The Second Reformation period was not only a period of radical reformation and rediscovery of Biblical truth in the Church of Scotland. It was also the period of greatest revival throughout the whole nation that Scotland has ever experienced.
John Livingstone experienced revival on several occasions during his life. Once was at Six Mile Water in Ulster in 1625 and more famously at the Kirk of Shotts in 1630 when 500 people were said to be savingly changed. He recalled an occasion where the spiritual power of revival was evident during the time of swearing the National Covenant.
“I was present at Lanark, and several other parishes, when, on Sabbath after the forenoon service, the Covenant was read and sworn: and I may truly say that in all my life time, excepting at the kirk of Shotts, I never saw such motions from the Spirit of God. All the people generally and most willingly concurred. I have seen more than a thousand persons all at once lifting up their hands, and the tears falling down their eyes.”
Johnston of Wariston recorded a similar experience in Currie Parish Church near Edinburgh. There was “an extraordinary influence of God’s Spirit upon the whole congregation”. This took place “at their standing up and lifting up their hands” “in the twinkling of an eye”. The Spirit of God worked on them “melting their frozen hearts, watering their dry checks, changing their very countenances as it was a wonder to see”.
He says that the minister was almost suffocated with his own tears “and astonished at the motion of the whole people, sat down in the pulpit in amazement”. “When he saw all the people falling down on their knees to mourn and pray” he arose and “prayed for a quarter of an hour…with many sobs, tears, promises and vows to be thankful and fruitful in time coming”.
On 1 April he witnessed a similar event in Edinburgh involving many nobles. There was at the time of swearing such abundance of tears and “heavenly harmony of sighs and sobs, universally though all the corners of the church as the like was never seen nor heard of”.
“The Spirit of the Lord…filled the sanctuary, warmed the affections, melted the hearts, dissolved the eyes of all the people, men and women, poor and noble”.
For a long time they stood still with their hands up to the Lord. It was, said Johnston, the most glorious day that the capital ever enjoyed.
Scotland’s Greatest Revival
FOR A BUNDLE OF 3 COPIES
What insights might you learn from understanding the seven key points why the Second Reformation period was not only a national movement of reform in the Church and Nation but also the greatest period of revival in our country’s history? What if the key to the future is knowing the past?
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