Fortingall (1840)




There is unfortunately only a little of Macdonald’s diary still existing. From what there is it can be seen that he went to Breadalbane each year from 1835-7. Although things were much quieter than when he was there during the revival of 1816/7, there was still much evidence of the Spirit at work. Congregations were large and attentive. At Fortingall, the minister invited him to speak in his church. This was extraordinary considering the same minister, during the revival, had told him that he would never speak in his church. He spoke in the church on each visit, the church being packed on his third visit. This could have been the early signs of the revival that was to come in 1840.

William Burns, who was used to start the 1839 Kilsyth Revival, came to this area in 1840 to minister in the places where revival had taken place in 1816-9. He wrote '"I could have supposed that I had been in Breadalbane for a month instead of a week; the events that had passed before me were so remarkable and so rapid in succession. It had been indeed a resurrection of the dead, sudden and momentous as the resurrection of the last day."

See 'Scotland Saw His Glory', edited by Richard Owen Roberts.

Breadalbane, Fortingall, Friday, August 21st. — . . . The people were met at the tent, but the wind being high we adjourned to the church. I spoke with assistance at the outset from Psalm lxxii. 16-18, and had considerable enlargement in prayer. The subject was conversion; text, Matthew xviii. 3, and in discoursing upon this I experienced more assistance in attempting to speak home to the very marrow of men’s souls than at almost any other time (a few occasions excepted). Two wicked men could not stand it, as we supposed, and retired from their seats. Many others, and among these the stoutest men, were in tears. At the conclusion, when I had pronounced the blessing, I sat down in the pulpit in secret prayer as usual, but to my amazement, I heard nobody moving; and waiting a full minute I rose and saw them all standing or sitting, with their eyes in many cases filled with tears, and all fixed on the pulpit. It was indeed a solemn moment, the most solemn Mr M/Kenzie and Mr Campbell said they had ever seen. I asked them what they were waiting for, and whether they were waiting for Christ. I prayed again when there was the utmost solemnity, and then spoke a little from a Psalm which we sung, and then parted at four P.M. The people retired slowly and most of them in tears. We dined at the manse when all were very serious and came away immediately in order to hold a meeting in this parish at six o’clock. As we came along the road we overtook some men and women in deep distress, as their tears and sober countenances indicated, and their iron grasp when we shook hands with them. Many also came to their doors and recognized us with evident concern. At six we had a meeting for an hour and half in a house at the east end of this parish, when about a hundred were present. Praise to the Lamb!

'Memoir of the Rev W C Burns', by Islay Burns, page 130-1.

Additional Information

I do not know where the revivals took place re the first account.