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O my brethren, are these merely rhetorical crusaders, It is the will of God, only tempercontrasts-a trick of words that die, and die ing that cry by the gracious and tender interdeservedly as soon as they are uttered—or pretation of it
, It is the will of God that not do they show us, show our consciences, our one of His little ones should perish? If the resolutions, our ambitions-show us here Spirit of God, who alone can inspire any and show us now—two ways of looking upon lasting devotion, can stamp this conviction human life? I will not ask you, Which is the deep in the heart of any here present, then more excellent way? On that we are agreed. will be proved once more the truth, the Rather I will ask you, Is the more excellent abiding truth, of the Saviour's promise, My way still possible? Can a life be laid and built, words shall not pass away. like a goodly vessel, upon those lines—a life It is on His words that we have been that may be launched with honour, and reach dwelling. We have tried to catch their at last a heavenly haven?
spirit. We have tried, not so much to prove, Are there no "little ones” now to be as to make it felt, that they are still living. cared for, no “offences” to be removed, is We have shown that illustrious lives have there no slavery to be abolished ?
been lived in the faith of them, and famous Just seventy years ago, when, by a glorious causes fought and won in their name. And and memorable majority of 283 to 16, the now we say here to one and another, aiming House of Commons decided that the Slave our shaft at a venture, but believing that Trade should die, the friends of Wilberforce among so many it will somewhere hit, “Go. crowded to his house in Palace Yard to wish and do thou likewise." Search out for some him joy of this long-deferred triumph. He of Christ's “ little ones "-weakness in some replied playfully to one of them, “Well, what form, weakness despised, down-trodden, shall we abolish next?” Since that day sorely tempted, much degraded, on the brink there has been much to abolish in England; of perishing. Ask how it has all so come to many a house of bondage then unsuspected, pass, and why its state is still so pitiable. many an “offence” in the path of Christ's Understand, too, why it is that other attempts. "little ones.” And who shall say that the to restore have failed, and why there be many task is now complete, and that the will of the that say that no restoration is possible. heavenly Father has been at last accom- And then confront all these cries of desponplished? The “offences” which cause ruin dency, however proud the tone with which may be less flagrant than of old; their action they announce their conclusions, with the one may be more subtle, the means for removing strong declaration of your Master : “ It is them may also be more subtle, and leave a not the will of your Father which is in less conspicuous mark on history ; but they are heaven that one of His little ones should none the less real. Christ's "little ones," if perish.” only we have open Christ-like eyes, we have The power of this truth is greater than the always with us—in our country, in our parish, power of all the other half truths. In the in the circle of our friends, perhaps in our faith of Christ many have rested from their own family.
labours—many sleep in the churchyards of Do I address any to-night who are yet un- England, many sleep here beneath our feet, decided as to their life's career? Are there or beneath the stone floor of other cathedrals any men—any young men—who are not satis-—who have lived and died proving, as well as fied with living for themselves ? Are there believing, that this promise was true. They any women, who, with leisure on their hands, have taken Christ at His word. They have find the life of society tame and flat, and long learned from Himself to know the true mind for the stir of some Christian campaign? of His Father. They have proved that what Can I do wrong in suggesting to you, as your was impossible with man was possible, and call to newness of life, the old cry of the even easy, and at last triumphant, with God.
BY THE REV. W. G. BLAIKIE, D.D., LL.D. *LOSE to each other rise the Rhine instead of being parallel, becomes a contrast.
and the Danube; but descending on At the interval of half a century, two Scotchopposite sides of the watershed, their course, men were born in the same rank of life, and
reared under similar influences; but they, too, Autobiography of the Rev. William Arnot, and Memoir. By his Daughter, Mrs. A. Fleming. London, 1877.
were on opposite sides of the watershed,
and their respective careers showed hardly a strong force of family affection, a turning of trace of visible resemblance. We know not the heart with great power to its domestic if any reader of the brief chapter of auto- treasures. Both were marked, too, by a biography of William Arnot, which forms the sturdy independence, and by an outspoken first eighty pages of this book, has been frankness that left no doubt where their reminded of Robert Burns; but, for our part, sympathies lay. we cannot help thinking that some striking In very unequal measure, no doubt, but elements of similarity were in the nature of in both cases really, there was the poetical the two men. Both were the sons of strug- insight, the faculty for detecting those resemgling farmers, or rather crofters, godly men, blances between the seen and the unseen, too, and of invincible integrity, whose exam- between the world of sense and the world of ple was itself a noble inheritance, and a great spirit, the expression of which, whether in moral power. Both men were brought up to prose or in verse, is the real work of the till the soil on their father's farms, and even poet. In both, the poetic gift seems to have in early boyhood became familiar with that come to consciousness through the very toilsome life in which a little food and cloth- monotony and prosaic nature of their ordiing is got in exchange for an enormous nary employment. In the mouse started by amount of the sweat of the brow. Both his plough, Burns finds a subject for a owed to the parish school their entrance into sprightly and kindly poem, while Arnot, the domain of knowledge, and to such stray unable to endure a long summer day behind volumes as they happened to pick up the the harrows, gets relief in a sonnet to a impulse that gave a special direction to their snowdrop.* In the soul of both, the founintellectual energies. To both, in early boy- tain of tears and the fountain of laughter hood, the “ History of Sir William Wallace" lay near each other; the tender and the was a singularly attractive book, while other humorous chords were often touched toworks of adventure, history, or imagination, gether, and without any sense of the inconserved to open new worlds before them.* gruous. The measure of the genius of the The sympathies of both ran deep and full two men may have been widely different, but with the toiling masses, making it somewhat obviously they were of the same order, and difficult for them to be even fair and patient one might naturally have looked for much towards those who were born to rank and resemblance in their respective careers. affluence. To both, nature was an object of Yet their actual lives were such a contrast enthusiastic delight, full of a Divine beauty that some will smile, possibly sneer, at our and interest which vulgar eyes never saw, even placing the two names together. The but which afforded a perpetual feast to all one gay, frolicsome, untrammelled, walking who could penetrate the superficial veil. in the sight of his eyes and in the ways of
There were even more minute points of his heart; the other thoughtful, sedate, resemblance. When boyhood was passing devout, controlling every irregular impulse, into manhood, both were singularly suscepti- and looking back on an unblemished youth ble of the tender passion, and were ever and an unsullied manhood. The one conlosing their hearts to some goddess or other. fessing, and too plainly showing, that he had Burns tells us in his autobiography that his heart was “completely tinder," and that far Gilbert Burns, were composed on the occasions mentioned,
“ The verses to a Mouse and Mountain Daisy, beyond all other impulses was “un penchant and when the author was holding the plough ; 1 could point pour l'adorable moitié du genre humain.” | the plough was a favourite situation with Robert for poetic Arnot in like manner confesses that through- compositions, and some of his best verses were produced when
Arnot gives the following account out his youth he was very susceptible, and of his first attempt at verse. “One summer day I was alone
The 'yoking' formed many an attachment to girls of his is a period of five hours at a stretch. The ground was soft own age and standing. He liked to chat and dry. The harrows raised the hot dust round my head,
and my feet at every step sunk heavily into the dry ground. with them on a summer evening, and was It was a weary day-it was fatiguing work. I had no human terribly afraid lest this penchant should be being to speak torri betook myself to rhyme. I composed a suspected at home. Yet along with this and diverted me from the oppressive exercise of my lungs somewhat straggling susceptibility, reined in horses, leaped joyfully on the bare back of 'one, and, leading by Arnot, but allowed by Burns to carry him the other two, soon had the poor brutes in the stable. Off i
started then to my sleeping apartment, bottling all my to unlawful extremes, there was in both a laboured lines in my memory, and committed them to paper.
The lines were sad doggrel. : But though the lines are * Burns specifies Addison's “Vision of Mirza" and the lost, the memory of the making of these lines, with the “Life of Hannibal,” along with the “Life of Sir W. Wal- attendant circumstances, is still fresh and sweet. It is only lace," among the studies of his boyhood; Arnot, the “ Life one of a number of little mental efforts, which served to keep of Sir W. Wallace," “Pilgrim's Progress," " Brydone's Tour me from being entirely absorbed in the mass of coarse vul. through Sicily and Malta," “ Arabian Nights,” “Don garity, Little snatches of culture are of great value when Quixote," and the “ Trial of Queen Caroline.”
brought into contact with the mind of the peasantry.”
no aim in life, and that for want of it he favourably of my religious character. Somecould not keep steady; the other in full how this throws one very directly on God, sympathy with the purpose of the Gospel the heart-searcher. When one speaks evil of of Christ, and counting it his highest honour me, my heart defends; when one flatters me to consecrate every energy to its advance to my face, I drink in part of the flattery, and ment. The one drawn, through his own the other part I attribute to the good nature irregularities, into open and scornful antago- of my friend; but when one speaks well of nism to the representatives of the earnest me, not knowing that I hear it, this sends me religion of the country; the other in full to God, and I feel as if I were a hypocrite, to sympathy with their substantial excellence, have such a character with those who see yet holding himself free, though with tender outside, while it is so different within." touch, to expose their blemishes. The one There is no affectation here ; it is the honest pouring out his soul in praise of John Barley- judgment of an honest man. Arnot had no corn, as if he were only a father of blessings; favour for deceptive lights, even when his the other denouncing him as a foul tyrant own reputation seemed likely to benefit from and traitor, who dragged the choicest young them. He thought of the judgment of God, men and maidens to a fate more horrible which is ever according to truth; and looking than that inflicted by any Minotaur,
at things as in the presence of God, derived Where and what was the cause of this con- from it such a sense of reality that no trast? On the Divine side, no doubt, it lay in counterfeit or sham could stand for a moment the grace that makes one man to differ from before him. another. On the human side it lay in the The most remarkable and decided inspirit of self-control, which a sense of religion fluence on Arnot's early religious life arose early evoked in Arnot, and which guided from the illness and death of his only brother. him safely through all the temptations of life. Notwithstanding the amorous susceptibility Arnot might have drifted as Burns drifted, to which he adverts, he seems to have owed and all his gifts and noble impulses would comparatively little to female influence in the have been only like lights twinkling in a development of his Christian character. His ruin, had not his religion become a living mother died while he was an infant, and his power, and his lot been cast with the white-elder sister, who seems to have been remarkrobed company that follow the Lamb whither- ably careful in many ways, does not appear soever He goeth.
to have attempted to mould his deeper nature. There was no very marked experience of Arnot owed more to men; and, perhaps, this conversion in Arnot's case. He could not circumstance may be noted in connection tell when he began to have serious impres- with that fondness for young men, and power sions. But he could trace remarkable occa of attracting them, which was one of the sions when they were so sharpened and features of his public life. The family of deepened as to become like new forces in Kilgraston, in whose garden Arnot's brother his heart. One of these was in his early had worked as a gardener, had come under childhood, when, being seriously ill, and the power of Divine grace in a remarkable apparently unconscious, he heard his father way. One of the Grants, a midshipman in remark, as if he expected him to die, that he the navy, had been converted, and had died had always been attentive to his Bible and in the island of St. Helena, and two surhis duties. The remark had an opposite viving brothers, one of whom became Sir effect from what might have been expected, Francis Grant of the Royal Academy, were thereby illustrating the independence of mind deeply impressed by Divine truth. When and character which
which distinguished him Arnot's brother became ill, Francis Grant through life. Had he been a pliable or came often to see him, and would spend commonplace child, the remark would have hours at his bedside, conversing freely on comforted him, and even in the prospect of matters of spiritual experience. This could death made him feel “all right.” It had, not but impress William Arnot, but it was in reality, the opposite effect. It led him to from his own brother that the chief lesson contrast what he knew to be the true con- came. His brother's disease was creeping dition of his heart with what it had seemed paralysis, a very distressing malady for a to his father. He knew that in God's judg- young man, but cheerfully borne. His rement a different sentence would have been ligious life, of which the origin was a secret passed on him. “Some years afterwards, a in his own heart, grew steadily and beautisense of sinfulness was much quickened in a fully. His brother William was drawn to him similar way by hearing two persons speak by a most tender sympathy. Whenever he upon it.
reached home at night he hastened to his in my mouth, and after I had drunk it I was bedside, and spent the evening beside him. as thirsty as before. I was not well for He read to him, helped him with such em- several days after. . .
For many years
after ployment as he could undertake, and sought that I could not endure the taste of whisky in every way to mitigate his trial. He saw in any shape, and could not even remain in the end approaching, and felt the truth that a house where toddy was emitting its fumes. this is not our rest. “ The effects of that Whether the sense of sin and the fear of lesson never departed. The lesson was im- offending God would have kept me clear of printed deep, and that, too, in a heart tender, drunkenness I cannot tell ; but I know that yet in youth, and peculiarly softened by love the matter was not left to these motives and sorrow. It was calculated for a life- alone. The illness that night, and the loathtime, and applied accordingly.”
ing of spirits which it produced, became a Many of us can remember the time when shield of defence to me. I sometimes think the same lesson was burnt into our hearts. if people suffered as much as I did from their Previously we knew the truth as a dogma; first act of inebriety they would never rush we knew it to be unquestionable; perhaps into a second.” we could have written an excellent homily For some time after this young Arnot went
But a desolating blow came on our on, as best he could, conforming in some home, and thereafter we felt it. First afflic- degree to the drinking customs of his class, tions are wonderful factors in the religious but inwardly loathing them. His father's life. The world becomes disenchanted; from counsel was strong against his going to any being shadows the unseen and the eternal party where drinking convivialities prevailed. become vivid, terrible realities, and our whole Young Arnot at last summoned courage to attitude to them is changed. So it was with defy public opinion, hard though he felt it to young Arnot. Hereafter he felt himself a do so. He absented himself from the pubpilgrim and a stranger, and the world, beauti- lic-house on an occasion when his presence ful though it was around him, was no longer was counted on as indispensable, and thereby his home.
made a breach between himself and the conThe autobiography to which we have ad- | vivialists which continued to the end of his verted contains two other passages which we life. must not pass over. One of them shows The other point we wish to notice in the how Arnot's intense temperance proclivities autobiography is one of great interest—how were formed. It was in his sixteenth year young Arnot came to learn Latin, to attend that he made his first acquaintance with the University of Glasgow, and aspire to alcohol. “ There was an annual fair in the the Christian ministry. His purpose to rise neighbouring village of Dunning. In the out of the condition of life in which he was evening I went to see it in the company of arose from the consciousness of higher powers, Mr. Thomson's foreman and other men. along with an advice given him by his They led me into several public-houses, where brother to devote himself to the ministry, they gave me whisky toddy. We were not backed by his own deepest desires to be very long in the village. There was not very employed in that service. It is a ticklish much drinking ; none of the men were in- position for a young man when he is called toxicated. I retained no recollection of the to decide on so important a matter-so many quantity I drank. I did not suspect danger. fall into a fatal blunder from over-estimating I had no intention and no fear of making their abilities, and misinterpreting the call myself tipsy ; indeed, that did not occur to of Providence.
of Providence. Mr. Arnot, in his autobioOn the way home I felt the effects of graphy, does not profess to have acted from the toddy in the form of great exhilaration of motives entirely or absolutely pure. He spirits. The men were greatly amused by honestly confesses he was sometimes ashamed my unwonted loquacity. After I came home of his humble calling, and that once, when a I became sick and giddy. I hastened to relation in better circumstances came to see bed; I passed a most wretched night. At him, he felt a pang shoot across him as he the earliest dawn, about three in the morn- glanced at his rustic dress and thought of his ing, I left my bed and issued forth to the rough employment. We are better pleased cool air. I was in a deplorable condition ; to read this than we should have been to be something that seemed to be thirst was told that, in choosing the ministry, his motives gnawing within me. I went to a well at the were the very highest. Yet his conversation bottom of the garden, and drank of its clear with his brother had impressed on him ceriain cool stream, but it tasted like Epsom salts views of the ministry which would certainly
have kept him from aspiring to it, as some do, successful, he was popular, his books sold merely as a means of reaching a higher social well, his tracts were scattered like snowflakes, position. He had already made some pro- his speeches were always listened to with ingress in Latin. His efforts to lean it were terest, and his appearances in Exeter Hall most commendable. He would take his were never failures. Sunbeams fell liberally Rudiments in his hand as he left his father's upon him, and they were reflected liberally cottage at half-past five in the morning, and from him. As his nature was sunny, so was pore over a declension or a conjugation on his life. He could not have been content his way to his work. At meal hours the book to nourish in his people a gloomy piety. was again in his hands. Even when he had What he sought to foster was piety in union five minutes' rest, waiting for his comrades, with joy and gladness, with the pleasures the Rudiments was again pulled from his arising from the sense of God's love, from pocket. Out of an income of nine shillings the play of domestic affections, from the free a week he had contrived, besides paying enjoyment of nature, from the exercise of a board to his father, to save twenty pounds. harmless humour, from the feeling that to The matter was brought to a point one day God's children all things work together for by his father offering to take and stock for good, and from the hope full of immortality. him a vacant farm in the neighbourhood. There
very characteristic Grateful to his father, he refused the offer. features of his ministry. His first book, He was now fairly on the rails for the ministry. entitled “The Race for Riches," was in the But eight years of study lay before him. It line of Dr. Chalmers's “Commercial Diswas a hard pull, for he had to support him-courses.” So was his principal book, his self by teaching in the intervals of study. “Illustrations of the Book of Proverbs,” pubArnot became a zealous student. From Sir lished under the rather sensational title of Daniel K. Sandford he caught an enthusiasm Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth.” for Greek. Among his fellow-students were There was a strong ethical element in such men as James Halley and James Hamil- Arnot's preaching ; but it was an ethical ton, eminent equally as scholars and as Chris-element on an evangelical basis. The tian men, and very delightful and stimulating system of grace was to him the corner-stone as companions, both of whose biographies it of the whole Gospel, as it must be to every fell to him subsequently to write. At length man who understands what Christianity is. the long preparation was over, and Arnot was But Arnot felt that a great superstructure called to be minister of St. Peter's, Glasgow, had to be reared on that foundation. Among one of the new charges which had sprung the preachers of the present day, one recogfrom the church 'extension zeal of Dr. nises two very distinct types, apart altogether Chalmers and his friends.
from the manner of preaching. There is the The life which follows this autobiographical evangelistic school, who in every sermon aim fragment is a record of the pastoral work of at conversion; there is another school, who thirty-six years, of which twenty-five were spent aim at the cultivation and upbuilding of in Glasgow, and the remaining eleven in Christian character. We should say that Edinburgh. The pastoral work was varied some English preachers, and notably the by sundry literary performances, and by three preachers in the great public schools, are visits to the other side of the Atlantic. Ex- of this latter class. They wish to train their tracts are given from many letters, and occa- hearers to ways and habits of life in accordsionally from what is called a private diary, ance with the Christian spirit. They do this which seems, however, to have been written, too often without providing for that infusion like many such diaries, with no strictly private of the Christian spirit which comes from and purpose. There is a youthful vivacity running with conversion. It seems to us that Arnot through the whole, the sprightliness of one aimed at both. On the one hand, he saw who never lost his joyful, radiant, elastic no possibility of a Christian character withtemperament. All through, Arnot is the type out the initial act of union to Christ. But, of the happy, hearty Christian worker. Not on the other hand, he saw that there might only was this in accordance with his tempera- be conversion attended with many defects. ment, but Providence seems to have ordered He wished to see all Christians true, honest, his lot on purpose that this type of the ser- loving, and above the sordid vices so comvant of God might be fully realised by him. mon in a commercial community. He The death of his brother was his greatest laboured to produce this type of Christian domestic grief. His family life was almost character. He had to expose vices and
roken sunshine. His pastoral work was weaknesses of various kinds, and people