West Church - Perth (1839)

It may be well to set in the foreground the statements of Mr Andrew Gray, one of the ministers of Perth, whose calmness, cautiousness, and honesty will be, to those who remember him, a security for the strict and unexaggerated accuracy of his testimony.

A considerable awakening took place about a year ago in this city, and the benefit was partially experienced in my own congregation. The chief instrument in the work was Mr W. Burns, and the means consisted of the preaching of the word, and of devotional exercises. The labours of Mr Milne of St. Leo- nard's, and Mr Bonar of Collace, were also much blessed. The special circumstances referred to were the solemnity and affectionate earnestness of the appeals, the eminently close, searching, and powerful character of the addresses to the conscience, the simplicity and singular clearness with which the distinctive and fundamental doctrines of the gospel were exhibited, and the unwearying perseverance and Christian ardour with which the means of grace were kept in operation. There was a strong impression produced upon many of tender age connected with my own schools, and I am happy to say that the good effect of it is still apparent, but I do not believe that any special or peculiar means were taken for causing a religious excitement among the very young.

There are persons known to me who, I hope, experienced a saving change, and who were previously given to Sabbath-breaking and neglect of Christian ordinances, and were devoid of any serious concern about the well-being of their souls in the future world. There has been a marked general improvement. I have been much struck with this among my own flock. The only other circumstance which it occurs to me to state is that, in the month of February, last year, sixteen young persons applied to me for admission to the Lord's Table. I saw them twelve or fifteen times; had private conversation with them; and had, therefore, the fullest opportunity of knowing their state of mind. I found that no fewer than ten of their number were under deep and solemn impressions of a religious nature, which had been derived from the ministrations of Mr Burns; and eight of these, at least, I could not but judge were truly converted from sin to holiness, "from the power of Satan unto God." Never had I so interesting and delightful a class of catechumens as on that occasion. It may be supposed that I have anxiously watched their subsequent deportment. I have done so; and I rejoice to state, that all I have observed is confirmatory of the reality of that change which seemed to have taken place.

Andrew Gray, Minister of the West Church of Perth. Perth, 2gth January 1841.

'The Life of the Rev John Milne of Perth', by Horatius Bonar, pages 47-51 (with exclusions)

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