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LL.D. , ETC.

' Ce fagotage de taut si diverses pieces, se faict en cetie condition :
que je n'y mets la main, que tors qu'une trap lasche oysifvete me






63. A


severe, sour-complexioned man, then I here dif~
allffiu thee to be a competent judge? ISAAK WALTON.

1 A lady, resident in Devonshire, going into one of her parlours,
discovered a young ass, who had found its -way into the room, and
carefully closed the door upon himself. He had evidently not been
long in this situation before he had nibbled a part of Cicerj$
Orations, and eaten nearly all the index of a folio edition of
Seneca in Latin, a large fart of a volume of La ^Bruyerfs Maxims
in French, and several pages of Cecilia. He had done no other
mischief -whatever, and not a vestige remained of the leaves that
he had devoured.'' PIERCE EGAN.

' 77/i? treatment of the illustrious dead by the quick, often
reminds me of the gravedigger in Hamlet, and the skull of poor
defunct Yorick." 1 w. H. B.

' Multi ad sapientiam pervenire potuissent, nisi se jam per-
venisse putassent. '

' Tfiei'e's nothing so amusing as human nature, but then you
must have some one to laugh with.' c. S. B.

1 Fear is more pain than is the pain it fears? SIR P. SIDNEY.




DR. CHALMERS . . . . m



OUR DOGS .... 179

NOTES ON ART . . 213

OH, I'M WAT, WAT!' . . 207






'WITH BRAINS, SIR!' , . ^89



' I praised the dead which an alrrady dead, tnorr than ike
living which are yet alive*

' As he was of the Pauline type of mind, his Christianity ran
into the same mould. A strong, intense, and vehement nature,
with masculine intellect and unyielding -will, he accepted the Bible
in its literal simplicity as an absolute revelation, and then showed
the strength of his character in subjugating his whole being to this
decisive influence, and in projecting the same convictions into other
minds. He was a believer in the sense of the old Puritans, and,
amid the doubt and scepticism of the nineteenth century, held as
firmly as any of them by the doctrines of atonement and grace. He
had most of the idiosyncrasy of Baxter, though not wit/iout the
contemplation of Howe. The doctrines of Calvinism, mitigated
but not renounced, and received simply as dictates of Heaven, with-
out any effort or hope to bridge over their inscrutable depths by
philosophical theories, he translated into a fervent, humble, and
resolutely active life.

' There was a fountain of tenderness in his nature as well as a
rsjeep of impetuous indignation ; and the one drawn out, and the
other controlled by his Christian faith, made him at once a philan-
thropist and a reformer, and both in the highest departments of
human interest. The union of these ardent elements, and of a
highly devotional temperament, not untouched with melancholy,
with the patience of the scholar, and the sobriety of the critic, formed
the singularity and almost the anomaly of his personal character.
These contrasts were tempered by the discipline of 'experience j and
his life, both as a man and a Christian, seemed to become more
rich, genial, and harmonious as it approached its close." 1 DR.



23 RUTLAND STREET, i$tk August 1860.
JV/T Y DEAR FRIEND, When, at the urgent request
of his trustees and family, and in accordance
with what I believe was his own wish, you undertook
my father's Memoir, it was in a measure on the
understanding that I would furnish you with some
domestic and personal details. This I hoped to
have done, but was unable.

Though convinced more than ever how little my
hand is needed, I will now endeavour to fulfil my
promise. Before doing so, however, you must per-
mit me to express our deep gratitude to you for this
crowning proof of your regard for him

' Without whose life we had not been ;'
to whom for many years you habitually wrote as
' My father,' and one of whose best blessings, when

2 Hora Subsecivce.

he was 'such an one as Paul the aged,' was to
know that you were to him ' mine own son in the

With regard to the manner in which you have
done this last kindness to the dead, I can say no-
thing more expressive of our feelings, and, I am sure,
nothing more gratifying to you, than that the record
you have given of my father's life, and of the series
of great public questions in which he took part, is
done in the way which would have been most pleas-
ing to himself that which, with his passionate love
of truth and liberty, his relish for concentrated, just
thought and expression, and his love of being loved,
he would have most desired, in any one speaking of
him, after he was gone. He would, I doubt not, say,
as one said to a great painter, on looking at his por-
trait, ' It is certainly like, but it is much better-
looking ; ' and you might well reply, as did the
painter, ' It is the truth, told lovingly ' and all the
more true that it is so told. You have, indeed, been
enabled to speak the truth, or as the Greek has it,
dXrjdfvtiv fv ay own; to truth it in love.

I have over and over again sat down to try and do
what I promised and wished to give some faint
expression of my father's life ; not of what he did or
said or wrote not even of what he was as a man of
God and a public teacher ; but what he was in his
essential nature what he would have been had he

Letter to John Cairns, D.D. 3

been anything else than what he was, or had lived a
thousand years ago.

Sometimes I have this so vividly in my mind that
I think I have only to sit down and write it off, and
do it to the quick. ' The idea of his life,' what he
was as a whole, what was his self, all his days, would,
to go on with words which not time or custom can
ever wither or make stale,

' Sweetly creep

Into my study of imagination ;
And every lovely organ of his life
Would come apparelled in more precious habit
More moving delicate, and full of life,
Into the eye and prospect of my soul,
Than when he lived indeed ; '

as if the sacredness of death and the bloom of eter-
nity were on it ; or as you may have seen in an un-
troubled lake, the heaven reflected with its clouds,
brighter, purer, more exquisite than itself; but when
you try to put this into words, to detain yourself
over it, it is by this very act disturbed, broken and
bedimmed, and soon vanishes away, as would the
imaged heavens in the lake, if a pebble were cast
into it, or a breath of wind stirred its face. The very
anxiety to transfer it, as it looked out of the clear
darkness of the past, makes the image grow dim and

Every one whose thoughts are not seldom with the
dead, must have felt both these conditions ; how, in

4 Hor(e Subsecivee.

certain passive, tranquil states, there comes up into
the darkened chamber of the mina, its ' chamber of
imagery ' uncalled, as if it blossomed out of space,
exact, absolute, consummate, vivid, speaking, not
darkly as in a glass, but face to face, and ' moving
delicate ' this ' idea of his life ;' and then how an
effort to prolong and perpetuate and record all this,
troubles the vision and kills it ! It is as if one should
try to paint in a mirror the reflection of a dear and
unseen face ; the coarse, uncertain passionate hand-
ling and colour, ineffectual and hopeless, shut out the
very thing itself.

I will therefore give this up as in vain, and try by
some fragmentary sketches, scenes, and anecdotes, to
let you know in some measure what manner of man
my father was. Anecdotes, if true and alive, are
always valuable ; the man in the concrete, the totus
quis comes out in them . and I know you too well to
think that you will consider as trivial or out of place
anything in which his real nature displayed itself, and
your own sense of humour as a master and central
power of the human soul, playing about the very
essence of the man, will do more than forgive any-
thing of this kind which may crop out here and there,
like the smile of wild-flowers in grass, or by the way-

My first recollection of my father, my first impres-
sion, not only of his character, but of his eyes and

Letter to John Cairns, D.D. 5

face and presence, strange as it may seem, dates from
my fifth year. Doubtless I had looked at him often
enough before that, and had my own childish thoughts
about him ; but this was the time when I got my fixed,
compact idea of him, and the first look of him which
I felt could never be forgotten. I saw him, as it were,
by a flash of lightning, sudden and complete. A child
begins by seeing bits of everything ; it knows in part
here a little, there a little ; it makes up its wholes
out of its own littles, and is long of reaching the ful-
ness of a whole ; and in this we are children all our
lives in much. Children are long of seeing, or at
least of looking at what is above them ; they like the
ground, and its flowers and stones, its ' red sodgers '
and lady-birds, and all its queer things ; their world
is about three feet high, and they are more often
stooping than gazing up. I know I was past ten
before I saw, or cared to see, the ceilings of the
rooms in the manse at Biggar.

On the morning of the 28th May 1816, my eldest
sister Janet and I were sleeping in the kitchen-bed
with Tibbie Meek, 1 our only servant. We were all

1 A year ago, I found an elderly countrywoman, a widow,
waiting for me. Rising up, she said, 'D'ye mind me?' I
looked at her, and could get nothing from her face ; but the
voice remained in my ear, as if coming from the 'fields of
sleep,' and I said by a sort of instinct, 'Tibbie Meek !' I had
not seen her or heard her voice for more than forty years. She
had come to get some medical advice. Voices are often like the

6 Hone Subsecivce.

three awakened by a cry of pain sharp, insufferable,
as if one were stung. Years after we two confided to
each other, sitting by the burnside, that we thought
that 'great cry' which arose at midnight in Egypt
must have been like it. We all knew whose voice it
was, arid, in our night-clothes, we ran into the passage,
and into the little parlour to the left hand, in which
was a closet-bed. We found my father standing be-
fore us, erect, his hands clenched in his black hair, his
eyes full of misery and amazement, his face white as
that of the dead. He frightened us. He saw this, or
else his intense will had mastered his agony, for, taking
his hands from his head, he said, slowly and gently,
' Let us give thanks,' and turned to a little sofa in the
room ; there lay our mother, dead. 1 She had long
been ailing. I remember her sitting in a shawl,
an Indian one with little dark green spots on a light
ground, and watching her growing pale with what I
afterwards knew must have been strong pain. She
had, being feverish, slipped out of bed, and 'grand-
mother,' her mother, seeing her ' change come,' had
called my father, and they two saw her open her blue,
kind, and true eyes, ' comfortable ' to us all ' as the

smells of flowers and leaves, the tastes of wild fruits they touch
and awaken the memory in a strange way. ' Tibbie ' is now
living at Thankerton.

1 This sofa, which was henceforward sacred in the house, he
had always beside him. He used to tell us he set her down
upon it when he brought her home to the manse.

Letter to John Cairns, D.D. 7

day' I remember them better than those of any one
I saw yesterday and, with one faint look of recogni-
tion to him, close them till the time of the restitution
of all things.

' She had another morn than ours.'

Then were seen in full action his keen, passionate
nature, his sense of mental pain, and his supreme will,
instant and unsparing, making himself and his terri-
fied household give thanks in the midst of such a
desolation, and for it. Her warfare was accom-
plished, her iniquities were pardoned; she had already
received from her Lord's hand double for all her sins :
this was his supreme and over-mastering thought, and
he gave it utterance.

No man was happier in his wives. My mother
was modest, calm, thrifty, reasonable, tender, happy-
hearted. She was his student-love, and is even now
remembered in that pastoral region for ' her sweet
gentleness and wife-like government.' Her death,
and his sorrow and loss, settled down deep into the
heart of the countryside. He was so young and
bright, so full of fire, so unlike any one else, so de-
voted to his work, so chivalrous in his look and
manner, so fearless, and yet so sensitive and self-
contained. She was so wise, good and gentle, gra-
cious and frank.

His subtlety of affection, and his almost cruel self-

8 Hor& Subsecivcz.

command, were shown on the day of the funeral. It
was to Symington, four miles off, a quiet little church-
yard, lying in the shadow of Tinto ; a place where she
herself had wished to be laid. The funeral was chiefly
on horseback. We, the family, were in coaches. I
had been since the death in a sort of stupid musing
and wonder, not making out what it all meant. I
knew my mother was said to be dead. I saw she was
still, and laid out, and then shut up, and didn't move ;
but I did not know that when she was carried out in
that long black box, and we all went with her, she
alone was never to return.

When we got to the village all the people were at
their doors. One woman, the blacksmith Thomas
Spence's wife, had a nursing baby in her arms, and
he leapt up and crowed with joy at the strange sight,
the crowding horsemen, the coaches, and the nodding
plumes of the hearse. This was my brother William,
then nine months old, and Margaret Spence was his
foster-mother. Those with me were overcome at this
sight ; he of all the world whose, in some ways, was
the greatest loss, the least conscious, turning it to his
own childish glee.

We got to the churchyard and stood round the open
grave. My dear old grandfather was asked by my
father to pray; he did. I don't remember his words;
I believe he, through his tears and sobs, repeated the
Divine words, ' All flesh is grass, and all the glory of

Letter to John Cairns, D.D. 9

man as the flower of the grass; the grass withercth,
and the flower thereof falleth away, but the word of
the Lord endureth for ever;' adding, in his homely
and pathetic way, that the flower would again bloom,
never again to fade; that what was now sown in dis-
honour and weakness, would be raised in glory and
power, like unto His own glorious body. Then to my
surprise and alarm, the coffin, resting on its bearers,
was placed over that dark hole, and I watched with
curious eye the unrolling of those neat black bunches
of cords, which I have often enough seen since. My
father took the one at the head, and also another
much smaller springing from the same point as his,
which he had caused to be put there, and unrolling
it, put it into my hand. I twisted it firmly round my
fingers, and awaited the result; the burial men with
their real ropes lowered the coffin, and when it rested
at the bottom, it was too far down for me to see it
the grave was made very deep, as he used afterwards
to tell us, that it might hold us all my father first
and abruptly let his cord drop, followed by the rest.
This was too much. I now saw what was meant, and
held on and fixed my fist and feet, and I believe my
father had some difficulty in forcing open my small
fingers ; he let the little black cord drop, and I remem
ber, in my misery and anger, seeing its open end dis-
appearing in the gloom.

My mother's death was the second epocn in my

ro Horcz Subsecivce.

father's life; it marked a change at once and for life;
and for a man so self-reliant, so poised upon a centre
of his own, it is wonderful the extent of change it
made. He went home, preached her funeral sermon,
every one in the church in tears, himself outwardly
unmoved. 1 But from that time dates an entire, though
always deepening, alteration in his manner of preach-
ing, because an entire change in his way of dealing
with God's Word. Not that his abiding religious
views and convictions were then originated or even
altered I doubt not that from a child he not only
knew the Holy Scriptures, but was ' wise unto salva-
tion ' but it strengthened and clarified, quickened
and gave permanent direction to, his sense of God as
revealed in His Word. He took as it were to subsoil
ploughing; he got a new and adamantine point to the
instrument with which he bored, and with a fresh
power with his whole might, he sunk it right down
into the living rock, to the virgin gold. His entire
nature had got a shock, and his blood was drawn in-
wards, his surface was chilled ; but fuel was heaped
all the more on the inner fires, and his zeal, that
TI 6epfj,ov Trpay/xa, burned with a new ardour ; in-
deed had he not found an outlet for his pent-up
energy, his brain must have given way, and his

1 I have been told that once in the course of the sermon
his voice trembled, and many feared he was about to break

Letter to John Cairns, D.D. 1 1

faculties have either consumed themselves in wild,
wasteful splendour and combustion, or dwindled into
lethargy. 1

The manse became silent ; we lived and slept and
played under the shadow of that death, and we saw,
or rather felt, that he was another father than before.
No more happy laughter from the two in the parlour,
as he was reading Larry the Irish postboy's letter in
Miss Edgeworth's tale, or the last Waverley novel ; no
more visitings in a cart with her, he riding beside us
on his white thorough-bred pony, to Kilbucho, or
Rachan Mill, or Kirklawhill. He went among his
people as usual when they were ill ; he preached
better than ever they were sometimes frightened to
think how wonderfully he preached ; but the sun-
shine was over the glad and careless look, the
joy of young life and mutual love. He was little
with us, and, as I said, the house was still, except
when he was mandating his sermons for Sabbath.
This he always did, not only viva voce, but with as
much energy and loudness as in the pulpit ; we

1 There is a story illustrative of this altered manner and mat-
ter of preaching. He had been preaching when very young, at
Galashiels, and one wife said to her 'neebor,' 'Jean, what
think yc o' the lad?' t lfs maist 0V tinsel wark? said Jean,
neither relishing nor appreciating his fine sentiments and figures.
After my mother's death, he preached in the same place, and
Jean, running to her friend, took the first word, '//'j ' gowa

12 Horce S^lbsec^v<z.

felt his voice was sharper, and rang keen through
the house.

What we lost, the congregation and the world
gained. He gave himself wholly to his work. As
you have yourself said, he changed his entire system
and fashion of preaching ; from being elegant, rheto-
rical, and ambitious, he became concentrated, urgent,
moving (being himself moved), keen, searching, un-
swerving, authoritative to fierceness, full of the terrors
of the Lord, if he could but persuade men. The
truth of the words of God had shone out upon him
with an immediateness and infinity of meaning and
power, which made them, though the same words he
had looked on from childhood, other and greater and
deeper words. He then left the ordinary commen-
tators, and men who write about meanings and flutter
around the circumference and corners ; he was bent
on the centre, on touching with his own fingers, on
seeing with his own eyes, the pearl of great price.
Then it was that he began to dig into the depths, into
the primary and auriferous rock of Scripture, and
take nothing at another's hand : then he took up
with the word 'apprehend;' he had laid hold of
the truth, there it was, with its evidence, in his
hand ; and every one who knew him must remember
well how, in speaking with earnestness of the mean-
ing of a passage, he, in his ardent, hesitating way,
looked into the palm of his hand as if he actually

Letter to "John Cairns, D.D. 13

saw there the truth he was going to utter. This
word apprehend played a large part in his lectures,
as the thing itself did in his processes of investigation,
or, if I might make a word, indigation. Comprehen-
sion, he said, was for few ; apprehension was for every
man who had hands and a head to rule them, and an
eye to direct them. Out of this arose one of his de-
ficiencies. He could go largely into the generalities of
a subject, and relished greatly others doing it, so that
they did do it really and well ; but he was averse to
abstract and wide reasonings. Principles he rejoiced
in : he worked with them as with his choicest weapons ;
they were the polished stones for his sling, against
the Goliaths of presumption, error, and tyranny in
thought or in polity, civil or ecclesiastical; but he
somehow divined a principle, or got at it naned and
alone, rather than deduced it and brought it to a
point from an immensity of particulars, and then ren-
dered it back so as to bind them into one cosmos.
One of my young friends, who afterwards went to
India, and now dead, used to come and hear him in
Broughton Place with me, and this word apprehend
caught him, and as he had a great love for my father,
in writing home to me, he never forgot to ask how
'grand old Apprehend' was.

From this time dates my father's possession and
use of the German Exegetics. After my mother's
death I slept with him ; his bed was in his study, a

14 Horez Siibsecivce.

small room, 1 with a very small grate ; and I remem-
ber well his getting those fat, shapeless, spongy
German books, as if one would sink in them, and
be bogged in their bibulous, unsized paper; and
watching him as he impatiently cut them up, and
dived into them in his rapid, eclectic way, tasting
them, and dropping for my play such a lot of soft,
large, curled bits from the paper-cutter, leaving the
edges all shaggy. He never came to bed when I
was awake, which was not to be wondered at ; but
I can remember often awaking far on in the night
or morning, and seeing that keen, beautiful, intense
face bending over these Rosenmiillers, and Ernestis,
and Storrs, and Kuinoels the fire out, and the grey
dawn peering through the window; and when he
heard me move, he would speak to me in the foolish
words of endearment my mother was wont to use,
and come to bed, and take me, warm as I was, into
his cold bosom.

Vitringa in Jesaiam I especially remember, a noble
folio. Even then, with that eagerness to communi-
cate what he had himself found, of which you must
often have been made the subject, he went and told
it. He would try to make me, small man as I was,
' apprehend ' what he and Vitringa between them

1 On a low chest of drawers in this room there lay for many
years my mother's parasol, by his orders I daresay, for long,
the only one in Biggar.

Letter to John Cairns, D.D. 1 5

had made out of the fifty-third chapter ot his favour-
ite prophet, the princely Isaiah. 1 Even then, so far
as I can recal, he never took notes of what he read.
He did not need this, his intellectual force and clear-
ness were so great ; he was so totus in ///<?, whatever
it was, that he recorded, by a secret of its own, his

1 His reading aloud of everything from John Gilpin to John
Howe was a fine and high art, or rather gift. Henderson could
not have given

' The dinner waits, and we are tired ;'
Says Gilpin, ' So am I,"

better ; and to hear him sounding the depths and cadences of
the Living Temple, ' bearing on its front this doleful inscrip-
tion, " Here God once dwelt," ' was like listening to the recita-
tive of Handel. But Isaiah was his masterpiece ; and I remem-
ber quite well his startling us all when reading at family worship,
' His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty
God,' by a peremptory, explosive sharpness, as of thunder over-
head, at the words, ' the mighty God, ' similar to the rendering
now given to Handel's music, and doubtless so meant by him ;
and then closing with ' the Prince of Peace, ' soft and low. No
man who wishes to feel Isaiah, as well as understand him, should

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