John Balfour minister. Arrived 1729 and success immediately. 1739 the Spirit was stirring. From the Account of the Revival in Nig, dated Feb. 1744.—Robe's Monthly History for 1744, No 4. page 45, &c]
The following account of the revival in the parish of Nig in East Ross, and lying within a mile of the town of Cromarty, is given by Mr Balfour minister of said parish, at the desire of Mr Sutherland minister at Golspie, and transmitted to me by him.
The revival of religion in the parish of Nig in East Ross, has been upon the advance since the year 1730, though for most part in a gradual slow way, and with several stops and intermissions at times. As to new awakenings, the most considerable concern appeared in 1739; then several persons awakened (and who had never done it before) applied to the minister about their spiritual interest, each day in the week, for one week, Saturday not excepted. The awakening which has been here from time to time (and which continues still in some desirable measure, by which is meant the accession of such as did not before profess, or at least, did not declare a religious concern) has not been in that extraordinary way, for the number of persons awakened at a time, nor attended at all with such unusual bodily symptoms, as were in sundry instances the effect of awakenings in some other parts, and most unreasonably excepted to on such account merely, where the blessed work proceeded under a more plentiful effusion of the Spirit of grace, and where a more glorious display of the power and demonstration thereof attended the means of salvation. But in other respects the work of grace upon convinced souls here, appears to be in its rise, progress and issue, in the same scriptural way, and the same in kind and substance, as in these other parts, from which Narratives have come to hand. Very few, not one in forty, who have been awakened, have fallen off from a religious profession or given open scandal to it. The general meeting for prayer and spiritual conference, which sometimes consisted only of the members of session, and a few others, became at length so numerous, that about three years ago, it was necessary to divide it into two, each of which is since considerably increased. Besides these general meetings, which convene in two places of the parish at a proper distance, each every third Monday respectively, and in which the minister always presides, there are ten societies which meet in several places of the parish every Saturday for prayer and other religious exercises. Care is taken that in each of these societies, one or more of the elders, or some Christians of distinguished experience, be always present; and nothing as yet appears about them, but what has a tendency to promote the most valuable ends and interests of religion. Besides those who have applied for access to the meetings, and who are not admitted till after giving some account of their concern to the minister, as also to some of the elders, and other Christians in their neighbourhood, the body of the parishioners seem generally to be under serious impressions of religion. Worship is kept up in all the families of the parish, except three or four. The Lord's-day is very solemnly observed. After the public worship is over, there are meetings in all parts, where neighbouring families join in prayer, reading, and repetitions of sermons, and yet care is taken that such meetings and exercises do not interfere with, nor hinder the more private exercises of religion in each family apart. Ordinances are very punctually attended on Lord's-days; and diets of catechising, in whatever part of the parish they are kept on week-days, are much crowded with people from other parts. The civil magistrate has had no crimes here to animadvert upon for many years, and the kirk session has very little else to do, but to inform, and consult about the religious concerns of the parish, and to concert how these may be looked after and managed to greatest advantage. And it is especially to be remarked, that the people are very diligent and industrious in their secular callings, and more forward in the business of their husbandry, than their neighbours in other parts of the country.
There is the like appearance of success to the gospel in other parishes in this country, particularly the parishes of Rosekeen and Killimuir Easter, of which the ministers of these parishes may give information, as they are known to have the advancement of the great interest [of the gospel] much at heart.—The people here were much refreshed with the several accounts they have had of the glorious work of God elsewhere, and particularly in these parts of our native country, where the same appears with such blessed and shining evidences of the divine power and presence with ministers and people. They affectionately remember both, in prayer and conference; and are much afflicted on account of the reproaches cast upon this blessed work, and the contradiction and opposition given it, by those of whom this would be least expected. As notes have not been taken in writing of past occurrences and cases, it is judged the safer way to give this general account of matters only at this time; though it is not doubted if particular cases and instances were recollected, with their special circumstances, a Narrative of them would be entertaining and edifying to all that have a relish and value for such subjects.
[From Mr Balfour's Letter, dated Nig June 20th, 1744.—Robe's Monthly History for 1744, No 6. page 39, &c.]
This is the original old church.