Portrush Presbyterian Church (1859)

The general revival that had started in America in 1858 arrived in Ireland in 1859. Many ministers from Scotland went over to Ireland to see what was happening, with many, no doubt, hoping to bring the revival back to Scotland. North visited Ireland in June 1859, shortly after the beginning of the revival, staying for two months. He ministered daily with obvious success. Jonathan Simpson, one of the ministers of Portrush, in de­scribing how the revival broke out in that place at the beginning of June 1859, wrote, "Brownlow North, Esq., visited most opportunely, and, by his earnest and thrilling appeals, largely contributed to advance the glorious cause. He preached twice in the Presbyterian Church, Portrush, and addressed two open-air meetings, one in the town, and the other at Dunmull. The latter was the noblest meeting ever seen in the neighbourhood; the very sight was grand, apart from its bearings on eternity. Mr North, accus­tomed to large audiences, computed it at seven thousand; and so many were stricken that day, that the people in the neigh­bouring houses never got to bed the entire night. So many hearts were bleeding under a sense of sin, and weeping over a pierced Saviour."

During his time in Ireland North spoke approximately fifty times, often to thousands of people. With his gifting as an evangelist mixing with a revival atmosphere, the mixture would have been potent. During a revival there is often a great number of physical manifestations, and emotions are very full, so North’s main thrust in his talks was encouraging people not to rely on their feelings, but on the Word of God. "The Derry Sentinel" Wednesday, 8th June 1859

"We add an interesting communication relative to revival proceedings at Portrush. The union there of ministers of different Protestant denominations was most pleasing and we hope that similar union will be manifested here:—

"Portrush — on Monday evening the 6th we had a meeting here on the hill overlooking the harbour at half six. There could not have been fewer on the ground than three thousand people. The assembly was addressed by the Rev. Mr Chichester and the Rev. Mr Elliott, the Rev. J. Simpson and several laymen who are converts from Ballymoney. Many other clergymen were present. I need not attempt to describe the scene which followed. I never saw such manifestations of God's power — one prostrated here and another there. I think there were upwards of twenty cases. The convicted ones appeared like people in a swoon. The time of their recovery varied. Some an hour or two, and others more. When they spoke they cried out for mercy, and in every instance found peace in believing through the blood of the atonement. What a meeting! Some exhorting you to flee from the wrath to come, others singing Psalms, mingled with shrieks for mercy and the voice of the preacher pointing to the Lamb of God. On the whole, impressions must have been made even on those not convicted, never to be forgotten. When I left at eleven o'clock the Rev. Mr Chichester, the Rev. Jonathon Simpson, the Rev. Mr Elliott and others were as actively employed as at the beginning, ministering to the wants of the convicted ones