St Peter's McCheyne Parish Church, Dundee (1874)


WITH much gratitude and thankfulness to our redeeming God, we are able to report that the good work still goes on silently and unostentatiously. The Spirit is among us, not so much as the rushing, mighty wind, bearing down with violence all obstacles; nor even so much, perhaps, as the 'floods upon the dry ground,' but rather as the gentle summer rain, or the silently falling dew, "that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men." Never was there less of everything approaching to excitement or extravagance; so much so, that outside observers, who are not coming into personal contact with inquirers and converts, can form no adequate idea of the depth and extent of the good that has been done.

A minister in the east end reported the other day at a meeting of his presbytery, "We are in the midst of a gracious revival, without the very least excitement.' Many others could give similar testimony. Since our beloved brethren, Moody and Sankey left us, evangelistic services have been held, generally for a week at a time, in many of the churches. These meetings have been addressed by ministers and laymen, both from a distance and from the locality. The results in many instances have been most encouraging: and were it prudent to do so, many sheets might be filled with records of individual cases of conversion. Suffice it to say, that old sinners grown hoary in sin, together with young men and young women in the bloom of opening life, as well as little children have felt the sharp arrows of the King in their hearts and yielded to His sceptre. Most of the cases of anxiety exhibited a considerable measure of deep conviction of sin, especially the sin of unbelief, and a desire to be saved not merely from hell, as the consequence of sin, but from sin itself in its dominion and power.

These special efforts have now for the most part given place again to the ordinary means of grace, weekly prayer meetings, Bible and young communicants' classes, pastoral visitation, etc. It is believed that the work will continue to go on in these ordinary channels. The influence of the movement on ministers, and on their ordinary ministrations, is very marked. There is a power and liberty and joyfulness in declaring the old old story of the cross, as well as an eager attention and expectancy in listening to it, not felt before. In some cases in Saturday evening and Sabbath morning prayer meetings for young men and young women (meeting separately) have been commenced, with an encouraging attendance, for the special purpose of pleading for a blessing in connection with the Sabbath services. The consequence is, that Christians come up to the sanctuary with their mouths wide open, and they are filled abundantly by the Lord Himself. The attendance at the weekly prayer meetings is in all cases (where the minister is favourable to the work) increased; in some cases, it has been doubled, and even tripled. Many of the ministers have been inviting anxious ones to meet them in their vestries or houses, and not a few have taken advantage of the invitation to open up their difficulties.

One of the most striking evidences of the presence of the Spirit is the facility with which anxious ones are brought to see the simplicity of God's way of salvation and to trust Christ as their Saviour. The very same truths which before seemed powerless to impart peace have in many instances, only to be stated in order to be received. Often have we seen the smile of peace brightening up the countenance which, but a moment before was sad and sorrowful on account of sin, at the very time when we were setting before the soul the trustworthiness of the Saviour, the free offer of salvation to all, and the privilege and duty of an immediate acceptance of Christ. As we remarked, "It seems just now so easy to be saved."

Another token of God's presence is the readiness of multitudes of all classes to converse on spiritual matters. God's people especially have been drawn nearer to each other, and find their hearts refreshed in speaking to one another of the things touching the King. Bible readings in private houses have been commenced, where Christians meet together for the study of God's Word. One of the most encouraging aspects of the work is the taste which has been created for the "pure milk of the Word.' Many who were believers before testify that, under the fresh baptism of the Spirit which they have received, the Bible has become to them a new book altogether. Many of the young converts will sit down for the first time at the Lord's table on Sabbath week (19th inst). Full of joy and love, they naturally desire to "do this in remembrance" of Christ. The number of
applicants for admission to the Lord's table is very large. In one congregation in town there are between fifty and sixty.

"Times of Blessing," April 18th, 1874.

The year that has just passed away has been a good year in Dundee. For spiritual blessing, we have seen no year like it since 1860. About seven years ago there was an awakening in several congregations here, precious fruits of which still abound. But that movement was confined to four or five churches, while the revival of last year was on a much more extended scale.

It is pleasant to recall in thought with what hopeful, cheering signs 1874 dawned upon us in this town. Glad tidings of the work of grace in Edinburgh thrilled every Christian heart. The spirit of grace and supplication was being poured out upon us. Every little praying circle was stirred. Ministers, office bearers, Christian workers of every class, and others, were meeting for united prayer. Some were praying and waiting; some were longing and hoping; whilst others were full of a spirit of expectancy that rose to assurance. Many felt that the Lord was near, they seemed to hear the solemn and heart-moving echoes of His footsteps in the sanctuary. They were sure that a blessing was at hand. 

Nor were they disappointed. The blessing, in fact, had already in measure been given, in the power to continue in fervent prayer, in the liberty and boldness of wrestling intercession, and in the full assurance of expected answers. Here and there, in several congregations, the beginnings of a gracious work were apparent, and whole fields were ripe. On the 21st January the American brethren, with their well-sharpened sickles, appeared on the field; and although their stay was limited to two and a half weeks, they were beyond all question employed by the Master in reaping an abundant harvest. 

We have not time to speak of the daily prayer meeting during those weeks, with its deep solemnity, its hallowed tenderness, its answered petitions, its songs of joy and triumph and its other fragrant memories.  Nor would our space admit of an adequate description of the evangelistic services, with their wonderful crowds, their mingled enthusiasm and calmness, the impression too powerful to be concealed, the awakening of many souls, the silent tears, and the sudden turning of the gay, the thoughtless, the wayward, and the worldly-minded to the Lord. We cannot even linger on the work among the inquirers, - a work more full of interest to the Churches, of lessons to Christian workers, of edifying instruction to saints, and of importance to the cause of true religion than many are aware of. It is impossible to forget the scenes witnessed in the inquiry room, - the patient efforts of the workers; the struggles of awakened souls battling with doubt and unbelief; the dawning, sometimes sudden and sometimes gradual, of light on the minds of benighted inquirers; the joy of unexpected deliverance; the exuberance of first love; and the songs of gratitude and praise. At such moments nothing came more readily to the thoughts, or more suitably to the lips, than the song of the ancient Church -

"When Sion's bondage God turned back,
As men that dreamed were we;
Then filled with laughter was our mouth,
Our tongue with melody"

"They 'mong the heathen said, The Lord
Great things for them hath wrought.
The Lord hath done great things for us,
Whence joy to us is brought."

From the inquiry room there were many, we cannot doubt, who, as they went home, were enabled to say for the first time:

"Happy day, happy day!"
when Jesus washed my sins away."

At the end of the two and a half weeks, upwards of 400 persons applied for "young converts" tickets, professing, as they deliberately and solemnly did, to have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Besides these there were others not a few, chiefly middle-aged and elderly persons who while they joyfully professed to having received the Saviour in the first embrace of faith, did not see their way to enrol themselves among the young converts. There was also a considerable number of persons from the country who were converted at this time, but are not included in the above list. Usually, those who come great distances to hear the word on such occasions are the first to receive a blessing. They come thirsting for salvation, and they are not sent empty away. We remember many pleasing and some very striking instances of that kind. Some there were who came from
the south of England to attend the meetings in Dundee; and they think they have good grounds for believing that the busy town on the north bank of the Tay has become their second birthplace, a spot to be held by them in everlasting remembrance.

On Messrs Moody and Sankey leaving Dundee, evangelistic services were held in various churches, with many tokens of blessing. The number of inquirers was very considerable. Many cases we then saw were characterised by deep conviction of sin, and there were several remarkable conversions. Of the many hundreds that were conversed with, doubtless, some were only slightly impressed, while others are bearing about their trouble to this day. For whatever may be the explanation, there are always some who very slowly and gradually arrive at settled trust and peace in Christ. As the result of the awakening, there have been large additions to the membership of the Churches - in some congregations as many as one hundred and upwards. Great care has been taken in watching over the young Christians, and we do not know of any who have gone back.

On the occasion of the second visit of the evangelists to Dundee, in June, when great open-air meetings were held in the Barrack Park, Mr Moody organised and set going special means and efforts for reaching young men. With the aid of a large staff of earnest Christian men, who volunteered their services at the call of Mr Moody, the Young Men's Association carried out the scheme with energy and success. In the course of two weeks upwards of one hundred and thirty young men were individually conversed with, almost the whole of whom ultimately professed faith in Christ. The work has been carried on throughout the year by the Association, as well as by the direct instrumentality of the Churches, with much prayer and pains, and many have been added to the Lord. In the Post and Telegraph Offices alone there are some twenty young men and lads who have come over to the Lord's side and are zealous in His service. As Andrew found His brother Simon and brought him to Jesus, so in many a pleasing instance, brothers have been bringing brothers, and young men have been bringing their companions, to the Saviour. The seal of God's blessing has been clearly stamped on the efforts of the Christian young men. And although, to the eye of an observer looking only on the surface, nothing may be apparent save the ordinary ripple of Christian work; to those who look more closely, a powerful undercurrent of spiritual influence is plainly seen to be at work among the youth of our town. In many quarters the tide is fairly turned and is setting in steadily in the right direction, and we feel encouraged to expect still greater and better things. 

In regard to the work among the children, suffice it to say, we have never before seen so much precious fruit in the same space of time. All the year round there has been great joy in many a family and in many a Sabbath school. Nor has, this joy proved to be evanescent or fruitless. To this fact parents and teachers bear decided testimony. Running parallel with the work of the Holy Ghost, there has been remarkable dispensation of Providence in the removal of many little ones to the spirit world. Beautiful and instructive in many instances have been the last solemn scenes of life. To the clear eye of a child's faith there is almost no darkness in the valley. To the ear of the little children, quick to catch voices from above, the solemn sounds of Jordan's waters has no terrors. With marvellous wisdom and force these dying children gave forth their testimony to Jesus and His grace.

While the immediate results of the work are exceedingly precious, the value of its full outcome can scarcely be overestimated. Believers are refreshed and lifted higher. Christian workers of every class, having renewed their strength, are filled with fresh hope and zeal. The whole body of the living Church has made an advance; her forces are increased; her methods are improved. So mighty an impulse cannot fail of great and lasting results. But there remains much land to be possessed, and from the recent movement there comes to us a loud and stirring call to go forward. Thanking God for the past, and taking courage, we look into the future with heart of good cheer; for we feel assured,
"Tis better on before."

"Times of Blessing," Feb 4th, 1875.

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