Castlederg 2nd Presbyterian Church (1859)




A correspondent of the Banner of' Ulster says, On Sunday, 17th ult., Messrs. Donnelly, Laird, and M'Clean, from Londonderry, met the ministers of the town and neighbourhood. Mr. Don­nelly addressed the meeting in a very solemn manner, which had a visible effect on all present; and, after him, while Mr. Doonan gave out and was singing the two first lines of a hymn, a strong man was stricken down; and, on his removal, there was one of the most general manifestations of the Divine presence witnessed by me since the commencement of this great Revival. It was like what Isaiah saw—the whole house was filled with his glory; the singing had to cease; there was nothing through the house but sobbing and sighing—some calling for mercy, rejoicing in a sin-pardoning God. The Lord was present in his mighty power. The scene was such that no mortal pen could describe; and I am convinced it will be remembered with gratitude and praise by many through eternity.

From ‘The Revival Newspaper,’ Volume i, p11. Aug 9th 1859.

I am glad to inform you that the great and glorious work of the Lord in this place, as noticed by me lately, is greatly on the increase. It is delightful to see whole families rejoicing in the Lord their Saviour at our fellowship meetings; and when they meet in the house of the Lord for worship they rejoice, and tell to all around what a Saviour they have found." The great success of the revival in this place has caused the Prince of Darkness to stir up the minds of the Roman Catholics against us. On Friday last, the 5th inst., it being the fair-day in this town, while the Rev. W. Doonan, Wesleyan minister, was holding his usual open-air service in the street, which in no way interfered with the public thoroughfare, a large disorderly mob (who I believe were brought from a distance on purpose) commenced to whistle and shout, and throw stones. One of the stones passing by the preacher's head, struck a girl on the bonnet. They continued in this manner till he finished, when they followed him to his lodgings, yelling and shouting in the most frightful manner. As the minister was protected by the constabulary and some of the respectable inhabitants of the town and county, they fortunately did him no harm. I hope, in the carrying out of the great commission of our divine Master, to preach the gospel to every creature, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear, that the executive will so honour the spirit of our laws as to prevent any occurrences of a like nature again, and enable us to worship the Lord according to our conscience.

From ‘The Revival Newspaper,’ Volume i, p28, August 20th 1859.

"A correspondent states the following:— 'I am glad to inform you that the Lord has, in answer to prayer, poured out His Spirit abundantly upon the people of this neighbourhood. On Sunday 10th July 1859, two young men from Londonderry, Messrs. Dickson and Patton, and Reverends Love, Armstrong and Crocket, Presbyterian ministers of Castlederg and neighbourhood, and also Dr. Motherwell, and Rev. Sir Dugan, Wesleyan minister of Castlederg addressed about two thousand five hundred people at five o'clock in the evening in Dr. Motherwell's field, adjacent to Castlederg bridge, on the all important subject of the soul's salvation, calling upon all the people to prepare to meet their God.

"Though there were not many public external manifestations of bodily prostration, all appeared to be deeply concerned and some told me afterwards that they left the meeting praying and that they continued all night in prayer to God for mercy. On Sunday 17''' Mr. Donnelly and young men from Londonderry addressed congregations at Rev. Love's Meeting House and also at Rev. Crocket's, and in the Wesleyan Chapel at noon. Afterwards they led the ministers of the town and neighbourhood as on the previous Sunday at five o'clock when there was over four thousand of a congregation. "Mr. Donnelly addressed the meeting in a very solemn manner, which had a visible effect on all present, and after him, while Mr. Dunne was singing the first two lines of a hymn in which all the congregation joined, a strong man was stricken down and on his removal there was one of the most uncommon manifestations of the Divine presence that was ever witnessed by me in any place — either in the Botanic Gardens, or in any other place in Belfast or elsewhere — since the commencement of this great revival. The young men from Londonderry also said they saw nothing so great. It was like what Isaiah saw — the whole house was filled with His glory; the singing had to cease because there was nothing through the crowd but sobbing and sighing — some calling for mercy, others rejoicing in a sin-pardoning God. The Lord was present in His mighty power. The scene was such that no mortal pen could describe — it was one long to be remembered and, I am convinced, it will be remembered with gratitude and praise by many and, I hope, by all then present through the countless ages of eternity. “At a late hour Mr. Dunne, with great difficulty, got the crowded congregation dismissed even after pronouncing the benediction six times. Some found peace having believed in Jesus and were, subsequently, enabled to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, others had to leave with their friends crying unto the Lord Jesus to have mercy upon them. To attempt to give a correct number of those stricken down and who were weeping and calling for mercy would be utterly impossible. The feeling was so general in the crowded house. “About half an hour after the congregation was dismissed two young men came to our house telling us there were three persons stricken down on the road going home, between twelve and one o'clock, opposite the Rev. Mr. Edwards' house, the Rector of the Parish. Mr. Donnelly, Mr. McLean and myself with some others found, as was told to us, the persons lying on the ground calling on the Lord Jesus to have mercy on them and enquiring what they must do to be saved. Their cries were heart-rending. One person was afraid of going one step further, and asked, 'Do you not see that terrible gulf before me?' We, with some difficulty, got them removed to Mr. Johnston's house where we were hospitably received and, after continuing for nearly anhour in prayer and singing, one of them acknowledged to have found peace in believing — and began to point out to the others Jesus and Him crucified.

"The Banner of Ulster" Tuesday, 26'h July 1859

"I am glad to inform you that the great and glorious work of the Lord in this place, as noticed by me lately, is greatly on the increase, On 24th July three young men from Londonderry, Messrs. Dickson, Donnolly and McGowan, together with the Reverends Crawford Armstrong, Love and Ralston who are Presbyterian ministers and the Rev. Mr. Doonan, a Wesleyan minister in the place, addressed over four thousand people in the open-air in Dr. Motherwell's field at Castlederg. Two young converts also addressed the meeting — one a young man from the town of Castlederg who thanked God that hehad heard the young men from Londonderry. Many in the country told me how the Lord made them instrumental in their conversion. The Lord has significantly honoured their labours among us.

“A much larger meeting was addressed on 31st July in the same place by the deputation from Londonderry and the above ministers. On 7thAugust there were about five thousand in attendance when the deputation from Londonderry, the Presbyterian ministers, and the Rev Mr. Whittiger, a Wesleyan minister, took part in the services. At all these times there were several cases of conviction and conversion, both in the field and at the prayer meetings in the different places of worship, and also after leaving the field at eight o’clock. It is delightful to see whole families rejoicing in the Lord as Saviour at our fellowship meetings and, when they meet in the house of the Lord for worship, they rejoice 'and tell to all around what a Saviour they have found.' "The Banner of Ulster" 11th August 1859

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