Principal Cairns eBook

John Cairns (Presbyterian)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 154 pages of information about Principal Cairns.

Outside of the Church Courts he delivered innumerable speeches at public meetings which had been organised in all parts of the country in aid of the Union cause.  These more than anything else led him to be identified in the public mind with that cause, and gained for him the name of the “Apostle of Union.”  The meetings at which these speeches were delivered were mostly got up on the Free Church side, where there seemed to be more need of missionary work of this kind than on his own, and his appearances on these occasions increased the favour with which he was already regarded in Free Church circles.  “The chief attraction of Union for me,” an eminent Free Church layman is reported to have said, “is that it will bring me into the same Church with John Cairns.”

That he was deeply disappointed by the failure of the enterprise on which his hopes had been so much set, he did not conceal; but he never believed that the ten years’ work had been lost, and he never doubted that Union would come.  He did not live to see it, but when, on October 31, 1900, the two Churches at length became one, there were many in the great gathering in the Waverley Market who thought of him, and of his strenuous and noble labours into which they were on that day entering.  Dr. Maclaren of Manchester gave expression to these thoughts in his speech in the evening of the day of Union, when, after paying a worthy tribute to the great leader to whose skill and patience the goodly consummation was so largely due, he went on to say:  “But all during the proceedings of this day there has been one figure and one name in my memory, and I have been saying to myself, What would John Cairns, with his big heart and his sweet and simple nature, have said if God had given him to see this day!  ’These all died in faith, not having received the promises...  God having provided some better thing for us.’”



All the time occupied by the events described in the last two chapters, Dr. Cairns was carrying on his ministry in Berwick with unflagging diligence.  True to his principle, he steadily devoted to his pulpit and pastoral work the best of his strength, and always let them have the chief place in his thoughts.  He gave to other things what he could spare, but he never forgot that he had determined to be a minister first of all.  His congregation had prospered greatly under his care, and in 1859 the old-fashioned meeting-house in Golden Square was abandoned for a stately and spacious Gothic church with a handsome spire which had been erected in Wallace Green, with a frontage to the principal open square of the town.  A few years earlier a new manse had been secured for the minister.  This manse is the end house of a row of three called Wellington Terrace.  These stand just within the old town walls, which are here pierced by wide embrasures.  They are separated from the walls by a broad walk

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Principal Cairns from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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