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(Extract from a Letter.)
'HAVE the tidings of the revival at Kilsyth, near Glasgow reached your distant Cornwall? The account I am about to give you I can fully depend on, as I had it from an eye and ear witness who is most worthy of confidence, viz. Mr, M'Cleod, Minister of Gourock. Being a man really interested in the spiritual welfare of his people he felt induced to visit Kilsyth, that he might personally investigate the matter; being on his return home he called a meeting in his Church for the purpose of detailing what he had This took place last Monday Evening. A more interesting meeting I never attended, I shall endeavour to give you as full an account of all that was said by Mr. M'Cleod, (as also by Mr. Smith, Minister of Greenock,) as I possibly can. After reading the second chapter of Acts, Mr. M'Cleod gave a difinition of the word revival; he then went on to tell us of the great variety of characters brought under the power of divine grace at Kilsyth,-the careless, the infidel, the drunkard, and the sober-living moralist. Before enumerating particular cases, he remarked that he wished to tell us what the general effect was which had been produced; that is, what he termed an insatiable thirst for the word of God.
Last Thursday Evening, after having been addressed by a Clergyman for two hours and a half, and when the Minister had retired to the vestry, about three hundred crowded round them, and begged that the word of life might still be preached to them. Mr. Burns, their venerable Clergyman, asked Mr. M'Cleod to speak to them, which he did, encouraging and exhorting them, "that with purpose of heart they
should cleave unto the Lord," after which they were dismissed.
As a proof that this crowding to the Church is not caused by any attraction save the only true and legitimate one of love to God's word, Mr Smith mentioned that the people were ignorant whether it was their own Minister or a stranger who should address them, whether it was to be a sermon or a prayermeeting; so that it was not the desire of novelty, or the hope of hearing some preacher famed for eloquence which had brought them together.
In speaking of individual cases, Mr. M'Cleod mentioned an infidei who had persecuted his excellent Minister, Mr. Burns, and who had been extremely busy in instilling into the minds of the young his infidel opinions. This man came and confessed his iniquity, brought all his wicked books to be burned, and is now going on rejoicing in the faith which he once sought to destroy. A case was also mentioned of a notorious drunkard whom Mr. Burns happened one day to walk behind, and heard him muttering and talking to himself. Mr. Burns said to him' will you never give up drinking.' To his great delight and astonishment, the man replied, 'Sir, I have not been drinking, but I was praying, for I am in great distress about my poor soul, I fear I am lost for ever, Oh, will you help me, Sir, to come to Jesus.'
An interesting case was mentioned of a woman, of a very superior character in the eyes of the world, who had attended most regularly on religious ordinances, and was most strict in every part of her outward conduct. When she began to be concerned about her soul, her neighbours and friends said to her, surely, you who have lived so unblameably, and
who live so exemplary in all your duties, have no reason to be afraid. Mr. M'Cleod saw and conversed
with this woman, and had from her lips the following account: All the time I and others thought me so religious I almost altogether neglected secret prayer, I had no heart to that, but still I had a peace, for I thought that I had only to persevere in the way I was doing in order to be saved.' She seems now to be in possession of the true peace, she was in deep distress of mind for some time, but has now been enabled to trust in Jesus Christ himself, and not in the worshiping of him.
A great deal has been done amongst the colliers, an affecting story was told of one who having to go to his work at four in the morning, rose about three, in order to pour out his heart in prayer; after he had been so engaged, and had said to his wife that he felt very happy, he proceeded to his coal pit; whilst descending the shaft was heard singing a psalm, on reaching the bottom he came in contact with some foul air, and was immediately suffocated. This man had been an enquirer a considerable time before the revival became so general.
The young have been equally the subjects of this remarkable outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Mr. M'Cleod spoke of a boy and girl both about twelve years of age, with whom he conversed. The boy on being asked if he had attended a sabbath school said he had done so for four years, and added that he had always had a pride in learning his lessons and being regular in his attendance; but he remarked' all that did me no good, and all my master's instructions did me no good, till I heard young Mr. Burns tell us in in his sermon that we must go into our closets, and
pour out prayer upon that promise, Ezekiel xxxvi. 26, and plead with God that he would fulfil his promise to us; the little fellow added, I felt that I had a hard and a stony heart, and I knew that unless I was delivered from it there was no salvation for me, I continued to pray to God till he sent his Spirit to bless me.' When he was asked if there were any other particular passage which had been blessed to him, he said 'O yes, it was that verse, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out," that gave me peace at last. Mr. M'Cleod said unto him, had you no peace before? He replied, yes, I had peace, but the peace I had then did not make me happy, but the peace I have now, he added with a tear in his eye, makes me very happy.' When it was remarked to him that now he would be attending all the meetings that were held, he said no, I am an apprentice, and have no time, and would far rather go to the field where I was first made to rejoice in my Saviour, and all by myself pray to God and praise him.' This we understood the boy was in the habit of doing. The case of the girl was equally satisfactory.
Mr. Burns has said that he is sure of 400 souls who had been turned from darkness to light within the last few months, besides hundreds of others who are at present earnestly enquiring. Mr. Smith mentioned that Mr. Burns, who had been 18 years minister of Kilsyth, is the very last person in the world under whose ministry any thing like enthusiasm would be excited. He is himself not at all an excitable person, but quite the reverse; of a very calm, prudent, and equal temper, but is a man eminently given to prayer, so that it has not been by might, nor by power, neither by human talent, or wisdom, but by the Spirit of
God. Let us give thanks on their behalf, and pray that they may be carried on safely unto the end, and that Satan may not be permitted to sow tares amongst the wheat.'
Ashton, September 24th. 1839.
The tidings of a revival such as this we may well give God thanks for; gathering as we may from its effects that it is indeed the work of "the Spirit of God," and praying that its further effects may prove it to be so more and more. Nor can we forbear to add that such an awakening carries with it no small evidence of its being the work of that Holy Spirit, who is not the author of confusion but of peace, when we see those brought under its influence gathering themselves for instruction, direction, and establishment in the way, with one consent, to him who is set over them as their appointed Shepherd-crowding to the appointed house of prayer, instead of heaping to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and making, as so many do, the very work of the Spirit in their hearts a plea for "separating themselves" from the communion of that one holy catholic Church, into the faith of which they have been baptized; and the provisions of which, except to a depraved, or Athenian appetite, are found amply sufficient to supply the wants of every enquirer after divine truth,--be it the babe in grace, the young man in spiritual attainment, or the advanced father in Christ, waiting to receive the crown of glory laid up for him in the heavenly kingdom.
Rev. H. A. SIMCOE, Penheale- Press, Cornwall.