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Title: The Life of Col. James Gardiner

Creator: Religious Tract Society

Release date: June 30, 2020 [eBook #62529]

Language: English


Transcribed from the 1800’s Religious Tract Society edition, by David Price, email


No. 17.





Colonel James Gardiner was the son of Captain Patrick Gardiner, who served many years in the armies of King William and Queen Anne, and died abroad with the British forces in Germany.

The Colonel’s mother was a lady of very excellent character; but it pleased God to exercise her with uncommon trials; for she lost not only her husband and her brother in the service of their country, but also her eldest son, Mr. R. Gardiner, on the day which completed his sixteenth year, at the siege of Namur, in 1695.  But God blessed these afflictions as the means of forming her to an eminent degree of piety.

The second son, the subject of this Memoir, was born in Linlithgowshire, Jan. 10, 1687–8, the memorable year of the glorious Revolution, in defence of which his own life was eventually sacrificed.

In early life, his mother took care to instruct him with great tenderness and affection in the principles of true Christianity.  While at the school at Linlithgow, he made a considerable progress in literature.

p. 2In the younger part of his life the good effects of his mother’s prudent and exemplary care were not so conspicuous as she hoped; yet there is great reason to believe they were not entirely lost.  Could she have prevailed, he would not have thought of a military life; 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 at this, when he knows that this lively youth fought three duels before he attained the stature of a man; in one of which, when but eight years old, he received from a boy, much older than himself, a wound in the right cheek, the scar of which was always very apparent.  This false sense of honour might seem excusable in those unripened years, and considering the profession of his father; but he often mentioned it with regret.  And after his conversion, he declined accepting a challenge, with this truly great reply, which in a man of his experienced bravery was exceedingly to be admired, “I fear sinning,” said he, “though you know I do not fear fighting.”

He served as a cadet very early: and at fourteen years old, he bore an ensign’s commission in a Scotch regiment in the Dutch service; in which he continued till 1702, when he received an ensign’s commission from Queen Anne, which he bore in the battle of Ramilies, in his nineteenth year.

On this occasion, our young officer was commanded on what seemed almost a desperate service, to dispossess the French of the church-yard at Ramilies, where a considerable number of them were posted to remarkable advantage.  They succeeded better than was expected, and Mr. G. 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 the men (probably in that horrid language which is so peculiar a disgrace to our soldiery) he received a shot in his p. 3mouth, which, without beating out any of his teeth, or touching the forepart of his tongue, went through his neck.  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 dropping soon after, he traced the passage of it by his finger, when he could discover it no other way.

This accident happened about five or six in the evening, on the 23d of May, in the year 1706; and the army pursuing its advantages against the French, without regarding the wounded, our young officer lay all night in the field, agitated, as may well be supposed, with a great variety of thoughts.  When he reflected upon the circumstances 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 condition then seemed.  Yet had he little thought of humbling himself before God, and returning to Him after the wanderings of a life licentiously begun.  But, expecting to recover, his mind was taken up with contrivances to secure his gold, of which he had nearly twenty pistoles about him; and he had recourse to a very odd expedient.  Expecting to be stripped, he took out a handful of clotted gore, of which he was frequently obliged to clear his mouth; and putting it into his left hand, he took out the money, and shutting his hand, besmeared the back of it with blood; in this position he kept it till the blood so dried, that his hand could not easily fall open.

In the morning, the French, who were masters of that spot, though 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, a cordelier, who p. 4attended them, interposed, taking him by his dress for a Frenchman, and said, “Do not kill the 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; from which he said he derived a more sensible refreshment than he could remember from any thing he had tasted either before or since.  Then, asking, by signs, 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 nephew to the governor of Huy, a neutral town in the neighbourhood, and that, if they could convey him thither, he did not doubt but his uncle would liberally reward them.  He had indeed a friend there, but the relationship was pretended.  However, on hearing this, they laid him on a sort of hand-barrow, and sent him with a file of musketeers towards the place; but the men lost their way, and got into a wood towards the evening, 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 other 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 stanch the blood; and he often mentioned it as a most astonishing providence, that he did not bleed to death.

Judging it quite unsafe to attempt carrying him to Huy, 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.  p. 5But the cure of his wound was committed to an ignorant barber-surgeon, who lived near the house.  The tent which this artist applied, was almost like a peg driven into the wound; yet, by the blessing of God, he recovered in a few months.  The lady abbess, who called him her son treated him with the affection and care of a mother.  He received a great many devout admonitions from the ladies there, and they would fain have persuaded him to acknowledge so miraculous a deliverance, by embracing the Catholic Faith, as they were pleased to call it.  But, though no religion lay near his heart, he had too much the spirit of a gentleman, lightly to change that form of religion which he wore loose about him.

When his liberty was regained by an exchange of prisoners, and his health established, he was far from rendering to the Lord according to the mercy he had experienced.  Very little is known of the particulars of those wild and thoughtless years which lay between the nineteenth and thirtieth of his life; except that he experienced the divine goodness in preserving him in several hot military actions; and yet these years were spent in an entire alienation from God, and an eager pursuit of sensual pleasure as his supreme good.

Amidst all these wanderings from religion, virtue, and happiness, he approved himself so well in his military character, that he was made a lieutenant in 1708; and, after several intermediate promotions, appointed major of a regiment commanded by the Earl of Stair.  In January, 1729–30, he was advanced to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the same regiment: and here continued till April, 1743; when he received a colonel’s commission over a regiment of dragoons; and at the head of which he valiantly fell about two years and a half after he received it.

We now return to that period of his life which passed at Paris, where he resided in the family of the p. 6Earl of Stair, with some interruptions, till about the year 1720.

The Earl’s favour and generosity made him easy in his affairs, though he was part of the time out of commission, the regiment to which he belonged being disbanded.  This was, in all probability, the gayest part of his life, and the most criminal.  Whatever good examples he might find in the family where he lived, it is certain that the French court was one of the most dissolute under heaven.  What, by a wretched abuse of language, have been called intrigues of love and gallantry, constituted, if not the whole business, at least the whole pleasure of his life: his fine constitution, than which, perhaps, there was hardly ever a better, gave him great opportunities of indulging himself in those excesses; and his good spirits enabled him to pursue his pleasures in such a manner, that multitudes envied him, and called him, by a dreadful kind of compliment, “The happy rake.”

Yet the checks of conscience, and some remaining principles of so good an education, would break in upon his most licentious hours; and when some of his dissolute companions were once congratulating him upon his felicity, a dog happening at that time to come into the room, he could not forbear groaning inwardly, and saying to himself, “O that I were that dog!”  Such was then 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.

Yet in the most abandoned days, he was never fond of intemperate drinking, from which he used to think a manly pride might be sufficient to preserve persons of sense and spirit; so that if he ever fell into any excesses of that kind, it was merely out of complaisance.  His frank, obliging, and generous temper, procured him many friends; and those principles, which rendered him amiable to others, not p. 7being under the direction of wisdom and piety, sometimes made him more uneasy to himself than he perhaps might have been if he could entirely have outgrown them, especially as he was never a confirmed sceptic, but still retained a secret apprehension, that natural and revealed religion was founded in truth.  With this conviction, his notorious violation 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, 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 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.

But these strains were too devout to continue long in a heart as yet unsanctified: for how readily soever he could repeat such acknowledgments of the divine power and goodness, and confess his own follies and faults, he was stopt short by the remonstrances of his 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.  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 a hypocritical form, while the sentiments of his soul were contrary to it, 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 one of the first that deliberately laid p. 8aside prayer, from some sense of God’s omniscience, and some natural principle of honour and conscience.

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 still harder.  Neither was it softened, or awakened, by the very memorable deliverances, which at this time he received.  Once he was in extreme danger by a fall from his horse.  As he was riding fast 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.  In his return from England in the packet-boat, 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 these circumstances he did pray, and that very fervently too; and it was 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.”

We now come to the account of his conversion.  This memorable event happened towards the middle of July, 1719.  The major had spent the evening (which was the Sabbath) in some gay company, and p. 9had an unhappy assignation with a married lady, whom he was to attend exactly at twelve.  The company broke up about eleven; and he went into his chamber to kill the tedious hour.  It happened that he took up a religious book, (which his good mother or aunt had, without his knowledge, slipped into his portmanteau,) called, “The Christian Soldier; or Heaven taken by Storm:” written by Mr. Thomas Watson.  Guessing, by the title, that he should find some phrases of his own profession spiritualized, in a manner which might afford him some diversion, he resolved to dip into it, but took no serious notice of any thing he read; 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 consequences.

Suddenly he thought he saw an unusual blaze of light fall on the book, while he was reading, which he at first imagined might have happened 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 with a glory; and was impressed as if a voice, or something equivalent to a voice, had come to him to this effect: “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 confident, though he judged it to be the former.  Struck with so amazing a phenomenon, there remained hardly any life in him, so that he sank down in the arm-chair in which he sat, and continued, (he knew not exactly how long) insensible, and when he opened his eyes saw nothing more than usual.

It may be easily supposed he was in no condition to make any observation upon the time during which he remained insensible; nor did he throughout all the remainder of the night once recollect that criminal p. 10assignation which had before engrossed all his thoughts.  He arose 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 both of 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 worthy of eternal damnation; was astonished that he had not been immediately struck dead in the midst of his wickedness; and, (which deserves particular remark,) though he assuredly believed that he should ere long be in hell, and settled it as a point with himself for some months, that the wisdom and justice of God did most 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 must 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.

In this view it may naturally be inferred, 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 he had received; particularly in rescuing him from so many imminent dangers of death; which he now saw must p. 11have been attended with such dreadful and hopeless destruction.  The privileges of his education, which, he had so much despised, 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, 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.”

The mind of major Gardiner continued from this remarkable time, rather more than three months, (but especially the two first 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, 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 useful a manner as he could; and to continue casting himself at the feet 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 was continually crying to him, that he would deliver him from the bondage of corruption.  He perceived within 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 he was grieved to see p. 12human nature, even in those to whom he was a stranger, prostituted to such low and contemptible pursuits.  He therefore exerted his natural courage in a 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 an extreme; 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 infidelity and vice, as determinately as ever he planted his colours in the field.  There was at that time in Paris a certain lady 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 with that politeness which was habitual to him,) answered like a man who perfectly saw through the fallacy of her arguments, and was grieved to the heart for her delusion.  On this she challenged him to debate the matter at large, and to fix upon p. 13a day for that purpose, when he should dine with her, attended with any clergyman he might choose.  A sense of duty would not allow him to decline this challenge: and yet he had no sooner accepted it than he was thrown into great perplexity and distress, lest being 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 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 in that case seem to invade, he waited on the lady alone upon the day appointed.

The major opened the conference with a view of such arguments of 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, till he had finished his design, and waited for her reply.  She then produced some of her objections, which he canvassed in such a manner, that at length she burst out 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 p. 14least so far as to prevent her from ever appearing under the character of an unbeliever or a sceptic.  This is only one, among many of the battles he was almost daily called out to fight in the cause of religion and virtue.  The continued 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 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.  In a word, he went on, as every Christian by divine grace may do, till he turned ridicule and opposition into respect and veneration.

Within about two months after his first memorable change he began to perceive some secret dawnings of more cheerful hope—that, vile as he then saw himself to be, he might nevertheless obtain mercy through a Redeemer; and at length about the end of October, 1719, he found all the burden of his mind taken off at once by the powerful impression of that memorable scripture upon his mind; (Rom. iii. 25, 26.) “Whom God hath set forth for a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for 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 from all sin.  He was led to see the riches of redeeming love and grace, in such a manner as not only engaged him, with the utmost pleasure and confidence, p. 15to venture his soul upon them; but even swallowed up (as it were) his whole heart in the returns of love, which, from that blessed time, became the genuine and delightful principle of obedience, and animated him, with an enlarged heart, to run the ways 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 turned into unutterable joy.  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 declared, on the word of a Christian and a friend, wonderful as it might seem, that, for about seven years after this, he enjoyed nearly a heaven upon earth.  His soul was almost continually filled with a sense of the love of God in Christ; so that from the time of his waking in the morning, his heart was rising to God, and triumphing in him; and these thoughts attended him through all the day, till he lay down on his bed again, and a short interval of sleep (for it was but a very short one that he allowed himself) invigorated his animal powers for renewing those thoughts with greater intenseness and sensibility.

A life any thing like this, could not be entered upon, in the midst of such company as he was obliged to keep, without great opposition.  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, under the consciousness of such superiority in the goodness of his cause.

A remarkable instance of this happened about the middle of the year 1720, on his first return to make any considerable abode in England, after his 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 p. 16of the world in these matters will be much surprised.  He hence concluded that he should have many battles to fight, and was willing to despatch 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, 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 had 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 these things the care and business of his 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 proof of lunacy, notwithstanding 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 p. 17experience, (to one part of which many of them had been witnesses,) that after having run the round of sensual pleasure, with all the advantages the best constitution and spirits could give him, he had never tasted any thing deserving to be called happiness, till he made religion his refuge and delight.  He testified, calmly and boldly, the habitual serenity and peace, that he now felt in his own breast, and the composure and pleasure with which he looked forward to objects, which the gayest sinner must acknowledge to be equally unavoidable and dreadful.

Upon this, the master of the table, a person of very frank and candid disposition, cut short the debate by saying, “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 good deal of further trouble.  When his former acquaintances observed that he was still conversable and innocently cheerful, and that he was immovable in his resolution, they desisted from further importunity.  And he declared, that, instead of losing one valuable friend by this change in his character, he found himself much more esteemed and regarded by many, who could not persuade themselves to imitate his example.

Nothing remarkable appeared in the Colonel’s life from this period till the year 1726, when he married the Lady Frances Erskine, daughter to the Earl of Buchan, by whom he had thirteen children, five of whom survived their father.

Before the close of these short memoirs, it may not be improper, or without its use, to give the reader a sketch of the character of this excellent man, with reference to his particular relative situations; in some or other of which the reader may certainly find a model worthy of his imitation.

To view him first in the calmness of domestic life, and at the head of his affectionate family, it will naturally be supposed, that as soon as he had a house, p. 18he erected an altar in it; that the word of God was read there, and prayers and praises constantly offered.  These were not to be omitted on account of any guest; for he esteemed it a part of due respect to those that remained under his roof, to take it for granted, they would look upon it as a very bad compliment, to imagine they would have been obliged by his neglecting the duties of religion on their account.  As his family increased, he had a minister statedly resident in his house, who discharged the offices of tutor and chaplain, and was always treated with kindness and respect.  He was constant in his attendance on public worship, in which an exemplary care was taken that the children and servants might accompany the heads of the family.

The necessity of being so many months together distant from home, hindered him from many of those condescending labours in cultivating the minds of his children in early life, which to a soul so benevolent, so wise, and so zealous would undoubtedly have afforded a very exquisite pleasure: but when he was with them, he failed not to instruct and admonish them; and the constant deep sense with which he spoke of divine things, and the real unaffected indifference which he always showed for what this vain world is most ready to admire, were daily lessons of wisdom and of piety.  It was easy to perceive, that the openings of genius in the young branches of his family gave him great delight, and that he had a secret ambition to see them excel in what they undertook.  Yet he was very jealous over his heart, lest he should be too fondly attached to them, and was an eminent proficient in the blessed science of resignation to the divine will.

To consider his character in the domestic relation of a master, it is proper to remark, that as his habitual meekness and command of his passions prevented indecent sallies of ungovernable anger towards those in a state of subjection to him, so the natural p. 19greatness of his mind made him solicitous to render their inferior stations as easy as he could: he had also such a sense of the dignity and worth of an immortal soul, as engaged him to give his servants frequent religious exhortations and instructions.

To consider him in his military character, his bravery was as remarkable in the field of battle, as his milder virtues in the domestic circle: and he was particularly careful to prevent the various duties of religion and his profession from interfering with one another either in himself or others.  He therefore abhorred every thing that should look like a contrivance to keep the soldiers employed about their horses and their arms at the season of public worship: far from that, he used to have them drawn up just before it began, and from the parade they went off to the house of God; where they behaved with as much reverence, gravity, and decorum, during the time of divine service, as any of their fellow-worshippers.

That this remarkable care to maintain good discipline among them might be the more effectual, he made himself on all occasions accessible to them, and expressed a great concern for their interest, temporal as well as spiritual; yet he had all the firmness requisite to the infliction of punishment where he judged it necessary.

We may notice one instance of his conduct which happened at Leicester.  While part of his regiment was encamped in that neighbourhood, the Colonel went incognito to the camp in the middle of the night; for sometimes he lodged at his quarters in the town.  One of the sentinels had abandoned his post, and, on being seized, broke out into some oaths and profane execrations against those that discovered him—a crime of which the Colonel had the greatest abhorrence, and on which he never failed to animadvert.  The man afterwards appeared much ashamed and concerned for what he had done; but p. 20the Colonel ordered him to be brought up early the next morning to his own quarters, where he had prepared a piquet, on which he appointed him a private sort of penance; and while he was put upon it, he discoursed with him seriously and tenderly upon the evils and aggravations of his fault; admonishing him of the divine displeasure which he had incurred; and then urged him to argue upon the pain which he then felt, how infinitely more dreadful it must be to “fall into the hands of the living God,” and to meet the terrors of that damnation which he had been accustomed impiously to call upon himself and his companions.  The result of this proceeding was, that the offender accepted his punishment, not only with submission, but with thankfulness; and spoke of it some years after in such a manner that there seemed reason to hope it had been instrumental in producing a change in his heart, as well as in his life.

Indeed, this excellent officer always expressed the greatest reverence of the name of the blessed God; and endeavoured to suppress, and, if possible to extirpate that detestable sin of swearing and cursing, which is every where so common, and especially among our military men.  He often declared his sentiments with respect to this enormity at the head of the regiment, and urged his captains and their subalterns to take the greatest care that they did not give the sanction of their example to that, which by their office they were obliged to punish in others.  His zeal on these occasions wrought in a very active, and sometimes in a remarkably successful manner, among not only his equals, but his superiors too.

Nor was his character less conspicuous than his zeal.  The lively and tender feelings of his heart engaged him to dispense his bounties with a liberal hand: and above all, his sincere and ardent love to the Lord Jesus Christ, led him to feel, with a true sympathy, the concerns of his poor members.  In p. 21consequence of this he honoured several of his friends with commissions for the relief of the poor; and esteemed it an honour which Providence conferred upon him, that he should be made the Lord’s almoner for the relief of such.

That heroic contempt of death which had often discovered itself in the midst of former dangers, was manifested now in his discourse with several of his most intimate friends.  And as he had in former years often expressed a desire, “that if it were the will of God, he might have some honourable call to sacrifice his life in defence of religion and the liberties of his country:” so, when it appeared to him most probable that he might be called to it immediately, he met the summons with the greatest readiness.  This appears from a letter which he wrote only eight days before his death: “The rebels,” says he, “are advancing to cross the Firth; but I trust in the Almighty God, who doeth whatsoever he pleaseth in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.”

These sentiments wrought in him to the last in the most effectual manner.  But he was ordered to march as fast as possible to Dunbar; and that hasty retreat, in concurrence with the news which they soon after received of the surrender of Edinburgh to the rebels, struck a visible panic into both the regiments of dragoons.  This affected the Colonel so much, that, on Thursday before the fatal action at Preston-pans, he intimated to an officer of considerable rank, that he expected the event would be as in fact it proved; and to a person who visited him, he said, “I cannot influence the conduct of others as I could wish, but I have one life to sacrifice to my country’s safety, and I shall not spare it.”

On Friday, Sept. 20, 1745, (the day before the battle which transmitted him to his immortal crown,) when the whole army was drawn up about noon, the Colonel rode through all the ranks of his own p. 22regiment, addressing them at once in the most respectful and animating manner, both as soldiers and as Christians, to engage them to exert themselves courageously in the service of their country, and to neglect nothing that might have a tendency to prepare them for whatever event might happen.  They seemed much affected with the address, and expressed a very ardent desire of attacking the enemy immediately—a desire in which he and another gallant officer of distinguished character would gladly have gratified them, if it had been in the power of either; but they were overruled; and he spent the remainder of the day in making as good a disposition as circumstances would allow.

He continued all night under arms, wrapped up in his cloak, and sheltered under a rick of barley which happened to be in the field.  About three in the morning he called his domestic servants to him, of whom there were four in waiting.  He dismissed three of them with most affectionate Christian advice, and such solemn charges relative to the performance of their duty, and care of their souls, as seemed plainly to intimate that he apprehended, at least very probably, he was taking his last farewell of them.  There is great reason to believe that he spent the little remainder of time, which could not be much above an hour, in those devout exercises of soul, which had so long been habitual to him.  The army was alarmed at break of day by a noise of the rebels’ approach, and the attack was made before sunrise.  As soon as the enemy came within gun-shot, they commenced a furious fire; and the dragoons, which constituted the left wing, immediately fled.  The Colonel, at the beginning of the attack, which in the whole lasted but a few minutes, received a bullet in his left breast, which made him give a sudden spring in his saddle; upon which his servant, who had led the horse, would have persuaded him to retreat; but he said it was only a wound in the flesh, and fought p. 23on, though he presently received a shot in the right thigh.  The Colonel was, for a few moments, supported by his men, and particularly about fifteen dragoons, who stood by him to the last.  But after a faint fire, the regiment in general was seized with a panic; and though the Colonel and some gallant officers did what they could to rally them once or twice, they at last took a precipitate flight.  Just in the moment when Colonel Gardiner seemed to be making a pause, to deliberate what duty required him to do in such a circumstance, he saw a party of the foot who were then bravely fighting near him, but had no officer to head them; upon which he rode up to them immediately, and cried out aloud, “Fire on, my lads, and fear nothing.”  But just as the words were out of his mouth, a Highlander advanced to him with a scythe fastened to a long pole, with which he gave him such a deep wound on his right arm, that his sword dropped out of his hand; and at the same time, several others coming about him while he was thus dreadfully entangled with that cruel weapon, he was dragged from off his horse.  The moment he fell another Highlander gave him a stroke, either with a broadsword, or a Lochaber axe, on the head, which was the mortal blow.  All that his faithful attendant saw further at this time was, that as his hat was falling off, he took it in his left hand, and waved it as a signal to him to retreat, adding, (which were the last words he ever heard him speak,) “Take care of yourself:” upon which the servant immediately fled to a mill, at the distance of about two miles from the spot on which the Colonel fell; where he changed his dress, and, disguised like a miller’s servant, returned with a cart about two hours after the engagement.  The hurry of the action was then pretty well over, and he found his much-honoured master not only plundered of his watch and other things of value, but also stripped of his upper garments and boots, yet still breathing; p. 24and adds, that though he was not capable of speech, yet, on taking him up, he opened his eyes, which makes it something questionable whether he were altogether insensible.  In this condition, and in this manner, he conveyed him to the church of Tranent, whence he was immediately taken into the minister’s house and laid in a bed; where he continued breathing till about eleven in the forenoon, when he took his final leave of pain and sorrow.  His remains were interred the Tuesday following, Sept. 24, at the parish church of Tranent (where he had usually attended divine service) with great solemnity.

When God reveal’d his gracious name,
   And chang’d my mournful state,
My rapture seem’d a pleasing dream,
   The grace appear’d so great.

The world beheld the glorious change,
   And did thy hand confess;
My tongue broke out in unknown strains,
   And sang 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.”


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