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his decrees; and it would be well, surely, since in one way or other all must forward his purposes, to be made to forward them rather as his fellow-workers than as his blind insensible tools. Let the disestablished Church take courage there is a time of severe conflict before her, but the result of the battle is certain."

How genuine a touch of human interest is that folded up in these so felicitous allusions to the glory of the dawn—the music of the minstrels of the grove “warbling their wood notes wild,” regaling eye and ear and soul of the jaded journalist, as he retires from his desk to his home. At such an hour, and with such surroundings, the overtasked intellectual toiler forgets all lassitude and exhaustion. In the bosom of nature “dress'd in earliest light,” and amidst the blended repose and enjoyment of the good and fair, the perturbed spirit that for a little while has left behind a thousand anxieties, a thousand earth-born cares, almost seems already to taste the happiness of the contrast of the tumult and the unrest of earth with the rest of

heaven.

CHAPTER XIV.

A RETROSPECT.

NOTHING is more noteworthy about the “Ten Years' Conflict," than the revival of all the old traditions and memories whose spell was still upon the peasantry of Scotland, by which the movement was distinguished. From the period of the enactment of the Veto law, until the catastrophe of 1843, how marvellous was the resurrection of ancient Scottish worthies ! Every remarkable pamphlet, every remarkable biography that yet had power to charm, was sought out and reproduced. No doubt men, even good men, sometimes relaxed into a smile at the parallel attempted to be instituted between their own times and times when

"The standard of Zion
All bloody and torn 'mong the heather was lying;'

but the success of the effort redeemed it from sneers. It appealed to certain strongly-marked features of the national character. A Scotchman ever manifests a peculiar aptitude for grappling with those ecclesiastical

and religious questions, in which the historical and the logical elements are nearly equally blended. The patristic lore in which so many graduates of Oxford have lost their way, has no seductions for him. The most elaborate historical argument the profoundest erudition could construct, if logically vitiated, he spontaneously scouts. But let the logical demonstration and the historical be equally valid in his eyes, instantaneously the Scotchman stands forth, fired not only with the consciousness that he battles for the right; his faith is in that moment sublimed-risen into the transcendent by the thought that the voice of centuries ratifies his own convictions.

A most singular sagacity was therefore, as we think, manifested in that scattering broad cast over Scotland, during the “ Ten Years' Conflict," the antique literature of the Covenant.

Long contact with the grandees of the empire had corrupted the simplicity and purity of state-endowed presbyterianism. The brilliancy of the evangelical pearl had been stained by the pollutions of earth. The patronage the Church of Scotland received from the Scottish nobles, while bringing with it the minimum of worldly prestige, brought with it the maximum of spiritual thraldom. During all the years of contest that preceded the Disruption, the evangelical section of the Church was gradually

shaking itself loose from these fetters; and just as it struck its roots deeper in the hearts of the people, in a similar proportion did it recede from contact with the noblesse.

Admirably upplementary of these efforts to popularise the principles of the Church made by its evangelical friends, were the labours of the editor of the Witness, and the epoch the Disruption marks in Hugh Miller's literary history, seems a not inappropriate point at which to pause to contemplate for a moment the service he had already rendered the cause the Witness represented. The schools in which its editor had been trained, were schools in which he had become familiar with the inner life of the peasantry of the northern counties of Scotland. The west and south have been pretty well explored, but the north is yet almost virgin soil. Glimpses of its condition may be caught in the biographies of its great men; but hitherto no effective or comprehensive estimate has been attempted of the peculiar character of the Highlands during that great transition-era, when all the old forms of hereditary chieftainship were broken up to make way for a more modern civilization and a more centralized authority. It is, therefore, not the least of the services Hugh Miller has rendered to literature, that he should have left, even though scattered throughout the columns of the Witness, so many mementos of that epoch, which, but for his pen, must in all probability have perished with the present generation. From these reminiscences we gather, that somewhere about the period of the Revolution settlement, a remarkable development of religious earnestness was manifest in not a few northern counties. A race of men arose representatives of that movement, who cannot be better described than by saying they very much resembled the men of the Covenant. They came a generation or two later than the covenanters, and probably their ancestry, in not a few instances, might have been found in that “Highland host” erewhile so terrible to the Lowlands of Scotland. But now the sons had become obedient to the faith the fathers destroyed.

The more eminent of those thus won to the evangelical cause occupied a peculiar position among their country

Known throughout the north as “the men,” and found in nearly all the Gaelic-speaking districts of Scotland, they exercised a most potent influence among their countrymen.

On more than one occasion had moderatism essayed the difficult task of controlling their fanaticism. It may be acknowledged, indeed, that in some instances this might have been done beneficially; but the material on which moderatism worked was a material of which it could make exceedingly little. Seeing only the eccentricities, not the excellencies of “the men,” it was incapable of dealing effectively even with their faults. The position they occupied in tho

men.

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