The year ended has been felt by many in this town to be one of great blessing.
Prayer and Work.
Begun, like many past years, with a week of united prayer, we have good reason to believe that our prayers have been largely answered. The week of prayer was followed by a week of evangelistic services in the United Presbyterian Church, in which we had the assistance not only of a minister from Glasgow, the Rev. Mr Barras but also of all the ministers of the town. As the people seemed willing to hear the truth, another week of such services was held in the English Free Church; another in the Gaelic Free Church; another in the Gaelic Established and another in the English Established. The course round the
churches was begun again and continued for a considerable time, and thus we had service every night in the town for months. Sometimes we had two services the same evening, one in English and another in Gaelic, and no way interfering with each other. The ministers were led to meet often with one another for prayer and conference, and for resolving on meetings and appointing each other to conduct them; and in the common work all denominationalism was forgotten, and the unity of the Spirit kept in the bond of peace.
When the work had gone on for a considerable time, we were favoured with a visit of two Christian brethren - Mr Cameron, evangelist, and Mr John Colville of this town. The regular meeting was now followed by a second meeting for guiding the
anxious to the Saviour. These second meetings were largely attended, and ministers and Christian friends had much of the blessed work laid on them of pointing awakened souls to Jesus. The anxiety appeared to us to be extensive, deep and intelligent. The difficulties propounded and the questions anxiously asked, were exactly such as might be expected
on conviction produced by the Holy Ghost. Sometimes anxiety was felt for days, and ten or fifteen minutes of the dinner hour would be spent in waiting upon ministers and receiving instruction in the way of life. These were short but precious seasons of converse with souls and God. Frequently when some doubt had been dispelled or some difficulty been removed, the anxious soul was led to close with Christ, to take God at His word, and rejoice. And most delightful it was to see those who had found peace in believing themselves doing all they could to bring others to the meetings and also to Jesus. For a considerable time this went on, and how many were led to close with Christ the day will declare. Meanwhile, interest was arising in the surrounding country and much good work was done in Drumlemble three miles, and at Saltpans, five miles from town, by an agent from the Scottish Evangelistic Society, while the ministers preached as often as it was in their power.
The young men in town were now in a very interesting and promising state of feeling and it was felt that something special ought to be done for them. A meeting was held with them accordingly and at the request of the ministers of this town the Rev. Dr Boyd addressed them and took the necessary preliminary steps for forming them into a Christian Association.
The Association was formed and it has proved a great power for good among this most interesting class of the community.
We were then visited by the Rev. Mr Brenmer of Glasgow, and Earl Cavan; whose labours, by God's blessing, did much to continue and deepen the revival work and were the origin of a half-weekly noon meeting, which still continues. In August, Mr
Moody was able to comply with a pressing request from the ministers of the town to pay us a visit. Mr Sankey was not able to accompany him. The visit of Mr Moody gave a new impetus to the work. Multitudes waited upon his preaching while the second meetings were also largely attended. Much to his regret, the writer of this was from home at the time of Mr Moody's visit, but he had good authority for saying that the long looked for visit of God's servant was blessed for the quickening of the dead and the higher life of the living. Mr Moody was accompanied by amiss Cotton, who continued with us some time after he left us. She addressed large meetings, not just of her own but of both sexes, met with the poorest and most degraded of the population who very readily assembled to hear her, and exercised all her influence with Christian ladies of the town to enlist them in the work for Christ. A special meeting for converts was now begun in harmony with a suggestion from Mr Moody. Mr Scott and two brethren from Glasgow visited the town and addressed most suitably the first meeting. And we are glad to say that the meetings continue to be held weekly, with gratifying results.
Systematic Work now going on
The ministers of the town had, for a considerable time, been feeling that there was great Christian force in the town, lying unused, while a large population in our midst had not yet been touched. And after much earnest prayer and conference, invitations were read from the pulpits, calling upon God's people interested in Christian work to meet with us, and confer
as to how the working power for Christ in the town could be turned to most account. This brought a large assembly of Christian friends. And after several meetings, the town was divided into twenty districts, a superintendent and staff of visitors appointed for each, a scheme of visitation and system of weekly meetings cordially adopted. The three senior ministers were asked to prepare an address to the people, which the visitors agreed to deliver on the occasion of their first visit. We are happy to say that the work is going on vigorously. About 100 visitors are willingly labouring; weekly meetings are being held in the houses of the poor, in schoolrooms, or elsewhere, as may be most convenient, addressed by ministers, the superintendents, or other Christian friends. The seed is being extensively sown; we look up to God for the blessing, and we expect great results, though it should be after many days. We have made as little use of names in the above account as possible; for the work is the Lord's, and not to man but to God be all the glory.
"Times of Blessing," Feb 11th, 1875.