Stenscholl (1860)



The Rev. Rod. MACLEOD,of Snizort, in the Isle of Skye writes:

In briefly adverting to the state of some of your schools which I have visited since your last report, I shall restrict myself entirely to their religious condition. To begin with Arnisort. You are already aware that a religious movement, such as, happily of late, is not uncommon in many other quarters, has more or less pervaded Skye in the course of this year. That movement assumed a decided form in connexion with my con­gregation, if not actually in the school, certainly in the school­house of Arnisort. It had been customary for some time to read to the scholars accounts of the Lord's work in other parts, and two weekly meetings were statedly kept for that purpose, to which any of the neighbours that chose might come. At the ordinary prayer-meeting held at night on Feb. 1, an un­usual number of people, as if moved by a sudden impulse, attended, by which the teacher, Mr. Pergusson, was taken somewhat aback, and feeling rather at a loss what to say, took James's Anxious Inquirer, read the first part of it, and afterwards the 16th chapter of John. During the meeting an uncommon solemnity was felt; one young girl broke out in cries for mercy, and two young men could hardly stand at prayer; and thus commenced a movement which for many weeks kept the school­house more like a hospital than anything else, many sleepless nights being passed there, and so many going to and fro that it was matter of wonder and thankfulness that Mr. and Mrs. Fergusson stood it so well. In school the children were often in deep distress at their Bible lessons and in singing psalms and hymns—the latter kindly furnished by your Association. You will now wish to know what results are observable from all this. Here I beg to be excused if I hesitate to speak decidedly of con­versions. I have seen enough of such things to teach me to wait, as "the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain." Yet it is worth while telling, that forty-six of the scholars under sixteen years of age have been more or less impressed during that blessed season; many of whom are walking so as to inspire the best hopes regarding them. The Lord bless them, and lead them in safety "through the land of deserts and of pits, of drought and of the shadow of death," to a city of rest! But why should I trespass further on your patience with details of this delightful work? I might tell you much of the children's love of the Bible, which many of them must now learn to read in Gaelic, because in that language they can best understand it ; and of their love of the preaching of the Word, to hear which they gladly go any distance, if not through fire, certainly through water, thinking little of walking in an evening from Arnisort to Portree, at least twelve miles, and returning the same night, cheering each other as they go with singing some of Zion's songs. This may suffice regarding Arnisort; but as it may meet the eye of some who take pleasure in clothing the naked, I beg to add that many of the children were often in deep dis­tress, because their parents would not allow them to come to church in the rags they usually wore. Your school at Kilmaluag has been visited with a large mea­sure of awakening power. No fewer than ten girls and six boys, one-third of the whole number attending, being seriously impressed, and their conduct hitherto is giving general satisfaction, much to the comfort of your worthy teacher there notwithstanding the amount of labour to which he has in consequence been subjected. Of your industrial school at Steinscholl, conducted by Mrs. M'Donald, the catechist's wife, I have also a gratifying report to make. The school is attended by twenty-six young women, as interesting a looking batch as Iever saw anywhere. Of that number about one-fourth have been so impressed as to give every hope that the true peace of God is in the hearts of some of them at least. Hitherto in your reports, so far as I know, you could only indulge in expressions of hope regarding the religious condition of your schools; I beg now to congratulate you, and your worthy coadjutors, on the decided proofs which the last season has furnished of the Divine countenance being vouchsafed to your labours of love.

From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume VI, page 36.


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