William Burns (1815 – 1868) was born, the third son, to Christian parents, his father being a minister in the Church of Scotland. His favourite book was Pilgrim’s Progress. Upon entering University in Aberdeen to study law, William Burns was converted after receiving a letter from his sisters. From the moment of his conversion, he was aware of a call to the ministry of the Gospel. He completed theological training in Glasgow and helped in the formation of the Students Missionary Society.
When the Fire of the Holy Spirit Came Down
In 1839, just before his 24th birthday, he was licensed to preach as a probationer for the ministry. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, the young Godly minister of St. Peter’s in Dundee, asked Burns to take his place while he was away on a mission to Palestine. William’s ministry during this time was much blessed and while visiting his father’s church at Kilsyth, the Holy Spirit so powerfully came upon William as he preached and upon the congregation, that the service lasted for five hours. His message was: “No cross, no crown.” Many people fell to the ground in repentance, calling out for God’s mercy. By the time M’Cheyne came back from Palestine, there were 39 prayer meetings held in connection with the Church every week, five of them composed entirely of little children. A spiritual Revival swept the countryside. Men and women seemed to have but one concern and that was how to be right with God.