Page images
PDF
EPUB

His silver trumpets publish loud

The jubilee of the Lord;
Our debts are all remitted now,

Our heritage restor'd.
Our glad hosannahs, Prince of Peace,

Thy welcome shall proclaim;
And heaven's eternal arches ring

With thy beloved name.

§ 142. There is one hymn more, I shall beg leave to add, plain as it is, which Colonel Gardiner has been heard to mention with particular regard, as expressing the inmost sentiments of his soul; and they were undoubtedly so, in the last rational moments of his expiring life. It is called, Christ precious to the believer; and was composed to be sung after a sermon on i Pet. ii. 7.

Jesus! I love thy charming name,

'Tis music to my ear:
Fain would I sound it out so loud,

That earth and heaven should hear!
Yes, thou art precious to my soul,

My transport, and my trust;
Jewels to thee are gaudy toys,

And gold is sordid dust.
All my capacious powers can wish,

In thee most richly meet:
Nor to my eyes is life so dear,

Nor friendship half so sweet.
Thy grace still dwells upon my heart,

And sheds its fragrance there;
The noblest balm of all its wounds,

The cordial of its care.
I'll speak the honours of thy name

With my last labouring breath;
Then speechless clasp thee in my arms,

The antidote of deatli.

§ 143. Those who were intimate with Colonel Gardiner must have observed, how ready he was to give a devotional turn to any subject that occurred. And in particular, the spiritual and heavenly disposition of his soul discovered itself in the reflections and improvements, which he made, when reading history ; in which he took a great deal of pleasure, as persons remarkable for their knowledge of mankind, and observation of Providence, generally do. I have an instance of this before me, which, though too natural to be at all surprising, will, I dare say, be pleasing to the devout mind. He had just been reading, in Rollin's extract from Xenophon, the answer which the lady of Tigranes made, when all the company were extolling Cyrus, and, expressing the admiration, with which his appearance and behaviour struck them; the question being asked her, What she thought of him? She answered, I don't know, I did not observe him. On what then, said one of the

company, did you fix your attention? On him, replied she, (referring to the generous speech which her husband had just made,) who said he would give a thousand lives to 'ransom my liberty. “Oh," cried the Colonel when reading it,“ how ought we to fix our eyes and hearts on him, who not in offer, but in reality, gave his own precious life to ransom us from the most dreadful slavery, and from eternal destruction !" But this is only one instance among a thousand. His heart was so habitually set upon divine things, and he had such a permanent and overflowing sense of the love of Christ, that he could not forbear connecting such reflections, with a multitude of more distant occasions occurring in daily life, where less advanced Christians would not have thought of them : And thus, like our great Master, he made, every little incident a source of devotion, and an instrument of holy zeal.

$ 144. Enfeebled as his constitution was, he was still intent on improving his time to some valuable purposes : And when his friends expostulated with him, that he gave his body so little rest, he used to answer, “ It will rest long enough in the grave.”

§ 145. The July before his death, he was persuaded to take a journey to Scarborough for the recovery of his health ; from which he was at least encouraged to expect some little revival. After this he had thoughts of going to London, and designed to have spent part of September at Northampton. The expectation of this was mutually agreeable ; but providence saw fit to disconcert the scheme. His love for his friends in these parts occasioned him to express some regret on his being commanded back : And I am pretty confident, from the manner, in which he expressed himself in one of his last letters to me, that he had some more important reasons for wishing an opportunity of making a London journey just at that crisis; which, the reader will remember, was before the rebellion broke out. But as Providence determined it otherwise, he acquiesced; and I am well satisfied, that could he have distinctly foreseen the approaching event, so far as it concerned his own person, he would have esteemed it the happiest summons he received. While he was at Scarborough, I find by a letter dated from thence, July 26, 1745, that he had been informed of the gaiety, which so unseasonably prevailed at Edinburgh, where great multitudes were then spending their time in balls, assemblies, and plays, little mindful of the rod of God which was then hanging over them; on which occasion, he hath this expression : “ I am greatly surprised, that the people of Edinburgh should be employed in such foolish diversions, when our situation is at present more melancholy than ever I saw it in my life. But there is one thing which I am very sure of, that comforts me, viz. that it shall go well with the righteous, come what will."

$ 146. Quickly after his return home, the flame burst out, and his regiment was ordered to Stirling. It was in the castle there, that his Lady and eldest daughter enjoyed the last happy hours of his company; and I think, it was about ten or twelve days before his death, that he parted from them there. A remarkable circumstance attended that parting, which hath been touched upon by surviving friends in more than one of their letters to me.

His Lady was so affected when she took her last leave of him, that she could not forbear bursting out into a flood of tears, with other marks of unusual emotion. And when he asked her the reason, she urged the apprehension, she had of losing such an invaluable friend, amidst the dangers to which he was then called out, as a very sufficient apology. Upon which she took particular notice, that whereas he had generally comforted her on such occasions, by pleading with her that remarkable hand of Providence, which had so frequently in former instances been exerted for his preservation, and that in the greatest extremity, he said nothing of it now; but only replied, in his sententious manner, “ We have an eternity to spend together.”

§ 147. That heroic contempt of death, which had often discovered itself in the midst of former dangers, was manifested now in his discourse with several of his most intimate friends. I have reserved for this place one genuine expression of it many years before, which I thought might be mentioned with some advantage here. In July, 1725, he had been sent to some place, not far from Hamilton, to quell a mutiny among some of our troops. I know not the particular occasion; but I remember to have heard him mention it as so fierce a one, that he scarce ever apprehended himself in a more hazardous circumstance, Yet he quelled it, by his presence alone, and the expostulations he used ; evidently putting his life into his hand to do it. The particulars of the story struck me much; but I do not so exactly remember them, as to venture to relate them here. I only observe, that in a letter dated July 16, that year, which I have now before me, and which evidently refers to this event, he writes thus: “ I have been very busy, hurried about from place to place; but blessed be God, all is over without bloodshed. And pray let me ask, What made you shew so much concern for me in your last? Were you afraid, I should get to heaven before you? Or can any evil befall those, who are followers of that which is good *?

$ 148. And as these were his sentiments in the vigour of his days, so neither did declining years and the infirmities of a broken constitution on the one hand, nor any desires of enjoying the honours and profits of so high a station, or, what was much more to him, the converse of the most affectionate of wives and so many amiable children and friends on the other, enervate his spirits in the least : But as he had in former years often expressed it, to me and several others, as his desire, “ that if it were the will of God, he might have some honourable call to sacrifice his life in defence of religion and the liberties of his country;" so, when it appeared to him most probable that he might be called to it immediately, he met the summons with the greatest readiness. This appears in part from a letter which he wrote to the Reverend Mr. Adams of Falkirk, just as he was on marching from Stirling, which was only eight days before his death : “ The rebels” says he, “ are advancing to cross the Firth ; but I trust in the Almighty God, who doth whatsoever he pleases, in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.” And the same gentleman tells me, that a few days after the date of this, he marched through Falkirk with his regiment ; and though he was then in so languishing a state, that he needed his assistance as a secretary to write for some reinforcement, which might put it in his power to make a stand, as he was very desirous to have done, he expressed a most genuine and noble contempt of life, when to be exposed in the defence of a worthy cause.

* I doubt not, but this will remind some of my readers of that noble speech of Zuinglius, when (according to the usage of that country, attending his flock to a battle, in which their religion and liberties were all at stake, on his receiving a mortal wound by a bullet, of which he soon expired, while his friends were in all the first astonishment of grief, he bravely said as he was dying, “ Ecquid hoc Infortunii ? Is this “ to be reckoned a misfortune ?" How many of our Deists would have celebrated such a sentencc, if it had come from the lips of an ancient Roman? Strange, that the name of Christ should be so odious, that, the brightest virtues of his followers should be despised for his sake! but so it is ; and so our Master told us, it would be: And our faith is in this connection confirmed by those, that strive most to overthrow it.

§ 149. These sentiments wrought in him to the last, in the most effectual manner ; and he seemed for a while to have infused them into the regiment which he commanded : For they expressed such a spirit in their march from Stirling, that I am assured, the Colonel was obliged to exert all his authority to prevent their making incursions on the rebel army, which then lay very near them ; and had it been thought proper to send him the reinforcement he requested, none can say what the consequence might have been. But he was ordered to march as fast as possible, to meet Sir John Cope's forces at Dunbar, which he did : And that hasty retreat, in concurrence with the news which they soon after received, of the surrender of Edinburgh to the rebels, (as there is great reason to believe, by the treachery of a few, in opposition to the judgment of by far the greater and better part of the inhabitants,) struck a panic into both the regiments of dragoons, which became visible in some very apparent and remarkable circumstances in their behaviour, which I forbear to relate. This affected Colo. nel Gardiner so much, that on the Thursday before the fatal action at Preston-Pans, he intimated to an officer of considerable rank and note, from whom I had it by a very sure channel of conveyance, that he expected the event would be, as in fact

In this view, there is all imaginable reason to believe, he had formed his resolution as to his own personal conduct, which was, “ that he would not, in case of the flight of those under his command, retreat with them;" by which, as it seemed, he was reasonably apprehensive, he might have stained the honour of his former services, and have given some occasion for the enemy to have spoken reproachfully. He much rather chose, if Providence gave him the call, to leave in his death an example of fidelity and bravery, which might very probably be, as in fact it seems indeed to have been, of much greater importance to his country, than any other service, which, in the few days of remaining life, he could expect to render it. I conclude these to have been his views, not only from what I knew of his general character and temper, but likewise from some intimations which he gave to a very worthy person from Edinburgh, who visited him the day before the action; to whom he said, “ I cannot influence the conduct of others, as I could wish; but I have one life to sacrifice to my country's safety, and I shall not spare it ;" or words to this effect. $ 150. I have heard such a multitude of inconsistent re

it was.

« PreviousContinue »