What message held an island captivated? (c 1850 AD)


Well-Known Member
I'm reading the book "The Cruise of the Betsey", published 1858 and which is an account of a summer geological survey of the Inner Hebrides (north west UK, in the Highlands) by the geologist, Hugh Miller. I think the account relates to around 1850. As with all Hugh Miller writings, there is a fair bit of humour, and I quote here from the introduction to chapter VI:

"I RECKON among my readers a class of non-geologists, who think my geological chapters would be less dull if I left out the geology; and another class of semi-geologists, who say there was decidedly too much geology in my last. With the present chapter, as there threatens to be an utter lack of science in the earlier half of it, and very little, if any, in the latter half, I trust both classes may be in some degree satisfied."

The Betsey is a small boat that now provides a home for the minister of the island of Eigg, who can no longer stay in the manse due to a church split and who is the friend of Miller. The people living on the island are really poor. Living in houses with earth floors and turf roofs that even then were described as 'dingy'. It was a hard life, with little hope. But Miller's friend first presented the Gospel in a way that the people understood. That and his kindness and willingness to put up with hardships to bring that message to them led to scenes that Millar described as "Rarely have I seen human countenances to eloquently vocal with veneration and love".

On the first Sunday staying on the boat off Eigg, Miller attended the church service led by his friend. He summarised the message as follows:

"I found, as I had anticipated, that what has so moved the simple islanders was just the old wondrous story, which, though repeated and re-peated times beyond number, from the days of the apostels till now, continues to be as full of novelty and interest as ever, - "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life". The great truths which had affected many of these poor people to tears were exactly those which, during the last eighteen hundred years, have been active in effecting so many moral revolutions in the world, and which must ultimately triumph over all error and all oppression."

I have so much compared to those people. I take such encouragement from their faith and faithfulness and pray that we too can live lives worthy of Him who gave us His all. It is really encouraging that despite all that is going on in the world there is an ever increasing testimony of people faithful to our Lord. We build upon centuries of faith, and all those people will be as alive and real as we are today when we are all united for the first time in eternity, perhaps sometime really soon. :)

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
"I found, as I had anticipated, that what has so moved the simple islanders was just the old wondrous story.....

These 'simple' islanders who wisely accepted the Gospel reminds me of this passage:

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

1 Corinthians 1:26-27

Thanks for sharing JamesSuth! :) I love the sarcastic humor he enlisted......