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The Aberdeen Doctors
Chapter  I - Introductory: Professor Hastie


It was in the spring of 1884 that I first met Professor Hastie. [Born at Wanlockhead, Dumfriesshire, 7th July 1842; died at Edinburgh, 31st August 1903.] I had shortly before been appointed to his native parish of Wanlockhead, Dumfriesshire, and had naturally heard much of the great scholar from my parishioners, who were his warm admirers and friends. Indeed, previous to this I had formed a kind of ecclesiastical relation towards him, for he was one of my predecessors in the assistantship of Galashiels Parish Church, and he had left an impression there which quickened my already strong desire to see him. By this time, however, his name had extended far beyond the confines of the places with which he had been specially connected ; for the great controversy which had emerged in Calcutta as to the management of the Church's enterprises there had caused his personality to be widely known, and to be a source of profound interest to the Christian Church everywhere.

My first glimpse of him was in the Parish Church on the first Sunday morning after his arrival from Calcutta. He did not sit in the family pew, but, as I afterwards found was almost his invariable custom, he entered the church shortly after the service had begun and slipped into the first vacant seat, and quietly screened himself, as far as possible, from all observers. I shall never forget the impression which his appearance made upon me. He was then in the very prime of a strong and vigorous manhood, more robust in appearance and even darker in features than those who knew him afterwards remember him to have been. But what struck me especially was his great head, like the head of Jove, well-shaped, power-compelling, capable, as one instinctively felt, of acquiring all knowledge, and controlling it with perfect ease and mastery.

One can well imagine the trepidation of the young preacher that Sunday morning, but any misgivings or fears which he may have entertained were quite uncalled for, because never, as he afterwards learned, was there a more kindly or sympathetic hearer than Dr. Hastie. Seldom did a word of unfavourable criticism pass his lips, and no one was more generous than he in hearty appreciation, even of efforts which the most tolerant nature might find it hard to praise. The friendship then formed remained unbroken. On my side, it deepened into admiration and devotion ; and on his, it was forbearing, helpful, and loyal to the end.

Dumfriesshire has been the breeder of great men, and it has furnished a number of the Chairs in our Scottish Universities with distinguished professors. To mention no others, while Dr. Hastie filled the Chair of Divinity in Glasgow University, he had as his colleague another native of Dumfriesshire, Dr. Stewart, who is still happily with us, the Nestor of the professorial staff, and one of the two men, I crave this opportunity of gratefully testifying, who inspired my student mind ; and in the sister faculty, in Edinburgh University, there were other two Dumfriesians, the amiable and devout Dr. Charteris, whose recent loss the Church is still mourning, and the eminent Dr. Flint, " the only other Scottish theologian," as Principal Story said, "with whom Dr. Hastie may be compared." 

The little village of Wanlockhead would seem on the first blush to be the last place to which one would look for the rearing of a man like Dr. Hastie. Until a few years ago it was one of the most inaccessible districts in Scotland. Lying midway between the valleys of the Clyde and the Nith, high up among the Lowther Hills, it seemed secure from everything except the storms and snows of winter. No intellectual light, one would think, could gleam through its deep recesses or penetrate its gloom. But it is from such places that some of the world's greatest men have sprung. Like Luther's birthplace, it is a mining village. In the olden days the Scottish kings found their gold there, and at a later date, when lead was discovered, a company was formed to work the ore, and so the foundations of the little village were laid. In due course there grew up a race of peasantry, in physique, in intelligence, and in piety, second to none in Scotland. Shut out from the world, the natives of Wanlockhead, in place of reverting, through mental sluggishness or indifference, to any original type, stimulated each other to good works ; established one of the first libraries in Scotland, still a flourishing institution, stocked it with the very best books their scanty means could afford, and spent the winter evenings in reading and in discussing what they read. What mattered it though the mist enveloped their mountain village, and the snow, feet deep, protected them for months from any friendly intrusion, they were happy in the higher interests which filled their minds and shaped their destinies.

Wanlockhead, like many of the parishes in Scotland of a past age, then possessed a schoolmaster to whom sufficient praise cannot be given for inspiring his pupils with intellectual ambitions and supplying the rudiments of a classical education. His name was John M'Arthur. He was afterwards promoted to New Monkland, and became president of the Educational Institute for Scotland. In order to perfect his own linguistic accomplishments, he occasionally took trips to the Continent, and, on one occasion, returned, to the surprise of the villagers and no doubt to the delight of his pupils, with a young French girl, in order that, by conversation with her, his scholars might acquire a thorough knowledge, with a perfect accent, of the French language. It is said that, being profoundly impressed with the ability of Dr. Hastie and his two brothers, he called one evening on their father, who was one of the managers of the mines, and said: " Mr. Hastie, you will never surely make miners of these boys of yours? they are far too clever for that; send them to the professions." The result was that William studied for the Church and his brothers for the Law; and the success of all three more than justified the anticipations of their early teacher. The great affection which Dr. Hastie cherished for his native village and inhabitants remained constant to the end. While a student and during the early days of his ministerial life, and even after he returned from India and became Professor in Glasgow University, he took every opportunity of revisiting it. For several years before his death his family had left the village and his old home was broken up, but often on a Saturday some miner would suddenly meet him on one of the high hills that overlook the village, gazing down with loving eyes upon the place of his birth. Or he might be seen walking to the Enterkin, a few miles off, and journeying down that famous Pass, returning by the Dalveen and home again, refreshed in mind and spirit, for his unwearied labours.

It has sometimes occurred to me that his theological bent took upon it the impress of these mountain solitudes. The theology of Calvin in its stern unbending recognition of the sovereignty of God is alleged to be due to the natural environment where it originated. The great mountains of Switzerland with their awe-inspiring solemnity are held responsible for the austerity of the Cal-vinistic Faith. Be that as it may, the wild and grand scenery of the Lowthers, amid which Dr. Hastie's youth was reared, profoundly impressed him and had not a little to do with producing that reverence of spirit and the upward look which largely shaped his theology, his character, and career. It was ever a constant fear with him that the trend of modern civilisation, with its lighter thought and frivolous pleasures, would affect the sobriety of his native village ; and in one of the earliest of his sonnets, his affection and his fears are thus expressed :—

"Oft have I vexed myself with jealous fears
Lest thou should grow unfaithful to old Love,
And shifting changes of the fickle years
Should thee from thy deep steadfastness remove.
When I have seen how Time's destroying Hand
Hath slacked the cement of our common clay,
And loosed the knitted strength of social band

To bid dividing selfishness bear sway—
Then have I trembled lest the Age's show
Might with its empty glitter lure thine eye;
But now, consoled, again thy heart I know
Beating with all its warm quick sympathy.
O take it then for deepest Love thatI
Can think no change in thee although I die!"

It was in the autumn of 1859 that Dr. Hastie matriculated as a student of Edinburgh University. He was then in his seventeenth year. The interval between leaving school and entering the University he employed in schoolmastering, dividing his time between teaching his scholars at Enterkinfoot and receiving additional instruction in the classics from the parish minister of Durisdeer. His career as a student has become a tradition in the University. He was the most brilliant man of his time.1 His chief strength lay in philosophy and theology. He did not hurry through his course, although he might well have been tempted to do so, for there was no Mr. Carnegie in those days, and a student had to pay his own fees and support himself as best he could, which in Dr. Hastie's case was rendered absolutely necessary, for his parents had not the means to maintain him and his two brothers at College. It was not till 1869 that he graduated in Divinity, but those ten long years of his studentship had been turned to the fullest account. Even then he was regarded by his companions as a living encyclopedia, ready, as he always was, to freely impart the treasures of his knowledge to his friends. It is interesting to note that he attended for some time, in 1870, the prelections of Principal Caird, who was then Professor of Divinity in Glasgow University, and listened with a thrill of admiration to his first opening.

Professor Taylor, Dean of the Faculty of Divinity of Edinburgh University, in presenting Dr. Hastie for the degree of D.D., 13th April 1894, in the course of a high eulogium, said: "Few of the alumni of the University during its history of over three hundred years can have had a more distinguished record." lecture in the new Divinity Hall on Gilmore-hill; he afterwards declared that it was to Caird he owed " the deepest theological impulse of his life," and that he seemed to him " to have realised the ideal of a modern theologian more completely than any other theologian he had known."

It was at this time that Dr. Hastie began those visits to the Continent which he repeated, again and again, during the remainder of his life. He had been led to the study of the great philosophers and theologians who, during the first half of the nineteenth century, had drawn the eyes of Europe once more towards Germany. His teachers in Edinburgh had not broken away, either in philosophy or theology, from the traditional methods of their predecessors. Dr. Hastie, as he once told me, had, on his own account, read in the original, during his student days, the great masterpieces of the ancient and the modern world. It was then that he acquired his profound knowledge of the systems of Plato and Aristotle and of Kant and Hegel. He also made rapid inroads on the theological field which had been broken up by Schleiermacher and his successors ; and, determined to know at first hand all that could be learned of the new theology, he studied at the leading Universities of Germany, Holland, and Switzerland, and made himself a thorough m^ter of the subject which he was afterwards to teach in Glasgow University with such distinction.

Indeed, there is no one in recent years, with the exception of Thomas Davidson,1 to whom the title of the "wandering scholar" can be so aptly applied as to Dr. Hastie. Hardly a year passed but he went from one continental University to another, entering the classroom of some distinguished professor, and on coming out not unfrequently remarking : " No, there is nothing to be learned here " ; and then taking the first train he would visit another University until he found some professor who could give him, at least, a new point of view. Had the custom existed, which prevailed in the sixteenth and even in the seventeenth century, when the language common to all academic lecturers was Latin, and when a graduate of one University was free for appointment to a Chair in another, at home or abroad, Dr. Hastie's great merits, which were appreciated more highly on the Continent than at home, might have speedily secured him a professorship in a foreign University, and he would thus have revived the great traditions of George Buchanan, Andrew Melville, and John Cameron, the two last among his most distinguished predecessors, as teachers of theology in Glasgow University.

It seems somewhat extraordinary that for ten long years, from the date of his graduating in Divinity to his appointment as Principal of the General Assembly's Institution in Calcutta, no place could be found for this man, who, as a scholar and a teacher, had no equal of his own age in Scotland. Had even the custom of firivat docenten prevailed, we can conceive him lecturing on any of the subjects taught in the faculty of Divinity, and drawing round him an enthusiastic band of students, but even that was denied him. All that his Church could give him was an assistantship here and an assistantship there; all that his Alma Mater could do for him was to ask him to relieve one of her professors, it did not matter very much which, of his lectures for a winter session, or to fill an interregnum until an appointment was made. Old Edinburgh students still speak with enthusiasm of Dr. Hastie's appearances and work on those occasions. He was modest and he was loyal, but now and again he was compelled, by the exigencies of the hour, to break away from the Lectures he was reading, and to give some of his own. The admiration of his hearers at such times knew no bounds, and one of them, writing with chastened sorrow a few days after his death, thus recalls those times: ' Across the years I see him now, as he appeared to us who sat at his feet. He came in with an alert, active step, from the anteroom and took his position at the desk. Immediately he produced a small piece of manuscript, it was the prayer for the day; and what a prayer! expressed in the choicest and most reverent and devotional language. This prayer was one which the student did not listen to with careless indifference, but one in which the devotional feelings of a master were powerfully expressed, and in which he could with the utmost reverence join.,,

It was in 1878 that the call came to him to go to India to be Principal of the General Assembly's Institution and College in Calcutta. It may in a word be said that it was not the position that he had hoped for. He expected, and he had every right to expect, a University Chair at home. But the Church required for the post in Calcutta the very best man available, and pressure was brought to bear upon him, from every side, to accept the appointment. He hesitated. It would seem as if he had a foresight of the troubles that were to await him there; his choice was in very truth to prove the crisis of his life. He was at the time acting as assistant to Dr. Gloag in Galashiels, helping him in his parish work, but aiding him chiefly in the revision of an important book that he was publishing on the Pauline Epistles. The parishioners of Galashiels were much impressed at the time by a series of sermons which Dr. Hastie preached upon Moses ; particularly on that moment in his life when he had to decide the vital question, whether he would respond to the call of God and become the leader of the Israelites in their fight for liberty, or remain in Egypt and follow the life of a cultured scholar. These sermons indicated the mental travail through which he was passing. But at last his choice was made, and in 1879 sailed for India.

Some may think that his hesitation arose from an uncertainty of belief, originating in his intimate knowledge of the so-called rationalistic philosophy and theology which dominated the schools of Germany. This, however, was not the case. Dr. Hastie, like every earnest man who thinks deeply on religion and who has made himself acquainted with everything that can be said for or against it, had passed through the depths. But he never lost his hold on the fundamental truths of Christianity or turned his back upon the early pieties of youth. He was blessed with parents who were deeply religious ; his mother being a woman of rare character, strong in mind and pure in spirit, and his father having a glow of imagination in his nature which shone forth occasionally in music if not in verse.2 The son was a true child of such parents, and his great wealth of learning and his unique mental capacity only widened and deepened his innate devoutness of spirit and illuminated his early faith. Nor could he free himself of the religious traditions of his native village. It was the centre of that Covenanting enthusiasm which more than anything else in Scottish history still fires the blood of the people and causes them to cherish the strong convictions and unfaltering faith which secured freedom of worship. In learning and devoutness of spirit, in purity and unselfishness of character, and strength of will, no more ideal educationalist and missionary for the Church's work in Calcutta could have been found than William Hastie.

He threw himself into his work in his new position with all the ardour of which his nature was capable, and he speedily raised the College to the foremost place among all the colleges of the Bengal Presidency, while it was the largest attended of any in India, a position that it had not held since the days of Dr. Duff. He signalised his twofold work, as missionary and professor, by publishing a translation of Christlieb's History of Protestant Missions to the Heathen, and a text-book on philosophy, the subject which he himself taught. Both books are characterised by his usual thoroughness and scholarly fulness of detail. But the work which brought him at a bound into prominence and made him a public character, not only in Calcutta but throughout India, was that on Hindu Idolatry and English Enlightenment. This book originally appeared as a series of letters, six in number, to the Statesman, the leading newspaper in Calcutta, and when published it comprised not only his own communications but the replies of learned Hindus and others who took part in the controversy. These letters were thrown off during brief intervals snatched from his more serious work, and considering their length, the knowledge which they display, their freshness, power,eloquence, literary finish, and urbanity of spirit, they seem to me not only striking productions in themselves, but, all things considered, one of the best pieces of work that he ever accomplished.

The occasion which gave rise to them was a requiem service in celebration of one of the leading ladies of India, and the point of his attack was, as he expressed it, " the problem of the relation of our English education and civilisation to the traditional idolatry and, more particularly, the question of the moral and personal responsibility of the educated and enlightened heads of the Hindu community for its continued countenance and perpetuation." 1 In other words, were enlightened Hindus, who did not believe in idolatry, justified in countenancing and participating in it, as they did in the great Hindu ceremony which called forth the letters, and should Christian missionaries reason with them on the subject or hold their peace? In acting as he did, Dr. Hastie departed from the traditional method of missionary enterprise in India, so far as the educational institution, of which he was the head, was concerned. It was long supposed that the way of dealing with Hindu idolatry was what he terms the "indirect method, whose chief elements are secular education and liberal legislation." But he declared himself to be an advocate of the "direct method of dealing with the cause of all the social deterioration and retardation of India, as being at once more philosophical and more practical." Recent events afford ample justification of Dr. Hastie's position. The secular education which the Christian Churches have been giving to the young Hindus, divorced, as it has been, from an application of Christian principles to the prevailing idolatry, scepticism, and agnosticism, has ended, so far, not in the social regeneration of India, but in rebellion and sedition.

Dr. Hastie's action called forth, at the time, severe criticism both at home and abroad ; he was a disturber of the peace, a man who had come to Calcutta to turn its religious and social world upside down. No doubt he was, and so were Paul and Silas. The great apostle to the Gentiles did not wink at the idolatry which he saw at Athens, on the contrary it formed the subject and occasion for his great speech on Mars Hill. Dr. Hastie read into the heart of that speech : it formed the basis of his letters on Hindu idolatry. He appealed to the fundamental and universal truths of morality, history, and experience. He reasoned the question out on the common ground of philosophy and psychology, and his arguments were couched in terms of moderation and animated by a spirit of brotherly love. It demanded great courage on the part of the author to strike out in this new direction, but courage was one of his leading moral qualities. He clearly saw that the social salvation of India depended upon the abolition of idolatry, whether practised or countenanced, and the substitution in the minds of the people of true conceptions of God, and of man and his destiny. Had he accomplished no more than this his life would not have been in vain.

It was about this time that those troubles began in one branch of the Church's Mission in Calcutta, which brought about the great crisis in Dr. Hastie's life. If I do not enter into the matter now, it is not because I have the slightest doubt in my own mind of Dr. Hastie's purity of motive and singleness of purpose with regard to the whole business; but simply from lack of time, and because a discussion of the subject is not germane to my present object. Suffice it to say, that his subsequent career was a triumphant vindication of his conduct. If he was called upon in Calcutta to be "an accuser of the brethern," he was but following in the footsteps of the great and good of all ages. The path of the Reformer is not strewn with roses, and he suffered, as all must needs suffer, who give their lives as a ransom for truth and righteousness. Most men would have sunk under the misfortunes that now followed him, but in bearing as in doing he was an exceptional man. On coming home he advocated his case in the General Assembly in a speech which, for power and eloquence and sustained interest, has perhaps never been equalled. He did not win his case, but his cause triumphed. The forces against which he contended could not be overthrown ; but time, the great vindicator of righteousness, has lent its purifying aid, and the Church and the wider public now admit that a great injustice was done to a noble character, who happily lived long enough to see the recoil of enlightened opinion, and to enjoy the increased confidence of friends and the warm admiration of succeeding generations of students.

The next ten years of Dr. Hastie's life were verily passed in the wilderness. Once again he was thrown adrift with no safe anchorage. Again and again did he apply for a University Chair, the only post suited for him, and time after time did he fail. The ban of the Church was upon him. He had not been cast from its midst as a heretic like Edward Irving or John M'Leod Campbell, and no dark spot stained the purity of his life. From all the storm and stress of that troubled time he emerged without reproach. He had differed from a committee in Edinburgh in his method of reforming India and freeing the Church's own Mission of alleged grave irregularities; that was all. The majority of men in such circumstances would have been tempted to shake the dust off their feet and turn their back upon the institution which had thus treated them. But Dr. Hastie resisted any such temptation, his faith was too strong and deep to be shattered by the injustice of others. It was not the Church of Christ that had erred, it was only an earthly representation of it. That earthly representation required purifying, so he remained within its borders, and his unfailing patience, his strong faith, and his everlasting hope have perhaps done more to purify the Church and to restore men's confidence in it than anything that has happened during the present generation. He never for one moment amidst all his trials and sufferings lost his trust in God as the sovereign King and Dispenser of eternal justice.

It was during this period that he translated some twenty volumes dealing with theology, philosophy, and law, from German, Italian, and French. These books were the productions of men who were regarded as authorities in their various departments. Their works, in short, were classics in the subjects with which they deal. If I mention them somewhat in detail, it is because they afford an indication at once of Dr. Hastie's wide range of intellectual sympathy and his intimate knowledge of the languages of modern Europe and the works of its leading thinkers.

One is not surprised at him turning with interest to such theological works as Lichten-berger's History of German Theology in the Nineteenth Century, Piinger's History of the Philosophy of Religion, Luthardt's History of Christian Ethics, Krause's Ideal of Humanity, and Pfleiderer's Gifford Lectures on the Philosophy and Development of Religion, or even to Kant's Principles of Politics and his Philosophy of Law ; all of which he translated • but when he is found dealing, with equal knowledge, with a series of books on jurisprudence, such as Lioy's Philosophy of Right,and Brunner's Sources of the Law of England, one, to say the least, is astonished that a man who was primarily a theologian, should find so profound an interest in such subjects. But Dr. Hastie, during this period, took a full course in Law in Edinburgh University, probably with a passing outlook to the Scottish Bar, and he taught for a session the class of Public Law. His mind, with all its philosophic sweep, imaginative glow, and religious fervour, was eminently exact and scientific, and it found keen satisfaction in dealing with those permanent principles which underlie jurisprudence and regulate the law of nations. This comes out very prominently in a work which he undertook while he was professor in Glasgow. It was Kant's Cosmogony, and it is chiefly remarkable for the lengthened and brilliant introduction with which he prefaced his translation. But he had his lighter moods, and threw off, at brief intervals, renderings of Hegel's Philosophy of Art, Schleiermacher's Christmas Eve, and Hymns and Thoughts on Religion, by Novalis.

Dr. Hastie's friends repeatedly tried to dissuade him from devoting so much of his time and talents to the work of translation, which could have been done by less gifted men. They held that he would have been much better employed in writing original works of his own. But such kindly advisers and well-wishers forgot the circumstances in which he was placed. He had to earn his daily bread, and though offers of aid came from devoted and wealthy admirers, these he steadily refused. He was too independent even to take assistance from his family. His wants were few, they were those of a scholar, and by such work as he engaged in, he supplied them, maintained his independence and satisfied his own intellectual interests. He used to say to me that, apart from such considerations, he was doing a greater service to students by translating the masterpieces of continental thinkers than by writing any works of his own. He was quite sincere in this opinion, but the introductions which he wrote to the volumes he translated belied it ; for they are held on all hands to be masterly and, according to the most competent of judges, Professor Flint, they are, in certain instances, superior to the works themselves. No finer piece of introductory writing, it seems to me, exists, than that which he prefixed to Kant's Cosmogony. It would in itself form a considerable volume, and as a specimen of what such introductions ought to be, it cannot be too highly commended.

The dawn, however, was soon to break. The Chair of Divinity in Glasgow University had become vacant by the retirement of Professor Dickson, and one of the few men deemed worthy of succeeding so eminent a scholar was held on all hands to be Dr. Hastie. It was felt that his last chance had almost come, and his friends trembled to think of the result. Would he receive the appointment or would he not? That was the question on which they believed his fate now depended. There was no doubt in the minds of any one capable of judging of his supreme fitness for the post. He stood head and shoulders above any possible candidate. But the cloud of distrust raised by the controversy that was forced upon him, though beginning to break, still hung over him, and prejudiced minds that otherwise might be friendly. But there were two men in the Church of Scotland who always stood aloof from ecclesiastical strife, and who for loftiness of thought and singleness of purpose had no peers or rivals — Professor Flint and Principal Caird. It was they who secured Dr. Hastie for Glasgow University. It is impossible to do justice to Professor Flint's absolute devotion, unswerving loyalty and unwearied efforts on behalf of his friend, during those long years ; and one of the sweetest satisfactions of his honoured life must be, that his chivalrous championship in the end prevailed. Every one knows the patient and conscientious care with which Principal Caird entered into the merits of candidates for Chairs in Glasgow University; and in this particular instance, seeing the Professorship was one which he himself had filled and adorned, the appointment was practically left in his hands ; and he recommended to the Court the name of Professor Hastie.

Those who had followed the career of Dr. Hastie up to this point felt that a great load had been taken off their minds, and that the Church had been saved, even in spite of itself, from perpetuating an unpardonable wrong. He entered upon his work with a deep sense of its importance, and a humble estimate of his own ability for performing it, rightly. Indeed, the reaction was so great, that he was in danger of a nervous collapse. He felt himself to be all unworthy of his task, and was almost on the point of resigning. He was, however, encouraged to hold on, by the strong sympathy of his colleagues, and particularly by the advice of Principal Caird, who greatly cheered him by saying that he also, when first appointed to the Chair of Divinity, had thoughts of resigning, in face of what seemed, at the time, to be the insuperable difficulties of his position. With the first and second sessions well over, Dr. Hastie settled down to his work, and, long before his death, he had completely mastered the situation, and won the confidence and admiration of his students.

Those who studied under Dr. Hastie still speak with delight, and gratitude, of the way in which he unfolded to them the great systems of theology, and established in the minds of not a few, their lost or shattered faith. It is impossible for young men in these days to pass through the classes that lead up to their studies in theology, to read the books that are continually issuing from the press, and that deal with religion from an agnostic standpoint, without having their traditional beliefs shaken if not shattered. The very intellectual atmosphere which they breathe is impregnated with doubt. It was, accordingly, with not a little surprise that they discovered in Dr. Hastie a man who was able to hold his own with any living exponent of philosophy, and one, besides, who not only had faith, but who was able to give a very good reason for the faith that was in him. They found him taking up, one after another, views and systems which were supposed to be subversive of Christian belief. These he would analyse and criticise, and, after pointing out their historical relation in the development of thought, he would state their limitations and defects, and when the process was done, he would, as one student graphically expressed it, label them, put them on the shelf, and pass on to others." Some of his students who had excelled in the philosophical classes, and who, as a consequence were tempted to look down with some contempt upon theology, were speedily disillusioned. They found in him one who knew philosophy quite as well as any to whom they had been wont to listen. This at once gained their respect, and led them to take, as from the hand of a master, the theological teaching which it was his duty and pleasure to impart. He spoke as a rule from a few notes ; it was a dull day when he read his lectures, but when he relied upon his marvellous power of extemporary speech his class was all animation and interest. He had remarkable sympathy with the student mind, and there was no more welcome guest than he at their social gatherings. On such occasions he would pour forth story after story, chiefly of his own student experiences in Germany. There was no occasion for him to enforce discipline in his class. The relation between him and his students was that of master and disciples. It was ever his habit to praise and not to censure ; and it was delightful to hear him speak of his colleagues in the Divinity Faculty. He appreciated and even envied the special gifts of each, and he gladly transferred to Principal Story the loyalty that fell to his predecessor, Principal Caird.

It is of importance to learn the nature and character of the teaching which Dr. Hastie was in the habit of imparting to his students. All that can be done in the present connection is to briefly mention his point of view. This will be found in two works by him, the one published by himself ; the other, which he left in manuscript, appearing the year after his death. The first consists of three lectures delivered in Glasgow University, one of them being his Inaugural Address. This volume appeared in 1899 under the title of Theology as Science, and its present Position and Prospects in the Reformed Church. The second was his Croall Lecture on the Theology of the Reformed Church in its Fundamental Principles. It was delivered in 1892. Both volumes are practically on the same subject, and may be regarded as, and were indeed intended by Dr. Hastie to be, a public statement of his theological position. He set forth in these books a reasoned presentation of the Christian Religion, in view of the intellectual and spiritual needs of the times. In them is to be found his answer to the doubts and questionings of the present day. They are to be regarded, in short, as a restatement of Christian theology in the light of modern progress and demands. He gave these books to the world as his philosophy of Religion.

Many attempts of this kind have been made within recent years, and, for our purpose and by way of contrast, it may be sufficient to mention two, the one being Lux Mundi, a series of essays by Anglican Churchmen, and the other on the Evolution of Religion, by the late Dr. Edward Caird. Both these books start with the idea of the Divine Immanence ; the first taking its stand on the Christian Incarnation, the second on the idea that the only incarnation admissible is one that takes place alike in the world of nature and of humanity. In working out their views the authors of Lux Mundi would satisfy the spiritual wants of the modern world by pointing to the Anglican Church and its Sacraments, as the visible embodiment of this divine Immanence ; and the master of Balliol would ask men to look into their own souls, where this idea is to be found, after the long process of the evolution of religion, through the great natural religions to Christianity, in which it has been finally realised. These, it seems to me, are fairly good specimens of what may be called objective and subjective attempts at the reconstruction of religion, in view of the spiritual needs of the present day.

Dr. Hastie's theology had a different starting - point; he began with the idea of God, and he believed it to be the aim of theology to elaborate a knowledge of God that would be thoroughly scientific. Upon a true conception of God he firmly believed depended the solution of all the difficulties that beset the minds of men in these days. In taking up this standpoint, he put himself at once in line with the theology of the Reformed Church, and he held it to be his highest vocation to interpret and to elucidate that theology, to clear it of the many misconceptions that had grown up regarding it, and to relate it to all knowledge, whether of nature, of science, of history or experience. He believed that it was more capable than any other view of religion, whether theological or philosophical, of giving unity fo the life and thought of man, and of making clear to his intelligence the manifoldness of nature, and the seeming irrationality and inconsistency of human experience. He held it to be the only theology with which, to use his own words, " We can face with hope of complete conquest, all the spiritual dangers and terrors of our time—Atheism, Agnosticism, Materialism, Pantheism, Pessimism, Nihilism ; but deep enough, and large enough, and divine enough, rightly understood, to confront them and do battle with them all, in vindication of the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of the World, and of the Justice and Love of the Divine Personality."

Time does not permit me to show how Dr. Hastie works out this idea in detail. It may be sufficient to say that he had come to it after travelling mentally over the whole world of thought, and examining and assimilating all that had ever been said on the subject by the greatest writers and thinkers in ancient and modern times. His was not a belief, simply handed down to him by tradition; it was the thought-out conviction of many an anxious hour, and he enforced it with all the wealth of learning, of which the most scholarly mind is capable. He did more : he enshrined it in a sonnet on " God," published first of all in a volume issued for private circulation, entitled La Vita Mia, and he thought this sonnet worthy of a place in the last volume ever published by him. We have in it the quintessence of his philosophy and theology.

"I searched in Self to find Life's secret Power, The silent Purpose in the Maze of things, But traced in vain the failing, fruitless Springs Of Feeling, Thought, and Will—Man's natal Dower. I viewed Society from my lone Watch Tower,

And marked the Glory, Power, and Grace it brings; And saw that Wit, and Wealth, and Fame take wings, Earth's brightest Genius glowing but an Hour. I turned to God, and Light flashed forth on All; I found in Chaos Order, Life in Death, Deep Love in Strife, Sweet Joy in parting Breath; A Mystery woven through Earth's tangled Ball ; The meanest things in Human Life sublime ; Each Moment's Birth, Eternal Thought in Time! "

But his work was now nearly done, and, as if with a half presentiment of this, he pressed into the last year of his life an amount of labour greater than that which marked any previous year. Before the Session closed he published the Festival of Spring from the Divan of Jeldleddin, the Persian Poet, with a long and brilliant Introduction, and a Translation into English verse of Fifty of the Poet's Gazels. In his Introduction he falls foul of Fitzgerald's Omar Khayyam, and condemns its sceptical worldliness. Dr. Hastie was a trained verse-maker, and he excelled in the Sonnet. This was not by any means his first attempt ; after his return from Calcutta he had published the volume just referred to, La Vita Mia, A Sonnet Chain. He had also translated into English verse The Spiritual Songs of Novalis, and The Vision of God by Riickert. And in the autumn of this same year he wrote and published his last book, Oban Sonnets, which may be regarded as his Swan Song. They were inspired during a weekend visit spent at the house of his friend Mr. Thomas M'Kie, now also gone to his rest, in the " Aphrodite of our Western Shore." There is a joyousness, a grace and charm, about these sonnets, that reveal the tenderness of his heart, and the culture of his mind, more than in anything ever written by him. They will long be read by the friends of the poet and admirers of Oban.

Hardly had the last review of this volume appeared when the news was announced of the author's death. Suddenly, as by a chariot of fire, he was snatched away from our hearts and eyes.

It is impossible, in the one or two sentences that the limits of my time permit, to give any laboured or formal estimate of Dr. Hastie's life and work. Speaking for myself, let me say that he was one of the greatest men it has been my lot to be in close relations with during my pilgrimage in this world. Great in mind, greater in heart. He had the strength of a man and the tenderness of a woman. He had the learning of the ages and the simplicity of a child. He was truly a man of sorrows; he had tasted of the bitterness of life, but his spirit was never soured. He has taught us by his writings, but his life will teach us more. It will, I believe, remain as an inspiring force in the Scottish Church for many years to come. If all were told, it would make strong men weep; but silence, silence!

And in bringing to a close the all-too-imperfect sketch of his career which I have thus attempted, what better can I do than quote and apply to himself the words which he addressed to his students on Principal Caird, shortly after his revered teacher's death.

"We are told that when the great master of German thought, whom he held in the highest regard, was suddenly snatched away from his powerful work, his sorrowing disciples gathered round his grave, and, amid their tears, vowed to be faithful to his high teaching and example. To-day, we may also well resolve to keep before us in affectionate memory the example of our own great teacher, and his holy enthusiasm for all that is highest, and noblest, and divinest, in Truth and in Life. While we continue to prosecute our task with that independence which he cultivated so bravely in himself, and encouraged so generously in others, we shall best show our appreciation of him, and our gratitude for all he has done, by striving to live and work like him, and to keep his ideal fresh and living amongst us, in all the love that he has kindled in our hearts, and with what, above all, we have caught from him at the highest—a renewed hope for humanity and a deepened faith in God." 


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