Castlereagh (1859)

The work of religious revival seems to be making amazing progress in County Down, especially within the boundaries of Ards, Castlereagh and Dufferin. I have been through this part of the country lately and can bear testimony to the character and importance of the movement. The effects are clear. That which makes men honest, sober, humble, prayerful and holy must be good. Houses of worship are now crammed — congregations are devout and solemnised beyond all precedent. Family altars are being erected or repaired throughout the land. The preaching of the Presbyterian ministers is exceedingly eloquent and impressive, and the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God, gladden the Christian's heart wherever in this fine county he turns his eyes.

"I shall give your readers one fact which is conclusive in my mind as the character of this revival. Having resided with my family for some time at Bangor, I worshipped last Sabbath in the Presbyterian Church of Conlig. It was the communion Sabbath — a day that will be long remembered by the people of that place. I was informed after the service that the number of communicants was doubled — that is, as many more sat down at the table of the Saviour's love as had ever done before. Mr Hanson, the minister of the place, was assisted by his brother, the Rev. David Hanson of Faughan. There was no attempt made to excite the people, indeed there seemed, on the part of both ministers, a desire to restrain rather than encourage manifestation of feeling; and yet the tears that trickled down the cheeks of women, children and old men, throughout the whole service, testified to the deep emotion that swelled and surged in every breast. "The sermon of the morning was eloquent and Scriptural, and in it the minister dwelt on the promises of the New Covenant and the love of Jesus to sinners. I could not but think of the refreshing shower of grace that accompanied Livingstone's preaching at Shotts, or the more abundant descent of the Spirit which marked the Apostles era. Happy are the people who are in such a case; yea, happy are the people whose God is the Lord!"

"The Banner of Ulster" 13th August 1859

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