Friday, December 04, 2009

1625 Revival in 1859

Here are two verses from a poem I found recently about the 1625 Sixmilewater Revival, from a book published in 1859:

When God would plant our goodly vine within this land, of yore,
A people suffering for the truth He guided to our shore:
From Scotland's rugged land they came, a stern and stalwart race;
They came from England's clime, less used danger and toil to face.
Where Neagh and Strangford wide expand, by Carrick's castled town,
Where Foyle and Lagan ebb and flow,- the pilgrims sate them down.
And through long years of struggle sore, as erst their fathers prayed,
They joyed that they were free to pray, with none to make afraid !

When God would plant our goodly vine within this land, of yore,
A band of exiled ministers, brave men, He hither bore;
Dunbar and Stewart, Robert Blair, in sacred lore who shone,
James Hamilton of noble blood, and honoured Livingstone,
And Brice, and holy Cunningham, and Welsh from Scotland came
While Henry Colvert, Hubbard, Ridge did bear an English name.
Long ages past these valiant men have gained the crown on high,
But though long dead, their work remains - their work will never die !

Sometimes the first isn't the most important.

- The first permanent English settlement in America was founded in 1607 at Jamestown, yet the event which has the big annual festivities, Thanksgiving, marks the later arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers on the ship The Mayflower.

- Here, many people look to Patrick and a variety of early "saints" as being the first ones to bring Christianity to Ireland. Maybe that is technically true... but perhaps the event which should be commemorated is the arrival of Brice, Blair, Cunningham et al in the early 1600s. Perhaps these were the men who brought the simple Reformed gospel to Ireland.

This year, Edinburgh is hosting a number of Reformation-themed events during the New Year festivities of Hogmanay. I am fairly sure than John Knox would be appalled by this, but perhaps this might mark a turning point - one where the influence of the Reformation upon Scotland is being acknowledged in mainstream culture for the first time in many a generation.

It was 1606 when the first obvious "kingly interference" struck the General Assembly of the Kirk in Scotland. It was May 1606 when the first large-scale migrations from Scotland to Ulster began. Maybe this should be our very own Thanksgiving.