Forfar (1866)

On August 4th he went to Forfar, whence he writes: ¬"I have only fifteen minutes, passing through. We had good meetings last night, open-air and indoors. I hope God blessed the word; but the place is hard, and the people sadly indifferent. The whole land seems at ease. Few are seeking God; few are caring for God. I often feel it deeply. Cholera is not apparently decreasing. The voice is loud and solemn. Nothing, however, will do but the Holy Ghost.

For Forfar he had often prayed. Frequently, as he passed it by rail, he raised his voice in prayer for the salvation of its people. "When I die," he said, "you will find Forfar written on my heart." "If God would only bless Forfar," he said, characteristically, "I would be content to stand and hold Harrison Ord's hat while he preached." His prayers were now to be answered, and his longings in measure grati¬fied. Early in September he went to Forfar, took lodgings, obtained the use of a school-room for his meetings, and commenced in the open air and within doors. For paying the necessary expenses means were liberally furnished by Christian gentlemen whose sole interest in this town was the salvation of the lost. "Forfar, Monday, September l0th, 1866. Praise the Lord, He has begun his work. We commenced at seven on the street on Saturday. A great crowd gathered round. They listened breathlessly. It was a blessed meeting. I have seldom seen such a solemn meeting on the streets. At eight we went to the school. A good company were present. At close some waited in anxiety to be spoken with. We did not leave till ten.

"Yesterday Hopkins, Boswell, and I, went through the streets giving tracts and speaking. We had solemn talk with the people. At six we met on the green. About one thousand were present. God helped us all wondrously. He gave a very solemn address. The people hung on our lips. We then went to church. About four hundred came. It was a very solemn meeting. Rarely did I ever feel such power at a meeting. About a hundred remained to the second meeting. Some ten or twelve were really anxious. We could hardly get the church cleared. Mr C—, who had been preaching in a village, came and had a meeting for the anxious in the street. Someone asked them in. He had to speak till eleven o'clock. Some evidently found the Lord. Is it not blessed? I praise the Lord. The Lord send floods. It is sweet to see such fruit at first.

"September 13th. What a night we had last night. I shall never forget it. We met at one o'clock and spoke in a small street; at seven H. Ord at the Cross, and Hopkins and I took another place. We then collected all into a school. It was packed. At close, going out, they laughed, swore, and mocked. Within we spoke to anxious souls, a few: and outside I tried to control the rabble. Oh, how obscene they were! It seemed as if the devil had entered into them. At ten o'clock we could hardly get the gate shut. We go to Mr M`Phail's church to-night, as the school is too small. This is a fearful place. No tongue can tell its sin. I do pray that God may convert many. Nothing is too hard for Him.

"September 14th. The work goes on. God will work here yet, I do believe, wondrously. We wait, we long, we pray.

"September 18th. We had good meetings last night. We only want more power,—more power from on high. A breath would fan much that is now smouldering into a flame. We had some anxious ones last night. Pray for me, and very specially for Forfar. The time is short. It is passing away. It will soon be done. Some thirty attend our daily prayer-meeting at noon.

"October 3rd. We had a blessed meeting last night. I was very ill yesterday, but to-day am quite well. It was a solemn meeting, and several were brought to peace at close. One, a farmer's daughter, was a very decided case. All yes¬terday I had much freedom. The work here is truly a very decided one. We find every night some new cases. It is a great thing to get something to cheer. Oh, rejoice in the blessing descending! We have trial, but we have many blessings. We shall have a kingdom yet and a crown of glory.

"October 15th. We had a very remarkable night at the Cross on Saturday. About one thousand came to hear. We went to the school at eight o'clock. Last night (Sabbath) was a great night in the church great every way. I had much freedom. Truly the Lord spoke through me. I never left a place with such regret, never in twenty years. The work seems only beginning." These are from ‘Life and Labours of Duncan Matheson’ by John Macpherson, published in 1871.

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