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Memoir of Norman MacLeod, D.D
1871 - 72


THE last years of his life were marked by the manner in which both his character and convictions ripened. There was no diminution of the wealth of his humour, and his enjoyment of outward things was keen and fresh, though tinged with a certain pensive and recurrent sadness. But as his health became more broken, the sense of approaching age, the brevity of the time given him to work seemed continually present, and lent an increased earnestness and thoughtful care to the fulfilment of the most commonplace duty. He spoke and acted as one who knew "the time was short."

His health was gradually but decidedly becoming infirm. In the spring of 1871 he had so severe an attack of his old enemy that he was for some time confined to bed, and his strength was so much impaired that his brother, Professor Macleod, forbade his undertaking any engagements which implied fatigue. At the end of April, on Sir William Jenner's advice, he went to Ems, and for a time found much benefit from rest and from the waters of the famous Brunnen. In summer he and his family spent their holiday at Geddes, the early home of Mrs. Macleod, and doubly precious to him as associated with many memories of John Mackintosh. It was a happy time, and he regained so much of his old health and spirits, that on the return of the family to Glasgow he was able to enter with considerable vigour on his winter's work.

There were some things which specially coloured his later thoughts. He was deeply moved by the condition of religious belief in academic and literary circles. As he had opportunities possessed by few clergymen, of becoming acquainted with current opinion, not merely from books, but by intercourse with representative men, his interest in the religious difficulties of many scholars and thinkers was proportionately keen. His anxieties regarding such matters frequently found vent in lamentations over the ignorance or indifference of ecclesiastics in Scotland as to all questions except the most trivial. "They are squabbling about the United Presbyterian, Free Church, or Established when the world is asking whether Christ is risen from the dead!"

India and the condition of the heathen were subjects which he was never weary of pondering by himself, or of discussing with his friends.

The impression his Eastern journey had made on him was profound. and showed itself latterly in an incessant study of the problems which the spectacle of so many millions of brothers and sisters living in heathendom suggested. He had not looked on these millions with the eye of a dogmatist who measures all he sees by the scale of a hard, scholastic theory. He did not ask how they stood related to some theological tenet, but rather "What are these men and women to the living God?" He had tried to understand the flesh and blood affinities, the prejudices, difficulties, aspirations of the Hindoo mind, and to comprehend as far as possible a humanity which had grown up under conditions so different from those which had moulded his own. The effect of all this was to lead him back to first principles, to oblige him to deal with the mind of the personal Saviour, as of more account than Church formularies. His theology had ever been centred in the character of God as revealed in Christ, and he instinctively now referred every doubtful question to this ultimate standard. " Ho you think it would be like Christ so to act ?" or, " From all you know of God, do you think it would be like Him to do that?"—with such questions, as many of his hearers remember, it was his habit to clinch many an argument when addressing his congregation in the Barony. To him therefore it was anything but glad tidings to preach to the educated natives of Hindostan that all their parents and ancestors were suffering the pains of hell because they had not believed in One of whom they had never heard, or to declare to them that their own ultimate salvation depended on their acceptance of some theory of atonement which was beset with intellectual and moral difficulties. On behalf of England's greatest dependency, he longed to see missionaries intent upon bringing these human hearts into living contact with the love, the holiness, the character of Jesus Christ, and who would let the New Testament speak its own language to their spirits, rather than through the medium of a system of theology. Such reflections on the state of the heathen, inspired, as they were, by love to man and firm reliance on the righteousness and goodness of God, opened up to him a new region of thought as to the character of the future state, and the possibility of a gospel being preached to those who, in this life, had never an opportunity of accepting or rejecting the truth as it is in Christ.

The following notes of a sermon preached in September, 1871, indicate the tendency of his views respecting the condition of the heathen beyond the grave:—

"What is to become of those who never have heard of, or have never had opportunities of hearing of God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—who have never heard of that truth which to us is inseparable from all our thoughts of salvation? Of these there are millions upon millions, thousands of millions, who have since creation lived and died, and passed away into the unseen. There are hundreds of millions now alive in the same condition in the kingdoms of heathendom: more numerous than any human mind can conceive. In addition to these, there are millions in Christendom who, from the circumstances of their birth and up-bringing, are as practically ignorant, who never had the means of making any conscious choice between the claims of God on their affection and obedience, and the demands of sin and of every evil passion—to whose thoughts it would make no practical difference if all we know, love, and rejoice in regarding God wag never heard or known : no more than the extinction of the sun would make any practical difference to a blind man's eye. Such a question is tremendous, painful, oppressive, often agonising—even when feebly understood. We are disposed, from our utter inability to take in its momentous importance, to make a positive effort to put it away. Such a fact as thousands of millions of human beings existing now, and existing for eternity, somewhere, makes hardly an impression upon our minds. We feel, in trying to realise it, as if the finite tried to comprehend the infinite, and so we dismiss the whole question. But when the complex idea is resolved into its details; when we think of one human being, with all our own powers and capacities for thinking, understanding, remembering, anticipating, hoping, fearing, rejoicing, suffering, being holy as a saint or wicked as a devil; a being made after God's image, and therefore so far divine; an object of more interest and importance to God his Maker than the material universe; and such a being growing up from infancy with as distinct and individual a history as ourselves, a being, too, who is for ever responsible, and can for ever please God and meet His wishes, or the reverse—then do we in some degree feel that any question affecting him is not a question regarding a mere thing, however interesting, like the preservation or destruction of a great picture, a grand column, or stately palace, but regarding a person, an immortal being, the noblest specimen of the art of God, the greatest building of His hands, and intended to be a temple of the Holy Ghost. But much more does our interest increase if we are personally acquainted with such a being; if we have come into contact with him so as to realise fully our common humanity, and to sympathize with his bodily sufferings or mental sorrows. Yet what would our interest be if this person were a father, or mother, or child, or our individual selves ! We could not then think of such an one's fate for ever, as we would that of a stone which, cast into the great deep, sinks and passes at once out of sight and out of memory. But what this unit is to us, each unit of the whole mass of humanity, from Adam to the thousands who have been born and died since we entered church, is inconceivably more to God. Not one is lost to his sight, not one ever becomes to Him of less importance as an immortal being; and just as we realise this, the question will press itself with increasing force on us, what is to become of them 1 We cannot get quit of it. We may do so in regard to the race, but we cannot in regard to those units of which the race is composed, and many a perplexed mind, and many a weary, anxious heart yearns for an answer.

"Many object to bring such questions into the pulpit at all. Is there not, it is asked, enough that is clear, simple, and of infinite importance, sufficient to occupy with profit the short time allotted on the Lord's-day for public instruction, and for the conviction and conversion of sinners now, without putting difficulties into people's minds, or raising doubts which it may be impossible to dispel? I deeply sympathize with this, and my whole teaching testifies to the sincerity of my sympathy, to the earnestness of my desire that it should be simple and practical, and to avoid as much as possible all doubtful disputations, and to aim constantly at one thing—to bring souls to God. And I know well how superficially any such questions can be dealt with in a sermon. But in these days men need not avoid going to church to avoid doubts being suggested. We have entered a period of active thought, such as has not existed since the Reformation. Theological questions on every truth of Christianity are, within the last few years, forced upon men's notice in every periodical down to the daily papers. Men cannot avoid them, out they may avoid church and no help whatever is given to them there to solve their doubts, and to guide them to truth, and to deal kindly and candidly and intelligently with their difficulties. For such difficulties many true Christians have little sympathy. They have sympathies with struggles against evil deeds or habits, but not with such doubts as bewildered the mind of St. Thomas when he refused to believe in the resurrection. These Christians, by the mercy of God, have been blessed with such a disposition, or have been placed in such circumstances, whether of early up-bringing, or of gospel preaching, as have enabled them to grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But there are others differently placed, and if a minister can help such inquirers; if he can show them that he understands their difficulties, if he feels with them as a brother, if he preaches not merely what is given him to utter, as if he were a machine, but what he believes and feels as one who has to work his way through difficulties like others; if he has felt 'the burden of the mystery;' if he can put them in the way of getting the truth ; if, in short, he can strengthen their faith in God and in Jesus as their teacher, he will be of some use, and in spite of many defects and even errors, be a true aid to his fellow men.

"... To believe that God should create by His power millions of responsible beings, who are doomed to agonies for ever for not believing or not being what, from circumstances over which they had no control, they could not believe or be, seems to many earnest minds quite impossible.

" . . Is there, then, the possibility of the education of human beings, of those at least who have never had the means of knowing the truth, and of choosing between light and darkness, of believing in or neglecting Christ, being continued after death? Whatever weight is attached to this reply, whatever deliverance it may afford to distressed souls, whatever light it may cast on the character and purposes of God as revealed in Christ (and it is held by increasing numbers of the best men in this and other ages of the Church), let us understand at least what it means. It does not mean that there is not to be a day of judgment, after which the fate of every individual of the human family is to be finally determined. But when is this period to dawn"? It may be thousands, it may be millions, of years ere the end comes when Christ shall have delivered up the kingdom to God the Father. Whatever may be done towards such human spirits as we have spoken of, it is assumed to be before that. Nor does it mean that any man can be saved here or afterwards in a way essentially different from that in which he is saved now, except it may be by severer chastisement and a more trying discipline. It assumes that there is a connection unchangeable and eternal as the law or character of God, between sin and spiritual suffering. This must show itself in the want of peace, joy, hope, and all that glory of character of which man was created, and in the ravages of spiritual disease, in deformity of soul, in blindness, deafness, and moral decrepitude. Consequently, come when it may, in this world or the next; or how it may, by teaching or by chastisement; or when it may, in three score and ten years or in hundreds of years, there must be a conviction of sin as sin, a repent. ance towards God, a seeing His love, and a choice of Himself as God, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, before salvation is possible.

" . . . But it is asked what there is in Scripture to forbid the belief which a sense of God's love of righteousness in them craves for, that, may be, the term of education with millions of the heathen, and of the ignorant, who have been neglected by selfish men, may not terminate with three score and ten years ? It is not said that it must be so, but it is alleged that, for aught we know, it may be so. We are reminded that each person as he dies lives on—seen and known by God, and is the object of His interest somewhere—that wherever he is, he is as responsible there as here ; and it is asked whether that, to us unseen,—but to them most real, state of being, —as real as if it existed in a material world like this,—is necessarily an abode of hopeless unmitigated woe for such persons as I have alluded to; whether God's infinite resources are at an end in regard to them, and whether truth may not be made known there which was never heard here— a God revealed who was unknown here, a Saviour proclaimed with a fulness, tenderness, love, and all sufficiency, who has never once preached to them here; and whether, as the result of this, the kingdom of God may not yet come in a way that we never dreamt of—and, alas ! never in our wretched and degraded feebleness and unbelief ever laboured for!

"Many reject this thought. I remember the time when ministers could entertain the idea of God condemning an infant to eternal misery from its connection with Adam—an opinion which is as horrible as any occurring in Brahminism.

"Who would not wish the hope, whose character I have sketched, to be true? Who would not feel a great relief if they only saw that it may be true? . . I have some sympathy with the fanatic Communist who calmly stands to be shot, shouting, ' Let me perish, if humanity is saved !' I may not see how, without faith in God the Father, or in Christ the Brother, he can obtain any true idea of humanity as a unity, or any real love to it; but still there is something grand in such an idea rising higher than his personal love of life. But where is there similar grandeur in him who, professing to have this faith, has not only lost all hope of humanity as a whole, but rests contented in his hopelessness; who seems to think that any such hope of the probable salvation of others through Jesus perils his own, and looks with nervous fear and jealousy at the thought of any future opening of the door of the awful prison-house to deliver a penitent soul, who never in life had heard of Christ, as if this made it possible that a door might be opened for his own fall; who, in spite of all his defects, all his sins, all his greed, all his heartlessness, all his selfishness, has hope through the long suffering, forbearance, and patience of God, and who yet feels indifferent or indignant at the thought of there being possibly ways and means for this same God acting in mercy to millions of miserable prodigals who never had His light—a man who cries out, not like the Communist, ' Perish myself, but live humanity,' but, 'Perish humanity, if I live myself!'

"But the view I speak of may be dismissed by the one assertion that it is contrary to Scripture. If so, it is not worthy of the consideration of those who acknowledge, as I do, the supreme authority of the word of God. But Christian teachers hold it who would sooner give up their life than the authority of Scripture. They think that the passages which seem to forbid the thought have reference to what is to happen after judgment only.

"The possibility of such an education beyond the grave is also what the early Church and many since believed to be the only possible meaning that could be attached to the preaching to the spirits that are in prison, and which has found a place in the creed of Christendom in the article, 'He descended into hell,' to the unseen regions, or the world of spirits. . . ."

To Dr. Macleod Campbell:—

"March 16, 1871. . "It was so kind of you, and therefore so like yourself, to have taken the trouble to write to me. There is no one living who can so minister to me as you can. You always find my spirit, and enter into me, while others only touch me. I therefore feel towards you as to no one else, both as friend and teacher. If ever you have seed you wish to sow in a soil that will receive it and keep it, please cast it this way. Oh, that you sent me now and then a few life thoughts ! How precious would they be!

"I have had a sharp and very painful attack of gout with sciatica as an interlude, and other pains for a change. This is the first day I have been out, for a drive', and the blue sky and budding earth came streaming in as a life-joy to my heart, which showed that the veil was lifted up which had been concealing from me things beautiful, 'for I saw nor felt how beautiful they were.' I cannot say that spiritual realities were vividly present to me during my illness ; but I always felt God as a living atmosphere around me, and I was filled with peace. The lesson I think He is teaching me is to take more care in glorifying Him in the body, and to make my common life of work more religious by my living more quietly, patiently, and obediently. One result of this education is, that I have resolved not to go to Lord Lorne's marriage. This a great loss in very many ways to me, as I have been asked to be a guest at Windsor; but my brother George says 'No,' and so I say 'Amen!' and feel at rest: When the Communion is over, I shall probably go to some Spa abroad, and drown the enemy if possible. I am too easily bothered and upset by even trifling work. When I was confined to bed, I read and was fascinated by Hutton's 'Theological Essays.' To me, reading such a book is an era. He has such a firm intellectual grip with one hand of the true scientific aspects of questions, and with the other holds fast, with true spiritual insight, to his position of 'God in Christ.' With his anchor fast within the veil, he swings round and round with a long cable, but always round the centre. I think it is a great contribution to the times, but I cannot understand how he should not welcome your views of the atonement, as they seem to me to harmonize so beautifully with his principles and his views of truth. I am glad that he adheres to the fourth Gospel.

"What a mystery is this slow—to us slow—growth in the education of the world! It would be to me still more mysterious, if it were not to be continued till Christ delivers up the kingdom. 'Then cometh the end.' When—what? No doubt to the glory of God in a way and measure such as to overpower the minds and hearts of the whole family of God. I wait in the full assurance of faith. How strange, too—how long the clouds linger in the blue sky, which nevertheless are as surely passing away as the morning mists before His love. It is sweet to think that such darkness conceals us not from the Light of Life. But the common notion of the punishment of hell fire, and for all eternity ; the punishment of all who have not been elected, and have, for Adam's sin, been justly left dead without an atonement; the atonement itself as explained by hyper-Calvinists; the utter impossibility of any teaching or salvation after death (how we may not see); these, and the whole complicated system of sacerdotalism and popery, seem to me a thousand times doomed. And yet, God is so wise, so charitable, so patient, such a Father, that even by these ideas, or in spite of them, He will educate man for 'the fullnes of time,' the grand ' end !' I feel more and more the simplicity and grandeur and truth of Luther's idea of faith— to be an out and out child; to be nothing, that God may be all, not only for us, but in us; and, perhaps more than Luther would admit, to choose this—and to choose it not only once for all (a mighty choice !), but always and in all things—what strength and peace ! I know the lesson, but it seems to me that I have never learned it. And heaven would be heaven, were it nothing more than its being the finishing of our education by the perfect utterance of 'Our Father.'"

From his Journal:—

"April 9th.—This is Communion Sunday—Easter Sunday. I conducted the service in the forenoon. I am at home for the rest of the day.

"The winter's work has been chiefly preaching. I exchanged with Donald, and preached the Temptation sermons in Park Church, he preaching for me five Sundays. Had pleasant district meetings, with a new plan of inviting the members to tea. This has helped to unite us. I have raised by personal application every farthing for Bluevale Church, now £2,100, and it will soon be the £2,500. I profoundly feel that this, like all done by me, is God's doing, certainly not mine. Our organ has been given by kind, good James Baird, and a memorial window by Mrs. George Grant. I am deeply thankful that the number of my communicants has been greater than usual, new ones eighteen, and among them my dear------. Oh ! what a joy it is to see my beloved children, one after the other, thus in simplicity of faith publicly accepting of the Saviour. God's Spirit has surely been with them since birth. I don't think they have been converted by any sudden change. They seem to me as growing up in the faith, being educated gradually by the Spirit. They are full of life, energy, and happiness, and will probably have to pass through trials in which their true life will be deepened. They little know how happy they are, and in what domestic sunshine they have lived. God bless them, darlings, in the bonds of Christ.

"I have published in Good Words my War sermon and my Temptation sermons. The Peace Society seem to dislike me. We don't comprehend each other. They think me blind, and I think them silly.

"I have been reading Button's 'Essays' with great delight. His great defect is ignoring the Holy Spirit, or not connecting Him, as he does the Eternal Son, with one eternal, abiding- reality.

"I have been much distressed about our Indian Mission. Within a few weeks we have had many losses; But God will certainly provide. We are deep in debt. We want men and money; from whom but One can we get both!

"The war! the Beds and Assembly now fighting. Of course the Commune must go down, or France as a nation must. What next? Monarchy before long. But the Character of the people has been ruined and requires a national restoration of principle, of patriotism, of unselfishness; the destruction of a sensual, vain, irreverent, and cruel spirit. The French need to be Puritanised, if that is possible, or even Teutonised. It will take two generations of peace, education, and a firm, wise, truthful, and powerful government to do this. Where are the governors? Where are those who will be governed? Unless a nation is religiously educated, it is gone. I fear our own may suffer from secularists and Comtists."

The following letter was written in reply to some inquiries which were made regarding a young clergyman who was a candidate for a parish. Among other questions Dr Macleod was asked whether he had any faults.

". . . Mr.----------, when with me, was very earnest in the discharge of his duties, remarkably successful in impressing the working classes, and in bringing very many not only to the Church, but I believe to God. . . . I do not say but that he may have defects which some nice critics might possibly detect, although they are so small as not to be worth mentioning; but if he were perfect, he would be more fit for heaven than the parish of------."

To Mr. Simpson, at Messrs. Blackwood and Sons' :—
"May 8, 1871.

"I have the pleasure of sending you my first portion of MS. of the Indian Mission Report. A single glance will convince you of one fact, and to be assured of the truth of even one fact is in my opinion a great gain in these days, when a man is thought a conservative bigot who believes beyond doubt that 2 + 2 = 4. The fact I allude to is, that my hand has not improved with age and experience. As Falstaff says, 'thou knowest thine old ward,' that is, my old hand, and it will be some advantage to the Mission if any of your devils share your knowledge.

"I know a man who was so disgusted with some 'proofs' which he had received, that he commenced a course of study on printing by ordering 'MacEwan on the Types.' I never heard what effect it had on him.

"I shall send you more as soon as possible—I mean MS., which might be interpreted, 'more scribbling.'"

To his Mother:—
'Ems, May 7, 1871.

"What misery you must be enduring, and no wonder! Here am I gone off for the first time in my life—poor little boy! and across the wild ocean, and to savage people, not to return for ten long, long years! Oh it's sad! sad!

"A sky of perfect blue, warm sunshine, but a chill in the shade, an east wind feel, telling that summer is not yet begun. But the woods are green, the birds singing, and the cuckoo tolling through the glens.

"I don't feel better, for to tell the truth I did not feel ill immediately before leaving. But I feel well, peaceful, happy, and I believe after a month will return with good spirit for fair, honest work, not extra.

"I have finished 'Lothair,' which I have read for the first time. It is nothing as a story, or rather it is miserably ill put together, but it contains a series of most interesting pictures of life. I have no interest in the hero, he is a mere bit of fine red wax, impressed by every now seal. The best thing in the book is the exposure of the tricky and clever way Rome in making converts.

"Now my dear, are you amazed we had no hurricane? No accidents? No sore backs or broken heads; but that we eat, sleep, and thoroughly enjoy ourselves, and have now but one wish, to be back soon among you all."

To his Mother :—
"Ems, May 17, 1871.

"It is interesting to see the wounded soldiers walking about here with their iron crosses. The leader of the band has one. He led the band of the Guards as they marched into battle at Gravelotte. A fine old fellow was drinking at the spring yesterday. A ball had passed into his breast and out at his back at Spicheren.

"A very nice fellow was dressed in faded uniform, sitting behind his counter, with such a blithe face. He had come back the day before to wife and children. His next neighbour, landlord of the Golden Vine, who was engaged to our landlady's daughter, lies buried where he fell.

"A noble-looking Uhlan officer who walks about was surrounded with his troop. The Trench officer ran a lance through his coat only. The lance broke, and he shot the officer, and he returned with the lance hanging in his clothes.

"I never saw more modest, unassuming men."

To Dr. Watson :—
"Ems, May, 1871.

"I have been fairly settled here for two days only, living in lodgings, rising at 6.30, drinking, morning and evening, half-boiled soda water from a Brunnen; taking baths every second day, walking two hours, watching roulette, and rejoicing in the losses of the fools who stake their money; reading novels (Lothair for the first time), and all with balmy air and a quiet conscience. I am as yet much as I was when I left home, well, but heavy in the legs, and gouty. But I have no doubt I shall be all right and cheery yet.

"My great anxiety is our Mission.

"Holland is in a horrid state, a hundred and sixty-five parishes vacant, no clergy to fill them. Rationalism reigns. The national system of education is rearing a godless people. The teaching of national history even is forbid, as the history of the national struggles against Rome would offend the Papists. May heaven confound their politics!"

To the Same:—

"Your letter did me more good than a hogshead of M's or N's water. A thousand thanks for it. Of course I am anxious about the India Mission Report. I may have to resign the Convenership. But I leave my honour in your hands, and give you full authority to give in my resignation when you give in your own. I will not carry out a different policy from the present. I could not. My judgment would not go with it. So far from losing heart, one result of restored health, should God grant it, will, I firmly and gladly hope, be to let me loose again for a season through the chief towns in Scotland, and to address the students, on behalf of the Mission. ' We believe, and therefore speak.'

"I deeply feel with you that unless we get such men as Jardine, Wilson, Grant, it will be vain to sow seeds in India which will produce the Church of the future. An American clergyman told me yesterday that Puritan (once) New England is now becoming the hot-bed for atheism and Popery. I pray God we may be able to help to save Scotland from a similar re-action, which the union of the F. and U. P. Churches would develop more rapidly. I don't fear disestablishment; but so long as there is a clerical order of men, who may beg, but are not allowed to dig, I fear an uneducated and low-bred clergy."

To his Mother:—
"Ems, May 31, 1871.

"I did not tell you I had crossed to London. I heard, en route, a night service in Cologne Cathedral.

There were 2,000 people present, a mere handful in that huge pile. The sermon was quite like a Gaelic one, preached by a hot old Ross-shire minister, in which the glories of Rome took the place of the glories of the Kirk and its principles. All other parties were of course anathematised. The people were deeply earnest. After the sermon, a glorious simple hymn was sung, led by the organ, and by female or boys' voices only. The last rays of evening were lighting up the exquisite old windows high up in the nave, and casting on the pillars, whose tops were lost in darkness, marvellous colours of every hue; below was the dark, silent mass of worshippers. Lights were on the altar, above which was the tawdry image—so like India!—of Virgin and Child. Under the altar were the famous 'Kings of Cologne,' who had paid homage to Christ, the ' Magi,' all telling of mediaeval stories, belonging to a world passing away; but all was lost to me in those angelic strains that warbled here and there as they seemed to wander along the fretted roof, coming you knew not from whence. An old priest before the altar then repeated various prayers, the commandments, &c, to which Amens were given, that were repeated like the murmurs of the sea, from the large congregation. The holy sacrament was exhibited, and all knelt in silent devotion, and then departed. What a strange world is this ! Not one there ever heard of G------or B------! and yet Scotland, if true to God, and not to its Church only, will help to blow up Rome, otherwise Rome will blow it up.

"I am not so very sad now. My spirits rise sometimes in proportion to real difficulties, and I feel anxious to enter on India Mission work with renewed vigour."

To Dr. Watson :—
"Ems, June 5, 1871.

"I have been greatly worried day and night by the India Mission. What speeches have I made about it! And so it is that I have got the old gout back, and can hardly crawl. Why do I bother myself? Why do I think? It is in my blood—bone of my bone; it came with my father and mother and all my forbears, and must die with me; but it is not to every one I can lay bare my feelings. On thy calm, devoted head I can discharge my lightning, and roar like thunder, or bray like an ass. So I am thankful I was not in the Assembly. I would have gone wild, and been sorry for it next morning. The cause was in belter and wiser hands when in thine."

From his Journal:—
"Geddes, September 14, 1871.

"Early in May we went to Ems by the advice of Sir William Jenner. The back-bone of that journey is recorded in Good Words. We were very happy. Dear Nommey went with us. The Van Loons were very kind to us. The General Assembly, and its ignorant treatment of the Indian Mission, has given me some trouble, and if God spares me, I shall in a long and possibly final speech in the next General Assembly, defend it with all my might from these attacks."

One of the few public meetings which he attended this year was the Scott Centenary, held in Glasgow in August. The address recently given to the British Association by its distinguished president—his esteemed friend Sir William Thomson—respecting the meteoric origin of the germs from which vegetable and animal life have been evolved, was then exciting considerable comment, and it provoked him to indulge on this occasion in some quiet banter, which no one of the audience enjoyed more than Sir William.

"It is not for me," he said, "to account for the genesis of that marvellous literature, so prolific as to have multiplied and replenished the earth. Instructed by science, I dare not seek its origin in the creative mind of Scott; yet, as it is a literature so full of life, it must, I suppose, have come from life somewhere. Will my illustrious friend, the President of the British Association—for whom my highest admiration and deepest affection are divined—pardon an ignoramus like me, if I start an hypothesis to account for those extraordinary phenomena? Is it not possible, I timidly ask, that some circulating library, or, more correctly speaking, some library circulating through endless space—some literary meteoric group of 'Mudies' and 'Maclehoses' was broken up—and that the shreds of the exploded leaves fell on Ben Nevis or the Braes of Lochaber, accompanied, perhaps, by the shivered fragments, from a distant Highland world, of bagpipes and claymores and 'spleuchans' and kilts, and that out of them sprang 'Waverley,' and that this product 'Waverley' selected, very naturally, the west of Scotland in which to evolve sundry other novels of that ilk?"

[A friend who was an habitué of the "back study" relates, that shortly before the speech was delivered, the "meteoric theory" was there discussed, especially with reference to the reception it had met with from newspaper critics, who seemed to be unanimous in holding that it only removed the difficulty as to the origin of life a stage back. Norman's friend, in a note which he sent to a local journal, and which was read in the "back study," contended that this criticism was unfair, inasmuch as the difficulty was not only removed farther back, but removed out of this world altogether, and after having bothered our savants for ages, would now have to be taken up by the Association for the Promotion of Science in one of the other planets. Tickled by this suggestion, and marching up and down the room, Norman dictated a P. S. to be appended to the note.

"Perhaps the men of science would do well, in accordance with these latest results, to re-write the first chapter of Genesis in this way:—

"1. The earth was without form and void.
"2. A meteor fell upon the earth.
"3. The result was fish, flesh, and fowl.
"4. From these proceeded the British Association.
"5. And the British Association pronounced it all tolerably good !"]

From his Journal :—
"Geddes, September 14, 1871.

"Thank God for this peace ! I have had a most blessed time here—the more blessed because, as I had anticipated, it made my own dear one so happy. No wonder ! It has been like a resurrection of old friends of the family, rich and poor. The kindness of all has been quite overpowering. I thank God that my children, who have been all I could wish—have had proof of the deep affection and respect in which their grandfather and grandmother have been held. It is most touching, and immensely gratifying — a great reward for their goodness — to hear their praises spoken of by every one with a pathos and touching heartiness which is most pleasing. I cannot tell what a marvellous gift Geddes has been to me. It has made our own John literally alive again. I have preached twice here, and given an Indian address, and raised £40. I have preached with great delight twice in the School House. I wish daily to reveal the Father to His children. It is such light, such freedom, such a binding power!

"We have sung, danced, and played croquet. I have written ' Major Fraser.'

"God reconciles all in Himself.

"Oh, my Father, thanks—thanks be to Thee!

"We leave to-morrow. I lament nothing. I thank God for everything. His goodness is overpowering. I do know how good He is!"

While at Geddes the memory of John Mackintosh seemed continually with him as a sweet and refreshing presence. One of his first walks was to a spot closely associated with him, and he used to tell the overpowering effect it had, when, as he was sitting there wrapped in quiet thought, he heard the wild sad notes of the bag-pipe playing ' Mackintosh's Lament'—one of the most beautiful, as it was now the most appropriate of pibrochs. The family usually spent the evening in the hall, off which opened the door of what had been John Mackintosh's room; and when his children were dancing reels, he would often sit watching them, lost in quiet thought, the past and present mingling without discord, and feeling how ' God reconciled all things in Himself.' The following impromptu lines express the character of these musings:—

IN MEMORIAM OF "THE EARNEST STUDENT."

(IMPROMPTU.)

In the hall was dancing and singing,
My children were brimful of joy,
I sat there alone, and in shadow,
Near his room dreaming about him
Who there long had laboured and prayed,
Where angels saw heaven and earth meeting
In the heart of that true child of God,—
The bright, the unselfish, and joyous!
And the chill winds of autumn were moaning
Through the pines, down his favourite walks;
But the stars were out brightly shining,
And one brighter than all was above.
I dreamt of those last days of sickness,
Of his patience, his meekness, and love,
Of the calm of his summer twilight,
Of the midnight before the bright day.
As I gazed at that chamber, long empty,
In this home, his heaven when on earth,
It was strange, it was terribly awing,
To think of him now lying dead!
Dead as the granite that heavily
Covered him with the stones and clay!
That heart of the laughing and loving
In a cold leaden coffin lying still!
That heart to which all that was truest
And pure was a well-spring of joy,
Yonder twenty long years lying buried,
Yet for twenty long years still living
Elsewhere in the home of his Father!
Ah, where was he now, in what mansion,
In what star of the infinite sky?
Whom had he met since we parted,
Since the night when we bade him farewell?
What since had he seen, was he seeing?
What since had he done, was he doing?
"With whom had he spoke, was he speaking?
Did he think of us here, and remember
Those he never forgot when on earth?
Was he here with the ministering angels
In the hall of his early dead home?
Ah, what would he think of our evenings
Our evenings so merrily spent?
Could his heart now feel holy sorrow,
With his faith and love perfect in God?
Could his heavenly sunshine be shadowed,
Beholding these forms of earth's gladness
'Midst the sin and the sufferings of life?
Would he wonder that we could be happy
And his and our Saviour still waiting
To see joy from his anxious soul-travail,
And the true life of God in the world?
Ah ! that dear one would bear our weakness,
Our sleep 'midst the glories around,
Our blindness to all he rejoiced in,
Our slowness to learn from our Lord!
As I gazed at his room, now silent,
The sweet life he then lived recalling,
Him laughing and playing with children,
Telling tales to them, singing them songs;
His true soul in harmony chiming
With all the arrangements of God;
I awoke from my dream, yet saying,
In anguish, "My love, thou art dead!
Thou art dead to us twenty long years!"
Then I said, "No, my love is living;
For is he not part of our being,
And with us wherever we are;
And are not all 'together with God'—
With Himself the life of the living!"
If we saw thee once more among us,
We would fly to thine arms entwining,
And thy smiles as of old would welcome
With the old voice of love only sweeter,
And the bright eyes of love only brighter
All lovely I see thee among us,
And hear thy loved accents again;
In my calmed heart whispering gently,
"These joys are all gifts from our
Father, But our Father Himself is all."

Now all are at rest. It is midnight—
How dead is the hall and how silent!
The night winds still sadly are moaning,
But the stars are still brightly shining,
Still o'er all is the bright light of God!

To Mrs. Macleod:—
"Balmoral, Oct., 1871.

"I preached extempore, on 'Our Father which art in Heaven,' and on the education of men beyond the grave. I fear I shocked not a few—I hope I did so for good.

"We have here Helps and Mr. Forster, M.P., and we have had tremendous theological talks till 2 a.m. I keep my own not amiss. I have the greatest possible respect for Forster's abilities and truthfulness. Would to God we could lose our Calvinism, and put all the teaching of Christ and His apostles in a form according to fact and not theory. 'Our Father' is the root of all religion and morality, and can be seen with the spirit, rather than the mere intellect.

"The Queen has asked me to remain till to-morrow. I hope to have another set-to with the M.P. He seems to expect the same, as he said ' Hurrah !' when I told him I was to remain."

From his Journal :—

"January.— I have lost much to my memory, already failing from a multiplicity of objects, in having recorded so little about '71.

"I have been very steadily at home since September, and my every day occupied with those details of public and private life which, although important at the time and demanding patience and forethought, and bringing usual cares and worries, soon pass, like the seas which a vessel meets every ten minutes, that hit her, splash over her, make her shiver, and are forgotten. My life is strangely broken into small parts, and as this is God's will, I must submit and make the best of it.

"Events! what are they? None! Addressing meetings and soirées in my own parish, preaching, finishing Bluevale Church, directing India Mis-sion, writing letters innumerable, visiting sick, writing nonsense for Good Words for the Young—doing everything and doing nothing. Stanley has been with me."

The hymn 'Trust in God and do the Right,' which had been written in 1858, was not published in Good Words until January, 1872. On its appearance there a writer in a local paper charged Dr. Macleod with plagiarism from an American hymn-writer, stating that he had in his possession a volume, compiled by Philip Philips, of Hymns by American Authors, in which these words occurred; that this volume was in circulation a considerable time before this number of Good Words appeared. A friend having sent this criticism to Dr. Macleod, the following letter was sent in reply:—

"Friday.

"I received your note with extract from a Paisley newspaper last night on my return from Liverpool. I think the critic might have done me the justice of sending me a copy of his remarks. But this has too often been my experience of writers in newspapers. They seldom take the trouble to let you know what they have been publishing against you; I have seen letters and criticisms founded upon the most absurd assumptions weeks after they were published, and, of course, never contradicted. In regard to the verses in question it is quite clear that some Yankee in his zeal for hymnology has neither trusted God nor done the right, but trusted to a lie and done the wrong. These verses of mine were first published at the end of a lecture given to the young men at Exeter Hall in 1858. The music was composed by Sullivan expressly for the words. But it is perfectly possible that some spiritualist hymn-writer in America may have written the same words, composing the same music, using Mr. Philip Philips as his medium. After all, such barefaced stealing is too bad.

"Make any use of this you please."

As he had always practised strict reticence regarding all matters connected with the Court, and heartily hated that gossip which the public craves for only too greedily, he was not a little surprised and annoyed to find a few kindly words he had spoken off-hand at the laying of a foundation-stone at Lenzie, near Glasgow, made the occasion for a grossly personal attack on the part of some of the English newspapers. The insinuation as to his using flattery for selfish objects was too offensive to be publicly noticed by him, but he was none the less gratified by the manner in which he was vindicated by other representatives of the press.

To Mr. Hedderwick, Editor of the Glasgow Citizen:—
"January, 1872.

"I have just read your generous defence of me against the most untrue and malicious attacks of the newspapers. The fact is that during the thirteen or fourteen years in which I have been in close contact with the Royal Family, I have carefully avoided ever speaking about them in public, and in private only to intimate friends. Yet I have often felt my heart burning in listening to all the wild lies told about them. These, my only two speeches, were purely accidental, and almost forced upon me.

"At Lenzie I forgot there were reporters in the room, and was suddenly-called upon by the chairman to confirm the account he gave of the Queen's health ; and a minute before I spoke I had as much intention of doing so as of seeking to be knighted. So it was in the Presbytery—I was not aware the topic was to be introduced. Dr. M. was speaking about it as I entered. He stopped, and called on me to propose it, and I did so without one minute's preparation. To flatter majesty is gross impertinence. As to being knighted, thank God the Queen herself cannot bestow any honour of the kind on a Scotch clergyman. No possible favour can she grant me, or honour bestow, beyond what the poor can give the poor—her friendship.

"Yours gratefully,
"N. Macleod.

"I never asked a favour from the Queen or Government since I was born."

The improvement which his sojourn at Ems and the summer's rest at Geddes had wrought on his health was unfortunately of short duration. Before mid-winter was reached, and in spite of his taking the utmost care in avoiding unnecessary engagements, his work began to tell heavily upon him, and he assumed a wearied and broken-down aspect. Labour which before sat lightly on him, was now exhausting toil, and an increasing sense of depression weighed on his spirits. The most ominous and distressing symptom was the restlessness which he experienced whenever he retired for the night, and which prevented him enjoying sleep for more than a quarter of an hour at a time. Though happily unaccompanied by pain, this usually lasted till morning, and became so trying, that in order to humour it he generally passed the night on a sofa in his dressing-room. A volume of Alison's "History of Europe" and Gurwood's "Sketches" lay on the mantel-piece and the long hours, broken by brief snatches of sleep, were spent in reading the accounts of campaigns and battles [This kind of reading had always a peculiar charm for him, so that not unfrequently after a day of unusual hard mental work, preaching or otherwise, he would have recourse to Alison's "History," or "Wellington's Dispatches," and find refreshment in giving entire change of thought. ] About seven in the morning he would return to his room, and after an hour or two of refreshing slumber enter on the hard toil of the day.

He devoted much time during this winter to his pulpit, writing all his sermons fully out, and preaching not only with great delight to himself, but in a manner so instructive to his people that they look back to the teaching of these later months as more precious than any they ever received from him.

He went to London in February, on the occasion of the public thanksgiving in St. Paul's, for the recovery of the Prince of Wales. The gathering of the representatives of the British empire for such a purpose, the imposing ceremony, the spectacle of the vast cathedral filled with its ten thousand worshippers, the music, the dignified service, all combined to impress him deeply. "I thank God," he said, to his brother who sat beside him, "for a National Church, without which we could not have such an expression of the national religion. It is all worthy and right. We could not do this in Scotland- Our Presbyterianism is too individual in its methods,—healthy enough as bringing the soul to deal with the personal God, but there should be room in a Church, which professes to be national and historic, for such a service as this."

One feature in the assembly deeply affected him. There were near him a number of Orientals, Parsees, Hindoos, and Mahommedans, whose presence touched a sympathetic chord in his heart. In his speech to the General Assembly three months afterwards, he alluded to the impression that scene had made on him. "When these men," he said, "some of them representatives of sovereigns who once occupied the thrones of India, beheld the assembly, which, take it all in all, was one of the most remarkable ever gathered—when they beheld the Queen who now ruled over them, the legislature of Britain, old warriors covered with medals won in many a hard-fought battle in their own India, men of philosophy and science, men who had governed provinces far greater than England,— all bowing down in worship, and when they heard like a mighty breeze the prayer whispered from these ten thousand lips, 'Our Father which art in heaven;' what if one of these Easterns had risen and said, 'You have sent us laws, men of science, and warriors, but have never told us of that Father to whom you pray !' Could that be said in truth, then might a greater assembly still be summoned to ask God's mercy on a nation that had been so unfaithful."

The Scotchmen settled in Liverpool had always shown him affection, which was quite reciprocated by him, and as his eldest son was now there learning business, he determined on his way home from London to visit him, and beg for funds for his beloved India Mission. His method of approaching some of the merchants of the town greatly amused them. "If you treat me in Liverpool as well as I see you treat dogs I will be content," he said to one of them; and in answer to the puzzled look of inquiry, he added, "Merely that I noticed how a dog had carried off hundreds of pounds at a coursing match, and I think I am as good as a dog any day."

To George Campbell, Esq:—
"Broadgreen, Liverpool, February, 1872.

"Thanks for your £50. I will tell you a story—a rare thing with me. The beadle and gravedigger of Kilwinning parish, Ayrshire, was dying. One day his minister found him very sad, and on questioning him as to the cause of this unusual depression, he said, 'I was just countin' that since the now year I had buried fifty folk, includin' bairns, and I was hopefu' that I might be spared to mak' oot the hunner (hundred) afore the neist new year.'

"Do you see? That heart of yours is, I guess, even bigger than your purse. May both be bigger, if possible!

"I am trembling betwixt hope and fear for my Indian ark."

On his way to Liverpool he received the tidings of the death of the man whom of all others he reverenced and loved, Dr. John Macleod Campbell. During the few previous months he had seen one after another of his friends pass away. Erskine of Linlathen and Maurice had just entered into their rest, and now Campbell, to him the greatest and best of all, had followed.

During the same month he visited St. Andrew's for the purpose of urging the claims of the Mission, and appealing to the students of the University for volunteers to go to India as missionaries. "We were all struck," Principal Shairp writes, "by his worn and flaccid look; he seemed so oppressed and nervous when he was going to address only a few hundred people in our small university chapel; and I well remember the close of that address. After describing very clearly and very calmly the state of the Mission and its weakness for want of both fit men and sufficient funds, his last words were, "If by the time next General Assembly arrives neither of those are forthcoming, there is one who wishes he may find a grave!" That was his last word, and it fell like a knell on my heart and on many more. So infirm was he that day, that though the college church is scarcely a hundred yards from our house, he had to 'be driven both there and back!

From his Journal:—

"March 1.—What events of importance or interest to myself have been crowded into the months and days which have passed since these last words have been written! The Thanksgiving for the dear Queen and Prince this week in London—the grandest thing, morally, I have ever witnessed or can witness; and the death of my best of friends, and of the best man I have ever known on earth or can know—my own John Campbell!

"This last implies worlds to me as affecting my inner life. I might have added to it the crisis of the Indian Mission; yet I am so wearied in body and soul this night, that I cannot write about them, yet cannot be silent, but must mark this point and transition between my past and future, in which I am involved as a minister, a citizen, and a friend. Oh my dear, dear John! I left thee to-day in thy grave, and the world can never more be the same to me. Thy light, shining through an earthly tabernacle, is gone; my staff is departed; the arm on which I leant is in the grave; and my best and truest of friends is dead! Oh, how I loved him and adored him on this side of idolatry! He was my St. Paul. No words of mine can express my love to him. I took part with Story in the service; I lowered him to his grave; I cannot preach about him to-morrow; I hope to do so next Sunday. Till then, all things else depart."

To Principal Shairp:—
"Saturday, March 16, 1872.

"My dearest John,

"More dear than ever, as friend after friend departs, and as we feel ourselves every year like the remains of an old Guard, whose comrades have almost all left us—all who could speak, not of the old wars, but of the old times of joy and hope, of struggle and of victory. The reason, perhaps, why I have not written to yon, or indeed to any one who was one with me in devoted love to beloved John Campbell, was that I knew we had the same feeling, the same sense of loss, the same joy in his gain, the same everything! I heard of it in England. It was a sudden and terrible blow. As we praised God in St. Paul's, he, a king and priest, had entered into the joy of his Lord; and oh, John, what joy ! You said truly to me that if there be a God, we as men are alienated from Him, and need reconciliation; and I add, if there be a God—shocking 'if even to speak of—he is with Him. I returned home on Friday, and was in time for his funeral on Saturday. I took part in the services along with Story, and what that was to me you will understand, as I prayed in the church, near the head of his coffin. It was a wet and cold day, but there was a large attendance of ministers, and of men and women, who loved him as few were loved. Tuesday I spent with his wife and family, and hoard all. Five days before his death, when very cheerie, he wrote his last and a most beautiful letter to comfort orphans. But he spoke not much of religion when dying. His silent death was like his life, an 'amen' to God's will.

"I preached a funeral sermon for him, which I will publish, that his dear Lord may be glorified in him, even through unworthy me. He has left a large collection of letters; many written to his father on the Mondays, giving an account of his teaching on the previous Sundays at Row; many to his brother and sister, both worthy of him; a series over ten years, to his son, on general subjects of Christian interest; all immensely valuable. Who will edit these? I know not. In spite of my dearest wish, it seems impossible that a man so poor in good as I am should be called upon to give an account of such men as our two beloved Johns! But the treasure is often committed to earthen vessels, that the power might be seen to be of God.

"My heart, dear, is very sore. The world and life look awfully serious to mo. I feel as if the winding-up were coming soon, and I have a depressing sense, of which no one but God can judge, of a miserably improved life. But such feelings are for God, more than for man. They don't come from gout, as they are of late my habit; yet I suffer still from the enemy. God is my only light, and I seek to cast the burden of my soul, my life, my fears, my all on Him; and yet my very faith is so weak."

The sermon which he preached on Dr. Campbell was afterwards published in another form in Good Words. The privilege and responsibility of speaking regarding his lamented friend were so keenly realised by him that, before beginning, he wrote on the fly-leaf of his manuscript the following touching prayer:—

"May God the Father, whose glory my beloved friend ever sought, teach me, a miserable sinner, who am unworthy to speak of the holy ones in His presence, to speak of His saint in glory so as to give some true impression, of what he was; that Jesus, who was and is his 'all in all,' may be glorified in and by him; and that, though dead, he may speak through my feeble lips! I begin with fear and trembling; yet, if I am every Sunday called upon to speak of Jesus, why should I fear to speak of one of His holy apostles? God help me in His mercy!

"Saturday, March 9, 1872."

Similar prayers are of frequent occurrence on the first or last pages of his sermons, and there are sometimes brief notices of the events in his own life, which suggested certain lines of thought.


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