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 it1st, 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
"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
"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."