West Kilbride (1859)

DEAR MR. EDITOR,—I have repeatedly observed when reading, as I do regularly, your ably conducted journal, that you encourage those who are witnessing revival work in any place to transmit to you brief statements of what they see passing before them: and this emboldens me to send for insertion a short account of what, during the last few days, has occurred in this locality where I labour - for I cannot help thinking that the Lord has been doing "great things for us," and accomplishing glorious and gracious work among us. 

But, as it may interest some of your readers, and show more clearly how the Lord begins and carries forward His good work, I think it proper just to glance at some preliminary circumstances which, as it would seem, the Lord has made instrumental in bringing about what we now witness about his goodness. Early in spring that eminent servant of God, Mr Brownlow North, at my request visited us, and, on the Sabbath he spent here, preached in the Free Church in the forenoon and in the Established Church in the evening; and deep impressions were obviously made upon not a few by the lucid exhibition which he gave of Divine truths, and by the earnest appeals which he made to the consciences of his hearers. And several young females, among whom were my own daughters and the daughters of the Rev. Mr. Boyd of the U.P. Church, commenced a weekly union prayer meeting, and a number of young men did the same, desirous of profiting lastingly by what they had heard; and these meetings have continued ever increasing in numbers, and, what is better, in earnestness and intensity of feeling, as all who have attended them can testify. And with these we have, for some time past, had five weekly prayer meetings in the place, as each of the three ministers have a congregational one. For a succession of Sabbaths, too, I went out to the street of our village and preached evening sermons to large and very attentive audiences; and these, with other means that were employed by different agents, God seemed evidently to bless to produce an awakened attention among the people generally; and I mention them, Mr Editor, to encourage and stimulate God's people everywhere to "prove God" with prayer and diligent use of all the available means of grace, and see if He will graciously answer and abundantly bless.

It was, however, on Wednesday, the 24th of this month, that He visited this place with sweet mercy. On the previous Sabbath, the Rev. Mr Boyd, whose heart is warm in the cause of the Great Master, on passing to his own church in the afternoon, came to me and proposed a union of our respective prayer meetings, to which proposal I readily consented, and we announced the united meeting to our congregations...

The meeting I opened with devotional exercises, and Messrs.Stewart and Boyd with Capt. Crossby addressed it with evident and blessed effect, and at the close, request was made to any that were anxious about the salvation of their souls to remain and converse with us. About fourteen came to us in deep distress and a most solemn but pleasing meeting we had with them.

Being convinced from what we witnessed, and from what we learned next morning, that another meeting should not be delayed, we announced one about an hour before we met in the evening, and to our delight and astonishment the church was again nearly filled; and the Rev. Mr King, who had been unavoidably absent from the previous meeting, having joined us, we spoke to the people as God enabled us, and gave opportunity to inquirers to wait and converse with us after the meeting closed. Upwards of twenty came forward; and on Friday night the young men and young women held, separately, a prayer meeting and nearly fifty of the former and a good many more of the latter were present; and most precious were these meetings, and scarcely could those attending them separate from each other at midnight - the young women walked together in clusters, communing with each other, singing praise, and exhorting each other to be steadfast and devoted in the service of God.

Our next meeting was on the evening of Sabbath last, and the church was again more than filled, for many crowded into the vestry and around the different doors of the church. Mr Boyd and myself addressed it, as Mr King was necessarily absent, and a still larger number of anxious inquirers appeared at its close.

And our last meeting was held last night (Tuesday), with the same happy result as to numbers, for the people do not seem to weary of hearing the glad tidings. It was opened by the Rev. Mr King, and addressed by the Rev. Mr Davidson from Saltcoats, Mr Boyd and Captain Crossby, and briefly by myself, and obviously awakening impressions were made by the Holy Spirit through the precious truths that were proclaimed; and this became more manifest at the close of the meeting, when more than 60 persons remained, many of them being deeply distressed, and all of them professing anxiety to find Christ, and to enjoy pardon and peace through Him.

Mr Editor, I now find that it is both easy and pleasant to follow in the great work of saving souls when God goes before and when the Holy Ghost gives us opened and attentive ears into which to pour divine truths and broken and softened hearts to soothe and comfort with the great and precious promises of the gospel. Would you allow me to beseech, through your paper, all your Christian readers who may be in any way engaged in the Lord's work to increase in importunate prayer, not only for the Lord's presence with them, but for His preparing for them souls upon whom divine and saving truths may be successfully pressed.



"The Scottish Guardian," September 2nd, 1859.

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