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Sunday, March 28, at a meeting of the Glasgow Unitarian Congregation, held in the Chapel at the close of the afternoon service, William Watson, Esq. in the Chair, the following Resolution was moved and seconded, and unanimously and cordially adopted by the meeting, and ordered to be transmitted to Mr. Harris:
That it is with feelings of the utmost regret this Congregation have learned, that, in a few months, they are to be deprived of the services of their faithful and respected Pastor, the Rev. George Harris. He has laboured so long among them, and, under Divine Providence, been the means of so much good, not only in building up this Society, but in liberalising the public mind of this great community, that they could have wished to retain him
as their Minister for many years to come. They are satisfied, however, that it is the voice of duty which he obeys; that he leaves them because his presence seems to be indispensable in another portion of the Lord's vineyard; and, however reluctantly they part with him, after so long and so happy a connection, they cannot but bid bim God speed in his new sphere of Christian usefulness. They are not without consolation when they consider, that Scotland, where there is still so much for the Christian Reformer to accomplish, is not to be deprived of his able Missionary labours; that, while the Metropolitan Congregation is henceforward to claim his more especial care, the other Churches of Scotland, and their own amongst the number,—all of which he has done so much to foster and uprear,—will still have the advantage of his counsel and occasional ministrations. They tender him their warmest thanks for the many benefits he has conferred upon them, individually and Congregationally, as well as upon the cause which they are associated to promote, during the sixteen years of his ministry in this Chapel; and they beg respectfully and affectionately to assure him, that he will carry with him their sincerest good wishes, and long live in their most grateful recollections."
(Signed) William Watson, Chairman. Died, in Dublin, February 27, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, and the sixty-second of his ministry, the Rev. Wm. Bruce, D. D. The following beautiful and accurate delineation of the character of this truly venerable man, was delivered by the Rev. Dr. Drummond at the interment. We gladly transfer it to our pages from those of the Bible Christian.
Men and Brethren,-Before we take our final leave of the remains of our departed friend, permit me to pay a small
part of the tribute which all of us must feel to be due to his exalted worth. We have lost a friend whom we honoured and revered one whom it would be difficult to parallel as a scholar and divine, a religious philosopher, a profound reasoner, a preacher of righteousness, a Bible Christianone, dearly beloved by a numerous circle of friends, and acknowledged, even by those most opposed to his religious and political opinions, to be a man of unblemished, unimpeached, and unimpeachable integrity. His, indeed, was à character of no ordinary description, but one that from youth to manhood, and to age, shone with attractive beauty and lustre; insomuch that it may be truly affirmed, that in all the relations of life, filial, conjugal, paternal, he was an example worthy of imitation: nor was he less so when contemplated as a citizen, philanthropist, and friend as the Principal, for many years, of a literary seminary, and, above all, as a pastor, and teacher of God's holy word. The son of a minister, he was, from his early years, designed for the Christian ministry; and, under the judicious superintendence of a wise and pious mother, he received such an education as fostered and matured those noble powers with which a kind Providence had enriched his mind. From his entrance into the sacred office, he discharged its duties, public and private, with conscientious fidelity and admired success. As a preacher he greatly excelled. His manner was solemn, dignified, and impressive. His voice had a rich and harmonious variety of intonation, and as he managed it with taste and judgment, his reading, especially of poetry and select passages of Scripture, was incomparable. His style of composition was chaste, polished, and correct; and his delivery clothed it with additional charms. His noble person, finely. moulded head, and highly intellectual countenance, on which gravity blended with grace, immediately arrested the attention of his auditors; and they hung with breathless suspense and admiration on the words which fell from his lips, whether in sublime adoration of the Divine perfections, or in humble supplication at the throne of grace; whether illustrating the doctrines, or enforcing the duties of religion, with all the force of reason and all the pathos of persuasion. His discourses were on such biblical and evangelical subjects as tend most to edification—not dealing in vague generalities, nor expatiating on barren truisms and mysterious dogmas but in argument and illustration ingenious and original, replete with matter calculated both to inform the mind and meliorate the heart. He had too exalted a sense of the dignity of the pulpit ever to convert it into a stage for theatrical gesticulation, or profane it by uncharitable denunciations. His was the genuine eloquence of a mind impressed with a sense of the importance of the great truths which he discussed, and which he was anxious to impress on the minds of his auditors-never frothy and declamatory, but breathing “ a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”-and reasoning on such topics as “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come.” No one whom it has ever been my lot to hear speaking from the pulpit, approached so near to my idea of the beau ideal--the perfection of a Christian preacher none that searched more deeply into the recesses of the heart, that poured such instruction on the mind-none whose discourse so elevated, so thrilled with emotions of piety, so stimulated to great and good resolves, so warmed with the love of virtue, or excited such abhorrence of vice. He could give a reason for the hope that was in him; and bis logic was clear and convincing. He had zeal—that genuine Christian zeal which is illumined by knowledge and tempered by discretion. Calm and deliberate in his delivery at first, he gradually became more and more animated, and poured forth his eloquence as a deep majestic stream-profound yet perspicuous" strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.”
Earnestly" could he “contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints," and be valiant for what he believed to be the truth of God, and the birth-right of man; but never did he deal damnation on those whom he judged their foes. Here, as in all things else, he followed the golden rule, to grant to others the same privileges which he claimed for himself, and left it to him who is Lord of the conscience, to justify or condemn. Though able to defend his views of Christian doctrine with a force of argument not easy to be withstood, and to meet those of his opponents with formidable strength, he had nothing of the temper of a polemic to whom victory is more precious than truth. Had he put forth his powers as a controversialist, he would have been irresistible; but he preferred the meekness of wisdom to the noise and fury of an intolerant zeal, which, in despair of bringing down fire from heaven, would kindle a flame upon earth to consume its enemies. While many such were sounding the clarion of discord, and “casting around them arrows, fire-brands, and death,” he followed the example of him who “ did not cry nor lift up his voice in the streets." He published his religious opinions to the world, and left them to make what way they could, by their own strength, without throwing down the gauntlet of defiance. His various publications, literary and religious, do honour to his taste and erudition as a scholar--to his profound knowledge of the Scriptures as a critic and divine.
Though none knew better how to appreciate the esteem of the wise and good, he never courted popularity, that fatal rock on which many great and accomplished minds make shipwreck of their principles and their integrity. He was inflexible in what he deemed to be right, neither to be tempted nor scared from the straight and narrow path of
With such talents and accomplishments as he possessed, he most have excelled in any profession which he chose to adopt. · Happily, be preferred that for which he was preeminently qualified. His proper province—his true field of glory-was the pulpit. There did he glow with the pure and holy flame of heavenly love, surrounded with a halo of Christian truth, and bright amidst the corruscations of his own eloquence.
He had the good fortune-or rather let me say, joyed from a kind Providence, the blessing of being always surrounded by a number of friends who were more than warm-who were enthusiastic in their attachment to his person, and in admiration of his virtues. During his whole life he was blessed with as much felicity as falls to the lot of the most favoured of mortals-not uninterrupted, indeed, by some of those trials and afflictions from which it is the will of Providence that no human condition should be exempt. He had to pay the usual penalty of protracted age. He saw friends and relatives descending to the grave before him. He had to lament the loss of children of beloved brothers—a beloved daughter-a beloved wife, who, had she been spared, would have been his best earthly consolation. On such occasions he practised that fortitude and resignation which he could recommend so efficaciously to othersfor Christianity was to him a practical principle-a vital faith which sustained and cheered him in every vicissitude and trial.
* Never, perhaps, has any one now living witnessed a nobler exemplification of the “ intrepidity of a just and good man,” as depicted by the Roman poet :
“ Justum et tenacem propositi virum,
Non civium ardor prava jubentium,
Mente quatit solidâ.”
Inflexible to ill and obstinately just,
That diminution of his sight which terminated in blindness, was to a man of literary pursuits a grievous deprivation; but he bore it with such cheerfulness that its loss seemed scarcely to be felt. Though“ knowledge was thus at one entrance quite shut out,” his mind had been too richly furnished ever to leave him destitute of subjects of useful and pleasing reflection. A reader and amanuensis supplied the place of vision. One of his readers was taught by him, as Milton's daughters by their blind father, to read Greek. He always gave a cordial welcome to his friends and visitors, and entered with them into cheerful conversation, in which he excelled, enlivening it by wit and anecdote, and enriching it with the wisdom of age, without its querulousness or garrulity. He always sustained the dignity of his character, and none knew better than he, how to reduce arrogance and presumption to their proper level. He retained a clear recollection of the past, and took a lively interest in current events, on which he expressed his opinion with sound sense and perspicuity. His judgment was appealed to in all cases of difficulty by his brethren in the ministry, and it continued clear and discriminating till the last.
A regular observance of public worship had become the habit of his mind, and while his health and strength permitted, he neglected on no occasion to show by his example what importance he attached to the performance of this duty.
The Psalmist says, that “the days of our years are three score years and ten; and if by reason of strength they are four score years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.' By reason of strength,” by regular habits, and judicious care, our friend passed the boundary of four score years, not in “ labour and sorrow, but in the enjoyment of all such comforts, bodily and mental, as are best suited to the decline of life; honoured, esteemed, and beloved—a patriarch among a numerous family of descendants, and to those nearest to him by ties of blood, an object of unceasing interest and affection. The high esteem and veneration in which he was held by all who had the bonour and felicity of being classed among his friends, are his best eulogy:
In his excellent volume on the Being and Attributes of God, he gives a picture of surpassing beauty, of the pleasures and consolations of old age--a picture of which he was himself so striking a similitude, that it might be reasonably conjectured he sat himself as the original.
6. The natural decline of strength has been magnified into a grievous calamity; but the old man does not lose his vigour, till it would