Ireland (From our own Correspondent)

DUBLIN, Nov. 28

The visit of the American Evangelists, Messrs. Moody and Sankey , terminated on Thursday, and with it a series of religious services which have marked the progress of a movement the most remarkable ever witnessed in Ireland. There have been at various times so-called “revivals” which have cast a flood of devotional feeling over the country, but their influence was only transient—they left but little trace of any permanent effect. This new mission has been of a character essentially different, and seemed to possess elements of vitality which were wanting in others. There was nothing sensational, though, such that was novel and attractive, in the nature of the services and the mode of conducting them. Mr. Moody, as a preacher, is certainly not superior, if he is not very inferior, in erudition and intellectual gifts to the average class of educated clergymen. He is eloquent, or he would have no power, but his eloquence is far from being of an elevated style. It is remarkable rather for great volubility and fervour than for the higher qualities of a pulpit orator. It has no pretension to elegance of diction, beauty of illustration, harmonious arrangement, or logical force. His sermons would not stand the test of ordinary criticism. His language is plain and homely, not always very accurate, and sometimes containing colloquial phrase more popular than refined. Add to this tho peculiar “twang” which stage professors or stump orators assume, and there will appear to be a considerable balance of disadvantages against him. How, then, is his marvellous success to be explained? His great earnestness is, perhaps, the secret of it. His heart as well as his head seems to be full of his subject, and he has no difficulty in giving effective expression to his thoughts. The evident absence of any effort at self-display, but rather a sensitive avoidance of it, helps to obtain for him a favourable reception, and he never fails to keep the attention of a vast multitude riveted and to enlist their feelings by the ready flow of his discourses, in which persuasion and argument were blended with many apt illustrations and personal incidents. He has an inexhaustible fund of anecdote, and in some of his earlier sermons here he appeared to draw upon it rather freely, but he soon came to understand that his audience did not quite relish so abundant a supply, though his stories were generally of some interest and were told with dramatic effect. He always selected some striking passage of Scripture for his text, and expounded it with great simplicity, but with keen intelligence and a discreet and earnest power, which produced a visible impression. Mr. Sankey possesses a voice of great volume, and he manages it with much skill, though it has not been properly educated. His utterance is remarkably distinct, and he is able by himself to fill with vocal sound a building in which from 10,000 to 15,000 people are congregated. He accompanies himself with a small harmonium, which he carries with him on his missionary tours. He takes up some sentiment which Mr. Moody has illustrated, and presents it anew, invested with the attractions and sympathetic influence of music, and so fixes it more deeply in the heart as well as the memory. There is a special collection of hymns, set to airs which catch at once the popular ear. Some of them are original, others are modifications of familiar songs, but all appear to be in the highest favour, though there is no poetry in them, and though even their orthodoxy may be troubled in one or two points. The singing of Mr. Sankey’s solos, however, with touching solemenity, had an effect not less marvellous in its way than the united voices of the immense congregation, led by a trained choir, in the delivery of other hymns. There is an individual character stamped upon them which made them appear to express the feelings of each separate person, and not of the whole collective mass.

The services were characterized by a reverence and devotion which were extraordinary, considering that, the multitude was composed of literally every creed and class, and that many hundreds who pressed for admission two hours before the doors were opened were attracted only by curiosity and some by a love of amusement, conceiving that they would find in the proceedings something to excite their ridicule. But the fist prayer or the reading of a passage of Scripture, and still more surely the fervid exhortations of Mr. Moody, whose manner, tone, and words brought home to all the conviction that he at least was terribly in earnest, dispelled all ideas of the ludicrous, and made the most light-hearted and careless youths listen with deep attention and apparent interest. There was something very impressive in the breathless stillness which pervaded the vast assemblage covering the whole area of the Exhibition Palace from end to end during the delivery of Mr. Moody’s most solemn utterances or Mr. Sankey’s plaintive songs. There were no demonstrations of emotion such as may be seen in other revival meetings—no apparent excitement, but a very marked and universal reverence, and also an enthusiasm which was all the more intense because it was subdued. Let those who think they can do so account for the movement, and explain, if they can, what it is which brought together such immense congregations every day for nearly six weeks, and produced such extraordinary effects. The fact itself is memorable and suggestive. The organization was admirable. There were numerous services of different kinds each day, intended for different classes and conditions of people. Some were in the Metropolitan Hall, but the principal were in the Exhibition Palace, which can accommodate from 10,000 to 15,000 people at least in the Great Transept and the Lemster Hall. There was a platform erected at the angle where the two halls meet, and on this were clergymen of different denominations, who took part in the services; and, as already stated, there was a choir of trained voices. Persons were also appointed to meet “inquirers” after the meetings were over and try to fix in their minds the impressions left by the services. There was no attempt made to win proselytes for any particular Church, and not the faintest allusion to any of the distinctive characteristics of sects and creeds. The result was that Protestants and Roman Catholics, Christians and Jews, Presbyterians, Methodists, Moravians, Arians, and Quakers were all mingled in the great assembly, and all seemed equally impressed. The presence of over 750 clergymen of various communions, in answer to the invitation of the Committee who have taken charge of the work, is a significant proof of the success of the movement. At the convention and a private conference held yesterday at the close of the series of meetings, arrangements were made for carrying on the work which Messers. Moody and Sankey began. The two “Evangelists” have gone to England, and intend to make Manchester their next field of operations.