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The decease of Mr. Campbell, of Greenock, was regarded as a general affliction by the denoinination to which he belonged. But a few months before, our churches were filled with mourning by the sudden and mysterious visitation which removed Mr. J. Morell Mackenzie from his earthly labours; and when Mr. Campbell was added to the dead, we felt painfully what it is to have “sorrow upon sorrow.” Our only comfort was, that the “ Lord reigneth,” and that the very providence which had not extinguished-but taken away these shining lights, is administered by Him who is head over all things to his church. This record of the life and thoughts of one of these brethren is presented to those who lamented his loss, in the hope that it will not only gratify them by perpetuating his memory, but extend his usefulness. It has been to me a melancholy pleasure to have had so much fellowship with the spirit of my departed friend, in executing the task which the kind confidence of his nearest relations imposed on me: and it will now give additional interest to my recollections of one whose friendship was one of the greatest pleasures of my life, if I liave been able to give him a voice in this volume, by which, though dead, he shall instruct and warn the living.
Mr. Campbell's life was too retired to furnish materials for an exciting Biography; and those who take
this record of its few and quiet years with a craving for novel and stirring interest, will find themselves disappointed. Those, however, whose expectations are more discriminating, will meet, I trust, with not a little valuable instruction. They will have communion, for a time, with a man of a noble and gentle spirit, and of an enlightened and powerful mind.
The “Remains," which will be found in this volume, seem to me to possess an intrinsic worth, which entitles them to general attention. The four lectures which form part of a course on the Distinguishing Principles of Evangelical Protestantism—a course which was interrupted by the hand of affliction-contain a most acute, clear, and conclusive refutation of the sophisms by which the apostles of error labour to entangle and enslave the christian mind. “ Zion's Claims on her Children,” was one of the competition essays on Lay Agency, presented to the Committee of the Congregational Union of England in 1838, and it is no disparagement to its youthful author, that the talents and experience of the authors of “ Jethro,” and “ Our own Country,” stood between him and success. This Essay will be found worthy of the serious consideration of all who seek the spiritual good of their neighbours and kinsmen. The few “Discourses" which the volume contains will be found, I believe, worthy of a place in it; and the Poetry with which it concludes will, if I mistake not, be regarded as the product of a genuine poet, who, had he not been diverted from such pursuits by graver employments, would not indeed have dazzled the world, but might have interested and instructed it.
In editing these remains, I have thought it my duty to make such corrections as their author would certainly have made, had it been his own lot to prepare them for the press. The essay on
- Zion's Claims” I have likewise abridged by, perhaps, about one-fifth of the whole, an abridgment which my narrow limits rendered very desirable, and of which I thought it susceptible without any injury to its usefulThe chapter on
Plans” has been left entire.
Should any one expect a defence or apology for the publication of this memoir and these remains, I am happy to be able to furnish it in the well chosen words of Dr. Campbell of London :- “ It is meet that the tender tale of his short, bright career should be told to the praise of the power and grace that made him what he was: and that his literary remains should also be embodied, published, and handed down to the generations to come. I doubt not that the volume will be one full of interest, and eminently fitted to be useful. It is but seldom that any denomination has such a man to lose, and on the departure of such a one, there is something monumental due to his talents and virtues.”