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DURING the middle part of last century, the parish of Resolis was blessed with one of the most eminently useful and laborious ministers that the church of Christ has ever seen. Mr. Hector M'Phail is said to have been awakened to spiritual concern after he had entered on the work of the ministry, and to have continued under deep distress for a period of no less than seven years, during three of which his mental sufferings were so great that he never knew what it was to have a night's complete rest. While in this state of protracted anxiety-or, as the Gaelic people expressively term it, while under "law-work"-he made a solemn vow, that should the Lord be pleased to grant him a sense of pardoning mercy, and clear views of his personal interest in Christ, he would never pass a sinner, with whom an opportunity for conversing should occur, without directing his attention to the great concerns of eternity, and urging upon his acceptance that Saviour whom he himself had found. So religiously did Mr. M'Phail observe this vow, that his little white pony, the unfailing companion of his almost endless journeys, learned in no long time to halt of its own accord whenever it overtook a traveller; and not unfrequently, amid the bewildering darkness of the night, as the icy blasts swept down from the hills over the wild solitudes of the Maol-bhui, did the sagacity of his four-footed Highland bearer remind the faithful servant of Christ that a fellow-sinner was at hand, to whom he had pledged himself to deliver a Saviour's message, and on whom he was bound to urge the acceptance of a Saviour's love.


Numerous were the instances in which these "out-of season" efforts in his Master's cause were savingly blessed to the souls which, by any means," he sought to win. Among the rest the following is perhaps one of the most remarkable. The parish of Resolis is situated on the southern shore of the Frith of Cromarty, lying immediately to the east of the well-known Ferrintosh. In order to reach it from the coast of Nairn, one would require to cross the Ferry of Fort George, and strike athwart the peninsular district known by the name of the Black Isle. After a journey of some eight or nine miles over an immense wilderness of the most dreary moorland, lying along the entire back of the peninsula, you reach the church and manse of Resolis, situated in a spot which has


lately been rendered a little more civilized-looking than the desert around. At the period of our story Fort George was garrisoned by an English 1egiment, which partook of the unusually profligate and debauched character of the British army at that time. As the neighbouring town of Campbeltown is at some distance from the Fort, wooden shambles had been erected close to the water's edge, immediately below the garrison, to serve as a flesh-market for the convenience of the military. Having occasion one day to travel homewards by the route which, for more than one purpose, we have described, Mr. McPhail was detained for some time below the Fort by the delay of the ferry-boat, which had to be summoned over from the opposite side. While he was standing at the water's edge, with his inseparable white companion, a soldier came into the shambles to purchase some meat, and asked the price of a quarter of mutton. The butcher named the sum. With a frightful oath, in which he pledged the everlasting salvation of his soul, the man refused to give the price, but ultimately, after a good deal of wrangling, agreed to the butcher's terms, and took up the meat to go away. All this while Mr. M‘Phail, who was standing outside the shambles, overheard the conversation within, and, shocked at the awful jeopardy in which the soldier had placed his soul, was watching for an opportunity of addressing him on the imminent danger of his condition. No sooner, therefore, had the man left the flesh-market than Mr. M'Phial contrived to throw himself in his way, and to engage him in conversation.

"A fine day, soldier."

"A fine day sir," replied the man, touching his cap. "Do you belong to the fort ?"

"Yes, sir, and a dull enough place it is; nothing but drill and the blues."

"You are an Englishman I see; what is your name?"

"Luke Heywood, your honour."

"That seems a nice piece of mutton you have got." "So it is, sir, and cheap too."

"What did you give for it, may I ask?"

The soldier named the price.

"Oh! my friend," replied Mr. M'Phail, "you have given more than that."

Luke Heywood looked astonished. "No, sir, I gave no more; there's the man I bought it from, and he can tell you what it cost."


'Pardon me, friend; you have given your immortal soul for it. You prayed that God might damn your soul if you gave the very price you have just named; and now what is to become of you?"


The ferry-boat was announced as ready, and Mr. M.Phail stepped on board, while Luke Heywood walked off with his purchase, and entered the fort. Throwing off his cap, he sat down upon a form in the barrack, and in a short time his reflections turned upon his conversation with the stranger at the ferry. The gentleman's parting words were still fresh in his memory: "You have given your immortal soul for it; and now what is to become of you?" "Really," thought he," the stranger was quite right. I have a soul, though I had almost forgotten it; and I have pawned it for a bit of mutton too. Well, I did'nt mean that; but I have done it though; and now what is to become of me?" The thought, even to a profligate, was anything but an agreeable one, so he tried to banish the occurrence from his memory. But it would not do; conscience was at its work, and refused to still its voice. The words of the stranger were pealing in his ears like the death-knell of his soul. "You have given your immortal soul for it; and now what is to become of you?" In a perfect agony of terror he started from his seat, rushed bare-headed from the fort, and arrived, all flushed and breathless, at the ferry in quest of Mr. M‘Phail. "Where is the gentleman?" cried Luke to the butcher. "What gentleman?" inquired the other.

"The gentleman dressed in black clothes, and with a white pony, who told me that my soul was lost?"

"Oh! you mean Mr. M'Phail; he's the minister of Resolis, and you will have to go far enough till you catch him, for he has crossed more than half an hour ago.'


The ferry-boat being about to make a second passage across the water, Luke Heywood entered it, with the design of following the stranger with whose words he had been so painfully impressed. Inquiring of the ferry-men the route he must follc w, Luke leaped from the boat as it touched the point of Fort Rose, and started afresh upon his intensely exciting pursuit.

He arrived, towards evening, at the manse of Resolis, and on demanding eagerly to see Mr. M'Phail, was immediately admitted. We know not how to reconcile the statement with the rules of military discipline, but so it was, that Luke remained at Resolis all that night and the two following days,


during the greater part of which time he was closely closeted with the minister. The result was, his entire conversion.

We must leave Mr. M'Phail in the study of Resolis, and accompany Luke back to the garrison of Fort George. Happy we, if we can join him in the "new song" with "which he wakes the echoes of the moorland wilds on his way back through the Maol-bhui

"He took me from a fearful pit,
And from the miry clay,
And on a rock he set my feet,
Establishing my way."


Like the woman of Samaria, Luke Heywood now began to feel a love for the souls of others, and, with David, to say to his comrades, Come, and I will tell you what God hath done for my soul." The word was 66 as fire within his bones," and he "could not but speak the things which he had seen and heard." He accordingly began to hold small prayer-meetings in the barracks, and to expound the scriptures to his fellowsoldiers. By degrees, however, the piety and zeal of the former profligate became known throughout the district; the people of God were amazed when they heard that, like Paul, he that had scoffed at them "in times past, now preached the faith which once he destroyed; and they glorified God in him." His prayer-meetings attracted others than the military, and the people began to flock from the neighbouring parishes to hear the expositions of this wonderful man. An old relation of the writer used to come down among the crowd from the parish of Ardclach, a distance of about sixteen miles from Fort George; and his informant was personally acquainted with a godly old school-master who had been a fellow-soldier of Luke's (and a very wild and thoughtless young man he was), but who, along with many others, owed his conversion to these prayermeetings among the garrison.

But matters could not long continue thus without exciting the enmity and opposition of the ungodly. The captain of Luke's company was particularly active in his hostility to these meetings, and often threatened the pious soldier with the lash. Sending for him on one occasion, he told him that he was going from the Fort that day, and added, with a tremendous oath, that if on his return he should hear that Luke had been holding any more of these conventicles, he would order him so many lashes. On hearing this intimation Luke was silent for



a few minutes; then looking at his officer, he replied, “Sir, if you ever return alive, God never spoke by me:" an answer almost identical with that of the prophet Micaiah to Ahab, "If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me.' The issue proved that the spirit of God was even then speaking by the lips of Luke. The captain and a brother officer went to shoot in the neighbourhood of Culloden, and as the former was crouching behind a hedge, in the act of watching the approach of some deer, his comrade (a younger brother of his own, as we have been informed), mistaking him for large game, took a hasty aim at the moving object, and shot him dead upon the spot!

The regiment was soon afterwards ordered to England, and it was reported that Luke purchased his discharge from the army, and became an eminently useful dissenting minister. He ceased to be a soldier of King George, that he might become a soldier of the cross; and we have no doubt that the walls of his meeting-house would often echo with the words, "I thank Jesus Christ our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious; but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." Christian Treasury.



How solemn is the thought that this must be,
With some, the closing year-perhaps with me;

Pause then, my soul; should the dread summons come,
Art thou prepared to meet the silent tomb?

Ye votaries of pleasure, pause awhile;

Be not deluded with the world's gay smile;
Soon all such trifles from your grasp will fly,
While you're compelled to hear, "Thou too must die!"

Ye young immortals, who so vigorous seem,-
Trust not to health,-'tis but a fleeting dream;
Soon you may on a bed of sickness lie,

And hear the voice, "This year, thou too shalt die!"

To Jesus go, if happiness you crave,
The joy He gives endures beyond the grave;
Then thoughts of dying will not cause you pain,
Secure in Him, to die will be your gain.


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