Wooler (1863)

A great work is in progress in Wooler, greater than any we know of at present in any part of the land. The work has been conducted hitherto by M. Stodart, of Kelso, and during the last few weeks, the Rev. Wm Paterson, of Carrabbers' Close Mission, Edinburgh, succeeded him and prosecuted the work. Mr Stodart has been greatly blessed in awakening an interest, and leading many to review their past life and its insufliciency, however strict, without a union to Christ; whereas Mr Paterson has been the means of leading many, we trust, to the Saviour by his exhibitions of the gospel. It reminds us very much of the work at Yetholm in 1861, only that in some respects it exceeds even that by the great desire manifested by the people in hearing the Word and the number of awakened souls generally found in deep distress after each meeting. The distance they walk night after night is almost incredible; many of them walking seven, eight, ten and even eleven miles to the meetings, and that not for one night only, but for several nights successively. In conducting his meetings, Mr Paterson generally pronounced the benediction at the end of an hour, to afford an opportunity of retiring, to any who wished to do so; but none went, the congregation generally remaining as they were, and then when his meetings for anxious were announced after the service, the vestry was soon filled. Sometimes as many as sixteen, twenty, and even one night about fifty, remained for conversation, till there was hardly standing room, all...without souls, as far as man could say, giving themselves to Christ. The work is very promising, and we trust that the friends interested in it will be able to prosecute it in a vigorous, judicious manner, and from the assistance sent them from time to time, in the good providence of God, be able to extend it. Very much will now depend, humanly speaking, on the efforts made there afterwards when such interest exists among the people and such results follow the meetings.
Mar. 13.

"The Revival," March 19th, 1863.

Down in a glen among the Cheviot hills stood a shepherd's cot, which the hand of time had almost destroyed, and which has lately been rebuilt. A custom has long existed in our borderland, when a new house was built, to invite friends and neighbours to what is called the house-warming. Generally, it has been a scene of dancing, drinking, smoking etc.  The people are nearly all shepherds around the Cheviot hills. They are a people, with few exceptions, not given to outward vice, but until lately this was all that could be said. There was little spiritual life. Good church-goers, and, as soon as age permitted, becoming church members; and too much preached to as dear Christian brethren, without ever ascertaining the fact whether they were born again. The family of the house referred to were always noted for their good outward conduct. Five sons and three daughters had been left fatherless and motherless. Mr Stoddart, a missionary of Dr Bonar, visited Wooler. A few earnest Christians, whose hearts the Lord had touched, had been for years pleading with the God of heaven for a reviving of His work and in answer to prayer this man of God was sent, whose labours had been owned by the Master in many places. He had not laboured above a week at Wooler when the fruits of the Spirit's work were manifest. Many souls were awakened and were led to rest on the finished work of Christ. 'The shepherds from a distance of twelve miles came flocking in every night to the meetings, which were kept up for several months. Mr Patterson followed Mr Stoddart and Mr Steel and Mr Murray, all were blessed in the glorious work. The family we have been speaking about, four brothers and the wife of the eldest, and a sister of the wife, all became subjects of Christ's redeeming grace. No sooner were these young men safe within the city of refuge than they longed that all their friends and neighbours might be brought to Christ. The elder brother of this family was to be the occupant of the newly built cottage. He sent round to his friends and neighbours, inviting them all to his housewarming, not to drink and to dance, but to praise God, and in the hope that some wandering one might be brought to Christ. The night was clear; the full moon lighted the guests on their way over hill and dale. Before the hour appointed the house began to fill, some  from a distance of nine miles. The meeting consisted nearly all of shepherds, with four or five warm-hearted plough lads, who had come a distance of at least seven miles after the day's work. The one fixed on to address the meeting was a Cheviot shepherd, a man formerly famed far and wide as a champion in the gymnastic games. About two years since he was awakened, and, after weeks of deep conviction and darkness was led to the peace-speaking blood and found rest to his troubled soul. As he excelled in the strength of an old man, so he has in the new. He is a man of power, and we doubt not but 
work for him to do in the spiritual field. The subject of the night was the fourth chapter of John's gospel. Jesus, meeting the woman at Jacobs well… There was a supper prepared by the shepherd's wife and all were invited to partake. The greater number stayed. A good number of hymns were sung and the night was spent in harmonious peace. When all went home it was with hearts up, not with the sound of the viol, nor excited with fumes of the whiskey bowl, but from a manifestation of God’s presence of sweet communion with Him. In the next new house in our borderland will be warmed the same way is the wish of the writer.

"The Revival," February 11th, 1864. 


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