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gular, that at this period it should have been regarded by him in so formidable a point of view, as to be deemed a difficulty altogether insurmountable. A sense of what was due to that venerable Being, in whose immediate presence he was standing, and the fear of addressing him in irreverent language, and in a manner unworthy of his exalted nature, could alone have occasioned this diffidence of himself in an exercise, which otherwise his general facility of expression must have rendered easy, and which was more consonant with his fervent piety, and the character of his mind and feelings. In a letter to a quondam fellowstudent he has very forcibly expressed his sentiments on this head; and as it contains general observations applicable to the subject, it is here inserted :

“ I doubt not you have heard of my having offered myself to the service of any presbyterian tribe, that wanted a

spiritual consul; and as it becomes me to “ be diffident of my own abilities, I should

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“ be mighty glad of sharing the honour " and burden with a colleague. But why u should I talk of consul and colleague? “ When I think of the insurmountable dif« ference between my own temper, man

ners, and sentiments, and the general character of the electors, I have little hopes of

pleasing them in any station, unless I “ could play the Vicar of Bray, and cut iny

coat orthodox or heterodox, talk sense “ or nonsense, as my interest dictates. I “ have heard accidentally of many objec« tions since I commenced probationer ; but “ there is one above all the resc insuperable, “ in which every one agrees, and which “ nevertheless I shall not attempt to obviate, “ unless I were assured of some preterna“ tural assistance. The thing is this, ---I pray “ with notes, rather than not pray at all, " for this is truly the state of the case. And

yet so obstinate is prejudice, as to make

no allowance for difference of nature and “ abilities. You would laugh to hear their pretty notions of extempore prayer,

that it comes


comes reeking warm from the heart, that it

gives all the glory to God, shows a distrust “ of human abilities and confidence in the

operation of the Spirit, which will surely “ assist those who put their trust in it, and

expect it's inspiration in a sanctified place; « bút, that on the contrary the prayers, “ which the spirit of man has composed in

unhallowed closet, are cold and lifeless, “ have more reason than devotion in them, “ in short, might have answered very well “ in the time of Paganism for an address to “ Jupiter, but have not sufficient rapture to “ warm the heart of a zealous enthusiast,

nor stocked enough with those magical “ words, which without meaning so strange

ly, as with a mechanical impulse, affect the common class of hearers. “ The greatest wound that ever christianity received has been from the absurd “ and ridiculous inventions of its professors, “ who seem as if they despaired of equalling “ the sublime and rational duties it recom“ mends, and therefore study to reduce it to their own low and grovelling capacities.


« Because


“ Because themselves have no idea of a “ mänly and decent manner of worshipping

a Supreme Being, they would compel every

one to measure by their standard, and by " this means give offence to all of an open “ ingenuous mind, and often bring the best “ and noblest institutions into scandal and

reproach. Some are uncommonly blest by nature,

and without much premedita“ tion can speak with great propriety and “ elevation of thought; but for every one

to presume on the like abilities would be to “ swell like the frog, and burst in the at

tempt. But in my opinion, where such

distinguished abilities are wanting to “ lead the devotions of a whole audience, to “ 'speak their sentiments, and disclose their « affections, which relate to the most august “ and venerable object in nature, requires

some forethought and consideration; and

to attempt it without these assistances « would be an affront to the audience, and “ the Being before whom they are “ sembled.”

Notwithstanding his extreme reluctance



on this occasion, to fall in with the prejudices of his sect, yet he found a compliance with them absolutely necessary, to remove an otherwise insuperable bar to the exercise of his profession. In consequence therefore of the repeated and earnest entreaties of his friends, he determined to make the trial,

though,” says he, “ few I believe can con“ceive the difficulty, with which the con

quest must be gained. I preach for 'Mr. “ Lowthian on Sunday morning-when I sam determined, whatever be the event, “ that my papers, shall not appear--Fortuna · favet forti; or, to speak more in character, May a spirit of devotion banish

every “ difficulty!" Of his success there is no doubt, for from this time he rarely if ever

read his prayers.

His excessive application, which he still continued, and his sedentary life, were productive of their usual consequences, in inducing a series of complaints, that disqualified him altogether for pursuing his studies. In the beginning of this year he was seized d 2


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