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Recollections of a Long Life by Theodore Ledyard Cuyler

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BY THEODORE LEDYARD CUYLER, D.D., LL.D. _Author of "God's Light on Dark
Clouds," "Heart Life," Etc._






_Wordsworth--Dickens--The Land of Burns, etc_.


_Carlyle--Mrs. Baillie--The Young Queen--Napoleon_


_Montgomery--Bonar--Bowring--Palmer and others_.










_Gladstone--Dr. Brown--Dean Stanley--Shaftesbury, etc._


_Irving--Whittier--Webster--Greeley, etc_.






_Binney--Hamilton--Guthrie--Hall--Spurgeon--Duff and others_.


_The Alexanders--Dr. Tyng--Dr. Cox--Dr. Adams
--Dr. Storrs--Mr. Beecher, Mr. Finney and Dr. B.M. Palmer_.


_Bishop Haven--Dr. Schaff--President McCook._




A RETROSPECT (Continued)






_A Valedictory Discourse Delivered to the
Lafayette Avenue Church, April_ 6, 1890.










Washington Irving has somewhere said that it is a happy thing to have
been born near some noble mountain or attractive river or lake, which
should be a landmark through all the journey of life, and to which we
could tether our memory. I have always been thankful that the place of
my nativity was the beautiful village of Aurora, on the shores of the
Cayuga Lake in Western New York. My great-grandfather, General Benjamin
Ledyard, was one of its first settlers, and came there in 1794. He was a
native of New London County, Ct., a nephew of Col. William Ledyard, the
heroic martyr of Fort Griswold, and the cousin of John Ledyard, the
celebrated traveller, whose biography was written by Jared Sparks. When
General Ledyard came to Aurora some of the Cayuga tribe of Indians were
still lingering along the lakeside, and an Indian chief said to my
great-grandfather, "General Ledyard, I see that your daughters are very
pretty squaws." The eldest of these comely daughters, Mary Forman
Ledyard, was married to my grandfather, Glen Cuyler, who was the
principal lawyer of the village, and their eldest son was my father,
Benjamin Ledyard Cuyler. He became a student of Hamilton College,
excelled in elocution, and was a room-mate of the Hon. Gerrit Smith,
afterward eminent as the champion of anti-slavery. On a certain Sabbath,
the student just home from college was called upon to read a sermon in
the village church of Aurora, in the absence of the pastor, and his
handsome visage and graceful delivery won the admiration of a young lady
of sixteen, who was on a visit to Aurora. Three years afterward they
were married. My mother, Louisa Frances Morrell, was a native of
Morristown, New Jersey; and her ancestors were among the founders of
that beautiful town. Her maternal great-grandfather was the Rev. Dr.
Timothy Johnes, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church, who administered
the sacrament of the Lord's Supper to General Washington. Her paternal
great-grandfather was the Rev. Azariah Horton, pastor of a church near
Morristown, and an intimate friend of the great President Edwards. The
early settlers of Aurora were people of culture and refinement; and the
village is now widely known as the site of Wells College, among whose
graduates is the popular wife of ex-President Cleveland.

In the days of my childhood the march of modern improvements had hardly
begun. There was a small steamboat plying on the Cayuga Lake. There was
not a single railway in the whole State. When I went away to school in
New Jersey, at the age of thirteen, the tedious journey by the
stagecoach required three days and two nights; every letter from home
cost eighteen cents for postage; and the youngsters pored over Webster's
spelling-books and Morse's geography by tallow candles; for no gas lamps
had been dreamed of and the wood fires were covered, in most houses, by
nine o'clock on a winter evening. There was plain living then, but not a
little high thinking. If books were not so superabundant as in these
days, they were more thoroughly appreciated and digested.

My father, who was just winning a brilliant position at the Cayuga
County Bar, died in June, 1826, at the early age of twenty-eight, when I
was but four and one-half years old. The only distinct recollections
that I have of him are his leading me to school in the morning, and that
he once punished me for using a profane word that I had heard from some
rough boys. That wholesome bit of discipline kept me from ever breaking
the Third Commandment again. After his death, I passed entirely into
the care of one of the best mothers that God ever gave to an only son.
She was more to me than school, pastor or church, or all combined. God
made mothers before He made ministers; the progress of Christ's kingdom
depends more upon the influence of faithful, wise, and pious mothers
than upon any other human agency.

As I was an only child, my widowed mother gave up her house and took me
to the pleasant home of her father, Mr. Charles Horton Morrell, on the
banks of the lake, a few miles south of Aurora. How thankful I have
always been that the next seven or eight years of my happy childhood
were spent on the beautiful farm of my grandfather! I had the free pure
air of the country, and the simple pleasures of the farmhouse; my
grandfather was a cultured gentleman with a good library, and at his
fireside was plenty of profitable conversation. Out of school hours I
did some work on the farm that suited a boy; I drove the cows to the
pasture, and rode the horses sometimes in the hay-field, and carried in
the stock of firewood on winter afternoons. My intimate friends were the
house-dog, the chickens, the kittens and a few pet sheep in my
grandfather's flocks. That early work on the farm did much toward
providing a stock of physical health that has enabled me to preach for
fifty-six years without ever having spent a single Sabbath on a

My Sabbaths in that rural home were like the good old Puritan Sabbaths,
serene and sacred, with neither work nor play. Our church (Presbyterian)
was three miles away, and in the winter our family often fought our way
through deep mud, or through snow-drifts piled as high as the fences. I
was the only child among grown-up uncles and aunts, and the first
Sunday-school that I ever attended had only one scholar, and my good
mother was the superintendent. She gave me several verses of the Bible
to commit thoroughly to memory and explained them to me; I also studied
the Westminster Catechism. I was expected to study God's Book for
myself, and not to sit and be crammed by a teacher, after the fashion of
too many Sunday-schools in these days, where the scholars swallow down
what the teacher brings to them, as young birds open their mouths and
swallow what the old bird brings to the nest. There is a lamentable
ignorance of the language of Scripture among the rising generation of
America, and too often among the children of professedly Christian

The books that I had to feast on in the long winter evenings were
"Robinson Crusoe," "Sanford and Merton," "The Pilgrim's Progress," and
the few volumes in my grandfather's library that were within the
comprehension of a child of eight or ten years old. I wept over "Paul
and Virginia," and laughed over "John Gilpin," the scene of whose
memorable ride I have since visited at the "Bell of Edmonton," During
the first quarter of the nineteenth century drunkenness was fearfully
prevalent in America; and the drinking customs wrought their sad havoc
in every circle of society. My grandfather was one of the first
agriculturists to banish intoxicants from his farm, and I signed a
pledge of total abstinence when I was only ten or eleven years old.
Previously to that, I had got a taste of "prohibition" that made a
profound impression on me. One day I discovered some "cherrybounce" in a
wine-glass on my grandfather's sideboard, and I ventured to swallow the
tempting liquor. When my vigilant mother discovered what I had done, she
administered a dose of Solomon's regimen in a way that made me "bounce"
most merrily. That wholesome chastisement for an act of disobedience,
and in the direction of tippling, made me a teetotaller for life; and,
let me add, that the first public address I ever delivered was at a
great temperance gathering (with Father Theobald Mathew) in the City
Hall of Glasgow during the summer of 1842. My mother's discipline was
loving but thorough; she never bribed me to good conduct with
sugar-plums; she praised every commendable deed heartily, for she held
that an ounce of honest praise is often worth more than many pounds of

During my infancy that godly mother had dedicated me to the Lord, as
truly as Hannah ever dedicated her son Samuel. When my paternal
grandfather, who was a lawyer, offered to bequeath his law-library to
me, my mother declined the tempting offer, and said to him: "I fully
expect that my little boy will yet be a minister." This was her constant
aim and perpetual prayer, and God graciously answered her prayer of
faith in His own good time and way. I cannot now name any time, day, or
place when I was converted. It was my faithful mother's steady and
constant influence that led me gradually along, and I grew into a
religious life under her potent training, and by the power of the Holy
Spirit working through her agency. A few years ago I gratefully placed
in that noble "Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church" of Brooklyn (of
which I was the founder and pastor for thirty years) a beautiful
memorial window to my beloved mother representing Hannah and her child
Samuel, and the fitting inscription: "As long as he liveth I have lent
him to the Lord."

For several good reasons I did not make a public profession of my faith
in Jesus Christ until I left school and entered the college at
Princeton, New Jersey. The religious impressions that began at home
continued and deepened until I united, at the age of seventeen, with the
Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. As an effectual instruction in
righteousness, my faithful mother's letters to me when a schoolboy were
more than any sermons that I heard during all those years. I feel now
that the happy fifty-six years that I have spent in the glorious
ministry of the Gospel of Redemption is the direct outcome of that
beloved mother's prayers, teaching example, and holy influence.

My preparation for college was partly under the private tutorship of the
good old Dutch dominie, the Rev. Gerrit Mandeville, who smoked his pipe
tranquilly while I recited to him my lessons in Caesar's Commentaries,
and Virgil; and partly in the well-known Hill Top School, at Mendham,
N.J. I entered Princeton college at the age of sixteen and graduated at
nineteen, for in those days the curriculum in our schools and
universities was more brief than at present. The Princeton college to
which I came was rather a primitive institution in comparison with the
splendid structures that now crown the University heights. There were
only seven or eight plain buildings surrounding the campus, the two
society-halls being the only ones that boasted architectural beauty. In
endowments the college was as poor as a church mouse. There were no
college clubs, no inter-collegiate games, thronged by thousands of
people from all over the land; but the period of my connection with the
college was really a golden period in its history. Never were its chairs
held by more distinguished occupants. The president of the college was
Dr. Carnahan, who, although without a spark of genius, was yet a man of
huge common sense, kindness of heart and excellent executive ability. In
the chair of the vice-president sat dear old "Uncle Johnny" McLean, the
best-loved man that ever trod the streets of Princeton. He was the
policeman of the faculty, and his astuteness in detecting the pranks of
the students was only equalled by his anxiety to befriend them after
they were detected. The polished culture of Dr. James W. Alexander then
adorned the Chair of the Latin Language and English Literature. Dr. John
Torrey held the chemical professorship. He was engaged with Dr. Gray in
preparing the history of American Flora. Stephen Alexander's modest eye
had watched Orion and the Seven Stars through the telescope of the
astronomer; the flashing wit and silvery voice of Albert B. Dod, then in
his splendid prime, threw a magnetic charm over the higher mathematics.
And in that old laboratory, with negro "Sam" as his assistant, reigned
Joseph Henry, the acknowledged king of American scientists. When, soon
after, he gave me a note of Introduction to Sir Michael Faraday,
Faraday said to me: "By far the greatest man of science your country has
produced since Benjamin Franklin is Professor Henry." With Professor
Henry I formed a very intimate friendship, and after he became the head
of the Smithsonian Institution I found a home with him whenever I went
to Washington.

Our class, which graduated in 1841, contained several members who have
since made a deep mark in church and commonwealth. Professor Archibald
Alexander Hodge was one of us. He inherited the name and much of the
power of his distinguished father. Also General Francis P. Blair, who
rendered heroic service on the battle-field. John T. Nixon brought to
the bench of the United States Court, and Edward W. Scudder brought to
the Supreme Court Bench of New Jersey, legal learning and Christian
consciences. Richard W. Walker became a distinguished man in the
Southern Confederacy. Our class sent four men to professor's chairs in
Princeton. My best beloved classmate was John T. Duffield, who, after a
half century of service as professor of mathematics in the University,
closed his noble and beneficent career on the 10th of April, 1901. I
delivered the memorial tribute to him soon afterward in the Second
Presbyterian Church in the presence of the authorities of the
University. Another intimate friend was the Hon. Amzi Dodd,
ex-chancellor of New Jersey and the ex-president of the New Jersey Life
Insurance Company. He is still a resident of that State. During the past
three-score years it has been my privilege to deliver between sixty and
seventy sermons or addresses in Princeton, either to the students of the
University or of the Theological Seminary, or to the residents of the
town. The place has become inexpressibly dear to me as a magnificent
stronghold of Christian culture and orthodox faith, on the walls of
whose institutions the smile of God gleams like the light of the
morning. O Princeton, Princeton! in the name of the thousands of thy
loyal sons, let me gratefully say, "If we forget thee, may our right
hands forget their cunning, and our tongues cleave to the roofs of our



_Wordsworth--Dickens--The Land of Burns, etc_.

The year after leaving college I made a visit to Europe, which, in those
days, was a notable event. As the stormy Atlantic had not yet been
carpeted by six-day steamers, I crossed in a fine new packet-ship, the
"Patrick Henry," of the Grinnell & Minturn Line. Captain Joseph C.
Delano was a gentleman of high intelligence and culture who, after he
had abandoned salt water, became an active member of the American
Association of Science. After twenty-one days under canvas and the
instructions of the captain, I learned more of nautical affairs and of
the ocean and its ways than in a dozen subsequent passages in the

On the second morning after our arrival in Liverpool I breakfasted with
that eminent clergyman, Dr. Raffles, who boasted the possession of one
of the finest collections of autographs in England. He showed me the
signature of John Bunyan; the original manuscript of one of Sir Walter
Scott's novels; the original of Burns' poem addressed to the parasite
on a lady's bonnet, which contained the famous lines:

"Oh wad some power the giftie gie us
To see our sel's as others see us,"

besides several other manuscripts by the same poet, and also the
autograph of a challenge sent by Byron to Lord Brougham for alleged
insult, a fact to which no reference has been made in Byron's biography.
From Liverpool, with my friends Professor Renwick and Professor
Cuningham, I set out on a journey to the lakes of England. We reached
Bowness, on Lake Windermere, in the evening. The next morning we went up
to Elleray, the country residence of Professor Wilson ("Christopher
North"), who, unfortunately, was absent in Edinburgh. We hired a boatman
to row us through exquisitely beautiful Windermere, and in the evening
reached the Salutation Inn, at the foot of the lake. My great interest
in visiting Ambleside was to see the venerable poet, Wordsworth, who
lived about a mile from the village. I happened, just before supper, to
look out of the window of the traveller's room and espied an old man in
a blue cloak and Glengarry cap, with a bunch of heather stuck jauntily
in the top, driving by in a little brown phaeton from Rydal Mount.
"Perhaps," thought I to myself, "that may be the patriarch himself," and
sure enough it was. For, when I inquired about Mr. Wordsworth, the
landlord said to me, "A few minutes ago he went by here in his little
carriage." The next morning I called upon him. The walk to his cottage
was delightful, with the dew still lingering in the shady nooks by the
roadside, and the morning songs of thanksgiving bursting forth from
every grove. At the summit of a deeply shaded hill I found "Rydal Mount"
cottage. I was shown, at once, into the sitting-room, where I found him
with his wife, who sat sewing beside him. The old man rose and received
me graciously. By his appearance I was somewhat startled. Instead of a
grave recluse in scholastic black, whom I expected to see, I found an
affable and lovable old man dressed in the roughest coat of blue with
metal buttons, and checked trousers, more like a New York farmer than an
English poet. His nose was very large, his forehead a lofty dome of
thought, and his long white locks hung over his stooping shoulders; his
eyes presented a singular, half closed appearance. We entered at once
into a delightful conversation. He made many inquiries about Irving,
Mrs. Sigourney and our other American authors, and spoke, with great
vehemence, in favor of an international copyright law. He said that at
one time he had hoped to visit America, but the duties of a small office
which he held (Distributer of Stamps), and upon which he was partly
dependent, prevented the undertaking. He occasionally made a trip to
London to see the few survivors of the friends of his early days, but he
told me that his last excursion had proved a wearisome effort. His
library was small but select. He took down an American edition of his
works, edited by Professor Reed, and told me that London had never
produced an edition equal to it. When I was about to leave, the good old
poet got his broad slouched hat and put on his double purple glasses to
protect his eyes, and we went out to enjoy the neighboring views. We
walked about from one point to another and kept up a lively
conversation. He displayed such a winning familiarity that, in the
language of his own poem, we seemed

"A pair of friends, though I was young,
And he was seventy-four."

From the rear of his court-yard he showed me Rydal Water, a little lake
about a mile long, the beautiful church, and beyond it, Grassmere, and
still further beyond, Helvelyn, the mountain-king with a retinue of a
hundred hills. I might have spent the whole day in delightful
intercourse with the old man, but my fellow-travellers were going, and I
could make no longer inroads upon their time. When we returned to the
door of his cottage, he gave me a parting blessing; he picked a small
yellow flower and handed it to me, and I still preserve it in my
edition of his works, as a relic of the most profound and the most
sublime poet that England has produced during the nineteenth century I
know of but one other living American who has ever visited Wordsworth at
Rydal Mount.

After passing through Keswick, where the venerable poet Southey was
still lingering in sadly failing intelligence, we reached Carlisle the
same evening. From Carlisle we took the mail-coach for Edinburgh by the
same route over which Sir Walter Scott was accustomed to make his
journeys up to London. The driver, who might have answered to Washington
Irving's description, pointed out to me Netherby Hall, the mansion of
the Grahams, on "Cannobie lea," over which the young Lochinvar bore away
his stolen bride. We passed also Branksome Tower, the scene of the "Lay
of the Last Minstrel," and reached Selkirk in the early evening. The
next day I spent at Abbotsford. The Great Magician had been dead only
ten years, and his family still occupied the house with some of his old
employees who figure in Lockhart's biography. I sat in the great
arm-chair where Sir Walter Scott wrote many of his novels, and looked
out of the window of his bedchamber, through which came the rippling
murmurs of the Tweed, that consoled his dying hours. I heartily
subscribe to the opinion, expressed by Tennyson, that Sir Walter Scott
was the most extraordinary man in British literature since the days of

After reaching Glasgow I made a brief trip into the Land of Burns. At
the town of Ayr I found an omnibus waiting to take me down to the
birthplace of the poet. At that time the number of visitors to these
regions was comparatively few, and the birthplace of the poet had not
been transformed, as now, into a crowded museum. On reaching a slight
elevation, since consecrated by the muse of Burns, there broke upon the
view his monument, his native cottage, Alloway Kirk, the scene of the
inimitable Tam o' Shanter, and behind them all the "Banks and Braes of
Bonnie Doon." I went first to the monument, within which on a centre
table are the two volumes of the Bible given by Burns to Highland Mary
when they "lived one day of parting love" beneath the hawthorn of
Coilsfield. One of the volumes contains, in Burns' handwriting, "Thou
shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thy vows,"
and a lock of Mary's hair, of a light brown color, given at the time, is
preserved in the treasured volumes. A few steps away is Alloway Kirk.
The old sexton was standing by the grave of Burns' father, and described
to me the route of "Tam o' Shanter." He showed me the chinks in the
sides through which the kirk seemed "all in a bleeze," and he pointed
out the identical place on the wall where Old Nick was presiding over
the midnight revels of the beldames when--

"Louder and louder the piper blew,
Swifter and swifter the dancers flew."

After the old man had finished his recital, I asked him whether he had
ever seen the poet. "Only aince," he replied. "That was one day when he
was ridin' on a road near here. I met a friend who told me to hurry up,
for Rabbie Burns was just ahead. I whippit up my horse, and came up to a
roughly dressed man, ridin' slowly along, with his blue bonnet pulled
down over his forehead, and his eyes turned toward the groond." "Didn't
you speak to him?" I said. "Nay, nay," replied the man, in a tone of
deep reverence, "he was Rabbie Burns. _I dare na speak to him_. If he
had been any other mon I would have said 'good morrow to ye.'" Beautiful
and eloquent tribute, paid by an unlettered peasant, not to rank or to
wealth, but to a soul--a mighty soul though clad in "hodden grey" like

The most interesting object was yet to be visited--the cottage of his
birth, I entered it with reverence; and a well dressed, but very old,
woman welcomed me in. "This is the room," she said. I looked around on
the rough stone walls and could not believe that it ever contained such
a soul; for the cottage, with all its subsequent repairs, was hardly
equal to the generality of our early log cabins. The old lady was very
affable. In her early life she had been connected with an inn at
Mauchline, and had seen the poet often. "Rabbie was a funny fellow," she
said; "I ken'd him weel; and he stoppit at our hoose on his way up to
Edinburgh to see the lairds." I asked her if he was not always humorous.
"Nae, nae," she replied, "he used to come in and sit doun wi' his hands
in his lap like a bashful country lad; very glum, till he got a drap o'
whuskey, or heard a gude story, _and then he was aff!_ He was very
poorly in his latter days." Those closing days in Dumfries, steeped in
poverty to the lips, forms one of the most tragic chapters in literary
history; and I know scarcely anything in our language more pathetic than
the letter which he wrote describing his wretched bondage to the
dominion of strong drink. An old lady of Kilmarnock told my friend, the
late Dr. Taylor of New York, that when a young woman she had gone to
Burns' house to assist in preparations for his funeral, and stated that
there was not enough decent linen in the house to lay out the most
splendid genius in all Scotland! When I was at Ayr, a sister of Burns,
Mrs. Begg, was still living, and I am always regretting that I did not
call upon her. His widow, Jean Armour, had died but a few years before;
and when a certain pert American who called upon the old lady had the
audacity to ask her: "Can you show me any relics of the poet?" answered
with majestic dignity: "Sir, _I am the only relic of Robert Burns_."

I went abroad on this first visit to Europe keen for lion hunting, and
with an eager desire to see some of the men who had been my literary
benefactors. On my arrival in London, having a letter of introduction to
Charles Dickens, which a mutual friend had given to me, I resolved to
present it. Charles Dickens was an idol of my college days, and I had
spent a few minutes with him in Philadelphia during his recent visit to
the United States. He had returned from his triumphal tour about a month
before I landed in Liverpool. I called at his house, but he was not at
home. The next day he did me the honor to call on me at Morley's Hotel,
and, not finding me in, invited me up to his house near York Gate,
Regents Park. It was a dingy, brick house surrounded by a high wall, but
cheerful and cozy within. I found him in his sanctum, a singularly
shaped room, with statuettes of Sam Weller and others of his creations
on the mantelpiece. A portrait of his beautiful wife was upon the
wall--that wife, the separation from whom threw a strange, sad shadow
over his home. How handsome he was then! With his deep, dark, lustrous
eyes, that you saw yourself in, and the merry mouth wreathed with
laughter, and the luxuriant mass of dark hair that he wore in a sort of
stack over his lofty forehead! He had a slight lisp in his pleasant
voice, and ran on in rapid talk for an hour, with a shy reluctance to
talk about his own works, but with the most superabounding vivacity I
have ever met with in any man. His two daughters, one of whom afterward
married the younger Collins, a brother novelist, were then schoolgirls
of eight and ten years, came in, with books in their hands, to give
their father a good-morning kiss. After parting with him, when I had
reached his gate, he called after me in a very loud voice, "If you see
Mrs. Lucretia Mott, tell her that I have not forgotten the slave." His
"American Notes" appeared the next week. There were some things in that
hasty and faulty volume for which I sent him a cordial note of thanks,
and I speedily received the following characteristic reply, which I
still prize as a precious relic of the man:

REGENTS PARK, Oct. 26th, 1842.

MY DEAR SIR:--I am heartily obliged to you for your
frank and manly letter. I shall always remember it in connection
with my American book; and never--believe me--save
in the foremost rank of its pleasant and honorable
Let me subscribe myself, as I really am

Faithfully your Friend,


Mr. Theodore Ledyard Cuyler.

I hold that Dickens was the most original genius in our fictitious
literature since the days of Walter Scott. As a social reformer his fame
is quite as great as it is as a master of romance. His pen was mighty to
the pulling down of many a social abuse, and from the loving kindness of
his writings has been got many an inspiration to deeds of charity. But
how could a man who went so far as he did go no further? How could the
reformer who struck at so many social wrongs spare that hideous
fountain-head of misery in London, the dram-shop? And how could he
descend to scurrilously satirize all societies formed for the promotion
of temperance? A still greater marvel is that so kind-hearted a man as
Mr. Dickens, who sought honestly the amelioration of the condition of
his fellow-men, could utterly ignore the transforming power of
Christianity. He did not cast contempt on the Bible, and never soiled
his pages with infidelity, neither did he ever enlighten, and warm and
vivify them with evangelical uplifting truth. Only a few feet of earth
separate the grave of Charles Dickens from the grave of William
Wilberforce. Both loved their fellow-men; but the great difference
between them was that one of them invoked the spiritual power of the
Gospel of Christ, which the other lamentably ignored.



_Carlyle--Mrs. Baillie--The Young Queen--Napoleon_

One of the lions of whom I was in pursuit was Thomas Carlyle. Very few
Americans at that time had ever seen him, for he lived a very secluded
and laborious life in a little brick house at Chelsea, in the southwest
of London; and he rarely kept open doors. His life was the opposite to
that of Dickens and Macaulay, and he was never lionized, except when he
went to Edinburgh to deliver his address before the University, years
afterwards. I sent him a note in which I informed him of the
enthusiastic admiration which we college students felt for him, and that
I desired to call and pay him my respects. To my note he responded
promptly: "You will be welcome to-morrow at three o'clock, the hour when
I become accessible in my garret here." I found his "garret" to be a
comfortable front room on the second floor of his modest home. It was
well lined with books, and a portrait of Oliver Cromwell hung behind his
study chair. He was seated at his table with a huge German volume open
before him. His greeting was very hearty, but, with a comical look of
surprise, he said in broad Scotch: "You are a verra young mon." I told
him of the appetite we college boys had for his books, and he assured me
at once that while he had met some of our eminent literary men he had
never happened to meet a college boy before. "Your Mr. Longfellow," said
he, "called to see me yesterday. He is a man skilled in the tongues.
Your own name I see is Dootch. The word 'Cuyler' means a delver, or one
who digs underground. You must be a Dutchman." I told him that my
ancestors had come over from Holland a couple of centuries ago, and I
was proud of my lineage; for my grandfather, Glen Cuyler, was a
descendant of Hendrick Cuyler, one of the early Dutch settlers of
Albany, who came there in 1667. "Ah," said he, "the Dootch are the
brawvest people of modern times. The world has been rinnin' after a red
rag of a Frenchman; but he was nothing to William the Silent. When
Pheelip of Spain sent his Duke of Alva to squelch those Dutchmen they
joost squelched him like a rotten egg--aye, _they did_."

I asked him why he didn't visit America, and told him that I had
observed his name registered at Ambleside, on Lake Windermere. "Nae,
nae," said he, "I never scrabble my name in public places." I explained
that it was on the hotel register that I had seen "Thomas Carlyle." "It
was not mine," he replied, "I never travel only when I ride on a horse
in the teeth of the wind to get out of this smoky London. I would like
to see America. You may boast of your Dimocracy, or any other 'cracy, or
any other kind of political roobish, but the reason why your laboring
folk are so happy is that you have a vast deal of land for a very few
people." In this racy, picturesque vein he ran on for an hour in the
most cordial, good humor. He was then in his prime, hale and athletic,
with a remarkably keen blue eye, a strong lower jaw and stiff iron gray
hair, brushed up from a capacious forehead; and he had a look of a
sturdy country deacon dressed up on a Sunday morning for church. He was
very carefully attired in a new suit that day for visiting, and, as I
rose to leave, he said to me: "I am going up into London and I will walk
wi' ye." We sallied out and he strode the pavement with long strides
like a plowman. I told him I had just come from the land of Burns, and
that the old man at the native cottage of the poet had drunk himself to
death by drinking to the memory of Burns.

At this Carlyle laughed loudly, and remarked: "Was that the end of him?
Ah, a wee bit drap will send a mon a lang way." He then told me that
when he was a lad he used to go into the Kirkyard at Dumfries and,
hunting out the poet's tomb, he loved to stand and just read over the
name--"Rabbert Burns"--"Rabbert Burns." He pronounced the name with deep
reverence. That picture of the country lad in his earliest act of
hero-worship at the grave of Burns would have been a good subject for
the pencil of Millais or of Holman Hunt. At the corner of Hyde Park I
parted from Mr. Carlyle, and watched him striding away, as if, like the
De'il in "Tam O'Shanter," he had "business on his hand."

Thirty years afterwards, in June, 1872, I felt an irrepressible desire
to see the grand old man once more, and I accordingly addressed him a
note requesting the favor of a few minutes' interview. His reply was,
perhaps, the briefest letter ever written. It was simply:

"Three P.M.

He told me afterwards that his hand had become so tremulous that he
seldom touched a pen. My beloved friend, the Rev. Newman Hall, asked the
privilege of accompanying me, as, like most Londoners, he had never put
his eye on the recluse philosopher. We found the same old brick house,
No. 5 Cheyne Row, Chelsea, without the slightest change outside or in.
But, during those thirty years the gifted wife had departed, and a sad
change had come over the once hale, stalwart man. After we had waited
some time, a feeble, stooping figure, attired in a long blue flannel
gown, moved slowly into the room. His gray hair was unkempt, his blue
eyes were still keen and piercing, and a bright hectic spot of red
appeared on each of his hollow cheeks. His hands were tremulous, and his
voice deep and husky. After a few personal inquiries the old man
launched out into a most extraordinary and characteristic harangue on
the wretched degeneracy of these evil days. The prophet, Jeremiah, was
cheerfulness itself in comparison with him. Many of the raciest things
he regaled us with were entirely too personal for publication. He amused
us with a description of half a night's debate with John Bright on
political economy, while he said, "Bright theed and thoud with me for
hours, while his Quaker wife sat up hearin' us baith. I tell ye, John
Bright _got_ as gude as he _gie_ that night"; and I have no doubt that
he did.

Most of his extraordinary harangue was like an eruption of Vesuvius, but
the laugh he occasionally gave showed that he was talking about as much
for his own amusement as for ours. He was terribly severe on Parliament,
which he described as "endless babblement and windy talk--the same
hurdy-gurdies grinding out lies and inanities." The only man he had ever
heard in Parliament that at all satisfied him was the Old Iron Duke. "He
gat up and stammered away for fifteen minutes; but I tell ye, he was the
only mon in Parliament who gie us any credible portraiture of the
facts." He looked up at the portrait of Oliver Cromwell behind him, and
exclaimed with great vehemence: "I ha' gone doon to the verra bottom of
Oliver's speeches, and naething in Demosthenes or in any other mon will
compare wi' Cromwell in penetrating into the veritable core of the fact.
Noo, Parliament, as they ca' it, is joost everlasting babblement and
lies." We led him to discuss the labor question and the condition of the
working classes. He said that the turmoil about labor is only "a lazy
trick of master and man to do just as little honest work and to get just
as much for it as they possibly can--that is the labor question." It did
my soul good, as a teetotaler, to hear his scathing denunciation of the
liquor traffic. He was fierce in his wrath against "the horrible and
detestable damnation of whuskie and every kind of strong drink." In this
strain the thin and weird looking old Iconoclast went on for an hour
until he wound up with declaring, "England has joost gane clear doon
into an abominable cesspool of lies, shoddies and shams--down to a
bottomless _damnation_. Ye may gie whatever meaning to that word that ye
like." He could not refrain from laughing heartily himself at the
conclusion of this eulogy on his countrymen. If we had not known that
Mr. Carlyle had a habit of exercising himself in this kind of talk, we
should have felt a sort of consternation. As it was we enjoyed it as a
postscript to "Sartor Resartus" or the "Latter Day" pamphlets, and
listened and laughed accordingly. As we were about parting from him with
a cordial and tender farewell, my friend, Newman Hall, handed him a copy
of his celebrated little book, "Come to Jesus," Mr. Carlyle, leaning
over his table, fixed his eye upon the inscription on the outside of the
booklet, and as we left the room, we heard him repeating to himself the
title "Coom to Jesus--Coom to Jesus."

About Carlyle's voluminous works, his glorious eulogies of Luther, Knox
and Cromwell, his vivid histories, his pessimistic utterances, his
hatred of falsehood and his true, pure and laborious life, I have no
time or space to write. He was the last of the giants in one department
of British literature. He will outlive many an author who slumbers in
the great Abbey. I owe him grateful thanks for many quickening,
stimulating thoughts, and shall always be thankful that I grasped the
strong hand of Thomas Carlyle.

One of the literary celebrities to whom I had credentials was the
venerable Mrs. Joanna Baillie, not now much read, but then well known
from her writings and her intimacy with Sir Walter Scott, and to whom
Lockhart devotes a considerable space in the biography. Her residence
was in Hampstead, and I was obliged, after leaving the omnibus, to walk
nearly a mile across open fields which are now completely built over by
mighty London. The walk proved a highly profitable one from the society
of an intelligent stranger who, like every true English gentleman, when
properly approached, was led to give all the information in his power.
When I reached the suburban village of Hampstead, after passing over
stiles and through fields, I at last succeeded in finding her residence,
a quiet little cottage, with a little parlor which had been honored by
some of the first characters of our age. "The female Shakespeare," as
she was sometimes called in those days, was at home and tripped into the
room with the elastic step of a girl, although she was considerably over
three score years and ten. She was very petite and fair, with a sweet
benignant countenance that inspired at once admiration and affection.
Almost her first words to me were: "What a pity you did not come ten
minutes sooner; for if you had you would have seen Mr. Thomas Campbell,
who has just gone away." I was exceedingly sorry to have missed a sight
of the author of "Hohenlinden" and the incomparable "Battle of the
Baltic," but was quite surprised that he was still seeking much society;
for in those days he was lamentably addicted to intoxicants. On more
than one public occasion he was the worse for his cups; and when, after
his death, a subscription was started to place his statue in Westminster
Abbey, Samuel Rogers, the poet, cynically said, "Yes, I will gladly give
twenty pounds any day to see dear old Tom Campbell stand steady on his
legs." It is a matter of congratulation that the most eminent men of the
Victorian era have not fallen into some of the unhappy habits of their
predecessors at the beginning of the last century. Mrs. Baillie
entertained me with lively descriptions of Sir Walter Scott, and of her
old friend, Mr. Wordsworth, who was her guest whenever he came up to
London. She expressed the warmest admiration for the moral and
political, though not all of the religious, writings of our Dr.
Channing, whom she pronounced the finest essayist of the time. She also
felt a curious interest (which I discovered in many other notable people
in England) to learn what she could in regard to our American Indians,
and expressed much admiration when I gave her some quotations from the
picturesque eloquence of our sons of the forest.

Every American who visited London in those days felt a laudable
curiosity to see the young Queen, who had been crowned but four years
before. I went up to Windsor Castle, and after inspecting it, joined a
little group of people who were standing at the gateway which leads out
to the Long Drive and Virginia Water. They were waiting to get a look at
the young Queen, who always drove out at four o'clock. Presently the
gate opened and a low carriage, preceded by three horsemen, passed
through. It contained a plump baby, nearly two years of age, wrapped in
a buff cloak and held up in the arms of its nurse. That baby became the
Empress Dowager of Germany, the mother of the present Kaiser and of
Prince Henry, who has lately been our guest. In a few minutes afterwards
a pony phaeton, with two horses, passed through the gate and we all
doffed our hats. It was driven by handsome young Prince Albert, dressed
in a gray overcoat and silk hat. To this day I think of him as about the
most captivating young husband that I have ever seen. By his side sat
his young wife, dressed in a small white bonnet with pink feather and
wrapped in a white shawl. Her complexion was exceedingly fresh and fair.
Her light brown hair was dressed in the "Grecian" style, and as she
bowed gracefully I observed the peculiarity of her smile--that she
showed her teeth very distinctly. This resulted from the shortness of
her upper lip. "A pretty girl she is too" was the remark I heard from
the visitors as the carriage went on down the drive. That was my first
glimpse of royalty, and I little dreamed that she was to be the longest
lived sovereign that ever sat on the British throne, and the most
popular woman in all modern times.

Thirty years rolled away and I saw the good Queen again. The Albert
Memorial, erected to the handsome Prince Consort, whom she idolized, had
just been completed, and one morning the Queen came incognito to make
her first private inspection of the memorial. Through the intimation of
a friend I hurried at once to the Park, and found a small company of
people gathered there. Her Majesty had just come, accompanied by Prince
Arthur, the Princess Louise and the young Princess Beatrice; and they
were examining the gorgeous new structure. The Queen wore a plain black
silk dress and her children were very plainly attired, so that they
looked like a group of good, honest republicans. The only evidence of
royalty was that the company of gentlemen who were pointing out to the
Queen the various beauties of the monument just completed were careful
not to turn their backs upon Her Majesty. I observed that when her
children bade her "good morning" they kneeled and kissed her hand. She
remained sitting in her carriage for some time, chatting and laughing
with her daughter Beatrice. Her countenance had become very florid and
her figure very stout. The last time that I saw her driving in the Park
her full, rubicund face made her look not only like the venerable
grandmother of a host of descendants, but of the whole vast empire on
which the sun never sets. Last year the most beloved sovereign that has
ever occupied the British throne was laid in the gorgeous mausoleum at
Frogmore beside the husband of her youth and the sharer of twenty-two
years of happy and holy wedlock. All Christendom was a mourner beside
that royal tomb.

From London I went on a very brief visit to Paris, at the time when
Louis Phillipe was at the height of his power and apparently securely
seated on his throne. Within a half a dozen years from that time he was
a refugee in disguise, and the kingdom of France was followed by the
Republic of Lamartine. My brief visit to Paris was made more agreeable
by the fact that my kinsman, the Hon. Henry Ledyard, was then in charge
of the American Embassy, in the absence of his father-in-law, General
Lewis Cass, our Ambassador, who had returned to America for a visit. The
one memorable incident of that brief sojourn in Paris that I shall
recall was a visit to the tomb of Napoleon, whose remains had been
brought home the year before from the Island of St. Helena. Passing
through the Place de la Concord and crossing the Seine, a ten minutes'
walk brought me to the Hospital des Invalides. I reached it in the
morning when the court in front was filled with about three hundred
veterans on an early parade. Many of them were the shattered relics of
Napoleon's Grand Army--glorious old fellows in cocked hats and long blue
coats, and weather-beaten as the walls around them. After a few moments
I hurried into the Rotunda, which is nearly one hundred feet in height,
surrounded by six small recesses, or alcoves. "Where is Napoleon?" said
I to one of the sentinels. "There," said he, pointing to a recess, or
small chapel, hung with dark purple velvet and lighted by one glimmering
lamp. I approached the iron railing and, there before me, almost within
arm's length, in the marble coffin covered by his gray riding coat of
Marengo, lay all that was mortal of the great Emperor. At his feet was a
small urn containing his heart, and upon it lay his sword and the
military cap worn at the battle of Eylau. Beside the coffin was gathered
a group of tattered banners captured by him in many a victorious fight.
Three gray-haired veterans, whose breasts were covered with medals, were
pacing slowly on guard in front of the alcove. I said to them in French:
"Were you at Austerlitz?" "Oui, oui," they said. "Were you at Jena?"
"Oui, oui." "At Wagram?" "Oui, oui," they replied. I lingered long at
the spot, listening to the inspiring strains of the soldiery without,
and recalling to my mind the stirring days when the lifeless clay beside
me was dashing forward at the head of those very troops through the
passes of the Alps and over the bridge at Lodi. It seemed to me as a
dream, and I could scarcely realize that I stood within a few feet of
the actual body of that colossal wonder-worker whose extraordinary
combination of military and civil genius surpassed that of any other man
in modern history. And yet, when all shall be summoned at last before
the Great Tribunal, a Wilberforce, a Shaftesbury, or an Abraham Lincoln
will never desire to change places with him.



_Montgomery--Bonar--Bowring--Palmer and Others_

Hymnology has always been a favorite study with me, and it has been my
privilege to be acquainted with several of the most eminent hymn-writers
within the last sixty or seventy years. It is a remarkable fact that
among the distinguished English-speaking poets, Cowper and Montgomery
are the only ones who have been successful in producing many popular
hymns; while the greatest hymns have been the compositions either of
ministers of the Gospel, like Watts, Wesley, Toplady, Doddridge, Newman,
Lyte, Bonar and Ray Palmer, or by godly women, like Charlotte Elliott,
Mrs. Sarah F. Adams, Miss Havergal and Mrs. Prentiss. During my visit to
Great Britain in the summer of 1842, I spent a few weeks at Sheffield as
the guest of Mr. Edward Vickers, the ex-Mayor of the city. His near
neighbor was the venerable James Montgomery, whose pupil he had been
during the short time that the poet conducted a school. Mr. Vickers
took me to visit the poet at his residence at The Mount. A short,
brisk, cheery old man, then seventy-one, came into the room with a spry
step. He wore a suit of black, with old-fashioned dress ruffles, and a
high cravat that looked as if it choked him. His complexion was fresh,
and snowy hair crowned a noble forehead. He had never married, but
resided with a relative. We chatted about America, and I told him that
in all our churches his hymns were great favorites. I unfortunately
happened to mention that when lately in Glasgow I had gone to hear the
Rev. Robert Montgomery, the author of "Satan," and other poems. It was
this "Satan Montgomery" whom Macaulay had scalped with merciless
criticism in the _Edinburgh Review_. The mention of his name aroused the
old poet's ire. "Would you believe it?" he exclaimed, indignantly, "they
attribute some of that fellow's performances to me, and lately a lady
wrote to me in reference to one of his most pompous poems, and said "it
was the _best that I had ever written!_" I do not wonder at my venerable
friend's vexation, for there was a world-wide contrast between his own
chaste simplicity and the stilted pomposity of his Glasgow namesake.
Montgomery, though born a Moravian and educated at a Moravian school,
was a constant worshipper at St. George's Episcopal Church, in
Sheffield. The people of the town were very proud of their celebrated
townsman, and after his death gave him a public funeral, and erected a
bronze statue to his memory. While he was the author of several volumes
of poetry, his enduring fame rests on his hymns, some of which will be
sung in all lands through coming generations. Four hundred own his
parentage and one hundred at least are in common use throughout
Christendom. He produced a single verse that has hardly been surpassed
in all hymnology:

"Here in the body pent
Absent from Him I roam.
Yet nightly pitch my moving-tent,
A day's march nearer home."

Hymnology has known no denominational barriers. While Toplady was an
Episcopalian, Wesley a Methodist. Newman and Faber Roman Catholics,
Montgomery a Moravian, and Bonar a Presbyterian, the magnificent hymn,

"In the cross of Christ I glory,"

was written by a Unitarian. I had the great satisfaction of meeting its
author, Sir John Bowring, at a public dinner in London during the summer
of 1872. A fresh, handsome veteran he was, too--tall and straight as a
ramrod, and exceedingly winsome in his manners. He had been famous as
the editor of the _Westminster Review_ and quite famous in civil life,
for he was a member of the British Parliament and once had been the
Governor of Hong Kong. He produced several volumes, but will owe his
immortality to half a dozen superb hymns. Of these the best is "In the
cross of Christ I glory"; but we also owe to him that fine missionary

"Watchman, tell us of the night"

He told my Presbyterian friend, Dr. Harper, in China, that the first
time he ever heard it sung was at a prayer meeting of American
missionaries in Turkey. Sir John died about four months after I had met
him, at the ripe age of eighty, and on his monument is inscribed only
this single appropriate line, "In the cross of Christ I glory."

The first time I ever saw Dr. Horatius Bonar was in May, 1872, when I
was attending the Free Church General Assembly of Scotland as a delegate
from the Presbyterian Church in the United States. A warm discussion was
going on in the Assembly anent proposals of union with the U.P. body,
and the Anti-Unionists sat together on the left hand of the Moderator's
chair. In the third row sat a short, broad-shouldered man with noble
forehead and soft dark eyes. But behind that benign countenance was a
spirit as pugnacious in ecclesiastical controversy as that of the Roman
Horatius "who kept the bridge in the brave days of old." I was glad to
be introduced to him, for I was an enthusiastic admirer of his hymns,
and I had a personal affection for his brother, Andrew, the author of
the delightful "Life of M'Cheyne." Although Horatius had won his
world-wide fame as a composer of hymns, he was, at that time, stoutly
opposed to the use of anything but the old Scotch version of the Psalms
in church worship. During my address to the Assembly I said: "We
Presbyterians in America sing the good old psalms of David." At this
point Dr. Bonar led in a round of applause, and then I continued: "We
also sing the Gospel of Jesus Christ as versified by Watts, Wesley,
Cowper, Toplady and _your own Horatius Bonar!"_ There was a burst of
laughter, and then I rather mischievously added: "My own people have the
privilege, not accorded to my brother's congregation, of singing his
magnificent hymns." By this time the whole house came down in a perfect
roar, and the confused blush on Bonar's face puzzled us--whether it was
on account of the compliment, or on account of his own inconsistency.
However, before his death he consented to have his own congregation sing
his own hymns, although it is said that two pragmatical elders rose and
strode indignantly down the aisle of the church.

In August, 1889, when I was on a visit to Chillingham Castle, Lady
Tankerville said to me: "Our dear Bonar is dead." I left the next day
for Edinburgh and reached there in time to bear an humble part in the
funeral services. On the day of his obsequies there was a tremendous
downpour, which reminded me of the story of the Scotchman, who, on
arriving in Australia, met one of his countrymen, who said to him: "Hae
ye joost come fra Scotland and _is it rainin' yet_?" But in spite of the
storm the Morningside Church, by the entrance to the Grange Cemetery,
was well filled by a representative assembly. The service was confined
to the reading of the Scriptures, to two prayers and the singing of
Bonar's beautiful hymn, the last verse of which is

"Broken Death's dread hands that bound us,
Life and victory around us;
Christ the King Himself hath crown'd us,
Ah, 'tis Heaven at last."

As I was the only American present I was requested to close the service
with a brief word of prayer; and I rode down to the Canongate Cemetery
with grand old Principal John Cairns (who Dr. McCosh told me "had the
best head in Scotland"), and Bonar's colleague, the Rev. Mr. Sloane. On
our way to the place of burial Mr. Sloane told me that Bonar's two
finest hymns,

"I heard the voice of Jesus say," etc..


"I lay my sins on Jesus," etc,

were originally composed for the children of his Sabbath school. And yet
they are the productions by which he has become most widely known
throughout Christendom. The storm-swept streets that day were lined with
silent mourners; and, under weeping skies, we laid down to his rest the
mortal remains of the man who attuned more voices to the melodies of
praise than any Scotchman of the century.

Our own country has been very prolific in the production of hymns. The
venerable and devout blind songstress, Fanny Crosby (whom I often meet
at the house of my beloved neighbor, Mr. Ira D. Sankey), has produced
very many hundreds of them--none of very high poetic merit, but many of
them of such rich spiritual savour, and set to such stirring airs, that
they are sung by millions around the globe. By common consent in all
American hymnology the hymn commencing

"My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary," etc,

is the best. Its author, Dr. Ray Palmer, when a young man, teaching in a
school for girls in New York, one day sat down in his room and wrote in
his pocket memorandum book the four verses which he told me "were born
of my own soul," and put the memorandum book back into his vest pocket
and for two years carried the verses there, little dreaming that he was
carrying his own passport to immortality. Dr. Lowell Mason, the
celebrated composer of Boston, asked him to furnish a new hymn for his
next volume of "Spiritual Songs" for social worship, and young Palmer
drew out the four verses from his pocket. Mason composed for them the
noble tune, "Olivet," and to that air they were wedded for ever more. He
met Palmer afterwards, and said to him: "Sir, you may live many years,
and do many things, but you will be best known to posterity as the
author of 'My faith looks up to Thee.'" The prediction proved true. His
devoted heart flowed out in that one matchless lily that has filled so
many hearts and sanctuaries with its rich fragrance. Dr. Palmer preached
several times in my Brooklyn pulpit. He was once with us on a
sacramental Sabbath. While the deacons were passing the sacred elements
among the congregation the dear old man broke out in a tremulous voice
and sang his own heavenly lines:

"My faith looks up to Thee
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Saviour Divine."

It was like listening to a rehearsal for the celestial choir, and the
whole assembly was most deeply moved. Dr. Palmer was short in stature,
but his erect form and habit of brushing his hair high over his forehead
gave him a commanding look. He was the impersonation of genuine
enthusiasm. Some of his letters I shall always prize. They were the
outpourings of his own warm heart on paper. He fell asleep just before
he reached a round four score, and of our many hymn-writers no one has
yet "taken away his crown."

It is quite fitting to follow this sketch of one noble veteran with a
brief reminiscence of an equally noble one, who bore the name of an
Episcopalian, although he was very undenominational in his broad
sympathies. Dr. William Augustus Muhlenberg was one of the most
apostolic men I have ever known in appearance and spirit. His gray head
all men knew in New York. He commanded attention everywhere by his
genial face and hearty manner of speech. I used to meet him at the
anniversaries of the Five Points Home of Industry. Everybody loved him
at first sight. All the world knows he was the founder of St. Luke's
Hospital in New York, and the extensive institutions of charity at St.
Johnsland, on Long Island. Of his hymns the most popular is

"I would not live alway," etc.

It was first written as an impromptu for a lady's album, and afterwards
amended into its present form.

In his later years he regarded the tone of that hymn as too lugubrious;
and in a pleasant note to me he said: "Paul's 'For me to live is Christ'
is far better than Job's 'I would not live alway.'" My favorite among
his productions is the one on Noah's Dove, commencing, "O cease, my
wandering soul"; but the man was greater than any song he ever wrote. As
he was a bachelor he lived in his St. Luke's Hospital; and once, when he
was carrying a tray of dishes down to the kitchen and some one
protested, the patriarch replied: "Why not; what am I but a waiter here
in the Lord's hotel?" When very near his end the Chaplain of the
hospital prayed at his bedside for his recovery. "Let us have an
understanding about this," said Muhlenberg. "You are asking God to
restore me, and I am asking God to take me home. There must not be any
contradiction in our prayers, for it is evident that He cannot answer
them both." This was characteristic of his bluff frankness, as well as
of his heavenly-mindedness--he "would not live alway."

In July, 1881, I was visiting Stockholm, and was invited to go on an
excursion to the University of Upsala with Dr. Samuel F. Smith. I had
never before met my celebrated countryman about whom his Harvard
classmate, Oliver Wendell Holmes, once wrote:

"And there's a nice youngster of excellent pith--
Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith;
But he shouted a song for the brave and the free--
Just read on his medal--'My Country--of Thee'"

The song he thus shouted was written for the Fourth of July
celebration, in Park Street Church, Boston, in 1832, and has become our
national hymn. When I met the genial old man in Sweden, and travelled
with him for several days, he was on his way home from a missionary tour
in India and Burmah. He told me that he had heard the Burmese and
Telugus sing in their native tongue his grand missionary hymn, "The
Morning Light is Breaking." He was a native Bostonian, and was born a
few days before Ray Palmer. He was a Baptist pastor, editor, college
professor, and spent the tranquil summer evening of his life at Newton,
Mass.; and at a railway station in Boston, by sudden heart failure, he
was translated to his heavenly home. He illustrated his own sweet
evening hymn, "Softly Fades the Twilight Ray."

Among the elect-ladies who have produced great uplifting hymns that
"were not born to die" was Mrs. Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, the daughter
of the saintly Dr. Edward Payson, of Portland, Maine. Her prose works
were very popular, and "Stepping Heavenward" had found its way into
thousands of hearts. But one day she--in a few hours--won her
immortality by writing a hymn, beginning with the lines,

"More love to Thee, O Christ,
More love to Thee"

It was printed on a fly-sheet, for a few friends, then found its way
into a hymn-book, edited by my well-beloved friend, Dr. Edwin F.
Hatfield, and then it took wing and flew over the world into many
foreign languages. I often met Mrs. Prentiss at the home of her husband,
Dr. George L. Prentiss, an eminent professor in the Union Theological
Seminary. She was a very bright-eyed little woman, with a keen sense of
humor, who cared more to shine in her own happy household than in a wide
circle of society. Her absolutely perfect hymn--for such it truly
is--was born of her own deep longings for a fuller inflow of that love
that casteth out all fear. This has been the genesis of all the
soul-songs that devout disciples of our Lord chant into the ears of
their Master in their hours of sweetest and closest fellowship. Mrs.
Prentiss has put a new song into the mouths of a multitude of those who
are "stepping heavenward."



As stated in the first chapter of this book, I became a teetotaler when
I was a child, and I also stated that the first public address I ever
delivered was in behalf of temperance. When I made my first visit to
Edinburgh in 1842 I learned that a temperance society of that city was
about to go over to Glasgow to greet the celebrated Father Theobald
Mathew, who was making his first visit to Scotland. I joined my
Edinburgh friends, and on arriving in Glasgow we found a multitude of
over fifty thousand people assembled on the green. In an open barouche,
drawn by four horses, stood a short, stout Irishman, with a handsome,
benevolent countenance, and attired in a long black coat with a silver
medal hanging upon his breast. After the procession, headed by his
carriage, had forced its way through the densely thronged street, it
halted in a small open square. Father Mathew dismounted, and began to
administer the pledge of abstinence to those who were willing to receive
it. They kneeled on the ground in platoons; the pledge was read aloud to
them; Father Mathew laid his hands upon them and pronounced a
benediction. From the necks of many a small medal attached to a cord was
suspended. In this rapid manner the pledge was administered to many
hundreds of persons within an hour, and fresh crowds continually came

When I was introduced to the good man as an American, he spoke a few
kind words and gave me an "apostolic kiss" upon my cheek. As I was about
to make the first public speech of my life, I suppose that I may regard
that act of the great Irish apostle as a sort of ordination to the
ministry of preaching the Gospel of total abstinence. The administration
of the pledge was followed by a grand meeting of welcome in the city
hall. Father Mathew spoke with modest simplicity and deep emotion,
attributing all his wonderful success to the direct blessings of God
upon his efforts to persuade his fellow-men to throw off the despotism
of the bottle. After delivering my maiden speech I hastened back to
Edinburgh with the deputation from "Auld Reekie," and I never saw Father
Mathew again. He was, unquestionably, the most remarkable temperance
reformer who has yet appeared. While a Catholic priest in Cork, a Quaker
friend, Mr. Martin, who met him in an almshouse, said to him, "Father
Theobald, why not give thyself to the work of saving men from the
drink?" Father Mathew immediately commenced his enterprise. It spread
over Ireland like wildfire. It is computed that no less than five
millions of people took the pledge of total abstinence from intoxicating
poisons by his influence. The revolution wrought in his day, in his own
time and country, was marvellous, and, to this day, his influence is
perpetuated in the vast number of Father Mathew Benevolent Temperance

[Illustration: DR CUYLER AT 32 (When Pastor of the Market St Church, New

Second only to Father Mathew in the number of converts which he has made
to total abstinence was that brilliant and dramatic platform orator,
John B. Gough. When he was a reckless young sot in Worcester,
Massachusetts, he had owed his conversion to a touch on his shoulder by
a shoemaker, named Joel Stratton, who had invited him to a Washingtonian
temperance meeting. Soon after that time he owed his conversion, under
God, to the influence of Miss Mary Whitcomb, the daughter of a Boylston
farmer in the neighborhood. He formed her acquaintance very soon after
he signed the temperance pledge in Worcester, and she consented to
assume the risk of becoming his wife. In the summer of 1856 I visited my
beloved friend Gough at his beautiful Boylston home to aid him in
revival services, which he was conducting in his own church, then
without a pastor. He was Sunday-school superintendent, pastor and leader
of inquiry meetings--all in himself. One evening he took me to the
house of his neighbor, Captain Flagg, and said to me: "Here, in this
house, Mary and I did our brief two or three weeks of courting. We
didn't talk of love, but only religion and about the welfare of my soul.
We prayed together every time we met; and it was such serious business
that I do not think I even kissed her until we were married. She took me
on trust, with three dollars in my pocket, and has been to me the best
wife God ever made." When they went to Boston, Dr. Edward N. Kirk
received Mr. Gough into the Mt. Vernon Street Church, just as many years
afterwards he received Mr. Moody to the same communion table.

Of Mr. Gough's extraordinary platform powers I need not speak while
there are so many now living that sat under the enchantment of his
eloquence. A man who could crowd an opera house in London to listen to
so unpopular a theme as temperance while a score or more of coroneted
carriages were waiting about the door must have been no ordinary master
of oratory. As an actor he might have been a second Garrick; as a
preacher of the Gospel he would have been a second Whitefield. My house
was his home when visiting our city for many years, and he used to tell
me that my letters to him were carried in his breast pocket until they
were worn to fragments. His last speech, delivered in Philadelphia,
displayed much of his early power, and the last sentence, "Young man,
keep a clean record," rung out as he fell stricken with apoplexy, and
the eloquent voice was silent forever. God's messenger met him where
every true warrior may well desire to be met--in the heat of the battle,
and with the harness on.

My acquaintance with Neal Dow began in the early winter of 1852. He had
been chosen Mayor of Portland in the spring of the year, and then he
struck the bold stroke which was "heard round the world" and made him
famous as the father of Prohibition. He had drafted a bill for the
suppression of tippling houses and placed in it a claim of the right of
the civil authorities to search all premises where it was suspected that
intoxicating liquors were kept for sale, and to seize and confiscate
them on the spot. It was this sharp scimitar of search and seizure which
gave the original Maine law its deadly power. He took his bill to the
seat of government and it was promptly passed by the legislature. He
brought it home in triumph, and in less than three months there was not
an open dram shop or distillery in Portland! He invited me to visit him,
and drove me over the city, whose pure air was not polluted with the
faintest smell of alcohol. It seemed like the first whiff of a
temperance millennium. An invitation was extended to him to a
magnificent public meeting in Tripler Hall, New York. At that meeting a
large array of distinguished speakers, including General Houston, of
Texas; the Hon. Horace Mann, of Massachusetts; Henry Ward Beecher, Dr.
Chapin and several other celebrities, appeared. On that evening I
delivered my first public address in New York, and have been told that
it was the occasion of my call to be a pastor in that city two years
afterwards. A gold medal was presented to Neal Dow that evening. He went
home with me to Trenton, and from that time our intimacy was so great
and our correspondence so constant that if I had preserved all his
letters they would make a history of the prohibition movement from 1851
to 1857, the years of its widest successes. With him I addressed the
legislature of New York, who passed a law of prohibition very soon
afterwards. A forceful, magnetic man was General Dow, thoroughly honest
and courageous, with a womanly tenderness in his sympathies. I have been
permitted to know intimately many of the leaders in great moral reforms
on both sides of the ocean; but a braver, sounder heart was not to be
found than that which throbbed in the breast of Neal Dow.

On his ninetieth birthday the hale veteran sent my wife his photograph.
She placed his white locks alongside of the photograph which Gladstone
gave her, and she calls them her duet of grand old men. The closing
years of General Dow's life, like the closing years of Martin Luther,
were clouded with anxiety. He saw the great movement which he had
championed checked by many difficulties and suffering some disastrous
reverses. Some States which had enacted total prohibition forty years
before had repealed the law. In the five States which retained it on
their statute books its salutary enforcement was dependent on the moral
sentiments in the various localities. In his own, beloved Maine, his own
beloved law had been trampled down in some places; in others made the
football of designing politicians. These reverses saddened the old
hero's heart, and he sent to the public meeting in Portland which
celebrated his ninety-third birthday this message: "That the purpose of
my life work will be fully accomplished at some time I do not doubt, and
my hope and expectation is that the obstacles which now obstruct us will
not long block the way." The name of Neal Dow will be always memorable
as one of the truest, bravest and purest philanthropists of the
nineteenth century.

The most important organization for the promotion of temperance in our
country is the National Temperance Society and Publication House, which
was founded in 1865. I prepared its constitution, and the committee
which organized it met in the counting room of that eminent Christian
merchant, the late Hon. William E. Dodge. I once introduced him to the
Earl of Shaftesbury at a Lord Mayor's reception in London in these
words: "My lord, let me introduce you to William E. Dodge, the
Shaftesbury of America." To this day he is remembered as an ideal
Christian merchant and philanthropist. With him conscience ruled
everything, and God ruled conscience. He was one of the founders of a
great railway and cut the first sod for its construction. Long
afterwards the Board of Directors of the road proposed to drive their
trains and traffic through the Lord's day. Mr. Dodge said to his fellow
directors: "Then, gentlemen, put a flag on every locomotive with these
words inscribed on it, 'We break God's law for a dividend.' As for me, I
go out." He did go out, and disposed of his stock. Within a few years
the road went into the hands of a receiver, and the stock sank to thirty
cents on the dollar.

During the Civil War, General Dix and his military staff gave Mr. Dodge
a complimentary dinner at Fortress Monroe. General Dix rapped on the
table and said to his brother officers: "Gentlemen, you are aware that
our honored guest is a water-drinker. I propose that to-day we join him
in his favorite beverage." Forthwith every wine-glass was turned upside
down as a silent tribute to the Christian conscience of their guest.
When the whole Christian community of America shall imitate the wise
example of that great philanthropist it will exert a tremendous
influence for the banishment of all intoxicants from the public and
private hospitalities of society. Mr. Dodge was elected the first
president of the National Temperance Society, and served it for eighteen
years and bestowed upon it his liberal donations. He closed his useful
and beneficent life in February, 1883, and he was succeeded in the
presidency of the Society by Dr. Mark Hopkins of Williams College, by
the writer of this book, by General O.O. Howard and by Joshua L. Bailey,
who is at present the head of the organization. The society has done a
vast and benevolent work, receiving and expending a million and a half
dollars, publishing many hundreds of valuable volumes, and widely
circulated tracts.

The limits of this chapter will not allow me to pay my tribute to the
venerable Dr. Charles Jewett, Dr. Cheever, Albert Barnes, Dr. Tyng and
the great Christian statesman, Theodore Frelinghuysen, Miss Frances
Willard, Lady Henry Somerset, Joseph Cook and many others who have been
prominent in the promotion of this great Christian reform. It has been
my privilege to labor for it through my whole public life. I have
prepared thirty or forty tracts, written a great number of articles and
delivered hundreds of addresses in behalf of it, and preached many a
discourse from my own pulpit. I have always held that every church is as
much bound to have a temperance wheel in its machinery as to have a
Sabbath school or a missionary organization. It is of vital importance
that the young should be saved, and therefore I have urged temperance
lessons in the Sunday school and the early adoption of a total
abstinence pledge. The temperance reform movement made its greatest
progress when churches and Sunday schools laid hold of it and when the
total abstinence pledge was widely and wisely used. The social drink
customs are coming back again and a fresh education of the American
people as to the deadly drink evil is the necessity of the hour, and
that must be given in the home, in the schools and from the pulpit and
from the public press. I have become convinced from long labor in this
reform that the ordinary license system is only a poultice to the dram
seller's conscience, and for restraining intemperance it is a ghastly
failure. Institutions and patent medicines to cure drinkers have only
had a partial success. The only sure cure for drunkenness is to stop
before you begin. Entire legal suppression of the dram shop is
successful where a stiff, righteous, public sentiment thoroughly
enforces it. Otherwise it may become a delusion and a farce.

The best method of prohibition is what is known as "local option,"
where the question is submitted to each community, whether the liquor
traffic shall be legalized or suppressed by public authority. Of late
years friends of our cause have fallen into the sad mistake of directing
their main assaults upon liquor selling instead of keeping up also their
fire upon the _use_ of intoxicants. Legal enactments are right; but to
attempt to dam up a torrent and neglect the fountain-head is surely
insanity. The fountain-head of drunkenness is the _drinking usages_
which create and sustain the saloons, which are often the doorways to
hell. In theory I always have been, and am to-day, a legal
suppressionist; but the most vital remedy of all is to break up the
demand for intoxicants, and to persuade people from wishing to buy and
drink them. That goes to the root of the evil. In endeavoring to remove
the saloon, it is the duty of all philanthropists to do their utmost to
provide safe places of resort--as the Holly-Tree Inns and other
temperance coffee houses--for the working people. And another beneficent
plan is for corporations and employers to make abstinence from drink an
essential to employment. My generous friend, Mr. Andrew Carnegie, when
he recently gave a liberal donation to our National Temperance Society,
said to me: "The best temperance lecture I have delivered was when I
agreed to pay ten per cent premium to all the employees on my Scottish
estates who would practice entire abstinence from intoxicants." The
experience of three-score years has taught me the inestimable value of
total abstinence; the benefit of the righteous law when it is well
enforced, and also that the church of Christ has no more right to ignore
the drink evil than it has to ignore theft, or Sabbath desecration, or
murder. Let me add also my grateful acknowledgment of the very effective
and Heaven-blessed work wrought by that noble organization, the Woman's
Christian Temperance Union. As woman has been the sorest sufferer from
the drink-curse, it is her province and her duty to do her utmost for
its removal.



During the first eighteen months after I graduated from Princeton
College I was balancing between the law and the ministry. Many of my
relatives urged me to become a lawyer, as my father and grandfather had
been, but my godly mother had dedicated me to the ministry from infancy,
and her influence all went in the same line with her prayers. With the
exception of my venerated and beloved kinsman, Dr. Cornelius C. Cuyler,
Pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, who died in
1850, no other man of my name has stood in an American pulpit. During
the winter of my return from Europe to my home on the Cayuga Lake, one
of my uncles invited me to go down and attend an afternoon prayer
service in the neighboring village of Ludlowville. There was a spiritual
awakening in the church, and the meeting was held in the parlor of a
private house. I arose and spoke for ten minutes. When the meeting was
over, more than one came to me and said: "Your talk did me good." On my
way home, as I drove along in my sleigh, the thought flashed into my
mind, "If ten minutes' talk to-day helped a few souls, why not preach
all the time?" That one thought decided the vexed question on the spot.
Our lives turn on small pivots, and if we let God lead us, the path will
open before our footsteps. I reached home that day, and informed my good
mother of my decision. She had always expected it and quietly remarked,
"Then, I have already spoken to Mr. Ford for his room for you in the
Princeton Seminary." My three years in the Seminary were full of joy and
profit. I made it a rule to go out as often as possible and address
little meetings in the neighboring school-houses, and found this a very
beneficial method of gaining practice. A young preacher must get
accustomed to the sound of his own voice; if naturally timid, he must
learn to face an audience and must first learn to speak; afterwards he
may learn to speak well. It is a wise thing for a young man to begin his
labors in a small congregation; he has more time for study, a better
chance to become intimately acquainted with individual characters, and
also a smaller audience to face. The first congregation that I was
called to take charge of, in Burlington, N.J. contained about forty
families. Three or four of these were wealthy and cultivated, the rest
were plain mechanics, with a few gardeners and coachmen. I made my
sermons to suit the comprehension of the gardeners and coachmen at the
end of the house, leaving the cultivated portion to gain what they could
from the sermon on its way. One of the wealthy attendants was Mr.
Charles Chauncey, a distinguished Philadelphia lawyer, who spent the
summer months in Burlington. Once after I had delivered a very simple
and earnest sermon on the "Worth of the Soul," I went home and said to
myself, "Lawyer Chauncey must have thought that was only a camp-meeting
exhortation." He met me during the week and to my astonishment he said
to me: "My young friend, I thank you for that sermon last Sunday; it had
the two best qualities of preaching--simplicity and down-right
earnestness. If I had a student in my law-office who was not more in
earnest to win his first ten dollar suit before a Justice of the Peace
than some men seem to be in trying to save souls I would kick such a
student out of my office." That eminent lawyer's remark did me more
service than any month's study in the Seminary. It taught me that
cultivated audiences relished plain, simple scriptural truths as much as
did the illiterate, and that down-right earnestness to save souls hides
a multitude of sins in raw young preachers.

Another instance that occurred in my early ministry did me a world of
good. I was invited to preach in the Presbyterian Church at Saratoga
Springs about two years after I was licensed. My topics were "Trusting
Jesus Christ" in the morning and "The Day of Judgment" at the evening
service. The next day, when I was buying my ticket at the railway
station to leave the town, a plain man (who was a baker in the village)
said to me: "Are you not the young man who spoke yesterday in our
meeting-house?" I told him that I was. "Well," said he, "I never felt
more sorry for any one in my life." "Why so?" I asked. His answer was:
"I said to myself, there is a youth just out of the Seminary, and he
does not know that a Saratoga audience is made up of highly educated
people from all parts of the land; but I have noticed that if a
minister, during his first ten minutes, can convince the people that he
is only trying to save their souls he _kills all the critics in the
house_." I have never ceased to thank God for the remark of that shrewd
Saratoga baker, who, I was told, had come there from New Haven,
Connecticut, and was a man of remarkable sagacity. That was one of the
profoundest bits of sound philosophy on the art of preaching that I have
ever encountered, and I have quoted it in every Theological Seminary
that I have ever addressed. If we ministers pour the living truths of
the Gospel red-hot into the ears and consciences of our audiences, they
will have enough to do to look out for themselves and will have no time
to level criticisms at us or our mode of preaching. Cowards, also, are
never more pitiable than when in the pulpit.

I will not enter here into the endless controversy about the comparative
merits of written or extemporized sermons. My own observation and
experience has been that no rule is the best rule. Every man must find
out by practice which method he can use to the best advantage and then
pursue it. No man ever fails who understands his forte, and no man
succeeds who does not. Some men cannot extemporize effectively if they
try ever so hard; there are others who, like Gladstone, can think best
when they are on their legs and are inspired by an audience. During the
first few years of my ministry I wrote out nearly all of my sermons. The
advantage of doing that is that it enables a young beginner to form his
own style at the outset by careful and systematic writing. Spurgeon,
often when a youth, read some of his sermons, although afterwards he
never premeditated a single sentence for the pulpit. Dr. Richard S.
Storrs was a most fluent extemporaneous speaker, but for twenty years he
carefully wrote all his discourses. My own habit, after a time, was to
write a portion of the sermon and turn away from my notes to interject
thoughts that came in the heat of the moment and then turn to my
manuscript. This was generally the habit of Henry Ward Beecher. After
thirty years in the ministry I discarded writing sermons entirely and
adopted the plan of preparing a few "heads" on a bit of note-paper, and
tacking it into a Bagster's Bible. Dr. John Hall wrote carefully,
leaving his manuscript at home; and so does Dr. Alexander McLaren, of
Manchester, who is to-day by far the most superb sermonizer in Great
Britain. The eloquent Guthrie, of Scotland, committed his discourses to
memory, and delivered them in a torrent of Godly emotion.

In preparing my sermons my custom was, after taking some rest on Monday,
to get into my study early on Tuesday morning. To every student the best
hours of the day are those before the sun has reached the meridian. Then
the mind is the most clear and vigorous. I have never in my life
prepared sermons a dozen times after my supper. Severe mental work in
the evening is apt to destroy sound sleep; thousands of brain workers
are wrecked by insomnia. To secure freedom from needless interruption I
pinned on my study door "_Very Busy_." This had the wholesome effect of
shutting out all time-killers, and of shortening necessary calls of
those who had some important errand. Instead of leaving the selection of
my topic to the risk of any contingency, I usually chose my text on
Tuesday morning, and laid the keel of the sermon. I kept a large
note-book in which I could enter any passage of Scripture that would
furnish a good theme for pulpit consumption. I also found it a good
practice to jot down thoughts that occurred to me on any important topic
that I could use when I came to prepare my sermons. By this method I had
a treasury of texts from which I could draw every week. Let my readers
be careful to notice that word "Text." I have known men to prepare an
elaborate essay, theological, ethical or sociological, and then to perch
a text from the Bible on top of it.

"Preach my word" does not signify the clapping of a few syllables as a
figure-head on a long treatise spun out of a preacher's brain. The best
discourses are not manufactured, they are a _growth_. God's inspired and
infallible Book must furnish the text. The connection between every good
sermon and its text is just as vital as the connection between a
peach-tree and its root. Sometimes an indolent minister tries to palm
off an old sermon for a pretended new one by changing the text, but this
shallow device ought to expose itself as if he should decapitate a dog
and undertake to clap on the head of some other animal. Intelligent
audiences see through such tricks and despise them. "Be sure your sin
will find you out." When a passage from the Holy Scripture has been
planted as a root and well watered with prayer, the sermon should spring
naturally from it. The central thought of the text being the central
thought of the sermon and all argument, all instruction and exhortation
are only the boughs branching off from the central trunk, giving unity,
vigor and spiritual beauty to the whole organic production. The unity
and spiritual power of a discourse usually depend upon the adherence to
the great divine truth contained in the inspired Book. The Bible text is
God's part of our sermon; and the more thoroughly we get the text into
our own souls, the more will we get it into the sermon, and into the
consciences of our hearers. To keep out of a rut I studied the infinite
variety of Sacred Scripture; its narratives and matchless biographies,
its jubilant Psalms, its profound doctrines, its tender pathos, its
rolling thunder of Sinai, and its sweet melodies of Calvary's redeeming
love. I laid hold of the great themes, and I found a half hour of
earnest prayer was more helpful than two or three hours of study. It
sometimes let a flash from the Throne flame over the page I was writing.

To me, when preparing my Sabbath messages, God's Holy Word was the sum
of all knowledge, and a "Thus saith the Lord" was my invariable guide. I
found that in theology the true things were not new, and most of the new
things were not true. I remember how a visitor in New Haven was looking
for a certain house, and found himself in front of the residence of
Professor Olmstead, the eminent astronomer, whose stoves were then very
popular. The visitor inquired of an Irishman, who was working in front
of the house, "Who lives here?" The very Hibernian answer was, "Shure,
sur, 'tis Profissor Olmstead, a very great man; he _invents_ comets, and
has _discovered_ a new stove." In searching the Scriptures I used the
very best spiritual telescopes in my possession, and gladly availed
myself of all discoveries of divine truths made by profounder intellects
and keener visions than my own; but I leave this self-styled "advanced
age" to invent its own comets, and follow its own meteors.

In one respect I have not followed the practice of many of my brethren,
for I never have wasted a single moment in defending God's Word in my
pulpit. I have always held that the Bible is a self-evidencing book; God
will take care of His Word if we ministers only take care to preach it.
We are no more called upon to defend the Bible than we are to defend the
law of gravitation. My beloved friend, Dr. McLaren, of Manchester, has
well said that if ministers, "instead of trying to _prop_ the Cross of
Christ, would simply _point_ men to that Cross, more souls would be
saved." The vast proportion of volumes of "Apologetics" are a waste of
ink and paper. If they could all be kindled into a huge bonfire, they
would shed more light than they ever did before. It is not our business
to answer every sceptic who shies a stone at the solid fortress of truth
in which God places His ambassadors. If Tobiah and Sanballat are
challenging us to come down into the plain, and meet them on their
level, our answer must ever be: "I am God's messenger, preaching God's
word and doing God's work. I cannot stop to go down and prove that your
swords are made of lath."

To my younger brethren I would say: "Preach the Word, preach it with all
your soul, preach it in the strength of Jehovah's Spirit, and He will
give it the victory."

I found the effectiveness of my sermons increased by the use of every
good illustration I could get hold of, but I tried to be careful that
they illustrated something. Where such are lugged into the sermon merely
for the sake of ornament, they are as much out of place as a bouquet
would be tied fast to a plough-handle. The Divine Teacher set us the
example of making vital truths intelligible by illustrations, when he
spoke so often in parables, and sometimes recalled historical incidents.
All congregations relish incidents and stories, when they are "pat" to
the purpose, and serious enough for God's house, and help to drive the
truth into the hearts of the audience During my early ministry I
delivered a discourse to young men at Saratoga Springs, and closed it
with a solemn story of a man who died of remorse at the exposure of his
crime. The Hon. John McLean, a judge of the United States Supreme Court
and a prominent man in the Methodist Church, was in the congregation,
and the next day I called at the United States Hotel to pay my respects
to him. He said to me, "My young friend I was very much interested in
that story last evening; it clinched the sermon. Our ministers in
Cincinnati used to introduce illustrative anecdotes, but it seems to
have gone out of fashion and I am sorry for it." I replied to him, "Well
Judge, I am glad to have the decision of the Supreme Court of the United
States in favor of telling a story or a personal incident in the
pulpit." There is one principle that covers all cases. It is this:
Whatever makes the Gospel or Jesus Christ more clear to the
understanding, more effective in arousing sinners, in converting souls,
in edifying believers and in promoting pure honest living is never out
of place in the pulpit. When we are preaching for souls we may use any
and every weapon of truth within our reach.

Those who have sat before my pulpit will testify that I never spared my
lungs or their ears in the delivery of my discourses. The preaching of
the Gospel is spiritual gunnery, and many a well-loaded cartridge has
failed to reach its mark from lack of powder to propel it. The prime
duty of God's ambassador is to arouse the attention of souls before his
pulpit; to stir those who are indifferent; to awaken those who are
impenitent; to cheer the sorrow-stricken; to strengthen the weak, and
edify believers An advocate in a criminal trial puts his grip on every
juryman's ear So must every herald of Gospel-truth demand and command a
hearing, cost what it may: but that hearing he never will secure while
he addresses an audience in a cold, formal, perfunctory manner.
Certainly the great apostle at Ephesus aimed at the emotions and the
conscience as well as the reason of his hearers when he "ceased not to
warn them night and day with tears." I cannot impress it too strongly on
every young minister that the delivery of his sermon is half the battle.
Why load your gun at all if you cannot send your charge to the mark?
Many a discourse containing much valuable thought has fallen dead on
drowsy ears when it might have produced great effect if the preacher had
only had _inspiration_ and _perspiration_. A sermon that is but ordinary
as a production may have an extraordinary effect by direct and fervid
delivery. The minister who never warms himself will never warm up his
congregation. I once asked Albert Barnes, of Philadelphia, "Who is the
greatest preacher you have ever heard?" Mr. Barnes, who was a very
clear-headed thinker, replied: "I cannot answer your question exactly,
but the greatest specimen of preaching I ever heard was by the Rev.
Edward N. Kirk before my congregation during a revival; it produced a
tremendous effect." Those of us that knew Kirk knew that he was not a
man of genius or profound scholarship; but he was a true orator with a
superb voice and a sweet persuasiveness, and his whole soul was on fire
with the love of Jesus and the love of souls.

It is not easy to define what that subtle something is which we call
pulpit magnetism. As near as I can come to a definition I would say it
is the quality or faculty in the speaker that arouses the attention and
strengthens the interest of his auditors and which, when aided by the
Holy Spirit, produces conviction in their minds by the truth that is in
Jesus. The heart in the speaker's voice sends that voice into the hearts
of his hearers. It is an undoubted fact that pulpit fervor has been a
characteristic of almost all the preachers of a soul-winning Gospel. The
fire was kindled in the pulpit that kindled the pews. The discourses of
Frederick W. Robertson, of Brighton, were masterpieces of fresh thought,
but the crowds were drawn to his church because they were delivered
with a fiery glow. The king of living sermon-makers is Dr. McLaren, of
Manchester. His vigorous thought is put into vigorous language and then
vigorously spoken. He commits his grand sermons to memory, and then
looks his audience in the eyes, and sends his strong voice to the
furthest gallery. Last year after I had thanked him for his powerful
"Address on Preaching" to a thousand ministers in London, he wrote to
me: "It was an effort; for I could not trust myself to do without a
manuscript, and I am so unaccustomed to reading what I have to say that
it was like dancing a hornpipe in fetters," Yet manuscripts are not
always fetters; for Dr. Chalmers read every line of his sermons with
thrilling and tremendous effect. So did Dr. Charles Wadsworth in
Philadelphia, and so did Phillips Brooks in Boston. In my own experience
I have as often found spiritual results from the discourses partly or
mainly written out as from those spoken extemporaneously. While much may
depend upon the conditions in the congregation and much aid may be drawn
from the intercessory prayers of our people, the main thing is to have a
baptism of fire in our own hearts. Sometimes a sermon may produce but
little impression, yet the same sermon at another time and place may
deeply move an audience, and yield rich spiritual results. Physical
condition may have some influence on a minister's delivery; but the
chief element in the eloquence that awakens and converts sinners and
strengthens Christians is the unction of the Holy Spirit. Our best power
is the _power from on high_.

I would say to young ministers--look at your auditors as bound to the
judgment seat and see the light of eternity flash into their faces. Then
the more fervor of soul you put into your preaching the more souls you
will win to your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

As I look back over the last sixty years I think I discover some very
marked changes in the methods of the American pulpit since the days of
my youth. In the first place the average preacher in those days was more
doctrinal than at the present time. The masters in Israel evidently held
with Phillips Brooks that "no exhortation to a good life that does not
put behind it some great truth, as deep as eternity, can seize and hold
the conscience," Therefore they pushed to the front such deep and mighty
themes as the Attributes of God, the Divinity of Jesus Christ, the
Nature and Desert of Sin, the Atonement, Regeneration, Faith,
Resurrection, and Judgment to come, with Heaven and Hell as tremendous
realities. They emphasized the heinousness and the desert of sin as a
great argument for repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ. A lapse
from that style of preaching is to be deplored; for as Gladstone truly
remarked, the decline or decay of a sense of sin against God is one of
the most serious symptoms of these times.

Charles G. Finney, who was at the zenith of his power sixty years ago,
bombarded the consciences of sinners with a prodigious broadside of
pulpit doctrine; and many acute lawyers and eminent merchants were
converted under his discourses. No two finer examples of doctrinal
preaching--once so prevalent--could be cited than Dr. Lyman Beecher and
Dr. Horace Bushnell. The celebrated sermon by the former of these two
giants on the "Moral Government of God" was characterized by Thomas H.
Skinner as the mightiest discourse he had ever heard. Henry Ward Beecher
hardly exaggerated when he once said to me, "Put all of his children
together and we do not equal my father at his best." Dr. Bushnell's
masterly discourses with all their exquisite poetry and insight into
human hearts were largely bottomed and built on a theological basis. To
those two great doctrinal preachers I might add the names of my beloved
instructors, Dr. Archibald Alexander and Dr. Charles Hodge, of
Princeton, Albert Barnes and Professor Park, Dr. Thornwell, Dr. Bethune,
Dr. John Todd, Dr. G.T. Bedell, Bishop Simpson and President Stephen

Has the American pulpit grown in spiritual power since those days? Have
the churches thriven whose pastors have become more invertebrate in
their theology?

Another characteristic of the average preacher sixty years ago was that
sermons were generally aimed at awakening the impenitent, and bringing
them to Jesus Christ. The evil of sin was emphasized; the way of
salvation explained; the claims of Christianity were presented; and
people were urged to immediate decision. Nowadays a large portion of
sermons are addressed to professing Christians; many others are
addressed to nobody in particular, but there is less of faithful,
fervid, loving and persuasive discourses to the unconverted. This is one
of the reasons for the lamentable decrease in the number of conversions.
If ministers are set to be watchmen of souls, how shall they escape if
they neglect the salvation of souls?

I think, too, that we cannot be mistaken in saying that there has been a
decline in impassioned pulpit eloquence. There is a change in the
fashions of preaching. Students are now taught to be calm and
colloquial; to aim at producing epigrammatical essays; to discuss
sociological problems and address the intellects of their auditors
rather in the style of the lecture platform or college class room. The
great Dr. Chalmers "making the rafters roar" is as much a bygone
tradition in many quarters as faith in the Mosaic authorship of the
Pentateuch. I have often wished that the young Edward N. Kirk, who
melted to tears the professors and students of Yale during the revival
there, could come back to us and teach candidates for the ministry how
to preach. There was no stentorian shouting or rhetorical exhortation;
but there was an intense, solemn, white-heat earnestness that made his
auditors feel not only that life was worth living, but that the soul was
worth saving and Jesus Christ was worth serving, and Heaven was worth
securing, and that for all these things "God will bring us into
judgment." If Lyman Beecher and Dr. Edward Dorr Griffin and Finney did
not possess all of Kirk's grace of delivery, they possessed his fire,
and they made the Gospel doctrines glow with a living heat that burned
into the hearts and consciences of their auditors.

May God send into our churches not only a revival of pure and undefiled
religion, but also a revival of old-fashioned soul-inspiring pulpit

It is rather a delicate subject to touch upon, but I am happy to say
that in my early ministry the preachers of God's Word were not hamstrung
by any doubt of the divine inspiration or infallibility of the Book that
lay before them on their pulpits. The questions, "Have we got any
Bible?" and "If any Bible, how much?" had not been hatched. When I was
in Princeton Seminary, our profoundly learned Hebrew Professor, Dr. J.
Addison Alexander no more disturbed us with the much-vaunted conjectural
Biblical criticisms than he disturbed us with Joe Smith's "golden
plates" at Nauvoo. For this fact I feel deeply thankful; and I comfort
myself with the reflection that the great British preachers of the last
dozen years--Dr. McLaren, Charles H. Spurgeon, Newman Hall, Canon Liddon,
Dr. Dale and Dr. Joseph Parker--have suffered no more from the virulent
attacks of the radical and revolutionary higher criticism than I have,
during my long and happy ministry.

Ministers had some advantages sixty or seventy years ago over their
successors of our day. They had a more uninterrupted opportunity for the
preparation of their sermons and for thorough personal visitation of
their flocks. They were not importuned so often to serve on committees
and to be participants in all sorts of social schemes of charity. Every
pastor ought to keep abreast of reformatory movements as long as they do
not trench upon the vital and imperative duties of his high calling.
"This one thing I do," said single-hearted Paul; and if Paul were a
pastor now in New York or Boston or Chicago, he would make short work of
many an intrusive rap of a time-killer at his study door.

I have noted frankly a few of the changes that I have observed in the
methods of our American pulpit during my long life, but not, I trust, in
a pessimistic or censorious spirit God forbid that I should disparage
the noble, conscientious, self-denying and Heaven-blessed labors of
thousands of Christ's ministers in our broad land! They have greater
difficulties to encounter than I had when I began my work. They are
surrounded with an atmosphere of intense materialism. The ambition for
the "seen things" increasingly blinds men to the "things that are unseen
and eternal." Wealth and worldliness unspiritualize thousands of
professed Christians. The present artificial arrangements of society
antagonize devotional meetings and special efforts to promote revivals.
On Sabbath mornings many a minister has to shovel out scores of his
congregation from under the drifts (not very clean snow either) of the
mammoth Sunday newspapers.

The zealous pastor of to-day has to contend with the lowered popular
faith in the authority of God's Word; with the lowered reverence for
God's day and a diminished habit of attending upon God's worship. Do
these increased difficulties demand a new Gospel? No; but rather a
mightier faith in the one we have. Do they demand new doctrines? No;
but more power in preaching the truths that have outlived nineteen
centuries. Do we need a new revelation of Jesus Christ? Yes, yes, in the
fuller manifestation of Him; in the more loving, courageous and
consecrated lives of His followers. Do we need a new Baptism of the Holy
Spirit? Verily we do need it; and then our pulpits will be clothed with
power, and our preachers will have tongues of fire, and every change
will be a change for the better advancement and enlargement of the
Kingdom of our adorable Lord.



I have always counted it a matter for thankfulness that I made my
preparation for the ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. The
period that I spent there, from September, 1843, to May, 1846, was a
golden period in its history. The venerable Archibald Alexander,
wonderfully endowed with sagacity and spiritual insight, instructed us
in the duties of the preacher and the pastor. Dr. Charles Hodge, the
king of Presbyterian theologians, was in the prime of his power. His
teachings have since been embodied in his masterful volume on
"Systematic Theology." Dr. Joseph Addison Alexander, who, Dr. Hodge
said, was, taking him all in all, "the most gifted man with whom I was
ever personally acquainted," was in the chair of Hebrew and Old
Testament literature. Urbane, old Dr. Samuel Miller, was the Professor
of Ecclesiastical History. Those wise men taught us not only to think,
but to believe. All education is atmospheric, and the atmosphere of
Princeton Seminary was deeply and sweetly Evangelical. At five o'clock
on the morning after I received my diploma, I was off for Wyoming
Valley in Pennsylvania, the Arcadian spot made famous in the volume of
Campbell's "Gertrude of Wyoming." I spent five months there supplying
the pulpit of the Rev. Mr. Mitchell, who was absent to recruit his
health. In the Autumn I received an invitation to take charge of the
Presbyterian Church of Burlington, N.J., founded by the princely and
philanthropic Dr. Cortland Van Rensellaer, son of the Patroon at Albany.
It was the very place for a young preacher to begin his work. The
congregation was small, and, therefore, I obtained an opportunity to
study individual character. It was a very difficult field of labor, and
it is good for a minister to bear the yoke in his youth. My work at
first was attended with many discouragements. I preached as pungently as
I was able, but no visible results seemed to follow. One day the wife of
one of my two church elders came to me in my study, and told me that her
son had been awakened by the faithful talk of a young Christian girl,
who had brought some work to her husband's shoe store. I said to the
elder's wife: "The Holy Spirit is evidently working on one soul--let us
have a prayer meeting at your house to-night." We spent the afternoon in
gathering our small congregation together, and when I got to her house
it was packed to the door. I have attended thousands of prayer meetings
since then, but never one that had a more distinct resemblance to the
Pentecostal gathering in "the upper room" at Jerusalem. The atmosphere
seemed to be charged with a divine electricity that affected almost
every one in the house. Three times over I closed the meeting with a
benediction, but it began again, and the people lingered until a very
late hour, melted together by "a baptism of fire." That wonderful
meeting was followed by special services every night, and the Holy
Spirit descended with great power. My little church was doubled in
numbers, and I learned more practical theology in a month than any
seminary could teach me in a year.

That revival was an illustration of the truth that a good work of grace
often begins with the personal effort of one or two individuals. The
Burlington awakening began with the little girl and the elder's wife. We
ministers must never despise or neglect "the day of small things."

Every pastor ought to be constantly on the watch, with open eye and ear,
for the first signs of an especial manifestation of the Spirit's
presence. Elijah, on Carmel, did not only pray; he kept his eyes open to
see the rising cloud. The moment that there is a manifestation of the
Spirit's presence, it must be followed up promptly. For example, during
my pastorate in the Market Street Church, New York, (from 1853 to
1860), I was out one afternoon making calls, and I discovered that in
two or three families there were anxious seekers for salvation. I
immediately called together the officers of the church, stated to them
my observations, instituted a series of meetings for almost every
evening, followed them with conversation with enquirers, and a large
ingathering of souls rewarded our efforts and prayers. I have no doubt
that very often a spark of divine influence is allowed to die for want
of being fanned by prayer and prompt labors, whereas, it is sometimes
dashed out, as by a bucket of cold water thrown on by inconsistent or
quarrelsome church members. It was to Christians that St. Paul sent the
message, "Quench not the Spirit."

In 1858 there began a marvelous work of grace, which extended not only
throughout the churches in New York, but throughout the whole country.
The flame was kindled at the beginning of the year in a noon-day prayer
meeting, instituted by that single-eyed servant of Christ, Jeremiah C.
Lamphier, who had once been a singer in the choir of my church. The
flame thus kindled in that meeting soon extended to my church in Market
Street, and presently spread over the whole city. The special feature of
the revival of 1858 was the noon-day prayer meeting. It was my privilege
to conduct the first noon meeting in Burton's old theatre in Chambers
Street, and in a few days after, a similar one in the Collegiate Church
in Ninth Street, and also the first prayer meeting in a warehouse at the
lower end of Broadway. It is not too much to say that often there were
not less than 8,000 to 10,000 of God's people, who came together at the
noon-tide hour with the spirit of supplication and prayer. The flame,
having spread over the city, then leaped to Philadelphia, and Jayne's
Hall, on Chestnut Street, was thronged by an immense number of people,
led by George H. Stuart. And so it went on from town to town, and from
city to city, over the length and breadth of our land. The revival
crossed the ocean and extended to Ireland. On a visit to Belfast I saw
handbills on the streets calling the people to noon-day gatherings.

I began my ministry in Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn,
as its first pastor, in April, 1860. From the start I struck for souls;
and when our new edifice was dedicated we were under a refreshing shower
of the Divine Spirit. Six years after my installation as pastor, God
blessed us with an extraordinary downpour. The first drops were followed
by an abundance of rain. That revival began where revivals often
begin,--in the prayer meeting. It was on the evening of the 8th of
January, the first evening of the "week of prayer," which is generally
observed over the land. The meeting was held under the direction of our
Young People's Association,--that same body of young Christian workers
which gave the Rev Francis E. Clark both the inspiration and practical
hints for the formation of his first society of Christian Endeavor. What
a fearful bitter night was that 8th of January! Through that stinging
Arctic atmosphere came a goodly number with hearts on fire with the love
of Jesus. The prayers that night were well aimed; and a man, who
afterwards became a useful officer of the church, was converted on the
spot. On the Friday evening of that week our lecture-room was packed,
and when the elder requested that any who desired special prayer should
rise, two very prominent men in this community were on their feet in an
instant. The meeting was electrified; every one saw that God was with
us. There was no extraordinary excitement; the feeling was too deep for
that. We felt as the ancient Hebrew prophet felt when he heard the
"still small voice from heaven," and went out ready for action. I felt
at once that a great work for Christ had commenced. I called our
officers together at once, and, to use the naval phrase, we "cleared the
decks for action." As the good work had begun in our own church, without
any external assistance, we determined to carry on the work ourselves;
and during the next five months, I never had any pulpit help except on
two evenings during the week, when two fervid, discreet neighboring
pastors preached for me. Commonly, every church should do its own
spiritual harvesting--just as much as every pair of young lovers should
do their own love-making, and wise parents their own family training.
Looking outside is a temptation to shirk responsibility. If a preacher
can preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ faithfully, and the Lord God is
with him, why rob him of the joy of the harvest by sending away for any

My plan of action was this. Twice on each Sabbath, and on two evenings
in the week, I preached as clearly and pungently as I could; sometimes
to awakened souls, sometimes to backsliders, sometimes to the
impenitent, sometimes to souls who were seeking salvation. I spoke of
the great central truths:--personal guilt, Christ's atoning work, the
offices of the Spirit, redemption, the claims of the Saviour, the
necessity of immediate repentance, immediate acceptance of Christ and
the joy and power of an useful Christian life. During a revival, sermons
make themselves; they grow spontaneously. On the Monday evening of each
week our young people had the field with their regular gatherings, and
new converts were encouraged to narrate their experiences. On three
other evenings of the week the whole church had a service for prayer and
exhortation, conducted by our laymen. The praying women met on one
afternoon; the girls by themselves on another afternoon, and the boys on
another. During each week, from eleven to twelve, different meetings
were held, and in so large a congregation, these sub-divisions were
necessary. After every public service I held an inquiry meeting. I
invited people to converse with me in the study during the day, and I
made as much pastoral visitation from house to house as possible.

"So built we the walls ... for the people had a mind to work." For five
months that blessed work went forward, and as a result a very great
number were added to the church, of whom about one hundred were heads of
families. Our sacramental Sabbaths were holy, joyous feasts, and the
sheaves were brought in with singing. Some of the new converts banded
themselves in a new organization, and to perpetuate the memory of that
glorious spiritual outpouring, they called it the "Memorial Presbyterian
Church." It now worships in the beautiful edifice on Seventh Avenue, and
is one of the most flourishing churches in Brooklyn. The effect of that
work of grace reached on into eternity. One of its first effects, on the
writer of these lines, was to confirm him in the opinion that the living
Gospel, sent by the Holy Spirit, is the one only way to save sinners;
that a church must back up a minister by its personal efforts, and when
preacher and people work together only for God's glory, He is as sure to
answer prayer as the morrow's sun is to rise in the heavens.

It has not been my practice to invite the labors of an evangelist; but
in January, 1872, Mr. Dwight L. Moody, with whom I had as yet but a
slight acquaintance, but whom I since have honored and loved with my

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