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welcome restraint thus laid upon him-" I cannot help feeling the very severe loss which our family has sustained in a man whose attachment to every one of us, whose great kindness, great worth, and great integrity, shall ever endear his memory to all his acquaintances." The bulk of Mr. Ballardie's property was bequeathed to his brother-in-law's family. He left Thomas, as the bearer of his name, his house and furniture, and, along with his father, constituted him his trustee. The state of his health did not admit of Mr. Chalmers leaving Kilmany till the beginning of August. He returned to Anstruther at the close of September, and it was some exposure in coming home from that second visit, which threw him into that long, severe, and most momentous illness, during which the first stage of a great and entire spiritual revolution was accomplished in him. For four months he never left his room; for upwards of half a year he never entered his pulpit; it was more than a twelvemonth before all the duties of his parish were again regularly discharged by him. His illness, which was an affection of the liver, was such as to require the application of the very strongest medicines. "I visited him," says Professor Duncan, "at Fincraigs, where he was under the medical treatment of Dr. Ramsay of Dundee, and I certainly never saw any person so much altered in the same space of time, being then greatly attenuated, while formerly he was corpulent. He was scarcely able to walk across the room. It was a year or two before he recovered, and during that period he had much the appearance of an old man, of one who would never be able again for much exertion." But although the body was thus weakened and reduced, the mind was left in untouched vigour; and into it, now left to its own profound and solitary musings, there sunk the deepest and most overpowering impression of human mortality.
For upwards of twenty years death had never entered his
family circle. Perhaps the first time that he had ever stood face to face in presence of the last enemy, and seen the last stroke given, was when he witnessed the death of his brother George. But death was now to be no stranger: already had he borne away two of the family in his cold embrace; and two of his sisters were at this time threatened with the same fatal malady. Mr. Ballardie had passed into eternity in a moment. It seemed as if, once begun, the quick succession was to go on unbroken. A panic seized the family, as if one after another they were doomed to fall. Partaking fully of that panic, Mr. Chalmers believed that he was about to die. For days and weeks he gazed upon the death brought thus so near, with eye intent and solemnized. "My confinement," wrote Mr. Chalmers," has fixed on my heart a very strong impression of the insignificance of time-an impression which I trust will not abandon me though I again reach the heyday of health and vigour. This should be the first step to another impression still more salutary-the magnitude of eternity. Strip human life of its connexion with a higher scene of existence, and it is the illusion of an instant, an unmeaning farce, a series of visions and projects, and convulsive efforts, which terminate in nothing. I have been reading Pascal's Thoughts on Religion: you know his history-a man of the richest endowments, and whose youth was signalized by his profound and original speculations in mathematical science, but who could stop short in the brilliant career of discovery, who could resign all the splendours of literary reputation, who could renounce without a sigh all the distinctions which are conferred upon genius, and resolve to devote every talent and every hour to the defence and illustration of the Gospel. This, my dear sir, is superior to all Greek and to all Roman fame."
* In a Letter to his friend the Rev. Mr. Carstairs of Anstruther, dated Fincraigs, February 19, 1809.
THE EFFORT AFTER A PURE AND HEAVENLY MORALITY.
CONTEMPLATED from the confines of eternity, his past life looked to Mr. Chalmers like a feverish dream, the fruitless chasing of a shadow. Blinded by the fascination of the things seen and temporal, he had neglected the things unseen and eternal. He had left undischarged the highest duties of human life, and he had despised that faith which can alone lend enduring value to its labours, and shed the light of a satisfying hope around its close. How empty had all these bygone years been of God. True, he had not been wholly forgetful; many an adoring thought of the Almighty, as the great Creator, Upholder, Governor of the universe, had filled his mind, and many grateful feelings towards his heavenly Benefactor had visited his heart. But that, he now felt, was not enough. The clear unchallengeable right belonged to God over the full affection of the heart, the unremitting obedience of the life; but no such affection had been entertained; and it had been but seldom that a distinct regard to the will of God had given its birth or its direction to any movement of his past history. In name acknowledged, but in their true nature and extent misunderstood, he felt that his Creator's claims over him had been practically disallowed and dishonoured during his whole career. The meagre and superficial faith of former years could no longer satisfy him. It could not stand the scrutiny of the sick-room; it could not bear to be confronted with death; it gave way
under the application of its own chosen test; for surely, even reason taught that if man have a God to love and serve, and an eternity beyond death to provide for, towards that God a supreme and abiding sense of obligation should be cherished, and to the providing for that eternity the whole efforts of a lifetime should be consecrated. Convinced of the fatal error upon which the whole scheme of his former life had been constructed, Mr. Chalmers resolved upon a change. He would no longer live here as if here he were to live for ever. Henceforth and habitually he would recognise his immortality; and remembering that this fleeting pilgrimage was a scene of trial, a place of spiritual probation, he would dedicate himself to the service of God, and live with the high aim and purpose of one who was in training for eternity. It was a kind of life which had already been realized by countless thousands of his fellowmen, and why not by him? It had been realized by Pascal in making the sublime transition from the highest walks of science to the still higher walk of faith. It had been realized by those early Christians whose lives and testimonies he was now engaged in studying. Surrounded with such a cloud of witnesses, a new ambition, stronger and more absorbing than that which had thirsted so eagerly for literary fame, fired Mr. Chalmers' breast. Every thought of his heart, every word of his lip, every action of his life, he would henceforth strive to regulate under a high presiding sense of his responsibility to God; his whole life he would turn into a preparation for eternity. With all the ardour of a nature which never could do anything by halves, with all the fervour of an enthusiasm which had at length found an object worthy of its whole energies at their highest pitch of effort, he gave himself to the great work of setting himself right with God. The commencement of such an enterprise marks a great and signal epoch in his spiritual history. It sprung out of his profound sense of
human mortality; his vivid realizing of the life that now is in its connexion with the life that is to come; his recognition of the supremacy which God and the high interests of eternity should wield over the heart and life of man. It did not originate in any change in his speculative belief induced by his studies either of the contents or credentials of the Bible. In the course of that memorable transition-period which elapsed from the beginning of November 1809 till the close of December 1810, important modifications in his doctrinal views were undoubtedly effected. His partial discovery of the pervading and defiling element of ungodliness, gave him other notions of human depravity than those he had previously entertained, and prepared him not only to acquiesce in, but to appropriate to himself representations from which a year before he would have turned away with disgust. And with his altered view of human sinfulness, there came also an altered view of the atonement. was prepared now to go farther than he had gone before in recognising the death of Christ as a true and proper sacrifice for sin. Still, however, while looking to that death for the removal of past guilt, he believed that it lay wholly with himself after he had been forgiven to approve himself to God, to win the Divine favour, to work out the title to the heavenly inheritance. The full and precise effect of Christ's obedience unto death was not as yet discerned. Over that central doctrine of Christianity which tells of the sinner's free justification before God through the merits of His Son, there hung an obscuring mist; there was a flaw in the motive which prompted the struggle in which Mr. Chalmers so devotedly engaged; there was a misconception of the object which it was possible by such a struggle to realize. More than a year of fruitless toil had to be described ere the true ground of a sinner's acceptance with God was reached, and the true principle of all acceptable obedience was implanted in his heart.