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Darling Memorial Sketch Book
The Eldership

In 1885 Mr Darling was chosen to the office of the eldership in Broughton Place Congregation, of which, from the time of his coming to Edinburgh, he had been a member. He was cordially welcomed into the ranks of the Session by his brother elders, and more than realised all the favourable anticipations which they had formed regarding him, as one who would keep before his mind the solemn thought that he had been called to "watch for souls as those who must give an account." Combining in his character a sound judgment with a large-hearted charity, he could work pleasantly with others, and believe in their conscientiousness, and love them not the less, when he sometimes differed from them in his practical judgments. He had a most wholesome horror of fads and crotchets. In his district as elsewhere, he was self-forgetting in seeking the good of others to an extent reached by few. And he was a man of prayer, and an earnest lover of peace. During the few years in which he lived to discharge the duties of the eldership, which to him was no sinecure, or downy pillow on which to fall asleep, every member in the district which was specially committed to his oversight had come to regard him as a personal friend. The poor among the people were always on his heart. He was quite the kind of elder to whom a perplexed member would go for advice, or a sorrowful spirit for consolation.

One member in his district, an earnest Christian worker like himself, sends us this grateful testimony to the benefit she derived from his visits. "His visits were a great pleasure to me, and, however busy I might be, I always felt myself quite willing to leave the most pressing work and have a little talk with him. He was so full of love to Jesus, and to souls. After his visits, I always felt myself stirred up to new effort in rescuing the perishing and doing all that I could to win back souls to Christ. Mr Darling had ever some new case in hand, and he would tell out all that was being done by himself and others to lift up some one who had sunk far down through drink, or some other indulged sin.

"Although he was greatly interested in cases that came more directly under his own notice yet he was a most willing listener to all that others had to tell of their work for Jesus. Often have I seen the tear come to his eyes as he listened to the story of some weary wanderer returning to the bosom of his Lord. It was this deep interest and sympathy, shown in all departments of the Lord's vineyard, that made his visits so helpful to me as a Christian worker; and one felt that he was most suited for an elder, not only because he was a great worker himself, but because he encouraged others to go and do likewise."

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