Residence in Dalkeith—Death of
Friends—First Speech—Engagement to go to Jamaica under the Scottish Missionary
I FOUND my time for reading, study, and writing
very much curtailed in my new sphere. My Journal for a considerable period
between the years indicated at the top of the page consists chiefly of private
meditations and prayers, notes of sermons, and reflections written on 15th April
(my birthday), and Communion Sabbath mornings.
"June 4.—May jot down that I visited Broomhill on
the evening of the 15th ult. At the request of Mrs. B., I conducted family
worship. It was the first time I had ever conducted social service of any kind,
and I felt much perturbed all the while.
"Was at Ford Church last Sabbath, and mean to
attend regularly there on Sabbaths. Old associations, my aunt's house, my
Sabbath-school class, as well as Mr. Elliot's desire, all draw me to Ford.
"I write at present in great haste. No time here
for reading, writing, or thinking.
'What time my heart is
overwhelmed, and in perplexity,
Do Thou me lead unto the Rock that higher is thanI.'
"July 9. — Purchased lately H. K. White's
Remains, and Job Orton's Life and Writings of Dr. Doddridge.
"Acting on the advice of Mr. Robert Hamilton, I
have been doing a little these few days back in revising my Latin.
"Friday Aug. 1.—A new era now commences in the
history of the British Empire. This is the birthday of Liberty in all the
British West India Islands. Eight hundred thousand human beings—our
fellow-subjects— are this day emancipated from the most cruel and degrading
bondage. Oh, how their bosoms will be heaving with joy at this moment ! And
where is the man in our own happy land whose heart glows not with a sympathetic
response to the feelings of those who shall this day be able to say for the
first time, 'W are free'?"
While at Dalkeith J became acquainted with three
very dear friends—Mr. Robert Hamilton, teacher; Mr. James Porteous, teacher; and
Mr. A. Millar. Mr. James Tod and I were very particular friends, and are so
still after the lapse of twenty-one years, during which period we have
maintained a constant correspondence.
It is but right that I should here record the
name of Mr. David Watson. Many a long conversation passed between him and me
about our becoming students. I cherish a grateful remembrance of his offering me
(in, I think, 1836) all the money he had, some £50 or £60, if I would only
attend college the ensuing winter. He generously pledged himself never to ask
repayment, though he might perhaps accept of the amount should I at any time be
able conveniently to refund it, and should he be in need of it. Had any rich
Christian made me such an offer I might probably have accepted it, but I could
not for one moment entertain the idea of depriving a mere youth of his little
I may here note a few particulars under the years
to which they respectively belong.
"1835.—Sabbath, Feb. 8.—The Missionary Prayer
Meeting was held in the evening. Precentcd for the first time before grown-up
I had so far overcome my bashfulness as to be
precentor at Ford on Sabbath, April 26th. I occasionally conducted the psalmody
afterwards; but my musical talents were not of a very high order, and besides, I
always felt a choking sensation when called to sing in public.
"Sabbath morning, May 24.—Have now resided in
Dalkeith for nearly a year. On taking a retrospect of the past year, I see much
occasion for deep humility before God on account of my innumerable sins and
shortcomings, and also much cause of gratitude to Him who has led me and fed me
upwards of twenty-three years. He has made ample provision for my temporal
wants, and He has also bestowed on me many spiritual blessings. During the
period more immediately under review, I have not been detained a single Sabbath
from the public services of the sanctuary. But, alas! how ungrateful have I been
to the best of friends and kindest of benefactors ! I have called the Sabbath a
delight, but how seldom indeed have I kept it altogether holy to the Lord !
Lord, enable me to sanctify Thy Sabbaths in all time coming!
"Sabbath, May 31.—Confined to a sickbed all day.
My first Sabbath's sickness since I had measles about eleven years ago. Under
"Sabbath, June 7.—Mr. Robert Hamilton spent the
night with me at my lodgings, and we walked up to loved Ford this morning in
company. Have been pretty well since Thursday. We often thank God for the
comforts of life, but I think that we ought to be equally thankful for its
afflictions, inasmuch as they show us that nothing can satisfy the soul but God,
that nothing can yield so much peace and comfort as the hope and anticipation of
heaven, and that nothing can pacify conscience but the peace-speaking blood of
"Sabbath, Sept. 20.—Finished last night the
reading of the Life of Sir Walter Raleigh. Have been much affected by the
account given of the sufferings of that excellent man—more so, I am afraid, than
I have ever been by the simple narratives given by the four evangelists of the
sufferings endured in Gethsemane and on Calvary by the Son of God. I fear that I
have been more affected by Esau's tears of unavailing regret, and by the fate of
Jephthah's daughter, than by the sufferings of the Lamb of God! O hard heart! I
detest such men as Cecil and Stokely, and the successor of Queen Elizabeth, on
account of their cruel and unjust treatment of Raleigh. I condemn Judas and
Pilate and the Jews for compassing the death of Jesus—and often forget that I
was one of His murderers. O Messed Redeemer! soften this heart of stone. Cause
it to melt on contemplating what Thou hast suffered on my account.
"Sabbath, Nov. 1.—At Broughton Place Church,
Edinburgh, in the morning. Saw the Lord's Supper dispensed by Dr. Brown on the
new plan of all the congregation communicating at once. The system is certainly
a good one. What order and solemnity throughout the service!
"Friday, Nov. 27.—Visited, along with Mr. R
Hamilton, the Surgical Hall Museum, Edinburgh. I had never seen a skeleton
before. Saw many strange and interesting sights—many of them well fitted to lead
the mind to serious and humiliating reflections.
"1836.—Friday, Jan. 15.—My uncle, Wm. Lang, came
over from Fife to Ford in a very poor state of health. [He, his wife, and their
children, had left Ford on Feb. 11th, 1835, for Sinclairtown, Fife.]
"Sabbath, Jan. 31.-—Uncle told me to-day that he
did not think that he would recover; but, said he, 'for life or for death I
place full reliance upon Christ.'
"Tuesday, Feb. 23.—Uncle died at 3 P.M. to-day.
When I saw him on Sabbath last he seemed very feeble, but I had no idea that
death was so near. My sister and her husband came to see him on that day. When
my sister got her first glance at him she burst into tears. He kindly said, 'O
my lassie, dinna greet.' He regretted much that she had not brought her little
daughter, as he was anxious to see her—probably for my mother's sake. He spoke
to us with calmness of his approaching dissolution, declaring that he placed all
his dependence for salvation on the atonement of Christ. He told me that all the
money he possessed was thirty shillings—'which will, I hope, be sufficient to
bury me.' When I had finished the exercises of the Sabbath school at Chesterhill,
I returned to and remained with him till he went to bed. I read to him a portion
of Dr. Watt's discourse on the text, 'Neither shall there be any more pain,'
Rev. xxi. 4, with which he appeared much gratified.
"Thursday, 25.—My widowed aunt and her fatherless
children arrived from Fife this morning. I hired a cart for their conveyance to
Ford. Walked up to Ford after the labours of the day.
"Saturday, 27.—We took the mortal remains to
Crichton Churchyard, where they were interred in the grave of his son, George
Lang, who died Jan. 22, 1828, aged nineteen. There, their rest together is in
"Sabbath, 28.—Communion—but how distracted were
"Wednesday, March 10.—Aunt Bell and my cousins
left for Fife to day. We all felt much on parting.
"Sabbath, April 23.—Heard with great delight Rev.
Mr. Watson from Jamaica this evening at Ford. I felt deeply interested in his
account of Jamaica, slavery, freedom, etc. What an encouraging account he gave
of the progress of the gospel in Jamaica! My heart burned within me, and I could
not help saying, Lord, here am I, send me! "—Journal.
Had any person told me that evening that in less
than four years I would be employed in the great work on the mountains of that
island, I would have been both astonished and incredulous. But so it was. How
wondrous are Thy ways, Lord God Almighty!
"Sabbath, May 15.—The Lord's Supper dispensed at
Ford to-day; but the splendid Annular Eclipse distracted my mind a good deal,
and I am afraid that of many others."
Though now a member of the Church, I was far from
supposing that therefore all must be safe for eternity. I was during this year,
as well as long afterwards, perplexed with many doubts and fears in regard to my
state and character before God.
"Sabbath, June 12.—Began some time ago to re-read
an old favourite—Booth's Reign of Grace. This morning read c. 5, which treats of
Grace reigning in our Pardon.
"Sabbath July 17.—Our Session have agreed that
the Communion be dispensed henceforth on the first Sabbath of August, instead of
the third Sabbath of July. The new arrangement is no doubt right and wise, but
to an 'observer of days' like myself it causes something like regret. Three
years to-day since I first took my place at the Lord's table. In one thing I
rejoice, namely, the assurance that Christ can manifest Himself as graciously to
us on first Sabbaths of August as on third Sabbaths of July: He is the same
yesterday, to-day, and for ever.
"Sabbath, 24.—Have finished Booth's Reign of
Grace, and have been much benefited by the perusal.
"Monday, Aug. 1.—Resolved this morning to spend
an hour each evening of this week in prayer and self-examination, in view of the
Communion on Sabbath. Oh to be enabled to wash the heart from wickedness!
"Sabbath, 7.—Have been reading Hawes On the
Sacrament every evening during the past week, and felt considerably benefited
"Sabbath, Oct. 16.—Received from Mr. Elliot last
Sabbath evening, Narrative of Visit to American Churches, by Messrs. Reed and
Matheson. I have found it to be a most fascinating volume. Splendid descriptions
of splendid scenery, and most interesting accounts of revivals. Lord, revive Thy
work in the midst of us.
"Sabbath, 30, p.m.—Astonished and delighted
to-day when Mr. Elliot announced as his text, Rom. vii. 24, 25. the subject was
most appropriate for me. It has been occupying my attention for some time. If I
be a saint at all, I am surely less than the least of all saints. . . .
"Mr. Robert Hamilton very ill indeed. Read with
him to-night, llcb. xii.; sang Par. xlix. 13, 14, and prayed with him.
"Tuesday, Nov. 22.—Changed lodgings to-day. . . .
Have now a bedroom mate, John Robson, a gardener, who seems a very pious lad.
"Last Tuesday evening (15th inst.) a few of my
companions in employ of John Gray & Son, and I, agreed to form ourselves into a
fellowship meeting. Last night we met for the first time in Alex. Kerr's house.
The theme of conversation was the first question of the Shorter Catechism. We
agreed to take a Question of the Catechism, and a text or passage of Scripture,
in alternate weeks, as the subject of conversation. ["The exercises," says Mr.
Anderson in his MS. Autobiography, "which I prepared for our weekly meeting in
Mr. A. Kerr's house, have sometimes served me as the groundwork of discourses."]
"Friday, Dec. 16.—Heard to-day of the death of my
dear friend, Robert Hamilton. He departed this life, at Lauder, yesterday at 2
A.M. My mind has been wandering over our past days of sweet fellowship all
afternoon. I became first acquainted with Mr. H. in April or May 1834, when he
came to be teacher in Pathhead. I first saw him in the Sabbath school at Ford,
and the favourable impressions I formed of him then were confirmed by further
intercourse. I do not think we had any conversation with each other—both of us
being somewhat shy—till the fourth Sabbath of June, when we walked home together
from Fala Sacrament. Then our hearts were knit together, and that friendship
formed which has not till now been interrupted. I trust that the interruption is
only temporary. Our position as Sabbath-school teachers brought us into contact
each Sabbath evening. He had, like myself, been early left an orphan, and this
was a ground of mutual interest and sympathy. I have often been delighted with
his short touching addresses to our scholars. His large dark, expressive eyes
sparkling with intense earnestness, added much to the influence of his words.
His sweet and earnest prayers will not soon be forgotten by those who heard
them. . . .
"I saw him for the last time on Sabbath, 27th
November. I called about 3 p.m., and told him that I had three hours to spend
with him, and he expressed his gratification at the prospect of such a
lengthened visit. Before I had sat with him many minutes, I was unexpectedly
summoned to attend the Sabbath School at Pathhead, as no male teacher had
appeared to conduct the devotional services. When I returned, his first words
were: 'Why have you been so long in coming? I'll never see you again.' I had our
prayer meeting to attend from six to seven. After that meeting I returned to his
bedside, when we held our last earthly intercourse.
"On the following Saturday (3rd inst.) he was
taken in a post-chaise to Lauder, to the house of a relative there. His
excellent and amiable assistant and successor, Mr. James Porteous, accompanied
him on the journey. He grew feebler and feebler till yesterday A.M., when his
spirit took its wing to that happy world where no inhabitant shall ever say, 'I
"Sabbath, 18.—The remains of my beloved friend
were interred yesterday in Channelkirk Churchyard. I could not attend the
funeral. Farewell, beloved brother, for a little. We meet again!"
1837.—Matters moved on this year as they had done
previously. I forgot not on the 15th of April that I had been allowed to sojourn
among men for a quarter of a century.
On the fourth Sabbath of June I started early
from Dalkeith, and spent an hour beside Mr. Hamilton's grave in Channelkirk
"Came through the heather to Fala, and heard a
good deal of the Communion services. Mr. Cooper preached (in the tent, from 2
Cor. ix. 15: 'Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.' Mr. Elliot preached
the evening sermon also in the tent/ from Eph. iii. 15: 'The one family.'
Delighted when he closed the services of the day by singing the three last
verses of the 53rd Paraphrase.
"Tuesday, June 28.—The first congregational
soiree at Ford took place this evening. It has been a delightful festival. Mr.
Elliot was in the chair, and made a capital introductory speech. Mr. Cooper was
humorous and effective. 1 was deeply interested in Mr. Sandy's speech.2 The
other speakers were Messrs. Harper, Robson, and Deans. . . . The soiree, which
was attended by about three hundred, went well off. All the guests, as well as
the speakers, seemed delighted.
"Sabbath, August 20.—Walked up to Ford last night
after shop-shutting 'ten o'clock;. A most delightful walk. The full-orbed
harvest moon shone softly and sweetly on the whitening fields. Had an
interesting conversation this evening with James Porteous and William Wood
concerning the last hours of our friend, Robert Hamilton. I have always been
under the impression that he died under a cloud, but it seems that he breathed
his last—to all human appearance—a victim of despair. He lived a Christian life,
and there can be no doubt his mind was affected by his disease. But certainly
the want of a simple, childlike faith in Christ—and he must have been somewhat
deficient in this—makes even a Christian's death terrible. O to be making daily
preparation for death ! When the solemn hour comes to me, if I cannot die
triumphing, may I at least die trusting!
"Monday, Sept. 11.—Had several hours of
delightful fellowship with my beloved friend, Alexander Millar, Huntly. He spent
last night with me. His converse I have found to be both pleasant and
"Tuesday, October 3.—The various Fellowship
Meetings in Dalkeith held a joint soiree this evening in the Masons' Lodge. Mr.
George Wilson was in the chair. Upwards of one hundred and seventy were present.
A most delightful and interesting meeting. I delivered what I may call my first
public address. My theme was ' The Unity of Christians.'
"Tuesday, 17.—How different now is Dalkeith Fair
in anticipation, in enjoyment, and in retrospect, from what it was fourteen or
fifteen years ago ! Purchased this evening, for my 'fair,' Marshall On
Sanctification—a book strongly recommended to me by a late master, Mr. John
Macdonald. Fearful toothache for days past. How numerous and painful the lessons
required to make us humble and holy!
"Friday, Dec. 1.—Was at the marriage of my dear
friend, Mr. James Porteous, teacher, Pathhead. Mr. Par-lane was the officiating
minister. The bride is Ellen Blair, Tranent.
"Sabbath, 31.—Another year going. 'Oh, to grace
how great a debtor!' What reason for thankfulness for all the multiplied mercies
of the year! . . . Grant grace to enable me to live more devoted to Thy service
in the future than I have been doing in the past.
"1838.—Sabbath, Feb. 4.— Acted this morning for
the first time as a tract distributor. Langland, with Chesterhill (east side is
my district). May the silent preacher be blessed!
"Sabbath, March 28.—Went round by Newbattle this
morning. Had my little niece on one knee and my littler nephew on the other. How
delighted our father would have been to see them! Lord, bless the little lambs;
gather them in Thine arms, carry them in Thy bosom!
"Sabbath, April 15, evening, at Ford.— . . . How
are all things changed within the past few years! That same beech tree, which at
this moment groans to the passing blast, cast its shadow over me in infancy, and
then in boyhood—but it seems changed. Can the change be in it or in myself? O to
be but a little child again! And yet— I would not wish to be younger—but I wish
I had been better. What have i done for the glory of God during these bygone
years? What for the good of my fellow-men? What a cumberer of the ground! . . .
"Tuesday, April 17.—Was this morning through the
principal apartments of Dalkeith Palace. Was much gratified on seeing (for the
first time in my life) such a collection of pictures and statues. The dead of
former days seem to gaze curiously on the living who intrude into their drear}'
halls. Verily, we have yonder a cloud of witnesses to the fact that one
generation goeth and another cometh. Such a scene is enough to make one
poetical! . . .
"Friday 20.—Received from Edinburgh to-day a copy
of Todd's Sunday School Teacher. Am quite delighted therewith, and hope to find
it exceedingly useful."
One of the principal things impressed on my
memory during this year was the illness and death of a dear friend's wife, Mrs.
George Blair. She fell asleep in Jesus on the 12th of May, at Tranent. I saw her
on the evening of the 26th of April, reaching Tranent about midnight. . . . When
I entered she was sitting speechless in bed. Ah! how changed! Her husband asked
her if she had anything to say to me. Her answer (to me inaudible) was, "Tell
him that Christ is a precious Saviour—altogether lovely." I sat by her bedside,
with little intermission, till about four o'clock. . . . Her last words to me
were, "I shall not see you again till we meet before the throne on high. Live to
Christ—live to Christ—and He will support you on a dying bed, as He is doing me
just now." Precious sentence! I shall never forget it. Oh, words like hers have
an eloquence, an energy, a pathos, compared with which all other oratory is
dumb. How painful must it be for her husband to contemplate the long separation
from one so young, so lovely, so good! Lord, support him. She goes to be with
Thyself, which is far better; but he will be left desolate.
"Sabbath, 29.—Yielding to a strong impulse, went
to Ford this morning via Tranent. Mrs. B. still lingers by the side of Jordan.
When I left her, I asked her if she was still perfectly happy. Her reply was,
'Yes, yes!' Called on Mr. Elliot this evening, and told him how matters stood
with our dying friend.
"Saturday, May 12.—'All is well' with Christian
Blair now—oh, how well! She fell asleep this morning about four o'clock. She has
made a happy change. The pale cheek and the languid eye, and the faltering
tongue and the parched lip, and the wasted lungs and the cold sweat of the last
agony, have all been exchanged for the welcoming angels and the smiling Saviour
— for the crown, the robe, the harp, the palm, the throne! . . .
"Dalkeith, between 2 and 3 p.m., Tuesday, May
15.— In spirit I am this moment at Tranent. Much I could have wished to be there
just now to have paid the last tribute of respect to departed worth. All is
over. The turf has received its last adjustment, the rattling of spades and
shovels has ceased, all stand for a moment uncovered, and then each seeks his
way home. The grace that supported the dying will prove sufficient for the
living, and doubtless my bereaved friend will be a partaker of those blessed
consolations which can support and cheer under the heaviest afflictions and
"Wednesday, June 13.—Was at Fala in the evening,
as one of a deputation from the Dalkeith Total Abstinence Society. Was glad to
see so many of my old friends present. We had not a numerous but a respectable
and attentive audience. At the close of the meeting thirteen subscribed the
"Sabbath, 24.—At Fala at the Communion. Visited
the grave of Robert Hamilton in the morning.
"Thursday, 28.—The Coronation of our Queen
Victoria! A day of rejoicing throughout the kingdom. Was at a very pleasant
social meeting1 in the Dalkeith Coffee Room in the evening. A beautiful display
of fireworks from the steeple.
"Sabbath, July 15.—Assisted this evening in
conducting a prayer meeting at a village called Claybarns. I addressed from Rev.
xiv. 1-3, 13.
"Saturday, Aug: 4.—Walked up to Ford after ten
o'clock to-night. Stepped into the tent at midnight's calm hour. The moon was
nearing the western horizon, and her beams could scarcely struggle through the
thick foliage that overshadowed the much-loved hollow where the tent stands.
"Sabbath, a.m., Aug. 5.—Early at the tent all
alone— yet not alone. A morning more lovely and glorious than this has surely
never dawned upon our world since the sun of earth's first Sabbath rose! How
many hallowed recollections linger around this sacred spot! The dewdrops sparkle
on every leaf and on every blade of grass. 'Sweet morn, so cool, so calm, so
bright!' Five hours hence and another scene will be presented here. The
greensward will be full of life, and a solemn assembly of worshippers will be
seated all around. Lord, rend the heavens and descend to-day with such an
abundance of blessing as will satisfy every longing soul which may this day come
to this place thirsting for Thee as the hart panteth for the water-brooks. O for
a foretaste of the blessedness to be enjoyed when we shall sit down at the
Marriage Supper of the Lamb!
"Sabbath, 12.—Heard 'the great, the gifted, and
the good ' George Thompson, the Anti-Slavery orator, preach a very excellent
sermon from 1 Cor. xiii. 13, this evening, in Rev. Jos. Brown's church, Dalkeith.
"Wednesday, Oct. 3.—The second annual soiree of
the Dalkeith Fellowship Meeting was held to-night in the Masons' Lodge. The
subject of my address was 'The Christian's Triumph over Death.' I gave a few
sentences concerning the deathbed experiences of one who was peculiarly happy
and active among us on this night twelvemonths, namely, Mrs. George Blair. My
friends Mr. Blair and Mr. T. Darling had addresses of peculiar excellence—the
former on 'The Pleasures of Religion,' and the latter on 'Missions.' Our
chairman this year, as last year, was our good friend, Mr. George Wilson. . . .
"Sabbath, Nov. 4.—Lord's Supper at Ford to-day.
Mr. Elliot preached from 1 John iii. 1. He was assisted by Mr. Johnston of
Limekilns. Very languid all day— having been deprived of rest for several nights
by toothache. To ease the pain, I walked and ran at 2 A.M. between the two
tollbars of Gallowshall and Cowbridge.
"Wednesday, 7.—Mr. James Tod being about to leave
the establishment of John Gray & Son for a situation in Edinburgh, our
Fellowship Meeting gave him a soiree this evening in my lodgings. I had the
honour of being chairman, and addressed our dear friend in the name of the
meeting. I shall miss him greatly.
"Tuesday, 27.—Have had a poor time of it for
several weeks. Have suffered intensely from toothache; little sleep during the
night; heavy work during the day. I feel quite feeble in body and depressed in
mind. Had a tooth extracted to-day. The operation was very painful. The 39th
Psalm has been my appropriate song in the night for weeks—I may say for months
past. Sometimes, when running about in torture at 1 and 2 A.M., I have tried to
soothe myself by saying or singing—
'When languor and disease invade
This trembling house of clay,' etc."
During the course of this year, George Gray,
Esq., and Mr. John Chisholm interested themselves a good deal in my favour; and,
after ascertaining my views on the subject of going abroad as a catechist or
teacher, the former I am not sure whether he was joined by Mr. C. in this
recommended me to the Committee of the London Missionary Society as a suitable
person to go abroad under their auspices. Their reply was that they were not
then sending catachists into the mission field. Mr. Gray's letter, however, and
a copy of an address on Total Abstinence which I had written some time before
(and which had been printed by the Dalkeith Total Abstinence Society , were, in
the arrangements of Providence, brought under the notice of the Rev. Dr. William
Brown, who forthwith wrote to Mr. Gray, requesting him to call my attention to
an advertisement issued by the Scottish Missionary Society for teachers and
catechists. [Autobiography, U.P. Magazine, 1890, p. 499.]
"Friday, 30.—My kind friends, Messrs. John
Chisholm and George Gray, have been interesting themselves lately on my behalf,
and through their kindly interposition the Rev. Dr. Wm. Brown, Secretary to the
Scottish Missionary Society, has been desirous of seeing me with the view of my
going out to Jamaica as teacher and catechist. The prospect delights me. I had
an interview with the Rev. Dr. Brown, Queen Street, Edinburgh, this afternoon on
the subject, and formally offered myself to go to Jamaica in connection with the
Scottish Missionary Society.
"Mr. G. Blair, Mr. Wm. Steven, and I, delivered
addresses on Tectotalism this evening in one of the Congregational chapels,
"Tuesday, Dec. 4.— Delivered my address on 'The
Unity of Christians' at a Fellowship Meeting soiree at Gilmerton this evening."
The following letter from the Rev. A. Elliot may
be quoted in connection with Wm. Anderson's offer of his services to the
Scottish Missionary Society:—
Ford, 6ih Dec. 1838.
Dear William, —When I came home on Sabbath night,
your letter communicated to me news, but not news that surprised me—at least,
the surprise was not of long continuance. I think you have done right; and for a
considerable time back I have been of opinion that you are fitted for something
else than your present situation, and wishing that God in His providence would
open up some way in which you might devote yourself more fully and directly to
His service. I have no doubt that before you took the step which you have done,
you have often and earnestly sought direction at a throne of grace ; and having
done so, and having willingly offered yourself, your duty now is to wait calmly,
and endeavour to learn and abide by the will of our Master. I had a letter from
Dr. Brown yesternight, and have just written an answer to it. The Committee, it
appears, will meet to-morrow. My greatest fear is that your extreme— I had
almost said sinful—bashfulness will make you appear to very great disadvantage
before them, and militate against your acceptance. Try and guard against it.
Look up for support and courage, and let not the fear of man prove a snare.
Though I shall be very sorry to part with you and be deprived of your
co-operation here, I am very anxious that you may succeed, persuaded that our
Divine Master has qualified you for greater usefulness than your present sphere
admits of. You will let me know on Sabbath how you come on, and in the meantime
you have my sincere wishes and earnest prayers that you may find favour with the
Committee.—I am yours very sincerely, ANDREW ELLIOT.
"Friday, 7.—Was examined this afternoon by a
Committee of the Scottish Missionary Society, said Committee consisting of Rev.
Dr. Brown, Rev. Dr. Dickson, and Rev. Mr. Mackenzie. The examination was very
simple. All the members of Committee spoke very kindly and encouragingly. I went
to Edinburgh with fear and trembling, but a gracious God gave me much favour in
the sight of His servants. This Committee must, of course, report to the full
Board of Directors. If it shall please the Head of the Church to signify to me
through the Directors of the Scottish Missionary Society that He accepts of my
services, I shall be grateful, and feel it to be my duty to devote myself wholly
and unreservedly to His service.
"Sabbath, 9.—Aunt Potts not at all pleased at my
offer of myself for mission service. I trust she will concur, however, should my
offer be accepted. Mr. Elliot preached a most suitable sermon for her and me
to-day from 2 Cor. v. 7: 'We walk by faith, and not by sight.' Some of my
friends seem to think I should remain at home ; but the most of them approve of
the step which I have taken. Very few as yet, however, know about the matter.
"Thursday, 13.—Gratified to-day by receiving a
letter from Rev. Dr. Wm. Brown intimating acceptance by the Scottish Missionary
Society for service in Jamaica. So now it seems that the desires, the prayers,
the aspirations of years are to be at length realised. Strange—passing strange!
that a poor, weak, ignorant, sinful worm such as I should be honoured with a
call to go far hence to tell the Gentiles of a Saviour's love. O for grace to
enable me to be faithful in the discharge of the important duties to which I am
called—faithful to the Directors of the Scottish Missionary Society—faithful to
those who shall wait on my instructions—faithful to my own soul, seeing that a
man may even preach to others and be himself a castaway!
"I must never forget the kindly interest shown me
in this matter by Messrs. Chisholm and Gray. The Lord grant that the Lord may
have mercy on them on that day!"