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“ I am no Methodist; I never heard one J. Raby were forth with appointed to the of them preach in my life; but I cannot station; with instructions to correspond, sit in silence and hear John Wesley re- on all subjects respecting the Mission, viled; for I am sure he was a man of with Dr. Clarke. This was a happy arGod, by the benefit I have derived from rangement, both for Shetland and the reading his Commentary on the New brethren appointed in succession to laTestament.” She also adduced some bour there. It is, indeed, difficult to passages from the book, which convinced say, whether this venerable man rendered several present that he did not hold the greater service to the cause by the liberal heretical opinions ascribed to him. subscriptions which he obtained for its
When the army was reduced, after the support, or by the judicious counsels, general peace which followed the battle of and timely encouragement, which he conWaterloo, many good men, ignorant of descendingly communicated to the young the revival of religion which God had men on whom the labour of carrying it effected in the army during the war, were on devolved. His name is embalmed in afraid lest the disbanded soldiers should the affectionate remembrance of hundreds diffuse a moral pestilence through the in the islands; and he now reaps the reland. But God disappointed their fears, ward of his disinterested endeavours in and made these brave defenders of their the joy of his Lord. country, in numerous instances, the The labours and successes of our means of correcting the tone of public Preachers in Shetland having been de. morals, and of exciting formal professors tailed in the pages of the Magazine, as to seek the salvation of their souls. they occurred, they need not be repeated Shetland, in common with other parts on this occasion. I will, therefore, proof the United Empire, shared these bless. ceed to give a survey of the work as it ings through the instrumentality of John exists at present. Nicholson, "a devout soldier.” This On Wednesday, May 13th, the Preachman, after receiving his discharge, re- ers from the several Circuits met in Lertired to his native islands in the north; wick, to transact the business of the Dis. and, being grieved to see the people so trict. It is rather remarkable that none forgetful of God, and so destitute of the of the Wesleyan Ministers who have been power of godliness, he, with the resolu- stationed in Shetland have died either in tion of one accustomed to difficult and the islands, or since their return, though daring enterprises, exhorted, entreated, thirteen years have elapsed since the and warned the people to flee from the Mission was commenced. To the brethren wrath to come. God owned his word ; themselves, and to all who are acquainted sinners were converted from the error of with their numerous bair-breadth escapes, their way ; a deep impression was made by sea and land, it must be evident that on the minds of the people in favour of this preservation of life can only be ac. Methodism; and, after repeated solicita- counted for on the ground of a special tions for help had been made, Dr. M'Al providential interference in their behalf. lum was appointed to visit the islands, On the morning of Friday the sittings of and report to the Conference of 1822... the Committee closed ; the religious, moNo man could have been better fitted for ral, and Methodistic character of all the this mission than the Doctor. Being brethren stood clear ; their grief on aca native of Scotland, he felt a deep inter count of the comparatively small success est in the people's welfare; while the which had attended their labours during suavity of his temper, the kindness of his the year was great ; and their solicitude address, his various knowledge, and the for the revival of the work became the rich vein of evangelical argument which disciples of Him who wept over Jerusaran through, and characterized, his dis- lem, because her inhabitants refused to courses, made him a favourite with all be gathered under the wing of his mercy. classes, and a worthy representative of The islands are divided into four Cirthe community to which he belonged. cuits, which are worked by six Preachers ; The impression which his ministry made and I am satisfied that no advantageous
t; the applications alteration can be made, for some time at which he received for the establishment least, either in the boundaries of the of the Wesleyan ministry in the islands Circuits, or in the residences of the Miwere numerous and importunate ; and nisters. Indeed the judgment displayed the report which he presented to the in the formation of the Circuits, the choice Conference was, in substance, that “the of the preaching stations, and the genepeople needed our ministry, and were ral procedure of the brethren, as far as prepared to receive it as life from the they came under my observation, excited dead." The Rev. Messrs. S. Dunn and my grateful surprise, and impressed me
with the conviction, that, from the begin- taught by fourteen Teachers, who, for ning, they had been blessed with the punctuality and general competency, guidance of a gracious Providence. The would reflect credit on any similar instifirst Circuit in order and importance is tution in the kingdom. There is a small
LERWICK,-'1 his Circuit extends about library, belonging equally to the school forty-eight miles; and the two brethren and congregation, which has done great who are stationed in it have four chapels, good; and which the “Friends of Shet. three school-rooms, and eleven cottages, land ” should be careful to support and on their plan. One of them is always in enlarge. The following incident may, the town of Lerwick, while the other perhaps, stimulate some to assist in this itinerates among the country societies; good work. The day after my arrival in all of which they continue to visit once a Lerwick, a box full of books from Eng. month, except those on one or two distant land, addressed to Mr. Catton, was islands, which can be approached only brought in, with several smaller packages during the summer months. The con for the other Circuits. There was no letter gregations in all places are encouraging, with them ; but from the character of the and in some crowded; the majority of volumes, and the manner of their presenthe members are in a justified state; and tation, we concluded they were intended a few consistently profess to enjoy the to replenish the library. As soon as the blessing of entire sanctification. The contents of the box were examined, Mr. Lerwick society consists of one hundred Catton proposed that we should sing a and fifty members; the congregation is hymn of praise; after doing which, we the largest and most respectable in the kneeled down and gave God thanks for islands; and our disciplinary arrange the talents and piety of the men who ments are established among them much wrote the books; for the “Tract Society," as in our English Circuits. The Preachers which had published them in so cheap are esteemed by the inhabitants gene- and portable a form ; for having put it rally; and, with a few exceptions, the into the heart of our unknown friend to members have, from the beginning, devise things so liberal in behalf of adorned their religious profession. They poor Shetland ; and we concluded by imare not blessed at present with what we ploring Heaven's richest blessings on the term a “ revival ;" but the society can- head of our benefactor,-praying, at the not be said to be in a state of decay. same time, that God would make the va. Some young people have been recently rious volumes the means of life and edifi. converted ; and many of the old mem- eation to all their readers. Never can I bers are pressing after a full salvation forget the eagerness and exultation with The chapel is a plain, substantial build. which the brethren examined and praised ing, capable of containing about four these volumes. Many of the books behundred hearers; the pews are nearly all longing to the library had been perused let; and the erection of a gallery is im to tatters; others were lost; and they periously called for by the permanent in were afraid that the extinction of the crease of the congregation. This neces. lending system would be the lamentable sary measure received the sanction of result. But here were fifty volumes, the District-Meeting, on condition, that great and small, presented without mothirty pounds be raised by the Trustees; ney and price; and, coming at such a the remaining expense to be provided for crisis, they were reckoned indeed a by the appropriation of the interest of “God-send.” On the following mornthe moneys allotted for “ the repair and ing a letter arrived, informing us that we enlargement of chapels in Shetland,” were indebted for the treasure to the Rey. The Preachers' house is joined to the William Wears, and friends in Sunderchapel, and is included in the same land. There is not a bookseller's shop trust. It is large, commodious, and within the precincts of Shetland ; and well-built; and, with a small sum laid were there many, the country-people out in annual repairs, it will last for ages. are so poor that they could make no purThe furniture, I am sorry to say, is in a chases. Mr. Catton, on one occasion, very shattered state ; and the sum of ten asked a young woman, of about nineteen pounds, at least, is required to repair what years of age, who had been his guide for is decayed, and replace what is fairly several miles, whether she would have a worn out. The premises stand in sixpence, or a New Testament, for her “ Baker's Close ;" so called, because trouble? The question evidently threw the only baker in the islands has his her into considerable perplexity ; but, 15 bakehouse" in the lane.
after a pause, she replied, * I never had The Sunday-school contains about one a sixpence of my own since I was born ; hundred and sixty children. They are and you may be sure I should like to have one now; but the New Testament the rain fell in torrents ; but, in spite of is the book of God; and therefore, if you all, they came up in crowds; and if please, I shall choose it."
tears, if ascriptions of praise, if wrestling The DUNROSSNESS Society contains one prayer, if spontaneous testimonies in hohundred and forty-four members, who, for nour of sovereign grace, are signs, the simplicity and fervour, very much resem word did indeed come with power. The ble our people in Yorkshire. Their chapel greater part of the people, I was told, is built on a sterile eminence, from which could read; and the eagerness they may be seen both the German and At. manifested to obtain tracts, &c., indilantic oceans; and were it not for the cated their delight in the exercise. The “ house of prayer,” which sanctifies the Bible is wholly wanting in some famisoil, one might imagine that God has, lies; and in others only fragments of it in judgment, "stretched out upon it the are found. The cottagers think themline of confusion, and the stones of selves rich indeed, if, to a Bible, they emptiness.” But though the chapel is can add a Wesleyan Hymn-book. In built in “stony places,” it is neverthe nine instances out of ten these, together less surrounded with a numerous popula with the Shorter Catechism of the Church tion, many of whom have received the of Scotland, are all the books they posseed of the kingdom into “good and sess. They are upwards of twenty miles honest hearts." The chapel will hold from Lerwick ; yet some of the women about five hundred persons, and is in have been known to walk this distance good repair ; but the vestries, which are to obtain a second-hand Hymn-book. built at one end, are going to ruin : their The Superintendent of the school, who roof, which is nearly flat, has been cover is also an Exhorter, informed me, that ed with tarpawling, instead of slates, the only Commentary on the Scriptures which proves a very inadequate defence he possessed was the Hymn-bouk; and against the Shetland storms. There is a that he was indebted to the Poet of Mespecies of economy which good men thodism for the meaning of many a text. sometimes adopt, that in the end proves He said he was greatly at a loss to exas expensive as extravagance itself. Mr. plain those passages which referred to the Catton engaged to get the vestries cover manners and customs of the countries in ed with slates without delay; and as a the east; and modestly requested, that if considerable space of the adjacent ground I knew of any book which treated on belongs to the chapel, we thought it de these subjects, I would endeavour to prosirable that the whole should be enclosed cure it for him. with a wall, before the boundary line was Within a few miles of Danrossness quite obliterated.
chapel stands Fitful, one of the boldest In no part of the islands has our mi. promontories in Shetland. It rises pernistry been crowned with greater success pendicularly from the sea, to the height than in this neighbourhood. One old of eight hundred feet; runs in a northman said, “ It was a bright day when the west direction for about two miles, and Methodists came to Dunrossness; the terminates at each end in abrupt and prebrightest that we or our fathers ever cipitous crags. The caverns of Fitful saw.” And his wife, who was standing formed the residence of the witch “Nor. by, adiled, " Before they came we were na," as described by Sir Walter Scott, in dark, and knew nothing ; but now we the Pirate ; and it must be admitted that know the true God, and Jesus Christ. no scenery in the world was better fitted We have now a remedy for our griefs; to generate demon thoughts, or fire the and though we are still poor, we are not imagination of a poet. To the east lie near so poverty-stricken as we formerly the ruins of the old parish church, which, were." “ The good Being sent the Me- on account of the encroachments of the thodists here," said another, “ as truly as sea, and the spreading of a sand-flood, Christ sent his Apostles to the Gentile that threatens to cover the surrounding world. Before they came every second farms, has been long abandoned. In the Sabbath was a silent Sabbath; and these churchyard human bones are strewed days were spent in an evil way, especially about in appalling abundance ; and the by the young : but now we have no si. armorial bearings of some families of lent Sabbaths at all, at all; and the Gos. distinction are still visible on several of pel which is so fully preached is the the tomb-stones,-- publishing in es prespower of God to our salvation." I spent sive silence that “the fashion of this a sacramental Sabbath among this sim. world passeth away." ple, loving people; and felt my soul un- The SANDWICK society consists of about usually happy in all the services of the eighty members, and the chapel in which sanctuary. The day was stormy, and they worship will hold about two hun. dred and fifty hearers. It is in good re- hearers, and it is generally well pair, is finely situated and well attended. filled. Its roof has been lately co. There are a faithful few at Sandwick, vered with slates instead of thatch; and, who walk worthy of God unto all well it now forms, in appearance at least, a pleasing, and who refuse to rest till the respectable rival to the small parish righteousness of Sion go forth as bright church, which stands at a little distance. ness, and her salvation as a lamp that The family with whom we lodged, not burneth. But the spiritual interests of only welcomed us to the best they had, the society generally are low, the classes but showed, in many nameless ways, are too frequently neglected, joint suppli- that they thought it a privilege to have cation has been restrained, petty dis us under their roof. They assured us putes have caused a shyness among those that the people generally were greatly who are one in Christ; and the conse- improved in their morals and habits since quence is, conversions for the last twelve the coming of the Methodists; and that months have been few, and far between both the Clergyman and schoolmaster were It is only when believers are all one, as much more attentive to their duties than the Father is with the Son, that the world they formerly were. After inviting about can be expected to believe. When will fifty persons, collected on a very short the friends of Jesus sufficiently consider the notice, to Jesus, the rest of the weary, I intimate connexion which exists between retired, sufficiently fatigued, having been their Christian consistency, and the con- walking or sailing nearly the whole day. version of the unbelieving multitude ? On the next morning I spent an interest
Having had to walk about twenty ing hour upon the summit of the majesmiles, through pathless wastes, on the tic cliffs which here grace the waters of day Í preached to this people, I did not the mighty Atlantic; and which, by their arrive till considerably beyond the time proud elevation, fully sustain the charac. announced ; but they showed their re- ter of the ocean to which they form a gard for the message, by waiting perse- boundary. I was particularly struck with veringly, if not patiently, for the mes, one huge rock, which, like a wall of ada. senger; and I trust they forgot their for- mant, stretches out from the parent cliff mer fears, as I am sure I did my fatigue, at least two hundred feet, rising at the while I set before them the nature, ad. same time to a great height, in which vantages, and means of attaining true there is a rude arch, about forty feet high, godliness. Three days before this we and twenty broad, through which the had observed, from the tops of the hills, waves dash with awful impetuosity. Afthe mail packet, steering her course ter being feasted with this sublime scene, towards Lerwick, and much we longed and having shared in the provisions, and to know what accounts she brought con- joined in the worship, of the cottage, two cerning cur dear relations, and our be- of our people rowed us across the sound, loved Connexion. Knowing, however, to the Mainland. In the kind assiduities that wishes were vain in a country where and intelligent discourse of these simple no post runs, we suppressed desire, and people, I found ample proof of the high fortified our minds for the endurance of estimation in which they bold their the fast till we had finished our route. Preachers, and the great profit they have But Mrs. Catton, aware of the worth of a derived from their ministry. “ Watchman," in Shetland, and of the The FAJR Isle, which forms another exhilarating power of the effusions of station in this Circuit, is distant from friendship, shortened our trial by for. Lerwick about forty-eight miles. It lies warding our portion of the “close pack at the confluence of the German and Ated load,” to the house where we were ap- lantic oceans; and is, on this account, pointed to lodge. Every rose has its thorn, inaccessible, except in calm weather. I: and grief generally treads on the heels of was on the precipitous shore of this small joy; for, wbile we were cheered by the island that the Duke de Medina, Admiintelligence that certain friends were well, ral of the Spanish Armada, was wrecked, and that the good cause was prospering in while seeking a northern passage to Spain, many places, we were surprised and griev. after his signal defeat by Lord Howard. ed to learn that the Rev. Valentine Ward The remains of his stately ship, the For. was no more. The scenes of Sandwick midable, are still visible when the bosom will ever be associated in my mind with of the deep is untroubled. The inhabitthe painful intelligence of the death of ants of this island are about three hun. my father and my friend.
dred. They are remarkable for their inThe BURRA ISLE society consists of dustry, sobriety, and love for their native twenty-one members. The chapel will soil. About fifty of them meet in class, contain about one hundred and cighty though the Preachers are unable to visit them oftener than twice in the year. lar ministration of the Gospel. The only There are a kirk and a school-house on Sunday-school is at Walls : it contains the island : the schoolmaster is diligent about forty children, a considerable porin the performance of his duty, and is a tion of whom can repeat the whole of the blessing to the people ; but the Minister second Conference Catechism. As an has been known to neglect them for three auxiliary to this, the Preachers' wives, for years together. Some time ago he thought several years, have taught the young meet to forbid the Methodist Ministers women in the neighbourhood in needle. the use of the unused kirk ; and showed work, &c., on week-days, in their own his zeal by calling them “ locusts from house. This labour of love calls for conthe bottomless pit; " “ wolves in sheep's stant self-denial on the part of the good clothing ; " adding some other equally women who carry it on; but they feel honourable appellatives.
themselves amply rewarded in witnessing The other societies in the Lerwick the improved manners, the cleanly habits, Circuit are small; they have been formed the diligence, and, in some instances, the by means of village-preaching ; and their deepening seriousness, of those who are increase is prevented by the want of Sun. the objects of their care. Here, as in the day service, experienced Class-Leaders, other Circuits, the want of books is seand more commodious places of worship. verely felt; and the chief reason, I was But, from all I saw and heard, I had told, why there is only one Sunday-school, reason to believe that the conduct of the is, because the children have not, and members of even these minor societies cannot obtain, Bibles or other suitable was exemplary, and exerted a salutary books. influence on the surrounding population. The NORTH-MAVIN AND DELTING The total number of members in the CIRCUIT was nearly destitute of the Circuit is five hundred and seventy-three. means of grace previously to the intro
The remaining Circuits I had no op duction of Methodism in 1822. The portunity of visiting; and am indebted kirk being built at the south-west extrefor my information concerning them to mity of the parish, which is very large, their respective Ministers, and to Mr. many of the parishioners were obliged to Catton, who visited them repeatedly as walk on the Lord's day from sixteen to Chairman of the District. This will ac twenty miles over high hills and through count for my comparatively brief outline swampy valleys, or submit to a total pri. of their affairs.
vation of public worsbip. Such a Sab. The WALLS AND SANDNESS Cin. bath-day's journey, through such a CUIT contains a large, but widely scat. country, during the dark and stormy tered, population. The preaching sta months of winter especially, was suffitions lie on the west side of the Main cient to wear out the most robust; and, land, and on two or three small islands, as for the young, the aged, and the instretching in the same direction. The firm, their attendance was absolutely im. Preacher resides at Walls: the house is possible. In consequence of this mournrented, and is, in Shetland phrasc, a ful state of things, a general forgetfulness “hall-house ;” that is, a house with two of God, and a profligacy of manners or more stories. It is sufficiently large not common in Shetland, characterized for any family, but is out of repair, and the majority of the inhabitants. To badly furnished. The word of life is station a Minister here was true charity; dispensed to a simple and grateful people and while the appointment was joyfully in five chapels and seven cottages ; in all hailed by the people, it has been maniof which the congregations are encourag. festly owned by Him who “ would not ing. The number of members in this have one wretched sinner die." Circuit is about three hundred and twelve, Though this Circuit includes the most three-fourths of whom enjoy a sense of the mountainous and romantic part of the divine favour, through faith in the blood Mainland, it is, nevertheless, one of the of the Lamb; and several rejoice, from most compact and comfortable in the day to day, in the rest of a full salvation. islands. The Preacher has one chapel They are divided into eighteen classes, and fifteen cottages on his plan ; the poand their regular attendance on the means pulation is about two thousand five hunof grace proves that they love to “lie dred, a great majority of whom regularly down in green pastures," and to be led attend his ministry. The scholars in the “ beside the still waters.” One of the Sunday-school amount to sixty; their Leaders is a Local Preacher, of good pa- progress in religious knowledge is rapid, tural abilities; and several others make and a number of them exhibit satisfac. themselves useful by reading sermons tory signs of a work of grace on their when the people are deprived of the regu. hearts. The number of members is one