Annaclone Presbyterian Church (1860)



The following forms part of a letter addressed to the Rev. C. J. Middleditch, and forwarded by him to The Freeman :—

"Banbridge, June 1, 1860.

"Owing to the state of the weather, we have not yet at­tempted open-air services in Banbridge; but on last Lord's-day evening, I went, by special invitation, to hold a field-meet­ing in Ballinafern, a rural district about four miles distant from Banbridge. A popular Presbyterian minister, who has taken a prominent part in the Revival, was to assist me. The weather was most unfavourable. It rained so heavily, I was quite wet when I arrived at the place of meeting. My coadjutor, owing to the drenching shower that was then falling, after making but a few remarks, wished me to conclude with prayer. Im­mediately on my pronouncing the blessing, a farmer who was present addressed the crowd, and said, `I think, friends, were we to go to Anaghlone meeting-house, Mr. Eccles would give us a sermon.' This place of worship, by the way we must go, was fully a mile distant. Through rain they had come, they had remained under the rain during Mr. White's address, and now would this much-enduring people encounter a further drenching in going such a long way through mud and mire to stay in their wet garments for my sermon. Upon my remark­ing that ' if they desired it I was at their service,' the cry in­stantly arose in several quarters, Desire it, sir? ay, that we do!' and with one consent the crowd turned in the direction of the chapel. You can better imagine than I can describe my feelings on the occasion. The place of worship I found, on my arrival, already filled. During the singing and prayer there were indications of the Divine presence. My subject was the words of Jacob, "The Lord is in this place.' I was hardly half through the remarks I intended offering, when from several pews before me, and on either side, arose the cry of the stricken, which, I doubt not, you remember well. Fourteen were pros­trated. To proceed was, of course, impossible. We seemed bowed beneath a weight of glory. All realised

'The speechless awe that dares not move, And all the silent heaven of love.'

"After preliminary attention to the stricken, the congrega­tion joined with me in singing the first part of the fortieth Psalm. How we did sing it! How evidently the Lord was in that place! We seemed to tread the streets and to breathe the atmosphere of the New Jerusalem! I remained conversing and praying with the stricken till, on account of the wetting and my fatigue, bodily infirmity precluded further effort. May all the neighbourhood soon enjoy scenes like that which then glad­dened our hearts in Anaghlone. W. S. ECCLES."

From ‘The Revival Newspaper,' June 23rd, 1860.

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