The GOSPEL TRUTH
PRICE and POWER
These few short chapters owe their origin to the spiritual awakening that swept Lewis-and-Harris, one of the Outer Hebrides Islands off the northwest coast of Scotland, during 1940-1953. The council districts of Lewis and Harris together, covering 770 square miles, form by far the largest of this fascinating group of islands. The distance from Rodel in the extreme south to Port of Ness in the north, is nearly sixty miles. The population is about 25,000. Of these, some 3,700 are in Stornoway, the only large town. Of the other 21,000, some are in very lonely places but most are in more or less compact villages; and in several localities these villages are so near together as to constitute a large community within the compass of a few miles. These 21,000 people are almost wholly occupied in small-scale farming, or crofting, and in weaving -- on looms in their own homes -- the world-famous Harris tweed which, it is estimated, amounts to something like four million yards a year. Many still live in picturesque thatched cottages and Gaelic is universally spoken. The people are instinctively and traditionally religious, with still much of the old-time reverence for God, His Word, and the ordinances of His Church.
To this island came Duncan Campbell in December, 1949, and he certainly was "a man sent from God." The divine initiative and element in this movement are evident to all who know the sequence of events. Two years previously Mr. Campbell was a Presbyterian. minister in a Lowland industrial community. Himself a Highlander, Mr. Campbell became possessed of a great concern to devote himself to Gaelic-speaking evangelizing in the High·lands and Islands; and after more than a year of prayerful consideration, he rejoined the Faith Mission in January, 1949, for this work, having been engaged in similar work in the Mission previous to his twenty-five years in the ministry of the United Free Church of Scotland.
But it was to the Island of Skye he felt he should go, and during a succession of missions in that island with manifest awakening, he wrote: "How glad l am that I did not yield to my own inclination and go to Harris; I believe my work is in this very needy island. I have invitations from all over the island." And later: "I have a pressing invitation to go to Harris ... but my very strong leaning is to continue in Skye."
When, therefore, in October an urgent request came from praying people in the village of Barvas, Lewis, through their minister for Mr. Campbell to go there, his commitments on Skye gave little hope of his being free to go, and his committee felt he should keep his engagements. But Mr. Campbell himself felt he was being led to Lewis -- a conviction. which deepened-- and unforeseen changes released him so that within only a few weeks he was there.
Whole communities were mightily moved as "God came," and the following instance is typical of the scenes witnessed in the churches and in the homes of the people throughout the island: "... a crowded church, the service is over, the congregation reluctant to disperse stands outside the church in a silence that is tense, Suddenly a cry is heard within; a young man, burdened for the souls of his fellow men, is pouring out his soul in intercession. He prays until he falls into a trance and lies prostrate on the floor of the church. But Heaven has heard and the congregation, moved by the power of God, comes back into the church, and a wave of conviction sweeps over the gathering, moving strong men to cry for mercy. This service continued until the small hours of the morning, but so great was the distress and so deep the hunger which gripped men and women that they refused to go home though others were already assembling in another part of the parish; and a number of those who now made their way to the church were moved by a power they had not before experienced. Others were deeply convicted of sin and crying for mercy in their own homes before coming near the church. None who were present at this early morning visitation will forget the moving scenes -- some weeping in sorrow and distress, others with joy and love filling their hearts, falling upon their knees, conscious only of the presence and power of God who had come in revival blessing. Within a matter of days the whole parish was in the grip of a spiritual awakening. Churches became crowded, with services continuing until three o'clock in the morning. Work was largely put aside as young and old were made to face eternal realities."
Such is the background of these chapters.
P .S. Bristow
Return to PRICE and POWER of REVIVAL Index Page