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Memoirs of John Urquhart
Chapter 4 Part A


Introductory observations—John’s return home at the end of third session— Letter respecting his going to some of the Dissenting Academies—Letter illustrative of his state of mind—Letters--His employments during the vacation — Letter to Mr. Craik--His visit to London — Mr. Adam’s account of him at this time-- Letters to his father—Engagements during the winter--Letters to a friend—Letter to his brother—Letter to his mother--Letter to a friend — Letter to Mr. Orme — Opposition of his friends to his Missionary devotedness — Mr. Duff’s account of him--Testimonies to his literary attainments — Mr. Alexander’s account of him — Dr. Chalmers’ certificate.

There are few things which put the character and principles of a young man more to the test than a classical and University education. He who passes through this ordeal unhurt, has reason to bless the gracious and powerful influences of the divine Spirit. I do not refer at present to the levity of youth, and to the snares of these associations which belong to the state of society in Colleges and classical schools. The danger of infection from the moral atmosphere is, indeed, great. But there are dangers of a different kind, arising out of the studies which chiefly engross the attention, and their powerful, but unperceived influence upon the mind.

The investigations of philology and grammar, though important in themselves, and absolutely necessary as the basis of all correct knowledge, are dry, and often tiresome. The memory is loaded with words and forms of expression, which tend no doubt, to exercise and strengthen it; but do not tend much to the moral benefit of the mind. When from these the scholar passes on to the more elegant studies of the Greek and Roman classics, or even to the polite literature of our own country, how little does he find at all calculated to promote his spiritual welfare! This is not saying enough: how much does he meet with, the tendency of which is positively injurious! The fascinations thrown around vice, the halo of glory with which sin itself is frequently invested, cannot be viewed often, and with great intensity, without damage. The individual who gives his days and nights to the poets and orators of Greece and Rome, must be more than man if he escapes without hurt to his spiritual feelings and principles.

The influence of the exact sciences, and of experimental philosophy, though of a different nature, is still hazardous to a mind which has not arrived at maturity. The absolute certainty of mathematical demonstration, and the sure results of algebraic formula, produce a habit which has proved in many instances very unfavourable to the due appreciation of moral evidence. And the processes of chemistry, and the experiments of physical science, have not been always productive of an increased veneration for the great Spirit who presides over, and pervades all the operations of the universe.

I wish to speak of results, rather than to assign reasons for those results. Whether the evils and dangers referred to are to be ascribed to the weakness and depravity of our nature, or to the imperfections of the systems of education, which are generally adopted, or to both together, does not alter the state of the fact, that our youth cannot receive what is considered a finished education, without sustaining a very formidable trial. How few comparatively can pass through a College, or even an academy, to the work of the ministry, without experiencing a diminution or loss of their spiritual vigour!

To frame a system of education, which would avoid the greater number, or most of the evils, would be a service of incalculable value to the world. But I doubt whether human wisdom, under existing circumstances, is competent to the task. It is no difficult matter to furnish expurgated editions of the classics, and to produce family Gibbons, and family Shakspeares; and those attempts at purifying the foul stream of classical instruction are not to be despised. But while so large a portion of time and thought must be expended in these pursuits, and while a capacity for relishing the beauties, whether of the ancient or the modern classics, is rated so high, I fear that the chief source of the evil will still remain.

The principle on which most systems of education are constructed, is the relation which certain attainments bear to certain temporal advantages. The problem on which they are all founded is, How may an individual, at the least expense, be best fitted to conduct a family, to teach a congregation, to manage a counting-house, or to guide the state? I do not say these are not important questions; they are important, and they are the only questions which the world can ever ask and determine. But surely there are other questions which Christians might be expected to consider. Do not the relations which the pursuits and attainments of time bear to eternity, demand their consideration? Ought what can have little tendency to promote men’s interests beyond this world, what in many instances injures those interests, to be the first subject of consideration? Is it quite impossible to frame a system of education, in which all the lines may be brought to unite, in forming the intellectual and moral powers of man, for a state of immortal enjoyment? A system in which every branch shall be deemed important, chiefly as it bears on his eternal condition! A system in which what is showy and superficial, shall be rejected, or thrown into the shade; and what is substantial and useful placed in the fore-ground? A system in which taste shall be less an object than character, and intellect be made subservient to morals? A system in short, which shall have the principles of Christianity for its basis, the advancement of Christianity for its object, and the rewards of Christianity for its end?

I do not conceive such a system to belong only to a region in Utopia. It is perfectly conceivable; but before it can be realized, we must be furnished not only with new principles, but with new men to inculcate them, and with a different state of society to secure their operation. Many as are the evils which we still deplore, much progress has been made during the last thirty years; and before a similar period shall have passed away, it is not too much to expect that the strides of society towards a better state will be still more gigantic.

As the present work may fall into the hands of some who are engaged in conducting seminaries, I hope I shall be forgiven this seeming digression. Considering how many of our youth are seriously injured in the training, how many bitter regrets are afterwards experienced, even by those who do not suffer permanent injury; and how few escape altogether without damage, I can scarcely be required to offer an apology for these remarks. Indeed, though the subject of these memoirs retained his integrity, and passed through his studies without blemish, I know from himself, and from his fellow-students, that "he retained," (I use his own language) "a deep horror of St. Andrew’s." He meant, I am sure, no reflection on the place, none on the Professors, and none on his fellow-students. But he considered it marvellous that he got through his academical course without ruin to his soul. In this preservation he was led to admire the exceeding riches of divine grace; but it must appear very extraordinary, that a Christian University should expose its disciples to such hazards. The fact is, the profession is Christian, but the entire process of education is anti-Christian. Religion, instead of being the first, the last, and the main object, is subordinate to every other object. The minds both of professors and students, are absorbed in science and literature, as the chief objects of pursuit; and religion, when attended to, is examined rather as one of the sciences, than as the doctrine of God and the path of immortality. While this system is pursued, it is not wonderful that the atmosphere of Colleges should generally be unfavourable to the vitality of Christianity.

Our last chapter brought the subject of these memoirs to the conclusion of the third year of his University course, and the seventeenth of his age. To him it had been a year of great interest, and great exertion. In it he had acquired a large portion of celebrity among his associates and what was more, he had laid the foundation of some of his most interesting plans of usefulness. We shall now endeavour to trace his spiritual and intellectual progress to the close of his short but useful life.

Returning home at the end of the session, after visiting Edinburgh, laden, not with wealth, but "with honours bravely won," he still appeared the same modest, unpretending youth. His mind was fully occupied with the importance of the Christian ministry, and especially with the necessities and claims of the heathen world. I had the opportunity of seeing a good deal of him during the month of June, which I spent at Perth, and had then many conversations with him about his future plans. I saw the direction of his mind, and was satisfied what would be the issue; but, from his extreme youth, being then only seventeen, I urged upon him the necessity of taking more time to consider the subject, especially as his father and mother were both exceedingly averse to his going abroad. I advised him, as there were then some difficulties in the way of his returning to St. Andrew’s, rather to apply to be received into some one of the Dissenting academies at home; knowing, that, if his mind still continued to be set upon the heathen world, the opportunity of gratifying his wishes would not be lost. With this advice he complied, and accordingly addressed a letter to the Committee of the Hoxton Academy, requesting to be received into that institution. His reasons for adopting this line of procedure are well stated in the following letter to his friend Mr. C—:

"PERTH, June, 1825.

"A few days ago I sat down to write you, and wrote about eight pages, which, I thought, with the addition of a few sentences, at present, would make out a pretty respectable epistle. A few days, however, often make a great change in our feelings and our prospects; and I perceive, on looking over the pages I have written, that they are quite unfit for sending at present. The last time I sat down, I wrote, with the full expectation of soon enjoying again the company of my dear friends at St. Andrew’s; and I write now under the impression that my lot may soon be cast in a distant part of the island. Mr. Adam perhaps, told you that Mr. Orme is here at preseut on a visit to us. He is a man with whom I have been on the most intimate terms from my very infancy, and one who has ever taken a deep interest, both in my spiritual and temporal welfare. Since ever I have felt anything of the power of religion, I have been accustomed to look to him as my father in Christ, and have ever felt the most perfect confidence in making known to him all my designs and feelings. Last winter I wrote to him expressing my views respecting missions, and my thoughts of devoting myself to this department of the Christian ministry. Since Mr. Orme’s arrival in Scotland I have had much conversation with him on this subject, and have received a good deal of information respecting matters in the metropolis. There are some opportunities of instruction in oriental languages to be enjoyed at present in London, which, if neglected now, may be lost for ever. Dr. Morrison remains for a year only, to give directions about the study of Chinese; and Mr. Townley remains, it is not certain how long, to teach some of the more important of the Indian languages. Another session, at one of the Scotch Universities, although it might be attended with several very considerable advantages, does not seem to counterbalance the opportunities I have hinted at. I can, in a letter, state the reasons which actuate me in this matter only in a very general way. It is not likely, should I go to London this summer, that I shall engage with the Missionary Society immediately, but rather that I shall enter one of our Dissenting academies, where I shall be able to carry on my general studies at the same time that I have an opportunity of prosecuting the study of the eastern languages. On the whole, I feel in considerable perplexity how to act. I need not tell you that all my feelings are in favour of St. Andrew’s, but, I honestly think, duty seems to point in another direction. Mr. Adam seems to agree in thinking it my duty to go to London. I have made this matter, for a considerable time, a subject of constant prayer; and I propose setting apart a day for the solemn consideration of the whole matter, and for the purpose of asking direction from on high. May I entreat an interest in your prayers? These are the circumstances in which we feel most the privilege of a free access to the Father of our spirits; and these are the times when our belief in the revealed declarations of his character, and of his will, come to be tried; and when, if that belief be found real, the revelation of God’s character can give the greatest consolation and joy."

With his application the Committee were much pleased, and would have readily acceded to it; but he was rather too young to be received into the house, which was besides, for that period, already full. He was therefore requested to wait for a year, at the expiration of which they would be glad to hear from him again. In consequence of this failure he requested to be admitted into the Glasgow Academy, under the tuition of my respected friends, the Rev. Greville Ewing, and the Rev. Dr. Wardlaw. After some hesitation on the part of the Committee of that Institution, on the ground of his having devoted himself to foreign service, they agreed to receive him. But circumstances changed a little, and it appeared desirable that he should return to St. Andrew’s to complete his academical course.

How his mind was exercised in regard to these things will, in part, appear from some of his letters:—

"PERTH, July 8, 1825.

"My VERY DEAR FRIEND — An opportunity is afforded me, by Mr. Machray, of answering your interesting letter, which I am glad to embrace. After you left us, I had a good deal of conversation with my friends, on the subject of my destination; and, having set apart a day for the solemn consideration of the matter, and imploring divine direction, I came to the resolution of making application to Hoxton Academy. The issue of that application determines me to remain another year in Scotland. I received an answer from Mr. Wilson, this week, informing me that the vacancies were all filled for the ensuing session; but that, if I could profitably employ my time for a year, they would have room next year, and better accommodation, as they expect to enter on their new College. In connection with this matter, I have been led to consider more attentively those passages of Scripture, which refer to missionary exertions, and the result has been a deeper impression than ever, of the duty of engaging in this work. It is very true, that much has to be done at home; that there are many here, as my friend Craik writes, who ‘can only be considered in the light of more criminal heathens.’ But this is a wilful ignorance: they are not ‘perishing for lack of knowledge.’ And this argument, if carried to its full extent, would stifle missionary exertions to the very end of the world. What would have been the consequence, had the apostles resolved not to leave Jerusalem, till every one of their brethren, according to the flesh, was truly converted? The Gentiles would not have received the glad tidings of salvation to the present hour. This was not the commandment the apostles received, however; and, accordingly, they acted in a very different manner. They were to preach the gospel to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. The nation of the Jews had a claim upon the first preachers of Christianity, which our countrymen have not upon us. They were not only their ‘brethren according to the flesh,’ but they were also God’s chosen nation; and, as such, it was right that they should enjoy a pre-eminence over all others, in first receiving the proclamation of pardon. But, how did their brethren, the apostles, act even to this favoured nation? They made a full declaration of salvation, through Christ; they made a free tender of the mercy of Jehovah; but, by almost all, this mercy was slighted and rejected. By thus sinning against greater light, these individuals became more criminal even than the heathen. Did the apostles, therefore, think that they should not go forth to the heathen, till all these rejecters of the truth were convinced of the error of their ways? No; that very rejection of the gospel, by their countrymen, was a signal for their departure. ‘Seeing ye reject, &c., behold we turn to the Gentiles.’ Had the gospel been proclaimed, in like manner, to all other nations, the apostles would have felt it their duty to have laboured assiduously among their brethren at home. But while there remained a single nation on the face of the earth, that had not received the knowledge of salvation, they felt that the parting commandment of their Master was not yet fully obeyed; and, while they lived, they made it their business, more and more fully to execute that command. But their missionary spirit died with them; and, at the present hour, that commandment remains still unobeyed. Is it difficult, in this case, to see the path of duty? Besides, I cannot see, that by preaching at home, we are hastening the coming glory of the church. God has promised, that all shall know him. He has not promised that all shall serve him. On the contrary, he has said, that he will gather his people out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; which, evidently implies, that all shall not be his people. Far be it from me to depreciate the work of the ministry at home. It is a most important work. But still, while there are any sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, it must yield in importance to the missionary field. Besides, who can tell what an effect our neglect of God’s commandment, to preach to all nations, may have, in causing him to withhold his Spirit from the exertions of Christians at home? conclude. I was abruptly conclude. I was struck with the variety of incidents in your last. Let us contemplate much, my dear friend, the grand operations of God to our world; and, let us thus learn to feel our own insignificance, and to merge every selfish consideration in the great work to which we are called."

The progress of his religious sentiments and feelings, the following letters will show.

The first is the letter alluded to, in that to his friend C—, already inserted. It is too valuable to be omitted.

"MY VERY DEAR FRIEND — The receipt of your interesting communication, and of a note from my friend, Mr. Tait, accompanying a treatise on Confessions of Faith, have been among the most remarkable events in my history, since I wrote last; they have, at least,, been almost the only varieties that have broken the regularity and sameness of a ceaseless routine of occupations, repeated with little change or interruptions, day after day. Not that I am displeased, or wearied of my retirement, for I esteem it as a very great privilege. But I preface my letter thus, merely to remind you, that though you, who are a public character, and are surrounded by all the bustle and variety of numerous avocations, have such a body of’ interesting matter to communicate, that you pant for utterance in the expression of it; and one subject leading to another, the stream of information so enlarges as you go along that the very sheets of paper seem to have foreseen its rising magnitude, and, aware of what was coming, to have extended their dimensions, in proportion as the fund of your information increased — I say, though this be the case with you, you must remember that it is very different with a solitary recluse, who has no companions but his books, (with most of whom you are better acquainted than himself,) and scarcely any engagements but his private studies. But a truce to this trifling. I must proceed to answer your very interesting letter. We may, sometimes, draw illustrations of spiritual things from the most ordinary occurrences in life; and they are not, on that account, the less striking. Your feelings expressed in the beginning of your letter, with respect to your correspondence, struck me as a good illustration of the nature and operation of faith. You knew something of the character of a fellow-creature, as much, you thought, as to entitle you to rely upon his veracity. You knew, however, that he was fallible, and subject to change; and yet, on this previous knowledge of his character, you confidently expected the fulfilment of a promise he had made to you. The time of its fulfilment came, however, and it seemed to you to have been broken. You were ‘perplexed to account for his silence.’ You tried to account for it by some expressions of regret he had used, that he had made the engagement; but you did not think this a sufficient explanation of his failing to perform it. Now, what was it that made you think, even in the face of existing circumstances, that your friend might have performed his promise? It was your faith in his veracity, founded on the previous manifestations of his character which you had observed. Now, let us compare this, or rather, let us contrast it with our faith in the promises of God. Instead of an imperfect guessing at his character, from displays of it, which might generally correspond with what we think its leading characteristics, but which sometimes speak in direct opposition to them; all the manifestations of the divine character we have ever beheld, have been in perfect harmony with each other, all going to establish the grand truths, that the ‘Lord is good;’ that ‘the Judge of all the earth will do rightly:’ and, above all, to demonstrate almost from the very nature of the divine existence, that ‘with him there is no variableness or shadow of turning;’ that he is a God who cannot lie. Now is it not very strange, that with these, so sure grounds for implicit confidence, our faith in the divine goodness and faithfulness is so weak, as to permit our being perplexed by any of the dispensations of his providence, however dark and discouraging? You will remark, that this very perplexity is an indication of a certain degree of faith; it is a struggling between our confidence in the individual, and the circumstances around us which seem to impeach his character. If this circumstantial proof be very strong, then the perplexity indicates a very strong degree of confidence, to enable us to resist the conviction of this strong circumstantial proof. But though, in these circumstances, perplexity does indicate a very strong degree of faith; yet it, at the same time, indicates an imperfection of faith. It may require very strong faith to stand in the combat against a very strong enemy: but perfect confidence would do more, it would overthrow the enemy, it would gain the victory. But perplexity implies, that this is not the case. It implies suspense. It implies that we have not come to a decision. It implies that the combat is yet doubtful; that the victory has not yet been gained. Now is it not strange that our faith in a creature, weak as are the grounds of it, should carry us so far? And that strong as are the foundations of our confidence in God, it does not carry us further? — that the one should carry us so far as to land us in perplexity; that the other should not carry us so far as to extricate us from perplexity? Oh! my friend, were we but deeply impressed with a sense of God’s all-sufficiency, how much of our unhappiness would be taken away! There would be no murmuring at the dispensations of Providence; there would be no regret on reflecting on the past, but the regret that we had ever departed from God; there would be no fear, on looking forward to the future, but the fear lest we might again break his commandments. Sin itself, from which we can never be wholly freed in this world, would still remain to trouble us; but all those sources of misery which indirectly spring from it would be removed. And by a continual dependence on God, and confidence in him, the power even of sin itself would be continually weakening within us. The firm belief; that God was working in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure, would encourage us to work out with fear and trembling, that part of our salvation yet remains, even our deliverance from the power of sin. Connected with this subject, that is a striking passage, ‘Walk thou before me, and be thou perfect.’

"But I am awakened from this long reverie, by receiving that it is near our dinner hour. I sat down in despondency, thinking I should find nothing to say; and resolved by way of making matter, to write a commentary on your epistle. I believe I shall make out pretty well in respect of quantity, if I paraphrase the whole of it at as great length as I have done these first few first sentences.

"PERTH, -------,

"My DEAR F : I take the liberty of writing these few lines, in answer to yours. We were glad to hear of your safe arrival, but were sorry to see the same depression spread over your letter, which we had formerly lamented to behold in yourself. You do not say anything particular about the state of your health; we trust, however, that the change of place, and the bustle and excitement of travelling may have (partly at least) removed your nervousness. Circumstances, indeed, seem to be very depressing. But we, my dear ----, have consolations that should bear us up, and even make us glad under the severest calamities. That climax of misfortune, so beautifully described by the prophet, in the verses, ‘Though the fig-tree shall not blossom,’ &c., has not yet by any means come upon us; and shall our hearts refuse to join in his triumphant expression of gladness, ‘Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation?’ We have a still surer word of prophecy than that which he was instrumental in delivering. We have a surer light to guide our footsteps, and brighter promises to cheer us on our journey. And shall we repine, when all is comparatively smooth and even before us? When we see our way before us and can perceive no difficulty to oppose our progress, we do not need to call into exercise our trust in the promises of God; we do not walk by faith, but by sight. But it is where our way is dark, and there seems to be a lion in the path, that we feel our weakness. It is then that our faith in his promises is put to the test, who hath said, ‘Lo, I am with you always.’ Is it not strange, that we can believe such promises of support and succour as are written on every page of the Bible, and ever feel discouraged or perplexed? Such a belief; were it perfect, would transform even this world, with all its trials and afflictions, into heaven. Such a faith, however, is unattainable, while we are wedded to a body of corruption, and exposed to the malicious suggestions of the adversary. But though this faith cannot be altogether attained, yet it may be approached to, of which we have some most triumphant proofs in the history of the people of God. But I must stop short."

"PERTH, July, —.

"My DEAR C—: It now seems, I think, determined, that I may yet entertain the hope of spending another winter with my dear friends in St. Andrew’s; and, as matters have turned out, I feel almost sorry that I did not confine within my own breast, those painful feelings, which the prospect of parting naturally excites. Had the matter been determined otherwise, however, it might have seemed unfriendly and self-willed to have asked no aid in the decision of it from the counsels and prayers of my Christian friends. As it is, the decision is not mine, but has chiefly been determined by circumstances over which I had no control; but which have, I trust, been graciously ordered by him who is the God of providence, and who has promised that all things shall work together for our good, if we put our trust in him. In considering what might be the path of duty in this matter, I was a good deal perplexed. Had I not thought at all of engaging in the work of missions, I should not have doubted, that I ought to finish my course at St. Andrew’s before entering a Theological Academy. And, on the other hand, had I come to the determination of devoting myself to that work, (especially with the views I have of China as a field of labour,) I should not have hesitated to present my services to the Missionary Society, at present, and thus avail myself of the advantages of personal intercourse with Dr. Morrison. Neither of these was the case, however. It is now about a year since, I thought seriously of personally labouring in the foreign department of the Christian ministry; and although, at a more advanced period of life, twelve months’ consideration and prayer might seem sufficient for determining a question even of this importance; yet you will perceive, that my extreme youth altogether alters the case. If my wish to preach the gospel of Christ among the heathen, have in it aught of the romance of a boyish imagination, a few years’ thought and experience will extinguish its ardor; but if the Lord has appointed me to declare his name to the Gentiles, and that wish has been implanted in my breast by the Spirit of God, delays and disappointments will but foster its growth and make it yet more vigorous. For these reasons, I could not feel it my duty to make a direct application to the Missionary Society, to study in London under their superintendence. But, on the other hand, the facilities of acquiring oriental languages, which the metropolis presents at present, and which are very uncertain in their continuance, make me anxious to be in London, if possible. After considering the matter in all these points of view, consulting my friends here, and asking counsel and direction from the Most High, it seemed to me my duty to make application to Hoxton Academy, which is intended chiefly for the home department, but which sometimes also receives missionary students. This step, you see, had it been taken, would have given me all the advantages I could wish from an immediate residence in the capital, and yet have left my future destination still a matter of consideration and prayer. The letter I received from the Secretary of the Hoxton Committee, in answer to my application, satisfies me as to the duty of remaining another year in Scotland. Had I not made this application, I might have looked back with regret on the opportunities I had neglected; but as it is, my conscience is satisfied in having done what I thought was my duty; and those feelings are also gratified, which I had to struggle with, in the performance of that duty. Excuse me, my dear friend, for having dwelt so long on this subject. I am sorry that I have spent so much time, that I have little remaining to answer your very interesting and affecting letter."

"PERTH, September, 1825.

"MY DEAR FRIEND — I do not know whether debts of kindness, like other debts, admit of being regularly summed up in a debtor and credit column, and balanced against each other. If so, though you confessed the balance due to me in your last, I fear your punctuality and my negligence have more than reversed the matter, and I am now much deeper in your debt than ever you have been in mine. I will not attempt to offer apologies. I might, I believe, conscientiously spin out some that would appear feasible, but I am always suspicious of the sincerity of a man’s sorrow who expresses great contrition for a fault he has committed, which, at the same time, he labours with all his might to extenuate by every trifling excuse that can, or scarcely can be alleged for it. I have been negligent; you will forgive me; and there the matter must rest. I was much struck with the spirit of earnest affection and fervent piety that pervaded your last; and the account you give of the employment of your leisure hours sufficiently explains the greater vividness of your spiritual affections. There is a beautiful action and reaction of our religious feelings and actions upon each other; grace, shown to us by God, prompts us to deeds of charity to our fellow-men; and these deeds, all-imperfect and even displeasing to God, as they must be in themselves from the sin that mingles with the purest of them, are again rewarded by a fresh supply of the favour of our God, which must again lead to deeds of yet more extended benevolence, which are again to meet with a richer reward from the inexhaustible resources of Almighty goodness. It is thus, that he who waters others is watered himself; and of such an individual John Bunyan’s paradoxical lines are strikingly true:

"‘A man there was, though some did count him mad,
The more he cast away, the more he had.’

I say not these things to flatter you. Even where the richest rewards are given for the most indefatigable labours of love, we must ever remember that no reward is deserved, and the individual should be ready to exclaim, with him who was instant in season and out of season in the duties of his office, and who was conscious that his labours were more abundant than those of any of his brethren, ‘Yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.’ I thank you for your very kind admonitions on my weakness of faith. It has much to struggle with in a heart that is but partially renewed; I fear very much that unsanctified confidence which is the most fearful temptation with which the adversary can assail us; a confidence that sin cannot damp; a confidence that, in some cases, the approach of death itself will not destroy, but which will lead its possessor to the very gate of heaven and will only be dispelled when the fearful response is given, ‘I never knew you, depart from me ye workers of iniquity.’ Then he who has been deceived by its delusive whispers of ‘peace, peace, when there was no peace,’ shall exclaim in the very paroxysm of astonishment and despair, ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved!’ The consideration of such a case as this, should make us ‘examine ourselves, whether we be in the faith.’ It is true, that, if we look, to ourselves for comfort, we shall never obtain it; but, it is equally true, that, if the gospel is not to us the spring of holiness as well as the source of our comfort, ‘we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.’ We must not dread the discovery that we have been making little progress, or even that we have been pursuing a retrograde motion in the Christian course; nor must we smother every emotion of insecurity and danger that may rise on such a review. True, we must not cherish such emotions, and rest in them till they lead us to despair. They must lead us anew to the blood of sprinkling. That which gave consolation when all we could look back upon was an unbroken course of rebellion, will give consolation still; and it is only by such a process, I conceive, that true comfort can be obtained."

During the summer months, besides teaching a Sabbath-school in the neighbourhood of Perth, and keeping his meeting with the young men once a week for conversation on the Scriptures, he diligently pursued his studies and a course of reading. From some memoranda among his papers, I find that he kept a regular account of every day’s employment. It commences on the 12th of May, on which day he arrived at his father’s. It then lays down the following plan of study and occupation for the future: "To rise at seven o’clock; Greek Testament till eight; walk till nine; breakfast between nine and ten; Hebrew Psalms till eleven; Mathematics till twelve; French till one; Greek till two; English reading till three; dinner, three to four; Latin, four to six; tea, six to seven. Walk," &c.

At the end of September is the following summary of his occupations for the preceding months: "Greek Testament, Matthew to the Epistle to the Romans. Revised one hundred and eighty-four pages of Hebrew Grammar. Read forty verses of Hebrew Psalms. Revised six books of Euclid’s Elements; one hundred and twenty pages of Bridge’s Algebra; wrote one essay and fifteen letters. Read seventy-two Lectures of Brown’s Philosophy; Baxter’s Saint’s Rest; Gilbert’s Life of Williams; Edwards on Religious Affections; Narrative of a Tour to the Grande Chartreuse; Home’s Letters on Missions; Orme’s Letter to Irving; fourteen Miscellaneous Discourses."

It is evident, from this statement, that he did not pass his time idly or unprofitably. It does not, however, contain the whole of his employments. Besides what is mentioned above it appears from the daily entries, that he read several of the Orations of Cicero; considerable portions of Homer, Thucydides, &c. He besides met with several interruptions, which repeatedly engrossed most of his time for a number of days together.

The following excellent letter he wrote to his friend Craik, shortly before he went to London:—

"BAROSSA PLACE, September 3, 1825.

"MY VERY DEAR FRIEND — I am astonished to find, on looking to the date of your last, that it is so long since I received it: and, probably, if you have been expecting a letter, the time, that has seemed to me like a few hours, may have been felt by you as if longer than it actually is. At least, so I feel, I always think my friends are very long in answering my letters, and yet I find, that, even when I conceived myself most punctual, I am more dilatory than any of my correspondents. That is an apt personification of time, which represents him as a decrepit old man with wings, that are visible only from behind. While we watch his approach he seems to creep tardily along: it is not till he has passed us that we perceive he has been flying. I cannot tell you how much I felt on the receipt of your very splendid and very affectionate present. It has become so common, from the higher refinement of our day, in the acknowledgment of the most common-place favour, for an individual to allege that he cannot express his gratitude, that I am almost ashamed to use the much-hackneyed phrase. But, in my case, it is used in simple honesty; and I know you will believe me when I say so. The word ‘memorial,’ in the inscription which of course struck my eye before reading your letter, affected me a good deal. I feared it was prophetic of separation, and looked anxiously over your letter for the passage which should tell me that you had got an appointment to some situation which would prevent our meeting in St. Andrew’s next winter. I was agreeably relieved from my anxiety by finding in your last page, instead of an account of your fancied removal, a proposal of lodging in the same house with me. And I was pleased to think, that, by calling your present a ‘memorial’ of our friendship, you meant, perhaps, to remind me of the fleeting nature of our intercourse; which soon, it may be very soon, will exist only in the recollection of the past.

"My alternations of feeling somewhat resembled those of one, who, on returning after a long absence, to the land of his nativity, should ask some passer-by, in pointing to a sepulchral pile before them, whose monument that was which seemed to have been so lately erected, and should be answered by the mention of the name of one whom he remembered as one of the dearest companions of his youth, and in whose company he had yet hoped again to revive the recollection of joys that had long departed, — a feeling, in some respects, more pleasing even than the joys themselves; but whose informer, on perceiving the gloom that had overcast his countenance, should rejoin, not to think that he was dead, he was still alive for whom that monument was intended; he had built it, not like many who in lifetime raise a splendid mausoleum for their dust, as if to demonstrate that infatuated man can be proud even of his frailty; but to stimulate him to greater diligence in the improvement of a season, in which so much has to be done, which, at its longest, is so very short, and which even were it longer is so very uncertain. But whither am I wandering? Excuse a mind that is sometimes too fond of amplifying trifles. I would scarcely write in such a motley strain to any but yourself. If, however, Cowper published a moral poem on ‘The Sofa,’ I may be excused for moralizing in a private letter, on the word ‘memorial.’"

* * * * * *

"Most of Newton’s Letters I have read, and those I read with very great pleasure. And, though not perhaps after this particular author that I remember, yet, frequently after perusing such authors, have I shared in the feelings you express; a fear, that the spirit that animated such men is fast declining. Often have I asked myself the question, Is not Christianity the same now as it was in the days of Owen and Baxter, and Newton? and why then is it that we now so seldom meet with ‘living epistles of Christ,’ such as they were? If we do not observe this lukewarmness, the world will. If we do not use it as an incitement to greater fervency of prayer for the reviving influences of the divine Spirit, infidels will make their use of it, in drawing from it arguments against the power of religion. I have often thought that I perceived arguments against evangelical religion, far stronger than its opposers have ever adduced; and I have wondered how they could escape the notice of such acute men as we have often had to mourn over among the ‘enemies of the cross of Christ.’ I think it is the pious Newton, of whom we have just been speaking, who thinks he perceives in this, the watching of a gracious Providence, lest the mind of a weak believer should be shaken by the corroboration of those arguments from another, which must often have appeared fearfully alarming in his own experience. Were the opposers of evangelical truth, instead of their worn-out vocabulary of opprobrious epithets, to employ fair arguments from the inconsistency of Christians, many of us would be struck dumb. If ‘our treasure be in heaven, our heart will be there also.’ And if our heart be there, since it is ‘out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,’ our conversation will be about heavenly things. How different, however, is the case! On this subject there are two or three very beautiful verses, which I have just read, in a collection of hymns, by Thomas Kelly, (I know very little about the author; the volume I quote them from belongs to a sister of Robert Trail’s) in which, although there is no great strength of conception, or beauty of imagery, there are contained some strains of lively piety and Christian feeling, expressed in very simple language. Such, I think, are these verses, paraphrased from, or rather suggested by, Malachi iii. 16. ‘Then they that feared the Lord, spake often one to another,’ &c.

"‘Why should believers, when they meet,
Not speak of Christ, the King they own:
Who gives them hope that they shall sit
With him for ever on his throne?

Is any other name so great
As his who bore the sinner’s load?
Is any subject half so sweet,
So various as the love of God?

"Tis this that charms reluctant man,
That makes his opposition cease;
Beholding love’s amazing plan,
He drops his arms, and sues for peace.

‘Twas so with us, we once were foes,
Were foes to Him who gave us breath;
But no whose mercy freely flows,
Has saved us from eternal death.

We look with hope to that great day,
When Jesus will with clouds appear,
A sight of him will well repay
Our labours and our sorrows here.

Of Him then let us speak and sing,
Whose glory we expect to share;
In heaven we shall behold our King,
And yield a nobler tribute there.’

"I cannot help mentioning, that I, last week, received a letter from our friend Mr. T , very richly imbued with Christian feeling. Political economy, and even church establishments, were fairly cast in the shade; and there was an earnestness of affection, and warmth of feeling manifested, while writing on the grand subjects of our common faith, and expatiating on the endearments of Christian friendship, of which you would scarcely believe our phlegmatic friend susceptible; and with which only such subjects could inspire him.

"The account Mr. T— gives of the employment of his leisure hours, sufficiently explains (to me at least) this increased spirituality of his mind. He had been, for some time, paying daily visits to the ‘house of mourning.’ Two of the people he has been accustomed to visit, died during the summer; of none of them he thinks he had hope in their death."

In the month of September he went to London, on a visit to his friend, Mr. Adam; in the course of which, he spent a few days with me, the last of my earthly intercourse with him. The following extract of a letter from Mr. Adam, to me, notices this visit, and some of the objects which occupied his attention during the following winter, after his return to St. Andrew’s.

"At the close of the session he persuaded me, before leaving for England, to spend a short time with his friends at Perth, which I did; and before returning again the following winter, I persuaded him to pay me a visit in return at Homerton. During this visit, he was introduced to Dr. Morrison and Mr. Townley, and openly expressed the wish he had fostered previously in his bosom, to devote himself to missionary labours. We returned to College together, and being linked by a new bond, a common desire to benefit the heathen, we applied ourselves afresh to our general studies, and to a thorough investigation of everything relating to missions. For this purpose we searched the sacred Scriptures, and summed up our inquiries under the head of precepts, prophecies, examples, and promises. We also perused Brown’s History of Missions; Horne’s, Ward’s, Milne’s, and Judson’s Letters; the Lives of Martyn, (which he read repeatedly, and eagerly drank into his spirit,) Brainerd and Chamberlain; Ward’s History of the Hindoos, &c. During this winter our Society nourished, and several essays were read, not only by ourselves, but by others, some of whom we believed to be inquiring after the path of duty; and, as I perceived, were not a little influenced by the powerful and affecting manner in which John pleaded the claims of the heathen. With a sedulous attention to his engagements at the College, he found time to visit the sick, to give his assistance at some little meetings formed for the religious instruction of the poor during the week, and occasionally to supply some village stations, where there was preaching on a Sunday. I had forgotten to say, at the beginning of this session he laboured diligently for a time at the Chinese, and actually accomplished, by his unaided endeavours, a translation of the first chapter of John’s Gospel. Attention to so many different objects rendered it absolutely necessary that he should soon relinquish the least pressing, and consequently, as I believe, laid it by, and never afterwards resumed it."

In a letter to his father, from London, he gives some account of his visit, and of his future plans. It contains also some remarks on my respected friend, Dr. Morrison, which are so just, that I cannot keep them back. I believe the character and manners of that devoted individual have not been properly understood, and in some quarters have been treated with a degree of unintentional injustice. His long and retired residence in a far distant country, and his absorption in the great object which he has so ardently and successfully pursued, sufficiently account for certain marked peculiarities, which I am convinced had no foundation in any obliquity of temper or disposition. Justice to one of the most enlightened and devoted servants of Christ, which this or any age has furnished, requires that I should bear this testimony, while I introduce he observations of my young friend.

"MARSHGATE, HOMERTON, Oct. 20, 1825.

"MY DEAR FATHER — In company with Mr. Adam I called on Dr. Morrison a few days after my arrival, who received us with that bluntness by which his manners are characterized, which has by some been represented as approaching to rudeness; but which is evidently not the want of kindness, but a superiority to those petty expressions of it which are often used, in our too-refined age, as a covering for coldness and indifference. Neither did I find Dr. Morrison, as some of our friends had represented to me, an overweening conceit of his own sphere of exertion. What he said of missions, had more in it of calm rationality, and less of enthusiasm, than I should have even expected from a man who had spent seventeen years in a heathen country. Dr. Morrison very kindly offered to introduce me to his students at the Missionary society’s rooms, in Austin-friars, where the Doctor attends three days in the week, to give instructions in Chinese. I have attended there, with a few exceptions, every day since my arrival, and have seen as much of the mode of studying the language as may enable me, should I wish to pursue it, to do so alone. Dr. Morrison has offered me a loan of the books that are requisite, which are very expensive, (the Dictionary alone having been published at thirteen guineas;) and has also made me a present of a small work, which he has just published, entitled the ‘Chinese Miscellany.’ With these helps, I hope to do something at the language this winter, in St. Andrew’s, and should I never make any actual use of it, it will be a good mental exercise. I have not yet called on Mr. Wilson, but intend to do so before I leave; but I think it likely that with my present views, my case does not come within the province of any of the home theological academies. My plan is to return to St. Andrew’s, to devote the winter to my ordinary studies, give a little time to Chinese, and more especially, along with my dear friend John Adam, to consider very seriously those passages of Scripture which relate to missionary exertion, as well as to collect from other sources all the information possible upon this interesting subject, and to pray more earnestly than I have yet done, for direction in this particular matter. I thus hope by the conclusion of the winter, so far to have made up my mind as may enable me either to offer my services to the Missionary Society, or to apply for admission to some Dissenting academy. May the Lord direct me! I think you may perceive that my visit to this place has not been to no purpose. There is much general information that I have obtained, which the narrow limits of a single letter do not permit me to communicate; and much more which is of such a nature that it is not very easy to communicate by writing at all; and, on account of which chiefly, a personal visit seemed advisable."

* * * * * *

Dr. Morrison generously presented him with his Dictionary; and the papers which he left behind, sufficiently evince how ardently he entered into the study of that difficult language. He appears to have mastered some of its peculiarities; to have committed a number of its radicals to memory, and to have translated, as Mr. Adam states, the whole of the first chapter of John.

It was during this session that Dr. Chalmers committed to his charge the Sabbath-school, which met in his own house; and I am sure it will not give offence to that respected individual, to find a record in these pages, of the gratitude and affection of his late pupil, for the attentions which were so kindly shown him.

"ST. ANDREW’S, December 6, 1825.

"MY DEAR FATHER — The first general meeting of our University Missionary Society was held yesterday. This institution seems now, under the blessing of God, to have weathered all the opposition that threatened at first to crush it, and promises fair to be established on a secure basis, and to extend the field of its usefulness. The dignitaries of our College profess to have quite changed their opinion with regard to it. Dr. Nicol confesses, that the reports we sent him, gave him information that was quite new to him. Last year, we were refused a room in the College, and could scarcely obtain a place of meeting in the town; now Dr. Haldane tells us, that the Divinity-Hall is at our service, or any other place which his influence can command. This offer we did not accept, as we had already obtained the old Episcopal chapel, as a place of meeting, which is more comfortable and convenient for our purpose, than any other place we could obtain. Our two principals have not given us fair words merely, but have testified their sincerity, by sending us a donation of a guinea each, with the promise of more on the part of Dr. Nicol. These are triumphs, which the most sanguine advocates of the cause would, a few years ago, have thought it not only ridiculous to expect, but almost foolish even to wish for. With God, however, all things are possible; and it is because we expect so little, and desire so little, and pray for so little on the faith of his promises, that these promises are not more speedily and more triumphantly accomplished.

"I think I mentioned, in my letter to my mother, that I had engaged to teach Dr. Chalmers’s Sabbath-school during the winter: my school at Denino, in consequence, is left destitute. I have heard that the children are desirous that it should be begun again. Mr. Adam has commenced his operations, and I have been giving him some assistance. I think it advisable, with my present prospects, that I should engage rather more prominently in such employments, than otherwise I would be inclined to do.

"Dr. Chalmers has been more than kind to me this year: indeed, I feel almost oppressed by his attention. As my school is held in his house, I generally sup with him on Sunday evening, when I enjoy much more of his conversation than at set parties, as he and Mrs. Chalmers are then generally alone. I was very much gratified by a walk I had with Dr. Chalmers, to visit the parents of the children who attend his school. The people in some of the houses, seemed to recognize him familiarly, so that he is probably often engaged in the same labours of love. He thinks such exercises as visiting the poor and the sick, the best introduction to ministerial labour. ‘This,’ he said, as we were going along, ‘is what I call preaching the gospel to every creature. That cannot be done by setting yourself up in a pulpit, as a centre of attraction, but by going forth and making aggressive movements upon the community, and by preaching from house to house.’ I mention these remarks more freely, as I think this is a duty by far too much neglected among our Dissenting ministers."

The Sabbath-school which he engaged to teach this winter, in the house of his respected Professor, from whom he experienced invariable kindness, appears to have occupied his attention very closely. In a book now before me, is contained a list of the names of the young persons, with their places of residence. A list of tracts then follows, which belonged to the school library, with Dr. Chalmers’s remarks on the character of each. Then a list of tracts, and small books, read by himself, with his own account of their nature and tendency. He has also written out, very fully, some of the school exercises on the Scriptures, which do great credit to his knowledge of the Scriptures, and his tact for communicating that knowledge.

This winter he entered the Natural Philosophy class; and, likewise, attended the Hebrew class. In this language he had before made considerable progress, by the help of some Hebrew books which I had put into his hands. He likewise, as appears from his papers, studied hard at Chinese for some time; and only gave it up from the greater urgency of some other objects.

His mind was now completely absorbed in the contemplation of future missionary labour: and to this object, all his pursuits became subservient. The letter of his friend Adam, shows how much he studied it. The paper book, containing the arrangement of the plan of investigating the subject remains, and contains many extracts from the Scriptures, and from various books, on the subject of missions, and numerous references, which prove how very fully he had examined the matter. It would be very desirable, indeed, if those who offer themselves for this service, were found generally to possess such a knowledge of the work which they profess to undertake. Almost all his letters and papers, from this time, bear upon this subject, and display at once the depth of his piety, the ardour of his zeal, and the large portion of good sense with which he contemplated the service of Christ.

Desirous of obtaining advice, and of engaging the prayers of his friends on his behalf, he applied to those in whose judgment and piety he placed confidence, to assist him. The following is a letter of this kind: —

"MY DEAR AND MUCH RESPECTED FRIEND—It is now about eleven o’clock on Sunday evening, and I have been engaged almost the whole of the day in public exercises, so that you will be disposed to excuse a hurried letter. I write these lines chiefly to renew my request, that you would favour me with your correspondence on a subject which now most deeply engages my attention; the determination of the sphere of labour in which I can most usefully spend my life, if the Lord spare me, and honour me to do the work of an evangelist. I do not know whether there be any impropriety in my making this request; if there be, you must lay it to the account of my ignorance, and forgive me. Were I soliciting your advice merely for the sake of promoting my own interest, I should feel that my request was stamped with a character of very gross egotism. But I feel that I am the property of Christ, and of his church; and that even my feeble services may have some influence on his cause; and in this view of the subject you will not think me selfish, in desiring your attention to what might at first appear my own private affairs. Almost every person I have conversed with on the matter urges upon me the duty of attending to the wants of our own country, and assuredly, if our own country were more neglected, or even as much neglected as other lands, I should feel the argument in all its force. I do think that our own countrymen have the first claim upon our attention, and I am inclined to think that the first preachers of Christianity would have declared the message of mercy first to the Jews, even though no express command had been given to preach to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. But I cannot see how the claims of a native land can be stronger to a Gentile, than the claims of their own favoured nation were to the Jewish Christians. On this account, I think we are quite safe in taking the apostles for our example, in their conduct towards their countrymen. They did not wait till every dark corner of Judea was fully evangelized; far less till every heart had been savingly impressed by the truth. It was no argument to them to remain in Judea, that there were many who heard their message, that after all had refused to receive it. On the contrary, this was the very signal for their departure. (Acts xiii. 46; xxviii. 24-29.) I do feel much for the dark places of our own beloved country; but it does seem to me that the evangelical ministers of Britain could, with very little effort, publish the gospel most fully to every individual in the land. And they would do well to examine how far they are not guilty of the blood of souls, in not making more vigorous exertions for the heathen around their own doors. If a pastor of a church cannot do the work of an evangelist, let a separate person be maintained by every body of Christians, for this purpose; or, if each church cannot accomplish this, let a number of churches join in order to do so. I am aware that this is partly done by the itinerant societies, which are now beginning their operations, and I rejoice to see it; but still this is but a very feeble effort, compared with the necessities of the case. I still am inclined to think that the publication of the gospel, as a message of mercy to sinners, is the grand object for which the Christian ministry was instituted, at least it is one of the greatest objects. I do think that even the edification of the body of Christ, yields to it in point of importance. We believe that if a sinner once embraces the gospel, he cannot finally fall away; and even if his progress in the divine life should be slow, we know that in a very few years at the furthest, a full display of the glories of the divine character must burst upon him. Now, whether is it a more important work to rescue a sinner from hell, and place him in this condition of safety, or to antedate, in a very slight degree, the happiness of a future state, in one who has believed? For all our advances in the knowledge of divine truth here must be held insignificant, when compared with the immense addition to our knowledge and our happiness, which we shall receive at that time when the dim conceptions of faith shall be exchanged for the bright realities of actual vision. I beg that you would not understand me as estimating lightly the work of grace in the hearts of believers. It is only when contrasted with the work of regeneration, that I would ever think of it as of secondary importance. But I am not sure that the work of grace would go on more slowly in the hearts of believers, from the attention of the pastors being more called to the work of evangelizing the heathen. I do think in the present day we are apt to trust too much to public ordinances, and I would almost like to see Christians more thrown upon the resources of private devotion, and more direct communion with God. Our knowledge of divine things, to be sure, is small; but oh! that our piety were but equal to our knowledge. I am sorry to be obliged to conclude so abruptly."

His correspondent wrote him an excellent letter in reply to this, which produced another from him, which I subjoin:

"ST. ANDREW’S, February 4, 1826.

"MY DEAR FRIEND—I feel much encouraged by your very kind letter. However clear the way of duty may seem to be marked out by our own conscience, still it gives us a much surer confidence in our own convictions, when they are strengthened by the concurring sentiments of our Christian friends, especially of those friends whom we highly esteem. I am not sorry on the whole, that hitherto my friends have all opposed my desire to preach Christ among the heathen. Perhaps it is well that we should have to wade through a good deal of opposition, in making up our mind on a subject of such importance. There is an air of romance which invests the subject of missionary adventure, when first it is presented to the mind of the young disciple; (what Mr. Malan in writing to my friend Mr. Adam, calls ‘Un trait de l’imagination;’) and it is well, perhaps, that this false fire should be damped by opposition. It is a principle, I believe, among the Moravians, ‘never to persuade any person to be a missionary.’ And perhaps we should still act in the spirit of this maxim, did we even carry it so far as rather to repress than to stimulate the incipient zeal of the candidate for missionary service. For surely if our desire for the work cannot stand against the remonstrances of our friends, we have every reason to think that it would soon be quenched amid the heavy and lengthened discouragements which must be met with in the work itself. If the desire to serve my Saviour among the heathen were merely of myself, it is not like the fickleness of my natural disposition to have persevered in it till now, while meeting with so little encouragement. I do trust that the Spirit of the Lord has implanted this desire in my breast, and I know that he will perfect what he has begun. You speak of the difficulties connected with the work of a missionary. I can assure you, my dear friend, that as I have perused the history of former labourers, they have thickened upon my view. It is not to the natural dangers and hardships of the missionary life that I refer. It is not the prospect of encountering the diseases of an insalubrious atmosphere, with a frame that is not very robust, which affects me. If we perish in such a cause, we perish gloriously, and in this respect we ‘conquer though we are slain.’ There is something sweet in the contemplation of suffering for Christ’s sake. ‘If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.’ And ‘the more we toil and suffer here, the sweeter rest will be.’ These are not the difficulties that I fear. But, I confess, I do tremble when I think of the spiritual dangers, the temptations of a heathen land, where all those barriers are broken down, ‘which are the only safe-guards of the boasted virtue of the great mass of our community, and which operate, perhaps more strongly than he is aware, in restraining those evil propensities and worldly lusts, with which even the Christian has to contend. I have been very much depressed to find the instances of apostasy among missionaries, so very numerous; and that some, who, for a long time did run well, were afterwards hindered by ‘the lust of the flesh, or the lust of the eye, or the pride of life.’ While I look at this dark side of the picture, there is nothing gives me any comfort, but a complete reliance on the faithfulness of Him who has promised that as our day is, so shall our strength be. Oh, for a stronger faith in my Redeemer! a closer walk with my God! I see that spirituality of mind is the main qualification for the work of a missionary, and this is the very qualification which I feel that I most want. But I believe that He who hath given the desire to serve him, will also give the ability to fulfil that desire. I know that though weak in myself; I am strong in him. And I will rest in the promises of his love. Christ, when he dwells in the heart by faith, can impart of his own omnipotence to weakness itself; for through him, (may the weakest Christian say,) I can do all things. I have been struck with the view you give of the pastoral office, as raising up labourers. It is a view of it which I had not sufficiently considered. When we look intently at one object, it is very probable that other most interesting objects may altogether escape our notice; and so when the mind is much occupied with the consideration of a single object, the very intensity of our attention to it may be the means of obscuring our perception of other objects equally important. Dr. Chalmers has of late plied me a good deal with the same kind of argument for remaining in this country. ‘You may render even to the cause of missions,’ he says, ‘perhaps greater service in raising up labourers by your preaching here.’ My reply to this, however, is just a reference to facts. Christianity has been long preached, and many converts have been made in our own land, and the cause of Christian philanthropy, moreover, has been most ably pleaded; but notwithstanding, when labourers are called for, the eloquent advocates of missions shrink back, and scarce any are found to go forth."


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