North Berwick (1860)


I have now to tell how Eyemouth, Carruber's Close and Dunbar, helped directly to originate a revival in North Berwick.

On Wednesday the 4th April last, a prayer-meeting for the revival of religion was held, according to public intimation and advertisement, in the town of North Berwick. Two fishermen from Eyemouth, and one from Dunbar, with the two Union Coast missionaries, one of whom resides in Dunbar, and the other at Eyemouth, were present and took part in tile services. The prayers offered up were very fervent, and the hymns sung of a very stirring character. Still no persons remained in the church at the close of the meeting as anxious inquirers, though all invitation had been given. but a similar meeting was announced for every night that week, and in a few nights thereafter there was a great number of anxious souls who remained to a second meeting and earnestly sought counsel and comfort in their distress. The Rev. Mr Shewan, with his friends from Eyemouth and Dunbar, ably assisted by Mr Gall from Edinburgh, were most assiduous in ministering to the spiritual necessities of the people. The meetings were con­tinued from night to night, and were generally protracted till eleven or twelve o'clock, so great was the anxiety of the stricken ones, and so abundant the labours of their spiritual guides and comforters.

I visited North Berwick on Monday the 9th of April and found that a revival was fairly begun, and steadily going on. The church, as usual, was quite filled at seven o'clock and was crowded during the greater part of the evening. The scene was most interesting and impres­sive. No less than seven spiritual labourers, including Mr Shewan, Mr Gall, and myself, took part in the services, or waited upon the anxious at the close. Fully a hundred remained to the last, most in a state of profound anxiety and concern, but some rejoicing in Christ. One gentleman from Ireland was present, who had in former years been a member of the congregation that met in that church, and had taken a prominent part in the management of its affairs. After an absence of ten years he had, in the providence of God, been led to North Berwick that night to see a work begun for which he had often prayed. He rose up in the midst of the meeting, and simply related the story of his conversion, which had taken place while he resided in that town, and he blessed God for the sight he then saw, in a church for the erection of which he had once laboured so hard night and day. On closing his address, he assisted in the work of guiding and comforting the anxious and distressed souls present. The band of seven spiritual physicians were for two hours as busily em­ployed as physicians of the body going around the wards of an hospital filled with the sick and the wounded, the victims of calamity and disease.

For six weeks this work has gone on at North Berwick, meetings being held in the same church every night, and the attendance being still large and encouraging. A num­ber of very young persons have been brought to Christ, and pray among themselves, and for one another. Several persons that were considered well established Christians have been found among the anxious, or even the deeply- distressed, fearing that they had been building on a false foundation, or finding out that they had never been truly converted. These, I believe, with hardly an exception, have now found true peace, and rest on the Rock of Ages.

I trust that the work of revival, fairly begun on this coast, will rapidly but surely go on, and prosper more and more. What we have already witnessed clearly proves that the work originates in, and is carried on by, prayer and the Word of God ; that the labours of humble men, new converts, or freshly baptized of the Holy Spirit, have been peculiarly blessed ; that the singing of certain stirring revival hymns has a wonderful effect in creating interest, and, so to speak, breaking the ice of coldness and reserve ; and that the movement has a tendency to spread chiefly by means of living souls going from one place to another, and spreading the flame of Divine light and love. Other lessons and inferences fairly deducible from this narra­tive, I leave to the discrimination of the intelligent Christian reader.

From ‘Authentic Records of Revival, now in progress in the United Kingdom, published in 1860, re-printed and edited in 1980 by Richard Owen Roberts.

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