« ПредишнаНапред »
42 UN EXPECTED INVITATION.
seemed always above his audience, and over them, for good. They were before him, not he before them; while, as an embassador for Christ, he held his court in the sanctuary, and pursued his high negotiations, in the spirit and on the principles of the commission he held, from so great and so good a Master. In the afternoon, he preached from Rom. 7 : 6, and his sermon struck me as less scholastic, as more solid and pastoral. Its garniture and imagery were less conspicuous, its devotional character more impressive and powerful. Formalism in the worship of God was shown to be pharisaism only, matter more than mind, appearance more than reality, and hypocrisy rather than sincerity. He illustrated spirituality as the only philosophy of worship, especially in this last and best dispensation under the Messiah; evincing the glare of the difference between service in newness of spirit, and in the oldness of the letter, and between Saul in his formalities and Paul in his spiritualities. After the morning service was concluded, some scenes occurred worthy of notice here. It seemed a long time in prospect before our turn should come to make our exit, so massive was the crowd in their motion as well as their multitude. While we waited, and my eye expatiated, front and rear, over the architecture of the edifice, and its slow elapsing tenantry, outward bound, the beadle of the parish came to our pew, and asked Mr. Collins for me by name. His message was, that Dr. Chalmers desired to see me in the vestry. This truly seemed strange enough. I had letters to him, but had not delivered them, and could not conceive that Dr. Chalmers had ever heard of my existence. The summons, however, was direct, and obedience was any thing but disagreeable. I was soon in his presence, and in that of some select friends, conversing joyously around him. He greeted me with a natural and generous ardor; said I was welcome in Scotland, and that he had been looking for me, and dis
HIS SOCIAL MANNERS. 43
covered somehow that I was in Mr. Collins' pew this morning. 1. I sincerely thank you, Doctor Chalmers; and rejoice much to meet you. But it is a mystery how you could have known any thing about me. 2. Oh! in several ways, especially as your gude wife has made quite a post-office of me. There are several letters waiting for you, at No. 3 Forres Street, New City, Edinburgh ; and when we are both there, I shall see you of mornings—mind, you are to come and breakfast with me every morning, regularly, while you stay in Edinburgh, and we shall have many a topic together before you return. I am glad to see you here; but you seem a younger man than I thought you, from some accounts that I had. 1. As to your kind invitation, it seems too generous and extensive—my only objection to it. I shall, however, come and see you quite as often as I ought, probably, not to weary you, Prov. 25 : 17, and shall be very happy to let you choose your topics, though mine must be the profit of a listener mainly. He then introduced me to Mrs. Chalmers and some others of the company, and was really charming in the good-natured ease and Christian frankness of his manners, in the whole interview. When we hear or read at a distance of some distinguished person, and especially if his character wins our homage or deserves our admiration, we almost enact his apotheosis in our imagination, dissociate his fame and his greatness from all the proper trivialities of humanity, and can scarce think that he breathes, eats, sleeps, walks, laughs, and suffers life's infirmities, like other men—especially if he is distinguished of his class, as a monarch or a clergyman' I would here record it, however, as the result of all I have ever seen of Chalmers, that his manners, as perfectly simple and unaffected, and wholly devoid of every appearance of vanity or boasting, were a model of beauty, nobly unbent and charm
44 A LABORIOUS COMPOSER.
ing in the relations of private life, as his great qualities ever subsidized our admiration in public. About a week afterward, I was in Edinburgh, by the way of Lochs Lomond, Katrine, Wenmachar, to Stirling, and by the Frith of Forth, and Leith, to that renowned city, the “Athens” of the British islands. There I enjoyed more than I hoped of the personal and even the private society of Chalmers: breakfasted with him thrice, dined with him once at the house of a common friend, and once—last and best of it —spent an evening, and almost the whole night, with him, at home and alone, except the presence of his eldest daughter,” viewed, in her loveliness, as a rich accession to the circle. Chalmers was said to compose with care and pain, or at least with effort and elaborate application; as in a way absolutely extemporaneous, he would seldom venture to do any thing. Hence he would have his hours of study, secluded and inaccessible; and scarce had any rule of exceptions, for favorites to abuse, and notables by presumption to usurp. As for laborious written preparation, men in any elevated place, and ministers especially, might worse offend by the opposite quality. He was, as a Christian, profoundly humble; as a man, sincerely and amiably modest—though without all unmanly weakness or pusillanimity. Hence he felt that his best preparations, with all the Sape vertas stylum, or labor lima et mora, that Horace inculcates, were never too good for the public, and especially for the pulpit. He felt, therefore, the necessity, and enforced it, of literary and studious seclusion, as the only proper way in which to discharge his high official duties. This induced system in all his economy of time. He would see his friends in the morning, happy to meet them at breakfast, but afterward, non est inventus, he was not at their service. This rule he owned to me, and wondered that the preachers of America seemed not to adopt * Now Mrs. Rev. Dr. Hanna.
AN EVENING APPOINTED. 45
it. I told him of its practical difficulties here; he replied, but I would maintain it. The interests of the people and the cause alike demand it. Are pastors in America such drudges? Have they no time to study without interruption ? Then ought they to be more than human, legitimately to maintain themselves in an educated community. But your best preachers steal time from midnight, wear out their strength, are crushed under their burdens, and, as soon as their health goes—away to Europe ' Now this way is no way; and it becomes you to be aggressive and pertinacious for a thorough reform. All the American clergymen I have ever seen were valetudinarians, crossing the ocean to get some release from onerous, and enervating, and incessant toils. This will never do. It is quite a mistake and an evil. It was now that we projected an evening. He told me, with the most companionable freedom, that, unless interrupted in some unexpected way, he would be at leisure and at home next Monday” evening: so come then, be sure; and come early, and as we have so much talking to do, I will sit it out with you, if it takes the whole night. It may chance to rain or be a heavy Scotch mist. In this case, we'll be likely to encounter no disturber, but have it all to ourselves. If it rains hard, so much the better; we’ll have fine good weather in doors. And then we'll see all about your great country; your projects for a political millennium ; your late temperance revelations and revolutions; your prospects as a nation, with all your ecclesiastical system, sustained and progressive, on the voluntary principle ; your education; your revivals of religion; your great preachers; your national slavery; your heretics, and your interminable mixtures, with all the changefulness of your raw and your recent population; and your swaying forever, from one side to the other, at the caprice or the cupidity of your popular masters. To this I replied, with cheerfulness, that I should certain* September 16, 1833.
46 ESTABLISHMENTS IN CONTROVERSY.
ly be there, by the will of God; should meet his questions on the topics with pleasure; not object to the lateness of the engagement, provided I could return to Doug LAs HoTEL, so as to be admitted there before the morrow's dawn; and as to the rain, I could only say success to it; I shall be glad to see it rain hard, especially as the means of securing a colloquy of the requisite protraction, undisturbed. At this time, the grand religious question that was in agitation and in conflict there respected the utility and the perpetuity of ecclesiastical establishments. All dissenters, north of the Tweed, were combined and fierce against them. They quoted America as a brilliant demonstration in their favor, and were much disposed to learn of us all the good they could, if not a little more. Their opponents were, in temper and argument, as much against us and the voluntary principle; and their grand propugnator was Chalmers. Arriving there, as I did, in the very crisis of their controversy, I was no neutral object in the eyes of either party. The one claimed me, and expected that, of course, I was to go with them, shoulder to shoulder. The other desired to interrogate me, in their own way, about the dreadful moral wastes in the valley of the Mississippi, the general destitution of the means of grace, the mighty wants of whole neighborhoods and districts of our people, in the wide-spread plains and savannas of our great country. Indeed, when I came home from the Highlands, so fatigued that I thought to keep an incognito for a while at the hotel, till I was fairly rested, and could find time for some personal adjustments and letter-writing to friends at home, all this was exploded in a queer way. My rest had been broken, and I thought to make some compensation, after retiring late the first night, by late rising in the morning. But, no; about seven, a loud knocking at my chamber-door surprised me— not very gratefully. It seemed intolerable. The door was locked, and at first I felt almost tempted to set it at defiance, and give no answer, But, on the whole, this was impracti