The Life of Col. James Gardiner
P. Doddridge

Part 1 out of 3

Produced by Ted Garvin, Lesley Halamek and PG Distributed Proofreaders



SEPTEMBER 21, 1745.


'Justior alter Nec pietate fuit, nec bello major et armis.'--VIRGIL




















[*Transcriber's Note: At the time of this book, England still followed
the Julian calendar (after Julius Caesar, 44 B.C.), and celebrated New
Year's Day on March 25th (Annunciation Day). Most Catholic countries
accepted the Gregorian calendar (after Pope Gregory XIII) from some time
after 1582 (the Catholic countries of France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy
in 1582, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland within a year or two,
Hungary in 1587, and Scotland in 1600), and celebrated New Year's Day on
January 1st. England finally changed to the Gregorian calendar in 1752.
This is the reason for the double dates in the early months of the years
in this narrative. January 1687 in England would have been January 1688
in Scotland. Only after March 25th was the year the same in the two
countries. The Julian calendar was known as 'Old Style', and the
Gregorian calendar as 'New Style' (N.S.).

(Thus a letter written from France on e.g. August 4th, 1719 would be
dated August 4, N.S.)]




When I promised the public some larger account of the life and character
of this illustrious person, than I could conveniently insert in my sermon
on the sad occasion of his death, I was secure, that if Providence
continued my capacity of writing, I should not wholly disappoint the
expectation; for I was furnished with a variety of particulars which
appeared to me worthy of general notice, in consequence of that intimate
friendship with which he had honoured me during the last six years of his
life--a friendship which led him to open his heart to me, in repeated
conversations, with an unbounded confidence, (as he then assured me,
beyond what he had used with any other man living,) so far as religious
experiences were concerned; and I had also received several very valuable
letters from him during the time of our absence from each other, which
contained most genuine and edifying traces of his Christian character.
But I hoped further to learn many valuable particulars from the papers of
his own closet, and from his letters to other friends, as well as
from what they more circumstantially knew concerning him. I therefore
determined to delay the execution of my promise till I could enjoy these
advantages for performing it in the most satisfactory manner; nor have I,
on the whole, reason to regret that determination.

I shall not trouble the reader with all the causes which concurred to
retard these expected assistances for almost a whole year. The chief of
them was the tedious languishing illness of his afflicted lady, through
whose hands it was proper the papers should pass; together with the
confusion into which the rebels had thrown them when they ransacked
his seat at Bankton, where most of them were deposited. But having now
received such of them as have escaped their rapacious hands, and could
conveniently be collected and transmitted, I set myself with the greatest
pleasure to perform what I esteem not merely a tribute of gratitude to
the memory of my invaluable friend, (though never was the memory of any
mortal man more precious and sacred to me,) but of duty to God, and to my
fellow-creatures; for I have a most cheerful hope that the narrative I am
now to write will, under the divine blessing, be a means of spreading,
what of all things in the world, every benevolent heart will most desire
to spread, a warm and lively sense of religion.

My own heart has been so much edified and animated by what I have read in
the memoirs of persons who have been eminent for wisdom and piety, that I
cannot but wish the treasure may be more and more increased; and I would
hope the world may gather the like valuable fruits from the life I am
now attempting, not only as it will contain very singular circumstances,
which may excite general curiosity, but as it comes attended with some
other particular advantages.

The reader is here to survey a character of such eminent and various
goodness as might demand veneration, and inspire him with a desire of
imitating it too, had it appeared in the obscurest rank; but it will
surely command some peculiar regard, when viewed in so elevated and
important a station, especially as it shone, not in ecclesiastical, but
_military_ life, where the temptations are so many, and the prevalence
of the contrary character so great, that it may seem no inconsiderable
praise and felicity to be free from dissolute vice, and to retain what in
most other professions might be esteemed only _a mediocrity of virtue_.
It may surely, with the highest justice, be expected that the title
and bravery of Colonel Gardiner will invite many of our officers and
soldiers, to whom his name has been long honourable and dear, to peruse
this account of him with some peculiar attention; in consequence of which
it may be a means of increasing the number, and brightening the character
of those who are already adorning their office, their country, and their
religion; and of reclaiming those who will see what they ought to be,
rather than what they are. On the whole, to the gentlemen of the sword I
would particularly offer these memoirs, as theirs by so distinguished
a title; yet I am firmly persuaded there are _none_ whose office is so
sacred, or whose proficiency in the religious life is so advanced, but
they may find something to demand their thankfulness, and to awaken their

COLONEL JAMES GARDINER was the son of Capt. Patrick Gardiner of the
family of Torwoodhead, by Mrs.[*] Mary Hodge of the family of Gladsmuir.
The captain, who was master of a handsome estate, served many years in
the army of king William and queen Anne, and died abroad with the British
forces in Germany, soon after the battle of Hochstett, through the
fatigues he underwent in the duties of that celebrated campaign. He had
a company in the regiment of foot once commanded by Colonel Hodge, his
valiant brother-in-law, who was slain at the head of that regiment (my
memorial from Scotland says) at the battle of Steenkirk, which was fought
in the year 1692.

[*Transcriber's Note: Mrs. (Mistress), in that age, was the normal style
of address for an unmarried daughter from a prominent family, as well as
for a married lady.]

Mrs. Gardiner, our colonel's mother, was a lady of very respectable
character; but it pleased God to exercise her with very uncommon trials;
for she not only lost her husband and her brother in the service of their
country, as before related, but also her eldest son, Mr. Robert Gardiner,
on the day which completed the 16th year of his age, at the siege of
Namur, in 1695. But there is great reason to believe that God blessed
these various and heavy afflictions, as the means of forming her to that
eminent degree of piety which will render her memory honourable as long
as it continues.

Her second son, the worthy person of whom I am now to give a more
particular account, was born at Carriden, in Linlithgowshire, on the 10th
of January, A.D. 1687-8,--the memorable year of that glorious revolution
which he justly esteemed among the happiest of all events; so that when
he was slain in defence of those liberties which God then, by so gracious
a providence, rescued from utter destruction, i.e. on the 21st of
September 1745, he was aged 57 years, 8 months, and 11 days.

The annual return of his birth-day was observed by him in the latter
and better years of his life, in a manner very different from what is
commonly practised; for, instead of making it a day of festivity, I
am told he rather distinguished it as a season of more than ordinary
humiliation before God--both in commemoration of those mercies which he
received in the first opening of life, and under an affectionate sense,
as well of his long alienation from the great Author and support of his
being, as of the many imperfections which he lamented in the best of his
days and services.

I have not met with many things remarkable concerning the early days of
his life, only that his mother took care to instruct him, with great
tenderness and affection, in the principles of true Christianity. He was
also trained up in humane literature, at the school at Linlithgow, where
he made a very considerable progress in the languages. I remember to have
heard him quote some passages of the Latin classics very pertinently;
though his employment in life, and the various turns which his mind
took under different impulses in succeeding years, prevented him from
cultivating such studies.

The good effects of his mother's prudent and exemplary care were not so
conspicuous as she wished and hoped, in the earlier part of her son's
life; yet there is great reason to believe they were not entirely lost.
As they were probably the occasion of many convictions which in his
younger years were overborne, so I doubt not, that when religious
impressions took that strong hold of his heart which they afterwards did,
that stock of knowledge which had been so early laid up in his mind,
was found of considerable service. And I have heard them make the
observation, as an encouragement to parents, and other pious friends, to
do their duty, and to hope for those good consequences of it which may
not immediately appear.

Could his mother, or a very religious aunt, (of whose good instructions
and exhortations I have often heard him speak with pleasure,) have
prevailed, he would not have thought of a military life, from which it
is no wonder these ladies endeavoured to dissuade him, considering the
mournful experience they had of the dangers attending it, and the dear
relatives they had lost already by it. But it suited his taste; and the
ardour of his spirit, animated by the persuasions of a friend who greatly
urged it,[*] was not to be restrained. Nor will the reader wonder
that, thus excited and supported, it easily overbore their tender
remonstrances, when he knows that this lively youth fought three duels
before he attained to the stature of a man; in one of which, when he was
but eight years old, he received from a boy much older than himself, a
wound in his right cheek, the scar of which was always very apparent.
The false sense of honour which instigated him to it, might seem indeed
something excusable in those unripened years, and considering the
profession of his father, brother, and uncle; but I have often heard
him mention this rashness with that regret which the reflection would
naturally give to so wise and good a man in the maturity of life. And I
have been informed that, after his remarkable conversion, he declined
accepting a challenge, with this calm and truly great reply, which, in
a man of his experienced bravery, was exceedingly graceful: "I fear
sinning, though you know I do not fear fighting."

[*Note: I suppose this to have been Brigadier-General Rue, who had from
his childhood a peculiar affection for him.]



He served first as a cadet, which must have been very early; and then, at
fourteen years old, he bore an ensign's commission in a Scotch regiment
in the Dutch service, in which he continued till the year 1702, when (if
my information be right) he received an ensign's commission from queen
Anne, which he bore in the battle of Ramillies, being then in the
nineteenth year of his age. In this ever-memorable action he received a
wound in his mouth by a musket-ball, which has often been reported to be
the occasion of his conversion. That report was a mistaken one; but as
some very remarkable circumstances attended this affair, which I have
had the pleasure of hearing more than once from his own mouth, I hope my
readers will excuse me, if I give him so uncommon a story at large.

Our young officer was of a party in the forlorn hope, and was commanded
on what seemed almost a desperate service, to dispossess the French of
the church-yard at Ramillies, where a considerable number of them were
posted to remarkable advantage. They succeeded much better than was
expected; and it may well be supposed that Mr. Gardiner, who had before
been in several encounters, and had the view of making his fortune to
animate the natural intrepidity of his spirit, was glad of such an
opportunity of signalizing himself. Accordingly he had planted his
colours on an advanced ground; and while he was calling to his men,
(probably in that horrid language which is so peculiar a disgrace to our
soldiery, and so absurdly common on such occasions of extreme danger,) he
received into his mouth a shot, which, without beating out of any of his
teeth, or touching the fore part of his tongue, went through his neck,
and came out about an inch and a half on the left side of the _vertebrae_.
Not feeling at first the pain of the stroke, he wondered what was become
of the ball, and in the wildness of his surprise began to suspect he had
swallowed it; but falling soon after, he traced the passage of it by his
finger, when he could discover it in no other way; which I mention as
one circumstance, among many which occur, to make it probable that the
greater part of those who fall in battle by these instruments of death,
feel very little anguish from the most mortal wounds.

This accident happened about five or six in the evening, on the 23d of
May, 1706; and the army, pursuing its advantages against the French,
without ever regarding the wounded, (which was, it seems, the Duke of
Marlborough's constant method,) our young officer lay all night on
the field, agitated, as may well be supposed, with a great variety of
thoughts. He assured me, that when he reflected upon the circumstance of
his wound, that a ball should, as he then conceived it, go through his
head without killing him, he thought God had preserved him by a miracle;
and therefore assuredly concluded that he should live, abandoned and
desperate as his state seemed to be. Yet (which to me appeared very
astonishing) he had little thoughts of humbling himself before God, and
returning to him after the wanderings of a life so licentiously begun.
But, expecting to recover, his mind was taken up with contrivances to
secure his gold, of which he had a good deal about him; and he had
recourse to a very odd expedient, which proved successful. Expecting to
be stripped, he first took out a handful of that clotted gore of which he
was frequently obliged to clear his mouth, or he would have been choked;
and putting it into his left hand, he took out his money, which I think
was about 19 pistoles, and shutting his hand, and besmearing the back
part of it with blood, he kept in this position till the blood dried in
such a manner that his hand could not easily fall open, though any sudden
surprise should happen, in which he might lose the presence of mind which
that concealment otherwise would have required.

In the morning the French, who were masters of that spot, though their
forces were defeated at some distance, came to plunder the slain; and
seeing him to appearance almost expiring, one of them was just applying
a sword to his breast, to destroy the little remainder of life, when, in
the critical moment, upon which all the extraordinary events of such a
life as his afterwards proved, were suspended, a Cordelier who attended
the plunderers interposed, (taking him by his dress for a Frenchman) and
said, "Do not kill that poor child." Our young soldier heard all that
passed, though he was not able to speak one word; and, opening his
eyes, made a sign for something to drink. They gave him a sup of some
spirituous liquor which happened to be at hand, by which he said he found
a more sensible refreshment than he could remember from anything he had
tasted either before or since. Then signifying to the friar to lean down
his ear to his mouth, he employed the first efforts of his feeble breath
in telling him (what, alas! was a contrived falsehood) that he was a
nephew to the governor of Huy, a neutral town in the neighbourhood; and
that if he could take any method of conveying him thither, he did not
doubt but his uncle would liberally reward him. He had indeed a friend at
Huy, who I think was governor, and, if I mistake not, had been acquainted
with the captain, his father, from whom he expected a kind reception; but
the relation was only pretended. On hearing this, they laid him on a sort
of hand-barrow, and sent him by a file of musqueteers towards the place;
but the men lost their way, and, towards the evening, got into a wood in
which they were obliged to continue all night. The poor patient's wound
being still undressed, it is not to be wondered at that by this time it
raged violently. The anguish of it engaged him earnestly to beg that they
would either kill him outright, or leave him there to die without the
torture of any further motion; and indeed they were obliged to rest for a
considerable time, on account of their own weariness. Thus he spent
the second night in the open air, without any thing more than a common
bandage to staunch the blood. He has often mentioned it as a most
astonishing providence that he did not bleed to death, which, under God,
he ascribed to the remarkable coldness of these two nights.

Judging it quite unsafe to attempt carrying him to Huy, from whence they
were now several miles distant, his convoy took him early in the morning
to a convent in the neighbourhood, where he was hospitably received, and
treated with great kindness and tenderness. But the cure of his wound was
committed to an ignorant barber-surgeon who lived near the house, the
best shift that could then be made, at a time when it may easily be
supposed persons of ability in their profession had their hands full of
employment. The tent which this artist applied, was almost like a peg
driven into the wound; and gentlemen of skill and experience, when they
came to hear of the manner in which he was treated, wondered how he could
possibly survive such management. But by the blessing of God on these
applications, rough as they were, he recovered in a few months. The Lady
Abbess, who called him her son, treated him with the affection and care
of a mother; and he always declared that every thing which he saw within
these walls, was conducted with the strictest decency and decorum. He
received a great many devout admonitions from the ladies there, and
they would fain have persuaded him to acknowledge what they thought so
miraculous a deliverance, by embracing the _Catholic faith_, as they were
pleased to call it. But they could not succeed; for though no religion
lay near his heart, yet he had too much of the spirit of a gentleman
lightly to change that form of religion which he wore, as it were loose
about him; as well as too much good sense to swallow those monstrous
absurdities of Popery which immediately presented themselves to him,
unacquainted as he was with the niceties of the controversy.



When his liberty was regained by an exchange of prisoners, and his health
thoroughly established, he was far from rendering unto the Lord according
to that wonderful display of divine mercy which he had experienced.
I know very little of the particulars of those wild, thoughtless and
wretched years which lay between the 19th and 30th of his life; except
that he frequently experienced the divine goodness in renewed instances,
particularly in preserving him in several hot military actions, in all
which he never received so much as a wound after this, forward as he was
in tempting danger; and yet that all these years were spent in an entire
alienation from God, and in an eager pursuit of animal pleasure as his
supreme good. The series of criminal amours in which he was almost
incessantly engaged during this time, must probably have afforded some
remarkable adventures and occurrences; but the memory of them has
perished. Nor do I think it unworthy of notice here, that amidst all the
intimacy of our friendship, and the many hours of cheerful as well as
serious converse which we spent together, I never remember to have heard
him speak of any of these intrigues, otherwise than in the general with
deep and solemn abhorrence. This I the rather mention, as it seemed a
most genuine proof of his unfeigned repentance, which I think there is
great reason to suspect, when people seem to take a pleasure in relating
and describing scenes of vicious indulgence, which they yet profess to
have disapproved and forsaken.

Amidst all these pernicious wanderings from the paths of religion,
virtue, and happiness, he approved himself so well in his military
character, that he was made a lieutenant in that year, viz. 1706; and I
am told he was very quickly after promoted to a cornet's commission in
Lord Stair's regiment of the Scots Greys, and, on the 31st of January,
1714-15, was made captain-lieutenant in Colonel Ker's regiment of
dragoons. He had the honour of being known to the Earl of Stair some time
before, and was made his aid-de-camp; and when, upon his Lordship's being
appointed ambassador from his late Majesty to the court of France, he
made so splendid an entrance into Paris, Captain Gardiner was his master
of the horse; and I have been told that a great deal of the care of that
admirably well-adjusted ceremony fell upon him; so that he gained great
credit by the manner in which he conducted it. Under the benign influence
of his Lordship's favour, which to the last day of his life he retained,
a captain's commission was procured for him, dated July 22, 1715, in
the regiment of dragoons commanded by Colonel Stanhope, now Earl of
Harrington; and in 1717 he was advanced to the majority of that regiment,
in which office he continued till it was reduced on November 10, 1718,
when he was put out of commission. But when his Majesty, king George I.,
was thoroughly apprised of his faithful and important services, he gave
him his sign-manual, entitling him to the first majority that should
become vacant in any regiment of horse or dragoons, which happened, about
five years after, to be in Croft's regiment of dragoons, in which he
received a commission, dated 1st June, 1724; and on the 20th of July the
same year, he was made major of an older regiment, commanded by the Earl
of Stair.

As I am now speaking of so many of his military preferments, I will
dispatch the account of them by observing, that, on the 24th January
1729-30, he was advanced to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the same
regiment, long under the command of Lord Cadogan, with whose friendship
this brave and vigilant officer was also honoured for many years. And he
continued in this rank and regiment till the 19th of April, 1743, when
he received a colonel's commission over a regiment of dragoons lately
commanded by Brigadier Bland, at the head of which he valiantly fell, in
the defence of his sovereign and his country, about two years and a half
after he received it.

We will now return to that period of his life which was passed at Paris,
the scene of such remarkable and important events. He continued (if I
remember right) several years under the roof of the brave and generous
Earl of Stair, to whom he endeavoured to approve himself by every
instance of diligent and faithful service. And his Lordship gave no
inconsiderable proof of the dependence which he had upon him, when, in
the beginning of 1715, he entrusted him with the important dispatches
relating to a discovery which, by a series of admirable policy, he had
made of a design which the French king was then forming for invading
Great Britain in favour of the Pretender; in which the French apprehended
they were so sure of success, that it seemed a point of friendship in one
of the chief counsellors of that court to dissuade a dependent of his
from accepting some employment under his Britannic majesty, when proposed
by his envoy there, because it was said that in less than six weeks there
would be a revolution in favour of what they called the family of the
Stuarts. The captain dispatched his journey with the utmost speed; a
variety of circumstances happily concurred to accelerate it; and they
who remember how soon the regiments which that emergency required, were
raised and armed, will, I doubt not, esteem it a memorable instance, both
of the most cordial zeal in the friends of the government, and of the
gracious care of Divine Providence over the house of Hanover and the
British liberties, so inseparably connected with its interest.

While Captain Gardiner was at London, in one of the journeys he made upon
this occasion, he, with that frankness which was natural to him, and
which in those days was not always under the most prudent restraint,
ventured to predict, from what he knew of the bad state of the French
king's health, that he would not live six weeks. This was made known by
some spies who were at St. James's, and came to be reported at the court
of Versailles; for he received letters from some friends at Paris,
advising him not to return thither, unless he could reconcile himself to
a lodging in the Bastile. But he was soon free from that apprehension;
for, if I mistake not, before half that time was accomplished, Louis XIV.
died, (Sept. 1, 1715,) and it is generally thought his death was hastened
by a very accidental circumstance, which had some reference to the
captain's prophecy; for the last time he ever dined in public, which
was a very little while after the report of it had been made there,
he happened to discover our British envoy among the spectators. The
penetration of this illustrious person was too great, and his attachment
to the interest of his royal master too well known, not to render him
very disagreeable to that crafty and tyrannical prince, whom God had so
long suffered to be the disgrace of monarchy, and the scourge of Europe.
He at first appeared very languid, as indeed he was; but on casting his
eye upon the Earl of Stair, he affected to appear before him in a much
better state of health than he really was; and therefore, as if he had
been awakened on a sudden from some deep reverie, he immediately put
himself into an erect posture, called up a laboured vivacity into his
countenance, and ate much more heartily than was by any means advisable,
repeating two or three times to a nobleman, (I think the Duke of Bourbon)
then in waiting, "_Il me semble que je ne mange pas mal pour un homme qui
devoit mourir si tot._" "Methinks I eat very well for a man who is to die
so soon." But this inroad upon that regularity of living which he had for
some time observed, agreed so ill with him that he never recovered this
meal, but died in less than a fortnight. This gave occasion for some
humorous people to say, that old Louis, after all, was killed by a
Briton. But if this story be true, (which I think there can be no room to
doubt, as the colonel, from whom I have often heard it, though absent,
could scarce be misinformed,) it might more properly be said that he fell
by his own vanity; in which view I thought it so remarkable, as not to be
unworthy of a place in these memoirs.

The captain quickly returned, and continued, with small interruptions, at
Paris, at least till 1720, and how much longer I do not certainly know.
The Earl's favour and generosity made him easy in his affairs, though he
was, (as has been observed before,) part of the time, out of commission,
by breaking the regiment to which he belonged, of which before he was
major. This was in all probability the gayest part of his life, and the
most criminal. Whatever wise and good examples he might find in the
family where he had the honour to reside, it is certain that the French
court, during the regency of the Duke of Orleans, was one of the most
dissolute under heaven. What, by a wretched abuse of language, have been
called intrigues of love and gallantry, were so entirely to the major's
then degenerate taste, that if not the whole business, at least the whole
happiness of his life, consisted in them; and he had now too much leisure
for one who was so prone to abuse it. His fine constitution, than which
perhaps there was hardly ever a better, gave him great opportunities of
indulging himself in these excesses; and his good spirits enabled him to
pursue his pleasures of every kind in so alert and sprightly a manner,
that multitudes envied him, and called him, by a dreadful kind of
compliment, "the happy rake."



Yet still the checks of conscience, and some remaining principles of so
good an education, would break in upon his most licentious hours; and
I particularly remember he told me, that when some of his dissolute
companions were once congratulating him on his distinguished felicity, a
dog happening at that time to come into the room, he could not forbear
groaning inwardly, and saying to himself, 'Oh that I were that dog!' Such
then was his happiness; and such perhaps is that of hundreds more who
bear themselves highest in the contempt of religion, and glory in
that infamous servitude which they affect to call liberty. But these
remonstrances of reason and conscience were in vain; and, in short, he
carried things so far in this wretched part of his life, that I am well
assured some sober English gentlemen, who made no great pretences to
religion, how agreeable soever he might have been to them on other
accounts, rather declined than sought his company, as fearing they might
have been ensnared and corrupted by it.

Yet I cannot find that in these most abandoned days he was fond of
drinking. Indeed, he never had any natural relish for that kind of
intemperance, from which he used to think a manly pride might be
sufficient to preserve persons of sense and spirit; as by it they give up
every thing that distinguishes them from the meanest of their species, or
indeed from animals the most below it. So that if ever he fell into any
excesses of this kind, it was merely out of complaisance to his company,
and that he might not appear stiff and singular. His frank, obliging, and
generous temper procured him many friends; and these principles, which
rendered him amiable to others, not being under the direction of true
wisdom and piety, sometimes made him, in the ways of living he pursued,
more uneasy to himself than he might, perhaps, have been, if he could
have entirely overcome them; especially as he never was a sceptic in his
principles, but still retained a secret apprehension that natural and
revealed religion, though he did not much care to think of either, were
founded in truth. And, with this conviction, his notorious violations of
the most essential precepts of both could not but occasion some secret
misgivings of heart. His continual neglect of the great Author of his
being, of whose perfections he could not doubt, and to whom he knew
himself to be under daily and perpetual obligations, gave him, in some
moments of involuntary reflection, inexpressible remorse; and this at
times wrought upon him to such a degree, that he resolved he would
attempt to pay him some acknowledgments. Accordingly, for a few mornings
he did it, repeating in retirement some passages out of the Psalms, and
perhaps other scriptures which he still retained in his memory; and
owning, in a few strong words, the many mercies and deliverances he had
received, and the ill returns he had made for them.

I find, among the other papers transmitted to me, the following verses,
which I have heard him repeat, as what had impressed him a good deal
in his unconverted state; and as I suppose they did something towards
setting him on this effort towards devotion, and might probably furnish
a part of these orisons, I hope I need make no apology to my reader for
inserting them, especially as I do not recollect that I have seen them
any where else.

Attend, my soul! the early birds inspire
My grovelling thoughts with pure celestial fire;
They from their temperate sleep awake, and pay
Their thankful anthems for the new-born day.
See how the tuneful lark is mounted high,
And, poet-like, salutes the eastern sky!
He warbles through the fragrant air his lays,
And seems the beauties of the morn to praise.
But man, more void of gratitude awakes,
And gives no thanks for the sweet rest he takes;
Looks on the glorious sun's new kindled flame,
Without one thought of Him from whom it came.
The wretch unhallowed does the day begin,
Shakes off his sleep, but shakes not off his sin.

But these strains were too devout to continue long in a heart as
yet quite unsanctified; for how readily soever he could repeat such
acknowledgments of the Divine power, presence, and goodness, and own his
own follies and faults, he was stopped short by the remonstrances of
conscience as to the flagrant absurdity of confessing sins he did not
desire to forsake, and of pretending to praise God for his mercies, when
he did not endeavour to live to his service, and to behave in such a
manner as gratitude, if sincere, would plainly dictate. A model of
devotion where such sentiments made no part, his good sense could not
digest; and the use of such language before a heart-searching God, merely
as an hypocritical form, while the sentiments of his soul were contrary
to it, justly appeared to him such daring profaneness, that, irregular as
the state of his mind was, the thought of it struck him with horror.
He therefore determined to make no more attempts of this sort, and was
perhaps one of the first who deliberately laid aside prayer from some
sense of God's omniscience, and some natural principle of honour and

These secret debates with himself and ineffectual efforts would sometimes
return; but they were overborne again and again by the force of
temptation, and it is no wonder that in consequence of them his heart
grew yet harder. Nor was it softened or awakened by some very memorable
deliverances which at this time he received. He was in extreme danger by
a fall from his horse, as he was riding post I think in the streets of
Calais. When going down a hill, the horse threw him over his head, and
pitched over him; so that when he rose, the beast lay beyond him, and
almost dead. Yet, though he received not the least harm, it made no
serious impression on his mind. On his return from England in the
packet-boat, if I remember right, but a few weeks after the former
accident, a violent storm, that drove them up to Harwich, tossed them
from thence for several hours in a dark night on the coast of Holland,
and brought them into such extremity, that the captain of the vessel
urged him to go to prayers immediately, if he ever intended to do it at
all; for he concluded they would in a few minutes be at the bottom of the
sea. In this circumstance he did pray, and that very fervently too; and
it was very remarkable, that while he was crying to God for deliverance,
the wind fell, and quickly after they arrived at Calais. But the major
was so little affected with what had befallen him, that when some of his
gay friends, on hearing the story, rallied him upon the efficacy of his
prayers, he excused himself from the scandal of being thought much in
earnest, by saying "that it was at midnight, an hour when his good mother
and aunt were asleep, or else he should have left that part of the
business to them;"--a speech which I should not have mentioned, but as
it shows in so lively a view the wretched situation of his mind at that
time, though his great deliverance from the power of darkness was then
nearly approaching. He recounted these things to me with the greatest
humility, as showing how utterly unworthy he was of that miracle of
divine grace by which he was quickly after brought to so true and so
permanent a sense of religion.



And now I am come to that astonishing part of his story, the account of
his conversion, which I cannot enter upon without assuring the reader
that I have sometimes been tempted to suppress many circumstances of
it; not only as they may seem incredible to some, and enthusiastical to
others, but I am very sensible they are liable to great abuses; which was
the reason that he gave me for concealing the most extraordinary from
many persons to whom he mentioned some of the rest. And I believe it was
this, together with the desire of avoiding every thing that might look
like ostentation on this head, that prevented his leaving a written
account of it, though I have often entreated him to do it, as I
particularly remember I did in the very last letter I ever wrote him, and
pleaded the possibility of his falling amidst those dangers to which I
knew his valour might, in such circumstances, naturally expose him. I was
not so happy as to receive any answer to this letter, which reached him
but a few days before his death; nor can I certainly say whether he had
or had not complied with my request, as it is very possible a paper of
this kind, if it were written, might be lost amidst the ravages which the
rebels made when they plundered Bankton.

The story, however, was so remarkable, that I had little reason to
apprehend I should ever forget it; and yet, to guard against all
contingencies of that kind, I wrote it down that very evening, as I heard
it from his own mouth; and I have now before me the memoirs of that
conversation, dated Aug. 14, 1739, which conclude with these words,
(which I added that if we should both have died that night, the world
might not have lost this edifying and affecting history, or have wanted
any attestation of it I was capable of giving): "N.B. I have written down
this account with all the exactness I am capable of, and could safely
take an oath of it as to the truth of every circumstance, to the best of
my remembrance, as the colonel related it to me a few hours ago." I do
not know that I had reviewed this paper since I wrote it, till I set
myself thus publicly to record this extraordinary fact; but I find it
punctually to agree with what I have often related from my memory, which
I charged carefully with so wonderful and important a fact. It is with
all solemnity that I now deliver it down to posterity as in the sight
and presence of God; and I choose deliberately to expose myself to those
severe censures which the haughty but empty scorn of infidelity, or
principles nearly approaching it, and effectually doing its pernicious
work, may very probably dictate upon the occasion, rather than to smother
a relation, which may, in the judgment of my conscience, be like to
conduce so much to the glory of God, the honour of the gospel, and the
good of mankind. One thing more I will only premise, that I hope none who
have heard the colonel himself speak something of this wonderful scene,
will be surprised if they find some new circumstances here; because he
assured me, at the time he first gave me the whole narration, (which was
in the very room in which I now write,) that he had never imparted it
so fully to any living before; yet, at the same time, he gave me full
liberty to communicate it to whomsoever I should in my conscience
judge it might be useful to do it, whether before or after his death.
Accordingly I did, while he was alive, recount almost every circumstance
I am now going to write, to several pious friends; referring them at the
same time to the colonel himself, whenever they might have an opportunity
of seeing or writing to him, for a further confirmation of what I told
them, if they judged it requisite. They _glorified God in him_; and I
humbly hope many of my readers will also do it. They will soon perceive
the reason of so much caution in my introduction to this story, for
which, therefore, I shall make no further apology.[*]

[*Note: It is no small satisfaction to me, since I wrote this, to have
received a letter from the Rev. Mr. Spears, minister of the gospel at
Burntisland, dated Jan 14, 1746-7 in which he relates to me this whole
story, as he had it from the colonel's own mouth about four years after
he gave me the narration. There is not a single circumstance in which
either of our narrations disagrees, and every one of the particulars in
mine, which seems most astonishing, is attested by this, and sometimes in
stronger words, one only excepted, on which I shall add a short remark
when I come to it. As this letter was written near Lady Frances Gardiner
at her desire, and attended with a postscript from her own hand, this
is, in effect, a sufficient attestation how agreeable it was to those
accounts which she must often have heard the colonel give of this

This memorable event happened towards the middle of July, 1719; but I
cannot be exact as to the day. The major had spent the evening (and if I
mistake not, it was the Sabbath) in some gay company, and had an unhappy
assignation with a married woman, of what rank or quality I did not
particularly inquire, whom he was to attend exactly at twelve. The
company broke up about eleven; and not judging it convenient to
anticipate the time appointed, he went into his chamber to kill the
tedious hour, perhaps with some amusing book, or in some other way. But
it very accidentally happened that he took up a religious book which
his good mother or aunt had, without his knowledge, slipped into his
portmanteau. It was called, if I remember the title exactly, _The
Christian Soldier, or Heaven taken by Storm_, and was written by Mr.
Thomas Watson. Guessing by the title of it that he should find some
phrases of his own profession spiritualized in a manner which he thought
might afford him some diversion, he resolved to dip into it; but he took
no serious notice of any thing he read in it; and yet, while this book
was in his hand, an impression was made upon his mind, (perhaps God only
knows how,) which drew after it a train of the most important and happy

There is indeed a possibility, that while he was sitting in this
solitude, and reading in this careless and profane manner, he might
suddenly fall asleep, and only dream of what he apprehended he saw. But
nothing can be more certain than that, when he gave me this relation, he
judged himself to have been as broad awake during the whole time as he
ever was in any part of his life; and he mentioned it to me several times
afterwards as what undoubtedly passed, not only in his imagination, but
before his eyes.[*]

[*Note: Mr. Spears, in the letter mentioned above, where he introduces
the colonel telling his own story, has these words "All of a sudden
there was presented in a very lively manner to my view, or to my mind, a
representation of my glorious Redeemer," &c. And this gentleman adds, in
a parenthesis, "It was so lively and striking, that he could not tell
whether it was to his bodily eyes, or to those of his mind." This makes
me think that what I had said to him on the phenomena of visions,
apparitions, &c., (as being, when most real, supernatural impressions on
the imagination, rather than attended with any external object,) had some
influence upon him. Yet still it is evident he looked upon this as a
vision, whether it was before the eyes or in the mind, and not as a

He thought he saw an unusual blaze of light fall on the book while he was
reading, which he at first imagined might happen by some accident in
the candle. But, lifting up his eyes, he apprehended, to his extreme
amazement, that there was before him, as it were suspended in the air,
a visible representation of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross,
surrounded on all sides with a glory; and was impressed as if a voice, or
something equivalent to a voice, had come to him to this effect, (for he
was not confident as to the very words). "Oh, sinner! did I suffer this
for thee, and are these the returns?" But whether this were an audible
voice, or only a strong impression on his mind equally striking, he did
not seem very confident, though, to the best of my remembrance, he rather
judged it to be the former. Struck with so amazing a phenomenon as this,
there remained hardly any life in him, so that he sunk down in the arm
chair in which he sat, and continued, he knew not exactly how long,
insensible, (which was one circumstance that made me several times take
the liberty to suggest that he might possibly be all this while asleep,)
but however that were, he quickly after opened his eyes, and saw nothing
more than usual.

It may easily be supposed he was in no condition to make any observations
upon the time in which he had remained in an insensible state, nor did
he, throughout all the remainder of the night, once recollect that
criminal and detestable assignation which had before engrossed all his
thoughts. He rose in a tumult of passions not to be conceived, and walked
to and fro in his chamber till he was ready to drop down in unutterable
astonishment and agony of heart, appearing to himself the vilest monster
in the creation of God, who had all his lifetime been crucifying
Christ afresh by his sins, and now saw, as he assuredly believed, by
a miraculous vision, the horror of what he had done. With this was
connected such a view of both the majesty and goodness of God, as caused
him to loathe and abhor himself, and to repent as in dust and ashes. He
immediately gave judgment against himself, that he was most justly worthy
of eternal damnation, he was astonished that he had not been immediately
struck dead in the midst of his wickedness, and (which I think deserves
particular remark) though he assuredly believed that he should ere long
be in hell, and settled it as a point with himself for several months
that the wisdom and justice of God did almost necessarily require
that such an enormous sinner should be made an example of everlasting
vengeance, and a spectacle as such both to angels and men, so that he
hardly durst presume to pray for pardon; yet what he then suffered was
not so much from the fear of hell, though he concluded it would soon be
his portion, as from a sense of that horrible ingratitude he had shown
to the God of his life, and to that blessed Redeemer who had been in so
affecting a manner set forth as crucified before him.

To this he refers in a letter dated from Douglas, the 1st of April 1725,
communicated to me by his lady,[*] but I know not to whom it was addressed.
His words are these: "One thing relating to my conversion, and a
remarkable instance of the goodness of God to me, _the chief of sinners_,
I do not remember that I ever told to any other person. It was this,
that after the astonishing sight I had of my blessed Lord, the terrible
condition in which I was proceeded not so much from the terrors of the
law, as from a sense of having been so ungrateful a monster to him whom I
thought I saw pierced for my transgressions." I the rather insert these
words, as they evidently attest the circumstance which may seem most
amazing in this affair, and contain so express a declaration of his own
apprehension concerning it.

[*Note: Where I make any extracts as from Colonel Gardiner's letters,
they are either from originals, which I have in my own hands, or from
copies which were transmitted to me from persons of undoubted credit,
chiefly by the Right Honourable the Lady Frances Gardiner, through the
hands of the Rev. Mr. Webster, one of the ministers of Edinburgh. This
I the rather mention, because some letters have been brought to me as
Colonel Gardiner's, concerning which I have not only been very dubious,
but morally certain that they could not have been written by him. I have
also heard of many who have been fond of assuring the world that they
were well acquainted with him, and were near him when he fell, whose
reports have been most inconsistent with each other, as well as contrary
to that testimony relating to the circumstances of his death, which,
on the whole, appeared to me beyond controversy the most natural and
authentic, from whence, therefore, I shall take my account of that
affecting scene.]

In this view it may naturally be supposed that he passed the remainder
of the night waking, and he could get but little rest in several that
followed. His mind was continually taken up in reflecting on the divine
purity and goodness; the grace which had been proposed to him in the
gospel, and which he had rejected; the singular advantages he had enjoyed
and abused; and the many favours of providence which he had received,
particularly in rescuing him from so many imminent dangers of death,
which he now saw must have been attended with such dreadful and hopeless
destruction. The privileges of his education, which he had so much
despised, now lay with an almost insupportable weight on his mind; and
the folly of that career of sinful pleasure which he had so many years
been running with desperate eagerness and unworthy delight, now filled
him with indignation against himself, and against the great deceiver, by
whom (to use his own phrase) he had been "so wretchedly and scandalously
befooled." This he used often to express in the strongest terms, which I
shall not repeat so particularly, as I cannot recollect some of them.
But on the whole it is certain that, by what passed before he left his
chamber the next day, the whole frame and disposition of his soul was
new-modelled and changed; so that he became, and continued to the last
day of his exemplary and truly Christian life, the very reverse of what
he had been before. A variety of particulars, which I am afterwards to
mention, will illustrate this in the most convincing manner. But I cannot
proceed to them without pausing to adore so illustrious an instance of
the power and freedom of divine grace, and entreating my reader seriously
to reflect upon it, that his own heart may be suitably affected. For
surely, if the truth of the fact be admitted in the lowest views in which
it can be placed, (that is, supposing the first impression to have passed
in a dream,) it must be allowed to have been little, if anything less
than miraculous. It cannot in the course of nature be imagined how such
a dream should arise in a mind full of the most impure ideas and
affections, and (as he himself often pleaded) more alienated from the
thoughts of a crucified Saviour, than from any other object that can be
conceived; nor can we surely suppose it should, without a mighty energy
of the divine power, be effectual to produce not only some transient
flow of passion, but so entire and permanent a change in character and

On the whole, therefore, I must beg leave to express my own sentiments of
the matter, by repeating on this occasion what I wrote several years ago,
in my eighth sermon on regeneration, in a passage dictated chiefly by the
circumstantial knowledge which I had of this amazing story, and methinks
sufficiently vindicated by it, if it stood entirely alone, which yet, I
must take the liberty to say, it does not; for I hope the world will be
particularly informed, that there is at least a second that very nearly
approaches it, whenever the established church of England shall lose one
of its brightest living ornaments, and one of the most useful members
which that, or perhaps any other Christian communion, can boast. In the
mean time, may his exemplary life be long continued, and his zealous
ministry abundantly prospered! I beg my reader's pardon for this
digression. The passage I referred to above is remarkably, though not
equally, applicable to both the cases, under that head where I am showing
that God sometimes accomplishes the great work of which we speak,
by secret and immediate impressions on the mind. After preceding
illustrations, there are the following words, on which the colonel's
conversion will throw the justest light. "Yea, I have known those of
distinguished genius, polite manners, and great experience in human
affairs, who, after having out-grown all the impressions of a religious
education--after having been hardened, rather than subdued by the most
singular mercies, even various, repeated, and astonishing deliverances,
which have appeared to themselves as no less than miraculous--after
having lived for years without God in the world, notoriously corrupt
themselves, and labouring to the utmost to corrupt others, have been
stopped on a sudden in the full career of their sin, and have felt such
rays of the divine presence, and of redeeming love, darting in upon
their minds, almost like lightning from heaven, as have at once roused,
overpowered, and transformed them; so that they have come out of their
secret chambers with an irreconcilable enmity to those vices to which,
when they entered them, they were the tamest and most abandoned slaves;
and have appeared from that very hour the votaries, the patrons, the
champions of religion; and after a course of the most resolute
attachment to it, in spite of all the reasonings or the railleries, the
importunities or the reproaches of its enemies, they have continued to
this day some of its brightest ornaments; a change which I behold with
equal wonder and delight, and which, if a nation should join in deriding
it, I would adore as the finger of God."

The mind of Major Gardiner continued from this remarkable time, till
towards the end of October, (that is rather more than three months, but
especially the first two of them,) in as extraordinary a situation as one
can well imagine. He knew nothing of the joys arising from a sense of
pardon; but, on the contrary, for the greater part of that time, and with
very short intervals of hope towards the end of it, took it for granted
that he must in all probability quickly perish. Nevertheless, he had such
a sense of the evil of sin, of the goodness of the Divine Being, and of
the admirable tendency of the Christian revelation, that he resolved to
spend the remainder of his life, while God continued him out of hell, in
as rational and as useful a manner as he could; and to continue casting
himself at the foot of divine mercy every day, and often in a day, if
peradventure there might be hope of pardon, of which all that he could
say was, that he did not absolutely despair. He had at that time such a
sense of the degeneracy of his own heart, that he hardly durst form any
determinate resolution against sin, or pretend to engage himself by any
vow in the presence of God; but he was continually crying to him, that he
would deliver him from the bondage of corruption. He perceived in himself
a most surprising alteration with regard to the dispositions of his
heart; so that, though he felt little of the delight of religious duties,
he extremely desired opportunities of being engaged in them; and
those licentious pleasures which had before been his heaven, were now
absolutely his aversion. And indeed, when I consider how habitual all
those criminal indulgences were grown to him, and that he was now in the
prime of life, and all this while in high health too, I cannot but
be astonished to reflect upon it, that he should be so wonderfully
sanctified in body, as well as in soul and spirit, as that, for all the
future years of his life, he from that hour should find so constant a
disinclination to, and abhorrence of, those criminal sensualities to
which he fancied he was before so invincibly impelled by his very
constitution, that he was used strangely to think, and to say; that
Omnipotence itself could not reform him, without destroying that body,
and giving him another.[*]

[*Note: Mr. Spears expresses this wonderful circumstance in these
remarkable words "I was (said the colonel to me) effectually cured of all
inclination to that sin I was so strongly addicted to, that I thought
nothing but shooting me through the head could have cured me of it, and
all desire and inclination to it was removed, as entirely as if I had
been a sucking child, nor did the temptation return to this day." Mr.
Webster's words on the same subject are these "One thing I have heard the
colonel frequently say, that he was much addicted to impurity before his
acquaintance with religion, but that, so soon as he was enlightened from
above, he _felt the power of the Holy Ghost_ changing his nature so
wonderfully, that his sanctification in this respect seemed more
remarkable than in any other." On which that worthy person makes this
very reasonable reflection "So thorough a change of such a polluted
nature, evidenced by the most unblemished walk and conversation for a
long course of years, demonstrates indeed the power of the Highest, and
leaves no room to doubt of its reality." Mr. Spears says, this happened
in three days' time, but from what I can recollect, all that the colonel
could mean by that expression, if he used it, (as I conclude he did,) was
that he began to make the observation in the space of three days whereas,
during that time, his thoughts were so taken up with the wonderful views
presented to his mind, that he did not immediately attend to it. If he
had, within the first three days, any temptation to seek some ease from
the anguish of his mind, in returning to former sensualities, it is a
circumstance he did not mention to me, and by what I can recollect of
the strain of his discourse, he intimated if he did not express the

Nor was he only delivered from that bondage of corruption which had been
habitual to him for many years, but felt in his breast so contrary a
disposition, that he was grieved to see human nature, in those to whom he
was most entirely a stranger, prostituted to such low and contemptible
pursuits. He therefore exerted his natural courage in a very new kind of
combat, and became an open advocate for religion in all its principles,
so far as he was acquainted with them, and all its precepts, relating
to sobriety, righteousness, and godliness. Yet he was very desirous and
cautious that he might not run into extremes, and made it one of his
first petitions to God, the very day after these amazing impressions had
been wrought in his mind, that he might not be suffered to behave with
such an affected strictness and preciseness as would lead others about
him into mistaken notions of religion, and expose it to reproach or
suspicion, as if it were an unlovely or uncomfortable thing. For this
reason, he endeavoured to appear as cheerful in conversation as he
conscientiously could; though, in spite of all his precautions, some
traces of that deep inward sense which he had of his guilt and misery
would at times appear. He made no secret of it, however, that his views
were entirely changed, though he concealed the particular circumstances
attending that change. He told his most intimate companions freely that
he had reflected on the course of life in which he had so long joined
them, and found it to be folly and madness, unworthy a rational creature,
and much more unworthy persons calling themselves Christians. And he set
up his standard, upon all occasions, against principles of infidelity and
practices of vice, as determinately and as boldly as ever he displayed or
planted his colours, when he bore them with so much honour in the field.

I cannot forbear mentioning one struggle of this kind which he described
to me, with a large detail of circumstances, the first day of our
acquaintance. There was at that time in Paris a certain lady (whose name,
then well known in the grand and gay world, I must beg leave to conceal)
who had imbibed the principles of deism, and valued herself much upon
being an avowed advocate for them. The major, with his usual frankness,
(though I doubt not with that politeness of manners which was so habitual
to him, and which he retained throughout his whole life,) answered her
like a man who perfectly saw through the fallacy of her arguments,
and was grieved to the heart for her delusions. On this she briskly
challenged him to debate the matter at large, and to fix upon a day for
that purpose, when he should dine with her, attended by any clergyman he
might choose, whether of the Protestant or Catholic communion. A sense
of duty would not allow him to decline this challenge; and yet he had no
sooner accepted it, but he was thrown into great perplexity and distress
lest, being, as I remember he expressed it when he told me the story,
only a Christian of six weeks old, he should prejudice so good a cause by
his unskilful manner of defending it. However, he sought his refuge in
earnest and repeated prayers to God, that he who can ordain strength, and
perfect praise, out of the mouth of babes and sucklings, would graciously
enable him on this occasion to vindicate his truths in a manner which
might carry conviction along with it. He then endeavoured to marshal the
arguments in his own mind as well as he could; and apprehending that
he could not speak with so much freedom before a number of persons,
especially before such whose province he might seem in that case to
invade, if he had not devolved the principal part of the discourse upon
them, he easily admitted the apology of a clergyman or two, to whom
he mentioned the affair, and waited on the lady alone upon the day
appointed. But his heart was so set upon the business, that he came
earlier than he was expected, and time enough to have two hours'
discourse before dinner; nor did he at all decline having two persons,
nearly related to the lady, present during the conference. The major
opened it, with a view of such arguments for the Christian religion as
he had digested in his own mind, to prove that the apostles were not
mistaken themselves, and that they could not have intended to impose upon
us, in the accounts they give of the grand facts they attest; with the
truth of which facts, that of the Christian religion is most apparently
connected. And it was a great encouragement to him to find, that
unaccustomed as he was to discourses of this nature, he had an unusual
command both of thought and expression, so that he recollected and
uttered every thing as he could have wished. The lady heard with
attention; and though he paused between every branch of the argument, she
did not interrupt the course of it till he told her he had finished
his design, and waited for her reply. She then, produced some of her
objections, which he took up and canvassed in such a manner that at
length she burst into tears, allowed the force of his arguments and
replies, and appeared for some time after so deeply impressed with the
conversation, that it was observed by several of her friends; and there
is reason to believe that the impression continued, at least so far as to
prevent her from ever appearing under the character of an unbeliever or a

This is only one specimen among many of the battles he was almost daily
called out to fight in the cause of religion and virtue; with relation to
which I find him expressing himself thus in a letter to Mrs. Gardiner,
his good mother, dated from Paris the 25th of January following, that
is 1719-20, in answer to one in which she had warned him to expect such
trials: "I have (says he) already met with them, and am obliged to fight,
and to dispute every inch of ground. But all thanks and praise to the
great Captain of my salvation. He fights for me, and then it is no wonder
that I come off more than conqueror:" by which last expression I suppose
he meant to insinuate that he was strengthened and established, rather
than overborne, by this opposition. Yet it was not immediately that he
gained such fortitude. He has often told me how much he felt in those
days of the emphasis of those well-chosen words of the apostle, in which
he ranks the trial of cruel mockings, with scourgings, and bonds, and
imprisonments. The continual railleries with which he was received, in
almost all companies where he had been most familiar before, did often
distress him beyond measure; so that he several times declared he would
much rather have marched up to a battery of the enemy's cannon, than have
been obliged, so continually as he was, to face such artillery as this.
But, like a brave soldier in the first action wherein he is engaged, he
continued resolute, though shuddering at the terror of the assault; and
quickly overcame those impressions which it is not perhaps in nature
wholly to avoid; and therefore I find him, in the letter above referred
to, which was written about half a year after his conversion, "quite
ashamed to think of the uneasiness which these things once gave him." In
a word, he went on, as every resolute Christian by divine grace may do,
till he turned ridicule and opposition into respect and veneration.

But this sensible triumph over these difficulties was not till his
Christian experience had been abundantly advanced by the blessing of God
on the sermons he heard, (particularly in the Swiss chapel,) and on the
many hours which he spent in devout retirement, pouring out his whole
soul before God in prayer. He began, within about two months after his
first memorable change, to perceive some secret dawnings of more cheerful
hope, that vile as he saw himself to be, (and I believe no words can
express how vile that was,) he might nevertheless obtain mercy through
the Redeemer. At length (if I remember right, about the end of October,
1719) he found all the burthen of his mind taken off at once by the
powerful impression of that memorable scripture on his mind, Romans iii.
25, 26, "Whom God hath set forth for a propitiation through faith in his
blood, to declare his righteousness in the remission of sins,--that he
might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus." He had
used to imagine that the justice of God required the damnation of so
enormous a sinner as he saw himself to be; but now he was made deeply
sensible that the divine justice might be not only vindicated, but
glorified, in saving him by the blood of Jesus, even that blood which
cleanseth us from all sin. Then did he see and feel the riches of
redeeming love and grace in such a manner as not only engaged him with
the utmost pleasure and confidence to venture his soul upon it, but even
swallowed up, as it were, his whole heart in the returns of love, which
from that blessed time became this genuine and delightful principle of
his obedience, and animated him, with an enlarged heart, to run the way
of God's commandments. Thus God was pleased (as he himself used to speak)
in an hour to turn his captivity. All the terrors of his former state
were changed into unutterable joy, which kept him almost continually
waking for three nights together, and yet refreshed him as the noblest of
cordials. His expressions, though naturally very strong, always seemed
to be swallowed up when he would describe the series of thought through
which he now passed, under the rapturous experience of that joy
unspeakable and full of glory, which then seemed to overflow his very
soul, as indeed there was nothing he seemed to speak of with greater
relish. And though the first ecstasies of it afterwards subsided into a
more calm and composed delight, yet were the impressions so deep and so
permanent, that he assured me, on the word of a Christian and a friend,
wonderful as it might seem, that, for about seven years after this, he
enjoyed almost heaven upon earth. His soul was so continually filled with
a sense of the love of God in Christ, that it knew little interruption,
but when necessary converse, and the duties of his station, called off
his thoughts for a little time. And when they did so, as soon as he was
alone, the torrent returned into its natural channel again; so that, from
the minute of awakening in the morning, his heart was raised to God, and
triumphing in him; and these thoughts attended him through all the scenes
of life, till he lay down on his bed again, and a short parenthesis
of sleep (for it was but a very short one that he allowed himself)
invigorated his animal powers, for renewing them with greater intenseness
and sensibility.

I shall have an opportunity of illustrating this in the most convincing
manner below, by extracts from several letters which he wrote to intimate
friends during this happy period of time--letters which breathe a spirit
of such sublime and fervent piety as I have seldom met with any where
else. In these circumstances, it is no wonder that he was greatly
delighted with Dr. Watts's imitation of the 126th Psalm, since it may be
questioned whether there ever was a person to whom the following stanzas
of it were more suitable:--

When God revealed his gracious name,
And changed my mournful state,
My rapture seemed a pleasing dream,
Thy grace appeared so great.

The world beheld the glorious change,
And did thine hand confess;
My tongue broke out in unknown strains,
And sung surprising grace.

"Great is the work," my neighbours cried,
And owned the power divine:
"Great is the work," my heart replied,
"And be the glory thine."

The Lord can change the darkest skies,
Can give us day for night,
Make drops of sacred sorrow rise,
To rivers of delight.

Let those that sow in sadness, wait
Till the fair harvest come!
They shall confess their sheaves are great,
And shout the blessings home.

I have been so happy as to get the sight of five original letters which
he wrote to his mother about this time, which do, in a lively manner,
illustrate the surprising change made in the whole current of his
thoughts and temper of his mind. Many of them were written in the
most hasty manner, just as the courier who brought them was perhaps
unexpectedly setting out, and they relate chiefly to affairs in which the
public is not at all concerned; yet there is not one of them in which he
has not inserted some warm and genuine sentiment of religion. Indeed it
is very remarkable, that though he was pleased to honour me with a great
many letters, and I have seen several more which he wrote to others, some
of them on journeys, where he could have but a few minutes at command,
yet I cannot recollect that I ever saw any one in which there was not
some trace of piety; and the Rev. Mr. Webster, who was employed to review
great numbers of them, that he might select such extracts as he should
think proper to communicate to me, has made the same observation.[*]

[*Note: His words are these: "I have read over a vast number of the
colonel's letters, and have not found any one of them, however short,
and writ in the most passing manner, even when posting, but what is
expressive of the most passionate breathings towards his God and Saviour.
If the letter consists but of two sentences, religion is not forgot,
which doubtless deserves to be carefully remarked, as the most
uncontested evidence of a pious mind, ever under the warmest impressions
of divine things."]

The major, with great justice, tells the good lady his mother, "that when
she saw him again she would find the person indeed the same, but every
thing else entirely changed." And she might easily have perceived it of
herself by the whole tenor of these letters, which every where breathe
the unaffected spirit of a true Christian. They are taken up sometimes
with giving advice and directions concerning some pious and charitable
contributions, one of which, I remember, amounted to ten guineas, though
as he was then out of commission, and had not formerly been very frugal,
it cannot be supposed he had much to spare; sometimes in speaking of
the pleasure with which he attended sermons, and expected sacramental
opportunities; and at other times in exhorting her, established as she
was in religion, to labour after a yet more exemplary character and
conduct, or in recommending her to the divine presence and blessing, as
well as himself to her prayers. What satisfaction such letters as these
must give to a lady of her distinguished piety, who had so long wept over
this dear and amiable son as quite lost to God, and on the verge of final
destruction, it is not for me to describe, nor indeed to conceive. But
hastily as these letters were written, only for private view, I will
give a few specimens from them in his own words, which will serve to
illustrate as well as confirm what I have hinted above.

"I must take the liberty," says he, in a letter dated on the first day of
the new year, or, according to the old style, Dec. 21, 1719, "to entreat
you that you would receive no company on the Lord's day. I know you have
a great many good acquaintance, with whose discourses one might be very
well edified; but as you cannot keep out and let in whom you please, the
best way, in my humble opinion, will be to see none." In another, of
Jan. 25, "I am happier than any one can imagine, except I could put him
exactly in the same situation with myself; which is what the world
cannot give, and no man ever attained it, unless it were from above."
In another, dated March 30, which was just before a sacrament day,
"To-morrow, if it please God, I shall be happy, my soul being to be fed
with the bread of life which came down from heaven. I shall be mindful
of you all there." In another of Jan. 29, he thus expresses that
indifference for worldly possessions which he so remarkably carried
through the remainder of his life: "I know the rich are only stewards for
the poor, and must give an account of every penny; therefore, the less I
have, the more easy will it be to give an account of it." And to add no
more from these letters at present, in the conclusion of one of them he
has these comprehensive and solemn words: "Now that He, who is the ease
of the afflicted, the support of the weak, the wealth of the poor, the
teacher of the ignorant, the anchor of the fearful, and the infinite
reward of all faithful souls, may pour out upon you all his richest
blessings, shall always be the prayer of him who is entirely yours," &c.

To this account of his correspondence with his excellent mother, I should
be glad to add a large view of another, to which she introduced him,
with that reverend and valuable person under whose pastoral care she was
placed--I mean the justly celebrated Doctor Edmund Calamy, to whom she
could not but early communicate the joyful news of her son's conversion.
I am not so happy as to be possessed of the letters which passed between
them, which I have reason to believe would make a curious and valuable
collection; but I have had the pleasure of receiving from my worthy
and amiable friend, the Rev. Mr. Edmund Calamy, one of the letters the
doctor, his father, wrote to the major on this wonderful occasion. I
perceive by the contents of it that it was the first, and, indeed, it is
dated as early as the 3d of August, 1719, which must be but a few days
after his own account, dated August 4, N.S., could reach England. There
is so much true religion and good sense in this paper, and the counsel
it suggests may be so reasonable to other persons in circumstances which
bear any resemblance to his, that I make no apology to my reader for
inserting a large extract from it.

"Dear Sir,--I conceive it will not much surprise you to understand that
your good mother communicated to me your letter to her, dated August 4,
N.S., which brought her the news you conceive would be so acceptable
to her. I, who have often been a witness to her concern for you on a
spiritual account, can attest with what joy this news was received by
her, and imparted to me as a special friend, who she knew would bear
a part with her on such an occasion. And, indeed, if (as our Saviour
intimates, Luke xv. 7, 10,) there is, is such cases, joy in heaven and
among the angels of God, it may be well supposed that of a pious mother
who has spent so many prayers and tears upon you, and has, as it were,
travailed in birth with you again till Christ was formed in you, could
not be small. You may believe me if I add, that I also, as a common
friend of hers and yours, and which is much more, of the Prince of Light,
whom you now declare you heartily fall in with in opposition to that of
the dark kingdom, could not but be tenderly affected with an account
of it under your own hand. My joy on this account was the greater,
considering the importance of your capacity, interests, and prospects,
which, in such an age as this, may promise most happy consequences, on
your heartily appearing on God's side, and embarking in the interest of
our Redeemer. If I have hitherto at all remembered you at the throne
of grace, at your good mother's desire, (which you are pleased to take
notice of with so much respect,) I can assure you I shall henceforth
be led to do it, with more concern and particularity both by duty and
inclination; and if I were capable of giving you any little assistance in
the noble design you are engaging in, by corresponding with you by letter
while you are at such a distance, I should do it most cheerfully. And
perhaps such a motion may not, be altogether unacceptable; for I am
inclinable to believe, that when some whom you are obliged to converse
with, observe your behaviour so different from what it formerly was, and
banter you upon it as mad and fanciful, it may be some little relief
to correspond with one who will take a pleasure in heartening and
encouraging you. And when a great many things frequently offer, in which
conscience may be concerned where duty may not always be plain, nor
suitable persons to advise with at hand, it may be some satisfaction to
you to correspond with one with whom you may use a friendly freedom
in all such matters, and on whose fidelity you may depend. You may,
therefore, command me in any of these respects, and I shall take a
pleasure in serving you. One piece of advice I shall venture to give you,
though your own good sense will make my enlarging upon it less needful--I
mean, that you would, from your first setting out, carefully distinguish
between the essentials of real religion, and those things which are
commonly reckoned by its professors to belong to it. The want of this
distinction has had very unhappy consequences from one age to another,
and perhaps in none more than the present. But your daily converse with
your Bible, which you mention, may herein give you great assistance. I
move also, that since infidelity so much abounds, you would not only, by
close and serious consideration, endeavour to settle yourself well in the
fundamental principles of religion; but also that, as opportunity offers,
you would converse with those books which treat most judiciously on the
divine original of Christianity, such as Grotins, Abbadie, Baxter, Bates,
Du Plessis, &c., which may establish you against the cavils that occur
in almost all conversations, and furnish you with arguments which, when
properly offered, may be of use to make some impression on others. But
being too much straitened to enlarge at present, I can only add, that if
your hearty falling in with serious religion should prove any hinderance
to your advancement in the world, (which I pray God it may not, unless
such advancement would be a real snare to you,) I hope you will trust
our Saviour's word, that it shall be no disadvantage to you in the final
issue: he has given you his word for it, Matt. xix. 29, upon which you
may safely depend; and I am satisfied none that ever did so at last
repented of it. May you go on and prosper, and the God of all grace and
peace be with you!"

I think it very evident from the contents of this letter, that the major
had not imparted to his mother the most singular circumstances attending
his conversion; and indeed there was something so peculiar in them,
that I do not wonder he was always cautious in speaking of them, and
especially that he was at first much on the reserve. We may also
naturally reflect that there seems to have been something very
providential in this letter, considering the debate in which our
illustrious convert was so soon engaged; for it was written but about
three weeks before his conference with the lady above mentioned in the
defence of Christianity, or at least before the appointment of it. And as
some of the books recommended by Dr. Calamy, particularly Abbadie and Du
Plessis, were undoubtedly within his reach, (if our English advocates
were not,) this might, by the divine blessing, contribute considerably
towards arming him for that combat in which he came off with such happy
success. As in this instance, so in many others, they who will observe
the coincidence and concurrence of things, may be engaged to adore the
wise conduct of Providence in events which, when taken singly and by
themselves, have nothing very remarkable in them.

I think it was about this time that this resolute and exemplary Christian
entered upon that methodical manner of living which he pursued through
so many succeeding years of life, and I believe generally, so far as the
broken state of his health would allow it in his latter days, to the very
end of it. He used constantly to rise at four in the morning, and to
spend his time till six in the secret exercises of devotion, reading,
meditation, and prayer, in which last he contracted such a fervency of
spirit as I believe few men living ever obtained. This certainly tended
very much to strengthen that firm faith in God, and reverent animating
sense of his presence, for which he was so eminently remarkable, and
which carried him through the trials and services of life with such
steadiness and with such activity; for he indeed endured and acted as
always seeing Him who is invisible. If at any time he was obliged to go
out before six in the morning, he rose proportionably sooner; so that
when a journey or a march has required him to be on horseback by four, he
would be at his devotions at furthest by two. He likewise secured time
for retirement in an evening; and that he might have it the more at
command, and be the more fit to use it properly, as well as be better
able to rise early the next morning, he generally went to bed about ten;
and, during the time I was acquainted with him, he seldom ate any supper
but a mouthful of bread, with one glass of wine. In consequence of this,
as well as of his admirably good constitution, and the long habit he had
formed, he required less sleep than most persons I have known; and I
doubt not but his uncommon progress in piety was in a great measure owing
to these resolute habits of self-denial.

A life anything like this could not, to be sure, be entered upon in the
midst of such company as he had been accustomed to keep, without great
opposition, especially as he did not entirely withdraw himself from all
the circle of cheerful conversation; but, on the contrary, gave several
hours every day to it, lest religion should be reproached as having made
him morose. He however, early began a practice, which to the last day of
his life he retained, of reproving vice and profaneness; and was never
afraid to debate the matter with any one, under the consciousness of
great superiority in the goodness of his cause.

A remarkable instance of this happened, if I mistake not, about the
middle of 1720, though I cannot be very exact as to the date of the
story. It was, however, on his first return to make any considerable
abode in England after this remarkable change. He had heard, on the other
side of the water, that it was currently reported among his companions
at home that he was stark mad--a report at which no reader who knows the
wisdom of the world in these matters, will be much surprised, any more
than himself. He concluded, therefore, that he should have many battles
to fight, and was willing to dispatch the business as fast as he could.
And therefore, being to spend a few days at the country-house of a person
of distinguished rank, with whom he had been very intimate, (whose name
I do not remember that he told me, nor did I think it proper to inquire
after it,) he begged the favour of him that he would contrive matters
so, that, a day or two after he came down, several of their former gay
companions might meet at his lordship's table, that he might have an
opportunity of making his apology to them, and acquainting them with the
nature and reasons of his change. It was accordingly agreed to; and a
pretty large company met on the day appointed, with previous notice that
Major Gardiner would be there. A good deal of raillery passed at dinner,
to which the major made very little answer. But when the cloth was taken
away, and the servants retired, he begged their patience for a few
minutes, and then plainly and seriously told them what notions he
entertained of virtue and religion, and on what considerations he had
absolutely determined that by the grace of God he would make it the care
and business of life, whatever he might lose by it, and whatever censure
and contempt he might incur. He well knew how improper it was in such
company to relate the extraordinary manner in which he was awakened,
which they would probably have interpreted as a demonstration of lunacy,
against all the gravity and solidity of his discourse; but he contented
himself with such a rational defence of a righteous, sober, and godly
life, as he knew none of them could with any shadow of reason contest. He
then challenged them to propose any thing they could urge, to prove that
a life of irreligion and debauchery was preferable to the fear, love and
worship of the eternal God, and a conduct agreeable to the precepts
of his gospel. And he failed not to bear his testimony, from his own
experience, (to one part of which many of them had been witnesses) that
after having run the widest round of sensual pleasure, with all the
advantages the best constitution and spirits could give him, he had never
tasted any thing that deserved to be called happiness, till he had made
religion his refuge and his delight. He testified calmly and boldly the
habitual serenity and peace which he now felt in his own breast, (for the
most elevated delights he did not think fit to plead, lest they should be
esteemed enthusiasm,) and the composure and pleasure with which he looked
forward to objects which the gayest sinner must acknowledge to be equally
unavoidable and dreadful.

I know not what might be attempted by some of the company in answer to
this; but I well remember that he told me that the master of the table, a
person of a very frank and candid disposition, cut short the debate, and
said, "Come, let us call another cause. We thought this man mad, and
he is in good earnest proving that we are so." On the whole, this
well-judged circumstance saved him a great deal of future trouble. When
his former acquaintances observed that he was still conversible and
innocently cheerful, and that he was immovable in his resolutions, they
desisted from further importunity; and he has assured me, that instead of
losing any one valuable friend by the change in his character, he found
himself much more esteemed and regarded by many who could not persuade
themselves to imitate his example.

I have not any memoirs of Colonel Gardiner's life, or of any other
remarkable event befalling him in it, from the time of his return to
England till his marriage in the year 1726, except the extracts which
have been sent me from some letters, which he wrote to his religious
friends during this interval, and which I cannot pass by without a more
particular notice. It may be recollected, that in consequence of
the reduction of that regiment of which he was major, he was out of
commission from Nov. 10, 1718, till June 1, 1724; and, after he returned
from Paris, I find all his letters during this period dated from London,
where he continued in communion with the Christian society under the
pastoral care of Dr. Calamy. As his good mother also belonged to the
same, it is easy to imagine it must have been an unspeakable pleasure to
her to have such frequent opportunities of conversing with such a son, of
observing in his daily conduct and discourses the blessed effects of that
change which divine grace had made in his heart, and of sitting down with
him monthly at that sacred feast where Christians so frequently enjoy
the divinest entertainments which they expect on this side heaven. I the
rather mention this ordinance, because, as this excellent lady had a very
high esteem for it, so she had an opportunity of attending it but the
very Lord's day immediately preceding her death, which happened on
Thursday, October 7, 1725, after her son had been removed from her almost
a year. He had maintained her handsomely out of that very moderate income
on which he subsisted since his regiment had been disbanded; and when she
expressed her gratitude to him for it, he assured her (in one of the last
letters she ever received from him) "that he esteemed it a great honour
that God put it into his power to make what he called a very small
acknowledgment of all her care for him, and especially of the many
prayers she had offered on his account, which had already been remarkably
answered, and the benefit of which he hoped ever to enjoy."

I apprehend that the Earl of Stair's regiment, to the majority of
which he was promoted on the 20th of July, 1724, was then quartered in
Scotland; for all the letters in my hand, from that time to the 6th of
February, 1726, are dated from thence, and particularly from Douglas,
Stranraer, Hamilton, and Ayr. But I have the pleasure to find, from
comparing these with others of an earlier date from London and the
neighbouring parts, that neither the detriment which he must suffer by
being so long out of commission, nor the hurry of affairs while charged
with it, could prevent or interrupt that intercourse with Heaven, which
was his daily feast, and his daily strength.

These were most eminently the happy years of his life; for he had
learned to estimate his happiness, not by the increase of honour, or the
possession of wealth, or by what was much dearer to his generous heart
than either, the converse of the dearest and worthiest human friends; but
by nearness to God, and by opportunities of humble converse with him, in
the lively exercise of contemplation, praise, and prayer. Now there was
no period of his life in which he was more eminently favoured with these,
nor do I find any of his letters so overflowing with transports of holy
joy, as those which were dated during this time. There are indeed in some
of them such very sublime passages, that I have been dubious whether I
should communicate them to the public or not, lest I should administer
matter of profane ridicule to some, who look upon all the elevations
of devotion as contemptible enthusiasm. And it has also given me some
apprehensions lest it should discourage some pious Christians, who, after
having spent several years in the service of God, and in humble obedience
to the precepts of his gospel, may not have attained to any such heights
as these. But, on the whole, I cannot satisfy myself to suppress them;
not only as I number some of them, considered in a devotional view, among
the most extraordinary pieces of the kind I have ever met with; but as
some of the most excellent and judicious persons I any where know, to
whom I have read them, have assured me that they felt their hearts in an
unusual manner impressed, quickened, and edified by them.



I will therefore draw back the veil, and show my much honoured friend in
his most secret recesses, that the world may see what those springs were,
from whence issued that clear, permanent and living stream of wisdom,
piety, and virtue, which so evidently ran through all that part of his
life which was open to public observation. It is not to be imagined that
letters written in the intimacy of Christian friendship, some of them
with the most evident marks of haste, and amidst a variety of important
public cares, should be adorned with any studied elegance of expression,
about which the greatness of his soul would not allow him to be at any
time very solicitous, for he generally (as far as I could observe) wrote
as fast as his pen could move, which, happily both for him and his many
friends, was very freely. Yet here the grandeur of his subject has
sometimes clothed his ideas with a language more elevated than is
ordinarily to be expected in an epistolary correspondence. The proud
scorners who may deride sentiments and enjoyments like those which this
truly great man so experimentally and pathetically describes, I pity from
my heart, and grieve to think how unfit they must be for the hallelujahs
of heaven, who pour contempt upon the nearest approaches to them; nor
shall I think it any misfortune to share with so excellent a person their
profane derision. It will be infinitely more than an equivalent for all
that such ignorance and petulancy can think and say, if I may convince
some, who are as yet strangers to religion, how real and how noble its
delights are--if I may engage my pious readers to glorify God for so
illustrious an instance of his grace--and finally, if I may quicken them,
and, above all, may rouse my own too indolent spirit to follow with less
unequal steps an example, to the sublimity of which, I fear, few of us
shall, after all, be able fully to attain. And that we may not be too
much discouraged under the deficiency, let it be recollected that few
have the advantage of a temper naturally so warm; few have an equal
command of retirement; and perhaps hardly any one who thinks himself
most indebted to the riches and freedom of divine grace, can trace
interpositions of it in all respects equally astonishing.

The first of these extraordinary letters which have fallen into my hand,
is dated near three years after his conversion, and addressed to a
lady of quality. I believe it is the first the major ever wrote, so
immediately on the subject of his religious consolations and converse
with God in devout retirement; for I well remember that he once told me
he was so much afraid that something of spiritual pride should mingle
itself with the relation of such kind of experiences, that he concealed
them a long time; but observing with how much freedom the sacred writers
open all the most secret recesses of their hearts, especially in the
Psalms; his conscience began to be burdened, under an apprehension that,
for the honour of God, and in order to engage the concurrent praises of
some of his people, he ought to disclose them. On this he set himself to
reflect who among all his numerous acquaintance seemed at once the most
experienced Christians, (to whom, therefore, such things as he had to
communicate might appear solid and credible,) and who the humblest. He
quickly thought of the Lady Marchioness of Douglas in this view; and the
reader may well imagine that it struck my mind very strongly, to think
that now, more than twenty-four years after it was written, Providence
should bring to my hands (as it has done within these few days) what I
assuredly believe to be a genuine copy of that very letter, which I had
not the least reason to expect I should ever have seen, when I learned
from his own mouth, amidst the freedom of an accidental conversation, the
occasion and circumstances of it. It is dated from London, July 21, 1722,
and the very first lines of it relate to a remarkable circumstance which,
from others of his letters, I find happened several times; I mean, that
when he had received from any of his Christian friends a few lines which
particularly affected his heart, he could not stay till the stated return
of his devotional hour, but immediately retired to pray for them, and to
give vent to those religious emotions of mind which such a correspondence
raised. How invaluable was such a friend! and what great reason have
those of us who once possessed a large share in his heart, and in those
retired and sacred moments, to bless God for so singular a felicity;
and to comfort ourselves in a pleasing hope that we may yet reap future
blessings, as the harvest of those petitions which he can no more repeat.

His words are these:

"I was so happy as to receive yours just as I arrived, and had no sooner
read it but I shut my door, and sought Him whom my soul loveth. I sought
him, and found him; and would not let him go till he had blessed us all.
It is impossible to find words to express what I obtained; but I suppose
it was something like that which the disciples got, as they were going
to Emmaus, when they said, 'Did not our hearts burn within us,' &c.; or
rather like what Paul felt, when he could not tell whether he was in the
body, or out of it."

He then mentions his dread of spiritual pride, from whence he earnestly
prays that God may deliver and preserve him.

"This," says he, "would have hindered me from communicating these things,
if I had not such an example before me as the man after God's own heart,
saying, 'I will declare what God hath done for my soul;' and elsewhere,
'The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.' Now I am well satisfied
that your ladyship is of that number."

He then adds:

"I had no sooner finished this exercise," that is of prayer above
mentioned, "but I sat down to admire the goodness of my God, that he
would vouchsafe to influence by his free Spirit so undeserving a wretch
as I, and to make me thus to mount up with eagles' wings. And here I was
lost again, and got into an ocean, where I could find neither bound nor
bottom; but was obliged to cry out with the apostle, 'O the breadth,
the length, the depth, the height of the love of Christ, which passeth
knowledge!' But if I gave way to this strain I shall never have done.
That the God of hope may fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost, shall
always be the prayer of him who is, with the greatest sincerity and
respect, your Ladyship's," &c.

Another passage to the same purpose I find in a memorandum, which he
seems to have written for his own use, dated Monday, March 11, which I
perceive, from many concurrent circumstances, must have been in the year

"This day," says he, "having been to visit Mrs. G. at Hampstead, I came
home about two, and read a sermon on these words, Psalm cxxx. 4, 'But
there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared;' about the
latter end of which, there is a description of the miserable condition of
those that are slighters of pardoning grace. From a sense of the great
obligations I lie under to the Almighty God, who hath made me to differ
from such, from what I was, and from the rest of my companions, I knelt
down to praise his holy name; and I know not in my lifetime I ever lay
lower in the dust, never having had a fuller view of my own unworthiness.
I never pleaded more strongly the merits and intercession of Him who
I know is worthy--never vowed more sincerely to be the Lord's, and to
accept of Christ, as he is offered in the gospel, as my King, Priest,
and Prophet--never had so strong a desire to depart, that I might sin no
more; but 'my grace is sufficient,' curbed that desire. I never pleaded
with greater fervency for the Comforter, which our blessed Lord hath
promised shall abide with us for ever. For all which, I desire to ascribe
glory &c. to Him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb."

There are several others of his papers, speaking much the same language,
which, had he kept a diary, would, I doubt not, have filled many sheets.
I believe my devout readers would not soon be weary of reading extracts
of this kind; but that I may not exceed in this part of my narrative, I
shall mention only two more, each of them dated some years after; that
is, one from Douglas, April 1, 1725; and the other from Stranraer, 25th
May following.

The former of these relates to the frame of his spirit on a journey; on
the mention of which, I cannot but recollect how often I have heard him
say that some of the most delightful days of his life were days in which
he travelled alone, (that is, with only a servant at a distance,) when he
could, especially in roads not much frequented, indulge himself in the
pleasures of prayer and praise. In the exercise of this last, he was
greatly assisted by several psalms and hymns which he had treasured up in
his memory, and which he used not only to repeat aloud, but sometimes to
sing. In reference to this, I remember the following passage, in a letter
which he wrote to me many years after, when, on mentioning my ever dear
and honoured friend the Rev. Dr. Watts, he says, "How often, in singing
some of his psalms, hymns, or lyrics, on horseback and elsewhere, has the
evil spirit been made to flee:

"'Whene'er my heart in tune was found,
'Like David's harp of solemn sound!'"

Such was the first of April above mentioned. In the evening of that day
he writes thus to an intimate friend:--

"What would I have given this day, upon the road, for paper, pen, and
ink, when the Spirit of the Most High rested upon me! Oh for the pen of a
ready writer, and the tongue of an angel, to declare what God hath done
this day for my soul! But, in short, it is in vain to attempt it. All
that I am able to say, is this, that my soul has been for some hours
joining with the blessed spirits above in giving glory, and honour, and
praise unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever
and ever. My praises began from a renewed view of Him whom I saw pierced
for my transgressions. I summoned the whole hierarchy of heaven to join
with me, and I am persuaded they all echoed back praise to the Most High.
Yon, one would have thought the very larks joined me with emulation.
Sure, then, I need not make use of many words to persuade you, that
are his saints, to join me in blessing and praising his holy name." He
concludes, "May the blessing of the God of Jacob rest upon you all!
Adieu. Written in great haste, late and weary."

Scarcely can I here refrain from breaking out into more copious
reflections on the exquisite pleasures of true religion, when risen to
such eminent degrees, which can thus feast the soul in its solitude, and
refresh it on journeys, and bring down so much of heaven to earth as this
delightful letter expresses. But the remark is so obvious, that I will
not enlarge upon it; but proceed to the other letter above mentioned,
which was written the next month, on the Tuesday after a sacrament day.

He mentions the pleasure with which he had attended a preparation sermon
the Saturday before; and then he adds:

"I took a walk upon the mountains that are over against Ireland; and, I
persuade myself, that were I capable of giving you a description of what
passed there, you would agree that I had much better reason to remember
my God from the hills of Port Patrick than David from the land of Jordan,
and of the Hermonites, from the hill of Mizar." I suppose he refers to
the clearer discoveries of the gospel with which we are favoured. "In
short," says he immediately afterwards, in that scripture phrase which
had become so familiar to him, "I wrestled some hours with the Angel of
the covenant, and made supplications to him with floods of tears, and
cries--until I had almost expired; but he strengthened me so, that, like
Jacob, I had power with God, and prevailed. This," adds he, "is but a
very faint description; you will be more able to judge of it by what you
have felt yourself upon the like occasions. After such preparatory work,
I need not tell you how blessed the solemn ordinance of the Lord's supper
proved to me; I hope it was so to many. You may believe I should have
been exceeding glad, if my gracious Lord had ordered it so, that I might
have made you a visit, as I proposed; but I am now glad it was ordered
otherwise, since he hath caused so much of his goodness to pass before
me. Were I to give you an account of the many favours my God hath loaded
me with, since I parted from you, I must have taken up many days in
nothing but writing. I hope you will join with me in praises for all the
goodness he has shown to your unworthy brother in the Lord."

Such were the ardours and elevation of his soul. But while I record these
memorials of them, I am very sensible that there are many who will be
inclined to censure them as the flights of enthusiasm; for which reason,
I must beg leave to add a remark or two on the occasion, which will be
illustrated by several other extracts, which I shall introduce into the
sequel of these memoirs. The one is, that he never pretends, in any of
the passages cited above, or elsewhere, to have received from God any
immediate revelations which should raise him above the ordinary methods
of instruction, or discover any thing to him, whether of doctrines or
facts. No man was further from pretending to predict future events,
except from the moral prognostications of causes naturally tending to
produce them, in tracing of which he had indeed an admirable sagacity,
as I have seen in some very remarkable instances. Neither was he at all
inclinable to govern himself by secret impulses upon his mind, leading
him to things for which he could assign no reason but the impulse itself.
Had he ventured, in a presumption on such secret agitations of mind, to
teach or to do any thing not warranted by the dictates of sound sense and
the word of God, I should readily have acknowledged him an enthusiast,
unless he could have produced some other evidence than his own persuasion
to have supported the authority of them. But these ardent expressions,
which some may call enthusiasm, seem only to evince a heart deeply
affected with a sense of the divine presence and perfections, and of that
love which passeth knowledge, especially as manifested in our redemption
by the Son of God, which did indeed inflame his whole soul. And he
thought he might reasonably ascribe these strong impressions, to which
men are generally such strangers, and of which he had long been entirely
destitute, to the agency or influences of the Spirit of God upon his
heart; and that, in proportion to the degree in which he felt them, he
might properly say, God was present with him, and he conversed with
God.[*] Now, when we consider the scriptural phrases of "walking with
God," of "having communion with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ," of
"Christ's coming to them that open the door of their hearts to him, and
supping with them," of "God's shedding abroad his love in the heart of
the Spirit," of "his coming with Jesus Christ, and making his abode with
any man that loves him," of "his meeting him that worketh righteousness,"
of "his making us glad by the light of his countenance," and a variety
of other equivalent expressions,--I believe we shall see reason to judge
much more favourably of such expressions as those now in question, than
persons who, themselves strangers to elevated devotion, perhaps converse
but little with their Bible, are inclined to do; especially, if they
have, as many such persons have, a temper that inclines them to cavil and
find fault. And I must further observe, that amidst all those freedoms
with which this eminent Christian opens his devout heart to the most
intimate of his friends, he still speaks with profound awe and reverence
of his Heavenly Father and his Saviour, and maintains (after the example
of the sacred writers themselves,) a kind of dignity in his expressions,
suitable to such a subject, without any of that fond familiarity of
language, and degrading meanness of phrase, by which it is, especially
of late, grown fashionable among some (who nevertheless I believe mean
well,) to express their love and their humility.

[*Note: The ingenious and pious Mr. Grove (who, I think, was as little
suspected of running into enthusiastical extremes as most divines I could
name,) has a noble passage to this purpose in the sixth volume of his
Posthumous Works, p.10, 11, which, respect to the memory of both these
excellent persons, inclines me to insert here,

"How often are the good thoughts suggested," (viz. to the pure in heart)
"heavenly affection kindled and inflamed! How often is the Christian
prompted to holy actions, drawn to his duty, restored, quickened,
persuaded, in such a manner, that he would be unjust to the Spirit of God
to question his agency in the whole! Yes, on my soul! there is a Supreme
Being, who governs the world, and is present with it, who takes up his
more special habitation in good men, and is nigh to all who call upon
him, to sanctify and assist them! Hast thou not felt him, oh my soul!
like another soul, [Transcriber's note: illegible] thy faculties,
exalting thy views, purifying thy passions, exalting thy graces, and
begetting in thee an abhorrence of sin, and a love of holiness? Is not
all this an argument of His presence, as truly as if thou didst see."]

On the whole, if habitual love to God, firm faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ, a steady dependence on the divine promises, a full persuasion of
the wisdom and goodness of all the dispensations of Providence, a high
esteem for the blessings of the heavenly world, and a sincere contempt
for the vanities of this, can properly be called enthusiasm, then was
Colonel Gardiner indeed one of the greatest enthusiasts which our age
has produced; and in proportion to the degree in which he was so, I must
esteem him one of the wisest and happiest of mankind. Nor do I fear to
tell the world that it is the design of my writing these memoirs, and of
every thing else that I undertake in life, to spread this glorious and
blessed enthusiasm, which I know to be the anticipation of heaven, as
well as the most certain way to it.

But lest any should possibly imagine, that allowing the experiences which
have been described above to have been ever so solid and important, yet
there may be some appearances of boasting in so free a communication of
them, I must add to what I have hinted in reference to this above, that
I find in many of the papers before me very genuine expressions of the
deepest humility and self-abasement, which indeed such holy converse with
God in prayer and praise does, above all things in the world, tend to
inspire and promote. Thus, in one of his letters he says, "I am but as
a beast before him." In another he calls himself "a miserable
hell-deserving sinner." And in another he cries out, "Oh, how good
a master do I serve! but, alas, how ungrateful am I! What can be so
astonishing as the love of Christ to us, unless it be the coldness of our
sinful hearts towards such a Saviour?" There were many other clauses of
the like nature, which I shall not set myself more particularly to trace
through the variety of letters in which they occur.

It is a further instance of this unfeigned humility, that when (as his
lady with her usual propriety of language expresses it in one of her
letters to me concerning him,) "these divine joys and consolations were
not his daily allowance," he, with equal freedom, in the confidence of
Christian fellowship, acknowledges and laments it. Thus, in the first
letter I had the honour of receiving from him, dated from Leicester, July
9, 1739, after mentioning the blessing with which it had pleased God to
attend my last address to him, and the influence it had upon his mind,
he adds, "Much do I stand in need of every help to awaken me out of that
spiritual deadness which seizes me so often. Once, indeed, it was quite
otherwise with me, and that for many years:

"'Firm was my health, my day was bright,
And I presumed 't would ne'er be night,
Fondly I said within my heart,
Pleasure and peace shall ne'er depart,
But I forgot, thine arm was strong,
Which made my mountain stand so long;
Soon as thy face began to hide,
My health was gone, my comforts died.'

And here," adds he, "lies my sin and my folly."

I mention this, that the whole matter may be seen just as it was, and
that other Christians may not be discouraged if they feel some abatement
of that fervour, and of those holy joys which they may have experienced
during some of the first months or years of their spiritual life. But,
with relation to the colonel, I have great reason to believe that those
which he laments as his days of spiritual deadness were not unanimated;
and that quickly after the date of this letter, and especially nearer the
close of his life, he had further revivings, as the joyful anticipation
in reserve of those better things which were then nearly approaching. And
thus Mr. Spears, in the letter I mentioned above, tells us he related
the matter to him, (for he studies as much as possible to retain the
colonel's own words): "However," says he, "after that happy period
of sensible communion, though my joys and enlargements were not so
overflowing and sensible, yet I have had habitual real communion with
God from that day to this"--the latter end of the year 1743--"and I know
myself, and all that know me see, that through the grace of God, to which
I ascribe all, my conversation has been becoming the gospel; and let me
die whenever it shall please God, or wherever it shall be, I am sure
I shall go to the mansions of eternal glory," &c. This is perfectly
agreeable to the manner in which he used to speak to me on this head,
which we have talked over frequently and largely.

In this connection I hope my reader will forgive my inserting a little
story which I received from a very worthy minister in Scotland, and which
I shall give in his own words: "In this period," meaning that which
followed the first seven years after his conversion, "when his complaint
of comparative deadness and languor in religion began, he had a dream,
which, though he had no turn at all for taking notice of dreams, yet made
a very strong impression upon his mind. He imagined he saw his blessed
Redeemer on earth, and that he was following him through a large field,
following him whom his soul loved, but much troubled, because he thought
his blessed Lord did not speak to him, till he came up to the gate of a
burying-place, when, turning about, he smiled upon him in such a manner
as filled his soul with the most ravishing joy, and on after reflection
animated his faith in believing that whatever storms and darkness he
might meet with in the way, at the hour of death his glorious Redeemer
would lift up upon him the light of his life-giving countenance." My
correspondent adds a circumstance for which he makes some apology,
as what may seem whimsical, and yet made some impression on the
colonel,--"that there was a remarkable resemblance in the field in which
this brave man met his death, and that he had represented to him in the
dream." I did not fully understand this at first; but a passage in that
letter from Mr. Spears, which I have mentioned more than once, has
cleared it:

"Now observe, sir, this seems to be a literal description of the place
where this Christian hero ended his sorrows and conflicts, and from which
he entered triumphantly into the joy of his Lord; for, after he fell in
the battle, fighting gloriously for his king, and the cause of his God,
his wounded body, while life was yet remaining, was carried from the
field of battle by the east side of his own enclosure, till he came to
the church-yard of Tranent, and was brought to the minister's house,
where, about an hour after, he breathed out his soul into the hands of
his Lord, and was conducted to his presence, where there is fulness of
joy, without any cloud or interruption, for ever."

I well know that in dreams there are diverse vanities, and readily
acknowledge that nothing certain could be inferred from this; yet it
seems at least to show which way the imagination was working even in
sleep; and I cannot think it unworthy of a wise and good man sometimes
to reflect with complacency on any images which, passing through his mind
even in that state, may tend either to express or to quicken his love
to the great Saviour. Those eminently pious divines of the Church of
England, Bishop Bull and Bishop Konn, do both intimate it as their
opinion that it may be a part of the service of ministering angels to
suggest devout dreams[1] and I know that the worthy person of whom I
speak was well acquainted with that evening hymn of the latter of those
excellent writers which has these lines:

"Lord lest the tempter me surprise,
Watch over thine own sacrifice!
All loose, all idle thoughts cast out;
And make my very _dreams_ devout!"

Nor would it be difficult to produce other passages much to the same
purpose,[2] if it would not be deemed too great a digression from our
subject, and too laboured a vindication of a little incident of very
small importance when compared with most of those which make up this

[Footnote 1: Bishop Bull has these remarkable words: "Although I am no
doater on dreams, yet I verily believe that some dreams are monitory,
above the power of fancy, and impressed upon us by some superior
intelligence. For of such dreams we have plain and undeniable instances
in history, both sacred and profane, and in our own age and observation.
Nor shall I so value the laughter of sceptics, and the scoffs of
epicureans, as to be ashamed to profess that I myself have had some
convincing experiments of such impressions." _Bishop Bull's Sermons and
Discourses_, Vol. II, pp. 489, 490.]

[Footnote 2: If I mistake not, the same Bishop Konn is the author of a
_midnight hymn_ coinciding with these words:

"May my ethereal Guardian kindly spread
His wings, and from the tempter screen my head;
Grant of celestial light some passing beams,
To bless my sleep, and sanctify my dreams!"

As he certainly was of these exactly parallel lines:

"Oh may my Guardian, while I sleep,
Close to my bed his vigils keep;
His love angelical distil,
Stop all the avenues of ill!
May he celestial joys rehearse,
And thought to thought with me converse!"]

[Footnote 3: See Appendix I.]



I meet not with any other remarkable event relating to Major Gardiner,
which can properly be introduced here, till 1726, when, on the 11th of
July, he was married to the Right Hon. Lady Frances Erskine, daughter to
the late Earl of Buchan, by whom he had thirteen children, five only of
which survived their father, two sons and three daughters, whom I cannot
mention without the most fervent prayers to God for them, that they may
always behave worthy the honour of being descended from such parents,
and that the God of their father and of their mother may make them
perpetually the care of his providence, and yet more eminently happy in
the constant and abundant influences of his grace.

As her ladyship is still living,[*] (and for the sake of
her dear offspring, and numerous friends, may she long be spared,) I
shall not here indulge myself in saying any thing of her, except it be
that the colonel assured me, when he had been happy in this intimate
relation to her more than fourteen years, that the greatest imperfection
he knew in her character was, "that she valued and loved him much more
than he deserved." Little did he think, in the simplicity of heart with
which he spoke this, how high an encomium he was making upon her, and how
lasting an honour such a testimony must leave upon her name, long as the
memory of it shall continue.

[*Note: In the year 1746]

As I do not intend in these memoirs a laboured essay on the character of
Colonel Gardiner, digested under the various virtues and graces which
Christianity requires, (which would, I think, be a little too formal for
a work of this kind, and would give it such an air of panegyric as would
neither suit my design, nor be at all likely to render it more useful,) I
shall now mention what I have either observed in him, or heard concerning
him, with regard to those domestic relations which commenced about this
time, or very soon after. And here my reader will easily conclude that
the resolution of Joshua was from the first adopted and declared, "As for
me and my house, we will serve the Lord." It will naturally be supposed,
that as soon as he had a house, he erected an altar in it; that the word
of God was read there, and prayers and praises were constantly offered.


Back to Full Books