by: Scott Brown February 7, 2011
Convenience often is the determining factor for church attendance and regularity is often governed by schedule, weather, whim and busyness. In sharp contrast, John G. Paton speaks of his father's devotion to the local church. He walked four miles and missed only three times in 40 years.
"Our place of worship was the Reformed Presbyterian Church at Dumfries, a full four miles from our home. The tradition was that during forty years my father was only prevented three times from attending the worship of God. Once by snow so deep that he was baffled and had to return; once by ice on the road, so dangerous that he was forced to crawl back on his hands and knees; and once by a terrible outbreak of cholera. All travel between the town and the surrounding villages was publicly prohibited. The farmers and villagers, suspecting that no cholera would make my father stay at home on the Sabbath, sent a deputation to my mother on the Saturday evening, and urged her to restrain his devotions for once! Each of us, from very early days, considered it no penalty, but a great joy, to go with our father to the church; the four miles were a treat to our young spirits, and occasionally some of the wonders of city life rewarded our eager eyes. We had special Bible readings on the Lord's Day evening, and the Shorter Catechism was gone through regularly."