QUOTES - about Chalmers


"It is not often that the world has seen men like Thomas Chalmers, nor can the world afford to forget them; or in its most careless mood, be willing to. Probably the time is coming when it will be more apparent than it is now to everyone, that here, intrinsically, was the chief Scottish man of his time - a man possessed of such massive geniality of intellect as belonged to no other man. What a grand simplicity, broad humour, blent so kindly with enthusiasm, ardour and blazing thought - a man of such noble valour, strength and piety - above all things, of such perfect veracity, I have not met with in these times. Honour to him, honour belongs to him, and to the essential work he did - an everlasting continuance among the possessions of this world"

Thomas Carlyle in a letter to Dr. Hanna - Chalmers' son-in-law and biographer.

"Our Professor in the Divinity Hall was Dr. Chalmers, and we sometimes told him our thoughts on these subjects, and the opposition shown to us. He would most kindly say ; "Oh gentlemen, there is no harm in studying that subject (pre-millenniallism); go on, and make up your mind. I have not arrived at a conclusion yet; I am looking in to it" ; and I am glad to say that before he died he ranged himself with the Premillennialists."

Rev. Andrew A. Bonar, quoted by his daughter in "Sheaves after Harvest"

"June 1st.
Heard this morning that Dr. Chalmers was gone, just when expected that day in the Assembly. The Lord, our Head, has sent instead His message that the God of Elijah lives but not Elijah. It makes the Church, as well as the world, less pleasant far. How often he prayed that providences might be blessed, and sent in ordere to be blessed. Is this one for the whole Church sent in mercy?

Rev. Andrew A. Bonar, quoted from his Diary.

Three Major influences on the life of the young Robert Candlish - Dr. Chalmers was one of them
See the extract here from Candlish's Biography, by Rev. Wm. Wilson D.D.

Thomas Chalmers was the "beloved companion" of Rev. A.Bonar, too - speaking of his brother Horatio's death, and being received into glory by all his family and friends, he refers to his own reception similarly, and "he looks round, and there are the beloved companions who went before, McCheyne, John Milner, William Burns, Dr. Chalmers, James Hamilton and hundreds of such!" From the Diary of Rev. Andrew A. Bonar.

At one of the Convocations of Ministers where great things were being discussed, prior to the Disruption, the biography of McCheyne records "Mr. Begg made a motion which will have the effect of modifying these resolutions....Dr. Candlish replied that he dared not stand on the abolitin of patronage as being all that was required... So on Saturday, McCheyne records that 'after an amazing speech from Dr. Chalmers which brought tears into many eyes, 427 agreed to the resolutions'" From the biography of R.M.McCheyne, by Alexander Smellie

Dr.Thomas.Guthrie, during a visit to Paris in 1826, came up headlong against the Roman view of holy Scripture being subservient to the doctrines of the Church, and records the following in a letter to his sister, after a real set-to with a Jesuit.
Shortly after this we bade each other bonsoir; and I went to my bed, hoping that the discussion might, through God's blessing, prove of some benefit to him, well pleased that I had maintained throughout such command of my feelings (never having, for four or five hours close debate, lost temper but once, and that only for a moment), and grateful to Dr. Chalmers for having aided me effectually in finding apt quotations by his book of references.
From Memoir of Thomas Guthrie D.D. by his sons.

Let me tell you about Dr. Chalmers. I must tell you first, then, that of all men he is the most modest, and speaks with undissembled gentleness and liberality of those who differ from him in opinion. Every word he says has the stamp of genius; yet the calmness, ease, and simplicity of his conversation is such that to ordinary minds be might appear an ordinary man. I had a great intellectual feast about three weeks since - I breakfasted with him at a friend's house, and enjoyed his society for two hours with great delight. Conversation wandered into various channels, but he was always powerful, always gentle, and always seemed quite unconscious of his own superiority. I had not been an hour at home when a guest arrived, who had become a stranger to me for some time past. It was (Sir) Walter Scott, who sat a long time with me, and was, as he always is, delightfül; his good nature, good humour, and simplicity are truly charming: you never once think of his superiority, because it is evident he does not think of it himself. He, too, confirmed the maxim, that true genius is ever modest and careless; after his greatest literary triumphs he is like Hardyknute's son after a victory, when we are told, - With careless gesture, mind unmoved, On rode he o'wre the plain. Mary and I could not help observing certain similarities between these two extraordinary persons (Chalmers and Scott:) the same quiet unobtrusive humour, the same flow of rich original conversation, easy, careless, and visibly unpremeditated; the same indulgence for others, and readiness to give attention and interest to any subject started by others. There was a more chastened dignity and occasional elevation in the Divine than in the Poet; but many resembling features in their modes of thinking and manner of expression
Letter from Mrs. Grant of Laggan re. a visit on 24th July 1824

"He was not one man, he was a thousand men" - Sidney Smith (found in Brown's Horae Subsecivae)

Quotes - by Chalmers

On going to St. Andrews and being invited to live with Dr. Duncan, Prof. of Mathematics.
" I do famously here with Mr. Duncan" he says to Mrs. Chalmers after about a weeks experience of St. Andrews, " but long, notwithstanding, for your safe and comfortable settlement at St. Andrews.....I am quite overcrowded and they seem to think that another and larger room will be indispensible. I get up at 6.00 o'clock - have a morning diet of study before breakfast, then a forenoon diet between one and three, and my last is between tea and supper. With this amount of study, I think that I shall get tolerably on, and be able to converse with my dear family between dinner and tea. I walk before dinner. This day I made my students laugh at my expense by calling them "my brethren" instead of "gentlemen";Mr. Duncan has the advantage of me today by laughing at it, too, though I think in this sort of rivalship I generally have the advantage of him"

Quoted by Rev. Hanna in his Biography

On concluding his essay on Guthrie's "Christian's Great Interest", and demonstrating his sound and fervent evangelical heart
" Nor is his clear and scriptural exhibition of the dispensation of grace less fitted to guide the humble inquirer into the way of salvation. As a faithful ambassador of Christ, he is free and unreserved in his offers of pardon and reconciliation, through the death and obedience of Christ, to the acceptance of sinners; but he is no less faithful in stating and asserting the claims of the gospel, to an unshrinking and universal obedience, and to an undisputed supremacy over the heart and affections."

On his view of Catechisms and Confessions
Busied with his pamphlet on the Evangelical Alliance, in which he was dealing with the proper plan and use of Confessions of Faith
"I look on Catechisms" he said to one of his daughters "as mere landmarks against heresey. If there had been no heresey, they wouldn't have been wanted. It's putting them out of their place to look on them as magazines of truth. There's some of your sour orthodox folk just over-ready to stretch the Bible to square with their Catechism; all very well, all very needful as a landmark, but (kindling up) what I say is, do not let that wretched, mutilated thing be thrown between me and the Bible."

On The preaching of Mr. Edward Irvine
"Thursday. - Irving and I went to Bedford Square. Mr. and Mrs. Montague took us out in their carriage to Highgate, where we spent three hours with the great Coleridge. He lives with Dr. and Mrs. Gillman on the same footing that Cowper did with the Unwins. His (Coleridge) conversation, which flowed in a mighty unremitting stream, is most astonishing, but, I must confess, to me still unintelligible. I caught occasional glimpses of what he would be at, but mainly he was very far out of all sight and all sympathy. I hold it, however, a great acquisition to have become acquainted with him. You know that Irving sits at his feet, and drinks in the inspiration of every syllable that falls from him. There is a secret and to me as yet unintelligible communion of spirit betwixt them, on the ground of a certain German mysticism and transcendental lake-poetry which I am not yet up to. Gordon says it is all unintelligible nonsense, and I am sure a plain Fife man as uncle "Tammas", had he been alive, would have pronounced it the greatest buff he had ever heard in his life.
"Friday. - Mr. Irving conducted the preliminary service in the National Church. There was a prodigious want of tact in the length of his prayer, forty minutes, and altogether it was an hour and a half from the commencement of the service 'ere I began. After I came down met a number of acquaintances in the vestry. * * * The dinner took place at five o clock - many speeches - Mr. Irving certainly errs in the outrunning of sympathy.
Returning from this interview, Dr. Chalmers remarked to Mr. Irving upon the obscurity of Mr. Coleridge's utterances, and said, that for his part he liked to see all sides of an idea before taking up with it. "Ha!" , said Mr. Irving in reply, "you Scotchmen would handle an idea as a butcher handles an ox. For my part, I love to see an idea looming through the mist."
Journal May 1827.

On "Preaching the Gospel to Every Creature"
John Urquhart, one of his students at St. Andrews, was walking with him one day, visiting the sick and poor as they went, and greeting all familiarly "This" he said as we were going along " is what I call preaching the gospel to every creature; that cannot be done by setting yourself up in a pulpit, as a centre of attraction, but by going forth and making aggressive movements upon the community, and by preaching from house to house"
Memoirs of John Urquhart vol.2

On Meeting Afflictions
"for if it be true that love casts out fear, it is just as true that fear keepeth out love"
From Sermons on Romans, no 67.

On Decent men who are hostile to what they disagree with
Chalmers wrote to an elderly friend, Rev. Dr. Muirhead, after some very hostile comments over his attempts to get the right sort of moderator for the General Assembly
"I have often felt that the bustle of too active and varied sphere of exertion is adverse to the growth of one's personal and spiritual Christianity. In my own case this hostile influence, I fear, has been much aggravated by the injustice which I have received at the hands of old aquaintances....who in their extreme love of peace, have reversed the apostolical order of first pure and then peaceable, and who by their eagerness for peace and neglect of principle, have left me to complain of calumnies still unretracted - of grievances still unredressed."
Memoirs Vol.4 p.15. . . THE TEXT IS from JAMES 3:17

From Adam Philip's "Thomas Chalmers"
"Sayings of Thomas Chalmers"

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