BETA

Jedediah.

Peruvian miner, slave, and beast at once,1
In everlasting midnight takes his stance ;2
The galley-convict, fastened to the oar,3
Of ease and happiness can taste no more4
The hapless victim of the fickle fair5
Nor quiet hope, nor liberty must share ;6
Even Tyranny will sleep upon a throne,7
And Prisoners of state forget to groan ;8
Dissenting Minister,” in village placed,9
By prejudice opposed, by whim caressed,10
Enslaved alike by every friend or foe11
This is the highest pitch of human woe.12
A day was named—the choice behoved to fall13
On, “ Jedediah,” now a second Paul ;14
Of meek humility he plays the part15
In all the mimicry of studied art ;16
Consults his hearers, smiles, and looks abroad,17
Has revelations, wrestles with his God18
The lingering spirit may not quit the clay,19
It may not part, till Jedediah pray.20
From house to house he travels full of grace,21
Eats and converses, prays in every place.22
But when on Sabbath hour he lifts his hands,23
Comes softly down his chin and flowing bands24
His eyes up-fixed on Heaven’s topmost tower,25
In all the steady stretch of mystic glour26
His voice attuned to fervour’s solemn whine,27
The pitch inhuman, but the sugh divine,28
A crowd so vast his ministrations draw,29
They seek accommodation on the “ Law.”30
Around his tent they squat—they groan—they sleep31
Awaked at intervals, they sigh, they weep ;32
And as he coughs,* with soul alarming groan,33
Again they start, again they sigh, they moan !34

* God forbid that the sincerely pious, or the truly Evangelical Preacher, should mis-
understand me here. The Ministers which belong to the Scottish Secession, are in
general men of great moral integrity, considerable learning, and very extensive efficiency,
as Bible, and consequently, as useful Preachers. Indeed, I do nut know what might
now become of the Mother Church without them; for though she assuredly retains a
supremacy in all the great essentials of a national establishment, it must be confessed
that she requires to be looked after, for she has a kind of natural infirmity about her,
which strongly induces sleep ; and having sunk for water, amidst the depths of worldly
wisdom, her pitcher is not always stored with the most wholesome beverage, nor are her
children always so ready as she would wish, to use it. But, the force of this observa-
tion, as well as the allusion to which it is attached, may be better understood by a Tale.
Mr Aiken, of illustrious record, in the county of Dumfries, and more immediately
in the parish of Morton, where he officiated as clergyman some forty years ago, being,
from liar circumstances, rather one as a preacher, was led to regard the
Jedediahs” of his neighbourhood rather with a jealous eye. One Sabbath morning,
his man-servant, John—for, in these comfortable times, wherever there was a parish
Such fervent transports may not, cannot last,35
This weeping—sighing—groaning—overpast36
As snow in summer melts—they melt as fast.37
Now Jedediah—waked to misery, finds38
The galling littleness of little minds39
The Elder’s sage advice, “ ’ tis duty calls,40
And he must speak on whom the duty falls,41
He is full sorry—sore alarmed of late,42
To count the scanty offering from the plate,43
Should this continue—those who preach may feel,44
The empty seats—in many a scanty meal ! ”45
Amidst the vulgar, doomed his life to lead,46
From starving villagers to reave his bread ;47
Their eyes to brave, through every morning walk,48
And live from eve to eve—the village talk49
His doctrines moulded to the varying taste ;50
In vain attempts to please, his health to waste ;51
To float—the barge—by every wind beset52
Such is unhappy Jedediah’s fate ! —53


Minister, there was likewise to be found a male-servant to saddle and unsaddle the
minister’s horse, to help his mistress off and on, to ride behind his master to the neigh-
bouring Sacraments, to clean his boots, and officiate as gardener—Well—one Sabbath
morning, Mr Aiken’s Man, John, for Man was the honourable and appropriate desig-
nation by which this clerical appendage was known all over the parish, John, then, pre-
sented himself in his Master’s presence, charged with a kind of half-suppressed, half ar-
ticulated request, that he might go, that day, as every body else, except the Beddal, was
going, to a “ Whig” Sacrament at no great distance. Mr Aiken, who, though “ quo ad
sacra
” an inefficient member, was by no means either an ignorant, or an ill-tempered Man,
seemed to consider his request for a little, and then assuming a more cheerful look,
replied, That, upon one condition, and upon that alone, could he bring himself to con-
sent to John’s request, and this condition was, that John should bring him home, what
he termed a “ note” of the sermon. When John, rather late in the Sabbath evening,
had resumed his chair by the kitchen fire, the Minister, as was quite customary in these
homely days came “ But” the house to receive John’s report of the action sermon. This
John readily agreed to give, by the aid however, as he was a “ wee dry,” of a bottle of
beer. This request being complied with, John proceeded immediately to groan and to
cough, and to clear his throat, as if about to commence some lengthened speech. “ Go
on,” said the Minister, impatient to hear what was a coming. “ Go on,” answered John,
why have not I been going on these five minutes past, for I am sure Jedediah in five
hours gave us little thing else.” “ Bring John another bottle of beer, Peggy,” said Mr
Aiken, retiring at the same time with a satisfied aspect, in which something betwixt a
smile and a laugh was with difficulty suppressed. Another anecdote is recorded of this
same Man John. He had been sitting for some time by “ Jedediah’s tent,” on the
Sacramental occasion above alluded to; and the text had been some time read out, and
the Minister had spoken for a considerable time at his subject, when an old Woman,
who, either from a deficiency of hearing, or from absence, had not heard the text read,
applied to John for information in these terms ; —whispered into his ear— “ whar’s his
grun—whar’s his grun”— “ Grun,” says John, “ he has nae grun—he’s summing ! ”
if the reader cannot apply all this, I cannot help it.