Lisbellaw (1799)




While thus the Lord blessed the work of the missionaries, others did not labour in vain. Under the ministry of Messrs. Matthew Stewart and Thomas Johnson, stationed on the Ennis­killen circuit, a blessed awakening had taken place. This good work was largely in answer to the prayers of Mrs. Copeland of Lisbellaw, who had long and earnestly pleaded for a revival of the .Lord's work, and at length received the assurance that God was about to pour out His Spirit abundantly. On the morning of the quarterly love-feast, she stated this to one of the preachers; and during the subsequent service, cries for mercy arose here and there through the large audience until every one present was deeply affected. Amongst those con­verted was William Copeland, a son of the devoted woman we have referred to, and the friend and companion of John Nelson. The awakening thus commenced soon extended over the entire circuit.

One day the missionaries unexpectedly appeared at Lisbellaw, preached out of doors, and attracted great and general attention. The village schoolmaster gave his pupils a holiday to go and hear the cavalry preachers, who were much talked about as well as stared at. The question was, "Who or what could they be?" A number of people gathered around the teacher to ascertain his opinion, which was given with such authority that many thought it must be right. "They are two discarded priests," said he, "who have taken to this way for a living!" Young Nelson had been at previous Methodist meetings, and joined the Society. He was in deep concern about his soul; the message of mercy, which he heard in the street, came with great power to his heart, and he resolved never to rest without that blessed sense of pardon and acceptance which his friend Copeland had obtained. Nor did he seek in vain; the Lord revealed Himself in mercy to his soul, and from that memorable hour his path was that of the just, which is as "the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Among others led to Christ were several members of a family named Rinchey. One night after they had returned from a meeting in Mr. Copeland's, their brother George, who was in bed, heard them speak of the blessed work that was going on; his conscience was awakened, and he resolved to go to the next service, which he did. At the close of the sermon, the preacher invited all who were seeking the Lord into another room, that they might be prayed for and receive suitable counsel. George readily availed himself of this invitation; but was two weeks under conviction of sin before he was enabled to rest on Jesus as his Saviour. Soon he began to work for Christ, being appointed a leader, and as long as strength permitted—a period of no less than sixty-five years—he continued diligently and Faithfully to discharge the duties of his office, and was much acknowledged of the Lord.

Primitive Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, 1862, p338-9.


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