Pabay (1825)

Catherine Smith was a native of Pabay, a small island in Loch Roag, where dwell seven families. defence Her parents taught her also the Lord's Prayer, which she repeated duly, not only at her stated times, but often in the silence of the night. She frequently pressed the duty of prayer, not only on the other children labour but on her parents; and she told her father that, in their absence, when she would ask a blessing on the food left for the children, her brothers and sisters would mock at and beat her for doing so.

The Rev. J. Macdonald of Farintosh having preached in the parish of Uig, Kitty's parents were among the many who went to hear him. On their return they mentioned what he had said about the formality of much that is called prayer, and the ignorance of many as to its spirituality; they stated, according to their recollection of the sermon, that many had old useless prayers, and greatly needed to learn to pray with the Spirit. The child observed this, and two days after, said to her mother, "it is time for me to give over my old form of prayer." Her mother re¬plied, "neither you nor your prayers are old;" but she rejoined, I must give them over, and use the prayers which the Lord will teach me." After this she withdrew to retired spots for prayer. At one time her younger sister returned without her, and on being asked where she had left Kitty, she said, "I left her praying." Her father says that he has often sat up in the bed listening to her sweet young voice, presenting this petition with heartfelt earnest¬ness, "Oh, redeem me from spiritual and eternal death."

From the remoteness of her dwelling, Kitty had never attended any place of public worship,—but the Sabbath was her delight,—and often would she call her brothers and sisters from the play in which they were thoughtlessly engaged, asking them to join in prayer and other devout exercises, and warning them, that if they profaned the day; and disliked God's worship, they must perish. Her mother observing the intent gaze with which she looked on a large fire, enquired what she saw in that fire? She replied, "I am seeing that my state would be awful if I were to fall into that fire, even though I should be immediately taken out; but woe is me, those who are cast into hell fire will never come out thence." Another day, when walking by the side of a precipice, and looking down, she exclaimed to her mother, "how fearful would our state be if we were to fall down this rock, even though we should be lifted up again; but they that are cast into the depths of hell will never be raised there from."

One day her mother found her lying on a bench with a sad countenance and addressed some jocular words to her with a view to cheer her. But the child's heart was occupied with solemn thoughts of eternity; and instead of smiling she answered gravely, "Oh, mother, you are vexing my spirit, I would rather hear you praying." In truth, eternity was very near her, and the Spirit of God was preparing her for it. As she got up one morning, she said, "Oh, are we not wicked creatures who have put Christ to death?" Her mother, curious to hear what one so young could say on such a subject, replied, "Christ was put to death, Kitty, long before we were born." The child, speaking with an understanding heart, said, "Mother, I am younger than you, but my sins were crucifying him.' After a pause, she added, "what a wonder that Christ could be put to death when he himself was God and had power to kill everyone, indeed they only put him to death as man, for it is impossible to kill God." She used often to repeat passages from Peter Grant's spiritual songs, such as, "It is the blood of the Lamb that precious is." When she came to the conclusion of the verse, "It is not valued according to its worth," she would, in touching terms, la¬ment the sad truth, that His blood is so lightly thought of. Being present when some pious persons spoke of those in Rev. vii, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, she said, "Is it not won¬derful that, while other blood stains what is dipped in it, this cleanses and makes white?" Murdoch M‘Leod being engaged in the valuable duties of a Scottish elder in the little island of Pabay, Kitty wished to hear him, but from bashfulness was ashamed to enter the house where he was employed in worship; she therefore climbed up to the window and sat there till all was over. Being asked what she had heard, she said she was amazed to hear that Christ offered himself as a Saviour to many in our land who rejected him and that he was now going to other and more remote quarters to win souls. She then added with the pathos of a full heart, "Oh, who knows but he may return here again!" Soon after she had completed her seventh year, she was attacked by that sickness which opened her way to the kingdom of Heaven, and in December 1829, this lowly child was carried from her poor native island to the blessed region where the redeemed of the Lord find their home; and her name has left a sweet perfume behind it.

From 'Scotland Saw His Glory,' edited by Richard Owen Roberts.

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