Mcleod, Norman

McLeod, Norman D.D., one of the most noted Scotch divines of our day, was born at Campbelltown, Argyleshire, June 3, 1812. He was early destined for the ministry by his father, who was at the time of Norman's birth parish minister of Campbelltown, and Norman was to make the fourth generation of the McLeods in the ministry of the Scotch Kirk. To fit him properly for the responsible position he was to occupy in the near future, his father accepted a parish near Glasgow, and Norman made his preparatory studies for college at Glasgow. His academic education he obtained at Edinburgh, and he then traveled for some time in Germany and the northern countries of Europe. On his return to Scotland he studied theology at Edinburgh, enjoying especially the counsel and instruction of the celebrated Dr. Chalmers. He was licensed to preach in 1838, and "with the Norse tongue in him, and a vigorous Celtic imagination," he soon found a parish ready to receive him, and was ordained pastor of London, in Ayrshire. Here he labored faithfully until 1843, the year so eventful to the Scotch Kirk. SEE SCOTLAND. Though Norman McLeod had been a pupil of Dr. Chalmers, and greatly esteemed the doctor, he refused to leave the establishment, and even opposed the Free Church movement. In consequence of this decision to remain a Churchman many offers of promotion came to his door, and he finally accepted the parish of Dalkeith, where he resided until 1851, when he was called to the Barony Church of Glasgow, whither he removed, and "substantially began the real work of his life," among a membership of from eleven to twelve hundred adults, who by his guidance not only walked themselves in the path of righteousness, but were the means of promoting Christian holiness and ameliorating the condition of the poor and the forsaken. "Commonly," says his biographer, Dr. Walter C. Smith (in Good Words, Aug. 1872, p. 513),"' he preached thrice every Sabbath, besides conducting a large class of his own; and his preaching was no mere stringing together of theological commonplaces, but the expression of earnest thought about the highest things, full of practical help and counsel for living men... . Neither did he regard his congregation merely as a company of people to be preached to, but rather as a body of men whom he had to lead unto every good work." Aside from his parish work, extended as it was far beyond the labor usually performed by three ministers, he edited for ten years the Edinbusrgh Christian Magazine, a periodical of the old religious type, which, while it existed, did much good to the people who read it, but proved a heavy loss both to publisher and editor. In spite of McLeod's connection with this literary venture, Mr. Strahan, the noted British publisher, hesitated not to court the services of Dr. McLeod when in 1860 the publication of Good Words was projected. The manner in which the doctor replied to the invitation is well worthy of the Christian minister of Glasgow (comp. Contemporary Review, 1872, July, p. 29 sq.). The success of Good Words as a literary venture has been almost unprecedented in the annals of magazine literature. "Wherever the English language is read it has familiarized the people with the great leaders of theological thought; has brought into the cottage specimens of the pencil of the most eminent artists; has diffused sound information on secular truth; and has been the means of introducing to the poor, poets of eminence and writers of wholesome fiction. Its pages, too, were often graced with the kindly productions of the editor's own pen. Many of his works, now published in book form, and of deservedly high popularity, first appeared in Good Words." A recognition of his able services came to Dr. McLeod in his later years from a quarter where, as a member of the Church outside the Anglican establishment, he could hardly have expected so much-we refer to his appointment, upon the death of Dr. Robert Lee, to the chaplaincy to the queen of England, a honor which never before fell to the lot of any Scotch minister except William Carstairs. In the midst of these varied labors, while still in fullest sympathy with the great life that stirred around him, and full of hope for its progress, and doing his full share of the task, death came upon him, June 16, 1872, causing a loss deeply felt not only by his own Church, but by all evangelical denominations, by the rich and the poor, the high and the low; for it must be borne in mind that his genial, great, noble nature made its influence felt everywhere; and "he considered no work foreign to him if it could be called his Master's business." "Perhaps no other minister of the Church of Scotland was so generally beloved or exercised so potent an influence for good. His charity was remarkable. He extended the hearty hand of fellowship to men of all sects believing in Jesus Christ and him crucified. In the pulpit his utterances Mere peculiarly fresh and eloquent; and reproof and instruction, conveyed in a spirit of love, came home with striking effect to men's business and bosoms. He had a holy horror of shams in whatever guise they might be presented;" and we do not wonder that the man who is most competent to speak of him is constrained to say that Dr. Norman McLeod was "the most manly man" he ever knew; "the most genial, the most many-sided, and yet the least angular" (John Strahan, publisher of Good Words, in Contemporary Review, July, 1872, p. 291 sq.). "Norman McLeod," continues Mr. Strahan, "was no mere paper, and pulpit, and platform good man, putting all. his goodness into books, and sermons, and speeches. Where he was best known — known as standing the crucial test of the 'dreary intercourse of daily life' — there he was most respected and beloved. Glasgow had known him for many a year as a most unpretentious and yet most indefatigable worker for his brethren's weal in this life and beyond this life: and money-making Glasgow struck work in the middle of the week to show that it felt it had lost its best citizen." It should not be omitted here that Dr. McLeod strove hard to advance the cause of the Indian Mission scheme of the Church of Scotland by not only obtaining for it the contributions of the Church, but by inducing men of high Christian and educational attainments to undertake the work of preaching the Gospel to the people of India. He himself visited India only a short time before his death to inquire into the success of the Mission and to advance its interests more ably. His last speech before the last Assembly he attended was to revive the mission zeal of the Church. (J. H. W.)

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