Kilwinning (1859)

There was a very extraordinary awakening here in summer 1859. 

Free Church Manse, Kilwinning, 7th Sept.

DEAR SIR, —These are glorious days of the Son of Man. The prayers of God's believing people who were sighing and crying have been heard and answered. Should the record of this great revival now going on in this west coast here ever be written, many marvellous illustrations of the power of believing prayer will be given. But the Great Day alone will declare it.

It was but a short time ago that an aged man was ushered into my study. His countenance was beaming with joy. "I have come," said he, "to deliver myself of a burden; I have something to tell you, and I wish to say it to yourself. Some time ago I felt deeply moved to pray for a revival of religion. While I prayed, my heart was wondrously drawn out to God. I felt that the Holy Spirit was teaching me to pray. While I prayed for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the coming of the kingdom of Christ, I was suddenly overpowered and overawed: I saw the shower descending; I felt God was hearing my prayer; and now I find a joyful relief in telling you God has answered my prayer, and the revival has come." I am sure many a child of God has a similar tale to tell. The prayers of all of them have been instrumental in drawing down the blessing. We in Kilwinning have been visited with a very extraordinary awakening.

For some time I have been watching the silent flowing tide of revival here.

About a year and a half ago I had three successive nights of special religious services in my church. The ministers who conducted the services were the Rev. Andrew Bonar, Rev. A. N. Somerville, and Rev. J. Alexander...

The awakening in Kilwinning first began to be manifested among young men. A great number of intelligent young men have been awakened. There sorrow is very deep and their contrition is most bitter. very few them have yet attained to anything like permanent peace or joy. There is one young man who has been under conviction for four days, who weeps as if he would weep himself blind. The awakening next began to manifest itself among young women. It is precisely so with them. There is nothing here as yet of cases of speedy peace or joy. Out of a considerable number of young women convicted, I only know of one who found anything of peace on the same day of her awakening. Sabbath evening last is a night especially to be remembered in the spiritual history of many here. Captain Crosby, whose vessel is lying at Ardrossan and soon to set sail, was with us. He is a Christian captain who has known Christ for 18 years, is full of flaming love to Christ and zeal for His cause, mighty in prayer, and wise in winning souls to Christ. The ordinary services were over by 9 o'clock. About 300 of the audience remained, and were addressed for an hour longer; then of these about 15 young men and women remained or returned, would not leave the church, and with whom we spoke and prayed and sang alternately. Several of these had their convictions brought to a crisis that night. It was the most solemn and touching scene I ever witnessed. Let me select one case out of many similar ones. He is a young man about 22 years of age, and has been for some time one of my Bible class. He became suddenly and deeply moved in mind and somewhat agitated in body, and lay with his hand on his head on the seat. Capt. Crosby spoke to him with great tenderness, exhorted to look to Jesus, to lay hold on Christ. "O", said he, "I cannot, I cannot, there is something there in the way, O I cannot." Then he said, "O my sin, my sin—I am black, O my sin". We exhorted him to pray - we whispered words into his ear; but he said, "I cannot pray. O my sin, I cannot pray." His elder brother, who had heard, came rushing into the church, took him by the hand, and offered up over him such a prayer as only a Christian and a brother could offer up. Still the young man could not pray. A most interesting lad of sixteen, who has found Christ, and is one taken out of a large family, standing by me, whispered into my ear, "O sing to him the love of Jesus." I started, "One is kind above all others," and we all joined in singing that hymn; then the young lad knelt down on the passage of the church, and offered up a wonderful prayer on his behalf. The convicted one began himself to pray. I went to visit him next morning. His mother told me his first inquiry in the morning was about some other young men, companions, who had been awakened. I told him I was just going to visit them, and asked whether he had any message to them. He took his Bible, turned up the 130th Psalm, pointed with his finger to the third verse, beginning, "I wait for God, my soul doth wait," and said "that is my state; " and tonight that is his state still, Some of those psalms of David will remain indelibly impressed on my mind and embalmed in my memory in connection with many of those who have been awakened. Since this revival time, I have seen in them a beauty, a richness, and a glory I never saw before. I feel sometimes overwhelmed by a sense of my responsibility, and by a fear lest by any rashness, injudiciousness, or ignorance on the part of myself or others, the glorious work of God should be marred. The elders' hearts are greatly refreshed and their souls strengthened, and they regularly take a part in the large public prayer meeting. This is an eventful time in the history of young persons, their minds are in a peculiar state; they are inquiring; the enemy is busy sowing tares. I think Bible classes should be formed and multiplied. I am glad to say the labours of the Rev. Mr M'Gregor, of the U.P. Church here, have been greatly blessed in connection with the awakening here. He and I are working cordially together, and we find that union is strength. 

"The Scottish Guardian," September 9th, 1859.

Additional Information

I cannot find where the old Free Church was.

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