Larne Old Church - George Dunbar (1627-1635)

John Livingston wrote the following about George Dunbar.

Mr George Dunbar was at first minister at Air, from whence he was once and again thrust out by the Bishops. At the second time, when the messenger came to his house, whether to summoned him or to intimate his sentence, I know not, a young daughter of his hearing the message, turned her, and said, ‘And Pharaoh’s heart was hardened still’. All that Mr George said, he called his wife, and said, Margaret, ‘Prepare the creels (baskets) again,’ for in former times, the children being young, they behooved to carry them away on horseback in creels. He was thereafter minister by Lochlairn (Larne) in Ireland, where on a day, in his sermon in public, regretting with great grief that he thought none of that people had ever gotten good by his ministry, one Robert Brown rose and said before them all that he had gotten good; and indeed there appeared thereafter a blessed change wrought both on him and several others. Being deposed by the Bishop of Down in Ireland, he came to Scotland, and after the change in the year 1638 he was minister at Calder in Lothian, where he died.

It appears that Dunbar arrived in Ulster in 1625, ministering in Ballymena, then Carrickfergus and then Larne; arriving there in 1627. Dunbar was at the centre of the Six Mile Water Revival which began in 1625. The revival exhibited manifestations, but only really in the Larne area. These were considered to be from Satan, but I would think that they were generally wrong in that conclusion. Robert Blair wrote the following on the subject.

“In the midst of the Public Worship these persons fell a-mourning and some of them were afflicted with pangs like convulsions, and daily the number of them increased. At first, both the pastor and people, pitying them, had charitable thoughts, thinking it probable that it was the work of the Lord; but thereafter in conference they could find nothing to confirm these charitable thoughts —. they could neither perceive any sense of their sinfulness, nor any panting after a Saviour. So the minister of the place did write some of his brethren to come thither. and with him to examine the matter. Coming and conferring with these persons, we deprehended it to be a mere delusion and cheat of Satan to slander and disgrace the work of the Lord."

Dunbar suffered the persecution of the bishops in 1631 when he was suspended from ministry, together with Blair, Livingstone and Welsh. The suspension was removed by Archbishop Ussher, but their enemies succeeded in re-establishing it in May 1632. Dunbar soon returned to Scotland, becoming the minister at Calder.

Additional Information

This is the fourth church on the site.