Lawers - Burns (1840)

“I shall never forget,” says one to whom Mr Burns “was more than any other man,” “ The first time I saw him. It was at Lawers, on Sabbath the 16th of August, 1840. The whole country was ringing with the wonderful movement in Kilsyth, Perth, and Dundee, with which his name was associated. It was rumoured too that a short time before a person had died in connection with one of his services. A great multitude assembled, not only with the ordinary feelings of curiosity but with feelings of wonder and solemnity deepening almost into fear. I can remember the misty day and the eager crowds that flocked from all directions across hill and lake. The service was of course in the open air, and when the preacher appeared many actually felt as if it were an angel of God. There was an indescribable awe over the assembly. Mr Burns’ look, voice, tone; the opening psalm, the comment, the prayer, the chapter, the text (it was the parable of the Great Supper in Luke xiv.), the lines of thought, even the minutest; the preacher’s incandescent earnestness; the stifled sobs of the hearers on this side, the faces lit up with joy on that; the death-like silence of the crowd, as they reluctantly dispersed in the gold-red evening — the whole scene is ineffaceably daguerreotyped on my memory. It was the birthplace of many for eternity. Last year (1868), when a deputation from the General Assembly visited the presbytery of Breadalbane, in connection with the state of religion, a venerable minister stated that such of the subjects of that gracious work as still survive adorn the doctrines of God our Saviour in all things. Most of the congregations in the district received the divine shower.” 

'Memoir of the Rev W C Burns' by Islay Burns, pages 123-4.

“Lawers, Tuesday, August 18th. — We had a prayer-meeting at twelve when the church was three-fourths filled. Mr M‘Kenzie began and was followed by Mr Campbell, both in Gaelic. This occupied nearly two hours, and when I went to the pulpit I found it my duty to dismiss the people without detaining them any' longer, offering, however, to converse with any individuals who might desire it. From one hundred and fifty to two hundred waited about the door, and with these, I engaged in prayer. During the prayer, the Spirit of God was mightily at work among us, so that almost all were deeply moved, and one man cried aloud. Mr M‘Kenzie said that he almost never felt in the same way as at this time. After prayer, I addressed the people in a series of miscellaneous remarks tending to bring them immediately to surrender to Jesus. Many I saw in tears and among these a number of fine stout young Highlanders. We then prayed again, when the impression continued and concluded by singing Psalm xxxi. 5. “In the evening I preached at six o’clock to a crowded and most solemn audience from Isaiah xlv. 22, and enjoyed some degree of assistance, I think. We concluded about nine o’clock, but just as the people were going away ‘a woman that is a sinner’ cried out vehemently, and we had to stay and pray again. Many of the people were in tears and among these some stout hardy men. Praise to the Lord! It is sweet to see how the people show their kindness when their hearts are opened to Jesus. During these few days, there have been four fat lambs sent as presents, some to Mr Campbell and some to me, with many other articles, such as butter, &c.

'Memoir of the Rev W C Burns' by Islay Burns, pages 130.

“ Lawers, Tuesday, August 25th. — We had a meeting here at one o’clock, of thanksgiving to Jehovah for his glorious work in the souls of the people here during the past days. It was conducted chiefly in Gaelic by Mr Campbell and Mr M‘Kenzie. I spoke a few words at the end, from Psalm cxlix. 1-4. The people seemed in a very solemn frame. As we came from the ferry-boat, we looked into the old church on the lochside, now used as a barn, and joined in giving the Lord praise for the marvellous displays of his saving grace made in it to many who .are now in heaven! — Evening, we had a public meeting at six. The evening was fine, and the audience could not be much under 700, I think. Many had come a distance of 8 miles. I was, as yesterday, brought under a deep sense of my inability to say .anything to the Lord’s glory previous to our assembling, but I was aided in my extremity in no less a degree. I read Mark ix. 41-50 and preached from Luke xvi. 16. I believe I never spoke more faithfully in the pulpit than at this time from these three particulars: — He that presses into the kingdom of God — I. Sets his whole heart on Christ. II. He gives up all that would prevent his following the Lord fully. III. He fights his way to heaven through the opposition of his enemies. 1. The Devil. .2. The world. 3. The old man, &c. &c. There was very little visible emotion among the people, but the most affecting solemnity and most rivetted attention. It was as if the veil that hides eternity had become transparent, and its momentous realities were seen appearing to the awe-struck eyes of sinners. We parted at a quarter-past nine, after pressing on the people to retire directly home to the throne of grace. I am told to-day (Wednesday) by Mr Campbell, that for a quarter of a mile from the church every covered retreat was occupied by awakened souls pouring out the heart to God. He seems to think, from all that he saw and has heard to-day, that last night was the most solemn season that we have had at this time. Praise, praise! O humble me, good Shepherd, and be thou exalted overall! Amen. . . .

'Memoir of the Rev W C Burns' by Islay Burns, pages 132-3

Related Wells