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No one hailed the recent secession with more eagerness and joy, or wished it more success. His own appearances upon the platform on behalf of ecclesiastical freedom, had been for years very numerous; his speeches delivered in various parts of the country would fill a volume. In scenes of great provocation, he did not lose his equanimity, and while his eye kindled and his voice thrilled in denouncing injustice, and exposing malicious sophistry, he never indulged in coarse vituperation, or unworthy invective. He called things, indeed, by their right name. He scorned all compromise, all effort to hold truth in abeyance, lest men should take offence, but he endeavoured to
speak the truth in love;' to 'rebuke with meekness,' and to exhibit a candid and courteous demeanour toward the most violent and irritating of his opponents. His addresses, on such occasions as those now referred to, were always impressivesome of them exciting the audience to unbounded enthusiasm. The general character of his public speaking, on these and similar occasions, is well described by a writer in Hogg's Weekly Instructor.'*
We have always been struck by two features, or rather effects, of Dr. Heugh's pulpit and platform speaking, which show its high excellence. First, It was admired by all classes of hearers. Other speakers have their peculiar excellencies, which render them great favourites with particular classes, but it was impossible to say what class listened to Dr. Heugh with deepest interest and admiration. He was a universal favourite as a public speaker. We have seen a meeting composed of all classes become quiet, attentive, enthusiastic, as he proceeded with his address, which had been before impatient and unmanageable ; we have never seen an audience become listless and restive under him. It mattered not what the subject was, or what the character of the audience, he was sure to arrest their attention and win their applause. Even when the topic was most trite and trivial, the manner in which he handled it, and the way in which he expressed himself, gave it a peculiar freshness and interest. It might be said of him as was said of Hall, he treated common topics without the insipidity of common-place diction. Second, There was nothing about his speaking to divert attention from the subject, and fix it upon himself. One never thought of the speaker at all in hearing him, every thing was so perfectly natural, simple, and easy. There was nothing to be borne with, or overlooked, or even, in one sense, admired in him, and the undivided interest of the hearer was given to the subject under consideration; and that which previously seemed intricate and
* No. 85.
perplexing, became in his hands so plain and obvious, that the hearer wondered how he had not seen it in the same light before.'
Thus the heart of Dr. Heugh responded to every call of humanity and religion. Any plan that gave hope of doing good, he liberally assisted, while very naturally he was anxious that his own 'tribe' should not be the last to bring back the king.' He was formed, as Burke says of his son, to be a public creature.' In the midst of all this wearing labour, his peculiar elasticity of mind was of invaluable service to him.
It seemed,' Dr. Harper says, page 14, 'as if his mind needed not to be strung and attuned anew, when passing from the active, and even the controversial, to the more private walks of communion with God. From pleading the rights of Christ's spiritual kingdom against the enactments of human policy ;—from pleading the rights of the slave against buyers and sellers, who traffic in his flesh, Dr. Heugh's mind turned, without effort, and with instant alacrity, to such topics of interest as religious revivals, missionary enterprise, congregational home agency, the working of Sabbath schools, the utility of prayer-meetings, or the cultivation of a devotional spirit in the public business of the church. What do we see in this but a tone of mind formed and sustained by divine grace for special service, and for giving us, my brethren, in this self-same matter, another example to admire and to imitate!
Dr. Heugh's general character was one of harmonious symmetry. In all the domestic relations he displayed exemplary kindness and attachment. Abroad he always maintained the decorum of a christian pastor. His failings—and who has them not-were not striking. Occasionally he could say a smart thing, when he was provoked, or suddenly excited. At times he appeared to some, as if he was conscious of his superior standing and talents. But in all scenes, amidst all classes of society, he exhibited the easy and polished manners of an accomplished gentleman. By a kind of instinctive feeling, he seemed to comprehend, in an instant, where he was, and to know exactly what topics to introduce and how to discuss them. This delicate sense of propriety had in him the correctness, force, and universality of an instinct. His conversational powers were charming, and he knew well how to mingle pleasantry and grave instruction. He had a playful wit, yet generally he set' a watch on the door of his lips. The highest integrity marked all his procedure. There was not any thing which he abhorred so much as meanness or duplicity. He was an upright man. Whatever he could do, to oblige another, he willingly undertook and frankly performed. While he loved his own denomination, the arms of his christian charity embraced other sects and parties, holding
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the head. Not only was he a faithful pastor, but he was honoured as a useful citizen. The people who reaped the benefit of his ministry have made a provision for his widow unparalleled in the history of the secession church; and the esteem in which he was held by his fellow-townsmen is seen in the fact, that on the day of his funeral a number of gentlemen not connected either with his church or denomination, spontaneously entered into a handsome subscription to erect a spacious monument to his memory.
Dr. Heugh shone in the church courts. He had amazing facility of speech-ease, clearness, and readiness, never forsook him. He possessed also great tact, knew how to seize his opportunity, instantaneously apprehended the most favourable means of overcoming prejudice, disarming hostility, and gaining the object he bad in view. Especially did he rise above himself during the late unhappy controversy on the subject of the atonement, which agitated the secession church. His first speech on these topics at the meeting of synod in 1841, was a masterpiece. It fairly brought out the question in its important aspects, clearly exhibited the truth freed from the embarrassment of extreme opinions, indicated the line of argument which the, lovers of sound speech must adopt, and prepared the way for those satisfactory and harmonious results which have since delighted the churches. He understood the subject clearly, and expressed himself so lucidly, that all felt immediate acquiescence in his statements. He pursued the same course in all subsequent debates, for his own mind was made up and it never wavered. Indeed, he himself informed the writer of this paper, that from his entrance into the ministry, the views he advocated had always been maintained and preached by him. But he did not experience the immediate blessedpess of the peacemaker. Two disappointed men, now no longer in the church, (one of them indeed ignominiously expelled from it) attacked him with a rancour peculiar to themselves, and proverbially associated with the name they bear. Accusations made in ferocious language, and coming from those quarters, are no longer regarded ; nay, any gentler treatment from such a source, brings the subject of it into immediate suspicion. During the last illness of him, who in midst of conflicting misunderstandings had always sought peace and ensued it,' an attempt was made by one of the parties now referred to, to call in question his integrity. The attempt is described at length by Dr. Brown, and is alluded to, more briefly, by Dr. Wardlaw, and branded by him with that reprobation which it fully merited. The church found that Dr. Heugh had been wantonly and maliciously assailed. He died soon after these trials; the Master
epheme Paris Heughstitutional i ascribe this mory
'hid him in his pavilion from the strife of tongues. His former enemies, however, continue to blacken bis memory by every means in their power. Alas! we must ascribe this malig. nity to something worse than constitutional infirmity of temper.
The publications of Dr. Heugh were numerous, but the most of them were ephemeral, being generally designed to serve some special occasion. Those occasions were always of public benefit—the cause of religion, of missions, or general benevolence. He preached before the London Missionary Society in London, before one of its auxiliaries in Bradford, and both discourses were published, and extensively read. He published also various lectures on the voluntary principle, lectures to young men in Glasgow, presbyterial addresses, and ordination services. In 1839, at the request of the presbytery, he delivered and published an address on the revival of religion-a paper in which his whole heart goes forth in ardent and prayerful aspiration for the outpouring of the Divine Spirit on the churches. In 1844, we find him as convener of a synod's committee, issuing a spirited and characteristic Address on the duty of exertion for the support of weak congregations, and for the promotion of Christian missions.
One of the best of his productions was an excellent tract on Voluntaryism, entitled, “Considerations on civil establishments of Religion ;' and it is allowed on all hands to be clear, judicious, and conciliatory. It had an extensive circulation at the time of its first appearance, for it contained views and reasonings which the public mind readily apprehended and applied. He wrote also occasional replies to the manifestoes of the church party-to their high claims of independence, while they yet clung to their connection with the state. One of these was truly a chef-d'-quvre-a clever, terse, racy, and effective brochure. During his residence for some months in Geneva, about three years ago, he busied himself in collecting information as to the state and prospects of the continental protestant churches. He delivered a few lectures on the subject when he returned home, and afterwards published them under the title of ‘Notices of the state of Religion in Geneva and Belgium.'* These 'notices' are principally based on documentary evidence. They are gathered neither from general gossip, nor partial survey; but rest for their chief authority on the works of Malan, Gaussen, Vinet, D’Aubigne, and other equally competent witnesses. They are therefore trustworthy in the highest degree, combining the soberness of historical truth with the vivid and felicitous sketching of personal observation. One object of the book is to depict
the noxious influence of state connection upon the religion of Geneva—to prove that the freedom and purity of a Christian people are indissolubly associated—that the spiritual institute of the Redeemer needs not for its maintenance or extension, either the foreign encumbrance of national support, or the crushing patronage of civic rank—and that, therefore, the friends of evangelical truth are summoned in the present day to the great work of emancipating the church from secular control—to the achievement of a vast enterprise which has been justly named the 'Reformation of the Nineteenth Century.'
Dr. Heugh's last publication related to the discussions in his own church, and was named, 'Irenicum; an inquiry into the real amount of the differences alleged to exist in the Synod of the United Secession Church, on the Atonement and Doctrines connected with it; Glasgow, 1845.'* It is not too much to say, that this pamphlet was a principal means under God of restoring confidence and harmony. It breathed a noble spirit-took a calm and impartial view of the subject-introduced admirable quotations from divines of various ages and countries-maintained that the late resolutions of the synod were scriptural in their character, and Calvinistic in their diction- and proved that . they involved no departure either in doctrine or phraseology from the system of the great Genevan theologian, the Synod of Dort, the Westminster symbols, and the sermons and “acts' of the first fathers of the Scottish Secession. This tract displays that peculiar combination of talents, which we have ascribed to Dr. Heugh. It is brief without being curt, firm, but not onesided. Its reasonings are wisely adapted to the ordinary understanding, and run not into profound speculations on the deep things of God.' Its tone is one of sustained earnestness and practical adaptation. We might style it a business-like production, for it is not the work of a theoriser or polemic, but the effort of a'master in Israel,' who felt it incumbent on him to deal with present realities—to treat his several topics as matters of actual interest and immediate concern, and not to dispute about them as themes of subtle abstraction-of distant and possible collision.
After all, Dr. Heugh has left behind him no literary monument worthy of his name and capabilities. His memory will be associated rather with pastoral success, public-spirited ardour, and denominational attachment and labour. The piety and generosity of the people he so long instructed, the schemes of useful benevolence which he originated and cherished, will be his enduring memorial. His epitaph is engraven on the fleshly
* Eclectic Review for September, 1845.