Page images

tables of the heart.' His constant engagements in pastoral duty occupied so much of his time, that he had little leisure for such prolonged study as is necessary to the creation of any literary or theological work, of enduring excellence or fame. Perhaps he felt that multiplied authorship was not his calling. Yet we hope to see a goodly volume of Remains ;' for we understand he bestowed peculiar care on an Exposition of the valedictory discourses of our Lord, recorded in the Gospel by John, with a seeming view to ultimate publication. Dr. Heugh might not be called a learned divine, yet he could pass a sagacious judgment on erudite works. He had such learning as qualified him to appreciate sound erudition. He might not resemble the mathematician, who busies himself with abstruse investigation in the transcendental departments of his science,-in ascertaining the higher relations of numbers and forms. He was more like the practical astronomer, who enjoys the fruit of those lofty researches, and solves the problems of his study by the applica tion of principles and laws, which the original discoverer has laid to his hand. One may use the telescope with advantage, without being a discoverer in optics; or navigate a vessel, with the compass and quadrant, though he have no profound knowledge of the motion and orbits of the heavenly bodies. Yet Dr. Heugh had a very correct and extensive knowledge of the Greek Testament. In later years he gave greatly more than usual attention to it, and probably knew it better than the majority of those whose business it is to divide the word of truth.

It gives us great pleasure to know that among his papers has been found a diary, stretching back for several years, and containing very full remarks and reflections. That diary reveals the secrets of his character. It abounds in devotional feeling, of which the principal features are, a deep sense of his own unworthiness, a strong faith, and a constant desire for divine guidance and direction. It shows that the loveliness of his character was the result of prayerful discipline, and self-controul,, and that without any ostentatious profession of superior Christian attainment, his thoughts, motives, and actions, were habitually influenced by powerful religious principle. The law of the Lord was in his mouth, in his lips was no guile, he walked with God in equity and truth, and turned many from iniquity." We might, in conclusion, and in corroboration of our remarks, adduce the testimony of one who knew the object of our sketch well, and who has briefly recorded his sentiments of affection and esteem for his deceased friend, in a sermon preached on occasion of Dr. Heugh's death. We refer to Dr. Wardlaw, the

ornament of another denomination; but we can only refer our readers to the discourse itself.

We have not left ourselves much room to speak of the funeral discourses, portions of which we have already quoted. They are all of them worthy of the mournful occasion on which they were delivered-solemn, tender, affecting and practical. They contain no fulsome eulogy, no wailings of a hired minstrelsy. While they sketch the likeness of the deceased, they abound especially in pathetic warning and admonition to the living. The brief address delivered on the day of interment, in Montrose Street Secession Church, by Dr. Harper, is altogether in the spirit of its first sentence, 'Our minds are this day possessed with a sense of bereavement.' Its tone was quite in unison with the emotions of weeping hundreds to whom it was delivered. 'And now my friends,' he concludes, arise, let us go hence.' The remains of him whom we love are about to be conveyed to their resting-place. In following his mortal part let us remember the immortal: 'he is not dead but sleepeth.' As we look into the open grave and commit dust to dust, let us remember that we must follow; and, in sadly musing on the image of the departed-the eye once beaming with intelligence, now closed in darkness-those eloquent lips that taught so wisely, now to speak no more-that countenance of noble frankness and of smiling benevolence, now pale in death let us rejoice in the assurance that, if we be jointheirs with him in the hope of the gospel, we shall more than recover what we have lost:-we shall see him again, and 'shall be ever with the Lord.' 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.'

The funeral sermons are by Dr. Taylor, the successor of Dr. Heugh, and for a few months his colleague, Dr. Brown of Edinburgh, and Dr. Wardlaw of Glasgow. Dr. Taylor's sermon is from Rev. xiv. 13, 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.' His sermon resembles in no small degree, the compositions of his lamented colleague. It is also rich in scriptural allusion and gemmed with appropriate scriptural quotation. Dr. Brown's discourse is from 1 Thess. iv. 13, I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep.' The sermon is worthy of Dr. Brown's reputation-replete with massive thoughts, striking remarks, and sound scriptural interpretation. Intellect, learning, and piety, give it a triune richness of colouring. Dr. Wardlaw preached on the evening of the same sabbath from 2 Cor. v. 4, Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality may

be swallowed up of life.' In some parts of the discourse, the train of thought is very similar to that of Dr. Brown, but as Dr. Wardlaw justly observes, such coincidences confirm and impress the sentiments.' All the accomplishments of Dr. Wardlaw shine in this sermon-beautiful thought in elegant diction -apples of gold in framework of silver. Dr. Brown's discourse contains also a biography of Dr. Heugh, with a few related papers in the form of a brief appendix.

The great work of God in this world does not pause, though its instruments are frequently and unexpectedly removed. Ere Aaron died, Eleazar was invested with the pontifical robes. The exalted Governor still sits upon his throne, guiding and controlling all events. His cause by an unbroken succession of means and agents, is ever approaching its triumphant destiny. While it is the urgent duty of 'them that are alive and remain,' to be forward and unwearied in the work of Him who hath called them,' especially are they summoned to give themselves to that peculiar labour which may be required by the pressing exigencies of their own age and period.

Art. VI.-Switzerland and the Swiss Churches; being Notes of a short Tour, and Notices of the principal Religious Bodies in that Country. By William Lindsay Alexander, D.D., F.S.A.S. Glasgow: James Maclehose.

SWITZERLAND has been visited by so many of our countrymen, as to have become one of the best known spots in Europe. It has been described with a minuteness and repetition exceeding what has been expended on some of the most beautiful parts of our own country; and its mountains and vallies-its cascades and glaciers-its regions of eternal snow and spots of luxuriant verdure, are in consequence familiar to us all. Those of us who have been doomed to stay at home, have listened so repeatedly to the tale of the Swiss traveller, that we know the features of the country, the character of its inhabitants, and the emotions awakened by its scenery, almost as well as if our time had been spent amidst the marvels which omnipotence has so liberally spread over that land. The repetition is at length becoming wearisome. Men recoil from a book of Swiss travel as a bore, and begin to wonder what can have prompted another tourist to repeat the thrice told tale. Superior faculties and powers of observation exceeding what are generally possessed, are therefore needed to attract attention to such a work, or to reward the labour involved in its perusal.

We never indeed tire of listening to the viva voce descriptions of our friends. There is a freshness, a life, a speciality in their adventures. A thousand trifling circumstances are noted which constituted the individuality of their journey. We enter into their privations, tremble with them on the edge of some vast precipice, or breathe silently and slow as our littleness is realized amidst the magnificence of the scenes they describe. The voice, the countenance, the eye of the narrator contribute greatly to all this, and hence the sustained interest and the more powerful impression which is made. Now, it is impossible to secure these in the written sketch. Of its kind, it may be admirable; but it wants the animation and soul by which the heart is most deeply moved; and after a time, therefore, we grow weary with the narrative, and crave other and less familiar topics. And yet there is a vast field open; and we should like to have before us in extenso, the thoughts, deep, meditative, and spiritual, with which an intellect after the order of Shakspere or Milton would be occupied amidst such scenes. It would be a wondrous and an instructive revelation,-a disclosure of the profounder sympathies of which our nature is susceptible. The forms, the outward garb assumed by nature, would to such a spectator be but the impersonation of vast powers, in the contemplation of which it would pass beyond the sensual, and enter into fellowship with what is spiritual and imperishable. A world impassable to grosser mortals would stand revealed to such, in which the forms of truth would be luminous, and its oracles be distinctly heard. 'After some time,' says John Foster, when noting the operations of his mind in reference to external objects, a larger enginery begins to work; I feel more than a simple perception of objects; they become environed with an atmosphere, and shed forth an emanation. They come accompanied with trains of images, moral analogies, and a wide, diffused, vitalized, and indefinable kind of sentimentalism. The mere reflection of such objects the shaded lustre with which they would be disclosed, would go far to enlarge the boundaries of human knowledge, and to deepen our convictions of the powers of intellect and the majesty of truth.*

[ocr errors]

Dr. Alexander makes no pretensions to such an achievement in the small volume before us. His original intention was to treat only of the religious state of Switzerland, and the addition subsequently made, is executed in a manner creditable to his judgment, and subservient to his primary design. 'Let not the reader,' he remarks, 'look here for a display of research, or for curious disquisition. To attempt such has not

* Life, vol. i. p. 178.

been my ambition. If the reader is good-natured enough to pardon an author who presumes to address the public as he might the domestic circle, and if he be not too busy or too severe to tolerate a little gossip, I humbly offer these Notes to his notice. For those of a sterner temperament, I fear there is not much in this part of the volume to which I can invite their attention.'

The first six, and the twelfth chapters, are occupied with the author's personal adventures, including notices, more or less extended, of the institutions, pastors, and churches of the cantons visited. Dr. Alexander writes as a Christian man should do, not parading his religion, but obviously influenced by it; carrying with him a different standard from most tourists, and therefore dissenting from many of the judgments which they have pronounced. We never lose sight of what he is, and yet are rarely reminded by express statement of the obligation which he feels. This is just as it should be, avoiding equally, and with excellent judgment, the sermonic on the one hand, and the frivolous and semi-worldly on the other. Religious men frequently err on this point, and by their error, defeat themselves. They are too concerned to make their religion appear, and there is therefore a stiffness, a formality, a professional cast in it, which repels rather than attracts. It wears the aspect of something distinct and separate from their general demeanour, instead of being regarded as an element pervading and leavening the whole.

Our author's route lay through Strasburg, Basle, Neufchatel, Lausanne, Geneva, Berne, and Belgium, and his observations are uniformly deserving of respectful attention. Without affecting what is original or profound, they are distinguished by good sense, a sound judgment, and a ready appreciation of the beautiful and sublime in natural scenery, and of whatever is estimable in national character. We have accompanied him with pleasure, and assure our readers both of entertainment and of instruction, in the perusal of his volume. On landing at Geneva an amusing illustration of American character was elicited by the appearance of gens d'armes, demanding the passports of the travellers.

'To many,' says Dr. Alexander, 'this seemed rather an unexpected demand, and excited some grumbling and indignation. Among the rest, I could not but be amused with a worthy American, whose passport was at the bottom of his trunk, and who declared he had buried it there on leaving France, never imagining that in republican Switzerland such a thing would be required. As he did not speak French, he apparently at first was at a loss to comprehend what was wanted, and

« PreviousContinue »