Hugh Mackenzie and the Hard-Won Assurance of His Struggling Faith


Mr. Hugh Mackenzie was born in Kilmuir, on Easter, in 1728…

An eminent minister, who had often met him, was struck with his habitual assurance, and, that he might know the foundation of it, he went to visit him, a distance of thirty miles. To draw him out, he said to him:

“Mr. Mackenzie, you are a man to be envied; you know nothing of doubts and fears; you always enjoy the full assurance of hope.” The old man replied at once, “–Yes, yes, I understand you. Many a man speaks of my strong faith that does not know all that it has to struggle with. But I shall tell you what my faith is, I am the emptiest, vilest, poorest sinner I know on the face of the earth. I feel myself to be so. But I read in His own word that he hears the cry of the poor, and I believe Him, and I cry to Him, and He always hears me, and that is all the faith or assurance I have got.” The venerable minister on telling me the incident, made the remark, “–If I know anything of true faith, Mr. Mackenzie’s faith is a most scriptural and a most rational one.”

Some years before his death, I happened to be at his son’s house when the Lord’s Supper was dispensed in the parish. On Monday, Mr. Mackenzie went to the tent to hear another old minister with whom he had been long intimate, and the text was, “He will speak peace to His people, and to His saints.” The wind happened to be high, and when the sermon was over, the minister said to him, “–I fear Mr. Mackenzie, you were not hearing well,” “Yes,” was the answer, “I was hearing all day, and believing too.”

In the evening I accompanied his sons to call upon the old man. When the question was put, ” How do you feel, tonight? ” His answer was, “My case is more easily felt than described. You read that there is a ‘peace of God which passeth all understanding,’ and a ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory,’ and that is just my case tonight.” When further questioned, he remarked: “I got into this state of mind while I was hearing that precious sermon, today;” and then, addressing his sons, he said, “Don’t think that I despise your preaching. You preach the gospel, and I bless God for it; but you have not the experience of the old minister. The preaching we had to-day about the ‘peace,’ is what suits my soul.”

In 1829 he began to sink, and his son was sent for. On being asked by his son what his views were now as to the things of eternity, he answered, with beautiful simplicity, “I leave it all in His own hands. I am not able to think much, but I know He won’t send me to hell.”

When his end was evidently near, and when asked how he felt, he was able to whisper, “–He has been entertaining me with a promise,” and, soon after, he breathed his last in the one hundred and first year of his age.


Taken from, “The Religious Anecdote of Scotland”
Written by, William Adamson