Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

ing decease. On the contrary, the vision sunshine of a purer love, and the comof the future was full of life and service; munion of earth matures into the fellowand his heart bounded with a purer joy ship of heaven. as he looked forward to the yet more It is in this spirit that I would now vital and efficient prosecution of his sketch the life and labours of my late sublime work. Never had he ascended beloved friend, not to glorify him, but his pulpit “with a firmer tread, or more the grace of God which was so conrichly laden with a pastor's devotedness,” spicuous in his character; to benefit the than on the morning of the last Sabbath church of Christ; and to encourage and on which he occupied that pulpit, and stimulate his brethren in the ministry “spoke by fond expectancy of a glory to to holier consecration and wider activity. rest upon the renovated house, surpass- I am not about to throw back even one • ing that of former periods.” Alas! how single fold of that veil which rests on the soon the vision changed ! Instead of that private and domestic life of every man, to heightened and brighter glory, there came gratify an idle and impertinent curiosity; flitting across his path the dark shadows far less to reveal and lay open those arcana of death; and from the sacred floor of the of the heart, which he so jealously fenced pulpit, on which he had stood and uttered around while he was living, and to which God's living truth, he came down to be the smallest possible number was ever adlaid in the silence of the tomb. But he mitted. “ As the flavour of some fruits is not dead; he has sweetly fallen asleep is found in perfection only when we pluck in Jesus. His spirit, taken from. us, has them from the tree,” so there is someentered into another mansion of his thing in the society of a friend which is Father's house; and though the grave to be found only in his society, and which has closed on his once visible form, his no description can preserve. next appearance will be one of renovated The subject of our sketch-GEORGE life, and unfading beauty, and imperish- CRUIKSHANK MAITLAND -- was born in able glory.

Aberdeen, April 30, 1832, and on the If poetry has its “enclosed beauties"- part of his parents was dedicated to God its “sheltered garden-beds of curious from his birth. His mother, who preflowers, not to be judged by comparison ceded him to the world of glory, watched with the open landscape, but to be visited over his earlier years with the most deand enjoyed for their own particular voted affection and solicitude ; took daily charms”—so it is within the hallowed cognizance of the openings and the workcircle of all truer friendship. If we are ings of his little heart, and was above all to write “ that man a marvel whom we things concerned for his salvation ; while can call a friend," then the love which is his father,-himself a godly man, and who the soul of friendship is something too still holds office as a deacon in one of the pure and too refined to become the com- congregational churches in Aberdeen mon property of all. He is not a friend equally alive to the highest interests of whom we cannot take to the love and the his child,“ tearfully yet thankfully reconfidence of our heart. A mountain is cords that not on a single occasion during made up of atoms, but if the atoms hold his whole life had he reason seriously to not together, the mountain crumbles into find fault with him." His was a docile dust; and so the friendship which has not spirit, and his a heart early susceptible its fact in the life, and strength, and of holy impressions; while the prayers of centre of the affections, is not worthy his loving parents were signally answered of the name. A friend is one to whom in the fact, that scarcely had he passed " we may impart griefs, joys, hopes, fears, through the stage of childhood, when he suspicions, counsels, or whatsoever lieth was “brought to a true reception of on the heart either to oppress it or to fill Christ, though by a process so gentle that it" with the joy of a diviner gladness. its special instrumentalities and decisive Time draws closer together the sacred stages could not be distinguished.” It bond. Mutual confidence ripens in the is with the fact, and not with the process

of regeneration in the soul, that we have came the desire for wider activity, and to do; and the whole of his future career with his heart set on more direct efforts placed it beyond question, that he had in connexion with the church and the been born from above, and been made a kingdom of Christ, he was led by the partaker of the life of God.

advice of Dr. Brown to seek admission Having received the elements of a into New College, London, as a theologigeneral education, he entered, at the early cal student. Here he spent two years in age of twelve years, the grammar school those pursuits which were deemed most of his native city, in which his mental necessary for ministerial qualification and development soon became conspicuous, service; and not only did he commend and his progress in the various branches himself by his personal character and of classical study was not more rapid than moral worth, his intellectual attainments real. In this academy the regular term and promise of future devotedness, to the of study is five years; but at the end esteem and confidence of his professors, of his fourth year, young Maitland, at but to the love and friendship of his felthe suggestion and by the advice of the low-students. Of this fact I might adduce rector of the school, entered the Univer- | many pleasing instances ; but the followsity, and became a student in Marischal ing testimony from one who was his College, of which the now venerable class-mate, and who won for himself a Dr. Dewar was principal as well as one proud preeminence for his attainments, of the professors. Here his application, will speak more emphatically in favour perseverance, and success, were equally of my late friend than any words of conspicuous; and after four years he mine :graduated, and took his Master of Arts “It was impossible for any one to be degree with honours. But notwithstand much with him without being drawn to ing his early impressions, and his subse- him. There was heart in all that he did.

He was peculiarly affable in manners, quent attainments in polite learning, he and genial in spirit. His demeanour was bad hitherto kept back from making any marked by a simplicity and candour, and public profession of his faith in Christ. occasionally by an exuberance of joy, Instead, therefore, of passing from the which proclaimed to all with whom he Faculty of Arts to the Divinity Hall, as

associated, that with the cultivation and

maturity of a Christian man, he cona step preparatory to the work of the tinued to possess the spirit of a child. ministry, we find him accepting a I recollect that he came to New College scholastic engagement in Cheltenham, furnished with a considerable portion of to which, without solicitation, he had secular knowledge, and that during hi been heartily recommended by Principal stay he was persevering in his theological Dewar. This brought him into imme- pursuits; that he took a lively interest

in our debating society, and spoke at its diate and healthful contact with my meetings; that he entered into everything esteemed friend the Rev. Dr. Brown, which affected the interests of the stuwhose loving heart he won, and who ever dents, and at all times diffused a cheerful looked upon him “as a son in the Gospel.” and brotherly influence through our He kindly took him by the hand, and by

society.

“I felt the news of his death as if it his words of counsel and encouragement, had been the loss of a near relative. I be effectually overcame that fear of him- had always regarded him as one of the self, arising out of his youth and inex- happiest and most useful of the young perience, which amounted to almost a ministers of our day; and I had read sinful distrust, and induced him, at the with delight the accounts which every

now and then appeared in our public age of twenty, to connect himself with the journals of his progress and success. Nor church under his pastoral care. This was can I easily forget the impression I rea positive advantage to young Maitland. ceived from a visit I once paid him at In Dr. Brown he found a friend and a Sunderland. It was evident that he counsellor, and in his ministry a power unreserved affection, and that he lived

loved his work and his people with an to quicken and stimulate his inner for them. With undisguised delight he spiritual life. With this higher vitality introduced me to his study, his commo

dious chapel and schools, and the neigh- | sympathies; that the fruits of his ever bourhood in which he lived—the scenes advancing acquaintance with his Master severally of his home, pulpit, and pasto- became theirs in richer abundance; that ral labours. He spoke particularly of his efforts and success in changing his church

new evidences of sanctifying power and meetings from mere formal business converting grace attending his ministragatherings into refreshing means of grace. tions from the pulpit, called forth warmer In all he said it was plain that his aim ascriptions to Him who sent one of His was to utilize to the utmost every power true servants among them; that in their within his reach for the service of Christ; household cireles, his love had all the to make everything connected with his work real and fruitful; and to have strength and all the influence of kindred streams of life and blessing flowing ties; that the young found in him at through every channel which Providence once an intellectual leader, and one who, had opened."

with brotherly openness and warmth, I claim not for my departed friend any could enter into all their aspirations ; thing approaching to prodigious powers that the very children, with brightening of mind, or daring genius, or colossal countenances, rushed to meet him; that greatness; still he is not to be thought in the afflictions and perplexities of all, of as the subject of that mere mediocrity he was indeed the representative of the which leaves a man just where we find ever-living Consoler.” This is no exaga him, and has nothing prophetic of future geration. The portrait is true to life, progress and eminence. He stood far and every one who had the happiness of above it, and had his life been spared he knowing the original will at once recognise would have come to occupy some higher the features here so faithfully delineated. position in the church of God. With There was a symmetry in his character his mind well disciplined and richly not more beautiful than real.- a tout furnished, and bearing with him the most ensemble not more attractive than unsatisfactory testimonials from the heads deniable. of the college, he left the seat of learning In proof of this assertion it is only. for the more laborious duties and the necessary to adduce the following testiweightier responsibilities of the pastoral monies, embodied by Mr. McAll in his relation. By a series of concurring cir- funeral sermon.

The first is from the cumstances, in which he did not fail to letter of a young man who was ardently see the hand of God pointing out to him attached to Mr. Maitland as a friend and his future course, he was induced to ae- a pastor, and who, on receiving the sad cept the all but unanimous call of the tidings of his death, wrote home as church in Sunderland to undertake the follows: office of the pastorate which had become “All who knew him could not but vacant by the recent removal of the Rev. regard, esteem, and love him. R. S. McAll to Leicester. In the

arrange

what a loss to Sunderland! His grand ments which led to this settlement in and noble qualities; his truth, his dethat prosperous town, in 1855, Mr. McAll

votedness, his zeal; his great heart

, his took an active part;, and we have it from

genius, his appreciation of all that is

worthy to be loved, esteemed, and his own lips, that he counts it an honour honoured'; his unwillingness to believe to have had any part in introducing him ill of any one ; and yet add to this his to his former charge, and to have shared tenderness, his unbounded sympathy, in the joyous solemnities of his ordina

his wit, his eloquence, his earnest, ever; tion day. Nor this only. He testifies he was to me. He was truly my dearest

smiling face. You little know how kind that, while the genial kindness of his and best friend.” successor to himself will never be forgotten, that successor came among

Nor less explicit is the record bome

the people "" with the ardour of manhood's

by one of the deacons of the church :prime, and that to them he became ever I can witness to his growing concern for

“ We mourn the loss of a true friend. more dear by his active devotedness, his the interests of his Hock to the day he deepening experience, and his expanding was overtaken by his fatal illness. In

Oh!

all church matters he was very judicious with his anniversary, at which he preand prudent. With strong personal.con, sided, surrounded by a number of his victions, clear and deep, he combined ministerial brethren of the town and' special tolerance of the opinions and suggestions of the officers and members, if neighbourhood, and at which, in his differing from him. I need not say how opening address, he ranged over a vast universal was the esteem in which the field of observation and event, and spoke members of his church and the congrega- with great energy and fervour. I left him tion, and the inhabitants of the town, in the afternoon of the following day, held him. He might be said to be con

with a still higher estimate of his manly stantly about his Master's work; and his entire nature was so permeated with the and Christian character, and of his entire spirit of our holy religion, that his cheer- consecration to his Master's work; and ful piety could scarcely fail to be attrac- in the hope that we might ere long meet tive to all. His ministry was attended again with yet heightened pleasure and with marked tokens of the Divine ap- more devoted feeling. Scarcely had we proval. During it, 170 were added to parted, when he went to attend a united the fellowship. One sermon in ticular, on the death of a young friend, meeting of the young connected with was blessed to the conversion of many various congregations of the town, “to He had a large, benevolent nature-a commend to them the Book of God, and rich store of information-& vigorous to enkindle their zeal for its diffusion. intellect, and commanding common sense. This was the last-the very last; occaTo every form of suffering he was alive, and gare proof of his feeling heart in sion on which his well-known voice labouring to draw forth our sympathies was to be employedi in public for his for the sufferers at Hartley, and more Master." recently for the distressed in Lancashire.

While I was witli him, he was attend The removal of our dear minister has ing a child who had been attacked with taken place at the time when quality and grace was manifesting itselt small-pox in its most virulent type. The in increased power, with a corresponding child died on the day following that on evidence of zeal and active, devotement. which I left him. He called on the He was at once my pastor and my friend. bereaved mother; and while standing Any effort to speak his value is feeble by the corpse, he felt a cold shudder Dess itself."

pass over his whole frame. The child It was on the evening of Lord's-day, had to be buried on the evening of the November 9, that I had the happiness of same day. He accompanied the body to preaching one of his anniversary ser- the grave, but returned the subject of mons, having performed a similar service aggravated symptoms-- came home to at Newcastle in the morning; and never die. The disease, which, as in the case can I forget the heartiness with which he of the child, took on its worst type, met me at the vestry door, and again "quickly asserted its fatal power over welcomed me to Sunderland. He entered his previously healthful frame;" Though. with deep thought into the service of there was summoned to his side the best the sanctuary, at the close of which he medical aid which the town could yield, accompanied me to the residence of his scarcely had forty-eight hours elapsed friend, Mr. Douglas, under whose hos- from the time that he had been taken ill, pitable roof I was located, and where we when it was-feared that neither skill nor spent the evening with chastened cheer-care could arrest the progress of the fulness. Next morning we walked toge- disease, and when it was deemed prudent ther to a small watering-place contiguous that no one should be allowed to enter to the town, and passed four hours or his chamber but those whose presence more in a free interchange of thought on was indispensable to his attention and a great variety of subjeets, including our comfort: This, although a wise and theological and general literature, our needful measure, proved a sore denial to own intellectual culture, religious life, many of his friends and congregation and ministerial work. In the evening, “adding bitterness to the pangs of separawe had a public meeting in connexion tion. Dark forebodings were alternated

with gleams of hope,” till dawned the He asked repeatedly for the singing of day of holy rest—the second Sabbath of favourite hymns, and especially that his affliction. It was to his beloved and commencing, sorrowing people a Sabbath nerer to be " O, for a heart to praise my God, forgotten. The sanctuary in which he

A heart from sin set free.' had so often ministered the word of life, On one occasion, an attendant expressing was emphatically on that day a house of inability to sing, he said, “I would like prayer. “What intensity of supplica- to sing it, but cannot. But He will never tion then went up to God! What con- leave me-no, never. He will never forsenting of thousands of Christian hearts sake me. Sweet promise. Precious prothroughout the town, entreating that the mise!” On Sunday morning he told the husband, the pastor, and the friend might physicians, "If I know anything of my be spared !” Nor is it in the power of feelings, I shall die to-night.” During words to describe the tumult of grief, that forenoon he uttered the words, as if which rolled like some heavier sea over speaking to another, “This is the day of the entire congregation, when, on the peace. Thy sins, which are many, are evening of that Sabbath, just as they all forgiven." Once more he made an were about to leave the house of God, effort to sing. The voice was sweet and and bend homeward their steps, the clear, but the only audible words were, heavy tidings reached their ears that the "Hallelujah — hallelujah— hallelujah youthful servant of Christ who had so hallelujah," four times repeated, and recently "renewed in terms of unaffected then he quickly passed away to join the warmth the pledge of faithful care for songs of heaven. His departure was like their every interest,” had but a few the setting of some brighter light-the moments before breathed his last. melting away of some beautiful star into

During his short illness, the need of the jadiance and the glory of perfect day. the utmost quietude, combined with His earthly remains were followed to severe pain and suffering, caused his the grave by a large number of his utterances to be few. For some days ministerial brethren, and, in addition to hope seemed to light up the future, and many of the members of his church and his anticipations of recovery were firm ; congregation, by a vast concourse of the but when he came to understand the people. He was known and recognised nature and virulence of the disease in its by all parties in the town “as the friend fuller development, he said to his of social and intellectual progress, with a beloved wife—“the unwearying watcher mind so gifted as to be wise in counsel, at his side"_" This is a very heavy cross and with a heart eminently ready in all to bear. If I had to choose for myself, I the responses of a true philanthropy.” should have chosen any other; but God On the evening of the following Sabknows best; 'tis He afflicts; and if He bath, his estimable predecessor, the Rev. sees fit, He can bring me out of this afflic- R. S. McAll, of Leicester, to whom I am tion unscathed.” When at intervals he indebted for some of the foregoing exwas permitted the relief of a little repose, tracts, preached his funeral sermon to an on waking, his lips would move in grati- overflowing but sorrowing congregation. tude to God. During the sleepless The sacred edifice was filled two hours nights his pain was intense. As evening before the service commenced, and hunwas closing in, he said, “Ah! many a dreds on hundreds had to retire who sigh will be heard here before daylight could not gain admission. The discourse comes again." On the Tuesday night was founded on the words, “Their works he obtained a deeper slumber for an hour do follow them.” A "feeling of deep and a half. When it ended, he said, solemnity pervaded the congregation “Oh, that has been so sweet ; last night during the whole of the service, and at was so dreadful; this has been just as the recital of the last hours of their young beautiful. I have been with Jesus and pastor's life, many in the congregation His apostles all the time I was sleeping." were unable to repress their emotion.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »