Miscellaneous anecdotes and quotations

Here are some miscellaneous anecdotes of various ways in which God used Radcliffe:-

  1. One day in 1884 he and his wife and Miss Macpherson were passing through Graceís Alley into Wellclose Square in London as the evening performances in the music hall were proceeding. The dreadful noise and sounds that came from the hall startled them. They paused to listen and were so impressed that they paid the admission fee and went in to see what really could be going on. The sights on the stage and the condition of things were so awful that they fell on their knees in the centre of the hall, and in view of the onlookers and the stage prayed that God would break the power of the devil in the place, and bring the premises into the use of Christian people. Soon after this the hall was closed, the licences lapsed, and it was not again opened until February 1888, when it was opened as the East End Mission of the Methodist Church in 1885 and became a church in February 1888 being used by the Mission until 1956.
  2. He experienced much blessing in Manchester whilst speaking in various chapels, which were crowded to capacity. In one of these meetings a group of volunteers left during the service and went down into the back streets where there were none but thieves and prostitutes and numbers of them came back to the chapel and were converted. Also on this occasion a backslider, who heard this group singing in the streets where the brothels were, was convicted of his sin and began to weep. He followed the group back to the chapel and re-dedicated his life to the Lord again. Such was the blessing experienced in Manchester at that time that a special meeting was held in the Corn Exchange for all the converts and those still anxious about their souls and it was crowded to excess with around 2000 people being present.
  3. In "The Revival" in 1861 it was reported that Radcliffe preached to a crowd of 2500 Ė 3000 people in a railway goods depot in Norwich and that upwards of 1200 people responded to the appeal!
  4. At a meeting held in Dublin a young lady was converted whilst the hymn was being read out, before any exhortation had been made.
  5. A young widow who was a staunch Roman Catholic had a great desire to see the roof of St James Hall in London, as she had heard that it resembled a building in Pisa. When she arrived she found that a meeting was being held that night by Radcliffe. She therefore entered the building about half an hour before the commencement of the meeting. However, because of the huge crowds that had assembled and quickly filled the hall she found it impossible to make her way out, so she unwillingly sat down, not intending to hear a word. She eventually managed to push her way out into Piccadilly but immediately felt that she must go back to hear more. She went forward when the appeal was made with the many others who responded and told Radcliffe that he had made her miserable, but that she must hear more. Eventually she came through to salvation but she came under severe persecution from both her church and her family, including an uncle, furious at her apostasy. This uncle went to a doctor who he knew in an endeavour to get her admitted to a lunatic asylum. However what he did not know was that the doctor had also been converted!
  6. At Banff in Scotland both Radcliffe and Shuldham Henry preached on one Sunday from 3pm to 11pm with only an hourís interval in between. When the service was concluded in the large green in the afternoon and was about to adjourn to the nearest church to speak to those who had responded to the appeal, Radcliffe gave out a psalm to be sung on the way, which to those present gave a sense of the solemn assemblies that used to march to Zion with the voice of thanksgiving and praise.
  7. Before he became the famous Bishop of Liverpool, J C Ryle, who was probably the most well-known evangelical in the Church of England, whilst he was the vicar of Stadbroke in Suffolk invited Radcliffe to conduct parish missions and open air evangelism in Ipswich and Stadbroke.
  8. In a circular dated 26th September 1861 he referred to a meeting held in Manchester with Duncan Matheson, Harrison Ord and Edward Usher and stated that in the middle of the meeting, these men, instead of wasting their time listening to him went outside to proclaim the Gospel near the crowded thoroughfare. We need such efforts he said and what a need for more such labourers as these.
  9. In another circular sent to The Revival in March 1861 he described the pain of only being able to stay in a town one day and tear himself away from babes in Christ and distressed ones, in order to fulfil engagement elsewhere. He pleaded for thousands of earnest men and women to rise throughout the country to this work.
  10. Christian unity was something that was very dear and important to him. Whenever he was invited to preach in a town he would write to ask if the different Christian denominations were united and brotherly. For this reason he usually preferred to speak in large buildings for his preaching which formed as it were on a neutral ground and not consecrated to any particular denomination. He referred to one place in particular where great unity and brotherly love was shown and the result, he said, was a large outpouring of the Spirit and a great revival. If a church is to be blessed, he said, it must be united.
  11. In 1874 he organised a house-to-house visitation programme in Manchester and Liverpool in connection with the visit of Moody and Sankey, by which means every household in these cities were brought into touch with the gospel. So impressed was Moody with his efforts that he invited Radcliffe to do the same in London prior to his big crusade meetings there, which he did. One old lady 85 years of age, hearing that Radcliffe was coming to London to arrange the house-to-house visitation said "I must do something; I am getting old, but I will take a district." This she did and in one house she visited where they were Roman Catholics they refused to take a leaflet, so she said to them, therefore, that she would read it out to them They had to listen to her as they did not have the heart to put out an 85 years old woman. An army of volunteers was brought together and after months of hard work with weekly prayer meetings being held in a number of different localities, Londonís four million households were visited.
  12. In 1888 he was invited to travel to America with Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary to China, in order to raise funds for the mission field, Mr Taylor appealing for China, and Radcliffe for Russia, for which he had a particular burden. They travelled extensively throughout America and Canada addressing large crowds throughout.
  13. Radcliffe always had a strong association with an organisation called "The Strangerís Rest" which was first established in Liverpool in 1875. In conjunction with Annie Macpherson he established one in London a year later, based on the one in Liverpool, and five years later he set about establishing one in Hamburg for the benefit of foreigners and seamen. Subsequently he established one in Hull in which his daughter was actively involved. His son Heber, later established one in Denmark.
  14. Radcliffe produced a profound impression in Paris by simply uttering the words, "Dieu vous aime!" Ė two or three times over i.e. "God loves you."
  15. In the booklet "The evangelisation of the world" partly written by Radcliffe, he stressed the importance of older people being engaged in Christian work, stating that some of their most effective missionaries were elderly people. Witness the departure, a few days ago, he said, of Bishop Taylor, aged 63 years, taking a party of 40 missionaries into the interior of Africa by a route that was expected to occupy him three years of marching.
  16. There are a number of books/booklets written by Radcliffe, either solely or in conjunction with others, which are listed below. They are all available at the British Library.

He also wrote an introductory note to James Turnerís "How to reach the masses." This is also available at the Evangelical Library.

17. They had three children, Catherine, Heber and Brainard.