Monday, July 23, 2007

A Wanderer: Donald Fraser. XIX.

In 1891 Donald Fraser, though beginning to feel his age, was still a very active minister. His children had all grown up, and his sons had followed their father's example by leaving Britain on their careers. His daughter was in India with her husband, and the manse in Cambridge Square seemed empty. Donald Fraser was the last of his mother's family, his brothers and sisters all having predeceased him. His last brotherr, Rev. William Fraser, had died suddenly in his own pulpit in Brighton in 1887. Surely that is one of the most fitting places for a minister to die - literally 'at his post'. To go from the worshipping assembly below to the worshipping assembly above - an easy transition indeed. If a Church service is the closest thing to heaven on earth, then William Fraser's death was a blessed one. The long drawn-out process of dying is feared by many, and it was surely a mercy that William Fraser was spared that.
We are reminded also by this incident that many die suddenly. William Fraser was ready - reader, are you?
The financial burdden of the Marylebone congregation, was somewhat lifted in the winter of 1891, when the Bell Street Mission was amalgamated with the Shaftesbury Institute, but Fraser's load was not lifted at all - he remained just as involved with the mission as he had been from its beginning. He felt that, since it had been begun by the Marylebone Church, it was still connected with the Marylebone Church, no matter what the official position was.
That same year he took up another literary task, that of editing the Presbyterian portion of the 'Review of the Churches', of which he was one of the founders. It seemed that all the action of his congregation in appointing an assisstant had done was allow Fraser more time for other things! He was a man who had to be WORKING. O for more men like that in the Church, consecrated WORKERS who are in earnest about the work. We do not approve of all Fraser's views, particularly not his doubt concerning eternal punishment, but we cannot but admire his determination to keep on working while it was day. It is probable that this is one of the reasons his dates are 1826 to 1892 - sixty-six years only. But we are again reminded that it is better to wear out in the Master's service than it is to rust out.

And wear out he did - but that will be our subject, God willing, next time.



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