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RECOLLECTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS OF | stepped out, and right glad were we to meet A SCOTTISH CLERGYMAN.
BY THE REV. EDWARD IRVING.
THE profession of a minister of the Gospel brings him acquainted with human nature in every estate, from the highest to the lowest, and under those very points of view which exhibit its strongest workings and its extremest trials. The baptism of the children and the marriage of the youth, the visitation of the sick, attendance upon the dying and the burial of the dead, ministration to the poor, making of peace between enemies, and domestic visitations of every kind, lay open to the minister and pastor of the people fields of observation to which no annalist nor historian, no poet nor philosopher, no novelist nor sentimentalist, can by any means find access. This, which is true of all parts of Christendom, is so in a remarkable degree of Scotland, whose clergy have been (if they be not now) the only staff and stay of the people, in the want of such a nobility, gentry, and magistracy, as England can boast of. Till lately, self-seeking, the bane of the upper classes in Scotland, was no vice of the clergy, who, by the constitution of our Church, have little or nothing to find, let them seek their best, after they have been once settled as the ministers of a parish. They were wont (and are so often still) to settle quietly down amongst the people, and take a fatherly interest in the concerns of every soul within the bounds of their cure. Many generations of such devoted faithfulness have engendered a closeness and largeness of confidence between them and the people, which survives still, and I hope will long survive against a cold and sinful age, even if Scotland should not be favoured with days of revival and refreshing. Had I been wise enough to make these reflections some years ago, I would have registered the observations and experiences of my ministry as they occurred; and, while I carefully preserved a pastor's confidence, which is never to be violated, I should have possessed materials for representing the form of Scottish life, and giving entertainment and instruction to those who delight to observe the soul of man under all its moods, and struggling with the hardships and vicissitudes of its destiny. As it is, I must draw upon the stores of a memory, tenacious enough for the more remarkable events and the more tragical scenes of which I have been the witness, in some of which I have been an actor, in all of them a counsellor
and comforter. And I would begin by relating, as it was told to me by one who was a sufferer,
THE LOSS OF THE ABEONA.
One night, when returning from the house of a friend, with whom I had sat late at supper, to my own lodging, in the city of Glasgow, where at that time my lot was cast, I was passing along the darkest part, commonly called the How, of the Gallowgate, and in the midst of the deep silence I heard a heavy footstep approaching me. We passed close to each other, when instantly the man stopped short, named my name, and took hold of my hand. Somewhat startled, but nothing alarmed, I said, "Who are you, friend, and where are you going at this hour of the night?" He answered, "I am James , and I am going to the Broomielaw to catch the first steam-boat in the morning, to take me down to the Abeona, which sails to-morrow for the Cape." This brought at once to my recollection one of our parishioners, whom, along with the elder of his district, I had visited some few days before, to converse and pray with him and his wife before their departure as settlers for Algoa Bay, in South Africa. "Well, James," said I, "and is this the last of you that I am to see in this world?" "I fear it, Sir," said James; "for my wife is already at the Broomielaw, and I have just settled all our little matters and parted with any friends, and we sail to-morrow. But, oh, Sir, I am glad to see you, and count it good luck that you should be the last man in the parish to shake me by the hand and bid God bless "Well, James," I said, "grant it may be so fear his name, be kind to your wife, be honest and true, and fear no evil." And so, after lingering a while as loath to part, and having no interrup tion at that quiet and dark hour, we took our several ways, little knowing what should fall out before we met again
Towards the end of the same week I had occasion to visit a friend and brother-minister, at the mouth of the Clyde. While the steam-boat waited, to set out and take in passengers at Greenock, whom should I see standing upon the quay, with a little child in each hand, but my friend James: the instant I recognised him, I
again. "I did not expect to have seen you again, James, when we parted that dark night in the How of the Gallowgate." "The ship has been detained," said he, "waiting for passengers, who were to meet us here from different parts of the country; but we sail the next tide." "And whose children are these?" for I knew that he had no family of his own. "They are," said he, amongst the youngest of a very large family from the townhead of Glasgow, who are going out along with us. There are eight of them, besides their father and mother. It is a great charge; and while their mother and my wife are gone into the town to purchase some small articles before we sail, I have taken the charge of them." " Poor dear children," I said, and took them in my arms, and gave them some little money, which their mother might lay out for their comfort. "Poor things," said James, "they little know what is before them." And never spake he a truer word; for there was before them, in a few weeks, the loss of father and mother, and brother and sister. Oh, it grieves me still, whenever I think upon it, Scotland, and what I that day saw upon the quay to remember what I have seen in all parts of of Greenock, the heavy-hearted emigrants loitering about with such cheerless looks, with all the little store of their cottages lying in confusion around them. I question whether aught can make up to their country the loss of such a peasantry as I have seen depart by ship-loads from her shores.
At the interval of many months, on a Sabbath night, after preaching to the people, when they were all dismissed and scattered on their several ways, as I was coming from the Session House, I observed a man standing by the wall of the church, said, taking my hand, "Oh, how glad I am to see as it were, to speak to me, who stopped me, and you again, Sir! Much, much has passed since we parted." In a moment, I recollected my old friend, whom, since the accounts had arrived that the Abeona was burnt at sea, I had never expected to meet again. I answered, "If you be glad to see me, how much gladder should I be to see you, James, in the land of the living and the place of hope: and your wife?"-" Ali, Sir, she is no more" and he was proceeding to tell me the tale of his calamity, and his wife's tragical end, when I interrupted him, saying, "Be of good comfort, James: but this is both too long and too
sore a matter for street conversation. Come with me into my lodging; take some refreshment, and then you will tell it me at your leisure. It is the best night in the week for conversing of such an awful providence, and no time so fit as now, when we have been worshipping together in His house." So we went our way.
As we walked together through one or two streets, which lay between the church and my abode, I asked him when he had arrived, and what he had been doing since he came home. "I came but yesterday," said he, "and went directly to Mr. F. -'s, the elder's, to tell him what had befallen me; and now, Sir, I thought it better not to say any thing to you till the duties of the Sabbath were over, lest you might have been discomposed by what I have to tell you." I made no reply; but thought within myself what a noble tribute this is to the office of a Scottish elder, and to the character of that indefatigable man of God, the elder of the proportion in which James and his wife had lived, that a forlorn, cast away, ship wrecked man should seek his first shelter and consolation in his house. It was the custom of that elder, and I believe it is so still, to leave the business of the world, and spend some hours of every day in ministering instruction, and consolation, and help to the people, whose overseer the Church had appointed him to be. Whilst these reflections were passing through my mind, we had arrived at my humble habitation, when, after James had refreshed himself with meat, he proceeded with his narrative, which I shall relate as nearly in his own words as at this distance of nine or ten years I can remember, and certainly to his particulars I shall not venture to add anything. "We sailed," said James, "the very next tide after you parted with me and the little children
upon the quay of Greenock, and, though I am not superstitious, I wish my wife and the rest of the Barrys had been there to receive your blessing as well as we: for, Sir, they perished in that fearful night, while I and these two little children were preserved. When we had got clear of the narrow seas and looked our last farewell to the land of our fathers, we had fine weather and favourable winds, and were making great speed upon our voyage. Our sickness had worn off, we had got
reconciled to our narrow quarters, and were proceeding full of cheerfulness and hope. After breakfast, it was our custom all to meet upon the deck and talk together of our home and friends, and lay plans for the management of our little colony when we should be landed at Algoa Bay. The sailors were very kind, and communicative of all they knew concerning foreign parts; and the children running about the deck gave an innocent liveliness to the whole scene. Our wives, after they had sorted our cabins, would come and take their work in their hand; and everything wore a pleasant and even joyful aspect."
"Little do we know, James," said I, "what is before us: in the midst of life we are in death. It is a kind providence which hath hidden from us the future; and that is a good word, 'sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.' You will excuse my interrupting you, but I cannot repress my emotion; and you know it is my office to interpret and improve the events of Divine Providence. Now proceed with your story, and be as particular and circumstantial as you can, for I wish to know it all."
"Well, Sir," continued he, "when we were got a third way on our voyage, and were now in the midst of the wide Atlantic, many days' sail from any land, one morning, when the full complement of our people, passengers and all, were upon the deck, enjoying the cool breeze and the fresh sea, our ears were stunned and our hearts appalled with a wild and fearful cry of Fire in the spirit room!" It appeared that our mate, most innocently but inadvertently-(poor fellow! he afterwards sacrificed himself to the shame and grief of it)-had taken a candle into the spirit room and let it drop out of his hand into an open cask of rum, which instantly blazed up and caught the surrounding matters. No tongue can tell the wild dismay which arose throughout the people at this fearful cry, and at the sight of the flames bursting out in the after part of the ship. Women ran to and fro seeking their children, wives their husbands, fathers collecting their families, and friends looking for their friends; and all trials, wanted, in the captain, a man of suf the seainen, naturally so steady and obedient in ficient presence of mind and resource for such a moment. He seemed himself to have been panicstruck, and the mate, poor fellow, was utterly unmanned by the sense of what he had done, and ready almost to destroy himself. This, added to the wild cries of the women and the screams of the children, the crowded decks, and the hurrying hither and thither, drove the captain to the hasty resolution of abandoning the ship altogether, and taking to the boats. It was a sore pity, Sir, for had we been under proper direction, I was per suaded at the time, and am still, that we might have got the fire under: we were so many hands that we could have kept all the buckets on board in continual play, passing, like streams of water, from the ship's edge to the seat of the fire. But there was no one to take the guidance, and all went to confusion amongst our hands: the fire gained upon us, and the distraction became more and more outrageous. Yet some of us were possessed of presence of mind, and myself among the rest, with Barry, the father of the children, who, when we saw the captain and the men drawing away to the boats, ventured to remonstrate against the cruelty of forsaking the ship with so many living souls in her,men, women, and chil dren,-to perish between fire and water. But our remonstrances availed nothing. We then insisted that the long-boat, which was lying in the booms along the deck, should be hoisted out, and as many of us saved as possible. But even this was refused, under the influence of a panic-fear, that there was not time left for getting it afloat. Indeed, Sir, fear and panic seemed to possess those who ought to have been the guardians of our lives. One man, indeed, was of a stouter and more generous spirit; but he had been the author of the calamity, and was overwhelmed with the feeling of the evil which he had done; he scorned to take his life, after having been the means of bringing so many lives into jeopardy, and, as it turned out, to an untimely end. This generousminded, but rash man, remained amongst us, and coolly waited that destruction which he had brought upon so many."
"I have often observed, James, that in the calamitous events of Divine Providence, men suf fer more from the effect of their excited passions than from the accident itself: and it is always found to be so when there are many people gathered together into one place: as the anatomists tell us, that very often the bones are broken by the sudden action of the muscles, to
draw the body out of some impending danger. I am glad you were able to shew the calmness of a Christian's faith at such a trying moment." "Truly, Reverend Sir, I had need of all my faith, and of all the wholesome instructions which I have heard from your mouth, when my poor wife was hanging about me, and Barry's wife and his eight children at our side. When we saw that our captain and the seamen were no better than those heathens with whom Paul sailed, and were about to flee out of the ship, we stood and entreated them that they would take at least some of us on board, and save whom they could. They listened to us (for, to do the men justice, it was not want of humanity so much as the absence of all government and direction, which led them astray), and they offered to take as many on board as the boats would carry. Instantly we gave place to the family of the Barrys, of whom there were ten, father, mother, and eight children. The father took his place by the side of the ship, and the mother handed the children to him; and I could not but observe the force of natural affection leading her to begin with the youngest, then the next, and so ascending upwards, till she came to the eldest daughter, just arrived at the maturity of womanhood. The boats not being able to contain more, pushed off, and left us to our fate. For a moment we seemed to forget our misery in the safety of these children: the father, and the mother, and the daughter seemed now content to perish."
"James, you make me weep: was it even so, that at such a moment paternal affection stood so true; and that these two children, whom I kissed and blessed upon the quay of Greenock, were thus wondrously preserved? I will not forget this, James; I will preach of it to the people. Now I pray you to recall every circumstance connected with that direful event; I feel it to be so very instructive."
"Indeed, Sir, it comforts my heart to tell it to one who has so much patience and pity; and I will relate everything with which I can charge my memory. When we were left to ourselves, those of us who had most presence of mind and self-command, myself among the number (for I was a little practised about boats in my youth), set ourselves to hoist out the long-boat, believing that if we could succeed, the greater part of us might yet be saved. We got up a tackle, strained every nerve, and exhausted every invention, as nien contending between life and death; and we had succeeded so far as to raise her to the very level of the gunwale, when, to our inexpressible horror, the fire took the ropes connected with our tackle, and down it came, disappointing our hopes, and sealing the fate of all who had not escaped in the boats."
Except yourself, James; and how were you delivered from the two elements of fire and water, contending for your destruction. It seems as if all hopes were goue; and yet I see you and hear you. By what wonderful providence did you escape?"
by it one who was dearer to me than my own life."
"I am very sorry for you, James; these tears and your present agitation shew me what I knew already, that you both loved your wife, and would willingly have perished for her; but it was otherwise ordered of God; and it is our part meekly to submit to his decree. Compose yourself and proceed."
"The piece of wreck on which she was seated was not able to bear us both up; and I felt that unless some more support could be procured, my strength must soon fail, and one or both of us perish. To procure this was now my care; and having instructed my wife to preserve her mind composed, and keep her seat steadily upon the piece of wood, I betook myself again to the open sea, in search of more wreck. This time I was not so fortunate as before; and after wearying myself in vain, I sought to return to my poor wife: but whether she had drifted away from the place where I had left her, or whether my mind, confused by the terrors of the scene, and the screams which came from the burning ship, had lost all aim, it is too certain that I could never find her again; and though I called her name aloud with all my strength, no answer was returned. Thus deprived of her whom my soul loved, I was ready to fold my hands in despair, and resign myself to the mercy of my Creator; but the hope still lingered that I might yet find her in the darkness, and, breathing a prayer for strength, I continued my controversy for life. The night was calm, and the smooth sea favoured much my swimming, and I sometimes felt as if I had received strength beyond my own, for I never thought I could have sustained myself so long. While I was thus without direction of any kind, bearing myself up among the dark waters, careful only to keep away from the burning ship, and the voices of misery which ever and anon came floating towards me, straining my eyes and ears to see or hear any thing which might lead me to her whom I blamed myself for forsaking, I seemed to hear the sound of a ripple, as upon the side of something floating in the water. Following this sound, I swam towards it, thinking it might be either the piece of wreck which bore my wife, or some other thing whereon I might rest my weary limbs. But what was my surprise, when, upon coming close beside it, I found it to be the ship's boat, deeply laden with the people. I was worn out, and laying my hand upon the side of the boat, I prayed them, for the love of God, to take me in and save my life. With difficulty they made room for me, and thus was I preserved from a watery grave. Of my poor wife I never heard or saw any thing more I fear she perished during the night; for though I desired ail to keep a diligent look out for any thing that might be floating about, we saw nothing all that weary night but the burning ship, where so many of our friends and brethren waited
"Oh, Sir, it was a fearful sight to witness, as by the light of the flames we easily did, the distraction of the people, and to hear their miserable cries. We observed, that as the fire approached they drew themselves away from it, stood crowded together in the forecastle of the ship, and many were to be discerned upon the bowsprit, clinging and lashing themselves to it, in the faint hope that it might perhaps disengage itself from the burning mass, or be extinguished in the water, and afford them some chance of preservation. Some holder spirits, who were impatient of such a slow and
"About this time darkness began to set in, and we were parted from the sight of the boats, and left to the contemplation of the miserable end which awaited us. The fire was gaining fast upon us, and forcing us towards the fore-part of the ship, where we stood crowded together like sheep penned for the slaughter. When I look back, and present to my mind the image of the scene; the flaming ship on which we stood, the red glare of light cast upon our horror-struck countenances; the sea gleaming and glistering with our death-protracted death, we saw plunge at once headlong fires, and yawning to receive the burning pile aud its doomed victims,-I wonder at the presence of mind which was given to me at that hour, and the means which I was able to take for my own and my wife's preservation. I took her by the hard, and having spoken some few words to comfort her, and to explain the plan which I had conceived, I placed her in the fore chains of the ship, the farthest possible from the fire. Before it became dark, I had observed several pieces of wreck floating about; to reach one of these, and carry my wife to it, seemed to afford the only possible chance, however slender, of escape. In this mind, naving placed her in safety, I betook myself to swimming; and after a while found what I desired. With this slender succour I returned; and having got my wife upon it the best way I could, I wrought it out of the wake of the burning ship, until we seemed beyond the reach of the conflagration. Had I now rested content, and attempted no more for her safety, I should have had no reflection upon my mind concerning my poor wife,--we should have lived or perished together; but I did it for the best, though I lost
into the ocean; but the greater part clung to the wreck, out of the strong instinct of self-preservation, and perhaps in the faint hope that the fire might be extinguished by the waters of the ocean, and still leave wreck sufficient to bear them afloat till some friendly ship might come to their help. But providence had otherwise determined. About midnight we observed the vessel make a heavy lurch forward; there arose, almost at the same instant, one of the most terrific screams I ever heard; and then followed a deep plunge, and instantly ship' and all vanished from our sight. All was dark, all was quiet. Oh! I shall never forget that scream of horror which came from the burning ship, as the people descended quick into the deep; or shall I ever forget the groan of anguish and dismay with which it was answered from the boat in which I was so miraculously preserved."
Stop, James, and pause a moment, till I recover myself. What a fearful end for so many of our townsmen, and you left almost alone to tell the tale! Ah, me! I well remember how they were set upon this scheme of emigration. I hope
it is no discontentment with our condition, or murmuring against God, which hath drawn down upon our city this judgment. Such fearful calamities should not pass unimproved by us; they are sent for the correction of the living, according to the word of the Scripture: Think you that those eighteen men, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, were sinners above all men that dwell in Jerusalem? I tell you nay; but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.' And now that you had been delivered from the fellowship of their direful end, tell me, James, what befel you in the boat."
"The boat, Sir, was so crowded that there was barely room for us to sit down, and no room whatever to work her, even if we had had the means; but in such haste had they shoved off, lest they should be overcrowded and sunk, that they were without oars or compass, and, what is worse, without one morsel of meat, and only one small cask of water, which had been by accident lying in the bottom of the boat. But, for my own part, I believe there was a great providence in it; for, during such a night of horror none seemed to feel any hunger, but many of us were parched with thirst, and our little cask was nearly exhausted by the break of day. Never was a company of the Almighty's creatures in a more helpless condition; without food to eat, without water to drink, without room to turn ourselves, or power to attend to the wants of nature, heart broken for the loss of our nearest and dearest friends, we lay helpless upon the wide ocean, at the mercy of the first high wind that might arise to agitate the bosom of the deep. There we sat looking into each other's faces, and reading our misery in each other's looks. Few words were spoken. Every eye wandered far and wide over the deep, and strained itself to discover the appearance of some friendly sail. Hour passed after hour; hunger began to assail us, and famine stared us in the face; when about midday, one of the seamen called out, ‘A sail!' and instantly there burst forth from every creature a shout of joy and thankfulness. Then we directed our attention to the object, and every eye became fixed, and rivetted upon it. Now there ensued a period of the most heart-racking anxiety, whether the ship would observe us or not. For long the seamen hung in doubt; but at length, by a sudden change of her course, they were convinced that we had been observed, and that she was bearing down upon us. Then our joy was coinplete when we clearly saw that they were shaping their course our way; friend began to congratulate friend; our mouths were opened, and we praised God, and felt as if we were a second time delivered from death. But conceive our indignation and horror, when we saw the ship, now almost within hail, all at once change her course and bear away, as if on purpose to avoid us. Our agitation was extreme; never were men so tossed between hope and hopelessness, joy and grief and indignation; and I doubt not, if the rest were exercised like me, many a prayer was offered to God that he would incline the heart of the stranger to pity our calamity. This prayer was heard, for, after a good while, the ship again stood about, and bore down upon us as before. The reason of this double change of purpose we learned after we were taken on board. The captain having come nigh enough to perceive that we were a boatful of wretched men, without any thing but our lives, began to hesitate whether his provisions would last with such a large increase of mouths to feed; and being a man of a proud and imperious nature, he commanded the ship to bear away and steer another course. But the seamen, communing amongst themselves, and gathering courage from their unanimity, actually refused to work the ship. unless the captain would go to our relief; and at the same time offered to give up half their daily allowance of provision for our use. if he would do so. Thus compelled and entreated, the captain was fain to comply; and to this magnanimous resolution of a Portuguese crew, to this strong reaction of natural feeling against imperious duty, it is that, under God, we all owed our lives.
"It was a Portuguese ship bound to Lisbon from some of their settlements in South America, which, in her course over the wide Atlantic, was thus directed by a gracions Providence to deliver so many of us from a fearful death. Being taken on board of her, we had many hardships to endure. We were forced to abide ou deck all day exposed to the sun's heat, and to lie all night without covering, under the dews, and damps, and cold; we were often trampled upon by the imperious captain, which our free blood could ill brook; and when one of us murmured aloud, he drew his cutlass, and with a blow laid bare his cheek; and
we were thankful that he had escaped with his life. But all these troubles came to an end when we arrived at Lisbon, and the news of our disaster reached our consul there: instantly the British residents took us to the factory and provided for us, as if we had been of their brethren and kindred. After they had refreshed us with comfortable living, and clothed us, and done every thing which our wants required, they proceeded with great wisdom and kindness to put us into a way of doing for ourselves. For those who were seamen by profession, they procured ships; and to those of us who wished to return home, they furnished a free passage, together with a small sum of money to help us to our friends. The young women they took into their service, and the young lads they bred up for clerks at the factory; but the little children they sent home for education in their own country. And so, Sir, these two little children, whom you parted with in my hand on Greenock Quay, returned again in my hand to their native home, after losing both father and mother, and being themselves so wonderfully preserved. Great, very great, Sir, was the kindness of these British merchants; it even extended itself to that proud and cruel captain, who, but for his honest-hearted crew, would have left us all to starve in the midst of the wide ocean. To him they presented a golden bowl with an inscription upon it, commemorative of the preservation of so many of their countrymen, whereof he had been the unworthy instrument."
Such was James
-'s tale, which he recounted to me that Sabbath night after the envening Sermon, sitting by my own fire-side. Whether it be correct in all its details I cannot tell, for I never compared it with the written and published account. I may, in the telling of it, have given it the colour of my own mind, but I have not consciously added or altered anything. When we had offered our thanksgivings together, and prayed for the survivors and for all who had been instrumental in this preservation, James went his way to another part of the country, and I saw him not again. I learned that, after more than a year, he took to himself another wife, and once more set sail from Greenock as a settler in South Africa, where I trust he still lives to tell the wonderful tale of his deliverance, and to acknowledge and adore the bountiful Providence which preserved him.
The citizens of Glasgow, than whom a more generous and hospitable people live not in mother Scotland or any other land, instantly promoted a subscription for the sufferers from the wreck of the Abeona, and left the administration of it to a man whom I will not name nor characterise otherwise than that he has always been to me the beau ideal of a worthy magistrate and citizen. Some weeks after the calamity was noised abroad, I chanced to be a guest at his hospitable table, and was honoured by him to read, in the hearing of the ladies before they went to the drawing-room, two letters which he felt to be honourable to womanhood. They were from a worthy lady, the wife of a naval officer, who lived on the coast of Kent, entreating that one of the two orphans of the Barry family should be sent to her, that she might bring up the little one as her own child. The letter contained all the arrangements for their meeting in London, drawn up with a mother's care. But our worthy magistrate, while he admired the generosity of this letter, felt it to be his duty first to ascertain the identity of the person before giving up his charge. This prudent delay brought a second letter from the earnest woman, who obtained her wish, being found in all respects worthy of the charge. The other child I afterwards saw at a country village not far from Glasgow, beside the manufacturing works of that noble-minded and generous-hearted citizen. And of them I have heard He is
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Now ready, Numbers I., II., and III.,
No. I. The DIVINE AUTHORITY and PERMANENT OBLIGATION of the SABBATH. By Rev. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D., Glasgow.
No. II. TRACES and INDICATIONS of the PRIMITIVE SABBATH in MANY of the INSTITU TIONS and OBSERVANCES of the ANCIENT WORLD. By Rev. JOHN JORDAN, Vicar of Enstone, Oxon. No. III. The SABBATH not a mere JUDAICAL APPOINTMENT, with examination of the more prevalent fallacies by which it has been attempted to show that the Sabbath Law has been abolished or relaxed. By Rev. A. THOMSON, B.A., United Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. The remainder of the Series will appear at short intervals. Partridge and Oakey, Paternoster-row; and all Booksellers. SCOTCH WAREHOUSE.
the Father of the orphan will be a father to them,J LOCKE, 119, REGENT-STREET, begs
and to all who put their trust in Him.
WHEN Joshua the high priest stood before the Lord (Zech. iii. 1), Satan was seen standing at his right-hand to resist him. How hard is it for a Christian then to be dexterous, apt and ready for spiritual work, whilst Satan stands at his right-hand, the working hand, to make resistance!-Flavel.
IT is not hard to be without human comfort when we have divine.
WHAT marvel if he feel no burden who is borne up by the Almighty?
to inform his Friends, and the Trade, that his stock of Fine WOOLLEN PLAIDS, in Clan and Fancy Patterns (most of the latter his own designs), for Ladies' Dresses, is now complete.
Ladies' DOUBLE SHAWLS and SCARFS, and Gentlemen's SHEPHERDS' PLAIDS, in great variety. N.B. Orders from the country must have reference in town. Patterns sent free.
Prices same as at Edinburgh and Inverness.
Messrs. Anderson and Son, Booksellers. NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE..Messrs. Finlay and Charlton, Booksellers, Pilgrim-street. Printed by ALEXANDER MACINTOSH, of No. 20, Great New street, Fetter-lane, London, and published by JAMES MACINTOSH, of No. 47, Church-road, De Beauvoirsquare, in the parish of Hackney, at the Office, No. 16, Exeter Hall, Strand, London.-Friday, Oct. 1, 1847. Sold by HAMILTON, ADAMS, and Co., Paternoster-row; and JAMES NISBET and Co., 21, Berners-street.
THE great thing in the Church is Christ,-the eternal deity of Christ, the blood of Christ, the Spirit of Christ, the presence of Christ among us. The great thing is Christ, but there is also advantage in a certain government of the Church. I am a Presbyterian, not only of situation, but of conviction and choice. Our Presbyterian way is the good middle way between Episcopacy on the one side, and Congregationalism on the other. We combine the two great principles that must be maintained in the Church-Order and Liberty: the order of government, and the liberty of the people.--MERLE D'AUBIGNE.
COLLEGE COLLECTION, ON SABBATH, THE 21ST NOVEMBER.
THE third Sabbath of this month (the 21st) is the day appointed by Synod for making a collection in aid of the funds of the College. The importance of the Institution has already been demonstrated. A school of the prophets is essential to the permanence of our Church and the dissemination of our principles in this land. The Church has always responded to the appeals made to her on behalf of this Institution, and we trust the collections of the 21st will evince that the interest felt in the education of our future pastors has suffered no diminution. Never was there a louder call for labourers to enter into the vineyard. "Come over and help," is the cry of perishing multitudes in all regions of the earth. There is in this country itself much land yet to be possessed; many thousands wandering as sheep without a shepherd, and perishing ignorant of God and his Christ. The cry is loud and piercing. Let our Church, then, acquit her of her obligations and co-operate with her sisters around in sending forth ministers fully equipped for the spheres assigned them.
The Treasurers of the Fund are WILLIAM HAMILTON, ESQ., and ALEX. GILLESPIE, Esq., London.
HEALTH OF TOWNS.
IN going down Regent-street, from Oxfordstreet toward the Quadrant, if a stranger turn aside to the left through Foubert'splace, or Chapel-court, he will soon find himself in a region of wretchedness and poverty, little expected in that quarter of London. Let the visit be made on some fine afternoon in the winter season, when the great
street is thronged with gay groups and splendid equipages, and the contrast will be the more striking. Or if we take the quarter a little further to the east, toward Soho-square, of the happy visitors that crowd the Bazaar, which they have reached by driving along the great thoroughfares, how few are aware of the scenes of tragic misery that are acting within pistol-shot of the place! In some of the courts and streets of Wardour-street, such as Peter-street and its dependencies, there are places as horrible as could be found in the whole circle of the metropolitan police. Some of the recent improvements, such as the opening up of New Oxford-street, and Endellstreet, have rather increased than diminished the evil, because the people, driven out of their old haunts, have taken refuge in places equally poor, which are now more crowded and miserable than ever. What with filth and disease, poverty and vice, the condition of the crowded population of districts like Others may know places, whether in London this, calls loudly for public interference. or Manchester, or elsewhere, equally bad; but we instance the locality with which we happen to be best acquainted. We have gone into rooms where the noisome atmosphere was so sickening that it was impossible to remain without fainting, or some worse effect. The poor people get inured somewhat to this, and their pale and poisoned blood is sufficiently oxygenated by such pestilential air. But their weakened and broken constitutions are made the ready prey of disease and death. The children grow up sickly and degenerate. And we find too commonly that wretchedness and vice go together, and that this neglect of the things of the body is too often saddened the more by a total neglect of the soul. Where there is such utter degradation and chilling penury, it is impossible to get the people to listen to the Gospel or attend to the word of God, without first ministering to their temporal wants and improving their outward condition. Typhus fever is alarmingly prevalent at this time in many of our great towns, and will probably increase as the winter months come
on, with their privations and hardships to the poor. It seems too that the cholera is again advancing with steady marches toward our island. All observation proves that the prevalence and fatality of these diseases depend much on the usual cleanliness and sanitary state of the locality. During the former visit of the cholera, the mortality in many parts of London was fully fifty per cent., while in other places not more than a fifth or sixth of the cases proved fatal. The sanitary condition of the metropolis is not much improved since that time. Deficient sewerage in the streets; overflowing cesspools in the courts and houses; over-filled graveyards in the heart of the city; overcrowded and badly ventilated dwellings of the working classes; insufficient and injudiciously applied parochial relief; over these and many other sources of mischief, private individuals or Christian congregations have no control; but they are so connected with the personal condition and habits of the matters would greatly aid our efforts towards poor, that public interference in such physical the removal of the moral causes of the misery of our town population.
Our object in introducing the subject is, that the health of towns is likely to engage the early attention of the new Parliament,
and we wish all our readers to be interested in the question, and to promote the agitation of it, until effective sanitary measures are adopted. There is no reason why the police regulations of the country should not extend to the preservation of the health as well as of the limbs and property of the lieges. If the benefits of good government ought to reach all classes of society, let it be remembered that protection given to the health of the working man is as essential to him, as protection of property is to his richer neighbour. And this mercy will be twice blessed; the condition of the poor being bettered, in consequence thereof the rich will be saved from the dangerous spread of contagious disease, and from the expense of increased parochial rates, to which they are exposed by the continuance of so much unheeded misery in their neighbourhoods.
GENERAL MEETING OF DEACONS.
WE had the privilege of being present at the last general meeting of the deacons of the London Presbytery, held at 16, Exeter Hall, on Friday evening, October 8. The object of these meetings, we may mention, is to bring together the deacons of our different churches, as Christian men to enjoy communion in religious exercises, and as Presbyterian office-bearers to deliberate on matters bearing on the prosperity of the London congregations, and the general interests of our Church. Although their proceedings have no official authority, yet it is plain that the greatest public benefit must result from such an Association. The deacons being intimately acquainted with the affairs of their several congregations, and especially with those matters that do not come so much before the Presbytery and other spiritual courts, these general meetings may be usefully taken advantage of for bringing forward questions affecting the outward welfare of our churches, or any matters of ecclesiastical economy where common counsel or united action is desirable. That work which the London Lay Union so efficiently did, in the early period of the re-organizing of our Church, can now best be done by the United Deacons' Courts; and we recommend to our friends in other Presbyteries to obtain, if practicable, some similar provision for the occasional meeting together of the lay officebearers of their several churches. Much interesting and valuable information may be thus mutually imparted; suggestions may be thrown out for promoting the common weal; and plans that have been found successful in the management of one church may be explained and recommended for adoption in others. And this not only with regard to financial matters, but in the establishment and working of congregational associations, in the management of day or Sabbath schools, in the improvement of psalmody, in the formation of libraries, or friendly societies, in the conducting of charitable or benevolent institutions, in these and many other external matters of a well-organized congregation, we can see how very useful these deacons' meetings might be made, whether for diffusing information, or for devising new schemes of Christian usefulness. Within the bounds of the London Presbytery the number of deacons cannot be far short of a hundred; and if one half of these are men of any public spirit and Christian zeal they must see that they have a noble opportunity, by their united action, in many ways to advance the interests of our Presbyterian Church. What could be more fitting and honourable than that in order to our ministers and elders giving themselves more to the ministry of the word and prayer, the lay representatives of our congregations should see the more diligently to the outward business of the churches? It is reason that they should do so; and Scripture enjoins it, for no Presbyterian will be so childish as to say that the distribution of alms and care of the poor is the only work of the deacons, because it is the first duty recorded as being put upon them; any more than he would say that preaching is the only duty of a Christian minister, because that was the first work to which the apostles were set apart. Whatever affects the ecclesiastical economics of our churches pertains to the deacons, and it is far more orderly and seemly to have the work done by them than by committees and managers, as is the way some other denominations.
Having thrown out these general remarks
for consideration, we shall briefly notice the | byteries' Proceedings), it appeared to the last general meeting, in order that those meeting that the case was one deserving of Deacons who have not yet attended, may united co-operation, and the Deacons present know what is the order of proceedings, and resolved to bring the financial part of the the nature of the business. On this occasion business before the members of their several there were nearly thirty present, and all the churches. London Churches were represented, with two exceptions; Woolwich, from which attendance is difficult in the evening on account of the distance, and River-terrace, Islington, where from some temporary or local cause, no Deacons have yet been appointed.
Mr. Johnstone suggested the propriety of the various Deacons' Courts setting apart a particular time each week for simultaneous prayer on behalf of one another. After a closing prayer by Mr. Macaulay, the meeting adjourned.
We earnestly trust that these meetings will be well supported in future. In other Presbyteries also let the Deacons' Courts be effectively organized. If we succeed in estab lishing, before long, as we hope, a Central Church Fund, the management of it, and of all the financial affairs of our Church, will be devolved upon a Board, representing the aggregate Deacons' Courts. And besides this, there are many local matters of business in the various Presbyteries which it is very wrong that the ministers and elders, as spiritual office-bearers, should be distracted with; and which, if our Deacons' Courts get into working order, will be best managed by their agency. Any suggestion bearing on the subject of this article we shall be glad to receive.
The next meeting of the London Deacons is to be held at 16, Exeter Hall, on Friday, the 26th of this month, at seven p.m.
SCOTCH AND IRISH PRESBYTERIANS.
To the Editor of the English Presbyterian Messenger.
The chair is occupied by a member of each Church in rotation, and on this occasion it was very ably filled by Mr. James Anderson, of Regent-square Church. The devotional exercises were conducted by the Chairman, and by Mr. Kirkaldy, of Stepney, and Mr. Auld, of London-wall. It is arranged or understood beforehand, who is to take part in these exercises, so that no one need fear being brought forward at the call of the chairman without previous assent. In prayer, reading of the word, and praise, about an hour was very profitably and happily spent. Whether it would not be better to divide the devotional exercises, so as to spend thus about half an hour at the beginning and end of each meeting, we suggest for consideration. At the commencement of business, Dr. Stewart brought forward a resolution, of which notice had been given, as to the expediency of continuing these meetings. The comparative smallness of the attendance hitherto had been so discouraging that some had proposed they should be discontinued. The general feeling was, however, strongly SIR,-Can you inform me why there is not opposed to this; and Mr. Ritchie, of Green- more uniformity in naming our churches? wich, with very proper spirit remarked, that if You have from time to time in your columns only one Christian brother attended he would enlarged upon the necessity of becoming continue to come up from Greenwich to meet thoroughly English in our churches. Why, that brother. We hope to hear no more of then, do we find our new congregations still this proposal, but that rather from henceforth clinging to the fancy of naming their churches a new impulse will be given to the meetings, "Scotch Churches," and "Scotch Presbyterian and a great increase be manifest, both in the Churches," as if Presbyterianism were somenumber of members and the interest of the thing purely Scottish? This is not the way proceedings. A proposal was then made by to identify ourselves with the English people. Mr. Robertson, of Regent-square, that part In Manchester we have "St. Andrew's Free of each meeting should be occupied by the Church;" "The Scotch Church, St. Peter's reading of a short essay relative to the office square;" "The Irish Presbyterian Church:" and duties of the Presbyterian deaconship, to and on Sabbath last we had the walls exbe followed by conversation on the matters tensively placarded, announcing the opening referred to in the paper. This was, after of the "Scotch Presbyterian Church" (which some discussion, agreed to. The proposal is by the way, I may mention, is a very handexcellent, but we trust that the time to be some place of worship, in a conspicuous situ devoted to this theoretical part of the busi-ation in Salford). Who, among the English ness may be very limited. There are so many people, would think that all these were under practical points already ripe for being taken the same Presbytery, or that they were the up, that it would be a pity to allow too much same in doctrine and discipline? If you time to be spent in abstract questions. At would be kind enough to answer the question the same time the conversation might be I have asked in your next number, you would made to embrace those practical subjects oblige referred to in the beginning of this article, and the members of each church might communicate any thing in their local arrangements or operations, bearing on the topic of that night's paper. In this way the principles and practice would be most usefully blended; and certainly, with respect to one or two of our churches, the duties of the deacons are so imperfectly performed, that if they would attend these meetings, we think Mr. Robertson's proposal may prove directly and greatly beneficial.
AN ENGLISH PRESBYTERIAN. Manchester, October 18, 1847.
that in Scotland the same
Before we received the above letter we had marked for extract some observations to the same effect from an article that lately appeared in the "Scottish Guardian" newspaper, published at Glasgow. It will be seen surprise is felt as by our Manchester correspondent. We must at the same time observe, that in the present stage of the progress of our Church in Eng land, this confused state of matters is u avoidable, and in some respects even advanAfter this the Chairman asked if there was tageous. It is unavoidable, in a few instances, any special matter to be brought forward because the Churches were so named before from any of the churches. Mr. Johnstone, of the re-organization of our English Synod: Regent-square, asked permission for Mr. and in other cases because the parties che Macaulay to state to the meeting the present nected with new churches have used the position of the congregation at Edward-street, liberty which all possess of naming their Soho. Mr. Macaulay having given a brief places of worship according to their own diss the congregation (as reported in the Pres-motives may be assigned; the principal no narrative of the history and circumstances of cretion. For the names thus assumed various