Irvinestown Methodist Church (1819)



1819. A quarterly meeting was held in the recently restored chapel at Enniskillen, during which there was such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as those present had seldom if ever witnessed before. The preachers, Messrs. 0lliffe, Edward Johnston, and Edgerton, felt that little remained for them to do, but to stand still and see the salvation of God, while the whole congregation bowed before the Lord, either in self-abasement of spirit, crying aloud for mercy, or in adoring wonder at the goodness of God. Twenty- seven persons professed to having obtained peace and joy in believing. Thus a blessed revival commenced, which soon spread through the adjoining country, including Brookeborough and Irvinestown, and led to the conversions of a large number, many of whom were added to the Primitive as well as the Wesleyan Societies.

1826. A very blessed revival took place on the Maguiresbridge and Brookeborough circuit. Mr, John Buttle had charge of this laborious field, and soon after arriving there, saw cheering tokens of increased spiritual life in the leaders and members, and arrangements were made for special prayer, three times each day, for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. At length, on March 17th, during a service at Killymendon, near Ballinamallard, the power of God descended, so that many were cut to the heart, and cried aloud for mercy. The meetings were continued each night, large numbers attended, and a great many were brought into glorious liberty. The good work soon extended to other parts of the circuit. Fivemiletown, Maguiresbridge, Ballinamallard, and Irvinestown all partook in succession of these showers of blessing, until the wilderness became a fruitful field, and the fruitful field was counted for a forest.

1832. At Enniskillen “there was a great movement among the people,” about eighty souls having obtained peace with God during one week. Ouseley remained here eight days, and almost every night sinners were awakened and led to religious decision. On the market-day he preached in the street to an immense crowd, and the word was accompanied with great power; and on the day of the love-feast the chapel could not contain the congregation, so the windows were raised, and many stood and listened outside. At Irvinestown, Ballinamallard, Maguiresbridge, Brookeborough, and Clones not only were the audiences very large, but there were blessed tokens of extensive revivals.

1849. The Revs. William G. Campbell and Edward Best were appointed to the Irvinestown circuit, where their labours were greatly owned of God. In August a large field-meeting was held, at Mr. Bobert Graham's of Lettermoney, and was followed by a prayer-meeting, during which eight persons professed to have obtained a conscious sense of sins forgiven. The good work thus commenced soon spread. Service after service was held, at almost every one of which the Lord was present in converting power, more especially at the September love-feasts. At Irvinestown one of the converts was a man who had become a socialist in England, returned home, obtained admission to the meeting, and as so powerfully impressed that he cried aloud for mercy. The whole congregation was deeply moved, and earnest prayers for pardon were heard from different parts of the house, until not less than twenty contrite souls obtained peace in believing. During the December quarter the ministers preached in the open air, at fairs and markets, and it was not uncommon to see hundreds kneeling down in penitence of spirit. Thus the blessed work extended still more, including Ballinamallard and Sidaire, and the whole moral and religious aspect of the country was changed. One of the Converts, an aged pensioner, in narrating his experience, said, "My father taught me the fear of the Lord, and I remember several of the old preachers who counselled me and gave me Scripture lessons; but I did not attend to them. During my foreign service I had no less than eighteen fevers and ten other diseases incident to foreign climates, and conscience frequently strove to vindicate its insulted rights, but I had no strength to carry out my convictions. Although I would promise, and vow, and pray, yet when the pressure of affliction was removed I was the same man over again. I was in several engagements, and often at the point of death. On one occasion, as I rushed into the breach of a besieged city, an officer hastened forward and said, 'Noble, allow me first,' and that instant his head was cut off. After all this I persevered in my rebellion against God, and thought when I should leave the army I would turn to Him; but alas! it was worse and worse I became until this night, and now I can declare to all that God has found me out, and pardoned all my sins."

The good work of the Wesleyan Society on the Irvinestown circuit, to which reference has been made, continued to deepen and extend. During the March quarter it assumed a cheering aspect in a general desire, especially among the young converts, for perfect love. A series of social religious meetings contributed very much to this. All were crowned more or less with tokens of the Divine favour, and many were enabled to bear witness to the all-cleansing power of the Saviour's blood. One night, when the adult members of two families named Noble, who resided near each other, were from home at one of these tea-meetings, the children of one of the families having received permission to visit the other, it was said by a little boy, eight years old, that as the big people would have a good meeting at Ballinamallard, they might have another there of their own. The proposal was accepted, and while these little people were engaged in prayer the Spirit of God descended on them, they cried earnestly for mercy, and six of them were made happy in the love of Christ.

1856. The Revs. Samuel Johnston and James Oliver were appointed to Irvinestown, and in nearly every place they visited on their circuit had the joy of seeing souls brought to God. Amongst those thus won for Christ were William J. Robinson, now of Londonderry, John W. Jones, who entered the itinerancy, and William Porter, who became a most laborious and acceptable local preacher. The love-feasts, especially at Irvinesstown, were generally times of great power and blessing, so that they sometimes continued for six or seven hours, and were brought to a close with difficulty; but often not before twenty or thirty were led to the foot of the Cross. Open-air services also were frequently held, large numbers attended them, and many outside the pale of Methodism were in this way reached. Thus at the end of the year there was a net increase in the membership of one hundred.

The missionary anniversary services, throughout the whole district, were seasons of remarkable spiritual power. The deputation, the Revs. William G. Campbell and John Oliver, closed the services almost invariably with special prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and while thus engaged many were led to experience redemption through the blood of Christ. The June quarter, on the circuit where the revival originated, was still more remarkably crowned with blessing from on high. At all the love-feasts the power of the Lord was eminently present to heal. At that in Irvinestown it was supposed that no fewer than forty persons were made happy partakers of the pardoning mercy of God. Well might Mr. Campbell write, “This was the most remarkable, the most laborious, and, thank God, the most honourable and happy year of my ministry.”

'History of Methodism in Ireland' by Crooksank, Volume II,and III.


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