Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cud Ye no Dae a Wee bit Mair for the Lord?

A few years ago, a big man called John Montgomery from Connor Presbyterian Church told me that the prayer meeting which is often claimed to have been the beginning of the 1859 Revival began because of the power of these words, which were spoken by the local minister to a young man who had recently been saved. I've been digging around trying to find a source for it. Here are a few:

• "... In the spring of 1855... at the close of a Sabbath evening of that period, at one of his Bible-class examinations, Mr Moore addressed a young man present, and affectionately urged upon him the duty of doing "something more" for God..."
from William Gibson's The Year of Grace, a History of the Ulster Revival of 1859 (1909)

The "something more" he encouraged them to do was Bible study - "reading and searching the word of God".

• "...Rev J H Moore, minister of the Connor congregation... was a great believer in setting his members to some definite work in the church and about this time he spoke to some of his more promising young men about taking up some such active work in the neighbourhood. "Do something more for God", he said to them..."
from Carson, God's River in Spate, Chapter II, p 7. (1958)
(The young men were James McQuilkin, Jeremiah Meneely, John Wallace and Robert Carlisle, who soon after began to run a Sunday School at Tanneybrake near Connor, and then a prayer meeting)

• "...It is interesting to note that the very month Jeremiah Lanphier commenced the Fulton Street Prayer Meeting in New York, September 1857 that four young men, James McQuilkin, Jeremiah Meneely, Robert Carlisle and John Wallace, began a weekly prayer meeting in the Old National Schoolhouse near Kells, not far from Ballymena. The Rev J H Moore had exhorted a handful of his young men to 'Do something more for God. Could you not gather at least six of your careless neighbours, either parents of children, to your house or some convenient place on the Sabbath and spend one hour with them, reading and searching the Word of God Each of them accepted the challenge and a Sabbath School and prayer meeting starter in a schoolhouse in Tanneybrake. Two months later the group moved: for the sake of convenience to a more central location in the Old National Schooihouse in Kells where they began to meet on a Friday night for the Believer's Fellowship Meeting..."
quoted from this blog

• "...In 1855 Rev. J. H. Moore, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Connor, Northern Ireland, urged one of his young men to do "something more" for God. "Could you not gather at least six of your careless neighbors and spend an hour with them in reading and searching the Word of God?" The young man agreed to at-tempt "something more." And the result was the commencement of the Tannybrake Sunday school. After two years' labor, the teachers of this little school did again "something more." They asked the parents of the children to come to a meeting for prayer and Bible reading at the close of the school. Only one responded at first, but the meeting grew, and soon the Sabbath School Teachers' Prayer Meeting became intensely interesting, for the Spirit of God came pouring into this newly-opened channel. "Christ and the Cross" became the one absorbing theme of the gathering..."
from Old Time Revivals by John Shearer (1932)

Authors don't often write in the vernacular, so I expect that Gibson tidied up the original quotation into standard English, which has then been repeated over the years by subsequent writers. Rev JH Moore of Connor and his brother Rev SJ Moore of First Ballymena were both local men. I expect they may well have spoken with the local folk in Ulster-Scots, and not necessarily theological college English. Anyway, I prefer it the way John Montgomery told it to me:

"Cud ye no dae a wee bit mair for the Lord?"