So, I was humbled the other day when I read about a woman in Scotland, many years ago, who walked thirty miles, one way, to church. Here is her story:
To one, at least, the Sabbath journey was nearly thirty miles...Leaving home about midnight on Saturday, she walked across the hills regularly in summer and often in winter...After the service on Sabbath she returned to her home, and was ready to join in the labour of the farm next morning. On that condition alone would her father allow her to come to Killearnan [where services were held], being more anxious about the state of his croft than about the salvation of himself and of his family.Now I've often thought that it would be nice to be able to walk to church, as a nice walk does wonders for clearing my mind and helping me to focus. But my idea of a "nice walk" would be two or three miles, not thirty.
Another quote from the same book:
On Sabbath, they all meet in the house of God. The Lord himself is in the midst of them; the word is rightly divided; hungry souls are fed with "the finest of the wheat;" some of "the whole" are wounded; and some of the wounded ones are healed. The public service over, the people return to their homes; and by the way, they form into companies around some of the Lord's people, who are speaking of the sermon, and bringing again, before themselves and others, the precious lessons which it furnished. In the evening, district meetings are held...After prayer and praise, and the reading of a portion of Scripture, a certain number of the questions of the Shorter Catechism are asked and answered, and notes of the sermons heard during the day are repeated. Time is allowed for family duties, and in many a household the incense of prayer and praise ascends from the family altar to God. Such was an ordinary Ross-shire Sabbath in the good days of the Fathers.The book, of course, is The Days of the Fathers in Ross-shire by Rev. John Kennedy. You can read it online here. I saw the second quote above on Mr. Myers' blog and was inspired to hunt through our bookcases until I had found our own tattered volume of the book (printed in 1885). It was excellent.
I had just finished reading a similar book which was also excellent (perhaps even better), Ministers and Men of the Far North by Rev. Alex Auld. It is out of print, I'm afraid, though you might be able to get a copy through Mr. Reynolds' used book store, and you can read it online here.
I'm currently reading John G. Paton, Missionary to the New Hebrides, which I think I can safely recommend even though I'm only about halfway through it. :) It's also available online, here. Google Books is awesome. Though I prefer to read from a real, live book rather than a screen, I do appreciate the fact that I can use Google Books to search within a book (it's how I re-located the two quotes above).
I like old biographies like the ones I've listed here. Another one I'd like to read is The Life of John Kennedy, written by Rev. Alex Auld. Do you have any others to recommend?