Rodel (1822-1833)

John Morrison, a blacksmith and poet, who started meetings in his home during the revival that went through Lewis and Harris. His house was crowded at the time of evening worship. At the start of one meeting he was 'so overwhelmingly melted' that he could not address the gathering. Many others present were, during the reading of the Scriptures likewise silently melted and overcome. Later Morrison spoke and there was 'a mighty shaking among the dry bones'. This service was seen by some as marking the beginning of the general religious movement that spread through Harris. He wrote, 'Appearances throughout the island furnish very cheering evidences that there is plainly a revival, exhibiting itself under the preaching of the gospel in religious impressions, in a general thirst after instruction and in a marked and almost incredible change in the morals of the people.'

Meetings were held on weekday nights and thrice on Sabbath, and the people were extremely eager to attend. The first Sunday service commenced at seven in the morning, continuing until ten; the next from eleven o'clock till five in the afternoon and the last from six till between nine and ten at night. From Rodel, awakening spread as Morrison exhorted and catechised throughout the rugged parish. At the close of meetings those awakened:

'... with every appearance of a desire to conceal themselves, would each escape quietly to the rocks or caverns in the shore, there to pour out their souls before the God of mercy. even a stranger could now seethe seriousness depicted on almost every countenance... The vain voice now gave place to the songs of Zion; jollity and merry-making to mourning for sin, prayer and serious conversation; backbiting and abuse to the provoking to love and good works and to mutual injuries frankly confessed.'

'The Men of Skye' by MacCowan, page 43.

As those awakened began to grow in knowledge and experience, prayer meetings were arranged wherein three or four Gaelic teachers in the island assisted Morrison. His first open-air prayer meeting in Tarbert around 1830 attracted over 2,000 people. Family worship was set up in every home. Alexander Macleod of Uig said that Morrison, 'had as much realised the meaning of the Good News as all the ministers he knew put together. 

'Land of Many Revivals', by Tom Lennie, pages 248-50.


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