« ZurückWeiter »
attended by scholars in the fourth and last years of their regular studies, and were followed by their taking the degree of M.A. if found qualified. On Mr. Waugh's application to Dr. Beattie, he was discovered to be amply qualified, by previous attainments, to take his rank in the fourth class or year, and accordingly he received his degree of M.A. along with the writer and a few other students on April 1st, 1778.
“ I had many opportunities of knowing that he had a very high esteem for Dr. Beattie; there were, indeed, many resemblances in their personal temper and disposition. He often repeated, with approbation, the concluding passage of Dr. Beattie's last lecture, which may be given here, as it is not added to the printed copy :- Learning, when one applies to it with a sincere purpose of improving his nature, and of rendering himself more useful to his fellow-creatures, is of all earthly possessions the most valuable; but still let it be remembered, that piety and virtue are the chief principles for which man was made, and the only certain means of happiness. The time is fast approaching, when learning and all the ornaments of human life shall disappear for ever, and nothing be found of any real value but the Divine approbation. If that is secured, all is well; and without that, all other attainments are nothing.'
“Of Dr. Waugh's character at this period of his life, I have rather a general than a minute recollection, but one which I can call up with reverence. It is impossible to forget it; since, according to all I know, or have been told of him
in after-life, it was uniform and consistent. It evidently had been formed on the firm and unalterable principles of true piety; it was as evidently adorned by those Christian graces which were prominent throughout his long life. His heart and affections, all were calculated to prepare him for the sacred duties he was about to take upon him. His conversation, when we walked on the banks of the Dee, which was almost every day the weather permitted, turned upon those important subjects which were to engage his thoughts and his prayers for the whole of his future life.
“ He was, when I first knew him, remarkable for cheerfulness of disposition, mildness of temper, and an utter aversion to every thing harsh and censorious in treating the character of the absent. His mind seemed always bent on forbearance and forgiveness in speaking of such persons as were known to us both: when objections were stated, he was more of the advocate than the judge. It often appeared as if he was suffering for the faults of others; and when facts were brought forward, which it was impossible to palliate, he was always more inclined to postpone the trial than to give judgment.
“ His mild, meek, and forbearing temper predominated in all his conversation, as it is well known it did when he was afterwards called to take a more public interest in matters where decision was unavoidable. I know not if Dr. Waugh was cautious in bestowing his friendships, but once bestowed it was difficult to shake them. It seemed to afflict him deeply when compelled to
alter his opinion of any one. This I early observed was likely to be the severest trial he would have to encounter when he came in contact with the many varieties of human character; but, whatever might happen, he never could be an enemy; there was not an atom of fixed animosity in his whole composition,
“ He left Aberdeen soon after taking the degree of M.A. above mentioned. For some time we corresponded; but I am not able to trace his progress until his being appointed to the congregation over which he presided for so many years in London. This occurred in 1782, when our acquaintance was renewed, and was continued without loss of friendship on either side during his life; but the great distance betwixt our residences, and the difference of our pursuits, rendered our intercourse less frequent, though not less cordial, than I could have wished. When we did meet, which was sometimes in private and sometimes in public, I recognised the same man, both in heart and spirit, that I had known in my early days; and those who approached him more closely and frequently, can bear witness to that uniformity of character, and steady adherence to the service of his great Master, which have been universally acknowledged.”
Another of Mr. Waugh's early associates, who frequently met him in the country, at the houses of their respective relatives in Berwickshire, during the intervals of his academical and theological studies, speaks of him in the following glowing terms: —“ He was at this period, on
account of his prepossessing appearance, his constant cheerfulness, his affability to all, his talents in conversation, and his kindness of heart displayed in innumerable benevolent actions, the most universally beloved person I have ever known. His presence diffused a spirit of gladness; and all gloom, quarrelling, selfishness, and meanness, were banished wherever he appeared. He had high feelings of honour, far beyond most of his learned as well as unlearned associates; and in this respect, as well as in demeanour and address, was a perfect gentleman.”
With all this social cheerfulness, he did not neglect to apply himself with due diligence to those preparatory studies which every young man, whose chief ambition it is to be a faithful and efficient minister in the church of Christ, will deem of incalculable value. We subjoin the following passages of a, letter (from his muchesteemed friend of Aberdeen, already referred to) addressed to him at Edinburgh, where he appears to have spent the winter of 1778, previously to his entering on trial for license: —
“I have not procured the Septuagint, but I shall endeavour to follow you in the New Testament: I feel many difficulties; but still I would wish to keep in mind
• Nil est tam difficile, quod non solertia vincat.'
“ You made use of a phrase in your last letter which Mr. Dick would have taken much amiss; I mean goodhearted: indeed, it is so much abused in common conversation, that I would wish it avoided altogether. One who, at the expense of his health and character, sacrifices
every virtuous principle to the love of pleasure or mirth, is called a good-hearted man ; another, who by his excesses has brought himself into such a situation as to be obliged to leave his country, is nevertheless a good-hearted man; a third, who in companies makes no scruple to ridicule the most sacred things, and whose life is one uninterrupted series of immorality and vice, is a good-hearted man. These and other cases I have observed repeatedly; but I think it is a shameful prostitution of language; nay, worse, for this gradually impairs our sense of the deformity of vice. I need not add, that I make no reference from this to what you said.
“ I hope in a short time to be a humble auditor of my friend, and to be one of his “my brethren. I expect and insist upon every qualification of a good, pious, respectable Seceder preacher. By the hy, I'll tell you a bit of my mind. I positively won't have any blank-verse sermons ; not a syllable that smells of the Arminian; don't quote even from Cicero, nor Thomson either. None of your high-flying rant, which people nickname oratory. Beware how you lay your emphasis on the breast of the pulpit, it may break. Be plain and intelligible, and never lose sight of your Bible: consider that the meanest of your audience has as good a right to understand you, as those who have M.A. tagged to their recommendation. You see I take many freedoms with you, and you won't let me make the physic more palatable with a little sweet syrup of duplicity.
“ Mr. and Mrs. Dick join me in compliments. May you be amply supplied by Him wbom giving does not impoverish, nor withholding enrich !
“ I am your friend, “ Aberdeen, Dec. 11, 1778.
For some time prior to this period, he appears to have laboured under very considerable discouragement, regarding his becoming a public