Wick (1860)

The Rev. George Stevenson gave a full and reliable account of the work in Pulteney at this period. "There were union meetings held both morning and evening in Wick and Pulteneytown during the whole winter, commencing in the month of October, in which ministers and laymen belonging to the various evangelical churches took part. In addition to these union prayer meetings, there were also congregational meetings for prayer in most of the churches, held several nights in the week. There was evidently a very great desire on the part of the Lord's praying people for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the town and neighbourhood. Besides these public meetings for prayer there was, near the close of last year, and shortly before the work of the Lord broke out in a marked manner, a union for prayer of a private kind, in which many of the Lord's people engaged, devoting an hour every evening for ten days to special prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us as a community.

"Along with these meetings for prayer there was also weekly intelligence communicated at the congregational meetings of the Lord's work in America, the north of Ireland, and Wales, and in several districts in Scotland; and thus there was much expectation excited and fervent prayer called forth that we, as a community, might share in the blessing so extensively given by God to His Church throughout different parts of the world.

"The second week of the year was a remarkable one in this place, as well as in many other parts of our land. It was the Loodiana week of prayer, and on the last day of that week—viz., Sabbath, the 15th January—the Holy Spirit came down with great power on the congregation. While I was lecturing in my usual course, loud cries of distress were heard from different parts of the church, both above and below, and when the cries ceased, sobbing (heard through all the church) continued during the remainder of the service. Many were awakened that day to concern about their souls, and some who were already concerned had their sense of sin greatly increased.

"The first open movement among the children took place in the congregational school on the forenoon of Monday, the 6th February. Early in that forenoon a request was sent to me, by the teacher, to come to the school, as several of the children were in distress about their souls. It began in the following manner:—At a prayer meeting in the church on Sabbath evening I read, from a proof copy sent me by the Editor, a portion of Part II. of 'Records of Revival,' containing three striking cases of conversion. A little girl in the school, after the Bible Lesson in the morning, began to speak of these cases to her companions, and immediately those who were listening to her began to weep aloud about their sins. After I arrived and addressed the school, the concern among the children rapidly spread, and, before I ended, there was loud weeping in all parts of the school. It had become a Bochim. When dismissed, the children went home weeping, and, when asked by friends the cause, one said, 'For the load of sin that is on my soul'; another, 'For Jesus to come to my soul'; another, 'For fear they should be taken and I left'; with other similar replies. Upwards of a dozen boys held a prayer meeting together before going back to school in the afternoon. Since then several prayer meetings have been established both among boys and girls. At one time there were about a dozen separate children's meetings, some of them very large, numbering forty or fifty, who met to pray together; some of them small meetings, where five or six more timid little ones met to pray together. There are not now quite so many of these meetings, some of them being merged into others. This impulse to pray together was quite a spontaneous movement on the part of the children and took their parents and teachers by surprise. Extra week-day meetings, for instructing the children who were anxious, were also readily attended by them.

"On the last Sabbath of March, I preached a sermon to the children in the evening. There were upwards of 200 children present. The deepest solemnity pervaded the congregation, and the young people were evidently greatly impressed during the sermon. At the close of the service they could no longer contain their feelings. A loud weeping began among the children. Almost all the young people, both boys and girls, were soon weeping aloud. They were exhorted, prayed with, and invited to join in singing by turns, but they could not be quieted. Three or four times I had pronounced the blessing, but had again to address them. For more than an hour and a half after the regular service was ended this continued, and the House of God became a place of weeping and supplication. The boys began to pray aloud for mercy to their souls, and their earnest petitions were heard all over the church. The prayers of several elders, whom I asked at this time to conduct the devotions, were drowned in the petitions of the boys. One boy's voice I heard above the others, where I was standing in the pulpit, earnestly praying, `Come, blessed Jesus, this very night into my soul,' etc. It was with the greatest difficulty that the children could be persuaded to leave the church, and it was not till I had promised to preach to them the following evening that they retired. I learned from relatives that numbers of the children that night went to their closets as soon as they entered their homes, and some of them continued the most of the night in prayer. Many were, I believe, savingly impressed that evening. One boy of twelve years, who had to be helped home by a neighbour, kept saying to her by the way, 'Woman, can there be any mercy for a sinner like me?' This boy continued praying earnestly for his soul, and, on the fifth day after he was awakened, he found peace. When I saw him last he said (among other things) to me, 'I feel as if one were beating me when I hear them swearing.' Formerly he had been quite careless, now he fears the Lord. A youth of about fifteen years of age was, that night, brought under very great concern of soul. He used to spend the Sabbath, for the most part, in walking in the fields with other ungodly companions. When I saw him, three days after, I was struck with the uncommon solemnity of his countenance. He felt his sins to be like a load upon him, but he continued praying for mercy, and at last he found peace. He is now attending a boys' prayer meeting, the Sabbath School, and the church. He was from home for a few weeks later, and he went into a boys' prayer meeting in the place and took the lead in it while there. A girl, between seven and eight years of age, who went home crying, was asked why she cried. Her reply was, 'For the Holy Spirit'; and, when asked what she wished the Holy Spirit to do, she said, 'To give me a new heart.'

'For several weeks after this Sabbath evening I continued to find out fresh cases of boys and girls awakened during the discourse. Truly the Lord has been with us. His faithfulness to His promise, 'I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring.'

"A striking feature of the work, which reminded me of early times, was the grace of God bestowed upon families. There are instances of whole households who have been awakened and brought to rejoice in the Lord. There are groups of families related to each other who have shared the blessing. Three sisters who are married and have children, and who live at some distance from each other, have, along with their husbands, been found of Christ, and now, when they meet together, all their conversation is concerning Jesus and His love. There is one family in which husband and wife, with their brothers and sisters and nephews, to the number of twelve, have been awakened and brought to Christ."

‘Revivals in the Highlands and Islands’ by Alexander Macrea – Republished in 1998 by Tentmaker Publications.

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