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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 41 from the other circumstances, produced a great sensation. The people came out in crowds to hear ; and while, doubtless much good was effected, not a little irritation was awakened in other quarters. In the following summer the Rev. Rowland Hill, the uncle of Lord Hill, visited Scotland with the view of preaching. In his published journal he gives a graphic description of his first interview with Mr. James Haldane. He had arrived at Langholm, where he met Mr. Haldane, accompanied by Mr. Aikman, who were on an itinerating tour through the south of Scotland. “ These gentlemen,” says Mr. Hill, “ were then unknown to me. I was told, but in very candid language, their errand and design ; that it was a marvellous circumstance, quite a phenomenon, that an East India Captain-a gentleman of good family and coimections-should turn out an itinerant preacher ; that he should travel from town to town, and all against his own interest and character. I immediately sought out the itinerants. When I inquired for them of the landlady of the inn, she told me she supposed I meant the two pviests who were at her house; but she could not satisfy me what religion they were of. The two priests, however, and myself soon met ; and, to our mutual satisfaction, passed the evening together.” The following extract from Mr. Hill’s dedication of part of his work to Mr. Haldane is so characteristic that we insert it :- “You was educated for a ‘maritime life ; and, from a situation creditable and Incrative, commenced apeddlingpreacher, crying your wares from town to town at a low rate, indeed ‘without money and without price,’ and scattering religious tracts as you travel from place to place ; while it was my lot to be bred to the trade, and to serve a regular apprenticeship for the purpose ; but, being spoilt in the manufacturing, I never received but forty shillings (a story too trivial to relate) by my occupation as a churchman. Affluence is a snare ; a decent independent competency is a blessing-a blessing, if thereby we can presch Jesus freely, and prove to the poor of the flock that we can sacrifice our own profit if we can be profitable to them.” Hitherto neither of the Messrs. Haldane had left the Church of Scotland ; but the visits of Mr. Simeon and hlr. Rowland Hill had so much increased the excitement which existed on the part of the General Assembly that a “ Pastoral Admonition” was issued warning the people against the new preachers, and particularly prohibiting Episcopal ministers from England, like Mr. Simeon or Afr. Hill, to occupy the pulpits of the Scottish Church. This very soon compelled the Messrs. H. and their friends to secede from the church. Mr. R. Haldane, at an expense of upwards of 530,000, purchased or erected large chapels in Eclinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Dumfries, Perth, and many other places. Mr. James Haldane became the minister of the newly-erected chapel in Leith Walk, called the Tabernacle j so named after Mr. Whitefield’s places of worship. To keep up the interest of the people, eminent ministers from England were invited to preach in the Tabernacle ; and, although it seated more people than any other church in Edinburgh, it was for many years crowded to excess. In the year 1808, however, certain changes being made in the mode of conducting the divine service in the morning, which were very ill calculated to attract popularity, the attendance fell off; and, the Tabernacle being too large for the regular congregation, the lower part was converted to other purposes This information was enough for me. VOL. 11. G
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42 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Mr. Haldane continued to preach to a large congregation ; and, during the forty years he was so engaged, his disinterested labours were rather the occasion of his spending than of his receiving money. The seats were all free; and he derived no emolument whatever from his office. Had it been the object of the Messrs. Haldane to gain a name, and become the founders of a sect, their ambition might easily have been gratified. The success which attended their joint labours was at first very great, and their chapels were well attended. But this never formed any part of their scheme ; and their adoption of Baptist sentiments separated them from many of those with whom they formerly acted. Since the agitation of the voluntary question, they have taken no part in opposition to the Established Church, considering it to be rather a political than a religious controversy. In the early part of their career their motives were often questioned ; and it happened more than once that Mr. James Haldane was interrupted by the civil authorities when preaching in the open air. This happened in particular at Ayr, at North Berwick, and in Aberdeen ; and on one occasion an action might have been brought against an Argyleshire magistrate for arresting Mr. Haldane and Mr. John Campbell, afterwards well known as a missionary and traveller in Africa. Mr. Haldane, however, contented himself, after having been liberated by the sheriff, with going over the same ground which he had previously intended ; and the interest excited by his arrestment drew forth such numbers to hear him as amply compensated for his previous interruption. Mr. Robert Haldane has been also laboriously engaged in the same work to which both he and his brother devoted themselves in their early manhood. On the Continent, and particularly at Geneva, and at Montambau, Mr. Haldane resided for several years after the peace, and was the means of effecting much good among the ministers and theological students in these celebrated Protestant seminaries. He also expended very large sums in education ‘of young men as ministers, both in England, Scotland, and the Continent. We believe the number amounted to little short of four hundred. Among these there were several men of great eminence, such as Principal Dewar of Aberdeen, Mr. Russell of Dundee, Mr. Angel1 James of Birmingham, Drs. Paterson, Henderson, etc. Mr. Robert Haldane also published several works of very considerabIe value, particularly one on the Evidences of Christianity, and another containing a very elaborate Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans. Mr. James Haldane held three services every Sunday at the Tabernacle, as well as a week-day service ; and his labours in Edinburgh, together with his former numerous itinerating tours through Scotland, and also in England and Ireland, have been the means of awakening thousands to concern for their eternal welfare. It was remarked by a late eminent minister of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh, that wheh conversing with his communicants, it was surprising in how many instances they attributed their first serious impressions to Mr. Haldane’s preaching. Both brothers continued with unabated energy to pursue the same schemes of usefulness. At the period they commenced their public
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