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paired. They are beautiful specimens of the silversmith's art, and devout minds are touched at the thought that they are the cups which were blessed during the two great outpourings of the Holy Spirit on the people. The very coldest might realise the sacredness of these holy vessels when they think of the generations of parishioners that have lifted them, their spirits warm and trembling at the quick realisation of Crucified Love. 1
The two chalices of 1731 have now other two companions formed after the same pattern, and which bear the following inscription :-"Given by Sir Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath, Bart., M.P., to the Church and Parish of Kilsyth, MDCCCXVII. These also are in solid silver, and were in use at the time of the second great refreshing as from the presence of the Lord. There are also among the sacred vessels two flagons, inscribed “ MONIABRUGA KIRK, 1772"; and two patens, inscribed, “ KILSYTH CHURCH, 1856." There is as yet no creditable baptismal service.
After Mr. M‘Gill, the last Episcopalian clergyman, retired, the presbytery ordered repairs, after a visitation of the parish, to the extent of £212 IS. 4d. Scots. Mr. Hay, who succeeded him, got the roof of the old church renewed, and the north aisle and vault repaired (1697). Robe, however, had not been ten years minister when there came a demand for increased accommodation. On the oth June, 1722, "he informed the Session that it was concerted between him and the factors upon the estates of Kilsyth and Banton that the aisle loft should be built and seats therein. That the seats in the aisle, both above and below the loft, should pay so much yearly to the Session ; that the Session advance a sum of money for building the said loft, and receive the
1 See Appendix V.
yearly income of the let seats until their sum be paid up both stock and interest, after which the yearly income of the let seats is to be applied for repairing the church."
In Robe's time, juries of matrons were impannelled to help the session in certain cases in the discharge of their judicial functions. The session also prosecuted causes before the civil magistrates of the place. The laws pertaining to the mortcloths were of the strictest kind: “Whosoever damaged them in any way shall be obliged to make reparations at the sight of men chosen by the Magistrates of the place.” A cabal formed in the town under pretence of giving the mason's word and suchlike nonsense, but which was really a company gathered to indulge in all-night drinking, caused Mr. Robe much trouble. Eventually he succeeded in extirpating it. His activity and zeal in all practical affairs did not render him the least unpopular, for, in 1733, he received a call from the people of Kirkintilloch. The presbytery, being of opinion that Mr. Robe in Kilsyth was the right man in the right place, refused to allow the translation to take effect.
These things take us nearer to Mr. Robe's personality, and help us to understand him. It is not to be forgotten, however, that James Robe is not held in remembrance as a parochial administrator, but as a man of God, a man learned in the Scriptures, full of the Holy Ghost and of power. The personalities of James Robe and Edward Irving have a certain correspondence. Robe was over six feet, and would be almost as tall as Irving ; but than Robe, Irving never prayed more intensely for the descent of the Holy Spirit on his Church. When a season of special profit comes to any portion of the Church, it is always well to look back on what has gone before, and consider the nature of the instruments and means which the Lord has blessed. Such views will not only help us now, but will also be helpful when we come to the second great effluence of the Holy Ghost in the time of Mr. Burns.
One thing that clearly went before the first great season of blessing was a long, an energetic, and faithful ministry. M‘Gill had laboured sixteen years; Hay, eighteen years; and Robe, twenty-nine years. There had thus been sixty-three years of a super-diligent ministry before there came the joy-time of the great harvest. Every bonfire that blazes on a hill-top is witness of a gathering of fuel by industrious labourers. The fire that burned in the parish and lit up all the district round about was kindled by the Holy Spirit; but it was these laborious workers through the long years that prepared the pile. And another thing is clear : this ministry was not only faithful, it was richly cultivated. All the three clergymen named had pretensions to scholarship. Mr. Robe was exceeding well versed both in Latin and Hebrew, and, as a man of letters, he was in touch with a large audience scattered throughout the whole country. The itinerating evangelist has his place, but the Kilsyth revival of 1742 was certainly not his work. But the preparation was not wholly of a ministerial character. Mr. Robe had round him a most conscientious session and a goodly number of people ever ready with their help.
Then, the societies for prayer that had been established in the parish were another of those important influences that helped forward the coming of that gracious season. In the parish records of 3rd December, 1721, there is the following :-“In order to the bearing down of sin, and renewing the power of godliness, it is enacted by the Session that societies for prayer and conference be set up in the congregation, and that they form themselves with a particular eye to the reformation of the manners of the congregation, and to the provoking others to love and good works, and that this work may be managed for the glory of God in attaining these ends." In the work of these societies, Mr. Robe took no part. He drew up a set of admirable rules for their regulation, and exercised over them some distant measure of oversight. Concert in prayer was an idea that was peculiarly dear to Mr. Robe, and the system he succeeded in engrafting on his parish, he succeeded in engrafting on the country. Recognising the advantages of fervent prayer to Almighty God, he organised throughout Britain and abroad, first a three years' and then a seven years' concert in prayer. These words are quoted from the preface to his sermons : _"The great King insisteth, yea, commandeth, you to wrestle with Him in prayer, giving the strongest assurances of your interest to prevail with Him. The Lord complains and takes it in ill part when His people are selfish and backward in this duty, and He takes it kindly the more public His people's spirit is in prayer. When was it that Daniel obtained testimony from heaven that he was greatly beloved ? Was it not when he was fasting and wrestling for the Church and the establishment thereof? Certainly there is much power in the concord and agreement of many in prayer, when they with joint supplications and a combined force do besiege heaven, as the petition of a shire or a county is more than a private man's application.” “Can there be a greater inducement,” Mr. Robe asks again, “ to all who love Zion, and yet more Zion's God, to pray for such revivals, than the consideration that they advance the glory of the Church to the greater glory of the Lord? Should it not excite and set an edge upon our prayers, that, in praying for such
revivals, we seek the best good of the Church, and wish that God's name may be more glorified than it is, and that He may be worshipped and served more to His pleasure ? ”
A long period of faithful ministerial labour, and systematic and persevering diligence in prayer amongst the people, were the two main forerunners of the first revival. But there were others. In December, 1732, and January, 1733, the parish was visited by a distressing pleuritic affection. People of mature years were carried off after a few days illness. There were sixty burials in three weeks. The fever carried away many of the best and most religious minded. Great were the demands made upon Mr. Robe at that time; but enjoying a measure of health and strength he had never known before, from early morning till late at night he continued his work amongst the sick and dying. This visitation had a hardening effect upon the hearts of the people. The societies for concerted prayer declined. The interest in vital godliness rapidly decreased. Men went on in their sins as formerly. But the fever had scarcely passed away, when on 27th June, 1733, at mid-day there broke over the parish a fearful storm of thunder, rain, and hail. The last were of incredible size, many of them being three inches in circumference. Down from the hillsides the raging floods poured in devastating torrents, rolling into the valley huge stones and boulders inany tons in weight. Some houses were swept away, a large number of cattle were drowned, and the corn in the low grounds was destroyed. So far from working any amendment of life, the teaching of the storm was as fruitless as the discipline of the fever.
Furthermore, in the midst of the decline in the spiritual le of the people, there grew a disputatious spirit. Rumours had come of the doings of the Associate