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the language of sincere and affectionate friendship. May you ever be preserved from the deceitful allurements of vice. May you walk the proud career of integrity and honour; and while I live, I have a heart to feel and a voice to plead for your interests."
But it was not enough to unburden himself in his own classroom and in presence of his students; he was determined to say all and more than he had said there in a still more conspicuous place. It was the practice at that time in St. Andrews to have a public examination of all the classes at the end of each session, and in presence of all the professors. The scene in the Public Hall at the close of the session 1802-3, says one who witnessed it,* "was a singular one. When Dr. Rotheram, Professor of Natural Philosophy, had finished the examination of his class, Mr. Chalmers, whose classes were next in course, stepped forward to the table, and broke out into a severe invective against Professor Vilant, for having given testimonials to students without consulting him, their teacher. The speech was long and sarcastic. It was amusing to see the Academic Board; old Mr. Cook, irritated and vexed; Mr. Hill, puffy and fidgetty; Dr. Playfair, getting up twice or thrice and tugging the speaker by the arm; Dr. Hunter, with unvarying countenance, his eyes sedately fastened on the floor; Dr Rotheram, laughing and in anger by turns. † At length Dr. Hill interfered, and with some difficulty silenced Mr. Chalmers, who proceeded with the examination as coolly as if nothing had passed."
Mr. Chalmers had already intimated to his father that he meant to devote to a visit to Edinburgh the short interval which would occur between the breaking up of the classes at St.
*The Rev. Dr. Duff.
Mr. Cook was Professor of Moral Philosophy; Mr. Hill, of Greek; Dr. Playfair was Principal of the College; Dr. Hunter, Professor of Humanity; and Dr. Hill, Professor of Divinity and Chairman of the Board.
Andrews and his settlement in Kilmany. His father disliked the proposition. He knew how engrossed his son had been throughout the winter with mathematics. He looked forward with anxiety to the commencement of his ministry. He feared that science had the hold which he wished so much that the gospel of God's redeeming grace should have; and thinking that the short season which now remained ere the sacred duties of an ambassador of Christ were entered on might be more fitly and profitably employed, he ventured to remonstrate with his son-suggesting that as they had seen so little of him during the winter, he might give this interval to Anstruther, where he could find seclusion and repose. He received the following reply:
"ST. ANDREWS, April 28, 1803.
"DEAR FATHER,-I am astonished that the measure proposed in my last should appear in the slightest degree objectionable. I hope that my principles as to the important subject alluded to are already established, and that they do not require any extraordinary exercises of reflection at present. I have had sufficient time for reflection, and I do not see how the relaxation of a few days should have any effect in overthrowing those calm and decided sentiments which I have already formed. I confess I like not those views of religion which suppose that the business, or even the innocent amusements of the world, have a dangerous tendency to unsettle the mind for serious and elevating exercises. It is my decided opinion that the charge of a congregation is of the first importance; and that if the sense of the duties which it imposes is not previously established in the mind by the exercises of a mature and well-digested reflection, it is vain to think that the extraordinary effort of a few days will very essentially contribute to preparation or to improvement.
"There is one thing of which you must be sensible-the diffi
culty that one man lies under in explaining his motives and justifying his measures to another, whose pursuits and views are totally different. It is impossible, for instance, without entering into a long dissertation about the labours of superintending three classes-the comparative difficulty of the subjects that are introduced into each-the time necessary for arranging materials-for examining old exercises and framing new ones, &c., &c.; it is impossible to convince my friends that I cannot have a spare moment from my employments either to visit or converse with them. All my resource is, that they take my word for it; and if they refuse their belief, I must just submit to the imputation of indifference, however unjust I feel it. I must just submit to it, because from the very circumstances of my situation, it is out of my power to make myself intelligible.
"The same is the case with regard to the object of my journey to Edinburgh. It is impossible to explain to you how impressions of a man's character and talent are propagated in the literary public. In my present circumstances, I find it necessary to be in Edinburgh, to spend a day at least with the Edinburgh professors, and to counteract the artifices to which I feel myself exposed, from the attempts of an envious and unprincipled malignity.
"I beg you will not distress yourself by any suspicions as to my indifference to the parochial duties. From the infinite variety of men's dispositions, there must be different methods of expressing the feelings of their hearts; and they will employ different instruments for improving the purity of their purposes. I feel that the solitude of a few days would be to me a painful and unmeaning solemnity. Accuse me of indifference when you have observed me deficient in any of the essential dutieswhen you have observed me shrinking from any of those labours which the cares of a parish impose.-Yours affectionately, THOMAS CHALMERS."
How easily might the argument of this letter have been retorted. Might not the very difficulty of explaining motives and justifying conduct complained of by the son, have been as pertinently pleaded by the father? The truth was, that on the greatest and most affecting of all subjects, the ground of a common understanding did not as yet exist between them. The father's suggestion had been set aside. It but remained for him in faith and with prayer to await the time, (and he lived to see it, and was glad,) when he should not only become intelligible, but secure the completest and profoundest sympathy.
FIRST SUMMER AT KILMANY-A WINTER OF CONFLICT AND
In looking from Dundee across the Firth of Tay, a low range of hills is seen to run from east to west along the Fifeshire coast. Immediately behind this ridge lies a sequestered valley, shut in upon the south by a second range of hills, running also nearly parallel to the coast-line. Of this well-watered and fertile valley, the parish of Kilmany forms a part. Its church and village stand at an equal distance-about five miles-from Cupar, the nearest market-town on the south; and on the north, from Newport, the principal ferry to Dundee. Of limited extent, its greatest length being not more than six, its greatest width not more than four miles, and with a purely agricultural population, numbering about 150 families, this parish presented a comparatively easy and very attractive sphere of ministerial labour. And there now came to it as its minister, one upon whose fresh and nature-loving spirit its sloping hills and peaceful valleys and rustic homesteads made the deepest and liveliest impression-an impression deeper indeed and livelier and more lasting than any other of the localities to which, in the course of his varied life, he became attached.
Mr. Chalmers was ordained by the Presbytery of Cupar as minister of the parish of Kilmany, on the 12th day of May, 1803. The manse was ill-placed, and old enough to warn its