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The Annals of the Parish; or, the chronicle of Dalmailing during the ministry of the Rev. Micah Balwhidder   By: (1779-1839)

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ANNALS OF THE PARISH Or The Chronicle of Dalmailing during the ministry of the Rev. Micah Balwhidder. Written by himself and arranged and edited by John Galt


In the same year, and on the same day of the same month, that his Sacred Majesty King George, the third of the name, came to his crown and kingdom, I was placed and settled as the minister of Dalmailing. {1} When about a week thereafter this was known in the parish, it was thought a wonderful thing, and everybody spoke of me and the new king as united in our trusts and temporalities, marvelling how the same should come to pass, and thinking the hand of Providence was in it, and that surely we were preordained to fade and flourish in fellowship together; which has really been the case: for in the same season that his Most Excellent Majesty, as he was very properly styled in the proclamations for the general fasts and thanksgivings, was set by as a precious vessel which had received a crack or a flaw, and could only be serviceable in the way of an ornament, I was obliged, by reason of age and the growing infirmities of my recollection, to consent to the earnest entreaties of the Session, and to accept of Mr Amos to be my helper. I was long reluctant to do so; but the great respect that my people had for me, and the love that I bore towards them, over and above the sign that was given to me in the removal of the royal candle stick from its place, worked upon my heart and understanding, and I could not stand out. So, on the last Sabbath of the year 1810, I preached my last sermon, and it was a moving discourse. There were few dry eyes in the kirk that day; for I had been with the aged from the beginning the young considered me as their natural pastor and my bidding them all farewell was, as when of old among the heathen, an idol was taken away by the hands of the enemy.

At the close of the worship, and before the blessing, I addressed them in a fatherly manner; and, although the kirk was fuller than ever I saw it before, the fall of a pin might have been heard at the conclusion there was a sobbing and much sorrow. I said,

"My dear friends, I have now finished my work among you for ever. I have often spoken to you from this place the words of truth and holiness; and, had it been in poor frail human nature to practise the advice and counselling that I have given in this pulpit to you, there would not need to be any cause for sorrow on this occasion the close and latter end of my ministry. But, nevertheless, I have no reason to complain; and it will be my duty to testify, in that place where I hope we are all one day to meet again, that I found you a docile and a tractable flock, far more than at first I could have expected. There are among you still a few, but with grey heads and feeble hands now, that can remember the great opposition that was made to my placing, and the stout part they themselves took in the burly, because I was appointed by the patron; but they have lived to see the error of their way, and to know that preaching is the smallest portion of the duties of a faithful minister. I may not, my dear friends, have applied my talent in the pulpit so effectually as perhaps I might have done, considering the gifts that it pleased God to give me in that way, and the education that I had in the Orthodox University of Glasgow, as it was in the time of my youth; nor can I say that, in the works of peace making and charity, I have done all that I should have done. But I have done my best, studying no interest but the good that was to rise according to the faith in Christ Jesus.

"To my young friends I would, as a parting word, say, look to the lives and conversation of your parents they were plain, honest, and devout Christians, fearing God and honouring the King. They believed the Bible was the word of God; and, when they practised its precepts, they found, by the good that came from them, that it was truly so... Continue reading book >>

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