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she traced her conversion to what then took place.
"Elizabeth had done something which gave displeasure to her aunt; and, on being reasoned with, she was reminded of the words of God,—' Be sure your sin will find you out.' These words made a deep impression on her mind at the time, and that impression was still more deepened, on hearing the writer employ the same words, on the Sabbath following. On going home she wrote these words, and placed them where they might frequently meet her eye. As she referred to these words, as leading her to think and to feel in a way she had never thought or felt before, she would say, that she then ' felt what sin was ;' and that,' from that time she had prayed, and not merely said her prayers.' From this period, the change in the whole deportment of Elizabeth was most pleasing. The amiability and sweetness which characterized her before, were so increased, or, rather, so directed, that it was a pleasure to be near her, and to watch her progress from day to day.
"Towards the middle, or the end of spring, 1848, and soon after the death of her mother and grandfather, indications of a change in the usual health of Elizabeth began to appear. These, however, were so slight at first, and so modified, by her uniform sweetness of disposition, that, save by herself, no serious results were anticipated; and her forebodings were traced only to a childish feeling.
"At this period, Elizabeth had strong convictions of sin. She would often say,—' I am a great sinner, I have never known a girl of my age so sinful Ds I am.' On my first visit to Elizabeth, after her illness, I did not know her peculiar state of mind, and she had not confidence to tell me; and my remarks were therefore of a general nature, and did not meet her special case. She listened with marked attention to all I said, but remarked to her aunt, on my leaving, that' I did not know how sinful she was, and therefore I had spoken kindly.' Her aunt urged her to tell me, on my next visit, all her fears and anxieties. * I cannot,' she said; 'but I will tell you all my sins. I will try to remember them. Surely I have read somewhere, "confess your faults one to another." 1 will do it, dear aunt, but promise you will not hate me.'
"From this time she enjoyed, and almost without interruption, that' peace which passeth all understanding, and which keeps the heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Her sufferings were oftentimes very severe; but amid them all, she would sweetly and confidingly say, * It is God's will.' Elizabeth never murmured, never complained. Her patience, her resignation, her gratitude, under all her sufferings, and under all the painful remedies prescribed, were remarkable in one so young. An incident will illustrate this. One day, on coming into Elizabeth's room, the servant remarked, ' I am sorry to see you suffering so much.' To this she meekly replied, * My sufferings are nothing to those which the Lord Jesus endured for you and me.'
"When any manifestations of deep anxiety or of grief appeared in the countenances, or in the ill-suppressed sobs and tears of those
around, she would gently say, ' Pray for the faith—I will pray that we all may have more faith.' She would then clasp her feeble hands, and say, 'Help me, O Lord, my God. O save me according to thy mercy; that they may know that this is thy hand, and that thou, Lord, hast done it.' She would then say, to such as were around her bed, * Who but God could do it? I am so ill, and yet so happy.' And then, enumerating the many acts of kindness on the part of those around, she would add, i,' You all do it, but God puts it into your hearts.'
"As Elizabeth advanced in knowledge and in grace, she became exceedingly desirous of doing good to all around her. And of such as came to visit her she would say, 'I do so wish that I could speak what I feel for them; but I am a little girl; they will think me too young to warn them; and yet I know that they will not be saved if they do not repent, and pray for new hearts.' In this desire for promoting the salvation of others Elizabeth was properly encouraged, and she would speak in succession to all the young persons in the house, and to all her companions as they came to see her, urging them to flee from the wrath to come, and to lay hold on eternal life. These touching admonitions, entreaties, and prayers have not, it is hoped, passed away without leaving some salutary impression behind; but the day will delare it. To one who was seen to smile at the simple address of Elizabeth, it was tenderly, yet reprovingly said by her, 'You do not think now, but remember you have a soul.'
"On a Sabbath evening, towards the close of her life, Elizabeth said to these young friends,—' Now, I know you can repeat that Catechism; you have done so by my dying bed; but you will never know its value, unless you are laid as I am, and wish to understand it. When you are all asleep I go through it, and it makes the hours short.' Of such as were older than herself, Elizabeth would say,— 'How I wish that I might speak to them of God,—I will pray for them. I do pray for all I love, and I love so many.'
"Elizabeth was now so feeble, that even a little reading caused nervous suffering; still she would not abandon any of her exercises. When told that she was too ill to do anything, she would say,—'While I can, I must do it.' For several days previous to her decease, when asked what she wished to have read to her, she said always,—'Something that Christ said;' clearly shoeing, that with her Christ was ' all, and in all.' On my asking her as to the grounds, or reasons, of her peace in the near prospect of death, she would tell me,—' That her peace arose from her believing that God, for Christ's sake, had pardoned all her sin.' She would then add,—'God has been very merciful to me.' And her clear, full expression of countenance, showed how deep and how warm were her emotions. A sweeter, or a more expressive countenance, I never saw; and amid all her sufferings,—and in a case of consumption, I have seldom, or never seen these equalled,—the sweetness and the expressiveness of that countenance remained untouched.
"I saw Elizabeth, for the last time, on the day preceding her death. Her peace was still unbroken, her hope was still' as an anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast.' It was still full of immortality. I oouUl see that her weakness was rapidly increasing, and that her end could not be far distant; but I did not think I was conversing with, and looking upon this young disciple for the last time on earth. It had, however, I think, been her own impression. When I was about to leave, she took mv hand, and holding it between hers, she said with more than her wonted tenderness,— * I cannot reward you, Sir, for all your kindness to me, but God will reward you. Read the close of Matthew xxv.' And, quoting the passage, she said,—' Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me/
"In the morning there was no particular indication of an immediate change. She was cheerful, and tenderly affectionate to all. No duty was left undone. She prayed, and asked one to read the Epistle to the Romans, viii. chapter. About hulf-past twtlve o'clock, she listened, most attentively, to a favourite portion of a reflectiun in Doddridge's 'Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul ;' saying,— 'How beautiful, how suitable; read it again ;' repeating feebly the words,—' I will lay me down in peace, and take my rest.'
"Soon after this, and in a moment, one of the violent spasms came on; and it was soon seen that she was now enduring the last struggle. That struggle was severe but it was short . During that struggle Elizabeth spake not; but by those expressive movements of her hand and head, which had become familiar to those around, it was evident that she was aware of being about to enter the dark valley of the shadow of death. At the question, 'Are you happy, love?'—a placid, contented smile passed over her countenance; —a smile, a look, never to be forgotten; but which no language could describe;—and with this the ransomed spirit winged its flight to the mansions of bliss.
"Elizabeth lay down in peace, and was at rest . In the shadow of God's wings she now makes her refuge, and all her calamities are overpast.
"' Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.'"
THE LIGHT-HOUSE AND MISSIONARY BOX. Nearly sixteen years ago, a gentleman, who loved the cause of missions to the heathen, was on a visit to Margate. Soon after his arrival he was informed that a Public Meeting was to be held in the town, to form an Association in aid of missions. He attended, and was much delighted with the whole proceedings; and his mind was, more than ever, impressed with the duty of sending the Gospel throughout the whole world. The next morning, during his rambles in the neighbourhood, he came near a lighthouse, and visited the same. No sooner had he entered the dwelling, than his eye was
attracted by the appearance of a missionarybox on the table. He entered into conversation with the inmate, who was a widow, with a family of young children, on the subject of missions. The widow related to him the following circumstance, in connexion with the box. She said, after attending a Missionary Meeting, she was induced to take a box, and place it in her house; but as the main support of her family depended on the gifts of those visiting the lighthouse, a difficulty arose how she could present the box to them without serious injury to her temporal interests. At last, she resolved that all the money that might be given to her before twelve o'clock every Monday morning should be the Lord's, and be put into the missionary-box. The Monday morning returned—the first visitor happened to be a gentleman, who, seeing her in the attire of a widow, kindly felt interested for her, and gave her a sovereign. Her resolve immediately told her it belonged to the box; but many thoughts crossed her mind. The pressing wants of her family; a bill of three pounds, that she owed the doctor for attending her late husband, agitated her breast. She asked the advice of friends; one advised one way, another the contrary. At last she determined to ask God, in prayer, to point out what she should do with the sovereign. She rose from her knees, convinced it belonged to the Missions, and put it at once into the box. God, who is a father of the fatherless, and a husband to the widow, was mindful of her faithfulness. Soon after, the attention of the family was arrested by seeing some visitors approaching—it was a widow lady of high rank, with her little daughter, and several attendants. During her inspection of the lighthouse, she made many inquiries of the poor widow, and before she left put a piece of gold into her hand. The next morning one of the pages came with a letter, in which it was stated! that if the widow had a son the lady would take the entire charge of him. The widow's answer was, that the whole of her family were daughters. However, on the following day, another letter came, kindly stating that the said lady felt much interested for the family, and begged their acceptance of 20/. from herself, and 5/. from her daughter, who also was concerned for their welfare. The widow's heart was made to rejoice in the faithfulness of that God whom she served; and she was not a little delighted when told that her kind and generous visitors were no other than the Duchess of Kent and her little daughter, our now much-beloved Victoria, Queen of Great Britain.
Precept And Practice.—A missionary had lost a beloved wife. He shut himself up in a room alone. A Christian native came to him and said, "Dominie, I think you cry too much. You have lost a dear wife; we, a dear and beloved mother. But, Dominie, why cry so much? You told me, when my mother died, I should not weep as one without hope; and I believe I shall see her again. Now you teach us so, you should show us a better example."
THE BEV. DE. HENBY DUNCAN, OF BUTHWEIX.
Dr. Henry Duncan, of Ruthwell, known as the founder of Savings' Banks, and as one of the fathers of the Free Church of Scotland, was the third son of the Rev. George Duncan, of Lochrutton, near the town of Dumfries. His ancestors belonged to one of the most ancient families in the south of Scotland, and he could trace his descent on both sides through ministers of the National Church back to the times of the Covenant. He was horn in 1774, and is described by one who knew him from early youth as a remarkably amiable and engaging child. His love of books shewed itself long before the usual period, and a decidedly inventive genius developed itself at an early age. At fourteen he was attracted to Liverpool by the promising offer of his relative, Dr. Currie, the biographer of Burns, to procure him a situation in the banking establishment of the Messrs. Heywood, which he accordingly entered, and where for three years he continued, giving satisfaction to his superiors and acquiring for himself an intimate acquaintance with business, the value of which he afterwards found to be incalculable in numerous schemes of practical benevolence, and particularly in enabling him to carry to a successful issue those measures which he had the honour to be the first to suggest for the general establishment of Savings' Banks.
While yet in Liverpool he was led to take part in the Socinian controversy, then raging; and though so young, he published an anonymous pamphlet on the
No. 18.—New Series.
orthodox side of the question, which attracted considerable attention, and awakened no small curiosity as to the Author. Strange as it may appear, however, he was afterwards, for a time, on the verge of embracing the very creed which at first called forth his indignant opposition; and this, owing to the insidious instructions of the so-called Presbyterian minister whose chapel he attended, the only one at that time in Liverpool who claimed the name.
Though nothing was wanting that brilliant prospects of ultimate wealth could give to induce him to remain at his post in that great emporium, his ardent desire to be of use to his species, combined with a thorough contempt of the sordid money-making spirit which he saw so often exemplified around him, as well as a love of literature, which he was led to think incompatible with the life of a merchant, induced him to seek his father's consent to return to Scotland, that he might prosecute his studies with a view to the holy ministry. This being obtained, he entered successively the Universities of St. Andrew's, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, and associated while there with some of those rarely-gifted men, whose genius has since shed a lustre on their age. Among them were Thomas Campbell, Lords Brougham and Lansdowne, Francis Horner and Leyden.
In the year 1798 he was licensed to preach the Gospel, and in the following spring was offered, by the Earl of Mansfield, his choice between the parishes of o o Vol. I.
Ruthwell and Lochmaben, both of them in Dumfriesshire. Of these the former was the more retired and rural, as well as the poorer living; and yet, to the surprise of many of his friends, he deliberately chose it. And that he never regretted this, appears from the stedfastness with which he rejected every proposal to sever the tie which thus came, in the fresh spring season of his days and energies, to be formed between the people of Ruthwell and himself.
The difficulties with which he had to contend at the outset of his ministry were numerous, and in some respects peculiar, but they served to furnish opportunities for the exercise of the singularly benevolent and inventive energies of his mind. The beginning of this century, it is well known, was a season of universal scarcity, which, in poor and remote districts, was painfully and alarmingly afflictive. One of his first acts was to procure for his parishioners supplies of Indian meal, which greatly alleviated the horrors of this dreadful season, and the blessing attending which still forms the theme of grateful recollection among the aged inhabitants.
Up to this time, however, there seems to have been no satisfactory evidence of a change of heart. Flattered and caressed by the worldly society, of which he was one of the acknowledged ornaments, and of which he was but too fond, he felt as yet no hearty satisfaction in divine things. The happy change, which afterwards took place, has been traced to his intercourse with three members of the Society of Friends, who had come to Scotland as a deputation, endeavouring to spread the light of truth. Having been much affected by the fervour of the addresses which he had heard these excellent Quakers deliver at a meeting in Annan, he invited them to Ruthwell. Two of them were ladies, well known in their own Society as Deborah Darby and Rebecca Byrd. The former possessed a considerable fortune, and they travelled together in her own carriage, attended by the third, Solomon Chapman, on horseback. The peculiarly solemn tone which they imparted to the conversation they held with the young minister, particularly the touching appeals of Mrs. Darby, who was, in many respects, a remarkable person, and, perhaps, in some degree, also, the prophetic tone she assumed, when anticipating his future distinction as a benefactor of his species, produced an
impression on his susceptible and ingenuous mind which appears to have exerted a happy influence on the whole of his future history. The Spirit of God seems, from this time, to have become his teacher. A small manuscript, of a devotional character, written at this time, which had evidently been carried in a pocket-book for a long period, and, no doubt, committed to memory, concludes in these words :—" Enable me, O God of mercy, to perforin my vows for the glory of thy holy name, for the good of mankind, for the salvation of my immortal soul, and for the sake of thy beloved Son. Amen."
The blessed change thus effected was greatly favoured by his marriage in 1804 to Miss Craig, daughter of his predecessor, a young lady already endeared to the people of Ruthwell by the loveliness of her Christian character, and whose memory is still fragrant throughout a wide circle of surviving friends.
In the economic condition of his parishioners Dr. Duncan always took the liveliest interest, and no resource which ingenuity could devise, or energy make availing, was omitted for their improvement. In times of scarcity he would employ the able-bodied of the people en masse, in alterations on the glebe, which was more extensive than in most parishes, or he would secure labour for them by becoming himself the contractor for the repair of the highways and parish roads. He took incalculable pains to frame data for the Friendly Society established in his parish; he introduced salutary reforms in the funeral usages of the people, established a parish library and Sabbathschool, long before such innovations had reached any other part of the country, and, both by his own lectures and those of qualified persons, whose assistance he secured, sought to raise the taste and improve the character of his flock.
The services which he thus rendered to his own parish were, however, all eclipsed by the exertions to which he gladly submitted in establishing the system of Savings Banks, not only by giving in Ruthwell the parent example of those institutions, but by devoting himself to the spread of their benefits over the whole land, and even in other countries. It was to the successful issue of his unwearied efforts, in the face of formidable opposition, that Scotland owed the earliest Parliamentary protection and encouragement of Savings Banks.
Like many other men of salient genius, he sought in the periodical press the means of communicating his ideas to the public, and became the projector in 1809 of a provincial organ of intelligence, since well known as the "Dumfries and Galloway Courier," in the columns of which he weekly advocated every measure which was calculated to improve and elevate society. Besides this, he was continually employing his pen in writing for the press such works as the "Cottage Fire-side," well calculated to promote reform in the home education of Scottish families—the "Young Weaver," addressed to the Radicals, with a view to expose the falsehood of some of the principles on which they were disposed to act, —and "The Scottish Exiles," a vindication of the Covenanters; or in preparing weighty articles for the pages of the "Edinburgh Encyclopaedia," or for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, or for the "Memoirs" of the "Edinburgh Philosophical," or "Royal Antiquarian Society,' of which he was an honorary member.
His mind was of a large and expansive character. Every question of the passing day was to him one of interest, and on many of them he gave something to the public. Thus, at one time we find him publishing letters advocating the abolition of restrictions on trade and commerce; at another, by the same means, improving to the souls of his own people the agitation regarding Catholic emancipation; and at another, following up petitions to Parliament against the slave trade, (as he did in 1830,) by a series of "Letters on the West India Question," which are known to have produced a salutary effect on the minds of several of the most influential legislators of the day, and to have contributed not a little to the satisfactory settlement of that question.
Thus actively employed in seeking to benefit society, he was by no means inattentive either to his pastoral or domestic duties. On the contrary, few manifested greater conscientiousness in both of these respects. His people learned to repose unbounded confidence in him as their wise temporal adviser and helper, and also as their tender spiritual guide; his young friends regarded him with an almost romantic attachment; and his own family clave to him, as well they might, with the most ardent affection.
As an ecclesiastic, Dr. Duncan is well
known to have long cherished strictly evangelical and liberal, though by no means extreme, views. Perceiving the difficulties which lay in the way of the immediate abolition of patronage, he submitted to Lords Brougham and Moncreiff the expedient of the Veto Law, and addressed a series of Letters on the subject to Lord Melbourne, who was then Premier.
It was while thus occupied with matters of the greatest public interest, that it pleased Providence to deprive him of his invaluable partner. This blow, though severely felt, did not unnerve or unfit him for the service of his country and his God; for not long after this event we find him preparing for the press, with amazing vigour and despatch, the work on which his literary fame may be said chiefly to rest, viz., "The Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons." Every morning at four or five o'clock he commenced in his study the labours of the day; and though he experienced intense enjoyment in the self-prescribed task, there is reason to fear that he at that time overstrained his powers, for soon afterwards he complained of unwonted feebleness of body and flatness of spirit. About this period, too, the modesty and humility peculiar to true genius when sanctified by grace, found expression in a letter to Mrs. Wallace Duncan, of Cleish, in these words: "It is not often that I hear my own exertions mentioned with approbation; but when I do, it has always a humbling and depressing effect on my mind. It is most painful to be conscious that we cannot think of ourselves so well as other people think, because they do not know us."
In 1836 he married the widow of his beloved friend, Mr. Lundie, of Kelso; and in 1839 he was elevated, against his own earnest remonstrances—arising partly from a feeling of bodily infirmity—to the chair of Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. By this time the affairs of the Church had assumed a very serious aspect, and the Assembly over which he presided proved one of the most critical and eventful in her history. In consequence of the proceedings of certain parties in the wellknown cases of Auchterarder, Marnoch, and Lethendy, the hitherto co-ordinate jurisdictions of the Church and of the Court of Session had been brought into direct collision, and the efforts of faithful office-bearers to carry out the commands