Rothesay (1860)

A letter referring to the work of Brownlow North.

"ROTHESAY, Feb. 7th, 1878.

"MY DEAR FRIEND,-I have too long delayed writing to you; but I was anxious before writing to see a few of those who were impressed at the time referred to, and who have maintained a consistent profession, and to get some informa­tion regarding others who have dropped out of my view. One of those referred to in my old letter died several years ago in great hope, indeed I may say in ' the full assurance of hope,' and her sister has held fast her profession, and is still one of our most earnest and consistent Christian workers.

"Mr North's visit to this place was at a very early stage of his evangelistic work; he had then no ' inquiry meetings ' in the now ordinary sense of that expression, nor did he separ­ate those whom he counted ' converts ' from the rest. He was here only for four or five days, and on the second occasion of his addressing the people, seeing some apparently impressed, he asked if I would give him leave to ask any who might wish to speak with him to come next day to my house, where he stayed. I think twenty-four came, and after conversing with them, he gave me their names. Both in private and in his public addresses he very earnestly urged all who felt concern to wait on the regular ministrations of their pastors, and to attend the Bible-classes,

"I remember that a great many came immediately after to my own class, and I believe to classes of the other congre­gations interested. There were also several fellowship and prayer-meetings kept up for a considerable time, especially among the young women, one of these having been in exist­ence before Mr North's visit, but having a larger attendance afterwards.

"Referring to my notes of that period, an interesting and instructive fact has been recalled to my mind. Our Com­munion came on in June, about four months after Mr. North was here, and while I was frequently conversing with those under concern. The great proportion of those impressed pre­ferred to remain back, and comparatively few on that occasion became communicants, although I would have had great pleasure in admitting them. I found that the best of them, after a good deal of emotion and warm feeling, were led after a time to far deeper views of sin and helplessness and a lost condition than they had at first, and were afraid to make a profession of their faith. But the next occasion, in January following, I had, I think, the largest number of young com­municants I have ever had here, and many of these I ad­mitted with the greatest comfort. In June of the following year also I had the same experience. I have kept short notes regarding sixty-two persons who conversed with me in 1858, 1859, under more or less concern. Of many of these I can now find no trace. A considerable number, I grieve to say, went back from their impressions, and some lapsed into open wickedness. But a large proportion turned out well, giving hopeful evidence of a saving change. A few I have attended on their death-beds, and have been cheered by the hope that they have gone to be with Christ. A good many are away from this place, and settled elsewhere; but many are still living here, and are earnest and consistent members of my congregation, some of them being active and earnest workers on the Lord's side.

"I remain, yours affectionately, ROBERT ELDER."

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