Lettermoney (1843)



1843. In the neighbourhood of Ballinamallard many changes had recently taken place, more especially by emigration; and amongst those thus lost to the Society was the large family of the Blacks of Lettermoney, with the exception of one daughter, Mrs. Robert. Graham, whom with her husband, the steward of the circuit, resided in the old homestead. Here, one morning in February, during family worship, the Spirit of the Lord was poured out, and several members of the household cried aloud for Heaven's mercy. Thus a blessed religious awakening commenced, and spread from house to house, bringing into the classes eventually not less than two hundred new members, including several who became acceptable and useful leaders, and at least one, John R. Porter of Derry, near Trillick, who subsequently entered the intinerancy.

'History of Methodism in Ireland' by Crookshank Volume III.

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. Robert 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.

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 Crookshank Volume III.


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