Old Monkland (1874)

WE feel constrained to tell of the 'strange things' God hath done for us here, and whereof our heart is glad. May the brief and simple recital stir the hearts of the dear children of our Father in heaven everywhere, strengthening their hands, encouraging their hearts, and greatly increasing their faith. We solicit an interest in their prayers, specially those who are in anyway connected with the district. Our field of labour is a mining district in the parish of Old Monkland, containing a number of small hamlets or "pit' houses, and lying near the town of Baillieston. The population is a mixed one of Protestants and Roman Catholics. Much has been said of the carelessness and gross wickedness of miners as a rule, and no doubt in many
cases it is too true, but I am of opinion that a few honest attempts to reach them for good would be far more effectual than a cartload of sneers and criticism. If they are as bad as represented, the more need there is of our presence and help; and certain it is that God is both willing and able to convert them to Himself as well as other people. Their besetting sin is indulgence in strong drink, which was greatly aggravated in the late rise in wages and from this horrible and deadly plague, may the good Lord speedily deliver us! A very successful mission has for some years been maintained in the village of Bargeddie, which lies in the centre of the district, by the kirk-session of Old Monkland parish. The day of Mr Moody's departure, a meeting of ladies, which overflowed from a large hall into the church, was held at noon. Notwithstanding that the Lord has blessed us in all we put our hands to, we were made to realise at the beginning of this year that something more must be done to try and win more souls for our precious Saviour. Accordingly, we summoned the Christian people more frequently together for united and social prayer and read to them authentic accounts of what the Lord was doing in other places; and much public and secret prayer went up to heaven for a blessing on our moral wilderness. To combine prayer and effort, we planned a series of open-air meetings in all the different corners of the vineyard, in which we were greatly aided by Christian brethren from the neighbourhood and from Glasgow. We all work here as Christians, and happily no isms of any kind have yet troubled us. A conversion now and again, like a flower in the desert, cheered us on and led us to expect "more to follow." As the sacrament of the Lord's Supper drew near, the interest in spiritual matters deepened - the drops began to take the form of a shower. It rained at last. At the close of the ordinary weekly prayer meetings and the usual Sabbath evening services, inquirers began to drop in, numbering from one up to nearly thirty on some occasions. The Holy Supper was a time of refreshing and of blessing to many. A young men's fellowship meeting has been started on the Monday evenings, and is well attended; a choir meets on the Thursday evenings, to practise sacred music; while united and cottage prayer meetings have been repeatedly conducted by the young men themselves. Many striking conversions have taken place - the ages of those converted varying from childhood to that of between seventy and eighty years of age, and in character from the "Pharisee" to that of the open sinner. The ordinary channels of usefulness have also been flooded, and God's people greatly revived and refreshed. At this moment the work goes on and increases. You will perhaps hear from us again.

"Times of Blessing," Sep 27th, 1874.

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