Free Church of Scotland Ministers (1843-1900): Obituaries H

Obituaries: H


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(Died November 28, 1889)
Author: Rev. George Ogilvy Elder, M.A., Borgue
Source: The Free Church Monthly, March, 1890, Obituary, p.87

Mr. Haining was born in 1808 at Aliceford, in the parish of Borgue. He received his early education at the Borgue Academy, an endowed parish school, the fame of which drew many pupils from other districts of the country. He afterwards proceeded to Edinburgh University, and attended the usual college classes. During this period, previous to his coming into the full light of the gospel, he passed through a prolonged spiritual conflict, to which he was indebted, in no small degree, for his power as a preacher of the gospel and the skill with which he guided many anxious souls into the way of life. As these were the days of patronage, when no man could hope for success in the Church who had not a patron at his back, the attention of Mr. Haining was turned to the work of education. He passed through the divinity classes under Chalmers, beginning with the session of 1830, and ending with that of 1843-44. He was licensed as a preacher in the year 1844 by the Presbytery of Dalkeith. He had settled down to teaching as his life-work, acting as assistant-teacher, first at Loretto, near Musselburgh, and afterwards as classical and mathematical master in the Institution at Hill Square, Edinburgh. However, his high reputation as a preacher drew towards him the attention of one congregation after another in his native district; and although he at first declined all solicitations addressed to him to preach in vacancies, he agreed, at the urgent request of Mr. Smith, the minister of Borgue, to preach on two successive Sabbaths to the recently-formed congregation at Glenkens. On one of these occasions the service was marked by a remarkable down-letting of the Spirit of God among the people, prophetic of the future ministry to which he was ordained in that place.

His ministry in Glenkens was characterized not only by the faithful exposition of gospel truth, but by the power of the Spirit of God in the salvation of the hearers. His pastoral labours were continuous and abundant in a widely-scattered district containing several large parishes, and his presence was specially welcome to all who were in affliction of any kind, to whom he proved himself a veritable son of consolation.

In 1859-60 the district was visited with a great revival, and Mr. Haining devoted all his energies to the work of winning souls and of securing the fruits which were then gathered in such abundance into the Redeemer’s kingdom. In 1883 he retired from active duty, and had the great satisfaction of seeing the work most efficiently carried on by the present minister, Mr. Buchanan, between whom and himself the most cordial relations existed from first to last.

Mr. Haining leaves a widow and a family of three sons and three daughters to mourn his loss. He died on the 28th November 1889, in his eighty-second year, and his remains, followed by a large concourse of mourners, were borne to their resting-place in the churchyard of Dalry, in the heart of the beautiful valley of the Ken, for whose inhabitants he gave the best years of his life, and in the midst of whom he died. He was long a conspicuous figure in all the district where his lot was cast. His memory will be lovingly cherished by many as that of a good man and a faithful minister of Christ, one who had many seals of his ministry—souls saved by his instrumentality, and who shall be to him for a crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus.

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(Died January 11, 1877)
Author: Rev. Norman L. Walker, Dysart
The Free Church Monthly March 1, 1877, p.70

Mr. Hamilton was born on the 18th of October 1823 at South Queensferry. He was not at first intended for the ministry, and in his earlier years he followed the business of his father, who was himself an honoured elder in the Free Church of Kirkliston. But his thirst for knowledge soon showed itself, and there are traditions which speak of him carrying books into dangerous positions on house-tops. What determined him to study for the Church is said to nave been his hearing a great speech by Dr. Duff in the General Assembly. He entered the University of Edinburgh in 1841 — took his B.A. in 1846, and his M.A. in 1847 —passed into the Divinity Hall in 1845 — was licensed by the Presbytery of Linlithgow in 1849 — and was ordained at Cockpen in 1855.

It will be noticed that Mr. Hamilton was long a preacher; but the probationary period of his life was not spent in desultory work. Almost all the while he was stationed at Ancrum, and there his ministry was so marked and definite in its results that the place may justly be spoken of as his first charge. We have seen a sermon preached on the occasion of his death by Mr. Rattray, his successor, and we gather from it what we can well believe, that his memory is still fragrant in this sphere of his early labours.

In Cockpen his many gifts were thoroughly appreciated. His preaching — his interest in revival work — his earnest efforts for the bringing in of the waste places — his zeal for education — his tender sympathy for all in trouble — these will not soon be forgotten by the people among whom he spent his best years, and we shall be surprised if the fruits of such a ministry as his do not continue to appear even after many days.

“Owing to delicate health,” says one who knows the whole circumstances well, “he was away the most of the summer. But he turned seriously ill after resuming his labours on the first and second Sabbaths of September 1876; his last sermon being preached on the text, Psalm 143 and 10th verse, ‘Thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.’ He felt very poorly when he went into the pulpit. He preached with much power and fervour. When we expressed what a wonder he was to us to-day, he said, ‘I’m a wonder to myself, God be thanked.’ But he was glad to avail himself of a drive home. His sufferings were very great, but never a repining word. When his sufferings were spoken of, he was ever ready to contrast them with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. ‘Pray that I may get patience.’ His faith was quite a heroic faith. He suffered very much as he served. He longed to get home. When asked, ‘Would you not like to wait with us, papa?’ his warm paternal affection responded, ‘Of course — selfishly longing to get home.’ While the most loving of husbands and the most affectionate of fathers, he was able to leave them with the utmost confidence and composure to the care of his own ‘blessed Jesus’ and his ‘my God’ — expressions he often used when in great distress. His last message to his congregation, spoken to one of his elders in syllables, owing to great weakness, was short but quite apostolic, and contained the great end of his preaching among us, as well as our highest duty: ‘Tell the congregation from me to glory in the cross of Christ, and to love one another.’ That morning he died he seemed to be a little revived. He had not opened his eyes for three days before, but that morning it seemed as if his noble kindly soul had just come to the windows to bid his dear ones farewell, so full of expression, beaming with love; and just before he died they seemed to be fixed in transport on something heavenly that even the struggles of death did not seem able to take them away.”

We are glad to learn that it is in contemplation to prepare a volume in memoriam of Mr. Hamilton, containing a sketch of his life, and some of his sermons. The prospect of that renders it unnecessary that we should linger here on the subject of the loss which has been sustained by his death. But as Mr. Hamilton was as modest as he was able, and many throughout the Church have no conception of the greatness of the bereavement which has befallen us, it may be no more than a just tribute to his memory to say in this place that within the circle of those who really knew him his removal has caused a blank which has made the world emptier and poorer. Mentally, James Hamilton had few superiors among the ministers of the Free Church. He was a distinguished student at college, and he became a splendid preacher. But what constituted his chief attraction to the many who not merely admired but loved him, was the nobleness of his soul. He was one of the devoutest men we ever met. Religion was to him not a mere theological system, but a life. And although his expositions of Scripture were often profound enough to satisfy the demands of the most intellectual, he received the truth for himself with the simplicity of a child. There are some men who have many acquaintances, but few friends. There are others who are rich in friends, but have no wide circle of acquaintances. Mr. Hamilton belonged to the latter class. He never opened his mouth in the General Assembly, and was probably unknown by face to the great majority of the men who usually appear there. But touch a narrower circle — a circle, however, wide enough to include some of our best known ministers — and the kindling eye will tell of one who had made for himself in his lifetime a warm place in many hearts. The present writer is thankful to have this opportunity of paying a last tribute to one, the remembrance of whose friendship will ever remain as a cherished recollection. No truer, manlier, more loving, or more cultured evangelical minister has been furnished in recent days by any Church in Scotland.

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(Died August 21, 1878)
Author: Rev.J. McDermid, Glasgow
Source: The Free Church Monthly, January 1, 1879, Biographical Notices, p.17

John Hamilton was born at Stranraer, in May 1830, of pious parents, who sat under the ministry of the Rev. Dr. William Symington, at that time pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian congregation there. Mr. Hamilton was educated, licensed, and ordained to the gospel ministry in connection with the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Soon after his license he got a call to Renton in Dumbartonshire, which he accepted in preference to one received at the same time from West Campbell Street congregation, Glasgow, then vacant by the death of the late Dr. Bates. Mr. Hamilton’s ministry in the Vale of Leven was from the first an influential one, more than was common in Reformed Presbyterian churches. He went to Renton with a high reputation for preaching power, and he maintained that reputation to the last. His ministry there was also very useful in the best and most spiritual sense; and this, both in his ordinary pulpit and pastoral work, and as the fruit of his evangelistic addresses in different districts of his congregation. For, though he did not say so much as some do about the evangelistic department of the Christian ministry, yet he did more, and entered more seriously into this kind of work than those could have supposed who saw him only amidst the vivacity and cheerfulness of social life. Without any self-consciousness or self-importance, he was, indeed, during his ministry in this interesting district, “a burning and a shining light.” He loved the valley with the love of one who has a keen eye for the beautiful; especially did he love his flock, who were scattered up and down in it; and by them he was warmly loved in return. During this period he was an extensive contributor to the magazine of the Reformed Presbyterian Church; and he who was then the respected editor of that magazine says, “When I look over his papers, their charm is not so much their occasional eloquence as their sympathy with every movement for the elevation of our race, and their intelligent application of the truth that Christ is Lord of all.”

After having been seventeen years minister at Renton, he was translated to Glasgow, under the provision of the Mutual Eligibility Act, and became minister of the Free West Church, where he laboured for four years with much acceptance and success. It was a pain to him, before the union of the Free and Reformed Presbyterian Churches that was then in prospect, to break the tie that bound him to his old Church; but it was the pain of creditable sentiment, not at all of principle. For to the grand principle of the Reformed Presbyterian Church he was as intelligently and warmly attached on the day of his induction to the Free West Church as ever he had been. The purity of his aim in taking this step was questioned by no one. No angry feelings, accordingly, were awakened among his old people. Though universally-beloved by them, and by the community among whom he had so long lived, it may be truly said that he left the Vale of Leven, to enter upon his Glasgow ministry, amidst the regretful respects, and at the same time kindest wishes, of all classes of the community; for it was one of the features of Mr. Hamilton, arising from the entire simplicity and unfeigned genuineness of his nature, that he was equally beloved by all classes in which he mingled.

So well, too, was he known among his ministerial brethren of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and such was the confidence they had in his loyalty to the principles of the Church in which he had been educated, that no one had any jealousy in regard to the step he took in accepting the call that came to him from another Church, though it was the first occasion on which the Mutual Eligibility Act had been availed of. Nor had the Free West Church or the Presbytery of Glasgow any cause to regret this translation; for Mr. Hamilton’s career in Glasgow, though short—only four years—was a progressive one. In his ministry, indeed, there was nothing sensational, no straining after popularity; but there was a natural energy about his delivery, along with a singular charm about his mode of setting forth truth—a charm arising from his mental culture — that won upon his hearers, and came to be increasingly appreciated by them. He was gradually but surely drawing around him a large congregation; and all who belonged to it were strongly attached to him. He received, too, from his congregation all the encouragement that active aid could give, which greatly lightened his work, and made them, among his intimate friends, a theme of constant and sincere praise. Not only as the pastor of his congregation did he assiduously labour, but he took great interest in the building up of a mission church which his congregation had originated. His last sermon, indeed, was preached in this church; and he now lies contiguous to it in Sighthill Cemetery, awaiting “the resurrection of the just.”

No notice of Mr. Hamilton would be complete without referring to his great geniality of disposition—a geniality that he never, indeed, allowed to interfere with his higher and more professional duties, but the cultivation of which, nevertheless, at his times of leisure, was a source alike of instruction and enjoyment both to himself and his friends. The friendship that is cultivated by the mutual interchange of thought on matters of public interest he regarded as an important element in civilized life. And as he himself was accustomed to look upon what was going on, both in political and ecclesiastical society, with a Christian and intelligent eye, intercourse with him became alike agreeable and instructive; and at such seasons of social intercourse, whatever turn conversation might take with him—how-ever bright or amusing it might sometimes be—it always tended to promote what was true and honourable in character, and, in a wholesome manner, to strengthen the principles of social morality and sound religion. All in all, we have seldom met with a person who could be likened to the late pastor of the Free West Church. He had fine powers, well-balanced, and each of them well and harmoniously cultivated. His religion did not consist in mere inward religious exercises, but went out in the direction of beautifying all his gifts, and throwing a religious adornment over his natural features of character; which imparted a sanctity, as distinguished from sanctimoniousness, to his domestic and social and every other form of life. He was free of many of the littlenesses that sometimes disfigure even saintly persons. There was about him no petty ambition, no jealousy, no desire to outshine others; but only to do justice to himself, to the Church, and to the world, by the faithful discharge of every kind of duty. There was an air of blended humility and nobility about his whole life. The atmosphere he breathed was charged with healthful piety, and goodness, and benevolence. One of the most dutiful of sons, one of the kindest of brothers, one of the truest of friends, one of the ablest of preachers, one of the best and most devoted of pastors, there was in Mr. Hamilton a combination of qualities, each of a high order, such as one seldom meets with.

Mr. Hamilton died of fever after an anxious illness of nearly three months, in the forty-ninth year of his age and the twenty-first of his ministry. His early removal is mourned by the members of the two attached congregations to which he successively ministered, and by a large circle of private friends, especially throughout the Church which so happily entered into union with the Free Church two years ago.

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(Died October 17, 1875)
Author: Rev. W. Tasker, Edinburgh
The Free Church Monthly December 1, 1875, p.301

Another Disruption worthy has been called to his rest and his reward. The Rev. John Harper (he took the degree of M.A., but never used it), Bothwell, died on the 17th October last, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. He was born in the parish of Birse, Aberdeenshire, in 1802, and received from his parents a superior education, which fitted him for entering college. He studied at St. Andrews and Aberdeen, and after graduation he entered the Divinity Hall, and was in due time licensed to preach the gospel. He then laboured for some time as missionary at Dunfermline, succeeding the late Principal Lumsden in that charge, and was, in 1839, ordained minister at Bannockburn. At the Disruption, he, with almost his whole congregation, adhered to the Free Church of Scotland, and continued to labour with ever growing acceptance and success till 1859. At this date, mainly on account of family affliction, he accepted a most cordial call, and was translated to Bothwell. In 1872 he was affected with paralysis, which so hindered his articulation that a colleague was essential, and Mr. Doak was called and ordained in that year, and to the end they have been together as father and son. His mental faculties continued entire to the close. During last summer, accompanied by Mrs. Harper, he sojourned in Strathspey for some weeks, and was able, both at Grantown and Abernethy, to preach that glorious gospel which he loved so well.

During his last illness, kind friends assisted his loving wife in attending upon him; and his colleague and congregation continued unabated in their Christian sympathy and reverence to the last. He suffered much from spasms and difficulty in breathing, and was often heard praying, “Come, come, Lord Jesus.” A kind friend said, “You are suffering much.” He replied, “It is only in body.” And at another time he added, “Christ bore far more for me.” His wife, having asked if he was thirsty, he replied, “Christ bore that for me.” He waited patiently, and was often heard in prayer. At last, having said to her and other friends Good-bye, he prayed to the Lord to bless them, and so fell asleep.

Mr. Harper, until his last illness, was blessed with a sound mind in a sound body. He was gifted with a placid disposition, a calm, unruffled temper, and delighted to imitate the meekness and gentleness of Christ. All through his ministry his evangelistic zeal and indefatigable exertions were remarkable, and the fruits were corresponding. Every season, both while at Bannockburn and at Bothwell, he gave weeks to Home Mission work in all parts of Scotland, especially in Aberdeenshire, in Roxburgh, and in Ayrshire, preaching daily, and on Sabbaths often three or four times. And thus, from the pulpit and otherwise, by the good hand of his God upon him, he gave a great impulse to evangelistic work throughout the land. As he lived, so he died — in the full enjoyment of the peace of the gospel. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.”

Mr. Harper was twice married, first to Jane M. McMicking, daughter of Thomas McMicking of Miltonise, by whom he had four children, two of whom, a son and a daughter, survive him; second, to Alice D. Sorsby, daughter of Rev. William Sorsby, Presbyterian minister, Kilrush, Ireland. She also survives him.

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The Record of the Free Church of Scotland, August 1, 1863, p.307

The Rev. John Hastie, a minister highly and justly esteemed throughout the district where he laboured, died suddenly on the 11th of July. Mr. Hastie was born at Whitburn, in the year 1800. His studies for the Church, on which he entered at a period of life somewhat advanced, were prosecuted in Edinburgh. After he had completed his attendance at the Divinity Hall, he was licensed to preach the gospel in connection with the Original Secession Church. Shortly after wards, in the year 1834, he was ordained assistant and successor to the Rev. Mr. Shirra, so long minister of that church at Yetholm. At Yetholm, Mr. Hastie’s entire ministerial life was spent. At the union of the Original Seceders with the Free Church in 1852, Mr. Hastie and his congregation were cordial supporters of the union, and became incorporated with the Free Church. Mr. Hastie’s ministry has been a very faithful and useful one. His labours among the young were much appreciated and blessed. He was ever so accessible, and frank, and sympathetic, that many families throughout the district, and these by no means exclusively of his own congregation, regarded him not only as a spiritual instructor, but as a friend and father, and now mourn his loss as such. Mr. Hastie spent the last two winters in the south of England; and on his return to Yetholm, in the beginning of June, appeared in the enjoyment of such a measure of health and spirits that his friends hoped he might yet be spared for a time among them. It was, however, otherwise determined. He was seized with a fit of coughing, which brought on hemorrhage, while he was visiting a sick person; and in a few moments after he had been trying to speak a word in season to one who was weary, he had breathed his last.

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(Died December 19, 1857)
The Home and Foreign Record of the Free Church of Scotland, February, 1858

The hopes expressed by our correspondent in Tuscany, in the close of his last letter, regarding the health of Mr Hanna of Florence, have not, alas! been realised. He died on Saturday, the 19th of December.

Mr Hanna was licensed to preach the gospel in October 1843, and soon thereafter was ordained as a minister of the Free Church of Scotland. His first and only charge in this country was Anwoth and Girthon, in the south of Scotland. Being compelled, by the state of his health, to resign his charge, he repaired to the south of Europe, and eventually found in Florence a congenial climate and a sphere of labour.

The services which he rendered in that interesting field, to the cause of civil and religious liberty, were of no mean importance. He wisely and diligently availed himself of every opening for the spread of the truth in Tuscany; and he aided in many ways the persecuted in that land. His representations at the British Embassy were ever listened to with respect; and his plans for the diffusion of the gospel in neighbouring states were as judiciously contrived as they were perseveringly carried out. There was about him a thorough absence of ostentation and display. He occupied a sphere which demanded the utmost circumspection and caution. His influence was often felt where his presence was not seen; but that Father who seeth in secret will reward him openly. The disease of which he died was gastric fever. He was affectionately as assiduously tended in his last illness by his beloved brother and fellow-labourer in the work in Italy, Dr Stewart of Leghorn. By his fellow-labourers, by the Waldensian Church, and by the poor Tuscan converts, many and bitter tears will be dropped over his tomb.

Since the above was in type, we have received the following from our correspondent in Tuscany:—

Tuscany, 11th January 1858. In my last I mentioned how seriously ill Mr Hanna was, though his medical attendant had not at that time abandoned all hope. Fatal symptoms, however, soon after developed themselves, and he expired on the night of Saturday, 19th of last month, about eight o’clock. His death cast a gloom both over Florence and Leghorn, in which cities he had many friends even among those who do not belong to the Presbyterian Church.

Mr Hanna was a licentiate of the Presbytery of Ards, in the north of Ireland, in 1843. In the following year he was called by the Free Church congregation of Anwoth and Girthon, and ordained as their minister. His ministry there, though of short duration, was much appreciated, and I have no doubt the tidings of his death awakened sorrow in the hearts of many of his former parishioners. In 1846, the rupture of a blood vessel made it necessary for him to repair to the South of France, and he never afterwards was able to resume the charge of his congregation, though he still continued their pastor till 1848. In 1849, after having filled for some months the Scotch pulpit in Leghorn, during Dr Stewart’s absence in Scotland, Mr Hanna proceeded, by appointment of the Colonial Committee, to Malta, as minister of the Scotch congregation there; but in his delicate state of health, the climate was found so exciting, that, after a residence only of a few months, his medical adviser insisted on his resigning his charge. The hurricane of revolution, which had swept over Europe in 1848-9, had been smartly felt in this Grand Duchy; and the reaction which followed produced a religious movement, which, though at first largely political in its character, presented much that was hopeful and worthy of attention. Florence, at the same time, as one of the most attractive capitals of the south of Europe, has for nine months of the year, a large though floating British population; and as many of these are Presbyterians, or English Nonconformists, it was much to be desired that a Scotch minister should he settled there—who, while labouring among his countrymen, might also prove the friend and adviser of those Tuscan converts who sought his advice. On the earnest application of Dr Stewart, the Colonial Committee appointed Mr Hanna to the station at Florence, and he began his labours on the first Sabbath of January 1850, in the Swiss Church, where the Scotch service has ever since been carried on. Dr Stewart preached his funeral sermon on the last Sabbath of 1857, so that his term of labour in the ministry in Florence was exactly eight years.

In many respects Mr Hanna was most admirably fitted for the post to which, in providence, he was thus called. He was blessed with a most wonderful memory, and with a power of classification that rendered all he read material ever ready for use. He had, besides, a genuine love for, and large acquaintance with, general literature. His taste in matters of art was exceedingly good, and by many he was looked up to on these points as an authority. A man with a mind thus stored was everywhere prized as a visitor among the educated circles of his countrymen; and when he went into society, amid much quiet love of wit, and conversation on a wide range of topics, he always maintained the gravity which becomes a Christian minister, and would not suffer that which was improper or profane to be uttered without entering his protest against it. As a friend and Christian adviser in times of trouble, as a minister by a sick or dying bed, he was greatly valued; and to these things, rather than to his pulpit ministrations, is owing the influence which he acquired.

With reference to the Tuscan converts, it may be most safely said that they have lost in him a sincere friend and a wise counsellor. On account of some expressions used in one of his articles in the North British, regarding Darbyism, certain ladies of that way of thinking, stirred up the Italian converts never to go near him again; but in the hour when persecution overtook any of their number in or around Florence, they knew that he was the best counsellor, and they came at once to him. A reprint of his articles from the North British, and of his letters in the News of the Churches, would be very interesting; but I doubt whether the time has yet come when anything beyond a brief sketch of his life and labours could be added to it. The correspondent of the Christian Times, in bearing a valuable tribute to his memory, suggests that his biography should be written at once, but for the same reason which now withholds my pen from tracing more about his labours in this country—such a record, if published now, would necessarily be brief and jejune, where all that is most interesting is expected.

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Author: The Convener
The Free Church of Scotland Monthly, October, 1892, The Colonies, p.253

In the removal by death of the Rev. W. J. Hardy, pastor of the Berea Presbyterian congregation at Durban, the South African Church has lost one of its most gifted and devoted ministers.

Mr. Hardy was born in 1853, near Forres, in Morayshire. After passing through the classes in the Elgin Academy, he entered the Aberdeen University, where he took a good place, as he did also in the Free Church College in that city. The six months’ vacation was annually spent in tutorial work; and it is believed his constitution, never robust, was during these years undermined by too close application to study. Shortly after being licensed by the Free Presbytery of Elgin, he accepted an assistantship at Strachan. While there, his health being in a somewhat precarious state, he responded to a call from the Colonial Committee, and proceeded to Natal, where, on 21st October 1884, he entered on his work as minister of the newly-formed church at Addington, a suburb of Durban. Here, nine months thereafter, he was called to mourn the loss of his wife. This was a great trial; and as his health did not improve, he resigned the charge at Addington, and accepted an invitation to take the oversight of a congregation then being formed on the healthier inland suburb of the Berea. He entered on his duties there on 1st March 1886, and in the following year a handsome church was erected for him. His work was carried on amid increasing bodily weakness, and after much suffering he passed peacefully away on 19th July last.

Prom the remarks made by the Rev. J. Laing, who conducted the memorial service on the succeeding Sabbath, we gather the following additional particulars:—

“A cheerful companion, a ripe scholar who sought to keep abreast of the times, and a beloved brother in the presbytery, the Presbytery of Natal and the Transvaal have greatly benefited by his efforts; his visit in 1889 to Johannesburg having at the same time given an impetus to Presbyterianism in that country, and put fresh life into himself. About October 21, 1890, the anniversary of his induction he caught a severe chill, which developed the disease which had for a time been latent within him. He was ordered up-country; but his restless will led him, before Christmas, to return to town. He preached on Christmas day with great joy; but appearances were deceptive, and about March he was induced to take a trip home. When he again reached these shores in October last it was evident to all that he was unfit for ministerial work; yet his indomitable spirit led him to attempt it. He left for Harrismith in November. There the ever-varying signs of consumption showed themselves. Nevertheless, all through these months he beguiled himself with the thought that he was gaining strength. So firm was this conviction that he undertook his last journey to Durban in March, ‘just to test his strength.’ That trip was his death-blow. The relaxing climate neutralized much of the good received in Harrismith. The medical examination and its results came with heavy desolating force upon him. He had to give up all hope of ministry here, and his resignation was the outcome. At Harrismith, it was said, his indomitable spirit kept him from sinking. Not until Monday last, when his medical adviser told him his end was near, did he truly realize that death was in the cup. During the last twenty-fours he suffered greatly; but through it all he was patient, and tried to give as little trouble as possible. His mind was perfectly clear until an hour before the end.”

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(Died April 30, 1875)
Author: Rev. W. Milne, Invertiel
The Free Church Monthly, July 1, 1875, p.176

In the death of Thomas Hastings another of our pre-Disruption ministers has passed away. He was born at Thornhill on the 14th October 1795. To his friends he often spoke of his parents; and to their teaching and pious example he traced up his first religious impressions. But it was not until he was a student attending college in Edinburgh that these impressions, as he was wont to say, passed into the saving change of conversion. The instrument in the hands of God in bringing about this happy result was the well-known Dr. Andrew Grey of Edinburgh. Being the eldest son, he might have been expected to have wished to succeed his father in the farm; but he very soon manifested a strong desire to qualify himself for the ministry. He was sent, accordingly, to a seminary in the parish of Closeburn, where he received such an education as fitted him for going to college. After passing through his arts classes, and taking his divinity curriculum, he was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Dumfries in 1823. His life, as he frequently said, ran in decades; and amongst the rest were the ten years which he spent as a probationer. During these years he was not idle, but had his time fully occupied in preaching, and in discharging the office of parochial schoolmaster of Holywood.

In 1833 he was appointed to the chapel-of-ease at Wanlockhead, a village lying at the foot of the Lowthers. He very soon manifested decidedly evangelical leanings, and thus, when the Disruption came, he cheerfully cast in his lot amongst those who left the Establishment. Few suffered more than he did in consequence of that great event. The village in which he laboured is situated some 1500 feet above the level of the sea, and here he and his people had to worship God for a considerable time on the hill-side. It says much both for himself and his congregation, that, notwithstanding this severe ordeal, they adhered steadfastly to their religious convictions. He that endures, conquers; and it was so with them. Sites being at last granted, a commodious church and a comfortable manse were soon built. For a few years before his death he was relieved from active duty by the Church granting him a colleague; but he ever took the deepest interest in his flock, and was never happier than when he had an opportunity of preaching to them. One very striking trait in his character was the deep interest which he took in the young men, many of whom he trained for college. As a preacher, he was evangelical and earnest; but it was chiefly as a man that you came to admire him. Guileless to a degree, he was ever reminding you of him of whom Jesus said, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” His illness was short, lasting for a few weeks only. Towards the end the Master dealt very graciously by him, giving him much of his comforting and cheering presence. He died peacefully and hopefully at Dumfries, in the house of his brother, Mr. William Hastings, who until very recently was the parish schoolmaster of Kirkconnel. In a funeral sermon preached by the Rev. Mr. Gibson of Kirkbean and Southwick, occur these words: “On his death-bed I had several most solemn and affecting interviews with him. I read to him the passages which he named; and he gave me to understand that he was resting on the foundation laid in Zion, looking to and waiting for the Lord. He was often heard to say, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.'”

So has passed away one of the most lovable of men. Many will long remember him. Their consolation is, that as he lived, so he died, resting on the merits of Jesus.

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(Died September 25, 1891)
Author: Rev. Dr. Livingston, Stair
The Free Church of Scotland Monthly, January, 1892, Obituary, p.21

The Rev. Edward Hayman, born in 1821, was a native if the parish of Ochiltree, in the Kyle division of Ayr-shire. Little is known of his student life, but in the latter part of it he was for some time tutor to the family of the Rev. Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Boyd, parish minister of Ochiltree, who showed some favour to the Free Church cause in the early stage of its conflict, but remained in his charge at the Disruption, and was soon after removed to the Tron Church, Glasgow, vacated by the well-known Dr. Robert Buchanan. Had young Hayman been swayed by worldly considerations, this connection would no doubt have operated in his favour; but like so many others among the licentiates and divinity students, he decided to follow his convictions and cast in his lot with the Free Church. He was settled at Dalmellington, Presbytery of Ayr, in 1845, when about twenty-five years of age. That village was then small, and the larger section of the Free Church adherents was at Lambloch, in the Carsphairn quarter, about six miles from Dalmellington, and in the neighbourhood of lead-mines there. Mr. Hayman officiated at both places every Sabbath, driving between them in an open conveyance. The case was thus much like that of Stair and Tarbolton in the same Presbytery at that period. After some years the cases of the two divisions were reversed. The lead-mines were discontinued, but the discovery of ironstone around Dalmellington greatly enlarged the village, and made it the centre of several hamlets of considerable magnitude, of which Waterside, on the Doon, was chief. Mr. Hayman succeeded in the erection of a church and manse, and prosecuted his pastoral labours amongst influences which for a time were by no means friendly, but always maintaining a resolute and cheerful attitude.

About twelve years ago his health gave way under a rather peculiar internal ailment. It was concluded that this unfitted him for continuing pastoral journeyings in a region so extensive and moorish, but that, in a more favourable locality, he might still be useful in pulpit services. The General Assembly, entering into this design, allowed a colleague; and Mr. Hayman retired to reside at Prestwick, near Ayr. For about nine years afterwards he was very closely occupied in pulpit supplies for one or more Sabbaths; and in this line his services were generally and, it may be added, highly appreciated. Friends warned him against the danger of such frequent journeys and changes, but he was not easily restrained, as he delighted in preaching. After recovering from one return of his ailment, a second recurrence of it a few months ago proved beyond the power of medical aid; and on the 25th of last September, he fell asleep at the age of seventy. His mortal part lies in Dalmellington Cemetery, beside that of his beloved wife, who had long predeceased him.

As a preacher Mr. Hayman was endowed with a good voice, a ready utterance, and a tendency to the figurative in style. He had clear conceptions of the great doctrines of the Christian faith, and on these alone he loved to dwell. It is not known that he did anything in authorship.

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The Free Church of Scotland Monthly, November 1, 1865, p.953

This devoted minister of Christ departed this life on the 10th September, 1865, in the sixty-fifth year of his age, and the thirty-eighth year of his ministry. Mr. Headrick belonged originally to the Synod of Burgher Seceders. When that branch of the secession re-united itself with the Established Church, he did not return with it, but with some others of his brethren joined another body of seceders, with whom, some years afterwards, he was admitted into the communion of the Free Church of Scotland, in which he lived and laboured till his death. As a preacher he was plain, pointed, evangelical, and unctional. His theology was of the school of Boston, Halyburton, the Erskines, and McCrie, and other great old Scottish masters, whose names are justly dear to the Scottish people, and for whose method of handling the doctrines of grace they have generally an unmistakeable preference and predilection. Acceptable as a preacher, it was as a pastor, and for the work of pastoral visitation, that he was eminently distinguished. Besides visiting the sick of all denominations, and of no denomination, he was regular and methodical in the work of pastoral visitation among his own people. This he did, not in the summary and shorthand way of some by collecting and addressing the members of a district, but from “house to house.” By doing this—by the particular inquiries he was enabled in this way to make into their family history—the knowledge he obtained in this way of their family cases, and by bringing their joys and their sorrows to a throne of grace, and making them the matter of his prayers, he won for himself a place in their affections, and has left a name that will live long in their memories. Many a long journey he made in the discharge of this duty, in summer and winter, by night and by day, in the course of which it may be said of him as the poet has said of another,—

“…He was known
To every wind that blows, and every star
In heaven. …”

In this work, which though it had its own and exceeding great reward, he wore himself out; and what with other privations and trials which few but ministers know, had even, when but in middle life, the look of a man already old. A severe cold, caught by him in going through a snow storm to visit a dying girl, was the occasion of his death. In his sickness, which lasted for several months, and from the beginning of which he took death to himself, he had but one book, but that, it need hardly be said, was the best, the Book of God. During it, his chief employment and delight was in prayer. Most Christians, like the psalmist, have some particular promise which is peculiarly precious to them—the ground, so to speak, on which in the great deeps they find sound anchorage for their souls and their hopes, and called by them “the word of their hope.” Such a promise the subject of this notice had in the words, “Cast thy burden on the Lord, and he will sustain thee.” Thus he said “he had done all his days, and was doing at the last.” Speaking to his son of his sickness, he said, “he had had a blessed time during it.” He frequently spoke of his congregation, and in his last hours commended them to Christ. One of his requests was that his parting might be gentle. His prayer was heard.

“His parting was gentle, and those
Whom he loved mingled tears, at his side,
His death was the weary’s repose.”

Mr. Headrick has left a widow and several children, one of whom is a preacher of great promise in the Church, with which he, after long contending for her peculiar and distinctive principles without her pale, at last cast in his lot, and in whose communion he died.

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(Died September 12, 1874)
Author: Rev. Thomas Main, Edinburgh
The Free Church Monthly, January 1, 1875, p.18

This venerable servant of God, who has so lately been called to his rest, was born at Kelso in February 1797. He studied at the University of Edinburgh, where he acquired those habits of application which he maintained through life, and laid the fouudations of that erudition for which he was so distinguished. The outstanding events of his life may be soon told. Ordained at Berwick in 1821; translated to Stockbridge, Edinburgh, in 1823; five years afterwards he was translated to Ratho; in 1832 he was removed to St. Enoch’s Church, Glasgow, where for forty-two years he ministered in the gospel of Christ, till, on September 12th, at North Berwick, he fell asleep in Jesus — a lengthened ministry of more than fifty-three years, and embracing an amount of loving and faithful service such as few have been privileged to render.

It was in my student days in Glasgow that my acquaintanceship with Dr. Henderson began; by his kindness it ripened into friendship deep and cordial — a friendship that never knew cloud or shadow; and as, while it lasted, it was one of my great enjoyments, so, now that death has severed it, I feel it to have been one of my great responsibilities.

A lovelier character or one more faultless I never knew; high as his ideal was of what a Christian minister ought to be, most worthily did he fulfil it. As I look back along the line of almost forty years, never did I hear from his lips. nor observe in his life, aught that was not in harmony with the gospel of Christ. Possessed of great delicacy of feeling and depth of tenderness, a large-hearted generosity that made him wide in his embrace, an unselfish regard for the good of others that made him so forgetful of himself, together with a geniality and kindliness that made his companionship so pleasant and delightful; but better far than all, there was the savour of godliness pervading all; you felt that you were in the presence of a man of God — a living epistle of Christ, known and read of all men — a most attractive specimen of cheerful, consistent Christianity.

He belonged to a transition period in the history of the Church: a new era had begun to dawn; the gospel, so long banished from the pulpits of the land, was beginning to lift up her voice. Thomson, with his manly intellect, and Chalmers, with his transcendant genius, had both powerfully contributed to this; but another and a different order of men was also needful — men of refined taste and elegant diction, who could commend the gospel to those who might otherwise have turned away from it. Such a class of men God raised up to meet the special requirement of the time. Dr. Henry Grey was one of the earliest, and Dr. Henderson was one of the latest of these — indeed, I know not if now there be any other. And if the taste has changed, and the need is no longer felt — if the gospel now be more prized and valued for the sake of what it brings than for the channel through which it comes — let us not forget how valuable was the service rendered then and how helpful to the progress of the gospel.

Dr. Henderson’s early ministry in Edinburgh is remembered to this day as one of great freshness, and fervour, and power; while his opening ministry in this city, as I remember it, in the manhood of his days, merited the commendation which James Halley, no mean judge, pronounced upon it. On account of family affliction, Dr. Henderson spent the winter of 1839-40 in Madeira; and speaking of his ministry there, Mr. Halley describes him “as a man of high pulpit talents,” and as having preached “with great earnestness and tenderness of spirit and consummate ability.”

His gift in lecturing was great. His lectures on the Gospel of Luke, for freshness of thought and beauty of expression, linger in my memory still, delivered with all that grace of manner for which he was so remarkable. Indeed, as a theologian, I have always been accustomed to rank him very high. He was familiar with the literature of his profession, both ancient and modern. No one looked out with a keener eye on the currents of theological and philosophic speculation, and none more ready to bring forth from his stores of information for the benefit of others. Thus his mind was ever fresh, and his conversation full of profit. This, coupled with a singular youthfulness of spirit, gave him great influence over young men, as he took a deep interest in them, especially in the rising ministry, who were ever near his heart.

In all the great controversies of his time he took the liveliest interest, especially in that which led on to the Disruption; but he seldom, almost never, mingled in the strife. None clearer in his views, none firmer or more unwavering in his adherence to his convictions; and I have always felt that men such as he, and Dr. Smyth of St. George’s, gave great strength to the Disruption cause. It made an appeal to the conscience of the country which could not be set aside. Onlookers were compelled to feel that the reason must be strong that constrained them to abandon a position they had prized and loved. Men more unrevolutionary could not have been found in all the land; but to all the sacrifice which it involved he submitted with the utmost cheerfulness, and passed through that stormy period breathing the spirit of charity and kindness towards all men.

Though never coming prominently forward, yet in a great variety of ways he was enabled to render signal service to the Church and to the cause of Christ. Ere yet the Church had taken up the Colonial cause he was one of the joint secretaries of the Glasgow Colonial Society. His visit to Madeira laid the foundation of the Church which is planted there, while it led him to render valuable help to the refugees who were driven by persecution from the island. For a short time he held the office of Convener of the Foreign Mission Scheme, and for many years he was Convener of the College Committee. In all of these he rendered most important services, and every one felt that the Church was only doing what was right when, in recognition of his high character and standing and service, she conferred upon him her highest honour by placing him in the chair of the General Assembly, which he filled with universal satisfaction.

Time wore on, laying her hand very gently upon him, so that when, three years ago, we met for the celebration of his jubilee, we were willing to believe that years were still before him; but a sudden seizure at the next April communion led him to say to me, “This is the beginning of the end”; and it was even so, for though he recovered from that attack, he was never afterwards entirely free from suffering. He felt that death was drawing on, and for the last two years he was living in the near prospect of his change, and always spoke of it with cheerfulness. In all Christian effort his sympathies were as keen as ever. He took the deepest interest in the work of grace in this city last spring, and enjoyed such meetings as he was able to attend. The last time he had the public papers in his hand he read of the Cappadocian mission, and sent a contribution to help it on. His voice had become so feeble, that it was difficult to catch his words; but enough was heard to tell how his heart was beating. On one occasion his wife said to him, “Do you know me!” and he said, “Who are you?” but on her saying, “You know Jesus!” he at once said, “Whom to know is life eternal — that is the best inheritance — I have long known him.”

Two days before his death he repeated the prayer, so trustful and child-like, “Take me, take me, my own Saviour;” and so the Saviour did. In the presence of his partner and his three sons, he fell asleep in Jesus, whom, not having seen, he loved; and in whom, now that he has seen him face to face, he “rejoices with the joy of harvest, and of men when they divide the spoil.”

And so there passed away one of the most loving and lovable of the children of men, and whose departure has left a blank in many a heart, and made them to feel that now is life less pleasant and death less bitter.

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(Died October 17, 1882)
Author: A. Taylor Innes, Esq., Advocate
Source: The Free Church Monthly, March 1, 1883, Brief Biographies, p.80

The life of the late Professor John Henderson, of the Free Italian College at Rome, was divided into three successive and well-marked stages.

Mr. Henderson was a native of Dumfriesshire, and was thus a compatriot as well as college associate of Dr. Oswald Dykes. They both belonged to a year in Edinburgh, University and New College which yielded men of great vigour, and which included, among others, Dr. Laidlaw of Edinburgh, Dr. Dods of Glasgow, and Mr. Sandeman of Free St Andrew’s, Edinburgh. To hold his own among such a group was of itself proof of excellence; but Henderson at that time did more than hold his own. Some men who knew them all still believe that he was at that time the foremost in mental originality and power. No youth in those days in Edinburgh embodied so vividly the strong and stubborn type of John Stuart Mill. The peculiarity was, that within Henderson’s hard intellectual mind was imprisoned a feminine and sensitive nature. At college, indeed, it seemed as if it was this naked will within that pushed forward and hardened the logical armour around it. This was especially observed in the Dialectic Society, where week after week of debate changed the shy and awkward country lad into a formidable opponent and a strong, self-centred friend. But this intellectual awakening took place late in his college course, and theology and all other interests had to stand aside till his new-found individuality had sufficiently asserted itself.

During the years in which he was supposed to be studying theology, he was an ardent champion of the preliminary duties of escape from conventionalism, freedom from orthodoxy, revolt against authority. In days, those with Henderson as with others of his time, sincerity was the one virtue, self-development the one process, self-manifestation the only utterance worth listening to. The result was, that when he came to the end of his course and was called upon to preach, and, suddenly found he had nothing to say – he had to search for something to preach, as a preliminary, for something to believe. The discovery, under God’s hand, struck deep into his earnest nature, and he turned to his new work with deadly directness and sincerity.

His first sermons in Edinburgh – each a millstone of metaphysics, and of course useless to most who heard them—were the reasoned record of his own earnest and prayerful entrance into the primary truths of natural religion. A few months later, when a missionary at Aberdeen, he found, in visiting death-beds, that even those truths were scarcely strong enough drink for those who are ready to perish. So there was a further seeking and finding, with a special personal interest, when his health suddenly broke down, and he left Aberdeenshire for the milder climate of Rothesay. And there this strange mental history came to its close, under the theological guidance of Dr. Elder succeeding, perhaps, to the only man who had much influence over Henderson at college – Dr. John Duncan; and with his ordination to Coatbridge, on 19th September 1861, the second chapter in his life opened.

Mr. Henderson’s work as Free Church minister in Coatbridge did not fulfil the intellectual promise of his youth; but on the pastoral and spiritual side it was a successful work, and it leaves behind it more solid memorials than the loose and affectionate remembrance of college friends. The following paragraph is only a part of the cordial tribute to him placed upon its minutes by his Presbytery:

”Mr. Henderson was ordained in 1861 as minister at Coatbridge, over what was then the only Free Church congregation in that locality; and there he filled the office and discharged the duties of the Christian ministry with much ability, with great devotedness, and with marked success, for a period of fifteen years. At his settlement the congregation, which had suffered from various untoward circumstances, was in a somewhat crippled state; but under his faithful ministrations it speedily rallied and steadily increased, until at length its membership became one of the largest in the Presbytery. Towards the close of his ministry in Coatbridge, Mr. Henderson became convinced of the urgent necessity of securing a more suitable place of worship for the congregation, and, through his indefatigable exertions mainly, the present large and handsome Free Middle Church was erected, a very considerable portion of the necessary funds having been collected by him beforehand. With a noble unselfishness Mr. Henderson, instead of seeking to transfer the whole congregation to the new church and to shut up the old one, took active steps for the formation of a new mission congregation, and for that purpose left a nucleus in the old building, which afterwards grew into the Territorial charge of Coatbridge West, and became so admirable a specimen of earnest evangelistic work in the hands of its devoted pastor, Mr. McKilliam, so recently translated to Glasgow. Mr. Henderson’s sympathies and labours were not, however, confined to Coatbridge and to his own ministerial work there. He was a man of great public spirit, taking a deep interest in the affairs of the church at large, and a leading part in all the deliberations and work of the Presbytery.” So much was this the case, that the late clerk of the Coatbridge Presbytery used to assert that its minutes for years were simply ”a biography of Mr. Henderson!” Indeed, the steadfast and unwearied devotion to mere local duty, of one who had begun life with a passion for abstract thought, affected his friends during those years with a mingled sentiment of regret and admiration. But his work also was now to be exchanged for another, strikingly contrasted in character and in scene.

In the autumn of 1876 Mr. Henderson received and accepted a call from the Free Italian Church to become Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology in Rome. Henceforth his work was in what is still in so many ways the capital of the world, till, in the spring of 1882, he left Italy for Britain for the last time. He carried with him then the seeds of Roman fever; and the result was a persistent affection of the liver, of which he died in the house of a relative near Liverpool, on the 17th October 1882.

Mingled with his latest words of resignation was the passionate avowal that he “loved his work in Rome,” and a desire that, if God willed, he might be spared to complete a special course of his lectures there. It was not to be; but from all who knew him there come striking testimonies to his faithfulness in this sphere also. He met strangers in Rome with a kindness of heart and a simplicity and nobility of nature all his own. But his proper work, of course, was in the college in the Piazza S. Angelo, on that historical site where in 1555 Pope Paul IV burned Algeri, and in 1567 the same Pope burned Carnesecchi, and in 1570 Pope Pius V burned Paleario. There, for the last six years, while the young life of Italy flowed around, and the ruins of the past formed an incomparable background, Signor Gavazzi lectured on Polemical Theology and Homiletics, and Professor Henderson had for his work Apologetics and Dogmatics.

“Our college,” wrote the Directors on his death, “has been deprived of a strong and trusty prop, and his unexpected death leaves a great blank in our hopes.”

“Scotland gave him to us,” writes Gavazzi, “Rome struck him down, England snatched him away. He threw himself into the work of the college at Rome with all the fervour of a first love, devoting to it not only the day but much of the night—too much, alas! For his so soon spent strength. … Loving all and beloved by all, a stranger to wrath and bitterness whether of word or deed, he was very dear to our youth here.”

The Rev. Henry Pigott, of the Wesleyan Methodist Mission, who was associated in the college as a Lecturer on Biblical Criticism, gives in the Piccolo Messagere, which records the work of the Church which both served, a striking testimony to his “vigour, capacity, and perspicacity of intellect,” on the one hand; and on the other to his transparency and simplicity of character as a man with the child’s heart, and “dwelling in the secret place of the Most High.” This sweetness and tenderness of nature, indeed, characterized Mr. Henderson all through his later life.

“No one,” says Signor Conti, applying to him the words of Seneca— “no one was so beloved even by his intimates as he was by mere acquaintances.”

It was a quality which remained the same in the most contrasted scenes. The powerful intellectual impulse of his youth was seldom recognizable in later life, but with it had passed away a certain confidence and irritability, which had been among its less desirable accompaniments. In place of these, his old purity and nobility of mind were now combined, in Coatbridge and in Rome alike, with kindliness and tolerance and a beautiful tenderness of nature.

“God,” says M. Pigott, encouraging the Free Italian Church in the words which Charles Wesley took from Matthew Henry — “God buries his workers, but he continues his work.” He continues his work here by raising up successors in the vacant place. But when the fragmentary life here has left the promises of youth so largely unfulfilled, we doubt not that he continues his work also in the person of the faithful worker, in that land where our broken human lives are reunited into the golden strength of heaven.

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The Record of the Free Church of Scotland, October 19, 1861

The Rev. Peter Henderson, of Free West Church, Pollockshaws, died on the 27th ult., after a diligent, unostentatious, and successful ministry of twenty years, seventeen of which had been spent in the charge of which he died minister.

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(Died August 12, 1883)
Author: Rev. D.M. MacAlister
Source: The Free Church Monthly, January 1, 1884, Biographical Notices, p.22

In the death of tbe Rev. John Hendry of Durris the Church has lost one of the most conscientious and devoted of her pastors. As a student, he won for himself a good place in classical literature; but about the time of the Disruption, he laid all down at the foot of the Cross.

Casting in his lot with the Free Church, he was, in 1845, ordained as her first minister at Crail, Fifeshire. There he was the means of gathering and consolidating an excellent congregation, erecting also a church and manse, which remain to this day no mean memento of his labours.

After a period of keen domestic affliction, during which he lost both his wife and child by cholera, his nervous system was greatly shaken; but for years he held on strenuously at his post. Feeling the necessity of rest, he at last resigned his charge; but, soon recovering such strength as to he able to engage in pastoral work, he took the oversight of the mission station at Crathie, where his memory is still fragrant. From that he was called to be the first Free Church minister at Durris (Deeside, and in the Presbytery of Aberdeen), and laboured there in season and out of season till within three weeks of his death, which was occasioned by some form of heart-disease aggravated by a season of overwork. Almost his last public act was to go to his old Presbytery of St. Andrews as a commissioner prosecuting the translation of a minister to one of the Aberdeen churches.

He was always a hard student, never offering to the Lord what cost him nothing. His expositions of the divine Word were ever solid, sometimes, too, powerful and telling in the extreme. His visits were greatly sought after and highly prized by the sick of all denominations in and around Durris. Most tender of heart, retiring, humble, and modest even to a fault, he was a “man greatly beloved” by his brethren in the Presbytery, and by all the members of his flock. “The memory of the just is blessed,”—such may truly be his epitaph.

As a preacher, his discourses were carefully prepared, and well calculated to instruct, edify, and comfort Christians, and to awaken sinners. The fundamental doctrines of the gospel as held by Calvinists were fully and plainly preached by him.

As a pastor, in so far as his health permitted, he was faithful in the discharge of his duties. He could rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with those that weep. Not a few among his people can testify that he had a heart to sympathize with them in their afflictions, and soothe their sorrows by his prayers and counsels.

As a brother in the ministry, he was kind and courteous in his intercourse, and much beloved by all who knew him. In the business of the Church Courts he never took a prominent part, though he had a clear perspicuity in discerning the point of a question —cautious and deliberate in arriving at conclusions, and an independence of parties in stating his convictions.

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(Died October 7, 1870)
Author: Rev. R. Rainy, D.D., New College, Edinburgh
The Free Church of Scotland Monthly Record, January 2, 1871, p.14

The announcement of the death of Mr. Henry must have carried the thoughts of many of our readers back thirty years — to the days of the Marnoch case, and the exciting accessories which gathered around it. It recalled the vivid narrative of the intrusion scene, which, recorded by the pen of the editor of the Banner, imprinted itself almost verbatim on many a memory. In those days, and in after-days of meditative recollection, the question perhaps sometimes occurred, whether the people of Marnoch, whose wrongs excited so strong a feeling — whether Mr. Henry, the minister of their choice — were really worthy of the vivid sympathy accorded to them; or whether it might not be that circumstances on the one hand, and fancy on the other, had invested them with an unreal and exaggerated interest. Now, of the people of Marnoch we have no call to speak, and mean to say nothing, except that they valued and loved their minister till the day he was taken from them. But of Mr. Henry, whose earthly service is now ended, we can speak. He was well worthy of a people’s admiration and love. Thirty years of labour proved his genuine and enduring worth; and the love and honour of all good men who knew him followed him to his grave. In a less conspicuous position than many Disruption ministers, he was an example to be named with any of them, of the sterling stamp of men given to the Church for the time of her great trial.

He was born in the parish of Fordoun, in Kincardineshire, in 1806, and educated at the University of Aberdeen, where he took a good position as a student. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Aberdeen in 1833, and shortly after ordained to minister in Nova Scotia. In that colony he continued about three years, when the state of his health made it necessary for him to return. In 1836 he became assistant to Mr. Stronach of Marnoch. He had been preceded in that position by Mr. Edwards. On the death of Mr. Stronach in 1837, a presentation in favour of Mr. Edwards was issued by the trustees for the patronage, as it has always been understood, under a misapprehension as to the state of feeling in the congregation with respect to him. Meanwhile Mr. Henry had been re-engaged by the people, with the sanction of the Presbytery, to supply the pulpit during the vacancy; and after Mr. Edwards had been settled by a portion of the Presbytery (in defiance of the Assembly, but with the support and sanction of the Court of Session), the General Assembly of 1841 granted the application of the people to have Mr. Henry settled as their minister. This took place in 1842; the formal service having been delayed until the completion of the church, built, along with the manse and schools, by means of a subscription gathered from all parts of Scotland. The interests of the congregation did not suffer materially by the delay; for Mr. Henry, being an ordained minister, had been, to all practical effects, the minister of the people of Marnoch for a long time before. From this time till his death Mr. Henry ministered to a congregation of over nine hundred communicants, scattered over a wide district, and making, of course, unremitting demands on pastoral wisdom and fidelity.

Mr. Henry possessed excellent mental endowments, crowned by great wisdom and good sense. These qualities, with a temperament constitutionally ardent, could hardly fail to make him, as he was, an able and effective preacher. He is believed to have come under the influence of the gospel in early life, and before his studies began; and, at all events, evidence exists to show that his ministry, from the earliest period, was carried on under the influence of singularly pure and spiritual motives, with much self-searching, self-dedication, and prayer. These are qualities and characteristics commonly found in men who have been honourably distinguished in the ministry. The special points which have struck the writer in regard to Mr. Henry are the following:

We may name first the high stamp of his character. The most natural and unpretending of men, he gained and held a place in the minds of all who knew him which he never thought of claiming. Undeviating consistency is sometime perhaps imagined to be the attribute of sluggish and formal characters. It was not so in his case at any rate. He was constitutionally ardent, with large capacity for giving and taking impulse. Pertinacious folly, or base conduct, when they forced themselves on his attention, could reach and loose the repressed fire. But the supremacy of principle, and a wise and watchful self-government gave depth and ripeness to the man, without weakening his spring or his power. He was not one of those who readily reveal their deeper experience. But you were never disappointed in him; you always felt the better for meeting him; and gradually you realized that all his manifestations were consistent only with a great strength of Christian goodness and high-mindedness, and that he had won a place in your respect and confidence which not many friends in any circle are entitled to claim. He was one of the men that could not be doubted. You were sure how he would turn out, in judgment, in principle, in sympathies. We are convinced that he himself had not the least idea of the strength of confidence and regard cherished towards him by those who in various degrees had learned to know him.

We may name, secondly, his diligence. In this the ardour of the man found its legitimate and beneficent outlet. The writer does not know, and cannot name, a more usefully and wisely diligent minister. Many give themselves with ardour to special branches of the work. He divided himself among all. He preached, and preached well – when the writer knew his manner of work, frequently three times — on Sabbath. On week-days, visitings and meetings and week-day sermons stimulated the life of his congregation. Large classes, on Sabbath and on week-days, brought his influence to bear on the young. In this department we have no doubt he did incalculable good. He left the impression that his work was never out of his mind, and was followed with an alert swiftness, which alone prevented the amount of it from overwhelming him. This was not due to a victorious robustness which defied fatigue. It is now sixteen or seventeen years since the writer heard from him of those suspicious and distressing pains in the back of his head, following various portions of his work, which told him how closely he was pressing on the limits of his strength. But the work went on, with strength given for the day, and it was not till about three months from his end that paralysis put a sudden period to his activity. His death took place on the 7th of October. During his illness, he was remarkably supported.
Various touching illustrations of his state of mind have reached us. We prefer to quote one, characteristically calm discriminating, narrated by his friend and neighbour, Mr. Ingram of Rothiemay, who preached his funeral sermon:

“Have you unbroken peace? I asked. ‘Well,’ said he, “I am resting my soul on the Saviour I preached to my people. I can hardly say I have enjoyment; but, with Stewart of Moulin, I can say I have implicit trust. I have had great comfort from some promises, in particular, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”‘ He quoted in full verses 14, 15, 16 of Psalm 91.”

After his death a record of many private spiritual exercises was found, which illustrated strikingly the character of the man, and indicated with what oil his lamp had been fed. For the sake of its connection with the more historical relations of his life, we may cite the following entry, on occasion of his hearing of the death of Mr. Edwards:

“I feel at this time solemnized by Mr. Edwards’s death. He and I occupied prominent places in the late great ecclesiastical controversy, and we have been now for several years engaged professedly in the same work or the Lord. And now he has gone to give in his account. And, 0 my soul! shalt not thou seriously anticipate the time when thou shalt appear before the Judge of all, and prepare to meet thy God? I desire to be humbled for all wherein I may have acted sinfully in the matter that so long pended. In such matters much sin is mixed, and I doubt not much lies at my door. Though I thank God that I am not conscious of having in any case wilfully or intentionally injured the deceased, or sought by any undue means my own interest or ease, yet I do feel humbled at my unworthiness, and my savouring too much of things personal, and too little of things divine; and I do feel impressed and solemnized by his death, and desire to search and try myself wherein I may have done amiss; and, since the Lord has spared me, I desire to prepare, through grace, for my awful and final account. May it be given with joy, and not with grief; and I desire to double my diligence in the work of the Lord, and work while it is day, before the night cometh when no man can work. May the Lord give me grace sufficient for my time of need, and perfect his strength in my sad weakness. I pray with all my heart that the Lord may fill up the vacancy in a way the most conducive to his own glory. May I have and maintain true sincerity and simplicity of purpose in all things. I have (O Lord, thou knowest, and do thou help me) much to learn for the regulation of my thoughts and words, both in public and private. May I ever possess my spirit, and maintain a conscience void of offence towards God and man.”

What a walk of dignified Christian usefulness — what a host of Christian ministrations to old and young — will rise in many minds associated with the recollection of that wise, kindly, keen face, and that tall, spare form! We associate with him in a special manner the text of John Owen’s sermon on the “labouring saint’s dismission to his rest” — “Go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”

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The Free Church of Scotland Monthly, September, 1893, p.201

Last month we published a request from the Rev. Dr. Henry for a bicycle, to enable him more rapidly to visit the people and out-stations of Livlezi Valley, at the south end of Lake Nyasa, where beasts of burden cannot live. Two bicycles were offered, and one was about to be packed for despatch, when this message, telegraphed from Durban on the 7th August, reached the secretary the same morning,— “Doctor Henry died, fifth July—Fever.” The news must have been sent by post to the port of Chinde, by steamer to Natal, and thence wired to Edinburgh. Where the sad event occurred we do not yet know, for Dr. Henry, at the date of his last private letter, was about to leave for conference with his brethren at Bandawe. The Livingstonia Committee had sent out new rules for their suggestions, and Dr. Henry expressed himself well pleased with the regulations.

In that letter, dated the 16th May, he is bright and hopeful:— “You need not think we are going on too fast; we can hardly do that. Some of the advances now made should have been made long ago, if I had been supplied with funds necessary for these extensions. … In addition to Gowa and Mpondera, settled last year, I have got four out-schools built, all within four miles of the station. The scholars in these range from sixty to eighty in each, and the attendances on Sunday are in none of them less than 150. Altogether in this whole district we preach to more than a thousand people every Sunday. The baptized teachers all go to the out-schools to read, sing, and speak on Sunday morning. We have now also begun our brick building on the station; a shop and one dwelling-house are going up. If women teachers come, we shall be quite ready for them. “Dr. Henry had completed his translation, into Chinyanja, of the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” and of this proofs are now on the way out. The late Mr. McIntyre had made some progress in the translation of the same work. Dr. Henry’s collection of hymns he directed to be delayed till his next furlough, that he might improve it. All the copies of his admirable “Grammar of Chinyanja” had been sold out, the planters alone having bought fifty copies, and he projected a new edition much improved. He had sent home to be printed by his ever generous brother-in-law, Mr. William Fraser of Aberdeen, a translation of the book of Genesis into that language, in which some time ago Dr. Laws published the New Testament. The Peterculter deacons’ court (Mr. Kelman) had granted his native church their set of communion vessels, and Mr. McMinn is taking them out. Never was missionary of Christ more busy, more hopeful, more full of faith, when the same dread disease which, in its “black” form, sent him home three years ago, cut him off after a service of six years, and only fourteen months after his devoted wife.

The Rev. A. G. Macalpine and Rev. A. Dewar must have reached Lake Nyasa soon after this sore affliction, and Mr. and Mrs. McCallum and Mr. McMinn sailed for the mission on 19th August. The work at Livingstonia has been so extended that the expenditure every year has risen to £7,000, considerably beyond the present annual subscriptions. Like Mr. Bain’s death, Dr. Henry’s is another call to the Church and the people of Scotland to do their duty to our native subjects in British Central Africa. The men—our best divinity and medical students—are offering themselves.

Lord Overtoun, who, as benefactor and convener, is identified with the Livingstonia Mission, writes:— “I am greatly distressed at the sad tidings by wire. Dr. Henry has not long survived his devoted wife; but his death is one of the fresh trials in the work. I trust we may be given faith and patience under this fresh trouble, and that God may send us one who will step into the post at which Dr. Henry has fallen.” The venerable Principal Brown writes of his old student:— “I mourn the great loss. Dr. Henry’s splendid linguistic abilities were beginning to yield the best fruit, and would have opened up the dialects of Chinyanja. I cannot forget the effect produced by his wife and himself at a large missionary meeting in Aberdeen. Mrs. Henry’s address so touched a servant that she volunteered to return with her and teach the girls to wash, sew, and dress.” The Aberdeen Free Press published this sketch:—

“George Henry was a native of Newburgh, at the public school of which he received his early education. He afterwards attended the Aberdeen Grammar School, at which he was both silver and gold medallist; and proceeding to Aberdeen University, graduated M.A. some fifteen years ago. Mr. Henry then went through the divinity course; and, on completing this, he was for some time engaged in ministerial work in England. From the first, however, he had the career of a medical missionary in view, and some years after leaving Aberdeen University he returned, and took up the study of medicine. On taking his medical degree, Dr. Henry was asked to accept an appointment on the Free Church mission staff at Livingstonia. He consented, and in 1887 he sailed for Africa. Since then he had once revisited this country—about two years ago, when he was present at a great missionary meeting in the Albert Hall, Aberdeen. He was an accomplished linguist. He had constructed a grammar of the Chinyanja language—the language chiefly spoken in the Livlezi region—which has proved of great service to the planters and traders, as well as to others in that new country. He translated a hymn book into the same language, and not long ago completed the translation of Genesis also. It was his intention, we believe, to set about, on an early date, the translation of the entire Bible into Chinyanja. A particularly sad incident of this department of his work may be noted in the fact that he recently finished the translation of ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress,’ and the proof sheets of the work, which is being printed in Aberdeen, are at present on their way to Livingstonia for revision by the deceased. While closely engaged in his work, Dr. Henry found opportunity for travelling over Lake Nyasa. In the course of his travels he discovered some eight or ten different dialects of the Chinyanja language, and the knowledge thus gained he was able to turn to good account, especially in his ministerial work among the natives. In May of last year Dr. Henry suffered a sad bereavement in the loss of his wife, a Forfarshire lady—who also died of malarial fever. There is no family. Dr. Henry has an elder brother a Presbyterian minister in New Zealand, and is survived also by several sisters, three of whom reside in Aberdeen. It is interesting to note that two nephews of Dr. Henry, sons of Mr. Aitken, Aberdeen, are connected with the Free Church Mission in Livingstonia.”

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The Free Church of Scotland Monthly Record, July 1, 1865, p.810

The Free Church has lost in Dr. Hetherington one of her most distinguished ministers. After a long and painful illness, which latterly withdrew him entirely from the world, this excellent and able man peacefully departed this life at Glasgow, on the 23d of May last. His death, though not unexpected, and to him a welcome relief, rather than a sad or sudden dispensation, has awakened over the church a lively recollection of his remarkable character and achievements. Dr. Hetherington was no ordinary man, but had powers and qualities of head and heart which, in any line of life, would have raised him to distinction. In addition to the fire of a poet, which was ever bursting forth in his speech and writings, he possessed no small portion of that true intellectual energy, which enables a man to do great things in various walks of literature. His acquirements as a scholar and a theologian were of a higher order; and all were under the guidance of a lofty-toned morality, and a deep, yet perfectly unostentatious piety.

William Maxwell Hetherington was born on the 4th of June, 1803, in the parish of Troqueer, which, though adjoining the town of Dumfries, is situated in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. His father, an intelligent and trust-worthy man, was a gardener, and for the long period of forty years in the employment of Mr. Maxwell of Carruchan, the representative of a distinguished Galloway family. From his earliest years, the subject of our sketch was remarkable for acuteness of mind, and a warm, generous, and impulsive temperament. His fondness for reading, when little more than a child, was so great, that he would willingly sit a whole day rocking the cradle with a book in his hand. Like many other gifted youths, he owed much to his mother. Having read a chapter of the book of “Revelation,” one day, he was so much attracted by it that he used to ask his mother to be allowed to read it after his lessons for the day were over. She had the penetration to observe the character of his opening mind, and had always a book of poetry, or something of the like attractive nature, for him to read, as a reward for good behaviour.
When little more than a boy, he sketched out for himself what might be called his life-plan; and he bravely clung to it, notwithstanding the many difficulties that stood in the way of its realization. The obstacles that would have damped the enthusiasm of a mind less ardent and hopeful, only nerved him to greater effort, and developed powers that otherwise might have remained latent.

His early education at the parish school of Troqueer, was of the most limited description, and he was nineteen years of age before he began the study of Latin or Greek. But his mind was a perfect storehouse of information by that time; and his early struggles, which our space will not allow us to particularize, were not without their value to him in after life. It was with a feeling of intense satisfaction that—after nine months instruction in the classics, during three months of which he attended the Academy at Dumfries—he enrolled himself as a student in the University of Edinburgh, at the beginning of the winter of 1822.

During the four years of his literary course, he greatly distinguished himself in most of his classes; gaining a prize in the Greek class, over the late Dr. Cunningham, and standing next to the gifted John Brown Paterson, the first prizeman in Moral Philosophy. At a later stage of his literary course, young Hetherington showed a strong leaning towards poetry, and other branches of general literature; and published in 1829 a small volume of “Dramatic Sketches” which, although characterized by poetical merit of no mean order, did not make any very decided impression on the public mind.

After finishing his theological studies in Edinburgh, Mr. Hetherington was appointed tutor to a young nobleman in England; and while thus occupied, he devoted much of his time to the study of history, and wrote “The Fulness of Time,” a work of a much higher character than his first performance, being a learned and able illustration of the providential preparation of the world for the coming of Christ. This volume was published at Oxford in 1834, and attracted the attention of Southey and other eminent critics, who lauded it as a truly philosophical work, and an important contribution to theological literature.
In 1836, Mr. Hetherington was ordained minister of the parish of Torphichen, in the presbytery of Linlithgow. An eloquent preacher, and diligent in the discharge of his pastoral duties; he yet found time in this sequestered, rural charge, for the prosecution of literary composition. During the long snow-storm of 1838, he produced one of the most popular of his works, “The Minister’s Family,” which has had an extensive circulation, not only in this country, but in the United States of America, where it has passed through several editions. About this time, too, he wrote numerous articles for the “Presbyterian Review,” of which he was one of the projectors; and the article “Rome” for the “Encyclopaedia Britannica,” which was shortly afterwards published in a separate form.
The controversy between the Evangelical and Moderate parties in the Church of Scotland was now at its height, and Mr. Hetherington flung himself into the straggle with all the ardour of religious conviction, and all the impetuosity of his natural temperament. It was this controversy that brought him into notice as a telling public speaker; and, perhaps, no effort in this line was more signally successful than what may be called his “Maiden Speech,” delivered in the town of Linlithgow, in the month of February, 1840. He also contributed in many ways to the literature of the controversy. But his greatest and best effort in defence of spiritual Christianity and Scriptural church government, the work by which, probably, he will be best known to posterity, is his “History of the Church of Scotland.” This important work, written with much rapidity amidst the pressure of pastoral and other duties, was published in 1841, and obtained a very extensive circulation. Though bearing some marks of haste, and not aiming at the severe historical style, Mr. Hetherington’s work told powerfully on the Presbyterian public of Scotland, preparing them for the Disruption struggle, and rendering eminent service to the cause of Evangelical religion. It exhibited no small degree of research, a philosophical breadth of mind, a fine spirit of healthy Protestantism, a hearty hatred of civil and ecclesiastical oppression, and a vigorous copiousness of style that often rose to eloquence, and found varied expression in numberless passages of great beauty, tenderness, and power. In spite of a few minor blemishes, which were in great measure due to the circumstances in which it was written, it will long be a useful and favourite book in Scotland, and carry to distant lands the name and memory of its genial author.

Encouraged by the success which attended his “History of the Church of Scotland,” Mr. Hetherington published in 1843, the “History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines.” This history, marked by all the characteristics of its author, met with a favourable reception, and will always hold a respectable place among works of its class.

In the following year Mr. Hetherington was removed from his comparatively obscure sphere at Torphichen to the academic town of St. Andrews, that his eminent talents and accomplishments might be turned to account not only in gathering an influential congregation, but in superintending and instructing the Free Church students attending the University, he was soon surrounded with a large and respectable flock, and gave several courses of lectures to the students on various subjects connected with their studies. Both as a preacher and an academic instructor, he gained a high position in St. Andrews, and rendered most efficient service to the cause of the Free Church. It was while in this sphere that he first showed, in a marked way, those rare powers for which he was afterwards so distinguished, of drawing around him young men of inquiring mind, by entering into their sympathies, and wisely guiding, instead of repressing the ardour so natural to them. In this way he saved many from snares into which they must otherwise inevitably have fallen; and inspiring them with his own noble love of what is true and beautiful and good, he gave to many an impulse which determined their future career. In cases not a few, it was under his instrumentality that inquirers after truth came at length to see in “Christ crucified,” the sum and substance of all excellence.

During the first year of his residence at St. Andrews Mr. Hetherington started the Free Church Magazine, and as its editor during the first four years of its existence, powerfully advocated the cause of evangelical truth and the distinctive principles of the Free Church in a series of articles on a great variety of subjects. Ere this time he had received the degree of LL.D. from America, and was an outstanding man in the Free Church.

In 1848 Dr. Hetherington was translated to Free St. Paul’s, Edinburgh, and in his new sphere proved himself to be an active and public-spirited minister, diligent in the study, popular in the pulpit, and ready to devote himself to the service of every good cause. Besides his “Memoir of Mrs. Coutts,” published in 1854, he wrote numerous articles for the North British and other reviews, delivered lectures to various religious and literary societies, and continued to take a more than usual interest in students, of whom a goodly number instinctively gathered round him and profited by his ministry. The large and handsome schools in connection with Free St. Paul’s were erected mainly through his faithful and laborious exertions. While minister of St. Paul’s he received the degree of D.D. from America.

In 1857 Dr. Hetherington was unanimously appointed by the General Assembly to the chair of Apologetics and Systematic Theology in the Free Church College of Glasgow. This appointment met with the general approbation of the Church. The new professor’s claims to such a distinction were felt to be very great, and much benefit to the Church at large was expected from the labours of a man of his tried capacity and earnest spirit. These expectations were not disappointed. In his new sphere Dr. Hetherington acquitted himself in a manner that endeared him to his students, and reflected credit on the important institution with which he was connected. But in spite of his keen relish for the studies over which he had been called to preside, and the enthusiasm with which he continued to elaborate his course of lectures, it speedily became apparent that a long period of intense and incessant literary labour had undermined his constitution. For a time his indomitable spirit and ardour, that kindled at the presence of difficulties, seemed to triumph over weakness of body; but paralysis laid its stealthy grasp upon him, and it speedily became evident that the Church had nothing more to expect, in the form of public service, from one of her most gifted sons. No one who visited him during his long illness, extending as it did over nearly three years, could fail to mark the Christian patience and resignation which he manifested. Knowing full well that he was dying by inches, no regretful expression ever escaped his lips. To a friend who met him at Braemar in the autumn of 1862, he repeatedly said, “I shall never be able to conduct my class again. Indeed, I cannot live very long. Nor do I wish that it were otherwise.” His heart was fixed, trusting in the Lord. During the last two years of his life he was the object of the tenderest solicitude to his affectionate wife and family, and his only regret seemed to be that he caused them so much anxious care. Throughout the latter stage of his illness his speech was a good deal affected, but his mind retained much of its wonted vigour. He calmly set his house in order, and made arrangements even regarding his place of burial. He wanted to sleep in the Grange Cemetery, in the vicinity of Edinburgh, and expressed a wish that it might be “as near Cunningham as possible,” the reference being to his early class-mate, already alluded to, and his fast and generous friend, friend through life. In seasons of restlessness his spirit was always soothed when a passage of the Word was read or a hymn was sung; and in hours that might have been still more painful to those who watched by his bedside, when the storm of suffering drove the mind for a little from her moorings, the hardly articulate mutterings of the lips, which the quick and disciplined ear of affection had learned to interpret, told of much-loved studies once more prosecuted, battles for the truth fought over again, or the “unsearchable riches of Christ” preached as of old to his first flock at Torphichen. But the flame of life, oppressed by various maladies, sank lower and lower, and after a long period of weakness and suffering, relieved by the light of Christian faith and hope, his chastened spirit was at length released from the body, “to be with Christ, which is far better.” He was buried on Saturday the 27th May in Grange Cemetery, the resting-place he had chosen for himself, which contains the dust of so many worthies of the Free Church, beside his friend, Principal Cunningham. His remains were followed to the grave by a great number of his old friends and members of the General Assembly, which was holding its sittings at the time: and as the grave closed over all that was mortal of William Hetherington they who knew him best felt that he had left few behind him of greater acuteness of mind, more varied accomplishments, more sterling and chivalrous devotion to the truth, greater generosity of spirits, or deeper piety.

This simple and very imperfect record of Dr. Hetherington’s life and labours will be sufficient to show the ability and energy of the man, as well as the number and variety of his services to the Church of Christ. They who knew him by his public appearances alone can form but a poor estimate of his geniality as a companion, his ardour as a friend, his affectionateness and wisdom as a counsellor. His many fine qualities in private life made him, to use the expression of Dr. Candlish in the General Assembly, “one of the most loveable of men;” and his friends will gladly indorse the estimate of him by Dr. Henderson, in the same place, that “he was a man of pure and high soul; of rare, eager, almost of fiery temperament; of sterling, downright honesty, which made him say what he believed to be true, and to do what he thought right, regardless of consequences.” Frankness and warmth characterized his conversation, a manly and vigorous spirit pervaded his private as well as his public conduct. His stores of information on historical and literary subjects were vast and varied, and always at command. His attainments as a theologian were of no common order, and had he only been sooner favoured with academic leisure, he might have reached a very high place in theology. As it is, he has achieved a well-merited reputation as a faithful and efficient minister of the gospel, a successful professor of theology, and the most popular historian of the Church of Scotland, and he will always be regarded as one of the chief worthies of the Disruption.

“May God still give to Scotland, in her need, such mighty men. Strong in the Lord, and powerful in his might.”

It only remains to be stated that while be was minister of Torphichen, Dr. Hetherington married a daughter of the late Dr. Meek of Hamilton. This excellent lady with her two sons survives to lament his loss. It must be a comfort to her to know that she enjoys the deep sympathy of numberless Christian friends, and of the Church at large.

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The Home and Foreign Record, January, 1852

The Rev. William Hepburn Hewitson was born in the parish of Maybole, 16th September 1812. In 1825, after a visit of some duration to the north of England, he returned to Dalmellington, his father having become parochial teacher there. About that period, his reading, which had hitherto been of a desultory nature, took a more systematic form, and he devoted himself to the acquisition of knowledge, with all that exceeding and enduring energy, which so marked him throughout his whole history, and which, being sanctified by Divine grace, served as the basis of that intense spirituality which formed so striking a feature of his Christian character.

In 1828 he was found busily familiarising himself with Virgil, and Cicero, and Horace, and Homer. Next year, he was found translating Hebrew Psalms, while reading Herodotus, and Livy, and Charles XII in French; Porteous’s Lectures, the History of Greece, Rollin’s History, and Hume and Smollett’s England. By translating difficult Latin and Greek authors into good English, laying past his translations, and, after a while, re-translating his translations into the original languages, he, alone and unaided, became a first-rate linguist.

The facts which we have just stated are sufficient to prove that Mr Hewitson was even then giving evidence that he would, in one way or another, turn out no ordinary man. In his consuming ambition to excel, as well as in his strong natural love of truth, and in other qualities which he possessed, it has been justly remarked, that a noticeable parallel was to be traced between him and Henry Kirke White.

In consequence of delicate health, he did not enter Edinburgh College till November 1833. Contending for the gold medal annually given to the best Latin scholar, he was placed, by the votes of his class, at the head of the competitors, and lost the prize only by a single blunder, which he himself pointed out, before the professor had time to mention it publicly. On that occasion, his fellow-students presented to him a copy of the Attic Orators — a gift equal in value to the College premium. Next year he easily won the medal, and also carried off the honours of the Logic class, in the midst of numerous rivals. But the labours of these two sessions induced the disease which ultimately issued in his death.

Having completed, in April 1837, his University course of Arts, instead of then entering the Divinity Hall, he went as private tutor to Leamington, and there spent the ensuing winter. While there, he obtained an Edinburgh University prize for an Essay on National Character, the public reading of which, in January 1838, drew toward him universal admiration.

However, even before that day of worldly triumph came, his heart had begun to feel, in an unwonted manner, the misery of its alienation from God. In November 1837, a poor dying youth, whom he had met at the mineral spring at Leamington, and whom he afterwards visited in his lowly cottage, lived for a little, and then departed in such hope of glory, that, under the influence of what he had seen in the life and death of this youth, Mr Hewitson was taken possession of by a sense of his unfitness for the presence of a holy God, and of his want of a shelter from the wrath to come. Nor was his soul, when thus divinely awakened, soon tranquilised. Besides other proofs to be given of this, when writing from Malvern in September 1838, he still alludes to the feelings of melancholy and wretchedness which he continued more or less to experience.

In November 1838 he commenced attendance at the Divinity Hall, under Chalmers and Welsh, having been an “irregular” student the previous winter. Onwards till the spring of 1840, while giving signal proofs of his theological, as well as of his literary attainments and progress, he remained in an unsettled and unhappy state, with reference to his spiritual and eternal interests. Having in December 1839 visited Dundee, while the revival was taking place, he returned to Edinburgh in a deeply-solemnised frame of mind, and attempted to secure peace by dedicating himself in covenant to God. But still, as events proved, he was trying to walk in the sparks of his own kindling. Soon afterwards, however, we find, from a letter to a friend, dated May 1840, that he had at length obtained rest in Christ to his labouring and heavy-laden soul. “So much,” said he, “are my feelings changed, that whereas before I was afraid to intrude myself into the work of the gospel ministry, I am beginning to be afraid to hesitate or to draw back.” The way by which he was led to peace, he describes in a letter to his father:— “I am now convinced that, after hearing it preached a thousand times over, we still remain ignorant of the gospel, unless we see clearly and feel joyfully, that Christ is offered to us, wretched, lost sinners, in all his fulness, as the free gift of God. I am sure of this, that, for a long, long time I have been deceiving myself, and making myself miserable every day, through ignorance of the free glorious gospel, while I imagined that I clearly understood its gracious character. For long, the painful feeling still preyed upon my mind, that I must do some good works myself, or God would not accept me in Christ Jesus; and my misery was, that while Satan thus blinded my eyes, I found myself unable to do the good works that I would. Now I see that the gospel is quite different — that it is free, and full, and wholly of grace.”

Henceforth he habitually lived and laboured in the light of the Divine countenance lifted upon him. And the Lord at once began to make him a blessing to others; for an aged female in Edinburgh, and another in his native village, both seem, when on their deathbeds, to have owed to his instrumentality the salvation of their souls. In the course of the summer of 1840 he established in the same village a weekly prayer-meeting, which he continued afterwards greatly to care for, even when in in a distant land, and which seems to have been divinely employed as the birthplace of souls.

In his determination to count all things but loss for Christ, he resolutely caused his gold medal to be sold, and devoted the price of it to the Lord’s service; while the ambition which once so coveted that premium was now supplanted in his soul by a burning eagerness to be instrumental in bringing sinners to Christ.

The feeble state of his health, however, compelled him to desist for a time from prosecuting his views to the ministry, and to go for eight months to Fife as a tutor. That period was fraught not only with the pressure of bodily disease, and the experience of spiritual struggles, but also with striking proofs of his progress in the life of God, and of his growing meetness for the ministry of reconciliation.

Licensed to preach in May 1842, in the following month he went for four months to Germany, where he found Protestants, nearly as sunken, spiritually, as Papists, where he also mourned over the almost universal desecration of the Lord’s day, and from whence he proclaimed the reason which we have to prize and guard our Scottish Sabbaths.

Returning to England in September, he lived for two years chiefly in his father’s house at Dalmellington, during which period he was led, as the result of his study of prophecy, to adopt the “pre-millennial” views of the second coming of Christ, and sensibly advanced in the holiness, and peace, and joy of the gospel, and attained to a more uninterrupted assurance of hope, and to more unbroken fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Mr Hewitson took a deep interest in the disruption of the Church in May 1843, joyfully cast in his lot with the outgoing ministers and people, hailed the event for its exhibition of self-denying steadfastness in maintaining the crown-rights of Christ, and anticipated from it the commencement of showers of blessing, which, alas! our faithlessness has, as yet, restrained and forfeited.

On the 4th November 1844, he was ordained to the ministry with a view to his going to Madeira, where, at that time, a number of Portuguese, converted by the instrumentality of Dr Kalley, were in prison for no other crime than that of reading and believing the Word of God. Residing in Lisbon in December 1844, and January 1845, during these two months he made more progress in acquiring the Portuguese language than most men would have made in a twelvemonth. While in Lisbon he marked the combination of Popery and infidelity, in their active efforts against the truth and its witnesses. There, too, he gave this account of his spiritual history:— “The Lord has been dealing wonderfully with me since I came to Lisbon. Sometimes hell has been rolling floods of corruption and bitterness through my soul; sometimes I have been filled with the light and glory and unutterable joy of heaven. What is to be the end of these things? For what is the Lord preparing me? He will guide me with his counsel.”

The time had now come for him to proceed to Madeira. There Dr Kalley, while discharging his duties as a medical practitioner, as became a Christian man, and in the spirit of a faithful and devoted servant of Christ, had rendered the generous employment of his professional talents available for bringing his Popish patients into contact with the truth as it is in Jesus; and the Lord had so blessed his labours for the conversion of some, and the awakening of others, that the Romish Church became furious, declared the Bible to be a book from hell, excommunicated the first two avowed converts, condemned another, Maria Joaquim, to death, threw Dr Kalley into prison, immured in its dungeons twenty-six of his converts, and, true to her ancient character, recommended his assassination, and thirsted for the blood of the saints. At the same time, the Earl of Aberdeen proved equally true to his character as the leader of the rulers of this country who drove the Free Church out of her union with the State because she would not allow the civil power to enter into the Church, and usurp the place belonging to Christ and to his Word, and, under Him and it, to his ministers and people alone, in his own house. Lord Aberdeen gave Dr Kalley to understand that the power which the country wields in and over Madeira, would not he put forth to protect him in his religious and civil liberties, or to shield him from the vengeance of the Popish Church, if he persisted in allowing the Portuguese to come to his house, and listen to the Word of God. Thus left by the Government of England at the mercy of the Man of Sin, Dr Kalley had to abandon his Christian labours. May the Lord in mercy save us from the policy of such statesmen! For surely, if it is longer pursued by those who are at the helm of affairs, we may well tremble for the cause of Protestantism, as for the ark of God.

In the beginning of 1845, Mr Hewitson commenced his labours in Madeira, unfettered by the restrictions laid on Dr Kalley, and determined to obey his Lord’s command to preach the gospel to every creature. The work so wonderfully begun by Dr Kalley, was then greatly advanced under Mr Hewitson. Numbers who had given up confession, and were reading the Bible, flocked to his meetings, asking the way to Zion. Daily the Lord added to the church such as should be saved. The knowledge exhibited by the converts proved them to be under Divine teaching. They had the zeal of such as were filled with the Holy Spirit. Under severe sufferings, their faith and fortitude, their patience and hope, remained unshaken. The priests and police combined to crush this work of God. Converts were imprisoned for reading the Bible and teaching others to read it. Mr Hewitson was threatened with indictment, and had to give up his more public meetings, and to subject himself to immense labour in meeting and guiding inquirers more singly and privately. Ordinances were administered in secrecy. The Lord’s Supper had to be observed under cover of night.

There is little wonder that such labour, undergone by one so delicate, brought on a severe, and, for a time, most threatening illness; yet his bodily distresses gave him far less concern than the danger in which he and his flock and hearers were, from the Popish and bloodthirsty priests, and rulers, and people, of the island. To provide against the day of trial, and of probable separation from his charge, when they would be left as sheep without a shepherd, Mr Hewitson selected the more gifted and promising of the converts, and laboriously conducted them through a higher process of intellectual and theological training, with the view of qualifying them to become deacons, elders, and catechists, and thus meeting, so far as was possible, the wants of that interesting little church; and he also, most judiciously as we think, proposed to our Church at home, to charge herself with preparing certain of their converts for the work of the ministry among their brethren.

Having, in April 1846, ordained six elders and several deacons, and having made such other arrangements as he could, adapted to the emergency, in May he carried out the purpose which he had for some time entertained of leaving Madeira for a few months, intending again to return and to resume his labours, if the Lord would be pleased to open to him in that island a door of usefulness.

Accordingly, in June we find him again in Scotland; and for three succeeding months after his return, friends were refreshed by his conversation and his correspondence, and congregations were edified with his ministry, while in public and in private, he unceasingly gave most impressive proof that he indeed lived by Christ living in him.

While contemplating his return to Madeira, a great persecution began there on Sabbath the 2d of August. On that day, hounded on by the priesthood, and connived at by the civil authorities, a brutal and infuriated rabble of Papists gathered round the private house of an English family, in which from thirty to forty converts were assembled for worship, and from morning till night kept the house with all its inmates in a state of siege; then towards midnight the dwelling was violently entered, and the converts (one of whom was fearfully mangled) were saved from the sanguinary fierceness of their assailants only by the interference of the police and soldiers. On the following Sabbath, August 9, Dr Kalley providentially overheard a conversation between some of the adversaries and the very police that were professedly protecting him, which betrayed the existence of a conspiracy against his life, which was within a few hours of its intended execution, and he had no more than time to save himself from death, by instantly escaping on board the steamer in the bay.

The maddened mob now breathed out threatenings and slaughter against the converts, who sought for safety in the mountains; and then two hundred of them, forsaking all for Christ, took refuge on board an emigrant vessel, and sailed on 22d August for Trinidad. Three hundred and fifty more soon followed, and ultimately the number of converts that sought a home in the West Indies, was eight hundred.

Intelligence having reached Mr Hewitson of what was taking place, he writes, on 17th September— “Ah! the tidings from Madeira are truly sad. The dear people, hunted like beasts on the mountains by their savage foes, and forced on the resource of emigration, as the only means of escape from the dreadful alternative of relapse into Popery, or suffering, it might be, in many cases to death! — one man brutally murdered! — several women beaten almost to death! —Popery would exterminate grace itself from the earth, if it could.”

Assenting to the proposal of the Colonial Committee, that he should follow the exiles to Trinidad, Mr Hewitson sailed from Southampton on January 2, 1847, setting it before him as his object, not only to administer gospel consolation to them, but also to re-organise them into compacted church order. Having fulfilled his mission under that manifest blessing from on high that ever attended him, he reached the Clyde on l5th July, having, by his daily instructions and holy deportment on the voyage home, made a deep impression on all who were with him in the ship, and proved the instrument of the actual conversion of one of the careless sailors.

The next six months were spent by him in different parts of Scotland, in all possible kinds of unceasing Christian labour. And his public appearances, his personal walk, and his written correspondence, exhibited such a sense of divine things, such heavenliness, such habitual communion with God, and such likeness to his Lord, as rendered him a sweet savour of Christ, in all with whom he in any way came in contact.

As might have been expected, ere long, various vacant congregations were beginning to look to him as one well fitted to be their spiritual guide. And in March 1848, on a most harmonious call from the congregation at Dirleton, he was settled over them as their pastor, and entered on his short-lived but most solemnising and heaven-blessed ministry. Two short passages will shew the character of the workman, and the nature, of his work:— “Experience teaches me that there is a most intimate connexion between personal abiding in Christ and ministerial usefulness. When the truth is living in our own souls, it goes forth living from our lips, and makes a stronger impression on the souls of others. Nothing makes me feel such inability to preach or pray in the congregation, as being myself out of communion with God. Communion with God is what makes service sweet and easy, prosperous and successful. It is good to long for being filled with the Spirit — it is better to be filled. When we are, the Spirit himself preaches by us, and the Word is in Divine demonstration and power.” “Of all men the minister should be most like Jesus in bowels of compassion towards souls, and travailing for their deliverance from death, and in consuming zeal, of the Father’s house. The more Christlike that we are in the work of the ministry, the more Christlike shall we be in having souls for our crown and joy on that day.” “A free, full gospel, pure objective truth, as it is in Jesus — that is what we are bound to exhibit with all fidelity and plainness: the Spirit of God working all subjective experience of the power of that objective truth — that is what we are to trust in exclusively for success. The keen edge of the Word, and the Spirit striking it home in the hearts of the hearers — the former is our weapon, the latter our strength.”

Such a ministry, as might have been expected, had a special blessing manifestly resting on it. One that so honoured the Lord, was correspondingly honoured by him. The grace that so constantly filled himself, was conveyed by him, as its channel, into the hearts of others. By him, as a faithful ambassador of Christ, God effectually constrained sinners to be reconciled. The living intercourse kept up between himself and Christ, made observers to feel, that the Divine presence was with him in all that he did and said. In connexion with the dependence which he so unceasingly placed on Christ, the Divine power so accompanied and crowned his labours, as to render them continually and memorably instrumental in promoting the salvation of souls.

In two years, his ministry at Dirleton, and in the church on earth, was terminated; and he died as he lived — emptied of self, and filled out of the fulness of Christ. No one could more becomingly appropriate the words, “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

The natural energy of Mr Hewitson’s character, as we have already stated, when sanctified by the grace of God, gave peculiar vigour and consistency to his Christianity. He describes himself in saying, “Religion is not a form, but a life; and it is not a solitary friendless life, but a life of intercourse and company-keeping with God in Christ. To be religious is to be the friends of God — to realise a sense of his presence, love, and favour — to acknowledge him as a living person who is always near us, always ready to bless us, and always looking to us for a loving obedience.”

He really “lived by the faith of the Son of God.” Said he, “We tarry on the threshold of our faith, until we enter into Jesus, and live upon his breath.” His earliest friend, writing of him, says, that “from the time that he was brought clearly to see Christ as his ‘all in all,’ his soul was filled with His glory, as a present Saviour and ever-living Friend. His communion with him became more like that of one friend with another, who are personally near, than of a distant correspondence.”

The impressiveness and the success of his ministry corresponded with his character. One so energetic naturally, so full of the life of God, so full of the Spirit of Christ, so spiritually discriminating, so zealous for the glory of his Lord and the salvation of men, yet withal so full of Christlike compassion and tenderness in dealing with souls, and at the same time so dependent on the blessing from on high, and so full of expectation that it would come, — such a preacher had nothing more than the success which might have been anticipated, when his instrumentality was accompanied by a Divine power, that solemnised, or subdued, or sanctified, or revived, all with whom he came in contact.

Another memorable characteristic of this saintly man, was his faithful attendance on Church courts, his pains-taking attention to matters of business, and his love and maintenance of all the organic forms of a well-ordered Presbyterian Church. A less amount of piety in others, misdirected, leads them to undervalue these things, and even to make a merit of despising them. The feebleness of Mr Hewitson’s wasted frame might well have justified his non-interference with them. But he rightly viewed these things as having their appointment or their warrant in the Word of God, and as capable, like other Divine ordinances, of proving means of grace; yea, as necessary to the order and edification of the body of Christ. And so they were looked to, and used by him, as in their own place fitted to be channels of grace to believers equally with other ordinances of Christ. None can have perused Mr Baillie’s interesting Memoir of him, without perceiving of what practical importance to the Portuguese converts at Madeira and in Trinidad was the business-like way in which he organised them into a church, and so taught them how to hold together, and to “continue in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship,” even in circumstances that, but for this organisation, might have scattered them to the winds. This conduct of Mr Hewitson rebukes alike the mawkishness of those who avoid Church courts as hostile to piety, and the sin of those who turn them into scenes of mere secularity and earthliness.

Not in this particular or in that, merely, but in all respects, we ought to feel rebuked, and humbled, awakened, and quickened, while contemplating one so Christlike. He, with so frail and sickly a body, undertaking and accomplishing such labours at home and abroad, and shewing such Divine energy as sustained his feeble frame for a season, even while wearing out its strength; we in the full vigour of health and strength, such comparative loiterers, such cumberers of the ground, such unprofitable servants! He so heavenly in his aims, we so earthly in ours! He so like to his Lord in his conversation and the whole tenor of his life; we so unlike the Master whom we profess to serve! Enter not into judgment with us, 0 Lord! Deliver us from blood-guiltiness! Considering how little we stir ourselves up to take hold of God, we need not wonder at our spiritual feebleness, and the deadness of the Church. The marvel is, that, amidst such prevailing carnality, any spiritual life should remain at all. How different we would be, what a different spectacle we would present, if the grace that filled this servant of Christ were infused in similar measure into us all! And why is it not so with us? Are we straitened in the Lord? Is that fountain sealed against us which proved so continually overflowing to him? No, verily! But we are straitened by our own unbelief and the earth-bound state of our own spirits. “Oh that Thou wouldst rend the heavens, that Thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence!”

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(Died November 15, 1883)
Author: Rev. John H. Thomson, Hightae
Source: The Free Church Monthly, June 2, 1884, Biographical Notices, p.181

Mr. Hill was a native of Stirling, where he was born in 1830. He was a son of the late Mr. Robert Hill of Springbank, solicitor, Stirling. His mother was a daughter of Ebenezer Brown of Inverkeithing; and the wife of Ebenezer Brown was the granddaughter of James Fisher, the chief author of what is perhaps the best explanation of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and one of the four brethren that in 1733 withdrew from the Established Church and formed the “Associate Presbytery;” and James Fisher was married to the eldest daughter of Ebenezer Erskine. Mr. Hill’s mother was a worthy descendant of such an ancestry. She was a pious, God-fearing woman, and did her utmost to bring up her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It was her special care to store their minds with holy Scripture. When her son Ebenezer became a preacher, his power of quoting Scripture with great accuracy was very notable. This power, he was wont to say, he owed to his mother.

Mr. Hill received his early education in his native town. He then went to the University of Edinburgh, where he took his degree. He studied theology in the Free College. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Stirling in 1850. He laboured for some time as a probationer with much acceptance in the village of Airth. Here the ability he showed as a preacher soon led to his call to Dollar. He accepted the call, and ere long gathered around him a large and important congregation. After a seven years’ diligent ministry, he received a call to Lochmaben, where he was inducted in 1863. Here his labours were constant and uninterrupted; and the result was that he gained and retained to his last hour the affections of a loving and attached people.

Early in life he began to collect a library, which year after year increased, until he possessed a collection of books that for size and value few manses possess. He was specially fond of the Puritans, and he spared no pains to secure a fine copy of some rare yet valuable production of these fathers of English Nonconformity.

Mr. Hill was remarkable for the care with which he wrote out his sermons for the pulpit. His manuscripts show that in almost every case they were written twice—first in pencil and then in ink. His sermons were noted by his hearers for their apt and correct quotation of Scripture; but in his manuscripts there is rarely anything more than the first word or two of the quotation. His acquaintance with Scripture was such that the sight of the opening words of the quotation at once recalled the rest to his memory. One who knew him well—his brother-in-law, Rev. Finlay Macpherson of Larbert—truly says of him in the funeral sermon: “His discourses were the fruit of much study, meditation, and prayer. In doctrine they were sound and evangelical; in method arranged with great order and perspicuity, expressed in chaste and scholarly language, yet plain and simple, so that all could understand them; saturated with Scripture, always quoted in a most appropriate and felicitous manner, and delivered with great taste and freedom, and in the tones of a voice at once of great pathos and great power, of tenderness and compass, which arrested the attention of the audience, and which those who were in the habit of hearing can never forget.”

While Mr. Hill was faithful in his attentions to all the members of his flock, he took a special interest in the young. The annual social tea-meetings that he had with his Bible class and with his Sabbath school were quite events in the year. He was at great pains to make them full of interest, and year by year they were the occasion of his gifting a large quantity of valuable Christian literature to his young people, that will long keep up his memory in the district where he laboured.

Mr. Hill was too fastidious a writer to be readily allured into authorship. He furnished one or two short papers full of evangelical savour to the Christian Treasury; and in 1880 he printed for private circulation a gracefully-written sketch, entitled “Light in the Valley of the Shadow of Death,” giving an account of the last hours of his youngest brother, Dr. George Hill of Hooton, Cheshire. His brother, very different from himself, had a lengthened illness, and had opportunity to give forth many striking expressions of his faith and hope in the Redeemer.

Mr. Hill’s knowledge of the complaint which troubled him kept him from taking much part in Church Courts; but he was an ardent minister of the Free Church, and was deeply interested in all that concerned its welfare and advancement. An hour’s fellowship with him, as he discussed in rapid conversation the business that comes before its Church Courts, was something to be remembered. From his ancestry, his sympathies were large. He hailed with joy the accession in 1876 of the Reformed Presbyterian Church to the Free Church, and gave the writer a brother’s welcome when he came in 1877 into the district, to be alongside of him in the same parish—in Hightae, a village two miles from Lochmaben. It is often a hard matter for two brethren in the same Church to labour together in the same country district without little jealousies or misunderstandings arising, that soon mar the first friendship. But this never happened with Mr. Hill. The friendship as it grew older became stronger, until it came to pass that all his plans for the congregation were first talked over together.

Mr. Hill’s end came suddenly. For years back he had known from his medical attendant that the angina pectoris that sometimes troubled him might have a sudden and fatal termination; but he still continued at his pastoral duties with unabated vigour. On Sabbath, November 12, the day commemorating Luther, he preached with more than his usual animation a sermon from 2 Corinthians 1:24— “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” In this sermon he, at considerably more than his wonted length, entered into the history of the Reformer, and admiringly depicted the services he rendered to our evangelical Christianity. At the end of the services he intimated the collection next Lord’s day for the pre-Disruption ministers, and spoke of the fathers who have recently been called away, and of the uncertainty of life to all. “Who knows,” he asked in closing, “whose turn it may be next?”—words that were soon to have a sad significance to his people. He conducted the prayer-meeting on Wednesday evening, November 14, and friends who were present say they never heard him do better. Next morning he left home after breakfast, apparently in his usual health, to go to his property of Shinnelwood, in the parish of Tynron, where Mrs. Hill had been on a visit for a few days to her mother. He reached the station some time before the train for Dumfries was due, and complained to the station-master that he felt cold. He was invited to take a seat in the station-master’s room at the fire, and was conversing with him when he suddenly said, “I feel very ill,” and fell back in the chair. Everything was done for him, but he never spoke more, and in ten minutes he breathed his last.

He was buried on the following Tuesday in Lockerbie Cemetery, amidst a large and sorrowing assemblage.

Mr. Hill has left behind him a widow and four sons and a daughter.

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(Died November 9, 1891)
Author: Rev. M. McIntyre, Monikie
The Free Church of Scotland Monthly, February, 1892, Obituary, p.45

Mr. Hill was born at Parkhead, near Glasgow, in April 1819. He was an alumnus of Glasgow University, having attended its arts classes for four years, and those of divinity during session 1842-43. After the Disruption he finished his divinity course under the auspices of the Free Church. He was licensed as a preacher of the gospel in due course and was further prepared for ministerial work by having been engaged for some time as a missionary in Glasgow.

Having been called to succeed the Rev. Robert Aitken as minister of Willison Church, he was ordained to that charge in February 1846, and continued to hold it till his death. He had, however, been relieved of its duties about two years before death by the appointment of the Rev. A.S. Inch as colleague and successor.

At the time Mr. Hill entered on the charge of Willison the membership was about three hundred; but in little more than twelve years the number rose to upwards of seven hundred. This increase was chiefly owing to the excellence and earnestness of Mr. Hill’s preaching, the assiduity and kindness with which he discharged the duties of a pastor, and the hearty co-operation of office-bearers and other members of the congregation in Christian work.

In several respects he was a superior preacher. His discourses were always well grounded in Scripture, and thoroughly evangelical; and they had body and substance as well as soundness. He dwelt much on the great verities—of sin, redemption, and generation; and their result, when believed and experienced, in an upright and godly life. He preached because he believed and as he believed, and did so with great animation and fervour. His doctrine, spirit, and manner plainly showed that his great aim was to awaken the careless and worldly, to guide anxious inquirers to the Saviour, and to build up believers in knowledge, faith, and practical godliness.

The success of Mr. Hill, in gathering and keeping the Willison congregation, was probably as much owing to the way in which he discharged the pastoral duty as to his preaching. In that department his labours were abundant and well regulated. His intercourse with his flock was marked by a kind interest in their general well-being, as well as solicitude for their highest good. They could not but feel that his grand aim and sincere desire was that they might indeed be the Lord’s and serve the Lord.

He had a very large Bible-class, and had great success in conducting it. His teaching was systematic and thorough; and not a few of the members profited much by his instructions, and became intelligent Christians. In the class he was as a father among his children, and many of these children entertain a grateful recollection of his fatherly kindness, and painstaking for their welfare.

In the various subjects of controversy that have so long and painfully agitated the Free Church, Mr. Hill took a great interest, and a prominent part, at least in the Dundee Presbytery. The position he occupied was the Disruption position. He stood firmly there, and did so because he believed that position was thoroughly scriptural; and fidelity to the Word of God, as well as to the standards of the Church, required its maintenance. On the Church’s relation to the State he went along with the constitutional party, and steadfastly maintained Free Church principles as they were understood and acted on at the Disruption. He strongly opposed all innovations in the public worship of the Church, particularly the use of instrumental music and hymns. He firmly maintained the integrity and divine inspiration of Holy Scripture, and resisted all attempts to alter the Church’s relation to the Confession, either by change upon it or declaration regarding it.

Mr. Hill’s grand motive for so steadfastly adhering to the Disruption position, in regard to all these, was his firm belief that they have their ground and warrant in the Word of God, that God requires his servants to confess his truth, and to maintain and defend what they confess. This posture and action naturally exposed Mr. Hill to the charge of narrowness by not a few, and probably also to that of being a “dreamer.” The charge, however, sat very lightly upon him, for he felt he stood upon the Rock, had “faith in God” and the consciousness of his approbation.

From the testimony of one of the elders, we learn that “the congregation are carrying on the work of the Church under the ministry of Mr. Inch with renewed vigour and interest.”

Mr. Hill, who was in his seventy-third year, is survived by a widow and a daughter, who is married to the Rev. Nigel C. Roberton, Pulteneytown, Wick.

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The Free Church of Scotland Monthly Record, April 1, 1874, p.784

The death of this lamented brother took place on the 13th ult. The event was somewhat sudden, for although he was laid aside from duty, by severe illness, upwards of two years ago—which led to the appointment of the Rev. Mr. Robertson as his assistant and successor in the ministry—yet he had been gradually recovering, and there seemed room to hope that he might yet be spared for many years. A paralytic stroke was the immediate cause of death.

Mr. Hislop, whose strongly-marked character made him well known in the Church, tilled in early life the office of parochial schoolmaster in the parish of Wick. Subsequently he became editor of the Scottish Guardian newspaper. In that capacity he did good service, by his zealous and uncompromising advocacy of the Church’s principles. In the year 1844 he was unanimously called by the congregation of the East Free Church, Arbroath, where he was ordained, and in which he laboured with much acceptance and success for eighteen years, till laid aside by bad health as already stated.

Mr. Hislop was much beloved by his congregation, and his death will be felt by them as the loss of a father. But in a much larger circle, and among all classes and denominations in the district, Mr. Hislop’s death will be felt as having created a blank which may not soon be filled. For whatever might have been the differences in opinion between him and others on certain subjects, it was impossible not to respect and admire his moral courage, his life-long consistency, and his single-eyed adherence to those truths which he considered of great importance, and which he followed out with a magnanimous disregard of the neglect or opposition which they might meet either within or beyond the Church.

It is also well known that Mr. Hislop was a scholar of no mean mark. He was well acquainted with Oriental literature as well as the history of the Christian Church, both in its earlier and later stages. His work entitled “The Two Babylons; or, the Papal Worship Proved to be the Worship of Nimrod and his Wife,” will remain a monument of his great erudition. That work has run through three editions, the last edition, greatly enlarged, having been published in 1862, just as its author was laid aside from active duty. The aim of this book was to establish that the object of the worship of the Church of Rome is not Christ, but the Chiefs of the Assyrian mythology—Semiramis and her husband Ninus—who, the author argued, were the real virgin and child of the Popish Church. The argument of the book might not be widely acquiesced in, but there could be no doubt as to the patient research and recondite learning winch were displayed by its author.

Mr. Hislop also published several works on Prophecy, one of them being named “The Red Republic.” Some years ago he published a treatise on Infant Baptism; and as he was a firm maintainer of the continued obligation of our National Covenants, he wrote several pamphlets on that subject. All Mr. Hislop’s writings were strictly characteristic of their author, and exhibited great research and large power of illustration, much ingenious argument, and, above all, a most manly and straightforward support of the views which he had been led to adopt.

It may be mentioned that Mr. Hislop was a brother of the Rev. Mr. Hislop of Nagpore, whose melancholy death by drowning is still fresh, in the recollection of us all.

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The Record of the Free Church of Scotland, December 1, 1863, p.386

Our readers are aware that a very serious calamity has befallen the Free Church Mission at Nagpore in Central India. Its founder, the Rev. Stephen Hislop, has been unexpectedly called to his rest, a nameless backwater on an Indian river, itself unknown, to fame, being the instrument divinely employed to terminate hs career. Sorrowing yet submissive, we silently commune with our own soul in regard to the recent startling dispensation. It is God who bestows faithful labourers on his Church, and removes them after a time. In the present case, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord.”

It is due to the memory of the servant of God deceased, and will, without doubt, be profitable to survivors, to put on record the leading incidents of the remarkable life just closed, and gather up its lessons. Stephen Hislop was born at Dunse, in Berwickshire, on the 8th September 1817. His early education was received there, first at a private and afterwards at the parochial school. With the exception of a session at Glasgow, his literary and theological studies were prosecuted at Edinburgh University and Divinity Hall, and finally at the New College. During his whole career he had been a distinguished student, in the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and other classes, carrying off some of the highest honours.

An officer in Central India, then Captain Hill, though now of much higher military rank, having with princely munificence, placed at the disposal of the Free Church nearly £2,500, on condition of the speedy establishment of a mission within the Nagpore territory, Mr. Hislop was chosen to lead the enterprise. Having received licence and ordination, and been, moreover, united in marriage to an English lady, Miss Erasma Hull, who still survives him, he set sail for the distant land of his destination, and had journeyed into the interior, and reached Captain Hill’s residence at Kamptee before the end of 1844. Two small specks of land— one Seetabuldee, under the Anglo-Indian civil power, the other Kamptee, a cantonment under military rule —were all the territory that Britain could directly claim in that remote part of India; while native states, Mahratta or Mussulman, half controlled by the British authorities, half left free to act as they and their rulers pleased, lay everywhere around. It had been originally intended that Kamptee should be the headquarters of the mission; and the requisite buildings having been obtained, educational operations were entered on and prosecuted with vigour. A few straggling native Christians were gathered into a Church, and Sabbath services com menced for their benefit. At the request of some Europeans divine worship was also conducted in English, but no Free Church organized. It was soon, however, found that there were serious objections to the plan of concentrating effort on Kamptee cantonment. Its miscellaneous population, consisting almost exclusively of soldiers, sepoys, and camp followers, was almost entirely changed every three years through the marching of regiments. It was therefore resolved to commence operations in Nagpore city, locating the mission house on the fragment of British territory already spoken of at Seetabuldee, in which also after a time a school was established. Nagpore being under a Mahratta government, it was foreseen that as the work advanced, political questions of a delicate kind would be almost sure to arise, and difficulties would require to be encountered, from which missionaries more happily located in the Company’s territory were in large measure exempt. Nor was this anticipation of coming trial unfounded. When the first Brahman convert of the mission applied for baptism, he was arrested in the mission-house, denied the rights of a refugee on British soil which he claimed, handed across the boundary line, and immured for one hundred and ten days in a Mahratta prison. On another occasion, when an inquirer sought an asylum in the mission-house, the mob, with the connivance of natives in high places, attacked the building and its inmates with stones and sticks, and made so aggravated a breach of the peace that the Mahratta government, whose conduct in the case had been most negligent, if not worse, had to pay about £90 of damages, which were transferred to the funds of the mission. A year after this outbreak, Mr. Hislop was assaulted and almost mortally wounded by a bloodthirsty mob, having been mistaken for an officer despatched that day to execute a political measure which the natives had resolved to resist by force. Once again, a conspiracy during the mutiny year, of which Mr. Hislop received private warning, was discovered just in time to save the lives of the inmates of the mission and the Europeans generally from inhuman massacre. Through all these and other trials, however, the work continued to make steady progress; school after school was established, till the pupils at last amounted to about 700, while a native Church was gradually built up. And when the fall of the native government had rendered the position of the mission more secure, a splendid donation of £1,200, given by the late Miss Barclay of Edinburgh during her lifetime, was expended in erecting a suitable building for the Nagpore schools, on the completion of which the scattered pupils were gathered into one institution.

While the main strength of the labourers at Nagpore was directed to the work of Christian education, all without exception had acquired the Mahratta language. Mr. Hislop especially could preach in it with a power and effect which could scarcely have been surpassed. It was the privilege of himself and his colleagues to proclaim the everlasting gospel in the vernacular tongue through a territory in length and breadth averaging about two hundred miles.

While walking from village to village, and in the brief intervals of severe toil, numerous opportunities for scientific observation presented themselves, which were well improved; and a series of geological discoveries, which made Mr. Hislop’s name known in some of the most intellectual circles in London, and even on the continent of Europe, was the unexpected result. A new mineral from Nagpore is called after him Hislopite; and Hislopi, the genitive of a proper name, with Hislopianus, an adjective, are terms not unknown to the students of Indian geology. Did it ever strike our readers that, among those who denounce missionaries and their work, you do not meet with one prominent scientific man? And why is this the case ? Because the opinions entertained of missionaries, and their mental and moral development, is founded on what is known of such men as Dr. Livingstone, Mr. Hislop, and others; and it is well understood they are not the ignorant fanatics some suppose.

The circumstances of Mr. Hislop’s death are too fresh in the memory of our readers to render it necessary for us to recapitulate them here. Suffice it to say, thai of the three accounts published in this country, which, agreeing in all essential particulars, yet differ in minute details, those of Mr. Cooper and the friend who first suggested the subscription for the bereaved widow arc unquestionably the more accurate. They agree in all particulars with the geography. Takulghat is twenty miles south, not west, from Nagpore. About ninety circles of stones, which if found here would be termed Druidical, exist in the vicinity of that village. Some of them were excavated many years ago by Messrs. Hislop and Hunter, and more than one object of antiquarian interest brought to light. Mr. Temple, who succeeded to the authority of the old Mahratta government, wished the inquiry to be renewed, and wrote to Mr. Hislop to be present aad render aid. With characteristic zeal the missionary found time to examine a school while superintending the excavations; and it was while returning from the missionary and antiquarian work that the fatal issue took place. Mr. Hislop leaves behind him a widow and four children—the eldest a youth of about seventeen, the other three girls.

Mr. Hislop was tall, wiry, and able to endure astonishing fatigue. His courage was heroic, and his will of iron strength. His powers of observation were of the first order. His mind was somewhat wanting in imagination, but was keen and accurate in its logic in no slight degree. His knowledge of theology and other sciences was very extensive. Accustomed to lead, rather than to follow, he joined the Free Church at first, not moved by the sympathy of numbers, but from calm conviction, and retained his attachment to it unabated to the end. His scientific knowledge and friendships had in no way impaired his love for evangelical doctrine, for which he witnessed in quarters not open to many. In Mahratta, it has been stated, he was a most effective preacher and disputant. On platforms in this country he felt himself less at home. Somewhat slow as he was of speech, the less thoughtful members of the Church, who are apt to test a missionary by the arbitrary standard of oratoric skill, had no conception of the greatness of the first Nagpore pioneer. The Anglo-Indians and the native population of Central India had far better opportunities of judging, and, in company with Mr. Hislop, felt themselves in presence of a power. The respect and regard entertained for him in certain scientific circles in London may be inferred from the following remarkable sentence, with which Professor T. Rupert Jones, the first authority in Britain in his own specific department of physical inquiry, concludes a lengthened obituary notice of the deceased missionary, in the November number of the Geologist: “Taken away suddenly from his family, his friends, and his native church and schools, he will live in our memory as a beloved man, just and good, and as an acute observer, cautious and conscientious; not courting praise, nor even notice, but delighting in work and truth, as a loving student of nature and a faithful servant of God.”

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(Died September 9, 1879)
Author: Rev. John Wright, minister emeritus of East Free Church, Alloa
Source: The Free Church Monthly, November 1, 1879, Biographical Notices, p.277

Mr. Hislop was born at the Kirk of Shotts (famous for the revival under Livingston), where his father was Secession minister, in 1790. Having passed through the usual college course at Glasgow, and having become a licentiate of one of the older branches of the Secession, he was ordained at Kirkcaldy in 1816, and subsequently, in 1823, was settled over a long-established congregation at Doune, in the parish of Kilmadock.

The congregation consisted of members generally well instructed in the doctrines of the gospel, and continued under him to have the whole system of divine truth clearly expounded in his lectures and sermons Sabbath after Sabbath. The trumpet with him gave no uncertain sound; so that if any remained ignorant the fault lay not in him. Mr. Hislop made good use of his valuable library, rich especially with the works of the Puritans, and histories of the Church of Scotland.

Mr. Hislop was in the habit, from the first, of visiting his congregation pastorally, and according to the old and admirable custom of holding district diets of catechising, at which old as well as young attended. He was faithful and unwearied in visiting the sick, not confining his attention to his own flock, but at all times in readiness to call for any who requested sick or death-bed ministrations. Being almost invariably in vigorous health, those services were continued till within a few years of his death, when old age and frailty compelled him, in 1871, to resign his charge, the Free Assembly honouring him in retiring with the full dividend of the Sustentation Fund.

It was deemed expedient that the congregation should then unite itself with the other in the parish, under the Rev. J. Anderson, whose valued ministry Mr. Hislop attended so long as he was able. Without respect to denomination, he lived on terms of the most friendly intercourse with neighbouring ministers.

The section of the Secession with which Mr. Hislop was connected joined the Established Church in 1839. He took part in the Disruption of 1843, always stoutly maintaining that both in the Secession and Free Church he adhered strictly to the principles of the real Church of Scotland.

Mr. Hislop took very keen interest in the Apocrypha controversy, so that his friends were well instructed in details of the warfare against vital errors so ably headed by Dr. Andrew Thomson.

Mr. Hislop having been Moderator of the Free Synod of Stirling, his opening sermon at next meeting of Synod (on the Synod of Jerusalem) was highly valued by those well qualified to judge.

Mr. Hislop married Miss Charlotte Murdoch, who died long before him, leaving no children. He died in great peace, the oldest minister in Scotland, and was buried in the venerable churchyard of Kilmadock.

Thus another Disruption worthy has passed away, to be followed, ere long, by all who belonged to that noble band. Let younger ministers, occupying their room, resolve, like them, to make known Christ alone, and him crucified, the Power and the Wisdom of God.

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(Died December 30, 1884)
Author: Rev. John Lyon, Broughty-Ferry
Source: The Free Church Monthly, July 1, 1884, Biographical Notices

Mr. Hood may be regarded as one of the fruits of the Disruption movement. Catching the spirit of that remarkable time, he started on a course of study with a view to the Christian ministry.

Under the Rev. James Ewing, Dundee, he got his first lessons, not only in theology but in the classics. He then attended Dr. Low of the High School, and with exemplary perseverance qualified himself for college. He went first to St. Andrews University, where he attended the classes for Latin, Greek, logic, philosophy, etc. Then he went to Edinburgh and entered on his theological course under Chalmers, Cunningham, and Duncan—three men that had not their superiors in Scotland. Chalmers, by universal consent, was king. Cunningham, though not equal to Chalmers in eloquence or fervour of spirit, was more than his equal in intellectual strength and platform power. As for Duncan, he was a man that stood apart as a Hebrew scholar, having no superior in these lands, and very few equals.

Under such men Mr. Hood completed his theological course, coming away full of admiration for his teachers, and carrying with him a portion of their spirit. In the year 1850, after undergoing the usual examinations, he was licensed by the Presbytery of Dundee to preach the gospel.

For a year or so after license he laboured as a missionary in Arbroath among the poor and lapsed masses, and this year’s training, it is believed, was as useful to him as any year’s training he ever had. He here got to try his hand at the great work for which all his previous studies were preparatory—a work at which most young preachers feel awkward at first, for the obvious reason that it is a work in which they have had no experience.

About the close of this year of missionary work, he was elected to be minister of the Free Church at Letham, in the parish of Dunnichen, Forfarshire. Here he was ordained in the month of September 1851, and here he laboured till the end of his days—for thirty-three years.

On coming to Letham, he found matters in a very disorganized state. Owing to unfortunate circumstances, the congregation was almost entirely scattered, there being only fifty persons in the church the first Sabbath he preached. But he set steadily to work, and in the course of a short time drew back to the church all who were formerly connected with it. He also added new members, until the communion roll rose to a comparatively large number.

The common complaint of our country ministers is that as soon as their young people get up they go away—males and females—to the large towns and great centres of population, where they may get employment and can make a living. This is one of the country minister’s trials. It is no doubt for the good of the young people that they go thus away; and they are not necessarily lost to the Free Church, but they are lost to the minister from whom they have removed, they are lost to his congregation, and the various schemes to which they were wont to contribute suffer hopelessly under the loss. Mr. Hood had for many years to contend with this evil, to his no small discouragement But he laboured on with unwearied perseverance, making the best of circumstances.

Mr. Hood was possessed of those qualities that are fitted to make a country minister successful. He was naturally of a cheerful disposition; and as he became known he became beloved in the parish where he laboured. He had always something kind to say to every one he met, whether young or old.

Then as a minister of the gospel he had those qualities that were fitted to commend him to the people. He had good natural talents, and strong common sense in the use of them. He prepared his sermons with great care, and filled them with sound doctrine. He was steady in prosecuting his ministerial schemes amongst old and young, not given to novelties or innovations of any kind. In his Church politics he was conservative; but his conservatism was a very inoffensive thing, not much unlike the liberalism of some of his brethren.

Mr. Hood was never married. There are two sisters, still surviving, that lived with him, and were very useful to him from first to last. With unwearied devotion they stood by him in all his affliction, and ministered to his necessities during his last long illness. They lived with him, and now they mourn for him, not, however, without hope. He that comforted the sisters at Bethany is still alive, and says to them, what he said of old, “Thy brother shall rise again.”

The following sentences are quoted from Mr. Ewing’s sermon preached at Letham on the Sabbath after the funeral:—

“I was present at his ordination in September 1851; and subsequently up to the end of his life we had frequent interchange of ministerial services. His aid was ever freely given to his brethren; and his presence was always acceptable, specially at children’s meetings and social congregational gatherings, where his joyous temperament and genial smile so commended him to old and young. Let it be your prayer that a ministry so faithful, so full of constant seed-sowing, may have rich results, and that he shall yet find many from among you who shall be his joy and crown.”

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(Died May 27, 1878)
Author: Rev. W. Beattie, M.A., Sinclairtown, Late of Alexandria
Source: The Free Church Monthly, October 1, 1878, Biographical Notices, p.237

In the death of the Rev. Peter Hope, the Secretary to the Colonial and Continental Committees of the Free Church, a remarkable man, and a most valuable servant of the Church has fallen. This sad event took place on the 27th of May last, at Sydney, New South Wales. For more than two years previously he had been labouring under a somewhat severe bronchial affection. It was with the hope, therefore, under God, of greatly mitigating, if not entirely removing that complaint, that he was induced to try a voyage to Australia. At the same time he was, in connection with that voyage, appointed officially to visit the Presbyterian Churches in Australia and New Zealand, if his health should be so far restored as to admit of the necessary labour. But the great Master had otherwise arranged. It was his good pleasure not to restore the health of his servant, or to prolong his days in this world, but, his work on earth being done, to bring his pilgrimage here to a close, and to take him home to himself.

Mr. Hope was a native of Canonbie, in Dumfries-shire, where his father was a farmer, and also a respected elder of the Church of Scotland. He was born in the month of April 1815; hence, at his decease, he had, by a few weeks, entered upon his sixty-fourth year. The elements of his education he acquired at the schools of his native parish. At the early age of thirteen he went to college; and in due course became a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, where he studied. He afterwards obtained the degree of B.D. in connection with his divinity course at the same university. And shortly before the Disruption he was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Lerwick, in Shetland, where he was then residing.

At the Disruption Mr. Hope was one of a goodly band of probationers who cast in their lot with the Free Church; and for some time after that memorable event, including the winter following it, he had the honour of occupying a remarkable position—that, namely, of preaching to the adherents of the Free Church in his native parish of Canonbie, not under any artificial roof or covering whatever, nor even in the quiet corner of some useless field or barren moor, but on the public highway, under the canopy of heaven, those being the days of site refusal by some of our Scottish proprietors. But this position he ceased to occupy during the following year; for in the autumn of 1844 he was called to the Free Church congregation of Johnstone and Wamphray, in Annandale. That call he accepted, and ministered to the congregation there till 1870, a period of twenty-six years. By the people of his charge, both young and old, Mr. Hope was greatly beloved; and as their minister, he was at once a faithful preacher and a devoted pastor. His discourses were thoroughly evangelical, and possessed of a high order of merit, and he spared no pains or labour for the welfare of his congregation. He was not only their spiritual counsellor and guide, but their faithful and sympathizing friend in every time of need. Nor were his Christian regards and kind offices confined to the members of his own flock; every family in the district, with scarcely an exception, looked up to him with confidence and respect, and ever found in him a true and sympathizing friend also.

At length, however, he was separated from his beloved and deeply-attached people; for by the Assembly of 1870 he was, without request or solicitation on his part, unanimously appointed Secretary to the Colonial and Continental Committees of the Free Church. This appointment he at once accepted. And from the moment that he entered upon the duties of the office thus conferred upon him, he attended to these duties with absorbing interest. And he was possessed of peculiar fitness for the office, by reason of his superior business habits, his extensive acquaintance with the ministers and probationers of the Church, his profound sympathy with the spiritual wants of the Colonial and Continental fields, and his indomitable perseverance. Then he was a man of sterling integrity—loving the true and hating the false of every kind and degree. Besides, along with a shrewd knowledge of men, he was possessed of a sound judgment. And while he was firm and decided in his opinions and strict in his transactions, he was singularly courteous and kind at the same time to all with whom he had any dealings or intercourse. Hence in him was combined in a remarkable degree the fortiter in re with the suaviter in modo. We need not wonder, therefore, that his labours, during the period of his office as Secretary to the Colonial and Continental Committees of the Free Church, were attended with singular success. And he fell at his post. But his end was perfect peace; in proof of which suffice it to quote the deeply interesting account of his last days from the Australian Witness in these words:— ”When gradually sinking, his faith in an atoning Saviour remained strong, and he expressed it repeatedly in such words as, ‘I am resting entirely on Christ.’ All day, on his last Sabbath, he was very weak, and once raising his eyes and finding his wife’s gaze fixed upon him, he whispered, ‘Not yet’—the summons had not yet come. And another time he said, ‘It’s very long’—he was yearning for the coming of the King. His wife answered, ‘But you are willing to wait the Lord’s good time, dear?’ ‘Of course,’ he answered, ‘I am willing.’ And so the veteran Christian soldier was able to show how the hope of a Christian can rob death of its sting. He lingered on till Monday night. Although now almost too weak to make himself audible, yet he was perfectly collected, and his mind was quite awake. About 9.30 p.m. he asked, ‘Is there any pulse?’ His hands were now icy cold, and the watchers answered him that there was not. By this question we see how clearly he was facing the silent approach of death; and it was beautiful to see the grace given, so that in that grim presence he quailed not. About a quarter to ten, after a very trying attempt to cough, one at his bedside breathed in his ear, ‘Sighing may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,’ when he at once returned, ‘I know.’ Most strengthening knowledge! Most blessed faith! When, in less than two hours after, he very peacefully, and without a struggle, breathed his last, those beside him might well exclaim, ‘He giveth His beloved sleep.’ The battle was ended, the armour had dropped from the warrior, and the Christian soldier had entered into his everlasting rest.”

Mr. Hope will long live in the memories and affections of a wide circle of friends. And to mourn their loss in his departure, he has left a widow (who accompanied him to Australia) and four children—two sons and two daughters; the eldest son, having completed his under-graduate course at the University, intends to enter the Divinity Hall next session.

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(Died March 25, 1876)
Author: Rev. J.O. Cunningham, Free St. Luke’s
The Free Church Monthly February 1, 1877, p.43

The Rev. William Hutcheson was born in Westgreen, near Dundee, in February 1808. In his early years he resided for some time with his uncle, the Rev. Dr. Hutcheson, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Warrenford, in the north of England, and received from his example and scholarship important and lasting benefit. He studied at St. Andrews, and carried off some of the most valued University honours. In 1836 he was ordained minister of Catrine, in Ayrshire; where he laboured for eight years, ministering with unwearied zeal and great acceptability to a large congregation, the members of which were, with very few exceptions, attached, as he was, to the Evangelical party in the Church of Scotland, and therefore followed him when, at the Disruption in 1843, he surrendered cheerfully for conscience’ sake the position and privileges of a minister of the Establishment, and cast in his lot with the Free Church. After declining several invitations to labour in other charges, he was persuaded in 1844 to accept a call to Johnstone, one of the busiest manufacturing towns in the west of Scotland. Here he threw his whole energies into the arduous work of organizing a congregation, for which church, and manse, and schools had to be built; and having overcome the initial difficulties of the position, continued for thirty years in the faithful and diligent performance of pastoral duty, besides giving hearty and helpful aid to every enterprise, congregational or otherwise, by which the interests of the community might be promoted. On several occasions he received most gratifying testimony to the value of these services from his people and from his townsmen; and when the parishioners came to elect their first School Board in 1873, he was cordially chosen as one of their representatives — in which capacity he continued to render efficient service to the last. As a member of Presbytery he was always ready, both in the deliberations and the labours of the brethren, to accept his own share of responsibility; and was esteemed and loved for his transparent candour and gentlemanly Christian courtesy, as well as for the generous warmth and boldness with which he expressed and followed out his convictions.

In the midst of his abundant labours, Mr. Hutcheson found time to prepare and give to the press two considerable volumes — the one a treatise on “Home Evangelisation,” which obtained the honour of warm recommendation from Dr. Duff, and is of much practical value to those who are labouring in the Home Mission field; the other an expository work, entitled “The Apocalypse Opened,” in which both extensive reading and the powers of a shrewd and vigorous understanding have been turned to excellent account.

For several years before his death, Mr. Hutcheson was subject to sudden attacks of illness, the effect of over-exertion in evangelistic and other services; and in compliance with the urgent advice of friends, he applied to the Assembly for a colleague and successor. By the appointment of the Rev. Hugh Mair, the continued prosperity and steady increase of the congregation was, by God’s blessing, happily secured; and Mr. Hutcheson, relieved from the pressure of undivided pastoral responsibility, removed with his family to Glasgow, and continued to preach to his own people, and in other pulpits, so far as his precarious health permitted, from time to time, until his death, which took place with unexpected suddenness on March 25. He had carefully prepared an address for the Communion on the first Sabbath of April; but the words which he had written were delivered by another, as the farewell message of one who had already been privileged to know how truly “blessed are they that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb.”

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