Rabbi Saunderson eBook

Ian Maclaren
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 101 pages of information about Rabbi Saunderson.
intolerant, acrid, flinging out at old-fashioned views, giving quite unnecessary challenges, arguing with imaginary antagonists.  It has ever seemed to me, although I suppose that history is against me, that if it be laid on any one to advocate a new view that will startle people, he ought of all men to be conciliatory and persuasive; but Carmichael was, at least in this time of fermentation, very exasperating and pugnacious, and so he drove the Rabbi to the only hard action of his life, wherein the old man suffered most, and which may be said to have led to his death.  Carmichael, like the Rabbi, had intended to preach that morning on the love of God, and thought he was doing so with some power.  What he did was to take the Fatherhood of God and use it as a stick to beat Pharisees with, and under Pharisees it appeared as if he included every person who still believed in the inflexible action of the moral laws and the austere majesty of God.  Many good things he no doubt said, but each had an edge, and it cut deeply into people of the old school.  Had he seen the Rabbi, it would not have been possible for him to continue; but he only was conscious of Lachlan Campbell, with whom he had then a feud, and who, he imagined, had come to criticise him.  So he went on his rasping way that Sacrament morning, as when one harrows the spring earth with iron teeth, exciting himself with every sentence to fresh crudities of thought and extravagances of opposition.  But it only flashed on him that he had spoken foolishly when he came down from the pulpit, and found the Rabbi a shrunken figure in his chair before the Holy Table.

Discerning people, like Elspeth Macfadyen, saw the whole tragedy from beginning to end, and felt the pity of it keenly, For a while the Rabbi waited with fond confidence—­for was not he to hear the best-loved of his boys?—­and he caught eagerly at a gracious expression, as if it had fallen from one of the fathers.  Anything in the line of faith would have pleased the Rabbi that day, who was as a little child, and full of charity, in spite of his fierce doctrines.  By-and-by the light died away from his eyes as when a cloud comes over the face of the sun and the Glen grows cold and dreary.  He opened his eyes and was amazed, looking at the people and questioning them what had happened to their minister.  Suddenly he flushed as a person struck by a friend, and then, as one blow followed another, he covered his face with both hands, sinking lower and lower in his chair, till even that decorous people were almost shaken in their attention.

When Carmichael gave him the cup in the Sacrament the Rabbi’s hand shook and he spilled some drops of the wine upon his beard, which all that day showed like blood on the silvery whiteness.  Afterwards he spake in his turn to the communicants, and distinguished the true people of God from the multitude—­to whom he held out no hope—­by so many and stringent marks that Donald Menzies refused the Sacrament with a lamentable groan.  And when the Sacrament was over, and the time came for Carmichael to shake hands with the assisting minister in the vestry, the Rabbi had vanished, and he had no speech with him till they went through the garden together—­very bleak it seemed in the winter dusk—­unto the sermon that closed the services of the day.

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Project Gutenberg
Rabbi Saunderson from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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