The Revival in County Down




The Bishop of the Diocese-His Interest in the Work-Original Communication from him-The Revival in Castlereagh-The Cripple Man-The Farmer’s Wife-” Remember Lot’s Wife”-Comber- Great Increase-Few Sudden Conversions-Bodily Health Improved-The Physical Manifestations-Answers to Special Prayer-Revival among Quarrymen-Killinchy-Statement of the Hon. and Rev. H. Ward -Newtownards – Previous State -The Work Begun-United Prayer-meeting -The Schoolmaster turned Preacher— The Drunken Bellman-The Town Missionary-The Militia Serjeant-The Converted School-girl-Other Cases-The Cry to her Father–The Unbeliever in the Work-The First-fruit of the New Year.

I CANNOT more appropriately introduce the narrative of the revival movement in County Down than by inserting in this place a communication with which I have been favoured on the subject by the esteemed Bishop of the diocese, although part of his ecclesiastical domain lies in the County Antrim. It has been already mentioned that at an early period his lordship lent his countenance to the work, both by the sanction given to his clergy in their labours in connexion therewith, and by his presence at one of the first united meetings for prayer held in Belfast. His correspondence subsequently with Bishop M’Ilvaine, of Ohio, in the United States, exhibited his anxious desire to have the sustaining sympathy of those occupying an influential position in the Episcopal Church of America, who had been familiar with the history of revivals in that land ; while the prominent part he took at the Annual Conference of the Evangelical Alliance at a still later period, when he bore emphatic testimony to the reality and good effects of the revival, sufficiently attested his appreciation of this great work of God. Knowing that in the course of the season he had directed a communication to be addressed to all the ministers in his diocese, making particular inquiry in relation to the several phases of the movement, and having had abundant experience of that courtesy and catholicity for which he is distinguished , I took the liberty of requesting of his lordship a brief statement of the result ; and, further, desiring his permission to avail myself in the present publication of his testimony. To the request he was pleased to accede, in the following terms: – “


February 13, 1860.


“MY DEAR SIR,-It affords me very great pleasure to comply with your request to furnish you with the result of some of the queries which I issued to my clergy in reference to the religious awakening, which, in the good providence of God, has visited this Province, making many a barren spot fruitful, and many a sorrowing heart glad.

“To my queries, I received from my clergy one hundred and six replies; seventy-five of which bore the most gratifying testimony to the spiritual blessings which followed the ‘ revivals ‘ in their own parishes-such as the careless aroused, the impure made pure, the drunkard reformed, the prayerless prayerful, and every means of grace eagerly attended.

“I enclose you a copy of a few of the answers which I have received to two of my queries, shewing the nature of this wonderful religious and moral reformation, and the truly spiritual character of this great work, as testified by faithful, zealous, and earnest clergymen in my dioceses ; and I feel satisfied that the evidence of the clergy of your own Church, which your high official position will enable you to procure, will fully corroborate the same. To their zealous labours, also, in this our day of ‘ great things,’ I would, in passing, pay the just tribute of sincere respect.

“I cannot conclude without mentioning the result of my late confirmations in Belfast, as it marks the deep impression and devotional feeling which the Spirit of the living God, moving over this portion of our land, has kindled. The numbers confirmed annually by me in the parish of Belfast have averaged about two hundred and fifty, but last year it reached seven hundred and five, and never since I have administered that rite of my Church have I witnessed such solemnity of manner and deep feeling as was exhibited by all whom I then confirmed.

“And now, my dear Sir, may the word spoken by us all be blessed by God’s Holy Spirit to those among whom we minister, that, in the true revival of a sanctified life, they may become ‘ living epistles ‘ of Christ, ‘ known and read of all men.’-Believe me, with sincere respect, yours truly and faithfully, “


“To the Rev. Professor Gibson,

Moderator of the General Assembly of the

Presbyterian Church in Ireland. “

[ For the returns referred to in the above communication, see Appendix D. ]


Castlereagh is a rural district not far distant from Belfast. It was visited by the awakening soon after its manifestation in the latter place. For six years previously there was a marked improvement in spiritual things; and now that the revival has come, a great enlargement has been experienced, while no case of apostasy or backsliding is known.

The Rev. Dr Given supplies the following incidents: —

The Converted Cripple. -” Among the early cases of revival within the bounds of my congregation was a cripple man, who had been in the habit of visiting the various places to which his business led him, by means of a donkey-cart, though he could not be persuaded to use the same mode of conveyance to bring him to the house of God. Many a time as I met him by the way, or found him in his own house, I had endeavoured to prevail on him to attend public worship, but was usually met with the same stereotyped excuses, -his lameness, the awkwardness of the thing, the inconvenience it would cause himself, and the trouble it might occasion others. In vain did I labour to remove such pretexts and urge on him the importance of making at least an equal effort to come to the sanctuary as to reach the place of business. He could attend to the perishing interests of the present passing world, while to the realities of a future and a better he remained utterly indifferent. Years of carelessness had rolled away. Conscience would sometimes trouble him, but he soon quieted it. The thought that God, in depriving him of the use of his limbs, had exonerated him from attendance on His service, would from time to time silence the still small voice within, and confirm him in his guilty neglect. At length he was apprehended of Christ, and arrested in his course. He had heard of the revival in the neighbouring county, and talked of it as a matter of news with others. He had been attending no religious meeting, hearing no gospel sermon, nor listening to any stirring address ; but one night, on retiring to rest, the Spirit of God brought his sins very vividly before his mind, and putting the desire in his heart, and the words in his mouth, constrained him to cry aloud, and for some time continue to cry, ‘ Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.’ He remained under deep convictions of sin till the Sabbath following, when, to the amazement of neighbours and acquaintances, he was seen approaching the house of God. The sermon that day was blessed to him; and that same Sabbath night, after much wrestling, earnest prayers, deep agony, and many tears, he obtained the peace that passeth understanding. Since then, he has possessed new light, new life, new love, and not one Sabbath since have I missed him from his accustomed place in the house of God. Great has been his joy in believing; his conduct and conversation also have been most consistent. He loses no opportunity of testifying for God, and recommending to others the Saviour whom he himself has found. As his change was a marvel to many at the time it occurred, so has his behaviour ever since been truly an ensample, and him- self a living epistle, seen and read of all. From Sabbath to Sabbath he is carried in and out of my church, without ever breathing an excuse, or hinting a difficulty, or uttering a complaint in regard to his infirmity, but grateful to the kind friends who are ever ready to attend to him ; and rejoicing in God his Saviour, he goes on his way, feeling by personal experience, and practically illustrating the truth, that wherever there is a will to serve the Lord there is sure to be a way.

The Farmer’s Wife.–” A second case of much interest was that of a respectable woman, the wife of a farmer. Though not far distant from the church, and though often invited to attend, she could never make it convenient to do so. Light-hearted and thoughtless, she seemed an entire stranger to the value of the soul, the worth of salvation, and the importance of spiritual things. She had long ‘neglected the one thing needful, and greatly undervalued the things that belonged to her peace. Her husband was careless as herself ; and so they lived without God, without Christ, and without hope in the world. She came in early summer to some of our open-air services, in all probability from no higher motive than mere curiosity at the first. Soon, however, her attention was fixed, the word spoken came with life and power to her soul, she was cut to the heart, and smitten to the earth under the mighty hand of God. From that time till the present Christ has been very precious to her soul, the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely in her estimation. She loves much, for much has been forgiven. Prayer is now her delight, praise her element ; while at the public worship of God, from which she is never absent, her earnest look and serious demeanour are observable even amid thoughtful fellow-worshippers. She has felt God’s love to be better than life, and from the overflowings of a truly thankful heart, she utters aloud His praise. Nowhere could you find a Christian more meek, docile, devout, and in all respects exemplary.

The Formalist.-“The third instance of the reviving grace of God, to which I would refer, is that of another female, but one altogether different from the former, one who had from early youth attended the house of God with regularity, and who had often partaken of the Supper of the Lord. Still, she had only the form of godliness, and wanted the living power. She had never closed with Christ, though she had united herself to His people. She had often thought of death, and always with alarm. The consideration of her latter end, which often forced itself upon her, filled her with terror. To her those words of Scripture literally applied- Through fear of death ‘ she had been ‘ all her life subject to bondage.’ At length deliverance came. It is a pleasant Sabbath morning in the month of August; the sky is clear, the air balmy, and the fields waving with golden grain. Little groups of worshippers are leisurely wending their way to ‘ the church that crowns the neighbouring hill,’ and the individual referred to is among them. What from the mildness of the weather, the scenery around, the companions by the way, her heart was lighter, and her thoughts more cheerful than usual. Arrived in the sanctuary, there was nothing that interested her more than on other occasions, till the announcement of the text. It was contained in the words, ‘ Remember Lot’s wife, ‘ and chosen as the groundwork of remarks which I deemed suitable to be addressed to the many in connexion with my congregation, who, I knew, had been recently the subjects of a saving change, and whom I was anxious to warn against looking back after having put their hand to the plough, or turning back to the old ways of sin and death. The text at once riveted her attention, and as the sermon proceeded, her memory reverted to the sins and faults of youth, the inconsistencies of riper years, the hollowness of outward profession without inward principle or corresponding practice. A burden pressed sore upon her heart. Tears flowed copiously, and mingled with big drops of perspiration, wetted the shawl that lay around her shoulders. She felt extremely weak, but, anxious to escape observation, made an effort to get out of the church. She had only succeeded in leaving the pew when I observed her face become deadly pale, and she sank apparently unconscious in the aisle. It was no fainting fit, as she has positively and repeatedly assured me since. At the close of the service, and during prayer with her, she thought she saw the Saviour, clothed in a white garment reaching down to the feet, approach her. Be that as it may, whether it was fancy or fact, one thing is certain, she has found the Lord, the fear of death has been removed, the Word of God is understood and appreciated by her as it had never been before. Her life, at the same time, as far as I have been able to judge, is in perfect harmony with the change.”

The neighbourhood of Comber was the very earliest visited by the revival in the county in which it is situated. For about fourteen years previously, meetings had been held for the purpose of seeking a revival of religion, and when the Spirit at length came upon the people, it was with wondrous power. Hundreds were awakened and savingly turned to God.

“We have had,” says the Rev. J. M. Killen, “no very sudden conversions amongst us. True, those under conviction in the course of an hour or two generally got relief, which at first some were wont to mistake for true peace in Christ, but they mostly soon found out their mistake ; and I had at a very early stage of the work to warn them against being satisfied with anything short of Christ himself, and to urge them to make sure, first of all, of Him, and that then He would give them pardon, peace, and all other blessings they might require. The consequence has been, that those awakened have not generally found true peace in less than a week. Many have been several weeks under conviction before they could say that they were truly converted, and some, though greatly changed in life and conversation, will not yet venture to say that they have found the Lord. The truth is, that for the most part they appear to be very jealous of themselves, and to be afraid of deceiving themselves ; and the consequence has been, that the work, when effected, appears to be of a very thorough and decided character, and I am happy to state, that from what I am daily witnessing, I believe that the converts, as a body, are growing very rapidly in humility, and in the other graces of the Christian character.

“In not a few cases the bodily health has been greatly improved, as well as the soul saved. One woman, who was almost blind, has had her eyesight restored to her, and can now read the Bible, which she was unable to do for ten years before. Two others that were almost always confined to bed for years, are now quite convalescent in body, and rejoicing in spirit. A boy remarkable for stammering can now speak quite well : and a little girl, formerly noted for timidity and nervous weakness, is now fearless and strong.

“By this great revival, ministerial life has to a large extent become quite a new thing. It is now a continued joy, and, instead of being dispirited by the obduracy of sinners and the seeming barrenness of pastoral effort, we are now daily, I might almost say hourly, gathering in a great spiritual harvest, and are constantly rejoicing in the abounding communion of the saints.”

The following additional statement by Mr Killen, of date 6th April, presents several striking illustrations of the character and results of the awakening. They are simply specimens of similar ones which might be adduced:-

“And, first, with regard to the physical manifestations, I may mention that some of these were of a very violent, I might almost say awful character, comparable to nothing I have ever read of, save the demoniacal possessions in the New Testament. I have seen, for instance, four strong men quite unable to hold or restrain a young lad of about eighteen years of age ; and I have known parties of this type, after the paroxysm had ceased, left so weak for a little that life appeared to be almost extinct ; -reminding me of the individual mentioned in Mark ix, 26, of whom it is said, that when the unclean spirit ‘ cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him, he was as one dead ; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up ; and he arose.’ So also, in the instances referred to, I have noticed that strength soon returned, accompanied by a spiritual and delightful calm, which was all the more striking when contrasted with the moral hurricane by which it had been preceded.

“And here, in reference to these prostration cases, I cannot help remarking, that I do not consider these as features of the revival greatly to be deplored, or as requiring anything like apology. I am satisfied, from what I have been continually witnessing for the last ten months, that they have not only been exceedingly useful in the way of arousing and arresting the attention of both the Church and the world, but I am convinced that they have also been greatly blessed to the parties affected. This is a view of the matter to which public attention has not as yet been sufficiently directed, and therefore I am the more anxious that it should be noticed, as I consider it a very important one. Am I asked, then, In what way have these prostrations, which so weakened the body, acted beneficially on the soul?—I reply, By compelling those so affected to suspend for a time their worldly avocations, and to withdraw for a little from the world. By being confined a few days to bed, they were shut out from the world and shut up with God. Jehovah, as it were, in this way drew them aside into the wilderness to talk with them for a time, and by being thus left alone with God, the work was deepened in their souls, a thorough spiritual revolution was accomplished, so that, when they again returned to the society of their fellows, they returned-like Saul of Tarsus, after his three days of blindness and seclusion-new creatures, the subjects of a marvellous and mighty transformation, testifying, by their very looks as well as by their lips, the great things which God had done for their souls. Now, had there been no prostrations, and consequently no weakenings of the body, the parties might, indeed, have been awakened, but as most of them belong to the working classes, who can ill afford to lose time, they would, if strength had permitted, have continued at their usual employments, and would consequently, when under convictions of sin, have had their minds distracted with worldly cares, been tempted by ungodly companions, and been quite unable to give their . thoughts entirely for a time to the matter of their soul’s salvation. But by being forced, through want of bodily strength, to retire for a little from the world and commune alone with God, the work was allowed to go on powerfully and unimpeded ; and to these days of deep, silent, solemn, and uninterrupted communing with their own hearts and with their God upon their beds, at the very commencement of their spiritual career, I attribute very much of that decision of character, devotedness of life, and elevated tone of ` piety which are so conspicuous in many of our converts.

“In illustration of the above remarks, allow me to adduce a single case. An elderly woman, the mother of a family, who had been a careless, cursing creature, and one greatly opposed to the revival, was, sometime after its commencement, suddenly and violently prostrated on her own kitchen floor. When I first saw her, she was rolling on the ground and writhing with agony. Her appearance was certainly the most satanic I ever beheld. The bystanders were overawed-all felt that influences more than human were at work. A medical man was sent for, but he fled at the sight, declaring that it was a case for a clergyman and not for a physician. The unhappy woman was evidently the subject of a great spiritual conflict. Her cries for about an hour were terrific. She declared that Satan and all the devils in hell were round about her. Gradually her shrieks subsided, and as the paroxysms wore off, she settled down into a sort of despairing calm. For days she continued weak in body and distressed in soul, but at length the light broke her bonds were loosed-she saw and embraced Christ-obtained peace–and was filled with a joy unspeakable and full of glory ; and she is now one of the finest specimens of Christian character and of a mother in Israel I have ever known distinguished by her strong faith, her ardent love, and her Christian meekness, her sweetness of temper, and an almost uninterrupted realisation of her Redeemer’s presence, combined with a very profound reverence for Messiah’s character, a strong desire to promote His glory, and a most extreme sensitiveness lest she should do anything to forfeit the enjoyment of His love. ‘O sir, ‘ said she lately to me, ‘ I am just watching how I lift and lay down my feet, lest I should offend Him.’

Answers to Special Prayer. ” I may now mention one or two cases illustrative of answer to prayer. Soon after the revival commenced here, a neighbouring clergyman called on me one Saturday, and requested that I and our converts would pray for the conversion of his two sons, boys of ten and twelve years of age. I assented, and next morning, at our prayer-meeting, I proposed to the converts that we should make the conversion of the minister’s sons a special topic of supplication every morning during that week. On the following Friday evening this minister came over to assist me at our usual evening service, and with tears of thankfulness declared that God had already converted one of his children and entreated us to continue our supplications for the other. We did so, and in about ten days afterwards the same minister wrote, informing me that his other son was also converted to the Lord.

“Another instance, illustrative of the same fact, is that of a poor man, advanced in life and unmarried, who was converted in our congregation at the beginning of the work. As soon as he had embraced the Lord himself, he became most anxious for the conversion of the family with whom he resided, and of his fellow-workmen in the mill where he was employed . But all these were most ungodly; and when they saw the change which had taken place in him, instead of rejoicing in his joy, they mocked, swore, sung impure songs, and did all they could to thwart and distress him. He saw that remonstrances were vain, and he resolved to pray for them. He did so, but for a time no answer came, and he was sorely discouraged. Still he resolved to continue his supplications on their behalf; and suddenly one day the men in the mill were astonished at cries proceeding from their homes, which were hard by. The business in the mill was suspended, and when the men rushed to their houses to see what caused those cries, they found their wives and daughters prostrated under strong convictions, crying for mercy to the Lord. The hitherto despised convert was at once applied to, and, with a heart overflowing with gratitude, he led their supplications, and directed all to Christ. Soon the Lord vouchsafed His mercy; the weeping penitents became rejoicing converts, and wives and daughters were that day added to the Lord.

Scene in a Mill.- C. -‘s prayers were as yet, however, only partially answered. They were still to receive a more glorious fulfilment. Some days after the above occurrence, the mill had again to be stopped, but this time not because of the women, but the men. Husbands and brothers, whilst engaged at their work, were arrested, and smitten down whilst in the very act of attending the machinery. Some of the strongest men and greatest scoffers in the whole country fell powerless in a moment under the mighty and mysterious influence that was at work. Never had there been such a day in that establishment. Strong men might be seen prostrated and crying for mercy ; converted wives and daughters bent over them with tears of joy, whilst they returned thanks to God for the awakening of their husbands and brothers, and prayed that soon all might rejoice with one another as heirs together of the grace of life ; and such has been the case. Poor C- -‘s prayers have indeed been answered, for he has just been telling me that the seven souls in the house where he resides are now all converted, and that about nine-tenths of the workers in the mill have been visited by the Spirit of the Lord.

Revival among Quarrymen.-” My space, already wellnigh exhausted, will only allow me to give another instance of the power and prevalency of the revival in this district. About two miles from this, near the outskirts of the parish, there is a quarry which was formerly notorious for the wickedness of those who wrought in it. It was, in fact, an emporium for all sorts of vice ; but when our revival commenced in Comber, it was such a strange and unheard-of thing amongst these quarrymen, that they resolved, through curiosity, to come and see how it was that people were so mysteriously knocked down. They accordingly attended the nightly prayer-meetings in our congregation. Gradually a change crept over them . Drinking was diminished, swearing was given up, seriousness and anxiety prevailed. I was requested, as I could not go in the evening, to go and preach to them during working hours in the middle of the day. I did so. Immediately on my appearance all work was suspended ; and at the very busiest time master and men attended for upwards of two hours. Whilst under the open sky, in a sort of large amphitheatre, formed by the excavation of the quarry, and surrounded by the mountain’s rocky walls, I proclaimed to them the glorious gospel of the blessed God. Much good, I understand, was that day effected. Prayer- meetings amongst the men were immediately established. The occupier of the quarry and head of the whole establishment soon announced to his men that he himself was entirely changed, and declared that he had resolved to live henceforth only for Christ. A marvellous alteration was soon apparent ; and such has been the effect produced, that Mr D— , the head of the establishment referred to, told me last week, that out of ninety six families in his employment, upwards of ninety have now established family worship. ‘ Drunkenness,’ he said, ‘ has disappeared, and neither oath nor improper expression is now heard in that quarry. As for myself,’ continued Mr D , ‘ I now look upon myself as a mere steward, having nothing of my own, and bound by feelings, both of responsibility and gratitude, to live for God’s glory.’

“Such, my dear sir, are some of the effects of the revival in this quarter. I might mention more, and dwell especially on its having caused family worship to be very generally, I may say, almost universally, observed amongst the families of my charge; but your space forbids, and I must close. ”

A few miles from Comber is Killinchy, celebrated as the scene of the faithful labours of Livingstone, one of the early fathers of the Presbyterian Church. This parish, during the summer months, was largely visited by the reviving influence. The Hon. and Rev. Henry Ward, for thirty- five years revered as one of the most devoted ministers of the Establishment, and rector of the parish, co- operated throughout with the Rev. David Anderson, the Presbyterian minister, ” the labour being divided,” to use his own words, ” between the ministers of the two denominations, no distinction being made, and the hearts of all knit together in one holy bond of Christian fellowship.” From a letter, dated March 31 , 1860, addressed by him to the Bishop of Down, I am permitted by his Lordship to give the following statement with reference to the abiding results in that wide district :-

“I am happy to inform your Lordship that, from my own experience, as well as from the testimony of the Presbyterian minister with whom I have been associated, more particularly in the revival work, most satisfactory fruits have followed the wide-spread confession of sin and profession of repentance. which attended the ministrations of the gospel during last summer in this neighbourhood. We might reasonably have expected to hear of many cases of relapse, and in some quarters of a reaction, during the winter season, when all extra meetings had to a considerable extent been suspended, and all physical manifestations had disappeared; but nothing of the kind has reached our ears. The extreme vigilance and jealousy of some who have watched the progress of the work more closely, have led them to fear the stability of one or two who made a profession; but this only proves, that if any cases had occurred calculated to throw discredit on the work, it could not have escaped observation. Weekly prayer-meetings are very generally held over the whole parish, conducted by laymen of piety and discretion, and are very well attended, and daily family worship is continued in houses where, up to the revival movement, utter ungodliness prevailed.

“As soon as the weather improves, we purpose resuming our extra meetings upon a large scale, which the still unquenched desire on the part of the people for hearing the word renders necessary.

” In no part of the province, so far as I can learn, has there been a more genuine work of grace than in the town of Newtownards. The following statement in regard to it has been furnished by Mr M. Harbison, the intelligent teacher of the National School in that place, who has had much to do in connexion with the revival, although he refers to his own labours in such a modest way that it is sometimes difficult to identify them :-

State of Religion Previously.-” Before giving you an account of the work of the Lord here, it is necessary that I should tell you something regarding the state of the town previous to that blessed awakening. Our population is about twelve thousand, and we are supplied with four congregations in connexion with the General Assembly, two Covenanting, two Methodist, and one Established Church. There is also a congregation of Unitarians, and one of Roman Catholics. The attendance on all these did not amount to more than twelve hundred persons on an average, and of these a considerable number came from the country districts around. From statistics made out by our town missionary, (there has been one employed for the past three years, ) we came to the conclusion that fully one-half of the population of the town had not even a nominal connexion with any place of worship. You will see from this that religion was in a very low state among us, and you will not be surprised to hear that this town of twelve thousand inhabitants supported some seventy public- houses, and more than a dozen pawn-shops. Their necessary pendants, Sabbath desecration, intemperance, and immorality, were fearfully prevalent. It is right to state, however, that the town missionary, in conjunction with a few ‘ who sighed and cried for the abominations ‘ committed amongst us, established and sustained a number of prayer-meetings, which were conducted weekly in the poorer districts of the town.

“Such was the state of things about the 1st of May last. Sometime previous to this, the attention of many had been directed to the accounts of the marvellous work that the Lord was doing in Connor, Ahoghill, and other places in Antrim. A schoolmaster, a native of that district, went down to see for himself the wondrous things about which he had heard so much. The reality exceeded the fame, and he came back deeply convinced that the finger of God alone could produce what he had seen. He engaged two young men-one a teacher, and the other a Scripture-reader to come to Newtownards and give an account of what the Lord was doing around them. They came about a week after, and, before a considerable audience, gave a narrative of the wondrous scenes they had witnessed. Many seemed deeply impressed; others were sceptical, on account of the physical accompaniments. They wished for a revival but were not reconciled to the modus operandi of the Holy Spirit. I should state that, about a week before the arrival of the young men, a united prayer-meeting had been established on the Wednesday evening, which was to be continued weekly. It commenced in one of the Covenanting churches, and was attended by about two hundred persons. This number, though but small, was looked upon by every one as something marvellous. One of our most popular divines could hardly have drawn together such an audience on a weekday evening a month previous. This prayer-meeting was changed from house to house, until it had gone over all the evangelical churches in the town, the audience gradually increasing. Still, few but churchgoers attended. The vast outlying population had yet to be reached. The gospel was yet to be preached to the poor; the lost were yet to be sought and saved. For this purpose the Spirit used His own instruments; and, in order that He might have all the glory, they were weak ones.

The Schoolmaster turned Preacher. ” On the Lord’s- day after the visit of the young men, the schoolmaster, (Mr H., ) who had invited them, was much pressed in spirit by observing the Sabbath desecration which was so prevalent in the street in which he lived. It was a lovely evening, and the people were spending it standing idly at their door, talking about the world and the things thereof their children, meanwhile, playing noisily before their eyes. Both young and old seemed to have forgotten that their Creator had ever commanded them to keep His day holy. Mr H. went out about half-past six P.M., and called on a number of the people, inviting them to come to his schoolroom at seven o’clock, as he wished to talk and pray with them. Among others, he visited the bellman of the town, (J. K., ) notorious for his drunkenness and profligacy. Many of them promised to attend; but after waiting half-an- hour beyond the appointed time, only two children made their appearance! It suddenly occurred to Mr H., that if they would not come in to hear him, it was his duty to go out and speak to them ; and although unaccustomed to public speaking, and naturally of a timid disposition, he felt he was moved by an impulse which he could not resist. He went out to a place where two streets crossed, opened his Bible, and commenced to sing a psalm. The novelty of the preacher, who was well known to the people, drew together in a few minutes more than a hundred persons. Mr H. addressed them from the parable of the barren fig-tree, (Luke xiii. 6-9.) The speaker was helped wonderfully, and all seemed deeply impressed. One heart, at least, was opened to attend to the things that were spoken, that of the drunken bellman, who, to the surprise of all, was present. He did not cry out at the meeting, nor was he prostrated, but for some days after he could neither eat nor sleep. He was in darkness and in heaviness; a strange weight pressed upon his soul; a yearning for something, such as he had never felt before, occupied all his thoughts. A few evenings after, Mr H. asked him out to take a walk with him, and then he told him of the love of Jesus, and that He had died to save him. The man stopped and lifted up his hands in an ecstasy of joy. The darkness and the heaviness had vanished, and a flood of light, love, and peace, filled his soul. Ten months have since elapsed, but J. K. still continues steadfast. Although often tempted by his former wicked companions, he never since has entered a public house. Under his humble roof, which once resounded with oaths and imprecations, a family altar has been erected, upon which is daily offered that sacrifice which is never despised when presented by our great High Priest. Instead of abusing his wife and children, as was formerly the case, he is now a kind husband and father ; and whoever is absent from the church or the prayer-meeting, J. K. is sure to be in his place. Such, as far as known to us, are the first- fruits of the revival in Newtownards.

The Work Spreads.-” The open-air meeting, so auspiciously begun, was continued from Sabbath to Sabbath in the same place. The attendance rapidly increased, until, instead of hundreds, thousands were present. About three weeks after it commenced, the Scripture-reader before mentioned had been appointed to the situation of town missionary. He was asked to address this meeting. As he had come from the district where the revival had made most progress, and as his labours had been greatly blessed, there was much anxiety to hear him, and the meeting was a large one. A young woman, whose clothing was so deficient that she could not go out to the street, heard him from the window. The Spirit carried the word in power to her heart, and she was deeply convinced of sin. She rose from her seat, got down on her knees beside her loom- for she was a weaver-and cried, in the most heartrending tones, God be merciful to me a sinner ; ‘ ‘ Lord, save me.’ She remained in this position for the greater part of the night. The house was crowded with anxious faces. Sin and salvation seemed to be the all- pervading subjects of thought with every one present. How to escape the one and obtain the other, was the inquiry of many hearts. One man present—a soldier, and a Unitarian—was observed with the tears trickling down his cheeks. The work had now fairly commenced, and during the week it spread rapidly. A considerable number of similar cases of awakening occurred in almost every street in the town. Among others, a number of prostitutes were convinced of sin, and were heard crying for mercy. The public excitement was great. Every face wore an expression of awe. In thousands of hearts, and on hundreds of lips, was the question, ‘ What must I do to be saved ? ‘ On Wednesday evening, the largest church in the town was crowded, ground- floor and gallery, pews and aisles. Hundreds could not get admission, and would not go away. The lawn in front of the church was densely filled ; some one in the crowd gave out a psalm ; and prayer and praise ascended to the throne of God, from the outside as well as from the inside of the church. More than four thousand persons must have been present at that prayer-meeting.

The Street Meetings.—“ An incident worthy of note occurred about this time. On a Monday morning, some of the very persons who had been invited a few weeks previously to attend the prayer-meeting in the schoolroom, but did not, called and asked the master to conduct a meeting in the street, as the people were thirsting for the word. The missionary complied with their request, and it seemed as if nearly all the people residing in that street were present.

” It was found that one meeting in the week was not enough, so, in addition, almost every church in the town was opened for prayer, every evening in some cases, and two or three in the week in others. Besides all these, street- meetings became numerous, and were everywhere well attended. In order to secure an audience at any time, all that was necessary was to go into the street and commence to sing a psalm, and nearly all the people within view would be present in five minutes. The effect upon the entire community was very observable. Drinking was almost entirely given up, drunkenness almost unknown. Streets and lanes formerly thronged at certain hours of the night by strange women and their associates, were deserted. In passing through districts where the ‘ noisy laughter of the fool,’ or the impure language of the profane was wont to be heard, the voice of psalms caught the ear in all directions. The 12th of July, the anniversary of Satan as well as of the Orangemen, came and went, and left no trace behind. ‘Not a drum was heard,’ not an arch was erected, not a shot was fired. The prayer-meetings took place as usual-were thronged as usual.

“Not only was the influence of the revival felt in the assembling of the people for united prayer, but also in the regular meetings of the churches, which were filled to overflowing. Sitting room could hardly be obtained, and in most instances the aisles were crowded. The vacant pews were speedily, let, and in some churches many applicants could not be accommodated. The communion-roll, also, in some instances, was doubled-in all, largely increased ; while the candidate class was never so numerous in the recollection of aged ministers. Young men and women, formerly careless and giddy, might be seen, with anxious faces, listening greedily to the tale of that dying love which it was their desire for the first time to commemorate. ” The sale of religious tracts and books, but especially of Bibles, was greatly increased. Parcel after parcel was obtained from Belfast, hundreds of copies were sold, and hundreds were given gratis to those who were unable to purchase. A society also was organised for the purpose of leaving a tract monthly in every house in the town.

The Awakened.- “With regard to the manner in which parties were impressed, I suppose it was much the same here as elsewhere ; perhaps fewer cried out at meetings with us than in other places. Indeed, such were rather the exception than the rule. It was generally in their own houses, often in their beds, that they first began to feel anxious about their souls. One man, a militia serjeant, was arrested while throwing a bullet on a bet for drink. His hand fell by his side, and he was unable to raise it. He has since been one of the most hopeful of the converts. Another man was awakened at his loom. He had been a drunkard and a blasphemer, but has become a useful and intelligent Christian-has assisted in organising a total abstinence society, and is forward to every good work.

“One little girl, about twelve years of age, the child of godly parents, was reading on the Sabbath-evening to her mamma the hymn, ‘ What’s the News ? ‘ When she came to the lines,

‘ The Lord has pardon’d all my sin, I feel the witness now within,’

 her mamma stopped her, saying, ‘ I doubt you can’t say that, dear. ‘ It was a word in season. It reached her conscience, and in a moment she was on her knees crying for mercy. For some hours she was in awful agony of soul, using such expressions as, ‘ Oh, what a dreadful sinner I am ; ‘ ‘ Lord, wash away mysins in Thy blood.’ After remaining in this state for about two hours, the light all at once broke in upon her soul, and she clapped her hands for joy. She repeated, with remarkable emphasis and expression, M’Cheyne’s hymn, ‘ I once was a stranger to grace and to God.’ It seemed the very language of her soul. A few days after, she requested to be allowed to distribute Bibles and tracts, and has since been letting her light shine before men. The teacher of the school that she attended, on the following morning told the children what he had heard her say, and immediately about ten of them cried out very bitterly for mercy. They have since given evidence of a change of heart.

“There were, perhaps, fewer of the converts with us than almost anywhere else who manifested a desire for addressing a meeting, so that very little lay agency was employed. Indeed, they all seemed more anxious to learn than to teach; more desirous to be hearers of the word than preachers of it. Many of them were very ignorant; could not even read. Several classes on week-day evenings have been organised for their instruction. Among others, a considerable number of married persons attend, who were ignorant of the alphabet when they came. Their progress is astonishing. Many of them in three months have learned to read the Word of God.

The Cottage Meetings.-” I must not omit to mention another means of usefulness, not altogether originated by the revival, but mightily strengthened by it. I refer to ‘ Cottage Meetings ‘ for prayer, praise, and the reading and exposition of God’s Word. In almost every street in the town one of these is conducted weekly. About twenty of such meetings are in existence at the present time, attended by from thirty to fifty individuals on an average. In this way the gospel is brought into the very houses of the people. About eight hundred of our population have weekly the privilege of hearing its joyful sound, many of whom are unable to attend upon public worship. The missionary visits these meetings in rotation ; in the intervals they are conducted by intelligent laymen.

“The revival is now ten months old among us, so that we have ample time to test its results. The excitement has passed away, but the great majority of the awakened manifest, by a ‘ life and conversation becoming the gospel,’ that they have indeed ‘ passed from death unto life .’ Those who were merely frightened into a temporary sobriety, have, as might be expected, returned to their old habits, and, in consequence, the haunts of vice have rallied a little ; but after making deductions for all this, there is much cause for thankfulness to the Father of mercies for the abundant shower of Divine grace with which we have been visited.

” Illustrative cases of a deeply interesting character are supplied by a young lady who has been one of the most energetic and assiduous in her attentions to those who have been the subjects of the awakening in her native town. She mentions that many even of a later date than the last of the subjoined might have been given. From a large number of such I select the following :-

The Cry to the Father.-” M. M’K. was a merry, lively girl. She had not attended any meetings. Her case is the first I have either seen or heard of that addressed petitions to the Father. She lay nearly an hour unconscious to all around, pouring forth her petitions in the following strain : -‘ Father, dear ! look down upon me this night ! Father, mark me with grace ! Lord Jesus, take away my heavy sins ! Father, I own I have been a heavy sinner ! Lord Jesus, come to my arms ! Father, renew my wicked, wicked heart ; give me a new one, and mark me with grace ! O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, come to me ! Father, dear, relieve me ! Have mercy upon me, my God, have mercy upon me !’

The Unbeliever in the Work.- “J. W. for twenty years never entered a church ; and for fourteen, never bowed his knees in prayer, nor read his Bible. He was a drunkard, and did not believe in the work. He was struck, but went to his work, and got drunk, trying to quench the Spirit. He was prostrated for nearly a week. A fortnight after he was visited, he again thought Satan was at his side wanting him. Next day he came to his pastor to ask him to pray for more of the love of God, and for strength to overcome his besetting sin, drink.’ He is now a Sabbath- school teacher, and a leader in prayer-meetings, and is sometimes up for nights visiting the stricken and praying with them.

The First-fruit of the New Year-January 1, 1860.—“ S. W. had been a most abandoned character. She was noted everywhere for her cursing and immodest language. She had been anxious for months, and had given up most of her wicked habits-was attending prayer- meetings, and was praying to be visited. On Sabbath she had prayed before going out to a prayer-meeting, ‘ Lord, I am clear of nothing ; wash me in one drop of Thy blood. (I thought when I got that, I would get more. )’ She was struck under the verse, ‘ Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground ? ‘ She found peace next morning, singing the 116th Psalm. She said, ‘ I am the vilest, wickedest, miserablest sinner that ever lived. I am clear of nothing -not even murder. I have murdered my own soul. For forty years I hated God, and served Satan. There never was such a sinner. I could take every one in my bosom now to bring them to Jesus. I will do all in my power for Him the few remaining years of my life. To think that Jesus should save such a sinner as me ! Now He is my all in all. My beloved is mine, and I am His.’ The neighbours say they are sure any one may be saved after her. she not a trophy ?

She is the first-fruit of the New-Year. Is “We had not, so far as is known, three spurious cases. We have had some who have fallen away a little, and some very much ; but we still hope the Lord has His hook in their nostrils. But I am sure the whole does not amount to twelve, out of a population of twelve thousand, and many hundreds of prostrations. We never had any ‘ trances, ‘ or ‘ sleeps,’ and only five cases that appeared for a time like demoniac possession. No stress was laid upon visions. ”



o Everything that comes into being has a cause. As matter, space and time all came into existence, the cause for them must be outside of these elements and must be immaterial, spaceless and timeless. When you think of something spaceless, timeless and immaterial, it normally points to God, especially since it needs to be a personal being in order for them to choose to create in the first place.

o The fine tuning/order of the universe along with the laws that hold it all together. The information within DNA alone shows there was an intelligent mind behind creation. Information only ever comes from a mind and laws only ever come from a law giver. The existence of life all balances on a razors edge with physical constants that align perfectly to allow life and sustain it.

o If the Big Bang were a random explosion, what caused it (if not God – as it would still have to be something eternal outside of the physical properties within the universe) and any random explosion we can observe causes disorder and not order.

o Complexity of life as many of the features of life appear to be irreducibly complex, such as the operation of a single cell. Suggests an intelligent mind behind the process of their creation rather than that they could be generated entirely by chance. Designed items always have a designer.

o The evidence that we can see all points to life ONLY coming from life. Life never comes from non-life.


o I believe in objective morality, where some actions are always objectively wrong, such as for example torturing a baby or sexually abusing a woman. Even something as simple as another person pushing in front of us in a queue! We immediately object (at least within ourselves!) and say that it’s not right that they did that! Where does that sense of right and wrong come from? God has written our morality on our hearts and it is why we have a conscience (which means ‘with knowledge’) and is the very reason we feel guilty when we do something that is knowingly wrong. If there is an objective moral law, there must be a moral law giver, otherwise everything we consider good or evil, is just a matter of opinion if there is no standard above ours.


o Consciousness, freewill and love as examples. If we were just a bunch of chemical reactions, where does self-awareness come from (we should just be moist robots), where does freewill come from and the ability to choose to love someone.

o If love was just chemical reactions doing what nature requires, it would just be defined as lust, as we would only be physically attracted to people to create further life and not have a deeper connection outside of the physical. There has also been a lot of scientific investigation over the recent years showing that the brain and the mind are two separate things. You have a soul that is you (mind, consciousness, freewill etc) and the body is just a shell.

o The fact we can choose to love someone even if they treat us badly, shows that we can go against the physical processes using the gift of freewill that God has given to us to choose to love.


o Transformation of Jesus’ disciples as they changed from being fearful and hiding after his crucifixion to being transformed into bold witnesses after seeing Jesus’ resurrection and preaching in the streets, even to the point of dying excruciating deaths for what they believed. The followers were all Jews who already thought they were God’s chosen people. There was no motive for them to carry on believing in Jesus had he not risen and definitely no gain to be had in dying excruciating and shameful deaths for something they knew to be a lie. It only becomes plausible if they really did see the resurrected Jesus.

o Christianity exploded in the very place where Jesus was put to death. Had Jesus not rose from the dead and showed himself to his followers and over 500 others (as documented by the Apostle Paul), it would never have taken off.

o Jesus was buried in the tomb of a well-known leader of the Sanhedrin (Joseph of Arimathea) and was guarded by a group of Roman soldiers. Had Jesus not risen from the dead, His body could easily have been presented and Christianity would have been crushed.

o Jesus’ empty tomb was discovered by women followers and this was documented in the New Testament. In the culture at that time, Women’s’ testimony was considered unreliable and had this been a lie that was being fabricated, it is more likely that they would have reported that men found the empty tomb. The fact it is documented that women found it, further attests to the fact that the New Testament account of the resurrection is factual and true.

o The conversion of Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul the Apostle. Saul of Tarsus was a well-known persecutor of Christians and put many to death, yet after encountering the risen Jesus on his way to Damascus, he became one of the most influential followers of Jesus and wrote many of the letters within the New Testament.

o Christianity leaves itself open to be questioned and falsified as it is based on an historical event – Jesus’ resurrection. Other major world religions tend to be based on personal revelations (e.g. Buddha & Mohammed) or claims of truth through myths (e.g. Hinduism). Paul the Apostle clearly states in his letters to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:5-8) that most of the people (over 500) that Jesus showed Himself to (not just appearances, they ate, drank and touched Him) were still alive at the time he was writing his letters. Thus, people could have easily gone and talked with them to see if this was reliable and true. This is a bold statement and if not true it would be very strange to include it in an attempt to start off a new belief system! He basically invites people to doubt, to be sceptical and then to go talk to the witnesses to check it out for themselves and so not to “blindly believe”.


o It is written in historical narrative and would often state the locations where Jesus was, who was present, which further allows for the documents to be scrutinised or disproved, due to there being more factual information. A lot of the geographical locations/places throughout the Old and New Testament have been backed up by Archaeological findings/discoveries over the last 50 years.

o Embarrassing details are left in, such as the disciple Judas betraying Jesus for money, another disciple Peter denied Jesus three times prior to his crucifixion, all the men disciples running and hiding, while it was the women followers who discovered the tomb was empty and then informed the men disciples, who then came out of hiding. Why if you were trying to invent a random holy book or new religion would you use fishermen, tax collectors etc. plus leave in the information about their failings and lack of belief UNLESS it is all factual and true.

o There is more manuscript evidence for the New Testament (over 5,000 ancient Greek manuscripts – much more if you include the Latin manuscripts), than any other historical document (by far), with fragments still present today that can date back to AD100 and can be used to spot check that the later versions have been copied/translated accurately.

o The internal consistencies of the writers. Some small inconsistencies are present between the Gospels (the eye witness reports of Jesus teaching, death & resurrection), which further backs up that they are most likely factual and not fabricated, as if they were fabricated, these small inconsistencies or details left out by some but included by others would most likely not have been present. However, all the core details are consistent throughout the historical eyewitness accounts by Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

o The gospels & letters of the New Testament were written very early in terms of other historical documents ranging from 48AD to approximately 70AD (so approximately 15 – 37 years after Jesus’ death), which is very early in historical terms during that period, due to a largely prevalent oral tradition. As one example Alexander the Great was only written about 350 years after his death. The fact that Jesus followers were preaching what Jesus taught from the very moment after his resurrection until it was documented in the Gospels, means that it all the core details of Jesus’ teaching, death & resurrection would have been ingrained in their minds until the Gospels were written. Many people who knew Jesus and heard Him teach would have still been alive when the gospels had been written and could easily have testified against any false information.

NOTE: All the above points are the major ones (outside of my personal experiences) that have convinced me that Christianity is true, and I just wanted to share it. Make sure you are a sceptic regarding what you believe and continually challenge it and search for the evidence that makes it reliable. If what you believe does not provide the best evidence and answer your questions, why believe in it?! Do your own research, read books/articles, watch videos/debates, as the evidence will always lead you to what is true.

I Had Never Heard the True Gospel

By Peggy O’Neill

I served as a sister in a religious order for about fifty years and during all that time, I had never heard the true Gospel.  Certain things may be let ride, but when it comes to the Gospel there can be no compromise, because the Gospel is the power of God for salvation.  A false gospel cannot have that power and any church that preaches a perverted gospel is depriving its members of the foundational and most essential message, the message of salvation.

False Teachers in the Early Church

            In the Bible we read of the churches in Galatia where false teachers were leading people into another gospel.  They were going back under law, for as well as believing in Jesus Christ, they had to observe certain religious laws making Christianity a set of rules and laws whereby they had to earn heaven.  Galatians Chapter Three tells us that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law and that He is the end of the law for righteousness.  If we take Jesus plus any religious law as a means of salvation we are fallen from grace.  We cannot trust in law and grace at the same time, so trying to combine the two, we put ourselves under law.  By adding anything to the finished work of the cross, Christ will profit us nothing.  Galatians 3:21 says that if righteousness comes by the law then Christ died in vain.  This is the seriousness of being under the law–we have to be our own saviors and the Bible says that no man can be saved by keeping the law.  It is not surprising, therefore, that the Apostle Paulin his Epistle to the Galatians used strong words to say that if anyone, even an angel from heaven were to preach another gospel, let him be accursed.

My Attempts to Live by the Law

            Like the Galatians, I was trying to save myself by a combination of law and grace.  I was putting my faith in Jesus but also in my own actions, trying to earn heaven and the things of God by doing the best I could instead of receiving salvation as a gift.  The Gospel was no longer Good News, for the burden of salvation was on my back.  In the end, I could only hope to be saved in spite of all my attendance at Mass, the sacraments, prayers, and other good works.  By offering my own righteousness as a means of being accepted before God, I was, according to Galatians 5:3, making myself a debtor to the whole law.  I was obligated to meet a standard of perfection that equals that of God.  I had never understood how to trust Jesus and Him alone as my Savior.  I had not known that it was not by my performance, but by just believing and accepting the perfect price Jesus paid when He shed His blood for me on Calvary that I would be saved.  When I heard the true message of the Gospel, the truth set me free.  I praise God that I am learning to depend more and more on the Lord Jesus for my needs, both in this life and for eternity.

Famine in Ireland

            A catechism of the Catholic Church gives this teaching, “The Bishops have the mission of preaching the Gospel to every creature so that all may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments.”  This preaches a gospel of works.  By mixing law and grace, the Catholic Church has fallen into the same error as the Galatians.  A church that acknowledges much of the truth of the Word of God, but that misrepresents the Gospel is the kind of church into which I was born in Ireland.  I was told it was the one true Church and for over sixty years, I never once doubted or questioned that.

             The second of ten children, I had the example of good parents who were faithful members of their Church.  Were my family to be judged by the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church, we could all reasonably hope for a place in heaven.  But the Bible tells us that we will be judged, not by the teachings of any Church, but by the Word of God.  “The Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).  In my young days, there was not a single copy of the Bible in our home.  Happily, today things in that regard have changed. 

            Here in Ireland, we still talk about the Great Famine of the 1840’s when the potato crop failed and a million people died of starvation, while another million emigrated to America never again to return home.  Ireland in the 1990’s is a land of abundance, but there is a famine of a different kind, a famine described in the Bible “Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, That I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of  bread, nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the Words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).  Those days of famine have surely come to Ireland, yet it is encouraging to know that more and more people have been meeting together for some years to study the Bible and feast upon the Word of the Lord.

My Mother’s Death in Ireland

            In England where I spent most of my religious life, I was an enthusiastic believer in the Charismatic Movement, considered to have been a genuine move of the Holy Spirit.  I also attended some Christian meetings with thousands of Christians from many nations.  When I got permission from my religious superiors to come home to care for my mother in the last six years of her life, I had the opportunity to listen to Christian radio programs where the Gospel of salvation was regularly preached.  When my mother died, aged ninety-five, I did not have an understanding of the Gospel so I was unable to help her have an assurance of her salvation.  However, I recall with joy her words to me on the day she died, “I want Jesus to come for me today.”  These were precious words.  Also during those years at home, I had contact with a nephew of mine, Tom Griffin, who had a godly influence on my life.  He had joined a Christian church and he introduced me to J.P. Walsh who was the leader of a local group in weekly Bible study.  All this eventually led up to my discovering the unconditional love of God and the liberating message of the Gospel.

Christ’s Righteousness Available to Me

            “Righteousness” was the key word that opened for me the truth of the Gospel.  I found the word in Paul’s description of the Gospel in Romans 1:16.  The Gospel “…is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth ; …for in it is the righteousness of God  revealed.”  The righteousness of God–this is what is required to get to heaven.  What God demands is perfection: nothing less than His own righteousness.  This was something new to me for all I was ever conscious of was my own righteousness and how I could save my soul.  I could have been compared to those Jews in Romans 10:3, “For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.”  I was ignorant of God’s righteousness.  What it takes for salvation is a righteousness that equals that of God and I knew that no one could ever reach that standard.  This then is what the Gospel is all about:  what God demands, He provides.  The Good News is that if we believe in Jesus Christ whose death on the cross, burial and resurrection has paid the price of our sin, we will be saved.  The Bible puts it this way, “Jesus who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  In exchange for my sins, God will give me the righteousness of Jesus, God’s righteousness for my sins!  This is the Good News, the Gospel in a nutshell.

Salvation by Grace

            God’s Word tells us that salvation is by grace alone. I soon found out why salvation is a gift from God and cannot be by works.  Isaiah 64:6 says, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” when compared with the infinite righteousness of God.  All my best efforts, my faithfulness, my good works are nothing but filthy rags when it comes to earning heaven.  I could never earn heaven, so Jesus did it for me.  I just come to God empty handed, not with all my “great” keeping of laws, my penance and my holiness.  My dependence is totally on Jesus and what He has done for me.  Paul, once a religious Jew who had strictly adhered to the law, came to the place where he said he wanted to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.  We too must come to that place of dependency, not on ourselves, not on Mary or any Church–all our dependency must be on Christ.  We look to Him and Him alone.  Even though our good lives will never gain heaven for us, there is a purpose in living an upright life in our day-to-day relationships with our families and others.  This, too, is provided for by God’s grace in the direction of His Word and the power of His Spirit given to us the moment we believe.  Salvation is on the basis of our faith in Jesus Christ, not on the basis of our conduct.  That same faith keeps us trusting in Jesus Christ as we walk daily by His Spirit.

            I had never heard the full story of Redemption, how completely Jesus had dealt with sin to save us from hell, “the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).  Jesus did not partially deal with sin.  He did such a complete and finished work that all sin was blotted out and washed away by His precious blood.  Sin, past, present and future, even those sins not yet committed were forgiven two thousand years ago when Jesus died on that cross on Calvary.  God does not keep a record of the believer’s sins.  “I, even I, am he who blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and I will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25).  The debt of sin has been completely paid, yet not everyone will be saved.  There is one thing that will send people to hell.  Jesus Himself spoke about it in John 16:9, “they believe not on Me”, a rejection of Jesus and the salvation He gained for us.  God does not violate the will of any person, nor is salvation automatic.  Man is born condemned, separated from God as a son of Adam, but God’s will is for all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  For those who believe in Christ, “There is therefore now no comdemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

God’s Justice Satisfied

            “The jury is still out” is what a priest recently said in this context.  According to Romans Chapter Three, the jury has already pronounced the verdict, “Guilty”.  “There is none righteous, no, not one.”  The religious and the unreligious are all guilty before God.  In His justice, God had to impose a penalty for sin, and since man could never pay that penalty, God in His love found a way to do for us what we ourselves could not do.  He gave His Son, Jesus, who took all the blame for us and in our place He was condemned to death.  He died on the cross.  Jesus was forsaken by His Father.  He descended into hell and took from Satan the keys of hell and death.  The heavenly courts of eternal justice were satisfied and the believer’s debt was fully paid.  On the third day Jesus was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit, Jesus the first born-from the dead, the first born of many brethren.  Man must accept Jesus’ sacrifice to be saved and when he does, God accepts him on the basis of His Son’s righteousness.

Relationship with God Restored in Christ

            As time went on, I saw that in the Scriptures our relationship with God is based on both God’s grace and faith.  His plan for our salvation is that we should believe in Christ Jesus by grace through faith.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).  Faith is not a gift we get from our parents or from the church, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom 10:17).  In God’s plan for salvation, faith itself, by which we trust only on Christ and His completed work, is of itself the work of God.  This was the message Jesus gave the people in John 6:28-29 when they asked what they should do that they might work the works of God.  Jesus said to them, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom he [God] has sent”.  I would have said that I had always believed in Jesus, yet now I realize that I had not known the real Jesus, the Jesus revealed in the Scriptures.  I had known nothing of the gift of righteousness He had to offer or of the complete forgiveness of sin brought about by His death and resurrection.  Titus 1:16 says, “They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him…”  I was carrying out religious practices that showed that I did not know Him.  I thought it was essential for my salvation to attend Mass because I had not fully accepted His propitiatory sacrifice on the Cross.  I sought forgiveness for sin in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, not knowing that Jesus had already reconciled me to God.  As well as depending on Jesus, I also depended on Mary , the saints, my penances and good works, my hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, rosaries, scapulars, indulgences, purgatory.  Paul uses a word to describe the value of anything we try to do to add to the work of Jesus, it is the word “dung” (Philippians 3:8).  All our good works are displeasing to God if offered as a means of gaining heaven for ourselves or for others, implying that what Jesus did on Calvary was not enough.

Repentance from Dead Works

            According to Hebrews 6:1, one of the foundations of the Christian life is repentance or turning away from dead works.  By dead works is meant religious practices and good works performed either by oneself or through the ministry of the church so as to obtain salvation.  All these works, no matter how righteous, are the filthy rags referred to in Isaiah 64:6.  They are what is called religion and religion is man’s counterfeit for Jesus Christ.  There is no promise in the Bible that says religious people will go to heaven.  On the contrary, Jesus called the most religious people on earth in His time, the Pharisees, to repentance.  The Bible tells us that to be declared righteous before God, the first thing we must do is stop working for it.  This was very strange to me, who as a Catholic had been led to put so much emphasis on my own performance as well as on the ministry of priests.  Once heard, the Word of God must take first place and God’s Word in Romans 4:5 left me in no doubt, “But to him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

            I had never really believed, as I had never accepted salvation as a gift.  By God’s mercy, I was convicted of the sin of not totally trusting in Jesus and His finished work.  I repented from dead works and from trusting in my own righteousness and I accepted the finished work of Jesus on the cross.  I had now really heard the Word of salvation and with the Word came God’s gift of supernatural faith.  As in 2 Corinthians 4, I believed therefore I spoke and committed my life to Jesus Christ trusting in Him as my Savior.  At that instant, God imparted to me His righteousness.  In my new born-again spirit, I was as righteous as God, not because of any goodness of mine but because of Jesus.  What had happened to me is described in 2 Corinthians 5:17.  I experienced salvation.  I was born again in the way that Jesus said to Nicodemus, “you must be born again”.  I was baptized with the only baptism that brings salvation, identification with Jesus Christ.  For the first time I knew that my name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Baptism into Jesus Christ

            What had happened to me is what the Bible calls baptism into Jesus Christ.  Romans 6:3 , “As many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death”.  Galatians 3:27 “for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  There was no external ceremony, no priest, no godparents.  It was a matter between God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and me.  I had received the one baptism that is necessary for salvation.

             A short time afterwards I was baptized by immersion in the Atlantic Ocean at a place called Banna Strand in my native County Kerry.  This baptism in water by immersion is an expression of the inner change that had already taken place in my spirit.  It was a public confession of my belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and a showing forth of His death, burial and resurrection.  Baptism in water does not make a person a Christian, it shows that he already is a Christian.  The Catholic Church has lost this truth of the baptism into Jesus Christ, the baptism that translates us from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God.  For this reason it can be said that many Catholics are Christian only in name.

Catholic Infant Baptism

            Paul in reference to the baptism into Jesus, speaks in Colossians 2:11 of the circumcision of the heart, a circumcision made without hands.  I was one day old when I was taken to the local Catholic Church to be baptized.  The hands of the priest signed me with the sign of the cross, anointed me with oil and chrism and put salt on my lips.  There was a laying on of hands and hands were used to pour water on my head.  My baptism, outwardly a beautiful and symbolic ceremony, was in reality nothing but an empty ritual.  Baptism in water is a biblical ordinance that Christians obey after believing in Jesus.  In the Acts of the Apostles 10:44-47, there is an example of Christian baptism for New Testament believers.  In verse 47, baptism in water is given only after Cornelius and his household were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.  In Ireland there was an incident recently where a baby died, days before it was to be baptized.  That the baby died without baptism added to the parents grief.  The Catholic Church in her liturgy could only invite them to trust in the mercy of God and pray for their child’s salvation.  However, according to the Word of God, that child went straight to heaven.  It is true that everyone is born in original sin (in Adam), but Romans 5:13 tells that “sin is not imputed where there is no law”.  The law does not apply until a child comes to the use of reason or the age of discernment.  Paul wrote, “For I was  alive apart from the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died” (Romans 7:9).  The false doctrines relating to baptism are a betrayal of the trust of millions of sincere Catholics who are misled as to their true standing before God in an area where their quality of life here on earth and their eternity is at stake.  Until about eight years ago, I would have strongly opposed anything said against the Catholic Church, and even as I set about writing this testimony, my intention was to avoid any adverse criticism.  But things have not worked out that way and any criticism of mine is only of the system into which I was born.

Understanding the Bible

            Some people say that the Bible is hard to understand and this is true if one fails to grasp certain foundational truths.  One of those truths is the concept that man is a spirit being with a soul (mind, will emotions) and he lives in a body.  In I Thessalonians 5:23 we see how God divides man, “spirit, soul and body” and Hebrews 4:12 talks about the Word of God “piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit”.  Catholic doctrine attributes to the soul what the Bible attributes to the spirit making no distinction between the two.  Without a knowledge of this distinction, there was much in the Bible that I could not understand.  I could not understand Scripture truths like the righteousness of the believer or “as He is, so are we in this world”.  To live the Christian life it is important to know how our spirit, soul and body function and relate to one another so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, the recreated spirit may dominate the body and soul which will not be free from the presence of sin until the believer experiences physical death.

            Some time ago, a story was told in our church of a poor man who owned one field.  He had barely enough to live on, but had he known, he could have been a wealthy man, for underneath that field was an oil well.  This man’s story is that of many of us Christians today.  Inside us is a spiritual “oil well”, and we are not aware of the limitless resources of God within us.  It is possible that the early Christians knew and lived by the power of the Holy Spirit that was available in their born-again spirits.  With the true Gospel message, they turned the then known world upside down in the first twenty to thirty years of Christianity.  In our born-again spirits, God has provided everything we need and His life will be manifested through our lives to the degree that we renew our minds with His Word and use the grace He makes available moment by moment.  The Bible tells us in I Corinthians 1:30 that Jesus “…is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” .

My Religious Order

            At seventeen, I left home to enter the Order of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.  This is an International Order founded by Fr. Jean Pierre Gailhac at Beziers in the South of France.  I spent the first seven years of my religious life in France and then after training as a teacher in England, I devoted thirty-five years to teaching in parish schools governed by the Local Education Authority.  Side by side with life as a teacher was my religious life considered by me to be the highest calling.  During all my years in the convent, I never had any reason to think otherwise.  After the period of six years at home caring for my mother, I would have returned to the convent to work and share with the nuns I respected, loved and knew so well.  A younger sister of mine, Carmel, is a member of the order and she is presently teaching African children in Zambia.  However, it was not possible for me to return to the convent as I no longer could agree with the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church.  Soon, I no longer viewed the religious life as being the highest calling.  Richard Bennett, once a Dominican priest writing in an article, “Is the Religious Form of Life Designed by God?”, says that the Bible has ordained only three different institutions: the family, the church and the state.  Religious life could not be reconciled with the Word of God.

Freed from the Law

            Having been under law for so much of my life, the Epistle to the Galatians is of particular interest to me.  In addition to being subject to the Ten Commandments and other church laws, religious life has its own rules, constitutions and vows.  The Bible, however, speaks of only one law for New Testament believers, not the law of works, but the law of Jesus Christ, a law written on our hearts.  Jesus Himself is the reality of the Mosaic Law which like everything else in the Old Covenant was only a type and shadow of things to come.  “The Commandments of Ordinances were nailed to the Cross”, and the part that remained was the spirit and intent of the law – that we love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves.  This law is the very nature of Jesus Himself living today through an individual in the flesh.  He is not looking at our outward observances.  He wants to find people who yield themselves to Him so completely that He can live His nature in them from the inside out.  We have a description of the nature and character of Jesus in Galatians 5:22-23, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control”.  On earth Jesus was a living manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit.  This is not a list of pleasant qualities that improve our personalities, but the character of Jesus Christ.  In our lives it is manifested when by grace through faith we allow His Spirit rather than our sinful natures to be in control.  Romans 8:29 says that God has predestined believers to be conformed to the image of His Son.  In our lives there can be joy instead of discouragement, peace rather than confusion and strife, the loving, wholesome word instead of the impatient or unkind word.

            Instead of subjecting ourselves to the law of Moses, we let Christ live His life in us through His Spirit who enables us in our weakness.  This is the law Jesus referred to in Matthew 5, “that whoever shall do it and teach by example shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  Religious life with its rules and vows is not God’s way as defined in the Scriptures.  Religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are not found in Scripture.  Jesus directs us in Matthew 5:34-37, “..Swear not at all, neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne, nor by the earth, for it is his footstool…neither shalt thou swear by thy head…but let your communication be ‘Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatever is more than these cometh of evil.”  What is spoken of in the New Testament is the priesthood of all believers.  Peter writes that every true believer is a member of a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9).  Jesus is our High Priest and believers in Christ are priests with a divine call and purpose to offer up spiritual sacrifices, the sacrifice of a yielded heart, offering praise to God in all things and invited to a ministry of intercession on behalf of others.

One Mediator, Jesus Christ

            The Epistle to the Hebrews was written to bring people from the Old Covenant way of serving God into the New Covenant realities that Jesus Christ brought into effect.  Sad to say, the transition has not yet been made two thousand years later.  The Catholic Church still has the law and the priesthood.  In her liturgy there is the sacrifice and the altar, priestly vestments, incense, candles, all of which were essential to Jewish religion and worship.  These were Old Testament types and shadows of things to come.  The Catholic Church has Christianized Judaism and not come into the New Covenant established by the finished work of Jesus on the Cross.  For years, at Mass, I heard the words, “This is the blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant.”  I knew little or nothing about that Covenant.  I was operating under an Old Covenant mentality.  The Catholic Church ordains priests to perpetrate the Sacrifice of the Cross, claiming that God still needs to be appeased for sin.  To quote from a Catholic catechism, “Each sacrifice of the Mass appeases God’s wrath against sin.”  Contrary to this, God says in His Word, “So have I sworn that I would not be wrath with you or rebuke you.”  And in Hebrews 8:12, “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more”. 

            A priesthood and sacrifice of atonement to cover for a broken law were imperative under the Mosaic Law, but in New Testament times, there is no law, no priesthood (apart from the priesthood of believers)and no sacrifice (Jesus Christ paid the sin debt in full).  We no longer need priests to stand before God as mediators, nor has any believer more direct access to God than another.  We are all invited to come boldly to the throne of grace, to come to our Father, standing in the righteousness of His Son which is imputed to all who believe in Him.  We can directly worship, find mercy and help in every need.  Like so many men and women in religious orders, priests are men whose desire is to love and serve God, but the Roman Catholic priesthood dishonors Jesus Christ and His once-for-all Sacrifice on Calvary.  Their role as mediators usurps the present-day ministry in heaven of Jesus Christ, our only Mediator, Advocate and High Priest.


            The same can be said of the place given to Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She is given titles that rightly belong to God, even the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  She is called Mother of Mercy , the All Holy, Mother of the Living, Seat of Wisdom, Gate of Heaven, Advocate, Mediatrix, Co-Redeemer, the litany goes on and on.  Pope Benedict XIII wrote, “The Blood shed for us and those members which He offered to the Father, the wounds He received as the price of our liberty are no other than the flesh and blood of Mary.  Thus she with Christ redeemed mankind.”  Medical science, however, confirms that a child gets its blood from the father.  Therefore, the blood of Jesus was the blood of God (Acts 20:28) the precious blood of the Everlasting Covenant.  We were redeemed with “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19).  Pope Paul VI in “The Credo of the People of God” gave Mary her newest title, Mary, Mother of the Church.  In John 19:27, the words of Jesus from the cross, “Behold thy mother!”, are interpreted as a declaration of Mary to be mother over the whole church.  It is significant that in John’s three epistles there is not even a mention of Mary’s name, neither is there a reference to her in any of the other New Testament epistles which were written to the churches for guidance in matters of doctrine, worship, and church discipline.  Had John interpreted the words of Jesus from the cross as the Catholic Church has done, he would surely have exhorted people to look upon Mary as their mother to whom they could entrust their cares and petitions

            There is no biblical evidence of anyone praying to Mary or giving her the hyperdulia type of veneration recommended by the Catholic Church.  The present Pope, John Paul II, speaking of Mary’s suffering said, “It was on Calvary that Mary’s suffering beside the suffering of Jesus reached an intensity which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view, but which was mysteriously and supernaturally fruitful for the redemption of the world.”  It is not surprising that a church which emphasizes the necessity of good works for salvation would find in Mary a supreme example of human merit.  Notwithstanding her exalted position in Catholicism, Mary was a human being and like any believer, she performed works of righteousness during her lifetime.  However, the words of Isaiah 64:6 apply to her, the same as to all mankind, “All our righteous nesses are as filthy rags.”  Mary’s suffering therefore could make no contribution to the redemption of the world.  With no support from God’s Word, the Catholic Church in numerous papal encyclicals has loaded Mary with every honor, unrestrainedly exalting her power and excellency thereby laying the foundation on which has been built the great edifice of Mariolatry–the idolatrous worship of Mary.  We thank God for Mary, a wonderful woman of faith and obedience to God.  Elizabeth in her greeting said, “Blessed is she that believed”. 

            For centuries, Satan has been using a counterfeit Mary to deceive millions of devout Catholics.  Deception was the device he used in the Garden of Eden when he tempted Eve and it is the device he uses today.  The Bible, in 2 Corinthians 11:14, tells us that Satan comes as an angel of light.  Examples of this are apparitions at places like Lourdes and Fatima.   People are called to pray the rosary, do penance, make reparation to Mary’s “ Immaculate” heart.  Only faith in Jesus Christ can save us, there is nothing we can do apart from Him that has eternal value. These messages are lies of Satan, twisting the truth of the Gospel.  The only means of uncovering these deceptions is the Word of God.  Jesus Himself dealt with the temptations of Satan in the wilderness by using the words of Scripture  (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).

The Good News

            At one of the last provincial assemblies of the order which I attended while still a religious, I remember a Scripture that was read: See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, and to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10).  Jeremiah lived to see this prophecy come true.  People world-wide as they hear the Gospel and look to the Word of God for truth, are able by the grace of God, to leave behind religious traditions and unbiblical beliefs long held sacred by themselves, their fathers and their forefathers.  New wine has to be put into new wineskins.  People are leaving denominational churches, each with its own particular religious laws which only serve to divide the Body of Christ, and coming out into fresh ground to live the Christian life as outlined in the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles.

            In Romans we read of Gentiles, sinners who were not seeking after God but who were made righteous by faith, while the religious Jews who were very zealous, doing everything they could, were not made righteous before God.  The religious Jews were holy and zealous but  misdirected as it says in Romans 10.2, “They have a zealfor God, but not according to knowledge.”  Some people find it hard to accept salvation as a gift.  “That makes it too easy”, was one comment I heard.  And another, “There must be a catch somewhere.”  Obviously for some, the Good News is too good to be true.  That salvation is unmerited and undeserved is the offence of the Gospel.  That is what upset the Jews in Jesus’ dayand what upsets religion today.  Religious Jews crucified Christ and persecuted the early Church and it is still religious people today who come out against the Gospel.  Good people who want to maintain their own goodness are sometimes hard to reach with the true Gospel.  For them, the Good News becomes bad news.  If God were to ask us what we had done to entitle us to enter heaven, a true Christian would say it was nothing he had done, but that he had put all his trust in Jesus.  An axiom to remember is: “Religion is built on what man does for God.  Christianity is built on what God has done for man.”

The Great Commission

            Before ascending into heaven, Jesus gave the Great Commission to His disciples, “Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel.”  God has given us a ministry of reconciliation and we need to make sure that we ourselves have the true message described in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.  We are not to be engaged in reconciling people to God either by the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) or by any other action of man.  Reconciliation is something that happened at the Cross of Calvary.  In 2 Corinthians 5:20 we read that we are to be ambassadors for Christ, His personal representatives, pleading with people to be reconciled to God.  God is extending the hand of friendship to us.  Will you grasp that Hand, will you believe in what God says His Son did for you on Calvary?  Will you repent of your dead works and accept God’s gift of Righteousness in order to be saved? 

            To carry out this ministry, Jesus told His first ambassadors to wait until they would be “endued with power from on high.”  Here Jesus was referring to the baptism in the Holy Spirit, He Himself being the Baptizer.  His disciples needed the power of the Holy Spirit that would enable them to preach the Gospel.  Like them, we all need the special anointing of the Holy Spirit to help us to carry out our ministry, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).  The Holy Spirit is now here on this earth convicting the world of sin.  The sin He is most concerned with is the refusal to believe in Jesus Christ and His work of salvation.  Our ministry is to tell the Good News to everyone we can.  The price of redemption for all men has been paid.  Forgiveness is available to all who will believe.  Peace is possible even in this life.  It is the responsibility of every believer as an ambassador for Jesus Christ to make known to the world, the Good News of the true Gospel.

The Power of the True Gospel

            Ever since I came to know Jesus, my desire has been to share with others about the salvation we have in Jesus.  “There is none good but one, that is God” (Matthew 19:17).  Once we understand this truth,we know we cannot depend on ourselves or any person living or dead.  We need Jesus and belief in Him is what God asks of us.  My favorite salvation Scripture is what Jesus Himself said to Nicodemus, “Unless a man is born again he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Being born again and believing in Jesus is therefore one and the same.  I had often heard the story of Nicodemus but it took over sixty years for me to understand the message.  I had followed the traditions and doctrines of men never asking myself what Jesus meant by the term ‘born again’.  Jesus referred Nicodemus to the brazen serpent that was lifted up by Moses in the desert, symbolic of Himself Who would be lifted up on the Cross.  Believe in Jesus and you will be born again, you will be saved.

            The first Christians preached with great power as we are told in the Acts of the Apostles and Paul said that his message was not with wise, persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power so that people’s faith might not be in men but in the power of God.  The Gospel is not only about what Jesus did two thousand years ago but about what He is doing today.  It is the power of God to those who believe.

A Message for the Reader

            In this testimony, I have taken the opportunity to share some of the truths from God’s Word that were unknown to me for years.  I wish to conclude by returning to the wonderful message of the true Gospel.  It is a simple message, yet one that is hidden from millions of people today.  The Gospel is the story of the power of the precious blood of Jesus, shed for you on the cross at Calvary, “The Story of the Great Exchange”, God’s righteousness for our sins!  For he hath made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”  (2 Corinthians 5:21).             Dear reader, the moment you are convicted of your sin and see that there is no way to save yourself, that salvation is only possible by believing in the finished work of Jesus Christ–His death, burial and resurrection–is the moment of your salvation.  You can know for certain that heaven is yours for all eternity.  It is the grace of God made available to us as a gift that is received by faith, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  God is faithful to all who seek Him, “a broken and a contrite heart, O God thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17). “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved”  (Acts 2:21).

Introducing Wesley Huff

“Wesley Huff is a gifted thinker, clear communicator, and articulate defender of the faith. More so, Wesley cares deeply about the heart of the hearer, desiring all he engages with not only to believe facts about Jesus but to truly believe in Jesus. I highly recommend Wes to any church or organization looking for a godly man in Christ to defend against objections and equip believers for the sake of the Kingdom.”

– Jim Parker III,
Retired Professor and associate Dean of Worldview and Culture at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Director of The Trinity institute

Let us remember!

Jesus Commissions His Disciples  

14  Finally he appeared to his eleven disciples while they were eating. He rebuked them for their unbelief and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who had seen him after he had risen.  15  Then he told them, “As you go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to everyone.  16  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever doesn’t believe will be condemned.  17  These are the signs that will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons. they will speak in new languages.  18  and they will pick up snakes with their hands.Even if they drink any deadly poison it will not hurt them; and the’ll place their hands on the sick, and they’ll recover.”

Jesus is Taken Up to Heaven  

19  So the Lord Jesus, after talking with his disciples, was taken up to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.  20  Then his disciples went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the signs that accompanied it.

Your Testimony! Your Talent!

I was listening again to the audio Bible, as I often do, to the Lord speaking on the parable of the talents found in Matthew 24: 14-30.

It started me thinking about the one talent we all have as true followers of Jesus Christ and I believe it is our own unique testimony, or in other words, the account of how and when the Lord brought us to a saving knowledge of himself and his Kingdom and His on going work in and through us from that point for His Glory. A talent so often neglected, and to what cost?

I invite you to read it again with that in mind.

The Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25

14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Revelation 12 v 11 And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Here are two new testimonies from local people who have determined not to bury their talent. Please don’t bury yours.