Conlig Presbyterian Church (1859)

“On Sabbath evening last, Mr J. M. Porteous lectured in the Rev. S. Hanson's church, Conlig, and a collection was taken in aid of the Protestant Institute of Scotland. The church was densely crowded by an attentive audience. In the forenoon of the same day Mr Hanson preached from the words, 'I have a message from God unto thee. For the first time on an ordinary Sabbath, both aisles and gallery were crowded. Three cases of conviction occurred — one person cried out in melting tears:— 'Lord Jesus, come quickly.' On the previous Monday evening at a very full meeting, Mr Workman gave an account of the movement in Belfast. "The awakening in this neighbourhood commenced on the following night when one of Mr Hanson's people awoke repeating Isaiah 52:2. On Thursday night Mr Hanson was aroused to attend to several cases in the village. Little else was heard but cries for mercy from souls under deep distress. After some time one person found peace during the singing of a Psalm, and leaping out of bed she cried:— 'I must pray for Jesus is coming.' After prayer by Mr Hanson, she appealed most earnestly to her relatives and others, beseeching them to fly to Christ. Another girl on finding peace addressed her friends in forcible terms 'til all were bathed in tears. Another, having obtained mercy, prayed:— 'Let me not turn back into fear but forward into love.'

"In company with Mr Hanson, Mr Porteous visited many — both in the village and neighbourhood — and found the sound of prayer and praise issuing from homes where souls were rejoicing in a present Saviour. On this Monday forenoon several others, both male and female, had been found in the depth of conviction. The work is progressing, and the most impressive love is shown by those professing to have found peace, toward each other. This evening another meeting is to be held in the church and to be addressed by a convert from Carrickfergus, and another two are to plead the outpouring of the Divine Spirit on the district."

"The Banner of Ulster" 28th June 1859

The work of religious revival seems to be making amazing progress in County Down, especially within the boundaries of Ards, Castlereagh and Dufferin. I have been through this part of the country lately and can bear testimony to the character and importance of the movement. The effects are clear. That which makes men honest, sober, humble, prayerful and holy must be good. Houses of worship are now crammed — congregations are devout and solemnised beyond all precedent. Family altars are being erected or repaired throughout the land. The preaching of the Presbyterian ministers is exceedingly eloquent and impressive, and the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God, gladden the Christian's heart wherever in this fine county he turns his eyes.

"I shall give your readers one fact which is conclusive in my mind as the character of this revival. Having resided with my family for some time at Bangor, I worshipped last Sabbath in the Presbyterian Church of Conlig. It was the communion Sabbath — a day that will be long remembered by the people of that place. I was informed after the service that the number of communicants was doubled — that is, as many more sat down at the table of the Saviour's love as had ever done before. Mr Hanson, the minister of the place, was assisted by his brother, the Rev. David Hanson of Faughan. There was no attempt made to excite the people, indeed there seemed, on the part of both ministers, a desire to restrain rather than encourage manifestation of feeling; and yet the tears that trickled down the cheeks of women, children and old men, throughout the whole service, testified to the deep emotion that swelled and surged in every breast. "The sermon of the morning was eloquent and Scriptural, and in it the minister dwelt on the promises of the New Covenant and the love of Jesus to sinners. I could not but think of the refreshing shower of grace that accompanied Livingstone's preaching at Shotts, or the more abundant descent of the Spirit which marked the Apostles era. Happy are the people who are in such a case; yea, happy are the people whose God is the Lord!"

"The Banner of Ulster" 13th August 1859

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