The Ayrshire Legatees (Chapter 5, page 1 of 13)

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Chapter 5


Tam Glen having, in consequence of the exhortations of Mr. Micklewham,
and the earnest entreaties of Mr. Daff, backed by the pious
animadversions of the rigidly righteous Mr. Craig, confessed a fault, and
acknowledged an irregular marriage with Meg Milliken, their child was
admitted to church privileges. But before the day of baptism, Mr. Daff,
who thought Tam had given but sullen symptoms of penitence, said, to put
him in better humour with his fate,--"Noo, Tam, since ye hae beguiled us
of the infare, we maun mak up for't at the christening; so I'll speak to
Mr. Snodgrass to bid the Doctor's friens and acquaintance to the ploy,
that we may get as meikle amang us as will pay for the bairn's baptismal

Mr. Craig, who was present, and who never lost an opportunity of
testifying, as he said, his "discountenance of the crying iniquity,"
remonstrated with Mr. Daff on the unchristian nature of the proposal,
stigmatising it with good emphasis "as a sinful nourishing of carnality
in his day and generation." Mr. Micklewham, however, interfered, and
said, "It was a matter of weight and concernment, and therefore it
behoves you to consult Mr. Snodgrass on the fitness of the thing. For if
the thing itself is not fit and proper, it cannot expect his countenance;
and, on that account, before we reckon on his compliance with what Mr.
Daff has propounded, we should first learn whether he approves of it at
all." Whereupon the two elders and the session-clerk adjourned to the
manse, in which Mr. Snodgrass, during the absence of the incumbent, had
taken up his abode.

The heads of the previous conversation were recapitulated by Mr.
Micklewham, with as much brevity as was consistent with perspicuity; and
the matter being duly digested by Mr. Snodgrass, that orthodox young
man--as Mrs. Glibbans denominated him, on hearing him for the first
time--declared that the notion of a pay-christening was a benevolent and
kind thought: "For, is not the order to increase and multiply one of the
first commands in the Scriptures of truth?" said Mr. Snodgrass,
addressing himself to Mr. Craig. "Surely, then, when children are
brought into the world, a great law of our nature has been fulfilled, and
there is cause for rejoicing and gladness! And is it not an obligation
imposed upon all Christians, to welcome the stranger, and to feed the
hungry, and to clothe the naked; and what greater stranger can there be
than a helpless babe? Who more in need of sustenance than the infant,
that knows not the way even to its mother's bosom? And whom shall we
clothe, if we do not the wailing innocent, that the hand of Providence
places in poverty and nakedness before us, to try, as it were, the depth
of our Christian principles, and to awaken the sympathy of our humane

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