Letter to Anne
ON the 17th March 1845, Dr. Chalmers made the following
entry in his Journal :
"My birthday; I have got over the half of my seventh decade, being now sixty-five, and have entered on what I call the Sabbath afternoon. My God, may it have a more Sabbatical character than my Sabbath forenoon has had. I would henceforth live wholly unto Thee." The outward Sabbath quiet was not given to him, but there came an increasing gentleness and spirituality which gave few more affecting exhibitions of its depth and tenderness than in the peculiar anxiety which he now manifested for the spiritual welfare of his children. Every reader of his biblical compositions must have been struck with the frequency to which the topic is there reverted to, sad the fervour with which so many petitions are presented. His letters of this period present the same characteristics. To his eldest daughter, who, in 1836, had been united in marriage the writer of these Memoirs, he, in 1841, addressed the following letter
"Burntisland, .June 1, 1841. "My DEAR ANNE,This is an important change that has taken place in my state and circumstances, now that I am disengaged from all the public business of the Church. It is true that the time heretofore devoted to this department I could find ample occupation for in the work of literary preparation both for the press and for my Chair; and I shall feel it any duty to do a great deal more, if spared, in each of these walks than I have been able to do hitherto. Yet important as these are, I have the urgent sense of its being a still prior and preferable duty to do all which in me lies, not for my own personal Christianity alone, but for that of my immediate relatives and friends. For these last thirty years, there has been always a strong undercurrent of earnest and anxious feeling in this direction, but sadly impeded and overborne among the fatigues and distractionsand manifold calls on my attention and time to which my various offlcial duties exposed me. These have all been removed, and that which was but an under-current before, I desire, throughout the remainder of my days, to have full and free vent in every possible thing which I can either devise or do for the religious wellbeing whether of myself or of my family. And I do hope that the consideration of the few years (it may be much shorter) which I have to live in this world may incline one and all of them to second my earnest wishes for the good of their imperishable spirits - for the high end, in comparison with which all other objects sink into insignificance, their preferment to that state of blessedness, in which it will be our everlasting employmont to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.
"I have not forgotten the impression made upon me by a short visit, of some years back, from Dr. Hanna,* and whence I could gather how intimately religion was blended and identified with his moral being - forming part and parcel, as it were, of the element in which be breathed. I am quite sure that when such is the pervading tone of all the inmates in any household, it forms the high road to a well-conditioned and happy family. It is a condition which I long, and with the grace of God will labour, to realize; for Heaven forbid that the purposed Sabbath of my life, which should have commenced sooner and which I trust will only be terminated by deathHeaven forbid that it should be limited in its effects to the selfish object of my own enjoyment, or my own preparation for the happiness of an immortal state. My longing desire is, that others also, and especially those who are nearest and dearest to me, should receive an impulse in the same direction, and be fellow-travellers along with me to a blissful eternity - I ever am, my dear Anne, yours very affectionately and truly,
* The Rev. Dr. Hanna of Belfast
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