Page images

he imagined would prove to him sheer went, in the strength of his new reforimprisonment. And now his ship, the mation, to a public house, to fetch Edgar, was sent to that very place. away from the scene of temptation & In this he marked the hand of that God friend of his own. His friend signi whom he was constantly striving, but fied his willingness to go, if Robert in vain, to forget. From the deck of would consent to drink a single glass. the Edgar he could see his old com- He did so; but immediately the derades of the 100th Regiment on the sire to drink another, and remain with rock. He became extremely unhappy. the company, took possession of him. Might they not discover that Robert The rest I need not tell: a drunken Mackie (he had now assumed his carousal followed. Next morning he mother's patronymic) was none other looked around upon the total wreck of than Robert Annan the deserter ? his resolutions, his reforms, and his Every time he saw a red-coat he fan- hopes.

hopes. The dog had returned to its cied he was about to be seized. Con- vomit. He was filled with confusion science began to upbraid him, till at and alarm. “What!” he said to him. length he was constrained by the voice self, “ has it come to this again ? Am within to give himself up as a deserter. I past all redemption ? Surely I have After suffering punishment for his of- sold myself to the devil! What shall fences, he again resolved to turn over I do ?" Chagrin at the failure of his a new leaf, and now thought he had good intentions and solemn vows condone with sin for ever. In this spirit founded his pride, and stung him to he wrote to his parents, who procured the quick. The gall and wormwood his discharge, and Robert returned to of remorse embittered his soul, and his father's house, seemingly a sadder a melancholy feeling of hopelessness and a wiser man. One truth he well began to possess him. knew; in one text of Scripture he That night he was so far humbled believed: "The way of transgressors as to go to a revival meeting-one of is hard." (Prov. xiii. 15.)

a series of meetings then being held

in the Kinnaird Hall, in Dundee. II. RETURNING.

During the meeting Robert felt as if

he were a target for every shooter ; As yet (1860) Robert Annan knew

the arrows of conviction stuck fast in only his own righteousness and his conscience ; eternal realities burst strength. He had abandoned the

upon his view, and the powerful strivtavern, the theatre, and his old com- ings of the Holy Spirit baffled his enpanions. He became proud of his deavours to maintain a sullen reserve. newly-begun moralities, and began to At the close of the meeting he felt reckon himself as good as there was disposed to join the company of weepany use for.” When the doctrine of ing enquirers, but shame prevented the new birth was discussed, he poured him. As he stood upon the doorsteps contempt upon the very idea of being

a young man exhorted him to decide, born again, and went the length of and then bade him good-night, saying, saying that the narrative of our Lord's " We shall meet at the judgment life was got up by designing men. A seat." "The judgment seat," refew days after this discussion, he peated the trembling sinner to him


soul; and

geemed to say you used to descerist

self; "yes, yes, it is true, I must go “ the mountain of my sin rose before there." Every old truth seemed now my eyes, and the wrath of God like a to flash new light into his soul; and mist blinded me." A voice then just as he was going to enter the seemed to say, “ Go to Camperdown enquiry meeting, the hall door was woods, where you used to desecrate closed in his face, and he reeled down the Lord's day, and end your existthe steps, exclaiming, “Great God, am ence." As he pondered this suggesI shut out of salvation for ever !" tion he said to himself, “If I do Away he went to the house of a friend, so, what next ?" He shuddered at the who assured him he might find an en- thought, and turned his back on Camtrance into the hall by another door. perdown woods. Then the voice said, In breathless haste he returned to “Go to Reres Hill, where you used to seek the door, but in vain. These are break the Sabbath, and pray to God small matters; but to an awakened on the spot where you sinned, and He soul such things seem to speak with will forgive you." the voice of God.

It appears to be a common device At the midnight hour he entered of Satan's, either to drive to despair, my room and stood before me, his or draw into false peace. If a man eyes wild and red with excitement, utterly despairs he may be easily inand his countenance black and ter- duced to destroy himself; if not, the rible. His whole body, a frame of rebound from despair will be some iron, shook and quivered. Knowing desperate penance and lying trust. something of the man, I feared he Robert did not go to Reres Hill to was about to lay hands upon me and do penance; but returning home he take vengeance for some words of re- went to a hayloft, where during the proof. Very different was the case. night and all next day, for the space Robert had now no blows but for him of thirteen hours, he lay on his face self, and with words of keen and cut before God, and with agonizing cries ting self-condemnation he asked the pleaded for mercy. Strange, indeed, question of questions, “ What must I was the scene enacted in that haydo to be saved ?" I pointed him to loft. Too familiar had that sinner the Lamb of God, but in vain ; Ro- been with deeds of violence and of bert went away as he came, smiting blood; but the hayloft struggle was on his breast and calling aloud for more terrible than any he had ever mercy.

passed through. Surely the angels In his wretchedness he resolved to were looking down upon that once retire to the top of the Law, a hill hardened blasphemer and exclaiming, which rises almost from the banks of “Behold he prayeth !" Light and the Tay and overlooks Dundee, and darkness were in conflict; grace and spend the night in solitude and prayer. sin were striving for the mastery; But although a child could find its Christ and the devil contended for way to the summit, and he had been that soul; while heaven and hell familiar with the hill and its environs seemed to hold their breath in exfrom infancy, Robert failed to reach pectation of the issue. the sought-for solitude. "I could see Alarmed at his absence, his parents H0 hill,” he afterwards said to me; and sister sought him next day, and discovering him by hearing his groan. Holy Spirit. Robert was near the ings in the hayloft, induced him to kingdom, but he did not at that hour enter the house ; but he could neither enter in. We left him where we found eat, drink, nor sleep, and for three him, at the mercy-seat. At the end days the conflict went on, his dark- of three days he was enabled to lay ness the while deepening, his anguish hold upon the word of Jesus, “ Him growing more keen, and his burden that cometh to me I will in no wise more intolerable, as he lay bemoaning cast out.” (John vi. 37.) There he himself and crying with a piteous cast anchor, and although in after voice for help.

years he encountered many a storm, In company with my friend Mr. no blast was ever able to drive him Campbell, I went to see him, and from his moorings. He was safe on found him in a darkened room, alone the Rock. and upon his knees, panting and Thus the grace of God obtained a pleading for mercy like one who had victory over this stout-hearted sinner. not five minutes to live. Like many And the victory was complete. The an awakened sinner he was evidently man of iron nature became soft and seeking peace with God by trying to impressible as melted wax. His fierce, pray himself into a better state of turbulent, and ungovernable passions heart, instead of looking out to Jesus were hushed into a settled calm : as “the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." the lion had become a lamb. His 66 Robert,” said we to him, “you are proud, fighting, desperate temper was looking for a sign from heaven. You changed to meekness, and a little think if you heard a voice assuring child could lead him. The mainspring you of salvation, or felt some strange of sin in his heart was broken. What thing within you, you would then be- pains and penalties, military and naval lieve and rest on Jesus. God gives discipline, imprisonments, bonds and you His word; why will you not brands, hunger and thirst, poverty rest on that? The Gospel of Christ and nakedness, good resolutions and

is the power of God unto salvation solemn vows, moral reform and reto every one that believeth. Believe, morse, the labours and prayers of the and it will be the power of God unto godly, the tears and entreaties of pasalvation to you. Believe on the rents, narrow escapes from death and Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be the smitings of God's providence, had saved.' Jesus says, “ Him that cometh utterly failed to effect, was accomto me I will in no wise cast out.'” plished as in a moment by the power

Robert confessed he had been seek- of the Holy Ghost. The fierce wind, ing a sign from heaven; and had in the earthquake, and the fire assailed fact, but a little before we entered, this stronghold of Satan in vain; but listened in the hope of hearing a voice when the still small voice of pardon, say, Robert, your sins are all forgiven. bringing peace, stole in upon the It is difficult to convince an uncon- rebel's ear, immediately the citadel vinced sinner of sin; and it is equally was won. hard to convince a convinced sinner Robert Annan began to employ his of salvation through the blood of the talent in the Master's service on the Lamb. But this is the work of the very day of his conversion, “Give

me some tracts," he said, after telling ment, in acknowledgment of his heroic me how he had found salvation efforts. When his wife expressed a through the blood of the Lamb; "I fear that he would one day lose his wish to do something for Christ." life in saving others, he replied, That night he took his stand at the “Dear Jeanie, could I look on a feldoor of a hall in which a certain scep- low creature perishing, and not endeatic (since converted to Christ) was to vour to save him ?”. About twelve lecture against the religion of Jesus o'clock (July 31, 1867), a boy, eleven and the revelation of God, and distri- years old, fell into the water, and buted his tracts among those who Robert, hearing the cry, plunged in entered, fearing not to testify for the to save him. Having reached the truth, whilst his very face, radiant spot where the boy was struggling for with the joy of salvation, preached the life, he laid hold of him, and bidding Gospel to all who knew him. The him “ hang on by his neck," he made change in his spirit, character, and way for the shore. But the current life, was so marked that all the people. proved too strong for even the strong took knowledge of him that he had swimmer, and two boats put off to his been with Jesus. The new-kindled assistance. The child was saved, but light of grace he could not conceal, the man of God went down. He and if he could have concealed it he might have saved himself by letting would not. He was henceforth an the boy go. But he did not so. The epistle of Christ, which even men of self-sacrificing and Christ-like man the world could read and understand. would save another if he' perished

How he laboured for Christ and himself. Waving his hand, as if bidsouls, and with what success for seven ding farewell—so says a spectator of years, the reader will find in the little

the scene--and with a smile on his volume from which we take this nar- face, he laid himself on his back and rative. His end came in a painful went down. Down! did I say. No; and unexpected manner.

He was a

not down, but up; for the man himpowerful swimmer, and often suc- self, the nobler part, washed in the cessful in saving life. He was pre- blood of Christ and clad in the beauty sented with the Dundee Humane So- of holiness, went up to be for ever ciety's silver medal, and the resolu- with his God. tion of the Society printed on parch





BOROUGH OF HACKNEY.-PART III. The parish from which

mill also existed at the Wick, wherein borough derives its name covers about 700 persons found employment. area of 3,227 acres. During the later After the Hanoverian Succession the years of the last century, the building village lost its prestige as a fashionable trades of London were largely supplied suburb, but continued a favourite rewith bricks, manufactured in the neigh- treat for wealthy families amongst the bouring fields. In those days a silk- middle classes; so that, in 1761, it con



tained a hundred householders who tuary, he could only obtain accommokept their coaches. The healthiness of dation for his party by bribing the the vicinity doubtless attracted settlers. sexton. The melodious effect of the By way of illustration, it may be men- service so enchanted the visitor, that tioned, that during the fifteen years he nearly decided upon providing his ending in 1809, twenty-eight persons own church with corresponding advanwere buried whose ages ranged from tages. A larger than usual proportion ninety to ninety-nine years; and in the of girls imparted a pleasing aspect to latter year an inhabitant was flourishing the assembly. These emerged from in her 103rd summer.

the schools, for which the village was Our new borough having been, in the widely renowned, and the collection of seventeenth century, so 'favourite a young female faces Pepys considered fashionable resort, received frequent “Very pretty.” visits from that prince of gossips, Allusion may just be made to Pepys' Samuel Pepys. One summer's day, in contemporary, Adoniram Byfield, one 1661, attended by a servant, he saw his of the earliest Puritan teachers who wife safely off as far as Barnet, upon a entered Hackney, accompanied by Philhealth-seeking excursion. The pair lip Nye. Like his compeer, Byfield having returned homeward, vill Hack- was regarded with extreme contempt ney, were so fatigued that an early bed by the Cavaliers, whose friendship, howbecame the day's crowning luxury. In ever, would have more dishonoured him. the succeeding spring, the licentious The Royalists' hatred may have arisen buffoonery of the effeminate Court had, from the preacher having lived under for the moment, its smooth course in- Cromwell's patronage, from whom he terrupted, whilst the profligate crowd had received the living of Fulham in was panic-stricken at the near prospect 1657. He had acted as secretary to of a Dutch invasion. The King pro- the Assembly of Divines, and such claimed a fast, so that Heaven's direc- action his enemies most likely construed tion might be sought amidst the national into a grave offence. For such a name, crisis. De Ruyter's menaces occasioned therefore, it was only meet that a celePepys little uneasiness, and he made bration should be written in Hudithe day an opportunity to ride out into brastic doggrel : the bracing air of Hackney Downs,

" Their dispensations had been stified, and a course of rural pastimes was sup

But for our Adoniram By field.” plemented by a pullet dinner. Our chatty historian possessed a friend in A celebrated Puritan Dissenter, a the village--one Cutler-the quality of friend of King William, and a contemwhose wine and viands he ever con- porary resident in Hackney with Henry sidered as unexceptionable. We also and Barker, was Robert Fleming, who learn, that in those Puritan days, the died an octogenarian, in the spring of church of St. Augustine possessed an 1716. In 1793, when public attention organ, sweet-toned, and of great power, became engrossed over events attending which earned for the place some re- the French Revolution, a sudden inputation ; the parishioners then being terest was manifested regarding some regarded as peculiar people for display- strange predictions relating to the exing this refined and singular taste. tinction of monarchy in France, which Pepys records, with admiring surprise, Fleming had written nearly a century how the organ played whilst the people before, the European Magazine first sang. The instrument attracted a large inviting attention to the circumstance. and elegant congregation; and when The author, it would seem, thought cur friend, one Sabbath visited the sanc- deeply about politics and Divine revela

« PreviousContinue »