Monday, 30 January 2017

Heritage Matters

The genial looking old gent below is Charles Morrison, my great grandfather. He was a master shoemaker who owned a boot and shoe making and retail business in the picturesque village of Aberlour on Speyside. It is to him that five generations of Morrisons owe much of their Christian heritage. What follows is his obituary, published in the year of his passing (1916) in a journal entitled 'The Christian Worker'.

It should be noted that the language, is that of 101 years ago: over formal in places, and therefore not an 'easy read'.

Among the pretty villages on the banks of the River Spey, God has wrought some of His wonderful works in grace. Hay Macdowall Grant, the godly laird of Arndilly, brought many of the Lord's ambassadors and soulwinners to that district in the palmy times of the great in-gathering half a century ago, and for several years grace flowed like a river all along the region, bearing many into the kingdom of God.

The subject of this brief record, Charles Morrison, of Aberlour, passed through the later part of that season of grace – in which several members of his family were brought to the Lord – without personally experiencing the great change. But, in 1869, during a visit to Aberlour of two evangelists he received and confessed Christ as his personal Saviour, and with twenty-one others, was baptised in the river Spey the following year. This was the beginning of his spiritual life.

In 1872, a year which is of very savoury memory among Christians in the northern counties, God gave much light from His Word on the simple and Scriptural manner in which Christians should assemble for worship under the guidance of the Spirit, and this light was followed by assembling in the Lord's name alone (Matt Ch 19 v 20), outside of all denominations, as believers, owning no distinctive name, and seeking to go only by the Word in church as in individual life.

Mr Morrison was one who took a decided stand in this movement, and continued steadfastly in the path to the end. He had a warm heart for the spread of the Gospel, and according to his measure and opportunities, was dilgent in making it known. His genial manner gave him ready access to many fields.

In addition to the meetings in Aberlour and Craigellachie, in which he shared, he went out among the surrounding hamlets of Archieston, Carron, Delmunich, Arngarron, and in farmhouses where precious souls were saved. He was a regular and diligent tract distributor and house to house visitor, a service in which he found much joy, and which was greatly appreciated by the people.

He was an enthusiastic Sunday School worker, and many who passed through the school begun by his efforts, are living for Christ in various parts of the world now. His presence at the yearly Conferences at Craigellachie, so familiar to Christians from all parts of the British Isles for quarter of a century will be missed, as also his willing help in arranging for the comfort of visitors, a service in which he delighted.

His last Gospel testimony was at a farm some distance away, where his message on the words, “O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory?” was full of power.

In business life Mr Morrison was much respected in the district in which his life was spent, his Christian candour and upright ways bringing him many a client.

In order to find a short release from “the daily round" of life, he had gone to Strathpeffer for rest, and it was while there that the home call came, softly and silently on June 23rd 1916. Without a pang or a sigh, only a bright upward look, the ransomed spirit, released from its earthly tent, passed to be with the Lord.

He leaves a widow with a son (John) and a daughter (Isabella) to mourn his loss, and there are very many who will miss the genial smile and word of godly cheer of Charles Morrison of Aberlour.

May God in His goodness raise up many such workers and witnesses, for they are sorely needed: men in business life who will not spend all their energies in the service of mammon, but who, while conducting their affairs in a way worthy of God, will give of their best to the spread of the Gospel to which they owe their salvation and to feed and guide the flock for which the Lord gave Himself a Redeemer and Saviour.”

My great grandfather, Charles Morrison was one of the founders of the Christian Brethern Assembly which met in Aberlour from 1872 until January 1969. His Son John and grandson Charles (my father) all preached the word regularly in the Assembly at Aberlour.
Through their witness and faithfulness to the Gospel many people from the surrounding area came to know Christ as Lord and Saviour.

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