And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.
We remember having heard a departed friend tell how, when a boy, he was taken by his father, one still, summer evening across the Northamptonshire fields — I believe it was to the little village of Thrapstone — to hear Robert Hall. It was one of those old village chapels, with the square galleries. As in the instance of Chalmers, the place was crowded with plain farmer folk and a sprinkling of intelligent ministers and gentry from the neighbourhood. The minister came m, a simple, heavy, but still impressive-looking man, one whose presence compelled you to look at him. In due course he announced his text, "The end of all things is at hand; be sober and watch." Quite unlike Chalmers, his voice was not shattering, but thin and weak. There was no action at all, or only a kind of nervous twitching of the fingers; more especially as the hand moved and rested upon the lower part of the back, where the speaker was suffering almost incessant pain. As he went on, beneath the deepening evening shades falling through the windows of the old chapel, his voice first chained and then charmed and fascinated his hearers one after another; the whole place seemed as if beneath a great spell. As he talked about "the end," the spell upon the people seemed to begin to work itself out into an awful, fearful restlessness; first one, then another, rose from their seats, and stood stretching forward with a kind of fright and wonder. Still there was no action, only the following on of that thin voice, with a marvellous witchery of apt and melodious words, but through them "the end of all things" sounded like some warning bell. More people rose, stretching forward. Many of those who rose first, as if they felt some strange power upon them, they knew not what, got up and stood upon their seats until, when the great master ceased, dosing his passionate and pathetic accents, the whole audience was upon its feet, intensely alive with interest, as if each one had heard in the distance the presages and preludes of the coming end, and felt that it was time to prepare. My friend used to speak of that never-forgotten moment, that summer evening in the old chapel as one of the most memorable of his life.
(E. Paxton Hood.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.