Wootton Rectory 1875 - 1876
To the congregation attending Wootton Church, Isle of Wight.
My dear parishioners and friends,
I have the pleasure to lay before you an account of the efforts which have been made in the parish and its vicinity, in the course of the past year, to promote, we humbly hope, in some degree at least, the glory of god, and the good of our fellow creatures. May the consideration that we may not long have an opportunity afforded to us to work for god, and thus improve the talents committed to our charge, excite us to greater diligence both in “working out our own salvation”, in dependence on the merits of our Adorable Redeemer, and in leading others to the knowledge of him, whom to know, is life eternal; and also in contributing to the temporal comfort of our poorer brethren in their hour of need.
I have had the privilege and responsibility of “ watching for your souls” for the long period of twenty one years, during which, you will bear me record, it has been my constant endeavour- though painfully conscious of my innumerable short comings - to induct you to “look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” not only for pardon and righteousness, but also for grace and strength, to enable you to follow his holy example, that you may be fitted to dwell with him in his heavenly kingdome. What may be the general result of the effort for the attainment of this object, made by myself and several fellow-labourers, can only be known at the great day, when minister and people will be requires to “give an account of their stewardship”, but one most desirable effort has evidently followed “brotherly love has continued” and thank god still prevails, and this I look upon as a great mercy in these troubled times. I doubt not that the good feeling which has at all times subsisted amongst us has been fostered by continual personal intercourse in pastoral visiting (a system which I have pursued during the whole of my ministry, extending over considerably more than sixty-one years). We have thus become mutually acquainted, and learned to respect each other, - and to enter each other’s feelings: to “rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep”.
And through the infirmities of age prevent me from taking the same active part, which I formerly did, in the more public duties of the ministry, I am thankful that I am still graciously permitted to have much social and spiritual communication with many of you, which I trust may, under the blessing of God, prove not altogether unprofitable. I have the comfort also, to know that any lack of service on my part is well supplied by my friend Mr. Fisher - esteemed by you as well as myself-who has laboured with me in the gospel in this parish for very nearly ten years.
But my dear friends, the time cannot be far distant when the endearing tie which has for so long a period, bound us closely together, must be severed-and in the prospect of this separation, I feel like the aged, St peter, more deeply anxious “as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance of the things that belong to your everlasting peace”. And how thankful I should be, and how the thought would comfort me in my closing moments, if I had good grounds for hoping that several ministrations of myself and my fellow labourers, had been “watered by the dew of Gods blessing” that through our feeble instrumentality, many had been brought into the fold of the good shepherd, and were leading holy and consistent lives. For God’s sake then, my beloved flock, and for your own souls’ sake let me entreat you in this,- which may, probably be my last address, to pray continually for the aid of the Holy S to enable you thus to “adorn the doctrine of God your saviour” and carry on, with power, the work of grace in your hearts. Then, though we must separate for a little while, what a happy meeting we shall have when we arrive at home - in our “Father’s House” - forever with each other, and all the death divided family: and best of all - “Forever with the lord” - who purchased all this happiness for us, at the price of His own precious blood!
"And now brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified."
That this blessed inheritance may be yours, and the portion of all near and dear to you, is the earnest prayer of
Your sincere friend and pastor,
R. HILTON SCOTT [1790-1883]
Wootton Rectory, I.W.
May 1st 1876.
Wootton Rectory Gallery
Source: Alice WilliamsThis page was last edited on: 4th March, 2015 06:17:21