NORMAN MACLEOD was inducted
minister of the Barony parish, Glasgow, in July, 1851; and on the 11th of
August in the same year was married to Catharine Ann Mackintosh, daughter
of the late William Mackintosh, Esq., of Geddes, and sister of his dearest
friend, John Mackintosh.
He first lived in Woodlands
Terrace, then at the western extremity of the city. The house stood high,
and commanded a wide prospect from its upper windows. The valley of the
Clyde lay in front, and over the intervening roofs and chimney-stacks his
eye rested with delight on the taper masts of ships crowded along the
quays. Farther away, and beyond the smoke of the city, rose the range of
the Cathkin Hills, and Hurlet Neb, and the "Braes of Gleniffer," their
slopes flecked by sun and shadow. From the back windows there was a
glorious view of the familiar steeps of Campsie Fell. The glow of sunrise
or of sunset on these steeps was such a delight to him that often, when he
had guests, he made them follow him up-stairs, to share his own enjoyment
of the scene.
The stir and bustle of the
commercial capital of Scotland were thoroughly congenial to him. He loved
Glasgow, and rejoiced in the practical sense, the enterprise, and
generosity which characterised its kindly citizens. The very noise of its
busy streets was pleasant to his ears. His friends remember how he used to
describe himself sitting in his study, in the quiet of the winter morning,
and knowing that six o'clock had struck by hearing, far down below him in
the valley of the Clyde, the thud of a great steam-hammer, to which a
thousand hammers, ringing on a thousand anvils, at once replied, telling
that the city had awakened to another day of labour.
It was his habit to rise
very early, and, after giving the first hours to devotion, he wrote or
studied till breakfast time. The forenoon was chiefly employed receiving
persons calling on business of every conceivable description, and the
afternoon was occupied with parochial visitation, and other public duties.
When it was possible, he reserved an hour dining the evening for the
enjoyment of music or for reading aloud. Every Saturday he took the only
walk for the week which had no object but enjoyment. The first part of
this walk usually brought him to John Macleod Campbell's house, which was
two miles out of town, and, with him as his companion, it was continued
into the country. But in whatever direction he went, the day seldom ended
without his visiting the Broomielaw, where, for a while, he would fender
with delight among the ships and sailors, criticising hulls and rigging,
and looking with boyish wonder at the strange cargoes that were being
discharged from the foreign traders.
Few contrasts can be
greater than that presented to the stranger, who, after gazing at the
hoary magnificence of. Glasgow Cathedral— the very embodiment of the
spirit of reverence and worship—looks across the street at the plain
square pile of the Barony Church. Yet, any one who knows the work with the
recollection of which that unpretending edifice is associated, will be
disposed to pardon its ugliness in consideration of a certain sacred
interest clinging to its walls. When he was inducted to the 'Barony,
Norman Macleod at once recognized his position as minister, not only of
the congregation which worshipped there, but of the enormous parish
(embracing at that time 87,000 souls, and rapidly increasing) of which
this was the Parish Church. There were of course many other churches in
the parish; it contained the usual proportion of dissenting congregations,
in addition to some chapels connected with the Church of Scotland. These,
nevertheless, were not only inadequate to the requirements of the
population, but were unequally distributed, so that many densely inhabited
districts were left unprovided with either Church or School. There were
also, at a depth reached by no agency then existing, those "lapsed
classes" which form in all large cities the mighty problem of Christian
Every Sunday he preached to
crowds that filled every seat and passage; yet by far the greater
proportion of those actually connected with his church were not rich. They
gave him, however, from the first, such hearty support in the furtherance
of all his measures for the good of the parish at large, that, in spite of
its comparative poverty, few, if any, of the congregations in the Church
accomplished so much. The Barony afforded a noble field for the
development of his convictions as to the duties of the Christian
congregation in reference to the Manifold wants of society. When he
entered on his new charge his mind was full of the subject, and he gave
emphatic utterance, both in speeches and in magazine articles, to the
views he was about to carry into practical effect:—
"A Christian congregation
is a body of Christians who are associated not merely to receive
instruction from a minister, or to unite in public worship, but also 'to
consider one another, and to provoke to love and good works, and as a
society to do ' good unto all as they have opportunity.'
"...It is a body. Its
member are parts of an organized whole. The Lord's supper is the grand
symbol of this unity. Other ends are unquestionably intended to be
accomplished by this ordinance, but it is certainly designed to express
this idea of unity. ...
"We are profoundly
convinced that,—apart from, or in addition to, the immense power of the
Christian life operating in and through individuals and innumerable
separate and isolated channels,—the society of the Christian Church acting
through its distinct organizations or congregations, like an army acting
through its different regiments, is the grand social system which Christ
has ordained, not only for the conversion of sinners and the edification
of saints, but also for advancing all that pertains to the well-being of
humanity. We hold that the Christian congregation, if constructed and
worked according to the intention of its designer, contains, in itself
individually, or in conjunction with other congregations, material, moral,
intellectual, active, and social forces which, when wisely applied to
God's work on earth, are the best and most efficient means for doing it.
". . . But is this possible
in a condition of society constituted as ours now is! Is the conception
not a fond imagination, or, if attempted to be carried out, would it not
lead to such extravagances and fanatical disorders, as from time to time
have characterised minor sects which, in seeking to be perfect Churches,
have sunk down to be perfect nuisances ? It may be said, only look at the
elements you have to work upon! Look at that farmer, or this shopkeeper.
Study that servant, or this master. Enter the houses of those
parishioners, from the labourer to the laird. Is there the intelligence,
the principle, the common sense—any one element which would combine those
members into a body for any high or holy end? They love one another! They
help to convert the world! Would it were so—but it is impracticable!"
To these difficulties he
replied by indicating what, at all events, must be recognised as the will
of Christ, in reference to Christian duty; and then showed how much latent
power there is in every congregation which only requires sufficient
occasion for its display:—
"Grace Darling, had she
been known only as a sitter or a pewholder in a congregation, might have
been deemed unfit for any work requiring courage or self-sacrifice. But
these noble qualities were all the while there. In like manner we have
seen among our working classes, a man excited by some religious enthusiast
or fanatical Mormonite, who all at once seemed inspired by new powers,
braved the sneers of companions, consented to be dipped in the next river,
turned his small stock of knowledge into immediate use, exhorted, warned,
proselytised among his neighbours—giving, in short, token of a force lying
hid in one who once seemed unfit for anything but to work on week-days and
to sleep on Sabbath days. Does not 'the Hindu Fakir, who swings from a
hook fixed in the muscles of his back, and every popish devotee who braves
the opinion of society by going with bare feet and in a comical dress,
demonstrate what a man can and will do if you can only touch the
mainspring of his being? It is thus that there are in many congregations
men and women who have in them great powers of some kind, which have been
given them by God, and which, though lying dormant, are capable of being
brought out by fitting causes. Nay, every man is enriched with some talent
or gift, if we could only discover it, which, if educated and properly
directed, is capable of enriching others."
The Church demanded the
discovery of these gifts, the personal influence of living Christians
being the only agency sufficient to meet the evils of society.
"We want living men! Not
their books or their money only, but themselves. The poor and needy ones
who, in this great turmoil of life, have found no helper among their
fellows—the wicked and outcast, whose hand is against every man's, because
they have found, by dire experience of the world's intense selfishness,
that every man's hand is against them—the prodigal and broken-hearted
children of the human family, who have the bitterest thoughts of God and
man, if they have any thoughts at all beyond their busy contrivances how
to live and indulge their craving passions—all these by the mesmerism of
the heart, and by the light of that great witness, conscience, which God
in mercy leaves as a light from heaven in the most abject dwelling of
earth, can to some extent read the living epistle of a renewed soul,
written in the divine characters of the Holy Spirit! They can see and
feel, as they never did anything else in this world, the love which calmly
shines in that eye, telling of inward light, and peace possessed, and of a
place of rest found and enjoyed by the weary heart! They can understand
and appreciate the utter unselfishness—to them a thing hitherto hardly
dreamt of—which prompted this visit from a home of comfort and refinement
to an unknown abode of squalor or disease, and which expresses itself in
those kind words and tender greetings that accompany their ministrations."
But even where there are
the desire and ability to engage in such a work, a wise organization is
required to make them effective.
"... There is not found in
general that wise and authoritative congregational or church direction and
government, which could at least suggest, if not assign, fitting work to
each member, and a fitting member for each work. Hence little
comparatively is accomplished. The most willing church member gazes over a
great city, and asks in despair, 'What am I to do here?' And what would
the bravest soldiers accomplish in the day of battle, if they asked the
same question in vain? What would a thousand of our best workmen do in a
large factory, if they entered it with willing hands, yet having no place
or work assigned to them? [Extracted from articles on "What is a Christian
Congregation?'' in Edinburgh Christian Magazine for 1852.]
". . , The common idea at
present is that the whole function of the Church is to teach and preach
the gospel; while it is left to other organizations, infidel ones they may
be, to meet all the other varied wants of our suffering people. And what
is this but virtually to say to them, the Church of Christ has nothing to
do as a society with your bodies, only with your souls, and that, too, but
in the way of teaching? Let infidels, then, give you better houses or
better clothing, and seek to gratify your tastes and improve your social
state;—with all this, and a thousand other things needful for you as men,
we have nothing to do. What is this, too, but to give these men the
impression that Christ gives them truth merely on Sabbath through
ministers, but that He has nothing to do with what is given them every day
of the week through other channels? Whereas the Christian congregation or
society ought not to consider as foreign to itself any one thing which its
loving Head Jesus Christ gives to bless and dignify man, and desires man
to use and enjoy. We must not separate ourselves from any important
interest of our brethren of mankind, calling the one class of blessings
spiritual, and accepting these as the special trust of the Christian
Church, and calling another class temporal, and recognizing them as a
trust for society given to the unbelievers. In so doing we give Satan the
advantage over us. Let congregations take cognizance of the whole man and
his various earthly relationships, let them seek to enrich him with all
Christ gave him, let them endeavour to meet all his wants as an active,
social, intellectual, sentient, as well as spiritual being, so that man
shall know through the ministrations of the body, the Church, how its
living Head gives them all things richly to enjoy ! Every year seems to me
to demand this more and more from the Christian Church. I see no way of
meeting Socialism but this. I see no efficient way of meeting Popery but
this. Organization is one stronghold of Romanism, and self-sacrifice for
the sake of the Church is another. Protestantism cannot meet either by
dogma merely, it must meet both by organization and government with
Christian liberty, and above all by life." [Speech delivered at
public meeting for Church Endowment in the City Hall, Glasgow, January,
These views form the key to
the general plan of his work in the Barony.
After having personally
visited the different families under his immediate charge, he commenced to
organize his agencies, with the determination to make the congregation the
centre from which he was to work the parish. He first formed a large kirk-session
of elders and deacons, [In the Presbyterian Church the congregation is
governed by a court consisting of the clergyman and a certain number of
the laity, who are ordained as 'elders.' Norman Macleod was one of the
first in the Church of Scotland to revive the office of deacon, whose
duties chiefly refer to charitable, financial, and other business
arrangements. Elders and deacons act together in all matters except those
purely spiritual, worship and discipline. With these the elders and
minister are alone legally competent to deal. The Kirk-Sessions of the
Established Church are recognized 'Courts,' with a legal jurisdiction, and
are amenable only to the Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly.] and at
once gave the Court, over which he presided officially, direct control
over all the agencies he intended to employ. However numerous might be the
various "workers," male and female, who took an active part in missionary
labour, all of them were under the direction and superintendence of the
kirk-session. Even the names of those whose children were to be baptised,
were regularly submitted to this body. In this manner he not only called
forth the talents and energy of individuals, but so organized their work,
under the constitutional government of the Church, that it went on
smoothly and efficiently, even when he was himself obliged to be absent
for a considerable period. He believed that the Presbyterian system, if
duly administered, was admirably fitted for maintaining the union of
individual energy with efficiency of government, and his experience amply
confirmed his convictions.
One leading feature in his
plan of operation was the establishment of district meetings with his
people. For this end, the congregation was divided into twelve districts,
according to their place of residence, to each of which one or more
elders, with a proportionate number of deacons, were appointed. He held a
meeting once a year in each of these districts, which all the families
connected with his congregation, residing within it, were expected to
attend. The minister, accompanied by the elders and deacons of the
district had thus an opportunity of meeting old and young in an informal
and friendly manner. Kindly greetings were exchanged, explanations made as
to congregational work, and pastoral advice given on practical matters.
The communicants in this way not only enjoyed personal intercourse with
the officebearers of the church, but became better acquainted with one
another, and felt that the bonds of Christian fellowship were
proportionately strengthened. This method of working became peculiarly
useful when his increasing public duties made it impossible for him to
visit separate households regularly.
The work of the
congregation, as it was superintended by the kirk-session, was—(1)
parochial; and (2) non-parochial.
1. The parochial objects
included not only missionary operations dealing directly with the
spiritual interests of the people, but also efforts for their educational
and social improvement.
(i.) The educational
requirements of his large parish gave him much labour and anxiety. For,
although there were several day-schools supported by his kirk-session, and
managed by a committee of their number, who visited them monthly and
reported on their condition, yet there were districts where school
accommodation had to be provided, and it fell to him to "beg" from his
wealthier fellow citizens the greater portion of the funds required for
this purpose. The toil which this imposed was great, and the task irksome.
Nevertheless, during the first ten years of his incumbency, school
accommodation was in this manner provided for two thousand scholars. He
attempted, besides, on fixed days of each month, to visit the day and
evening schools, and examine, encourage, and advise the pupils.
As he came more in contact
with the working classes, he saw the need of still another educational
agency. Evening classes were opened for adults, at which the interesting
spectacle was presented of grown-up men and women (many of them married)
patiently toiling at different standards, from the alphabet upwards.
Schools of a similar nature had been attempted before, but had failed from
insufficient care being taken in the appointment of teachers. He
attributed the success of his schools to the fact that they were under
certificated government teachers. At one of these schools, there were
sometimes two hundred and twenty grown-up men and women.
From seven to twelve
Sabbath-schools, with sometimes as many as fourteen hundred scholars, were
organized into a single society under the care of the session. With these
schools the minister kept himself always well acquainted, and as
frequently as possible gave expository lectures to the teachers, on the
lessons. He also taught on Sunday, for several winters, a class numbering
about one hundred, consisting of the children of members of his
(ii.) For the social
improvement of the parish he founded the first Congregational Penny
Savings Bank in Glasgow, and established in one of the busiest centres of
labour a Refreshment-room, where working-men could get cheap and
well-cooked food, and enjoy a comfortable reading-room at their
meal-hours, instead of being obliged to have recourse to the public-house.
The success which attended these endeavours led to the establishment of
similar institutions on a larger scale throughout the city. In the later
years of his ministry, he also organized various methods of affording
amusement and social recreation to the people connected with his missions.
(iii.) The direct
missionary and Church extension work of the parish was continually
enlarging, and at the same time changing ground, When he first came to the
parish four chapels were without ministers or congregations. These chapels
had been retained by the Free Church for several years, and it now fell to
him and to his session to assist in procuring ministers for them, and to
foster the congregations that were being formed. In other places, where a
new population was rising, churches had to be built. In this way, as a
sequel to the work of reorganizing chapels, six new churches were erected
in his parish during his ministry, and in respect to most of these he had
to bear a large share of the burden of collecting funds. While this work
of church extension was going forward, his mission staff for overtaking
destitute localities increased in ten years from one lay missionary,
employed in 1852, to five missionaries (lay and clerical), with three
Bible-women and a colporteur, all of whom were superintended by him and
There were other parochial
agencies, such as the Young Men's Association, Clothing Society, &c, which
need not be particularly noticed.
2. His extra-parochial
plans had reference chiefly to the raising of money for the missionary
work of the Church of Scotland Here also organization, and the intelligent
interest in mission work at home and abroad, created by his continually
affording information to his people on that subject, bore remarkable
fruit. For although, as has been stated, his congregation was not rich,
yet there was scarcely another in the Church which contributed as much for
missions as the Barony did, and he was accustomed to refer with
gratification to the fact that the amount, large as it was, was made up
chiefly of very small sums.
In order to maintain
congregational life, and to promote a sense of brotherly unity, the kirk-session
issued at short intervals Reports of their proceedings, and a social
festival of the congregation was occasionally held, at which these reports
were read, and kindly and instructive addresses delivered.
In this summer he carried
out his ideas of the Christian congregation as a society united for work.
And it was only by such careful organization, and by the development of
the latent force of the membership of the Church, that he could have
overtaken the labour which was crowded into the twenty years of his
incumbency in the Barony.
The work here described,
together with the study requisite for the pulpit—he had always two,
frequently three services to conduct every Sunday—might well have taxed
the energies of any man. Yet, during the years comprised in this chapter,
he was able, in addition, to edit The Christian Magazine, and to
contribute many articles to its pages; to write, under the title of "The
Early Student," a Memoir of his brother-in-law, John Mackintosh; to
publish the "Home School" and "Deborah," and to take active part in the
public and missionary business of the Church. It was no wonder that the
pressure of such labour tried his strength to the utmost, or that in spite
of his marvellous physique, he continually suffered from ailments which
the world, seeing only his unfailing geniality, could not have suspected.
His irrepressible humour and self-forgetfulness concealed from the eyes of
strangers the burthen he was often bearing, alike of mental anxiety and of
From his Journal:—
"June 3, 1852.—What a year
of mercies and of loving providences has this last one of my life been! I
have come to a new parish—having the best living in Scotland (for which I
feel deeply grateful!); a glorious field of labour. I have married, and
have had a dear child born to me.
"I have as yet done
little—I have done nothing that the great world can ever hear of, or if
they did, care for. As far as fame is concerned, I am but one of many
millions equally eminent on earth, and equally unknown. But I am thinking
of what I have done God-ward—of what He knows—of what will last in
eternity; and when I consider what I might have done, (therefore ought to
have done, and therefore am very guilty in not having done), had I been
daily earnest in prayer; had I been daily diligent and laborious in
mastering those details in the Christian character which can alone insure
success in the end; had 1 been watchful of my heart, careful in forming
habits, conscientious in using my influence, saving of my time for
reading, and improving my mind, and becoming a better scholar and a more
learned man; had 1 laboured to make every sermon the best possible —what
could I have done by the blessing of God on all! But I have been
frittering my time. There has been a want of concentrated effort; a
thousand little things connected with everything have scattered my
strength. I have been deplorably slothful, and above all procrastinating.
This has been a frightful incubus upon my life—not doing in the hour the
work which should have been done. There is no habit the want of which I
have felt more than that of proposing a worthy end, whether of study or
some plan of Christian benevolence, and working wisely and doggedly up to
it for years. I am too impatient and eager to grasp the end which I
vividly realise in my mind, but cannot bear to attain by a long, fagging
attention to the dry, prosaic details which, by the wise decree of God,
are the essential steps of ascent to the summit. But by the grace of God I
shall fight against this evil, and put it down in time to come."
From his Journal :—
"Sunday, Sept. 5, 1852.—What I propose for this winter is the following
"1. Rise as near six as
possible. After devotion, give the mornings of Monday, Tuesday, and
Wednesday, to John's Memoir; of Thursday, to the Magazine; and Friday,
Saturday, wholly to sermons.
"2. Keep the house till 1
p.m.; at 9 a.m. prayers; 9½, breakfast; 10 to 11, letters; 11 to 1, when
not interrupted, the business of the morning continued, or public
business, as may be necessary ; from 2 till 5, on Monday, Tuesday,
Wednesday, Thursday, visiting sick, parish visitation, and calls. 4,
Friday and Saturday, to be given entirely to writing sermons; 5, attend
the evening adult class; 6, as much as possible devote the time after
dinner to my family and reading.
"May God in mercy help me!I
will begin to morrow.
"Sept. 6.—Rose at 6. This
day I begin the Memoir of my beloved John. Oh my God and his, guide my pen
! In mercy keep me from writing anything false in fact or sentiment. May
strict Truth pervade every sentence ! May I be enabled to show in him the
education of the grace of God so that other scholars in thy school may be
quickened and encouraged to be followers of him as he was of Christ! I
feel utterly unworthy to undertake this Memoir, or of any of even the
least of Thy saints. But Thou who hast given me this work in Thy
providence, and called me to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ,
wilt enable me, I doubt not, to show the riches of Christ as displayed in
a poor sinner, and so to write that Thy Church on earth will approve,
because it is such as is approved of by Jesus. Hear me Lord!
"Oct. 8th, 6 a.m.—Subjects
"A deeper spiritual insight
into the Divine character,—to be able to say, with increasing
intelligence, 'Thine eye seeth me.'
"To be devoted and be ready
to give up all at a moment's notice to Jesus; yea, in heart to resign all.
"I acknowledge that it is
morally impossible for me without an omnipotent Saviour to do these things
in any degree. Lord, I believe in Thee! I desire to have Christ's love to
His people and the world. Alas! alas! what a microscopic shadow of it
"Oh my God, make me indeed
a father to my people ! Help me to crucify this selfish, slothful,
self-indulgent heart! Help me constantly to forget self, and to seek, even
to death, to do Thy will; for then only shall I find my truer self! Oh my
God, pity me!
"Oct. 11th, 4 3/4 A.M.—Have
been reading a little of 'Brainerd.' Next to the Bible, Christian
biography is the most profitable. In as far as it is true, it is a
revelation of the living God, through His living Church. The ex-]>erience
of the Church is one of the few accumulating privileges of the latter
days. It is when I read some of the aspirations of Brainerd, that I feel
how far away I am from that pure and lofty spirituality of mind, which is
the very atmosphere of Heaven. 'Though my body was wearied with preaching
and much private conversation, yet I wanted to sit up all night and do
something for God.' It is this real love to God,—this forgetfulness of
self, this disregard to flesh-indulgence when compared with
spirit-indulgence—it is this I so much need. Yet blessed be God, there is
nothing we should be but we shall be by His grace. 'But, Lord, how long?'
When? Ah! let me cover my face with shame (let me be ashamed because I am
not ashamed more !), that I have not laboured, agonised thirty years ago.
What might I have been now! An humble, earnest-minded servant, devoted to
Jesus, converting thousands ! May God Almighty enable me to redeem the
short time, and to be His wholly and for ever!
"Sunday morning, Oct. 12th,
six o'clock—A lovely, peaceful morning, the atmosphere transparent, the
landscape clear and pure, with its white houses, and fields and trees.
"Glorious day! the only day
on earth the least like heaven. It is the day of peace which follows the
day of battle and victory. . 'And all this mighty heart is lying still,'
the forge silent, the cotton-mill asleep, the steamers moored, the carts
and waggons gone to the warehouse, the shops closed, man and beast
enjoying rest, and all men invited to seek rest in God! How solemn the
thought of the millions who will this day think of God, and pray to God,
and gaze upon eternal things; on sea and land, in church and chapel, on
sick bed and in crowded congregations! How many thousands in Great Britain
and Ireland will do this! Clergy praying and preaching to millions. This
never was the device of either man or devil. If it was the ' device of the
Church,' she is indeed of God.
"May the Lord anoint me
this day with His Spirit!
things I see I must correct. (1) I must be careful of pence, as I find I
am hideously extravagant with pounds. Lord help me in this thing! He who
gathered up fragments, and who in nature lets nothing be lost, but turns
all to some account, will help me. (2) To have a fixed time for devotion
at night. 'Sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under law,
but under grace.'
"The God of peace sanctify
you wholly, and may your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved
blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus. Christ. He Faithful is He who
calleth you, who also will do this!'
"Sunday, Oct. 19th, 7
a.m.—(First day that I am late.) The closer we live with God, and the more
our spiritual life in Him is manifested to the world in its results only,
the better, I think, for ourselves. When the inner life is revealed in
words, it is apt to end in words, and to become cant. Spiritual pride is
thereby nourished, and this is great destruction. Oh my God, enable me to
thwart and utterly mortify my cursed vanity and pride, by giving me
strength to hide all my good in this sense, not to speak to my nearest of
good deeds done, but to do them cheerfully before Thee only, and to have
the delight in making others happier and better, pleasing Thee, my Father,
for I know Thou art so loving and good as to be pleased with Thy children
who by Thy grace are in any degree imbued with Thy goodness!
"The less self-reflective
good is, and the more outward and unconscious it is, the better.
"Sat., 6 a.m.—People talk
of early morning in the country with bleating sheep, singing larks, and
purling brooks. I prefer that roar which greets my ear when a thousand
hammers, thundering on boilers of steam vessels which are to bridge the
Atlantic or Pacific, usher in a new day—the type of a new era. I feel men
are awake with me, doing their work, and that the world is rushing on to
fulfil its mighty destinies, and that I must do my work, and fulfil my
grand and glorious end.
"Oh! to see the Church and
the world with Christ's eyes and heart!
"I must cultivate the habit
of much personal communion with God during the day; speaking in the spirit
to Him as well as (or rather in order to) living in the Spirit.
morning, as usual, rose at 5.50 a.m.
"Had a horrid
nightmare—indeed, a series of them. What a sense of the horrible and awful
we get in our dreams! What a sense of desperation—of sore, irresistible,
mysterious, soul-subduing suffering! Immense despair! Dreams have taught
me, more than my waking moments, the capacity of the soul to imagine and
endure agony. Oh, what if our worst dreams of solitude, bereavement,
desertion, and grapplings with resistless and hellish foes were realities!
What if we were in a fatherless world!
"Monday, 18th.—How my
morning readings in Jonathan Edwards make me long for a revival. It would
be worth a hundred dead general assemblies, if we had any meeting of
believing ministers or people—to cry to God for a revival. This, and this
alone, is what we want. Death reigns! God has His witnesses everywhere no
doubt—but as a whole we are skin and bone. When I picture to myself a
living people, with love in their looks and words, calm, zealous,
self-sacrificing, seeking God's glory, and having in Glasgow their
citizenship in Heaven! it might make me labour and die for such a
"Strong west wind, grey
clouds, and heavy lurid atmosphere; on the whole a cold and cheerless day.
They are at this moment laying Wellington beside Nelson, and finishing an
era in British history. All eyes are attracted at this moment in London to
one common centre—that centre a person, that person the saviour of his
country. It is he who gives unity to the whole of that immense mass of
human beings who now crowd the streets through which the body passes; and
unity to that marvellous representation of all our nationalities in St.
Paul's. Significant symbol of the future, when every eye shall see Him,
and when a risen Saviour shall alone occupy the thoughts of an assembled
"Tuesday, Nov. 19th.—5.45
a.m. Last night I went to Camlachie to receive communicants in connection
with that chapel.
"Material preparations of
stipend, beadles, committees, seem at the time mere dead things, but such
details are inseparably connected with the great result. Even as the boat
which conveyed Christ to the country of the Gadarenes was connected with
the cure of the Demoniac."
his Sister Jane:—
"One chief reason of my
writing to-day is immense cockiness at being able to report unswerving
doggedness in early rising. I preached yesterday thrice, one of the
services six miles out of town, and was up at quarter past five—fresh,
joyous, and thankful! Boom dark, curtains drawn, gas lighted, coffee-pot
small and neat (mark all this!), fixed by cunning mechanism over the gas,
cup with sugar and cream, all so 'jolly.' Then begins the waking up of the
great city, the thundering of hammers from the boilers of great Pacific
and Atlantic steamers—a music of humanity, of the giant march of
civilisation; far grander to hear at morn than even the singing of larks,
which did very well in Izaak Walton's days, or the bleat of sheep, which
can yet meet my mother's rustic tendencies."
From his Journal:—
"Dec. 11th.—I have spent a
weary, weary month. Seldom have I done more, and done less. Oh! what a den
of lions for the soul is the life of an active and ever busy minister ! My
difficulty is not to work, but to do so in the right spirit. I do not mean
that I have been consciously living under the influence of a bad spirit,
such as vanity, or pride, but rather that I have been without that calm
and happy frame of mind which springs from a sense of God's presence,
love, and blessing. My mind has been wandering without any ballast or
guiding power, like a feather before the wind, almost every day since this
fearful winter campaign has set in.
"(1) How insignificant I am
as a mere workman; an insect in the coral island of the world which has
been building for 6,000 years. Who was he who helped to build the palace
of Nimrod? or the temple of Baalbec? or planned Karnac? Fussy, important,
of immense consequence, no doubt! As he is, so shall I be—be at peace!
"(2) Jesus is governor! It
is His work, and awful is it from age to age, from clime to clime! It
shall go on without me—be at peace!
"(3) Why does God give me
work at all? For no end whatever irrespective of my own good. He would
thus make me better, and thereby happier, and educate me for my great work
in Heaven. He would have me be a fellow worker, having fellowship with Him
not only in activity, but also in peace and joy. But when I forget Him, or
labour apart from Him, or with separate interests, I lose all! The work
becomes outward, senseless, unmeaning. Lord, give me quiet and peace ! Let
me work only true work in Thy Name, and by Thy Spirit, and for Thy glory!
"... The thunder and
lightning of Sinai had a very different meaning to an Arabian shepherd,
who might be gazing on the spectacle from some distant peak, from what
they had to Moses and the children of Israel. Material things may have a
meaning to angels which they have not to us, and be sacraments of great
truths. Who knows but the starry heavens are one great algebra!
"I believe thanksgiving a
greater mark of holiness than any other part of prayer. I mean special
thanksgiving for mercies asked and received. It is a testimony to prayers
being remembered, and therefore earnest prayer. It is unselfish, and more
"What should we think if an
angel from Heaven appeared to us some morning, and said: 'This day Satan,
with all his power, subtlety, and wiles, may try to destroy thee; and
Jesus bids me say He will shut His eyes and ears to thee, and send thee no
help! This day thou hast duties to perform in a right spirit; Jesus bids
me say He will not give thee His Spirit. This day the heaviest trials ever
experienced by thee may be thine; Jesus bids me say He will not afford
thee any support. This day thou mayest die; Jesus bids me say He will not
be with thee. Jesus bids thee adieu for this day, and leaves thee alone
with thy evil heart, blind mind, powerful enemies; hell beneath thee,
death before thee, judgment above thee, and eternity before thee!' Oh,
"But why art thou not
afraid of this when a day is begun without prayer! Art thou not
practically saying to all this, 'Amen! so let it be?' "Does God love a
cheerful giver? and is He not one Himself? "A godly parent is a god-like
parent, i.e. a parent who is God's image in the family—as God to them in
life, teaching, love, character.
"A godly home-education is
one which trains up the child by the earthly to the heavenly Father.
"That a parent may be as
God to his child, he must first be as a child to his God. To teach, he
must be taught; and receive, that he may give.
"What the father on earth
wishes his child to be towards himself, that God wishes the parent himself
to be towards his Father in heaven. Hence children are witnesses for God
in the parent's heart, as well as' the parents are for Him in the hearts
of their children.
"What a compound of vanity,
greed and the selfishness which is hate that would end in murder, is that
villain Haman!—mean, sneaking, stuffed with vanity and ambition ! a
thorough contemptible scoundrel, whose hanging was well deserved ! His
very terror when condemned is so like the dog—quite like the cowardly
rascal that would hang others, and smoke his pipe, or half-drunk, babble
over it with his Jezebel wife."
From Diary Book of 1853:—
"Resolve, as a solemn duty
owing to my parish, to refuse, after this date, public meetings in town
and country, and all dinners when possible, and to confine myself
exclusively to my great parish till at least April, i.e. four months, and
not to be moved from this by any arguments, however plausible, but to
submit to any amount of displeasure rather than give up a clear duty.
"Jan. 1st.—God has been
very merciful to me during the past year. I never had so unbroken a year
of prosperity, in the usual sense of that word.
"I have preached about one
hundred and forty times, seven of them for public collections, many for
chapels. I have addressed about thirteen meetings for missions and other
useful objects. Held seven mission meetings in my own church. Published a
sermon and edited a magazine. Organized (1) Schemes, (2) Industrial aid,
(3) Female aid, (4) Endowment, (5) Education committees in congregation.
Opened refreshment-rooms for working classes. Opened three chapels with
three missionaries. Suggested and helped to carry out a proposal for two
new churches, for which £10,000 is now collected. About to build three new
schools. Have commenced work in Barnhill Poor House. Visited in twenty-two
days about two hundred and twenty-two families. Have organized a
congregational class of one hundred and ten from eight to fourteen years
of age. Wrote report on Pauper Education. [Among his many duties as
minister of a parish, he had to give his attention to the administration
of the Poor-law, and shortly after his induction, being shocked at the
number of pauper children who were kept in the workhouse at Barnhill, he
proposed the complete adoption of the ' boarding out' system, whereby the
young would be brought up in the houses of decent people in the country.
This was accordingly done. The following year he wrote a long and
elaborate paper on the advisability of forming an industrial farm. This
paper was printed by order of the Board, but its suggestions were never
fully adopted.] I need to reform the schemes. Have had two large classes
of young men and women for three months.
"The past year has been
marked to me specially by the gift of my child; and what a gift! believing
as I do that, in answer to prayer, the Lord will in His own way keep her
with us in the bundle of life eternal.
"April 7th.—Fast-day. The
kind of frittered life I am compelled (I may say) to lead, dipping like a
sea-gull for my food ever and anon, as it is turned up by some wave on the
surface, never diving deep, never soaring high, never at rest, injures
terribly my moral being. My brain becomes like a bee-hive, so that when I
begin to read and pray, my thoughts slide off to chapels or texts, or some
scheme or sermon, while I utterly despise myself. I desire this day to be
a day of self-examination, of thankfulness and quickening.
"It requires omnipotence to
make me what I wish to be—simple, unselfish, and zealous, with nothing to
keep the fire always burning, and the heart joyous, and the limbs strong,
save the love of Jesus Christ."
To Mrs. Macleod:—
"London, May, 1853.
"What a pious and Christian
congregation I must have had with so many of the aristocracy! I did not
preach any one of the more elaborate sermons I had with me, but one I had
never written. But I was convinced it was best suited for the audience. I
had great comfort in preaching it, because I felt a sincere desire to do
good, which is always strength and peace."
From his Journal:—
"Cove, August 27th, 1853,
Sabbath.—I have taken this Sabbath to myself, the only one for two years,
except one in Paris. I need rest, and I am enjoying it.
"After my delightful
congregational meeting in May, I went to London, preached missionary
sermons for Wesleyans, spoke at the meeting of the Tract Society, and for
our own missions, and then went with my brother George to Paris.
"It is awful to feel what a
holy man with the ordinary measure of practical talent which I possess may
do. We seek to be Goliaths, and are killed by pebbles. Could we begin in
faith and be as little children, we should slay Goliaths! O, my God, make
me a good man! O, my Father, come what may, make me a simple-minded,
honest, humble and brave Christian! Let me seek no favour but Thine, and
give my heart to no labour but in Thee and for Thee ! With God my Saviour
as my help and guide, I may, ere I die, be a blessing to Glasgow,
especially to the poor and miserable in it, for whom my heart bleeds.
"A lovely Sabbath-day, with
calm seas, purple hills, murmuring waves, devout repose! When shall my
brothers and sisters in the lanes and closes find such a Sabbath of peace
and beauty in God?
"Sept. 18th.—Have had
spiritually a good week, but physically one too much oppressed by labour.
I have steadfastly kept my hours. My reading has been Baxter's 'Reformed
Pastor' (very touching), and Mill's 'Political Economy.'"
The following letter was
written to a lady whose son had been warded with him in Dalkeith, and who
was at this time a midshipman in the navy. The allusion to his method of
training boys refers to the principle he acted on of frankly telling them
of the temptations they would be exposed to in life—"better," he used to
say, "they should hear all about it from me than from the devil;"—and he
was overjoyed by now receiving a letter which showed he had acted wisely.
"I send without hesitation
his letter to myself. I cannot express to you how gratified and thankful
it has made me. In so teaching him, I followed' my own convictions, and
carried out a theory of education which I had long held, founded chiefly
upon God's teaching in the Bible—in the Pentateuch specially, which in all
its details of crime, and awful warnings, was to be read each year to the
young as well as to the old. The evidence afforded by his letter of the
success in his case of such a mode of instruction is most encouraging."
To Mrs. Dennistoun:—
"Did no shadows, or shades,
or shades of shadows, such as seldom dim your fair spirit, pass over it.
cast from the actual substance of my carelessness in not writing to you!
My dog Skye, often and long the sole companion of my study, alone knows
the sorrowing and repentings I have had anent unanswered letters! He has
heard my groans, witnessed my tossings, and listened with dread to the
stampings of my foot! until, with his quiet eye and loving wag from that
eloquent and soothing tail, he had quieted me into better humour with
myself. At present having no Skye, but only my wife and child, I am out of
humour and ashamed of myself, and have lost self-respect.
"Oct. 3rd.—How shall I
express my gratitude to God? This afternoon my boy was born. I have felt
crushed by the weight of God's mercy. To live in another being, and in the
highest form of the human creation, is a great filling-up of the soul's
cravings. What an object of love! The moment I heard of his birth I
solemnly dedicated him to the Lord, and so did we both in prayer when we
first met. We cannot wish him to be anything grander in the universe of
God than a Christian. This we seek first, and for this we shall labour and
pray. "Whatever else may befall him, this we seek as the one thing needful
for him, whether that is to be attained by sickness or health, by poverty
or wealth. I pray that whatever else happens, should God so will that the
whole family are to reach the shore on floating pieces of the wreck of a
broken house, yet let us all meet there, and be for ever with the Lord!
"Into Thy hands, our God,
we resign our children, and dedicate them to God the Father, through Jesus
the Son, and in the Holy Ghost the Sanctifier, one God, our God, and our
fathers' God. Amen!"
The Education question was
at this time exciting keen discussion in Scotland, and when the proposed
measure of Lord Moncrieff was before Parliament, its merits were debated
by the Presbytery of Glasgow. Norman Macleod was one of the speakers; and,
while he defended the parish schools, and could see no practical benefit
likely to accrue to the nation by the severance of the link which united
them to the Church, he argued strongly in favour of the Church herself
attempting to find a basis on which the three great Presbyterian bodies in
the country might co-operate for the furtherance of education. He wished
the privileges of an Establishment to be recognised—
" . . . . as a holy trust
to be used for the good of the country at large, and of value solely as
employed for this the true end of her existence in the State. So far from
grudging to share with other bodies our peculiar advantages, I would hold
it as a first truth, and entering into the essential idea of Christianity,
that our personal and social blessings are given us not for selfish
enjoyment, but to be shared as far as possible with others."
Under whatever form of
management the public schools might be placed, he earnestly desired a
higher and more practical system of instruction.
"We want, for instance, a
higher class of industrial schools, in our large towns especially, for our
females, where, in addition to the ordinary branches of learning, they
must also receive instruction in shaping and making clothes, in washing
and dressing them, and in cooking too, so as to fit them to become
cleanly, thoroughly intelligent wives, and in every respect helps-meet for
an artisan, who could make his home more attractive to him than the
whiskey-shop, and be themselves more companionable than its frequenters.
We require a wider education for our artisans themselves, so as to train
them up to such fixed ideas and habits as may fit them to meet the actual
temptations to which they are exposed, to perform their duties as workmen,
parents, citizens; and so as to enlarge, also, the field of their
enjoyment as human beings possessed of various tastes which are capable of
being cultivated, and made the sources of refined pleasure. To accomplish
all this, I think we require a higher style of teacher, imbued with lofty
ideas of his high calling, as the man who contributes so much to mould the
character of the nation and to give a complexion to coming generations—a
man, in short, with somewhat of the spirit of Arnold. I do think that a
careful training of our people—to enable them to discharge their
individual duties, such as steady labour, preservation of health,
sobriety, kindness, prudence, chastity; their domestic duties as parents;
their duties as members of society, in courteous and truthful dealings,
fulfilment of engagements, obedience combined with independence as
workmen; their duties towards the State, whether with reference to their
rulers or the administrators of law, along with information on the history
and government of their country, and such like—that upon such points as
these their training has been greatly neglected, and requires to be
extensively improved, and based upon and saturated with Christian
principle. I think we owe something to the Secularists in directing our
attention to details in the education required for common life; while they
ought to be grateful to us for imbuing the mind with the only power which
will enable men to apply their knowledge to practice."
From his Journal:—
"April, 23rd, 1854.—I have
been very busy with the memoir. The want of incident is my difficulty. I
must always remember those reading it who never heard of his name. I have
always felt an assurance that Jesus loved John too well to permit me to
misinterpret that character, which had been proved by His own Spirit, and
which was given me in providence to show to the world.
"May 7th.—I go to-morrow to
London, to preach for the London Missionary Society, thankful in being
honoured thus to help on the world's work of advancing Christ's kingdom.
Whatever comes, I feel assured all will be well." [His sermon on this
occasion made a profound impression, and the Directors not only expressed
their thanks, but repeatedly urged him to publish it. This, however, he
declined to do.]
He attended the General
Assembly of 1854, and took a prominent part in nearly all the debates. In
this Assembly—and this may be said of all those of which be was in after
years a, member—his addresses on the Missionary Reports gave a character
of their own to the whole proceedings. The House was filled to overflowing
when be was expected to speak; and his appeals, burning with courage, and
zeal, and hopefulness, not only imparted new life to the Assembly, but
increased the influence of the Church in the country.
In the Assembly of 1854 be
first took a decided stand against the party which bad ruled the policy of
the Church for several years, and which bad served in no small measure to
alienate from her the sympathy of the nation by the persistency with which
it opposed every public measure, however reasonable, that seemed to
threaten any of her ancient prerogatives. The recent repeal of the Tests
which had hitherto been imposed on the professors of the Scotch
Universities— who, on admission to office, were required to sign the
Confession of Faith, and subscribe the formula of the Church of
Scotland—was now hotly discussed in the Assembly. The wiser leaders, while
regretting the sweeping nature of the change, were prepared " to accept
the inevitable," and made a stand against the section of extreme
Conservatives, who not only wished to protest anew, but even proposed to
form a new University in connection with the Church. Norman Macleod had
too much common sense not to perceive the folly of resisting changes which
the altered condition of the country rendered necessary and gave
expression to his views in a manner which startled both sides of the
House, and which rang through the country as the token of an unexpectedly
liberal spirit rising in the Church.
"A great deal had been said
about expediency, about the tremendous danger of vacillation, and the
immense importance of what was called standing by their principles. It
appeared to him that one of the greatest mistakes made by the Church of
Scotland was constantly elevating things which were out-and-out matters of
expediency, and maintaining that they were eternal principles. There were
certain things that could never change. The eternal truth revealed by the
living God was, from generation to generation, without change. But there
were things that were flexible, and ought to be so; and the great error of
the Church of Scotland had ever been the assuming of an attitude which was
said to be one of principle, and injury after injury had been done to the
Church, not because she would not sacrifice her principles, but because
she would not modify her institutions to suit the times. Instead of doing
this, she had resisted every change, and this had been the source of
almost all the misfortunes which had ever befallen her. For one evil that
could be pointed out arising from a wise and judicious yielding to the
times, he would point out scores of instances, down to 1843, from which
she had suffered from stubbornly standing on pin-points called principles.
" . . . . It was proposed
to go to the country for money to build a new College. He objected to that
out-and-out. He objected to the national Church throwing herself loose
from the national Universities, and sinking down to the position of a mere
sect, and handing over the Universities to other parties. He warned them
that if there issued from this House opinions which obtained no sympathy
in the country, instead of gaining a hold on the affections of the people,
they would come to have no more influence on the nation than the
weather-cock on the top of the steeple affected the people passing in the
street. Let them try to educate the country up to their principles before
they proposed to them things in which the country had no sympathy.
"... He thought it only
fair to say that he did not know of a single measure that had been passed
by the Legislature which he would wish to see reversed—neither the
Emancipation Bill, nor the Reform Bill, nor the Corn-law Bill, nor the
University Tests Bill, nor any other Bill.
"He was one of those,
moreover, who believed that the Legislature had a perfect right so modify
such institutions as the Universities to meet the wants of the age. He was
one of those who believed it was a fair and a right thing that men who did
not belong to the Church of Scotland, but who, like her, held Protestant
principles, should be permitted to teach in these lay chairs. He therefore
wanted a Test, certainly, and so far he differed from the late Act; but he
did not want such a Test as was desired by his fathers and brethren who
formed the majority of the Church; nay, perhaps he ought to confess that
he was so very heterodox, that he should not have started, or thought the
world was coming to an end, even if it had been proposed to place a Jesuit
in a Medical Chair, and on this simple ground, that if his limb were to be
operated on, he should prefer a skilful Jesuit to an unskilful Protestant.
He would rather have a man to do it well who sympathised with the Council
of Trent, than a man to do it ill who believed in the Westminster
Confession; and he rather thought the great majority of the House would,
in such a situation, act on the same principles. He saw no reason why such
men should not teach others to do well what they did so well themselves.
But at the same time, he did desire that there should be a Test of some
kind, and was very far from speaking lightly of the differences which
separated them from Rome."
To the Rev. Thomas Gordon,
" . . . Act of security! It
might as well secure horse-power versus steam to all generations, as
secure anything which cannot be secured on its own footing—i.e., because
it is worth securing. The only acts which have any security for resisting
modern changes are the Acts of the Apostles—and they will defy either
Strauss or Wiseman."
To Rev. A. Clerk, LL.D.: —
"The General Assembly was a
Dead Sea of Common-places—flat, stale, and unprofitable. Not one flash of
any idea or sentiment to rouse a noble passion in the soul. The Tests were
of course carried by a large majority. I think the Church is a poor affair
at present, but has got a calling for the good of this land and of
Christendom, which she alone can execute if she would "!
To his Mother, on his
"Well, dear, it was a noble
Assembly, and God enabled me to do what I have every reason to believe was
a needful and good work in it. I sought His aid, and He gave it to me. I
was greatly solemnized, I assure you. The reports give you a poor idea of
what I said. Each speech was about forty minutes, and nothing could exceed
the cordial manner in which it was received.
"Forty-three years since, I
lay on your knee, the object of a love that, as I have often said, is
liker the love of God than any other, and which, in your case, dearest,
has been as deep, constant, and unwearied as ever existed in any human
bosom. I am not one of those who sigh for the past and fear the future. My
motto is not 'backwards,' but 'forwards,'—on and on, for over! I wish no
year recalled, unless I had more grace with it to make it better and to
improve it more for God's glory.
"'One generation cometh,
and another goeth.' But I cannot wish more for my boy on earth than that
he should at forty-three have parents spared to him to be such a source of
happiness to him as mine are to me. God bless you both for all you have
been and are."
From his Journal :—
"June 3rd.—I this day enter
my forty-third year. I feel how much of my life is passed, and slowly but
surely the force that is in me to do Christ's work will begin to decline.
"Oh, my God, I have not hid
my daily shortcomings from Thee. Thou hast forgiven me in Christ. My
Father, never let me be without the indwelling of Thy Spirit for an hour,
for it would be an hour of dreadful horror. Let my life be every day more
unconscious of my own presence and more conscious of Thine. Make me an
instrument in Thy hands for advancing Thy kingdom, reviving the Church of
Scotland, and for uniting all Christians in this land.
"One man, O Lord, lifts up
his voice and praises Thee that he has been born, because he knows Thee
and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent, and knows that, while no man on
earth deserves it, this is eternal life!
"July 23, 1854.—With the
exception of the preface, the Life is finished and printed. Glory to God!
"When I went to see John, I
put the question, ' What shall be the end thereof?' How much has been seen
of the end already!
"It was a strange feeling,
to end a work which had given me his companionship for so long a time. It
seemed like a second death!
"Thank God I have been
enabled to write a biography without one word of untruth or exaggeration
in it, as far as I know. It may not say enough, or go far enough, but all
it says is true; as far as it goes, it is true.
"Does my dear friend know
this is done? I believe he does, and that as far as it is true, and tends
to glorify his Master in whose presence he is, and who is his all in all,
so far he rejoices in it, so I add to his joy. What a delightful thought!
For surely if he knows that his life has not been so unfinished as it
seemed to have been, that he is by these memorials enabled to advance that
kingdom much more than he could have done had he been spared to labour as
a minister, surely this will fill him with deeper love to Jesus, and a
profounder admiration of His love and wisdom, and so increase his own joy.
"What an infant in
spiritual growth am I to him! But let his bright and beautiful example not
cast me down, but lift me up and stimulate me to labour more for Christ,
and not to be slothful, but through faith and patience to follow him, even
as he followed his Lord.
". . . . How strange that
as yet my child knows not God! I have resolved that she shall not hear His
name till she has language to apprehend what I mean, and that no one shall
speak of God to her till I do so. This is a moment in her life which 1
claim as my own. I shall have the blessedness of first telling her of Him
who I trust (Oh, my Father, for Christ's sake let it be—oh, let it!) shall
be her all in all for ever after. For a time I must be to her as God: His
shadow, His representative and her father on earth shall lead her to Thee,
her Father and mine.
"Another system than this I
know is generally pursued, and much is thought to be gained by cramming a
child with holy words before it can hardly lisp them. I heard last week
of------'s boy saying to some one, ' I don't like God, for He sends rain.'
This was quite natural, but what is gained by such instruction !"
To the late Mrs. Macredie, Adamton:—
"My dear Madam,—
"I make it a rule never to
pen a letter except upon great occasions, or to remarkable persons. The
last I wrote was on the great occasion of a Free Church minister bowing to
an Erastian; and one also to my wife, when she did implicitly what I
"I take up my pen once
more. I need not say the dignity of the person to whom I write is a
sufficient proof that I do not break through my rule. But the occasion is
still more remarkable. What is it? What has happened in the political,
literary, or religious world? Is Sebastopol taken? or is the Irish Society
defunct? Has the Pope asked Miss------in marriage? Is the Czar to be the
Commissioner of next Assembly? Is Omer Pasha to be member for Ayrshire?
Any or all of those suppositions would be nothing to the news I have to
tell you. I assure you, nothing ! Now, I would tell you at once, but I
don't want to give you a shock; for I was told to be cautious, and not to
alarm you, but to break the intelligence quietly to you, and to take you,
as it were, round the neck and breathe the thing in your ear. Besides,
when one is happy—Oh! you see it, do you? 'Another son?' My dear lady, you
shock me ! What I wish to say to you is this—for I am sorry that I am in a
hurry, and cannot possibly write so fully as I would wish, and therefore
must be much more abrupt than is proper for one in your delicate health
(though I find that such persons always live to an immense age) and so I
must just tell you at once that—hush now, quietly, and don't get agitated.
Believe me, you will survive it—softly, and slowly "Your daughter, Mrs.
Dennistoun, remains with us from Friday till Monday, and I promised to
write to you. That's all."
To Thomas Constable, Esq.:—
"July 18th, 1854.
"I have always addressed
you more as the friend of John Mackintosh than as the publisher of the
memorials of his life. As such you will be glad to receive the conclusion
of the last chapter, which I send by this post.
"I have been writing these
latter pages since early dawn; and deeply affecting though they be, I
cannot think they will cost my readers as many tears as they have cost me
while penning them. I feel concluding this book as a positive loss to
myself. It is like a second death and burial. It was never a weariness,
but a delight to me. I fear that I have failed to convey but a very feeble
impression of those days at Cannstadt. I wish it had been possible for me
to have said less, and to have permitted him to say more; yet I cannot
think any one will fail to discover in all I have written the details of a
true story of one of the truest men that ever blessed the earth by his
presence. For myself, I return my most hearty thanks to Almighty God for
having honoured me so far as to have permitted these hands of mine to
erect this memorial of my beloved friend for the good of the Church and of
the world. Many will think the work a small one in this world of many
works and great teachers, but had I done nothing more than accomplish this
one alone, I should feel that I had not been born in vain, and that it was
worth living for. It has been begun, carried on, and ended in prayer; and
with the sincere desire, above all others, that in him his Lord may be
"You know that I refuse all
fee and reward for this book, in the shape of money. Love is its own
reward, but I hope to receive an immense return for my little labour in
hearing from time to time that the character of my dear friend is being
better known and loved, and his example followed by many to the glory of
From his Journal:
Geddes last month, and I feel that I have got a whiff of the same kind of
air John breathed there. How strange! Kate and I both opened the first
copy of the Memoir there ! and that on the day after the anniversary of
our marriage. We saw, too, old Saunders Hose, still alive and well and
holy; and I held a prayer-meeting in the old place where John used to hold
his, at Burnside.
"It was altogether
delightful. And then Loch Shiel, John Shairp and his wife, and the
Communion at Kilmallie together! The Lord be praised!"
When he undertook the
congenial task of writing the life of his dear friend, he determined that
it should be wholly a labour of love, and "with the hearty consent of his
mother-in-law, Mrs. Mackintosh, he resolved to devote whatever profit
might accrue from the sale of the Memoir to the Foreign Mission of the
Free Church. Mackintosh had been a Free Church student, and the book was
virtually his, and thus not only under a sense of the propriety of the
act, but delighted at the opportunity of giving expression to those
feelings of good-will which he entertained for the missionary labour of
all Churches, and especially of that Church which, in spite of recent
controversies and separations, was yet nearest bis own in doctrine and
government, he forwarded with sincere pleasure £200 to her Indian
Missions. The Free Church Assembly took the earliest opportunity of
recording its thanks, which were embodied in the following minute:—
"In acknowledging receipt
from the biographer and representatives of the late John Mackintosh of
£200—the entire profit derived from the sale of his Memoir—the Assembly
desires to record its deep and grateful sense of the faithful and graceful
manner in which the Memoir has been written, of the loss which this Church
has sustained in his premature removal, and of the considerate regard to
his memory which has prompted this generous donation, and they instruct
their Convener to communicate the same to Mrs. Mackintosh and the Rev.
Norman Macleod." [In forwarding this extract of minutes, the Convener, the
late Dr. Tweedie, kindly expressed his own sense of the catholicity of
spirit which had dictated the act:—"It supplies in some measure a presage
of what will take place when external barriers shall be removed, and when
all who love the Lord Jesus shall be verily one in spirit and in truth." ]
To Mrs. Macleod:—
"Kirkaldy, Oct. 2, 1854
"Kiss my boy for me on his
birth-day, and pray with me for him, that whatever else he is he may be a
child of God.
"Please—for there is a
domestic propriety which is a gentile court to religion—have my father, or
George, or both, to dinner, and drink my boy's health in a good bottle of
champagne, with all the honours.
"Glorious news this of
Sebastopol! A great opening for the gospel."
To Mrs. Macleod:—
"Crathie, Oct., 1854.
"This has been a heavenly
day of beauty—the sky almost cloudless; the stones on the hill side so
distinct that they might be counted; the Dee swinging past with its
" I preached without a notice the same sermon I preached at Morven;
[It is interesting to
compare with this the touching notice of the service recorded by Her
"October 29, 1854.
"We went to kirk as usual
at twelve o'clock. The service was performed by the Rev. Norman Macleod,
of Glasgow, son of Dr. Macleod, and anything finer I never heard. The
sermon, entirely extempore, was quite admirable, so simple, and yet so
eloquent, and so beautifully argued and put. Mr. Macleod showed in the
sermon how we all tried to please self, and live for that, and in so doing
found no rest. Christ had come not only to die for us, but to show how we
were to Jive. The second prayer was very touching ; his allusions to us
were so simple, saying after his mention of us, 'bless their children.' It
gave me a lump in my throat, as also when he prayed for ' the dying, the
wounded, the widow, and the orphans.' Every one came back delighted ; and
how satisfactory it is to come back from church with such feelings ! The
servants and the Highlanders—all—were equally delighted."]
and I never looked once at
the royal seat, but solely at the congregation. I tried to forget the
great ones I saw, and to remember the great Ones I saw-not, and so I
preached from my heart, and with as much freedom, really, as at a mission
"And so the day has ended,
for the present. The Lord brought me here. He has heard my prayer, and
sustained my heart, and enabled me to do His will. And now I pray that
this talent, given me in love, may be for His glory.
"Kiss the bairns, thank God
for me, and in after years teach your boy this lesson—not to seek his
work, but to receive it when given him, and to do it to God without fear."
From his Journal:—
"Retrospect.—I had received
an invitation to preach at Crathie when I was at Kirkaldy. I refused to
go. I had announced the opening of my church, after it had been closed for
two months to be repaired, and it seemed to me that my duty to open it was
greater than to accept of Mr. Anderson's invitation to preach before the
Queen. The going there, therefore, was not sought for by me. I returned
home at eight Thursday night, and found a letter from Mr. A., stating that
he asked me at the Queen's own request. My duty being clear, I accepted
it. The weather was superb, and I was much struck with the style of the
scenery. I have never seen Ross-shire, but I see a marked difference
between the Highlands of Morayshire and Aberdeenshire and the West
Highlands, especially in the glens, and the large, full-flowing rivers,
such as the Spey, the Findhorn, and the Dee, which sweep so majestically
through them, with abundance of elbow room, and not cramped by slate and
granite into raging, roaring streams. And then the decided marks of
culture in the valleys—the broad plantations, the green fields, and the
stately homes of a wealthy aristocracy, and—that I do not forget it,—the
colouring of the floors of the woods ! No long, damp grass, but the
glorious mosses, rich and golden, illumined by the fiery heather bell.
"The Sunday at Balmoral was
perfect in its peace and beauty. I confess that I was much puzzled what to
preach. I had with me some of my best sermons (as people would call them)
; but the struggle which had begun on Friday morning was renewed—as to
what was best in the truest, most spiritual sense for such an occasion;
until, by prayer, I resolved to preach without any notes a sermon I never
wrote fully out, but had preached very often, perhaps fifteen times,
solely because I found that it had found human spirits, and had done good.
It was from Matt. xi. 28-30, Mark x. 17-31. I tried to show what true life
is—life in the spirit—a finding rest through the yoke of God's service,
instead of the service of self, and by the cross of self-denial, instead
of self-gratification, illustrated by the young man who, with all that was
so promising, would not peril his happiness by seeking it with Christ in
"I preached with intense
comfort, and by God's help felt how sublime a thing it was to be His
ambassador. I felt very acutely how for our sakes the Queen and the Prince
were placed in so trying a position, and was profoundly grateful for the
way in which they had governed us; and so it was that I was able to look
back from the future, and to speak as I shall wish I had done. It would be
most ungrateful in me not to record this singular mercy of God to me; for
I do know, and rejoice to record for the strengthening of my faith in
prayer, that He did it. Thus I enjoyed great peace.
"In the evening, after
daundering in a green field with a path through it which led to the high
road, and while sitting on a block of granite, full of quiet thoughts,
mentally reposing in the midst of the beautiful scenery, I was roused from
my reverie by some one asking me if I was the clergyman who had preached
that day. I was soon in the presence of the Queen and Prince; when her
Majesty came forward and said with a sweet, kind, and smiling face, ' We
wish to thank you for your sermon.' She then asked me how my father
was—what was the name of my parish, &c.; and so, after bowing and smiling,
they both continued their quiet evening walk alone. And thus God blessed
me, and I thanked His name. I posted home by Glenshee—not well—and was in
bed all the week. So ends my story. I read its commencement and ending to
remind me how God is always faithful. 'O ye of little faith, wherefore did
you doubt?' "
To the Rev. Mr. Watson,
Chaplain in the Crimea:—
"God bless and prosper you
in your work. I almost envy you, dangerens though it be. I have such
immense admiration of those glorious fellows that I would rejoice to be
with them. It is right and becoming, too, that those who are soldiers only
of Christ should share their danger, so as to help them to share with us
the life which is eternal. We should not shrink at such a time, if God
calls us to this work. No doubt you have made up your mind to die, and
this is the true way of being brave and of finding perfect peace."
From his Journal:—
"January 1, 1855, 7 a.m.—In
the name of God the Father, Son, and Spirit, my God, I begin the year! I
am Thine by creation and redemption, and by choice on my part; I am Thine
for ever, and I desire to consecrate every power and faculty of body and
soul to Thy service—knowing Thee, the ever-blessed One, whose service is
unutterable joy. To know Thee truly in any degree is joy unspeakable, and
full of glory. Amen!
"The year '55 promises to
be a very solemn one. What battles and victories, defeats and sufferings !
What brave and illustrious men, afterwards to be the Nelsons and
Wellingtons of Britain, or the Napoleons of France—are now in embryo! That
civilisation, liberty, religion, peace Will triumph, is of course as
certain as that Jesus Christ reigns! He does reign—what a source of joy!
"I have established a
mission to the hospital at Scutari, and am acting as secretary to it.
"Jan. 12th.—Nothing can
exceed the present complexity of the politics of the world. This war is
drawing all nations slowly into it like a huge maelstrom; and on what
side, or with what damage, they are to be hurled out of the maelstrom, the
Lord knoweth! America sympathises with Russia, solely because Russia opens
up prospects of trade directly and indirectly, and is the enemy of her
British rival—for the Yankees have concentrated all greatness in the
dollar. Rome is against Russia on Church grounds, and Britain is now
fighting Rome's cause with France and Austria. Prussia holds back.
Sardinia, becoming Protestant, comes forward. Turkey, tottering to her
fall, from the inherent weakness of her false religious life, is in vain
propped up by the allies, though this will make her fall only the more
conspicuous, and show God's judgment on a lie.
"Peace! It seems to me as
if the world was but mustering its forces for such a campaign as will
revolutionise it and somehow usher in the glory of the latter days. I wish
I could see the end. But I shall know it some day."
To Mrs. DENISTOUN, on the
death of her Aunt:—
"January 29 1855.
"How could that life have
been, if her faith in Jesus was not faith in a real living Person? Gould a
mere delusion, a fancy, produce such a result of character, so true, so
real, so deep, so long preserved, as she had? Impossible ! and therefore
one reads her life and death as a living Epistle, which speaks of the
power of a living Saviour to keep the soul ever young, and ever fresh, in
its tendernesses and sympathies; to enable one down to extreme old age to
carry about with them the dying of the Lord Jesus in their mortal bodies,
that so the life of Jesus might be manifested in them. How beautiful was
her love, how enlarged, beaming from that bed like sunlight, on every one
and every thing around. I would be an atheist if I could believe such a
light could set for ever in darkness ! It cannot be. It has never ceased,
and never shall cease, to shine in God's own sky."
From his Journal:—
"March 2nd.—This night
heard of the death of the Czar yesterday in St. Petersburg. How the news
will run from mouth to mouth, and for one true mourner, how many millions
"There he lies, the giant
man—the 'every inch a king.' Silent and dead as the marble of his palace.
"What shall be the effect?
Peace? or, as I believe, a European blaze, and the ultimate freedom of the
"The word of the Lord
"April 27th.—I leave this
day for Edinburgh Communion, London Bible Society, Holland, and, D. V.,
"I have had a healthy,
happy and busy winter, and require some breathing time. May God in mercy
sanctify it for my good, bring me home stronger in soul and body."
To Mrs. Macleod:-
London, May 22, 1855.
"I had a jolly sleep beside
C-------, who evidently dreamt he was a Highland terrier worrying another,
from the barks which he gave in his sleep.
The snores of M-------were
quite orthodox. They were rather too barefaced a copy of those of his
congregation. I never closed an eye, of course! Poor fellow! But I
meditated so profitably that I counted only two towns on the way—Newcastle
To the Same:—
"Dined at-------'s. There
was a party of eight or nine. Most of them English parsons, with the usual
amount of thoroughly correct manners, large hearts, middling heads, and
knowing nothing of Scotland except as a place in the Islands from which
grouse come. But really 'very nice—you know.'"
To the Same :—
"Antwerp, May 4, 11 p. m.
"Enjoyed Bruges, and
reached Ghent at 2. (O, those glorious chimes of the old cathedral!) Saw
the fine Cathedral and Van Eyck's delightful picture. O, what truth ! what
a love of nature ! what a taste for beauty had the Mendings and Van Eycks!
Some of the peeps through windows by the former and his minute painting of
flowers and trees so delicious ! In Poussin's famous painting of ' Christ
in the midst of the Doctors,' such a head of Charles V. is introduced, and
of the Duke of Alva!"
To the Same :—
"The Hague, Tuesday Morning.
"I have seen great
paintings, but no great men.
"I have received much, very
much kindness from the Van Loons and others, and I hope to meet as much
more at Leyden and Amsterdam.
"The royal family were all
in church, hearing dear Boucher, on Sabbath. The King was heard saying to
his sister, when he went out, ' How sublime! I never heard anything like
it.' 'Nor I,' replied the sister, 'but I have no words to utter what I
feel.' It was indeed a noble discourse."
From his Journal :—
"June 3rd, 1855.— I am
forty-four. I preached on the birth of a child being a legitimate cause of
joy. [Published in Good Words for 1873. ]
"Glory to God that I have
been born! I praise Him and bless Him for the gift of existence in a world
in which His own Son has been born a Saviour, a Brother, and in which He
rules. I praise Him, I bless Him for such a gift, so worthy of Himself.
"Oh, may I realize His
purpose more and more by being more and. more His own child in simplicity,
humility, faith, love, and undivided obedience ! Intense life in Christ is
"I begin this week to visit
my congregation once more. I feel that personal acquaintance and private
friendship must be the foundation of public good. My schools are all paid
for. I desire to dedicate my powers with more intense devotion to God.
"June, 8th.—This day I
heard my little girl mention, for the first time, the name of God. I had
requested no one ever to speak to her of God until I first had this honour,
but the new servant had done it; so 1 took the child on my knee (in
Bothwell, where we are) and asked her several questions as to who made her
and everything, and she replied, 'God.' O, how indescribably strange and
blessed to my ears was the sound! It cannot cease forever ! My prayer, my
daily prayer, is that she and all my dear children may be holy from their
infancy, and grow up Christians. This, indeed, can only be through the
Spirit; but surely there is no necessity that they should grow up at any
time hating God ! Must they be as devils in their youth, and be afterwards
converted? God forbid! My prayer and hope is that they shall grow up in
the nurture of the Lord, and be His own dear children from their infancy.
Why not love Him as well as me, their earthly father? Oh, beloved Saviour,
take them as babes into thine own arms, and bless them and make them thine!
May they never, never mou-tion the name of God, but as that of a Father.
"Lord! my hope is in Thee.
Let me not be put to shame."
To his Aunt, Mrs. Maxwell,
after the burial of her husband at Campsie:—
"Bothwell, July 20, 1855.
"We have just returned from
that green spot, where are gathering the earthly remains of so many who
made the earth beautiful to us, and whose undying spirits make Heaven more
homely to us. When standing there it was glorious to feel that we could
not sorrow for one of our own there as ' without hope,' but in the sure
and' certain hope of a resurrection unto life for them in Christ. How
peacefully did he, the last laid there, repose after his long and
harassing journey ! God alone, who knew his frame, and the mysterious
influence which the frail body so mightily exercises over the mind, can
tell what a life straggle he had ! But he fought, and that was everything;
and I heartily believe that he is now in His presence for evermore, with
exceeding joy; and few there will cast their crowns down with more
exceeding reverence, humility, and awe, and acknowledge more joyfully the
exceeding riches of the grace of Christ bestowed upon him. I shall take
good care that my children shall hear of those uncles and aunts whom we
all so much loved and admired—of their refined and exquisite honour, their
deep and touching benevolence, their tender and sympathizing hearts, their
beautiful and transparent truthfulness, and admiration of all that was
really good and true.
"In a few years that spot
in Campsie will be full. I hope to lie there with my wife, and possibly my
family. 'Then cometh the end.' With such an end we may well pray, 'Thy
kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.'"
From his Journal:—
"August 2lst, 1855.—I start
this day, with Dr. Craik, for the Paris Conference of the Evangelical
Alliance. I am very glad to do so, for I have had a busy summer.
"I pray that good may come
to the Church of Christ out of this Conference; that God may give us all
humility, justice, love, and wisdom. May I be kept with a pure heart and
single eye, speaking the truth in love, fearing neither the world profane
nor the world religious, but obeying God's Spirit.
"Lord ! keep my beloved
ones in my absence; and keep my soul, spirit, and body, for Thy glorious
and eternal kingdom!"
To Mrs. Macleod:—
"Paris, August, 1855.
"Dinner at Herschell's;
Krummaeher, Count St. George, and others there. Went to the Exposition;
the finest collection of paintings I ever saw. The heat past endurance; I
walk twelve miles daily. The Alliance of no use; private meetings to-day
to try to make it so. Heard a Pusey-ite sermon; horrid trash. No one from
Scotland has preached. Bad arrangements. The life spent by us most
agreeable and most useful to our selves, but utterly useless to others,
except the cafes. The Queen left-to-day; the day glorious, the scene
magnificent, felt my heart beat in hearing ' God save the Queen' as the
grand cortege passed along the Boulevards-she looking so well—the Emperor
and Prince Albert on one side, and the Queen and another lady on the
From his Journal :—
"October 1st, 1855.—Things to be aimed at and prayed for:—
"1. To perfect holiness. Is
it possible that I shall habitually possess myself, and exercise holy
watchfulness over my words and temper, so that in private and public I
shall live as a man who truly realizes God's constant presence—who is one
with Christ, and therefore lives among men and acts towards them with His
mind and spirit? I, meek, humble, loving, ever by my life drawing men to
Christ—self behind, Christ before! I believe this to be as impossible by
my own resolving as that I become a Shakespeare, a Newton, a Milton; yet
if God calls me to this, God can so enable me to realize it that he shall
be pleased with me. But will I really strive after it? Oh, my Father !
see, hear, and help Thy weak and perishing child! For Christ's sake, put
strength in me; fulfil in me the good pleasure of Thy will. Lord, pity me
and have mercy on me, that I may famish and thirst for Thee and perfect
"2. To know and improve
every talent to the utmost, whether in preaching, writing, speaking,
acting. I feel convinced that every man has given him of God much more
than he has any idea of, and that he can help on the world's work more
than he knows of. What we want is the single eye that will see what our
work is, the humility to accept it, however lowly, the faith to do it for
God, the perseverance to go on till death.
"Wise and loving Father!
Magnify Thy patience in my wilfulness and stupidity, Thy strength in my
weakness. Thy mighty grace in my paltry vanity, Thy love in my
selfishness. Let not the fragments of my poorly educated mind and broken
time be lost, but glorify Thyself in me, that when I die some shall feel
and acknowledge Thy goodness in having created me, and given me to my
fellow men. What may I vet be and do in Thee! Oh let all worldly ambition
be mortified, and a holy ambition take its place!
"Have been seeing-------;
just dying; full of anxiety for his soul; deeply feel for him. Notice !
how that one name of Jesus is all-in-all! Men may argue about the
Atonement; but the fact of an Atonement alone finds and meets a sinner
crying out for mercy. What can philosophy do for such, or an atonement of
mere self-sacrifice? It would only deepen the sense of sin.
"Oct. 30, 5½ P.M.—I have
this moment finished my little book on the Home School. I have made it a
subject of constant prayer, and have sincerely tried to write what may do
good to my fellow-men. I believe God will grant it such a measure of
success that I shall not be put to shame. I do crave the reward of its
helping human hearts to do God's will. If I am taken away, I See! it will
be a pleasing little legacy to my beloved wife and children. Tie latter
will learn what the former already knows, and what (thank God!) she
sincerely sympathises with me in—for in this, as in all things, we are
fellow-workers. The children will know what their father wished, prayed
for, and resolved to labour for.
"There are stages in the
love to God found, I think, in the experience of all advanced Christians.
The first is love, or rather gratitude, for what God has done or is to us;
the second, love for what He is in Himself; the third, a love which, not
satisfied with personal enjoyment, desires that the universe may share it,
and is grieved, amazed, horrified, that any should be blind to it—that we
ourselves should have been so, and see it so dimly. Do I desire that God
should thus be glorified?
To his Sister Jane:—
"I know you would like a
yarn about all manner of particulars, but it is simply impossible. I
believe the time is soon coming when visits and messages by the telegraph
will be common, but letters as much out of date as folios. The Apostle
John's letters are not very long, but the writing of them seems to have
been uncongenial, for he frets against pen and ink. By the way, it was to
a lady, who I have no doubt complained of his not writing as long letters
to her as Paul did to some of his other friends."
To his Brother Donald, then
"I rejoice that you are
getting into good French society. See as many persons as you possibly
can—as various types of opinion as possible. Be not ashamed to confess
ignorance, and be always asking, and you will learn much. Men, men—meet
"Beware with intense
watchfulness against the sensualising tendency of excitement and living
abroad. The society of the good is the best help against this—next to
To the Same:—
"I am glad you are at art.
Try and get a vivid impression of the different schools. Study
chronologically. I remember there are at Munich fine specimens of sketches
by Van Dyck, a number of wonderful Reubens, with excellent specimens of
the Flemish school, Berghen, &c.
"We had a noble meeting of
the British Association. All the leading men were in church. Had a
glorious talk with Rawlinson—sein eigener Stand punkt.
"Do, my dear fellow, study
hard at language. Study, you rascal, study!
"Jan. 17, 1850.— Report
this morning of the prospect of peace with Russia. Peace is joy as far as
the present suffering is concerned. But as far as the interests of man are
concerned, and the position of our country, I mourn the news. We have come
out of this war lower in every respect in the world's opinion than when we
entered it. I fear, if the war ends, that it will be merely to give time
to Russia to prepare for another by becoming herself stronger, and biding
her time till the Western powers are disunited. The salvation of the world
now will be pushing missions in the Fast, and overturning all things from
within, leave the without to come right in its own time."
From his Journal:—
"Feb. 29—I have had one of
the severest fourteen clays of mental and bodily fatigue—chiefly, if not
wholly, the former—which I have had for years. Last week, after a previous
week of toil, there was Monday and Tuesday writing and dictating, changing
and reducing a letter in reply to a horrid one from------. The
struggle—and it was, I am ashamed to say, dreadful—was to write and feel
as a Christian, when my flesh could have so written that it would have
been to him as flaying alive."
To his Sister Jane:—
"Feb. 9, 1856.
"I have (as Jean used to
say) been 'painfully exercised' by this unjust attack from------. My
struggle, you understand, is between the temptation to yield to anger and
my conviction that it is the will of Christ that I should so love him as
to consider the evil in him, and seek to deliver him from it. How horrible
to be obliged to fight all, to feel the desire strong, to be unable to
say, 'I love,' to feel the congeniality of revenge! O pride! O vanity? How
I pray not only to speak and write as a Christian, but oh, dearest, to
feel truly as one!
"As to John Campbell's book
on the 'Atonement,' it is like himself, dark, but deep, and very true. I
think it has led me captive. I shall read it again; but it finds me, and
fills up a huge void. I fear that no one has read it but myself."
"Sep. 27th.—In May I went
to London and preached for Herschell and the Sailors' Friend Society, and
then went to visit my dear friend Mrs. Dennistoun at Tours. We had most
delightful drives, visiting Mettray, Plessy de Tours, and the old Bastille
of Loches. I attended the Assembly for a day in May. They carried, by an
immense majority, the India Education measure, for which Dr. Bryce and I
contended almost alone."
This allusion to the India
Education measure refers to a discussion, which had been agitating the
Church for some time, as to the lawfulness of accepting for mission
schools the Government Grants in Aid while these grants were given equally
to heathen, or, at all events, non-Christian, schools. The extreme
"Evangelical" party contended against the Church condoning a measure which
they thought ought never to have been passed by a Christian State. On the
other hand Norman Macleod and Dr. Bryce held that it was impossible for
the Government to take any narrower ground in dealing with a country
circumstanced like India. They insisted that it would be the height of
folly in the Church to refuse assistance from Government in the matter of
secular instruction, as long as she was left free to add religious
teaching; and they were persuaded that to separate the mission schools
from the educational system of India was simply to throw away an
opportunity for exercising a wide and wholesome influence. The vote of the
Assembly endorsed their views, and thus inaugurated a revolution in the
policy of the India Mission of the Church.
From his Journal.
"Glasgow, August, 1856.—The
Evangelical Alliance met here. I made the first speech, bidding its
ministers welcome. I had much happy communication with Sherman, William
Monod, Krummacher and Kuntze from Berlin, and Herschell.
"I preached, on the 24th,
to a great crowd, among others to Mr. Stanley who was introduced to me by
John Shairp. In the evening we had a prayer meeting for winding up the
Scutari Mission, which I bless God to have begun, carried on, and ended.
[The following letter from
Mr. Stanley (now Dean Stanley) to Principal Shairp, written after this
visit, gives a graphic account of the impressions he then formed:—
". . . Campbell was a
younger, thinner, sharper man than I had expected to see —a thorough
gentleman—very interesting evidently, and refined in thought, experience,
and expression. But I thought him almost too spiritual, too ghostly; the
stars shone through him ; he would vanish at the cock-crowing. A beautiful
mind and spirit, but too much insphered in its own light to be of much use
"And now for the other. If
Campbell was too much of a ghost, Norman Macleod is undoubtedly a man of
flesh and blood. I first heard the service and sermon. The sermon was on
John xii. 'Except a corn of wheat,' &c. To a fastidious taste it might
have been too oratorical in manner and matter ; but considering the
audience and the tremendous effort, I did not object to it. I thought it
admirable, truly evangelical, not a word of untruth—very moving in parts,
full of illustrations, critical difficulties glanced at and avoided in the
most judicious and yet honest fashion. In short, I don't know the man in
the Church of England who could have preached such a sermon ; nor do I
know such a man as I found him to be afterwards in converse, first in the
vestry for a quarter of an hour, and afterwards for two hours here in the
evening. Of course I have known men of greater abilities and character,
but if he be what he seems, I know no one who unites such thorough good
sense, honesty, manly independence, with such working, stirring, devout
energy and power of appealing to the mass. How gladly, but that he is
better where he is, would I have made him an English bishop. We went over
many fields together, and I am sincerely grateful to you for having made
him known to me.
"I asked him about the Free
Kirk and the Covenanters, and he charmed the cockles of my heart by his
answer. 'The Free Kirk was just an outburst of Presbyterian Puseyism.'
'Laud and the Covenanters were just the same men on different sides,
except that what one called 'church' the other called ' kirk,' and I am
heartily glad they eat each other up. The Free Kirk are descendants of the
Covenanters; they pride themselves on being 'the Church of the past.' That
is just what they are, and I make them a present of it with all my heart.'
"October 3rd.—I am just
starting for Balmoral. I believe I could not have travelled a. week
sooner, since I received the invitation the beginning of September at
Kirkaldy, when I could not turn in bed. I go in Christ's name. He who has
given me this work will give me grace to do it. Blessed and most merciful
Lord, hear me, and deliver me from all vanity, pride, and self-seeking,
and all the nervous fear which they occasion ! Give me only faith in Thee,
love to Thee, and all will be well, and bless Thy word for immortal souls,
and for the good of those to whom Thou hast given such power in the world!
"October 8th, Tuesday.—I
have just returned and all my confidence in Christ has been vindicated. I
preached on Sabbath, my subject being faith in a living, present, divine
Saviour, the solution of difficulties. Miss Nightingale was among my
audience. I was asked in the evening to dine at the Castle. The Prince
spoke much to me.
"May the Lord bless all
this for good! It is my deepest and truest prayer, that all may tend to
Extract from a private Note
Book for 1856:—
"How to spend the morning
hour from 6 to 7 a.m. A short prayer for the Spirit of God, that it may be
wisely and profitably spent. Devotional reading—Baxter and Leighton. Short
meditation and prayer on what is read, with reference to individual
application. A psalm sung quietly. The Scriptures read in order, with
thought and devotion. Prayer."
From his Journal:—
"As I opened my shutters
this morning, the crescent moon, clear and well defined, and with a blight
attendant star, occupied the blue sky with hardly a cloud. Of what use has
that moon been during the past night! Many a pilgrim has tracked his way
by her beams, and many a mariner by them has seen his port! But the sun is
rising, and the moon must depart like the Mosaic ritual, and many an old
patriarchal form of truth, before the rising of that Sun of Righteousness
whose glory was all their light."
"There are men who no more
grasp the truth which they seem to hold, than a sparrow grasps the message
passing through the electric wire on which it perches."
"I received the following
answers from two intending communicants, and they illustrate a fact which
has often been impressed on me, respecting the possibility of persons
being regular in church all their lives, and yet remaining ignorant of the
"Who led the children out
of Egypt? Eve.
"Who was Eve? The mother of God.
"What death did Christ die? (After a long time) Hanged on a tree.
"What did they do with his body? Laid it in a manger.
"What did Christ do for sinners? Gave his Son.
"Any wonderful works Christ did 1 Made the world in six days.
"Any others % Buried Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
"What became of them afterwards? ' Angels took them to Abraham's bosom.
"What had Christ to do with that 1 He look Abraham.
"Who was Christ? The Holy Spirit.
"Are you a sinner? No.
"Did you never sin, and do you love God perfectly'! Yes."
"November 11th, 1856.—Both sciatica and work, I fear, on the increase.
"I feel the pressure and the pain. What am I to do?
"1. Keep my temper and my
peace in God, the calm of my inner shrine where He is, undisturbed by the
noise of the thronging 'courts of the priests,' 'of the people,' 'of the
women,' or 'of the gentiles' without. This is my first duty. There never
can be a good reason for my losing inner peace with God. God help me.
"2. I must by His grace
attend to details, and use right means to attain this end. 1. Early
rising, and methodical division of time. 2. Acceptance of no more work
than can be done in consistency with my health and strength. 3.
Cultivating happy, cheerful thoughts of life, having a strong faith that
God is and Christ is, and that the end shall be glorious to every '
soldier' who ' endures hardness,' in the grand campaign.
"God give me grace to rise
as I used to do—at ¼ to 6—for it is always hard to the flesh!
"My father, Thou knowest my
frame! Thou rememberest I am dust. Thou carest for me. I can therefore
cast my care on Thee, and so be careful for nothing. Keep me in Thy peace.
Let me ever honour Thee as the best of masters by obedience to Thy will in
all things, by honouring Thy laws whether relating to body or mind, and by
doing all things and accepting all things with a calm spirit. Thou knowest
Thy servant, and under-standest his thoughts. Help me according to Thy
"I do not wish to fly to
that blue sky, but by the help of God Almighty to act a true and brave
part amidst the smoke and mud and sin of Glasgow.
"Lord forgive me, if I seem
to think I am enduring hardness ! God have mercy on me for ever thinking
my lot has a cloud—a speck of hardness in it. My cup runs over with
mercies. I am in the lap of every indulgence, and if I fret, it is as a