Letter 9 to Mr. Maclagan.
The congregation of St. George's having resolved upon inviting the Rev. Alexander Whyte, of Glasgow, to become their colleague pastor, the Presbytery of Edinburgh met to moderate in a call to him on the 2nd June, and on the 23d of the same month Mr. Whyte agreed to accept the call. Meanwhile Dr. Candlish had gone to Buxton for the benefit of his health, and on the 24th wrote to Mr. Maclagan
"The wire flashed to me yesterday, about four o clock,
most excellent news, which, though not confirmed by any fuller epistolary
information, I suppose I may assume to be true. It set me up at once. I was
very fidgety and anxious, as the crisis drew near, not being sure but that some
untoward hitch might at the very last moment blight our hopes. Now, I thank
God, all is so far well. For the congregation I cannot doubt that a signal
spiritual good has been got, if only they receive it humbly, meekly,
prayerfully, believingly. And with me, His poor, unworthy, unfaithful, and
unprofitable servant, how graciously has the Lord dealt! I can now look forward
to the closing years, if years be granted, of my earthly service and ministry
with some good hope of their being not burdensome to me, nor altogether useless
to my beloved flock.
What has really oppressed me hitherto has not been my doing too much work - I might have been doing more - but the disheartening impression of so much being left undone, and so much that is done being done so unsatisfactorily; for no mere assistant can really supply a pastor's place. Now I hope to return, if God bless the means I am using for the recovery of my strength, at least as able as I was before my illness, for all that I was then doing. And I can do it under a feeling of relief from unfulfilled responsibility, and confidence in an acceptable and congenial colleague, that cannot fail to impart fresh buoyancy of spirit and hopeful cheerfulness to all my labour. In this way, I trust that if it be the Lord's will to spare me for a little longer, it may be not for languor and listless apathy, that might otherwise creep upon me, but for a brief course of service, with a worthy yokefellow, in the congregation that has done so much for me.
Alas, that I have done so little for them! I have written to Mr. Whyte taking him to my heart. And I have told him that I don't think he should be inducted till the beginning of October, when the congregation is decently gathered, and the communion on the 30th is drawing near. I have mentioned my summer and autumn arrangements, and have told him my reasons for letting him know all this immediately - namely, first, that he may not feel himself hurried in parting with my old and dear friend Dr. Roxburgh, with whom I deeply sympathise; and, secondly, that he may have as long an interval as possible between his two fields of labour. I have asked him also to pay us a visit here in July, when we can fully talk over the affairs of the congregation, and begin, at least, to mature plans for our winter campaign. May the Lord grant his blessing in connection with all that we may jointly propose and do."
Again, on the 4th July, he wrote to Mr. Maclagan, among other things saying
"I really think I am getting on steadily in spite of very
unsettled weather, which, however, the doctor says is not against us. He is
satisfied with my progress."
And on the 8th July he says
"I think I am beginning to get onvery feeble still, and with occasional sharp warnings."
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