« PreviousContinue »
est of Thy kingdom in the world, and may the faith and sanctification of the gospel be making a decided progress over the corruptions of my heart. I offer my prayer for all this family, and may Mrs. Gillespie grow in rectitude of sentiment, and zeal for the good cause of vital religion.
"Sunday, December 15th.—Preached as usual. I have not a strong enough sense of the malignity of sin, and therefore an inadequate conception of the greatness of that salvation laid before us in the gospel.-O God, may He who is exalted on high, give me repentance and the remission of sin.
"December 17th.-Let me give more earnestness and application to the secret discipline of the inner man ; and, O God, assist me in Christ to regulate my thoughts, and to go on joyfully, without perplexity, harassment, or fatigue. O God, I commit the good work to Thy power and Thy faithfulness. Erred this forenoon in taking up two hours in a most fruitless and fatiguing investigation about annuities. I am much pleased with that part of Macknight's Credibility' which is on the prophecies.
"December 19th.-Had some very pleasurable processes of sentiment; but the great charm and the great solidity of all comfort lies in that security which is in Christ.-O God, give me to draw nearer and nearer to Him-to cultivate a more habitual intercourse with Him by faith-and to learn of Thee through Him, who alone can reveal Thee to us.
"December 20th.-Had been apprized by my man of business that my augmentation was to be pled on the 18th, and had made a number of provisions for obtaining intelligence of the result. Had attempted to fortify my heart against every species of disappointment, and submit to everything as from the hand of a wise and good Heaven. The precise kind of trial was what I did not anticipate—an intimation from Sandy that the business did not come on, and that, as the Court of Session rose soon, it must be put off for several weeks. This was the
kind of disappointment that was fitted to bear hardest upon my sanguine temperament-too impatient under suspense, too much addicted to suspicions, and too prone to indulge in plans and calculations for futurity.-O my God, may I be grateful to Thee for sustaining me. Perfect that which concerns me. May the great elements of my being-my soul, my sanctification, my eternity-be enough for me. Raise me, O Lord, on the wings of faith, and make me Thine entire workmanship in Christ Jesus my Lord. Read the 'Life of Campbell,' and felt some embarrassment in the want of congeniality with the tone of his sentiments. Let this endear to me Thy law and Thy testimony; and, O God, enlighten me so as to understand Thy Scriptures, and make the word of Christ to dwell in me richly in all wisdom.
"Sunday, December 22d.-Was struck with an expression of the Psalmist, 'My soul followeth hard after thee.'—O God, in so doing, may I not fail or be discouraged; but may Thy right hand uphold me. Did not receive a letter from my agent to-day as I expected.-On everything connected with this subject, give me, O God, the victory.
"December 26th.-Had a call in the evening from A. Paterson, who had been reading 'Baxter on Conversion,' and is much impressed by it. Delighted to hear that it has also been read with impression by others. A. P. finds that he cannot obtain a clear view of Christ.-O God, may I grow in experience and capacity for the management of these cases. It is altogether a new field to me, but I hope that my observations will give stability to my views and principles on this subject, and that my senses will be exercised to discern good and evil.
"December 27th.-I examined about twenty-four people. I should leave the answers more to themselves, and must study to construct my questions accordingly. I hope and pray that much good may be done in this way.
"December 28th.-Delighted to find the 'Edinburgh Review' led to support the Bible Society.*
"December 31st.-Examined the west end of the village in church, and a few young people in my own house in the evening. Find that much may be done in this way, and that there is much to do. I find that I should not engage with more than ten or twelve at a time, to do them justice.
"As years roll away, let the impression grow firmer upon me, that while here I am not at home, but on a journey; and let me carry about with me the same faith, the same watchfulness, the same nearness of perception as to the things of eternity, as if I knew that in half-an-hour I were to be summoned, by the last messenger."
* In a note to an Article on the Education of the Poor. See Edinburgh Review, vol. xix. p. 39. The purpose expressed in this note of entering afterwards and at large into the Bible Society controversy appears never to have been executed.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH MR. JAMES ANDERSON.
"I NEVER encountered a more vigorous intellect than that of James Anderson." Mr. Chalmers pronounced this opinion. at a late period of his life, and after he had been brought into contact with many of the highest intellects of the age. "I never met with another whose powers in all their dimensions approached nearer to those of Dr. Chalmers." Such was the sentence of one well qualified to judge, who knew them both most intimately. Mr. Anderson was the only son of a banker and opulent merchant in Dundee. Younger by about ten years than Mr. Chalmers, he must have been under eighteen when he was first introduced to the minister of Kilmany, then generally known as Mr. Chalmers the mathematician, about whose intellectual devoteeism strange rumours filled his own neighbourhood, and had reached Dundee. Congenial tastes at once linked them together in close friendship. Mr. Anderson was designed for business, and had already entered his father's office. Of a highly enthusiastic temperament, he had been early smitten with the love of science and literature. The pure fire burned in secret, and he delighted to replenish it by fellowship with a kindred spirit which was even more ardent than his own. He was one of the first to whom Mr. Chalmers communicated the great change which
*The Rev. Mr. Bruce of Edinburgh.
had taken place in his religious sentiments. That favourite and confidential communication was one of many means, all gently and judiciously applied, by which he sought to win over his young friend to the Saviour, and to that cause which had now become so dear to him; with what success the following correspondence will in part enable the reader to judge :
"PLEASANCE, DUNDEE, August 8, 1811. "MY DEAR SIR,-I have not forgotten the more important subject to which you drew my attention, and which was to form the main topic of our letters. Little as I can trust to my own resolutions, I hope that Christianity is a study on which I am now to enter in earnest, and that this is the first of a series of letters which will bear the marks of progressive advancement. As it is to you I am indebted for the resolution of making religion an object of direct attention, allow me, my dear Sir, at the outset, to return you my thanks, and to congratulate myself on the privilege I enjoy in your friendship. I trust that our connexion is such as to render unnecessary the assurance that I am not speaking the language of common intercourse, when I say, that I ever looked upon your friendship as the greatest boast of my life, and that, now it has taken a higher range, I annex to it a proportionate value. If I shall persevere-if I, from this moment, shall date the progress of settled religious principles, I will ever recur with gratitude to that hour when you exhibited these principles in all the attractions of former associations. It is not for want of similar appeals that I have hitherto regarded the subject with indifference; it is because these appeals were made in a tone of unsympathizing sanctity and unaccommodating rigour, and because there was no personal association to counteract the false repulsion which attends the first enforcements of religion. I am indebted to you for having made it a subject of