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return kindness with insult, than he repelled him with boundless hatred, but so long as the Genevese lunatic bowed at his nod, be could laugh at all his filthiness. Nor was he rigidly scrupulous in the things which are honest, when it suited himself, for the very man who denounced the saints as hypocrites, was ready on two occasions to mount into a professors chair, by the signature of a creed, every article of which he detested, as much as he disbelived. The society too, which he kept in France, though refined, was Epicurean to the last extreme, and he, who, in his passionless torpor might himself refrain from what was illicit, spent all his hours with adulterers and adulteresses. And what he pas tronized he vindicated, for his “ Essays” inspired amid the saloons of Paris, are calculated for the voluptuous bowers of Constantinople in respect of the morality they teach.
Still we do not deny that for an infidel, Hume was respectable. His virtue was not so much a quality of the heart, as a habit of his training, it was stoicism rather than principle, it was negative, not robust and cordial. Nevertheless, he stands out in conspicuous contrast from most other unbelievers, as decent upon the whole. And is it not well, that there is nothing gross in his character to bias our judgment of his doctrine? In the case of Voltaire, so like a fiend, and of Rousseau, so truly a beast, we are apt to transfer the baseness of the man to his philosophy, and to detest the system, because we detest its author. Such a process of reasoning is not wholly to be discarded; for it is a short formula by which in many cases error is detected—it suits the general mind—and though scarcely logical, it will not often mislead. Certainly, however, it is more becoming men and Christians, to judge infidelity apart from the infidel; and were our intellectual conclusions more uniformly combined with our moral tastes, we would occupy a firmer basis, and discharge our shafts from a more commanding height.
We do think it, therefore, no small advantage that we possess in the instance of Hume, that we need not trace his unbelief to licentiousness, and so all our antipathy is directed not against the profligate, but the profane man. In condemning an opinion because of the practice with which it is associated, our judgment loses half its value as aimed partly at error, and partly at sin. But in reviewing Hume's unbelief, God asks us exclusively what think you of error ? And he would wish us to show, that even though allied to what is virtuous, error is itself to be the object of our indignant protest. It is easy to hate infidelity, when seen in company with the blasphemy of Payne, or the wickedness of Owen. But the sifting test is to hate it though seen in union with all the superior qualities of Hume. To recoil from infidelity, as the high-way to crime, is after all, but prudence. To shrink from infidelity as involving error, is homage to the God of truth.
On this ground we are not careful to impugn what Mr Burton has said of Hume's death-bed. There is more reason than Mr B. will admit, to suspect that it was not in Hume's power to retain his composure, as the anxious shadows of eternity fell around him. To Smith and Ferguson, he might exhibit all gaiety and playfulness. But there were seasons when he was left without these friends, and then, if rumours not wholly unworthy of credit, may be relied on, foreboding took hold upon him, and the proud spirit was without help.
But allowing that Hume died serenely, what is this but another trial of our views, as to what unbelief really is. God, as it were, says-be not shocked with infidelity, as identical with a sinful life-do not be appalled by infidelity, as identical with the anguish of a death-bed. But irrespective of all its accessaries, try it, judge it, condemn it, hate it. Voltaire, with the flashing terrors of his end, is enough to scare even the most desperate from his path. But it is a snare and a stumblingblock into which many who were willing have fallen, and more will yet fall, that Hume having lived as an idfidel, died even as a Christian might wish to die!
In reading those passages, which we are about to quote, and they refer to his early days, we have again and again asked, is the finger of the Highest not here—is not this the conviction of Him that will have all men to be saved—and may it not be, that Hume is but a solemn instance of one who quenched the Holy Ghost?
“ It is a weakness rather than a lowness of spirits which troubles me, and there seems to be as great a difference betwixt my distemper and common vapours, as betwixt common vapours and madness. I have noticed in the writings of the French mystics, and in those of our fanatics here, that when they give a history of the situation of their souls, they mention a coldness and desertion of the spirit which frequently returns, and some of them, at the beginning, have been tormented with it many years. I have often thought that their case and mine were pretty parallel. But I have not come out of the cloud so well as they commonly tell us they have done—or rather I begin to despair of ever recovering." (I. 36, 37).
May not Hume be an illustration of what Halyburton would have been, had he stood out against the voice from heaven? And can we not see in Halyburton, what Hume would have become, had he bowed to the God of our salvation?
We leave David Hume with a tear of pity-convinced that had he followed after truth, with the same avidity and devotedness he evinced in the pursuit of fame, he would have done something worthier of a soul, than but leave a lurid streak of glory on the firmament over which he passed. He might have been honoured amongst his fellows to a good old age, and now might have he been looking down from a high throne on a nation that he had established in righteousness.
Art. VI.-A Sermon, preached in Morningside Free Church, June
6, 1847, being the Sabbath immediately after the funeral of Thomas Chalmers, D.D., LL.D., dc., dic., &c. By the Rev. John BRUCE, A.M., Free St Andrew's Church, Edinburgh.
On the morning of Monday the 31st of May there died, and on the afternoon of Friday the 4th of June, there was buried, the greatest and most noted man in Scotland.
It is nearly three centuries since she knew one equally great and honoured, one more revered when living, more mourned when gone. In love to Scotland God gave her Knox; and when his work was done, He gave him a peaceful death-bed, an honoured tomb, and a place in the memory of every true Scottish heart for many generations. In love to Scotland, in these later days, God raised up Chalmers to do a mighty work and wage a glorious warfare; and when his work was ended, He gave him as calm a dismissal, as hallowed a grave, and as deep a place in the heart of his country -in the memory of his race.
Over neither do we sorrow as those who have no hope. They are not dead, they have but entered on their better life; they have not withered up and passed away, they are putting on new blossoms in a more genial clime, preparing for the day of the great fruit-bearing, when the resurrection-sun shall rise. They rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.
What a meeting must that have been which has now taken place between these two mighty souls!—what a fellowship must that be which is now enjoyed as they sit together under the shade of the tree of life, or climb the bright slopes of the everlasting hills ! For ever with each other, and for ever with the Lord.
Summoned away at midnight and in a moment, Dr Chalmers has left us no death-bed testimony, has bequeathed us no parting counsels. But his counsels had been fully spoken and written long before ; and his whole life was one grand testimony. What a testimony! From the day that he knew the grace of God in truth, his life became a consecrated thing, -himself a “living
sacrifice." It was “Corban,”-a gift,--the life of one who knew that he was not his own, that he had been purchased by another for his service. The whole energy of his mighty spirit, the whole capacities of his gifted mind, the whole warmth of his loving heart were gladly dedicated to his new and better Master-thrown unreservedly into his cause. His days were days of labour, unintermitted and untiring. His was a life-time of care and toil and conflict; yet it was well-laid-out care, fruitbearing toil, and successful conflict. There was a strength and untiringness of energy about him that seemed almost superhu
His enthusiam was of the fearless kind; his zeal never flagged; it remained as fresh in age as in the days of his fervent manhood. The chill of years was not on him; the innate fire of his spirit seemed to charm it away. The activity of the evermoving power in him was only equalled by its steadiness and depth. It was constant, not fitful. It was vast, yet it was strangely equable. It had in it the strength of the torrent, but the depth of the wave.
He was a man of many thoughts, of many schemes, of many deeds,-all of them large and lofty. Their circle was of no common stretch.
They ranged wide and far. Beyond the blue hills of Scotland; beyond the ocean-girdle that hems Britain in, his soul went abroad and his sympathies spread themselves out over the wide compass of earth. In his views there was no nar
In his nature there was no littleness. All was massive and kingly. He was not like one looking upward from the bottom of some deep glen upon the sunny slopes around him, thinking nought of anything beyond their limit; but like one looking downward from some Alpine eminence upon a whole world beneath him; and this not simply as one admiring what he saw, but as one who was a part of it, who was knit to every atom of it, who felt himself “a debtor” to all who dwelt upon its surface, -Jew or Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free.
There was a wonderful fruitfulness and elasticity about him, so that nothing could shut him up or lead him to despair. He was rich in resources. His spirit knew no dearth. Nor was this mere ingenuity. It was more, it was something higher and more commanding. It was fruitfulness, it was depth, it was power. Nay more, it was bravery. For a fearless spirit was in him, and an indomitable tenacity, that no unlikelihood could discourage nor difficulty baffle. There was a quiet but resolute purpose about him, from which he turned not aside, and in the execution of which he never wearied. True representative of our ancient Scottish chiefs, true descendant of Reformers and Covenanters,
VOL, XX. NO. III.
He was He was
he refused to swerve from his mark or give up the object of his pursuit. Like Knox his eye went over Scotland, -all Scotland,its cities and its villages, its plains and its moors. His heart took in all its families,-its rich and its poor, its old, its young. Towards every dweller in it, his desires flowed forth as to a brother or a child, with a true longing to bless them, and with profound commiseration for whatever he was unable to rectify or relieve. During last winter's famine, his sympathy for the suffering was most tender; he eagerly caught at each day's intelligence to learn whether there were any signs of amelioration appearing or sufficiency of relief administered.
Over all his fellow-men his heart most truly yearned. But it was towards the poor especially that his thoughts seemed ever to go forth. For them he toiled and wrote, and pleaded, and planned, and prayed. And the last great work of his life was to provide a church and a minister, a school and a teacher, for the poor. He was permitted to see this completed, and to dispense the first communion in that new home of the gathered outcasts.
He had often expressed a longing to withdraw from public life and spend the rest of his years in quiet and fellowship with God. This he was not allowed to carry into effect. taken up at once, and in the very midst of his labours. called to enter into rest, but it was a higher and more glorious rest than he had counted on. Yet his work was fully done. Of no one could this be more truly affirmed. It was a vast work to which he had been called, yet in the strength of his God he had done it; no part was left undone. What work is there which we could wish him to have undertaken that he has not accomplished? He might be said to have died working. He was to have addressed the General Assembly next day, and had made preparations for rising early to complete his work for that occasion. He was busy to the last. He had lost no time. He had laid out his life well,--therein leaving us an example that we should follow his steps,—an example of unconquerable energy, undecaying zeal, and faithful endurance to the end.
He was a marvellous compound of simplicity and greatness, of meekness and majesty, of modesty and manliness. He was the most unpretending, unassuming, unobtrusive, child-like of men. He had so much and yet so little of the child. There was nothing in him of frivolity or levity, yet was he one of the most brightly cheerful companions that could be met with. On his countenance there was thoughtfulness at all times, sometimes absence and abstraction, yet ever at the same time "an undercurrent of deep-running joy.” No man delighted more in looking