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to the Saviour's humility, sympathies, and sorrows, and also to the felt burden of sin, unless we are willing to spend and be spent for the conversion of sinners, and for the edification of the body of Christ.
May the Almighty send speedily “times of refreshing from his presence!" May he indeed soon say with effect to our Zion, “Awake, awake, put on thy strength; put on thy beautiful garments, 0 Jerusalem.”-Amen. CUMBERLAND, Dec. 1830.
maine THE LATE REV. DR. THOMSON, OF EDINBURGH,
The lives of Ministers of the Gospel furnish in general but few materials for biography. The effects of their works, rather than their works themselves, live behind them; and their best biographical memoir is to be found written in the lives and minds of the people among -whom they laboured. The obscurity of their names, while living, may often be their least title to fame after death, an obscurity, arising not from the inactivity and torpor of their talents, but from an intense and undivided application to the field allotted to their Christian labours. A life of prayer and piety, the farthest journeyings in which, have been from one sick bed to another, from the study to . the pulpit, and from the pulpit to the house of mourning, though diversified with many incidents which find a record in heaven, affords but few to interest the general curiosity of mankind. Indeed, such is the average mediocrity of talent amongst men, that one sphere of exertion is sufficient for the strength of one mind, --wbat is wanting in intellectual riches, must be made up by economy and unity of effort,—that the heat may not be entirely dissipated, it must be concentrated, and brought to act upon à point,-its action must be limited in its range, that it may be increased in its efficiency.
But while this unity of action is the wisdom and the strength of ordinary men, and in no profession is more indispensable, than in discharging the duties of the sacred office, yet there are minds of greater resources, more ample in endowment, and more capacious and grasping in their power, which, without leaving uncultivated their own field of duty, can connect their exertions with the in. terests of.churches and nations, and enlarge their labours
to comprehend the world of mankind. Such was the mind of Dr. Thomson, whose death the church and nation of Scotland must long mourn, and for whom even the poor toil-worn negro shall drop a generous tear, when he hears that the captain of his emancipation is fallen, and that the manly hand that would have burst his chain lies cold and powerless in the tomb.
We can conceive such a character as that of Dr. Thomson, a bold, and honest, and fearless defender of truth and righteousnes,—the Christian champion of his age descending into the grave after his work was finished, and when age had unmanned his vigour, without exciting one feeling in our breasts, but that of resignation, or even of joy, that the Christian soldier had entered into his rest. But when the mighty fall in their strength, when the lights of the moral world are extinguished in the very zenith and midday of their splendour, there is no circumstance in the loss to mitigate the bitterness of our grief. In such a case, it is our highest wisdom to submit to the mysterious visitation, exclaiming as we trace the wondrous workings of omnipotence in the sad bereavement, “Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth : for the faithful fail from among the children of men.”
Though short, the life of Dr. Thomson presents in the retrospect a more crowded succession of Christian labours and triumphs, than might grace the history of many ordinary men, Three objects lay nearest his heart. The ad. vancement of evangelical principles in the doctrine and discipline of the Church of Scotland, the defence of the purity of the word of God against its apocryphal corrupters, and the vindication of the rights of the negro against his West Indian oppressor,--the eternal annihi. lation of slavery. To the advancement of these several objects he devoted his best energies of mind, and not only devoted, but exhausted theią, falling beneath the pressure of his herculean labours, and with his own hands erecting his own monument.
In the first mentioned of these fields of labour, he lived to see much accomplished, though much yet remains to be done. The advance which evangelical principles have made by means of his exertions, will make his name to be remembered and revered in the cottages of every parish in Scotland. As a theatre of Christian eloquence, the glory and fame of its national church assembly stands associated with his name for more than twenty years, with the lustre which his genius shed over its deliberations and debates; with the wit, the humour, the pathos, the acute and subtle argumentation, the strong feeling, the vehement and masculine oratory which, in wonderful union, distinguished him as the first debater of his age, and delighted while it perplexed and confounded his adversaries. His views of discipline were cast after the strictest mould, and he was, from principle, a firm, unflinching advocate of Presbyterianism. He loved the simple and unosten. tatious forms of its original constitution, he mourned over its subsequent degeneracy and decline, and he laboured strenuously for its restoration to primeval purity. And while at home, he struggled hard for its defence,-he sympathized with every similar attempt in other lands. He took a lively interest in every contest in which the discipline and doctrine of Presbyterianism were involved; and it must be gratifying to that portion of the church in Ireland, which of late years has combated so much for these objects, to know, that in him there was a kindred spirit that approved and lauded their exertions.
As an expounder of the great and precious truths of revelation, Dr. Thomson was felicitous and powerful. There was a moral earnestness and fervour in his oratory, that told with indescribable effect upon his hearers; and while he spoke in tones of tenderest regard to all to whom it had been given in the behalf of Christ to believe in his name, there was an honest, uncompromising faithfulness in all bis ministrations, fitted to bring down the loftiness of unregenerated nature, and to make the haughtiest sinner quail beneath his potent demonstrations. His was the theology of Scotland's olden time, the faith that nerved the spirits of her Christian patriots, in the day of her calamity and persecution. Its main articles are two, justification by faith, and sanctification by the presiding influence of the Holy Spirit. These involve all the 'motives that can be brought to bear upon the consciences of men; they are the groundwork of whatever is convincing in apostolic earnestness, and overwhelming in ministerial appeal. These were the principles first preached with power and efficacy to the world, and which, after the roll of ages and of centuries, are still identical and undiminished in their effects.- Dr. Thomson recognized and held that system, of which they form so notable a part; and it was owing to its being based on these that his preaching was so practical and impressive, and that it was attended often, as we doubt not, with the demonstration of the Spirit, and with power. Like the most successful Ministers of Christ in every age, he was remarkable for a simple Jeaning upon spiritual aid; and in the full conviction that bis sufficiency was only from on high, did he toil incessant in his master's cause. And never will the church regain her pristine, but now faded loveliness,-never will the period of her glory, prophesied of old, arise upon her, till a spirit of the same deep dependance mark the ministrations of her sons.
In the second field of his exertions, Dr. Thomson lived to see his triumph complete. Here he fought single handed, and against the united strength of much of the intellectual power
, both of England and Scotland; and here it may be justly said, that the glory of the victory was all his own. The apocryphal controversy may pow be said in Scotland to be ended, as one sentiment alone pervades her Christian community, unless where the remains of party spirit are too strong for Christian principle. And though the champion of the sacred cause is fallen, bis memory, we doubt not, will yet summon forth, if necessary, a thousand arms to defend the rampart he has reared around the purity of the word of God. The work which its author began, he perfected; and from the towers of observation he bas erected, will the battle cry again be raised, should a new apocryphal invasion threaten to pollute and desecrate the word of truth, should the Gentile hoof again intrude into the sanctuary of the Lord. For his labours in this cause, Dr. Thomson claims the gratitude, pot of Scotland only, but of the Christian world. It was for the Bible he fought, and not for
peculiarities in the forms of religion, or for the badges of a sect or party.--It was for the very being and substance of the truth.
It was in the last field of controversy upon which he entered that he lived to see least accomplished,- the controversy against the oppressor for the oppressed. But even here the first sound of his voice, like the breaking forth of imprisoned winds, has roused a tempest of indignation, which will not soon be calmed, and which will one day sweep the guilty traffic from the world. Though the captain of emancipation has fallen, an avenger will
arise, a liberator of the enslaved, and completing the work that has been begun, will blot out for ever the foul stain of slavery from our national institutions.
In each of these fields of warfare, for the cause of truth and of humanity, may it be said of Dr. Thomson, and may it be inscribed upon his tomb, as it was nobly said of Scotland's first and sturdiest reformer, to whom indeed he may be worthily compared, that “he never feared the face of man." Though left alone in the greatest of his controversies, nay, even ridiculed and calumniated by many of his brethren, neither their desertion, nor the storm of calumny with which he was assailed, could change his purposes, or shake his Christian steadfastness. Indeed, to the most cursory observer of his character, this uncom. promising adherence to principle, and promptitude and boldness in ils avowal, whatever might be the consequence, must have appeared the most marked feature of his mind. There was a moral heroism in his constitution, which, had he lived in troublous times, would have raised him to the rank of the first martyr and confessor of his age. Whatever truth his understanding once apprehended, and bis heart valued, he was prepared at all hazards to defend; it lay not as a mere abstraction in his mind, to be enjoyed as an intellectual pastime, but as solid and important principle, to be maintained, and propagated, and defended. He knew nothing of that quiescent and suspicious attachment to the truth, which can suffer what it pretends to value to be assailed without defence, and can vie the wasting inroads of heresy without a cry to arms to resist and put a stop to the invasion. After the example of him who made a scourge of small cords, and drove out the defilers of the temple, he spared not the lash; and by those who knew not the natural warmth and ardour of his mind, the severity with which he applied it was often misconstrued to be the result of personal or party resent. ment. His charity was conceived to be in fault, where his zeal only was in excess. What he strongly conceived, lie was accustomed strongly to express, his written thoughts being but a native and unforced transcript of his inward feelings. Those, however, who observed the character of Dr. Thomson more nearly than through the medium of his controversial writings, knew how incapable he was of entertaining one resentful or vindictive sentiment, and how the violence of expression, into which he was some