Letter to a Young Preacher
Written in 1834
His experience of business in his father's banking-house, the leisure he
enjoyed for enlarging his stores of general information, had all their
influence in making him the many-sided man he became. They gave him a breadth
of view and an acquaintance with the world which few ministers possess; and so,
God overruled what, at the time, was a sore trial to His servant's faith and
patience for His own wise ends. Writing from Arbirlot ten years thereafter to a
young preacher who had been disappointed in a case of popular election, and
looking back on the way in which he had himself been led, he says
"Manse of Arbirlot, 13th August, 1834. "
I am better here than I would have been had any of my disappointments in regard to other places turned out appointments. I had all along the best of interest; and yet had to lie five years by the pool, and when you have waited as long, I shall hand you over for comfort to - (?) who waited twelve, I think; and, by-the-bye, the very way another man has got in before you, holds out a good prospect of ultimate success. It shows how strong and able to bear up a fellow the popular wave has become, and were I a preacher, I would trust more to that, nowadays, than to being at the head of Lord Panmure's list.
"There is a motive for exertion which may keep a man busy, busy day and night improving himself,
instead of laying, as I did for five years, like a log on a dead-calm sea, wearying for a breeze that would blow me into harbour. You can now ply your oars and row yourself in; and to that, my man, you, like all other preachers who have sense and sound, must set yourself with might and main. There is no saying what popular preachers, some of us settled lads might have been, had we lived as preachers in these days!
(?) - has tried to get into - (?) by popular support, but has been nearly drowned in the surf. Though he is a pious lad, and though he was supported by the two or three farmers who have almost the whole parish in lease, yet, much to the credit of the people, it was no go. He is not a popular preacher; and they would neither be cajoled nor dragooned, I suppose, into the concern."
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