Lovely Leitrim and Lough Allen
25th July 2016
Questions Only You Can Answer
25th July 2016

Memories of Maghera

‘Precious Memories, how they linger’
These words of a well-known song remind us of how precious memories can be to all of us. In researching the history of Maghera many of its memories of bygone days can be found in historic documents. A lot of information has also been recorded in books, diaries and letters. Some of the senior citizens still like to sit at the fireside and talk of some of the most remarkable and memorable events in the history of Maghera. These accounts have been handed down from generation to generation and are very precious to the present inhabitants of the district.

One of the abiding memories of Maghera concerns an event known as ‘The Great Awakening’. It was a Spiritual ‘Awakening’ and consisted of three elements:
► People were awakened to the fact that they were sinners and needed to be saved from the penalty for sin, which is eternity in Hell.
► They were awakened to the fact that Church attendance, religious exercises or their own good works could not save them.
► They were awakened to the fact that their only hope of Salvation lay in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died as a substitute for sinners. On the cross at Calvary He paid in full the penalty for the sins of all who would repent and put their faith in Him, trusting Him as Saviour.

This ‘Awakening’ began in Kells, Co. Antrim but soon spread to many parts of Ulster. It reached the Maghera district on Thursday 2 June 1859. A man named Thomas Campbell travelled from Co. Antrim to visit relatives and friends in Culnady, a village situated about two miles from Maghera. As he sat at the fireside in his relative’s house he began to describe some of the unusual happenings he had witnessed at religious meetings.

The very presence of God seemed to fill the meeting-places and people who had not been to Church for many years seemed to be drawn to the services. During many of the meetings a number of people cried out in agony, publicly confessing that they were sinners. Others fell to the ground as if they had fainted. Some of the congregation shook with terror, gripped with a terrible fear of Hell. Others fell into a trance. The burden of sin weighed heavily upon many hearts and fear of the impending judgement of God caused them to cry to Him for mercy. People who had believed that Church membership or attendance at the Church Ordinances or Sacraments would save their souls suddenly realised that salvation could only be found through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.
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