Donald was once at Uig where, on a Friday, he listened to Donald MacLean, a worthy from Bragar. The Bragar Donald gave marks peculiar to the several kinds of religious deceivers within the professing Church of God. Among other choice things he said, ‘There is no man in this large congregation who is more afraid of being deceived in his hope before God than I am. It is also my opinion that deceivers are of three kinds. There are the black, the speckled and the white. With regard to the black one his iniquity and emptiness are before the eyes of all, so that even a graceless world may see that he is destitute of the grace of God. The other a graceless world cannot know; but when he frequents the company of God’s people and attempts to share their experience and conversation, they can discern that he is but a stranger to the things of God. The white one, however, may deceive both a graceless world and the people of God. He is known only to the all-seeing One. It is my great fear at times that it is to that last class I myself belong.’ In those times men did not take their eternal salvation for granted.
The unconscious poetic instinct with which such almost illiterate men could illustrate their spiritual experiences was often a marked feature of their sayings. An island fisherman, once speaking of the deep peace which possessed his heart when by faith he found refuge and rest in Christ’s Death and Righteousness, said, ‘That day my peace was so great that I felt as if the tiniest shell could float undisturbed on the western sea.’
Though approved in Christ, Donald Morrison often walked under a cloud of felt spiritual desertion. None could, therefore, be more tender than he in ministering comfort to the mourner in Zion. Speaking once in the open air at Dell, he referred feelingly to the way poor believers often lost their ‘receipt’ for what they had so carefully deposited in the heavenly bank, and thinking that having lost this, they had lost their all. To such Christ would say, ‘Though you have lost the “receipt” your name is still in my Book and your treasure is safe in My hands.’ In other words, the eternal salvation of the believer is not dependent either on feeling or on an unclouded assurance, but on Christ’s faithfulness to the covenant which is ‘ordered in all things and sure.’
This excellent remark on the difference between faith and feeling reminds one of another day in the North, when on a communion Friday, a man asked for the evidences in the life of those who make their calling and election sure. Some of the speakers found the subject a great deep. The day, however, was redeemed by a pensioned soldier who said that although he had never seen with his own eyes his name in the ‘big book in London,’ he knew it was there since the king’s money came to hand with unfailing regularity. In the same way he knew also his name to be in the Book of Life among the elect of God since the Lord, from the day
He called him by His Spirit, continued to nourish his soul out of Christ’s unsearchable fulness.
(Extracted from “Gleanings of Highland Harvest”, 8/6d., The Religious Bookroom, Dingwall, Scotland. Obtainable from “Gospel Tidings” Publications).