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The Social and Industrial history of Scotland, from the Union to the present time
Nineteenth Century: 14. Religious Life


Ecclesiastical contention and theological discussion have entered very deeply into Scottish social life. Since the Reformation, Scots folk have shown a keen interest in and appetite for questions of church polity and religious belief. The nineteenth century had its fair share of this controversy and discussion, not only in church courts and in the Press, but in the homes of the people. At the beginning of the century the spirit of dissent found renewed expression in the evangelical preaching of the brothers Haldane—a revival of that of Wesley and Whitefield in the preceding one—which resulted in the establishment of a number of independent churches. In the middle of it took place the Disruption of the national church over the questions of patronage and the claim of spiritual independence, on which the evangelical party, led by Chalmers, Gordon, Cunningham, Candlish, Buchanan, threw down the gauntlet to the State. For ten years, from 1832 onwards, the land was convulsed by the vehement contentions of the rival parties from the utmost south to the distant north, and the courts both ecclesiastical and secular were kept busy with case after ease of popular opposition to objectionable presentees. The Disruption was a convulsive social as well as ecclesiastical event. It carried party passion and religious bitterness into parishes and families all over the land, as well as rent the church in twain. It led to the setting up of a rival place of worship in many villages where the parish church amply sufficed to accommodate the parishioners and two ministers were engaged in doing the work of one. So deep was the cleavage that it affected business as well as social intercourse, the Free Churchman lending his patronage to tradesmen of his ecclesiastical way of thinking. It gave colour to party politics, Free Churchmen being mostly Liberal or Radical, their opponents largely Conservative. It intensified sectarian feeling, which tends to confuse religion with particular views of it, and to nurture intolerance towards those who do not share its intense or doctrinaire opinions on the questions at issue. At the same time it had its heroic side, and its beneficent effects. It was the outcome of strong religious convictions as well as party passion, and gave a powerful impulse to the religious life of Scotland as embodied in the manifold and expanding activity of the Free Church. Moreover, it reacted beneficially on the life of the desolated national church. Under the direction of Dr Robertson this church effectively continued the work of extension inaugurated by Chalmers, and in a dozen years raised half a million to erect and endow 150 new parishes. The personal magnetism of Norman MacLeod, the pulpit eloquence of John Caird, the varied learning of Robert Flint, the weighty personality of John Tulloch, the zeal and ability of others of the rising generation of ministers ere long contributed to make good the loss which it had suffered from the secession of so many of its outstanding men, from Dr Chalmers downwards. The abolition of the Patronage Act in 1874, and the introduction of popular election, gave it a stronger hold on the loyalty and affection of the people. This liberal measure, if it went a long way towards meeting the case of the seceders and seemed to justify their action, showed at the same time that, with the exercise of patience and forbearance, they would have attained their end without the extreme expedient of disruption.

Despite the tendency to go asunder over ecclesiastical questions which perturbed the church between the middle of the eighteenth and that of the nineteenth centuries, and culminated in the catastrophe of 1843, a more irenie and less sectarian spirit gradually asserted itself in the Scottish churches during the second half of the latter century. This spirit has, happily, become the dominant one during the first two decades of the present century. In 1820 a foretaste of it was already forthcoming in the union of the Burghers and Anti-Burghers into the United Secession. Twenty years later the Relief and the Secession Churches came together on the voluntary principle as the United Presbyterian Church. From 1868 onwards a movement to amalgamate this larger body with the Free Church was started, and after long opposition on the part of Dr Begg and an anti-voluntary party, came to fruition, under the leadership of Dr Rainy, in 1900, in the United Free Church of Scotland. This transaction gave rise, indeed, to another secession on a small scale, and a protracted litigation to enforce the claim of the seceders to the property of the Free Church, which was partially recognised by the House of Lords, to which the case was appealed from the Court of Session. The "Wee Free" section, as it was popularly called, was, however, but an insignificant remnant, and did not materially affect the Union, though it gave rise to a revival of the old bitter spirit on a limited scale.

For twenty years previously a crusade in favour of the disestablishment of the Church of Scotland had been actively promoted by these churches, and for a time it looked as if disestablishment was a sine qua non of Presbyterian reunion on a national scale. Happily this disestablishment policy, which had tended to keep alive the rancour of Disruption times, ultimately gave place to a negotiation for a union on less radical lines towards the close of the second decade of the twentieth century on the basis of the national recognition of religion, the maintenance of the independence of the Church in things spiritual, and the retention of the endowments for its support. In virtue of the spirit of mutual conciliation, this union is in process of being realised, a series of articles having been drawn up and sanctioned by the Presbyteries and the Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and an application made to Parliament to empower the Church to enter into the Union on this basis.

A powerful influence in fostering the spirit of union has been the growing sense of the importance for the churches of social, compared with ecclesiastical, problems. In the presence of rampant social vice, industrial unrest, slum life, bad housing, the growing popular indifference or alienation, which such evils tend to nurture, the Churches are learning to see ecclesiastical contentions in a truer perspective, and are more and more realising the paramount obligation of uniting their energies in the cause of social betterment. Their home missions have been too long influenced by the policy of strengthening rival ecclesiastical organisations by planting churches in the expanding cities or the growing industrial districts. The spirit of competition has multiplied these churches, with the result that in many cases the wealthier suburban districts of cities have been over-churched in the interest of ecclesiastical rivalry, whilst little progress has been made in evangelising the masses, and raising the standard cf life and morality in the poor and slum districts. In these the churches are but sparsely attended, while the expedient of building mission halls for the poor has tended to beget in their minds the assumption that the Church is merely t( the rich man's club," and has largely failed of its purpose. Despite the vast organisation of the religious life represented by the plethora of churches over the land, they have failed to grapple effectively with the evils of drunkenness and impurity, squalor, poverty, and crime, which still cast their dark shadow over the large centres of population. More effective work in this direction has probably been done by the Salvation Army and other popular organisations. A great deal is also being accomplished in the cause of social betterment by philanthropic agencies, which owe their existence and their activity to Christian teaching, if not directly connected with the Churches. Societies and institutions exist by the hundred for the benefit of the blind, the deaf and dumb, the inebriate, the orphan, the aged and infirm, etc., as the lists of the Charity Organisation Societies of Edinburgh and Glasgow, for instance, show. The Churches have their own organisations for dealing with social evils. To this end the Church of Scotland has introduced the office of deaconess and parish sister, and there have arisen social work committees, guilds, brotherhoods, in all the Churches. It would be unfair to ignore or belittle all this organised effort, directed and influenced by them. Rut the fact remains that it has mitigated rather than remedied the evils that fester in the body social, especially in the large cities. Mere church extension by rival organisations has not brought the remedy, and church extension, which overchurches the residential districts of our cities and persists in wasting money and energy in maintaining four or even half-a-dozen denominational churches in thinly populated parishes or villages, where one or two would suffice, never will. In the pursuit of this policy the Churches have ignored too much the social mission of Christianity, and, partly at least, on this account they have lost their grip on the submerged masses. The fact is being increasingly recognised by social workers, both inside and outside the Churches. " Many," says the Rev. Dr Watson in his recent book on Social Advance, "hold aloof from the Church from the conviction that she has not done all she might have done for social amelioration; that she has acquiesced, and so helped to stereo type, their environment and those bad conditions under which they groan. That undoubtedly is a shortcoming for which the Church should now stand in sackcloth. She has not preached sufficiently the Gospel of the Kingdom. She has not applied Christian ethics to social, economic, and industrial conditions. She has emphasised charity more than justice." This conviction it is that has given a powerful impulse to the Union movement as well as to the application of new agencies and new methods of social work. It is becoming ever more apparent even to the ecclesiastical mind that it is only by co-operation and co-ordination of effort through a powerful national Church that these agencies and methods can be made more effective.

On the other hand, in their mission activity in the foreign field the Scottish Churches in the nineteenth century have had a splendid record. The rise of this wider missionary movement, which has resulted in the founding of Christian schools and colleges, and the establishment of native Churches in India, Africa, and China, dates from the beginning of the second quarter of the century. In 1796, when the first foreign mission societies were founded at Glasgow, Edinburgh, and other towns, Dr Erskine, the leader of the Evangelical Party, appealed to the General Assembly, New Testament in hand, to adopt an overture in favour of foreign missions. Rut the motion seemed too visionary to be taken seriously by the Moderate majority, and was lost by 58 to 44 votes. About thirty years later a marked change had come over the Assembly's attitude to the subject in response to the more altruistic spirit of the age. In 1824 the proposal was reintroduced—on this occasion by the leader of the Moderate Party, Dr Inglis—and the Assembly now adopted it unanimously. Money was collected and a scheme drawn up, and in 1829 Dr Duff was sent forth to India to carry it out. The travels of Dr Livingstone gave a great impulse to the missionary spirit, and both the Church of Scotland and the Free Church extended their missionary enterprise to Africa and China with remarkable results. 'What Scottish missionary enterprise has accomplished, in addition to the mission activity of the Scottish Churches, may be best realised by the services rendered by Scotsmen to the cause in connection with the London Missionary Society. It was as agents of this Society that Dr Livingstone and Dr Moffat laboured in Africa, Dr Legge in China, Mr Milne in Malacca, and Chalmers in Papua.

A noteworthy improvement in Church architecture and public worship is also discernible throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. It has been an age of restoration and church building, in which the skill of ecclesiastical architects like Sir Rowand Anderson and Mr M'Gregor Chalmers has been applied with signal success. Too many of the great ancient edifices, like St Andrews Cathedral, are unfortunately past restoration. Some attempts, as in the case of the Holy Trinity at Dunfermline, made before the advent of a true aesthetic feeling, have been bad failures. Others have miscarried through fear of spoiling a picturesque ruin. In the case of the Chapel Royal at Hoi} rood, for instance, for whose restoration the late Earl of Melville and Leven left a large sum, which was applied instead to build a chapel for the Knights of the Thistle in St Giles. But in the case of St Mungo's, Glasgow; St Giles, Edinburgh; Iona, Dunblane, and Lerwick Cathedrals, and of parochial churches like St Michael's, Linlithgow, the architects have risen to the occasion. Other projects of this kind (in the case of St John's, Perth, for instance) are being matured. When the fabric has been entirely or largely preserved, the problem has been comparatively simple. It has largely been a matter of removing the unsightly masonry and woodwork by which a large building like St Giles was divided into two or three churches after the Reformation.

With this revived interest in ecclesiastical architecture and art there has come an improvement in the conduct of worship. Organs and choirs and forms of service have successfully run the gauntlet of popular prejudice and love of the old ways. The Presbyterian service, when properly conducted, has a dignified simplicity, natural devotion, and an intellectual solidity which appeal to many accustomed to a more elaborate and formal ritual, and it is dear to the hearts of Scots folk who have grown old in its religious atmosphere. The late Queen Victoria, for example, prized it highly. But fondness for its traditional features is not necessarily incompatible with an appreciation of good music and a judicious use of devotional forms, and in this respect a widespread change of view has taken place in the course of the last half century. This change has been due, in the first place, to the innovating spirit of Dr Robert Lee about the middle of the century, and, in the second place, to the efforts of the Church Service Society to further the reform of worship. The Reformed Church of Scotland had from the outset possessed a simple liturgy in Knox's Book of Common Order, which was adopted by the General Assembly as a devotional guide to its members, though allowing liberty in the use of it. The long struggle between Presbytery and Prelacy which the arbitrary introduction of an alien Service Rook into the Church of Scotland by Charles I and Laud had brought to a climax, had left a deep and not unnatural prejudice against the reading of officially imposed prayers. For introducing an order of public worship composed by himself into the service of Old Greyfriars in Edinburgh, the church so intimately associated with the Covenant of 1G38, of which he was minister, Dr Lee was arraigned by the Presbytery, and enjoined by the General Assembly in 1859 to discontinue the innovation. Dr Lee forcibly, though vainly, argued that the Reformed Church had sanctioned and long used a liturgy, and had never formally disallowed its use. He not only disobeyed the Assembly's injunction, but introduced instrumental music into the services of his church. For four years he was left unmolested, but the bitter feeling aroused by his persistence in flouting the injunction of the Assembly found vent in 1864 in a motion to proceed against him for contumacy. On this occasion, however, the more liberal-minded party in the Assembly carried its contention, that as no law had been violated, no offence had been committed, and that such innovations should only be suppressed in cases where they tended to disturb the harmony of congregations. The question occupied the attention of the Assembly in the following two years, and ultimately that of 1866 compromised the dispute by empowering Presbyteries to intervene in cases where such innovations were brought before them, and interdict them if found contrary to law, or tending to strife and division. At the same time it instructed the Presbytery of Edinburgh to re-open the Greyfriars case, which had been the cause of all the excitement, and proceedings were again instituted against Dr Lee. His sudden illness and death intervened before the renewed suit reached the Assembly, and the movement in favour of a moderate reform of worship, for which he had battled and suffered, and which the Church Service Society has carried on, may be said to have triumphed with his death. Among the reforms accomplished, it is questionable whether the introduction of a Hymnal can in all respects be accounted a serviceable addition to the Psalms and Paraphrases. Too many of these hymns are poor jingles of evangelical theology without elevation of thought or expression.

Noteworthy also is the growth in recent years of a more liberal spirit in theological discussion. What was popularly known in the Scottish Churches as "heresy-hunting," long an almost regularly recurring feature of Scottish ecclesiastical life, seems to be becoming a relic of the past. The reason is, not that Scotland has become more orthodox in the old sense of a strict adherence to traditional creeds and confessions, but that it has become more enlightened and more liberal-minded. What has contributed to this saner attitude in theological controversy is the fact that the sentences of the Church against heretics (so-called) have usually appeared to a later generation ill-advised and mistaken. The heresy of yesterday has tended to become the accepted belief of to-day. In 1831, for instance, Mr Campbell, minister of Row, was arraigned and deposed by the Assembly for teaching the universal love of God for man, and the possibility of salvation for all. This was, of course, contrary to the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination and election, and the condemnation was almost unanimous, both Moderates, who in the previous century had favoured liberality of view, and Evangelicals, who had usually been keen to harry the heretic, uniting in casting out of the ministry one of its most estimable members. To-day the Calvinist Churches are teaching Mr Campbell's heresy, and modifying their confessions accordingly. The United Presbyterian Church drove from its ministry David M'Crae for questioning eternal punishment, and now the belief in hell fire seems to have become at least optional. Less than twenty years ago the Church of Scotland deposed Mr Robinson, the scholarly young minister of Kilmun, for the heresy of freely applying the higher criticism to the New Testament and publishing the results of his critical studies. It was an obscurantist attempt to limit the freedom of theological and historical research by a corporate body, many of whose members, by their lack of adequate expert knowledge, were incapable of judging the merits of the work of the courageous and conscientious young scholar. To seek to safeguard the faith by the repression of free critical enquiry is, however, being widely recognised as an untenable tactic which discourages scientific theological study, and renders ill service to the Church itself. A far more famous illustration of this short-sighted policy was afforded by the Free Church in its treatment of Dr Robertson Smith, the occupant of the chair of Hebrew in the Free Church College at Aberdeen. The young professor formulated and applied to the study of the Old Testament Scriptures in Scotland the historic critical method which seeks to discover their composition and authorship, and freely discusses their contents apart from any preconceived notion of an infallible mechanical revelation. For so doing he was arraigned before two Assemblies, on the ground that his teaching was subversive of faith in a divine revelation, and after a long and stirring struggle (1S77-81) deprived of his chair, in spite of the strenuous support of a large minority.

The final sentence was a gross blunder, due in part to exigencies of ecclesiastical policy, in part to the conservative bigotry that would not look at historical and critical questions except through the medium of traditional prejudice. To-day, it is certain that no Robertson Smith case would be possible in the Assembly of the Church that condemned him nearly forty years ago. The scientific method in Biblical criticism and the liberal tendency in theology have been steadily advancing in the interval as the result, in part at least, of the pioneer work done in Scotland by Robertson Smith. The chairs of Biblical studies in the Universities and the Theological Colleges are now occupied by scholars more or less imbued by the scientific spirit of modern historic research. The same spirit is observable in the current attitude towards dogmatic theology, and its outcome has been a reaction from the metaphysical theology of the past in favour of a modification of creed and confession, and a relaxing of the terms of subscription to them. The emphasis has passed, or is passing, from the dogmatic accretion of Church tradition to the moral and spiritual verities of the Gospel itself. The change is not merely of vast benefit to Biblical and theological study; it is of the utmost value for the religious life. The problems and perplexities which the old theology had imposed on faith were becoming, in the face of the advance of modern knowledge, a serious stumbling block to many thoughtful men and women. To these theology could have no message and no spiritual inspiration unless by a change in its method and outlook.

The Scottish pulpit has been a great force in the religious life of the nineteenth century which produced a series of great preachers in Chalmers, Guthrie, MacLeod, and Caird—to mention only these more outstanding names.

The public career of Thomas Chalmers as preacher, professor, churchman, and social reformer, covered the greater part of the first half of the century. Born in 1780, he studied at St Andrews and Edinburgh Universities, where Mathematics, Science, and Political Economy engrossed his interest. He acted for a session as assistant to the professor of mathematics at St Andrews, and after his settlement, in 1803, as minister of Kilmany in Fife, conducted for a couple of sessions independent classes in this subject and in chemistry. At this period he was a Moderate in religion, to whom the ministry was more a stepping stone to a university chair than a life vocation. He wrote articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia, and published An Enquiry into the Extent and Stability of the National Resources. A severe illness in 1810 and the reading of one of Wilberforce's books led to "a very great transition of sentiment," as he afterwards described this religious experience, which, several years before he left Kilmany for the Tron Church in Glasgow in 1815, transformed the Moderate into the Evangelical preacher and earnest pastor. During the eight years of his Glasgow ministry he attained the climax of his fame as a preacher of impassioned intensity and spacious eloquence, which, however, seems to a later age, laboured and turgid at times. His expansive oratory appealed to an age whose taste for a stately rhetoric was much keener than is the case to-day, and his power to draw and rivet vast audiences of all classes, especially on public occasions, was unequalled. His activity was by no means confined to the pulpit. He put himself in close touch with the teeming life of his parish, and laboured by means of a series of agencies to leaven it by a practical Christianity. He gathered around him a band of devoted parish workers. He organised Sunday and day schools for the education of the children. He attacked the problem of pauperism. He held strongly that the system of poor relief out of the rates was detrimental to the well-being of the people by sapping thrift and independence of character. He worked his parish on the principle of voluntary relief out of the Church collections, and by his organising talent made his scheme a success. He published a quarterly journal entitled The Civic and Christian Economy of Large Towns, in which he expounded and advocated his scheme. The scheme was, however, not widely adopted, and after his removal from Glasgow in 1823 to fill the chair of Moral Philosophy at St Andrews, it did not prove a permanent success even in his own parish. It was, nevertheless, a splendid tribute to his energy as a social reformer.

His removal to St Andrews withdrew him from his true sphere as preacher and parish minister into one where his eloquence was hardly in place, though the traditions of academic " eloquence," inherited from the previous century, still prevailed. Moral Philosophy had, however, an intimate relation to theology, and his lectures interested his students. Original or profound they could hardly be, inasmuch as he was no specialist in the subject, as he might have claimed to be in mathematics, and there is no evidence that he really attempted by special, independent study to become a master of it. At all events, he took the opportunity to abandon it on receiving the invitation to occupy the Chair of Divinity in Edinburgh University in 1827. As Professor of Divinity from 1828 to 1843 he interested and influenced a generation of students in an evangelical direction. But his reputation as a theologian has not outlived him, and theology has travelled a long way in advance since his day. His knowledge of even the advance of his own time was imperfect, and his tenure of the chair was distinguished rather by the inspiring effect of his personality on his students than by any appreciable contribution to the theme he expounded. He retained his interest in the question of pauperism, and lectured and wrote against the project of an increase in poor relief, which culminated in the Poor Law of 1844. He had taught Political Economy in connection with Moral Philosophy at St Andrews, and in two volumes on this subject, which he now published, he stressed the importance of applying its principles to secure the moral as well as the material welfare of the people. He adopted the Malthusian expedient of seeking to regulate the growth of population by discouraging early and improvident marriages, raising the standard of living, and postponing marriage till this standard had been attained.

From 1834 church extension claimed a large part of his energy, and in the succeeding six years over 200 churches were built at a cost of nearly 300,000, subscribed largely in response to his eloquent appeals throughout the country. This admirable practical activity was hampered by the great controversy which emerged out of the claim of the Church to veto the presentation by the patron of a parish of a minister unacceptable to a majority of the parishioners. The practical working of this claim brought the Church into collision with the Court of Session, to which aggrieved presentees appealed, and which upheld their right to induction. To the Evangelical party, led by Chalmers, this appeared an unwarrantable encroachment by the State on the liberty of the Church, and when its Claim of Right was refused, he led this party out of the Church on the 18th May, 1843, to form the Free Church of Scotland. It was a daring, if heroic, step for a man who held so firmly the principle of establishment to take. The controversy, if somewhat intransigeant on both sides, had, however, a vitalising effect on the religious life of the country, though the rancorous spirit it engendered and maintained far too long was by no means an attractive spectacle from the higher religious standpoint.

Thomas Guthrie, who was born at Brechin in 1803, of which his father was a prosperous merchant and provost, was presented to the parish of Abirlot at the age of 27. He had been licensed five years earlier, and had spent part of the interval of waiting for a parish in renewing his studies at Edinburgh University, and continuing them for a session at the University of Paris. These post-licentiate studies were largely devoted to chemistry and medicine, for the Edinburgh Divinity Faculty had not inspired him with any special interest in theology. For some time before his presentation he acted as agent for the Dundee Union Rank at Brechin. As parish minister of the evangelical type, he threw himself with the utmost zeal into the work of social reform as well as preaching and visiting, establishing a parish lending library and a savings bank, besides a Sunday School. He took an active part on the evangelical side in the controversy in Presbytery and Synod over the veto act, and his reputation both as a debater and a preacher brought him in 1837 a call to the collegiate charge of New Greyfriars, Edinburgh, on the understanding that an additional church, that of St John's, was to be erected, of which he should be the sole minister. This church was opened three years later, and his gifts as a popular preacher filled it from the outset. It was situated in close proximity to the Cowgate and Grassmarket—the worst of Edinburgh slums. Guthrie was keenly interested in the evangelisation of the masses, and here was a sphere that called for all the ardour born of a zeal for the Gospel and a deep sympathy with human misery. Crime, drunkenness, poverty, and squalor had their abode among its wretched denizens. He relinquished his church at the Disruption, in which he took a leading part, but he remained within the district as minister of Free St John's, which was opened in 1845. His eloquence filled it to overflowing, and kept it full. It was of that popular type which pictures, and appeals, and persuades. He had a vivid imagination, though not a profound intellect, and he possessed in a marked degree the gift of illustrating from nature and life the evangelical message, which he set forth with arresting pathos and power. It speaks much for the high standard of his magnetic oratory that it was popular in the sense of attracting all classes. But his influence was far more than that of the popular preacher. He threw himself into the task of grappling with the social evils of the slum parish in which he worked. As a social reformer and philanthropist, he erected a splendid monument to himself in the Ragged Schools which he initiated in Edinburgh, and contributed to found throughout the United Kingdom. He saw that in order to make headway against the evil influences of slum life, he must try to rescue the children, to educate them mentally, morally, and industrially, and thus give them a chance to rise above the degradation of home and environment. The object of the association which, with the aid of a strong committee of his fellow citizens, he founded in 1847, was to afford such children a daily allowance of food, to instruct them in the three R's and the Scriptures, and to teach them a trade. Dissension, unfortunately, ere long arose in the committee over the question of religious instruction, the association being undenominational, and a split in the movement occurred. The dissentients formed the "United Industrial Schools" in distinction from the "Original Ragged Schools," as Dr Guthrie's were called. Though the adoption of the title " Industrial " was preferable to the objectionable term "Ragged," the split was unfortunate. But the controversy tended to advertise the movement, which was extended, largely by Dr Guthrie's exertions through the Press and on the platform, not only in Scotland, but in England. He strove to obtain the assistance of a Government grant on the ground that the schools were rendering important national service. As the mouthpiece of a deputation to Lord Lansdowne, President of the Privy Council, he showed that whilst each criminal cost the country on an average 300, the cost of rescuing a boy from the slums and preventing him from falling into crime, clothing, feeding, and training him, and thus making him a useful member of society, was only 25. A Parliamentary Commission reported in favour of the scheme, and in consequence of the passing of two acts dealing with criminal and vagrant children respectively, the Privy Council in 1856 gave a capitation grant of 50s. a year for every child being trained in a certified Industrial School, whether the child was committed by a magistrate or not. Unfortunately, in the following year the grant was reduced to 5s., and by the Industrial Schools Act of 1801, the grant, though raised in amount, was limited to committed children. Dr Guthrie sought to counter this backward step by agitating the question and appealing to the public, with substantial effect, for funds, and in 1866 a new Act, by giving the magistrates power to commit destitute as well as criminal children to these schools, greatly increased the amount of State aid received by them.

Drunkenness, he found by experience, to lie at the root of much of the crime and destitution which he thus practically laboured to remedy, and he sought to pro\ide an additional counteraction in the temperance and total abstinence movement, of which he was one of the early advocates. He was a member of the "Scottish Association for the Suppression of Drunkenness," founded in 1850, which did so much to secure the passing of the Forbes Mackenzie Act. One of his most effective contributions to the movement was a series of sermons on intemperance, afterwards published under the title of The City—Its Sins and Sorrows.

Norman MacLeod, who was born in the manse of Campbeltown, of which his father was minister, went through Glasgow University between 1827 and 1831 without acquiring any learning worth speaking of. Under Chalmers in the Divinity Hall at Edinburgh, from 1831 to 1834, he felt the inspiration of the teacher. Thereafter he spent a year at Weimar as tutor to a young Englishman, and returned to study at Glasgow University before he was ordained to the parish of Loudoun in 1838. He was at this period an evangelical of the school of Chalmers, but without the zealous ecclesiastical temper that waxed hot over the contentions of the day. He was conscientiously opposed to the extreme course of disrupting the Church, rather than uniting inside it for the reformation of what was amiss by the education and pressure of public opinion. He remained in the old Zion, though he actively sympathised with the policy of redressing the evil of patronage by securing, in a legal way, for the people the right to choose their minister. He felt that the Gospel consisted in something higher than war to the death between brethren over ecclesiastical polity, and of this Gospel he was an enthusiastic preacher at Dalkeith after Loudoun, in the Barony Church, Glasgow, after Dalkeith, rendering the while great practical service in the rebuilding of the shattered Establishment. Of sympathy with humanity he had an overflowing fund. Genial and big-hearted, he was in his element in every class of society. The magnetic humanity of the man crowded his church, and set in motion a band of devoted workers to evangelise his huge parish through Sunday schools, day schools and evening classes, savings banks, and refreshment rooms in competition with the public-house. He talked in the pulpit in direct fashion, with nothing of the studied orator, and little of the laborious thinker. He grew more liberal with the years, and horrified the precisians by his unconventional way of looking at men, things, and even creeds—the most jovial of companions, showing a rare gusto for life, tentatively humanising the Sabbath, and even proposing in the General Assembly to abolish tests for theological professors. He made his influence felt in the Broad Church movement for the reform of worship and greater freedom of theological thought, which owed much to the initiation of Dr Robert Lee and Principal Tulloch. He had by this time outlived the old narrow Evangelicalism. He made an outspoken plea before the Presbytery of Glasgow for a freer Sunday, which raised an awful outcry among "the unco guid" throughout the land, for which he was in danger of deposition. He survived this distinction, and was instead deputed to visit India in 1807 in the interest of missions. The expedition overtaxed his strength, of which he had hitherto been all too prodigal. He had only five years more to live, and his death in 1872 was a national sorrow. Good Works, the periodical which he edited, and the novels of a quasi-religious character which he wrote, made him popularly known throughout the land, and from the Queen, whose favourite Scottish chaplain he was, to the peasant and the artisan, to whom he was familiarly known as "Norman," his loss was that of a friend as well as a spiritual guide.

John Caird, after a distinguished career as a student at Glasgow University, became in 1815 minister of Newtown-on-Ayr, when he was transferred to Lady Yester's Church, Edinburgh, eighteen months later. He at once took a foremost place among the preachers of the day, and attracted overflowing audiences, including a large number of students, to the unostentatious church near the University. " Without manuscript or note before him," says the late Dr Macmillan of Greenock, one of his student hearers, " the preacher began by laying out his subject in a manner so distinct and methodical that every one present could grasp it as a whole; and then proceeded to untold and illustrate it with wonderful freshness and power. Carefully composed and committed to memory as was his theme, he spoke, as if with pure spontaneity, the thoughts that arose within him at the moment. Profoundly impressed himself, his words rang out strong and fervent, emphasised by the most appropriate gestures. Standing back from the pulpit board, brushing his long hair from his forehead, his eye kindling with a dusky yet piercing light, ' orb within orb,' he poured forth a succession of impassioned sentences which fairly carried you away. There was no pretence, no studied unnatural effect, but the fire and rapture of native eloquence. . . . His sermons, which reached from the first, and uniformly maintained, a high level—far above the average—were more religious than theological, more practical than devotional. They were distinguished for their philosophic breadth, and their intense sympathy with all the struggles and sorrows and sins of humanity. They ranged over a wide and varied field of subjects. Starting from the familiar evangelical truth, they touched all the experiences of ordinary life, and brought the Gospel into harmonious relation with all that is beautiful in art, and ennobling in philosophy and history."

He left Edinburgh for the parish of Errol in Perthshire, where he spent the next eight years, devoting himself to study as well as to the work of his parish, which included the founding of a school of domestic economy for the training of girls. Student as he was by disposition, he had an open eye for common life and an intense sympathy with human kind, and his striving to bring religion to bear on practical life found magnificent expression in the famous sermon on Religion in Common Life, preached before the Queen at Balmoral in 1855, which, in published form, carried his fame over the length and breadth of Britain. The result was his translation to the Park Church, Glasgow, in 1857. In the Park pulpit the effect of the years of reading and reflection spent in the manse of Errol appeared in the more profound treatment of the subject matter, and the more restrained tone of its presentation. His was the progressive type of mind which learns from experience, and works its way through revision of old beliefs to new convictions. He had studied German at Errol, and had taken a sympathetic interest in developments in theology, and the thought of these sermons was fresher and more independent, if less "sound" from the orthodox point of view. "A certain change," says the late Principal Story, "had meanwhile passed on him. The old charm and power were there, but the tremendous oratorical force was restrained. The sermons were read. To the thoughtful hearer they were, no doubt, better worth hearing. They were, as of old, eloquent, but the eloquence was less exuberant, and the substance and the theological tone of the preaching were different from the earlier type."

The ability as well as the power of these Park sermons pointed him out as the fitting occupant of the Chair of Divinity in Glasgow University, to which he was unanimously appointed by the University Court towards the close of 1862. In him the students found a guide who was responsive to the new currents of thought in philosophy and theology, and was not content, as the Divinity professors had usually hitherto been, to expound to them the confessional doctrine in the conventional manner. He was suspect of heresy in "religious circles." He had his own views, as every serious thinker and teacher is entitled to have. But 110 one had a more profound belief in the superiority of Christianity as a creed and a life, provided the creed is a living one and not a mere echo of the conceptions of the past. He held the chair ten years, until he became principal in 1873. As a professor he interested and stimulated his students because he made a fresh start in its interpretation, and thus contributed to the advance made in Scotland in theological thought during the last fifty years—an advance represented in the Free Church by men like Bruce and Denny. Personally, he was the most attractive of men—sympathetic, whole-hearted, simple, and winning; one whom to know was to love as well as admire. There was only one man in the Church of Scotland in the second half of the nineteenth century who could be compared with him in spirit and thought—the late beloved Robert Flint—his superior in the wide sweep of his learning, though less gifted as a pulpit orator; his peer in simplicity and sterling worth of character, and in his inspiration as a teacher.


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