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Parish Life in the North of Scotland
Chapter XVII - Ministry and Contemporaries in Aberdeen


1819-1822.

I ARRIVED in Aberdeen by the "Duke of Gordon" stage-coach at the end of July, 1819. My arrival was waited for and welcomed by a few of the leading men of the Gaelic chapel. They conducted me to lodgings at a Mrs. Hume's in Virginia Street, not indeed very conveniently situated, but where, notwithstanding, I was under the necessity of remaining, until in November I took up house for myself at Gilcomston.

Of my new charge the late Dr. Ronald Bayne, minister of Kiltarlity, was the founder. This excellent man was a native of Dingwall, and the lineal descendant of the Baynes, Knights of Tulloch, in Ross-shire. He was a man of great mental acuteness, and of an exuberant imagination. In youth he was so much under the power of an evil heart as to be far ahead of his compeers in recklessness and folly. His neighbours knew him then only by the name of "Raoghalt Molluichte," or cursed Ronald. But, at a comparatively early period of his life, be became a subject of Divine grace. All the energies of his active and powerful mind were at once turned into a new and contrary channel, so that he became fearless and faithful in the ways of God. His first ministerial charge was the chaplainship of the 42nd Regiment which, under the command of Lord MacLeod, had been ordered to India, whither he accompanied them in 1780. After remaining there for some time he was under the necessity of returning home for the benefit of his health, and came to Aberdeen to reside in the neighbourhood of his wife's relatives. It was while there that his attention was directed to the moral destitution of the Highlanders in the city and district. They were "as sheep without a shepherd." With the cordial concurrence of Mr. Abercrombie, one of the ministers in Aberdeen, Dr. Bayne succeeded in collecting the Aberdeen Highlanders together, formed them into a congregation, and statedly preached to them wherever a hall sufficiently large for the purpose could be found. The congregation was thus constituted by Dr. Bayne. In 1798 he received a call from the congregation of the Little Kirk at Elgin, which he accepted, and was succeeded in Aberdeen by his brother, Mr Kenneth Bayne, who was his equal and contemporary in the Christian life, but his inferior in natural abilities. Dr. Ronald Bayne, after an unsuccessful contest with the Presbytery of Elgin respecting the spiritual liberties, and even the existence within the Establishment, of the Little Kirk, left Elgin in 1800 for Inverness, where he officiated in the Chapel of Ease until be was appointed minister of Kiltarlity, in Inverness-shire, 5th May, 1808.

Mr. Kenneth Bayne continued for some years minister of the Gaelic congregation in Aberdeen. It was during his residence and ministry there that the chapel was erected. He afterwards accepted a call to the Gaelic chapel in Greenock. Many persons, natives of Greenock who did not understand Gaelic, went to reside in the Highlands for the express purpose of acquiring the language in order to profit by his preaching. He was succeeded in the Aberdeen Gaelic chapel by Mr. John Mackenzie, a pious man, who in 1798 was translated to Glasgow, as minister of the Duke Street Gaelic chapel. His immediate successor in Aberdeen was Mr James MacPhail, second son of the venerable hector MacPhail, minister of Resolis. He remained only a year, after which be became minister of Daviot, Inverness-shire. Mr. MacPhail very much resembled his revered father in the simplicity of his Christian character. After him came Mr. William Forbes, whose ministry in Aberdeen was brief in point of time, but eternal in regard In its real effects, he having had "many seals" whilst there "of an accepted ministry." He became minister of the parish of Tarbat, Ross-shire, in 1800.

Mr. Forbes was a man of highly respectable talents, a profound and scriptural divine, a pious man, and a truly devoted servant of the Lord Jesus. His pastoral duties to his people he discharged with the strictest fidelity, and his pulpit exercises in both languages were accurate, able, and deeply impressive. His temperament was intensely nervous, and often threw him into moods of feeling the very reverse of each other—at one time in a high flow of spirits, laughing until his eyes ran over at his own anecdotes, told with no ordinary powers of humour and drollery—at another sunk in the deepest gloom, which his countenance, naturally dark and sallow, was peculiarly well fitted to express. His wife, my sister Jean, was in the most important sense a helpmeet for him. She was a truly pious woman, and, through the mists which so often overspread them, she was capable of discerning, and fully appreciating, the excellencies of his Christian character. My stepmother always entertained the profoundest esteem for Mr. Forbes, and he on his side cherished feelings of regard for her, so much so that he named his second daughter Jane [Afterwards Mrs. Mackay of Garrochty, now the only survivor of the family. Two sons died while attending their classes at college. Mr. Forbes married Miss Jane Sage on 29th Nov., 1813; he died 12th May, 1838, in the 72nd year of his age and 48th of his ministry. Mrs. Forbes died at Edinburgh, 29th Dec., 1852. For interesting particulars regarding the ministry of Mr. Forbes, see volume of his sermons, published by Gemmell, Edinburgh.—Ed.] after her. His successor in Aberdeen was the late eminently pious Mr. Neil Kennedy, a man of prayer and of deep Christian experience. He was minister of the chapel during my first two sessions at college, and in 1813 was settled minister of Logic in Easter-Ross, where he died in 1836, aged 56 years. After Mr. Kennedy's departure the congregation recalled Mr. John Mackenzie, who, not feeling himself suited as pastor of the Duke Street chapel in Glasgow, readily returned to his former charge. Mr. Mackenzie very soon after returned to Glasgow, not indeed to his former charge, but to a newly-formed Gaelic congregation in the Gorbals. He was succeeded in Aberdeen by Mr. Duncan Grant, who, at the time he received the call, was a teacher in Fortrose Academy.

When I first settled among them I found the Gaelic congregation to be a very respectable one. My annual income was £150, £10 of which were paid by the S.P.C.K. The stated services on every Lord's day were, a sermon forenoon and afternoon in the Gaelic language, and an optional English sermon or lecture in the evening. I was the first minister inducted by the Presbytery, for it had only been sanctioned as a charge by the General Assembly of 1819. During the winter I usually lectured in English at six o'clock on Sabbath evening, but in summer I devoted that portion of the Sabbath, as well as week days, to the duty of catechising. I commenced my catechetical exercises among them by family visitation, which I found to be at once satisfactory to myself, and edifying and acceptable to the people.

With one exception the ministers of Aberdeen were, I think, the same who had held office when I was at college thirteen years before. At that time Mr. Doig was minister of the Trinity Chapel, but since then, on the death of Mr. Gordon of East Church, he became the colleague of Dr. Ross. Aberdeen was not then, as it is now, divided into parishes, the ministers of which are independent of each other, and have each their respective kirk sessions. In 1819 there were only four ministers of the Church of Scotland for the whole population of the city of Aberdeen, amounting then to upwards of 40,000. The spiritual destitution of the extra population in connection with the church was supplied by those who were then styled Chapel of Ease ministers, i.e., ministers who, though they were ordained to discharge all ministerial functions to their own congregations, were not members of the courts of the church, nor were they even moderators of kirk sessions for the due regulation of their congregation. Besides, the East and West Churches were collegiate charges, i.e., two ministers preached to the same congregation, the one in the forenoon and the other in the afternoon of every Lord's day. These four, therefore, were the only strictly constitutional ministers of the city, the Chapel of Ease ministers being, Dr. Dewar of Greyfriar's, Dr. Thomson of Footdee, Dr. Kidd of Gilcomston, and Mr. Murray of Trinity Chapel, besides myself.

With the ministers of the West Church I, as a minister, hardly ever came in contact, but was more intimately acquainted with those of the East Church. Dr. Ross was a man of great modesty and unfeigned piety, but a dry, uninteresting preacher. He was much beloved by his own flock, and by all his friends and acquaintances. By the great body of the citizens of Aberdeen he was highly esteemed; indeed, all who knew him were, by the uniform sweetness of his disposition and the faultless purity of his life, inclined to make a great deal of him. He died in 1824, aged 64 years; and was succeeded by the most intimate friend of the latter part of his life, Dr. James Foote, minister of Logiepart, in Forfarshire. Dr. Ross's funeral was the most numerously attended in the memory of the oldest man then living.

Mr. Robert Doig was the colleague of Dr. Ross, and successor of Dr. Gordon. During my attendance at college he was minister of the Trinity Chapel, but now of the East Church. Mr Doig was a very respectable preacher. It was he who inducted me into my charge. He was professedly of the Evangelical party. He died at Edinburgh in 1824, shortly after having attended the General Assembly as a member. He was thrice married, but had only one son who, when I was in Aberdeen, was minister of the second charge in Arbroath. He was, some years thereafter, presented to the parish of Torryburn, in the Presbytery of Dunfermline, and has since been Free Church minister of that parish.

I have mentioned Dr. Glennie as a professor; let me now record my impressions of him as a minister. His sermons, like his lectures, were very prosing and dull, but what was specially noticeable was his cold and bitter Moderatism, the more so as, at first, he was strongly suspected to have cherished leanings towards principles and views of a very opposite character. He began his ministerial course as the minister of Greyfriar's, or College Church, and his services there were, at first, very faithful and acceptable. But when he was, like the scribe, "not far from the kingdom of heaven," the leading Moderates in Edinburgh made such a determined and simultaneous assault upon him for his evangelical tendencies, as not only to cure him effectually of these "morbid sensibilities," but to engender in his heart the most implacable hatred of all evangelicalism, or whatsoever tended thereunto. Some years after I left Aberdeen, Dr. Glennie resigned his charge of the West Church, and confined himself entirely to the duties of the Professorship, which he held till his death in 1845.

Mr. John Murray, of Trinity Chapel, was one of my earliest acquaintances of the clerical order after I became minister of the Gaelic chapel. He was a truly pious man, a sound divine, and a most respectable scholar, and when he began his ministerial labours in Aberdeen he was highly esteemed by the serious, and was evidently owned and honoured by God. His preaching, plain, faithful, and truly scriptural, was made effectual in bringing any to feel the power of the truth. Mr. Murray's faithfulness drew upon him the reproach and scorn of unbelievers. As an example of this, I was credibly informed that, shortly before I came to Aberdeen, the agent of an English commercial establishment, dealing chiefly in the article of sulphur or brimstone, came to Aberdeen for orders. Apparently he did not confine his applications to grocers and others dealing in that article, but visited individual families for the purpose of taking orders. Passing through the Shiprow, a street leading directly to Trinity manse, where Mr. Murray resided, the agent called on several individuals on his way. Some of them refused the article for their own use, but told him that there was a gentleman of the name of Murray, residing at the end of the street in a house enclosed with an iron railing, who dealt very largely in the article. Thither the unconscious agent wended his way, knocked at Mr. Murray's door, and being admitted, stated the reason of his coming, and assured him that the article in which he dealt so largely would be furnished by his firm on reasonable terms and of the best quality. Mr. Murray was naturally of a keen and rather combative disposition, but he at once saw from whose quiver the bolt had been selected, so, giving a grave explanation to the agent, he civilly dismissed him. Mr. Murray's irascibility of temper and indolence in the pastoral office tended to circumscribe his sphere of usefulness, and were obstacles in the way of his attaining to that place among his brethren in the ministry to which he was otherwise so justly entitled. He was ever zealous, however, in promoting the cause of God throughout the land, and of the numerous societies for such purposes in Aberdeen he was a most efficient member. During my residence in that city Mr. Murray entered into the married state with his present excellent wife. Miss Margaret Brown was the eldest daughter of Bailie, afterwards Provost, A. Brown, bookseller in Broad Street, Aberdeen. Mr. Murray was a native of the parish of Insch. His father had been a respectable farmer there, but was dead long before I knew his son. He had a brother residing with him, Mr. Andrew Murray, a young man of decided piety and a student of divinity. He was afterwards licensed to preach and ordained a minister in the Helvetic Church, where he is at present. In 1825, on the demise of Mr. Doig, Mr. Murray became the senior minister of St. Nicolas' church, the designation then of that church and parish. He was, when first settled there, the colleague of Dr. Ross, who survived Mr. Doig about a year or so, and after his death, Mr. Foote became Mr. Murray's colleague in the East Church. Some years thereafter the collegiate charges of the East and West Churches were dissolved, and the whole city was divided into parishes, each minister being a member of Presbytery, and holding his own session. In consequence of this arrangement Mr. Murray became the minister of the North Church and parish. The church itself is a fine building, in the Grecian style, with a tower and steeple, and is situated at the south-east end of North Street at its junction with King Street. In that church he continued to labour until the Disruption. He is at present one of the Fathers of the Free Church of Scotland. [Dr. Murray died lot March, 1861, in the 77th year of his age and 46th of his ministry. His wife died 4th Feb. of the following year.—Ed.]

Dr. Daniel Dewar was then in the zenith of his popularity. He had succeeded Prof. Scott in the Moral Philosophy Chair at King's College, and Dr. Glennie in the Greyfriar's Church, some years before I came to Aberdeen. He resided at the College in the old town, and preached every Sabbath in Greyfriar's Church. His sermons were highly finished pieces of composition; they had, moreover, a sprinkling of evangelicalism, and these qualities combined recommended them to a certain class of hearers then very common in Aberdeen. They were those who desired to find in the sermon what would gratify their taste by its style, and soothe their feelings by its flavouring of pious sentiment, but to whom anything pointed or rousing would be most offensive. To such hearers Dr. Dewar was highly acceptable as a preacher. A slight personal account of him may not be uninteresting. He was a native of Agyllshire, and was born in the humblest circumstances. His father was a blind fiddler, who earned his bread by travelling through the country and playing at weddings, etc. He was attended by his son Daniel for the purpose of being the bearer of the fiddle-case, and his father's guide. Some wealthy individual took notice of the musician's son, and thought he could discover, under the guise of his poverty, the germs of future greatness; and so, at his own private expense, sent him to a public school. From this circumstance Dr. Dewar could date his subsequent rise in the world. He joined the Independents, or perhaps was of this sect as a member of his father's family. After he left school he studied, with a view to become one of their preachers, at their Academy at Homerton in England, under the tutorship of Dr. Pye Smith, then at the head of that seminary. There his training seems to have consisted principally in studying English composition. Whether at his first outset in life he was engaged as an Independent preacher, I am not certain, but it is probable that he was, as it has been the custom of that sect from the time of Oliver Cromwell to suffer any one of their adherents, whatever their circumstances or education might be, to step into their pulpits, and edify a congregation by their pourings forth. But Air. Dewar soon found out that the Independent connection, however numerous in England, presented but a very limited sphere of action in the north, and he therefore joined the Church of Scotland. Passing through all his preparatory studies at Edinburgh University and Hall, he was licensed to preach, and became pastor of a small congregation in Argyllshire. The first time I ever saw him was in the pulpit of the old Gaelic Chapel in Edinburgh, where he preached in Gaelic with considerable hesitation. He had come to Edinburgh for the purpose of preparing one of his first works for the press. On the decease of Mr. Kirkland of Trinity Chapel, he was a candidate for that charge. but was unsuccessful; he was appointed to the Moral Philosophy Chair subsequent to his becoming minister of Greyfriar's. I was, whilst he remained there, on a very friendly footing with him. He was at the time greatly ahead of us all in the zeal and ability with which lie pleaded the cause of truth at the public meetings of every religious society with which the city of Aberdeen then so much abounded. For that was the very age of religious societies. No public meeting could be conducted without Dr. Dewar. No sermon could be preached for any religious or charitable object but by him only. Not any new scheme could be formed, nor recent society established, without his countenance. In consequence of the Plurality Act of Assembly he experienced so much annoyance from the majority of the Senatus of King's College for holding. both livings, the charge of Greyfriar's and the Professorship, that he sought interest for, and procured his appointment to, the Tron Church in Glasgow. Thither he removed towards the close of the first half-year of my residence in Aberdeen, from whence he returned, on the death of Principal Brown, to succeed him in that office. But in all his changes of place and circumstances, and in his dealings with mankind, his principles and character preserved the same aspect. He sat in a vehicle drawn by two horses, Ambition being the name of the one and Avarice that of the other.

Dr. Thomson, minister of Footdee, was one of my intimate friends. He was a medical man as well as a minister. His stipend was very considerable, and he contrived to at least triple its amount by his medical practice. His church was a very small one, occupying the same site as that on which the present large and elegant structure is erected in the centre of the churchyard. Dr. Thomson was a well-meaning man, and maintained uniform consistency for ministerial character and great zeal in promoting the success of every religious society having the cause of truth or benevolence as its objects. But he was secular in spirit, and while his views of the things unseen were vague and superficial, his mental grasp of this world's wisdom was proportionately tenacious. He was very hospitable, and I was frequently and kindly entertained in his house. Although his charge at Footdee was a distinct and separate parish, yet, previous to the division of the city into parishes, it was only on the footing of a Chapel of Ease. He died in 1838. He was succeeded by Mr. Spence.

Among all my clerical friends, during my, ministry at Aberdeen, none left such a vivid impression upon my mind as Dr. James Kidd, who was both professor of Oriental Languages at Marischal College and minister of Gilcomston Chapel of Ease. Dr. Kidd was a native of Ireland, and so also was his most amiable and pious wife. From his own lips, in my not unfrequent private conferences with him, I learned the following particulars respecting his early history. He was born of humble parents at Lough Brickland, county Down, on the 6th Nov., 1761. He was the youngest of three sous, and in consequence of the death of his father lie and his family removed to county Antrim, to reside at Broughshane, the place of his mother's nativity. He spoke of his mother in the most affectionate terms, as he recalled the days of his childhood; and of her maternal care and early instructions, not only in secular knowledge, but also in religious instruction by the aid of the Shorter Catechism and prayer. "She made me then read to her a chapter of the New Testament daily," he said, " and verse by verse commit it to memory, in all which the grand and prominent object to whom she never failed to direct me from almost every verse I read was Christ—what he said or did, and what lie suffered. Yes, Sir, the last pulse of my old heart will cease to beat when I cease to forget my mother." It was, lie said, in the Presbyterian meetinghouse of Broughshane that he first received and ever afterwards cherished the idea and subsequent hope of preaching the gospel. He proceeded: "I first learned the rudiments of Latin from a friend whom I loved as Jonathan did the son of Jesse. But death, Sir, robbed me of him, and in my poverty of money and of friends, I was again cast upon Providence, and put to my shifts. A kind friend sent me again to school, where I was an enthusiast for literature and science. I afterwards set up a school at Elginy at an age when, instead of being a master, I ought to have been a scholar. But, with the profits of my teaching and hard economy, I scraped together so much of pounds, shilling and pence as enabled me to put a finish to my rudimental education in Belfast, under a Mr. Mason, one of the most popular teachers of English in the north of Ireland. Then I went to Kildownie, where I laboured for four years as a teacher. It was there that I first became acquainted with my wife, then Miss Boyd. After our union, having made a little money by the most persevering industry, in April 1784, I embarked with my wife on hoard the `Irish Volunteer' from Larne to Philadelphia. Without any acquaintance of influence, or a single letter of introduction, I was compelled to work my own way. By the recommendation of a friend, I first undertook the tuition of a family near Egg Harbour in the State of New Jersey. Next I became preceptor in the family of a Mr. Ewing of Pennsylvania, and went hack again to Philadelphia as assistant teacher in the school of my friend Mr. Little. By his persuasion I afterwards opened a classical academy in Philadelphia, in which I was completely successful. Some of the leading characters in America were my pupils, and afterwards acknowledged that their future distinction took rise, first of all, from the instructions and bias which their minds had in youth received at my academy and under my guidance. I then became a student in the College of Pennsylvania."

Mr. Kidd purchased a Hebrew bible of a bookseller in Philadelphia with the money which he had with difficulty put together to purchase a suit of clothes, of which he stood not a little in need. He became then, and continued, an enthusiast for oriental literature; so much so, that he was on the eve of setting out to travel in the East, in order the more fully to perfect himself in oriental languages. But his whole soul was wrapt up in the desire to preach the gospel in Scotland, and, therefore, be embarked for that country, furnished by his friend Dr. Rush, with letters of introduction to the eminent literary persons in Edinburgh whose acquaintance he had made while studying medicine there. fu Edinburgh Mr. Kidd studied philosophy and the languages, and afterwards attended the Divinity Hall. In the meantime, and under the auspices of Rabbi Robertson, he set up as a teacher of oriental languages; and was so successful that, when the chair of this department at Marischal College became vacant by the death of Dr. Donaldson, he was strongly recommended by several leading persons in the church and in the literary world to the patron, Sir Alexander Ramsay of Balmain, in consequence of which he was appointed in October 1793. After attending four years at the Divinity Halls of Old and New Aberdeen, under Doctors Campbell and Gerald, sen., he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Aberdeen. His first ministerial appointment was that of evening lecturer in Trinity Chapel, then lately erected. But in the year 11300, the Gilcomston Chapel of Ease becoming vacant, he was elected by an immense majority of those qualified to vote, and in that charge he continued to labour till the day of his death.

Dr. Kidd preached to overflowing audiences three times every Sabbath. When circumstances permitted I was often, on Sabbath evenings, a much edified and not seldom a much amused auditor. His preaching was eloquent, powerful and scriptural. His mind appeared to be deeply imbued with the truth, and exercised in it. His sermons were evidently prepared; the fluency and eloquence with which be delivered them were quite natural to him, and his views of the subject he discussed were calculated to lead his hearers to serious reflection. Not only in private, but even in the pulpit, Dr Kidd indulged in those eccentricities which have been generally associated with his name. I have seen him act a part in the pulpit as would have disqualified any man, holding the office of a minister, from ever entering afterwards, himself only excepted. For example, lecturing on the book of Daniel, when he came to describe the sudden and appalling appearance of the "handwriting on the wall," as well as its paralysing effects Upon the guilty Belshazzar, Dr. Kidd was not content with merely describing the scene in so many words, but, to impress the minds of his congregation still more with all the strong points of the case, he considered it necessary to act the scene before their eyes. Accordingly, after giving a very natural and powerful picture of Belshazzar's terror, to the utter amazement of his auditors, lie became the identical Belshazzar himself. lie began to tremble from head to foot, he raised his hands and his eyes in parallel lines to the roof of the church, knocked his knees vigorously together, and ultimately dropped down, gradually and gracefully, on the pulpit floor. After remaining there just long enough to allow his astounded hearers to recover their breath, the doctor got up again and concluded his lecture. Now, I will not allow myself to think that all this was mere affectation or love of effect. I can only account for it by ascribing it entirely to his eccentricity, which was essentially that of an Irishman who, feeling his eccentricities once on the move, cannot calculate himself, nor can any one else for him, to what extent they may carry him away before they subside. The worthy doctor was much annoyed by drowsy bearers. ['here was one man, clothed with a red waistcoat among other of his vestments, who had got seated directly under his eye. The man began first to nod, his bead giving thereby clear enough indications that, if not fairly asleep, he was on the verge of being so. "Waken that man," exclaimed the preacher. The mail was pinched, and wakened accordingly by his neighbour. But he awoke only to fall asleep again. "I say, waken that red-breasted sinner there," shouted the doctor, and a second time the sleeper was roused from his slumbers by his neighbouring and more wakeful fellow-worshippers. But it would not do. In a twinkling, he was fast asleep a third time, and the worthy pastor's patience being therewith fairly exhausted, he grasped a small pocket. bible lying at his hand on the pulpit cushion, and sending it at the sleeper, with unerring aim, lie hit him on the side of the head. "Now, sir,' said he, "if you will not hear the Word of God, you shall feel it." There certainly was not another man or minister in the kingdom who might have ventured on so striking a reproof.

For the highlanders Dr. Kidd entertained a strong attachment. huring sacramental occasions in the Gaelic Chapel he and his people always attended the lectures on the evenings of Thursday and Sabbath. One Sabbath evening during my time the doctor and his people, with many others, had come to the chapel doors a little before six, and found them shut. The crowd was immense, and the crush to get in was likely to be serious, as the numbers outside were increasing. Dr Kidd, in an authoritative voice, demanded why the doors were not opened and, receiving no answer, called out, "If they are not opened instantly, break them open." This utterance, unseemly on any occasion but much more so on the peaceful evening of a communion Sabbath, was in very bad taste, and savoured, indeed, not a little of the atmosphere of an Irish row. The Highland elders felt most indignant at the doctor's conduct, and a deputation of their number waited upon him to remonstrate with him oil the subject. He apologised by saying that, being a native of Ireland, he was suddenly seized with an "Irish fit," but that lie had no sooner uttered the words in question than he had repented of his rashness, and felt that lie had spoken unadvisedly. The peace was thus soon made up between him and the " Highland host," but he told me afterwards that their appearance in a body at his house, and their stern pertinacious faces, made him feel rather uneasy. "Of two of them," he added, "I had an instinctive terror. I was afraid of Alexander Murray's prayers, and equally so of Alexander MacDonald's fists." The allusion evidently was to a pugilistic encounter of MacDonald's with a drunken nephew. "Poor Saunders," he used to say, "was sorely tried; it was really too much for flesh and blood. There was a pitched battle between Saunder's Highland blood and Saunder's godliness, and the Highland blood won the day. A stalwart Highlander may be as godly and praying a man as you could wish, but plant your fist on his face, and lie can't for the life of him choose but give as good a blow in return."

The two great branches of the Secession, after various conferences and consultations, had united under the name of the "Associate Synod!' Dr. Kidd rejoiced at the union, and said that he believed that it was entered into by both parties under divine guidance. "For," he added, "had such a proposal been made many years ago, and had the very angels of heaven come among them to recommend it, the Seceders would have driven them away with pitchforks." There was nothing, however, which I more admired than Dr. Kidd's method in conducting divine service whenever he preached. After giving out a psalm, and uttering a beautiful prayer, he read a chapter. But, before doing so, lie directed the attention of his hearers to the lessons found in it. This done, he read the chapter without note or comment from first to last. The simple reading of the chapter exactly corresponding with the previous running commentary brought the lessons prominently into view, and let his hearers at once into the scope and substance of the whole taken in connection. I never more fully entered into, nor highly relished, the reading of a chapter of the Bible than when I was listening to Dr. Kidd.

But the most interesting conversation I had with Dr. Kidd was on the almost unsurmountable difficulties which he met with in preaching the gospel soon after lie was licensed. One evening, which he spent with me in my own house at the Braehead of Gilcomston, has left a vivid and most endearing recollection of him by the frankness and Christian sincerity with which lie stated the following particulars of his first outset in the ministry. "The great question with me then," said he, "was not what the gospel was in itself, for that, I thought, I not only understood, but in some measure felt in its power. But my difficulty was—How was I to preach the gospel as a trust committed to my charge? I was altogether dissatisfied with myself. I felt that I had taken too much upon me, that I had run unsent, and therefore, to satisfy my mind on the subject. I visited and consulted those who were considered pillars in the church." He then mentioned several eminent ministers with whom he had conversed on the subject. None of them, however, found for him a solid bottom in the deep waters through which he was passing, and in which he was frequently very nearly sinking altogether. lie had nothing for it at last but to cast himself simply and entirely on the Head of the church, and on His promise, "Go ye and preach, and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." "O, Sir," he added with much fervency and with tear-moistened eyes, "men have failed me, and I have more than once fainted and failed myself, but He has failed me never, and I bless His holy name that He ever put me in trust with the gospel." lie died of apoplexy on Wednesday, the 24th Dec., 1834, at his own house in Aberdeen, in great peace and in the exercise of a good hope through grace. He was in the 74th year of his age and 34th of his ministry.

With Dr. Cruden of Nigg, near Aberdeen, I became intimate, and I cherish the most pleasing and kindly remembrances of him. He was then an old man, and his personal appearance was truly venerable. His face was long, very thin and minutely marked with the wrinkles of old age. When he preached or addressed a public audience, it would be exceedingly difficult, indeed, for those who only saw or heard him for the first time, to keep their gravity, as, not being a very fluent speaker, and not at all eloquent, he did not find it easy to express himself, and the difficulty which he felt in doing so was embodied in the most ludicrous contortions of countenance ever witnessed. To overset one's gravity and to excite an irresistible sense of the ludicrous, therefore, was the impression made at first on the mind of a stranger. But a more intimate acquaintance with this venerable man, and anything like a right estimate of his moral worth, speedily wore it off, so that, screw his features as he choose, lie would never excite one solitary smile on the face of any audience who knew and valued him as lie deserved. He was a mail of simple but Fervent piety, of unshaken and unwearied zeal, and was ever labouring in the service of Christ among the people committed to his care. He assisted at every sacramental occasion and preached, at an average, four or five sermons per week. One minister, indeed, characterised him as a "preaching machine." This was not, however, at all an epithet descriptive of Dr. Cruden. It was true that the worthy doctor's sermons did not cost him much previous study, nor did they exhibit much reach of thought, or depth of theological knowledge. They were the artless and unaffected effusions of a deeply serious mind, full of faith and love, and breathing a Christian and philanthropic spirit. Dr. Cruden was a most zealous supporter of the many religions societies then established at Aberdeen. He not only contributed very liberally to them all, but at public meetings advocated the cause most earnestly. When Dr. Cruden intimated his intention to the Town Council of Aberdeen (who, as the patrons, had the living of Nigg in their gift), of having an assistant and successor, on account of his increasing infirmities, Mr. Alexander Thom, Rector of Gordon's Hospital, was by them nominated to the office. His settlement accordingly took place soon afterwards On the evening of that day Dr. Cruden, after attending the services in church and inviting his relatives to meet him, retired to his manse. After partaking of a slight repast, be said with much cheerfulness that he had now got his heart's wish in regard to his beloved flock fully gratified, in having such a man as ,,Nlr. Thom settled among them, and that he now felt that his course was finished and his work ended. He told them that he had on his mind the irresistible impression that the first peep of dawn on the coming (lay would be the hour of his departure, and he begged his friends to watch with him, just to accompany him, as be said, to the borders of the heavenly Canaan. His friends agreed to the proposal, but fancied that the old man had got into his dotage. He asked them all to seat themselves beside him on the sofa, and then began to speak with an earnestness and fervour which they had never, till then, witnessed. He continued thus to address them for several hours, till at last his voice faltered and then failed altogether, when, gently reclining his head on the back of the sofa, he breathed his last. The dawn of day was observed at that moment to break upon the sky. [Dr. David Cruden died 8th Nov., 1826, in the 81st year of his age and 58th of his ministry.--Ed.]

With the other members of the Presbytery or Synod of Aberdeen I had no sort of intercourse or acquaintance whatever, with the exception of some of those of their number already mentioned. There was hardly one of them who could be said in truth either to preach the gospel or even to understand it. While such was their general character as a body, many of them individually were so openly profane that they were known to be the most ungodly men in their respective congregations. Ross-shire they denounced as "the hot-bed of fanaticism," but Aberdeenshire, with far more truth, might justly have been denominated the icy region of stern, unmitigated Moderatism. Two of their number especially were the faithful representatives of the genuine Moderates of that day. They stuck at nothing, Sabbath desecration, profane swearing, drunkenness, or the most open contempt of God's truth and ordinances. Men guilty of such palpable recklessness, while daring publicly to hold the ministerial office, thus became prominent examples for evil in their parishes.

My acquaintance among the dissenting ministers was not very intimate nor extensive. The Secession body, consisting as they did of the two great divisions, burgher and anti-burgher, underwent about this time two great changes. The first was their union into one body as the united associate Synod. To this union, however, many ministers of both sections would not agree. The Original Seceders, or Cameronians, did not join them at all. Another and far more vital change to which this united body subjected itself, and in which it made common cause with other dissenting churches, was its adoption of the voluntary principle. This nostrum effected a complete revolution in the Secession Church. It consisted simply in this: that a Christian church must necessarily be contaminated by being connected with the State in the matter of receiving temporal support from it; and that it ought to be upheld by its members, who in this religious capacity only are under obligations to do so, while in a. civil capacity no one is under any such obligation. This notion when first started spread like wild-fire among the Scueders, particularly after the union of these two septs, and by its adoption they renounced one of the leading principles held by the eminent founders of the Secession when they left the National Church.

To some of the professors of Marischal and of King's Colleges I may now briefly allude. I renewed my m intercourse with my kind old friend Professor Stewart, of Marischal College, and his amiable family. I have frequently been at his house as one of a numerous tea-and-supper party, where the old man was full of fun and anecdote. It was towards the close of my residence in Aberdeen that he lost his excellent wife. I attended her funeral. She was buried close by the west wall of the churchyard of St. Nicolas. Her maiden name was Mowat, and she was the very last descendant of the Mowats of Ardo, in Aberdeenshire, a family who could, until half a century ago, by almost an unbroken descent, trace up their ancestral pedigree considerably beyond the age of King Robert the Bruce. The professor himself was of a good family in Kincardineshire. He was the 'proprietor of a small estate in that county, called lnchbrake, which he inherited from his ancestors through many generations. He died in 1827.

Dr. Hamilton was then living, but he had retired from the public duties of his professorship, and one John Cruickshanks, a contemporary of mine in Marischal College, had been appointed his assistant and successor. He had left his house at the college, and resided, after he had retired from his public duties, in a country house at the west side of the town. Mr. Cruickshanks was appointed to the chair in 1817, and the doctor died in 1829.

The professors of King's College were, since my attendance at the Divinity Hall, almost all removed by death, and their places filled by their successors. Principal ,MacLeod, brother of the Laird of Harris, was in 1816 succeeded in the principalship by Dr. Jack, the sub-principal and professor of mathematics, a native of Shetland.

Dr. Gilbert Gerard, professor of divinity, was in 1815 succeeded by Mr. Duncan !learns, the minister of Tarvas. The appointment to the theological chair in King's College was vested in the Synod of Aberdeen, and when a vacancy occurred candidates were invited to compete for the office. Trial exercises were prescribed, and a decision thereafter given in favour of one of the competitors. Dr. Mearns' competitor was the late eminent Dr. Love of Glasgow. Though much inferior to Dr. Love, Dr. Mearns was by no means unworthy of the office to which lie was thus elected. He was a man of superior ability, extensive and accurate information, and whose views of Divine truth, if not profound, were strictly according to Scripture and the Standards of the Church. He was besides one of the ablest lecturers I ever heard, while his criticisms on the pieces of trial delivered before him were judicious, candid, and instructive. He was both a Christian and a divine, in knowledge and in form; but the animating principle was wanting, and he more resembled the highly-finished, but cold and lifeless, marble bust, than he did the living reality which it is intended to represent. When at Tarvas he bbd no heart for the work of a parish minister. But his discharge of the duties of the professorial office, which were more congenial to the habits of his literary mind, was most able, while his conduct was uniformly consistent and irreproachable. [Dr. Duncan Mearns of Tarvas was admitted Professor of Theology at King's College in 1817; he died 2nd March, 1852, in the 73rd year of his age and 53rd of his ministry.—Ed.] His father, Alexander :Yearns, was minister of the parish of Cluny, in the Presbytery of Kincardine o' Neil, and during my time at Aberdeen died at a very advanced age.

William Ogilvie, the renowned professor of Humanity and Natural History at King's College, died about the year 1816. His successor was Patrick Forbes, minister of Boharm, afterwards of Old Machar. Professor Ogilvie was fresh in the memory of all my contemporaries at Aberdeen College. They never wearied talking of him, and of his unrivalled translation of Virgil's Eclogues. It is much to he regretted that these were not published. He devoted nearly every third hour of his literary life to the study of these magnificent specimens of ancient pastoral poetry.

Mr. Eden Scott was, during my college years, professor of Moral Philosophy at King's College. IIe was unquestionably at the head of his contemporaries in point of mental capacity and knowledge of the particular science which he taught. He died about 1815, and was succeeded by Mr. Andrew Alexander, who, in 1819, was appointed to the Greek professorship at St. Andrew's College. When Dr. Daniel Dewar, who next filled the chair, resigned it after a year, it was conferred on Dr. John Lee, professor of Church History at St. Andrew's, who contemplated holding both offices by employing a deputy to read his lectures at Aberdeen. In the May following, he resigned both charges on being installed minister of Lady Yester's Church, Edinburgh. I)r. Lee is now Principal of the Edinburgh University. He had held more offices than any other Scottish churchman, and that restless spirit which induced his many changes has procured him the sobriquet of the "Solicitor General." [Principal John Lee, D.D., LLD., was a man of varied culture, but delicate health impaired his energy. He had been Professor of Divinity and Church History at St. Andrew's. In 1525 he was translated from Canongate parish to Lady Yester's, and from thence in 1835 to the Old or High Church in Edinburgh. Iu 1837 he was appointed Principal of St. Andrew's United Colleges; on 12th March, 1840, he became Principal of Edinburgh University. He died 2nd May, 1859, in the 80th year of his age and 52nd of his ministry.—Ed.]

Prof. John Tulloch was appointed to the Mathematical Chair of King's College in 1811, and became the successor of Dr. Jack, when he was promoted to the office of Principal of the University. Prof. Tulloch had previously been, for some years, one of the teachers of the Inverness Academy, where his diligence and success as a teacher, and his high character as a man, procured him universal esteem, lie was a native of the parish of Reay, and a contemporary at school and at college of the venerable Dr. MacDonald of Ferintosh. One of my earliest recollections is seeing them one evening at my father's house at Kildonan on their way to or from Aberdeen. Prof. Tulloch was my most intimate friend during my residence in that city. We walked together in every direction to and from both Old and New Aberdeen, then we dined together alternately at his house and mine. Our converse with each other in the house and by the way brought me into the knowledge of his private history and of many things else which constituted the domestic and historical occurrences of that period. He had a rare capacity for drollery, and was a determined punster. It happened that a. theft had been committed both in his house and Principal Jack's in the course of the same week. Dr. Jack's silver plate was stolen, while the professor lost a fat Caithness goose. Dr. Jack, who loved a joke, rallied the professor on the particular commodity which had taken the fancy of the nightly depredators in his house. "Aye," said Tulloch, "but pray notice the distinction, in my house the thieves took the goose and left the plate, but in yours they took the plate and left the goose."

I have already mentioned Mr. William Brown, oldest son of the Provost of Aberdeen. He had three brothers, Alexander, David, and Charles John. Alexander was a very thoughtless youth. He had been abroad. When his brother and sister came under serious impressions of the truth, which were cherished by their mother, he and his father ridiculed them mercilessly. Returning on one occasion, however, on a steamer from Leith to Aberdeen, Alexander had, as a fellow-passenger, the late eminent Ca'sar Malan, a French Protestant minister, who was then rejoicing in the days of his spiritual youth. Mr. Malan asked of him some close and pointed questions regarding his spiritual state. This conversation, under God, led to his conversion. David and Charles were, during my residence at Aberdeen, very young men, students at college, and very intimate with Mr. Black of Tarvas, a most learned man, who, on the death of Principal Brown, became his successor in the Theological Chair at Marischal College. David Brown, some years later was licensed to preach, but his views of the truth became distorted and visionary, and he sank into the errors and delusions of Edward Irving. He continued for some time as Irving's missionary in London, but reason at last returned to him, and, disgusted with the errors and ravings of that sect, he renounced them, and re-entered the church which he had forsaken. ["At length Mr. Irving called me, and after being seated, and a Iong pause—each appearing to expect the other to break silence--he rose up and said, 'Well, Mr. Brown, you have left us.' 'Yes, Mr. Irving, I have; but not, as you know, while there was iii my mind any shadow of ground to think that this work was Divine. But when that was gone, I had no option.' After a momentary pause, he said, with a good deal of suppressed feeling, 'I our intellect, sir, has destroyed you.' 'Yes, sir, I confess it; my intellect hits done the deed, whatever that may mean; I am responsible for the use of my intellect, and I have used it.' With his hand held to mine and mine warmly grasping his, he left me—my feelings very acute, and his I am sure the same. And thus ended my connection with this grand man, whose name can never be uttered in my hearing without a feeling of mingled reverence and love arising within me." (Principal David Brown, D.D., of Aberdeen, in "The Expositor" of Oct., 1887.)—Ed.] Since then he has been engaged as a minister in Glasgow, and he has written long articles on the Millennium in modern periodicals. His brother Charles, from youth upwards, seemed to be one of God's chosen vessels to honour. The Bible and the Confession of Faith were his most familiar acquaintances. He was licensed to preach in due course, and became, first the successor of the eminent Dr. Love of Glasgow, and afterwards minister of the New North Church in Edinburgh. He is now an honoured minister of the Free Church of Scotland, is married, and has a family. [Dr. Charles Brown was ordained minister of Anderaton Church, Glasgow, in 1831; was translated to New North Church, Edinburgh, in 1837; at the Disruption his whole congregation adhered along with him to the Free Church of Scotland. He died 3rd July, 1884, aged 78 years. He was an eminent leader in all the great movements which agitated the church in his time, and he excelled as a preacher and a pastor. During the seven years he was laid aside from work, he continued by letters to comfort the bereaved among his flock: and to the last he kept a list of the members of his congregation that he might remember them in prayer. (Minutes of Assembly.)—Ed.]

Provost Brown, the father of this interesting family, is still alive, and upwards of eighty years of age. He long retired from business, but when I was in Aberdeen he was active and prosperous in it. His old shop was in Broad Street, at the sign of Homer's head—a huge gaunt-looking effigy of that patriarchal poet painted on a board, with the name in Greek characters beneath. When his business extended, and Union Street became the great commercial thoroughfare, his shop was removed thither. Mrs. Brown still lives also, and is, as she then was, the punctual, scrupulous, and truly pious member of Mr. Aitkin's congregation. They had two daughters; the one was married to the devoted ,Mr. Joseph Tborburn. minister of Union Chapel, Aberdeen, afterwards of Forglen, in Banffshire. [Mr. Thorburn finally became minister of the Free High Church congregation at Inverness, where he died in 1833 of typhus fever caught by visiting ]patients in the Infirmary of that town. He was one of the most devoted and beloved of pastors—a true servant and follower of the Lord Jesus. The present handsome church edifice at Inverness was erected during his incumbency.—Ed.] The youngest, daughter married Mr. William Barclay, minister of Auldearn. She died some years ago, quite young, but decidedly pious.


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