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offer him a speedier prospect of promotion; and this he valued, not so much on his own account, as on that of others near to him, whom it might advantage.
To sea, therefore, he went, under Captain B of Leith; and for some years sustained ably and diligently the post of a young, rising, and enthusiastic sailor. His master and co-mates were kind,—his own taste for his occupation had been ardent, and was slow in cooling down,-he was steady, sober, even to abstemiousness,-fond of the studies connected with his profession, and evidently on the high way to promotion and success. He passed very rapidly from his apprenticeship to the post of second, and then to that of first mate, in his vessel ; and was universally beloved, as well as respected. It was fine to see the young sailor, returning ever anon to his Grampian birth-place, with his bright-bronzed countenance, his laughing eye, his strong, sturdy shape, his simple sailor-garb; and, perhaps, swinging in his hand, some far gift of the sea, or of the foreign shore, some stuffed bird, or rare shell, or ostrich-egg of the Tropics. We shall never forget the delight with which, on returning in June 1846 from our native village, we saw, unexpectedly in Crieff, his beaming countenance, and heard his frank, hearty salutation, which yet rings in our ears; and seems to say—“One, then, so lately full of life and affection, cannot be entirely lost to us-he is not dead -he is only asleep."
Though always a lively, S. G. M. was never what is called a thoughtless boy. He had been brought up in an atmosphere which would not allow him to indulge any undue levity, whether of conduct, thought, or word. But like most boys he had taken his religion on trust, and had never, till he went to sea, tried to realise and bring it into true contact with the master principles of his nature. Till then he had believed what he was taught to believe —feared, loved, hated, hoped, and shunned, according to the letter of the current law. But when fairly wedded to the deep,-shrinking from the coarse vices of sailors,-feeling himself alone on that trackless world, with the gulf of ocean below, and the blue, which shadows the infinity of God, above; with books in his hands which talked to him of eternity, while he was sailing between two of its most striking emblems--with a memory and a heart, retaining maternal advices and words of old hereditary counsel, our young sailor could not choose but become SERIOUS, as it is well called. The outward gloss and glory of things vanished like a dream, and the inward influences—the “light which never was on sea or shore,
as the powers of the world to come," began to arise instead, upon his ardent and ingenuous soul.
It is an interesting and awful moment, when in any mind this sublime process begins. A moment not only important in the history of the individual, but of the community, the church, and the species. One more mountain top is then touched by the rising of the celestial sun, one more member of the family of the blind begins to see--and to see along a path which terminates only in heaven-one more “lost sheep" leaves the wilderness in the arms of the great Shepherd—one more is added to the congregation of the redeemed. For devoutly are we convinced that the good work once begun may appear to be interrupted, but can never cease, and must one day be perfected. “ The path of the just is as the shining light.” Surely as the sun cleaves his way through the tempest, outlives the thickest cloud, and burns up the mist in the furnace of his own glory, so surely shall the Christian come safe to the termination of his journey, and his chequered life
“With a great sunset shall be closed and crowned.”
And this fact it is which gives such certainty and triumph to the first hour of the Christian's career. Because it is not regarded as the first faltering step of a child who may die ere he learn to walk, or as the first rush of a runner who may never reach the goal, but as the commencement of a history which is independent of life or of death, of earth or hell, and the evolution of which is as certain as that of a mathematical truth. And hence it is, that that hour is chronicled in heaven, and proclaimed in no dubious accents, by the voices of the angels of God. The moment the "man-child” is born, that same moment his name, his future, if not himself, are caught up to God and to his throne. How premature and ridiculous the “joy” over one sinner that repenteth, if that sinner could, after all, return to his vomit, and fall into a direr condemnation than that from which he had escaped.
A sailor's life is often extremely uneventful. In glancing accordingly over a variety of letters lying before us from the pen of our dear nephew, we find little, except the fact of his deepening piety, that can interest the general reader. Yet to his friends they are, and must ever be, dear. They are full of the warm overflowings of affection for his friends of effusions, equally warm and sincere, of love to his Redeemer-of brief, but true pictures of his sailor-life-of his associates, his experiences, and sometimes of the scenery through which he passed and the storms he encountered-of kind advices to those friends who were younger, and of the expressions of affectionate reverence for those who were older than himself. Simple missives truly from that wild world of waters, but not the less natural or the less affecting, to those whom they do and ever shall concern.
We met him for the last time at Stirling, about the close of 1847. Never did we see him looking better or enjoy him more. He walked with us on a fine frosty forenoon around the back walk, as it is called, which commands a magnificent prospect of the giant watchers of Rob Roy's country-Benlomond, Benvenue, Benledi, Benvoirlich, Struchnacroan, and some nameless mountains besides of the windings of the Forth, of the moors which stretch away toward Glasgow, and of the still wilder wastes which cross over to Comrie, and are surmounted, in the far north-east, by the lofty Benchonzie and Cairnachozie, which seem like pictured clouds on the blue rim of the horizon. Samuel was not a poet, but he could appreciate scenery- he loved to look in the direction of his highland home-his heart burned within him as we talked; and when, by and bye, lighter themes were introduced, loud, and merry, and ringing, as the hoof of a steed on the hard frosty ground, was his joyous laughter. Next morning we parted from him, to see him on earth “no more at all for ever.” How happy that most of such last partings take place in the night the night of utter uncertainty as to the future-and that that night is seldom crossed by any warning meteor, or disturbed in its silence by any foreboding voice.
In May 1849, after a visit to his friends at Comrie, he stopped, on his way back to his ship, at Stirling. His uncle there gave him a parcel and letter to deliver at Liverpool to the captain of the ship Jane, the destination of which was, as most of our readers know, for the Calabar mission. That letter (unintentionally of course) proved a letter of Bellerophonthe missive of his doom. He had long been weary of the society of ordinary ships,—had long panted to join the missionary enterprise,—had long thirsted for some wider opportunity to do good,--and lo, it seemed opened to him in an instant. The Jane wanted a mate. He offered himself for the vacancy, and in five minutes it was arranged that he was to leave his former vessel, and to cast in his lot with the benevolent cruise.
We heard a few days after of his determination with considerable regret —a regret in which now, we believe, most of his friends participate. We knew his temperament and his constitution well. We had heard something of the climate of Calabar, and we did feel great sorrow at seeing such a noble youth, with eyes open, plunging into that sea of fire. Death, we knew and said, was now his destiny; and although the cause was good, and the martyr a willing one, yet who could but feel at the prospect of so early and so certain a sacrifice ? The sun had already, in the course of his wanderings, touched his liver, and there seemed no doubt that when he shot out sterner and more vertical beams, the consequences would be intense and intolerable. Samuel was, besides, of an enthusiastic and sensitive temperament -a temperament which too often creates the missionary passion, but takes away the power of performing, for any length of time, the duties of the missionary life, particularly in warm climates. Missionaries go out to destroy stone idols--they would almost require to be stone themselves.
Samuel, poor fellow, was made of other stuff. He had a warm heart, keen feelings, and a nervous bilious temperament. Hence in Calabar his health suffered and his spirits were affected. Doubts as to his spiritual condition began to becloud his mind. This was partly the result of external circumstances, but principally arose from that hideous climate. How different from the cool breezes of the hills of Comrie, or the salted and modified fires of the sea-mirrored sun! Home sickness, too, appears to have crossed his mind. At last, ill in health, sick in spirit, disappointed, yet submissive —with much of heart, but not a jot of holiness abated, he sought leave of absence, to return for a season to Scotland. It was granted. He took a passage on board the schooner Mary, which was about to leave for Liverpool. During the first part of the voyage he was in great distress of mind on account of leaving the mission-ship, although he had done so conscientiously,—and was sometimes seen lying on his knees in prayer below the stern of the long-boat for hours together. Afterwards, his spirits revived, his doubts fled, and his whole soul was filled with the prospect of returning home. He was even nearer to it than he had dreamed. On the 1st of February 1850, while they were off the coast of Wales, a storm had arisen: Samuel, as usual, was at his post. He was taking in a sail, when the rope, which was far from sufficiently strong, broke. Falling from the maingaff, he struck against the ship’s boat, and thence rolled upon the deck. His spine was much injured by the fall, and paralysis of the lower extremities followed. Every care was taken of him by the captain, who is represented as a very humane person. He bore the blow with great resignation ; said “ It was God's will, and that it was better that it happened to him than to another.” He complained of no pain-spent his time in reading the Bible, and continued quite sensible till the last day, when his mind began occasionally to waver. “ The Sun of Righteousness,” says one who was with him, “shone in brightly on his soul.” Meanwhile the storm increased—the vessel struck upon the banks, and became a wreck. The life boat from the Welsh coast came to their help. The captain, the mate, and another went below to remove Samuel. They found him dying. He requested to be allowed to remain where he was, and even clung convulsively to the berth and to the rail of the ship, as they were removing him. In the boat they covered him carefully with blankets, during which he muttered sensibly that he felt no pain. In a few minutes one of the men spoke to him again. He returned no answer. His soul was away! What a transition to pass from that dark winter morning, that wrathful ocean howling hungrily for its prey—that frowning coast—that tottering boat, -and that pale shivering crew,-into the calm, the joy, the blessed companionship, the light and glory of Emannuel's land:
This took place near Moystin, in Flintshire. His poor battered remains were carried on shore—an inquest was held over them—and under the care of the clergyman of the parish, who did his duty most assiduously, were consigned to the dust "in the sure and certain hope of a blessed resurrection.” And there, in an obscure village on the Welsh coast, far from his native Grampians and the sepulchres of his fathers, and from his widowed mother and his many loved and loving friends, he is resting in the expectation of the coming to this sun-lit “ vale of tears,” of Jesus Christ and all his holy angels. Peace, or shall we rather say speedy dispeace, and a glorious resurrection to his young and holy dust! His death was a dreadful shock to all his friends.
From us it wrung bitterer tears than any we had shed since, eight years before, we had followed the body of a yet tenderer, younger, dearer, and lovelier.one (eternal blessings, A. V., on thy memory, thou sweetest and holiest of all the daughters of God!) to her virgin grave, under the mountains of Kincardineshire. And who shall describe the anguish of a mother's sorrow, who had often perhaps said of her son, “ My beautiful, my brave !”—whose heart was melted down in his—whose hopes were centred and sunk in his future destiny—and who was doomed to know, in one terrible moment, that all was over—that her beloved was gone; and that even the poor luxury of beholding his corpse was denied her. But the depths of human sorrow are sacred almost as the inscrutable things of God, and we must withdraw our feet from the threshold of ground so holy.
We need not, nor can we, add much more. This brief story conveys its own solemn lesson to all, especially to those who sail to sea in ships. Its object is to tell sailors of one who passed through the temptations of a sailor's sorely-tried life without a stain; who discharged meekly and courageously the duties of his calling, at the same time that he manifested a cheerful, constant, and practical piety; who lost no opportunity of enforcing his own convictions upon his co-mates by argument, as well as of commending them by practice; and who at last (in the language of one who received his last breath, and closed his dying eyes), “ went through the valley of the shadow of death rejoicing.” Surely all sailors who would wishi to die a death as calm and happy, are called impressively to imitate a life so distinguished by activity, temperance, purity, courage, and piety, as that of S. G. M.
G. G. Dundee, 26th February 1852. We add the letter of the esteemed Secretary of our Missions communicating the tidings of his death to his mother.
Edinburgh, 6th February 1850. My Dear MADAM,—I had yesterday a letter from Dr F. of Liverpool, in which he stated, that by a communication received from Captain R., dated Fernando Po, 13th November, he learned that your son, S. G. M., who was the mate of the mission ship, had left that vessel. The captain was sorry that he had done so, and supposed that, as the crew had been sickly, he was afraid of the African fever. I have another letter to-day from Dr F., containing tidings which it is my painful duty to communicate, and which I trust the God of your fathers and your own God will give you grace to receive with that composure which it becomes the believer to cherish in reference to the doings of Him, all whose ways are good, wise, and holy. Dr F. says,
6 Mr M. left the mission vessel of his own accord, and took a passage on board the schooner Mary, which ship was about to leave for
this place. They had a prosperous passage until about a fortnight ago, when, in a gale of wind, our young friend fell from the main-gaff upon the deck, and injured his spine so much that his lower extremities were completely paralysed ever after. Every care was taken of him by the captain, who seems a very humane person, and every thing done that was likely to relieve him. He lingered in that state until near Liverpool, when, close to the point, the vessel struck upon the banks outside, and became a wreck. The life-boat from the Welsh coast went off to their assistance, and got all hands on board. Mr M., who it appears was dying, was also got out with as much ease as circumstances would admit, but died before the boat reached the shore, somewhere near Moystin in Flintshire. An inquest was to be held over his remains yesterday, and the clergyman of the parish was to get him buried respectably, from whom we will hear. Such are the melancholy tid. ings I have heard to-day from the captain and some of the crew who have arrived here. And it will now devolve upon you to communicate this to his friends in such a way as seems best to you ; it will allay the grief of his poor mother to know that he was a most pious young man-this was the testimony of all."
These most distressing tidings will, my dear madam, cause you deep and most acute sorrow. A promising and interesting young man, whom you justly loved, has been prematurely cut off. I saw him but once, but I was much pleased with his appearance; and, as I stated in the Record for July last, felt peculiar interest in him when informed that he was grandson of the late Rev. S. G. But you are not called to mourn as one having no hope. He was, as Dr F. says, a most pious young man. This is the testimony of all. He was not taken in a moment, but lingered for two weeks, during which, no doubt, he offered many prayers for himself, for his mother, and for his friends. There is no consolation that can be given to a' pious parent, deprived of a beloved child, equal to that which arises from the belief that he died in Jesus, and has gone to be for ever with the Lord. Heaven is the home of all the righteous, and God's time for taking his children to that home is the best. There are always means, and the means employed in this case was the storm, which caused the fall. But the great Captain of salvation appointed to bring the many sons unto glory, was saying in the celestial sanctuary—“ Father, I will that this young man come and behold my glory." Oh! may we all be found waiting for the coming of our Lord. Permit me to express my deep and cordial sympathy with you in this severe bereavement, and to commend you to the gracious care of Him who is the husband of the widow, and to that compassionate Saviour who knows how to bind up the broken heart, and to comfort those that mourn.--I am, my Dear Madam, &c.
OUR THEOLOGICAL PROFESSORS.
It is a pleasing feature of our times to notice the efforts that have, of late years, been made, chiefly among the unendowed religious denominations of this country, to elevate the position of their ministers, both in intellectual attainment and material comfort. Although not absolutely the result of each other, as cause and effect, it is nevertheless true that we cannot have a ministry able to cope with the learning and philosophy of the age,—not less apt at teaching and enforcing the doctrinal truths of our holy faith, than skilful in maintaining and defending them,where the means provided for their support are scanty, if not positively insufficient. Young men of talent and genius cannot be expected to enter the sacred office of the ministry, in a church where there is the all but certain prospect of a struggle to secure even a decent livelihood. It is gratifying, therefore, to find the feeling deepening and spreading, that there should be a minimum stipend fixed, below which no minister should be paid. Some difference of opinion may prevail as to what that minimum should be ; but surely we are within the mark when we say, that it should not be less than L.100 per annum, with a manse. Even in the most retired rural districts of the country, where the demands upon a minister's bounty are the fewest, it is impossible, we conceive, to live with anything like comfort or respectability upon a smaller stipend than this. This minimum, then, may do for a beginning, but it is greatly below the point at which we ought