, i.e.
Backsliding Widely - available through Amazon
The Gospel Wall - available at the Evangelical