Ballater Free Church (1874)

THE following has been sent to us from Ballater, a small village beautifully situated on the river Dee, a few miles from Balmoral Castle. We believe that a similar tale could be told by many clergymen and others who have found a door open this summer for preaching the gospel everywhere, such as they never found before. We beg respectfully to invite reports of holiday work in town or country.

Though the labours of Messrs Moody and Sankey have been mostly carried on in our larger cities and towns, the interest in their work, and the desire to share in the blessing following it, are by no means confined to our highly - favoured centres of population. Wherever one goes a holidaying at present; at the coast and in the country alike, the chief topic of talk is this special time of grace which has come to our own and other lands. In the crowded steamboat, in the packed railway carriage, in the quiet meander by the sea shore, and in the still more pleasant stroll along the river's bank, and through the shady wood, and over the heathery hill, one is delighted to find that the conversation (sooner or later) turns to the "times of blessing" in which we live. This is true of even those places which have not been privileged with a visit from the American evangelists. When Mr Moody and Sankey were in Aberdeen, a few of the inhabitants of this district went to hear them. Their souls were stirred and came back desirous to hear more, especially of the work in parts of our country farther south than the "Granite City."

Several ministers being at present recruiting at this upland village, it was resolved to hold one or two evangelistic evenings. On the evening of Thursday, the 16th inst a meeting was held at Tombey, several miles down the strath, in a district rendered memorable by the pen of Lord Byron - the farmhouse of Ballatrech, where he resided for some time, being in the neighbourhood. The evening was fine, and the people met and were addressed outside. Rev. J. A. Simpson, Bonnet Hill Free Church, Dundee, presided, and the meeting was taken part in by the chairman, Rev. W. McGregor, Amoy, China, and Rev G. G. Cameron, Free St John's, Glasgow.

It was resolved to have next week, on the village green, an open-air service, to hear reports of the work in the south. Intimation of this meeting was given from the pulpits of both the Free and Established Churches last Sabbath. The evening of the meeting - Wednesday, 22nd curt - was very wet, and the service was therefore held in the Free Church, a neat structure at the foot of Craigandarroch, one of the towering peaks of the Deeside hills. Considering that rain was falling in torrents at the hour of meeting, the attendance was remarkably good. The Rev. D. Campbell, of the Free Church, presided and opened the meeting with praise and prayer. Rev. W. M Gregor then addressed the meeting from John vi. 37, pressing home with much earnestness the reality of the gospel invitation, and feelingly contrasting the privileges we enjoy in Scotland with the darkness of heathen lands. He was followed by Rev. G. G. Cameron of Glasgow, who chose for his subject the story of Naaman the Syrian. He took up some of the difficulties that have come most to the surface in dealing with anxious inquirers
at present, and the most common misconceptions of the simple way of salvation. Rev J A Simpson, Dundee, gave an interesting and telling account of the work in that city, mentioning several touching cases of conversion that had come under his notice. The hymn "Gate ajar" was then sung, and the meeting was closed

An interesting feature of both meetings was the delight with which the singing of Mr Sankey's hymns was received by those who were unacquainted with them. The touching words find their way to all hearts, and the simple music is caught up almost at once by the eager listeners.

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