« ZurückWeiter »
upon the attention of others. It would be easy indeed to particularise instances, in the history of the London Missionary Society, in which, both in the committee of examination, and in the board of direction, his catholic spirit was the means of preventing the most serious misunderstandings. So much was he the object of general esteem, that parties the most adverse listened to his mild and persuasive advice. By some pertinent anecdote, or by some happy. exhibition of the natural playfulness of his mind, or by some solemn appeal to great and acknowledged principles, he would often quench the violence of a most threatening debate, and restore the Christian tone of a meeting after it had been considerably impaired : and when in these holy efforts he failed in accomplishing the best wishes of his heart, he in general sat down in silence, evidently grieved at his want of success, but, at the same time, displaying nothing of that chagrin which a mind less dignified would not have failed to express. His mild acquiescence in decisions contrary to his own expressed views led those who were ignorant of his real character to suspect him occasionally of the want of becoming firmness; but he knew full well, that • the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God, and that objects accomplished by the sacrifice of every Christian temper must be truly unacceptable to the God of love.*
* Another of his fellow-labourers in the Missionary Society speaks of him in the following terms :—“During the many years in which he occupied the chair of the examining committee in the
“ But the finest displays of Dr. Waugh's character as chairman of the committee of examination were seen in his mode of treating missionary candidates. When they entered the room, his first effort was to dispossess their minds of that fear of man which bringeth a snare, and to convince them that they were in the presence of friends, all deeply interested in their success and happiness. So entirely was his manner divested - of all appearance of austerity, and so inviting and kind was the expression of his countenance, that the most timid felt easy in his presence; while those of a different stamp learnt modesty from his unassuming and patriarchal appearance. His modes of examination were often distinguished by great acuteness, while an amiable vivacity of manner took from them all semblance of severity. Occasionally, however, his questions were rather embarrassing to the candidates, as he started difficulties, in reference to Divine truth, which it was not easy for a beginner to solve. But the moral of such perplexing interrogatories was never lost sight of by the venerable chairman, who always urged upon the young missionary the
society, it was a privilege to be one of that board. Loving all,
Conspexere, silent; adrectisque auribus adstant:
necessity of a thorough acquaintance with all the objections which sceptics and infidels are accustomed to oppose to the evidence or facts of the Christian revelation. Sometimes his manner would produce surprise and consternation in the mind of an inexperienced and simple-hearted candidate: he would assume all the air of a polished and subtle infidel, and would throw out an ingenious suspicion against the Divine legation of Moses; or against the validity of his miracles; or against the superiority of his claims to those of the magicians of Egypt. On such occasions he seldom failed to puzzle the young missionary, who was in general equally startled at his own ignorance, and at the unexpected character assumed by his revered examiner. In no instance, however, did he fail to leave a salutary impression upon the mind of a devoted candidate, who could not but perceive the deep piety and the dignified kindness of his amiable, though facetious, instructor. Of Dr. Waugh, it may be affirmed, without hesitation, that every missionary of the Society regarded him as a father and a friend, to whom he could confidently look, not only for the simple exercise of justice, but for the full flow of that generous sympathy which the self-denying and arduous character of his undertaking seemed to demand. Both in their own country, and after quitting their native shores, the name of Dr. Waugh was invariably pronounced, by all the missionaries of the Society, with filial reverence and affection. Even refractory individuals, and those who had in some measure misconducted
themselves, were never heard to utter a single murmur against the man who knew at once how to rebuke their errors and to conciliate their regard. On all occasions he manifested such entire self-possession, and such perfect control over the irascible qualities of human nature, that no man who had any respect for himself, or who possessed aught that was capable of being acted upon by kindness, could feel towards him any other sentiments than those of the most unreserved good-will. Whatever emotions might have been engendered in the moment of unavoidable debate, he had the happy art of carrying no angry or party feelings from the immediate scene of mental conflict. The consequence was, that he made no enemies to himself; and that he was distinctly felt to belong to no party; and, in fact, to be the pledged advocate of nothing but truth and benevolence.
" When misunderstandings arose between any particular missionary and the board of direction, his constant effort was to bring about a reconciliation. In the committees he invariably advocated the adoption of mild measures, and the cultivation of that charity which covereth a multitude of sins;' while in his personal intercourse with the supposed offender, he placed high the prerogative of the directors, and endeavoured by all proper means to superinduce a becoming feeling of humility, and such a consciousness of inadvertency and failure as might lead to every necessary concession. With such melting tenderness, however, were these delicate offices performed, that if he
failed, but little hope remained for any one who might make the attempt after him.*
• Nor must it be forgotten that Dr. Waugh was a member of the general board of direction,
* The following anecdote, which so well illustrates Dr. Waugh's character as chairman of the examination committee, appeared, soon after his decease, in the pages of the “ Eclectic Review." Having been enabled to ascertain its authenticity, we make no apology for subjoining it here, with a very slight alteration.
A pious young man, who was desirous of devoting himself to the work of the ministry among the heathen, and had been recommended with that view to the committee of the London Missionary Society, on undergoing the usual examination, stated that he had one difficulty: he had an aged mother entirely dependent upon an elder brother and himself for maintenance; and in case of that brother's death, he should wish to be at liberty to return to this country, if his mother were still living, to contribute to her support. Scarcely had he made this ingenuous statement, when a harsh voice exclaimed, “ If you love your mother more than the Lord Jesus Christ, you will not do for us.” Abashed and confounded, the young man was silent. Some murmurs escaped the committee ; and he was directed to retire while his proposal was taken into consideration. On his being again sent for, the venerable chairman (Dr. Waugh), in tones of unaffected kindness, and with a patriarchal benignity of mien, acquainted him that the committee did not feel themselves authorised to accept of his services on a condition involving uncertainty as to the term : but immediately added : “ We think none the worse of you, my good lad, for your dutiful regard for your aged parent. You are but acting in conformity to the example of Him whose Gospel you wished to proclaim among the heathen, who, as he hung upon the cross in dying agonies, beholding his mother and the beloved disciple standing by, said to the one, · Woman, Behold thy Son!' and to John, • Behold thy mother!' My good lad, we think none the worse of you."--Editor.