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'F. SCOTLAND'S POPULAR PREACHERS. By W. SCOTT DALGLEISH (UDINBUKGH CORRKSPONDENT OF rIlE TIJIES). If the test or popularity in churches be their attractiveness to strangers, undoubtedly St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, is the most popular church in Scotland. Every visitor who spends a Sunday in the Metropolis goes as a matter of course to the morning service in St. Giles'. The building is worth seeing, especially since its restoration six or seven years ago by Dr. Wm, Chaml>ers,one of the two brothers who founded Chambers' Journal and inaugurated cheap literature in Scotland. It is one of the great historic buildings of Edinburgh. John Knox preached his last sermon within its walls—the last of many sermons be delivered there. But at that time the cathedral was partitioned off into three or four different churches. That was the work of the Reformers, who, in their zeal for ordinances and for simplicity of worship, tried to turn the vast bui!ding to the best account, running up dividing walls so as to separate the choir from the nave and the nave from the south transept, covering the floors with pews, and inserting unsightly galleries with the most hideous effect. That arrangement, or de-rangement, subsisted till six or seven years ago, when the partition walls were taken down, the galleries were removed, and the whole of the rast area, from east to west, and from north to south, was thrown into a single church, capable of accommodating 3,000 worshippers at one tune, and showing really a splendid propor- tion and massivenesa, combined with sim- plicity in the details of pillar and roof. St. Giles' is now, as of yore, the municipal and offioial church of Edinburgh. There are stalls in the choir for the magistrates and town council on the one side and for the judges of the Court of Session on the other. There are stalls in the south transept for the prin- cipal and professors of the university, and there is a Royal pew in the Preston aisle, which is occupied by any Royalties that happen to attend, and espocialty by the Lord High Commissioner and his suite when he comes to Ilolyrood every year in May as the representative of the Queen in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The flags of Scottish regiments which surmount the pillars of the nave maintain the national character of the old church. This historical position is enhanced by a most attractive service and by admirable preaching. The minister of the parish is Dr. Cameron Lees, who is Dean of the Most Ancient Order of the Thittle and her Majesty's principal chaplain in Scotland. Dr. Lees is a tall and stalwart Highlander, who would make a splendid figure in kilts if the Highland garb were canonical. On ordinary occasions he wears the badga of thJ thistle in the pulpit, as well as his academic hood, and that is a cause of offence in the eyes of strait-laced purists. As minister of St. Giles he is the premier clergyman of the Church ofSooUaud, and no man could better till that position. He is an eloquent and powerful preacher, and his preaching is of the most practical kind. He rarely preaches a sermon from which one cannot draw lessons applisable to the conduct of life, no matter in what sphere one may move. He preached lately, for example, on lluth's devotion to Naomi, which he treated as an example of heroic self-sacrifice in humble circumstances. Dr. Lees takes great interest and pleasure, as well as pride, in the services of St. Giles'. Music is one of its chief attractions, and that is supported by 1( a very fine choir, led by the largest, and finest church organ in Scotland. The evening ser- vice is a remarkable sight. The church is then thrown open to all comers, and, in point of fact, very few of the ordinary members of the congregation attend. Usually the vast building i»'crowded from end to end with a mixed audience, drawn from all parts of the city and from all classes of society. Dr. Lees adapts his evening sermons to the character of his audience, preaching extemporaneously of his audience, preaching extemporaneously in a. homely and popular style. lie has iravelfed in every country in Kurope, as well as in Egypt and the Holy Land, and in Aus- tralia and America, and the fruits of his travels frequently enrich his sermons. He is a regular and alwaja welcome visitor of the Queen at Balmoral, where he has taken the place formerly held by the late Dr. Norman Macleod. Outside of his pulpit work, he is both an antiquanan and a humorist. He is the author of a very interesting "History of the Abbey Church of Paisley," of which he was the incumbent for many years before he was translated to Kdinburgh. He has also lately written an admirable" History of St. Giles' which fornn, infaot, an ecclesiastical history of the oiiby of Edinburgh and of Scotland for the Reformation and poat Reformation periods. His humorous writings would make the reputation of a purely literary man. He has written" Tag, Rag, and Bobtail," To- bersnory," and St-ronbuy "—books dealing largely with peculiar phases of social life and character in the Highlands, which have afforded agreat deal of innocent amusement to a vast number of readers. To hit other accom- plishments, Dr. Leea adds that of being a keen angler. He is a frequent visitor at Loch richt and Loch Awn, as well as at Loch Krisa and Looli Ba in Mull, an island which he has known from his youth upwards. There could not be a more genial companion on an angling expedition or over a social pipe than he is. He is full of anecdote and remi- niscence; and, as he has met many clever men and women in his time, his conversation never lacks interest. It should be added that Dr. Lees is very little of an ecclesiastic. He seldom attends meetings of Church courts, and he takes no part in ecclesiastical polemios. As a consequence of this, he lives on most amicable relations with his brethren of other denominations than his own, and he is a uni- versal favourite in society. There could hardly be a greater contrast than that between the minister of St. Giles' and Dr. Macgregor, the minister of St. Cuth- bert's, or the West Kirk of lidinburgh,which ranks next to St. Giles' as a popular resort. The contrast is both physical and mental. Dr. Lees is very tall; Dr. Macgregor is very short. Dr. Lees is calm and almost phlegmatic; Dr. Macgregor is effervescent and gushing. Yet the minister of St. Cuthbert's is also a power- ful orator. Like Dr. Lees, he has Highland blood in his veins, and he is not ashamed when the feeling of nationality overpowers him. His diminutive stature has exposed him to some good-humoured banter. When he was travelling in Canada with the Marquess of Lome, a few,'years ago, the artist of tho Graphic represented him as lost in a field of growing wheat. He himself tells good- naturedly a story of some boys in one of the streets of Edinburgh, one of whom exclaimed as he passed them, There goes the crooked minister," on which the dosior said, No, no, my boy the crooked t\ui if you like, but not the crooked minister." I)r. Macgregor's eloquence is of the fervid oiS^er. He appeals strongly to the feelings of his av^ience, 11 is style possesses a! natural glow and warmth such as the Scotch folks like. >Re is an /-arruiat student of Italian literature, and is as ii'tinvite wich Dante English scholars are with Milton. He ia also deeply read in Scottish ballad poetry and in the literature of Scottish anecdote. He possesses wide knowledge and great readiness, i and is prepared to speak at a moment's notice on any subject under the sun. He does not often appear at ecclesiastical gatherings or on ¡ political platforms, but he has quite lately burst upon the Scottish public as an ardent and enthusiastic defender of the Established Church against the assaults of the disestab- lishers. It is probably on that account that he has been chosen to succeed Dr. A. K. H. Boyd (who is referred to below) as Moderator of the General Assembly in May next. His diminutive figure will, no doubt, look rather odd in knee breeches and silk stockings, but his intel- lectual and moral force will out- weigh his physical insignificance. Though, like St. Paul, his bodily presence is weak," his speech is by no means contemptible." The most popular preachers belonging to the Free Church in Edinburgh are Dr. Walter Smith, of the Free High Church, and Dr. Alexander Whyte, of Free St. George's. Dr. Walter Smith has a reputation as a poet quite as high as that which he possesses as a preacher. He has published a number of volumes of poetry, dramatic and lyrical, which give him a place high up in the ranks of contemporary English poets. Such are" OIrig Grange," "Borland Hill," Hilda Among the Broken Gods," and Kildrostan," most of which are stories in verse — deeply interesting stories told in vigorous and tuneful verse. But the author has generally a higher purpose to serve than that of telling a story. He deals very power- fully with the prominent social and religious problems of the day—now, as in II Olrig Grange," with the worldliness of modern society; now, as in "Hilda," with the rationalistic tendencies in modern theo- logy now, as in Kildrostan," with the grievances of the Highland crofters now, as in North Country Folk," with the mean- ness and pettiness of parochial life. All these poems are charaoterised by remarkable pathos, combined with humour, as the best pathos always is, and with burning iniignation against the shams and conventionalities of modern society. His poems, also, are studded with lyrics of exquisite beauty, some of which have been set to music and are deservedly popular. Dr. Smith's preaching is generally quiet and suggestive, picturesque and thought- ful, but ho not infrequently bursts out into indignant protests against unreality and selfish- ness and other forms of fashionable weakness. His position in the Free Church in Edinburgh is very similar to that of Dr. Cameron Lees in the Established Church. They belong to different denominations, but they work in the aame parish. They are very good friends, and they work together harmoniously. Dr. Smith has experienced in his own person the tender mercies of the heresv-hunter, having been oftener than once arraigned in the Church courts for so called "unsound doctrine"; but that was in the days when heresy was less tolerated than it is now, and in these latter days he is regarded as strictly orthodox, harmless, and respectable. In politics he is a Home Ruler and an advocate of disestablish- ment; but, like a wise man, he is careful not to obtrude his politics in the pulpit. Dr. Alexander Whyte is the successor of the famous Hobert Cbandiish in St. George's Free Church, which has long been the fashionable West Vnd fcongregation of that denomination in Edinburgh. He is a great personality ,in the community to which he belongs. Wis popularity is great, but it is of the superficial or evanescent kind. He is a "solid thinker and a scholarly writer, and he "num- bers in his cong-regatiort many of the most thoughtful and learned men in the city who adhere to his communion. He is essen- tially a poet, though he does not write in verse and, like Dr. Macgregor, he is an earnest student of Dante, to whose writings he has been the means of introducing large numbers of young people in Edinburgh through a weekly class, attended by others besides those of his own congregation. He is also a philosopher, though he does not write philosophical treatises. Indeed, he has published very little, scarcely anything more than an occasional sermon, but that does not in the least detract from his reputation. His congregation has the name of being the wealthiest and most liberal in Scotland. Its contributions to the different schemes of the Church amount to £ 5,000 a year, and it ia estimated that, besides supporting its own minister, it serves to maintain some twenty or thirty poor congre- gations in the Highlands and remote parts of Scoiland. The congregation is regarded as a model of ecclesiastical organisation, all the appliances of Church life being maintained in it in a high state of efficiency. Hard work is beginning to tell on Dr. Whyte, and he is now seeking relief in the. approved fashion of obtaining an "assistant and successor." If the Free Church haa its poet-preacher in Dr. Walter Smith, the Established Church in Edinburgh has also its poet-preacher 111 Dr. Matheson, the blind minister of St. Bernard's. Dr. Matheson is a scholar as well as a poet, and his published works are of the highest order. His physical infirmity lends a special charm to his oratory, though no one who was not aware of ic could detect it from hearing him preach. The inward seeking eye with which he regards men and Nature raises his preaching to an unusually high level. He is the author of the well-known hymn, H 0 Love that will not let me go," in which occurs this remarkable verse-remarkable as coming from the pen of a blind poet: 0 Light, thnt foilowest all my way, I field my flickering torch to thee, My heart restores its borrowed ray, Tittt in Thy sunshine's blaze its day May brighter, fairer be." Several other Scottish ministers deserve a passing notice. One of these is Dr. Donald Macleod, of Glasgow Park Church, a brother of the more famous Norman Macleod. His preaching is eminently practical. He is fond of grappling with social problems and plead- ing the cause of the labouring man and the labouring woman, and even of the labouring child, as they suffer from the oppression of the capitalist and the greed of the bargain- hunter. As the successor of his brother in the editorship of Good Words, he has acquired a high reputation as an organiser of literary labour. He is also an accomplished and picturesque writer, as is shown by his notes of travel and his exposition of Scrip- ture in the periodical with which his name is identified. He takes a prominent part in the Church courts, and as convener of the home mission committee of his Church he wields great influence in Scotland. He is also a zealous advocate of foreign missions, in support of which he made an eloquent speech in the General Assembly two years ago, which attracted a great deal of attention. Another well-known literary Scottish minister is Dr. Andrew Boyd, of St. Andrews, the famous" A. It. II. B." of Frazers Magazine, and the author of "The Recrea- tions of a Country Parson." lie is beset with affectations, which ar- innocent and amusing rather than offensive. For instance, be began one of his" Recreations" by saying that" his writing tablet rested on the forehead of his favourite bor-e"; and another by asserting I that in the drawer of the table at which h;, wrote waa his sermon for next Sunday, fully written out; and that h. did not at that morn^n' remember a single piece of parish work which was not attended to." In spite of his little foibles, he ia a g.-od-heai led Wan and gonial soul; mid when he was this year elevated to the Mode- rator's ohair in the General Assembly of tha Church of Scotland, everyone was pleased, almost as much as he was himself Many Scotch clergymen look rather awkward in the Moderator's costume; but the frills and furbelows, the velvet Court-dress, with knee. breeohes and cocked hat, seemed to suit Dr. Boyd exaotly. He performed all the duties of his office with the skill, and self-oonfidenoe, and grace of a courtier. His Ritualistic ten- dencies are very pronounced, and his reading of the prayers from the pulpit makes a neai approach to intoning. At one of his public breakfasts, when Moderator, he was made happy by the presence of the Bishop of Lich- field, and especially by that dignitary pro- nouncing on the assembled party the Apostolic benediction with the appropriate signs. Dr. Boyd is: now minister of St. Andrews, the ancient university city by the sea, and hit residence there has suggested the subjects and the titles of C3veral of bit recent volumes. His power of writing shows no sign of declining; in fact., it seems inexhaustible. He reminds en. or Tennyson's brook—"Men may come and men may. go, but I go on for ever." Unquestionably, the greatest of all Scottish preachers of the present day is Dr. John Caird, principal of the University of Glasgow. Now, however, he preaches but seldom. Nevertheless, he is regarded by common con- sent as the greatest pulpit orator since Chalmers but his eloquence, while not less fervid, is more chaste and polished than that of his great prototype. His reputation was made many years ago by a famous sermon preached before the Queen at Balmoral, and entitled, Religion in Common Lite," a sermon of which many thousands were sold. Whenever he preaches, as he still does on rare occasions, be never fails to attract crowds or to hold their breathless attention. As principal of the University of Glasgow, he is universally respected, for he is a scholar aa well as a gentleman. The one cause of regret is that his special gift is now so rarely used. Space, as well as time, would fail me if I were to attempt to describe all the Sootch preacher who have made their mark in the present generation. Principal Hainy, of the Edin- burgh 11 ree Church College, is better known as an ecclesiastical diplomatist than as a theologian or a preacher, but in both capaoii ties he would have earned a high reputation if he had not preferred to make it the bust, nesa of his life to promote the interests of the denomination of which be is the acknow- ledged head. Principal Cairns, of the United Presbyterian Church Col- lege, is probably the greatest Calviiiistis theologian of the present day. He is deeply read in philosophy, as well as iA theology, and he is intimately acquainted wit& the movements of German thought, and in pulpit oratory of the vehement and dynamite order he has so*cely a rival. Professor Story, of Glasgow University, is a man of mark in his own line, which is that of an ecclesiastical cynic and censor. His appear- ance, both in the pulpit and out of it, reminds one of the description given by a Lord of Session of a minister of the Church of Scot- land of thelast generation, who, he said, was the most of a gentleman and the least of a olerk of any minister he had ever met." No sketch of Scottish theologians would be complete without a reference to Professor Flint, of the University of Edinburgh, who possesses a reputation almost unique among the Churchmen of his time. Like the man, his preaching is vigorous and rugged, and is oharacterised by logical force and massivenesa of thought. To his position as a literary man I referred in a former letter on Edinburgh professors. —


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