A WEE PEEK – “… The grace of God swept through the village, and Sandend, so long dead and barren, now bore much fruit and blossomed as the rose. About half the population were converted. We often met numbers of the converts in after years at different fishing centres and were glad to find that they continued steadfast and faithful witnesses for God…”
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The Sandend Revival
THE REVIVAL RIDE SERIES #5
The ‘Seen and Heard’ eBook
Author: Rev. James M’Kendrick
Sandend is perhaps one of the smallest fishing villages on the Moray Firth, about seven miles from Cullen, and nearly the same distance from Portsoy. M’Farlane was in Cullen while I was in Findochty, and as everywhere, God was using him mightily in that place. The news of God’s blessing reached Sandend, and two worthy Christian brothers, named George and James Hay, went to see the work of grace in Cullen. What they saw made them long to see like blessings in Sandend.
They got a few others to go with them from Sandend to Cullen for the Sunday services. Some of these God saved, and they prevailed on M’Farlane to visit their village. He was only there two or three days, however, when he was suddenly called away, through the unexpected death of his mother-in-law, he wrote beseeching me to try and visit Sandend, assuring me that there were signs of a harvest. I went, and at once found a spirit of anxiety. There was neither church nor hall in the village of about 350 people. But we got the school, into which we were able to pack about 250. I was wearied and worn out with our thirteen weeks’ night-and-day missions at Rosehearty and Findochty.
Seeing such signs of blessing and feeling my physical weakness, I wrote for two of my Findochty friends to come and help me. They came and preached the Gospel, and told how God had visited Findochty, and urged upon the people of Sandend their need of being saved. All this they did in the unmistakable power of the Holy Spirit. These men were Joseph Sutherland (Katie’s father) and David Fleet (Tosh). Their preaching I may forget, but their prayers I never will. I never heard anyone pray with such power as those men. A profound impression was made upon the people, and many were under deep conviction and longing to be saved, but Satan had reigned with an undisputed say in Sandend and was loath to let go his grip.
I asked all who were anxious to be saved to wait for an after-meeting. Many waited, but amongst them were about a dozen men who had no anxiety of soul, and only stayed to ridicule, or as they profanely termed it, “see the fun.” I did not attempt to speak personally to any but directed my arrows with good effect towards that band. God, by his Holy Spirit, used His Word to lay bare their lost condition. Gladly would they have gone out, but they had waited by choice, and did not care to draw greater attention by abruptly leaving. They heard and received what they did not expect, and when my Findochty friends prayed for “the godless, Christless men who had waited to scoff, that God would save their souls from hell and from a Christless eternity,” they literally trembled.
I then spoke a few minutes longer, and dismissed the meeting, asking all to come the following night. We spent till midnight in prayer, and the greater part of the next day was also devoted to pleading with God for His blessing, and we had the assurance that the blessing was coming. The school could not accommodate the people that night and it was felt that the power of God was resting upon the meeting. A notable character was converted during the address, and at the close, he stood up, and in a calm, deliberate way said, “I have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour.” With special reference to his old companions, he remarked: “you may all do as you please but henceforth I will follow Jesus.”
Everyone knew him as a man who had faithfully served the devil, and his testimony had a wondrous effect upon the meeting. I spoke a few words and dismissed the meeting, inviting all who were anxious to remain. That night none but the anxious waited. The baser sort fled at the first opportunity, and from that time the good work began. Many passed from death unto life, and next day they were doing all they could for the salvation of their friends, and the one topic of conversation was Sandy Sutherland’s conversion, and his simple testimony in the schoolhouse.
While preaching at night on the prodigal son, I was portraying the elder brother, who would not go into the house though, “his father came out and entreated him.” As I did so, an aged woman got up and cried, “I’ll go in, Lord; I’ll go in. You’ll not need to plead with me any longer, I’ll go in this very night.” And immediately her soul was aglow with joy and peace, and her heart filled with praise. She shouted, “Oh, praise the Lord, I’m saved, I’m in.” Her husband was sitting by her side, he too was over seventy years of age and looking down to him, she cried, “Rise and praise the Lord with me; rise and praise the Lord.” As she kept repeating this, she patted his very bald head, first with one hand, then with both hands.
At this point, a man in the furthest corner of the school sprang up, and with great difficulty, owing to the crowded state of the hall, made for the door, evidently in a great rage. It turned out that he was the son of the old woman who was exhorting her husband to “rise and praise the Lord with me.” He felt so angry and ashamed that his mother should stand up in a service that he rushed from the place. He went home and sat down to brood mischief, but instead, this question came home to him by the Holy Spirit, “Why aren’t you ashamed of yourself instead of being ashamed of your mother? If you were the man you ought to be, you would be glad, and not angry that your aged mother had trusted Christ, and confessed Him as her Saviour. Go back to the meeting and confess the Saviour too.” But he lacked the courage to do this, and his was a sleepless night.
By daybreak he had gone upon his knees confesses his sins, sought and found God’s pardoning grace, and his first act was to go and confess his deep sorrow to his mother for his behaviour. Those who had seen his conduct on the previous night could hardly believe that A. Smith was among those who had found peace in believing; but all doubt was soon removed by his testimony and zeal in the work, for he at once became a bright and shining light in the village.
The grace of God swept through the village, and Sandend, so long dead and barren, now bore much fruit and blossomed as the rose. About half the population were converted. We often met numbers of the converts in after years at different fishing centres and were glad to find that they continued steadfast and faithful witnesses for God. While in Portnockie the following year, I went to Sandend to spend a day with my old friends. Some were at sea and did not come in till the evening. Amongst these were the brothers John and George Innes.
I had only a few minutes with them after they arrived, but their happy, Christ-like spirit and manner was cheering indeed. As I was leaving, I said; “Pray much for us in Portnockie.” One of them said, “Mr M’Kendrick, we will never forget you, for the great blessing you have been to us.” The other added, “We will pray for you as long as we live.” The following Saturday at about 8 am a terrific gale suddenly burst upon the coast while many of the boats were at sea. All tried to reach the harbour, and through great peril, most of them succeeded, but in vain did people watch and wait for the arrival of the Innes Brothers. Though it was only four miles from shore where they were fishing, the gale was so fierce that their boat foundered, and the four brothers perished together, leaving our widows and fourteen orphans; as well as their aged father and mother, who were absolutely dependent upon their sons.
After the calamity, I went to see the mourners, with a desire to minister comfort. The widows bore up bravely beneath the heavy stroke, but the grief of the aged couple I can never forget. Such is the fishers’ life and the fishers’ lot. Very many of our spiritual children have had a sudden end and a watery grave; but when the resurrection morning dawns, they will arise from land and sea, and awake in His likeness. “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord,” no matter where the body may be buried.