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The plea set up by many, that they are afraid they may be left to bring disgrace on religion, is admirably adverted to by my young friend. A more superficial thinker would have ascribed this feeling to humility and self-distrust; he, with nicer. discrimination, ascribes it to self-confidence. Provided our obedience were in any instance the result of our own strength, we might be justified in exercising delay on this principle. But as from first to last we are called to depend on the strength of another, the case is very different. He who enables us to believe, and flee from the wrath to come, will assuredly preserve us from dishonoring him, if our confidence is properly reposed. Many refuse to believe in Christ, on the plea that their sins are too great for them to hope that they may be forgiven. This they call humility; while in fact it is the deceitful operation of pride. It is obvious that if they thought they were better, they would not feel the same difficulty; because they could then come to Christ with greater confidence of acceptance. Many think they are not good enough to observe the Lord's Supper; as if the observance of it ought to be suspended on their goodness or merit. It is intended exclusively for Christians; but under that denomination, it includes all of every grade in the profession, who really know and love the Lord. It is designed, not for the perfect, but as the means of promoting perfection in those who are aiming to attain it. It is intended, not for the full, but for the empty soul; and will always prove useful in invigorating the life of godliness.
In regard to the religious denomination which my young friend then joined, I have merely to remark, in connexion with his own observation,
that he never repented of that step, and retained his convictions as to its propriety to the very last. He said to one of his fellow students, whose letter is now before me;-"I shall never forget the affectionate, yet faithful manner in which the two brethren appointed by the church to converse with me, before being admitted to fellowship, discharged their duty." "We all agreed," says the writer, "that the step he had taken showed at once the humility of his mind, and the decision of his character." The following extract of a letter written long after, to the Rev. W. Lothian; pastor of the church, both illustrates his grateful feelings, and his strong attachment to the church under his care.
"I am chargeable with many faults, and carelessness is not among the least of them.-I will not offer any apology, or pretend to make an excuse for not writing sooner, for my own conscience condemns me. But be assured it has not proceeded from a want of Christian love, or a forgetfulness of the many spiritual blessings I have enjoyed under your ministry, and in communion with the church under your care, or the many acts of kindness shown me by many of its members. No! I will never forget St. Andrew's; and the remembrance of the place where first I professed myself a follower of the Lord, and the little body of Christians who first gave me the right-hand of fellowship, will be remembered with lively gratitude and delight, when the associations of literary and social intercourse shall have been effaced, by the impression of other scenes, and different pursuits. How different is our friendship from that of the world. Distance of time and place cannot
weaken it, since neither can remove us from Christ. So long as we love him who begat, so long shall we love those who are begotten of him; and coldness of love to our Christian brethren can only be produced by lukewarmness in our love so God. Forgive my wandering;-I sometimes forget that I am writting a letter."
"The account which he gave," says Mr. Lothian, "of his religious views and experience, on being received into the church, was very satisfactory, and discovered great knowledge of the Scriptures in one so young. He particularly mentioned the advantage he had derived from parental instruction, and from hearing the Gospel faithfully preached. I thought it my duty to remind him, that by casting in his lot with us, he would be deprived of that patronage which might otherwise have held out to him prospects of temporal advancement. He, however, said, that he had examined the subject for himself, and could not conscientiously unite himself to any other body of Christians."
The propriety of Mr. Lothian's caution will appear when we reflect on the tender years of young Urquhart, on his highly promising talents,-on the temptations incident to a college life, and on the little inducement which he could have, under such circumstances, to connect himself with a small, and in the city of St. Andrew's, a despised independent church. Difficult as the circumstances were, he maintained his consistency and integrity of character to the last. And such was the power of principle, and his attachment to the body to which he belonged, that when on his leaving St. Andrew's, a very desirable situation was put in his power; he would not accept of it, till the
parties were informed that he was a Dissenter, and that the full liberty to act according to his own principles was the sine qua non of his acceptance. I mention these things chiefly as evidences of his sincerity, decision, and steadiness.
Important as these matters were, it must not be supposed that he was so absorbed by them as to neglect his professional studies. The best evidence of the contrary is furnished by the fact, that at the end of the session, which took place after he joined the church at St. Andrew's, he obtained again some of the best prizes. A second time he received the silver medal, as the best scholar in the senior Greek Class; and also the second prize, "Xenophon de Cyri Institutione," in the same class. In the third mathematical class, he also obtained one of the best prizes. His distinguished. attainments as a Greek scholar, were thus noticed by Professor Alexander:-"He prosecuted his studies with unremitting assiduity; evinced talents and attainments in Greek literature of the first order; and in each session carried off, as he well merited, the highest prize of distinguished scholarship."
On his return home, I had the opportunity of conversing fully with him on the nature of his religious views, the great change which had taken place in him, and the object which he was now led to pursue. I found his mind, as I expected, devoted to the Christian ministry; and it now became my pleasing duty to encourage his resolution, and direct his reading with a view to that object. Possessing, as he evidently did, the leading qualifications to form a popular preacher, I hailed the day when it might be my privilege to introduce
him in some form to the elevated and responsible employment of the ministry. I forget whether he then said much, or any thing to me respecting the object to which he finally directed all his attention, the work of a Christian Missionary. I entertain little doubt, however, that he then thought of it; but as my views of his talents led me to think of the home, rather than of the foreign service, I must have chiefly directed his mind towards it.
While he was at home during this vacation, he wrote the following Essay, intended, I believe, for some magazine, which promised a prize for the best Essay on the subject. I remember that he showed it me; but I am unable to say whether he sent it. His accurate knowledge of the Gospel, and the ease with which he could express himself respecting its nature and design are here strikingly illustrated. I believe it is the first piece of extended composition which he wrote, and cannot therefore be so perfect as some of his subsequent pieces. But the language requires as little apology as the sentiment. The former is as simple as the latter is dignified.