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day; and in pointing out its distinguished characteristics, as compared with genuine vital godliness, discovered no ordinary power of discrimination and acquaintance with the workings of the human heart. Nor did he leave the suitable inculcation of moral duties unattended to, but bringing them before his people in their Scriptural connexion with that faith which alone purifies the heart, works by love, and overcomes the world, he strenuously urged them, by every motive which the Gospel presents, to follow after that “ holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”
In the performance of his pulpit duties, Dr Colquhoun was more than usually incessant, being sel. dom or never absent from his own congregation, unless when assisting some of his brethren at communion solemnities, and these were by no means frequent. Till the infirmities of declining life came upon him, besides doing duty twice every Sabbath, he occasionally preached at night also; while he a stated lecture every Thursday evening during summer. How much, and what varied instruction, too, those who regularly waited on his ministry must have received, may be judged of by the fact, that in addition to the multitude of sermons, in the course of more than forty years, which he addressed to them, he during that time lectured through the whole of the New Testament, and the Book of the Psalms, with other passages of the Old Testament; thus affording them the means of being taught the truths contained in almost every portion of the Divine record.
It was not till 1813 that Mr Colquhoun appeared as an author; but in that year his “ Treatise on Spiritual Comfort” was published; and, to the no small gratification of many who anxiously wished that he would favour the religious world with the
result of his thoughts on other points of Christian doctrine, as well as experience, it was followed at successive intervals by his other works, viz. in 1815, “On the Law and the Gospel ;" in 1818, “On the V Covenant of Grace;" in 1821, “A Catechism for the Instruction and Direction of Young Communicants;" in 1822, “On the Covenant of Works ;" in 1824, “ A View of Saving Faith from the Sacred Records;" in 1825, "A Collection of the Promises of the Gospel, arranged under their proper Heads, with Reflections and Exhortations deduced from them;" and lastly, in 1826, "A View of Evangelical Repentance from the Sacred Records.”
What a favourable reception each of these publications met with on their first appearance, not only from the author's personal friends, but from the friends of religious truth in general, is still fresh in the recollection of many; and the estimation in which they were then held has not since diminished. Of this, did the limits prescribed to this Memoir admit, abundant evidence might be adduced. But, besides referring to the commendatory terms in which they were noticed in a number of periodical Reviews, we have only room to quote a few sentences from two letters, the one addressed to Dr Colquhoun himself, on receiving a copy of his first treatise, by his endeared brother in the ministry, the late Mr Bonar, of Cramond, whose spiritual worth and saintly character will not soon be forgotten; and the other to Mrs Colquhoun, immediately after her husband's death, from Dr Burns, of Paisley, who revered him as a master in Israel, and was well qualified justly to appreciate the value of his works.
“I am more and more convinced,” said Mr Bonar, “ that according to the degree of our spiritual consolation, and the measure of our rejoicing in glorious Immanuel as our all, so will be our stedfastness and progress in all the other graces of the divine life. I have often lamented in secret, that even
the Lord's own children seem so little impressed with the vast importance of rejoicing in the Lord, in the faith of the Gospel, and in the lively hope of purchased, promised, prepared, approaching glory. I rejoice to think that you, dear brother, have been stirred up to set this important subject in a truly evangelical light. Though I trust you will be long spared to labour, with growing comfort and success, in our Lord's vineyard, yet I rejoice to think, that when you and I lie mouldering in the dust, generations yet unborn will read your work with tears of gratitude, and will magnify the God of Zion for your book ‘On Spiritual Comfort.'
“I have always," are the words of Dr Burns, “looked upon Dr Colquhoun as one of our most valuable scriptural divines, while his life and labours afforded a bright pattern of the sanctifying tendency of the doctrines he taught, and which are truly doctrines according to godliness. His works afford a most gratifying addition to the Christian library, exhibiting clear views of Divine truth, and abounding in scriptural illustration admirably appropriate. I had occasion within these few weeks, in the course of my ordinary pulpit preparations, to consult, with particular care, his treatises on Spiritual Comfort,' and on The Covenant of Grace;' and from both I obtained all the satisfaction which I wished; and I am sure more would not have been obtained from the perusal of many volumes of a much larger size. I have no doubt that these excellent works will more and more become favourites with the sincere lovers of evangelical truth; and they well deserve a place in the domestic library of every Christian family.”
It was not, however, by means of the pulpit or the press only that Dr C. employed his time and talents in the service and work of the great Head of the Church. He regularly visited, and publicly catechised his congregation : closely examining each individual, old and young, on the important doctrines and duties of the word of God, according to the order in which they are stated in the Assembly Catechisms-exercises which, from the manner in which he conducted then were felt to be truly edifying by those who had the privilege of attending on them. In his ministerial visitations he
went from house to house; and after being in each separately, collected a number together, and often spent an hour and a half with them in exhortation and prayer. Much time also he devoted to the suitable instruction of the young, who applied to him for admission to the Lord's-table, having stated monthly meetings with them for that purpose, besides more frequently conversing with them individually; anxiously labouring to lead them, by every means, to Christ for salvation, before thinking himself warranted to receive them into the fellowship of the church. Every Friday evening, too, he set v apart for religious conversation with such of his friends as chose to avail themselves of the general invitation which he gave to his acquaintance to meet with him on these occasions,-the remembrance of which is still endearing and grateful to many who were wont to resort to the hallowed chamber, where he sat, and talked with them as their father, and teacher, and friend. His talent for religious conversation, indeed, as well as for giving wise and judicious counsel on every subject connected with religious duty, was of no ordinary kind. Many students, accordingly, who were preparing for the ministry, and to whom he was peculiarly accessible, were in the habit of visiting him on these occasions, and never retired without profiting by his instructions or advice. Then, and at other times when they waited on him, they found him ever ready to listen to their inquiries, and to recommend to them the most suitable books on every topic on which they wished information; at the same time affectionately tendering to them many valuable exhortations respecting the method in which they should prosecute their several studies. In particular, he often exhorted them to make themselves well acquainted with the subjects on which
they intended to write, and to seek that the Lord would lead them into a close and experimental knowledge of his whole counsel and will in regard to them ; and then would have added, 660! see that
do not study your subjects in a superficial manner, for, if you do, when you come to preach, you will neither be intelligible nor instructive to your hearers.”
The depth of his own piety also, and his just and discriminating views of saving truth, peculiarly fitted him for being greatly useful to persons under spiritual distress. Many, accordingly, came even from a distance to consult him in their perplexities; and though he might never have seen or heard of them before, he entered as readily and tenderly into their cases as if they had belonged to his own flock, whilst scarcely any one ever left him without essentially benefiting by his counsels and prayers.
At times, likewise, he was requested to state in writing his opinion on particular cases of Christian experience; which he readily did : and how judiciously he treated the points of doctrine and duty so brought under his notice, may be satisfactorily learned from the following passage of a letter, in which, at the desire of a friend, he gave his views of a subject that has perplexed the mind of many a Christian, and with regard to which his sentiments may not be unimportant to others similarly exercised.
“My views respecting impressions of promises or other passages of Scripture, upon the minds of believers, are these : Impressions, especially of promises with power and sweetness, are sometimes, yea, often, made on the minds of many exercised Christians. Now, the first thing the Christian should do, when he feels such an impression, is, to inquire diligently, in dependance on illuminating grace, whether the impression has been made by the Spirit of truth, or by the father of lies. That Satan is often permitted to impress passages of Scripture on the minds of even true believers, cannot be denied. In one of Pike and Hayward's cases of con