God Visits Arnol
One of the most outstanding things that happened, I believe, will go down in history as long as revival is mentioned. It was in the parish of Arnol.
[Before Mr. Campbell related what happened at Arnol, he inserted this]:
Now, I regret to say that at this location I was bitterly opposed by a certain segments of the Christian churchÂÂopposed by ministers who were born‑again without question. They were God‑fearing men, but for some reason or other, they came to believe that I wasn't sound in my doctrine because I preached the baptism of the Holy Ghost. I proclaimed a Savior who could deliver from sin. Glorious emancipation! And they got it into their minds that I was teaching absolute perfection or sinless perfectionÂÂa thing that I never did, nor could I ever believe in. Of course, I believe in conditional perfection: Â“If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ, God's son, cleanses us from all sin.Â” [1st John 1:9] That is scriptural perfection that is based on obedience. But the dear men somehow believed [not one of them ever listened to me] the stories brought to them. And of course they arranged a special effort to oppose me. And several ministers were brought from the mainland to this particular parish to conduct mission meetings opposing me [Campbell] and this revival. Well, they came, and they were so successful in their opposition that very few people from this particular community came near any of our meetings. It is true that the church was crowded, it is true that people were standing outside that couldn't get in, but these were mostly people who came from neighboring parishes brought by coaches, brought by cars and what have you. But there were very few from this particular village.
After this, the revival began to spread to other towns, and what had happened in Barvas began to happen in other places. Men and women throughout the island began to plead with God in desperate intercession for their fellowman and prayer for revival. The SpiritÂ’s power began to increase.
Arnol was a small community which came within the path of the spiritual tornado. This too was a town where hardly a young person darkened the doors of any house of God, the Sundays being given to drinking and poaching. News of the revival spread, and an opposition meeting was held. Although the church was crowded, it was because many people came from various parts of the islandÂactually only a few were from Arnol. One night an elder came and said, Â“Mr. Campbell, there is only one thing that we can do. We must give ourselves to prayer. Prayer changes things.Â”
Well, as you know, I am very willing for that. I said, Â“Where will be meet?Â”
Â“Oh,Â” he said, Â“There is a farmer and he is very willing to place his farmhouse at our disposal.Â” It was winter and the church was cold; there was no heat in the building. We wanted a warmer spot, and we approached the farmer.
Now the farmer wasn't a Christian nor his wife, but they were God‑fearing. Now let me explain that you can be God‑fearing and know nothing of salvation. There are thousands of people in upper Scotland who are God‑fearing. They have family worship morning and eveningÂthey would never dream of going out to work in the morning without reading a chapter of the Bible and getting down on their knees to ask God to have mercy upon them and their family. The man may have been under the influence [of alcohol] the night beforeÂhe may not darken the door of the churchÂÂbut he would not dream of going out to work without reading the Bible. That is why I believe that most of the people in the HebridesÂÂincluding those who are unsavedÂÂhave a far greater knowledge of the Word of God than most Christians anywhere else. I think I can say that it is because of this custom: family worship. This man had that. He wasn't a Christian, but he was a God‑fearing man.
The little band of prayer warriors made their way to a farmhouse to plead the promises of God. I would say there were about 30 of us including five ministers of the Church of ScotlandÂÂmen who had burdens to see God move in revival. We were praying, but oh, the going was hard.
It was after 12 oÂ’clock midnight when I turned again to this blacksmith whom I have already referred to. Oh, in that parish he was a prince with God. And I said to him, Â“John, I feel that God would have me to call upon you to pray.Â”
John rose to his feet with his cap in hand and prayed a prayer that will never be forgotten by those who were present. He must have prayed for about a half an hour, then, pausing for a second, and then looking up towards the heavens and concluded with these words:
Â“God, do You know that Your honor is at stake? Do You know that Your honor is at stake? You promised to pour water on the thirsty and floods on the dry ground and, God, You are not doing it.Â” Now my dear people, could we pray like that? Ah, but here was a man who could. He then he went on to say, Â“There are five ministers in this meeting, and I don't know where a one of them stands in Your presence, not even Mr. Campbell. [Oh, he was an honest man.] Â“But if I know anything at all about my own poor heart, I think I can say, and I think that You know, I stand before you as an empty vessel, that I'm thirsty! thirsting for thee and for a manifestation of Thy power. I'm thirsty to see the devil defeated in this parish. I'm thirsty to see this community gripped as you gripped Barvas. I'm longing for revival and God, You are not doing it! I am thirsty, and you promised to pour water on me.Â” Then a pause and after a moment of tense silence, he cried, Â“God, your honor is at stake, I now take it upon myself to challenge you to fulfill Your covenant engageÂment!Â” Here is a man praying the prayer of faith that heaven must answer.
Now it was nearing two o'clock in the morning. What happened? The house shook. A jug on a sideboard fell onto the floor and broke. A minister beside me said, Â“An earth tremor.Â”
And I said, Â“Yes.Â” But I had my own thoughts. My mind went back to Acts chapter 4 when they prayed the place was shaken. There are those in Arnol today who will verify the fact that while the brother prayed, the dishes on the dresser rattled as God turned loose His mighty power. Then wave after wave of divine power swept through the room.
Simultaneously the Spirit of God swept through the village. People could not sleep and houses were lit all night as people arose to pray. People walked the streets in great conviction; others knelt by their bedsides crying for pardon.
When John Smith stopped praying at twenty minutes past two, I pronounced the benediction and left the house. What did I see? The whole community alive. Men carrying chairs, women carrying stools and asking, Â“Is there room for us in the churches?Â”
And thatÂ’s how the Arnol revival broke out! And oh, what a sweeping revival! I don't believe there was a single house in the village that wasn't shaken by God.
I went into another farmhouseÂÂI was thirsty, I was tired, I was needing something to drink. And I went in to ask for a drink of milk, and I found nine women in the kitchen crying to God for mercyÂÂnine of them!
As the power of God swept there was a 16-year-old young lad there, kneeling by a pigsty crying to God for mercy. And one of the elders went over to him and prayed over him, and little Donald McPhail came to know the Savior, and I believe more souls were brought to Christ through that one lad's prayers than through the preaching of all of the ministers from the island, me included. He became an outstanding prayer warrior and was asked often to pray in the meetings. One day I found him in the barn with his Bible open. When interrupted he quietly said, Â“Excuse me a little Mr. Campbell, IÂ’m having an audience with the King.Â”
Now that night the drinking house was closed. Now that's a way back in1952, and it has never been opened since [as of 1968 when Campbell delivered this message]. I was back there some time ago and an old man pointed at this house with its windows boarded up and he said, Â“Mr. Campbell, do you see that house over there? That was the drinking house in the past. Do you know that last week at our prayer meeting 14 of the men who used to drink there were praying with us three time a week, down upon their knees before God, praying for their old associates and for the spread of revival.Â” [That was over 15 years later.]
Within 48 hours many young people had surrendered their lives to Christ, and most were at in the prayer meetings!
Now, people, that's revival. That is God at work. Miracles, superÂnatural, beyond human explanation; it's God. And I am fully persuaded, dear people, that unless we see something like this happening, the average man will stagger back from our efforts, our conferences, convenÂtions, and crusadesÂÂthey will stagger back disappointed, disillusioned and despairing. But OH! if something like that happens; that demonstrates God! Even the Communists will hide in shame!