Ministry At Back (Part II)

Mr Cameron said that what the one Church said was a duty the other said was a sin. The United Presbyterians left the matter an open question, and therefore he declined to discuss it.

At a later stage Mr Cameron repeated the statement he had made in Edinburgh that if he went in with the Union in face of the vow he had taken, he would be guilty of perjury of the worst kind. This led to another passage at arms with Mr P. MacDonald, who asked if Mr Cameron meant to say that any minister who went in for Union was guilty of breaking his ordination vows.

Mr Cameron replied that when he signed the Formula and answered the Questions, he bound himself to the principle of Establishment, and if it was under the Union to be left an open question he considered he would be breaking his vows. Mr MacDonald, speaking with great feeling, said this was no light matter. When he became a minister he vowed to be faithful to Christ. His ordination vows were to him a sacred matter, and he would have no man charge him with breaking what was dearest to his heart without seeking the protection of the Church Courts. Mr Cameron said he was speaking for himself, and defending his own position. Mr MacDonald expressed his satisfaction that Mr Cameron in making such a statement was only speaking for himself. Mr Cameron concluded his speech by saying that if he took counsel only with flesh and blood, he would go in for Union; but he took up his present position as he desired to have a clear conscience.

He submitted his motion as follows: 'That the Presbytery, having considered the Report on Union with the United Presbyterian Church remitted to the Presbyteries by the last General Assembly, express their disapproval of Union on the footing of the proposals contained in the Report, having special regard to the proposed Questions and Formula.' Mr Alexander Thomson, Elder, Tong, seconded.

Rev. P. MacDonald began his speech by saying that it was with a solemn sense of responsibility he found it his duty to occupy the position he now occupied. This, he said, was a question affecting the glory of Christ, and he could not be indifferent to its importance as a great Christian question. Viewing it in that light, his first duty was to ascertain what Christ would have him to do. What was needed was a clear understanding of the question at issue, and it was with great care and great solemnity that people must speak of what concerned the honour of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mr Cameron and he differed on this question, but there was not a minister in the Presbytery for whom he had a higher respect, and he wanted it to be stated publicly, that although they differed they still loved each other as brothers.

Continuing, he said, perverted conceptions of questions such as these were calculated to do immense mischief, and his desire was to have the people rightly instructed on the subject, and he wished to make it clear that at this stage they were not called on to say whether they were for or against Union. By his action that day he was not committing himself on the subsequent aspects of the matter, but it was his duty to exercise his judgment on such a great question as the proposed Union between two branches of the Church of Christ. It might be said, why not remain as before? Appealing to the Moderator with deep emotion, he said, what right have I to say so? I am only a servant; I am a servant of my master, the Lord Jesus Christ, and He in his intercessory prayer showed how dear it was to Him that His people should be one. That fact, he said, constrained him to consider the matter calmly and deliberately. It was a difficult question, as well as a great one, but they were not called on that day to finish the question. The proposed bases were sent to them so that they might say whether they were satisfied with them, and if not to say what would satisfy them. He was not committing himself to his final decision. They were only at the one stage of the Question and Formula.

Proceeding, he gave a lengthy statement regarding the Establishment principle and his views on it, and having shown that under the new Questions and Formula the Word of God was to be the only rule of life and manners; that it was not a mutilated Confession they were to have if the Union took place, but the Confession entire as at present; and that the Free Church principles were to be conserved. He warned the people against inaccurate or imperfect conceptions of this matter, and concluded by moving the following Amendment:

'The Presbytery, impressed with the solemn importance of the great Christian question of Union, while expressing their sympathies with anxieties that may be felt that the question was to be considered so soon after recent controversies in the Church, and considering that the basis of Union now submitted conserves Free Church principles, approves of the same. They counsel their people to exercise patience in connection with this solemn matter; they undertake to instruct them regarding the stage which negotiations have reached within the Courts of the Church.'

Mr John MacKenzie, Elder, Stornoway English, seconded the Amendment, saying he did so with the unanimous opinion of the Session of the Free English congregation.

Rev. R. MacRae, Carloway, said that in coming to the Presbytery he could not see his way at the present stage to vote either for or against Union, but he had no difficulty in supporting the Amendment proposed by Rev. P. MacDonald. His own difficulty was that if he went against Union he would be going against the mind of Christ, whose prayer was that we should all be one. Again if he opposed the Union, and it took place, what Church was he going to join? He could not leave the Church in which he was brought up, and to which he owed anything he was. If he opposed the Union now, and ultimately went in with it, the people would point the finger of scorn at him. Mr Malcolm MacLean, Elder, Bragar. spoke in favour of the Amendment. The Rev. George MacLeod. Garrabost, was quite willing to fall in with the Amendment, provided there was inserted in it a clause to the effect that they were sacrificing none of their Free Church principles, and that the Sustentation Fund would be conserved as at present.

Rev. P. MacDonald had no difficulty in inserting a clause in his Amendment to the effect that they do not depart from any of their Free Church principles, and also that it should be sent up as a suggestion that the Sustention Fund hold the place in the United Church which it at present holds in the Free Church. The Amendment was altered accordingly.

The Rev. N. M. Morison, Barvas, said that for his own part he was tired of these discussions and quarrels in the Church, as he felt they were the meaqs of creating a great deal of suspicion about one another. He was not surprised at the strong position taken up by Mr Cameron, if he really and truly believed everything he had said there that day; but whether Mr Cameron or any other would give them credit for trying to be honest and faithful in this matter, they were taking some credit to themselves that they were trying to do their best to find the truth between themselves and their God, and unless they were entirely blind and ignorant to the meaning and import of these vexed Questions and Formula, for the life of him he could not understand how there was such controversy about them. He thoroughly believed in the Establishment principle, and that it was Scriptural, but he could not lay such stress upon it as Mr Cameron did, and he could not exclude from the Church a man who differed from him on that point, on which indeed the Church had been divided ever since it became a principle of the Church. As to open questions he wished with all his heart they were swept out of the Church tomorrow, but he said he never read of any Church without some open questions, if that meant that there were different views and opinions held about some details. He did not hope to see a Church on earth that would be perfect and see eye to eye in everything, and therefore he would support Mr MacDonald's Amendment, with Mr MacLeod's suggestion embodied in it.

Rev. John MacDougall, Crossbost, expressed himself in much the same terms as the other ministers who spoke in favour of the Amendment. He was, he said, quite content with the Free Church as it is, and was tired of these controversies, but on studying the question carefully, he found no difficulty in supporting Mr MacDonald's Amendment.

Rev. D. M. MacDonald, Ness, in course of a lengthy and able speech, read extracts showing that Dr Chalmers himself looked forward to a Union of the Free Church with other bodies.

At this point Rev. Mr Cameron said it was not Chalmers but Candlish who had delivered the speech from which Mr MacDonald had quoted. Mr MacDonald adhered to his contention, but we failed to catch what the particular extract was. Mr D. M. MacDonald further discussed the principle of Establishment, and quoted from Dr Cunningham to the effect that all the Free Church cared for was the general approval of the Establishment principle. Referring to the new Questions and Formula he said that though these were words he might wish to see changed, he did not see that there was any material difference between them and those he had already signed.

Mr Alexander MacLennan, Marvig. Elder, said that in connection with the former controversy only one person had left the congregation to which he belonged, but he was opposed to this Union. He had heard it stated by the late Mr McColl of Lochalsh, that the first word on this question had been spoken in a place of little worth. The Clerk asked him if Mr McColl told him what the place was? Mr MacLennan said he did not. Mr Donald MacLeod. Bayble, Elder, was opposed to the Union for fear it might cause brethren in the Lord to differ.

Rev. J. S. MacDonald, Stornoway English, who spoke in English, said that what they had to consider that day was whether these Questions and Formula were a proper basis for Union with the United Presbyterian Church, and so far as he could see, there was no material difference between them and those at present in use in the Free Church.

Rev. Mr Cameron replied in a few sentences, adhering to the position he had taken up, but counselling the people against judging either the Seceders or the Established Church in the meantime, but to wait and see what the end of the matter would be.

On being put to the vote there supported the Amendment: Messrs Peter MacDonald, Roderick MacRae, Neil M. Morison, J. S. MacDonald, John MacDougall, George MacLeod, and D. M. MacDonald, Ministers — 7; and Messrs John MacKenzie, Stornoway English, Torquil MacLeod, Leurbost, and Malcolm MacLean, Bragar, Elders — 3. Total 10.

For the Motion, Rev. Hector Cameron, Minister — 1; Messrs Alexander Thomson, Tong, Alexander MacLennan, Marvig, Donald MacLeod, Bayble, and Norman MacDonald, Ness, Elders — 4. Total 5.

The amendment thus became the finding of the Presbytery.

From this decision Mr Cameron dissented and protested for the following reasons:

1. Because the Motion as adopted implies an abandonment and subversion of the Constitution of the Free Church, and the substitution of that of the United Presbyterian Church in its stead.

2. Because the Motion as adopted is ultra vires of this Presbytery.

In the debate Mr MacDonald's challenge to Mr Cameron to show him where the Bible said there must be a connection between Church and State must have greatly embarrassed Mr Cameron in the presence of a vast audience, especially when he could not on the spur of the moment gather together the Scripture proofs for his statement. But this interruption by Mr MacDonald had an interesting sequel in the next issue of the Highland News, on 21st January 1899, which stated:

The Union Question in Stornoway.

To the Editor of the Highland News.

Sir, I see from your issue of the 14th inst. at the recent debate on Union in Stornoway, that Mr MacDonald challenged Mr Cameron to show him where the Bible said, i.e. teaches, that there must be a connection between Church and State. I understand from this that Mr MacDonald questions the scripturalness and legality of Civil Establishments of religion at any time or in any circumstances. My only object in troubling you is to point out that this challenge is as much to Mr MacDonald himself as to Mr Cameron, for he signed the Confession, and he holds it, he says, entire. The following are some of the statements of the Confession, which Mr MacDonald, on his knees, swore that he believed: "The Civil Magistrate ought to maintain piety, justice and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth." "It is his duty to take order that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed." These statements have been repeatedly stated by Mr MacDonald to be scriptural. I need not quote the scripture proofs for them. I leave your readers to judge whether these statements teach that there ought to be a connection between the Church and State. The question between us and the Unionists is what the Confession teaches regarding this question, and not simply what the Bible teaches, for they have signed the Confession, and declared their belief in the 'whole' of it, as well as we. Mr MacDonald, therefore, has to face his challenge to Mr Cameron himself, for if he has ascertained there is no proof in the Bible for the Establishment principle, his quarrel is with the Confession, which he repeatedly signed, and not with Mr Cameron.

I am, Sir, yours etc.,

W. MacKinnon,
Free Church Manse,
Gairloch.
January 1899.

So far as we know Mr MacDonald did not reply to Mr MacKinnon.

We can see that Mr MacDonald's main thrust in his Amendment was that "the basis of Union now considered conserves Free Church principles".

Mr J. S. MacDonald and the Clerk were appointed to answer Mr Cameron's Reasons of Dissent.

On 21st February 1899 they gave their reasons as: "1. The proposed Union with the United Presbyterian Church conserves Free Church principles.

"2. That it was not ultra vires for the Presbytery, which is but an inferior Court, and which has given its judgment in this matter at the request of the Supreme Court of the Church.

The decision of the highest Court in the Land, in 1904. clearly showed that the basis of Union did not conserve Free Church principles, and that it was, therefore, ultra vires for any Court to agree to something that changed the Constitution. On the suggestion of Mr Cameron it was agreed to consider the question of Union at the Presbytery's first meeting after the Synod. He had already given a notice of motion of disapproval of the Union. On 28th April 1900 Mr Cameron, therefore, moved that the Presbytery disapprove of the Union, and this was seconded by his Elder, Mr Alexander Thomson. Tong.

The Clerk then moved an Amendment that: "Considering that the proposed basis of Union is not inconsistent with the Standards of this Church, with its Constitutional Law and Practice, or with the liberty of its members, and whereas the terms of the uniting Act have not yet come to hand, the Presbytery approve of the proposed Overture."

This was seconded by Mr John MacKenzie, Elder, Stornoway English.

After prolonged discussion, in which almost all the members took part, the vote was taken. The following voted for the Amendment: Messrs Peter MacDonald, Neil M. Morison, George MacLeod, John MacDougall, Donald M. MacDonald, John S. MacDonald, Ministers; with Messrs John MacKenzie, Stornoway English, John MacRae, Uig, and Ranald MacDonald. Carloway, Elders. Total 9.

There voted for the Motion: Messrs Hector Cameron and George Lewis Campbell, Ministers; with Messrs Alexander Thomson, Back, Alexander MacLennan, Park, Donald MacLeod, Cross, John Smith, Stornoway Gaelic, John Maciver, Kinloch, John MacKay, Knock, and John MacDonald, Shawbost, Elders. Total 9. Rev. John MacKay, Kinloch, declined to vote, and the votes being equal the Moderator, Rev. John S. MacDonald, Stornoway English, gave his casting vote for the Amendment, which, therefore, became the finding of the Presbytery.

Mr Cameron and his supporters were not anti-Unionists, but people who acknowledged it as their duty to seek closer union with other Presbyterian Churches, in accordance with their historic Standards. The Assembly, in May 1900, agreed to Union by a majority of 586 to 29, and a special meeting of Assembly was arranged to be held on the 30th October for the purpose of consummating the Union. When members were being elected by the Presbytery for the October Assembly, Mr Cameron moved against their appointment, because the purpose of the Assembly in effecting Union involved the total abandonment of the distinctive Constitution of the Free Church. This he lost by 8 votes to 6. He then read his dissent and protest with reasons against the decision come to.

That some members of the Presbytery felt a certain uneasiness about the consummation of this Union is reflected in the following Motion. It was unanimously agreed on the motion of the Rev. John MacKay, seconded by the Rev. Neil M. Morison, to transmit the following Overture to the Commission of Assembly:

"Whereas there exist misgivings in the minds of many of our Free Church people that they cannot enter the Union to be consummated on the 31st inst. without sacrificing their distinctive Free Church principles, and so separation ought if possible to be avoided by those who have been so long together, it is humbly overtured by the Free Church Presbytery of Lewis to the Assembly Commission, appointed to meet in Edinburgh on the 24th inst., to make an authoritative declaration that the Free Church people, who may enter the Union, carry all their distinctive Free Church principles with them."

The Clerk then read a circular from the Depute Clerk of Assembly pointing out that in view of the meeting of General Assembly on 30th October next, election of representatives of Presbyteries must take place between 20th August and 20th September; and the resolution to elect must be passed one month before the former date.

Mr Cameron moved against this, but the Moderator ruled that his motion was incompetent. The Presbytery accordingly decided that the election take place on the 28th August. From this decision Mr Cameron dissented.

On 17th October the Presbytery proceeded to consider the Overture anent Union sent down under the Barrier Act. The Overture was approved by 11 votes to 3.

By recording his dissents against these motions for Union Mr Cameron placed it on record that he did not acquiesce in the decisions come to, and when eventually on the 31st of October 1900. effect was given to the Declaratory Act by the adoption of a plan of Union, which included the changed Questions and Formula, those who declined to enter the Union were free from blame of disrupting the Church.

In a pamphlet written by Dr Kennedy in the earlier Union controversy around 1870, entitled 'Unionism and the Union' we find the following statement:

"But we are, says Sir H. Moncrieff, between two fires. There is a party threatening to leave us if we do not unite, as well as a party refusing to follow us if we do. We have educated a section of our followers into Voluntaryism already; and these are impatient to go over. We cannot restrain, and we must not lose them. We must unite that we may retain them. But we are not disposed to make any concessions for the sake of retaining those who rally around the Constitution and Testimony of the Free Church. Is this a wise. a seemly, a Christian choice to make? Act accordingly, and of one thing be assured, that of your Ministers, Elders, Deacons and people not a few are resolved not to forsake the banner of the Free Church, and are resolved too not to separate from you till you have parted from them, by being actually incorporated with those whose fellowship you have preferred. They will adhere to you as long as they can, and if there be a disruption, the act shall be yours, and all Christendom shall know that it is." Dr Kennedy was greatly admired by Mr Cameron, and being himself an ardent Constitutionalist he was in close contact with those of like mind on the Mainland and in the South. Rev. Murdo MacQueen of Kiltearn was his own brother-in-law, and Mr Cameron lost no time in obtaining the services of the ministers of the Synod and beyond it who were anti-Unionists.

On 17th October 1900, a fortnight before the Union was to be consummated, the Presbytery heard with deep sorrow that a deputation of Free Church ministers consisting of Rev. J. D. MacCulloch, Hope Street, Glasgow, Rev. Angus Galbraith, Lochalsh, Rev. John MacDonald, Raasay, and Rev. Norman Campbell, Creich, had arrived in the Island and held meetings at Stornoway, and in all the congregations throughout the Island except Uig, accompanied by certain members of Presbytery, clerical and lay, favourable to their views, and also by several members of the Police Force, and that although several members of this Court appeared at said meetings, and offered in a friendly way to ask further information on certain statements advanced by these ministers, and to discuss any controverted questions raised at the meetings, so that the people might have a fair opportunity of hearing and judging both sides, they were, however, peremptorily silenced and threatened with expulsion from the meetings in the presence of their own people, and that accordingly the people were deeply agitated and unsettled through the unfair and exaggerated statements made in their hearing, with the result that many of the people are now quite turned against such of their pastors and elders as are favourable to Union, refuse to listen to anything they have to say in defence of their position, decline to give their stated contributions to the funds and schemes of the Church, and threaten to sever their connection with the Church.

Further the Presbytery records its strong disapproval of the unconstitutional and unchristian conduct of these brethren of its own membership, or belonging to other Presbyteries of the Church, who were responsible for such shameful and disastrous results.

The Presbytery agreed to ask permission of the supreme Court of the Church to meet on the seventh of November 1900. Unfortunately the next Presbytery Record available is dated 23rd January 1905.

Rev. N. C. MacFarlane in his life of Rev. D. J. Martin, page 61, calls Mr Cameron one of the "Stubborns" at the Union of 1900, who did much to break the religious unity of Lewis in two. But Mr Cameron had a better grasp of the Free Church Constitution than any of the ministers in the Lewis Presbytery. It seems clear that none of the rest was able to discern the implications of the terms of Union as Mr Cameron had. The great issue of the long drawn out Church case of 1900-1904 revolved round the question of whether or not the General Assembly could by a majority vote, even with the operation of the Barrier Act, make changes in the fundamental doctrines of the Church. The Assembly of the Free Church had no such legislative power, for the Constitution of the Free Church makes no provision for unlimited legislation by the General Assembly. "To maintain the testimony inviolate and uncompromised is the Church's obligation and honour, and she is to be regulated in all her proceedings by the Word alone."

The highest legal authorities in our land had examined the Constitution of the Free Church, and had pronounced upon the Church's obligation if she was to retain her identity. The anti-Unionists were not "anti" as such, but only "anti" the unsound basis on which the proposed Union was to be consummated. They frankly acknowledged that it was their duty to seek closer Union with other branches of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, provided this could be lawfully and consistently entered upon.

As to open questions, as Mr Neil M. Morison of Barvas had said at the Presbytery meeting in January 1899, that he wished with all his heart that they would be swept out of the Church tomorrow, so would we all say if this were possible. It is true that open questions are permissible on matters not clearly revealed in the Word of God. But truths clearly revealed in the Word can never become "open questions", that are to be held or not as one may think proper, for as Dr Begg declared in 1871:

"I hold that truth is binding on the conscience by the authority of God, — that has been the doctrine held hitherto; and if the opposite doctrine is to be held I could make a Union with all Christendom, for example with the Pope, if he would consent to make his supremacy and the mass and absolution, and other matters open questions. . . . No matter how clearly a thing is expressed in the Bible, no matter how strongly we believe it, we can for Union throw it as a difficulty overboard. But if we do this, how is the Church to be a witness for Christ? "The Church should require its Ministers and Officebearers to hold definite principles, and the Church that does not cannot be identified with the Church of Knox, Melville and Henderson, the Church of Chalmers, Candlish and Cunningham, the Church of the Scottish Reformation that entered the life of the nation with the mighty dynamic of a positive Evangel."

As already indicated we have no Presbytery Records from 17th October 1900 until the 23rd of January 1905, and then a meeting on 24th January 1906. They met once a month after this, but there is little of interest in these minutes which refers to Mr Cameron until the 15th of May 1907, when it is recorded that the Presbytery felt grieved in parting with the Rev. Hector Cameron, after his long labours in the Island of Lewis. The Moderator, leaving the chair, in the name of the Presbytery addressed Mr Cameron in solemn language for his faithfulness and loyalty to the cause of Christ during his ministry. Mr Cameron died on the 25th of June 1908, and on the 1st of September the Presbytery appointed a Committee to draw up a tribute to him, viz.. Rev. Nicol Nicolson, Rev. R. MacKenzie, Rev. George MacKay and Mr John Smith. On 20th June 1909 the minute anent the late Rev. Hector Cameron of Back was read, and unanimously approved; a copy of the same was sent to his widow. The tribute itself is not engrossed in the Presbytery minute.

On that fatal day of 31st October 1900, Hector Cameron stood alone of all the Free Church ministers in Lewis. The splendid cohesion of the Free Church people, who so faithfully followed him, was the finest tribute that could have been paid to a minister of Jesus Christ. The people sensed that it was not their own fellow-island ministers that were in the right, but the Argyllshire minister of Back; the vanguard by the many thousands of followers in the Long Island, as they resolved at all costs to maintain the great tradition handed down to them by the Disruption Worthies of 1843.

After 1900, ministers were not readily available to assist him at Communion Seasons, and on one occasion Mr Cameron expressed concern about this to one of his Elders. The Elder replied, "Minister, we shall hold the Communion anyway." Cameron replied, "Tha e feumail dhuit cho aineolach 'so tha thu." (Your ignorance is an advantage to you.) But when the Communion weekend did come, the difficulty was overcome in an unusual way. Rev. William Fraser of Sleat, Skye, arrived a week early for the Barvas Communion, not realising his mistake until he came to Stornoway, Mr Cameron immediately got in touch with him. and Mr Fraser willingly obliged, probably to the delight of the Elder, who along with Mr Cameron would be wrestling with the unseen Friend, who is a brother born in adversity.

When Mr Cameron intimated in the Presbytery his intention of retiring, a Committee was formed with the Rev. Roderick MacKenzie, Barvas, as Convener, to show some public expression of the estimation in which he was held by Lewismen. On Wednesday, 22nd May 1907, Mr and Mrs Cameron were made the recipients of Testimonials from the people of Lewis. Rev. R. MacKenzie preached an appropriate sermon from the words: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Matthew 25: 21. The Church was well filled, and there were also present Rev. George and Mrs MacKay, Stornoway, as well as a number of laymen from the rural congregations.

The recent Union controversy had subjected Mr Cameron at his time of life to a very severe strain, but it had been generally admitted that he acquitted himself as a Christian gentleman, without offence to Jew or Gentile, or to the Church of God. In retiring he had the great satisfaction of seeing the position he took up vindicated, and he was now being made the recipient of a tangible expression of the people's gratitude. He loved and revered the Word of God, and the principles of the Free Church, and this gave him a pre-eminent place in the affections of the people.

The dark days of 1900 were not easily forgotten, when the Stornoway Free Church congregation had to worship in the Drill Hall, where Mr Cameron preached to over 700 people on the first Sabbath after the consummation of the Union. As he was the only Free Church minister in the island, Rev. John MacDonald, Raasay, had to be appointed as Assessor, to maintain the continuity of the Presbytery. Mr Cameron passed through deep waters, being left alone, and having a wife and family to maintain, without a shilling in prospect from any Church on earth.

During these difficult times Mrs Cameron asked her husband, "Where are you going to get money to feed the children if you do not enter the Union?" He replied. "You will just have to take your gutting-knife." He dared to be a Daniel, and the barrel of meal did not waste, neither did the cruse of oil fail. Indeed during the years of 1900-1904 the ministers of the Free Church had been in receipt of an undiminished Equal Dividend of £160.

Money for his Testimonial came from members of the Church of Scotland, the United Free, the Free Presbyterian, as well as Free Church people. In 1900 he had been regarded as the apostle of division, now after seven years members of all Presbyterian Churches in the town honoured him with their gifts. Although he had lacked ministerial support, he had the help of many able laymen in Lewis. A total of £100 was presented to Mr Cameron and a purse of sovereigns to Mrs Cameron. To this was added £30 to £40 gathered by other groups.

Last Days

The reason for Mr Cameron's retiral was loss of memory. He had a medical certificate which pronounced him as unfit for duty. and that continuance in his present work would intensify his complaint. After retiring to Dingwall he was examined by a Specialist, who asked him. "What has happened to your mind?" Mr Cameron replied, "I have fought with beasts at Ephesus." In 1903 he was unable to attend the services at his October Communion, this being the first he missed since his ordination in 1871. He had been ordered to take a complete rest for three months.

His failing health had compelled him to retire shortly after the General Assembly of 1907, and on the 25th of June 1908, in the cottage of Mayfield in Dingwall, he passed to his eternal rest, leaving a widow and family of three sons and two daughters.

His fellow-student, the Rev. Donald MacFarlane, then a Free Presbyterian minister in Dingwall, paid a tribute to Mr Cameron's memory at the close of the afternoon service, having preached from John 17: 24. He said he was not in the habit of making references from the pulpit to ministers from other denominations who had died, however highly he esteemed them, but he made an exception in the case of his late departed friend, Mr Cameron, with whom he had a long and close acquaintanceship. He always regarded him as a man of God, a true Christian, and an able preacher of Law and Gospel. A division had come between them ecclesiastically, but there had been no differences between them as Christians and as brethren. Since College days they were intimate companions, bound by a bond of brotherhood which not even death had been able to sever. Since Mr Cameron retired they met often, not to discuss ecclesiastical differences, but to renew their old friendship, and he loved him to the end.

Mr Cameron's remains were buried in Laxay cemetery, Kinloch, where four of his children had been buried, one of them in 1901 at the age of 18, in the midst of all his other afflictions. Here also were the remains of his son, the Rev. William Cameron, the highly respected and gifted minister of Resolis, buried in 1950.

A memorial stone erected by the Free Church people of Lewis over Mr Cameron's remains has the following inscriptions:

Erected by the Free Church people of Lewis, in loving and to the sacred memory of Rev. Hector Cameron, born 1836, died 25th June, 1908. His daughters Catherine, died 1876, age four months; Annie Macinnes, died 1878, aged four years; Margaret Mary, died 1885, aged eleven years, and his son Thomas, died 1901, aged eighteen years.

Adhered faithfully and with indomitable ardour to the principles of 1843. And of Margaret Stuart MacQueen, wife of the above Rev. Hector Cameron. Died at Kimberly, Evanton. 19th October, 1915.

Well done good and faithful servant.

On the other side of the stone is the following inscription:

In loving memory of the Rev. William Cameron, for 33 years minister of Resolis Free Church, youngest son of Rev. Hector Cameron, and beloved husband of Elizabeth Macintosh, died 1st January, 1950, aged 65.

Agus bheir duine suas an deo, agus c'ait am bheil e?

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me. Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

It is true that they follow them in testifying to their fidelity, as also in contributing to their reward, as they continue to glorify their Master on earth after their own souls have entered into their rest.

When the Rev. John Morrison was inducted at Bernera in Lewis, in 1929, a Carloway Elder, John MacLeod, better known as lain Laimsiadair, was heard to remark, "Tha Thu nis air do ghealladh a choimhlionadh", "Thou hast now fulfilled thy promise". One who was sitting near him heard his undertone remarks, and following him after the conclusion of the service asked him what he meant by these words. "Did you hear that?" John asked, "Well seeing you did you might as well hear the reason for it. After the 1900 Union I was the Presbytery Elder for Carloway, and I had just returned from a Presbytery meeting, when a telegram was there before me, requesting me to return to Stornoway immediately for another meeting of Presbytery. When I arrived the meeting had already begun, and the Rev. Hector Cameron was then addressing the Court, and saying that they would have to give up the struggle as they had no money left. I got up and said that before they would come to such a decision they should ask God for His guidance in prayer. Mr Cameron and the Presbytery agreed, and Mr Cameron himself engaged in prayer. When he finished Mr Cameron said, "John, you were right. We shall not give in, for the Lord has promised me to place a minister in every Free Church congregation in Lewis." This He has now fulfilled in settling today Mr Morrison in Bernera."

It is of considerable interest that when Mr Cameron had come almost to the brink of despair in his struggle for such vital constitutional issues, it was then that the Lord so assured him during his prayer that he was enabled to declare publicly that their contentions would not be in vain, but rather be crowned with such success as eventually to have a minister in every Free Church pulpit in the island.

Such clear indications of the mind of the Lord were not new to Mr Cameron, and a story is told of him still at Back, that on his way to Stornoway during this struggle he told his male servant to stop the vehicle in which they were travelling, and then descending from it he went into a nearby gravel-pit to pray. When he came back he told his servant with tears streaming from his eyes, "I think we shall win our case today again."

In 1900, while the Rev. Hector Kennedy, who had been at Park since his ordination there in 1889, was still there, certain overtures were made for establishing a United Free Church in the district. Mr Cameron, who was then at Back, felt that Mr Kennedy had sympathetic leanings towards the Union of the Churches, and indeed Mr Kennedy did enter the United Free Church at that time. Subsequently he endeavoured to draw some select Office-bearers and members with him, and eventually persuaded a highly respected Elder, Mr Hector Morrison plus three families, comprising in all about 15 members and adherents, to join him. But Mr Kennedy failed to convince Mr Murdo Macinnes, the West Coast Missionary at Lemreway to follow him. Mr Macinnes said to him, "Gluaisidh ceann na Cabaig mus gluais Murchadh MacAonghais bho na teagasgan a fhuair e bho'n Chamshronach." (Cabaig Head will remove before Murdo Macinnes will move away from the teaching that he received from Cameron.) This Missionary was able to retain the Park congregation, despite Mr Kennedy's overtures, holding Free Church services in the Gravir School every Sabbath at noon, and in the playground when the weather was fair. Mr Kennedy sent a protest to the West Coast Mission's offices at Glasgow, stating that Mr Macinnes was attempting to divide the congregation, but they do not appear to have paid much attention to the complaint, as Mr Macinnes continued to conduct his services as before. Mr Macinnes is known to have stated that Mr Cameron did as much for the Island of Lewis as John Knox did for Scotland.

When Mr Kennedy realised that only a few of the congregation intended to follow him he returned to the Free Church, but he never again so fully commanded the congregation's respect; and so he left Park in 1904, after the decision of the House of Lords in favour of the Free Church.

Although Mr Cameron does not seem to have borne any grudge against the brethren who disagreed with him, one of them,who vehemently opposed him, tauntingly said to him, "Seeing you know everything will you not tell us when the day of judgment will come?" Cameron replied, "Your day of Judgment, my friend, will come on the day of your death."

While the Free Church as a whole owes a great deal to the stand made by Mr Cameron, we, who belong to the Free Church in Lewis, owe him much more. The Lord has honoured that stand from time to time in showers of blessing upon both ministers and congregations; and while we may feel at times like trembling, as we hear of the dealings of the Philistines with the Ark of God, we can steady our gaze by looking unto Him who is the author and finisher of our faith, and thus say with Spurgeon, "0 anxious gazer, look not so much on the battle below, for there thou shalt be enshrouded in smoke, and amazed with garments rolled in blood; but lift thine eyes yonder where the Saviour lives and pleads, for while He intercedes the Cause of God is safe. Let us fight as if all depended on us, but let us look and know that all depends upon Him."

We think it appropriate to apply the following verses of Mrs Cousin's famous poem on the remarkable utterances of Samuel Rutherford to Mr Cameron in his resolute struggle to maintain the distinctive tenets of the Free Church, and to defend its heritage against the many who, consciously or unconsciously, were ready to bring changes into its constitution and principles.

The sands of time are sinking
The dawn of heaven breaks
The summer morn I've sighed for
The fair sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight,
But dayspring is at hand,
And glory—glory dwelleth In Immanuel's land.
Soon shall the cup of glory
Wash down earth's bitterest woes,
Soon shall the desert briar
Break into Eden's rose:
The curse shall change to blessing
The name on earth that's bann'd,
Be graven on the white stone In Immanuel's land.
I have borne scorn and hatred,
I have borne wrong and shame,
Earth's proud ones have reproach'd me
For Christ's thrice blessed name:
Where God His seal set fairest
They've stamped their foulest brand;
But judgment shines like noonday In Immanuel's land.

Then said Mr Valiant-for-truth, "I am going to my Father's, and though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me, that I have fought His battles who now will be my rewarder. "

When the day that he must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the river-side, into which, as he went, he said, "Death, where is thy sting?" And as he went down deeper, he said. "Grave, where is thy victory?"

And so he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.

-- The Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan.

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