Tongue (1773)

William McKenzie decided after four years that his work was a failure as his congregation were not being changed by his ministry. One Sabbath in 1773 he addressed them saying:

'I came to this parish four years ago, on your unanimous call, and I had then the  impression that I had God's call to. But I fear I have been misraken. I am doing no good among you; the Gospel is making no impression on you. What is worse, you are hardening under it. lnstead of receiving it, you flee from it, and leave God's house on His own day to buy and sell in the churchyard. I trust the Lord will remove me to some other place, where I shall not be utterly useless, as I am here.' 

Mackenzie then burst into tears and sat down in the pulpit, and for the next five minutes wept and sobbed, his feelings too strong for utterance. When he at last rose again to preach a new power was apparent. So deep was the impression made and so great the power of God in their midst that it was said that no fewer than thirty souls dated their conversion from that exhortation.

'From that day forward there was a blessed outpouring of the Spirit of God. He told me himself (and he was a man incapable of vain boasting) that for years afterwards he never preached on the Lord's Day but some of his people on the ensuing week, at times as many as six or eight, came to him under conviction of sin, asking the way to Jesus. I remember asking him what were the truths in his preaching which seemed to have been especially blessed for producing the awakening, and I could never forget his answer. He told me that the truth which seemed above all the others to impress and awaken his people was the dying love of Jesus Christ.'

A Macgillivray. Sketches of religion and revivals in the north highlands during the last century. 1859, page 17-18.

One popular local, William Mackay never failed to trudge the sixteen miles across roadless ground to the chuch in Tongue each Sabbath. Asked why he did so, even in deep snow, he replied that not only was it his duty but he wanted always to be there lest 'the Spirit of God should be moving in the church that day.

'Tales of the Far North West', by Thomson, page 39.

Summarised by Tom Lennie, in 'Land of Many Revivals', page 156-7.

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