Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The following is a brief excerpt from the Memoir of the Rev. James MacGregor, D.D., (a Scottish missionary to Nova Scotia), written by George Patterson.

.....In the year 1805, in answer to a petition from Sheffield in New Brunswick, he performed one of his longest and most interesting missionary journeys, viz., up the St. John River in that Province.  We have the last part of his own account of it preserved, though he sets it down for the year 1803.  We shall supply such information as we have been able to gather regarding the first part of it.  He travelled on horseback, taking his own horse, which members of his family recollect as a very sagacious animal—one particularly that would follow a track with great sagacity, or a road that it had once travelled.  His course led him by Amherst where he lodged with the Rev. Mr. Mitchell, then labouring there, from whom he received direction as to his route.  The next day he started for the Bend of Peticodiac.  Here he met with an incident, which he used afterward to relate as an example of the power of prayer.  In the afternoon having got off his horse for some purpose, when he was ready to mount he could not find the animal.  He looked about but could see no sign of him.  The road being through the woods and covered with moss or leaves, it left no track.  He concluded that it must have gone on.  He therefore proceeded on a distance, as he judged, of a mile and a half, till he came to a wet place where the horse if he had passed must have left a track.  There being none he turned and walked back to the place where he had lost him, and still could discover no trace of the animal.  He was now reduced to extremity—at a distance from a house, his horse in all likelihood lost in the woods, and darkness was coming on.  He used to relate his thoughts at the moment.  He had left home rather against the wishes of the Session, and he began to think that Providence was frowning upon his undertaking; but then again be concluded that it was occasioned by his old enemy, that Satan was playing him this trick to hinder him.  In his extremity, all other means failing, he resorted to prayer.  Kneeling down he besought his heavenly Father to relieve him from his difficulty.  When he opened his eyes at the conclusion of his prayer the horse was
in sight.
     Shortly after, he had a remarkable preservation of his life.  It having grown very dark he had to allow the animal to take his own course.  In a little he saw a glimmering appearance at one side of him, which he could not understand, but he allowed his horse to keep on his way.  In a short time he reached a house; but what was his surprise to discover afterward that the horse had walked along steadily on the top of a mill-dam, where a false step on one side would have plunged him into the water, or on the other, have given a most dangerous if not fatal fall!

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