Friday, June 29, 2007

A Wanderer: Donald Fraser. VIII.

We left Donald Fraser about to enter into his work in Inverness. Of course, much of the labour was the normal routine of ministry in a large population centre, and extra preaching in nearby towns and country parishes. But there was one unusual aspect. Brownlow North, the great evangelist, had often visited Inverness, and Fraser found that a good number of young people in particular had been awakened and professed conversion. There were some in the Church ready to accept any profession, while others were suspicious of all these professed converts. Fraser took a middle way. He engaged in converse with them on Spiritual topics, discussed doctrine and experience, and tried to weed out false converts from the true. He recieved those who gave credible evidence into the church and gave them work to do.
Fraser also preached in the open air, in Inverness at the Castle Hill, on the Links at Nairn, and sometimes at great open-air meetings further afield at Ardnilly and Huntly. He often welcomed Brownlow North and other itinerant preachers to Inverness, and had close fellowship with his fellow-ministers. For two or three years he was a happy, busy Free Church pastor.
That was Fraser's particular gift. He disliked the Church courts, finding them generally dull. As for General Assemblies, he soon found they were really managed by a few experts (such as Robert Rainy), rather than the Assembly itself. Fraser's dislike of ecclesiastical politics was to have its effect in due time.
But Inverness was far from Edinburgh, and the Free High Church was to him his family. The congregation prospered and increased. They built a manse for Fraser, and the church had to be enlarged. Prosperous as the congregation was, they did not forget their responsibility to the poor, and a mission-church was proposed
. The Presbytery resisted it a first, but Rev. Archibald Cook of Daviot pressed the point, and in 1863 the Free West Church of Inverness was erected. Fraser himself did much of the mission work in the Free West until it gained its own pastor.

Donald Fraser was a happy minister in Inverness, and the work went quietly. He did however have two periods of absence from the Free High Church. Of which more, God willing, next time.



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