Imatges de pÓgina

cireumstances of it, the words of Dr. Young seemed to be re:lized,

Heaven owns her friends « On this side death, and points them out to man.” On Tuesday the 18th of January last, he was occupied till a late hour in his study. About four o'clock on the morning of the 19th, he was taken ill. The alarm was immediately given to his family; but before they could be collected around him, he expired. — “ Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.”

His body was interred on the 25th, in the new buryingground, Greyfriar's church-yard. The hearse was followed by a large number of mourning-coaches, passed through a vast concourse of the populace, who had assembled to view the funeral of their venerable and beloved pastor.

On the Sabbath following, the subject of his death was improved from many of the pulpits in Edinburgh. At the request of his widow, his much respected friend Dr. Davidson, preached in the Old Greyfriar's church, to a numerous and afficted audience, a suitable discourse from 2 Tim. iv. 7,8.

Dr. Erskine married the Hon. Miss Mackay, daughter of Lord Rae, who survives, with one son and three daughters, to lament his loss.

In his temper, Dr. Erskine was ardent and benevolent. His affections were warm, and his attachments perpetual. Ilis piety was constant and lively; and, while he exhibited in his conduct a beautiful example of the graces and virtues of that religion of which he was a minister, he enjoyed, in a bigla degree, the cheering hopes which the faith of the gospel in-, spires. He was remarkable for the simplicity of his manners, and for that genuine hunnility, which is the attendant and brightest ornament of real greatness. His beneficent deeds, which were very numerous, and remain a precious memorial of him, were performed in the unostentatious manner of that charity which“ seeketh not her own." He was never ashamed to avow his own convictions of the truth : and, while he put the most candid construction on the motives of those who distered from him in sentiment, he maintained his own principles with firmness. In the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, he was considered as a leader of the popular party. There, however, his openness and integrity of character, secured hire, what few have enjoyed, the confidence and affection of his friends, and the esteem of his opponents. Of the high reputation to which his virtues had raised him, no proof more decisive can be given, than a circumstance which occurred during the disturbances in Edinburgh, in February 1779, occasioned by the celebrated bill, proposed at that time to have been introduced into Parliament, for the repeal of the penal statutes against the Catholics in Scotland. The furious mub, which, in defiance of tention of demolishing the house of Principal Robertson, became quiet at his approach ; and, in consequence of his exhortation to them, desisied from their purpose.

the military had assembled in the College-cort with the in.

Dr. Erskine's independence and liberality of mind, deserve to be particularly mentioned. These were qualities that shone conspicuously thro' the whole of his life; and which he possessed in so eminent a degree, that many thought he carried them to an extreme.

Considering the time Dr. Erskine spent in the minute discharge of a very extensive and laborious office, it may seem astonishing that he could read and write so much as he did. They, however, who had the happiness to know him, and saw how he husbanded bis time, wonder not so much at the amount of his labours, as at the manner in which his feeble constitution underwent the fatigue. Like his Divine Master, he seemed ever to think himself bound to be about his Father's business. A saying of his own, fresh in the memory of many of his friends, was the maxim that governed his conduct : “ Action is the rest of the soul."

Dr. Erskine was the last of an old school of divines in Edinburgh, who were an honour to the age in which they lived; many of whose names will be perpetuated in the history of their country to the latest geveration.

Rev. Sir,

To the Editor. I LATELY spent a few profitable moments at a Christian friend's house, when the conversation turned on the subject of desiring death, its lawfulness, 8c. - It would much gratify me, it any


your friends would write a short essay on this importa ant topic, and explain from what source such a desire shoulet arise, in order to constitute it right. Your inserting the above, will greatly oblige



IN OUR MAGAZINE FOR APRIL, L'AGE 197. How may we discover a call to fill ony particular situation in

the dispensations of Providence ?"

The determination of God respecting the particular posts he has assigned bis people to occupy, is not so clear and obvious at first view, as many seem to wish it had been, without reflecting that this intricacy is to answer several very important ends. Were the path of duty easily discoverable at first sight, where would be the occasion for faith in many instances;

for prayer, for direction, or patience to wait for divine interposition : But it is an enquiry fainiliar to the righteous," Shew me the way in which I should walk;" for uncertainty begets fear, and fear begets misery. The first query, therefore, is very useful and interesting: for, as an elegant writer has observed, “ The Governor of the universe is perpetually varying and determining our duties by the dispensations of his providence, the condition in which he fixes us, and the connexions which sometimes, by a train of marvellous occurences, he leads us to form *.” But, to return, I bumbly conceive we may discover a call in Providence, - by God's word, by careful self-examinations in the exercise of prayer, by patiently waiting, or by attention to wise counsel.

I. By God's word. The determinations of God in his providence, are all “ according to his word." -God does not assign us any station incompatible with the exercise of those tempers and dispositions which he requires and communicates. It has been often judiciously observed, that what svine denominate so Openings in Providence,” are Satan's baits. To explain :Something offers, pleasing to corrupt nature, lucrative; and we endeavour forth with to persuade ourselves it is a call in Providence, without examining what advice God gives us in his word. There I am commanded to come out, and be separated from sinners. And will he call me to a post where I am to have sinners for my companions and associates ? The word of God enjoins contentment with food and raiment; and shall I eagerly exchange a situation, where I have the enjoyinent of gospel privileges, for one where these advantages will be diminished, because therein I an likely to acquire wealth? The intelligent Christian will readily perceive this might be branched out into a vast variety of particulars relative to ourselves, our children, marriage, &c. and in each and every case that can arise, God's most blessed word is a light to our feet, and a lamp to our paths!

· II. Careful self-examination should always precede a change in our post. Is this remove chosen by my self-will, or any other corrupt disposition ? Have I suitable talents and ability to fulfil the duties of this new station? For Gud never sends us on a warfare at our own charges; but if he calls to any situation, he communicates ability for its duties. I have often thought it a good criterion in this respect, to enquirt, - When is it that I desire this or that circunstance, or change in iny situation most? When I enjoy most cominunion with God, when my mind is most spiritual and heavenly, or when the world appears to have gained an ascendency: Let every one determine this point for themselves; and, I apprehend, it will go a good way towards ascertaining the point in question.

[merged small][ocr errors]

III. A most important direction on this subject is, Pray cone stantly. David expected divine direction as to his duty, in ana swer to his prayers : Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee +:” and other similar examples from Scripture might easily be adduced. If we persevere in humble believing prayer, we shall assuredly be kept from every wrong and hurtful step; and be able to discover the way of duty. The way of man is not in himself; “it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps :" and this proves the wisdom and necessity of praying for divine direction and guidance.

IV. Be patient; dread a hasty determination :-" Every rask step is a wrong one." “ The Lord's time,” says dear Mr. Newton, “is like the time of tide, which no human

power can either accelerate or retard ; though it tarry, wait for it.” It is true, circumstances may demand a prompt decision ; but this is not often the case. In most important changes we have time for self-examination, prayer, and patient waiting: and after calm investigation, the aspect of a subject is frequently most wonderfully varied. He that believeth in God's word and overruling providence, shall not make haste.

V. Finally. Listen to the counsel and advice of superiors and others, capable of advising. The headstrong and perverse, those who will follow the bent of their own inclinations, are often punished by the possession of what they eagerly desired. “ He that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise,” saith Solomon. Consult your friends and parents, if they still survive, and are competent to counsel you : and observing these directions, in an humble spirit, you shall be led in a right way. “ For good and upright is the Lord; therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way.” Westminster.


+ Psalm xxvii. 11. Ixxxvi. 11. cxliii. 8, 9, 10.


The eminent Archbishop Usher being once on a visit in Scotland, heard a great deal of the piety and devotion of the famous Mr. Sam. Rutherford, who, he understood, spent whole nights in prayer, especially before the Sabbath. The Bishop wished much to witness such extraordinary down-pouring of the Spirit ; but was utterly at a loss how to accomplish his design. At length, it came into his mind to dress himself like a pauper ; and on a Saturday evening, when turning dark, he called at Mr. Rutherford's house, and asked if he could get quarters for a night, since he could not go to other houses at so late an hour for that purpose. Mr. Rutherford consented to give the poor man a bed for a night; and desired him to sit down in the kitchen, which he did cheerfully. Mrs. Rutherford, according to custom, on Saturday evening, that her servants might be prepared for the Sabbath, called them together, and exainined them. In the course of examination that evening, she asked the stranger, how many commandments there were? To which he answered, Eleven.' Upon receiving this answer, she replied, “What a shame is it for you! a inan with gray hairs, living in a Christian country, not to know how many commandments there are there is not a child of six years old in this parish, but could answer this question properly.” She troubled the poor man no more, thinking him so very ignorant; but lamented his condition to her servants : and after giving him some supper, desired a servant to shew him up stairs to a bed in a garret. This was the very situation in which he desired to be placed, that he might hear Mr. Rutherford at his secret devotion. However, he was disappointed; for that night the good man went to bed, but did not fall asleep for some hours. The stranger did not go to bed, but sat listening; always hoping to hear Mr. Rutherford at prayer: and at length, concluding that he and all the family were asleep, the Bishop thought, if he had been disappointed of hearing another offering up his desires to God at a throne of grace, he would embrace the opportunity himself; and poured out his heart to God with so much liberty and enlargement, that Mr. Rutherford, immediately below him, overheard him; and getting up, put on his clothes. Should this have awakened Mrs. Rutherford, she could have suspected nothing of his. design, sceing he rose commonly every day at three o'clock in the morning, and if she could have heard one at prayer afterwards, she would have naturally concluded it was her husband. Mr. Rutherford went up stairs, and stood waiting at the garret-door till the Bishop concluded his devotion upon which he knocked gently at the door; and the other opened it in surprize, thinking none were witness to his devotion. Mr. Rutherford took him by the hand, saying, “Sir, I am persuaded you can be none other than Archbishop Usher; and you must certainly preach for me to-day, being now Sabbath morning. The Bishop confessed who he was; and after telling Mr. Rutherford what induced him to take such a step, said he would preach for him, on condition that he would not discover who he was. Happy union of souls, although of different persuasions ! yet not marvellous. God makes but two distinctions ainong mankind, -the righteous and the wicked,

Mr. Rutherford furnished the Bishop with a suit of his own clothes, and early in the morning he went out to the fields; the


« AnteriorContinua »