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Memoir of Norman MacLeod, D.D
1836-7


AT this time the University of Glasgow attracted an unusual number of students from the east of Scotland. This was partly owin" to the brilliant teaching of Sir Daniel Sanford, and of the late Professor Ramsay, and partly to the wider influence which the Snell exhibitions to Oxford were beginning to exercise. Norman's father, determining to take advantage of this movement for the increase of his very limited income, arranged for the reception of one or two young men as boarders, whose parents were friends of his own. He had in this way residing in his house during the winter of 1836-7 William Clerk, son of Sir George Clerk, of Penicuick, Henry MacConochie, son of Lord Meadowbank, and James Nairne, from Edinburgh. John C. Shairp, son of Major Shairp, of Houstoun, now Principal of the United College in the University of St. Andrews, was in like manner boarded with Norman's aunts; but although residing under a different roof, he was in every other respect one of the party. Principal Shairp gives the following interesting reminiscences of the time:—

"Norman was then a young divinity student and had nearly completed his course in Glasgow College. To him his father committed the entire care of the three young men who lived in his house, and it was arranged that I, living with his aunts, should be added as a fourth charge. This I look back to as one of the happiest things that befell me during all my early life. Norman was then in the very hey-day of hope, energy, and young genius. There was not a fine quality which he afterwards displayed which did not then make itself seen and felt by his friends, and that youthfulness of spirit, which was to the last so delightful, had a peculiar charm then, when it was set off by all the personal attractions of two or three-and-twenty.

"His training had not been merely the ordinary one of a lad from a Scotch Manse, who has attended classes in Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities. His broad and sympathetic spirit had a far richer back-pound to draw upon. It was Morven and the Sound of Mull, the legends of Skye and Dunvegan, and the shore of Kintyre, that had dyed the first and inmost feelings of childhood with their deep colouring. Then, as boyhood passed into manhood, came his sojourn among Yorkshire squires, his visit to Germany, and all the stimulating society of Weimar, on which still rested the spirit of the lately-departed Goethe. All these things, so unlike the common-place experience of many, had added to his nature a variety and compass which seemed wonderful, compared with that of most young men around him. Child of nature as he was, this variety of experience had stimulated and enlarged nature in him, not overlaid it.

"There were many bonds of sympathy between us to begin with. First, there was his purely Highland and Celtic blood and up-bringing; and I, both from my mother's and paternal grandmother's side, had Celtic blood. The shores of Argyllshire were common ground to us. The same places and the same people—many of them—were familiar to his childhood and to mine. And he and his father and mother used to stimulate my love for that western land by endless stories, legends, histories, jests, allusions, brought from thence. It was to him, as to me, the region of poetry, of romance, adventure, mystery, gladness, and sadness infinite. Here was a great background of common interest which made us feel as old friends at first sight. Indeed, I never remember the time when I felt the least a stranger to Norman. Secondly, besides this, I soon found that our likings for the poets were the same. Especially were we at one in our common devotion to one, to us the chief of poets.

"I well remember those first evenings we used to spend together in Glasgow. I went to No. 9, Bath Street—oftener Norman would come over to my room to look after my studies. I was attending Professor Buchanan's class—-'Bob,' as we then irreverently called him—and Norman came to see how I had taken my logic notes and prepared my essay, or other work for next day. After a short time spent in looking over the notes of lecture, or the essay, Norman would say, ' I see you understand all about it; come let's turn to Billy.' That was his familiar name for Wordsworth, the poet of his soul.

" Before coming to Glasgow I had come upon Wordsworth, and in large measure taken him to heart. Norman had for some years done the same. Our sympathy in this became an immense bond of union. The admiration and study of Wordsworth were not then what they afterwards became—a part of the discipline of every educated man. Those who really cared for him in Scotland might, I believe, have then been counted by units. Not a professor in Glasgow University at that time ever alluded to him. Those, therefore, who read him in solitude, if they met another to whom they could open their mind on the subject, were bound to each other by a very inward chord of sympathy. I wish I could recall what we then felt as on those evenings we read or chaunted the great lines we already knew, or shouted for joy at coming on some new passage which was a delightful surprise. Often as we walked out on winter nights to college, for some meeting of the Peel Club, or other excitement, he would look up into the clear moonlight and repeat—

"The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night Are beautiful and fair."

Numbers of the finest passages we had by heart, and would repeat to each other endlessly. I verily believe that Wordsworth did more for Norman, penetrated more deeply and vitally into him, purifying and elevating his thoughts and feelings at their fountain-head, than any other voice of uninspired man, living or dead. Second only to Wordsworth, Coleridge was, of modern poets, our great favourite. Those poems of his, and special passages, which have since become familiar to all, were then little known in Scotland, and had to us all the charm of a newly discovered country. We began then, too, to have dealings with his philosophy, which we found much more to our mind than the authorities then in vogue in Glasgow College—the prosaic Reid and the long-winded Thomas Brown.

"Long years afterwards, whenever I took up a Scotch newspaper, if my eye fell on a quotation from Wordsworth or Coleridge, ' Here's Norman' I would say, and on looking more carefully, I would be sure to find that it was he—quoting in one of his speeches some of the favourite lines of Glasgow days. Norman was not much of a classical scholar; Homer, Virgil, and the rest, were not much to him. But I often thought that if he had known them ever so well, in a scholarly way, they never would have done for him what Wordsworth did, would never have so entered into his secret being and become a part of his very self. Besides Wordsworth and Coleridge, there were two other poets who were continually on his lips. Goethe was then much to him; for he was bound up in all his recent Weimar reminiscences; but I think that, as life went on, Goethe, with his artistic isolation, grew less and less to him. Shakespeare, on the other hand, then was, and always continued to be, an unfailing resource. Many of the characters he used to read and dilate upon with wonderfully realising power. Falstaff was especially dear to him. He read Falstaff's speeches, or rather, acted them, as I have never heard any other man do. He entered into the very heart of the character, and reproduced the fat old man's humour to the very life.

"These early sympathies, no doubt, made our friendship more rapid and deep. But it did not need any such bonds to make a young man take at once to Norman. To see him, hear him, converse with him, was enough. He was then overflowing with generous, ardent, contagious impulse. Brimful of imagination, sympathy, buoyancy, humour, drollery, and affectionateness. I never knew any one who contained in himself so large and varied an armful of the humanities. Himself a very child of Nature, he touched Nature and human life at every point.

"There was nothing human that was without interest for him; nothing great or noble to which his heart did not leap up instinctively.

"In those days, what Hazlitt says of Coleridge was true of him, 'He talked on for ever, and you wished to hear him talk on for ever.' Since at day I have met and known intimately a good many men more or less remarkable and original. Some of them were stronger on this one side, some on that, than Norman; but not one of all contained in himself such a variety of gifts and qualities, such elasticity, such boundless fertility of pure nature, apart from all he got from books or culture.

"On his intellectual side, imagination and humour were his strongest qualities, both of them working on a broad base of strong common sense and knowledge of human nature. On the moral side, sympathy, intense sympathy, with all humanity was the most manifest, with a fine aspiration that hated the mean and the selfish, and went out to whatever things were most worthy of a man's love. Deep affection-ateness to family and friends—affection that could not bear coldness or stiff reserve, but longed to love and to be loved, and if there was in it a touch of the old Highland clannishness, one did not like it the less for that.

"His appearance as he then was is somewhat difficult to recall, as the image of it mingles with what he was when we last saw his face, worn and lined with care, labour, and sickness. He was stout for a man so young, or rather I should say only robust, yet vigorous and active in figure. His face as full of meaning as any face I ever looked on, with a fine health in his cheeks, as of the heather bloom; his broad, not high, brow smooth without a wrinkle, and his mouth firm and expressive, without those lines and wreaths it afterwards had: his dark brown, glossy hair in masses over his brow. Altogether he was, though not so handsome a man as his father at his age must have been, yet a face and figure as expressive of genius, strength, and buoyancy as I ever looked upon, Boundless healthfulness and hopefulness looked out from every feature.

"It was only a few weeks after my first meeting with Norman that he, while still a student, made his first public appearance. This was at the famous Peel Banquet held in Glasgow in January, 1837.

"The students of the University, after rejecting Sir Walter Scott, and choosing a succession of "Whig Sectors, had now, very much through Norman's influence, been brought to a better mind, and had elected the great Conservative leader. He came down and gave his well-known address to the students in the Hall of the now vanished college. But more memorable still was the speech which he delivered at the Banquet given to him by the citizens of Glasgow and the inhabitants of the west of Scotland. It was a great gathering. I know not if any gathering equal to it has since taken place in Glasgow. It marked the rallying of the Conservative party after their discomfiture by the Reform Bill of 1832.

"Peel, in a speech of between two and three hours' length, expounded, not only to Glasgow, but to the empire, his whole view of the political situation and his own future policy. It was a memorable speech, I believe, though I was too much of a boy either to know or care much about it. Many other good speeches were that night delivered, and among them a very felicitous acknowledgment by Dr. MacLeod, of St. Columba, of the toast 'The Church of Scotland.' But all who still remember that night will recall as not the least striking event of the evening the way in which Norman returned thanks for the toast of the students of Glasgow University. I think I can see him now, standing forth prominently, conspicuous to the whole vast assemblage, his dark hair, glossy as a black-cock's wing, massed over his forehead, the 'purple hue' of youth on his cheek. They said he trembled inwardly, but there was no sign of tremor or nervousness in his look. As if roused by the sight of the great multitude gazing on him, he stood forth, sympathizing himself with all who listened, and confident that they sympathized with him and with those for whom he spoke. His speech was short, plain, natural, modest, with no attempt to say fine things. Pull of good sense and good taste, every word was to the point, every sentence went home. Many another might have written as good a speech, but I doubt whether any young man then in Scotland could have spoken it so well. Prom his countenance, bearing, and rich, sweet voice, the words took another meaning to the ear than they had when read by the eye. Peel himself, a man not too easily moved, was said to have been greatly impressed by the young man's utterance, and to have spoken of it to his father. And well he might be. Of all Norman's subsequent speeches—on platform, in pulpit, in banquet, and in assembly—no one was more entirely successful than that first simple speech at the Peel Banquet.

"During the session that followed the Banquet, the Peel Club, which had been raised among the students to carry Peel's election, and to perpetuate his then principles, was in full swing, and Norman was the soul of it. Many an evening I went to its meetings in college, not as caring for its dry minutes of business, but to hear the hearty and heart-stirring impromptu addresses with which Norman animated all that had else been commonplace. There are not many remaining who shared those evenings, and those who do remain are widely scattered; but they must look back to them as among the most vivid and high-spirited meetings they ever took part in. What a contrast to the dull routine of meetings they have since had to submit to! And the thing that made them so different, was Norman's presence there. "But if these first public appearances were brilliant, still more delightful was private intercourse with him as he bore himself in his home. His father had such entire confidence in him, not unmingled with fatherly pride, that he entrusted everything to him. The three boarders were entirely under Norman's care, and he so dealt with them that the tutor or teacher entirely disappeared in the friend and elder brother of all, and of each individually. Each had a bedroom to himself, in which his studies were carried on ; but all met in a common sitting-room, which Norman named ' The Coffee-room.' There, when college work was over, sometimes before it was over, or even well-begun, we would gather round him, and with story, joke, song, readings from some favourite author—Sir Thomas Browne's 'Religio Medici,' Jeremy Taylor—or some recitation of poetry, he would make our hearts leap up.

"What evenings I have seen in that 'coffee-room!' Norman, in the grey-blue duffle dressing-gown, in which he then studied, with smoking-cap on his head, coming forth from his own reading-den to refresh himself and cheer us by a brief bright quarter of an hour's talk. He was the centre of that small circle, and whenever he appeared, even if there was dulness before, life and joy broke forth. At the close of the first session—I speak of 1836-37—the party that gathered in the coffee-room changed. MacConochie and Nairne went, and did not return; William Clerk remained; and the vacant places were at the beginning of next session, 1837-38, filled by three new comers—Robert (now Sir Robert) Dalyell, of Binns; James Horne; and John Mackintosh, the youngest son of Mackintosh of Geddes. There were also two or three other students who boarded elsewhere, but who were often admitted as visitors to the joyous gatherings in the coffee-room. Among these was Henry A. Douglas, afterwards Bishop of Bombay While all these young friends so loved and admired Norman that it would be hard to say who did so most—a love which he seemed to return almost equally to all—John Mackintosh was no doubt the one who laid the deepest hold on his heart. They were fitted each to be the complement of the other. The serious, devout, pure nature of John Mackintosh drew forth from Norman reverence more than an elder usually accords to a younger friend; on the other hand, Norman's deep and manly love of goodness and holiness won John's confidence, while his hopeful aspiration and joyousness did much to temper the tone of John's piety, which verged somewhat on austerity. I believe that their characters, so different, yet so adapted to respond to each other, were both of them much benefited by the friendship then begun. "John Mackintosh had at that time another friend, who was also his tutor, William Burns, who soon became the great revival preacher, and afterwards the missionary to China. Between Norman and William Burns, John used to live half-way in spirit. But I don't think that Norman and Burns ever knew each other intimately. Norman's mirth seemed to Burns profanity, and Burns' rapt Calvinistic piety, that looked on laughter as sinful, seemed to Norman somewhat too severe. In fact they were not then fitted to understand each other. It was in this session of 1837-38 that the friendship of Norman with John, so fruitful in results to both, first began. He himself was then not a student, as he had received license in May, 1837, and was ordained in Loudoun in March, 1838; but until he settled in his parish he continued under his father's roof, and in the same relationship as formerly with the young men who wintered there. The Church was then being greatly exercised by those contentions which ended four years afterwards in the Disruption. Norman took a lively interest in these; but from the first, both from temperament and family tradition, sided with the party who opposed the Non-Intrusionists. Not that Norman was in any measure fitted by nature to be a Moderate of the accepted type. His ardent and enthusiastic temperament could ever have allowed him to belong to the party. But in the aims and tendings of the Veto men, he seemed from the first to discern the presence of sacerdotal pretensions which he his whole life long stoutly withstood.

"Before the close of the session of 1837-38, Norman was appointed to the parish of Loudoun, in Ayrshire, and ordained as its minister. When the close of our next and last session in Glasgow (1838-9) arrived, he arranged that his old friends of the coffee-room should go down and pay him a visit in his Manse at Loudoun on the first of May. The usual winding-up of the college had taken place in the morning, and by the afternoon a merry party were seated on the top of the Ayrshire coach, making their way through the pleasant country of Mearns, in Ayrshire, towards their friend's Manse. That party consisted of William Clerk, Robert Dalyell, Henry Douglas, and myself. For some reason or other, which I cannot now remember, John Mackintosh could not join the party. It was a beautiful spring evening, and the green burnbraes, as we wound along, laughed on us with their galaxies of primroses. You may imagine what a welcome we received when at evening we reached the Manse door. We staid there three days, or four. The weather was spring-like and delightful. We wandered by the side of the Irvine Water, and under the woods, all about Loudoun Castle, and Norman was, as of old, the soul of the party. He recurred to his old Glasgow stories, or told us new ones derived from his brief experience of the Ayrshire people, in whom, and in their characters, he was already deeply interested. All day we spent out of doors, and as we lay, in that balmy weather, on the banks or under the shade of the newly budding trees, converse more hearty it would be impossible to conceive. And yet, there was beneath it an undertone of sadness ; for we foreboded too surely what actually has been fulfilled, that it was our last meeting; that they who met there should never again all meet together on earth. There were, with the host, five in that Loudoun party. I do not think that more than two of them have since met at one time.

On the last day of our wanderings, Norman, who had hitherto kept up our spirits and never allowed a word of sadness to mar the mirth, at last said suddenly, as we were reclining in one of the Loudoun Castle woods, 'Now, friends, this is the last time we shall all meet together; I know that well. Let us have a memorial of our meeting Yonder are a number of primrose bushes. Each of you take up one root with his own hands; I will do the same, and we shall plant them the Manse in remembrance of this day.' So we each did, and carried home each his own primrose bush. When we reached the Manse, Norman chose a place where we should plant them side by side. [When Norman left Loudoun, he transplanted some of these primrose roots, and put them opposite his study windows at Dalkeith. The Loudoun Manse jonquils and favourite little 'rose de Meaux' were also transplanted to Dalkeith, to revive the Bams memories there as at Loudoun.] It was all simple and natural, yet a pathetic and memorable close of that delightful early time.

"Early next morning we all left the Manse, and, I believe, not one of us ever returned. It was as Norman said. We went our several ways—one to Cambridge, two to Oxford; but never again did more than two of us forgather.

"Two things strike me especially in looking back on Norman as he then was. The first was, his joyousness—the exuberance of his joy— joy combined with purity of heart. We had never before known any one who took a serious view of life, and was really religious, who combined with it so much hearty hopefulness. He was happy in himself, and made all others happy with whom he had to do. At least they must have been very morose persons indeed who were insensible to the contagion of his gladness.

"The second was the power, and vividness, and activity of his imagination. He was at that time 'of imagination all compact.' I have since that time known several men whom the world has regarded as poets; but I never knew any one who contained in himself so large a mass of the pure ore of poetry. I have sometimes thought that he had then imagination enough to have furnished forth half-a-dozen poets. Wordsworth's saying is well known—

"'Oh, many are the poets that are sown
By nature: men endowed with highest gifts,
The vision and the faculty divine,
Yet wanting the accomplishment of verse.' "

Coleridge, I think, has questioned this. But if Wordsworth's words are, as I believe they are, true, then Norman was pre-eminently a poet. He had the innate power, but he wanted the outward accomplishment of verse. Not that he wanted it altogether; but he had not in early youth cultivated it, and when manhood came, the press of other and more practical duties never left him time to do more than dash off a verse or two, as it rose, spontaneously, to his lips. Had he had the time and the will to devote himself to poetry with that devotion which alone ensures success, it was in him, I believe, to have been one of the highest poets of our time. Often during an evening in his study, or in a summer day's saunter with him by a Highland loch, I have heard him pour forth the substance of what might have been made a great original creation—thoughts, images, descriptions, ranging through all the scale, from the sublime to the humourous and the droll; which, if gathered up, and put into the outward shape of poetry, would have been a noble poem. But he felt that he was called to do other work, and it was well that he obeyed the call as he did, and cast back no regretful look to the poetry that he might have created."

It may be well here to explain a feature which, as expressed in his journals, may appear strange to the reader, but is quite characteristic of the man. There is often such a rapid passing from "grave" to " gay," and, in his earlier years, such self-reproach for indulging in things really innocent, that, in giving perfectly faithful extracts, it has been found difficult to avoid conveying an impression of harshness or unreality. There was nothing more natural to him than so to combine all tones of feeling, that those who knew him felt no abrupt contrast between the mirthful and the solemn. But, as it might be expected from his sensitive conscientiousness, he did not at first recognize the lawfulness of many things he afterwards "allowed himself" without any sense of inconsistency. It is accordingly interesting, biographically, to notice the difference betwixt his youth and age in matters like these, as well as the change which his opinions underwent on many political and theological subjects.

From his Journal:—

"Nov. 17th.—This last week being the one for electing a Lord Rector, I was very busy, having been the leader of the Peel party. We carried him by a majority of one hundred. This caused me much excitement, and drew my mind away from God.

"Sunday, 30th Nov.—I intend by the grace of God to throw off my natural indolence, and rise every morning this winter at six o'clock. I study Hebrew, Greek, and Church history every morning before breakfast; chemistry, anatomy, and natural history (my favourite study next to divinity) during the day; logic, theology, reading, and writing in the evening.

"Is a Christian not entitled to draw lessons of conduct from natural religion interpreted by revealed? May he not study the final causes in his moral constitution? What then is the final cause of the sense of the ludicrous?

"Saturday, 31st Dec, 1836.—The passing of time is enough to make a man ' tremble like a guilty thing.' I feel as if I could compress what remains of the last year into the thoughts of an hour.

"And, then, what reminiscences of the past! This moment they are all gay in Weimar! I see them all. The thought is only momentary, and shines in my mind like the last rays of an extinguished taper.

"Yes, I am changed. I have felt the transition. I know it.

"The ideality of life soon vanishes, and can only be renewed when new channels are formed for our affections. But why do we not fix them on unfading objects?

"March 5th.—What a gap! It is shameful. At a time, too, when circumstances have occurred which, I am convinced, must influence my life in no small degree.

"When Peel came down there were great doings. I spoke for the students at his dinner, and though I felt considerably in addressing three thousand five hundred people, yet, from the manner in which I was supported, I got on well, and met with Peel's decided approbation. I have had the honour also of being elected President of the Peel Club. Because of these and other things, I have fallen fearfully through with my studies, although my having had no small part in bringing Peel here is enough to give some value to my existence.

"Friday.—I have just returned from Robert Dalglish's ball!—a crowd. I have returned sick at heart. It is my last ball! And I heard the German waltzes played, and my brain reeled. I shut my eyes. I was once more with all my old Weimar friends ; when I opened them, the faces were the faces of strangers, and I could stand it no longer, but left at twelve. I alone seemed sad. The louder and more cheerful the music grew, the more deeply melancholy I became.

"Sunday, 7th May, 1837.—How life gallops ! What changes ! How we do hurry along from the days of childhood to wild and imaginative youth, and then gradually sober down to sedate manhood ! Only look at the last page—music and dancing!—and this page has to record the most solemn event in my 'little history'—that upon Wednesday last I was made a preacher of the gospel, and to-day I preached my first sermon!

"This is a niche, a point, in a man's life. It marks the past and future. I only wish I could write my real state of mind about it!

"The goodness of God has been great, very great. If it were not for His great love, I could not stand a minute. But my own state has had this good effect, that it has made me distrust myself and rely more on Christ. I have got a most irritable temper. I have got a loose way of talking and of using slang words, most unbecoming my profession. I feel a much greater willingness to overcome this habit since I have entered the clerical office.

"I went to church to-day with much prayer, and I was wonderfully supported. I praise the Lord for it. I pray, for Christ's sake, that I may be enabled to perform my most arduous duties looking to Jesus. O God in heaven, keep me from courting popularity ! May I feel deeply, most deeply, that I am Thy servant, doing Thy will, and not seeking my own pleasure. May I never teach the people a lie, but teach them Thy truth!"

To his Aunt, Mrs. Maxwell:—

"May 8, 1837.

"Does the quality of a correspondent improve by age like port wine or Highland whiskey? Do his goods rise in value the more rare they become? Or does the value of a gift increase with the dignity of the donor? If you reply in the affirmative to these queries, then one of my letters now is more to be esteemed than twenty heretofore, for I am older, my goods are rarer, and my dignity is increased; for on Wednesday I passed gallantly from the student state to that of a preacher, and yesterday I ascended from the body of the church to its heart—even to the pulpit! Aye, Jane, don't be horrified at seeing a grey hair or two ! The thumping child has grown into a thumping preacher, and you may soon have to submit quietly to be scolded by him whom you used to drill into manners and morals. 'Ochone!' as Coll would say, but we do gallop down, or it may be up, with railway speed ! I am actually beginning to get a glimpse at age myself. I do not, however, as yet recognize him by his snowy locks and tottering steps, but by his gaiters and white neckcloth. I always had a horror—I know not why—at the transition state of preacher. He is worse than nobody. He is patronised by old maids, ' the dear, good old souls;' he is avoided by the young ladies, for they know that he has no principle and would jilt when convenient. He is cut by the young men for his snobbish dress; he is cut by the old, for they know he will bore them for their interest. Young ministers dislike him from pride (' set a beggar,' &c), and the old dislike him from fear; they hate his voice as they hate the cry of an owl, for ' it speaks of death;' they look upon him as a young soldier looks on a vulture that is watching his last breath in order to get a living. He is a very nightmare to the Manse—'a lad' is the personification of all that is disagreeable. Such a being am I, Jane; will you shelter me?

"It is too bad to occupy so much room with so much nonsense. I got on well yesterday, and now that the ice is broken, I hope to get on still better. I am to preach next Sunday in the Barony; I then go to the Assembly, and then I wish to go to Skye.

"Glen Morriston, Wednesday, 18th July, 1837, Torgoil Inn.— [On a walking tour to Skye.] I have said it often, and now again I say it in Torgoil, that I hate travelling by myself! I think I should become a mere animal if I were thus to be stalking about for a year and not a soul to speak to. Don't talk about reflection—one has too much of it. The whole day it is a continued reflection upon one's self—when to rest, when to rise, how far it is to the inn, what shall be taken, how much paid. And as for thought, why a wallet and blistered feet are enough to crush it. Here am I this very moment in a small, paltry place, in the midst of a huge glen, the rain pouring in torrents and the mountains covered with the wet mist; the trees dripping, the burn roaring, sheep-dogs crawling past the door, hens in the entry, and barefooted and bare-legged boys skelping through the mud. And within nothing to cheer. In the first place a huge birch-bush in the grate, by way of a novelty, half-a-dozen chairs stuck up like sentinels against the wall, a stiff, ugly table, with a screen and a tea-tray having landscapes and figures upon them, which, to say the least, do not equal those of Claude Lorraine; you pull the bell, away comes a yard of wire, but no bell rings; you strike the table, and every dog rushes out barking; you call the girl, and she appears from the 'but,' and does what you bid her do, but only when she pleases. But I must go back on my previous route. (I just now lifted the window to look out, and was nearly guillotined by its coming down on my neck, not having observed a huge black peat which lies beside it for supporting it on great occasions.)......

"Retrospective. I believe I never wrote the reason of my refusing to become a candidate for Anderston Church, Glasgow. I was requested earnestly by one of the managers (Stuart) to apply, and ho had been written to by others who had heard me preach in Gourock. I promised to preach, but declined becoming a candidate upon the acknowledged ground of unfitness. I consider that the town clergy should be our bishops. They must be the leaders of the church in public matters, whether in regard to the internal government of the Church, or its relation to the State. How much knowledge is required to do this properly, and as it ought to be done, by men who profess to act from principle, how much scientific reading on Church polity and history! The personal acquirements which a clergyman requires to fit him for such a public appearance, and also for occupying that commanding position in private which ho ought to take, are such as no young man can have when his time is occupied, as it must be in town, by other weighty matters still more intimately connected with his profession—as, for and though the truths enforced are the same both in town and country, yet how different are the media or communication! This abominable custom or necessity of letting seats, and thence paying the minister, compels him to attend to this taste, however vitiated; and I feel convinced that it never was more vitiated than at present, owing perhaps to the system of competition in Scotland, both for pulpits and for churches, and against the dissenters. But the fact is, that effort, and froth, and turgidity, and an attempt after grand generalisations, are required to gain popularity—the ruling object of the mass.

"Nay, this emptiness of thought combined with high swelling words arises from another cause—the necessity under which men are laid to preach not only two, but sometimes three sermons every Sunday, without their heads-being so filled with divinity or their hearts with Christian experience, as to enable them to give solid teaching to their people. Now these and many other difficulties are removed by having a country church. For my own part, the fever and excitement of composing for a town charge would at first kill me; but let me only have ten years' hard study in the country, and then, under God's blessing, I may come into a town with advantage to the cause!

"Aug. 25th.—Off to the hills! Oh, what a walk I had yesterday! Never will I forget the green, the deep green grassy top of the range of precipices. A vessel or two lay like boys' boats on the water far below me as I sat on the edge of the precipice, watching the waves breaking on the rocks. A white sail or two was seen far to the north on the edge of the horizon like a sea-gull. I never felt more in my life the stillness of the air, broken only by the bleat of the sheep, or the croak of the raven. The majesty of the prospect, the solitude of the place, filled me with inexpressible delight. The truth was, I had started with depressed feelings from having been very forgetful of God; and upon the top of a mountain I have always felt my self subdued to silent meditation and prayer. On the present occasion I poured out my soul in humble confession and adoration, and words cannot tell the comfort which I felt, partly perhaps the result of the strong feeling I was under, but much of it truly substantial. Thrice did I sing the hundredth Psalm, and at the second verse, 'Know that the Lord is God indeed, without our aid He did us make,' I was quite overpowered, and felt as if I spoke for the material universe and dumb creatures around me. The giant Storr, with its huge isolated peak, seemed to point to heaven in ac knowledgment of the truth.

"I felt as if I had one of those
"'Visitations from the living God,
In which my soul was filled with light,
With glory, with magnificence.'

"31st, Twelve, night.—Loveliness and beauty ! The stars twinkling in the deep blue sky like the most brilliant diamonds, the hills dark and misty in the distance ! The rivulets, inaudible by daylight, blending their notes with the loud streams, and along the north a magnificent aurora borcalis, an object which ever fills me with intensest pleasure. It makes me feel how much man's nature is capable of feeling, and how the soul may bo elevated or overpowered through the external senses. How different was the last night I was here—Friday night! What an awful gale! Whuss-ss-sh-hoo-liiss-sooo! until I thought the house would be down. Three boats were lost and five people. One of them the last of four sons belonging to a widow in Strath. Another was drowned last year at the canal.

"Sept. 1st.—I have this day been led to consider seriously my spiritual state and truly, when I remember my advantages and all God has done for me, I can say that it is very deplorable. There are certain daily habits which for some weeks I have seen are wrong, yet where have been my struggles to change them? How have I shown my faith by my works 1 How frivolous have I been ! My love of the ludicrous and of the absurd has daily carried me away and made me behave quite unworthy of the sobriety necessary for every Christian, far more, for my calling. ' Be ye sober.' Lord ! help me to keep this law.

"Yet I thank God that I am anxious—yes, in my heart I say it—anxious to give up my besetting sins.

"O Lord God Almighty, Thou who art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, most holy and most merciful Father, Thou seest these my confessions, Thou knowest whether they are sincere, Thou knowest the pride and vile-ness of my heart. Oh, do Thou have mercy upon me according to Thy loving-kindness, and according to Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Grant unto me greater diligence in using the means of grace, and power to resist temptation. May I enter not into temptation. Keep me, 0 God, from rejoicing in anything which belongs to myself; but may every evidence of Thy love lead me to rejoice in Thee alone.

"September 6th.—By the grace of God I have been enabled to wait upon Him, and seek Him more than I was wont. It is an awful mistake to think that when we conquer a sin it is beaten for ever. It is indeed invincible—we can only keep it from conquering us, and so overcome it. I must be regular in the diligent use of means, and God may bless them; but I must also push on and add one virtue to another.

"I find that my interest in the state of others is in proportion as I am interested in my own.

"Yesterday, the 5th, I had one of the most delightful excursions I ever had.

"The morning was beautiful: indeed it was not morning when I rose from a feverish and night-marish sleep. A few pale stars were to be seen in the sky, and the ruddy glow in the east which told of the sun's approach soon robbed them even of this; and, except towards the east, I could see no cloud in the sky. A few light, airy wreaths of mist hung on the Coolins, which, dark and massive and ragged, stretched like a strong saw across the south. We were quickly on our way, after partaking of a substantial breakfast and providing for the dinner. Soon the east became most beautiful— clouds, fringed with brightest gold feathery borders, and in more compact masses, gathered round the sun a flaming retinue; and soon he opened an eye in heaven and peeped over the eastern hills and thrust forth his ' golden horns.' And the tops of the Coolins seemed tipped with gold, and the shadows became more distinct, and light glittered on the calm sea. The vessels that lay under the rocks were hardly visible, while their masts and tackling were in clear relief against the burning sky and water. The effect was precisely such as I have often admired in the 'Morning' pictures of Claude Lorraine.

"Away we went, and as the sun got higher and higher we left the high Wad and entered Glen Sligachan. What a glen ! With the inimitable peak of Coolin on one side, and on the other the sugar-loafed Marscow. "But get on! at three miles an hour, hardly a path, and now in the centre of the glen, five miles from any house. Stand ! and say what is Glencoe to this ! A low range conceals Coolin; but see the high peaks appearing beyond, and up that corry what a mighty wall of jagged peaks is spread along its top! But Blabheinn, which is close by, is unsurpassed. It appears a great trap dyke, about a thousand feet high, with an edge above, cut and hacked in every shape and form. Bare, black to the top, apparently not a goat could stand on a yard of it—I question if a fly could. And there the lovely little lake at its feet is ever condemned to lie in its shadow. But, having left our horses at Cambusiunary, we ascended by a rough road to a pass, from which we obtained a view of Coruisk. The ascent was difficult. Wilson being a bad walker, I was up nearly half an hour before him—besides, I wished to behold Coruisk alone; and as I ascended the last few blocks of stone which intercepted my view I felt my heart beat and ray breathing become thicker than when I was climbing— for I had rested before in order to enjoy the burst undisturbed—and a solemn feeling crept over me as I leapt on the crest of the hill, and there burst upon my sight—shall I attempt to describe it? How dare I? Around me were vast masses of hypersthene, and the ridge on which I stood was so broken and precipitous that I could not follow its descent to the valley. At my feet lay the lake, silent and dark, and round it a vast amphitheatre of precipices. The whole Coolins seemed gathered in a semi-circle round the lake, and from their summits to their base not a blade of verdure—but one bare, black precipice, cut into dark chasms by innumerable torrents, and having their bases covered by debris and fallen rocks. Nothing could exceed the infinite variety of outline—peaks, points, teeth, pillars, rocks, ridges, edges, steps of stairs, niches—utter wildness and sterility. From this range there are gigantic projections standing out and connected with the main body. And there lay the lake, a part hidden from our view, behind a huge rock.

"There it lay, still and calm, its green island like a green monster floating on its surface. I sat and gazed; 'my spirit drank the spectacle.' I never felt the same feeling of the horribly wild—no, never; not even in the Tyrolese Alps. There was nothing here to speak of life or human existence. ' I held my breath to listen for a sound, but everything was hushed; it seemed abandoned to the spirit of solitude.' A few wreaths of mist began to creep along the rocks like ghosts. Laugh at superstition for coupling such scenes with witches and water kelpies ! I declare I felt superstitious in daylight there. Oh, to see it in a storm, with the clouds under the spur of a hurricane, raking the mountain summit!

'The giant snouted crags ho! ho!
How they snort and how they blow;

"'Ach, die langen Felsennasen
Wie sie schnarchen, wie sie blasen!'

"I shall never forget my visit! It will fill the silent eye—the bliss of solitude; it will come 'about the beating of my heart,' and its wild rocks may be connected with moral feeling and 'tranquil restoration.''The tall rock' may cease 'to haunt me like a passion,' but its influence shall never die. And the joyous, oh ! the passionate, hours I have spent this summer in the lovely mountains in Skye will ever influence my feelings, and, under the guidance of higher principles, they may, I trust, be blessed for good, and help in being the ' muses of my moral being.' I thank—as on the mountains I generally do—I thank God for all His kindness, and pray I may ever be grateful for it.

"Thursday night, Sept. 7th.—To-morrow I start, D.V., for Fiunary. My time here has been spent delightfully—though not so usefully as it might have been. My journal will tell what hours of joy I have spent among the mountains. Never shall they be forgotten.

"How dreary is parting—what a sickness at the heart! how melancholy sounds that wind! Oh, what a joy when there will be no parting!

"Fiunary, 11th Sept.—I left Portree early on Tuesday morning. The fiery sunrise, the huge masses of greenish-greyish-darkish clouds, the scattered catspaws and mare's tails, the rising breeze, and the magnificent rainbows which spanned sea and mountains, all told that our passage would probably be a rough one. And so it was. The wind rapidly increased, until, as we left the shelter of the land at Armadale it blew a stiff breeze fight ahead. What a striking view had we to leeward when plunging on towards the point of Ardnamurchan! The sun was almost setting, 'the day was well-nigh done,' and along the horizon was a plain of red light; this was broken by the Scuir of Eig, which appeared in magnificent relief, and seemed to support on its summit the midnight belt of clouds which formed an upper and parallel stratum to the ruddy belt below. Through these dark clouds the sun was shooting silver beams, beneath which the waves were seen holding their ' joyous dance' along the line of the horizon. I remained on deck until we reached Tobermory. I lay on the tarpaulin, and, half-asleep, watched the mast of the steamer wandering along the stars which now shone in unclouded brilliancy.

"Yesterday preached at Kiel. [The name of one of the parish churches of Morven.] It was a strange thing to preach there! As I went to the church hardly a stone or knoll but spoke of ' something which was gone,' and past days crowded upon me like the ghosts of Ossian, and seemed, like them, to ride even on the passing wind and along the mountain tops. And then to preach in the same pulpit where once stood a reverend grandfather and father! What a marvellous, mysterious world is this, that I, in this pulpit, the third generation, should now, by the grace of God, be keeping the truth alive on the earth, and telling how faithful has been the God of our fathers ! How few faces around me did I recognize ! In that seat once sat familiar faces—the faces of a happy family; they are all now, a few paces off, in a quiet grave. How soon shall their ever having existed be unknown? And it shall be so with myself.

"Oct. 3rd, Glasgow, night.—Here I am once more in my old study. Was it a dream? Nature never appeared more lovely; never in youth did 1 hail her with more rapture—never did I feel ' the tall rock haunt me more like a passion.'

"Nov. 3rd.—I have got the parish of Loudoun. Eternal God I thank Thee through Jesus Christ, and, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I devote myself to Thy service for the advancement of Thy glory and kingdom.

"These words I write this day the moment I hear of my appointment. I again solemnly say, Amen. I have got a parish ! the guidance of souls to heaven ! I shall at the last day have to tell how I performed my duties-part of my flock will go to the left; part, I trust, to the right. I, their pastor, shall see this ! I am set to gather lambs to Christ. What a responsibility ! I do not feel it half enough; but I pray with all my soul, heart, and strength that the Great Shepherd may never forsake me. Without Him I can do nothing; with him I can do all things.

"Oh, my Father, my kind and merciful Father. Thou who art my Creator and Preserver and Redeemer, I this day, before Thee, declare my willingness to make my soul and parish part of Thy everlasting kingdom. Accept of my deepest thanks for Thy kindness until now. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be with me until the day of my death; purify, strengthen me, and give me from the infinite riches of Thy grace power to be a faithful minister and to turn many people from darkness to light. Into Thy hand I commit my soul!

"I had an address, a kind address, from Darvel, in Loudoun, to-day, which gave me much encouragement. I feel an affection for the parish already. May the Lord grant in His mercy that I may go for the promoteing of His glory."


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