This is the inspiring autobiography of Richard Hobson whose ministry, under the blessing of God, transformed the working-class district of Windsor in Liverpool. It will be of immense encouragement, not only to ministers of the Word, but to all who desire to see the gospel producing such effects in our own time. Yet Hobson had no thought of claiming any credit for this success, humbly entitling his account, ‘What hath God wrought’.
On J.C. Ryle’s arrival in Liverpool as its first bishop in 1880, he found in Hobson a true friend, and came to regard him as a model pastor. Hobson’s parish of St. Nathaniel’s gave Ryle and his family their main spiritual home, and in 1900, when Ryle died, Hobson preached the bishop’s funeral sermon.
The story told here, against the back-drop of dirt and poverty in the largest port of the British Empire, is a wonderful example of the compelling power of love and prayer. Hobson taught his people to pray, as the one o’clock gun was fired daily, ‘O God, for Jesus Christ’s sake, send me thy Holy Spirit’, and the prayer was answered.
The change effected in the ‘sixteen acres of sin’ Hobson found on his arrival in Windsor is a striking illustration of the power of the gospel to change individual lives and transform whole communities.
This has to be the best, if not the best, autobiography by a Christian that I have ever read. Written by the Rev. Richard Hobson he was the minister at St. Nathaniel's church in Windsor, England in an area which was called the "little hell" in the 19th century. His childhood was one of extreme poverty and later was part of a ministry to Roman Catholics in Ireland before he was ordained. After which, and before the construction of the church was completed he held services in the cellar of a building with only five congregants in attendance in the initial service. After construction was completed attendance improved but not because of the building itself but because the people had a caring minister! He attended to his ministry and the preaching of the Word to such an effect that the membership and others produced such a change in the mores of the people that it was reported not one house of ill repute was known to have existed in the parish. His love for his people and the Gospel is evident throughout. And the people's love for him was shown when it was considered that he would be transferred a delegation presented themselves to the bishop-who happened to be the venerable Bishop Ryle-and asked that he remain at his present charge which was granted. I fail to see how any Christian reading this would not be moved.