Tiree (1859)

A requisition was sent to the Highlands and Islands Committee of the Free Church to send a deputy to the island to assist in the work, and Dr.Maclauchlan sent the Rev. Alexander Lee, then minister of Port Ellon, Islay. The Rev Alexander Fraser Free Church minister of Coll, had been there for some time before Mr Lee's arrival. The following impressive and eloquent account of the work is extracted from reports from the pen of Mr Lee and published in Times of Blessing:--

"On landing, I learned there was a meeting in the Church of Gott, about a mile and a half distant, where I hastened and found a large meeting under the presidency of Mr Fraser, whose hands have been full of work for the past three weeks. I was at once asked to address the people, which was certainly a privilege, such was their desire to hear the word of life. The second meeting for the anxious was large and deeply interesting. On the same evening, in the west end of the island, there was another large meeting, under the presidency of the Rev. Duncan McFarlane, whose labours have been incessant for the past month, and who has been much owned of God in this work... Sabbath was a good day. . . . In the evening the meeting was held in the Gott Established Church, which was crammed to the door. This was truly a solemn service. At the second meeting about 200 remained; many of these were already decided, rejoicing in a Saviour's love, and some of them old Christians, who felt that this time of blessing was to them like life from the dead. . . . But a third meeting was necessary, when we had personal dealing with about 30, who lingered in their pews, some of whom we found were anxious. For weeks, while others acknowledged that they were led for the first time that evening to ask, 'What must I do to be saved?'. . . The movement has been free from any outward demonstration. You will indeed observe one weeping bitterly, and hear occasionally the sigh of another agonising in secret prayer as the truth is presented, but nothing of what was wont to be called the extravagances of former awakenings. I am not able to give figures as to the number under concern, or who have made a profession of having received Christ, throughout the island; nor would I deem it prudent to give such statistics had I them at hand.

"Suffice it to say, that among the anxious there are of all ages and classes, and of both sexes—boys of fourteen and old men of sixty; young girls in their teens, and mothers with infants in their arms, and women far on in life's journey. It was but yesterday that a man of sixty, who formerly trusted in his honest living, said emphatically, with tears streaming down his cheeks, 'Morality won't do. I find that nothing will satisfy but the blood and righteousness of which you have been speaking.' Another hoary-headed man acknowledged that anxiety was first awakened when he found himself outside the inquiry room, remembering the solemn words in the parable of the virgins, 'And the door was shut' .. . The interest and attention manifested in listening to the Gospel I never saw equalled. . . . Having taught in this district as a student, my heart was deeply moved to meet with many of my old scholars. Addressing one, and asking how matters stood between himself and God, he answered, 'I trust I have got a hold of Christ, but my cousin is here, and he is still without peace.' We could not but think of the early disciples—of Andrew seeking his brother Simon, and introducing him to Christ, and of Philip, who persuaded Nathanael to 'come and see.' A man who was in deep distress for six weeks, on hearing the remark, 'A seeking sinner and a seeking Saviour are sure to meet,' spoke out, saying, 'There is hope for me yet, then.' Another, nearing his three score and ten, said, 'Praise the Lord, He has accepted of me at the eleventh hour. Last week I was like David in the 116th Psalm, "The pains of hell got hold on me," but now I am on the Rock.'

The evening services on Sabbath, Monday, and Tuesday surpassed all the others, both as regards attendance and the impression produced. Every corner of the church, which is seated for 750, was crammed. And when it is remembered that there were two or three crowded meetings in the west on each of these evenings, one will come to see how thoroughly the whole island has been moved. On Monday upwards of three hundred remained for the second meeting for prayer, when 64 of these waited for conversation." Mr. Alexander McNeill a native of the island, sent a short report of the work to Times of Blessing, which was published January 7th, 1875, and in which he says: "I believe I am safe in saying that not less than 300 persons professed to have found the Lord during the last few weeks. The fruits of the labours of these weeks will, I have no doubt, increase, and Tiree will henceforth occupy a very different position in the Christian world than it has done in the past. All praise and glory to the Lord!"

‘Revivals in the Highlands and Islands’ by Alexander Macrea – Re-published in 1998 by Tentmaker Publications

Additional Information

The church is close to the marker. I think this is the church mentioned below. It was built in 1842.

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