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!The following portrait of one of the most eminent men of THOMAS CHALMERS was born at Anthe age, whose recent decease has made an irreparable breach struther, in Fife, on the 17th of March, 1780, in the world of letters as well as in the sphere to which he and was early sent to study at St. Andrew's more particularly belonged, will strike the reader as an ex. University. From traditions still plentiful ceedingly brilliant and beautiful literary production. It is in the North, his college career must have probably from the pen of Rev. Dr. Hanna, of Sterling, the been distinguished by some of his subseeditor of the North British Review, and son-in-law to the sub- quent peculiarities-energy, good humor, ject of the article.
companionableness, and ascendency over A lively but rambling article on Dr. Chalmers appears also others. And it was then that his passion in Fraser's Magazine, embracing much of the same ground for the physical sciences was first developed. more splendidly occupied by this article. It contains, how- He studied mathematics, chemistry, and ever, a few anecdotes characteristic of the man, which are some branches of natural history with more new ; we have added them to the article from the Review. Ed.) than youthful enthusiasm, and with such
success that besides assisting his own proTo these powerful and affectionate tributes fessor he made a narrow escape from the we would gladly refer our readers, and our- mathematical chair in Edinburgh. For selves keep silence. By and by the grief these early pursuits he never lost a lingerand panic so lately felt in our Northern Cap- ing taste, and in the summer holidays of ital will subside into historic veneration, and his mellow age it was bis delight to give legitimate Biography will bring to light the lectures to youthful audiences on electricity details of Dr. Chalmers's interior and most and the laws of chemical combination. His instructive life. And then it may be possi- attainments in these fields of knowledge ble for most admiring and indebted friends were not those of a mere amateur ; but in to sketch his character with a pen that does earlier life bad all the system and security not falter and an eye that does not fill. He of an accomplished philosopher. And was too closely connected with this Review, though for some years they engrossed him and it owes him too much to permit his de- too much, they afterwards helped him cease to pass without the earliest record; amazingly. Mathematics especially gave but so close was that connexion and so great him the power of severe and continuous were these obligations that our readers will thinking; and enabled him, unseduced by not wonder if the earliest notice is but a salient fancy, to follow each recondite short.
speculation to its curious landing-place, and Vol. XII. No. II.
cach high argument to its topmost strong-1 though a minister, he was ignorant of eshold. And whilst this stern discipline sential Christianity. There was in nature gave a stability to his judgment and a much that pleased his taste, and he knew steadiness to his intellect, such as few men very well the quickened step and the glisof exuberant imagination have ever enjoyed, tening eye of the eagle collector, as he the facts and laws of the natural sciences pounces on some rare crystal or quaint and furnished that imagination with its appro- novel flower. But as yet no Bible text had priate wealth. They supplied the imagery made his bosom flutter, and he had not hidoften gorgeous and august, sometimes bril-den in his heart sayings which he had deliant and dazzling, by which in after days tected with delight and treasured up like he made familiar truths grander or clearer pearls. And though his nature was genial than they had ever been before ; and, linked and benevolent-though he had his chosen together by a genius mighty in analogies, friends and longed to elevate his parishthey formed a rope-ladder by which he ioners to a higher level of intelligence, and scaled pinnacles of dazzling elevation, and domestic comfort, and virtuous enjoymenttold down to wondering listeners the new he had not discovered any Being possessed panorama which stretched around him. of such paramount claims and overwhelmConsecrated and Christianized, his youth-ing attractions as to make it end enough to ful science reappeared and was laid on the live and labor for His sake. But that disaltar of religion in the Astronomical Discovery he made while writing for an Encycourses and Natural Theology.
clopædia an article on Christianity. The The first place where he exercised his death of a relation is said to have saddened ministry was Cavers, in the South of Scot- his mind into more than usual thoughtfulland, where he was helper to the aged min-ness, and whilst engaged in the researches ister. It was here that he made the ac- which his task demanded, the scheme of quaintance of Charters of Wilton-a minis- God was manifested to his astonished underter remarkable for this, that he did not preach standing, and the Son of God was revealed anything which he did not understand. to his admiring and adoring affections. The He did not fully understand the Gospel, Godhead embodied in the person and exemand he did not fully preach it; but those plified in the life of the Saviour, the remarkmoral truths and personal duties which he able arrangement for the removal and annidid comprehend, he enforced with a down- hilation of sin, a gratuitous pardon as the rightness, a simplicity and minuteness germ of piety and the secret of spiritual which cannot be sufficiently admired. To peace-these truths flung a brightness over latest existence Dr. Chalmers retained a his field of view, and accumulated in wonprofound respect for the practical wisdom der and endearment around the Redeemer's and lively sense of this Scottish Epictetus; person. He found himself in sudden posand though it is comparing the greater with session of an instrument potent to touch, the less, those who have heard him in his and, in certain circumstances, omnipotent more familiar sermons—discoursing the to transform the hearts of men; and exultmatter with a village audience, or breaking ed to discover a Friend all-worthy and diit down to the unlettered hearers of the vine, to whom he might dedicate his every West Port or the Dean-were just listening faculty, and in serving whom he would to old Charters of Wilton, revived in a most effectually subserve the widest good more affectionate and evangelical version. of man. And ignorant of their peculiar
In May, 1803, he was settled in the rural phraseology, almost ignorant of their hisparish of Kilmany. This was to his heart's tory, by the direct door of the Bible itself content. It brought him back to his native he landed on the theology of the Reformers county. It gave him an abundance of lei- and the Puritans; and ere ever he was
It brought him near the manse of aware, his quickened and concentrated faFlisk, and beside a congenial and distin- culties were intent on reviving and ennoguished naturalist. It was the country, bling the old Evangelism. with the clear stars above and the glorious The heroism with which he avowed his hills around him; and it allowed him to change, and the fervor with which he prowander all day long, hammer in hand and claimed the newly-discovered Gospel, made botanical box on his shoulders, chipping a mighty stir in the quiet country around the rocks, and ransacking the glens, and cul- Kilmany; and at last the renown of this tivating a kindly acquaintance with the out- upland Boanerges began to spread over Scotlandish peasantry. But all this while, I land, till in 1815 the Town Council of Glas
gow invited him to come and be the minis offered an asylum, and in the University of ter of their Tron Church and parish. He St. Andrew's, and its chair of Moral Phicame, and in that city for eight years sus- losophy, he spent five years of calmer but tained a series of the most brilliant argu- not inglorious toil. Omitting that psychoments and overpowering appeals in behalf logy, which in Scottish Colleges is the great of vital godliness which devotion has ever staple of moral philosophy lectures, with kindled or eloquence ever launched into the his characteristic intentness he advanced diflaming atmosphere of human thought. And rect to those prime questions which affect though the burning words and meteor fan- man as a responsible being, and instead of cies were to many no more than a spectacle dried specimens from ancient cabinets, in—the crash and sparkle of an illumination stead of those smoked and dusty virtues which exploded weekly and lit up the Tron which have lain about since the time of Church into a dome of colored fire-they Socrates and Seneca-instead of withered were designed by their author and they told maxims from a pagan text-book, he took like a weekly bombardment. Into the fast- bis code of morals fresh from Heaven's stanesses of aristocratic hauteur and commer- tute-book. It is not enough to say, that cial self-sufficiency--into the airy battle- into his system of morality he flung all his ments of elegant morality and irreligious heart and soul. He threw in himself—but respectability they sent showering the he threw something better-he threw the junipers of hot conviction ; and in hun- Gospel, and for the first time in a Northern dreds of consciences were mighty to the University was taught an evangelized ethics pulling down of strong-holds. And though -a system with a motive as well as a rulethe effort was awful—though in each parox- a system instinct with the love of God, and ysmal climax, as his aim pointed more and buoyant with noble purposes. And in the yet more loftily, he poured forth his very soul warm atmosphere of his crowded class-room for the Gospel, and love to men, and zeal - caught up by enthusiastic and admiring for God now mingled with his being, and listeners the contagion spread ; and as they formed his temperament, his genius, and his passed from before his chair, the élite of passion-though he himself was his own Scottish youth, Urquhart, Duff, and Adam, artillery, and in these self-consuming ser-, issued forth on the world, awake to the mons was rapidly blazing away that holo- chief end of man, and sworn to life-long caust-himself—the effort was sublimely labors in the cause of Christ. Too often successful. In the cold philosophy of the a school for sceptics—when Chalmers was Eastern capital and the coarse earthliness professor, the ethic class became a mission of the Western a breach was effected, and college—the citadel of living faith, and the in its Bible dimensions and its sovereign metropolis of active philanthropy; and insignia the Gospel triumphant went whilst every intellect expanded to the vastthrough. Though the labors of Love and ness and grandeur of his views, every susBalfour had been blessed to the winning of ceptible spirit carried away a holy and genemany, it was not till in the might of com- rous impulse from his own noble and transmanding intellect and consecrated reason fusive nature. Chalmers came up-it was not till then And then they took him to Edinburgh that the citadel yielded, and evangelical College, and made him Professor of Theodoctrine effected its lodgment in the medi-logy. In the old established times this tative and active mind of modern Scot- was the top of the pyramid--the highest land; and whatever other influences may post which Presbyterian Scotland knewhave worked together, it was then and there and like Newton to the mathematic chair in that the battle of a vitalized Christianity Cambridge, his pre-eminent fitness bore was fought and won. Patrons converted or Chalmers into the Edinburgh chair of dioverawed, evangelical majorities in Synods vinity. And perhaps that Faculty never and Assemblies, Church of Scotland Mis- owned such a combination as the colleagues, sions, the two hundred additional chapels, Welsh and Chalmers. Alike men of pietý the Disruption, the Free Church, an earnest-alike men of lofty integrity, and in their ministry and a liberal laity, are the tro- public career distinguished by immaculate phies of this good soldier, and the splendid purity-the genius and talents of the one results of that Glasgow campaign. were a supplement to those of the other.
From that high service, worn, but not Popular and impassioned-a declaimer in weary, he was fain to seek relief in an aca- the desk, and often causing his class-room demic retreat. Again his native county Ito ring again with the fine phrensy of his