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Friday, March 18, 2005

WILLIAM C. BURNS: by David Smithers

William Chalmers Burns was born in the Manse of Dun, in Angus, on April Ist, 1815. He was converted through his sister as a young man in Edinburgh, and walked 36 miles to his parents home in Kilsyth to tell them of his love for Christ!

Mr. Burns gave himself almost wholly to itinerant Gospel preaching, through Perth-shire, up as far north as Aberdeen, preaching in barns, on market-places, and wherever the people could be gathered together to hear the Word.

His message was plain, and to the point; thousands were awakened and many saved. But the adversary opposed. Time and again Mr. Burns was stoned, and bore the marks of these brands of the enemy for many days!
In September of 1840 Scotland's famous praying pastor, Robert Murray M’Cheyne wrote a letter to William C. Burns. He writes, "I am deepened in my conviction, that if we are to be instruments in ( A TRUE REVIVAL ) we must be purified from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. Oh cry for personal holiness, constant nearness to God by the blood of the Lamb! Bask in His beams, - lie back in the arms of love, - be filled with the Spirit, or all success in the ministry will only be to your own everlasting confusion."

William C. Burns, like M’Cheyne, was not merely a man of hopeful theories and empty words. Through his fervent praying and preaching, literally thousands witnessed the tangible glory of God. From an early age, William C. Burns heart was broken for a lost and dying world. The story is told that when he was seventeen he was brought by his mother from the quiet town of KiIsyth to the bustling city of Glasgow.

His mother was separated from her son while she was shopping. After retracing her steps she discovered him in an alley with tears streaming down his face. She could see he was suffering great agony and said, "Willie my boy, what ails you? Are you ill?" With broken cries he replied, "Oh, mother, mother - the thud of these Christless feet on the way to hell breaks my heart"

The spiritual eyes of young William Burns had caught a glimpse of the everlasting horrors of a Christless eternity. This vision no doubt help shape this young man who would later become one of the key instruments in the great Kilsyth Revival of 1839.

He often found himself being driven to his knees in almost constant intercession. "He wept for hours in deep soul agony on behalf of a backslidden church and the lost souls going to hell." His ministry was consistently marked by a divine urgency and intensity. As a result, his preaching produced extraordinary results.

Mr. Burns recalls a time during the Kilsyth Revival when strong men fell powerless under the power of the Gospel hammer. "During the whole time that I was speaking, the people listened with the most solemn attention. At last their feelings became too strong and broke forth in weeping and wailing, tears and groans, intermingled with shouts of glory and praise from some of the people of God.

The appearance of a great part of the people gave me a vivid picture of the state of the ungodly in the day of Christ’s coming to judgement. Some were screaming out in agony. Strong men fell to the ground as if they were dead. Such was the general commotion even after repeating for some time the most free and urgent invitations of the Lord to sinners."... Continue reading

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