Pictou, Nova Scotia, April 22, 1797
.....Ignorance of the Scriptures is a prevailing evil, which is the cause of ignorance of God, of Christ, as to his person, offices, and righteousness, as also of the Holy Spirit, in his renewing and sanctifying work in the soul, and, of course, the cause of much ignorance, carelessness, and wickedness, in our daily practice. People in general are strangers to the faith and love of the Lord Jesus Christ, these powerful motives to holiness of heart and life, and so they are left to a soul-ruining trust in their obedience to a broken covenant of works, which they are daily breaking more and more. People in general are strangers to their guilt by original sin, and so (the) hellish corruption of their whole nature by that guilt, and so their religion does not at all reach the heart, but consists in superficial, outward performances. It is not to be expected that people who are in such a case toward God, should have any true love toward one another, accordingly there is little attention paid to the duties of justice or mercy farther than self-interest leads.
The young generation are growing up in ignorance, vanity, pride, and self-conceit, following all the bad, and little or nothing of the good example of the aged.
The people of this place are particularly guilty of a woful contempt of the gospel, a dreadful stupidity under judgments, a grievous backsliding from reformation attained to, a heinous profanation of the Sabbath day, a breaking of their Baptismal engagements, not giving education to their children, nor endeavouring to bring them up in the fear of God, a growing inclination to the horrible vice of drinking, wasting their means to ruin soul and body, and many other evils which might be mentioned. On these accounts the judgments of God are abroad in the earth. A most expensive, bloody, and destructive war has been desolating the nations for several years past, and though God has kindly shielded us from its worst effects, we have been neither thankful nor humble.....
Rev. James MacGregor, D.D.