Monday, 13th July, was a historic day for the ancient Burgh of Tain. No minister in the Highlands had taken a greater or more sympathetic interest in the work in which the Lord had so wonderfully honoured the American evangelists than the Rev. Thomas Grant, of Tain. He and his people longed for a revival and watched with interest the work that was going on throughout the country. In that work Mr Grant himself took an active part. Throughout the surrounding districts, it soon became well known that Messrs. Moody and Sankey were to be in Tain that day. People gathered from every part, walking, riding, driving, and by train. At 1.30 p.m. the Free Church was packed, while pulpit stairs, aisles, vestry, and doorways had every inch of standing room occupied by an audience that was deeply moved by the powerful sermon preached.
"At 5 p.m. an open-air meeting was held in the Academy Park. A large platform was erected for the speakers and the choir, and long before the hour of meeting, every available space near the platform was occupied by an eager, anxious throng. After four o'clock special trains arrived from Inverness and Helmsdale, and from that hour until five o'clock a continuous stream of people poured in through the park gate. . . . At five Mr Moody and Mr Sankey, accompanied by Rev. Mr Grant, Tain, Rev. Mr Taylor, Stirling, Rev. Mr Ferrier, United Presbyterian Church, Tain, and Rev. Mr Kelman, Leith, ascended the platform, and the service began by the singing of the 100th Psalm. Mr Taylor then prayed, after which Mr Sankey and the choir sang, 'I am so glad.' Mr Kelman read the 3rd chapter of John, then Mr Sankey sang 'The Lost Sheep,' the words being distinctly heard by all the people. Mr Moody delivered a most striking address, which kept the vast audience spellbound throughout. At seven o'clock a meeting was held in the Free Church, which was again densely crowded. The Rev. Mr Grant and the Rev. Mr Kelman conducted the preliminary services, after which Mr Sankey sang 'Jesus of Nazareth,' with great effect. A number of requests for prayer were then read. Mr Moody prayed with great fervour, after which the choir sang 'Sweet Hour of Prayer.' Mr Moody delivered a most powerful and impressive address on the mission of Christ. The large audience seemed spell-bound; and when, at the close of Mr Moody's address, Mr Sankey's voice was heard singing the touching words of 'Almost Persuaded,' the effect was marvellous, As the words 'almost—but lost' burst from his lips, heads were bowed and tears gushed from many eyes. After the benediction was pronounced, Mr Moody asked all those who were Christians to remain to the second meeting and all those who wished to become Christians to remain also. Those who could not remain having left the church during the singing of 'There is a Fountain,' Mr Moody said: 'Now we are all friends here, and I ask those who desire to become Christians, and who wish to be prayed for, to and up.' An awful silence prevailed in the church, and many an earnest, silent prayer went up to God during these few minutes. At last Mr Moody's voice broke the silence, 'One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,' when, Is with one impulse, nearly 200 people rose at once. God be praised,' said Mr Moody. 'More than can be counted.' It was a sight never to be forgotten; on every side nothing was heard but the sound of subdued weeping and ejaculations of prayer; strong men wept like children. Mr Moody was deeply moved, and in broken utterances, he prayed for those who wished to receive Christ. For two hours Mr Moody and Mr Sankey, with a number of ministers and workers, were engaged in speaking to inquirers, and a great many professed to accept Jesus as their Saviour. Whole families were to be seen sitting side by side, all anxious about their souls."
Tuesday being very wet, the meetings were held in the Free Church. Both at noon and at half-past two the church was crowded to excess, and a great many had to go away who could not get in. At the close of the afternoon meeting, a second meeting for inquirers and such as wished to be prayed for was held. , and Moody had to leave for Inverness, but Mr Sankey remained. for two hours the anxious were spoken to and prayed for by the Rev. Messrs. Grant, Taylor, Kelman, Durrant 'I London, Forbes of Edderton, and Murray of Tarbat, along 'dong with especially Sankey and other workers. In the evening the meeting was addressed by sometimes Kelman, and the work of dealing with inquirers who remained continued till eleven o'clock. The meetings proceeded with unabated interest every evening that week. Speaking of the work in Tain, Mr Moody said at the meeting in Inverness that night, that he had never seen such a result anywhere from twenty-four hours' work.
Revivals in the Highlands and Islands by Alexander Macrea – Republished in 1998 by Tentmaker Publications.
Monday and Tuesday, July 13 and 14, 1874, are days that will be long remembered in Easter Ross. Much prayer and earnest preaching of the simple gospel had prepared the way for the visit of our beloved friends, Messrs Moody and Sankey.
Mr Moody preached to a very large audience in the Free Church at half-past one on Monday. Five o'clock was the hour appointed for the open-air meeting and this picturesque town presented an aspect never to be forgotten. The special trains have just arrived; the steep way from the station is thronged; vehicles of all description approach by the various avenues into the town; and as we move forward to the Academy Park, the whole population seems astir, moved in one direction, drawn by one impulse. The service proceeds. Mr Sankey sings the solo, "The Lost Sheep," accompanying himself on the American organ. Every eye is fixed; and as the stirring, earnest statements and appeals of Mr Moody follow, the gaze of curiosity is changed into the intense earnestness of personal interest. It is the old gospel, yet some there feel it as they never felt it before. It is estimated that 4,000 to 5,000 were present at this meeting.
At seven the Free Church, capable of containing upwards of 2,000, was densely crowded, many having to leave for want
of room. About half-past eight the benediction was pronounced, after a most solemn service, and Mr Moody requested as many believers, and persons knowing that they were yet unconverted, but who wished to find Christ, as could remain, to do so, while others left.
While a hymn was being sung, those who had to leave did so; others gathered into the area of the church, and the doors
were shut. There were some moments of silent prayer, and then, amid deep stillness, Mr Moody said, "We are all friends
here, and I would just request those who believe that they received Christ today and those who desire to receive Him now, to stand up, that we may pray for them." For more than a minute all was still; then Mr Moody said slowly as one after another rose, "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven;" adding, as a large number now arose, "More than I can count. God be praised!"
What a moment was that! "God be praised!" was the language of many a heart. Till eleven o'clock the church was an inquiry room, Mr Moody, Mr Sankey, many ministers, and others, being engaged in pointing souls to Christ and many professed to accept God's gift and to enter into peace.
Tuesday being wet the meetings were held in the Free Church at 12 and 2:30 pm. The church was filled to overflowing on both occasions; many remained in the church during the interval singing hymns, while some ministers were conversing with anxious ones. At the afternoon meeting Mr Sankey sang several solos. The breathless stillness--tearful eyes-testified to the power that accompanied these sacred songs. Mr Moody spoke with peculiar force and impressiveness, on "I pray thee, have me excused."
After the benediction had been pronounced, very many remained; and when Mr Moody again asked those who desired to be saved now to stand to be prayed for, about 500 stood up. It is impossible adequately to describe the scene - silence, broken only by that solemn rising. Very many were shedding silent tears -- some from a sense of sin and danger, others from
joy to see the Lord's work. One minister, who has seen much in connection with this religious movement, lifted his head,
which had been bowed in prayer, and seeing these hundreds standing, he utterly broke down and wept like a child.
Mr Moody addressed the anxious and then stated that he must leave to keep an engagement at Inverness, but would
request Mr Sankey to remain.
Mr Sankey and many ministers and Christian friends continued in conversation with anxious ones, till nearly six o'clock.
Men and women, the aged and the little child were there, all with one accord seeking Christ. Some, in answer to inquiries, stated that today for the first time they had felt their sin and danger; others had been seeking for twenty years - others for ten years, and various periods.
Those who know the reserve and shyness to mention what is personal in religion, which characterises the people in this
quarter, and who consider that many of those who stood for prayer were well known in a small town, will be best able to
appreciate the power that could overcome that natural reserve.
"The Christian", July 23rd, 1874.
IN Tain and the district, an impression has been made by Messrs Moody and Sankey beyond what the most expectant or sanguine looked or longed for. The numbers who waited to be specially conversed with after the public services was very large, and on many evenings since special services have been held in the Free Church, which hundreds have been attending who did not before frequent week-day church meetings. They are composed chiefly of young people of both sexes, not a few of them being of an intelligent class, and of good position in life. Among many of them there appears an earnest anxiety and interest regarding Divine things. Mr Moody has stated that he spent the happiest twenty-four hours in Tain he had ever spent, and that he never felt greater freedom and enlargement in preaching than on that occasion; and the work there has been the subject of reference at several of the meetings he has held in other places since.
"Signs of our Times," August 6th, 1874.