Portknockie (1893)

James McKendrick came to this village as an answer to prayer. He wrote:

“According to the fishing conditions at that time, the only suitable season was from about the idle of November till the middle of January, when all the fisher folks were at home… We arrived towards the end of November and had good and large congregations from the first. (page 163)

The Friday night of the second week in Portknockie stands out as the most memorable in all my evangelistic career. The spirit of conviction was deep throughout the village, and there was an atmosphere of reverent solemnity everywhere that could be felt. That night after the address, I invited all who were anxious to remain - not one left. I spoke again, with the special object of helping the anxious, again giving all who desired it the opportunity to leave - not one left. Then the godly minister spoke, and a number prayed. Still none seemed willing to leave; and yet none would confess Christ as their Saviour. I spoke about ten minutes longer, and finished with prayer. It was now ten' o'clock, and we had begun at seven. I made a final appeal, adding that I could say no more, and then advised all to go home.

Suddenly in the centre of the hall a man dropped on his knees, and cried, "O God, save me; be merciful to me a sinner." This poor man had a skin disease, and his appearance was to many (myself included) almost repulsive; but the minister assured me that behind that unsightly visage there was one of the brightest intellects in the village. As he moaned, and wept, and prayed for mercy, every eye in that place was dim, and many cheeks were wet with tears. After a few minutes, I drew near to him, and repeated what I thought appropriate texts, and then stepped back beside the minister.

That hour and scene live before me as I write; and I fervently wish that every infidel and unbeliever could have witnessed it. Slowly he raised his head, and that hitherto repulsive face was now radiant with the peace and grace of God…….

When he finished his prayer in the hall, I said, "You have heard this man's testimony, I have said all I can say, and it is now nearly eleven o'clock, and we must go." Many rose to leave, when a man jumped up, and cried out, " Oh, praise God, I'm saved! There is no doubt about it—I feel it—I know it. I have been seeking salvation for years, but I have got it to-night." Then, raising his hands above his head, and looking up, he cried, "Oh God, save everybody here. Oh Lord, save everybody here." He then stepped on to a seat, and with his face shining, appealed to the people to trust in Christ, and be saved; and again he cried, "Lord, save the people."

The scene that followed can never be described. The facts may be stated, but that will be a poor representation of the scene which followed. The Holy Spirit of God seemed just to mow the people down, and in less than five minutes over fifty people were on their knees upon the floor, crying to God for mercy. Over forty of these were men above thirty years of age. As one after another was born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, they literally danced for joy, and there was such a scene of excitement and religious fervour as no words can fitly set forth. I besought every saved person in the place to get outside, form into a procession, and give expression to their new-found joy by singing some hymns and marching through the village. I kept a few of the old and experienced Christians to assist Mr. Brown and myself in helping all who were in distress about their soul, and as one after another found peace and forgiveness, they set out and joined the procession. This continued till 2.30 a.m., but even then, many were too excited to go to rest. I have very imperfectly described that night, for it was the night of nights in my career, and in reviewing the extraordinary scenes of which I was an eye-witness on that occasion, I understood as never before how natural it was for ignorant onlookers on the day of Pentecost to imagine that those men on whom the Spirit descended were filled with wine.” 

“We continued six weeks, and night and day this wave of blessings rolled on. Homes were brightened, hearts gladdened, and about three hundred added to the saved.” 

"James McKendrick – Pioneer series" – Gospel Tract Publications pages 163, 166-8

 'By 6am the boats should have been off to sea, but some had not gone to bed, others for only an hour or two, so that the majority were not anxious for sea, the more so as it was Saturday, and the funeral of a resident was to take place at one o’clock. All turned back, and not a boat went to sea. At 8.00am a gale burst with almost the suddenness of a gunshot, and had the Portknockie boats been out, most probably not a single one could have escaped. Because of the position and formation of the harbour, not a boat could have entered in the face of such a gale. This was the unanimous verdict of the men, and it found confirmation in the large number of wrecks and loss of life in other parts of the coast. But for the great spiritual blessing in Portknockie on the previous night, the death-roll in the village would have been awful.

From 'McKendrick, Seen and Heard, p90

For more information see, ‘Glory in the Glen,’ by Tom Lennie published by Christian Focus Publications, p211-2.

Additional Information

I do not know where the meetings were held.

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