The following Memoir of the Bishop of Brechin, as well as the accompanying notice of his brother, are reprinted from the pages of the "Churchman's Companion" in which they first appeared, with some additional details, supplied to the writer by the kindness of the surviving members of the family. It would naturally have been expected that a complete and voluminous record of so remarkable a life as that of the Bishop of Brechin would have been undertaken by some competent author, and enriched by a selection from his correspondence and journals, but unhappily his testamentary directions as to the disposal of his private papers were of a nature to preclude the possibility of any such biography being ever given to the public. In the absence therefore of all hope of a more suitable account of his noble career, it has been thought well to give a permanent form to [iii/iv] this brief sketch originally adapted only to the limited space afforded by a Magazine. None can feel more deeply than the writer, how very inadequate and unworthy of the subject this little work necessarily is, but it is hoped that it may at least tend to preserve the memory of the holy and gifted brothers of whom it treats, when all those who were privileged to know them upon earth, shall have passed like themselves into the world unseen.
ALEXANDER PENROSE FORBES, BISHOP OF BRECHIN.
THE honoured name of the Bishop of Brechin is so well known throughout the length and breadth of the land, that few persons can fail to be aware of the great loss which has been sustained by the Church, militant here on earth, in the sudden summons which has called him to his well earned rest. A brief memoir of one so beloved and so regretted will we are sure be welcomed by our readers. We are deeply conscious, however, that any record of his existence as it was seen of man, can only give very inadequately the true history of that saintly spirit which has now found a refuge in the Everlasting Arms,--for although the circle of his friends of every rank extended as widely on the continent as in this country, while his published works are in the hands of many, and his active labours appreciated far beyond the limits of his diocese, yet of him it may be emphatically said, that he was one of those whose life was hid with Christ in God. Of that inward [1/2] existence which he lived alone with his Lord, no trace remains to us, save the memory of his holiness in word and action, but even the outward details of such a career as his has been, will be found full of interest and edification.
Alexander Forbes belonged to a family whose attachment to the Church has long been almost proverbial in Scotland. His grandfather, Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo, was a staunch and loyal supporter of that Church, at a period when she was undergoing deep humiliation and even persecution in North Britain, and he rendered her valuable services, of which the benefit is felt to this day. The Bishop's father, John Hay Forbes, subsequently known as a Judge on the Scottish Bench by the title of Lord Medwyn, followed on the same course with no less faithfulness and consistency; it was to him a great gratification in after times when he saw his beloved son raised to a position which gave him power to render the highest service to the Church in his own native land; although at the commencement of Mr. Forbes's clerical career, his remarkable abilities and academical success, opened out to him such fair prospects in the Church of England, that his father could not without much natural regret see him abandon them all for the humbler and more restricted sphere to which he believed his duty called him. The future Bishop was not however in the first instance destined to take holy orders.
He was born on the 6th of June, 1817, and received his early education at the Edinburgh Academy,--an [2/3] excellent school, where most Scottish gentlemen sent their sons at that time. Thence he went to Beckenham, in Kent, where he spent two years under the care of a private tutor, the Rev. Thomas Dale, known as the author of "The Widow of Nain," and other poems, and later as Vicar of S. Pancras and Canon of S. Paul's. He then went to Glasgow University, but remained there only for a single session, as he was appointed to a post in the Indian Civil Service, which induced him at once to proceed to Haileybury College, in order to fit himself for his future career. He distinguished himself very greatly during his residence there, and carried off five gold medals, besides numerous other prizes--~a success which we believe had not been attained by any previous student. Mr. Le Bas was at that time Principal of the College. Dean Jeremie lectured in Classics, and Mr. Jones in Political Economy, and the Bishop laboured most industriously under their guidance, acquiring a remarkable proficiency in the Oriental tongues, and notably in Sanskrit and Persian,--while the friendships he made, especially with Dean Jeremie, were a source of unfailing pleasure to him in long after years. When he finally sailed for the Madras Presidency in September, 1836, it was with many prognostics of a brilliant career made by those who could judge critically of his prospects, and these were amply justified by the eminence to which he was fast attaining, when his course was prematurely checked by the failure of his health, under the effect of the climate. The Law Professor at Haileybury, Mr. Empson, had remarked of him, that [3/4] no student had ever shown so much legal ability, though some had perhaps been greater readers, and the truth of this observation was strikingly exemplified by a circumstance which occurred before he had been two years at his post, when he was asked to draw up a digest of the Laws for the use of the authorities, a compliment which had never before been paid to so young a man.
It was during his stay in India that he first gave indication of the earnest devotion to religion which ultimately became his very life,--although during his blameless boyhood it is probable that his somewhat reticent nature covered much deep feeling of the same kind. At this period, however, while working arduously at the duties of his post, he gave every spare moment to the study of theology, and it was known to those who were intimate with him then, that even while his success in his profession showed him to be on the way to wealth and honour, he was sighing for that which he designated as "Christian work." And his desire was granted. The illness which seemed, humanly speaking, to cut short so sadly a splendid career, was undoubtedly but the loving call which bade him enter on his Master's more immediate service. There is little doubt that even then his secret desire was to take Holy Orders, but he would not have thought it right to quit his post and disappoint his father's hopes, had not the way been made straight for him by what appeared at the time to be a heavy cross. His health became so seriously affected that he was obliged to apply for sick-leave, and in order to get a thorough change of climate he went [4/5] to the Cape of Good Hope. After nine months' sojourn there, by which he benefited greatly, he returned to his work, without the least intention of abandoning it,--but a fresh attack of fever, which prostrated him to such an extent that he could only move on crutches, compelled him to seek a more effectual change, and he went home to Scotland on a two years' furlough. His friends doubted considerably whether he would ever be able to return to his lucrative and honourable position in India, but we believe no definite resolution on the subject had been taken, when he obtained his father's consent to entering as undergraduate at Brazenose College, Oxford, on the plea that whatever the future might bring, he could not pass two years in idleness.
The time which he spent at Oxford was destined however to have a most momentous influence on the whole of his life. His academical career was strikingly successful; although he entered upon it under serious disadvantages from the feeble state of his health--he had in fact been obliged to give up reading altogether and had been ordered to Italy by medical advice for the previous autumn and winter; he yielded therefore, though somewhat unwillingly to the persuasions of his friends who strongly urged him not to try for honours, simply on the ground of his physical weakness, there being no doubt that his classical attainments were such as to have insured him success; as it was, he passed through the usual course with something more than credit. He received the mark of distinction always given to those who have done thoroughly well, although [5/6] they have not read for honours, by being placed in the fourth class, and ended by winning the Boden Sanskrit scholarship. Long afterwards a well known dignitary who had been one of his examiners, remarked to a friend that he had never known any young man who had distinguished himself so signally under the ordeal of the schools as Alexander Forbes, and he added, that all who knew him in Oxford were convinced, that he had a brilliant future before him and would win for himself a great reputation in whatever profession he might ultimately adopt. The prophecy was proved to have been correct; only by the deliberate will of him who was the subject of it, the honour he won has not been in the field of earthly fame, but in that high sphere where one star differeth from another in glory, since all his talents were dedicated to the service of the King who has said, "If any man serve Me, him will My Father honour." It was however on his inner life that the most remarkable effect was produced by his residence in Oxford. He was at the University in the first glowing and fervent days of the great Catholic revival, and was soon brought into personal contact with those whose well-known names are most intimately associated with that remarkable movement. Amongst the numbers who were at that time strongly influenced by the rare intellectual gifts and practical holiness of those great leaders, none were more powerfully and lastingly impressed than he was of whom we speak. Their teaching in fact kindled into imperishable life the flame of pure devotion which lay already smouldering in his [6/7] earnest spirit. All idea of ever returning to his post in India with its substantial emoluments and prospective honours, was at once finally abandoned, and with the willing consent of his good father he devoted himself heart and soul to the service of the Church.
The close and intimate relations which at this period commenced between the future Bishop and his revered and much loved friend Dr. Pusey, were continued unchanged through all the vicissitudes of the troubled years which followed, up to the day of his death, and assuredly constituted one of his deepest sources of happiness, in a life which he chose to sustain unbrightened by any domestic tie. In his frequent visits to Oxford in after days, he always made his home in the well-known corner of Christ Church quadrangle which is so inseparably associated with that carum et venerabile nomen--as it has been aptly termed--and nothing could induce him to spend even a part of his stay in any other house, though he had near relations and friends in the town who would gladly have welcomed him to their dwellings. His last visit to this second home was in May of the present year, (1875) when the failing health of the elder of the two friends, must have made it seem very unlikely that he would be called upon to see his dear son in the faith, pass before him to the peace of God.
Mr. Forbes was ordained deacon by the late Bishop Bagot in 1844, and subsequently received his priest's orders from the same hands. His first appointment as curate was to the village of Aston Rowant; but he [7/8] very soon left it to take the curacy of S. Thomas the Martyr in Oxford. The Bishop always looked back to his connection with this parish, as one of the happiest events of his life, from the strong attachment which he formed to its well-known vicar, the Rev. Thomas Chamberlain. S. Thomas's was, at that time, the scene of an almost desperate resistance on the part of the people to the principles of the Church, which the vicar upheld with indomitable determination, and also to the reformation which he carried out most energetically in long standing evils that fatally demoralized his parishioners. The opposition which he met with went so far as to threaten his life; and the calm courage with which he met most serious risks without swerving in the smallest particular from what he held to be rights called forth Mr. Forbes's enthusiastic admiration; and inspired him with a love and reverence for his vicar which remained unabated to the last day of his life. This too became an enduring friendship; and Mr. Chamberlain's advice and sympathy were of very great use to the Bishop in more than one critical period of his subsequent career; writing lately to a friend in Oxford, the Bishop asked anxiously how it fared with S. Thomas'? "that dear parish," he added, "which has always a first place in my poor prayers." He never failed to visit it when in the neighbourhood, and he used to say that he recognized the faces of the children he had taught, in the men and women who clustered round him. He often preached in its familiar pulpit; but his chief pleasure was to come to the early [8/9] celebrations, when he would slip in unobserved and take his place in some quiet corner amongst his old friends. At the time when the rampant Protestantism drawn forth by the so-called Papal aggression, avenged itself for the proceedings of a foreign potentate on the most devoted clergy of our own Church, the Bishop's sensitive nature was rudely wounded by demonstrations of mistrust towards himself in his northern diocese, and he said to Mr. Chamberlain (who being happily with him was a great support and comfort) "I wish I might come back to be your curate in S. Thomas'!"
From this much-loved parish he was however called away unexpectedly by the death of his mother, and before he could leave his family in their affliction, he was offered the incumbency of Stonehaven, in Kincardineshire. Whatever his wishes might have been, his strong sense of duty made him consider himself bound to serve the Church in his native land, and he therefore at once accepted the appointment. The Bishop's connection with this Scottish sea-side town, has acquired a touching interest from the fact of its being the scene of his last public act, one fortnight only before his death. On September the 21st, 1875, he assisted in laying the foundation stone of a new Church in Stonehaven, and it is pleasant now to feel that the occasion must have been one of great gratification to himself;--his own labours had largely contributed to that increase in the place of adherents to the Church, which had necessitated additional accommodation for public worship--and he was surrounded at the gathering for this purpose, by many [9/10] near and dear friends: among these may be named Canon Liddon, Mr. Mac Coll, and most especially his kinsman Lord Forbes, who follows the tradition of the race he represents, by a truly loyal devotion to the Church--of which he has lately given a valuable proof in his admirable "Treatise on the Holy Eucharist." ["On the Holy Eucharist," addressed to the Laity of the Church, by Lord Forbes. (Brown, Aberdeen. Masters, London.)]--The Bishop in acknowledging good wishes for his health at this meeting, spoke words which have now a most solemn significance. Alluding to the feelings which had been roused in him, he said,
"Of course thanks and gratitude predominate, but I cannot help looking back to nearly thirty years ago when I first came to Stonehaven as the clergyman of this most interesting incumbency, and when I think that almost all those who greeted me at that time the grave has covered, and that those whom I baptized here are now in the full vigour of manhood, pursuing their different avocations in life, and when I think of the many who year after year have received at my hands the apostolic grace of confirmation, I cannot return thanks to you without very serious and solemn thoughts."
After enlarging on these topics he added this weighty sentence:
"We have a great cause committed to us--if our principles are not realities we have no business to hold them; but we are bound to cling to them if we believe they are realities--great Divine realities which will find their ultimate place in the world to come."
Very earnestly did the Bishop strive to teach those [10/11] Divine realities to the people of Stonehaven while he was in charge of their souls, and some reminiscences of his connection with them still remain extant, in a little work which he published many years after he had left them. Stonehaven was one of those places where, in the last century, members of the Church suffered absolute persecution, and the difficulties in the performance of her sacred offices were so great, that little infants used to be brought to the clergyman for baptism, concealed in the baskets of the women who came into the town with fish for sale. Some of the most striking incidents of that cruel time were woven by the Bishop into a little tale which he entitled "The Prisoners of Craigmacaire," the Gaelic rendering of the name, Stonehaven.
The Bishop worked hard and successfully in this incumbency, and was already seeing good fruit of his labours, when he was suddenly called upon to leave it, for a position involving so much self-sacrifice that he would not refuse it. Those who know anything of the history of the Church of S. Saviour's at Leeds, are well aware of the tribulations through which it passed during the first years of its existence, and it was precisely because the position of its Vicar was one of the greatest difficulty and delicacy, that Alexander Forbes was earnestly pressed to assume it. As we have said, he would not shield himself from certain trial by a refusal, and he left his peaceful Scottish parish to enter on a most anxious and responsible charge. His tenure of the position was however very brief; God had other work for him [11/12] to do, and on the death of Bishop Moir of Brechin, he found himself unexpectedly elected to the vacant see. He was very young, having barely attained the canonical age of thirty, and would probably have shrunk from entering thus early on so weighty an office, had not the wise and experienced friends whom he consulted, strongly urged upon him to follow the leading of Providence by accepting the post, for which they saw that he was eminently fitted. On the Feast of SS. Simon and Jude, 1847, Alexander Penrose Forbes was consecrated Bishop of Brechin, by the Primus and the Bishops of Edinburgh and Glasgow, in S. Andrew's Church, Aberdeen. It is therefore after an episcopate of twenty-eight years, that he now lays down the pastoral staff to fold his hands in meek and thankful rest at the Feet of Jesus.
What the Bishop's life during those years has really been it is not easy to depict, for it simply consisted of the unreserved surrender of his whole being, with all his powers and gifts, to the service of his Divine Master, and only at that Day when the Lord Whom he loved shall gather up His redeemed into the consummation of bliss, will it be known how many souls were won for Him by the unceasing toil of His faithful servant.
But of the Bishop's outward work, tangible tokens have been left which may give a slight idea of the hidden labours they in some sense represent. When, immediately after his consecration, he examined into the conditions of his new sphere of work, his natural acuteness at once showed him that Dundee and not [12/13] Brechin was the real centre of his diocese, and that he ought to make that populous commercial town the seat of his residence, and of his chief exertions.
It was not the home which his personal inclinations would have led him to select, accustomed as he was to a highly-polished and intellectual society, but the result proved that he was perfectly right in his decision. The death of Dean Horsley just at this time made an opening for his active ministrations in what was called the "chapel" in Castle Street,--it consisted really of a room over the Bank of Scotland, full of green baize pews, and in all its appointments about as unattractive a place of worship as could have been found for a man of his aesthetic tastes. With this his work commenced, and at its close, he leaves behind him three Churches in Dundee,--the noble pro-cathedral of S. Paul's, S. Salvador's, and S. Mary Magdalene's,--and two or three in the neighbourhood, amongst which are those at Lochee and at Broughty Ferry.
Besides these he was mainly instrumental in establishing and conducting a Home for fallen women, a Convalescent House, and an Orphanage. The last of the institutions which practically owes its existence to him is the Sisterhood of S. Mary, located in King Street, in the establishment of which he was largely aided by the generous lady who now, we believe, occupies the position of Superior in the house. The Bishop also gave energetic assistance to every effort that could be made for the improvement of the working classes,--especially to the Albert Institute,--and took a heavy [13/14] share of work as member of the Free Library and School Boards. He likewise founded schools in connection with the new Churches he had raised, and more or less personally superintended them all.
His every-day life at Dundee may be said to have been divided between his duties as Bishop and parish-priest, and the literary labours to which he devoted every moment that could be spared from his people. It was undoubtedly in his capacity as an earnest and hard-working clergyman, that he most completely won their affections. He not only personally attended to the wants of the poor, and sought them out in the crowded lanes and alleys of the town, but he visited with untiring zeal the sick in the hospitals and the prisoners in the gaol.
It was not much the habit of the Presbyterian ministers to go personally to the infirmaries, and as the Bishop attended indiscriminately to sufferers of all denominations, he soon became unboundedly popular among the poorer classes. By night as well as by day he was at the call of every one to whose spiritual or temporal wants he was able to minister. Many instances of his large-hearted charity in the highest sense of the word, might be given in speaking of this branch of his labours, but we have only space for a very few, which we select from the number of those that are known; much more was assuredly seen of God alone.
There was at one time a party of so-called Church people in Dundee who were strongly inimical to their diocesan, and a certain Dr. Aspinall, a clergyman of some [14/15] literary celebrity, established himself in the town for the purpose of ministering to them, in direct opposition to the Bishop's teaching and authority. Scarcely had he commenced this ill-advised work however, when he was stricken down by paralysis, and thrown helpless and destitute into a state of hopeless disease. He sent for a gentleman whom he had known some time, but when this friend arrived he found the Bishop already by the bedside of the man who had been his enemy. He continued unwearied in his attentions to him up to the day of his death, showing him the most considerate and disinterested kindness in every possible way; he assisted in raising a large sum of money for his support, and laboured strenuously besides to procure a permanent maintenance for him, appealing personally for that purpose to some influential persons with whom he had very little acquaintance, a proceeding which must have been peculiarly distasteful to him, reserved and sensitive as he was.
Another unfortunate literary man fell into destitution and ill-health, whose testimony to the Bishop's tender care of him is best expressed in his own words,--"What should I have been," he once said in his last days, "but for the Bishop of Brechin?--his teaching has soothed my troubled soul, and I have been a most unhappy man; I hope his many prayers for me will be answered! his wine and his gold have been free to me,--many a bottle of port has he brought me in those big pockets of his!"--and doubtless the poor poet's greatest earthly wish was granted when [15/16] his last hour came,--for the Bishop, roused from sleep in the middle of a dark and stormy night with the tidings that he was dying, rose instantly and hurried to his bedside, where he remained in prayer for him till the spirit had departed.
On another occasion the Bishop was seeking some poor person in one of the crowded alleys of the town, and knocked at a door which he imagined to be the room he sought,--a feeble voice called to him to come in, he entered, and found a dying man, of whom he had known nothing previously, but who had once been prosperous, and now reduced and hopeless, was passing away in great spiritual darkness and misery; the Bishop's tender words led him to open all his heart, and soon he was receiving the very instruction he required, and learning how to pray from the lips of him who knelt by his side. Next day the dying man said to an acquaintance, "The Bishop knocking at my door was a providence,--for all the books I have read, and the sermons I have heard, I never saw daylight until now."
When the cholera was raging in Dundee, the Bishop gave himself unsparingly to the relief of those smitten down by the pestilence, and many can remember how he used to be seen at all hours of the day and night, hurrying along the street on his way to some of the numerous victims, with his Prayer Book in one hand, and a bottle of cholera mixture in the other. But it would be in vain to attempt to give any complete idea of his work among the poor, or of the secret self-denial [16/17] which he practised in numberless ways in order to be able to carry it out to the extent he desired. Although the whole of his professional income was always consecrated to his Master, his private means would have enabled him to live in a style which might have been supposed suitable to the rank of a Bishop, as well as to his original status in society, but while he was always ready to dispense a liberal hospitality to his clergy and others who might wish to see him, the general arrangements of his household were of the most modest and simple description. His friend and chaplain, Dean Nicholson, shared his abode, and two women servants constituted his whole establishment. And besides this rigid economy he made many a personal sacrifice in order that he might have more to give away. Only lately when travelling in Italy, he saw a beautiful devotional picture which he much desired to possess, and made arrangements to purchase it, but on returning home the claims of the work now being carried on under Bishop Callaway, the Scottish Missionary Bishop in Kaffraria, were brought before him, and he immediately wrote to give up the picture, and sent the money it would have cost, anonymously, to the Mission in question.
It is not however so much in these respects as in others less easily understood, that the extent of the self-abnegation involved in the Bishop's labours amongst the lowest of the population can really be estimated. He could not carry it on in any of its details without doing perpetual violence to his natural tastes, which [17/18] simply revolted against everything antagonistic to the highest refinement. He delighted in all that was beautiful in art and nature, and added unusual culture to a singularly versatile genius; deeply read in antiquarian lore as well as in modern literature, a distinguished classical scholar, an admirable linguist, he had many accomplishments which would only too agreeably have occupied the days he spent in the dark and noisome dwellings, where the poor of the great mercantile city were thickly crowded together. Often when he came home at night sickened and wearied with the scenes through which he had passed, his greatest refreshment was to read a canto of Dante's "Paradiso," or "Inferno," with one of his sisters who occasionally visited him, and was like himself, thoroughly conversant with the beautiful "Lingua Toscana."
The Bishop was peculiarly fitted to shine in society, where his great conversational powers and polished manners paved the way for the good influence which his weightier qualities never failed to exercise, when the duties of his position led him to mix with those of his own rank in life. The beneficial effects of his presence on the refined and intellectual circles to which he had access was very marked, and naturally such intercourse was highly congenial to him; but except when duty called him into their midst, he turned away from all to thread his way through the swarming streets of Dundee on errands of mercy.
Meanwhile side by side with all this active and practical work, the Bishop was doing his very utmost day [18/19] by day to bring the whole body of Catholic truth before his people, and to lead them on to lives in strict accordance with the system of the Church. He was essentially a man who had the courage of his opinions, and truly he had need of a dauntless bravery to meet all the opposition, misrepresentation, and calumny, which were brought upon him by the temper of the times, and by his onerous position as a Catholic Bishop in the midst of Presbyterian Scotland. He remarked not long since to a friend, that no one but himself knew how much he had had to suffer from the evil opinion of his fellow-men, "but," he added with a patient smile, "I have lived it down." And how truly he had indeed done so, the events which followed his death have abundantly proved.
There came however at last a crisis, when the species of persecution which had been carried on against him more or less directly for some years, reached its culminating point. On the 5th of August, 1857, the Bishop delivered a charge to his clergy, of which a large portion was devoted to the subject of the Holy Eucharist, and a Clergyman,--Incumbent of a church at no great distance,--laid a presentment, as it was called, before the Scottish Episcopal Synod, with reference to this charge, on the ground that the Bishop had set forth doctrines contrary to the Articles of the Church in Scotland. We do not wish to recall the painful controversies of that unhappy time, by speaking of the strong resentment felt by the Bishop's friends, at the manner in which his case was prejudged by those [19/20] in authority, before he was even brought to his so-called trial. It will be sufficient to state that the examination into the Bishop's teaching, proved it to be substantially identical with that which was acquitted by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in a subsequent case in England, and after the Bishops in Synod had felt obliged to maintain their dignity as Judges by offering some mild admonitions to their brother, (who was one of the first theologians of the day,) the matter came altogether to an end. It was a beautiful trait in his character, that to the last hour of his life he ever afterwards acted with the utmost kindness and cordiality to all who had in any way been concerned in it. How loyal the Bishop really was in his obedience to even the most minute formularies of his Church, may be shown by the fact that when a young clergyman once asked him why he did not use the Eucharistic vestments at S. Paul's, he answered that it was because having searched most carefully into the law of the Church in Scotland, which differed in some respects from that of England, he found they would not be legal in that country, and therefore he abstained from wearing them, to his own very great regret.
The bitter trial he had thus endured, had one good result in the very valuable work which he afterwards published in defence of his calumniated charge; but it told heavily upon himself, his sensitive nature never recovered the shock of the attack made upon him, and the suffering which it engendered in many ways; indeed it so seriously affected his constitution that it is now [20/21] thought by many to have been the remote cause, humanly speaking, of his premature death.
The Bishop's health was never strong, and all his labours were carried on under the pressure, more or less, of physical weakness; he was often obliged to go for rest to the Continent, because there only, as he used to say, could he escape the daily Post. He always made those journeys however, a means of prosecuting the scientific study of theology, which was his lifelong and favourite pursuit, and to this he owed his acquaintance with Dr. Döllinger, whom he frequently visited and greatly esteemed.
The Bishop sympathized strongly with the Old Catholic movement, and in his last hours it was a great satisfaction to him that the Synod of Brechin, which was held three days before his death, passed a resolution expressive of sympathy with the objects of the recent conference at Bonn. All such questions the Bishop studied with an amount of research and learning which few could have brought to bear on them. In particular he thoroughly examined into the claims and Catholicity of the Church of England, and never swerved from the satisfactory conclusions to which he was brought by his study of this subject. It may cheer some hearts fainting in these troublous times, to know that we have the testimony of his nearest friend and fellow-worker for the fact, that the longer he lived the more entirely convinced did he become of the soundness of her position.
The Bishop's absences from his diocese for rest, were [21/22] never what could be called holidays--though they were times of recreation to his spirit in intercourse with his friends, amongst whom he numbered Mr. Keble, Canon Liddon, Mr. Gladstone, and many others less illustrious, but not to him less dear; still while enjoying occasional meetings with them, he was always ready to preach or to hold retreats, and to minister in different ways to the numberless persons who came to him for spiritual help, or for the solution of intellectual difficulties; to these last, his answers came with no uncertain sound, of which one striking instance has come to our knowledge: he was taking a country walk one day with a young man who, in common with many other earnest souls, was perplexed by some of the new scientific theories respecting the Creation, and he asked the Bishop whether he thought it possible that God had indeed abandoned the universe to the mechanical action of laws, with which He would not Himself interfere. The Bishop stopped short, and touching with his foot a blade of grass, he said, "I believe that God takes as much individual care of that blade of grass, as if nothing else existed in the universe, and that He does not abandon it to the independent action of any laws whatever." The Bishop of Brechin's literary labours were incessant, and his profound theological studies rendered his writings of lasting value to the Church; we may name especially his volumes on the Thirty-nine Articles and on the Nicene Creed, but for the rest we subjoin a list of his works at the end of the memoir, as we must hasten on now to the closing scenes.
 On the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, September 26, the Bishop preached his last sermon; he was then feeling unwell, but refused to spare himself this exertion, as he was advised to do. He continued so much indisposed during the following week that he was unable to attend various services he had arranged to be conducted by Mr. Body, in Dundee, at which he had greatly wished to be present. So little, however, was any danger apprehended, that none of his attached brothers and sisters, who, as well as their children, had always been truly dear to him, were summoned; yet it would seem that some internal voice must have whispered to him that the end of his earthly existence might be near, for at the commencement of his illness, when there was no reason to suppose it serious, he expressed his perfect readiness to die or to live as it might please God, and maintained to the last, perfect resignation, profound peace, and most firm faith in his divine Lord and in the Blessed Sacrament, whereby he knew that his soul was kept in union with Him Who is the Resurrection and the Life. On Tuesday the 5th of October, the usual synod was held at Dundee, but the Bishop was unable to be present, and the Charge which he had prepared for delivery on that occasion was read for him. The closing sentences of this his last public utterance, contain so solemn and weighty a testimony to the Truth and Divine Mission of the Church, that we cannot forbear to transcribe them here as his final declaration of faith.
These were his concluding words:--
 "The Church to which we belong has thrown itself on the primitive rule, Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus. She has grounded her belief deep in the facts of history. She accepts no doctrine that will not bear the test of universal tradition. She rejects all local colouring. She aims at universality, for the Consensus Sanctorum est vox Spiritus Sancti. But this must not be pressed on the negative side only: it is not enough to say that we reject doctrines that will not bear those tests; there is a positive side also: we must say, we hold, we grasp with unflinching tenacity all the doctrines which are rooted and grounded on antiquity, are sanctioned by universality, and have ever been certified wherever the name of Christ is named. And still while exacting as terms of communion only, the revelation which was complete five minutes after nine o'clock on the first day of Pentecost, she takes a leaf out of every school of thought that has arisen within the Church of Chbist. Just as in the Prayer Book she has embalmed history, so she appropriates to herself the results of all the controversies, which having agitated the Church of God, have done great good in proving the faithful and in clearing up the conceptions of different doctrines. Thus she makes her own the triumph of the Alexandrian School over the philosopher when ' old foes under new faces' would renew their attack upon the faith in these days; and thus she assimilates the results of discussions on the doctrine of grace which emerged in the Pelagian controversies. But more than this. Conscious of the Indwelling of the Divine Spirit, she stands unshaken in the midst of the fierce blasts of materialism and pantheism. Conscious of life within her she abides unmoved amid the strife of tongues, believing that the Eternal Word can neither deceive nor be deceived. She can afford to smile at a theory of creation which evolves the beautiful universe by which we are surrounded from a series of vortex atoms, or accounts for the underlying forces [24/25] of nature by the action of demons. She can detect the truth that underlies the theory of evolution and acknowledge the action of an adorable Will, working uniformly according to the order of Its own perfection. She can leave to science truly the domain of the lower world, being sure that every new discovery, every careful elucidation, will only add fresh material to the high theme of the Creator's praise, while she abides herself in the higher region of faith, witnessing to the existence of spirit, controlling the mighty powers of the human will and directing the deep springs of emotion which gush forth from the human heart: calmly resting in the sense of her own certainty, she permits all opposing doctrines to convict themselves by their own absurdity or inefficiency or incompleteness. She allows theory to succeed theory, and confutation to follow upon assertion, while she herself abides unmoved. She knows in whom she has trusted--in the Eternal Word and Reason, in Christ the Revealer of the Father, Who speaks to every rational intellect, Who illuminates the Holy Spirits of knowledge that burn round the Throne on high, Who coming into the world lights every man--in that Wisdom which is the Breath of the Power of God--the pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty, Who pours down His own Spirit, (Who receives of Him the gifts of understanding, counsel and true knowledge,) upon the children of men,--in that Light of the Gentiles and glory of His people Israel--Who sheds His rays on all the varied departments of human lore--illustrating every fact of physical nature and every other form of the depths of God's mysterious ways, in that Truth which sanctifying every form of human wisdom orders in wisdom the polities, the industries, the laws, the sacred domestication of humanity, and from the seething cauldron and the surging free will of the creature, brings forth a law of order and harmony and love."
 The Bishop was able to listen with interest to the accounts brought to him of the proceedings at the Synod, and for the next two days he appeared to be convalescent, and even said himself that he thought he was recovering. Nevertheless, his habitual system of self-discipline enabled him to make the best preparation for death at the most fitting moment. We can but hold it to have been a proof of his Lord's tender care for him, that an English clergyman to whom he was in the habit of resorting for spiritual help, was staying with him in his house precisely at that time. On the day which proved to be the last but one of his life, the Bishop expressed a wish to see this friend in order that he might make his confession as was his wont. This was done,--and so it was that the solemn words of pardon and peace prepared the Christian soul to depart to its pure Redeemer, just four and twenty hours before the unexpected summons came. That night and the next day passed calmly, with no marked increase of illness, and in the evening the Bishop spoke cheerfully of his condition to his faithful friend, Dean Nicholson, who had tended him with the most unremitting care from the commencement of his malady. About eight o'clock, however, on the evening of Friday, the 8th of October, 1875, he suddenly fainted: the Dean hastened to administer restoratives, but almost immediately perceived that the faintness was passing into death: he at once knelt down and said the last prayers of the Church, and just as he uttered the words which commended the soul of his dear father and friend to [26/27] the hands of the faithful Creator, the last sigh passed gently over the silent lips, and the enfranchised spirit fled away to look on the Divine Face of Him Whom in life and in death it had loved so well;--Animae nostrae sint cum illo!
Yes! he was gone, and many a heart will ache at the cruel void which he has left. Yet those who love him best may well rejoice in all sincerity that so it is,--not on the ground of the trite generalities which would assert that our loss is his gain, but because he was one of those men of sensitive temperament, great delicacy of feeling, and most scrupulous conscience,--for whom the battle of life must always be exceptionally hard; and of set purpose he made it to himself yet harder, since in order that he might serve his Lord with a wholly undivided love, he excluded utterly from his existence all those sweet ties and fond domestic affections, which best can smooth the rough paths of earth for struggling human beings. Alone he trod the steep upward road, following the Lamb whithersoever He went, while many a piercing thorn and cutting stone made sharp the painful pilgrimage; and now that it is safely over, well may we believe that he shall walk with Him in white, amid the lilies of the sinless Land, of which that Blessed One is Light and Sun.
He was gone; and now commenced a time which showed what Alexander, Bishop of Brechin, had been to his people. Far and wide the news of his sudden death carried a shock of grief and dismay, and before the bereaved relatives were able to make suitable [27/28] arrangements, the house was besieged by those who prayed for leave to look on him once more.
On Sunday the 10th of October, all who wished to take a last farewell were admitted to see the lifeless form, which up to that time had been watched by the Superior and Sisters of S. Mary's Home.
The Bishop was laid in the library of his house in an open shell, clad in full Episcopal robes, his pastoral staff in the right hand, and the left reposing on his breast; at the head was placed the mitre, and on either side of the coffin stood massive wax tapers, while at the foot was a table supporting a cross before which were placed lights and flowers. The doors were thrown open; and it is calculated that nearly seven thousand persons passed through the room on that day to take a last look of their beloved Father in God. Such a scene, it is said, has not been witnessed in Scotland for many centuries.
The deep reverence and feeling shown by the people was most remarkable; all knelt on entering into the presence of the sacred dead; many crossed themselves, and the great majority gently touched the noble head in token of a mute farewell, while even rough working men could not restrain their tears. No sounds were heard but those of weeping and prayer, only as the little children laid their hands upon the calm cold forehead, most of them broke into the innocent pleading words, "God bless you, good Bishop!"
The emotion manifested by the crowd was so great that it was perhaps well the closing of the coffin next [28/29] morning prevented a repetition of the scene. It had been the wish of the Bishop's family that he should be buried beside his father in Edinburgh, but so strong a demonstration was made by the people in Dundee of their desire that he should be laid in their midst, that it was found impossible not to comply with it, and it was decided that he should rest in his own Cathedral Church of S. Paul,--where, as one of his clergy wrote to a friend, "for our generation at least he will preach to our hearts, as for so many years he has done by his sweet words and still sweeter life."
On the Sunday before the funeral, as well as on that which followed it, sermons were preached in most of the Presbyterian pulpits in and near Dundee, as well as in many Churches both in England and Scotland, bearing testimony to the heavy loss which had been sustained by all. One Presbyterian minister concluded his discourse with the words,--"Let us hope and pray that God may send another as pure and faithful as he was to fill the place he has left." The Bishop of Aberdeen, who paid a noble tribute to his departed brother, said that many a one had been saved from forsaking the Church of their baptism by seeing in the Bishop of Brechin "that the deepest learning, the most uncompromising adherence to dogma, the humblest faith, the most fervent devotion, the highest appreciation of all that is beautiful in art and nature, the noblest charity, and the most self-denying life, could all find their full development in the Anglican communion." At All Saints', in London, the preacher spoke of him as [29/30] the Athanasius of modern times. At Dundee, Dean Nicholson gave a very striking account of the work which had been accomplished in the diocese; and in the Church of S. Thomas the Martyr in Oxford, the Bishop's friend and former Vicar told most touchingly the noble story of his life, with an emotion which would scarcely allow him to say all that he desired.
On the evening of Thursday the 14th of October, the mortal remains of the Bishop were conveyed to the Church of S. Paul and laid before the Altar, which was draped in black, and there his attached clergy kept watch till the interment. The outer coffin was of polished oak, the lid ridge-shaped and bearing a cross of dark colour which extended the whole length from head to foot. At the base was a brass plate, on which was the following inscription, drawn up by one of the Bishop's cousins on an old Saxon model,--
+ ALEXANDER EPISCOPUS BRECHINENSIS
IN PACE QUIEVIT ANNO SALUTIS MDCCCLXXV.
EPISCOPATES SUI XXVIII.
AETATIS VERO LIX. +
Wreaths of exquisite flowers were laid on the coffin, and six large wax tapers burned round it. Next morning at nine o'clock there was a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Primus being celebrant, at which the number of communicants was so great that it lasted many hours; long before the time appointed for the concluding ceremony, the Church was filled to its fullest extent, although it had been necessary to give [30/31] admission only by tickets. Many of the English Bishops who had been anxious to be present at these farewell rites, were unfortunately prevented--the Archbishop of York (a family connection) was scarcely recovered from a severe illness. The Bishop of Lichfield who had been so much affected by the death of his friend as to have almost fainted away on hearing the sad tidings, was unavoidably detained at a distance,--as were also the Bishops of Carlisle and S. Andrew's, and several others. When at last the long procession marched from the schoolroom, in which the clergy vested, to the porch of the Church, where they were received by the Bishops and Deans, they passed through streets literally thronged with spectators; a force of policemen had been sent to keep order, but they were not in the least required, for nothing could exceed the respectful solemnity of the immense crowd, who seemed only anxious to testify their reverence for their dear Bishop.
The Dead March in Saul was played as the procession advanced, but the moment that it entered the Church preceded by the Bishops, the clear sweet voices of the choristers rose high in the blessed words, "I am the Resurrection and the Life." The Bishop's eldest brother, William Forbes, Esq., of Medwyn, took his place at the head of the coffin as chief mourner, the Rev. E. Lingard Guthrie stood at the foot holding the Pastoral Staff veiled in crape; the Bishops passed to their seats in the sedilia; the Sisters of Mercy had places in the vestry, and the numerous relatives in the [31/32] front seats; the service was chorally rendered, with very beautiful music; the Bishop of Aberdeen reading the lesson amid the sobs of moat of the congregation. Just before the close of the solemn Office, a sudden sunbeam broke through the cloudy sky, and fell from the painted window in many-hued brightness on the white pall with its crimson cross which covered the bier. Then six of the principal Clergymen of the Diocese, with the chief mourner, slowly lowered the coffin into the vault which had been prepared for it in front of the Altar. The Dean of Brechin dropped the symbolic earth upon it at the solemn sound "ashes to ashes." The wreaths of flowers were flung in by the clergy and friends, and the service closed most appropriately with the singing of the hymn,
"The strife is o'er, the battle done!"
There, beneath the chancel where he so often dispensed the Bread of Life, and where so many hundreds of his spiritual sons and daughters received from his hands the "Seal of the Lord" in confirmation, Alexander, Bishop of Brechin, now rests in peace, waiting the Resurrection morning; and we cannot better close this imperfect record, than by echoing the wish of the little children as they took their leave of him, feeling very sure that God will indeed bless for evermore the good Bishop whom He has taken home to the bosom of His Eternal Love.
The following is a list of the Bishop's works:--"Treatise on the Nicene Creed," which passed through two editions; "Treatise on the Thirty-nine Articles," regarded by all as a standard work; Commentaries, in four volumes, on the "Te Deum," the "Canticles," the "Litany," and the "Penitential Psalms;" four volumes of Sermons; single Discourses on various subjects, such as "Christian Art," "Sufficing Manifestation of the Eternal Father;" pamphlets--"Plea for Sisterhoods," "Cantus," and "Earnest Exhortation to Confession." "Notes on Meditations," given at two retreats for the Clergy held at Dundee 1867 and 1869; "On the Deepening of the Spiritual Life," a treatise read at a Church Congress; "The Pious Life and Death of Helen Inglis." He contributed Articles to the Ecclesiastic, the Christian Remembrancer, the North British Review, and the Edinburgh Review; and one to the Quarterly Review (October 1875) "The Maules of Panmure.' 'Much attention was attracted by his weighty and well-considered Charges, of which he published four, viz., his "Primary Charge," "General Synods," "Christian Unity," and "Admission of the Laity." 100,000 copies were sold of his Catechism on the Rite of Confirmation, entitled, "The Seal of the Lord," and a large number of a "Catechism to be learned before the Church Catechism." He wrote in conjunction with his brother, the Rev. G. H. Forbes, of Burntisland, the preface to the "Arbuth-not Missal;" translated the "Scottish Communion Office" into Greek; and edited the late Lady Eleanor Law's Translations from Pinart, "Meditations on the Suffering Life of our Lord," "Nourishment of the Christian Soul," and "The Mirror of Young Christians," and the Abbot of Monte Cassino's "Meditations on the Passion." He wrote a "Companion to the Altar" (adapted to the Scottish Office,) "Essay on Greek Rites in the West," and [33/34] "The Pious Churchman," and translated Arvisenet's Memoriale Vitae Sacerdotalis. His most recent works were the "Kalendars of Scottish Saints" and "Memoirs of Dame Christian Forbes." The Lives of S. Ninian and S. Kentigern, edited with introduction and notes for the series of the Scottish Historians; The Life of S. Columba, with Dr. Reeves' introduction and notes, translated in conjunction with a friend for the same series. "Remains of Arthur W. Haddan." He was engaged at the time of his death on a writer called Columbanus, with translations of his life and works; which would have been a valuable addition to the History of the Church in the seventh century.
THE REV. GEORGE HAY FORBES.
[This letter was addressed to the Editor of the "Churchman's Companion" by the writer of the Memoir of the Bishop of Brechin, which had appeared a month previously in the pages of that periodical.]
Those who have read the Memoir of the Bishop of Brechin which appeared in your last issue, will I think feel an interest in the details of an event which has occurred since its publication, and which serves but too fitly as a sad supplement to it.
Within a month from the day when Alexander, Bishop of Brechin, departed in the peace of Christ, his brother, younger than himself by a few years only, was summoned to follow him, as we may well believe, into the more immediate presence of the Master whom both had loved and served so well.
George Hay Forbes was in many respects a remarkable man, and well worthy to be the brother of that saintly Bishop whose name will long fill the Church with its fragrance, inasmuch as his life from his earliest [35/36] childhood was one of singular devotion and piety. Even in his boyhood he was of most studious habits, rejecting all amusements or light reading, and giving himself up completely to the study of the Fathers and other abstruse works of theology, in which he soon became very learned.
His intellect, naturally powerful, was applied to every branch of knowledge which could fit him for his Master's service, and certainly few men had so thorough an acquaintance with the ancient liturgies and the history of the Church in every age. He made himself also perfectly master of all languages which could assist him in his studies, especially Hebrew and Arabic, besides, of course, Greek and Latin, and later, such modern tongues as might be useful to him in his researches. He devoted his spare time most successfully both to mathematics and logic, in which he acquired great proficiency, and there is no doubt that he might have rendered very valuable service to the Church, had he limited himself to the vast field of literary labour which opened out before him, in the days of his studious youth. An illness in early childhood had left him an incurable weakness of the limbs, which might well have been considered a sufficient reason to excuse him from attempting any active work for his Lord, but his ardent soul could not be satisfied without reaching onward to the highest form of service possible to him. In 1847 he took holy orders, and entered on a career of zealous and unremitting clerical work, which has only now terminated with his death.
 His extreme reverence and deep devotional feeling in the ministration of the offices of the Church, quite counteracted any painful effect from his physical weakness, and his fine spiritual face, with its worn ascetic look, spoke very impressively of a life in strict accordance with his high calling. Mr. Forbes served for a short time in a curacy at Crieff, and was then appointed to the incumbency of Burntisland in Fifeshire, where he at once opened a mission carried on subsequently with great energy and perseverance, and where he remained to the end. He will not soon be forgotten there. Many of his works for the benefit of his people survive him, while his holy influence will long live as a power in their souls. His labours on their behalf were always conducted with the utmost thoughtfulness and consideration for all their wants and wishes. Yet he commenced his work under circumstances which might have discouraged many a young clergyman, and especially a man of such strong feelings and ardent nature as himself, for the people of Burntisland were so much opposed to the Church that they signed a petition to endeavour to procure its banishment from the place altogether. The Minister of the United Presbyterian Kirk at once asked to have a meeting for discussion with Mr. Forbes, and he brought with him one of his elders to support him. The result of the interview was however very different from what the Minister intended, for the elder was so much struck by what Mr. Forbes said that he joined the Church immediately and became a regular communicant at the early [37/38] celebrations. In the very first year of his incumbency Mr. Forbes put himself to no small trouble and expense in order to provide a number of devotional works printed in Gaelic, for the use of those to whom that language was the most familiar, and in spite of his infirm state which made it trying for him to walk, he was continually visiting at their houses, instructing, consoling, and sympathising with them in every way that he could. He organised for himself a most austere and self-denying life, giving nearly all he possessed to the work of the Church in one way or another. He established excellent schools, which he supported almost entirely j a printing press, in which he employed women and girls, and he defrayed besides all expenses connected with the services. But the great desire of his heart was to raise a sanctuary more fit for the worship of God than the very poor accommodation at the time provided.
With this view he obtained designs from a first-rate architect for a lofty and beautiful church to be dedicated to S. Serf, one of the primitive Scotch saints. His first act in connection with it was one of personal sacrifice, for he had found, on taking up his abode in his little parsonage that it was an almost absolute necessity that he should make the addition to it of a study for his use, and had projected doing so at once, but he entirely gave up the idea of completing it after it had been begun, so soon as he decided on giving all that he had to the erection of a Church. He had very little hope from the first that he would live to see it finished, [38/39] but he quietly commenced it with the avowed intention of looking for its completion only to the piety of generations yet to come, when he should long have been laid to rest.
Nevertheless, he carried on the building vigorously so long as it was possible, and when the funds failed for the supply of workmen, he used himself to superintend and continue the labours, feeling pleased if he could add a few stones to the structure day by day. I believe that for a considerable time Mr. Forbes and his gardener were the only persons employed on the vast building; the Church remains unfinished, as he predicted, but an idea is already being mooted, which it is sincerely to be hoped may be realized, that it ought now to be completed as a memorial to him.
Mr. Forbes had some peculiarities in his mode of conducting the service which sprang chiefly from his love of all that was ancient; amongst others was his determination never to administer the Sacrament of Baptism otherwise than by immersion, excepting in cases where he considered that circumstances called upon him to give way to the wishes of others. At one time he also considered himself aggrieved in consequence of a new code of Canons passed by the General Synod of the Church in which he ministered, and he took the somewhat unusual course of bringing an action against the Primus and other authorities responsible for the acts of that Synod. It was carried, after two hearings in Scotland, to the House of Lords, where, in a masterly statement, Mr. Forbes pleaded his own cause; it is said [39/40] that he spoke for seven hours before the Peers. An eminent lawyer who was present, told a friend afterwards that it was one of the finest forensic efforts he had ever heard, and when Mr. Forbes gracefully apologised to the Lord Chancellor for having acted as his own advocate--the reply was, that he need make no apology since the most distinguished legal authority could not have done greater justice to his cause. The decision was against him, and the wisdom of the step was, as might be expected, a good deal questioned; but the case must always be regarded as one of great importance, to which appeal will probably often be made in questions involving the right of minorities in disestablished religious communities. The suit cost Mr. Forbes a large sum of money, to which fact he was perfectly indifferent. In 1853, Mr. Forbes married Miss Eleanor Wemyss, a lady whose companionship and sympathy were a great solace to him in all his arduous duties, and who survives to mourn him.
The amount of work of various kinds which he managed to accomplish in spite of his weak health, and almost continual physical suffering, is almost incredible. For many years he never failed to take three services every Sunday, teaching afterwards in the school, and then holding a class in the evening: during the week in addition to his constant visiting of the people he regularly took his share each day in the work of his various schools, and after the children were dismissed, he always assembled the teachers in his own house for instruction. He systematically began his day [40/41] at a very early hour, in spite of the fact that his nights were often sleepless and full of pain from the state of his health; he had generally accomplished an hour or two's work before seven o'clock, when he always said prayers, never allowing anything to interfere with his punctual performance of this duty; even on the day before his death, when already extremely ill, he insisted on leaving his bed for this purpose. The dark hours of the winter mornings, when few were astir save himself, were always given to his literary labours; from his private printing press (his own hands I believe often setting up the type), he sent out a variety of learned works of which I fear I can only give an incomplete list:--"Reasons for adopting the revised edition of the Scottish Communion Office," "The Ancient Liturgies of the Gallican Church" (produced conjointly with Dr. Neale), "Gregorii Nysseni Opera," "The Scottish Communion Office," "Bishop Rattray's Theological Works," "Missale ad usum Insignis Ecclesiae Sarum," "The Christian Sacrifice in the Eucharist," and two very striking articles on the Altar and Amphitheatre in the "Encyclopaedia Britannica." At the time of his death, Mr. Forbes was engaged on a truly remarkable work, the preparation for which exemplified his extraordinary linguistic powers in a striking manner: he was printing an edition of the Book of Ecclesiastes with an elaborate commentary, and had collected no less than twenty-nine versions of it in different languages; having quietly set himself to learn any of the various tongues of which he might happen to be ignorant, in [41/42] order to master every slight variation of the text in the several copies. It was a source of great delight to him, that on the occasion of his last visit to Paris within a month of the termination of his laborious life, he found the last of these versions in the library there; he knew that only two copies existed, one of which was at Rome and inaccessible, and his pleasure therefore in discovering the other was very great. He left unfinished also, an edition of the Drummond Castle Missal, a very interesting relic of the ancient Scoto-Celtic Church, but it was so nearly concluded, that it is hoped it may yet see the light.
Mr. Forbes's sermons were always prepared with great care and study, but were preached extempore, as he had a remarkable gift of fluent and expressive language. In addition to all his clerical and literary labours he had also heavy municipal duties for some years, having found that he could be of great use to his people as a member of the Town Council, and he finally for the same reason permitted the voters to elect him Provost--a position answering to that of Mayor in England.
The only relaxation which Mr. Forbes ever allowed himself--if indeed it could be called such--was an occasional visit to some of the foreign libraries, and chiefly to those in Paris, where he had many friends, M. de Montalembert and M. de Tassy, amongst the number.
Singularly enough he discovered in the Imperial Library in Paris, the identical Missal which David de [42/43] Bohn used at the consecration in 1304 of the chapel of Kirkton, now in ruins, near Burntisland.
Mr. Forbes was in Paris when the blow fell upon him which has been so deeply felt throughout the Church, and it is thought that the shock he received in hearing of his brother's unexpected death may have had a fatal effect on his delicate constitution; he was unable to attend the funeral of the Bishop of Brechin, but was sufficiently recovered to return home to Burntisland on the 3rd of November. Next day he was seized with an attack of bronchitis, and was soon alarmingly ill--but his suffering was mercifully short. Amid the darkness and silence of the northern night, on the 7th of November, 1875, he was released from the life-long weakness and pain of his mortal state, and passed, we may trust, to rejoin his brother in the realms of peace and light.
The people of Burntisland made the same request to Mr. Forbes's family as the inhabitants of Dundee had proffered to them in the case of his brother the Bishop. They earnestly begged that their dear Pastor might be laid to rest amid the scenes of his long and devoted labours, but the surviving relations had a strong natural desire that he should have his place by the side of the father and mother who had so tenderly cared for their fragile and gifted son, and the point was conceded to their wishes. The sorrowing parishioners were resolved to do all that they could to demonstrate their love and reverence for him, and on the day of the funeral, while every window was darkened and every [43/44] bell tolling, the whole population of the place, headed by the municipal authorities, followed the coffin down to the water's edge where the steamer awaited it that was to convey it to the beautiful cemetery at Edinburgh. They watched the vessel quit the shore and then when they turned away there was many a touching token of the sad sense of bereavement which smote upon their hearts, as they felt that they should look upon his face no more.
F. M. F. S.