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fact, the excitement having run its course, Scotland has settled down in quiet. Presbyterian at the outset, it remains intensely Presbyterian still. The only change is, that the tree, divided into two, draws its strength from the same root, finds in the Presbyterian soil abundant sap, and spreads from either stem healthy branches. Such being the condition of the country, our story leads us to the fortunes of the Established Church of Scotland, for it was with that church that Dr. Robertson was connected.
James Robertson, the son of an Aberdeenshire farmer, was born in January, 1803. He received the elements of education at home, and was sent, at the age of six, to learn English in the parish school. The year after, he began to learn Latin; he remained at school till the age of twelve; entered at that age the grammar school of Aberdeen, from which there are small endowments for college, and, after a short course of two months there, he competed for one of these bursaries, and failed; but undaunted by failure, pressed by need and eager for progress, he went to the college of Glasgow, and began, while a boy under thirteen, his university course. In a lane off the Gallowgate, in a lodging-house filled with mechanics, the student lad shared a garret with another student, as zealous and as poor as himself. One shilling and sixpence per week, during the college session of six months, was the rent he paid for his lodging. This sum, and his college fees, which made up together a yearly charge of six pounds, was all the money that his education cost his father in actual outlay. A weekly box, brought by the country carrier, conveyed to him his linen washed at the farm, and his food. Potatoes lay at the bottom of the box, clothes and food divided the top; oat-cakes and barley-scones, eggs stuffed carefully among the clothes, a few shillings scraped by maternal savings, and a letter placed to meet his eye, brought the lad the tokens of family affection, the family news for the past week, the story of work and the incidents of the farm life. So the boy fared and toiled. Hard work for one so young ; but he brought a stout heart to a steep hill. Hard work during that first session, but no prize. In the next session (as the examination, at the Scotch colleges, precedes the opening of the year) he took a good place. So again to work—the old story, the old garret, the old fare, even harder labour. But under this stress of work the boy gave way; was taken home sick in spring, on horseback, by his tender father, and had to spend a year at home in recovering. The year was not lost. He returned to college in 1818; and, though the classics were not his forte, he distinguished himself in mathematics and moral philosophy. At this time he met Outram, of Indian fame; they were class-fellows. To the mathematical students a bursary of fifteen pounds is thrown open for competition, and in the contest Robertson was successful; not without work, for he rose every morning to prepare for the examination, before dawn, at two o'clock. But the prize was wealth ; fifteen pounds a year, continued for two years, was a rich treasure to the rustic boy; and his landlady, who had taken an interest in the studious and modest lad, wrote home to his mother, requesting that now at last the blue bonnet and the home-spun clothes might be laid aside, and that he might dress like his companions. So, in the session of 1820-1, he became Master of Arts; entered on his course of divinity with an eye to the Church ; and looked out for the unfailing resource of divinity students--a place as a tutor, which he found with one of the ministers of Aberdeen. In these duties he remained till the spring of 1825, when he mounted another step in the humble ladder of a Scottish minister's life. He became a schoolmaster in one of the Aberdeenshire parishes, Pitsligo. Here, in the following autumn, he passed his trials by the Presbytery, and, by them approved, he received a licence to preach. Then, at length, there lay before him the pulpit, the long cherished object of the Scottish student. One day he hoped to call a parish and a manse his own.
Very peculiar and characteristic of Scotland is this training. The humble birth, the scanty income, the sharp struggle, the slow rise, but the sure aim. From the class of industrious farmers, from men who work with their own hands and with the hands of their family, the ministry of Scotland is largely supplied. The lad, who has never known any thing but hard work and coarse fare,—who has seen his mother bake the oat-cakes on Monday that are to last the household for a week; has supped his smoking porridge morning and evening; dined on broth and potatoes, without ever tasting meat, unless a sheep, dying from braxy, gave the family a rare regale,-starts out of this rustic home to push his fortune among men. No help, no wealth, no smiles, no friends, nothing but a stout, dauntless heart, against a stiff and steep hill. The poor lad, squeezed into a bare garret, in a dirty lane off the Gallowgate of Glasgow, or the High Street of Auld Reekie, ill clad and awkward, cold and hungry, with a rough dialect and rougher look, innocent of hat, or gloves, or umbrella, or polished shoes, tramps, thick shod and rude, on the dirty pavement, in those dreary November days, to herd with other lads poor and uncouth as himself, to sit a rough rabble in an unclean and ugly lecture-room, and scrape their feet and clap their hands with boisterous noise. How would the smart students of Oxford or Cambridge, with their silk or stuff gowns, their rings and chains and perfumery, and wine parties and boating parties, lounges in the High Street and cavalcades to Shotover or Bagley-how would they look askance with utter scorn on these unkempt and homely rustics? Yet though their Greek is often rude, and their Latin sometimes strange; though their drill and mental discipline are imperfect, and their words and ways homely; test them in questions of mathematics, raise some knotty point of chemistry and moral philosophy, and in metaphysics, loved by Scotchmen, and see how they answer. Ten to one but the Oxford or Cambridge student would find himself bebind his rough rivals, or would have a hard race to keep abreast. Yet after twenty-two weeks of College session, these same rough lads, when they have wrought their algebra and conic sections, read their Pindar or Demosthenes, studied Cicero and Plato, go back (as young Robertson did) to their father's farm, not to sit still or lounge at ease, and con their books in a quiet glen to the music of a northern burn; but they go back to what they left, and take their full share of the old hard work, hold the plough or guide the cart, or drive out the cows, or fork the dung, the dirty ugly work of a poor farmer's daily life. And these, observe, are the higher class of students. There are hundreds below them; sous of weavers, and tailors, and blacksmiths, and printers, who live a hard life on the coarsest fare; two or three boys herding together in one bed, in a garret where, if a few rays of light stream on the student's page, they straggle in through broken panes, stuffed with rags or an old hat. Yet rude as these lads are, and hard as is their training, in this cradle the Kirk of Scotland has been reared, rocked for three long centuries with horny hands; and she has grown up a hardy mountain child, and sent forth a sturdy offspring, to leave their mark on the story of their times; to be our merchants and warriors, and lawyers and lawgivers; to hold our flag high in the plains of the Peninsula, in the Crimea, or in Hindostan, to stand up bold and strong within the walls of their Church; better still, to pay their unbought service, loyal and firm, to the cause of Christian truth, and keep their faith unalloyed, with fearless hearts through dark and dreary days.
But let us not be mistaken. We are not instituting a comparison between the institutions of England and Scotland, nor are we assigning a preference to the latter. Our opinion is different; and were this a fit occasion, we should be ready to express it. But while we prefer our own church and our own system of English education, we ought not to be blind to the value of other systems and other institutions. It is well to be loyal, but not to be blind. We may reckon the Scotch system inferior, we must not grudge it its due praise. As a matter of fact, it has done great things for Scotland. The colleges of Scotland resemble in many things those of the Continent. They teach a wide course of subjects, both in moral and natural science, and they teach by lecture or prelections which the professor delivers to his audience. We greatly prefer the class-room of the English college, the drill and discipline of a tutor; by this system our most accomplished statesmen and effective divines have been trained. Nor can we think
that the liberality of the founders of our English Colleges has been ill bestowed, even if each of our Universities can reckon an income of £200,000 a-year. Still it is well to observe what has been done in a far poorer country with niggardly resources—done at a small cost for many students. The total income of the four Scotch Universities does not reach £72,000 a-year; the revenues of the single College of Balliol, at Oxford, exceed the united income of St. Andrew's, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh. Yet, with these scanty resources, the Scotch Universities educated last year 3459 students.
Dissimilar also, but by no means in the same measure, are the resources of the Presbyterian Church. If we compare the ordinary income of a Presbyterian clergyman with the prizes of our Church, the contrast is enormous. £5000, £8000, £10,000, £15,000, the income of a bishop or archbishop! A solitary living of £600 supplies the single prize which rises throughout Scotland above the level of ordinary clerical income, unless where a clergyman obtains a Divinity professorship with £600 or £700 a-rear. But on the other hand, if we consider the origin and social habits of the Presbyterian clergy, the average income of the Church of Scotland will be found to exceed that of the English Church. Nor does it present any of those anomalies which are the disgrace of our Church : curates growing old on a curacy of £70 or £80 a-year; incumbents without a house, with an income of from £50 to £100 a-year. These scandals within Scotland are happily unknown. More than half a century ago, by the wise consideration of Parliament, the incomes of the Presbyterian clergy were raised to a modest independence. Each clergyman
a might reckon on £150 a-year. Some of the new churches, and missionary outposts, probably do not now reach that sum. But these are the exceptions, and no man expects long to retain them ; whereas, to one who starts from a peasant's life, the prospect of a money income of £150 per annum, a good house, à garden, and a glebe, is a prospect of reasonable comfort.
This, then, was the prospect which young Robertson, son of the small Aberdeenshire farmer, had in view. From the school of Pitsligo he rose to be tutor in the Duke of Gordon's family, and in the summer of 1829 he was appointed head-master in the school of Gordon's Charity, in Aberdeen. That institution was then in a state of relaxed discipline, from which, by vigorous resolution, the new master raised it. Here, too, he showed the energy which marked him through life. His subordinate masters were laid aside by illness, and wanted rest; he undertook their work, and carried it through without a murmur. The spring of his efforts we discover in a diary which for a short time he kept. The first of his resolutions is, " that I am to begin and end each day with praise and thanks
giving, with an humble confession of my unworthiness and guilt, with earnest petitions for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on my heart, and last, a solemn and unreserved dedication of any powers that I possess, to the honour and glory of the Lord my God.” And that this was not a formal resolution, but a real purpose, is shown by the manuscript found at this time among his papers :-“I begin the year calling on Thy
“ name, even on Thine only. Go forward with me throughout the course of it, and keep my heart fixed and at all times waiting on Thee, the Lord.” Other resolutions follow, to study earnestly the Scriptures, and to pray constantly to God to fit him to preach “to others, in their genuine and primitive purity and simplicity, without keeping back any part of them, the glad tidings of salvation, first published on earth by my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
In the summer of 1832, he was transferred from these irksome duties to the sphere he had long desired. Through the influence of the Duke of Gordon he obtained the parish of Ellon from Lord Aberdeen; and his colleague, Dr. Ogilvie, used to hear him daily, unconscious that any ear caught the sound, praying with deep earnestness for mercy to pardon his sins, and grace to help him as an ambassador for Christ. His letters to his mother, in which he tells her of his appointment, are interesting, as they show how he reverenced her piety, and how he shared it.
When Mr. Robertson entered on his parochial life, he was in his thirtieth year. His outward look and manner are sketched for us, a few years later, by the vigorous but not very friendly pen of Hugh Miller :-A stalwart frame, of bulk fit for a man of six feet, cut down to middle size; in outline and gesture uncouth, but redeemed from a sense of awkwardness by marks of power; the features rough, but massive; the head large and full, and covered with a quantity of black hair ; the voice, marked by a strong Aberdeen accent, with tones deep and also shrill, ringing sharp and clear, and carrying its penetrating sounds through the widest space and largest audience. Add to this, that the mind was sinewy like the frame; not gifted with imagination, nor refined by taste; but with severe science and with abstract reasoning constantly conversant, in the problems of mathematics or the inventions of art taking much delight. Many surpassed him in eloquence. To its higher flights, indeed, he made no pretensions. But when a subject that was perplexed and intricate had to be laid open, no man could surpass him; and when, in the conflict which preceded the disruption of 1844, men had to shake out and settle knotty questions of law and ecclesiastical polity touching the delicate boundaries that join Church and State together, and involving the duties of clergymen on one side to their Church,