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Darling Memorial Sketch Book

The interment of his mortal remains took place on Monday, 20th October; and on the forenoon of the following Sabbath, a Memorial Sermon was preached by the Rev. John Smith, worthy alike of the preacher and of his subject. We quote the account of the funeral service, procession, and burial, from the pen of an appreciating and loving eye - witness and friend:—

"The funeral of Mr Darling took place on the afternoon of Monday last, when his remains were followed to the Echo Bank Cemetery by an exceptionally large procession, comprising a large number of distinguished citizens of Edinburgh, and of public men from several parts of the United Kingdom. A service was conducted in the large dining-room of the Regent Hotel by the Rev. Dr Andrew Thomson, which was attended by many of the leading citizens and personal friends of the deceased. A similar service was conducted in the Waverley Hall, kindly placed at the service of the family by Bailie Cranston, which was crowded by a deeply interested and sympathetic audience. The service there was conducted by the Rev. Dr Mair, Rev. George Wilson, and Rev. J. G. Cunningham. Large numbers of persons lined the streets towards the North Bridge, and among those were to be noticed many of the poorer classes, numbers of whom were to be seen giving unmistakable evidence of their having lost a kind benefactor. The hearse was preceded by a large band of the Carrubber's Close workers, male and female; and there followed it—1st, personal relatives; 2nd, the kirk-session of Broughton Place Church; then the leading representatives of the temperance and evangelical organisations in the city, ministers of all denominations, several prominent members of the medical profession, and a large concourse of the general public.

"On reaching the cemetery the Carrubber's Close Mission workers filed to each side, while the honoured and beloved dead was borne along between the ranks by companions in the fight, accompanied by songs of exultant triumph over death and the grave.

"A service was then conducted at the grave by the Rev. John Smith, of Broughton Place Church. Before leaving the cemetery, another hymn was sung, joined in by the company of mourners, who by their presence had paid a marked tribute to one of the most useful of public citizens."

Our readers will welcome a reminiscence from Principal Cairns, which grandly closes and interprets the picture at the interment:—

"I had hurried back from a heavy day's work in Aberdeen, not in time for any other service, but only at the grave. It was a dreary, chilly day, and as the great mourning crowd wound round to the centre of interest and joined themselves to the multitude that already filled the place, the leaden gloom had turned into steady and driving rain. The hymn of the Carrubber's Close choir before, and the hymn after, and the prayer of Mr Smith between, looked like a battle with the elements, which must be lost. Yet such was the bursting joy and thankfulness in the memory of that noble Christian life, monuments of which were all around in those who had been rescued and helped, both old and young, that rarely has such a vision of 'the land that is fairer than day' gladdened any company, and the parting was to many like an opening heaven rather than a sad or long farewell."

As we leave behind us in the grave the dust of this servant of God, there to rest in hope until the resurrection dawn, and as we follow in thought his ransomed spirit up to the blessed world, there rise up before our mind such divine words as these: "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever;" and that saying also of our Divine Master Himself, that those of whom we have been the benefactors on earth, and who have gone up before us to glory, shall receive and welcome us, when we die, "into everlasting habitations." There is surely no presumption or rashness in associating such promises as these with the heavenly position of one who, like the subject of our narrative, for more than fifty years, abounded in the work of the Lord. Oh, what wondrous, exuberantly gracious promises, overflowing with love like the laden honeycomb with sweetness! The happiness of those whom we had been the willing instruments of guiding into the way of life, will be an immeasurable enhancement of our own. Their heaven will be to us like a second heaven. There is no official monopoly of such rewards. The humblest Christian with such a history behind him, will have divine warrant to say, amid the mutual recognitions of the glorious world, to those whom, by the help of the Spirit, he had "converted from the error of their way," and won back to Christ, "What is our hope, or joy, or crown? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?" Here is the divine conception of the highest form of human greatness. The man who denies and forgets himself for the benefit of others, and every day walks in the blessed footprints of Him who "went about doing good," is, like John the Baptist, "great in the sight of the Lord." "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister. And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant." Who shall be content to wear a starless crown? It is an ambition worthy of an archangel to have been a soul-winner for Christ.

"Be good, my friend, and let who will be clever.
Do noble things, not dream them all day long;
And thus make life, death, and that vast forever,
One grand sweet song."

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