A SERIES of public
demonstrations had taken place against the running of Sunday trains and
other forms of Sabbath desecration, and the Presbytery of Glasgow, to give
effect to these expressions of popular feeling, prepared a Pastoral
letter, to be read in all the churches within its jurisdiction. As this
Letter enforced the observance of the Lord's day by arguments directly
opposed to the teaching Dr. Macleod had given his congregation for many
years, it was impossible for him to read it from the pulpit without
expressing his dissent. He therefore felt himself bound to state to his
brethren in the Presbytery the grounds on which he differed from their
He believed that the
authority of the Jewish Sabbath was an insufficient, unscriptural, and
therefore perilous basis on which to rest the observance of the Lord's
day, and that to impose regulations as to the one institution, which
applied only to the other must, with the changing conditions of society in
Scotland, be productive of greater evils in her future than in her past
history. In proportion to the strict enforcement of Sabbatarianism, there
would, in his opinion, be multiplied those practical inconsistencies,
dishonesties, and Pharisaic sophistries which prove, in all ages,
supremely detrimental to morality and religion. It was, therefore, with
the desire of vindicating the divine sanctions of the Lord's-day, as
distinct from the Sabbath, that he addressed the Presbytery, and, in doing
so, he anticipated, with a deep sense of responsibility, the peril he must
incur and the pain his views were certain to inflict on many of his
This speech, like all his
other speeches, was not written out, but given from short, and to any
other eyes than his own, unintelligible notes. In substance, however, it
had been carefully and thoughtfully prepared: the arguments and
illustrations were clearly arranged, but the mutilated form in which,
unfortunately, it first appeared in the newspapers created an impression
of its purport which was calculated to disturb the public mind. It could
not have been expected that an address which, though rapidly spoken,
occupied between three and four hours in delivery, would be fully or
accurately reported; but it must always be a matter of regret that only
the destructive part of the argument, which came first, was communicated
through the press, while the latter part, enforcing the divine obligation
of the Lords-day, was omitted. Had the public been better informed from
the first as to the true character of his sentiments, there would have
been less of that painful misunderstanding and excitement which, once
raised, is so difficult to allay." [That this was the case was evident
from the effect produced when he afterwards published the substance of the
As it was,
the outburst of popular feeling was amazing. His views were not really
startling, for they were common to perhaps a majority of the best
theologians of the Reformed Churches. [For a Catena of authorities on this
subject, see "The Literature of the Sabbath Question," by Robert Cox,
F.S.A,] Yet, if the speaker had renounced Christianity itself, he could
scarcely have produced a greater sensation. He became not only an object
of suspicion and dislike to the unthinking and fanatical, but he was
mourned over by many really good men as one who had become an enemy to the
truth. His table was loaded with letters remonstrating with him, abusing
him, denouncing, cursing him. Ministers of the Gospel passed him without
recognition ; one of these, more zealous than the rest, hissed him in the
street. During the first phase of this agitation he felt acutely the
loneliness of his position :—
"I felt at first so utterly cut off from every
Christian brother that, had a chimney-sweep given me his sooty hand, and
smiled on me with his black face, I would have welcomed his salute and
blessed him. Men apologised for having been seen in my company. An eminent
minister of the Free Church refused to preach in a United Presbyterian
pulpit in which I was to preach the same day. Orators harangued against me
in City Hall and Merchants' Hall. The empty drums rattled and the brazen
trumpets blew 'certain sounds' in every village. 'Leave the Church!'
'Libel him!' were the brotherly advices given. Money was subscribed to
build a Free Barony Church; and a Free Church mission house was opened
beside mine 'though having no reference to me' as it was said!).
Caricatures were displayed in every shop window."
The condition of religion in the country which
this tide of bitterness revealed burdened him with sorrow, In one sense he
never enjoyed greater peace of spirit, nor was he once tempted to waver in
his resolution , but he felt so keenly the prevalence of intolerance and
injustice under the cloak of zeal, that all who saw him during these three
weeks were struck by his chastened and sad aspect. There were some
consolations, however, mingled with the grief. The Presbytery acted with
marked courtesy, and conducted the discussions in a spirit of the most
friendly consideration. " They were very kind, and did not utter a harsh
word. I did not retract a syllable; nor was I asked to do so." The
Kirk-session of the Barony cheered him by presenting an address expressive
of their unshaken confidence, and his congregation to a man remained
loyal. The hope that good would result from the controversy gradually
prevailed over other feelings.
"The smaller question," he writes, "is fast
merging into the higher one, of whether we are to gain a larger measure of
ministerial liberty in interpreting those points in our Confession which
do not touch the essentials of the Christian faith. If the Assembly passes
without my being libelled, I shall have gained for the Established Church,
and at the risk of my ecclesiastical life, freedom in alliance with law,
and for this I shall thank God. But should they drive me out, that day
will see national evangelical liberty driven out for many a day from the
clear old Church."
act of tolerance on the part of the Church in his case would afford a
practical solution to some of the difficulties connected with
subscription; it would indicate the light in which she wished her
standards to be regarded. "The Confession, when read like the Bible by the
light of the Spirit, will then not be an obscuration but a transparency
through which eternal truth is seen." Some measure of liberty in this
direction, among other benefits, was, he believed, gained for the Church
by the stand he now took.
While recording the sadder aspects of this
trying period, it is well to remember that the suddenness of the
excitement raised against him was not more remarkable than the rapidity
with which it disappeared. If it is painful to recall misunderstandings
and alienations, it is refreshing to bear in mind how soon all seemed
forgotten in the confidence with which- his own Church honoured him, and
which was also accorded by the other Churches of the land.
To his Sister Jane :—
"November 19th, 1865.
"God, I solemnly believe, has given me a great
work to do, and I have accepted it, keenly alive—if possible, too keenly
alive—to my responsibility—to the privilege I enjoy in the discharge of a
great duty, and to the sorrows and sufferings which it involves, perhaps
for life. I see the truth like light, but that same light reveals the
rough path that is before me. I don't ask you to pass any opinion on what
I have said till you see my speech in full when published. I don't expect
you even then to agree with it at once.
"Oh dear, pray that I may be kept in peace and
with a single eye and brave heart!"
Letter to Rev. George Gardiner, Annan :—
"Glasgow, November 19th, 1863.
"I return you my hearty thanks for your note
just received, and I attach the moral value to your Christian sympathy
from the fact that it is the first of the kind which I have received.
"I have not entered on this war—only
beginning—without much thought, earnest prayer, and a very solemn sense of
my responsibility, whether I speak or keep silence. The more I 'mused' on
the state of religion and parties in Scotland, the more has the 'fire
burned' in my very bones, until I could not, dared not but utter what, so
far as I can judge, God has given me to utter. But I feel in my inmost
heart the burden which I must carry for many a day, probably for life. I
could escape this kind of burden by silence or by flight, and the flesh
has often cried out in this and in other conflicts which in Providence 1
have been called to fight, 'Oh, that I had the wings of a dove,' to fly to
some hut in the wilderness, in some lonely glen, that I might be at rest.
But then would come other burdens which I could not carry, which would
crush me- -the burden of a bad conscience, of a selfish, cowardly spirit,
of a false heart to man, and therefore to God. With truth I can dare to
meet bad men and devils, and what is worse, good, clear brethren sincerely
believing I am wrong, and grieving for me—which is to me a seething in my
mother's milk ; but with conscious untruth in any shape or form, I could
not meet myself without fear and shame, far less my God. Yet with all
this, do not think me suffering aught but noble pains, such as I welcome,
like the cross, as God's great gift. I enjoy perfect peace. I have blessed
freedom and peace in opening my whole heart and ways to Christ, for He
understands our thoughts, will deliver us from evil, and lead us and all
who seek Him into truth in the end.
"St. Paul in his Epistles and spirit is more
than ever clear and dear to me. As soldiers cried once, 'Oh, for one day
of Dundee !' so do I feel disposed to cry, ' Oh, for one day of Paul!' How
he would puzzle and astonish and possibly pain our Churches, ay, us all,
for he is far in advance of us all yet! But as Max Piccolomini, when
wishing for an angel to show him the true and good, said, why should he
wish this when he had his noble Thekla with him to speak what he felt; so
much more surely you and I and all who seek the truth may have peace, with
the loving, patient, and wise Spirit and Guide, who will search us and
lead us into all truth!
"Some think I am leading a forlorn hope. Be it
so. Then men will enter the citadel over my dead body, and perhaps bury me
with funeral honours when I am enjoying rest elsewhere.
"As to consequences, I have nothing to do with
them. I have faith in Christ as the Head of the Church and of the world.
It is enough that I have to do with right and wrong. To know that—to
observe that—to measure the real angle, and let the two sides be
prolonged, if so be, ad infinitum, that alone absorbs all my thoughts,
demands all my strength, calls forth all my prayers, demands all my faith.
If I am wrong, may God in his infinite mercy destroy all my works, saving
my soul that trusts Him, even as it were by fire!
"The battle is but beginning. It will pass
over to the more difficult and more trying one of the relation of
Confessions to the Church, its members and ministers. Who will abide this
sifting? I think I have light on this too, and may be helpful to many a
perplexed mind when the battle comes. If I am to be made the occasion of
its being fought, amen ! It is God's will. But sufficient for the day is
both its evil and God's grace.
"I am going to print my speech in full. I
would have spoken four hours had time been given. Much was unsaid and much
said of vast importance which was not reported.
"Thank God, the debate was conducted in the
most fair and kind spirit. My whole feeling towards all who differ is an
earnest desire that they may see the truth—Churches above all; for what
can 1 do for those who neither love Christ nor would have a holy, blessed
me;—yes, do in faith—that I may be kept calm, peaceful, simple, sincere;
and that in mercy to myself and others i may be kept, if need be. by
sickness even, from injuring Christ's cause, and be led into all truth,
that men may glorify Christ in me, but not glorify me, which would be a
remain, your brother in the best of bonds."
A BATTLE-CRY TO MY FRIEND AND FELLOW-SOLDIER
[Principal Tulloch had just delivered a stirring address on the question
up to the breach
For Christ's freedom and truth!
Let us act as we teach,
With the wisdom of age and the vigour of youth.
Heed not their cannon-balls,
Ask not who stands or falls.
Grasp the sword
Of the Lord,
strong in the faith
That "the right will come right,"
Never tremble at death,
Never think of thyself 'mid the roar of the fight
Hark to the battle-cry,
Sounding from yonder sky!
Grasp the sword
Of the Lord,
sing a loud Psalm,
Our hope's not forlorn!
After storm comes the calm,
After darkness and twilight breaks forth the new morn.
Let the mad foe get madder,
Never quail! up the ladder!
Grasp the sword
Of the Lord,
up to the breach,
For Christ's freedom and truth,
If we live we shall teach,
With the strong faith of age and the bright hope of youth.
If we perish, then o'er us
Will ring the loud chorus,
Grasp the sword
Of the Lord,
late Dr. Robert Lee:—
"This is a terrible hurricane, but I have a
stout heart, a good ship, light to steer by, and, thank God! a conscience
kept in perfect peace.
"If ever there was a time in our history when
we should be wise, prudent, brotherly, and brave—it is now."
From his Journal:—
"Last Sunday of '65.—I will not anticipate the
future, it is amply sufficient to know our dear God and Father is with us
all, and our own brother Jesus Christ. With heart, soul, and strength, I
give glory for all the past, and commit all to the blessed Trinity for the
future without any fear, not a shadow, but in perfect peace, and with but
one prayer from the depth of my heart that we all may know God's will—that
we all may be enabled to cling to a living, personal Saviour; that is to
live truly to God and man, and so to live peacefully, joyously, and, of
course, obediently, as love is a law to itself.
"I cannot in this rough and rapid way attempt
to describe the origin and history of the 'Sabbath question,' which is
becoming in God's providence a national one. It hooks on to so many
topics, it is so connected with the past history and present state of
theological opinion in Scotland, that it would demand a volume.
"This I wish to record, that never in my whole
life have I experienced so much real, deep sorrow, never so tasted the
bitter cup of the enmity, suspicion, injustice, and hate of the ministers
and members of the Christian Church. Oh! it was awful; it gave me such an
insight into the sufferings of Jesus from man's hate and suspicion (even
though conscientiously entertained), such as I never before conceived of,
and made me understand St. Paul and the Judaizers. But yet never in my
life did I experience such deep peace, such real, overwhelming joy. I
record this, for it is true. I was kept not only from hard, bitter words,
as my speech and pamphlet testify, but from bitter feelings or wishes, and
with most loving desires for their good. I am naturally hot, ardent,
vehement, satirical; but all this passed away, may it keep away! This was
meantime I close this volume of my secret life with praise to God, and
unutterable thanksgiving. If another like it is ended near the end of my
life, I know I shall express the same sentiments with a deeper sense of
around me to-night all my family, and this after fifty years! Amen and
To his Sister
"February 9th, 1866.
"Injustice, intolerance, misrepresentation, sneakiness, make me half-mad;
but the more need of silence, patience, prayer, and the reaching upwards
into that deep personal fellowship with the Son, out of which alone can
come to me a share of His brotherly love to all. Oh, it is a heaven of
peace and splendour, a pure refined atmosphere, which seems too far off
for me to reach and breathe! Yet there is something ennobling in the
attempt, and in realising a living Christ with all power by His Spirit to
produce it. I have fitful gleams of it, which assure me it exists, and for
me too, as well as for others. But there is a fire in my bones which
won't, I fear, go out except under the pressure of Mother Earth. Then
thank God, it will and I shall know even as I am known."
From his Journal:—
"I was asked by the Queen to visit her at
Osborne during the holidays. I went there on Monday, 2nd January.
"The Queen, with most condescending kindness,
commanded me to plant a tree in memory of my visit.
"I left after dinner, late on Thursday night,
by the yacht for Portsmouth. The old coxswain was a member of the Gaelic
Church in Campbeltown in my father's time.
"The more I calmly revise these past weeks the
more I believe that I have done what was right. I do not say that my
brethren who have opposed me have done wrong. We may, I hope, be both,
according to our light, building each a portion of the wall of Jerusalem,
though on opposite sides.
"But the awful conviction is deeply pressing
itself upon me, that the gospel is not preached generally in Scotland,
that so called 'Evangelicalism' is Judaism; that the name of God, Father,
Son, and Spirit which is Love, is not revealed, but concealed; that it is
not a gospel of glad-tidings, but of lamentation and woe; that it is not a
Gospel to good-will to man, but to a favoured few who 'sit under' this or
I am free, never more shall I be trammelled by what partisan Christians
think. One Master, Christ and His Word, shall alone guide me, and speak I
will when duty calls, come what may. I will return their adverse feeling
to me, by seeking to set them free. If the Church of Scotland but knew the
day of her visitation she would rejoice in what has happened."
To Dr. Charteris:—
"I write to you as a friend, and most of all
as being able to see farther and more independently than some of our
".....A conference ! If we are to have conferences, surely there could
very easily be found subjects of discussion of more consequence to the
Church and to Glasgow than this. But it has always been thus with
hyper-orthodox clergy, straining at gnats and swallowing camels.
"Conference! and all because I don't find the
whole moral law in the ten commandments, or because I think the Decalogue
a covenant with Israel, and as such not binding on us, and base the
Lord's-day on Christ and not on Moses, and find His teaching a sufficient
rule of life without the Mosaic covenant! Conference! If it were not my
resolution to breed no disturbance or carry on the agitation, I am ready
to fight the whole army of them on every point!"
To the Same:— "March 20th, 1866.
"God knows how truly I feel with and for my
brethren, and would do everything possible to relieve them from the
difficulty in which they feel themselves placed. I am bound even to help
them to do their duty, though in their doing so I may myself suffer. I
wish to save my truth and honour only.
"I had a weary but good time in the South. In
eight days I preached six sermons, and spoke at seven meetings. Each one
hour and a half at least. There is some life in the old dog yet!"
From his Journal:—
"I am almost afraid to record my impressions
of what has been to me the great event of this winter, and perhaps of my
life, the discussion of the 'Sabbath question.' Though its very memory
will pass away like one of ton thousand things which have more or less,
for good or evil, affected our Church or even national history, yet surely
some importance must, without exaggeration, be attached to a question I
was the occasion of raising, which has been discussed in every newspaper
in Scotland, and in, I presume to say, every pulpit, which has led to
articles in almost every magazine in the habit of discussing such
points—in the Contemporary, Fortnightly, Saturday. Spectator, &c, &c, &c,
and has induced Dr. Hessey to bring out a new edition of his lectures.
[Among the many curious
letters he received during this time, there is one containing the
following description of a "holy cat." Dr. Macleod sent for the writer,
and learned from him the remarkable history of himself and his cats.
"I am going to tell you a small skitch about
two cats I had in my time one of them was a thief and a Sabath Breaker the
other was Honest and kept the Sabath in 1845 i think I left Glasgow for
Skye where I belong to my father had a small farm I was nine years there
every one kent about the Potatoe failure there in one of these years my
father parted this lit in 23 May My mother on the 12th August my wife 1st
Jany same year leaving me with five young children the oldest between ten
and eleven years old the youngest a smart Boy this day never saw a mother
yet I sent the child to nurs at 15s a month I kept with them for two years
fighting between death and life at last on the brink of starving 1 told
them at last that I would have to leave them that if possible I would send
som suport from Glasge I got eight shillings for som straw I had I left
them one shilly and 7 to pay the boat they waited for the Steamboat on
Saterday until late but no relief on Saterday night they went home and
slept till late on Sunday when they got up they were without a morsel of
meat a sure of rain came on the old las went out and told her sister to go
with her and gather some small botatoes that was coming in sight where the
botatoes was planted they took home a small Pot full and put them on the
fire I had two splendid cats mother and daughter as whit as snow except a
few black spots on the tail and on the head they were both Standing to the
fire one of the children said if we had some kitchen now with that small
Pot of botatoes we would be all light but in a short time one of the cats
came in with a fish laid that beside the fire before he halted he tok in a
fish to each of them but when he was at the dor with the fifth fish the
holy cat that stood at the fire all the time would have the last to
himself I think it should be given to the publick but you are the best
The furor has passed into
the colonies, and divided opinion there as well as here. Behold what a
great matter a little spark kindleth! The great matter (as it has since
been proved) was the combustible state of the public mind from ultra and
almost intolerable Sabbatarianism. My speech, delivered with no other
thought than the discharge of to me a clear and necessary duty, was the
little spark. The excitement it has created has been unparalleled since
"One would have
to road the newspapers I have collected to comprehend the fury of the
attack. Men from every pulpit and through the daily press seem to gnash
their teeth on me.
"And all for what? My speech is my reply. The charges which were chiefly
made against me were—1. That I gave up the moral law when I merely denied
that the moral law and the ten commandments were identical, and asserted
that the moral law as such was eternal. 2. That I did away with the
Sabbath when I denied that the Lord's-day rested as its divine ground on
the perpetual obligation of the fourth commandment, but endeavoured to
prove its superior glory and fitness and blessedness on other grounds. 3.
That I gave up the Decalogue as a rule of life, and therefore had no law
to guide life, when I denied that we required to go to Moses for a rule,
having Jesus Christ, and that the gospel was not a mere rule, but a
principle, even life itself through faith in Christ, and in the possession
of the Spirit of life which necessitates obedience to moral law in all its
fullness as recorded in Christ's Sermon on the Mount, in all the Epistles,
and, above all, as revealed and embodied in His own holy life.
"The controversy soon passed into the greater
question regarding the relationship of the law of Moses and law as a rule
of life—'Thou shalt' and 'shalt not,' to the gospel 'Believe and live.'
And I am persuaded that the Sabbath controversy will more and more reveal
the intense Judaism prevalent in Scotland, and by the Spirit's teaching
lead more to the seeing of Christ as the Prophet as well as the Priest and
the King—'Father, glorify Thy Son that Thy Son may glorify Thee!'
"Another question of immense importance, which
has grown and is growing out of this discussion, is ministerial liberty
with reference to nonessential questions, or such as do not touch the
great catholic doctrines or the vitals of Christianity.
"This question was fairly put before the last
meeting of Presbytery. "Prior to that meeting the clerical mind had been
intensely inflamed in certain quarters and by certain parties. The
question was beginning to tell on the union between the Free Kirk and the
United Presbyterian. The more intelligent of the laity were more and more
becoming moderate in their views and sympathizing with me. I had but dared
to express in a coherent, bold form what they had long practically felt.
They had long felt uneasy about the universal declamations from platform
and pulpit about 'Sabbath desecration,' as it is called by those who
themselves employ cabs or milk carts, &c, on Sabbath. No voice was lifted
up in defence of fair Christian liberty except by so-called secular
papers, i.e., non-sectarian or non-Church papers. What could any layman
do? The clergy had it all their own way, and woe be to the man who among
themselves would dare to 'peep.' If he had no influence, he would soon be
crushed by the evangelical battering rams. If he had any influence to make
himself heard, that influence might forever be destroyed. What was to be
clone when I spoke? Could this be permitted? If either of the other
Churches said Yes, the other would say No, and so the union would end. If
both were silent, the ignorant and conscientious, drilled by their clergy
from infancy in Sabbatarianism, would force them to speak out. If both
would say No, then they would check incipient liberty among the younger
clergy in both Churches, awe the laity, and force the Establishment to
join them. The union could then take place. The laity would not leave the
Unionists, as the Establishment was as narrow. A stern clergy-power would
reign; the coalition would soon destroy the Establishment from old grudge
and hate, while it would have no prestige of being a National Church, and
as such inclusive to the utmost stretch of her constitution, and the
representative of true freedom without licentiousness.
"The politics of the one party were to
represent the past only, to lie at anchor as if the end of the voyage in
history was reached, to accept the finding of the Westminster Assembly as
perfect and incapable of improvement. The politics of the Church, as
involved in this struggle, are, sail on, not back, to hold by the past,
but to grow out of it, and as a living organic whole to develop all that
is good in it into a stronger, expansive, aril more fruitful tree. Whether
we could or can do this with a Confession which is part of the
constitution of the country, was and is the question.
"There is a set of ecclesiastics who will not
read a book, a newspaper, or argue with any one who does not reflect their
own sentiments. They loot into the glass and say, I see every time I look
there one who always agrees with me.' That is their whole world, and of
the rest they are profoundly ignorant.
"The members of Presbytery were in a very
painful and difficult position. My departure from the letter of the
Confession was not only evident, but was so in a degree and to an extent
which was almost unprecedented, and could not be overlooked without making
the Presbytery suspected of indifference or moral cowardice. On the other
hand, they had no personal ill-will to me, while many had the very kindest
feelings to me.
------called for me twice, and the upshot of our conversation was, that I
declared what I would not and what I would do. I would not recant or
withdraw one word I had uttered, simply because; I did not as yet see thai
I had uttered anything wrong, that if I left the Church I would do so with
self-respect, and that I would not propose to the Presbytery to do
anything. They must act according to their conscience; so must I; each
realizing our responsibility to God, and leaving all results to him. But,
short of the sacrifice of my honour and sense of truth, I would act with
all courtesy, all kindness, and help to carry their burden of
responsibility, as I would wish them to carry mine. Accordingly I did not
vote on what was an important question, the committee, which if carried
would have brought the whole matter up to the Assembly in a formal manner.
"And so in the meeting of Presbytery which
afterwards took place, I admitted that I had taught against the Confession
of Faith, that no doubt that was the fact, but asserted that either all
had done the same or did not in every iota believe the Confession ,
therefore the question turned on whether I had so differed from the
Confession as to necessitate deposition? I thus at the risk of my
ecclesiastical life established the principle that all differences from
the Confession, apart from the nature of the difference, did not involve
deposition. Henceforth we shall keep our Confession with power to depose
on any point of difference, yet judicially determining what point or what
degree of difference. A great gain!
"In so far as the question of ministerial
liberty was concerned, thank God, I have gained the day, and it is a
bright day for Scotland, which will not be followed by night, but shine on
unto the perfect day, which to me would be the subjection of every soul to
the teaching of Jesus Christ, the one prophet of the Church, and to Moses
and His prophets as His servants, whose teaching is to be interpreted by
that of the Master's.
"Their admonition was not pronounced but
recorded, and I said that it was interesting as being probably the last
which should be addressed to any minister of the Church for teaching as I
did, and that I would show it some day to my son as an ecclesiastical
fossil. They only smiled and said he would never discover it. All was good
humour, and why they did not see or feel the victory I had gained I cannot
To A. Strahan,
"I think the
Assembly won't depose—but having risked all for freedom and truth, I am
not surprised at having lost an influence in this country which will never
be regained by me in this world, though the next generation will reap
freedom from it."
From his Journal:—
"June, 1866.—The Assembly is over, and not one personal allusion was made
regarding me, far less any unkind word. Most wonderful! Most
unaccountable! It is a state of things which I cannot 'take in.' I cannot
account for it. I believe kind personal feeling had something to do with
it, so some truthful men told me. But it has also been said that
convictions were too general and strong on my side, as a whole, to make
any discussion safe, and such as would not be, to say the least of it,
very agreeable as revealing the actual state of the Church. Anyhow, I
thank and praise God for His great mercy, and pray that I may be enabled
to use this liberty humbly, lovingly, and sincerely for His glory. I trust
that I shall be able more than over to strengthen men's convictions as to
the blessedness of the Lord's-day, and the spiritual good of keeping it
holy unto the Lord. I hope also to be able to check any tendency which
some possibly may entertain of being-able to preach lax doctrine as
regards catholic truth and vital Christianity. I hope that my freedom,
which has been obtained at a great price, may ever be used to bring men
under law to Christ, and never directly or indirectly to be perverted into
a cloak for licentiousness, or for conceited puppies to trifle with the
eternal verities of religion, or the proprieties of our National Church.
"Oh, my Father! Guide me, give me a single
eye, a pure and loving heart. Deliver me from the temptation of party.
Help me to be ever consistent with the truth, and ever teach me by Thine
infinite power, wisdom, and love, what the truth is. Let Thy Spirit pierce
through all the crust of selfishness, vanity, ambition, and the love of
man's approval, and enable mo, come what may, to keep Thy blessed will
before me, and to follow it unto death.
"It is far more difficult to act rightly in
prosperity than in adversity, when victorious than when defeated. At all
times how difficult to be humble, to consider others, to be subject one to
another, to have the love that vaunteth not itself!
"Almighty God! In infinite mercy, keep me from
being true to any Church or party, yet false to Thee, or to the truth as
it is in Jesus.
few years more, should these be given, and my work is done. Grant, oh my
Father, that it may be so done as that I may be acknowledged as a faithful
servant. Forgive, forgive, forgive! through the blood of Jesus shed for
the remission of the sins of the world."
From the late Rev. F. D. Maurice:—
"I have been writing a short book, 'On the
Commandments as Instruments for Preserving and Restoring "National Life
the book maintains a doctrine which is adverse to that in your speech on
the Sabbath, I intended to dedicate it to you that I might express the
high respect I feel for you, and my thorough agreement with your object,
while I deviate so widely from a part of your theory. But if you think the
dedication would in any way be injurious to you, or if it would be
disagreeable to you, I will cancel it altogether, or I will omit any
passages in it that may give you the least annoyance."
From Dean Stanlry to Dr. Macleod :—
"Deanery, Westminster, September 11th, 1866.
"My dear Bishop,
"(For under this aspect I always regard you
when I cross the Border). I much lament that I dare not accept the offer
to lecture at Glasgow. There are some things which I should much enjoy
saying to an assembly of Scots, but the convenient season is not yet come.
"In coming from Berwick to Edinburgh, we had
with us in the railway carriage a man from Glasgow. 'Do you know Dr.
Norman Macleod?' 'Not personally, because I am a Free Churchman. My
sister, however, sits under him, and likes him very much. But Norman
Macleod has had a fine heckling about the Doxology!' "
To the Rev. D. MORRISON:—
"Hydropathic Establishment, Cluny Hill, Forres,
"Here I am in a state of perpetual thaw, ceaseless moisture, always under
a wet blanket, and constantly in danger of kicking the bucket—'water,
water everywhere.' I have been stewed like a goose, beat on like a drum,
battered like a pancake, rubbed like corned beef, dried like a Findon
haddock, and wrapped up like a mummy in wet sheets and blankets. My belief
is that I am in a lunatic asylum—too mad to be quite sure about it. My
wife says I never was so sane. But what if she herself is insane? That is
composing a Hydropathic Catechism for the use of schools.
"What was the primeval state of the globe?
"What was the first blessing bestowed on the earth? Rain.
"What was the grand means of purifying the earth? The Deluge.
"Mention some of the great deliverances by water? Moses in the Nile;
ditto, Red Sea, &c, &c.
"This is laying what is called a religious foundation. Then comes the
"What is the best music? Water-pipes.
"What is the best light? Dips.
"What is the best wife ? A mermaid.
"What is the best death? Water in the chest, or drowning.
"Who are the true Church? Baptists.
"What is the best song in the English language ? 'A wet sheet and a
"Who are the true aristocracy? The K.C.B.'s, &c, &c.
"This will be the most celebrated book published in the rain of Queen
Victoria! I will dedicate it to the raining family."
"I am much interested by the evolution from
your internal consciousness of the lamb-like character of your
disposition. It quite agrees with my estimate of my own disposition. I
have invariably testified to my wife that there never was a more calm,
sweet, obedient, and gentle husband than myself, so long as she never
contradicts me, opposes me, differs from me; but, if she does so, then
very different feelings may manifest themselves. If so, who is to blame?
She is, of course—who else? Not the lamb, but the lion that worries it.
'Heaven help me!' said Niagara, 'what injustice the world does me! They
call me a river which is always foaming in rapids, thundering in falls,
seething in foam and whirlpools ! Is that my fault? Fuff! All of you
Yankees, Prussians, and French, I am of a most sweet, calm, and pliable
disposition. But if those low blackguard rocks will oppose me, interfere
with me, cross my path with their confounded strata, hem me in on every
side, crush me; what can I do but foam, and spit, and rage? Let me, leave
me alone ! and you will see how calmly I shall sleep and reflect in my
bosom the glories of earth and sky !' Oh, my darling Niagara, forgive my
injustice! Pity my ignorance! May thy sleep be sweet in thine Erie garret
and in thy Lake Superior in '66!'"
To Mrs. Macleod:—
"Balmoral, 15th October, 1866.
"The Queen is pleased to command me to remain
here till Tuesday.
found Mr. Cardwell had been in the Barony, and. to the great amusement of
the Queen, he repeated my scold about the singing. ["Scripture commands us
to 'sing'—not grunt—but if you are so constituted physically that it is
impossible for you to sing, but only grunt—then it is best to be silent."]
After dinner, the Queen invited me to her room, where I found the Princess
Helena and Marchioness of Ely.
"The Queen sat down to spin, at a nice Scotch
wheel, while I read Robert Burns to her; 'Tarn o' Shanter,' and 'A man's a
man for a' that,' her favourite.
"The Prince and Princess of Hesse sent for me
to see their children. The eldest, Victoria, whom I saw at Darmstadt, is a
most sweet child; the youngest, Elizabeth, a round, fat ball of loving
good-nature. I gave her a real hobble, such as I give Polly. I suppose the
little thing never got anything like it, for she screamed and kicked with
a perfect furore of delight, would go from me to neither father or mother
or nurse, to their great merriment, but buried her chubby face in my
cheek, until I gave her another right good hobble. They are such dear
of Wales sent a message asking me to go and see him.
* * * * * *
"When I was there the young Prince of Wales
fell on the wax-cloth, after lunch, with such a thump as left a swollen
blue mark on his forehead. He cried for a minute, and then laughed most
bravely. There was no fuss whatever made about him by mother, father, or
any one; yet it must have been very sore, and I would have been nervous
about it, if it had happened to Polly. He is a dear, sweet child. All seem
to be very happy. We had a great deal of pleasant talk in the garden.
Dear, good General Grey drove me home."
To his Mother :—
reported to me the other day, with perfect confidence, that the young
Prince was deformed in his hands. I saw and kissed the child today, and a
more healthy, perfect, or more delightful child I never saw. Think of
"Adelaide Peace, April 10th, 1867.
"When I wish to remember a friend daily I
don't answer his letter for days when it demands an immediate reply. What
a presence he becomes, and how humbled and ashamed one feels before him,
especially when we have no excuse for our silence which can bear his
scrutiny ! By this sinful process, 'how often hath my spirit turned to
thee?' ever since I received your note ! I won't tell you how much I felt
on reading your note. I shall leave it to my boys that they may, when I am
gone, learn from it that one so great and good gave their old dad so
hearty and firm a grasp of his hand. God bless you for it! With all my
heart I return it, for all you are and 'a' Glencairn has been to me.' I
send my 'plan,' as a Highland laird termed his wife's likeness, to your
lady, proud that it may find a humble place in her collection. The only
inscription I am inclined to write on it would be, Eccles. ii. 15, last
Friday Morning, 10th May, 1867.
''Had such a congregation yesterday! Such a
church! I was very happy, my heart was in it, and the people seemed
thankful. They gave audible expression more than once, laughing outright,
and semi-applause! Newman Hall, Mullens, Dale, Rogers, &c., were present,
and many missionaries, all so affectionate. It was a happy night, and I
thank God for it; and so will you, dearest."
From his Journal:—
"I spent last fortnight in the South. Visited
Manchester and Leamington. A happy time. Composed in train, 'Whistle the
Mavie.' "Published the 'Curling Song,' last month, in Blackwood." Lived
with Dean Stanley from the 16th till the 18th."
The story of the "Starling," on which he was
now engaged was suggested by a note which he received the day after his
speech on the Sabbath question, from the former editor of the Reformer's
Gazette in Glasgow:—
"Suffer me to give you the following story which I heard in Perth upwards
of forty years ago. A very rigid clergyman of that city had a very decent
shoemaker for an elder, who had an extreme liking for birds of all kinds,
not a few of which he kept in cages, and they cheered him in his daily
work. He taught one of them in particular (a starling) to whistle some of
our finest old Scottish tunes. It happened on a fine Sabbath morning the
starling was in fine feather, and as the minister was passing by he heard
the starling singing with great glee in his cage outside his door, 'Ower
the water to Charlie!' The worthy minister was so shocked at this on the
Sabbath morning that on Monday he insisted the shoemaker would either
wring the bird's neck or demit the office of elder. This was a cruel
alternative, but the decent shoemaker clung to his favourite bird, and
prospered. If he had murdered the innocent, would the Sabbath have been
sanctified to him?
From this brief narrative the tale of the "Starling" was written— perhaps
the ablest of his attempts in fiction. As a literary production, it is
remarkable as being without any love-plot, and in making the interest of
the story turn completely on another range of sympathies.
From his Journal:—
"I am writing the
'Starling' for Good Words, to illustrate the one-sided-ness and consequent
untruth of hard logical 'principle,' when in conflict with genuine moral
feeling, true faith versus apparent 'truth' of reasoning."