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and weak worms of the dust, to put forth your hands, as it were, and help him. O what a wonderful honour and privilege is this !
It is quite possible, however, that some, nay many of you, may have given God some of your time, and some of your money, who have not given him your hearts; but, remember, God will not be satisfied without your heart; for he says, “My son, give me thine heart." (Prov. xxiii. 26.) Then be advised, dear young friends, before you do any thing more for God, first to give him your hearts, that he may wash them, and make them humble and holy hearts, and fit for his holy service; then I know you will never tire of serving him here, but will love him more and serve him better the longer you live, till at last you are ready to be removed to his sinless service above, in the upper sanctuary. But, again, those boys and girls who offer God a little of their service or their money, without giving him their hearts, will soon weary of the business. They may do it for a time, because their other young friends are doing it, or because they may like to see their names in print in the Missionary Record, or from some other unworthy motive; but they will soon find other occupations which they like better, and another master, even the prince of this world, whose service affords their carnal hearts more delight. To such of you as are not yet tired of serving God, and are thankful for further time and opportunity to serve him, I have something more to say. In looking over the statements of collections made during the holiday week for the different missionary schemes, it struck me, and I dare say it has also been apparent to yourselves, how very much larger the sum collected for the Foreign Missions was than for the Home Mission, which stands next it, or than for any of the other missionary schemes. Now, I would not wish that the Foreign Missions should get one halfpenny less than you have designed for them-I would not wish to take away any from the large sum to add to the smaller-nay, I hope by next year collected by you for foreign missions may be larger still; but it would be desirable that some of the others should be larger also. It would gladden many a Highland heart, and many a Lowland one too, if you would collect something more for the “ Home Mission.” “ A home mission ? ” perhaps some of you may say, “have we not plenty of ministers at home? What is the use of a home mission ?" That we have many good ministers at home, let us be thankful to God, who in this matter causes us to differ from the heathen; but let not any one suppose that there are PLENTY. Ah! no; there are many districts of country in our own land where there are neither ministers nor teachers; and what makes the want the more affecting is, that the poor people are so anxious to have them. When we send a missionary to India or Africa at considerable expense, he labours, it may be, for years before he collects a congregation of twenty or thirty converts to attend on his ministry; but in the destitute places of our own land, there are hundreds and thousands of people ready to gather round a minister, and feed with hungry souls on the bread of life which he divides amongst them. At the same time, they are so poor that they are not able to pay almost any thing to maintain amongst them those who can feed their souls. These people have been without ministers since the Disruption, which you know is more than five years ago, and many of them without true spiritual guides much longer. Stranger ministers twice or thrice a year, it may be, give them a service, and it is most affecting to see how they welcome him when he comes—how they hang upon the words which he preaches—and how they beg and beseech him to come soon back again, that their souls may not starve altogether. But as these things will be best understood by your being made acquainted with some particular cases, it is my intention to write you a letter now and then in the Children's Missionary Record about “the Highlanders;” and I have little doubt, when you know more about them, that you will do more for the “Home Mission,” an important part of whose work it is to labour for their benefit.
A Highland minister mentioned in the Free Assembly last summer, that he had gone to administer the sacrament of the Lord's Supper in one of these destitute districts. He commenced the service about 11 a. M., and continued it, with a little assistance from a young brother clergyman, till 7 P.M., when he retired to the vessel, which was his home at the time, to take some repose. But do you think the congregation went away home too ? No; the bread of life had been so sweet to their taste, that although they had had a feast of eight hours' duration, they were not satisfied with that; but three thousand of them continued engaged in the services of the sanctuary all night, and only broke up in time to go to their work next morning.
I shall conclude this, which shall be my first letter about the Highlanders, by telling you about a young girl called Christy W—, who became very hungry for the bread of life, and travelled a long way to find it. She was the only child of her parents, and consequently was better educated than most of the neighbouring children; or, indeed, the grown-up people too, for she could read the Gaelic Bible. Her employment was to keep her father's sheep-she went to the hills with them early in the morning, and did not return home till late in the evening.
Whilst alone in these mountain solitudes, God began to work in the heart of this shepherd girl by means of his word and Spirit. She read in her Bible that she was a sinner, and the Holy Spirit caused her to feel that this was true. She was indeed a sinner! She had said many bad and unkind words; she had thought many bad thoughts; she had done many bad things: she now felt like St Paul that she was a “ chief sinner.” She did not know what to do. She still went to the hills with her sheep—and she liked better to go there than to be at home, because she was least disturbed ; but she went into the holes of the rocks, and to the tops of the highest hills, that she might weep for her sins. She tried to hide the distressed state of her mind from her parents and neighbours as long as she could; but at last she could conceal it no longer. Some of them pitied her; others laughed at her, and said it was all nonsense-she must have
gone mad, for she was one of the best girls in the place; but none of them could give her the least comfort. If there had been a minister near, she would have gone to him to have asked what she must do to be saved; but there was none in all that part of the Highlands, so she bethought herself of going to the Lowlands, where she had an aunt, for she said, “There is no rest for my soul to be found in the Highlands—no peace, no rest."
Accordingly, one winter's morning she set off on foot with only a few shillings in her pocket, to travel a distance of a hundred and fifty miles, if, peradventure, she
might find rest for her weary soul. Poor Christy! if you only had known how near Jesus was to you when you sat weeping alone on the tops of the high hills, and amidst the holes of the wild rocks, you need not have taken such a long and wearisome journey to find Him who only could give rest to your soul; but you did not know, and there was none to teach you.
It was the evening of the third day after leaving home that she arrived at the village of A- -y, just as a sharp and drifting snow-storm was setting in. She knew nobody there; but, as she was passing along the cottages, she heard the sound of psalm-singing emanating from one of them, so she stopped and thought to herself, “Ah! here is a family who fears God; I will knock at this door, and ask if they will give me a night's lodgingperhaps í may learn the way of peace from them.” So, after worship was over, she knocked at the door. It was opened by an elderly man, who asked her who she was, and what she wanted? With a trembling heart she replied, “I am Christy W- a poor distressed girl who can find no rest for her soul in the Highlands, and I am going south in search of peace.” The man looked at her with a kind and compassionate air, and said, “ If it be so with you, my child, come in; come in thou child of God, thou art heartily welcome to share our dwelling." Nay, sir," said the girl," do not mistake me; I am not a child of God's, but an enemy by my wicked works.” However, the kind old man took her in, perceiving that she was in need of counsel for her soul as well as shelter for the body, and she was very thankful to go. During the evening she had much interesting conversation with the man and his wife, for of such the family consisted; and as they felt interested in her, and thought, besides, as they were old they would be the better of a young person like her to live with them, they asked her, before she set off on her journey next morning, if she would not remain and be a daughter to them. She felt thankful for the invitation, as she found they were capable of teaching her about the things of God, in which she knew lay her only hope of finding peace and happiness; so she agreed to reinain with them for a time at least. Here she found also that she could enjoy the privilege of going to church every Lord's-day, and of hearing His servants preach and expound the way of God more perfectly. As if to show, however, that the Lord himself, who had begun his work in this young girl's heart, must also finish it, and that mere human teaching was not sufficient to do this, she continued under these means of grace for fully two years before she could believe that God would be reconciled to her. Many nights her distress was so great she could not lie in her bed, but got up, and, for fear of disturbing the family, would go out into the little garden behind and pour out her prayers, and groans, and tears, before God. At last, one night, when thus engaged, light broke in upon her soul; the Holy Spirit of God then taught her to believe that God was reconciled to her through Christ Jesus, and that he had been so long before she was reconciled to herself; and then she wondered that she had remained so long a time unbelieving of God's mercy; and oh! how she thanked and now praised him for this wonderful mercy to her.
But now that she had found peace with God, she became anxious to return home, and tell her friends and neighbours what great things Jesus had done for her soul, and also what he was willing to do for them too, who were living in ignorance of the great salvation. So, after bidding her kind friends at A
-y an affectionate farewell, she set off again to the Highlands. Her friends were very happy to get her back again; and, if she was a favourite before with the people, she became ten times more so now. As the best means of serying her God, and also her poor Highland friends, very few of whom could read, she opened a school for teaching them to read the Gaelic Bible. The school was soon crowded; and so sweetly did she teach in it the precious truths of God's Word, that the scholars loved far better to go to that little school than most children like to go to their play. One who was a scholar there told me, that "they were sorry to leave it at night, and longed for the time when they should meet again in the morning, that they might learn more of the things of God." I will only add, that God gave her great acceptance with the people, and sent by her a message of peace to many souls-to how many, the day of judgment only will reveal. Although those who benefited by her instructions were so poor as not to be able to pay her any fee, neither did she wish any, yet they showed their grati