Munro, John

Munro, John a Scotch minister, who did much to advance in the "Far North" the interests of the Free Church of Scotland, was born in Ross-shire, about 1768, of humble but honorable parentage. John's father died while he was yet a lad, and the care of a large household was his early prospect. His mother, a pious woman, was anxious that John should follow his father's footsteps in all Christian work, and therefore devoted much of her time to his religious training. His secular educational advantages were few, and he was early obliged to learn a trade for his own and his family's support. When working as a journeyman carpenter he conceived the plan of entering the work of the holy ministry, and while residing at Aberdeen he spent his evenings in study, acquiring especially some knowledge of the languages. He finally entered the university, and after going through a course in literature and divinity was licensed to preach. In 1806 he went to Caithness to take charge of the Achreny mission, at that time including the three preaching stations of Achreny, Halsary, and Halladale, and extending over about twenty miles of hill country destitute of roads. He had labored here for ten years with great success when he was called to the Edinburgh Gaelic chapel, and, accepting the place, he occupied it until 1825, when he was presented to the parish church of Halkirk, and there he distinguished himself by great devotion to his people and close application to pulpit preparation, so that his sermons attracted all classes of society, even the most cultured, notwithstanding the deficiencies in his own culture for want of early advantages. Said one of his contemporaries: "His ministrations were highly acceptable to his hearers. They could not fail to recognise in them the instructions and exhortations of a man of God, who knew and felt the truth and loved their souls. He evidently spoke from the heart — spoke what he believed — what his own soul was full of, and was daily feeding on with delight." He died April 1, 1847, at Thurso, while in attendance on a meeting of the Presbytery of Caithness, to which he belonged. "Munro in personal appearance was not above the middle height, but of portly figure, and fair complexioned, his countenance beaming with benevolence. That his mental power — although not his predominant feature — was uncommon was evident from the position, weight, and influence he attained in the ministerial office." See Auld, Ministers and Men of the Far North (1868), pages 74-99.

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