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Pulpit Recollections ..
Account of the Secession Church..
Parentage of Alexander Waugh. Character and mode of life of
Scottish husbandmen of olden times. Change of manners. His parents and their family. Education of Alexander for the ministry. His early days. Earlstoun. Parochial schools. Stitchell. Rev. George Coventry. Course of University education prescribed by the Secession church. Prosecution of his studies at Edinburgh--at Haddington, under the Rev. John Brown - and at Aberdeen, under Doctors Campbell and Beattie. Misgivings respecting his fitness for the ministry. Receives license, and proves highly acceptable as a preacher. Rise of Wells Street congregation, London. Rev. Arch. Hall. Ordination and settlement of Mr. Waugh at Newtown. Competing calls from London and Edinburgh, and his final appointment to the charge of the Wells Street congregation.
ALEXANDER WAUGH was born on the 16th of August, 1754, at East Gordon, a small village in the parish of Gordon, Berwickshire. Thomas Waugh and Margaret Johnstone, his parents, belonged to the class of small farmers, who for some centuries were the cultivators of the soil throughout every part of Scotland ; and who, being generally considered by their landlords as
the hereditary feudatories of their families, were accustomed to succeed each other from father to son, with nearly as little variation as the proprietors themselves.
This valuable order of husbandmen, who constituted a very considerable proportion of the population, was, at this period, of the third generation in descent from the Covenanters, who lived towards the latter end of the seventeenth century; to whom their country owes a deep debt of gratitude, for their pious zeal, their patient sufferings, and their severe, long-protracted, and ultimately successful struggle with a despotic and persecuting government. Like their ancestors, whose memory they warmly cherished and venerated, besides being zealous Presbyterians, they were distinguished by frugal habits, simple manners, and an ardent regard for evangelical doctrines. In addition to a regular and exemplary attendance on the public ordinances of divine worship, they faithfully performed the exercises of devotion in their families, and laboured, with patriarchal diligence, to instil into the minds of their children and domestics the principles of sound doctrine and a holy life. The strict and regular observance of the duties of family religion, appears to have been one chief cause of the high eminence in scriptural knowledge, in sobriety of manners, as well as in every domestic virtue, for which the northern part of Great Britain was then justly celebrated.
The patriarchal simplicity of manners which, about the middle of last century, so especially
characterised Scottish husbandmen, was calculated, in a high degree, to foster deep affections, and a sober but manly earnestness both of principle and deportment; and it may be fairly stated as one of the happy privileges of the Secession church, that so large a number of its ministers have sprung from this virtuous and valuable order of men.
On this latter account, as well as with a more immediate reference to the subject of the present memoir, we shall endeavour to give a brief description of the mode of life and household discipline of a Scottish farmer of former days. It is a sketch from early recollections of scenes long gone by
“ When old simplicity was yet in prime;
For now among our glens the faithful fail,
When it flings off the autumnal foliage sere,
The habitation of a Scottish husbandman in the southern counties, sixty or seventy years ago, was generally a plain, substantial building, holding a middle rank between the residences of the inferior gentry and the humble cottages of the labouring peasantry. The farm-house, with the small windows of its second story often projecting through the thatched roof, occupied, for the most part, the one side of a quadrangle, in which the young cattle were folded; the other three sides being enclosed and sheltered by the barns,