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honoured of God in the conversion of thousands* ; and that to him scenes of excitement are no novelty. Concerning his own share in these, he has himself ever been silent;—and it is therefore left for others to describe them as best they can
Let the facts speak for themselves ;—we give them as we have received them.
No. 1.—From a correspondent.
"Tain, July, 1840.
"It hath pleased the Lord to awaken many dead souls lately in this corner of his vineyard. The preaching of Mr. Macdonald of Urquhsir* (or Ferrintosh) has been made the means. It began in a neighbouringparish (Turbtl) on the Monday after the communion. Numbers were crying out, during preaching, for' Christ/ and that their 'souls were lost." Many were able to bear their agony in silence, though their hearts were like to burst at the view they got of their lost estate. Mr. Macdonald remained amongst them, nnd many soon found Christ and peace.
"Our communion (in Tain,) was immediately after; and although there seemed much feeling and attention, there was nothing very remarkable until Monday evening, during a Gaelic discourse by Mr. Macdonald. I was glad 1 was there to witness so striking a scene; for about the middle of the sermon, from every corner of the Church were heard cries of the greatest distress. Mr. Macdonald remained some days labouring here, and at Tarbet, where so many were concerned: and 1 witnessed here, on another evening, after sermon in the open air, the same deep feeling. I think I can never forget the sight of young men borne along between two, weeping ns if for a first-born or an only son; and young women, gaily dressed, in the same state; not to speak of hoaryheaded sinners. 1 trust, very many will shew the world, by the fruits, that this is u work of the blessed Spirit!"
No. 2.—From a correspondent.
"Urquhart, 19th August, 1840.
"I am now going to mention a much more important subject. In the parish of Tarbet, for twelve months past, the people have manifested an increasing desire to attend prayer-meetings, Sabbath-school instructions, as well as regular church service. On Monday of last year's communion, whilst Mr. David Campbell [their minister,] was preaching, there appeared a shaking among the dry bones; and since then instances of conversion have been occasionally occurring. This year, on Monday of the communion it was proposed to have an additional sermon at 6 in the evening, in the church, and in the Gaelic language. This seems to have been the commencement of a great revival. Mr. Macdonald was obliged to stop preaching for some time, and order a few verses of a Psalm to be sung, the crying and weeping were so general. Some persons screamed out and spoke aloud—many were unable to leave the church or churchyard for a considerable time, from the agitated state of their feelings.
"On Tuesday evening following, Mr. Macdonald preached at Tain, to a large congregation, with similar results. The Rev. C. Mackintosh [the minister of Tain] has had an evening sermon on the Sabbath, and an additional prayer-meeting, during the week, for nearly a year:—and by these means good has been done.
"On Tuesday last (August ) Mr. Macdonald again set out for Easter-Ross. Tuesday evening, on his way, he preached to nearly 3000
• We say thousands, deliberately.
people at Alness; text Job xxxvi. 18. Twenty persons are said to
have been awakened. Wednesday; lie preached at Tarbet, in the open
air, in the Gaelic language—great appearance of seriousness among the
people—sobs and weeping. Thursday evening, preached at the Tent in
T.i i ii, to an immense congregation. Friday, at Edderton, in Gaelic from
Jeremiah 1. 4, 5, 6.—several persons awakened. Same evening, in Tain
Ohnrch, in the English language, when there seemed to be people
affected in different parts of the Church. [N. B.—This was a month
after the scene mentioned in the letter No. I.] On Sabbath last, Mr
AI acdonald preached an evening Gaelic sermon al home (.Urquhart).
H i^ text Habakkuk iii. 2. 'O Lord, 1 have heard tliy speech and was
afx-uid!' lie said, in a striking manner, 'My friends, you have for many
years been hearing my voice; but, will you not now hear the words of God
himself addressing you!'—We trust the Holy Spirit was poured out—
about one hundred were alarmed:—but none can yet say with certainty,
w-liat it will turn to. The people awakened here, are of all ages, but
chiefly young persons."
No. 3.—From the Inverness Courier of August 26, 1840. "The great Religious movements which are taking place in various quarters of this country, are drawing a large share of attention; and a short account of what has occurred in the parish of Alness may not be uninteresting to some of your readers.
'• The usual fast-day preparatory to the celebration of the Lord's Supper was held on Thursday the 30th ultimo, but nothing remarkable was observed on that day. The first symptoms of any thing like an awakening made their appearance on the Friday evening, when, under the ministrations of that faithful and self-denying servant of God, the Hev. Mr. Alacdonald, Ferrintosh, a considerable number were brought u;der concern, and made to cry out beneath the stings of an awakened conscience, "What must we do to be saved?" During the sermon which completed the duties of the Sacramental Sabbath, the movements in the congregation, which had been begun on the Friday evening, were increased to a much greater extent. Then, but more especially on the services of the following day (Monday), one could not cast his eyes around in auy direction among the thousands collected on the occasion, without witnessing in almost every half dozen of hearers, one, if not more, deeply moved, some sobbing audibly, others, evidently by the greatest effort, restraining themselves from bursting out aloud, while many, utterly unable to command their emotions, gave vent in loud screams to their agonized feelings. Nor was this confined to any age or sex. The young and the aged, the gray-headed man and the child of tender years might everywhere be observed deeply affected; and we conceive we are within the mark when we say, that on this occasion many hundreds were brought under serious impressions; for there is scarcely a family in the district but has one, two, or more of its members under deep convictions. It was truly a heart-stirring sight, and we could wish that those who make a mock of such scenes could have looked upon it. Insensible to every good and holy feeling must he have been who could have beheld it with cold indifference.
"When witnessing or hearing of such events, one is irresistibly led to ask, Is this the work of the Spirit of God? Though time alone can give bperfectly satisfactory answer to this question, yet there are circumstances attending this particular work which tend to show that it is indeed genuine, and not spurious. This revival has followed the means which the word of God teaches to employ. Prayer meetings have for some time been established through the parish by the faithful and zenIons clergyman, Mr. Flyter, who has now had the satisfaction of seeinghis lahours blessed, and his supplications answered. '1'here was nothi uir in the instrument which could lead us to attribute the result to him. He is well known to all who heard him, and his style of preaching is as familiar to most of them as is that of their own clergymen; and he has been often known to proclaim the thunders of Sinai with as much, if not with greater force, on previous occasions. Indeed, the terrors of the law and the consolations of the gospel were, as they ever ought to be, blended together.
"But whatever opinion may be formed as to this interesting event, it is a matter too serious to be laughed at or ridiculed; and sure we are, no man who has the fear of God in his heart will talk scoffingly or in mockery of such scenes. Reason against them, pray God to arrest their progress, if convinced that they are mischievous in their tendency ; but, beware of hurling at them the withering sneer of contemptuous scorn. I r" genuine (and what good man would not wish to believe so), they are a token fur good, and a proof that, desert her who may, God has not forsaken his church; and that in the difficulties into which she has been brought by Iscariots within, and llerods without, He will stand by her and defend her, and bring her unscathed out of every trouble that can assail her."
No. 4.—The Witness—an Edinburgh Paper, July 22, 1840. . "We owe the following letter to the Montrose Standard. The Editor, a respectable intrusionist, and not at all more inclined to patronize revivals than most of his brethren, describes the writer as n person of unquestionable veracity and great sobriety of judgment. We deem his testimony valuable. Mr. Burns of Kilsyth would have written a different kind of letter in the circumstances, and so would the Rev. Mr. Pirie of Dyce; but it is something to be put in possession of the evidence of an individual who at least strives to write fairly, and who, if devoid of the experience of the one clergyman, would shudder to employ the language of the other.
"Tain, 15th July, 18+0.
"My Dear * * *,— I write you very hurriedly, to inform you of a fact of absorbing interest in this quarter at present, as I am anxious to anticipate the newspaper accounts of it. I mean, a religious awakening in the parish of Tarbat, and in part also in Tain, through the ministry of Mr. M'Donald, Ferrintosh. The sacrament of the Supper was dispensed at Tarbat a week from Sabbath last. Many persons were affected by Mr. M'Donald's preaching, but nothing remarkable was observed until the concluding service on Monday, when an extraordinary commotion spread through the congregation—many crying out in agony—many groaning—many weeping bitterly. He preached again that evening, and has preached several times since. Every night several have been awakened, and several now have found peace, and rejoice, as there is reason to believe, in Christ. One instance:—The man who, as the minster of Tarbat informs me, manifested the most painful bodily emotion of all, was first startled on Sabbath by seeing his wife proceed to the communion table; he used to persecute her for becoming so religious, but he did not know before that she had applied for admission to the Lord's Supper. Mr. M'Donald, in his table service, was led (accidentally ? or providentially ?) to state, that on the great day we should see the wife enter heaven, and the husband shut out. His agony became in expressible, and continued for several days; on Saturday, he was rejoicing, apparently on good grounds.
_" I have not been at Tarbat; 1 must briefly mention what I have witnessed here. On Thursday,—there were several cases of awakening —on Sabbath many. On Monday evening, Mr. M'Donald preached in Gaelic in church; and there occurred the most heart-rending scene I have ever witnessed. Towards the close of the sermon, the groans and cries became so great that the preacher was obliged to pause, and give out some verse of a psalm. Several fainted—many were groaning in agony —very many were weeping
"Now, 1 have honestly tried to account for this awakening on natural principles; and honestly, I am obliged to say, I cannot. I have supposed it sympathy; but long before the crying began, or those in one part of the church knew that those in another part were affected, many, many were weeping unnoticed, save by a few observers near them; every observer thought the commotion began first in his own part of the Church—it w;is so instantaneous; it was impossible it could be from sympathy (though very many, of course, were violently excited, when the emotion of those who were awakened, burst forth so violently). Throughout the piirisli there are many in deep distress and anxiety. I have seen two; one a boy of thirteen ; I asked what moved him; he repeated certain expressions of Mr. M'Donald's. I have seen a woman in the deepest anxiety to he found in Christ. The most notorious prostitute in the town is awakened. They all can tell the reason of their alarm; it is not sympathy, then. I have tried to account for it by the eloquence of their preacher; but 1 have often heard him preach as eloquently, as forcibly, as alarmingly. The only outward antecedent circumstance was much prayer by the parish minister and others for an awakening; much and constant prayer among "the men" for the effusion of the Spirit, and many meetings among the pious for that purpose. But outwardly such meetings can never account lor the awakening of the careless, the profligate, and the light-headed. Account for it how you will, I have honestly, stated the facts."
"In the first Confession of Faith, drawn up by the Church of Scotland (1560), there is a section occupied by 'the notes whereby the true Kirk is discerned from the false.' 'Sathan from the beginning,' it is stated, 'hath laboured to deck first his pestilent synagogue with the title of the Church of God.' And hence the necessity of some distinguishing test.
"Now, one of the 'assured'tokens, it is added, a token which the false Church does not borrow, is 'the faithful preaching of the Word, as revealed in the prophets and the apostles.' We are convinced that, tried by this test, the revival in Ross-shire will be found to be of no wild or extravagant character. We are not quite unacquainted with the clergymen named in the letter ; and we know that sounder or more Scriptural divines are not to be found in connection with the Scottish Church, nor yet more judicious men. All our readers would sympathize with us in our feeling of pleasure of seeing, that 'the men have been engaged in the work of revival at Tarbat, did they all know who the 'men are. They are the venerable relics of the religious peasantry of a former age—a race well nigh worn out, even in those northern districts, and which, in the greater part of Scotland, entirely disappeared more than an age ago. The reader has but to cast his eye over the death Testimonies of Naphtali, or the Cloud of Witnesses, in order to acquaint himself with the character and the theology of ' the men.' Some of them have been living in the parishes of Moderate ministers fur many years,—travelling far on Sabbaths to hear clergymen of the better school,—maintaining churches in their humble cottages, when all around them was sinking into a state of indifferency and torpor; and boding gloomily fur the future as they grew up in years, and saw their devout friends and cotemporaries dropping, one by one, from beside them, and men of a different stamp rising to occupy their places. It is something to see such men in their twilight of life, for the greater part of them are far stricken in years, finding cause of joy, after a long and dreary winter, in the indications of a second spring time. It serves, besides, to connect the present with the past by more than mere association, and furnishes as a guarantee for the nature of the present awakening, the experience of men recognized, both in their lives and their beliefs, some of them for more than half a century, as Christians of a high order."
These testimonies are sufficient to attest the fact that there existed, at the time referred to, an extraordinary degree of concern on the part of very many people, in regard to their eternal interests; and that this state of concern was felt to be of a very unusual kind, and not to be accounted for on ordinary grounds. Let the following circumstances be considered.
1.—The Parishes in which these extensive movements have taken place, have not now been hearing the Gospel for the first time. By no means. Tarbet was for many years favoured with the pious ministry and spiritual preaching of the late Rev. W. Forbes. Tain long enjoyed the presence and ministrations of one of the holiest and most fervent of God's servants, the Rev. Dr. Mackintosh, who is gone to his heavenly rest. Urquhart also, for more than a century, has been blessed with a succession of Gospel ministers, some of the chief lights of the country. Alness and Edderton, until lately were not so favoured ;—still, nearly half a generation (or fifteen years) have passed, during which they too have had the truth preached with sincerity and with purity;—and even when they possessed not the Gospel themselves, they were in its near neighbourhood.
2.—The chief instrument employed was not a stranger just come amongst the people affected, or one whom they had not before known. He was well known to those several parishes; for, during many years past, he has been in the habit of preaching in them, and so has become familiarly known to the people. His tones, his gestures, his divisions, his applications, are familiar to the Highlanders of Easter-Ross. For twenty-seven years has he been preaching amongst them ;— so that his name is a household word with them. In his own parish also he has ministered during that period ; and has ever seen the pleasure of the Lord prospering in his hand, in a greater or less measure.
3.—This revival was unexpected. There was no previous excitement of mind, calculated to induce the persons interested to lay hold of even a straw, as an indication of a self-created movement. The intentness of mind was fixed on the Gospel of Christ, and not on a revival as a distinct and individual thing; and when the burst of irresistible feeling came, under the