While the great cities of Scotland have been enjoying a blessing so copious that the tidings of it have awakened thanksgiving and hope throughout Christendom, it is our grateful duty to state that a work of grace has been going on also during the last two or three months in Aberdeen, the character and results of which would, in other circumstances, have arrested the attention of God's people throughout the land. The fact that other places were being so richly blessed raised the expectations and called forth the longings of Christians here, and led a number, about the beginning of the present year, to institute a daily meeting for prayer. This is being continued to the present time and the spirit of Christian unity and prayerfulness characterising these meetings, as well as the daily attendance, has been cheering and gratifying.
About the beginning of February we were favoured with a visit from two evangelists connected with the Scottish Evangelistic Association, Messrs Daniels and Stewart, who have laboured among us without ceasing since, and about a month ago two other evangelists, connected with the same association, came to their help, Messrs Riddle and Smith. While tokens of blessing have been given in congregations in the city where these brethren have not been labouring, it is mainly through their instrumentality, under God, that the gracious work has assumed such proportions. The area over which their work has extended embraces all parts of the city and a series of meetings for adults have been held in eight Free churches, two Baptists, one Independent and all the United Presbyterian churches in the city. In more private ways too, their readiness for every good work has been shown.
Among the Young
One of the features of this work of grace, which is more noticeable, is the extent to which the young have shared in it. Towards the beginning of February a series of meetings for the young extending over a week, was held at the free South Church by Mr Daniels. The number of children present from night to night must have been about 800. The greatest interest in the truth presented was evidenced, but from other engagements following close upon these gatherings, nothing was done in the way of seeing and conversing with the anxious till after the closing service on the Saturday afternoon. After very faithful and solemn warnings against anything like rashness and inconsiderateness in professing anxiety, no fewer than 150 young people entered the hall where those desirous of giving their hearts to Christ were asked to retire. Some of these, no doubt - it maybe even a large number of them - may not have fully apprehended the nature of the profession they were then making, and some, it is possible, were carried away merely by transient feeling or sympathy; but those who conversed with them are satisfied that very many young hearts were truly and deeply impressed with a sense of sin and the need of the Saviour, while of some of them they are very hopeful that that week they entered the Kingdom of God. These meetings for the young have subsequently been held in the Free High Church and with equal evidence of the Spirit’s presence. Frequently from 150 to 200 children, professing to be anxious about their souls, have remained to the inquirers' meeting; and this, it is to be noticed, night after night and week after week. No doubt in many cases the children were the same, but new faces also among the anxious were continually appearing. Had we nothing more to mention than this work among the young, we could scarcely speak of it as but in ‘droppings’ of blessing.
But a blessing equally or perhaps more remarkable has attended the labours of the evangelists among the adult population. The nightly audiences which have waited on the word have ranged from 500 to 800, according to the locality or church occupied; while on Sabbath evenings, when Mr Daniels preached in the Music Hall, the immense building, accommodating two or three thousand was literally crowded. All this speaks of a widespread interest among the people of a great preparedness to hear. And power has accompanied the word. It might be difficult to give anything approaching to an accurate estimate of the number of anxious ones who were conversed with at all the various meetings during these two months and 1/2, and it is with some hesitation I mention that no fewer than 1,600 have been named to me as an approximate estimate. But without laying any stress on this - it is extremely gratifying to state that when, on Friday evening last, the evangelist held a parting meeting with those who seriously believed that they had undergone a saving change during these past weeks, fully 400 met to hear their farewell counsels. It was a sight which those who were privileged to see it cannot soon forget. One could not look on the great company without deep and mingled feelings and much forecasting of their possible future. There was in the addresses delivered no hiding from them that not a few of them might yet give sad evidence that they never have had, despite their profession, any part or lot in Christ; but there were also faithful, judicious, and fervent counsels given such as it was refreshing to listen to. Who can tell the feeling that filled the hearts of many present among the audience, as they thought of the change in themselves and in their prospects which has taken place within the last few weeks? One mother at the close came up to Mr Daniels and said, holding out her hand, ”Goodbye Mr Daniels, the whole of my family and myself are here tonight.” “And how many are there of you?” was the inquiry.” “Seven.” “And were you all brought in at these meetings?” Mr Daniels asked. ”Yes”, was the mother's reply. Shall we not pray that that happy mother's hope may prove to have been well grounded?
Other instances of blessing in families might be adduced. At one of the meetings a request was made by a father that thanksgiving should be offered for four of his children who had given themselves to the Saviour, and this request for the rendering of thanks, heard by a little boy present, led him to say to his father, ”Father should not you send in a request for thanksgiving also for us?” One of the evangelists told me of a little girl, who after a meeting came up to him and pulling him by his coat so as to bring his ear closer to her, said softly, “Please Sir, you were the means of my conversion.” On another occasion, a mother said to one of the brethren, “Sir, we do not think it right to keep it from you any longer, two of our dear lambs have given their hearts to Jesus and this one,” a girl of 10 – “can tell you the text that led her to peace.” On inquiring what it was, the child replied “He was made sin for us, who knew no sin “- “With His stripes, we are healed.” Some may think that there is something wrong in dealing with children in this way, and no doubt much of the hopeful promise of the present movement may disappear. But we love and prize the blossoms of spring, even if untimely frosts blight much of their beauty; while, in connexion with this revival of God's work, we have instances in which, when the hopeful promise of former years, in anxiety and professed faith in Christ on the part of children, seemed to have come to nothing, the seed implanted long ago has now exhibited new life and the fruits of peace and joy have manifested themselves.
To some other features of the work I make again refer; but in closing, it is due to our brethren the evangelist to say, that their character and labour's, their devotedness and judiciousness, their soundness in the faith and their heartiness of cooperation with the stated ministry of the word, have given them a warm and lasting place in the hearts of all - ministers and people alike - with whom they have come into contact. It is the confident hope of many of God's people here, that when we are favoured with the presence of our American brethren, upon a community already so much prepared and blessed, a very copious blessing may descend. Our hope indeed is not in man, but we do hope for blessing by the hand of those for whom Christian Scotland, even in the persons of its little children, prays. And while Messrs Moody and Sankey and their work elsewhere are not and will not be forgotten by us, we would commend also to the prayers of God's people our esteemed brethren Messrs Daniels and Stewart, Riddle and Smith, in their further labours in the county of Aberdeen.
“Times of Blessing,” April 25th, 1874.
These meetings were held in most of the cities in Aberdeen, which is very unusual and shows great unity.