Initial Stages

Revival in Cambuslang, Scotland

►in the 1700s the “Age of Reason,” or “Enlightenment,” led the European churches into deism, and the preaching of a “born-again” experience was rare. Many ministers could not give evidence of a conversion experience.

►The Church of Scotland pastor, William M’Culloch, had a passion for God, and in February 1741 he began to preach in his Cambuslang church about the importance of being born again.

►M’Culloch was in communication with Jonathan Edwards in America and received news about the revival that was taking place in the American colonies (First Great Awakening). He would read the revival accounts to his congregation and the passion for God increased.


Extraordinary Prayer & Hunger for God

►In August 1741, George Whitefield preached in the neighboring town of Glasgow, Scotland, and at least 14 Cambuslang church members went to hear him preach. Those individuals would report about what they heard and saw under Whitefield’s preaching – many turning to Christ – and the hunger for revival in the Cambuslang congregation increased.

February 15, 1742: Prayer meetings took place daily at the Rev. M’Culloch’s residence, and many began to show concern for their salvation.

February 18, 1742: After the sermon, 50 came to M’Culloch with a deep concern for the state of their souls. He spent the entire night exhorting and encouraging them to place their trust in Christ.

►The growing desire for more of God required M’Culloch to preach almost daily, then spend time with people afterwards in prayer and spiritual counseling.

►During this time, 300 people were awakened to a deep concern about salvation.


Open Air Preaching

►July 6, 1742, George Whitefield visited Cambuslang and preached 3x on the day of his arrival to a vast body of people. His last sermon began at nine in the evening and continued till eleven. The hunger for the Word of God was so strong, that M’Culloch preached after him till past one in the morning. Even then the people could hardly be persuaded to depart. All night, in the fields, the voice of prayer and praise was to be heard.

►Whitefield commented about this day: It far out-did all that I ever saw in America. For about an hour and a half there were scenes of uncontrollable distress, like a field of battle. Many were being carried into the manse [pastor’s home] like wounded soldiers [because they were overcome with severe conviction of sin].”

The Above Picture: Holy Fair (communion event) in Mauchline, Scotland. Painted by Alexander Carse in 1830.


Communion Services

Communion services (holy fairs) at this time where held from Friday till Monday, giving a period of introspection prior to partaking of communion on Sundays.


►On Friday, July 9, 1742, George Whitefield returned again to Cambuslang and preached to more than 20,000. Above 500 came to Christ.

►Whitefield’s testimony of what he saw during his sermons: “…such an universal stir I never saw before. You might have seen thousands bathed in tears. Some at the same time wringing their hands, others almost swooning and others crying out.”


►Numbers present were estimated to be between 30,000 – 50,000.

►What was most remarkable about this event was the gracious and sensible pre­sence of God. Not a few were awakened to a sense of sin, and their lost and perishing condition without a Savior.

►Thousands and thousands melted down under the word and power of God.


Testimony of Little to No Backsliding

►Rev. M’Culloch wrote: “I…have now before me, at the writing of this April 27, 1751, a list of about four hundred persons awakened here at Cambuslang in 1742, who from that time, to the time of their death, or to this, that is, for these nine years past, they have been all enabled to behave, in a good measure, as becometh the Gospel.”



►In less than two months after the communion services, there were few communities within twelve miles of Cambuslang that did not experience something of the same. Upwards of 2,000 persons placed their faith in Christ.

►The revival spread to distant cities throughout Europe.


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Above Picture: May 1742
George Whitefield preaching at Cambuslang, Scotland.
During sermons, disrupters would be present:
>Man in tree exposed himself
>Man in tree blowing trumpet
>Someone threw pieces of a dead cat at him
>Man on another’s shoulders attempting to whip Whitefield
>A merry-andrew [joker] in the crowd disrupting the sermon
>A recruiting-sergeant with a drum, marching through the crowd of
30,000+, attempting to recruit soldiers.

The Scottish Evangelical
Revival of the 18th Century
by Arthur Fawcett

CENTURY: Particularly
at Cambuslang
by D. MacFarlan