« AnteriorContinuar »
gument which has been badly supported is hot tenable. These suspicions are suggested by experience. Every new argument in defence of my conduct gives pleasure, and it is pleasant to invent and refine upon them. All arguments against are unpleasant; and there is a tendency to discover their weakness, rather than to consider their weight. All refinement apart, there seems a direct obligation on all who believe in Christ, in his friendship and good offices to the world, especially evinced by his death, to remember it as a memorial and a debt of gratitude. It is no more than we would do in memory of a friend and benefactor, who had requested it as his dying wish.
The cares of a family, and health, and business, are great apologies, and will no doubt excuse a less deliberate preparation. But, so long as we have leisure for company, conversation, essays of genius, and trifles, the excuse is not complete. Shame is a great restraint; it is one of those against which CHRIST has warned us, and the breaking through it is insisted upon as a proof of our regard in this state of trial. A habit of neglect is most difficult to conquer ; but, in the eye
of sound reason, it is an aggravation rather than an apology; and, if no attempts are made, it will always be growing stronger. At the very least, it seems reasonable to consider the matter fairly and fully, and, as much as may be, to lay aside prejudice, carefully weighing the arguments on both sides.
Were I as good a man as I ought, I should reason better on its usefulness. You have known all my weaknesses since ever our friendship commenced ; and I will now tell you, in the confidence of friendship, that any attempts towards a better temper have been commonly suggested at the time of the communion. The impropriety of mocking, or lightly treating, the name, character, word, and institution, of so dear and generous a friend ;-the obligation to temperance, industry, and natural affection, friendship, charity ;--the importance of studying usefulness, and that only, in my profession ;
—the importance of a lesson which I shall never be perfect in upon earth, true humility:the great importance of inward purity and uprightness. It is almost impossible, at a communion, not to bethink ourselves of our vices, and to make some attempts to reVOL. I.
form them; to entertain some sentiments of love to our fellow Christians; to lay some plans for doing good; to be somewhat affected with the love of Jesus, and to look forward to his second coming to judge us aċcording to our present conduct. Methinks the having a family should render this duty particularly engaging. I cannot express what I felt, when I saw Mr Balfour of Pilrig leading his blind wife to the table of the Lord, where they united in the most pure and solemn act of devotion, forgetting a misfortune that must be perpetual here; or rising from it to a more affecting and thankful contemplation of the period when the misfortunes, and troubles, and humility, and patience of this state, shall enhance everlasting joy.
The training up of children to religion and virtue is an interesting object; the joining with them in acts of devotion, by which they and we will be united hereafter and to all eternity, is truly sublime. The remembrance of a communion diffuses pleasure over the soul in times of melancholy, distress, and sorrow. I have seen it particularly pleasing on a death-bed; and on another occasion the ne
glect of it was regretted bitterly. I know you will impute this to friendship, and shall therefore make no apology. It is absolutely betwixt ourselves. If you dislike the subject, I shall never speak or write upon it again, leaving our intercourse and friendship upon the same footinig as before; though I must own it would give me sincere pleasure, as a new bond of affection in a much valued friendship, were you to enter more fully into the benevolent designs of Jesus; and let his love constrain you to remember him, and to enter more directly into his service, that we might unite in the faith and obedience of the gospel, and assist one another to rise in resemblance of our Saviour, and die in the hope of that immortality which he has revealed, and meet him in the clouds, adoring together the wonders of Gods love to all eternity. Yours, &c.
We now take leave, with regret that it is so imperfect and abrupt, of this interesting correspondence between these two young and ingenious friends. Had the whole series been preserved, we are convinced that it would have afforded an excellent example
for the imitation of other young men similarly situate, and eager like them to avail themselves of reciprocating friendly assistance to instruct and be instructed, by the joint investigation of various literary topics, and by the free interchange of critical observations on their mutual essays.
· Before proceeding to more grave matters of public literary enterprise, we have thought it proper to subjoin two other miscellaneous letters, which have no reference or connexion with any particular fact or transaction of Mr Smellies life, either in regard to his business as a printer, or with any literary concern or adventure. The first of these was written by Mr Smellie to the Reverend Dr GEORGE CAMPBELL, Principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen, and author of a much admired Treatise on Miracles, in answer to the celebrated David Humes observations on that subject. It appears to have been written for the purpose of acquiring some fixed principles of argument upon a difficult topic of philosophical theology, which were to be submitted to a society of which Mr SMELLIE was then a member.