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The Life of Col. James Gardiner by P. Doddridge

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These were not to be omitted on account of any guest; for he esteemed it
a part of due respect to those that remained under his roof to take it
for granted they would look upon it as a very bad compliment to imagine
they would have been obliged by neglecting the duties of religion on
their account. As his family increased, he had a minister statedly
resident in his house, who discharged both the office of a tutor to his
children, and of a chaplain, and who was always treated with a becoming
kindness and respect. But, in his absence, the colonel himself led the
devotions of the family; and they were happy who had an opportunity of
knowing with how much solemnity, fervour, and propriety he did it. He was
constant in attendance upon public worship, in which an exemplary care
was taken that the children and servants might accompany the heads of the
family. And how he would have resented the non-attendance of any member
of it may easily be conjectured from a free but lively passage in a
letter to one of his intimate friends, on an occasion which it is not
material to mention. "Oh, sir, had a child of yours under my roof but
once neglected the public worship of God when he was able to attend it,
I should have been ready to conclude he had been distracted, and should
have thought of shaving his head, and confining him in a dark room."

He always treated his lady with a manly tenderness, giving her the most
natural evidences of a cordial, habitual esteem, and expressing a most
affectionate sympathy with her under the infirmities of a very delicate
constitution, much broken, at least towards the latter years of their
marriage. He had at all times a most faithful care of all her interests,
and especially those relating to the state of religion in her mind. His
conversation and his letters concurred to cherish those sublime ideas
which Christianity suggests, to promote our submission to the will of
God, to teach us to centre our happiness in the great Author of our
being, and to live by faith in the invisible world. These, no doubt, were
frequently the subjects of mutual discourse; and many letters, which her
ladyship has had the goodness to communicate to me, are most convincing
evidences of the degree in which this noble and most friendly care filled
his mind in the days of their separation--days which so entire a mutual
affection must have rendered exceedingly painful, had they not been
supported by such exalted sentiments of piety, and sweetened by daily
communion with an ever-present and ever-gracious God.

The necessity of being so many months together distant from his family
hindered him from many of those condescending labours in cultivating the
minds of his children in early life, which, to a soul so benevolent, so
wise, and so zealous, would undoubtedly have afforded a very exquisite
pleasure. The care of his worthy consort, who well knew that it is one
of the brightest parts of a mother's character, and one of the most
important views in which the sex can be considered, made him the easier
under such a circumstance; but when he was with them, he failed not to
instruct and admonish them; and the constant deep sense with which he
spoke of divine things, and the real unaffected indifference which he
always showed for what this vain world is most ready to admire, were
excellent lessons of daily wisdom, which I hope they will recollect with
advantage in every future scene of life. And I have seen such hints in
his letters relating to them, as plainly show with how great a weight
they lay on his mind, and how highly he desired, above all things, that
they might be the faithful disciples of Christ, and acquainted betimes
with the unequalled pleasures and blessings of religion. He thought an
excess of delicacy and of indulgence one of the most dangerous faults
in education, by which he everywhere saw great numbers of young people
undone; yet he was solicitous to guard against a severity which might
terrify or discourage; and though he endeavoured to take all prudent
precautions to prevent the commission of faults, yet, when they had been
committed, and there seemed to be a sense of them, he was always ready
to make the most candid allowances for the thoughtlessness of unripened
years, and tenderly to cherish every purpose of a more proper conduct for
the time to come.

It was to perceive that the openings of genius in the young branches of
his family gave him great delight, and that he had a secret ambition to
see them excel in what they undertook. Yet he was greatly cautious over
his heart, lest it should be too fondly attached to them; and as he was
one of the most eminent proficients I ever knew in the blessed science
of resignation to the divine will, so there was no effect of that
resignation which appeared to me more admirable than what related to the
life of his children. An experience, which no length of time will ever
efface out of my memory, has so sensibly taught me how difficult it is
fully to support the Christian character here, that I hope my reader will
pardon me (I am sure, at least, the heart of wounded parents will,) if I
dwell a little longer upon so interesting a subject.[*]

[*Note: See Appendix II.]

When he was in Herefordshire in July, 1734, it pleased God to visit his
little family with the small pox. Five days before the date of the letter
I am just going to mention, he had received the agreeable news that
there was a prospect of the recovery of his son, then under that awful
visitation; and he had been expressing his thankfulness for it in a
letter which he had sent away but a few hours before he was informed of
his death, the surprise of which, in this connection, must naturally be
very great. But behold (says the reverend and worthy person from whom
I received the copy) his truly filial submission to the will of his
Heavenly Father, in the following lines addressed to the dear partner
of his affliction: "Your resignation to the will of God under this
dispensation gives me more joy than the death of the child has given me
sorrow. He, to be sure, is happy; and we shall go to him, though he shall
not return to us. Oh that we had our latter end always in view! We shall
soon follow; and oh, what reason have we to long for that glorious day
when we shall get quit of this body of sin and death under which we now
groan, and which renders this life so wretched! I desire to bless God
that ---- (another of his children) is in so good a way; but I have
resigned her. We must not choose for ourselves; and it is well we must
not, for we should often make a very bad choice, and therefore it is our
wisdom, as well as our duty, to leave all with a gracious God, who hath
promised that all things shall work together for good to them that love
him; and he is faithful that hath promised, who will infallibly perform
it, if our unbelief does not stand in the way."

The greatest trial of this kind that he ever bore, was in the removal of
his second son, who was one of the most amiable and promising children
that has been known. The dear little creature was the darling of all that
knew him; and promised very fair, so far as a child could be known by its
doings, to have been a great ornament to the family, and blessing to the
public. The suddenness of the stroke must, no doubt, render it the more
painful; for this beloved child was snatched away by an illness which
seized him but about fifteen hours before it carried him off. He died
in the month of October 1733, at near six years old. Their friends were
ready to fear that his affectionate parents would be almost overwhelmed
at such a loss; but the happy father had so firm a persuasion that God
had received the dear little one to the felicities of the celestial
world, and at the same time had so strong a sense of the divine goodness
in taking one of his children, and that, too, one who lay so near his
heart, so early to himself, that the sorrows of nature were quite
swallowed up in the sublime joy which these considerations administered.
When he reflected what human life is--how many its snares and temptations
are--and how frequently children who once promised very well are
insensibly corrupted, and at length undone, with Solomon he blessed the
dead already dead, more than the living who were yet alive, and felt
unspeakable pleasure in looking after the lovely infant, as safely and
delightfully lodged in the house of its Heavenly Father. Yea, he assured
me that his heart was at this time so entirely taken up with these views,
that he was afraid they who did not thoroughly know him might suspect
that he was deficient in the natural affections of a parent, while thus
borne above the anguish of them by the views which faith administered to
him, and which divine grace supported in his soul.

So much did he, on one of the most trying occasions of life, manifest of
the temper of a glorified saint, and to such happy purposes did he retain
those lessons of submission to God, and acquiescence in him, which I
remember he once inculcated in a letter he wrote to a lady of quality
under the apprehension of a breach in her family with which Providence
seemed to threaten her, which I am willing to insert here, though a
little out of what might seem its most proper place rather than entirely
to omit it. It is dated from London, June 16, 1722, when, speaking of the
dangerous illness of a dear relative, he has these words: "When my mind
runs hither," that is, to God, as its refuge and strong defence, (as the
connection plainly determines it,) "I think I can bear any thing, the
loss of all, the loss of health, of relations, on whom I depend, and whom
I love, all that is dear to me, without repining or murmuring. When I
think that God orders, disposes, and manages all things according to the
counsel of his own will; when I think of the extent of his providence,
that it reaches to the minutest things; then, though a useful friend or
dear relative be snatched away by death, I recall myself, and check my
thoughts with these considerations: Is he not God from everlasting, and
to everlasting? And has he not promised to be a God to me?--a God in all
his attributes, a God in all his persons, a God in all his creatures and
providences? And shall I dare to say, What shall I do? Was not he the
infinite cause of all I met with in the creatures? And were not they
the finite effects of his infinite love and kindness? I have daily
experienced that the instrument was, and is, what God makes it to be; and
I know that this 'God hath the hearts of all men in his hands, and the
earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.' If this earth be good for
me, I shall have it; for my Father hath it all in possession. If favour
in the eyes of men be good for me, I shall have it; for the spring of
every motion in the heart of man is in God's hand. My dear ---- seems now
to be dying; but God is all-wise, and every thing is done by him for the
best. Shall I hold back any thing that is his own, when he requires
it? No, God forbid! When I consider the excellency of his glorious
attributes, I am satisfied with all his dealings." I perceive by the
introduction, and by what follows, that most, if not all of this, is
a quotation from something written by a lady; but whether from some
manuscript or printed book, whether exactly transcribed or quoted from
memory, I cannot determine; and therefore I thought proper to insert it,
as the major (for that was the office he bore then,) by thus interweaving
it with his letter, makes it his own, and as it seems to express in a
very lively manner the principles which bore him on to a conduct so truly
great and heroic, in circumstances that have overwhelmed many a heart
that could have faced danger and death with the greatest intrepidity.

I return now to consider his character in the domestic relation of a
master, on which I shall not enlarge. It is, however, proper to remark,
that as his habitual meekness and command of his passions prevented
indecent sallies of ungoverned anger towards those in the lowest state
of subjection to him, by which some in high life do strangely debase
themselves, and lose much of their authority, so the natural greatness of
his mind made him solicitous to render their inferior stations as easy as
he could: and so much the rather, because he considered all the children
of Adam as standing upon a level before their great Creator, and had
also a deeper sense of the dignity and worth of every immortal soul, how
meanly soever it might chance to be lodged, than most persons I have
known. This engaged him to give his servants frequent religious
exhortations and instructions, as I have been assured by several who
were so happy as to live with him under that character. One of his first
letters, after he entered on his Christian course, expresses the same
disposition; in which, with great tenderness, he recommends a servant,
who was in a bad state of health, to his mother's care, as he was well
acquainted with her condescending temper; mentioning at the same time,
the endeavours he had used to promote his preparations for a better
world, under an apprehension that he would not continue long in this.
We shall have an affecting instance of the prevalence of the same
disposition in the closing scene of his life, and indeed in the last
words he ever spoke, which expressed his generous solicitude for the
safety of a faithful servant who was then near him.



As it was a few years after his marriage that he was promoted to the rank
of lieutenant-colonel, in which he continued till he had a regiment of
his own, I shall, for the future, speak of him by that title; and I may
not, perhaps, find any more proper place in which to mention what it is
proper for me to say of his behaviour and conduct as an officer. I shall
not here enlarge upon his bravery in the field, though, as I have heard
from others, that was very remarkable--I say from others, for I never
heard any thing of the kind from himself, nor knew, till after his death,
that he was present at almost every battle that was fought in Flanders
while the illustrious Duke of Marlborough commanded the allied army
there. I have also been assured from several very credible persons, some
of whom were eye-witnesses, that at the skirmish with the rebels at
Preston in Lancashire, (thirty years before that engagement at the other
Preston which deprived us of this gallant guardian of his country,) he
signalized himself very particularly; for he headed a small body of men,
I think about twelve, and set fire to the barricado of the rebels, in the
face of their whole army, while they were pouring in their shot, by which
eight of the twelve that attended him fell. This was the last action of
the kind in which he was engaged before the long peace which ensued; and
who can express how happy it was for him, and indeed for his country,
of which he was ever so mindful, and in his latter years so important a
friend, that he did not then fall, when the profaneness which mingled
itself with this martial rage seemed to rend the heavens, and shocked
some other military gentlemen who were not very remarkable for their
caution in this respect.

But I insist not on things of this nature, which the true greatness of
his soul would hardly ever permit him to mention, unless when it tended
to illustrate the divine care over him in these extremities of danger,
and the grace of God in calling him from so abandoned a state. It is well
known that the character of an officer is not to be approved in the
day of combat only. Colonel Gardiner was truly sensible that every day
brought its duties along with it, and he was constantly careful that no
pretence of amusement, friendship, or even devotion itself, might prevent
their being properly discharged.

I doubt not that the noble persons in whose regiments he was
lieutenant-colonel, will always be ready to bear an honourable and
grateful testimony to his exemplary diligence and fidelity in all that
related to the care of the troops over which he was set, whether in
regard to the men or the horses. He knew that it is incumbent on
those who have the honour of presiding over others, whether in civil,
ecclesiastical, or military offices, not to content themselves with doing
only so much as may preserve them from the reproach of gross and visible
neglect; but seriously to consider how much they can possibly do without
going out of their proper sphere, to serve the public, by the due
inspection of those committed to their care. The duties of the closet and
of the sanctuary were so adjusted as not to interfere with those of the
parade, or any other place where the welfare of the regiment called
him. On the other hand, he was solicitous not to suffer these things to
interfere with religion, a due attendance on which he apprehended to
be the surest method of attaining all desirable success in every other
interest and concern in life. He therefore abhorred every thing that
looked like a contrivance to keep his soldiers employed with their horses
and their arms at the seasons of public worship--an indecency which I
wish there were no room to mention. Far from that, he used to have them
drawn up just before it began, and from the parade they went off to the
house of God. He understood the rights of conscience too well to impose
his own particular profession in religion on others, or to treat those
who differed from him in the choice of its modes, the less kindly or
respectfully on that account. But as most of his own company, and many of
the rest, chose (when in England) to attend him to the dissenting chapel,
he used to march them up thither in due time, so as to be there before
the worship began. And I must do them the justice to say, that so far as
I could ever discern, when I have seen them in large numbers before me,
they behaved with as much reverence, gravity, and decorum, during the
time of divine service, as any of the worshippers.

That his remarkable care to maintain good discipline among them (of which
we shall afterwards speak) might be the more effectual, he made himself
on all proper occasions accessible to them, and expressed a great
concern for their interests, which, being genuine and sincere, naturally
discovered itself in a variety of instances. I remember I had once
occasion to visit one of his dragoons in his last illness at Harborough,
and I found the man upon the borders of eternity--a circumstance which,
as he apprehended himself, must add some peculiar weight and credibility
to his discourse. He then told me, in his colonel's absence, that he
questioned not that he should have everlasting reason to bless God on
Colonel Gardiner's account, for he had been a father to him in all his
interests, both temporal and spiritual. He added, that he had visited
him, almost every day during his illness, with religious advice and
instruction, and had also taken care that he should want for nothing that
might conduct to the recovery of his health. He did not speak of this
as the result of any particular attachment to him, but as the manner in
which he was accustomed to treat those under his command. It is no wonder
that this engaged their affection to a very great degree; and I doubt not
that if he had fought the fatal battle of Prestonpans at the head of that
gallant regiment of which he had the care for so many years, and which
is allowed by most unexceptionable judges to be one of the finest in the
British service, and consequently in the world, he had been supported in
a much different manner, and had found a much greater number who would
have rejoiced in an opportunity of making their own breasts a barrier in
the defence of his.

It could not but greatly endear him to his soldiers, that so far as
preferments lay in his power, or were under his influence, they were
distributed according to merit. This he knew to be as much the dictate of
prudence as equity. I find from one of his letters before me, dated but
a few months after his conversion, that he was solicited to use his
interest with the Earl of Stair in favour of one whom he judged a very
worthy person; and that it had been suggested by another, who
recommended him, that if he so succeeded, he might expect some handsome
acknowledgment. But he answers with some degree of indignation, "Do you
imagine I am to be bribed to do justice?" For such it seems he esteemed
it, to confer the favour which was asked from him on one so deserving.
Nothing can more effectually tend to humble the enemies of a state, than
that such maxims should universally prevail in it; and if they do not
prevail, the worthiest men in an army or a fleet may sink under repeated
discouragements, and the basest exalted, to the infamy of the public, and
perhaps to its ruin.

In the midst of all the gentleness which Colonel Gardiner exercised
towards his soldiers, he made it very apparent that he knew how to
reconcile the tenderness of a really faithful and condescending friend
with the authority of a commander. Perhaps hardly any thing conduced more
generally to the maintaining of this authority, than the strict decorum
and good manners with which he treated even the private gentlemen of his
regiment; which has always a great efficacy in keeping inferiors at
a proper distance, and forbids, in the least offensive manner,
familiarities which degrade the superior, and enervate his influence. The
calmness and steadiness of his behaviour on all occasions also greatly
tended to the same purpose. He knew how mean a man looks in the
transports of passion, and would not use so much freedom with many of
his men as to fall into such transports before them, well knowing that
persons in the lowest rank of life are aware how unfit _they_ are to
govern others, who cannot govern themselves. He was also sensible how
necessary it is in all who preside over others, and especially in
military officers, to check irregularities when they first begin to
appear; and, that he might be able to do so, he kept a strict inspection
over his soldiers; in which it was observed, that as he generally chose
to reside among them as much as he could, (though in circumstances which
sometimes occasioned him to deny himself in some interests which were
very dear to him,) so, when they were around him, he seldom staid long in
a place; but was frequently walking the streets, and looking into their
quarters and stables, as well as reviewing and exercising them himself.
It has often been observed that the regiment to which he was so many
years lieutenant-colonel, was one of the most regular and orderly
regiments in the public service, so that perhaps none of our dragoons
were more welcome to the towns where their character was known. Yet no
such bodies of men are so blameless in their conduct but something will
be found, especially among such considerable numbers, worthy of censure,
and sometimes of punishment. This Colonel Gardiner knew how to inflict
with a becoming resolution, and with all the severity which he judged
necessary--a severity the more awful and impressive, as it was already
attended with meekness; for he well knew that when things are done in a
passion, it seems only an accidental circumstance that they are acts
of justice, and that such indecencies greatly obstruct the ends of
punishment, both as to reforming offenders, and to deterring others from
an imitation of their faults.

One instance of his conduct, which happened at Leicester, and which was
related by the person chiefly concerned to a worthy friend from whom
I had it, I cannot forbear inserting. While part of the regiment was
encamped in the neighbourhood of that place, the colonel went incognito
to the camp in the middle of the night; for he sometimes lodged at his
quarters in the town. One of the sentinels then on duty had abandoned
his post, and, on being seized, broke out into some oaths and profane
execrations against those that discovered him--a crime of which the
colonel had the greatest abhorrence, and on which he never failed to
animadvert. The man afterwards appeared much ashamed and concerned for
what he had done. But the colonel ordered him to be brought early the
next morning to his own quarters, where he had prepared a picket, on
which he appointed him a private sort of penance; and while he was put
upon it, he discoursed with him seriously and tenderly upon the evils and
aggravations of his fault, admonished him of the divine displeasure which
he had incurred, and urged him to argue, from the pain which he then
felt, how infinitely more dreadful it must be to "fall into the hands of
the living God," and, indeed, to meet the terrors of that damnation
which he had been accustomed impiously to call for on himself and his
companions. The result of this proceeding was, that the offender accepted
his punishment, not only with submission, but with thankfulness. He went
away with a more cordial affection for his colonel than he ever had
before, and spoke of the circumstance some years after to my friend, in
such a manner that there seemed reason to hope it had been instrumental
in producing a change not only in his life, but in his heart.

There cannot, I think, be a more proper place for mentioning the great
reverence this excellent officer always expressed for the name of the
blessed God, and the zeal with which he endeavoured to suppress, and if
possible to extirpate, that detestable sin of swearing and cursing which
is every where so common, and especially among our military men. He often
declared, at the head of his regiment, his sentiments with respect to
this enormity, and urged his captains and their subalterns to take the
greatest care that they did not give the sanction of their example to
that which by their office they were obliged to punish in others. Indeed
his zeal on these occasions wrought in a very active, and sometimes in a
remarkably successful manner, not only among his equals, but sometimes
among his superiors too. An instance of this in Flanders I shall have an
opportunity hereafter to produce; at present I shall only mention his
conduct in Scotland a little before his death, as I have it from a
very valuable young minister of that country, on whose testimony I can
thoroughly depend; and I wish it may excite many to imitation.

'The commanding officer of the king's forces then about Edinburgh,
with the other colonels, and several other gentlemen of rank in their
respective regiments, favoured him with their company at Bankton, and
took dinner with him. He too well foresaw what might happen amid such a
variety of tempers and characters; and fearing lest his conscience might
have been ensnared by a sinful silence, or that, on the other hand, he
might seem to pass the bounds of decency, and infringe upon the laws of
hospitality by animadverting on guests so justly entitled to his regard,
he happily determined on the following method of avoiding each of these
difficulties. As soon as they were come together, he addressed them with
a great deal of respect, and at the same time with a very frank and
determined air, telling them that he had the honour in that district to
be a justice of the peace, and consequently that he was sworn to put the
law in execution, and, among the rest, those against swearing; that he
could not execute them upon others with any confidence, or by any means
approve himself a man of impartiality and integrity to his own heart,
if he suffered them to be broken in his presence by persons of any rank
whatsoever; and that therefore he entreated all the gentlemen who then
honoured him with their company that they would please to be upon their
guard, and that if any oath or curse should escape them, he hoped they
would consider his legal animadversion upon it as a regard to the duties
of his office and the dictates of his conscience, and not as owing to any
want of deference to them.

The commanding officer immediately supported him in this declaration, as
entirely becoming the station in which he was, assuring him that he would
be ready to pay the penalty, if he inadvertently transgressed; and when
Colonel Gardiner on any occasion stepped out of the room, he himself
undertook to be the guardian of the law in his absence; and as one of the
inferior officers offended during this time, he informed the colonel, so
that the fine was exacted and given to the poor,[*] with the universal
approbation of the company. The story spread in the neighbourhood, and
was perhaps applauded highly by many who wanted the courage to "go and do
likewise." But it may be said, with the utmost propriety, of the worthy
person of whom I write, that he feared the face of no man living where
the honour of God was concerned. In all such cases he might be justly
said, in Scripture phrase, "to set his face like a flint;" and I
assuredly believe, that had he been in the presence of a sovereign
prince who had been guilty of this fault, his looks at least would have
testified his grief and surprise, if he had apprehended it unfit to have
borne his testimony in any other way.

[*Note: It is observable that the money which was forfeited on this
account by his own officers, whom he never spared, or by any others of
his soldiers who rather chose to pay than submit to corporal punishment,
was, by the colonel's order, laid by in a bank till some of the private
men fell sick, and then it was laid out in providing them with proper
help and accommodations in their distress.]

Lord Cadogan's regiment of dragoons, during the time he was
lieutenant-colonel of it, was quartered in a variety of places, both
in England and Scotland, from many of which I have letters before
me; particularly from Hamilton, Ayr, Carlisle, Hereford, Maidenhead,
Leicester, Warwick, Coventry, Stamford, Harborough, Northampton, and
several other places, especially in our inland parts. The natural
consequence was, that the colonel, whose character was on many accounts
so very remarkable, had a very extensive acquaintance; and I believe I
may certainly say, that wherever he was known by persons of wisdom and
worth, he was proportionably respected, and left behind him traces of
unaffected devotion, humility, benevolence, and zeal for the support and
advancement of religion and virtue.

The equable tenor of his mind in these respects is illustrated by his
letters from several of these places; and though I have but comparatively
a small number of them now in my hands, yet they will afford some
valuable extracts; which I shall therefore here lay before my reader,
that he may the better judge as to the colonel's real character in
particulars which I have already mentioned, or which may hereafter occur.

In a letter to his lady, dated from Carlisle, November 19, 1738, when
he was on his journey to Herefordshire, he breathes out his grateful,
cheerful soul in these words:

"I bless God I was never better in my lifetime, and I wish I could be so
happy as to hear the same of you: or rather, in other words, to hear that
you have obtained an entire trust in God. That would infallibly keep you
in perfect peace, for the God of truth has promised it. Oh, how ought we
to be longing 'to be with Christ,' which is infinitely better than any
thing we can propose here! to be there, where no mountains shall separate
between God and our souls. And I hope it will be some addition to our
happiness, that, you and I shall be separated no more; but that as we
have joined in singing the praises of our glorious Redeemer here, we
shall sing them in a much higher key through an endless eternity. Oh
eternity, eternity! What a wonderful thought, is eternity!"

From Leicester, August 6, 1739, he writes thus to his lady:

"Yesterday I was at the Lord's table, where you and the children were not
forgotten. But how wonderfully was I assisted when I came home, to plead
for you all with many tears." And then, speaking of some intimate friends
who were impatient, (as I suppose by the connection) for his return to
them, he takes occasion to observe the necessity of endeavouring to
compose our minds, and say with the Psalmist, "My soul, wait thou only
upon God." Afterwards, speaking of one of his children, who he heard had
made a commendable progress in learning, he expresses his satisfaction,
and adds; "But, how much greater joy would it give me to hear that he was
greatly advanced in the school of Christ! Oh that our children may but be
wise unto salvation, and may grow in grace as they do in stature!"

These letters, which to so familiar a friend evidently lay open the
heart, and show the ideas and affections which were lodged deepest there,
are sometimes taken up with an account of sermons he had attended, and
the impression they had made upon his mind. I shall mention only one,
as a specimen of many more, which was dated from a place called Cohorn,
April 15:

"We had here a minister from Wales, who gave us two excellent discourses
on the love of Christ to us, as an argument to engage our love to him.
And indeed, next to the greatness of his love to us, methinks there is
nothing so astonishing as the coldness of our love to him. Oh that he
would shed abroad his love upon our hearts by his Holy Spirit, that ours
might be kindled into a flame! May God enable you to trust in Him, and
then you will be kept in perfect peace!"

We have met with many traces of that habitual gratitude to the blessed
God, as his Heavenly Father and constant friend, which made his life
probably one of the happiest that ever was spent on earth. I cannot omit
one more, which appears to me the more worthy of notice, as being a short
turn in as hasty a letter as any I remember to have seen of his, which he
wrote from Leicester in June, 1739. "I am now under the deepest sense of
the many favours the Almighty has bestowed upon me. Surely you will help
me to celebrate the praises of our gracious God and kind benefactor."
This exuberance of grateful affection, which, while it was almost every
hour pouring itself forth before God in the most genuine and emphatical
language, felt itself still as it were straitened for want of a
sufficient vent, and therefore called on others to help him with their
concurrent praises, appears to me the most glorious and happy state in
which a human soul can find itself on this side heaven.

Such was the temper which this excellent man appears to have carried
along with him through such a variety of places and circumstances; and
the whole of his deportment was suitable to these impressions. Strangers
were agreeably struck with his first appearance, there being much of the
Christian, the well-bred man, and the universal friend in it; and as
they came more intimately to know him, they discovered more and more the
uniformity and consistency of his whole temper and behaviour; so that
whether he made only a visit for a few days to any place, or continued
there for many weeks or months, he was always beloved and esteemed,
and spoken of with that honourable testimony, from persons of the most
different denominations and parties, which nothing but true sterling
worth, (if I may be allowed the expression,) and that in an eminent
degree, can secure.



Of the justice of this testimony, which I had so often heard from a
variety of persons, I myself began to be a witness about the time when
the last mentioned letter was dated. In this view, I believe I shall
never forget that happy day, June 18, 1739, when I first met him at
Leicester. I remember I happened that day to preach a lecture from Psalm
cxix, 158, "I beheld the transgressions, and was grieved because they
kept not thy law." I was large in describing that mixture of indignation
and grief (strongly expressed by the original words there) with which
a good man looks on the daring transgressors of the divine law; and in
tracing the causes of that grief, as arising from a regard to the divine
honour, and the interest of a Redeemer, and a compassionate concern for
the misery which such offenders bring on themselves, and for the mischief
they do to the world about them, I little thought, how exactly I was
drawing Colonel Gardiner's character under each of those heads; and I
have often reflected upon it as a happy providence which opened a much
speedier way than I could have expected to the breast of one of the most
amiable and useful friends whom I ever expect to find upon earth. We
afterwards sang a hymn which brought over again some of the leading
thoughts in the sermon and struck him so strongly, that on obtaining a
copy of it, he committed it to memory, and used to repeat it, with so
forcible an accent as showed how much every line expressed his very soul.
In this view the reader will pardon my inserting it, especially as I
know not when I may get time to publish a volume of these serious though
artless compositions, which I sent him in manuscript some years ago, and
to which I have since made very large additions:

Arise, my tenderest thoughts arise,
To torrents melt my streaming eyes!
And thou, my heart, with anguish feel
Those evils which thou canst not heal!

See human nature sunk in shame!
See scandal poured on Jesus' name!
The Father wounded through the Son!
The world abused--the soul undone!

See the short course of vain delight
Closing in everlasting night!
In flames that no abatement know,
The briny tears for ever flow.

My God, I feel the mournful scene;
My bowels yearn o'er dying men:
And fain my pity would reclaim,
And snatch the firebrands from the flame.

But feeble my compassion proves,
And can but weep where most it loves;
Thine own all-saving arm employ,
And turn these drops of grief to joy!

The colonel, immediately after the conclusion of the service, met me in
the vestry and embraced me in the most obliging and affectionate manner,
as if there had been a long friendship between us, assured me that he had
for some years been intimately acquainted with my writings, and desired
that we might concert measures for spending some hours together before I
left the town. I was so happy as to be able to secure an opportunity of
doing it; and I must leave upon record, that I cannot recollect I was
ever equally edified by any conversation I remember to have enjoyed. We
passed that evening and the next morning together, and it is impossible
for me to describe the impression which the interview left upon my heart.
I rode alone all the remainder of the day; and it was my unspeakable
happiness that I was alone, since I could no longer be with him; for
I can hardly conceive what other company would not then have been an
encumbrance. The views which he gave me even then, (for he began to
repose a most obliging confidence in me, though he concealed some of the
most extraordinary circumstances of the methods by which he had been
recovered to God and happiness,) with those cordial sentiments of
evangelical piety and extensive goodness which he poured out into my
bosom with so endearing a freedom, fired my very soul; and I hope I may
truly say (which I wish and pray that many of my readers may also
adopt for themselves) that I glorified God in him. Our epistolatory
correspondence immediately commenced upon my return; and though,
through the multiplicity of business on both sides, it suffered many
interruptions, it was in some degree the blessing of all the following
years of my life, till he fell by those unreasonable and wicked men who
had it in their hearts with him to have destroyed all our glory, defence,
and happiness.

The first letter I received from him was so remarkable, that some persons
of eminent piety, to whom I communicated it, would not be content without
copying it out, or making some extracts from it. I persuade myself that
my devout reader will not be displeased that I insert the greater part
of it here, especially as it serves to illustrate the affectionate sense
which he had of the divine goodness in his conversion, though more than
twenty years had passed since that memorable event happened. Having
already mentioned my ever dear and honoured friend Dr. Isaac Watts, he

"I have been in pain these several years lest that excellent person, that
sweet singer in our Israel, should have been called to heaven before
I had an opportunity of letting him know how much his works have been
blessed to me, and, of course, returning him my hearty thanks; for though
it is owing to the operation of the blessed Spirit, that any thing works
effectually upon our hearts, yet if we are not thankful to the instrument
which God is pleased to make use of, whom we do see, how shall we be
thankful to the Almighty, whom we have not seen? I desire to bless God
for the good news of his recovery, and entreat you to tell him, that
although I cannot keep pace with him here in celebrating the high praises
of our glorious Redeemer, which is the greatest grief of my heart, yet I
am persuaded, that, when I join the glorious company above, where there
will be no drawbacks, none will outsing me there, because I shall not
find any that will be more indebted to the wonderful riches of divine
grace than I.

"Give me a place at thy saints' feet,
On some fallen angel's vacant seat;
I'll strive to sing as loud as they
Who sit above in brighter day.

"I know it is natural for every one who has felt the almighty power
which raised our glorious Redeemer from the grave, to believe his case
singular; but I have made every one in this respect submit as soon as he
has heard my story. And if you seemed so surprised at the account which I
gave you, what will you be when you hear it all?

"Oh, if I had an angel's voice,
And could be heard from pole to pole;
I would to all the listening world
Proclaim thy goodness to my soul."

He then concludes, after some expressions of endearment, (which, with
whatever pleasure I review them, I must not here insert)--

"If you knew what a natural aversion I have to writing, you would be
astonished at the length of this letter, which is, I believe, the longest
I ever wrote. But my heart warms when I write to you, which makes my pen
move the easier. I hope it will please our gracious God long to preserve
you, a blessed instrument in his hand, of doing great good in the church
of Christ; and that you may always enjoy a thriving soul in a healthful
body, shall be the continual prayer of," &c.

As our intimacy grew, our mutual affection increased; and "my dearest
friend" was the form of address with which most of his epistles of the
last years were begun and ended. Many of them are filled up with his
sentiments of those writings which I published during these years, which
he read with great attention, and of which he speaks in terms which it
becomes me to suppress, and to impute, in a considerable degree, to
the kind prejudices of so endeared a friendship. He gives me repeated
assurances "that he was daily mindful of me in his prayers", a
circumstance which I cannot recollect without the greatest thankfulness;
and the loss of which I should more deeply lament, did I not hope that
the happy effect of these prayers might still continue, and might run
into all my remaining days.

It might be a pleasure to me to make several extracts from many others of
his letters; but it is a pleasure which I ought to suppress, and rather
to reflect, with unfeigned humility, how unworthy I was of such regards
from such a person, and of that divine goodness which gave me such a
friend in him. I shall, therefore, only add two general remarks, which
offer themselves from several of his letters. The one is, that there is
in some of them, as our freedom increased, an agreeable vein of humour
and pleasantry, which shows how easy religion sat upon him, and how far
he was from placing any part of it in a gloomy melancholy, or stiff
formality. The other is, that he frequently refers to domestic
circumstances, such as the illness or recovery of my children, &c., which
I am surprised how a man of his extensive and important business could so
distinctly bear upon his mind. But his memory was good, and his heart
was yet better; and his friendship was such, that nothing which sensibly
affected the heart of one whom he honoured with it, left his own but
slightly touched. I have all imaginable reason to believe that in many
instances his prayers were not only offered for us in general terms, but
varied as our particular situation required. Many quotations might verify
this; but I decline troubling the reader with an enumeration of passages
in which it was only the abundance of friendly sympathy that gave this
truly great as well as good man so cordial a concern.

After this correspondence, carried on for the space of about three years,
and some interviews which we had enjoyed at different places, he came to
spend some time with us at Northampton, and brought with him his lady
and his two eldest children. I had here an opportunity of taking a much
nearer view of his character, and surveying it in a much greater variety
of lights than before; and my esteem for him increased in proportion to
these opportunities. What I have written with respect to his conduct in
relative life, was in a great measure drawn from what I now saw; and I
shall mention here some other points in his behaviour which particularly
struck my mind, and likewise shall touch on his sentiments on some topics
of importance which he freely communicated to me, and which I have
remarked on account of that wisdom and propriety which pervaded them.



There was nothing more observable in Colonel Gardiner than the exemplary
gravity, composure, and reverence with which he attended public worship.
Copious as he was in his secret devotions before he engaged in it, he
always began them early, so as not to be retarded by them when he should
resort to the house of God. He, and all his soldiers who chose to worship
with him, were generally there (as I have already hinted) before the
service began, that the entrance of so many of them at once might not
disturb the congregation already engaged in devotion, and that there
might be a better opportunity of bringing the mind to a becoming
attention, and preparing it for converse with the Divine Being. While
acts of worship were going on, whether of prayer or singing, he always
stood up; and whatever regard he might have for persons who passed by him
at that time, though it were to come into the same pew, he never paid
any compliment to them; and often has he expressed his wonder at
the indecorum of breaking off our addresses to God to bow to a
fellow-creature, which he thought a much greater indecency that it would
be, on a little occasion and circumstance, to interrupt an address to our
prince. During the time of preaching, his eye was commonly fixed upon the
minister, though sometimes turned round upon the auditory, against whom,
if he observed any to trifle, he was filled with just indignation. I have
known instances in which, upon making the remark, he has communicated
it to some friend of the persons who were guilty of it, that proper
application might be made to prevent it for the time to come.

A more devout communicant at the table of the Lord has perhaps seldom
been any where known. Often have I had the pleasure to see that manly
countenance softened to all the marks of humiliation and contrition on
this occasion; and to discern, in spite of all his efforts to conceal
them, streams of tears flowing down from his eyes, while he has been
directing them to those memorials of his Redeemer's love. Some who have
conversed intimately with him after he came from that ordinance, have
observed a visible abstraction from surrounding objects, by which
there seemed reason to imagine that his soul was wrapped up in holy
contemplation. I particularly remember, that when we had once spent a
great part of the following Monday in riding together, he made an apology
to me for being so absent as he seemed, by telling me "that his heart was
flown upwards, before he was aware, to Him 'whom, not having seen, he
loved;'[*] and that he was rejoicing in him with such unspeakable joy, that
he could not hold it down to creature converse."

[*Note: This alluded to the subject of the sermon the day before, which
was 1 Pet, 1. 8.]

In all the offices of friendship he was remarkably ready, and had a most
sweet and engaging manner of performing them, which greatly heightened
the obligations he conferred. He seemed not to set any high value upon
any benefit he bestowed, but did it without the least parade, as a thing
which in those circumstances came of course, where he had professed love
and respect; which he was not over forward to do, though he treated
strangers, and those who were most his inferiors, very courteously, and
always seemed, because he in truth always was, glad of any opportunity of
doing them good.

He was particularly zealous in vindicating the reputation of his friends
in their absence; and though I cannot recollect that I had ever an
opportunity of immediately observing this, as I do not know that I ever
was present with him when any ill was spoken of others at all; yet,
by what I have heard him say with relation to attempts to injure the
character of worthy and useful men, I have reason to believe that no
man living was more sensible of the baseness and infamy, as well as the
cruelty, of such conduct. He knew and despised the low principles of
resentment for unreasonable expectations disappointed, of personal
attachment to men of some crossing interests, of envy, and of party
zeal, from whence such a conduct often proceeds; and he was particularly
offended when he found it (as he frequently did) in persons that set up
for the greatest patrons of liberty, virtue, and candour. He looked upon
the murderers of reputation and usefulness as some of the vilest pests of
society, and plainly showed on every proper occasion that he thought it
the part of a generous, benevolent and courageous man to exert himself in
tracing and hunting down the slander, that the authors or abettors of it
might be less capable of mischief for the future.

The most plausible objection that I ever heard to Colonel Gardiner's
character is, that he was too much attached to some religious principles,
established indeed in the churches both of England and Scotland, but
which have of late years been much disputed, and from which, it is at
least generally supposed, not a few in both have thought proper to
depart--whatever expedients they may have found to quiet their
consciences, in subscribing those formularies in which they are plainly
taught. His zeal was especially apparent in opposition to those doctrines
which seemed to derogate from the divine honours of the Son and Spirit of
God, and from the freedom of divine grace, of the reality and necessity
of its operations in the conversion and salvation of sinners.

With relation to these I must observe, that it was his most steadfast
persuasion that all those notions which represent our blessed Redeemer
and the Holy Spirit as mere creatures, or which set aside the atonement
of the former, or the influence of the latter, sap the very foundation of
Christianity by rejecting the most glorious doctrines peculiar to it.
He had attentively observed (what indeed is too obvious) the unhappy
influence which the denial of these principles often has on the character
of ministers, and on their success, and was persuaded that an attempt to
substitute that mutilated form of Christianity which remains, when these
essentials of it are taken away, has proved one of the most successful
methods which the great enemy of souls has ever taken, in these latter
days, to lead men by insensible degrees into deism, vice, and perdition.
He also sagaciously observed the artful manner in which obnoxious tenets
are often maintained or insinuated, with all that mixture of zeal and
address with which they are propagated in the world, even by those
who had most solemnly professed to believe, and engaged to teach the
contrary; and as he really apprehended that the glory of God and the
salvation of souls were concerned, his piety and charity made him eager
and strenuous in opposing what he judged to be errors of so pernicious a
nature. Yet I must declare, that, according to what I have known of him,
(and I believe he opened his heart on these topics to me with as much
freedom as to any man living,) he was not ready, upon light suspicions,
to charge tenets which he thought so pernicious on any, especially
where he saw the appearances of a good temper and life, which he always
reverenced and loved in persons of all sentiments and professions. He
severely condemned causeless jealousies and evil surmisings of every
kind, and extended that charity, in this respect, both to clergy and
laity, which good Bishop Burnet was so ready, according to his own
account, to limit to the latter, "of believing every man good till he
knew him to be bad, and his notions right till he knew them wrong." He
could not but be very sensible of the unhappy consequences which may
follow on attacking the characters of men, especially of those who are
ministers of the gospel; and if, through a mixture of human frailty, from
which the best of men, in the best of their meanings and intentions, are
not entirely free, he had ever, in the warmth of his heart, dropped a
word which might be injurious to any on that account, (which I believe
very seldom happened,) he would gladly retract it on better information;
and this was perfectly agreeable to that honest and generous frankness of
temper in which I never knew any man who excelled him.

On the whole, it was indeed his deliberate judgment that the Arian,
Socinian, and Pelagian doctrines were highly dishonourable to God, and
dangerous to the souls of men; and that it was the duty of private
Christians to be greatly on their guard against those ministers by whom
they are entertained, lest their minds should be corrupted from the
simplicity that is in Christ. Yet he sincerely abhorred the thought of
persecution for conscience sake; of the absurdity and iniquity of which,
in all its kinds and degrees, he had as deep and rational a conviction as
any man. Indeed the generosity of his heroic heart could hardly bear to
think that those glorious truths which he so cordially loved, and which
he assuredly believed to be capable of such fair support both from reason
and the word of God, should be disgraced by methods of defence and
propagation common to the most impious and ridiculous falsehoods. Nor did
he by any means approve of passionate and furious ways of vindicating the
most vital and important doctrines of the gospel; for he knew that to
maintain the most benevolent religion in the world by such malevolent and
infernal methods was destroying the end to accomplish the means; and that
it was as impossible that true Christianity should be supported thus, as
it is that a man should long be nourished by eating his own flesh. To
display the genuine fruits of Christianity in a good life--to be ready to
plead with meekness for the doctrines it teaches, and to labour, by every
office of humanity and goodness, to gain upon those who oppose it, were
the weapons with which this good soldier of Jesus Christ faithfully
fought the battles of the Lord. These weapons will always be victorious
in his cause; and they who have recourse to others of a different temper,
how strong soever they may seem, and how sharp soever they may really be,
will find them break in their hands when they exert them most furiously,
and are much more likely to wound themselves than to conquer the enemies
whom they oppose.

But while I am speaking of Colonel Gardiner's charity in this respect, I
must not omit that of another kind, which has indeed engrossed the
name of charity, excellent as it is, much more than it ought--I mean
alms-giving for which he was very remarkable. I have often wondered how
he was able to do so many generous things in this way. But his frugality
fed the spring. He made no pleasurable expense on himself, and was
contented with a very decent appearance in his family, without affecting
such an air of grandeur as could not have been supported without
sacrificing to it satisfactions far nobler, and, to a temper like his,
far more delightful. The lively and tender feelings of his heart in
favour of the distressed and afflicted made it a self-indulgence to
relieve them; and the deep conviction he had of the vain and transitory
nature of the enjoyments of this world, together with the sublime view he
had of another, engaged him to dispense his bounties with a very liberal
hand, and even to seek out proper objects of them. Above all, his sincere
and ardent love to the Lord Jesus Christ engaged him to feel, with a true
sympathy, the concerns of his poor members. In consequence of this, he
honoured several of his friends with commissions for the relief of the
poor; and particularly, with relation to some under my pastoral care,
he referred it to my discretion to supply them with what I should judge
expedient, and frequently pressed me, in his letters, "to be sure not
to let them want." And where persons standing in need of his charity
happened, as they often did, to be persons of remarkably religious
dispositions, it was easy to perceive that he not only loved but honoured
them, and really esteemed it an honour which Providence conferred upon
him, that he should be made, as it were, the almoner of God for their

I cannot forbear relating a little story here, which, when the colonel
himself heard it, gave him such exquisite pleasure, that I hope it will
be acceptable to several of my readers. There was in a village about nine
miles from Northampton, and in a family which, of all others near me,
was afterwards most indebted to him, (though he had never then seen any
member of it,) an aged and poor, but eminently good woman, who had, with
great difficulty, in the exercise of much faith and patience, diligence
and humility, made shift to educate a large family of children after the
death of her husband, without being chargeable to the parish; which, as
it was quite beyond her hope, she often spoke of with great delight.
At length, when worn out with age and infirmities, she lay upon her
death-bed, she, in a most lively and affecting manner, expressed her hope
and joy in the views of approaching glory. Yet, amidst all the triumphs
of such a prospect, there was one remaining care and distress which
lay heavy on her mind; this was, that as her journey and her stock of
provisions were both ended together, she feared that she must either
be buried at the parish expense, or leave to her most dutiful and
affectionate daughters the house stripped of some of the few movables
which remained in it, in order to perform the last office of duty to her,
which she had reason to believe they would do. While she was combatting
with this only remaining anxiety, I happened, though I knew not the
extremity of her illness, to come in, and to bring with me a guinea
which the generous colonel had sent by a special message, on hearing the
character of the family, for its relief. A present like this, (probably
the most considerable they had ever received in their lives,) coming in
this manner from an entire stranger at such a crisis of time, threw my
dying friend (for such, amidst all her poverty, I rejoiced to call her)
into a perfect transport of joy. She esteemed it a singular favour of
Providence sent to her in her last moments as a token for good, and
greeted it as a special mark of that loving kindness of God which should
attend her for ever. She insisted, therefore, to be raised up in her bed,
that she might bless God for it upon her knees, and with her last breath
pray for her kind and generous benefactor, and for him who had been the
instrument of directing his bounty into this channel. After this she soon
expired, and with such tranquillity and sweetness as could not but most
sensibly delight all who beheld her, and occasioned many who knew the
circumstance to glorify God on her behalf.

The colonel's last residence at Northampton was in June and July 1742,
when Lord Cadogan's regiment of dragoons was quartered here. Here I
cannot but observe, that wherever that regiment came, it was remarkable
not only for the fine appearance it made, and for the exactness with
which it performed its various exercises, (of which it had about this
time the honour to receive the most illustrious testimonials,) but also
for the great sobriety and regularity of the soldiers. Many of the
officers copied after the excellent pattern which they had daily before
their eyes; and a considerable number of the private men seemed to be
persons not only of strict virtue, but of serious piety. I doubt not but
they found their abundant account in it, not only in the serenity and
happiness of their own minds, which is beyond comparison the most
important consideration; but also, in some degree, in the obliging and
respectful treatment which they generally met with in their quarters.
I mention this, because I am persuaded that if gentlemen of their
profession knew, and would reflect, how much more comfortable they make
their own quarters by a sober, orderly, and obliging conduct, they would
be regular out of mere self love, if they were not influenced, as I
heartily wish they may always be, by a nobler principle.



Towards the latter end of this year he embarked for Flanders, and
spent some considerable time with the regiment at Ghent, where he much
regretted the want of those religious ordinances and opportunities which
had made his other abodes delightful. But as he had made so eminent a
progress in that divine life which they are all intended to promote, he
could not be inactive in the cause of God. I have now before me a letter,
dated from thence October 16, 1742, in which he writes:

"As for me, I am indeed in a dry and barren land, where no water is.
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because nothing is to be heard in
our Sodom but blaspheming the name of my God, and I not honoured as the
instrument of doing any great service. It is true, I have reformed six or
seven field-officers of swearing. I dine every day with them, and have
entered them into a voluntary contract to pay a shilling to the poor for
every oath, and it is wonderful to observe the effect it has had already.
One of them told me this day at dinner that it had really such an
influence upon him, that being at cards last night when another officer
fell a swearing, he was not able to bear it, but rose up and left the
company. So you see, restraints at first arising from a low principle may
improve into something better."

During his abode here, he had a great deal of business upon his hands,
and had also, in some marches, the care of more regiments than his
own; and it has been very delightful to me to observe what a degree of
converse with heaven, and the God of it, he maintained amidst these
scenes of hurry and fatigue, of which the reader may find a remarkable
specimen in the following letter, dated from Lichwick in the beginning of
April 1743, which was one of the last I received from him while abroad.
It begins with these words:--

"Yesterday being the Lord's day, at six in the morning I had the pleasure
of receiving yours at Nortonick; and it proved a Sabbath day's blessing
to me. Some time before it reached me," (from whence, by the way, it may
be observed that his former custom of rising so early in his devotions
was still retained,) "I had been wrestling with God with many tears; and
when I had read it, I returned to my knees again to give hearty thanks to
him for all his goodness to you and yours, and also to myself, in that he
hath been pleased to stir up so many who are dear to him, to be mindful
of me at the throne of grace."

Then, after the mention of some other particulars, he adds:--

"Blessed and adored for ever be the holy name of my Heavenly Father, who
holds my soul in life, and my body in perfect health! Were I to recount
his mercy and goodness to me even in the midst of all these hurries, I
should never have done. I hope your Master will still encourage you in
his work, and make you a blessing to many. My dearest friend, I am much
more yours than I can express, and shall remain so while I am J.G."

In this correspondence I had a further opportunity of discovering that
humble resignation to the will of God which made so amiable a part of his
character, and of which I had before seen so many instances. He speaks,
in the letter from which I have just been giving an extract, of the hope
he had expressed in a former of seeing us again that winter; and he

"To be sure, it would have been a great pleasure to me; but we poor
mortals form projects, and the Almighty ruler of the universe disposes of
all as he pleases. A great many of us were getting ready for our return
to England, when we received an order to march towards Frankfort, to the
great surprise of the whole army, neither can any of us comprehend what
we are to do there; for there is no enemy in that country, the French
army being marched into Bavaria, where I am sure we cannot follow them.
But it is the will of the Lord, and his will be done! I desire to bless
and praise my Heavenly Father that I am entirely resigned to it. It is no
matter where I go, or what becomes of me, so that God may be glorified in
my life, or my death, I should rejoice much to hear that all my friends
were equally resigned."

The mention of this article reminds me of another relating to the views
which he had of obtaining a regiment for himself. He endeavoured to
deserve it by the most faithful services; some of them, indeed beyond
what the strength of his constitution could well bear--for the weather in
some of these marches proved exceedingly bad, and yet he would be always
at the head of his people, that he might look, with the exactest care,
to every thing that concerned them. This obliged him to neglect the
beginnings of a feverish illness, the natural consequence of which was
that it grew very formidable, forced a long confinement upon him, and
gave animal nature a shock which it never recovered.

In the mean time, as he had the promise of a regiment before he
quitted England, his friends were continually expecting an occasion of
congratulating him on having received the command of one. Still they were
disappointed, and on some of them the disappointment seemed to sit heavy.
As for the colonel himself, he seemed quite easy about it, and appeared
much greater in that easy situation of mind than the highest military
honours and preferments could have made him. With great pleasure do I at
this moment recollect the unaffected serenity, and even indifference,
with which he expresses himself upon this occasion, in a letter to me,
dated about the beginning of April, 1743.

"The disappointment of a regiment is nothing to me, for I am satisfied
that, had it been for God's glory, I should have had it, and I should
have been sorry to have had it on any other terms. My Heavenly Father has
bestowed upon me infinitely more than if he had made me emperor of the
whole world."

I find several parallel expressions in other letters, and those to his
lady about the same time were just in the same strain. In an extract from
one which was written from Aix-la-Chapelle, April 21, the same year, I
meet with these words:

"People here imagine I must be sadly troubled that I have not got a
regiment, (for six out of seven vacant are now disposed of): but they are
strangely mistaken, for it has given me no sort of trouble. My Heavenly
Father knows what is best for me; and blessed and ever adored be his
name, he has given me an entire resignation to his will. Besides, I do
not know that I met with any disappointment, since I was a Christian, but
it pleased God to discover to me that it was plainly for my advantage, by
bestowing something better upon me afterwards, many instances of which I
am able to produce; and therefore I should be the greatest of monsters,
if I did not trust in him."

I should be guilty of a great omission, if I were not to add how
remarkably the event corresponded with his faith on this occasion; for
whereas he had no intimation or expectation of any thing more than a
regiment of foot, his Majesty was pleased, out of his great goodness,
to give him a regiment of dragoons which was then quartered in his own
neighborhood. It is properly remarked by the reverend and worthy person
through whose hand this letter was transmitted to me, that when the
colonel thus expressed himself, he could have no prospect of what he
afterwards so soon obtained, as General Bland's regiment, to which he was
advanced, was only vacant on the 19th of April--that is, two days before
the date of this letter, when it was impossible he should have any notice
of that vacancy. It also deserves observation, that some few days after
the colonel was thus unexpectedly promoted to the command of these
dragoons, Lord Cornwallis's regiment of foot, then in Flanders, became
vacant. Now, had this happened before his promotion to General Bland's,
Colonel Gardiner, in all probability, would only have had that regiment
of foot, and so would have continued in Flanders. When the affair was
settled, he informs Lady Frances of it in a letter dated from a village
near Frankfort, 3d May, in which he refers to his former of the 21st of
April, observing how remarkably it was verified "in God's having given
him" (for so he expressed it, agreeably to the views which he continually
maintained of the universal agency of Divine Providence) "what he had
no expectation of, and what was so much better than that which he had
missed--a regiment of dragoons quartered at his own door."



It appeared to him that by this remarkable event Providence called him
home. Accordingly, though he had other preferments offered him in the
army, he chose to return, and I believe the more willingly, as he did not
expect there would have been an action. Just at this time it pleased God
to give him an awful instance of the uncertainty of human prospects and
enjoyments, by that violent fever which seized him at Ghent on his way to
England, and perhaps the more severely for the efforts he made to push on
his journey, though he had for some days been much indisposed. It was, I
think, one of the first fits of severe illness he had ever met with, and
he was ready to look upon it as a sudden call into eternity; but it gave
him no painful alarm in that view. He committed himself to the God of his
life, and in a few weeks he was so well recovered as to be capable of
pursuing his journey, though not without difficulty. I cannot but think
it might have conduced much to a more perfect recovery than he ever
attained, to have allowed himself a longer repose, in order to recruit
his exhausted strength and spirits. But there was an activity in his
temper not easy to be restrained, and it was now stimulated, not only
with a desire to see his friends, but of being with his regiment, that
he might omit nothing in his power to regulate their morals and their
discipline, and to form them for public service. Accordingly, about the
middle of June, 1743, he passed through London, where he had the honour
of waiting on their royal highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales,
and of receiving from both the most obliging token of favour and esteem.
He arrived at Northampton on Monday the 21st of June, and spent part of
three days there. But the great pleasure which his return and preferment
gave us, was much abated by observing his countenance so sadly altered,
and the many marks of languor and remaining disorder which evidently
appeared, so that he really looked ten years older than he had done
ten months before. I had, however, a satisfaction sufficient to
counterbalance much of the concern which this alteration gave me, in a
renewed opportunity of observing, indeed more sensibly than ever, in
how remarkable a degree he was dead to the enjoyments and views of this
mortal life. When I congratulated him on the favourable appearances of
Providence for him in the late event, he briefly told me the remarkable
circumstances that attended it, with the most genuine expressions of
gratitude to God for them; but added, "that as his account was increased
with his income, power, influence, and his cares were proportionably
increased too, it was, as to his own personal concern, much the same to
him whether he had remained in his former station, or been elevated to
this; but that if God should by this means honour him as an instrument of
doing more good than he could otherwise have done, he should rejoice in

I perceived that the near views he had taken of eternity, in the illness
from which he was then so imperfectly recovered, had not in the least
alarmed him; but that he would have been entirely willing, had such been
the determination of God, to have been cut short in a foreign land,
without any earthly friend near him, and in the midst of a journey
undertaken with hopes and prospects so pleasing to nature, which appeared
to me no inconsiderable evidence of the strength of his faith. But we
shall wonder the less at this extraordinary resignation, if we consider
the joyful and assured prospect which he had of a happiness infinitely
superior beyond the grave; of which that worthy minister of the church of
Scotland, who had an opportunity of conversing with him quickly after his
return, and having the memorable story of his conversion from his own
mouth, (as I have hinted above,) writes thus in his letter to me, dated
Jan. 14, 1746-7:

"When he came to review his regiment at Linlithgow, in summer 1743, after
having given me the wonderful story as above, he concluded in words to
this purpose: Let me die whenever it shall please God, or wherever it
shall be, I am sure I shall go to the mansions of eternal glory, and
enjoy my God and my Redeemer in heaven for ever."

While he was with us at this time he appeared deeply affected with the
sad state of things as to religion and morals, and seemed to apprehend
that the rod of God was hanging over so sinful a nation. He observed a
great deal of disaffection which the enemies of the government had, by a
variety of artifices, been raising in Scotland for some years; and the
number of Jacobites there, together with the defenceless state in which
our island then was, with respect to the number of its forces at home,
(of which he spoke at once with great concern and astonishment,) led
him to expect an invasion from France, and an attempt in favour of the
Pretender, much sooner than it happened. I have heard him often say, many
years before it came so near being accomplished, "that a few thousands
might have a fair chance for marching from Edinburgh to London
uncontrolled, and throw the whole Kingdom into an astonishment." And I
have great reason to believe that this was one main consideration which
engaged him to make such haste to his regiment, then quartered in those
parts, as he imagined there was not a spot of ground where he might be
more likely to have a call to expose his life in the service of his
country, and perhaps, by appealing on a proper call early in its
defences, be instrumental in suppressing the beginnings of most
formidable mischief. How rightly he judged in these things, the event too
evidently showed.

The evening before our last separation, as I knew I could not more
agreeably entertain the valuable friend who was then my guest, I preached
a sermon in my own house, with some peculiar reference to his case and
circumstances, from those ever-memorable words, than which I have never
felt any more powerful and more comfortable: Psalm xci. 14, 15, 16,
"Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I
will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon
me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver
him, and honour him: with long life (or length of days) will I satisfy
him, and show him my salvation." This scripture could not but lend our
meditations to survey the character of the good man, as one who so knows
the name of the blessed God--has such a deep apprehension of the glories
and perfections of his nature--as determinately to set his love upon him,
to make him the supreme object of his most ardent and constant affection.
And it suggested the most sublime and animating hopes to persons of such
a character, that their prayers shall be always acceptable to God; that
though they may, and must, be called to their share in the troubles and
calamities of life, yet they may assure themselves of the divine presence
in all, which will issue in their deliverance, in their exaltation,
sometimes in distinguished honour and esteem among men, and, it may be,
in a long course of useful and happy years on earth; at least, which
shall undoubtedly end in seeing, to their perpetual delight, the complete
salvation of God, in a world where they shall enjoy length of days for
ever and ever, and employ them all in adoring the great Author of their
salvation and felicity. It is evident that these natural thoughts on such
a Scripture were matters of universal concern. Yet had I, as a minister
of the gospel, known that this was the last time I should address Colonel
Gardiner, and had I foreseen the scenes through which God was about to
lead him, I hardly know what considerations I could have suggested with
more peculiar propriety. The attention, elevation, and delight with which
he heard them, were very apparent, and the pleasure which the observation
of it gave me, continues to this moment.

Let me be permitted to digress so far as to add, that this is indeed the
great support of a Christian minister under the many discouragements
and disappointments which he meets with in his attempts to fix upon the
profligate or the thoughtless part of mankind a deep sense of religious
truth; that there is another important part of his work in which he may
hope to be more generally successful; as, by plain, artless, but serious
discourses, the great principles of Christian duty and hope may be
nourished and invigorated in good men, their graces watered as at
the root, and their souls animated, both to persevere and improve in
holiness. When we are effectually performing such benevolent offices, so
well suiting our immortal natures, to persons whose hearts are cemented
with ours in the hands of the most endearing and sacred friendship, it is
too little to say that it overpays the fatigue of our Labours; it even
swallows up all sense of it in the most rational and sublime pleasure.

An incident occurred that evening, which, at least for the oddness of
it, may deserve a place in these memoirs. I had then with me one Thomas
Porter, a poor but very honest and religious man, (now living at Hatfield
Broad-Oak in Essex,) who is quite unacquainted with letters, so as not to
be able to distinguish one from another, yet is master of the contents
of the Bible in so extraordinary a degree, that he has not only fixed an
immense number of texts in his memory, but, merely by hearing them quoted
in sermons, has registered there the chapter and verse in which these
passages are to be found. This is attended with a marvellous facility in
directing readers to turn to them, and a most unaccountable talent of
fixing on such as suit almost every imaginable variety of circumstances
in common life. There are in this case two considerations that make it
the more wonderful; the one, that he is a person of very low genius,
having, besides a stammering which makes his speech almost unintelligible
to strangers, so wild and awkward a manner of behaviour, that he is
frequently taken for an idiot, and seems in many things to be indeed
so;--the other, that he grew up to manhood in a very licentious course of
living, and an entire ignorance of divine things, so that all these exact
impressions on his memory have been made in his riper years. I thought
it would not be disagreeable to the colonel to introduce to him this
odd phenomenon, which many hundreds of people have had a curiosity to
examine; and, among all the strange things I have seen in him, I never
remember any that equalled what passed on this occasion. On hearing
the colonel's profession, and receiving some hints of his religious
character, he ran through a vast variety of scriptures, beginning at
the Pentateuch and going on to the Revelation, relating either to the
dependence to be fixed on God for the success of military preparations,
or to the instances and promises occurring there for his care of good men
in the most imminent dangers, or to the encouragement to despise perils
and death, while engaged in a good cause, and supported by the views of
a happy immortality. I believe he quoted more than twenty of these
passages, and I must freely own that I know not who could have chosen
them with greater propriety. If my memory deceive me not, the last of
this catalogue was that from which I afterwards preached, on the lamented
occasion of this great man's fall: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I
will give thee a crown of life." We were all astonished at so remarkable
a feat, and I question not but many of my readers will think the memory
of it worthy of being thus preserved.

But to return to my main subject: The day after the sermon and
conversation of which I have been speaking, I took my best leave of my
inestimable friend, after attending him some part of his way northward.
The first stage of our journey was to the cottage of that poor but
religious family which I had before occasion to mention as relieved, and
indeed in a great measure subsisted by his charity. Nothing could be more
delightful than to observe the condescension with which he conversed with
these his humble pensioners. We there put up our last united prayers
together; and he afterwards expressed, in the strongest terms I have ever
heard him use on such an occasion, the singular pleasure with which he
had joined in them. Indeed it was no small satisfaction to me to have
an opportunity of recommending such a valuable friend to the divine
protection and blessing, with that particular freedom and enlargement on
what was peculiar in his circumstances, which hardly any other situation,
unless we had been quite alone, could so conveniently have admitted.
We went from thence to the table of a person of distinction in the
neighborhood, where he had an opportunity of showing in how decent and
graceful a manner he could unite the Christian and the gentleman, and
give conversation an improving and religious turn, without violating any
of the rules of polite behaviour, or saying or doing any thing, which
looked at all constrained or affected. Here we took our last embrace,
committing each other to the care of the God of heaven; and the colonel
pursued his journey to the north, where he spent the remainder of his

The more I reflect upon this appointment of Providence, the more I
discern the beauty and wisdom of it--not only as it led directly to that
glorious period of life with which God had determined to honour him, and
in which, I think, it becomes all his friends to rejoice, but also as the
retirement on which he entered could not but have a happy tendency to
favour his more immediate and complete preparation for so speedy a
remove. To this we may add, that it must probably have a very powerful
influence to promote the interests of religion (incomparably the greatest
of all interests) among the members of his own family, who must surely be
edified by such daily lessons as they received from his lips, when they
saw them illustrated and enforced by so admirable an example, and for
two complete years. It is the more remarkable, as I cannot find from the
memoirs of his life in my hands that he had ever been so long at home
since he had a family, or indeed, from his childhood, ever so long at a
time in any one place.

With how clear a lustre his lamp shone, and with what holy vigour his
loins were girded up in the service of his God in these his latter days,
I learn in part from the letters of several excellent persons in the
ministry, or in secular life, with whom I have since conversed or
corresponded. In his many letters dated from Bankton during this period,
I have still further evidence how happy he was amidst those infirmities
of body, which his tenderness for me would seldom allow him to mention;
for it appears from them what a daily intercourse he kept up with Heaven,
and what delightful communion with God crowned his attendance on public
ordinances, and his sweet hours of devout retirement. He mentions his
sacramental opportunities with peculiar relish, crying out, as in a holy
rapture, in reference to one and another of them, "Oh how gracious
a Master do we serve! how pleasant is his service; how rich the
entertainments of his love! yet how poor and cold are our services!" But
I will not multiply quotations of this sort after those I have given
above, which may be a sufficient specimen of many more in the same
strain. This hint may suffice to show that the same ardour of soul held
out in a great measure to the last; and indeed it seems that towards the
close of life, like the flame of a lamp almost expiring, it sometimes
exerted an unusual blaze.

He spent much of his time at Bankton in religious solitude; and one
most intimately conversant with him assures me that the traces of that
delightful converse with God which he enjoyed in it might easily be
discerned in the solemn yet cheerful countenance with which he often came
out of his closet. Yet his exercises there must sometimes have been very
mournful, considering the melancholy views which he had of the state of
our public affairs.

"I should be glad," says he, (in a letter which he sent me about the
close of the year 1743,) "to hear what wise and good people among you
think of the present circumstances of things. For my own part, though I
thank God I fear nothing for myself, my apprehensions for the public are
very gloomy, considering the deplorable prevalency of almost all kinds
of wickedness amongst us--the natural consequence of the contempt of the
gospel. I am daily offering my prayers to God for this sinful land of
ours, over which his judgments seem to be gathering; and my strength is
sometimes so exhausted with those strong cries and tears, which I pour
out before God on this occasion, that I am hardly able to stand when I
arise from my knees."

If we have many remaining to stand in the breach with equal fervency, I
hope, crying as our provocations are, that God will still be entreated
for us, and save us.

Most of the other letters I had the pleasure of receiving from him after
our last separation, are either filled, like those of former years, with
tender expressions of affectionate solicitude for my domestic comfort
and public usefulness, or relate to the writings I published during this
time, or to the affairs of his eldest son, then under my care. But these
are things which are by no means of a nature to be communicated here. It
is enough to remark, in general, that the Christian was still mingled
with all the care of the friend and the parent.



But I think it incumbent upon me to observe, that during this time, and
for some preceding years, his attention, ever wakeful to such concerns,
was much engaged by some religious appearances which happened about this
time both in England and Scotland, and with regard to which some may be
curious to know the colonel's sentiments. He communicated them to me with
the most unreserved freedom; and I cannot apprehend myself under any
engagement to conceal them, as I am persuaded that it will be no
prejudice to his memory that they should be publicly known.

It was from Colonel Gardiner's pen that I received the first notice of
that ever memorable scene which was opened at Kilsyth, under the
ministry of the Rev. Mr. M'Culloch in the month of February, 1741-2. He
communicated to me the copy of two letters from that eminently-favoured
servant of God, giving an account of that extraordinary success which had
within a few days accompanied his preaching, when, as I remember, in
a little more than a fortnight, one hundred and thirty souls, who had
before continued in long insensibility under the faithful preaching of
the gospel, were awakened on a sudden to attend to it, as if it had been
a new revelation brought down from heaven, and attested by as astonishing
miracles as ever were wrought by Peter or Paul, though they only heard it
from a person under whose ministry they had sat for several years. Struck
with a power and majesty in the word of God which they had never felt
before, they crowded his house night and day, making their applications
to him for spiritual direction and assistance, with an earnestness and
solicitude which floods of tears and cries, that swallowed up their own
words and his, could not sufficiently express. The colonel mentioned this
at first to me "as matter of eternal praise, which he knew would rejoice
my very soul;" and when he saw it spread in the neighbouring parts, and
observed the glorious reformation which it produced in the lives of great
multitudes, and the abiding fruits of it, for succeeding months and
years, it increased and confirmed his joy. But the facts relating to this
matter have been laid before the world in so authentic a manner, and the
agency of divine grace in them has been so rationally vindicated, and so
pathetically represented, in what the reverend and judicious Mr. Webster
has written upon that subject, that it is altogether superfluous for me
to add any thing further than my hearty prayers that the work may be as
extensive as it was glorious and divine.[*]

[*Note: See "Revivals in Scotland," published by the Board of

It was with great pleasure that he received any intelligence of a like
kind from England, whether the clergy of the Established Church or
dissenting ministers, whether our own countrymen or foreigners, were the
instruments of it. Whatever weaknesses or errors might mingle themselves
with valuable qualities in such as were active in such a work, he
appeared to love and honour them in proportion to the degree he saw
reason to believe that their hearts were devoted to the service of
Christ, and their attempts owned and succeeded by him. I remember, that
mentioning one of these gentlemen who had been remarkably successful in
his ministry, and who seemed to have met with some very unkind usage, he
says, "I had rather be that despised, persecuted man, to be an instrument
in the hand of the Spirit in converting so many souls, and building up so
many in their holy faith, than I would be emperor of the whole world."
Yet this steady and judicious Christian, (for such he most assuredly
was,) at the same time that he esteemed a man for his good intentions,
and his worthy qualities, did not suffer himself to be hurried away into
all the singularity of his sentiments, or to admire his imprudences or
excesses. On the contrary, he saw and lamented that artifice which the
great father of fraud has so long and so successfully been practising,
and who, like the enemies of Israel, when he cannot entirely prevent the
building of God's temple, does, as it were, offer his assistance to carry
on the work, that he may thereby get the most effectual opportunities of
obstructing it. The colonel often expressed his astonishment at the wide
extremes into which some whom on the whole he thought very worthy men,
were permitted to run in many doctrinal and speculative points, and
discerned how evidently it appeared from hence that we cannot argue the
truth of any doctrine from the success of the preacher, since this would
be a kind of demonstration which might equally prove both parts of a
contradiction. Yet when he observed that a high regard to the atonement
and righteousness of Christ, and to the free grace of God in him, exerted
by the operation of the Divine Spirit, was generally common to all who
had been peculiarly successful in the conversion and reformation of men,
(how widely soever their judgments might differ in other points, and how
warmly soever their judgments might oppose each other in consequence
of that diversity,) it tended greatly to confirm his faith in these
principles, as well as to open his heart in love to all, of every
denomination, who maintained an affectionate regard to them. Although
what he remarked as to the conduct and success of ministers of the most
opposite strains of preaching confirmed him in these sentiments, yet he
always esteemed and loved virtuous and benevolent men, even where he
thought them the most mistaken in the notions they formed of religion, or
in the methods by which they attempted to serve it.

While I thus represent what all who knew him must soon have observed of
Colonel Gardiner's affectionate regard to these peculiar doctrines of our
holy religion, it is necessary that I should also inform my reader that
it was not his opinion that the attention of ministers or their hearers
should be wholly engrossed by these, excellent as they are; but that all
the parts of the scheme of truth and duty should be regarded in their due
connection and proportion. Far from that distempered taste which can bear
nothing but cordials, it was his deliberate judgment that the law as well
as the gospel should be preached; and hardly any thing gave him greater
offence than the irreverent manner in which some who have been ignorantly
extolled as the most zealous evangelical preachers, have sometimes
been tempted to speak of the former, much indeed to the scandal of all
consistent and judicious Christians. He delighted to be instructed in
his duty, and to hear much of the inward exercises of the spiritual and
divine life. He always wished, so far as I could observe, to have these
topics treated in a rational as well as spiritual manner, with solidity
and order of thought, with perspicuity and weight of expression, well
knowing that religion is a most reasonable service--that God has not
chosen idiots or lunatics as the instruments, or nonsense as the means of
building up his church--and that though the charge of enthusiasm is often
fixed on Christianity and its ministers in a wild, undeserved, and,
indeed, on the whole, enthusiastical manner, by some of the loudest or
most solemn pretenders to reason, yet there is really such a thing as
enthusiasm, against which it becomes the true friends of revelation to be
diligently on their guard, lest Christianity, instead of being exalted,
should be greatly corrupted and debased, and all manner of absurdity,
both in doctrine and practice, introduced by methods which, like
persecution, throw truth and falsehood on a level, and render the
grossest errors at once more plausible and more incurable. He had too
much candour and equity to fix general charges of this nature; but he was
really (and I think not vainly,) apprehensive that the emissaries and
agents of the most corrupt church that ever dishonoured the Christian
name, (by which, it will easily be understood, I mean that of Rome,)
might very possibly insinuate themselves into societies to which they
could not otherwise have access, and make their advantage of that total
resignation of the understanding, and contempt of reason and learning,
which nothing but ignorance, delirium, or knavery can dictate, to lead
men blindfolded whither it pleased, till it set them down at the foot of
an altar where transubstantiation itself was consecrated.

I know not where I can more properly introduce another part of the
colonel's character, which, obvious as it was, I have not yet touched
upon; I mean his tenderness to those who were under any spiritual
distress, wherein he was indeed an example to ministers in a duty more
peculiarly theirs. I have seen many amiable instances of this myself, and
I have been informed of many others. One of these happened about the time
of that awakening in the western parts of Scotland, which I touched upon
above, when the Rev. Mr. M'Laurin, of Glasgow, found occasion to witness
to the great propriety, judgment, and felicity of manner, with which he
addressed spiritual consolation to an afflicted soul who applied to the
professor at a time when he had not an opportunity immediately to give
audience to the case. Indeed so long ago as the year 1726, I find him
writing in this regard to a friend in a strain of tenderness which might
well have become the most affectionate and experienced pastor. He there
congratulates him on some religious enjoyments, lately received, (in
part, it seems, by his means) when, among others, he has this modest
expression: "If I have been made any way the means of doing you good,
give the whole glory to God; for he has been willing to show that the
power was entirely of himself, since he has been pleased to make use of
so very weak an instrument." In the same letter he admonishes his friend
that he should not be too much surprised, if after having been (as he
expressed it) upon the mount, he should be brought into this valley
again, reminding him that "we live by faith, and not by sensible
assurance," and representing that there are some such full communications
from God as seem almost to swallow up the actings of faith, from whence
they take their rise: "Whereas, when a Christian who walks in darkness,
and sees no light, will yet hang, as it were, on the report of an absent
Jesus, and" (as one expresses it in allusion to the story of Jacob and
Joseph) "can put himself as on the chariot of the promises, to be borne
on to Him whom he sees not; there may be sublimer and more acceptable
actings of a pure and strong faith than in moments which afford the soul
a much more rapturous delight." This is the substance of what he says in
this excellent letter. Some of the phrases made use of might not perhaps
be intelligible to several of my readers, for which reason I do not
exactly transcribe them all; but this is plainly and fully his meaning,
and most of the words are his own. The sentiment is surly very just and
important; and happy would it be for many excellent persons, who,
through wrong notions of the nature of faith, (which was never more
misrepresented than now among some,) are perplexing themselves with
the most groundless doubts and scruples, if it were more generally
understood, admitted, and considered.



An endeared friend, who was most intimately conversant with the colonel
during the last two years of his life, has favoured me with an account
of some little circumstances relating to him, which I esteem as precious
fragments, by which the consistent tenor of his character may be further
illustrated. I shall therefore insert them here, without being very
solicitous as to the order in which they are introduced.

He perceived himself evidently in a very declining state from his first
arrival in Britain, and seemed to entertain a fixed apprehension that he
should continue but a little while longer in life. "He expected death,"
says my good correspondent, "and was delighted with the prospect," which
did not grow less amiable by the nearer approach. The word of God, with
which he had as intimate an acquaintance as most men I ever knew, and on
which (especially on the New Testament) I have heard him make many
very judicious and accurate remarks, was still his daily study; and
it furnished him with matter of frequent conversation, much to the
edification and comfort of those that were about him. It was recollected
that, among other passages, he had lately spoken of the following as
having made a deep impression on his mind: "My soul, wait thou only upon
God." He would repeat it again and again, _only, only, only_! So plainly
did he see, and so deeply did he feel, the vanity of creature confidence
and expectations. With the strongest attestation would he often mention
those words in Isaiah, as verified by long experience: "Thou wilt keep
him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth
in thee." And with peculiar satisfaction would he utter those heroic
words in Habakkuk, which he found armour of proof against every fear and
every contingency: "Though the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall
fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields
shall yield no meal; the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there
shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will
joy in the God of my salvation." The 145th Psalm was also spoken of by
him with great delight, and Dr. Watts's version of it, as well as several
others of that excellent person's poetical compositions. My friend who
transmits to me this account, adds the following words, which I desire
to insert with the deepest sentiments of unfeigned humility and
self-abasement before God, as most unworthy the honour of contributing
in the least degree to the joys and graces of one so much my superior in
every part of the Christian character. "As the joy with which good men
see the happy fruits of their labours, makes a part of the present reward
of the servants of God and the friends of Jesus, it must not be omitted,
even in a letter to you, that your spiritual hymns were among his most
delightful and soul-improving repasts; particularly those on beholding
transgressors with grief, and Christ's Message." What is added concerning
my book of the Rise and Progress of Religion, and the terms in which he
expressed his esteem of it, I cannot suffer to pass my pen; only I desire
most sincerely to bless God, that, especially by the last chapters
of that treatise, I had an opportunity, at so great a distance, of
exhibiting some offices of Christian friendship to this excellent person
in the closing scenes of life, which it would have been my greatest joy
to have performed in person, had Providence permitted me then to have
been near him.

The former of these hymns, which my correspondent mentions as having been
so agreeable to Colonel Gardiner, I have given the reader already. The
latter, which is called Christ's Message, took its rise from Luke iv. 18,
19, and is as follows:

Hark! the glad sound! the Saviour comes,
The Saviour promised long;
Let every heart prepare a throne,
And every voice a song.

On him the Spirit largely poured,
Exerts its sacred fire;
Wisdom and might, and zeal and love,
His holy breast inspire.

He comes the prisoners to release,
In Satan's bondage held;
The gates of brass before him burst,
The iron fetters yield.

He comes, from thickest films of vice
To clear the mental ray,
And on the eye-balls of the blind
To pour celestial day.[*]

He comes the broken heart to bind,
The bleeding soul to cure;
And with the treasures of his grace
To enrich the humble poor.

His silver trumpets publish loud
The jubilee of the Lord;
Our debts are all remitted now,
Our heritage restored.

Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace!
Thy welcome shall proclaim;
And heaven's eternal arches ring
With Thy beloved name.

[*Note: This stanza is mostly borrowed from Mr. Pope.]

There is one hymn more I shall beg leave to add, plain as it is, which
Colonel Gardiner has been heard to mention with particular regard, as
expressing the inmost sentiments of his soul, and they were undoubtedly
so in the last rational moments of his expiring life. It is called
'Christ precious to the Believer,' and was composed to be sung after a
sermon on 1 Pet. ii 7.

Jesus! I love thy charming name,
'Tis music to my ear:
Fain would I sound it out so loud,
That earth and heaven should hear.

Yea! thou art precious to my soul,
My transport and my trust;
Jewels to Thee are gaudy toys,
And gold is sordid dust.

All my capacious powers can wish,
In Thee most richly meet;
Nor to mine eyes is life so dear,
Nor friendship half so sweet.

Thy grace still dwells upon my heart,
And sheds its fragrance there;
The noblest balm of all its wounds,
The cordial of its care.

I'll speak the honours of thy name
With my last labouring breath;
Then speechless clasp thee in my arms,
The antidote of death.

Those who were intimate with Colonel Gardiner, must have observed how
ready he was to give a devotional turn to any subject that occurred. In
particular, the spiritual and heavenly disposition of his soul discovered
itself in the reflections and improvements which he made when reading
history, in which he took a great deal of pleasure, as persons remarkable
for their knowledge of mankind, and observation of Providence, generally
do. I have an instance of this before me, which, though too natural to be
at all surprising, will, I dare say, be pleasing to the devout mind. He
had just been reading, in Rollin's extracts from Xenophon, the answer
which the lady of Tigranes made when all the company were extolling
Cyrus, and expressing the admiration with which his appearance and
behaviour struck them. The question being asked her, What she thought of
him? she answered, "I do not know; I did not observe him." On what, then,
said one of the company did you fix your attention? "On him," replied
she, (referring to the generous speech which her husband had just made,)
"who said he would give a thousand lives to ransom my liberty." "Oh,"
cried the colonel, when reading it, "how ought we to fix our eyes and
hearts on Him who, not in offer, but in reality, gave his own precious
life to ransom us from the most dreadful slavery, and from eternal
destruction!" But this is only one instance among a thousand. His heart
was so habitually set upon divine things, and he had such a permanent
and overflowing sense of the love of Christ, that he could not forbear
connecting such reflections with a multitude of more distant occasions
occurring in daily life, on which less advanced Christians would not have
thought of them; and thus, like our great Master, he made every little
incident a source of devotion, and an instrument of holy zeal.

Enfeebled as his constitution was, he was still intent on improving his
time to some valuable purpose; and when his friends expostulated with him
that he gave his body so little rest, he used to answer, "It will rest
long enough in the grave."

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



Quickly after his return home, the flame burst out, and his regiment
was ordered to Stirling. It was in that castle that his lady and eldest
daughter enjoyed the last happy hours of his company, and I think it was
about ten or twelve days before his death that he parted from them there.
A remarkable circumstance attended that parting, which has been touched
upon by surviving friends in more than one of their letters to me. His
lady was so affected when she took her last leave of him, that she could
not forbear bursting out into a flood of tears, with other marks of
unusual emotion; and when he asked her the reason, she urged as a
sufficient apology, the apprehension she had of losing such an invaluable
friend, amidst the dangers to which he was then called out. On this she
took particular notice, that whereas he had generally comforted her on
such occasions by pleading with her that remarkable hand of Providence
which had so frequently in former instances been exerted for his
preservation, and that in the greatest extremity, he said nothing of it
now; but only replied in his sententious manner, "We have an eternity to
spend together."

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

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

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

These sentiments wrought in him to the last in the most effectual manner,
and he seemed for a while to have infused them into the regiment which he
commanded; for they expressed such a spirit in their march from Stirling,
that I am assured the colonel was obliged to exert all his authority to
prevent their making incursions on the rebel army, which then lay very
near him; and had it been thought proper to send him the reinforcements
he requested, none can say what the consequence might have been; but he
was ordered to march as fast as possible to meet Sir John Cope's forces
at Dunbar, which he did; and that hasty retreat, in concurrence with the
news which they soon after received of the surrender of Edinburgh to the
rebels, (either by the treachery or weakness of a few, in opposition to
the judgment of by far the greater and better part of the inhabitants,)
struck a panic into both the regiments of dragoons, which became visible
in some very apparent and remarkable circumstances in their behaviour,
which I forbear to relate. This affected Colonel Gardiner so much that,
on the Thursday before the fatal action of Prestonpans, he intimated to
an officer of considerable rank and note, from whom I had it by a very
sure channel of conveyance, that he expected the event would be as in
fact it was. In this view, there is all imaginable reason to believe that
he had formed his resolution as to his own personal conduct, which was,
"that he would not, in cases of the flight of those under his command,
retreat with them;" by which, as it seemed, he was reasonably
apprehensive that he might have stained the honour of his former
services, and have given some occasion for the enemy to have spoken
reproachfully. He much rather chose, if Providence gave him the call, to
leave in his death an example of fidelity and bravery which might very
probably be (as in fact it seems to have been) of much greater importance
to his country than any other service which, in the few days of remaining
life, he could expect to render it. I conclude these to have been his
views, not only from what I knew of his general character and temper, but
likewise from some intimations which he gave to a very worthy person from
Edinburgh, who visited him the day before the action, and to whom he
said, "I cannot influence the conduct of others as I could wish, but I
have one life to sacrifice to my country's safety, and I shall not spare
it,"--or words to that effect.

I have heard such a multitude of inconsistent reports of the
circumstances of Colonel Gardiner's death, that I had almost despaired of
being able to give my reader any particular satisfaction concerning so
interesting a scene. But, by a happy accident, I have very lately had an
opportunity of being exactly informed of the whole by that brave man, Mr.
John Foster, his faithful servant, (and worthy of the honour of serving
such a master,) whom I had seen with him at my house some years before.
He attended him in his last hours, and gave me at large the narration,
which he would be ready, if requisite, to attest upon oath. From his
mouth I wrote it down with the utmost exactness, and could easily
believe, from the genuine and affectionate manner in which he related the
particulars, that according to his own striking expression, "his eye and
his heart were always upon his honoured master during the whole time."[*]

[*Note: Just as I am putting the last hand to these memoirs, March 2,
1746-7, I have met with a corporal in Colonel Lascelles' regiment, who
was an eye-witness to what happened at Prestonpans on the day of the
battle, and the day before; and the account he has given me of some
memorable particulars is so exactly agreeable to that which I received
from Mr. Foster, that it would much corroborate his testimony, if there
were not so many other considerations to render it convincing.]

On Friday, 20th September, (the day before the battle which transmitted
him to his immortal crown,) the colonel drew up his regiment in the
afternoon, and rode through all their ranks, addressing them at once
in the most respectful and animating manner, both as soldiers and as
Christians, to exert themselves courageously in the service of their
country, and to neglect nothing that might have a tendency to prepare
them for whatever might happen. They seemed much affected with the
address, and expressed a very ardent desire of attacking the enemy
immediately--a desire in which he and another very gallant officer of
distinguished rank, dignity, and character, both for bravery and conduct,
would gladly have gratified them, if it had been in their power. He
earnestly pressed it on the commanding officer, as the soldiers were then
in better spirits than it could be supposed they would be after having
passed the night under arms, and as the circumstance of making an attack
would be some encouragement to them, and probably some terror to the
enemy, who would have had the disadvantage of standing on the defence--a
disadvantage with which those wild barbarians, (for such most of them
were) perhaps would have been more struck than better disciplined
troops--especially, too, when they fought against the laws of their
country. He also apprehended that, by marching to meet them, some
advantage might have been secured with regard to the ground, with which,
it is natural to imagine, he must have been perfectly acquainted, as it
lay just at his own door, and he had rode over it many hundred times.
When I mention these things, I do not pretend to be capable of judging
how far this advice was right. A variety of circumstances to me unknown
might make it otherwise. It is certain, however, that it was brave. But
it was overruled in this respect, as it also was in the disposition of
the cannon, which he would have planted in the centre of our small army,
rather than just before his regiment, which was in the right wing, where
he was apprehensive that the horses, which had not been in any previous
engagement, might be thrown into some disorder by the discharge so very
near them. He urged this the more as he thought the attack of the rebels
might probably be made on the centre of the foot, where he knew there
were some brave men, on whose standing he thought, under God, the success
of the day depended. When he found that he could not carry either of
these points, nor some others which, out of regard to the common safety,
he insisted upon with unusual earnestness, he dropped some intimations
of the consequences he apprehended, and which did in fact follow; and
submitting to Providence, spent the remainder of the day in making as
good a disposition as circumstances would allow.[*]

[*Note: Several of these circumstances have since been confirmed by the
concurrent testimony of another very credible person, Mr. Robert Douglas,
(now a surgeon in the navy,) who was a volunteer at Edinburgh just before
the rebels entered the place, and who saw Colonel Gardiner come from
Haddington to the field of battle the day before the action in a chaise,
being (as from that circumstances he supposed) in so weak a state that he
could not well endure the fatigue of sitting on horseback. He observed
Colonel Gardiner in discourse with several officers on the evening before
the engagement, at which time, it was afterwards reported, he gave his
advice to attack the rebels; and when it was overruled, he afterwards saw
the colonel walk by himself in a very pensive manner.]

He continued all night under arms, wrapt up in his cloak, and generally
sheltered under a rick of barley which happened to be in the field. About
three in the morning he called his domestic servants to him, of which
there were four in waiting. He dismissed three of them with most
affectionate Christian advice, and such solemn charges relating to the
performance of their duty and the care of their souls, as plainly seemed
to intimate that he at least apprehended it very probable he was taking
his last farewell of them. There is great reason to believe that he spent
the little remainder of the time, which could not be much above an hour,
in those devout exercises of soul which had so long been habitual to him,
and to which so many circumstances then concurred to call him.

The army was alarmed at break of day by the noise of the rebels'
approach, and the attack was made before sunrise; yet it was light enough
to discern what passed. As soon as the enemy came within gunshot, they
made a furious fire; and it is said that the dragoons, which constituted
the left wing, immediately fled. The colonel, at the beginning of the
onset, which lasted but a few minutes, received a wound by a bullet in
his left breast, which made him give a sudden spring in his saddle; upon
which his servant, who had led the horse, would have persuaded him to
retreat; but he said it was only a wound in the flesh, and fought on,
though soon after he received a shot in his right thigh. In the meantime
it was discovered that some of the enemies fell by him, particularly one
man, who had made him a treacherous visit but a few days before, with
great professions of zeal for the present establishment.

Events of this kind pass in less time than the description of them can
be written, or than it can be read. The colonel was for a few moments
supported by his men, and particularly by that worthy person,
Lieutenant-colonel Whitney, who was shot through the arm, and who, a few
months after, fell nobly in the battle of Falkirk; by Lieutenant West, a
man of distinguished bravery; also by about fifteen dragoons, who stood
by him to the last. But, after a faint fire, the regiment was seized with
a panic; and though their colonel and some other gallant officers did
what they could to rally them once or twice, they took to precipitate
flight. Just at the moment when Colonel Gardiner seemed to be making a
pause, to deliberate what duty required him to do in such a circumstance,

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