The James Begg Society

The James Begg Society

Publishers of Protestant, Reformed Christian Literature

Memoirs of Rev James Begg, D.D., by Rev. Thomas Smith, D.D.



G LASGOW being within ten miles of my father's manse, I was taken there to attend college when only about twelve years of age. The date of my enrolment as a student at Glasgow is 1820. This is one of the defects of our Scotch system for as the curriculum of study for a minister embraces eight years, there is a strong, temptation to send boys to college before they can possibly have been grounded in elementary education, so as to secure their being licensed at anything like an early period of life. Much good might result from the establishment of a high class of intermediate schools in all small towns, such as the far-seeing John Knox projected three centuries ago, at which boys might attend for a couple of years between their leaving the parish schools and going to the universities. Besides, the present course of university education might be improved; and if, instead of only a winter session and a long summer vacation, there were two sessions of four months each, with six weeks or two months of interval between each, the professors would have no harder work than other men, whilst the studies of the young men might both be expedited, and in every way conducted with much greater advantage. By some such means the tedious eight years might be condensed into four, or, at all events, into six, with a number of manifest advantages to all parties. At present, unless a young man commence his public studies at twelve or thirteen, he has no great encouragement to begin them at all, and has strong inducements to look to some other profession. But what can a young man, or rather boy, know of his own mind at twelve or thirteen? And if he begins to think seriously of becoming a minister at a later period of life, when he can really say that he has formed a deliberate judgment, a large portion of the best part of his life must necessarily be over before he can enter into a pulpit. These matters very urgently demand consideration. We do not see why the Christian ministry should be subjected to such obvious disadvantages, without strong and determined efforts to secure reform on the part of those who have the means of redressing the evil.

All this becomes more striking when the utter neglect with which students are treated during their curriculum is taken into consideration. As a general rule, none of the public authorities ever ask theological students what their motives are for proposing to enter so sacred a calling as that of the holy ministry. No such questions are ever mooted until they are in the very act of being licensed or ordained. No one takes the least charge of their manners or morals whilst they attend at a Scottish university, facetiously called an "Alma Mater." They are allowed, in so far as the college authorities are concerned, to reside where they please, and to act in the intervals of the class as they please, without any one inquiring after them; and we have no doubt that the result in many cases is most prejudicial.

In regard to the college life of Edward Irving and his brother, Mrs. Oliphant, speaking of this very feature, justly says:-

"The two lads were deposited in a lofty chamber in the Old Town near the College, to pursue their studies with such diligence as was in them. Even to such youthful sons, the Edinburgh University has no personal shelter to offer; then as now, the Alma Mater was a mere abstract mass of class-rooms, museums, and libraries, and the youths or boys who sought instruction there were left in absolute freedom to their own devices. Perhaps the youths thus launched upon the world were too young to take much harm; or perhaps the early necessity for self-regulation, imposed under different and harder circumstances than those which have brought the English public schools into such fresh repute and popularity bore all the fruit which it is now hoped and believed to produce. But whatever be the virtues of self-government, it is impossible to contemplate without a singular interest and amaze the spectacle of those two boys, one thirteen, the other probably about fifteen, placed alone in their little lodging in the picturesque but noisy old town of Edinburgh for six long months at a stretch, to manage themselves and their education, without tutors, without home care, without any stimulus but that to be received in the emulation of the class-room, or from their books and their own ambition."

My elder brother had gone to college the year before I went. We lived together consecutively in two different lodgings in the High Street - sad and dingy-looking places they now seem to me on inspecting them at this distance of time. But in the one case, the lodging was much better than the landlady, who took bouts of tippling, and sometimes served up our porridge almost in the form of raw meal and water, which the Scotch call "drammoch," whilst she occasionally equally miscooked our other food. We had not many companions, and at that time the system of smoking, which has become such a plague amongst our modern students, was all but unknown. Still, if something like the English system of "residence" is not to be adopted, all my recollections make me strongly in favour of a kind and vigilant superintendence of students, by persons properly authorised and qualified, in their lodgings as well as in their classes. A students' dining-hall has been proposed and partly secured. But what is wanted is properly arranged lodging or boarding houses for students, duly arranged and licensed by the College authorities. We do not see why retired ministers or Christian men should not preside over such establishments, as a great opportunity of usefulness.

Large houses could easily be fitted up for the purpose, and the affair managed both with economy and profit. Each student might have a separate bedroom, but all might have family worship and their meals together. Now that few of our students, moreover, act as tutors in families, by means of which their manners were brushed up and polished, this might also be a means of training them both in Christian principles and in the habits of civilised life. It would also afford ministers an opportunity of visiting the students pleasantly and seeing them together. One of the greatest practical mistakes the Free Church made was in rejecting the offer of £3,000 by Lady Effingham to form the foundation of a fund for a students' pastor. In the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, connected with the Belfast College, they have, I think, a man called the "Dean of Residences," who gives an annual report in regard to the students' lodgings. This we hold to be a matter of the first importance. In other respects the Scotch system which then prevailed, and which we presume prevails still, had considerable advantages, especially to men of limited incomes. Our lodgings were very economical as to price, and we lived chiefly upon provisions imported from the manse. We got in from the country boxes of good things, including oatmeal, cheese, bacon, butter, eggs, and other provisions. We also had our clothes washed in the country, the Airdrie carrier taking them out and bringing them in from time to time. We got very little pocket-money, and we kept a regular account of how we spent all we got, to be exhibited to my father when he came to town, on our return home, or when we were in want of any more. We became rather adepts at housekeeping, purchasing with care and circumspection our own tea and sugar, &c. In connection with all this the plan of suppressing the old College of Glasgow at present, in order to make way for the new, has always seemed to me very doubtful policy. By all means let the grand new institution at the west end of Glasgow be erected, but why not continue the venerable old College also, and have thus two colleges and one university? Two are more needed now than one was when the present buildings were erected. The grounds might have been sold to the railway authorities, and still the class-rooms and a certain area preserved. This would not only have led to a wholesome competition between the Old and New Colleges, but the poorer class of students might still have found more economical lodgings in the neighbourhood of the old buildings. If talent is not hereditary or confined to any one rank, it is important to glean ardent students and able men from all classes of the community.

The chief way of travelling in those days from New Monkland to Glasgow was either by walking, by the Airdrie coach, or by the canal-boat from Airdrie to Glasgow, which was amazingly slow, but upon the whole not uncomfortable. We boys, however, in our periodical visits to New Monkland, generally walked, and although the distance was considerable, we thought nothing of it, started as gaily as larks, and were charmed to escape from the smoke and dust of Glasgow to the freshness of the country. Confinement, to which we were not accustomed, not to speak of our exercises, was not very conducive to health during the winter months, although I always recruited again at my father's house during the intervals, and went back in vigorous health after each summer's vacation. When we went first to Glasgow, we were introduced to a few friends whom my father and mother had previously known, and with whom we occasionally spent an evening, and especially the Saturday evenings, after we had finished our studies for the week. One of these was Mr. Reid, then editor of the Glasgow Courier, who was very kind and condescending to me, although such a mere boy. We were told that he had afterwards reported to my father that I was "a nice gash laddie." Other friends, of the name of Parker and Cuthbertson, were equally kind and attentive, and partly removed our feeling of loneliness as strangers in a strange town.

Speaking of editors, the great editor of Glasgow at that time and for years after, was Mr. Samuel Hunter, a portly and noticeable man, who established the Glasgow Herald. He was a minister's son, and a man of great sagacity. I have often heard of his mode of composing his articles, which really was a very suitable one. He spent the forenoon of every day in the Exchange, walking deliberately with his hands behind his back. He laid himself alongside of all the men who had the greatest reputation for sagacity, and after comparing notes with them, he digested the result into short pithy articles, in which the men of greatest authority saw and admired the reflection of their own wisdom. This, of course, required mental power and social position; but, constituted as human nature is, it was not only an easy, but a most successful way of accomplishing the result. Mr. Hunter was a bachelor and lived with his sister. He was in the habit of telling a story of what happened to him with one of the students. It seems to have been an object in those days to introduce students to editors, and one had been introduced to Mr. Hunter. Afterwards one of his relatives said to the great editor, "You were'na very attentive to yon student, although we gave him a letter of introduction to ye." "Yon student," retorted Mr. Hunter, "doesna need muckle attention; he'll tak' good care o' himself. When he cam' first, I asked him to his breakfast, and my sister had, amongst other things, a platefu' of eggs. The young man slippit roun' his hand, and took the biggest egg in the plate. Thinks I to mysel', My lad, ye'll dae. Ye're quite fit already to gang oot into the world." Mr. Hunter sat in St. Andrew's Church, under the ministry of Dr. Gibb. The church in Mr. Hunter's time and afterwards was very thinly attended, and when he was asked why he sat there, he said, "Oh, it's a fine kirk in the summer-time." He was a great conservative of the old school, but very fond of going to Moffat. He sometimes remained there inconveniently long, and the difficulty was to get him to see the necessity of coming back. It is alleged that on one occasion the following plan was adopted with success. A most violently radical article was written and inserted in only one copy of the paper, which copy was immediately despatched to Moffat. Mr. Hunter was thrown into a paroxysm of alarm, proceeded straightway to Glasgow and to the Herald Office, and was relieved to discover the actual state of the matter.

There were other notable public characters at that time in Glasgow, and they naturally attracted the notice of a lad from the country, quite as much as the classes at the College. Dr. Chalmers was then in the very zenith of his popularity. It was extremely difficult to get into his church. I remember worming my way through the dense crowd that besieged the building, getting up the gallery stair, and, as a little boy, clambering over the back part of the gallery, I saw and heard Dr. Chalmers for the first time. He is still vividly before my mind, breaking out into paroxysms of impassioned oratory, and actually foaming at the mouth. It was a scene never to be forgotten; although, at that time, I very little comprehended its true meaning. The style of preaching was very different from that to which I had been accustomed. The reading was close and fervent; it was "fell reading," as the old woman said; but I could make very little of it at that time, beyond seeing the general and evidently powerful impression made on the densely crowded congregation. This certainly was very remarkable. I had a full opportunity of knowing the great, amiable, and eloquent Doctor in subsequent years, and I cannot doubt that we have seen no man, "take him for all in all," like him in our day. There was then, however, a kind of human idolatry called forth by his amazing popularity in Glasgow, which was on one or two occasions most justly and effectually rebuked. It is said that Dr. Love went to preach for him on one occasion. The moment the venerable man was seen in the pulpit, a number of the people began quickly to retire, whereupon the Doctor exclaimed, in his grand and majestic voice, and with an air of authority which all who ever heard him must be able to imagine, "Brethren, we will not begin the public worship of God until the chaff blows off." On another occasion a bustling stranger came to the church, and said to a grave old member of the congregation whom he met, "Is Dr. Chalmers to preach?" to which the grave old man replied firmly but quietly, "No, the bit idol's no at hame the day." The blow told with effect. Edward Irving was at this time the assistant of Dr. Chalmers, and although he was eclipsed by the great luminary, his great talents were appreciated, whilst his remarkable appearance excited general notice. When he left Glasgow for London he preached on the text, "Finally, brethren, farewell." He said, amongst other things, with much modesty, "I don't say you have liked me, but I thank you that in the circumstances you have at least borne with me." We shall meet this great man again in other circumstances.

When I went first to the College, I attended chiefly on Sabbath the College chapel, the first establishment of which had been ridiculed by Mr. Thom of Govan. I found his theory pretty fully realised. He says in his caustic style:-

"We have, whatever may be said of us, a real though a general and philosophical religion; and had we a chapel where such of us as have been clergymen are to preach by turns, we will have discourses upon the dignity of human nature, upon disinterested benevolence, upon sympathy and propriety, upon living according to nature, and upon virtue's being a sufficient reward to itself.... It is a fixed maxim among us that 'that is always the best religion which takes the slightest hold on the heart, and the slighter the better.' And though, with respect to the intention of the speaker, it is a very different religion which we have been hearing, we have, however, had the firmness to remain hitherto untouched and uncorrupted by it; and, though I say it, it is a great truth and no vain boast, that it will be difficult to find as many wise and good men in so narrow a place upon whom the vulgar and superstitious religion of the country hath taken so little hold." -Thom's Works, pp. 237-238.

The chief preachers in the College chapel were two, both of them very dry. One of them was afterwards suspected of being an Arian, and the other was a very uninteresting preacher. I had never before heard the same style of preaching. Such texts as the following were chosen, and indicate the general strain of the discourses, "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly." Of course we do not mean to say that an admirable and evangelical sermon may not be preached from any text in the Bible, and we are far from sympathising with the worthy old woman who, on hearing a minister give out as his text, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," bitterly said, "I kent if there was an ill text in the Bible, he would be at it," although we understand her meaning. There is an extreme in the use of texts as well as of everything else, and "all Scripture is profitable." But the sermons in the College chapel at that time were dry and profitless, anything but evangelical. I therefore for a time went to various churches where the preaching was more in accordance with what I had previously heard. Dr. Anderson of the Relief Church in John Street, who still holds his place, was then a very popular preacher. Dr. Heugh of the Secession preached also with great clearness, and in a lively, interesting style, and had a large congregation. Dr. Muir and Dr. Wardlaw were both very acceptable. The man under whom I sat almost during the latter part of my studies at Glasgow College was Dr. Brown of St. John's, who had been translated from Tongland in Galloway to be successor to Dr. Chalmers. He was a truly excellent man, with a pleasant countenance and somewhat husky voice, but preached in the most earnest and impressive style. I vividly remember some of his sermons to the present hour.

Amongst other Glasgow characters at that time, of a very different stamp, was a street musician called "Blind Alick," a man who afforded great amusement to the students and other young people. He played with little skill on a fiddle, and sang his own songs, which were sufficiently curious. His practice was to prolong the fiddling in every case as long as each line lasted. Many of his lines were Alexandrine; but still he continued, whether tune or rhyme were in accordance with any rule of music or metre or the reverse. He always began by saying in a pompous style, "I am the author of all that I sing and say." I remember a portion of one of his songs:-

"Come, all ye boys of Brittany, A story I've got to tell, Of the wars of Spain and Germany, And how the town of Badajos fell. There was the famous Alick Pattison, A hero of renown, Who was the first that did mount the walls of Badajos, And the first that did tumble down. I've travelled the whole world over, And many a place beside, But a more beautifuller city than Glasgow I never saw, situated on the banks of that navigable river the Clyde."

Our professors for the first year were Mr. Josiah Walker for Latin, and Sir Daniel K. Sandford for Greek. It was said that Mr. Walker had been an exciseman, and he certainly wrote a good deal about Burns, who was probably the most remarkable member of the fraternity that ever existed in Scotland. Mr., afterward Sir Daniel, Sandford, was appointed in room of Mr. Young, an enthusiastic teacher of Greek, who died at that very time. Sir Daniel, who was also an able Greek scholar and a man of much general talent, did a good deal to promote the study of that noble language at Glasgow. In subsequent years Mr. Jardine was our Professor of Logic, a gruff plain man, but still very kindly to the young men, an admirable teacher, and a thoroughly evangelical elder of the Church. Mr. Milne taught us Moral Philosophy in a somewhat heathenish style, making man pass through all stages from savage to civilised, insisting on the progress of human nature, even in its primitive state, from worse to better, instead of from better to worse; In short, it was very much philosophy without the fall of man and apart from the Bible. Mr. Miller, who was a good deal of a character, taught Mathematics; and Mr. Meiklam, a man of fair ability, taught Natural Philosophy. At the end of my undergraduate course I took a degree in Arts, having passed what was called the Black Stone examination. This degree is dated the 9th of April 1824, I being, at that time under sixteen years of age. Our teachers in Theology were Dr. Stevenson MacGill, Professor M'Turk in Church History, and Dr. Gibb in Hebrew. The two latter were very ordinary men, although kind and attentive to the students; but the former, although not possessed of the great talents of some men, was yet an able man, of much zeal and unction, most earnest for our progress and spiritual improvement. He certainly produced a very powerful effect, by the Divine blessing, upon the students, and had a great influence in afterwards improving the Church. He was a very spare man in appearance, and he used to give us kind advice on all subjects, including diet, recommending the students, amongst other things, to eat pease-brose, in imitation of his own example. It was thought to be a case like that of the celebrated Hugo Arnot of Edinburgh, also very thin, and who was found one day eating speldings, whereupon a wit remarked that "he was very like his meat." Dr. MacGill was an admirable critic of sermons, a very important department of professorial work. He insisted that the whole class should be present to hear his criticisms, and it was a most profitable exercise. I have seen him sit to hear four or five sermons in succession without taking a note, and then criticise the whole in detail with the most admirable discrimination and judgment. He was strong for short introductions, clear divisions, precise statements of doctrine, and accurate quotations of Scripture. He had the greatest abhorrence of high-flown language, and of some words that the students were fond of using; as, for example, Deity, and other words of heathen origin, which were then currently used by Moderate ministers. He was a man of great general philanthropy, took the deepest interest in social questions, and was the originator of the monument to Knox which stands in the Glasgow Necropolis. He was a copious writer on a variety of matters of general philanthropy. Perhaps no man did more in his day to turn the tide in Scotland in favour of Evangelism than Dr. MacGill. He was foremost in arguing against pluralities and other abuses in the Church, and I had great pleasure in having him to assist me afterwards in Paisley during the early period of my ministry.

A writer in an Irish theological journal gives the following interesting particulars in regard to Dr. MacGill, who was the theological instructor of Dr. James Buchanan, Dr. Candlish, and of many more who afterwards became useful, some of them distinguished, ministers of the Church of Scotland or in other bodies; for at that time some students of other bodies attended the Hall with us:-

"This eminent and godly professor exercised an influence so marked over the minds of our Irish Presbyterian students, from the time of his appointment in 1814 to the Divinity chair, that we have been at the pains to gather a few particulars concerning his history. He was the son of an extensive shipbuilder at Port Glasgow, where he was born on 19th January 1765. His mother was Frances Welsh, and derived her descent from John Welsh of Ayr, the son-in-law of John Knox. They were pious people, and were at great pains in directing the education of their son, particularly in Scriptural knowledge, though, as he himself records, he was settled in the ministry before he felt the power of religion in his soul. He was a most distinguished student gaining prizes in all his classes, and resided as tutor in the family of the Hon. Henry Erskine, whose son, the late Earl of Buchan, was his pupil. It was while he was a student of theology that he made his first essay in authorship, publishing 'The Student's Dream' - an allegorical anticipation of the duties of a Christian minister - which was so highly popular that it was admitted into 'Macnab's Collection,' a well-known school-book at that time. He was licensed to preach in 1790, and was immediately offered the Chair of Civil History in St. Andrews, through the influence of the Hon. H. Erskine; but his love of the ministry led him to decline the tempting proposal. In 1791 he was settled in Eastwood, with the unanimous concurrence of the patron Sir John Maxwell of Pollock, and the heritors, elders, and people. He became a popular minister, thoroughly evangelical, and specially interested in the religious welfare of the young. At the end of six years he became minister of the Tron Church, Glasgow, and on the death of Dr. Findlay - so well known by his able answer to Voltaire on the inspiration of the Scriptures - he succeeded, in 1814, to the Chair of Systematic Theology. He introduced a new era in the study of Divinity in the Scottish Colleges, and proposed methods for the regular superintendence of the students in religious knowledge, as well as in classical literature and philosophy. He exercised a very happy influence over their minds by his kindly intercourse with them in private. He published several able works, took a distinguished part in maintaining the charitable institutions of Glasgow, and was elected in 1828 to the Moderator's chair in the General Assembly. He died on 18th August 1840, in the seventy-sixth year of his age."

Whilst the retrospect of my studies under Dr. MacGill is very pleasant, I cannot say, however, that the problem of theological training has yet been solved; and mainly for this reason, that the ultimate object of training men for the ministry is too much thrown into the background. To make learned and accomplished students is of great importance. To see that they are men of God, and thoroughly in earnest in regard to the great work of their future lives, is still more important. But the art of preaching has been very little made a matter of special study in connection with our theological training. It is not so in other departments, and it was not so, for example, by Mr. Cornelius Winter in the case of the students under his care, as described by Mr. Jay of Bath. In connection with theological lectures, however valuable, there is little training in the English Bible, in committing it to memory so as to quote it easily and accurately, or in the actual practice of public speaking, although this is to be the main business of our lives. In my day, as a voluntary exercise, we attended classes of elocution. But had I not received a thorough drilling in Bible knowledge at my father's house, I should have found myself very deficient in after-life. On the other hand, the early specimens of preaching which I heard from Dr. Scott, Dr. Love, Dr. Mackinlay, and my father made the deepest impression, and were probably best adapted for the ordinary purposes of proclaiming and expounding the Gospel with effect to all classes of the people. Such geniuses as Dr. Chalmers, however admirable, are no models for ordinary men.

During the intervals of the College sessions I did something in the way of teaching, which I found of advantage. We never understand a matter thoroughly until we try to communicate it to others. Moreover, during our sessions at the Hall we had two very instructive societies - the one a debating society, held in Campbell Street, and the other a preaching society, which met in Albion Street Chapel. In both societies we had some men who are still alive. Our debates, I think, were generally conducted in such a way as to strike the proper medium between not discussing questions thoroughly, and making ourselves partisans against our own convictions for the sake of victory. We discussed in the course of the winter a great many theological subjects with much profit. But I am convinced that, as a general rule, all such debates on the part of mere students should be conducted under the presidency of a minister or professor of experience, so that the question might be summed up with thorough knowledge and impartiality, and its true merits exhibited previously to the close of the debate. If such societies were managed in this way, we could imagine nothing more profitable, both in the way of arousing and informing the minds of young men. Our debating society met on a week-night evening, and every week during the session. The preaching society always met on a Saturday forenoon. After earnest prayer we preached sermons alternately, and then candidly, but often unsparingly criticised one another's discourses. At these societies, Dr. Munro, late of Manchester, and others since known and useful, were distinguished. At the close of our session we sometimes had a frugal dinner-party, which to us was an occasion of great importance. Dr. Munro was a considerable poet, and on one of these occasions he wrote an invitation to Mr. Fairley, now of Mauchline, almost as quickly as I can speak it, as follows:-

"My dear Mr. Fairley, Thus briefly and barely I beg leave to say, That to-morrow's the day When our preaching society, Having had a satiety Of sermons this season, Resolve, and with reason, To dine all together, Come fair or foul weather And as you've had a share Of our glory and care, Our sapient debating, Our ranting and rating, Come share, to be brief, Our turbot and beef. Believe me, and go, ��� ��� Yours, ALEX. MUNRO."

As I had now nearly completed my studies at Glasgow, and was looking forward to getting, in a year or so, license from the Hamilton Presbytery, I thought it better to go to Edinburgh for a winter and study under Dr. Chalmers. By the kindness of the late Dr. Black of the Barony, I received the appointment of tutor in the family of the late excellent Mrs. Neilson, then of Millbank, Canaan. This sweet place, of considerable extent, afterwards became the property of Professor Syme. It was a delightful residence, with great privacy and an excellent library, and as the family of truly Christian people, sat in Dr. Andrew Thomson's church, I had the privilege of hearing and knowing that truly great man, as well as Dr. Chalmers. He was an admirable everyday preacher and most faithful minister. It is sometimes amusing to hear the incredulity with which men who measure others by themselves listen to the statement that a man can at once do several things well. Dr. Andrew Thomson was a many-sided man, of great capacity, enthusiasm, and energy. It is marvellous that no life of him has ever been published, whilst innumerable lives of men not to be mentioned in the same twelve-month with him have appeared. He had a rare combination of gifts, and was a man of great versatility and public spirit, a most powerful reasoner, a bold denouncer of sin, an inimitable story-teller, and a master of satire and ridicule. He was, besides, a great educationist and musician.

There are a few of Dr. Thomson's speeches recorded, but they give little idea of the power of the living man, whose appearance, voice, and manner all added greatly to the effect. He made an admirable speech against pluralities, wherein he tells one or two good stories. At one part of the speech he says:-

"When that amiable man, Dr. Walker, was presented to the church and parish of Colinton, he was violently opposed by the people. They did not think that he would be an edifying or useful minister to them, and therefore they resisted his settlement. The late Dr. M'Knight was anxious to conciliate them, and to render Dr. Walker's induction as smooth and pleasant as possible. And accordingly he went out on a Sabbath (that perhaps being his day for supplying the vacancy), and seeing in the churchyard a venerable intelligent-looking man, whom he thought he might address as a leading person in the parish, he began to converse with him on the subject. He found all his argument however quite fruitless. At last he told the man, as one of the most powerful recommendations of Dr. Walker as a learned and able man that could be given, that since he had been presented to the parish of Colinton the King had also given him a professorship in the University of Edinburgh. 'Has he, sir?' said the old man hastily but firmly, and looking on him with a keen and penetrating eye. 'That mak's the thing far waur. I see how it's to be now. He will just make a bye-job of our souls."'

Again, speaking of the University of St. Andrews, he said:-

"When an eminent literary character from England was paying a visit to that university, the Senatus, with their well-known hospitality, gave him an entertainment. After dinner this very appropriate toast was announced by the Principal, 'The Arts and Sciences;' on which Professor Brown who was unfortunately rather deaf, rose and audibly repeated the toast in the altered phrase, 'Our Absent Friends.' (Peals of laughter.) Sir, one of the great objects we are aiming at in our motion is simply this, that the arts and sciences may not become absent friends in all our universities."

In the case of Little Dunkeld, where an attempt was made to thrust in a Mr. Nelson, who could not speak a word of Gaelic, Dr. Thomson made a noble speech. He said:-

"Why, sir, it is called the mouth of the Highlands, and surely it may be presumed that the mouth of the Highlands must have a Gaelic tongue in it." (A laugh.) He continued, "With respect to the presentee himself, I sympathise with him on the disappointment he must feel; but I will not allow my sympathies to get the better of my sense of duty to the Church and to the people.... He may be as great as his namesake, Lord Nelson (a laugh), the thunder of whose achievements roared from the Baltic to the Nile, whose fame circumnavigated the globe, and whose memory will be cherished as long as that country exists which he defended and adorned, and as long as there is a wave to dash upon its shores (hear, hear), but still he has no more Gaelic than his Lordship had, and therefore is as unfit to be minister of Little Dunkeld as would have been the Admiral. (A laugh.) He may be wiser than his teachers and than the ancients, but then he has no Gaelic. He may have more Greek and Latin than the professors under whom he studied these learned languages, but still he is ignorant of Gaelic. He may be a profounder theologian than was John Calvin himself, but the loss is he is void of Gaelic. His eloquence may be more splendid and overwhelming than that of my reverend friend Dr. Chalmers, but with all this he knows not a word of Gaelic (laughter), and that is sufficient to determine us against finding him a qualified presentee." Again, "I beg pardon of my Highland brethren around me for taking the liberty to say in their presence that I am not much in love with some peculiarities of the Highlanders. I hate the bagpipe (loud laughter); I hate it mortally. The kilt I have always looked upon as a very cold, and not altogether a decent vestment (much laughter); and I must say that the Gaelic language, which has been so plentifully praised today, sounds - I suppose owing to my ignorance - very harsh in my ear, and really gives me pain. (Hear, hear.) But, sir, though I am not partial to these characteristics of the Highlanders, they have other properties, I confess, that attract me and secure my regard. As an admirer of nature, I delight in their mountains and glens, their streams and their lakes. As a social being, my heart warms at the recollection of their generous hospitality. As a patriot, I admire the unconquerable valour they have ever shown in defence of their country. As a Christian, I love their immortal souls; and as a Christian minister, I feel myself bound and constrained to protect them, so far as I can, from all attempts to encroach upon their spiritual privileges and to impair their spiritual well-being. (Hear, hear.) And on this account it is that I stand up in the General Assembly this evening to oppose the measure contemplated by the complaining party at your bar and by their supporters in this house. Sir, I forbid the banns between Mr. Nelson, the presentee, and the parish of Little Dunkeld."

His speeches against slavery constituted the turning-point in the whole struggle. Dr. Chalmers and he made an admirable and almost irresistible combination, Dr. Chalmers beginning the debate in a powerful prepared speech, and Dr. Thomson concluding with a withering combination of argument, remonstrance, satire, and invective.

Dr. Thomson and Dr. Chalmers were the main agents, under the Divine blessing, of turning the tide in Scotland in favour of evangelical religion. When I went to Edinburgh, Dr. Thomson was in the very heat of the Apocryphal controversy, and his "Christian Instructor," in which he dealt out monthly chastisement to a crowd of culprits, was much admired by many, whilst by others it was keenly assailed with abuse. He was the open enemy of all corruptions in Church and State - a powerful and faithful preacher - an earnest promoter of education, and the fearless champion of all that was true, honest, lovely, and of good report. When he died, Dr. Chalmers exclaimed in preaching his funeral sermon, "If our next war is to be a war of principles, then before the battle has commenced our noblest champion has fallen." Both of these men had the true Presbyterian spirit, and they manifested an utter scorn for time-serving and vacillation. They had only one duty to discharge in regard to truth, namely, to defend it at all hazards, and one would as soon have expected to see Arthur['s] Seat inverted as to find these men denying the principles of their whole lives to secure any object whatever. I had much pleasure in the society of both. I preached about a year after my arrival in Edinburgh, and on being licensed my first sermon was for Dr. Andrew Thomson on a week-day in the Old Church. For a long time I kept the note inviting me to do so. I shall always cherish the highest veneration for his memory. There was a whole galaxy of great men at that time in all departments in Edinburgh. In addition to the eminent ministers I have mentioned, Dr. M'Crie was in his strength, and the students often went to hear him. I have still a vivid recollection of several of his sermons, and of the dignified manner and kindling eye with which he delivered them. I remember part of a description of drunkenness, even when not carried to excess. "The glory of man is reason, and whatsoever tends to dim the lustre of that crown is criminal. Next to reason the glory of man is the tongue, and whatsoever tends to make that tongue to falter is criminal. Whatsoever maketh a man slow to hear, swift to speak, swift to wrath, is criminal and savours of excess." At an after period I saw a good deal of the Doctor, and admired him very much. I am confident that he has been much misrepresented of late.

The Parliament House had many eminent men at this period. The students followed Cranstoun, Jeffrey, Moncrieff, and Cockburn, to hear them speak. The speaking of Jeffrey was almost matchless for fluency, coupled at the same time with elegance. From the rapid transitions which I have heard him make from subject to subject in taking up successive cases, he must have had an amazing memory. I never heard any one manage parenthesis better. I have heard him introduce a parenthesis - indeed he did it often - and have watched to hear if he would catch up the thread with accuracy; and he generally, if not always, succeeded with admirable adroitness. His speaking, although wonderful, was too minute for the House of Commons; and yet, even there he said some memorable things; as when he compared the Reform Bill, which included only the upper stratum of society, to the firmament spoken of in Scripture, which divided "the waters from the waters," - the waters of a wholesome state of society from the underlying waters of revolution. He afterwards, in speaking on the Auchterarder case, dealt in his peculiar philosophical way with the precise degree of attraction and repulsion about certain men, although the true cause might not be fully ascertained or ascertainable. Cockburn was a different man, but also a very easy, eloquent, and imposing speaker. A story is told to illustrate the difference between the two. Jeffrey was examining a country witness in a case of alleged lunacy, and he asked in regard to the man in question, "Did you think him a man of sound intelligence? was hecompos mentes, &c.?" All that he could get out of the witness was, "What's your wull, sir?" Cockburn said, "Let me try him" - "Did ye ken this man?" - "Ou aye," said the witness; "I kent him brawly." - "Did you think there was ony thing intil 'im?" - " 'Deed no very muckle; very little mair than the spoon put intil 'im." - "Would ye hae trusted 'im to sell a coo?" - " 'Deed no; ony butcher's laddie wud a' cheated 'im." - "That will do," said Cockburn. Cranstoun and Moncreiff were also well worth hearing; although, as a general rule, they were not such favourites with the students. But there was one man that all were anxious to see, viz., Sir Walter Scott. He sat within the railings as one of the clerks of the Court of Session, with his dreamy eye and conical head, and we all looked in upon him from time to time with mysterious curiosity, the great secret, although guessed at, not having been avowed.

The University also had some striking men besides Dr. Chalmers, probably the chief of them being John Wilson, the editor of "Blackwood," and the author of the then famous "Noctes Ambrosianae." His stalwart figure was well known on the streets of Edinburgh, and his lectures were very eloquent. His students were very fond of him, and he was very popular, upon the whole, over Scotland. Like Sir Walter Scott, he understood the peculiarities of Scotch feeling, even although he did not always sympathise with them. His impressive scene of the old Scotchman giving out the psalm is very characteristic:-

"Within Thy tabernacle, Lord, Who shall abide with Thee? And in Thy high and holy hill Who shall a dweller be?"

It is said that one of the old-clothes-men that hang about the College said to him on one occasion (some say it was Cockburn), in a loud whisper, "Any old clothes?" to which he answered in an equal whisper, "No; have you?" It is alleged that some one else answered the same question on another occasion by saying, "I have nothing else."

The Presbytery of Edinburgh was a great place of resort by the students of theology. It was reckoned in those days an important part of our training to study the proceedings of church courts, and attending the Presbytery was regarded as one of the best methods of obtaining the necessary information. The Presbytery of Edinburgh met at that time in a small, obscure, but rather dignified hall, situated amongst the crowd of buildings recently swept away in front of the Industrial Museum. The leading men, besides Dr. Chalmers, were Dr. Inglis and Dr. Thomson, the respective leaders of the opposite parties. Dr. Inglis was a tall and dignified looking man, but a man of great talent and weight. He was father to the present Lord Justice-General. He had a peculiar voice; indeed, as Lockhart in his "Peter's Letters" justly says, he had two voices - one a kind of squeak or high treble, the other a sort of low and solemn grunt. Nevertheless it was impossible to hear him speak without being impressed with a sense of his high talent, and that in the department of law he might have risen to high rank. He was greatly superior in principle to many in his own party. It is said that being once at a country sacrament, and hearing some doctrine of which he did not approve from one of the assistants, he deliberately took up his hat and walked off to the manse. When the service was over and the minister came in, he said, "Doctor, were you ill?" "No," said Dr. Inglis sternly, "I was not ill, but I was ill-pleased; and I wish you to understand that if the same doctrine is to be preached here again, I shall never come back." I heard him preach a very excellent sermon in his own church - the Old Greyfriars - on the text, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do," &c. The church at that time was very thin, and it was alleged that a standing debate existed on this subject. The colleague of Dr. Inglis was Dr. Anderson, whom also I heard preach, a totally different kind of man - a man of considerable elocution and rhetoric, but of little solid talent. The debate was as to the cause of the poorly filled church. Some said the church was thin because of Dr. Inglis's want of manner, and some said it was because of Dr. Anderson's want of matter. It was like the case of "Jack Sprat, who could eat no fat, and whose wife could eat no lean;" and, at all events, the result was similar - "the platter was nearly clean." Dr. Inglis was the principal founder of our India Missions, and although a good deal of debate has arisen in regard to the theory upon which these missions are founded, viz., a system of education as contrasted with mere public preaching of the Gospel, this proved his missionary zeal, and the actual result has - without settling this precise question at issue - reflected permanent credit, under God, both upon the head and heart of Dr. Inglis.

The first day I entered the Presbytery of Edinburgh rather a scene occurred. It was during the heat of the Apocrypha controversy, in which Dr. Thomson took so prominent and effective a part. It so happened that the proof-sheets of one of the most sharp and pungent pamphlets on the other side were brought by mistake to the house of Dr. Thomson, instead of to that of the Rev. Henry Grey. The pamphlet in question was anonymous, but in this way, although of course he did not touch the proofs, he unexpectedly was forced to know that the true author was either the Rev. Henry Grey, or, as was more generally supposed at that time, one very nearly related to him. This led to very much keenness and strong feeling. Dr. Thomson defended his own position in the "Christian Instructor," coupled with an unsparing criticism of "Anglicanus," for this was the name assumed by the anonymous writer. He even dealt pretty plainly with "Anglicana," and one other still, supposed to be in the background, and whom Dr. Thomson styled "Anglioanum." The town was convulsed. It was the subject of universal conversation, and some of the windows were filled with caricatures representing the principal characters. The matter ultimately reached the Presbytery. It was referred to incidentally on the day when I first entered it. Mr. Marshall - who had just come from Glasgow to be minister of the Tolbooth Church, and who afterwards joined the Church of England, became a very High Churchman, and was buried, it was said, in his surplice - rose in a very solemn way to deplore the state of things which had thus arisen, and to beg Dr. Thomson to give up so painful a struggle altogether. Mr. Marshall at the same time added, that he tendered this advice entirely on general grounds, and admitted that he was quite ignorant of the true merits of the controversy. Dr. Thomson, who had been sitting all this time like a chained eagle, immediately rose with the greatest quickness and said, "Moderator, here is a curious thing. A new member comes into our Presbytery. He admits that he is utterly ignorant of the subject about which he presumes to speak, and yet he knows enough to give me an advice, and a very foolish one. Let me recommend him to obtain some knowledge of the question before he speaks ton the subject again. He will then discover that he has made a complete mistake, and tendered his advice entirely to the wrong person." Poor Mr. Marshall looked very crestfallen, and no more was said. There were a number of subordinate men in the Presbytery, but of some mark; as, for example, Dr. M'Knight, son of the commentator, a man of considerable talent and wit. Dr. David Dickson of St. Cuthbert's, a man of great benevolence and excellence of character, and a most active parish minister, once came into the Presbytery rather in a hurry and sat down beside him; whereupon Dr. M'Knight jokingly said, in reference to an illustration of nouns in our Latin grammar, "David, a man's name; animal, a living creature." In the General Assembly, on one occasion, it was proposed to appoint a Psalmody committee. Dr. M'Knight quietly proposed that the following should be amongst the names on the committee: "Dr. Singer and Dr. Sangster, Mr. Piper of Fa-la (Falla), and Dr. Low Rhymer of Hand-in-tune" (Dr. Lorimer of Haddington). He was the true author of a joke that has often been published. When his colleague came in very wet on one occasion, he said, "Go into the pulpit and you'll be dry enough." Mr. Somerville of Currie, whom Dr. Thomson on one occasion termed "a gentle lamb from the sheep-walks of Currie," was a man of some note. He spoke with very considerable fluency, and was rather a noted character in the general community. He preached a public sermon in connection with the effort to finish the National Monument on the Calton Hill. His idea at that time was that the monument should be finished, although it has since been discovered that it makes Edinburgh more like Athens to allow it to continue as it is. Dr. Somerville chose for his text on that occasion, "What mean ye by these stones?" Dr. Gilchrist, the Presbytery clerk, formerly of Greenock, then of the Canongate, was an able man and a good deal of a character. I knew him well afterwards, and he was a most worthy, straightforward, kindly man, but peculiar. He published a volume of sermons which had little sale. Some one spoke to him on the subject of his volume. He said, "Oh, ye see, it was just to undeceive the family. They thocht" (he sometimes spoke in broad Scotch) "that there was a perfect fortune locked up in my manuscripts, and I just published a volume to convince them that they needna be looking for siller to that quarter." He once said to me, speaking of one of his co-presbyters, afterwards rather famous, "The Apostle speaks of itching ears, but there's another itch - the itch o' popularity. Our freen" (naming the minister) "has got it; and it's faur waur than the common itch. You can cure the common itch wi' butter and brimstone, but nae remedy has yet been discovered for the itch o' popularity."

During the same period I had an opportunity of hearing in all his glory the late Edward Irving. I had heard of him at a previous period, in the days of his comparative obscurity, when he was assistant to Dr. Chalmers in Glasgow; but now all the world had heard of his immense popularity in London. That popularity had been rather increased than otherwise by certain novelties of doctrine and practice which he was alleged to have introduced into his congregation. He had come down to attend the General Assembly, and as he was a man of immense physical power and extraordinary zeal and energy, he had resolved to preach every morning at six o'clock. These sermons began in St. Andrew's Church, but as it was completely mobbed, they were transferred to the West Kirk, which contains about three thousand people. Being anxious to hear this celebrated man, I was up every morning with the lark, and walked from Millbank, Canaan, into Edinburgh in time to secure admission to the church with the first of the crowd. Every corner of the immense building was crammed long before the commencement of worship. As soon as the hour struck, an unusually tall figure was seen emerging from the vestry, and making his way through the crowded aisles, towering above the people head and shoulders, like Saul. His hair was parted in front, and his beautifully chiselled face was somewhat marred by a remarkable squint in one of his dark expressive eyes. But otherwise he was very fine-looking. When he reached the pulpit, he solemnly opened the psalm-book, bent back its boards, turned up his cuffs and wristbands, and proceeded to read the psalm with a powerful and sonorous, but thoroughly modulated voice, which rivalled the deep bass of the finest organ. I often thought it was worth my whole journey to town, even at that early hour, to hear the way in which he rolled out the 45th Psalm, apparently one of his greatest favourites:-

"O Thou that art the Mighty One, Thy sword gird on Thy thigh."

I remember once, in the course of his sermon, his not only saying, but repeating, as if he relished its sweet rhythm with marvellous intonation, "Her Nazarites were purer than snow; they were whiter than milk. They were more ruddy in body than rubies; their polishing was of sapphire." Although there was not much in the discourse that one could take away, yet it was admirably delivered, and excited an immense interest. Although it was not unusual to have it prolonged for nearly two hours, yet this was done without any of the people indicating a disposition to move.

In connection with this visit, Mr. Irving exhorted a table at St. George's, at which I was present, and this exercise was equally peculiar. It was a grand spiritual soliloquy, lasting for nearly an hour. It was said at that time by good authority that in private intercourse affectionate attempts were sometimes made by the older and more experienced ministers to wean him from his peculiarities. It was all in vain. A friend told me that he was present at a private party where Mr. Irving was stalking through the room and soliloquising in his usual marvellous way. Dr. Gordon, with his solemn manner and keen logic, endeavoured to arrest the progress of his discourse, and to bring him to the point. Mr. Irving suddenly turned round, stretched out his brawny arms, and exclaimed, "Gordon, you can argue, but you're but a child at discourse." Irving I believe was a truly good man, although in some respects sadly mistaken. No one can read his diary, as given by Mrs. Oliphant, without being persuaded of this, and also of his great kindness of heart. No one can read his sermons and works without seeing that he was a man of the most elevated spirit, and that few Scotchmen have ever existed who had so high and exalted a conception of all that is greatest and most glorious in our native land. How he would have scorned the idea of accommodating truth to circumstances, and with what indignant reproof did he denounce the idea that there could be any true education which was not saturated and pervaded by the truths of religion. No man ever wrote more nobly of the Book of Psalms, and I know from the testimony of Dr. Black of the Barony, who attended him on his death-bed, that he died a humble, self-renouncing, and hopeful Christian.

The theological course of Dr. Chalmers was extremely well worth attending, not only for the eloquence and power with which he expounded theological truth, and the deep interest which he took in all his students, but for the immense impulse which he gave to all who were capable of receiving it. The enthusiastic and unflagging action of the mind of Dr. Chalmers was something marvellous, and it was a most wholesome action to which to subject the minds of students, immense good resulted from his class.

As I had been a member of a debating society in Glasgow, I was anxious to see how such matters were conducted in Edinburgh. I therefore joined the Theological Debating Society connected with the University. I walked in and out from Millbank to attend its meetings, returning on many a dark night - on some nights so dark that I had to feel for the wall coming along by Bruntsfield Links. At this time there were very few lamps or buildings in that direction. This society met in one of the lower rooms of the University, and when I joined it, it was attended by some remarkable men who afterwards became famous, including the late Mr. Patrick (afterwards Professor) Macdougall, the late Rev. J. B. Patterson of Falkirk, and above all Mr. William (afterwards Dr.) Cunningham. The debates were conducted with remarkable ability. A list of the members of this association has recently been published, and I find that the date of my entry is November 21, 1828. The society was first instituted on the 23d November 1776, when Mr. John Gibson, its first secretary, delivered a discourse from I Cor. xiv. 12, "Seek that ye may excel, to the edifying of the Church." In its earlier days it was both a preaching and a debating society, and such men as Dr. Inglis, Dr. Chalmers, Dr. Welsh, and many more were afterwards members of it. It was broken up amidst the wreck of the Disruption, but has recently been revived. The first night I was present there was a discussion on what constituted one of the salient points of what was then designated the "Row heresy," namely, whether or not assurance was of the essence of saving faith. The debate was opened with very considerable talent in the affirmative by Mr. William Tait, son of the Rev. Mr. Tait of the College Church, an excellent man, but who had joined the Rowites, and was afterwards excluded from the Established Church of Scotland. As soon as Mr. Tait's speech was finished, up rose a tall young man with a frizzled head, and proceeded amidst deep attention to take his argument to pieces with great clearness, cogency, and power. This was Dr. Cunningham, and it was the first time I had ever seen him. Although very young, his speaking had all the characteristics of his more advanced days. I have still a recollection of part of his argument. Said he:-

"If a man makes the assertion, 'I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever,' that is an assertion which requires proof. Men may deceive themselves, and if it is not true of all men that they shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever, this man must produce clear evidence that it is true of him. If the message of the Gospel were so framed as to specify the names of individuals, and to require all such simply to believe a fact in regard to themselves, that fact being clearly asserted in the Word of God, then undoubtedly assurance and faith would be the same thing - in other words, assurance would be of the essence of faith. But this is not the form in which the Gospel message comes to us. All are invited to receive and rest upon Christ, but no man is named, and no statement is made in regard to any individual apart from Christ, which he is called to credit simply as a fact. The Gospel call is that we should believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation; and the Scripture proves that whilst this may be accompanied by immediate assurance, it may be done also in such a way as to secure salvation, whilst the blessed and full assurance of our personal interest in Christ does not exist, or may have existed and - been withdrawn. The duty of seeking assurance, and not resting satisfied until it is obtained, is admitted, and ought to be earnestly preached; but it is not admitted, and it is only a confusion of ideas to say, that assurance and faith are the same thing."

I was extremely struck with this speech. It was delivered as easily, coolly, and powerfully as any speech I ever heard Dr. Cunningham deliver. That copious vocabulary of his, without any attempt at figure, anecdote, or illustration, was as remarkable at that time as afterwards, as well as his crushing logic. Some one has compared him to a "snowplough," which powerfully removes obstructions and clears the way for itself and for others; and one has likened his style of speaking to the action of a "bone-mill," crushing down all intellectual obstacles with irresistible force. But perhaps the most interesting thing about him was the early maturity of his powers. He was an untiring reader of books, and had a memory of the most tenacious kind, the double effect of which was that everything was arranged and tabulated in his mind in the most perfect order, and he seldom changed his opinions. I saw much of him in afterlife. He was a man of decided Christian principle, amiability, and integrity, but in that first debate I had a very striking illustration of his ability and power of argument. The question was afterwards during the evening discussed with much earnestness and talent, and although appearing for the first time, I ventured to offer a few remarks on the subject, which were well received. The matter in debate was by no means new to me, in connection with the stirring discussions on the same subject in the West of Scotland. I had afterwards the honour to be one of the presidents of this Theological Debating Society.

Mr. Bullock, afterwards of Tulliallan, was a member of the society, and a man of great vigour and edge of mind He said to me, "The great things to be studied in public speaking are plainness and pith." Some one asked him why he did not join the Moderate party in the Church; to which he quietly replied, "I have always had a belief in a future state." Some one was telling him of an adventure, as an illustration of his own talent. He had been on horseback, and night coming on unexpectedly, he lost his road, and did not know what to do. But it occurred to him just to throw the reins on the horse's neck and let him take his own course, and it so happened that he brought him safely home "Now," said he to Mr. Bullock, "was not that a clever plan?" "Yes," said Mr. Bullock, "it was very clever on the part of the horse." A Leith merchant failed in business and then turned minister. Mr. Bullock quietly remarked, "It is said of Matthew the publican that he left all and followed Christ; but this is a case of an entirely opposite description: All has left this man before he has begun to follow." During my residence at this time in Edinburgh, the subject of Roman Catholic Emancipation was keenly discussed, and immediately afterwards settled, as it now appears, to the permanent injury of the kingdom. Very great diversity of opinion then existed on the subject. Dr M'Crie, Dr. Jones, Dr. Gordon, my father, and many others, were strongly opposed to the measure, and predicted the very results which have since occurred. On the other hand, Dr. Chalmers, Dr. Thomson, and the Whigs of the Parliament House were as strongly in its favour; and after Sir Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington declared themselves prepared to admit Romanists into power, many of their party also changed along with them. I was present at the great meeting held in Edinburgh in favour of the Emancipation measure. Jeffrey spoke with his usual fluency and felicity of language. But the great speech of the meeting was that of Dr. Chalmers. The enthusiasm was immense, as he ran over a stream of concessions that he, in his simplicity, was willing to make. Let them get into Parliament - let them get to the very ear of the monarch, and so forth; but give them the Bible, and with that single instrument he would overthrow all the influence and policy of Rome! Looking back over the past, one cannot help wondering at the amiable credulity which dictated such a speech, in opposition to the essential principles of the Revolution Settlement, and at the shallow view which such a powerful man took of past history and experience, and of the craft and resources of the mystic Babylon. Her first cry is always equality, but she is only satisfied with absolute supremacy. At that time one asked Dr. Chalmers how it happened that the mass of the good people of Scotland were opposed to his views? He said, " they are not chemists. They cannot analyse the question. They can only smell it, and they smell popery in it." As the "Times," however, was afterwards forced to admit that "the bigots were right," so the "smell" of the Scotch Covenanters, the result of dire experience, was more reliable than the philosophy of worthy Dr. Chalmers. No doubt if the Church had been faithful the result might have been otherwise; but the Church has ever since been sinking into deeper apathy on the subject of Romanism, and now a disastrous crisis seems near. This very apathy has in no small measure been owing to the elaborate efforts made at the time to which I refer to persuade the people of the United Kingdom that Popery had essentially changed, and that the safeguards and other efforts in defence of Protestant truth and liberty found necessary in the days of our ancestors might now be dispensed with. Previous to that period 'the people of Scotland regarded Popery with singular horror and aversion, as a system subversive of Divine truth and human liberty - a bloody and intolerant superstition - the system described in the Revelation as "drunk with the blood of saints and of the martyrs of Jesus." They justly regarded it also as an impious superstition, not destined to be reformed but destroyed. They believed from Scripture, as experience has since proved, that it would become worse and worse. This was the unanimous impression of the older ministers, and of all the best of the people since I remember, and there cannot be a, doubt that the discussions at the period to which I am referring, and the ground taken by such eminent men as Dr Thomson and Dr. Chalmers at that period in regard to Popery, have since had a most disastrous effect in Scotland and in the United Kingdom. Two very remarkable men visited Edinburgh at this time in connection with the Popish question, viz., Captain Gordon, afterwards M.P. for Dundalk, and the Rev. Nicholas Armstrong They addressed several large public meetings and excited much interest. Captain Gordon was a robust, energetic-looking man, and spoke very well and fluently, dwelling chiefly on the Bible as the only rule of faith, and exposing the perversions of the Romish system. Mr. Armstrong was a tall, dark Irishman, and spoke with remarkable vehemence and energy. They both clearly indicated at that early period the course upon which the country had embarked, and the results which are now taking place around us, although multitudes regarded them as raising an entirely false alarm. During my student life I acquired two lessons of considerable importance. The first is, that, as a general rule, it is a most unsatisfactory and unprofitable thing to go from church to church in quest of edification. Not only is your own mind apt to be unsettled by the constant variety, but even inferior sermons coming from a man to whose manner you are accustomed are often more instructive and satisfactory. No doubt students are prone to roam about amongst the churches. It is right that they should hear remarkable men, and to some extent they may undoubtedly derive advantage from this. But, as a general rule for all classes, and not least for students, "a rolling stone gathers no moss," and it is better to select a profitable ministry and adhere to it. Any advantage from variety, except in the cases referred to of peculiarly eminent men, is supplied at the communion seasons as they periodically return, when these are conducted according to the ancient practice of Scotland. This is a lesson, however, which one sometimes learns only by experience. I was brought to a determination to adhere to my own church, which, after I left the College chapel in Glasgow, was that of the excellent Dr. Brown of St. John's, by a peculiar incident. One day the Doctor was absent, and there came in his place a preacher whose discourse was extremely poor and unsatisfactory, and who uttered in a hard and most stentorian voice things which he expected to be pathetic. He reminded me forcibly of a story which I had heard of a man who was at a public catechising, when he was asked "Who was Pontius Pilate?" Being unable to answer, and at the same time rather dull of hearing, his next neighbour whispered to him "He was a Roman governor," upon which the man shouted out, to the great astonishment both of the minister and the congregation, "He was a roaring gommeral, sir! " A story was told of Dr. Andrew Thomson. A preacher whom I knew, and who was not unlike the one I am now describing, was once preaching before Dr. Thomson, and was extremely anxious to know what the Doctor thought of his preaching. The Doctor at first evaded his hints, but when be found this would not do, he said, in his usual quick way, "Well, Mr. So-and-so, I think I can pay you the same compliment that was once paid to myself." "What was that?" eagerly inquired Boanerges. Dr. Thomson said, "I was once preaching on a fast-day at Kirkcaldy in the afternoon, Dr. Gordon having preached in the forenoon. Two men were going home from the church, and they began to talk to each other about the. sermons. 'What thocht ye o' yon man in the forenoon?' said the one man to the other. 'Oh, he was a fine sensible man, a gran' preacher.' 'And what thocht ye o' that man in the afternoon?' said he. 'Aweel, I maun admit,' said the other, 'that yon man roared weel."' So did the preacher, to whom I listened with inexpressible pain; and as Dr. Brown was not to be at home in the afternoon, I determined to improve the day by hearing some one better. What was my horror, when I went to another church, to see the same man go into the pulpit and repeat the same hideous performance, word for word, and roar for roar. I knew that this, at least, could not have occurred if I had adhered to my own church, and I determined to be very cautious in wandering for the future. The second lesson was the importance of not studying during all hours of the night, but going early to bed and rising early. This, and living on porridge and other plain food, avoiding all tobacco and other narcotics or stimulants, have been the great lessons of my physical life. There is an immense temptation presented to students to work through all hours of the night, as it is more easy to keep their fires in at night than to get them lighted in the morning. Of course they cannot burn the candle at both ends, and therefore they must either sit up late or rise early. But the worst of it is not the late hours in themselves. If you study late at night and with any energy, you become feverish; and even when you get to bed, you toss about and are unable to sleep. Now without a reasonable measure of sound sleep robust health is impossible. On the other hand, if you work in the morning, you work with the full renovated vigour which a sound sleep has been the means, by the blessing of God, of imparting. I have no doubt also that you will be less disposed to indulge in cobweb subtleties and the production of German mist; whilst even if you become excited or feverish in consequence of earnest work, the exercise of the day will entirely restore the tone of the system, and enable you to sleep with all the placidity of a child. This, besides, is a matter of far greater importance than many suppose. A sound body is a great auxiliary to a sound mind, just as a great memory, although some undervalue it, is an immense auxiliary to a sound judgment. Some of the most powerful men of our day, Dr. Chalmers, Dr. Thomson, John Wilson, Dr. Cunningham, and others, have had a remarkably developed physical framework. Solomon says, "A cheerful heart doeth good like a medicine;" and I have no doubt that irritable nerves and an imperfect digestion on the part of Christian ministers are more frequent causes of personal discomfort and incapacity for work, nay, even of chronic mischiefs in congregations, than many suppose. No doubt the first matter of concern ought to be the state of the soul, a heart right in the sight of God, reconciliation with God, and a spirit of entire devotion to our Master's service. But these things being secured, we should seek to be enabled to serve God in every way with the very best of all things, including the best of health. Even Paul exhorted Timothy to use the necessary means to get rid of his feeble health and often infirmities.