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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Rev. Dr. WIlliam Anderson on Ministers' stipends


"WILLIE ANDERSON," as the Rev. Dr. William Anderson of Glasgow was familiarly and good-humouredly called, was a great favourite on the platform, and, by his pawkie straightforwardness, carried all before him. He was once addressing a crowded meeting in the City Hall on some church finance business or other, when he had occasion to speak of ministers’ stipends—at that time a more delicate subject for a minister to speak on than now—and he hit it off in his own racy, Andersonian style, as follows :—

"If a doctor comes to see you when you are dying he will drug you, and drug you, and, in gratitude to him, you will add a codicil to your will to the effect that he receives a considerable sum over and above his bill of fees. If a lawyer come to see you and make out your will, you will instruct your immediate attendants to give him a beautiful statuette, or a gold ring, in recognition of his services, for which services he will take care to be well paid besides. But for the minister, who, perhaps, of all three, does you any real service, who visits you daily, and pours out his sympathy and instruction unto your soul, you not only have no acknowledgment of service to make, but you often do not bequeath to him the poor reward of thanks."

One would think that courage could hardly venture further than this. But this was not all. The audience, by this time, were on fire with the justice of this droll exposure of unequal treatment for ministers, and the excitement blazed up to its full height when Anderson burst out in one of his good-natured furies into this further appeal

"And why should we be singled out for this unthankful treatment? I will ask this assembly of Glasgow merchants and professional men—Are we less gifted as a class? Have we less intellect or scholarship? I appeal to yourselves. We beat you in the classes of your boyhood. We took the best prizes out of your hands at college. And we could have distanced you in your own line of things if we had become merchants, or doctors, or lawyers."

When he had got to this point he was able to do anything with his audience, so he adroitly struck in forcibly with the business in hand, and carried his resolution mem. con.


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