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John Cairns (Presbyterian)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 130 pages of information about Principal Cairns.
the impetus and the guidance which it needed.  Besides being present, and taking some part whenever he was at home in the crowded evangelistic meetings that for a while were held nightly, and in the prayer-meeting, attended by from one hundred and fifty to two hundred, which met every day at noon, he must have conversed with hundreds of people seeking direction on religious matters during the early months of 1874.  And, knowing that many would shrink from the publicity of an Inquiry Meeting, he made a complete canvass of his own congregation, in the course of which by gentle and tactful means he found out those who really desired to be spoken to, and spoke to them.  The results of the movement proved to be lasting, and were, in his opinion, wholly good.  His own congregation profited greatly by it, and on the Sunday before one of the Wallace Green Communions, in 1874, a great company of young men and women were received into the fellowship of the Church.  The catechumens filled several rows of pews in the front of the spacious area of the building, and, when they rose in a body to make profession of their faith, the scene is described as having been most impressive.  Specially impressive also must have sounded the words which he always used on such occasions:  “You have to-day fulfilled your baptism vow by taking upon yourselves the responsibilities hitherto discharged by your parents.  It is an act second only in importance to the private surrender of your souls to God, and not inferior in result to your final enrolment among the saints....  Nothing must separate you from the Church militant till you reach the Church triumphant.”

CHAPTER IX

THE PROFESSOR

It had all along been felt that Dr. Cairns must sooner or later find scope for his special powers and acquirements in a professor’s chair.  In the early years of his ministry he received no fewer than four offers of philosophical professorships, which his views of the ministry and of his consecration to it constrained him to set aside.  Three similar offers of theological chairs, the acceptance of which did not involve the same interference with the plan of his life, came to him later, but were declined on other grounds.  When, however, a vacancy in the Theological Hall of his own Church occurred by the death of Professor Lindsay, in 1866, the universal opinion in the Church was that it must be filled by him and by nobody else.  Dr. Lindsay had been Professor of Exegesis, but the United Presbyterian Synod in May 1867 provided for this subject being dealt with otherwise, and instituted a new chair of Apologetics with a special view to Dr. Cairns’s recognised field of study.  To this chair the Synod summoned him by acclamation, and, having accepted its call, he began his new work in the following August.

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