The Ulster Awakening – an account of the 1859 revival in Ireland
By John Weir
What a book! It is hard to read such material without feeling deeply stirred about the accessibility of God in revival and the phenomenal fruits of a genuine work of the Spirit as it breaks out in society.
No wonder Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in 1959, preached a whole series on revival to celebrate the centenary of the 1859 outbreak.
The quotations from eye-witness reports of the revival are particularly stirring. Here are some that will give you a taste of the book’s content. ’A young convert addressed them, and under the mighty influence of his appeals many fell down on their knees in the muddy streets and amid chilling rain, and poured forth earnest cries and prayers…a night which will never be forgotten by those who witnessed that amazing scene.’ And again, ‘…characters often the most godless, and even maliciously opposing the work, have been stricken down under terrible distress, crying out for mercy from the Lord Jesus.’ And again, ‘…for one night or more, sleep was withheld from the eyes of hundreds of the people. Strong crying tears and prayers were heard in the streets, and in almost every house, there was the manifestation of a divine agent working mightily.’ And finally, ‘I felt as if God said this to me – “Stand back! Don’t imagine you have anything to do with this people, so just stand aside and let me act, for the work is all mine”…Souls in that meeting of 3 ½ hours were laid prostrate on the earth, crying aloud for mercy.’
Simply to read this book and soak yourself in the atmosphere of authentic revival is extraordinarily impacting. You are not only able to see the awesome power of Christ to save the lost and, with apparent sword drawn, cut people down in the streets, he is also able to win their thoroughgoing devotion and joyful worship as illustrated here, ‘I entered a very poor dwelling the other day, but it was like a corner of heaven. Three sisters on one bed were rejoicing in Christ. They were in a state of heavenly rapture. An aged mother, with tearful eyes, looked on her rejoicing children and gave glory to God.’
I must confess that I love reading books on revival and this one really hits the mark. Let me encourage you to buy it and soak yourself in it. May it motivate us all to plead with God for the revival we so desperately need.
In his 1959 sermons, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones argued that the UK had so lost its way spiritually that only revival could turn the nation around. It amazes me to read that when I realise that he preached before the 60’s and all the moral devastation that has taken place in this nation in the half century that has followed. If we needed revival in 1959 how desperately we need it now.