bourhood amounting at that time to at least six thousand, of which more than two-thirds fell to be provided for by the Established Church.

Occupying the humble position of a mere tradesman in London, and having no property in the parish of Hawick, it seemed very unlikely that any effort which he could make would accomplish the end upon which he had set his heart. But when a man is thoroughly in earnest in regard to the accomplishment of any good work, and, in spite of every obstacle and discouragement, looks, by prayer and in faith, for the countenance and the blessing of God, it is wonderful how rapidly the most formidable difficulties begin to disappear, and how providentially, and by what unexpected openings, the path of duty is made perfectly plain before him.

And so it was in the present instance. Having provided himself with the necessary statistics, and being introduced by the Duchess of Gordon to his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, the patron and principal heritor of the parish, he was admitted more than once to the privilege of a personal interview, and took occasion very earnestly to press the matter on his Grace's attention. At a later period, and after formidable difficulties had been suggested on the part of some of the Duke's agents, he addressed a long letter to him, distinguished for great tact, and fidelity, and good feeling, and impassioned earnestness. The close

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

of the letter is in these words : Oh, let it not any
longer be said that the noble Buccleuch is a generous
landlord, and generous in everything but to the poor
church of Christ in Scotland. But I fear I have
trespassed ; yet, having nothing to ask for myself, I
feel bold thus to write ; and may God incline your
heart to receive this epistle in the affectionate spirit in
which I trust I have written it, and to forgive the
earnestness of one who is only anxious for his coun-
try's good.'
His prayers at the mercy-seat were heard, and the

desire of his heart was granted. His Grace, having
the matter fairly and honestly brought before him,
with the generous and philanthropic spirit for which
he is distinguished, made immediate arrangements,
entirely at his own expense, for providing the required
accommodation, by the erection of a new and magni-
ficent place of worship.

By means of the Disruption, which occurred shortly after the building was completed, the church, as a matter of course, was withdrawn from the Free Church party, with which Mr. Nisbet was very closely associated, and the benefits arising from the erection are now enjoyed by the Established Church. Having had myself a deep personal interest in the matter, I shall ever feel grateful to the Duke of Buccleuch for the many acts of kindness which, in regard to this and other matters, I have had the pri

vilege of receiving at his Grace's hands. And, however strongly I am attached to the principles of the Free Church of Scotland, I am glad of the opportunity of saying, that my successor in the parish church which I was constrained, by a sense of duty, to leave vacant, has earned for himself, in the town and neighbourhood of Hawick, a high position and an honourable name, by the faithful and judicious manner with which, amid many difficulties, he has devoted himself to the discharge of his official duties. And though, because of the testimony I have been called to lift up for the Headship of Christ and the liberties of His people, I cannot honestly approve of the constitution and the actings of the church of which he is an able and distinguished minister, I am not precluded, by the principles which I hold, from expressing the desire which I feel, that in superintending the Ragged School, which he had the honour of instituting, he may inherit the rich blessing of many that are ready to perish ; and that, in the sanctuary which James Nisbet projected, and which the noble Duke has so generously erected, he may proclaim the tidings of the great salvation with such purity and power, as shall tend to the conversion of perishing sinners, and thereby verify the saying of the Psalmist of old : • The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man and that man was born there.'

"Whatever clouds are on the wing,
Whatever days the seasons bring ;
That is true happiness below,
Which conscience cannot turn to woe;
And though such happiness depends
Neither on clouds, nor days, nor friends;
When friends and days and clouds unite,
And kindred chords are tuned aright,
The harmonies of heaven and earth,
Through eye, ear, intellect, give birth
To joys too exquisite to last,
And yet more exquisite when past.
Bliss in possession cannot last:
Remembered joys are never past ;
At once the fountain, stream, and sea,
They are, they were, and yet shall be

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

"They shall still bring forth fruit in old age.'—Ps. XCII. 14.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide;
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh! abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day :
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me!

I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be ?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I sear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless ;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness ;

« ForrigeFortsett »