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Sweet bells, with voices in their chime; Sweet voices, linked in ringing rhyme, As sweet as if 'twere summer's prime,
And not December.
Some joy, December.
Dead in December.
home; O gospel in the glad bells' tone,
Thy bells, December.
The flowers are cold within their
seeds, The ice-shroud sheets the silent
meads, The path to mounded snow-drifts leads,
" "JOHNNY CAMPBELL,"
IBOUT the end of last and labours of love. During the last
century, in the Grass- half, he was minister of Kingsland Chapel
chariot of fire, an as- he under valued it—but he had a warm sortment of pots and pans, spades and heart and a ready hand, and a wonderrakes, and other such implements, piled fully persevering and laborious habit, about a shop door, served to indicate the with a marvellous amount of sagacity establishment of a humble ironmonger, and common sense, and that quick perwho was at the same time the friend ception of how things may best be done and correspondent of the Rev. John that devises new methods that are often Newton, of William Wilberforce, of the scoffed at at first, but in the end approved Countess of Leven, and many others, and and adopted. who was personally one of the most re- He was the first in modern times to markable men of his day. He was very print and distribute tracts in Edinburgh, small of stature, rugged of countenance, and he was one of the founders of an with short limbs and a large head, and institution, which still flourishes, now among his friends was known invariably as called the Book and Tract Society of
Johnny Campbell,"or simply “Johnny.” Scotland. What led him to begin was this. His father had come from the Highlands Looking over a bookstall, he found a little of Perthshire, not_far from the parish brochure of eight pages, with a blue cover where Alexander Duff, the missionary, called 'The Life and Experience of F. S. was born; and Johnny had seen the best (Fanny Sydney),' which he bought for Christian example, and grew up with a twopence. On reading it he was so deep sense of the awful claims of religion. pleased with it, that he got an edition At the High School of Edinburgh he printed, part of which was sold and the was a pupil of Willie Nicoll, the boon rest circulated gratis. Falling in soon companion of Robert Burns, and also a afterwards in London with the story class fellow of Sir Walter Scott, close to Poor Joseph,' he had it too printed and whom, too, he used to sit in Dr. John circulated on his return to Scotland. His Erskine's church. After passing through next publications were the yearly poems long religious groping, he at last got such of Rev. John Newton, on the successive a view of the cross of Christ and the anniversaries of the death of his wife, glorious fulness of His grace as both In 1789 steps were taken to form the filled and transported his heart; and for Tract and Book Society of Edinburgh, half a century after, his one great aim of which was instituted, we think, in 1793, life was to spread the knowledge of the some years earlier than the society of Saviour, and draw others to the feast London. Its object is, “ by the circulation that had been so precious to his own of religious tracts and books, to diffuse soul.
a pure and religious literature among all Until middle life Mr. Campbell con- classes of the people.” 1 tinued in his worldly calling, toiling all Unlike the Religious Tract Society of the while in numberless works of faith
Vide Report for 1884.
London, it does not produce religious lite- familiar work; he and the late Mr. James rature, it only distributes it. It obtains Haldane having on one occasion made large assistance from the London Society. arrangements for instituting sixty in A free grant of 2001. worth of tracts a single week. is made every year by the Committee of Literature for the young was another the Religious Tract Society, London, to thing that seemed to Mr. Campbell to the Edinburgh Society. Further special need much change. His method of proassistance is given to every new colpor- cedure was this : Taking a well-disposed teur when he enters on his work.
little girl he found that to read through The Scotch Society has had its ups an · Address to the Young' was more and downs in life, but it was placed on a than she could achieve. So he set to new footing more than twenty years ago, work on a more attractive plan, and through the addition of a colportage writing the first life in his book · Worlds department, and it never was in a more Displayed' he gave it to the same girl, prosperous condition than it is now. Some and found that she not only could get. two hundred colporteurs are employed in through it, but asked for more. It was connection with it, mostly in Scotland, a new era in books for the young. and partly in England, from whose hands In the villages round Edinburgh it was. every day of the year tracts are scattered not only the children that needed schools, in every direction, to say nothing of the the grown-up people were often as ignosupplies circulated by private individuals, rant of the gospel as the young. Mr. missionaries, Bible women, and others, Campbell originated the scheme of village whom the society is ever ready to en- preaching. In those days, for a layman courage. Had "Johnny Campbell” done to open his lips in a religious meeting no other work than help to lay the foun- was utterly unknown. And the universal dation of this society, he would not have priesthood” of believers was so little lived in vain.
acted on, that some of the godly ministers But many another enterprise did he shook their heads, and a story is told of engage in. In those days there were no a zealous tradesman who prayed on . Sabbath Schools. Mr. Campbell longed Sunday mornings at family worship" that to see the young gathered under godly a redhot poker might be stuck into Johnny teachers, to have the great truths of the Campbell's throat that day if he Gospel taught them; and in his case to to minister in word or doctrine." After long for a thing was to try to achieve it. the work of Robert and James Haldane, His first experiment was to hire a hall lay preaching occupied a very different in the southern suburbs of Edinburgh, place. But Campbell did not quite go in. called the Archers' Hall—it is still there with the Haldanes; he thought they --and get a good man to teach the were not always wise; and his going to children. Then he got another hall London seemed to have been partly similarly provided. But he felt he ought caused by difficulties with reference to men to do something himself. So, knowing with whom he could not always agree, that Loanhead, a mining village five miles but with whom he would never quarrel. away, was woefully neglected, he got a Another institution which he founded place of meeting for a school, and rode before leaving Edinburgh was the Magout to open it. It is difficult to say dalene Institution. His first coadjutors. whether he was most frightened to get here were two working men, a baker on horseback or to open his mouth in and a cutler, who had made some atpublic. Both dangers, however, were tempts to reclaim some of the wretched surmounted, and ere long the planting women in their neighbourhood, but had of Sunday Schools became common and found the necessity of doing the thing.
presumed. on a larger scale. Mr. Campbell threw his for an Independent minister. He had soul into the work, and was highly suc- been willing to go as a missionary to cessful both at Edinburgh and Glasgow. India with Mr. Robert Haldane, but At first the institution was called " The that enterprise was not carried out. For Philanthropic,” but people could not get seven-and-thirty years he filled the their tongues round the word, and the important sphere of minister of Kings name was changed to “The Magdalene.” land Chapel, London. Twice during that The same disgust at their life, yet im- time the London Missionary Society sent possibility of leaving it, was found then him to the south of Africa, to visit their among the degraded girls as it is often missions in that wide region. All that found still. The blessing of many a one work he did diligently and well. Perhaps that was ready to perish came upon the chief extraneous work of his latter Campbell ; and yet how sad it is to think, years was to write little books for the after so many years of Christian and not young. It cannot be said now that that unsuccessful labour, that the putrid department is neglected. During his stream of sensuality flows with a current long life Mr. Campbell began many a nearly as deep and as loathsome as ever! good work, and placed it on a solid foun
In going about the country with the dation; he laboured in season and out of Haldanes, Mr.Campbell learned to preach. season, and, with no ambition but to be A couple of years' study under Dr. Ward- useful, did much to extend and build up law, of Glasgow, gave him the training the kingdom of God.
NE wet night in August | Progress. For it was John Bunyan (1688) there rode up who had come to be the guest of his to the house of Deacon friend, John Strudwick, on Snow Hill.
Strudwick,on Snow Hill, The most striking thing about that visit à man of some fifty-nine to Mr. Strudwick's house was that Bunyan years, whose clothes were had gone there to die. In little more soaking with wet. The than a week the "Immortal Dreamer, greeting between the two who had rode up to his friend's door, men proved they were old dripping wet, was carried out of it for
acquaintances, and that a burial. That ride in the rain proved bond of more than ordinary friendship fatal to him. The cold that supervened existed between them. The stranger's turning to fever, which became the face was that of a man of undaunted chariot of fire in which Bunyan was resolution, yet there was a dreaminess carried upward to the Celestial City. about the expression of the eye that be- We may imagine the concern of the tokened a religious enthusiast. His hair household at the illness of their guest, was iron grey, and there was a certain and of their awe as it became evident yielding of the frame, as of a man who had that it would prove fatal. He lingered long passed the prime of his days. Since but a few days, waiting for the good this man did duty as a soldier at the horse," when the post should come to siege of Leicester he had passed twelve bid him ascend. During this season he years in prison, and the chief product of talked from time to time with his host that imprisonment was the 'Pilgrim's and other friends who visited him upon such subjects as “ sin, affliction, repent- not the public worship of God, lest God ance, and coming to Christ, prayer, and forsake thee, not only in public, but in the heavenly state." Fragments of private.' these conversations were committed to “As his illness increased, his mind writing by Strudwick, and afterwards recalled the old days of persecution, and published. A few of his last words may the friends with whom he used to meet. be here reproduced.
'I have often thought,' he said the best “When his friend spoke with him of Christians are found in the worst of about the strangeness of his affliction, he times, and I have thought again that replied, "The Lord useth His flail of one reason why we are no better, is betribulation to separate the chaff from cause good prayers are no more.
Noah the wheat. The school of the cross is and Lot, who so holy as they in the the school of light: it discovers the time of their afflictions, and yet who world's vanity, baseness, and wickedness, so idle as they in the time of their and lets us see more of God's mind. prosperity.' Out of dark afflictions comes a spiritual Day by day he thus talked with light.' Some one asked his advice about those who sat beside him, and John prayer, and he replied: “When thou Strudwick was always near to jot down prayest, rather let thy heart be without his words. It was when near death that words, than thy words without heart. his old enemy, the Devil, began to Prayer will make a man cease from sin, plague him, and turning to those near or sin will entice a man to cease from he told them, “As the Devil labours by prayer. Pray often, for prayer is a all means to keep out other things that shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and are good, so to keep out of the heart as a scourge for Satan.'
much as in him lies the thoughts of “When the Sabbath came, and he passing from this life into another world, heard the bells of St. Sepulchre's ringing for he knows if he can but keep them for divine worship, his thoughts were from the serious thoughts of death, he filled with the sanctity and glory of the shall the more easily keep their sins." day. 'Have a special care to sanctify Then, as in a moment of sudden inspirathe Lord's day,' he said to those about tion, he cried out, '0! sinner, what a him, 'for as thou keepest it, so it will be condition wilt thou fall into when thou with thee all the week long. Make the departest this world, if thou depart unLord's day the market for thy soul; let converted. Thou hadst better have been the whole day be spent in prayer, re- smothered the first hour thou wast born; petitions, and meditations; lay aside the thou hadst better have been plucked one affairs of the other part of the week; let limb from another; thou hadst better the sermon thou hast heard be converted have been made a dog, a toad, a serpent, into prayer.
Shall God allow thee six than to die unconverted. This thou wilt days, and wilt thou not afford Him one! find true, if thou repent not!' As the In the church be careful to serve God, pilgrim drew near to the edge of that for thou art in His eye and not man's. river, which he described as very deep, Thou mayest hear sermons often, and do and over which there was no bridge, he well in practising what thou hearest; had a glimpse of the land on the other but thou must not expect to be told in side, and, shaking off for a moment the the pulpit all thou oughtest to do, but lethargic fever, he told those around his be studious in searching the Scriptures bed of the joys of heaven!'. There is and in reading good works. What thou no good in this life,' he cried out, but hearest may be forgotten, but what thou what is mingled with some evil
. Honours, readest may better be retained. Forsake profit and riches disquiet, and pleasures