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the writer saw, in one of our pleasant New Hampshire villages, a church building nearly a hundred years old, the first one of any architectural importance that was put up in the town. It had been the religious home and nursery of a wide-spread community. Ilere the children had been baptized, the saints borne forth to their burial, the Gospel preached, and souls converted to God. It was a good example of the older respectable style of church edifice in New England. But being built of wood, it was now in a state of lamentable decay; the blackened clapboards fastened with wrought nails, were worn by the weather thin as pasteboard; the doors and windows were opened to the winds and birds of heaven; the ruins of the once stately pulpit strewed the broad aisle; the doors of the old square pews hung by one linge or were wrenched off for fire wood; and the whole was rack and ruin. Such a sight as this must have a demoralizing effect upon the inhabitants of the neighborhood. If this church had been built of rough stone, it might have been used to this day. The question of church building has, therefore, some practical as well as artistic interest; although it is, after all, of but secondary importance, and depends entirely upon the pecuniary means, position, and circumstances, involved in each particular case. Art must always yield to higher moral considerations, and in no instance should it be made so prominent as to attract special notice, for then it becomes worthy of reprobation and contempt. But in certain places, and at certain times, it deserves an intelligent consideration in connection with ecclesiastical architecture. Especially at points of great public life and interest, at the University for instance, which is an Institution not to serve the purpose of the lifetime of one or two generations, but where many generations of minds come to be educated not only in earthly but divine wisdom, there we think should stand in majestic solidity and beauty, as do the ecclesiastical structures of Oxford and Cambridge, the Christian Church edifice, promoting a true but rebuking a vulgar utilitarianism, refining the devotional sentiment, and gathering about it through ages all sacred associations.
ARTICLE V.-REV. DR. ALEXANDER CARLYLE.
Autobiography of the Rev. Dr. Alexander Carlyle, Minister
of Inveresk, containing Memorials of the Men and Events of his Time. One Volume. 12mo. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1861.
This is in many respects a singular book. Dr. Carlyle was a man of mark in his day, and it was a dark day, spiritually, in Scotland. The Moderate Party, as it was called, (who were all of the ministers and elders in the Kirk, who sneered at Evangelical religion, as fanaticism, and at those who evinced it, as wild men), had a sweeping majority in the General Assembly and carried matters with a high hand. Synods and Presbyteries possessed, of course, the same spirit, and as it was with the priests, so was it with the people generally; religion was misunderstood, and practical piety was unknown, save by a vilified minority.
Lord Cockburn, in his entertaining “Memorials of his Time,” gives many instances of what he calls the religious feelings of these times, in the cases of several aged ladies, with whom, when a young man, he was acquainted; and these reveal a sad state of mind, and enable us to form a pretty correct idea of the very lax notions of religion which then prerailed. " There was,"* he says, "a singular race of excellent old ladies. They were a delightful set; strong headed, warm hearted, and high spirited; the fire of their tempers not always latent; merry even in solitude ; very resolute; indifferent about the modes and habits of the modern world; and adhering to their own ways, so as to stand out like primitive rocks, above ordinary society.
“Their prominent qualities of sense, humor, affection, and spirit, were embodied in curious outsides; for they all dressed, and spoke, and did exactly as they chose; their language, like
* Towards the close of last century. Memoirs, 61, 62–7.
their habits, entirely Scotch, but without any other vulgarity than what perfect naturalness is sometimes mistaken for.
“There sits a clergyman's widow, the mother of the first Sir David Dundas, the introducer of our German system of military maneuvres, and at one time commander in chief of the British army. We used to go to her house in Bunker's hill,* when boys, on Sundays, between the morning and afternoon sermons, when we were cherished with Scotch broth, and cakes, and many a joke from the old lady. Age had made her incapable of walking even across the room; so, clad in a plain black silk gown, and a pure muslin cap, she sat half encircled by a high backed' black leather chair, reading; with silver spectacles stuck on her thin nose; and interspersing her studies, and her days, with much laughter, and not a little sar
What a spirit! There was more fun and sense round that chair than in the theatre or the church. I remember one of her grand-daughters stumbling, in the course of reading the newspapers to her, on a paragraph which stated that a lady's reputation had suffered from some indiscreet talk on the part of the Prince of Wales.t Up she of fourscore sat, and said with an indignant shake of her shriveled fist and a keen voice-'The dawmed villain ! .does he kiss and tell !'”
After mentioning very racily, Lady Arniston, Miss Johnstone of IIilton, Lady Don, Mrs. Rochead of Inverleith, Lady IIunter Blair, and Mrs. Murray of Ilenderland, he mentions a Miss Menie Trotter of the family of Morton Hall, who, with the others, lived to a great age, and says of her, “ One of her friends asking her, not long before her death, how she was,
she said, 'very weel-quite weel. But eh! I had a dismal dream last night! a fearfu' dream!' 'Aye, I'm sorry for that! What was it?' 'Ou what d’ye think! of a' places in the world, I dreamed I was in heeven! And what d'ye think I saw there? Deil ha'et but thoosands upon thoosands, and ten thoosands upon ten thoosands, o'stark naked weans ! That wad be a dreadfu' thing! for ye ken I ne'er could bide bairns a' my days!'"
* An elevated piece of ground on the west side of Lieth walk. + Afterwards George IV.
And his Lordship adds: “It is remarkable that though all these female Nestors were not merely decorous in matters of religion, but really pious, they would all have been deemed irreligious now. Gay hearted, and utterly devoid of every tincture of fanaticism, the very freedom and cheerfulness of their conversation and views on sacred subjects would have excited the horrors of those who give the tone on these matters at present. So various are the opinions of what constitutes religiousness."
As may be surmised from this long extract, Henry Cockburn himself shared the notions of these ladies; his piety was what he would have called a manly principle, that had respect to the frailties of human nature, and held its own, even though its possessor occasionally uttered a hearty oath ;-it made no pretension to godliness. Nearly forty years ago the writer attended a Reform meeting, held in what was then the Adelphi Theatre, Edinburgh; he stood on the stage close beside Mr. Cockburn, who was to be one of the speakers, when the chairman, James Moncrief, advocate, afterwards Lord Moncrief), called his name; there was a slight bustle in making way for him to go to the front, and a burly man, who was seated on a bench immediately before him, started to his feet, to allow him to step over, but he pressed him down, saying as broadly as old Mrs. Dundas, "Dawm ye, sit still !"
It seems strange, that a people, who had almost universally embraced the great doctrines of the Reformation, and amongst whom the seeds of pure religion had been so widely sown, and so thoroughly harrowed in, by John Knox and his successors, till the reign of Charles II., should have degenerated so sadly, and that an establishment such as they had framed, and which Was so well fitted, under God, to nourish and bring to maturity the good seed sown, should have become so leavened with conformity to the world, as to damp and deaden that religious vitality, which at first and for so long distinguished the general Scottish population, fostered, as it was, by the system of parochial schools, in which the Bible was the chief class-book; the facts, however, are undeniable, that the clergy in Dr. Carlyle's time had become deplorably lax both in doctrine and prac
tice ;-and that a dead formalism, in vast numbers of the people, had taken the place of the earnest uncompromising piety of their forefathers.
That declension is generally considered to have had its origin in the compromises agreed to, amongst the ministers themselves, in the process of readjusting the church's affairs, when, by the resolution of 1688, Presbytery had been restored, as the national form of Church government.
At that period, all the incumbents of parishes were either Presbyterian ministers, who had conformed to Prelacy when tyrannically set up by Charles II., in 1661, or incompetent curates, who had been drawn from “the Northern party," as Bishop Burnet calls them, that is, from among the raw students of the Aberdeen schools. None of these, therefore, as belonging to the proscribed church, could be employed in the work of reconstruction ; this was entrusted to the surviving ministers of the four hundred and twelve who had been ejected from their parishes by the Glasgow act of 1662; along with the very few still alive, of those who, having been inducted to their charges prior to 1649, had been exempted from the operation of that act; but of the four hundred and twelve only sixty survived; these soon entered on the pleasing task assigned them, and sought the coöperation of their zealous brethren, who, under the name of Covenanters, had set at defiance the persecuting ordinances of the two last Stuarts, and continned preaching in the open fields, braving spoliation, imprisonment, banishment, and death, rather than yield subjection to the “black prelacy” which had been despotically imposed upon their country; they proposed, also, to associate with them such of the Presbyterian incumbents, as in their hearts preferred their first love, and had only conformed as a matter of expediency to another. With these last they had no difficulty; many at once gave in their adhesion to the new order of things; but with the Covenanters it was otherwise; they very naturally regarded all who had conformed to prelacy, for the sake of preserving their livings, as unworthy to take any part in again setting up that which they liad so readily abandoned for filthy luere's sake, unless they consented to confess, pub