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to undergo, he was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Edinburgh on the 4th day of April 1745, 0, S.
His sincere attachment to the ecclesiastical and civil constitution of his country was, with his usual warmth and openness of mind, displayed in some of his early appearances in the pulpit.
The progress of his professional studies and occupations was interrupted by the breaking out of the Rebellion in 1745. This furnished an occasion for that military ardour, that chivalrous spirit, which his natural temperament and favourite course of reading had produced and fostered. He took the side of whiggism, as whiggism was then understood, and freedom, as British freedom was then conceived, and became a volunteer in a loyal corps, which was formed in Edinburgh with the original purpose of defending that city from the attack of the rebels, of which he has given a full account in his History of that Rebellion. In this corps he served at the unfortunate battle of Falkirk, and, after the defeat, was taken prisoner along with some others of his fellow volunteers, and committed to the Castle of Doune in Perthshire, from which the party contrived to escape by cutting their bed-clothes into ropes, and letting themselves down from the window of the room in which they were confined. One of their number (Mr Bar
row,* a young English student, then in Edinburgh, an early and intimate acquaintance of Mr Home's) broke his leg in the descent; but Mr Home es caped unhurt, and, eluding the vigilance of the Jacobite party, who, in truth, were neither very active nor rigid in their measures of precaution or of resentment, took up his residence for some time with his relations at Leith, and applied himself to that sort of study which his intended clerical profession required, but always mixed, if not interrupted, by the kind of reading to which his inclination led, that of the historians and classics of Greece and Rome.
His temper was of that warm susceptible kind which is caught with the heroic and the tender, and which is more fitted to delight in the world of sentiment than to succeed in the bustle of ordinary life. This is a disposition of mind well suited to the poetical character, and, accordingly, all his earliest companions agree that Mr Home was from his childhood delighted with the lofty and heroic ideas which embody themselves in the description or narrative of poetry. One of them, nearly a coëval of Mr Home's, our respected and venerable colleague Dr A. Ferguson, says, in a letter to me, that Mr Home's
* Mr Barrow was the “ Genial Youth” mentioned in Col. lins's Ode on the Superstitions of the Highlands.
favourite model of a character, on which, indeed, his v own was formed, was that of Young Norval, in his tragedy of Douglas, one endowed with chivalrous valour and romantic generosity, eager for glory beyond every other object, and, in the contemplation of future fame, entirely regardless of the present objects of interest or ambition. It was upon this ideal model of excellence that Mr Home's own character was formed, and the same glowing complexion of mind which gave it birth, coloured the sentiments and descriptions of his ordinary discourse; he had a very retentive memory, and was fond of recalling the incidents of past times, and of dramatizing his stories by introducing the names and characters of the persons concerned in them. The same turn of mind threw a certain degree of elevation into his language, and heightened the narrative in which that language was employed; he spoke of himself with a frankness which a man of that disposition is apt to indulge, but with which he sometimes forgot that his audience was not al- , ways inclined to sympathize, and thence he was accused of more vanity than in truth belonged to his character. The same warm colouring was employed in the delineation of his friends, to whom, in his estimation, he assigned a rank which others did not always allow. So far did he carry this propensity, that, as Dr Robertson used jokingly to say, he invested them with a sort of supernatural
privilege above the ordinary humiliating circumstances of mortality. “ He never (said the Doctor) would allow that a friend was sick till he heard of his death.” To the same source might be traced the warm eulogium which he was accustomed to bestow on them. “ He delighted in bestowing as well as in receiving what is generally termed flattery, (says another of his intimates,) but with him it had all the openness and warmth of truth. He flattered all of us from whom his flattery could gain no. favour, fully as much, or, indeed, more willingly, than he did those men of the first consequence and rank with whom the circumstances of his future life associated him, and he received any praise from us with the same genuine feelings of friendship and attachment.” There was no false coinage in this currency which he used in his friendly intercourse; whether given or received, it had with him the stamp of perfect candour and sincerity.
Those companions at this early period of his youth were chiefly found among young men employed in the same studies, and destined for the same profession with himself, that of the Church of Scotland. · The clergy of Scotland were at that time one of the most respectable as well as happy orders of the people. With the advantages always of a classical, and sometimes of a polite education, their knowledge was equal or superior to that of any man in their parish. Their influence in those times, be
fore a number of different sectaries had withdrawn themselves from the established church, was great and universal, and their incomes, taken with reference to the value of money, the state of manners, and style of living at that period, were much more adequate to all the purposes of comfort and decent appearance than their stipends of the present day, after all the augmentations which have been granted them. At that period, when the value of land was low, when the proprietors of a parish lived more at home, when there were fewer outlets for their younger sons, and when those younger sons did not so often as they now do bring back great wealth, its attendant pretensions and its attendant luxuries, to their native districts, the clergyman of the parish stood high in the scale of rank among his parishioners, and, as I well remember, was able to maintain a certain style of plain and cordial hospitality, which gave him all the advantages of rational gentleman-like society. The General As-, sembly of the Church of Scotland gave its clergy an opportunity of occasional visits to the metropolis, and of a situation in that truly popular assembly which brought them to a level, and mixed them for a time, with gentlemen of the first rank and re- • spectability in the country. In point of weight and consideration, and, indeed, in the exertion of talent, particularly in that of oratory, they had this obvious advantage over the lay members of that