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the Presbytery of Stirling and Falkirk, from whom he received his license to preach the glorious Gospel. His first sermon was preached in the pulpit of the Rev. Professor Harper, D.D., of Leith, under whose pastorate he had placed himself after Mr Aitchison's death. His text on that occasion was 1 Peter ii. 25, “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” It was a well-composed discourse, of logical arrangement, as to language tersely and tastefully expressed, and upon the whole of striking effect. His utterance was rapid and a little thickish, his manner natural, and his earnestness warm though not effervescent. To the end of his life there was a certain degree of flurry in his style of utterance, traceable to a constitutional nervousness he could not altogether control. He became an acceptable but not a popular preacher. He desired a speedy settlement. One year after another, however, found his name still upon the list of probationers. He got dispirited, and meditated the adoption of some other calling About this time he was sent up to London to supply the pulpit of Albion Chapel, which was vacant by the death of Mr Gray. This was quite a place to his liking. He was much appreciated by the congregation. He was for six weeks the guest of the late Alderman Sir John Pirie, one of the members of Albion Church. The former minister had died under Sir John's roof. To Mr Mackelvie Sir John proposed the writing of a memoir of Mr Gray, and the editing of a volume of his sermons. To this he consented. There was much in Mr Gray's antecedents which reminded Mr Mackelvie of his own, and he betook himself to the task with a keen relish. He accomplished it creditably.
On his return to the north, he was appointed to supply the church at Balgedie, Kinross-shire, by which he was unanimously called on the 16th of April 1829. On the 6th of August following he was ordained the minister of Balgedie by the Presbytery of Dunfermline. He was introduced to his new charge on the next Sabbath, by his early friend the Rev. William Lourie of Lauder. His first text was taken from Heb. xiii. 17, "Obey them that have the rule over you," etc. And so life's steep ascent was thus far reached. It was well and bravely done, though the issue was not what he had wished and hoped it should be. “ London” was his proposal ; Balgedie was God's disposal. His inexperience led him to take a false estimate of his own qualifications; the wisdom and mercy of the “Master” he was to serve led him forth by another way. Many a time in after years he blessed God for that " way.” Two great works were before him, besides those of the Gospel ministry—“The Life and Vindication of Michael Bruce,” the earliest poet of the Secession Church, and “ The Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church.” It is next to certain that he would never have thought of either had he been settled down in any other part of the country. It is well for themselves, and best for Christ's cause, when the ministers of religion receive their appointments from above-otherwise they may be found to be “of the earth, earthy."
Balgedie is a small straggling hamlet at the foot of one of the Lomond Hills, Kinross-shire, and upon the north-eastern bank of Loch Leven. It is one of those places which may be called “ Patmos.” Of society it cannot boast ; of trade there is scarce a murmur; and the noise of the far-off world seldom crosses the bosom of the sweet lake upon whose shores stand the church and manse of the United Presbyterian Church. At the first the young minister felt as if exiled. He liked some of the world's stir, and rather courted than refused its bracing excitements. But in the manse at Balgedie he felt the danger of degenerating into the anchorite. The parishioners were for the most part like Jacob of old, “plain people," and though not living in
“ tents,” inhabited humble dwellings, and soared no higher than respectable proprietors of their own farms, or labourers thereon. Everything about was intensely rural. Many had misgivings as to Mr Mackelvie's suitability for the situation. He himself doubted it. He had studied men, and considered that he knew them. The light, and not the shade, he reckoned ought to have been his lot; and from the depressions and disadvantages of an unpatronised youth-time he claimed the right to go up to the battle and the breeze of manhood experiences, in the hope that, if he did not “cut a figure,” he should at least be more useful.
The Balgedie pastor was, from the beginning to the close of his ministry, perseveringly diligent. His heart was really in "the work," of which no portion was neglected. His chief labour, however, was in his library and upon his discourses. These were prepared with care, as the volume published since his death testifies and proves. He fed his people with the “finest of the wheat.” He constantly enriched his own mind by reading. He collected a large and select library, and no man could make a better use of it. This appeared in the varied and useful information of his public prelections, and in those powers of conversation which made him an intelligent and instructive companion. He particularly excelled in expounding Scripture; he went at once to the root of the matter, and pointed morals with a clearness and force which won for him the confidence and admiration of his flock. He was ever busy also without the manse. He regularly visited once a year the members of the congregation, especially the sick, the bereaved, and the dying, to whom he was indeed “a son of consolation." To the young he was a most interesting instructor, and never failed to intensify their attention upon the subjects which he handled in the Bible-classes. His extensive reading highly qualified him for this important duty. The consequence of all was, he brought together one of the most intelligent and pious congregations in the district, and he kept them in peace and prosperity while he lived. Still, with plenty to do, and a heart to do it, he felt that. something should be devised by him to prevent ennui and sloth while in the seclusion of his rural abode. For a time he had his hands filled with improvements of the ground and garden around the manse, where, as he found them, there were neither walks nor fences, fruits nor flowers. It was a little wilderness, but, under his horticultural taste and care, it soon became beautiful and attractive. He for long divided his time between that garden and his study. Both were models, and from both came forth good fruit. He studied botany to enrich the one, and theology to empower the other. A paradise, however, though it became, “ Eve” was awanting to make his happiness complete; so he took to himself an “helpmeet” on the 6th of May 1836, when he was married to Miss M‘Intosh, daughter of the late Dr John M'Intosh, of Long Acre, London. His prudence and sagacity were never more conspicuous than in this choice. The manse became as "paradise regained”-never “lost.” Mrs Mackelvie and her two sons still live, else more might be added concerning them. Let it be here recorded to their praise, that in them he found valuable encouragement and help in the preparation of his great work—the present volume.
Dr Mackelvie was the planner of what was called “ The Dick Club," an association formed of those ministers who had studied under Professor Dick at Glasgow. It is referred to simply because at its first meeting, in the saloon of the “Royal Hotel,” Edinburgh, he mooted the idea of a “ Life of Michael Bruce," whose birth and burial places were in the vicinity of Balgedie. The paper he read upon that occasion so excited the enthusiasm of the Club, that there and then he was unanimously requested to draw up and publish a new and extended life of the poet. He consented, on condition that the profits of the volume, if any, should be applied to the erection of a monument to Bruce in the churchyard where his remains lay. In August 1837 this work was published. In addition, however, to the “Life” and the “Poems," it contained a careful, discriminating, and eminently successful vindication of Bruce's right to the authorship of certain “Paraphrases and Odes” hitherto claimed for Logan,* who had been his companion in early life. Kinnesswood, the village where Bruce was born, was in the immediate neighbourhood of “the manse,” and by some of its inhabitants the poet was remembered, and to them certain of his poems were quite familiar. In his intercourse with them, Dr Mackelvie speedily discovered that Logan must have pirated some of the best of the poems of the weaver's son, and published them as his own. This set him to work. He hunted up and down for evidence wherever it could be found, and in the end he was successful. Thus he rescued from the hands of a pilferer “ The Ode to the Cuckoo,” pronounced by the Lord Chancellor of England to be the “finest ode in the English language," and some of our most beautiful paraphrases. The work is in every way most creditable to him, and brought him golden opinions from other quarters than his own club. Literary men discerned the act of justice, and complimented the author accordingly. Among other tributes, he got the thanks of “the Lord Chief-Commissioner Adam” of Blairadam; of Dr Baird, Principal of the Edinburgh University ; of William and Robert Chambers, Esqs., the eminent authors and publishers; of William Young, Esq., W.S., etc., etc. Mr Young invited him to Harburn (his country seat, near West-Calder), and had the generosity to say, in his letter of invitation, “I am really at a loss to express to you my approbation of the manner in which you have executed the work, and the justice you have done to the talents and memory of a most extraordinary youth, more especially by rescuing them from the fangs of a poisonous reptile.” The edition of the work was soon sold, and with the profits he at once erected the present chaste monument that rises upon the poet's grave in the churchyard of Portmoak. It was about this time that the honorary degree of D.D. was conferred upon him by the College of Hamilton, Ohio, an honour which he highly appreciated, and all the more because it came to him from America. It is perhaps not much to the credit of the United Presbyterian Church that the poems of Bruce, her earliest and best poet, are by no means so widely known and patronised as they assuredly ought to be.
Dr Mackelvie was not sectarian. He preferred his own, but regarded with fraternal love all other Churches. Indeed, he could not endure the bigotry of sect. This catholicity of spirit led him at an early period to take a deep interest in what used to be called “The Relief Union.” He has the merit of having introduced the first motion upon the subject to the Presbytery of Dunfermline in April 1834. This led to other similar motions in several Presbyteries; and for thirteen years thereafter, amid good and bad report, he stuck gallantly to his union colours, and had the satisfaction of seeing that union consummated in Edinburgh upon the 13th May 1847. The United Synod appreciated his services, appointed him to draw up “The Narrative of the Union,” which he most creditably executed, and elected him as its “Moderator” in 1856. After this he retired to the amenities of his peaceful retreat. Having gained the object of his heart, he never again appeared in the public actions of the Church, seemingly quite satisfied that he had done his duty, and done it effectually. It is just to him, however, to record that, during
* One of the ministers of the Established Church in Leith.
the thirteen years of this “Union” agitation, he published in the United Secession Magazine a series of seven letters upon the subject, thereby preparing the minds of both Churches for what was before them. Perhaps these compositions are the most creditable to his head and heart of all his publications. They were no doubt ephemeral in their nature and influence, but the object at which they so wisely and eloquently aimed has been reached, and will ever redound to his praise.
Dr Mackelvie also took a great interest in the cause of “ National Education.” Had he lived till now, it would have gratified him to find his liberal views not only in the ascendant, but actually embodied in the legislation of his native land. To him, above all his brethren, must the recent appointment of his learned and revered friend, Dr James Taylor, to the office of “Secretary to the Scotch Board of National Education ” have been specially gratifying, had he been spared to witness it. In furtherance of his views, he sent five long and elaborate articles to the Voluntary Church Magazine. The topics he discusses in them are—“National Education as to Quantity," "as to Quality," “ Claims of the Church Clergy," “Eegislative Interference,” and “ Legislative Interference continued.” He pleads for Government aid in behalf of schools, but denounces it in behalf of Churches. “No Voluntary," he writes, “need fear that he is in any way committing himself when he contends for the one and opposes the other. The inhabitants of the United States are not dunces, and they have practically shown how broad is the distinction between them ; for while they have made the most ample State provision for their schools, they have left each sect to support its own place of worship; and let this truth be indelibly impressed upon the mind of every well-wisher of Britain, that till a system of universal education be established, the great proportion of its inhabitants will never be anything else than semi-barbarians and intolerant bigots.”
The great work by which Dr Mackelvie is to be remembered in our Church is “The Annals and Statistics,” which are now given to the world. In the beginning of 1839. he informed the writer of this notice that he was considerably advanced in preparing a complete list of the ministers and students of the Secession Church for a hundred years. His design was to publish these statistics as soon as he got the lists completed. The approaching union with the Relief Church caused him to balt, and on its consummation he had entirely to recast them, that the names and congregations of that denomination might be incorporated. To execute this work, he underwent a vast deal of worrying labour. If Dr Johnson and Dr Jamieson had earned the title of “ Lexicographers," that of “Statist” is certainly due to the patient and painstaking pastor of Balgedie. How he came to think of such a work is not known. In all probability, however, the idea was suggested to his mind by a request from Dr M‘Kerrow of Bridge of Teith at the time he was preparing his “ History of the Secession Church.” He had sent out circulars to all the ministers of the Secession, at that time numbering 360, asking information regarding the origin of their congregations, the erection of the places of worship, the ordinations and removals of the ministers, the number of members, the means of instruction for the young, and other points of interest. Only 210 returned answers to this circular; and, in consequence of this, he altered his intention, as stated in his Appendix, of giving the statistics of each congregation. It was in September 1830, thirteen months after his ordination, that Dr Mackelvie sent the desired information to Dr MKerrow. Was this the nest-egg of the volume which is now hatched ? He continued to work upon this “magnum opus ” till he injured his health. In 1843 he thus writes: “I have done very little to the
‘Statistics' since winter, and will not be able to return to them with constancy till the long evenings set in. I am done with the Presbytery of Paisley and Greenock; so that, by looking at the almanac, you will see how much remains in the history of the congregations. But I am only half through the work when that is finished. I mean to give a summary of all the matters contained in the lists in the form of narrative; so that I have at least a year's work before me, even though I do nothing besides.” Again, in 1844, he writes : “I am toiling night and day at my ‘Statistics,' and do not wish to be taken away one hour from them that has not some imperative demand upon me;" and again, in 1855: “You urge me to delay not the ‘Statistics.' There is no hurry. They will lose nothing by delay, but rather gain by it. A time of war, high income-tax, and stagnation of trade, is not a suitable time for publishing books, especially books of limited interest, large in size, necessarily expensive, and adapted for consultation rather than reading. I am afraid the work will not be a very valuable one at any time, and confess to some hesitation about publishing it at all. Of its utility I have no doubt, but that utility would be chiefly confined to United Presbyterian ministers and students. I do not expect that it will even reimburse me for the labour bestowed upon it and the expense incurred by it, much less that it will afford me any profit. I have already injured my health by it, for I ascribe much of a former illness to a fit of intense application to it. I am not disposed to subject myself to a similar ordeal again, if I can avoid it; and therefore the Statistics' must bide my leisure, inclination, and slow progress, though their continuance in my portfolio till death be the result.” And in his portfolio they did lie till the diligent hand that had designed and arranged them lay motionless. The work is now his legacy to the Church, and the Synod has done well in sending it down to the congregations in its present completed form. It is only just to Dr Mackelvie to add, that in plodding for his materials, he left no stone unturned. He searched keenly the session records of all those congregations to which he had access. He laid under obligation to help him his numerous personal friends throughout the Church, and he spared neither labour nor expense nor health to make the work complete. To realise the length and breadth of these researches, one has only to imagine the amount of correspondence they entailed, and the innumerable dates and facts which had to be secured and compiled, and that, too, often after repeated appeals and vexatious delays, and sometimes uncourteous refusals. One of his sons thus writes: “His hours of labour, as well as his correspondence and outlay, it is impossible to estimate. I have but too vivid a recollection of my school holidays being utilised every forenoon to transcribe at his dictation collected materials, or to copy into his note-book the newspaper accounts of kirk meetings and congregational jubilees when any statistics could be got. But this was in the later times of the 'tri-weekly newspaper, and afterwards the 'penny daily.' The earlier and chief part of his work was, as you know, done at a time when news were scanty, and the multitudinous letters about it were written and received for a long time during the high rates of postage. This, and the many journeys he undertook when travelling was not so cheap as now, will give you some idea of his labours and sacrifices in connection with the work. As to his disappointments and discouragements, you will readily understand their number and their nature. He did not reveal them to us. He was too real a man to let such circumstances daunt him, much less to show his discomfiture to others.”
The work at the “Statistics "continued less or more up to about 1860. He then