Hero of the Month – John Macdonald 2/2

Hero of the Month – John Macdonald 2/2

In 1813 Macdonald became minister at Urquhart, Ross and Cromarty, where he remained until he died. He became known as the Apostle of the North, as he trekked all over Northern Scotland, to the most inhospitable areas and in the harshest of weathers.

During his first year at Urquhart Macdonald’s wife died and an awakening began at her funeral service. Soon after, a revival began in Breadalbane at Loch Tay, and the minister asked for Macdonald to come to help. He preached the action-sermon in the tent to an assembly of people more numerous than had ever gone before in Breadalbane. His text was Isa. 54:5, ‘Thy Maker is thine husband.’ The sermon was accompanied with an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit. Some cried out and others were melted into tears while many laboured in vain to suppress their feelings. The place was then ‘no other than the house of God and the gate of heaven.’ Macdonald preached on Monday from Luke xvi. 2, by which many more were awakened.

He visited St Kilda (all residents left in 1930) in 1822 where a revival took over the island. On another trip to St Kilda a storm prevented him from going, so he was invited to minister at the Communion service at Uig , Harris. He decided to go, arriving the day before the service. There had been a revival going on for some time, resulting in 7,000 at the Communion. He preached on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday, seeing many instances of people being touched by the Holy Spirit, or as Macdonald put it, there were ‘showers of divine influences’. It is said that this was the highpoint of the revival. Like at Breadalbane it is as if the power was suddenly turned up under his ministry.

Macdonald died in 1849 and his grave can be seen at Urquhart. Sadly, I have found only one book about him, ‘The Apostle of the North’ by John Kennedy, published originally in 1866. He was a ‘revivalist’ who travelled thousands of miles to bring the gospel to anyone who would listen.
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