« PředchozíPokračovat »
Jerusalem, in which its whole proceedings were reviewed by the rules of the Free Kirk Book of Order, and a searching and edifying discourse concluded with two lessons. First: That no ecclesiastical body can conduct its proceedings without officials. Second: That such men ought to be accepted as a special gift of Providence.
The general opinion among good people was that the clerk's preaching was rather for upbuilding than arousing, but it is still remembered by the survivers of the old Presbytery that when Mac Wheep organized a conference on The state of religion in our congregations," and it was meandering in strange directions, the clerk, who utilised such seasons for the writing of letters, rose amid a keen revival of interest-it was supposed that he had detected an irregularity in the proceedings-and offered his. contribution. "It did not become him to boast," he said, "but he had seen marvellous things in his day under his unworthy ministry three church officers had been converted to Christianity," and this experience was so final that the conference immediately closed.
haustible memory, his attitude for exposition-holding his glasses in his left hand and enforcing his decision with the little finger of the right hand -carried conviction even to the most disorderly. Ecclesiastical radicals, boiling over with new schemes and boasting to admiring circles of MacWheeps that they would not be browbeaten by red tape officials, would become ungrammatical before that firm gaze, and end in abject surrender. Self-contained and self-sufficing, the clerk took no part in debate, save at the critical moment to lay down the law, but wrote his minutes unmoved through torrents of speech on every subject, from the Sustentation Fund to the Union between England and Scotland, and even under the picturesque eloquence of foreign deputies, whom he invariably requested to write their names on a sheet of paper. On two occasions only he ceased from writing when Dr. Dowbiggin discussed a method of procedure-then he watched him over his spectacles in hope of a nice point; or when some enthusiastic brother would urge the Presbytery to issue an injunction on the sin of Sabbath walking-then the clerk would abandon his pen in visible despair, and sitting sideways on his chair and supporting his head by that same little finger, would face the Presbytery with an expression of reverent curiosity on his face why the Creator was pleased to create such a man. His preaching was distinguished for orderliness, and was much sought after for Fast days. It turned largely on the use of prepositions and the scope of conjunctions, so that the clerk could prove the doctrine of Vicarious Sacrifice from "instead," and Retribution from "as" in the Lord's prayer, emphasising and confirming everything by that wonderful finger, which seemed to be designed by Providence for delicate distinctions, just as another man's fist served for popular declamation. His pulpit masterpiece was a lecture on the Council of
Times there were, however, when the Presbytery rose to its height and was invested with an undeniable spiritual dignity. Its members, taken one by one, consisted of farmers, shepherds, tradesmen, and one or two professional men, with some twenty ministers, only two or three of whom were known beyond their parishes. Yet those men had no doubt that as soon as they were constituted in the name of Christ, they held their authority from the Son of God and Saviour of the world, and they bore themselves in spiritual matters as His servants. No kindly feeling of neighborliness or any fear of man could hinder them from inquiring into the religious condition of a parish or dealing faithfully with an erring minister. They had power to ordain, and laid hands on the bent head of some young
probationer with much solemnity; they had also power to take away the orders they had given, and he had been hardened indeed beyond hope who could be present and not tremble when the Moderator, standing in his place, with the Presbytery around, and speaking in the name of the Head of the Church, deposed an unworthy brother from the holy ministry. MacWheep was a "cratur," and much given to twaddle, but when it was his duty once to rebuke a fellow minister for quarrelling with his people, he was delivered from himself, and spake with such grave wisdom as he has never shown before or since.
When the Presbytery assembled to receive a statement from Doctor Saunderson re error in doctrine by a brother Presbyter," even a stranger might have noticed that its members were weighted with a sense of responsibility, and although a discussion arose on the attempt of a desultory member to introduce a deputy charged with the subject of the lost ten tribes, yet it was promptly squelched by the clerk, who intimated, with much gravity, that the court had met in hunc effectum-viz., to hear Doctor Saunderson, and that the court could not, in consistence with law, take up any other business, not even-here Carmichael professed to detect a flicker of the clerkly eyelids-the disappearance of the ten tribes.
It was the last time that the Rabbi ever spoke in public, and it is now agreed that the deliverance was a fit memorial of the most learned scholar that has been ever known in those parts. He began by showing that Christian doctrine has taken various shapes, some more and some less in accordance with the deposit of truth given by Christ and the holy Apostles, and especially the doctrine of Grace had been differently conceived by two eminent theologians, Calvin and Arminius, and his exposition was so lucid that the clerk gave it as his opinion that the two systems were
understood by certain members of the court for the first time that day. Afterward the Rabbi vindicated and glorified Calvinism from the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, from the Fathers, from the Reformation Divines, from the later creeds, till the brain of the Presbytery reeled through the wealth of allusion and quotation, all in the tongues of the learned. Then he dealt with the theology of Mr. Erskine of Linlathen, and showed how it was undermining the very foundations of Calvinism; yet the Rabbi spake so tenderly of our Scottish Maurice that the Presbytery knew not whether it ought to condemn Erskine as a heretic or love him as a saint. Having thus brought the court face to face with the issues involved, the Rabbi gave a sketch of a certain sermon he had heard while assisting
a learned and much-beloved brother at the Sacrament," and Carmichael was amazed at the transfiguration of his very youthful performance, which now figured as a profound and edifying discourse, for whose excellent qualities the speaker had not adequate words. This fine discourse was, however, to a certain degree marred by an unfortunate, no doubt temporary, leaning to the teaching of Mr. Erskine, whose beautiful piety, which was to himself in his worldliness and unprofitableness a salutary rebuke, had exercised its just fascination upon his much more spiritual brother. Finally the Rabbi left the matter in the hands of the Presbytery, declaring that he had cleared his conscience, and that the minister was one-here he was painfully overcome-dear to him as a son, and to whose many labours and singular graces he could bear full testimony, the Rev. John Carmichael, of Drumtochty. The Presbytery was slow and pedantic, but was not insensible to a spiritual situation, and there was a murmur of sympathy when the Rabbi sat down-much exhausted, and never having allowed himself to look once at Carmichael.
Then arose a self-made man, who considered orthodoxy and capital to be bound up together, and especially identified any departure from sovereignty with that pestilent form of Socialism which demanded equal chances for every man. He was only a plain layman, he said, and perhaps he ought not to speak in the presence of so many reverend gentlemen, but he was very grateful to Dr. Saunderson for his honourable and straightforward conduct. It would be better for the Church if there were more like him, and he would just like to ask Mr. Carmichael one or two questions. Did he sign the Confession ?-that was one; and had he kept it? that was two? and the last was, When did he propose to go? He knew something about building contracts, and he had heard of a penalty when a contract was broken. There was just one thing more he would like to say-if there was less loose theology in the pulpit there would be more money in the plate. The shame of the Rabbi during this harangue was pitiable to behold. Then a stalwart arose on the other side, and a young gentleman who had just escaped from a college debating society wished to know what century we were living in, warned the last speaker that the progress of theological science would not be hindered by mercenary threats, advised Dr. Saunderson to read a certain German called Ritschl-as if he had been speaking to a babe in arms-and was refreshing himself with a Latin quotation, when the Rabbi, in utter absence of mind, corrected a false quantity aloud. Moderator," the old man apologised in much confusion, "I wot not what I did, and I pray my reverend brother, whose interesting address I have interrupted by this unmannerliness, to grant me his pardon, for my tongue simply obeyed my ear." Which untoward incident brought the modern
to an end, as by a stroke of ironical of the Presbytery at Muirtown.
(To be continued.)
fate. It seemed to the clerk that little good to any one concerned was to come out of this debate, and he signalled to Dr. Dowbiggin, with whom he had dined the night before, and concocted a motion over their wine. Whereupon that astute man explained to the court that he did not desire to curtail the valuable discussion, from which he personally had derived much profit, but he had ventured to draw up a motion, simply for the guidance of the House-it was said by the Rabbi's boys that the Doctor's success as an ecclesiastic was largely due to the skilful use of such phrases—and then he read: "Whereas the Church is set in all her courts for the defence of the truth, whereas it is reported that various erroneous doctrines are being promulgated in books and other public prints, whereas it has been stated that one of the ministers of this Presbytery has used words that might be supposed to give sanction to a certain view which appears to conflict with statements contained in the standards of the Church, the Presbytery of Muirtown declares, first of all, its unshaken adherence to the said standards, secondly, deplores the existence in any quarter of notions contradictory or subversive of said standards, thirdly, thanks Doctor Saunderson for the viligence he has shown in the cause of sound doctrine, fourthly, calls upon all ministers within the bounds to have a care that they create no offence by their teaching, and finally enjoins all parties concerned to cultivate peace and charity."
This motion was seconded by the clerk and carried unanimously-Carmichael being compelled to silence by the two wise men for his own sake and theirs and was declared to be a conspicuous victory both by the selfmade man and the modern, which was another tribute to the ecclesiastical gifts of Dr. Dowbiggin and the clerk
TRAGIG INCIDENTS IN FOREST LIFE.
E. STEWART, D.L.S.
URELY the day must soon arrive when some one in this northern clime who loves the forest, and has the gift to portray it, will appropriate the field which at present lies open with its virgin opportunities for exploita
On making inquiries from him in the evening regarding the best way for us to take in order to reach our work, he very kindly gave us full details of the route, which would be up Blind River to a lake, thence across this lake to where we would see a small building known as "the granary," and which he paused to say had a history of its own. After he had finished his direction for our guidance, I asked him concerning his reference to the granary, and then he proceeded to give a most vivid description of one of the most tragic occurrences conceivable. I shall endeavour to give as accurate an account of the happening as my memory will permit.
In the summer of the year 1881 it fell to my lot to survey the Township of Mack, on the north shore of Lake Huron; and some time in the latter part of the month of August, in company with a small party of assistants, I landed at Blind River for that purpose. As it took us some time to get ready after landing from the steamer, we were obliged to stop over night at the little village, which was almost entirely dependent on the saw mill there, the latter being owned and run by the late Peter Murray, who was well known as one of the early pioneers in that part of the country.
In the month of October, a few years previous, he sent seven men with a scow-load of oats up to his granary, at the head of the lake above referred to. The distance was about ten miles. With favourable weather they could make the round trip in two days, but on this occasion, as the wind had been against them, no uneasiness was felt when they failed to return the second night, but they were looked for on the third day, and when it passed, and also the third night, without their appearing, uneasiness began to be felt. On the fourth day, he said, he found it necessary to quiet the apprehensions of some members of the family of the absent ones by telling them that the men were probably doing some necessary work up at the lake. In the afternoon he had unexpectedly to go over to the Hudson Bay store at the Missisaga River, from which he did. not get back till nine o'clock at night. His first question on his return was concerning the absent men, and when informed that they were still away,
It is true that Francis Parkman has charmed us with his historical narratives of English and French adventurers, and others have given us occasional glimpses of Canadian pioneer life, but there is still a vast unappropriated field, beginning with the toil and everyday life of the early settlers on the St. Lawrence and the great lakes, and extending to the lonely and semi-barbarous life of the Hudson Bay agent and employee in the great lone land of the north and west.
These thoughts arise and impress themselves on my mind as I sit down to write a short account of two incidents which are very vivid in my recollection, and I think, when you have become acquainted with the nature of them, you will readily believe me when I say that I am sorry that they are real in character and not a product of the imagination.
without saying a word to any one time of night, and as the shore of the outside his own household and telling one side of the lake gradually receded his mother to say nothing about it, from view and the darkling outline of he went down to the shore and, tak- the opposite one seemed to rise like a ing a little bark canoe, started alone cloud from the calm bosom of its up the river. I can never forget his waters he would almost question his description of his lonely journey, and own identity or fancy he was in a the incidents connected with it. It dream, while the very thought of was one of those clear, calm, starlight what an hour more might reveal would nights in October, when the silver intensify his feelings. Still on he light of the hunter's moon shone with paddle, till finally, nearing his destiunwonted brilliancy over lake, river nation at the granary, he saw the and forest, and as he forced his frail scow tied up to the shore. That craft up the stream, and between the was all; the same bewildering and shadows of the trees growing on either seemingly interminable silence rebank, it seemed to him that the very mained. It seemed as if every object silence of the night was ominous. in nature was hypnotized, and lay Ever and anon he held up his paddle dormant at the feet of Morpheus. and listened, hoping to hear the plash There was not a single thing to give a of oars ahead, but nothing, save now clue to the perplexing situation. The and then an owl hooting in the tran- thought of murder first suggested itquil woods, or the plaintive cry of the self, and with this the temptation to loon in the lake beyond, disturbed the beat a hasty retreat, but this was only dead silence of the sylvan solitude. It for a moment, and pulling up his seemed as if even the trees were canoe, he moved cautiously up the asleep, for the aspen leaf, so sensitive bank and around the shanty, and to the least motion of the air, vied listened, even fearing to shout, not with the tall grass growing on the knowing what fiends in human shape margin of the stream in refusal to the sound might arouse. break the midnight calm or disturb the lethean repose of the forest.
And so the first and second hours were spent. On one or two occasions he imagined he heard the sound of oars, but on listening his hopes were disappointed. At length the lake was reached, and again with listening ears and strained eyes he looked out over its glassy surface. But all in vain. No sound greeted his ears; and peer as intently as he would he could neither see anything on the water nor, what he more expected, a camp-fire anywhere on the shore.. He now felt sure that some accident must have befallen the men. After resting a few moments he started easterly across the lake, but still only the same weird silence encompassed him. The situation was one the like of which is frequently recorded in fiction, but seldom, fortunately, experienced in real life; and we can well imagine that at that
He said the beating of his own heart seemed to him like the sound of an Indian drum. However, after waiting for a few moments, he resolved to enter the cabin. With some difficulty he opened the door, but could not find a match with which to strike a light, but shortly the darkness yielded sufficiently for him to discern the situation, and he at once realized that he was even then in the chamber of death.
In the dim light he beheld the clothing of the men hung up to dry around where the stove had stood, while the bags of oats were scattered about in the most disorderly manner. He at once commenced moving some of them and it was not long until he discovered the fate of his seven men. The poor fellows had unloaded their cargo, piling the bags up till they met the roof on one side of the shanty, after which they made their rude bed