From The April, 1823 Issue of The Wesleyan Methodist Magazine
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM MR. RABY TO [ADAM CLARKE] THE PRESIDENT
Midzell, Shetland Islands: Dec. 28th, 1822. -- "In my last, I assigned the reason why our correspondence had been so long interrupted, and also gave you some account of the plans which we had arranged, and upon which we had then entered, in order to our making ourselves as useful as possible to the people. Since then, we have both been laboring with all our strength and ability in the great and glorious work of enlarging the kingdom of Christ, and promoting the present and eternal salvation of our fellowmen. We constantly look to Him, without whom 'nothing is holy, wise, or strong,' to prosper extensively the work of our hands, and to render us instrumental is bringing many to the knowledge of God, 'whom to know is eternal life.'
"From your most welcome letter, which reached us a few days ago, we are glad and thankful to find that, in your daily addresses at the Throne of Grace, you do not forget to remember us: your prayers, I assure you, we greatly need; and the consideration that in them we have an interest, will be a source of consolation to our minds in the midst of danger, and under the privations and discouragements with which we have to contend...
"With this people, in their humble cottages, I have felt much pleasure and satisfaction, while endeavoring to impress upon their understandings the total depravity of the human heart, the complete atonement made by Christ, the necessity of the Spirit's influence, to 'change the human to divine,' and the free, full, and present salvation, which is offered to all in the gospel. To these truths they listen with the greatest attention; and for my happiness, safety, and usefulness, they offer their fervent prayers to the Most High.
"From the paucity of ministers, the small number of churches, the large extent of some of the parishes, and the vast population, you will, no doubt, be led to infer, that there is a great scarcity of the means of grace; this inference is perfectly just; and I hope, that our coming to labor for the good of this people will be blessed by Him, whose we are, and whom we desire to serve.
"With respect to our prospect of forming religious societies, I would not be too sanguine myself, nor cherish in others feelings which are not likely to be realized; but I at present do not see any very great or insuperable difficulties. In many of the parishes, the people are attached to the service of the Kirk [apparently the Church of England -- DVM], and when it is performed, consider it their duty to attend: but upon their doing so, I believe, many depend, for pardon, and acceptance with God; overlooking the atonement of Christ, and the necessity of the New-Birth. Others, again, are as careless about the form, as they are ignorant of the power of godliness; though, whenever and wherever we have preached, our congregations, in general, have been both large and attentive: some of the people have come from the distance of four, six, and eight miles, to hear the sermon.
For the last few days, we have had heavy gales of wind from the southeast, and slight showers of hail; the cold is now much more intense than it has been since our arrival, and the winter may be considered as fairly set in. It has not yet, however, prevented us from regularly preaching at our different stations, nor hindered us from visiting the people. I hope shortly to be again favored with another letter. The perusal of your last did me good; and for the weighty and important advice it contains, I feel under great obligations."
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