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his youth. So much was this the case, that had a person from a distant land been suddenly placed in our domestic circle after my father's return from church on a Sunday evening, and listened to his conversation for half an hour, he might have imagined himself seated beside the pastor of some remote country congregation, by Tweedside, perhaps, or the banks of Loch Leven; so habitually and entirely did his mind revert to Scotland and its interests. On such occasions, he loved to talk of the simple piety of his father's household, as it has been described at the commencement of this Memoir,—of the surviving relatives and friends at a distance with whom he had held sweet counsel in the fear of God,—of his brethren in the ministry whom he had loved in youth, or laboured together with in riper years,—of the sober, sagacious, and religious peasantry of Scotland, -and, above all, of the manner in which the public ordinances of the house of God, and especially the celebration of the Lord's supper, were attended and performed in that privileged land, particularly in country places.
“ In his ministerial visitations also his nationality was often strongly displayed (and that with most beneficial effect) both in sentiment and language. When, without adequate cause, any of his hearers had failed to attend public ordinances so regularly as he could have wished, and would plead their distance from the chapel as an excuse, he would exclaim, in the emphatic northern dialect, which he loved on familiar occasions to employ,— What? you from Scotland! from
Melrose! from Gala Water! from Selkirk! and it's a hard matter to walk a mile or two to serve your Maker one day in the week! How many miles did you walk at Selkirk ? Five.' 'Five! and can ye no walk two here? Man! your father walked ten or twall out, and as many hame, every Sunday i' the year, and your mother too, aften. I've seen a hunder folk and mair, that aye walked six or seven, men, and women, and bairns too; and at the sacraments folk walked fifteen, and some twenty miles. How far will you walk the morn to mak half-a-crown? Fie! fie! But ye'll be out wi' a' your household next Sabbath, I ken. O, my man, mind the bairns! If you love their souls, dinna let them get into the habit of biding away frae the kirk. All the evils amang young folk in London arise from their not attending God's house.' Such remonstrances, it may easily be imagined, were not often urged in vain.
“In order, however, to enable English readers better to appreciate his feelings respecting the performance of religious ordinances in his native land, a few explanatory remarks may be here expedient. The churches of the Secession were, in his youth, very thinly scattered over that part of the country in which he resided ; and the sacrament of the Supper was observed in some places twice, and in others only once, in the year. The people of the various congregations had, however, opportunities of partaking of this ordinance more frequently, by reciprocally attending at its celebration in adjoining congregations; and the consequence was, that no church or meet
ing-house could contain the number of communicants or hearers who usually assembled on these occasions. There was, therefore, established an auxiliary pulpit service, which, in summer, was performed out of doors, in a small field or plot of ground attached to the place of worship, or on some open brae or green bank near it; and this service consisted of prayer, singing, and preaching. By this means, the whole of the assembled people were engaged at one and the same time; for while these services were going on in the church or meeting-house, they were also carrying forward at the tent, as it was called; and when the sacrament had been administered to those within the building, * they withdrew to the services at the tent, the tables were again filled from without, and again similarly vacated and replenished, until the whole of the assembled communicants had commemorated the dying love of their Saviour. The number of communicants was often very great, and the services took up seven or eight hours. They were conducted by four or five ministers from other congregations, who were called upon or invited by the presiding pastor to aid him in the work.
“ The nature of this sacred ordinance, its extreme solemnity, the fervid earnestness of the ministers, and the deep reverence of the hearers, conjoined with an extended and important part of the service being performed in the open air, at the foot of a mountain, or on the banks of a stream,
* In fine weather, the sacrament was generally administered in the open air ; at Stitchell, on Stitchell Brae.
and in a pastoral country, were circumstances calculated to make an impression on the sensitive mind, which could never be effaced. To those who subsequently removed to large towns or cities, and who retained their integrity, the retrospect must have been attended with emotions almost indescribable. And the writer may state, from his own experience, that when he has fallen in with some of his northern friends, who had forgotten the God of their fathers, and made shipwreck of their faith, he has, in more instances than one, compelled them to acknowledge,'with tears in their eyes, that in pursuing the pleasures of the world, and its business and interests, these solemn and affecting scenes have come back upon their hearts in all their sacred loveliness, and have given, for the time, to worldly feelings and conduct such a powerful check as neither the operations of conscience, nor the splendid service and ritual of another church, had ever been able to effect.
“On such themes my venerable father loved to dwell. They often furnished topics for his conversation on Sabbath evenings, and especially on the evenings of sacramental Sabbaths. On these latter occasions he was usually much exhausted; and it was not till after supper that he did more than make general and brief references to the services of the day. When he had supped, his strength returned, and he would converse cheerfully (for he was no gloomy or morose Christian) on the great subject in which we had all been engaged; and then he would add, · To-day they have been celebrating the Lord's Supper at Kelso,' or ' at Hawick,' or some other place, which he would name; for he generally knew the days on which the sacrament was administered in the different congregations in the southern parts of Scotland. In a softened mood, he would continue,—I shall never again break the bread of life to my countrymen in my own land, nor myself commemorate there the Saviour's dying love. O the solemnity of those tent preachings !' • But, father, some of us would say, ' you would still make an effort to go to Stitchell Brae? " To Stitchell Brae !' his eyes kindling, and his soul lighting up with hallowed enthusiasm, -' to Stitchell Brae !—ay would I! I should rejoice again to preach from that tent at its base, and to see the hundreds of God's redeemed people sitting on the face of the hill, above and around me, drinking in with joy the glad tidings of salvation. O that I could again sit among them, and hear good old Mr. Coventry give us as much sound divinity in one sermon as is now found in ten volumes! It was a scene on which God's eye might love to look. Such sermons — and such prayers !-- none such to be heard now a-days. What are your cathedrals, and your choirs, and your organs? God laid the foundations of our temple on the pillars of the earth ; our floor was nature's verdant carpet; our canopy was the vaulted sky—the heaven in which the Creator dwells; in the distance the Cheviot hills; around us nature in all the luxuriance of loveliness, there fields ripening unto harvest,-here lowing