N SUNDAY, MARCH 24TH, the first of the five special services to be held at the Agricultural Hall, Islington, during the repairs of the Tabernacle, took place. The area of the large building was provided with seats for about ten thousand persons, and there were between eleven and twelve thousand persons presenta number far greater than has ever listened to a Christian minister under one roof.* The sight was, we need hardly say, most imposing. The arrangement of seats was admirable, and the ease with which everything was managed was creditable to all concerned. There was no collision between the public and the friends who conducted them to their seats; and when the great crowd surged in at ten minutes to eleven o'clock, the anxiety for first places did not manifest itself in a disorderly manner. An orchestra for the singers had been fitted up in the center of the building, at the north side and the singing throughout was almost perfect. Upon the entrance of Mr. Spurgeon, the buzz of excitement was immediately hushed, hats were doffed, seats were occupied, umbrellas that had been up to shield the owners from the rays of the sun which were streaming in at the glass roof were shut up, coughing suppressed, and when the words were emphatically pronounced, "Let us pray," the dropping of a pin might almost have been heard. Throughout the attention was kept up, and we believe that nearly every word was distinctly heard in all parts of the building. Mr. Spurgeon's delivery was of course slow, measured, and emphatic; but nothing seemed labored, nor did the voice lose any of its accustomed music. It was clear as a bell, and from where we sat, which was three parts of the way down the building, it sounded with peculiar mellowness and sweetness. The 103rd Psalm was read, and suitable comments were made. The prayer which followed the reading of the lesson, was peculiarly fervent and solemn, and at the time Mr. Spurgeon was earnestly pleading for a blessing upon the neighbouring ministers, most of them were engaged in praying that strength might be given him who was addressing so mighty a concourse close by. The text was taken from the 21st chapter of Matthew, 28th31st verses, and the discourse, which was of a most impressive character, was specially addressed to the un-converted. The Sermon has been published by Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster.
* This was not quite accurate. While it may have been the largest Sunday Church service ever under one roof, Mr. Spurgeon himself had preached to a gathering of 23,654 people in the Crystal Palace on Wednesday, October 7th, 1857, to commemorate a Fast-day Service after the Mutiny in India.