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Memoirs of John Urquhart
Chapter 3 Part A


Introduction to Dr. Chalmers — Attends the Moral Philosophy class— First appearance at this class — Letter to his father, on the formation of the University Missionary Society — On the same, and other topics — Mr. Duff’s account of the progress of his religious views -- Letter to his parents, on the death of a younger brother — Letter to Mr. Orme, partly on the same subject— Letter to his mother—Letter to his brother—Letter to his sister— Letter to an afflicted friend — Letter to the same — His diligence at Dr. Chalmers’ class — Letter to a young friend — Letter to his father— Success during the third session at College—View of John’s talents and character at this time, by a fellow-student.

Two events of considerable importance belong to his return to St. Andrew’s, for the third session, in November, 1824— his introduction to Dr. Chalmers, and attendance on the Moral Philosophy class, taught by him; and the formation of a Missionary Society among the students of the University. Of the Doctor, young Urquhart had long been a passionate admirer; and, to be one of his pupils, was the object of his most ardent desire. He was too modest to anticipate the enjoyment of Dr. Chalmers’ personal friendship, in the high degree in which he afterwards enjoyed it; but which it is evident was most gratifying to both parties.

Moral Philosophy, as it has been usually taught at the Scottish Universities, is one of the most dangerous and ensnaring studies in which a young man can engage. Instead of being, as the designation of the science imports, the philosophy of morals, it is commonly treated as the philosophy of mind, and is chiefly directed to the varied and perplexing phenomena of mental perception and operation. Instead of connecting ethics with the revealed will of God, it has too often been employed to gender scepticism, and foster the pride of intellect. Hume and Malebranche, Berkeley and Reid, are more appealed to than the writers of the Bible; and many a young man who went with his principles tolerably correct, if not altogether established, has left the class a sceptic, or a confirmed unbeliever. The occupation of this chair by such a man as Dr. Chalmers is of incalculable importance. It secures against the danger of those speculations which—

"Lead to bewilder, and dazzle to blind,"

and provides that morals shal1 not become the enemy, but the handmaid of religion.

With missionary objects, young Urquhart’s early associations had made him familiar; and his mind having become deeply impressed with the importance of eternal things, he was exceedingly desirous of interesting others in the noble object of missionary exertion.

Of his first appearance in the Moral Philosophy class, and, also of the exertion which he made to accomplish the other object, I have been furnished with a short account by his bosom friend, and contemplated associate in foreign labours, Mr. John Adam. The following extract from a letter to me relates to both: —

"My first acquaintance with John Urquhart, commenced at St. Andrew’s, in the winter of 1824. I had gone chiefly for the sake of Dr. Chalmers’ Lectures to that University; and, besides my brother, was totally unacquainted with any of the students. The first subject given out as an essay to the class, was on the divisions of philosophy. The Doctor had introduced us to his department of the academical course, by some general observations on this topic. He wished us each to give an abstract in our own terms, before entering on the main business of our investigating moral philosophy. Not as yet familiar with any of my fellows, I was particularly struck when one of the youngest in the class, with simple dignity, (though, as he told me afterwards, with great perturbation of mind,) read an essay, which, for purity of style, for beauty of imagery, and a masterly delineation of thought, exceeded everything we had then heard. Nor could I but rejoice, when at the conclusion, a universal burst of admiration (which was evidently participated in by the Professor), proceeded from all present. I need only say, that his character, thus established, was maintained during the whole course. The decision of the prize, both by Dr. Chalmers and his fellow-students, awarded him the first honour they had it in their power to bestow.

"Soon after his first appearance in the class, I was happily introduced to him, at the house of one of Mr. Lothian’s deacons, a Mr. Smith; when he mentioned a plan he was then meditating: viz., to attempt the formation of a Missionary Society, such as they had at Glasgow, which should not be confined to the Hall of Theology. This project was carried into effect a few days after; and a number of names having been collected from the Philosophy College, a junction was formed with a small society that had already existed amongst the students of divinity.

"During the term of this session, my friendship for John was cemented; and by studying together, by walks and frequent intercourse, we became so attached, that, not to have seen one another for a few hours, was an extraordinary occurrence."

In a letter to his father, of the date of November the 3d, he communicates some particulars on the same subjects.

"My DEAR FATHER — I arrived safe here the same day I left you, and am again very comfortably settled in my old lodgings.

"We have been attempting to form a Missionary Society in our College, to co-operate with one which the divinity students formed last year. We do not expect very large contributions, and the assistance which we can render to the cause may be, comparatively, but trifling: but the great object we have in view is to obtain and circulate missionary intelligence among the students; a thing which, we trust, with the blessing of God, may prove useful to themselves; and, though not directly aiding the cause, may, in the end, prove highly beneficial to it. For this purpose, we propose holding monthly meetings for the purpose of reading reports, and conducting the other business of the society. We wish also, if possible, to collect a small library of books connected with the subject; and what I have chiefly in view in writing to you about it is, that you may send any reports, or sermons, or other works connected with missions, which you can obtain. You may mention the thing to any of our friends who you think could favour us with any of such publications, which will be very thankfully received. The formation of such society in such circumstances is, I think, peculiarly interesting; and may, if properly conducted, be productive of the most interesting results; and I am sure the friends of the Saviour will be happy to assist us in our operations. In asking for subscriptions, we have hitherto met with no refusals; and, though we have not yet got many, I have no doubt but it will succeed."

The following, written a little after this, notices the state of St. Andrew’s, and some other things relating to the formation of the University Missionary Society: —

"ST. ANDREW’S, December 15, 1824.

"My DEAR FATHER—As I do not intend coming home at Christmas; and, as it will be some time before I need to send my box, I sit down to write you a few lines at present. I received yours along with a parcel containing a new watch, about a fortnight ago; for which I feel very grateful. I am as comfortably situated this year as I could wish. I have been introduced to some very excellent companions at Dr. Chalmers’ class. The Doctor has brought a good number of students from other Universities, many of them of very polished manners, and, I think, not a few of very decided piety.

"The Doctor has thus not only increased the number of the students, (which, this year, amounts to about two hundred and fifty;) but those who have come for his sake, being mostly of evangelical principles, he has thus, though indirectly, wrought a great change on the religious aspect of our University. It is to this chiefly, that I would attribute the success with which my efforts have been crowned, in attempting to form a missionary society in our College. We have got about forty subscribers, and have already had two meetings, which we purpose to continue monthly. There have also been formed a number of Sabbath-schools, one of which is taught by Dr. Chalmers himself, and the rest by students. And, besides this, several meetings are held, by select parties of students, for social worship. Such a change, I did not certainly expect to see in my day. And this has not all gone on without opposition. Not only were we refused a room in the College for our missionary meetings, but the minds of the people of that town are so influenced that, even yet, we are not quite sure of a place to meet in regularly.

"On the whole, our College seems, at present, to present an aspect something similar to that of the University of Oxford, in the days of Hervey and Wesley. Among the rest of my class-fellows, there is a young man to be very zealous in the cause of truth, He goes out to the country and preaches every Sabbath afternoon, at a place called Dunino; a place very much neglected; and on Sabbath evenings, he has a meeting of fishermen, to whom he preaches.

"With all this to render me happy, the remark of the shepherd of Salisbury Plain is still applicable to me: that ‘Every man has his black ewe;’ I have not been able to get any teaching," &c.

These letters show how much his mind was now occupied with promoting the spirit of missionary enterprise among his fellow-students. Instead of wondering that he should have met, at first, with some opposition to his plans, when we consider the materials of which colleges consist, it is rather surprising, he should have been so successful. The state of religious zeal in the University of St. Andrew’s, had, for many years, approached nearer to the freezing than to the boiling point. The first attempt, therefore, to rouse and kindle the flame, could not fail to produce a certain degree of commotion. This, however, our young friend, and his associates met in a Christian manner, and overcame by their prudence and good sense. Dr. Chalmers was early engaged in its support; and others of the Professors also came afterwards to encourage it. His friend, Mr. Duff; gives the following account of the progress of John’s religious views and feelings at this time, and of his exertions in forming the Missionary Society among the students: —

"At the beginning of the session of 1824-5, the traces of a gathering and growing piety were very observable. ‘Out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaketh;’ and, accordingly, religious subjects became with him, the great, the constant, the delightful theme of conversation. Christianity was not now with him, a mere round of observances — a matter of cold and heartless formality. It engrossed all his thoughts, it gave a direction to all his actions; and his chief concern was how to promote the cause of his Redeemer. One evening, early in the session, a few of his companions met in his room. The main topic of conversation was the blindness of the understanding, and the hardness of the heart, with its entire alienation from God. This led to a discussion upon the influences of the Spirit in removing the various obstacles that oppose the reception of the truth as it is in Jesus. On this subject Mr. Urquhart’s thoughts were striking, and his views luminous. Our attention was then directed to the resistance made to the offers of the gospel by the men of the world, and the want of universality in its propogation. The efforts of enlightened Christians in publishing the glad tidings of salvation, and the operations of missionary societies, were then largely spoken of. The vast, the paramount importance of this object as involving the interests of time and eternity, was acknowledged by all. The question was suggested, Is it not possible to form a Missionary Society among the students? By some the idea was reckoned chimerical, from the co1dness and apathy well known to prevail among the members of the University. By others, among whom was Mr Urquhart, it was strenuously urged, that a vigorous effort should, at least, be made for the purpose of forming an associations for the promotion of so good a cause. I cannot now state the precise amount of influence which Mr Urquhart’s arguments had on those present; only he was most urgent and impressive in maintaining the propriety of the scheme, and its probability of success. Paper was accordingly produced, and the prevailing sentiments stated: the object being to procure a sufficient number of subscribers friendly to the missionary cause, to justify the formation of a society. A small association of divinity students had met on the preceding year, in a private room, with the intention of reviewing and supporting missions. It was suggested, therefore, that a union might be formed between the divinity and philosophy students, (in the event of the latter coming forward,) so as to form an active and efficient body of members. The whole scheme, so ably advocated by Mr. Urquhart, succeeded far beyond the most sanguine expectations. And thus originated the St. Andrew’s University Missionary Society, which now ranks among its friends snd supporters more than one-third of all attending the University."

As this society occupied so much of his thoughts, and was, in fact, productive of some very important results to himself and others; and, as the mode of conducting its affairs was formed very much after the model of the St. Andrew’s Missionary Society, of which Dr. Chalmers was the President, I am glad that I can give some account of the latter from his pen. It was furnished to "The St. Andrew’s University Magazine," a small monthly work, published by those of the young men attending the theological and philosophy classes; and to which Urquhart was an occasional contributor. Though written the following year, it may be read appropriately in connection with the present period of my young friend’s life. [See Appendix B.]

The interesting views and reasonings of this well-written paper are deserving of attention from the friends of missions. It shows how much may be made of this subject by men of a discursive and philosopic turn of mind; and were missionary meetings occasionally conducted in the manner pursued by Dr. Chalmers, they would prove more interesting and instructive than they often do. Considering the period during which exertion has been made to propagate Christianity among the heathen, and the number of persons who are employed in the work, both at home and abroad, it is surprising that some work, on what might be called the philosophy of missions, has not yet appeared. The only things, approaching to this character, are the "Hints on Missions," by Mr. Douglas, of Cavers; and the work on "The Advancement of Society," by the same highly gifted individual. But the former of these productions too accurately corresponds with its title, to answer the purpose to which I refer; and in the other, the subject is only noticed as one among many. From these works, however, the germ of a highly valuable essay on the subject of Christian Missions to the heathen might be obtained.

What we want is not an increase of reports of yearly proceedings, and arguments derived from the Scriptures, to persuade us that it is our duty to engage in this good work; but a condensed view of the knowledge and experience which have been acquired during the last thirty or forty years. What appear to be the best fields of labour? -- what the most successful mode of cultivating them? -- what the kind of agency which has been most efficient, and least productiye of disappointment?—what the best method of training at home, for the labours and self-denial to be encountered abroad? — whether are detached and separate missions, or groups of missions and depots of missionaries the most desirable? These, and many other questions require a mature and deliberate answer. The materials for such an answer exist. And can none of the officers whose time is wholly devoted to the management of our Missionary Societies furnish such a digest? Are they so entirely occupied with the details of business, as to have no time or inclination left for looking at general principles? Were more attention paid to the ascertaining of such principles, and more vigour and consistency manifested in prosecuting them, there might be less of glare and noise; but, assuredly, there would be a prodigious saving of labour, property, and life; and, in the end, a greater degree of satisfaction and real success.

"The first requisite in benevolent operations," says Mr. Douglas, "as in all other undertakings, is system; a fixedness of design, and a steady adaptation of the means to the end. Opposite to that of system, is the pursuing of what are called openings, or the being caught with every change of circumstances and drawn by every chance of success into new paths of pursuit, having no connection with each other, and leading to remote terminations. Every step gained in a system, strengthens; every step gained without it weakens. The first object acquired leads to the possession of the second, and that to the attainment of the third, if all the objects to be attained are originally chosen with reference to the accomplishment of a plan. Every new object, where there is no system, divides the already scattered forces; and success, if pursued, might dissipate them entirely, and leave but the vain pleasure of having a number of defenceless stations, each calling for assistance, and all calling in vain, while the society only retained the empty boast of an extended line of operations, and of being equally helpless and inefficient in every quarter of the globe. On a system, each part strengthens the other, the line of communication is held up entire; as each point is gained, the whole advances; they are all in movement towards the same position, and they rest upon the same centre of support."

I cannot pursue the subject further, but the existing circumstances of our missionary institutions call loudly for the consideration of these judicious remarks. I return to the narrative.

Not satisfied with his exertions in establishing and aiding a missionary society, and thus contributing to diffuse the gospel abroad, John felt it his duty to do all the good in his power to those among whom he lived. This led him at the commencement of this session to engage in teaching a Sabbath-school, in a village a few miles distance from St. Andrew’s. To this place he was in the habit of going regularly every Lord’s day evening, and occasionally also, on other days, when he could find time, for the purpose of conversing with the parents; thus endeavouring to interest them in the spiritual welfare of their children, and in their regular attendance at the school.

These engagements have often been productive of the most beneficial effects on young men intended for the ministry, as well as on the minds of the rising generation. They stimulate to the examination of the Scriptures, accustom the teacher to an easy and familiar method of speaking and address; and increase his acquaintance with the peculiarities of human character. The difficulties he experiences in conducting such seminaries, and accomplishing his wishes, will be found to arise from many of the same causes which operate on the "children of a larger growth," whom he may afterwards be called to instruct. And the mode of meeting these difficulties by a combination of faithfulness and affection, of perseverance and prayer, will habituate him to the exercise of principles and dispositions of the last importance, in discharging the in duties of the Christian ministry.

To this kind of service my young friend was much attached, as well from choice as from principle and a sense of duty. He was sensible of the benefit which he derived from it himself; and, therefore, wherever he was, though but for a short time, be endeavoured to collect a few young persons around him. From the great amiability of his disposition, he never failed to bring them together, and to attach them to him; and, from his happy method of engaging their attention, he was always rewarded, in seeing their love to the exercise, as well as their personal attachment to himself. On his return home, at the end of the session, he succeeded in establishing a meeting of a few young men, of his own age, in his father’s house, once a week, for conversing about the Scriptures, and for prayer; the benefit of which some of them, I hope may yet enjoy. While there, also, during the summer vacation, he taught a Sabbath-school in the neighbourhood of Perth; thus evincing his sincerity and diligence in the improvement of every opportunity of usefulness which he could command.

Having noticed his feelings and views in regard to personal religion, and to the work of the gospel abroad, and his exertions to promote its interests at home, it will now be proper to advert to his progress in his literary pursuits, especially in that class in which he made so distinguished a figure. A certain description of persons, who are not altogether opposed to religion, but who feel exceedingly cool in regard to its claims, both upon themselves and others, are much disposed to allege, that if the attention of a young person is much occupied with religious subjects, other things which he ought to pursue, must be neglected. It is admitted that there is some difficulty in perfectly adjusting the relative and proportionate claims of religious and other pursuits, especially during the more active period of human life. Wisdom is necessary to direct in this, and in many other matters, which cannot be determined by the language of the Scriptures. To which preference is due, no doubt can be entertained. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness," is a plain injunction applicable to all circumstances, and at all periods of our existence. True wisdom consists in obeying that injunction, which will never fail to secure the fulfilment of the promise, "and all these things shall be added unto you." Should there be in any instance an excess in devoting what may be considered too large a portion of attention to religion, surely it is a very pardonable offence. If it be an error, it is an error on the safe side. Allowances are made for individuals following the bent of a powerful genius, when that genius is directed towards some earthly object; but, unhappily, if the bent of the mind is toward religion, the feeling which is manifested is very different. What is an amiable and praiseworthy enthusiasm in the one case, is denounced as miserable and misguided fanaticism in the other. The conduct which raises an artist or a poet to the summit of earthly glory, places a Whitefield and a Martyn in the pillory of the world’s scorn.

It is no common thing to find a mind so nicely poised and balanced, as to be capable of giving every subject of examination its proper degree of attention, and every object of pursuit its just measure of importance. It will too generally happen that when one thing, whether of a secular or spiritual nature, obtains firm possession of the mind, other things will, to a certain extent, be dislodged. There is usually, to employ the expressive phraseology of Dr. Chalmers, "a shooting forth of the mind in one direction;" and when this happens, other things must be obscured and left behind. If, according to Spurzheim, the faculty of common sense consists in the harmonious arrangement and operation of all the other senses, it is very evident that the faculty is by no means so common. as the phrase imports.

As it regards religion, however, I am inclined to think, this is one of the libels which its enemies are ever disposed to propagate against it. They maintain in the face of all evidence, that the men who are clamorous on the subject of the spiritual wants of others, are usually defective in their generosity to supply their temporal necessities. In vain we appeal to our Howards and Wilberforces, and thousands besides, in refutation of the calumny. It will be reiterated till the world is regenerated.

I apprehend that it will often be found that our religious men are among the most ardent and devoted students. Few men have distinguished themselves more when at College, than Martyn, and Kirke White; and I am happy that I can add the name of Urquhart to the list of persons, who, under the noblest considerations, devoted their fine talents and unconquerable ardour to the pursuits of literature and science, that they might lay their crowns as scholars at the foot of the cross.

I hesitated for some time whether I should give a few of his essays in the Moral Philosophy class; fearing they might not do full justice to his merits, and that to some readers they might not be sufficiently interesting. But, knowing the opinion of these essays, entertained by such a man as Dr. Chalmers, and observing the beautiful simplicity of language and felicity of illustration which they discover; by which the most abstruse subjects are rendered not only intelligible, but attractive, I have resolved to present them. The reader will thus see that he who was so much at home in religion, was not a stranger in the walks of philosophy. [See Appendix C.]

While engaged in these interesting exercises of his academical course, and in the prosecution of his plans of usefulness, he was called to sustain a painful trial, in the death of his youngest brother. Nothing of this kind had before occurred in the family, within his knowledge. He was suddenly summoned to Perth; and after spending a few days by the dying bed of his brother, and endeavouring to interest his mind in religion, he returned to St. Andrew’s, as the nature of the complaint left it very uncertain how long his brother might continue. On being informed of his death he wrote to his father and mother, as follows:—

"ST. ANDREWS, January 17, 1825.

"My DEAR PARENTS — It is a remark which I have somewhere heard, that God tries to bring us to himself by mercies; but if this has not the effect, he makes use of trials. Like the affectionate father of rebellious and disobedient children, he tries to win us by love; and it is only our obstinate perseverance in our own ways which forces him to use the rod. It is true, that our very afflictions are signs of God’s love towards us; for, ‘whom he loveth he chasteneth.’ But it is equally true, that they are signs of his displeasure. We, as a family, have long been favoured with every blessing; and it becomes us to ask, if we have been as grateful and as obedient as became the children of so many mercies. A serious review of the past, will make us wonder that our Father has been so long-suffering; that he has withheld his chastening hand so long. It becomes us, then, to repent of our unthankful and repining disposition, and to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.

"It is a joyful thing, that, in the time of affliction, God does not hide his face from us, nor remove us far from him. But it is the very end of all our trials to bring us to himself by drying up our channels of happiness, to lead us to the spring from whence those channels were supplied; by breaking the cisterns which we have hewed out for ourselves, to lead us to the fountain of living waters.

"I think I may say, ‘it has been good for me to be afflicted;’ it has driven me to the Bible, and to a throne of grace, as the only consolations; and never did the truths of the gospel appear more precious. My Christian friends here have been very attentive to me, and seem to have sympathized with me in earnest.

"This is certainly a warning to each of us, to be also ready — a solemn exhortation to be active in the cause of Christ; and whatever our hand finds to do, to do it with all our might; knowing that there is no knowledge nor device in the grave whither we are fast hastening.

"I am anxious to know what impression this solemn event has made on the minds of my yet remaining brother and sister. Death can sometimes affect the soul which has been unmoved by the most solemn admonitions, and the most impressive eloquence. I am very sorry that it is out of my power at present to write to them.

"The ways of God are very mysterious. Had I been here during the Christmas holidays, I could, in all probability, have got a situation, which would have enabled me to support myself, and even, in a year or two, to have given you some assistance. It was a situation as tutor in a very pious family in England. I had been recommended as a fit person for the place, but as it had to be occupied immediately, it was given to another, who is there by this time. From all the accounts I got of it, it seemed a place where I could have been very happy; and I could not help feeling disappointed. But it is a happiness to think that it is a gracious Father that overrules all things; and that he does all things well.

"P. S. Give me a more full account of the latter part of my poor brother’s illness."

Shortly after this, he wrote me a long letter, partly on the same subject, and partly giving me an account of various affairs then transacting in St. Andrew’s, which he knew would interest me.

"ST. ANDREW’S, February 18, 1825.

"My DEAR SIR — I am really quite ashamed that I have not sent you a letter long before now. I intended writing by Dr. R.-----, when I sent up the catalogue of your library; but it occurred to me that at such an early period of your new settlement, when you must have been so much occupied with the bustle and the confusion attending such an event, it would have been altogether out of place for me to trouble you with a letter. It is now a month or two since my father informed me in one of his letters, that he had heard from you, and that you had kindly expressed a wish that I would write to you from St. Andrew’s. I really have no proper excuse for delaying so long, suffice it to say, that this is not the first time I have sat down to address you, and that I might fill my sheet to no purpose, in telling how often I have taken up the pen, and what circumstances have hitherto prevented me from finishing my letter. You have, in all probability, heard before now, that death has at last entered our family, and has snatched away the youngest and healthiest of us all. Poor Henry had thought himself dying from the first day he took to his bed, and had expressed a great desire that I should be sent for. My father accordingly sent for me; and on my arrival at home, I found my brother in a state of very great agony, and quite unable to converse with me. I was anxious to speak to him about that world whither he was evidently fast hastening; but so excruciating was his pain, that he could not listen. I can remember, when I asked him, after he had been violently crying out from the pain in his head, what was the cause of all his suffering, how expressively he answered, that it was sin. And at another time, on asking him if he was afraid to die; he told me, No. But these short answers were all I could obtain from him; the painful nature of his distress did not permit longer conversation. After staying at home about a week, I found that I was waiting for a change which might yet be far distant; and that I was losing my own time without being able to render any service to my brother. I therefore resolved to return; but I think I shall never forget the bitterness of that parting. I felt far more then, than when I heard afterwards, that my brother was gone. Henry begged of me not to go away, and my mother with tears entreated me to remain; but I thought it my duty to leave them; and in the issue, it has proved much better that I did so; for my brother lingered for weeks after. I cannot say whether I was more depressed or relieved by the letter which brought the tidings of his death. I rejoice to think that his body was freed from very exquisite suffering; but with regard to his soul all was uncertain. I would indulge the hope, that his suffering may have have been rendered the means of bringing him to trust in that Saviour about whom he had so often heard. But it rests with God. To us there has been given no certain assurance of his happiness. I hope I have myself been enabled to see in this dispensation, the hand of an all-wise Father; and that it has not been without a beneficial influence on my own soul. Separated from my earthly relations, and deprived of the comfort which their sympathy might have inspired, I was forced to seek consolation from that Friend who never leaves his people. Never did I feel so much the need of the consolations of the gospel; and never did its declarations appear more cheering and consolatory. I could feel not only submissive, but thankful. I could say with Conder, when in a similar situation:—

‘Oh, to be brought to Jesus’ feet,
Though sorrows fix me there,
Is still a privilege.’

But I have to regret that the impression has been of such short continuance, and that my heart seems ready to go back again to the vanities of the world. I can easily perceive that if the gospel have not an abiding influence on the conduct, the mere sentimenal tenderness, and deadness to the things of earth, which are produced by the death of a friend, may, and will soon be forgotten. I know you will forgive me for dwelling so long on this painful theme. You will remember that the wound is yet green; and you know from experience how the mind, in such circumstances, loves to brood over the cause of its sorrow.

"I must proceed to give you some information about St. Andrew’s. I might tell you of the prosperity of the College; the increase in the number of the students, &c.; but as these things cannot much interest you, I shall just shortly advert to some religious institutions which have been formed among us, and to the spiritual state in general of our town and University. Dr. Chalmers has effected a good deal by his own example and his own exertions; but he has even been more useful in drawing to this place a number of pious young men of various denominations, who have been the instruments of bringing about a great change in the externals, at least, of our University. We cannot indeed say; that any great moral renovation has been effected; but the machinery, at least, has been erected, which, with the blessing of God, may be the means of effecting it. We have now Sabbath-schools taught by members of the University; and meetings for prayer among the students; and, what is more astonishing still, a University Missionary Society, consisting of about sixty members, who meet once a month for the purpose of promoting the objects of the society. In connection with this last institution, we have formed a small library of missionary books, which have mostly been sent us in presents; and from the circulation of which, I anticipate great good. This is an institution in which I take particular interest, as I have long considered the object which it has in view one of the most important, perhaps, the most important, which can engage the mind of a Christian. And for some time I have even seriously thought of devoting my own life to the cause of missions. I had long wished to find a companion who could enter into my own views on this subject; and such an one I think I have fallen in with this session. His name is Mr. Adam; he had been boarded for some time with Mr. Malan, of Geneva, and he seems to have imbibed much of the spirit of that excellent man. We have sometimes talked over the subject of missions together, and I hope we may be yet honoured to preach the gospel to the heathen. I am aware of the difficulties to be encountered; and of the danger of rashly forming a resolution of such importance; but even tha desire I have expressed to you, is the fruit of much meditation and prayer. And I have communicated it to you, in order to have the benefit of your advice. I shall always look to you as one of the best friends I have on earth, and I trust my father in Christ Jesus. I wish you would send me word about the institution at Gosport. I have heard there is a great deficiency in the number of students. I entreat that you will pray for my direction in this matter of so great importance with regard to my spiritual happiness.

"I may mention, by the way, that we have a Mr. H--- here, a Baptist minister, from London; of whom, perhaps, you may have heard. He has come to attend Dr. Chalmers, and has been very useful here. He and my friend, Mr. Adam, have established several preaching stations in the country round, where the people seem eager to hear the gospel.

"I am sorry that I am so soon obliged to conclude; for I have not told you the half of what I have to communicate. When I heard from home, my friends were well; and the church had given Mr. Jack a unanimous call.

"Perhaps I have been too free in still retaining the Hebrew books you were pleased to lend me. I am devoting all my spare time to the reading of the Psalms.

"I shall be very much gratified by a letter. Perhaps you may be interested to hear that I preached, for the first time, on Saturday last, to a few of my fellow-students, who have formed themselves into a society for extempore preaching. We meet in the Divinity-Hall. Farewell."


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