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occasionally assist at a Communion service, as for his friend Dr. Macleod; he might be appointed by the presbytery to take part in the induction of a minister-e.g., at the Cathedral. But he apparently shunned popularity, and must have declined numerous invitations to preach. He gave himself unreservedly to his proper work, and had his reward in the intellectual progress of his students, in the extent to which he stimulated their mental activity, and in their loyal attachment to himself as their teacher and friend. He continued to hold his position as Professor of Divinity until, four years ago, he was elevated to a still higher post, and became Principal of the University of Glasgow.
The grounds of Dr. Caird's popularity as a preacher are easily understood. His printed sermons, in the volume to which we have already referred, and in Good Words for 1863, are largely a revelation of himself, and clearly indicate the main sources of his power. In his earlier ministry it was his rule to preach memoriter, but in later years he frequently, and without the slightest detriment to the general effect of his sermons, availed himself of the use of his manuscript. His manner of conducting the devotional part of the service is deeply impressive, but it does not bring into prominence any special sign of his eloquence. He never indeed shows himself impatient to get it over, or depreciates it as a mere “preliminary.” But his oratory is restricted to his sermon, and for it he may so far be said to reserve his strength. He begins quietly, distinctly enunciating every word, and giving to it its due weight and emphasis. As he proceeds he becomes feryid and impassioned, his utterance becomes more rapid, and is charged with a subtle power.
subtle power. His voice now rises into its full volunie of sound, and in its varied cadences and intonations it is like an instrument which sends forth strains of sweet ană heart-thrilling music. We know no preacher who can so entirely hold his hearers spell-bound. We shall never forget the effect produced by the climax of the first division of his sermon entitled “Nature a Witness against the Sinner.” The material world, he had stated, may bear witness against man as containing the scenes of his guilt, and this he illustrated from the law of association, and from Babbage's theory as to the impressibility of the material elements, in virtue of which they become a minute and faithful record of all the events of our life.
They present to the eye of Omniscience a vast book of remembrance, from whose unerring pages Ho can read forth the moral history of the human race, and of each individual man who has ever lived. And surely it is no fanciful or extravagant conception to suppose that a day may come when all this past repository of moral impressions shall be unsealed. On the great day of account, when, before the eye of Infinite Justice, the guilty soul shall stand trembling and aghast, may it not well be that then and there, not only conscience within, but nature without, shall be called to bear witness against man, and that the very material elements shall at last render up that record which they contain of his moral history? Might we not conceive the silent air around the sinner becoming vocal, and ringing in his horrified ears the echo of all the pain or impure or blasphemous words he has spoken, and the light of heaven reproducing, as in a mirror, on the very face of the sky before him the reflection of this or the other deed of iniquity and wrong which he would fain blot out from his sight and his memory for ever; and all nature, from her every region, in heaven above and earth beneath, rendering up again, as it were, the buried spectres of his sins ? If any such process of material resurrection of the traces of bygone guilt be possible, would there not be contained in it a terrible explanation of that witness-bearing of nature against sinful man of which the Scriptures speak?
And for a peroration almost more impressive we may point to the conclusion of the sermon on “Self-Ignorance," which, according to the testimony of one who heard it, thrilled the congregation with a feeling of such profound and solemn awe that for some moments after its close every one seemed afraid to move.
But Dr. Caird's manner is not the only element of his power as a preacher. We may rightly give it the first place because without it he could not have acquired his reputation as an orator, nor have exerted so wonderful a control over an audience. We must not, however, overlook his beautiful and impressive style. He has a richly furnished vocabulary, from which he seems able to draw at will the most appropriate and forcible word. He has mastered our best literature and yielded himself to its plastic influence. He knows what our “deepest speculators have said and our sweetest poets have sung, and has derived from them a gracefulness and strength which give to his words a potent charm. It would no doubt be easy to find blemishes in his sermons. He is sometimes too ornate, there are various mannerisms which unpleasantly attract attention, and he occasionally uses words which are somewhat out of place in a sermon-e.g., when he speaks of spiritual rest as the rest not of immobility but of equipoise, and in a number of phrases borrowed from the so-called higher religious philosophy. But such blemishes are rare, and do not stand forth prominently. Dr. Caird's command of language is moreover equalled by his power of illustration. He has a thoroughly Wordsworthian sympathy with Nature, and is singularly skilful in drawing analogies between the material and spiritual world. Nature is to him the revelation of the power and wisdom of God, and he sees in its varied phenomena types and resemblances of higher things. And to what noble uses he renders it subservient most of his sermons testify.
His general cast of thought may be described as of the philosophicotheological. He is not an expositor of Scripture, nor does he restrict himself to a proclamation of the fundamental truths of Christianity. He has, unless we are mistaken, made it his especial aim to address men of culture. He wishes to render his sermons worthy of the attention of thoughtful and educated men, and to reach them by the application of their own methods. He is familiar with their difficulties, he knows and sympathises with the grounds on which they object to much that passes current as religion, and he strives to remove their difficulties, and to present the Gospel in forms which will commend it alike to their reason and their conscience, and to a remarkable extent he has succeeded. Religion is with him a life, not merely a creed or a system of church polity, but a life, the life of God in the soul of man, and all his preaching is based on this principle. His position is very clearly defined in his essay on the “ Co-operation of the Laity in the Government and Work of the Church,” in which he definitely abandons the jus divinum of presbytery and proclaims that all church organisations and arrangements are but means to an end. “ The end for which all church ordinances and arrangements exist is, I repeat it, to Christianise the world, and the question as to the particular means and machinery by which this end is attained is altogether secondary. Whether by the highway of Prelacy, or the footpath of Presbytery, or the open common of Independency I reach the presence of my Saviour, it may cost me little thought if only I win Christ and be found in Him." And still more recently he has said in a University
Yes, it is here, and nowhere else, that the essence of religion lies; not ecclesiastical order, not theological soundness, not even morality and purity of life, but love and loyalty to Christ. Theology is, indeed, the noblest of sciences. The human intellect has no higher employment than that of searching into its great problems, and trying to give clearness and systematic connection to our ideas of God and Divine things. But, perhaps, it is those who have studied and laboured most in this high province who are least disposed to exaggerate the religious importance of their work. Conscious of the immense difficulties that attend their inquiries at every step, knowing how hard it is for man's imperfect reason to grapple with them, how many are the causes of misapprehension and error, and how possible it is for the most conscientious inquirers to reach different conclusions—aware of all this, perhaps it is those who have thought most and deepest on such subjects who shrink most from dogmatiem and assertion. Perhaps there are those who will sympathise with me when I say that, as life advances, a more modest, a calmer, sweeter, more tolerant spirit begins to infuse itself into a man's mind. He begins to attach less and less importance to the points which divide sects and Churches from each other, to think that few of them are worth a breach of charity—at any rate, to be convinced that it is not on these that the relation of the soul to God and eternity depends. Seeing in all Churches men whose sweet and saintly lives breathe the very spirit of Christ, and of whom it is impossible to doubt that to Christ they are dear-shall be refuse to recognise those whom his Lord has received, or turn away with unchristian hardness and exclusiveness from men whom he may soon have to meet in heaven? No! whenever in the heat of party feeling, amid the weary strifes and rivalries of seots and Churches, we are tempted to indulge the spirit of theological or ecclesiastical exclusiveness, or to feel for intellectual error the indignation and hostility that should be reserved for sin, there is one thought that may well bring us to a better mind. Let us recall to mind the good and holy men of different sects and Churches who once were with us and are now in the presence of Christ, and ask whether the points which divided them here, and about which, it may be, they contended and wrangled so hotly, can keep them asunder there, in that deeper, diviner life into which they have entered. Let us think, too, if it be oure to join one day their blissful society, whether we shall carry with us much of our ecclesiastical partisanships or our theological jealousies into the still, sweet rest of heaven. Travellers as we are amidst the mists and shadows of this life, it is not wonder. ful, perhaps, that in its dim and deceptive light we should sometimes mistake a friend for a foe, or turn away from å brother as if he were a stranger and an alien. But “ the night is far spent, the day is at hand;" not distant is the hour when the sun of our souls shall rise full-orbed on our waiting eyes, and the mists shall disperse, and the shadows flee away for ever; and then then, at last, if not now, we shall recognise in every soul that has ever loved and lived for Christ the face of a brother and a friend.
We have no wish to ignore the fact that there are in Dr. Caird's writings opinions with which we do not sympathise, and statements which come short of the full measure of Biblical truth, nor does he, in our estimation, give sufficient prominence to certain distinctive doctrines of Christianity. But it is a mistake to suppose that his theological teaching is destructive rather than constructive, and that his liberality of spirit is akin to indifferentism. His “Plea for a Scientific Theology,” delivered as the opening address in the Faculty of Divinity in the new University buildings, administers a severe rebuke to the pseudo-Tennysonianism of our day, and condemns in no measured terms the sentimental glorification of doubt. The writer believes in the necessity of a clear and carefully formed creed, and in the duty of absolute loyalty to truth. And those who have come in contact with him, whether as students or as friends, testify to the transparent sincerity of his character, to the impartiality and thoroughness of his investigation, to his reverence for all that is holy and good, and to his devout and fervent love to Christ. He has told us, in one of his most beautiful sermons, that the student of Divine truth should “cultivate, by the discipline of a holy life, a truer than philosophic calmness and candour—the calmness of a spirit that dwells in habitual communion with God, the candour of a mind that has nothing to lose and everything to gain by truth.” And such a student, we imagine, is Principal Caird himself.
Reminiscences of Birmingham.
E concluded our former paper with a sketch of a dame's school as it existed in Birmingham sixty years ago
When we were old enough to escape from that calamity, we were transferred to a "master's” school, which was little else than an exchange, in those days, of one house of bondage for another. The three masters under whose ferule we successively passed were probably of average goodness and ability; but they were far from inclined for making pleasant the road to knowledge, and, like most Dominies of that time, had some bodily defects—there being distributed among this trio, one blind eye and three cork hands. They were alike in the severity of their discipline, and the slowness with which they led us onward in the pathway of wisdom. A week was sometimes occupied in “ doing a sum” in long division—three:
days being required to accomplish the calculation, and the like space of time to enter it in the “account-book.” In one of the schoolrooms at Eton are, or were, inscribed the words, “ Disce aut discede; tertia pars manet, cædi”;-that is, “Learn, leave, or stay to be logged.” Neither of our three masters was probably able to translate the above sentence, but they all entered into the spirit of the last word, as their pupils were frequently and painfully made aware. Those who have worshipped in the chapel connected with the famous Bluecoat School, Newgate Street, London, remember the cherubs' heads and wings which adorn the organ there. These angelic effigies, Charles Lamb tells us, were the envy of all the youths, for these two reasons--that they had no backs to be beaten, and had wings with which to fly away.
The pupils of all schools sixty years ago quickly learnt the art of flogging, if they were slow in learning anything else. An illustrative example of a spelling exercise is vividly present to our minds.
Some twenty of us stood in the presence of the master to spell the word “ mayor,” without the slightest intimation whether we were to spell the name of a female horse or that of a civic dignitary. Various and wild were the efforts to be right, and loud the resounding blow which fell upon the head of each defaulter in this ancient Spelling Bee; when at length, by sheer accident, we ourselves stammered out the right word, and instead of receiving a blow, as expected, received the captainship of the class. One of the three schools we speak of was a branch of the now famous Grammar School, and in it our religious training was attended to, "after a sort.” During an hour each week we were initiated into the mysteries of the Church Catechism; and, though several of us were the children of Baptists, we had to declare that we had received our names from our godfathers and our godmothers in our baptism, wherein we were made members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the Kingdom of heaven.” The master of this school had a thin vein of humour in his composition, which sometimes showed itself when he was in a good cue, to the great joy of his pupils—as, for example, when a boy inquired concerning the price of account-books, the reply was, “I usually charge two and sixpence, but as I know your father you may have one for half-a-crown.' “ Tabulo solvuntur risu" Long continued and tumultuous applause." But these streaks of sunshine were few and far between, and as a rule deadly dull was the atmosphere of the primary schools of Birmingham fifty years ago.
We cannot speak from personal observation of the state of the Grammar School at this time, but, from what we have heard, it was quite ripe for the reforms it has since experienced. The head master was, we think, the Rev. Rann Kennedy, the rather eccentric bearer of a now honoured name among grammar school masters. Being incumbent of a church in the midst of a large burial-ground, he often had to perform the service for the dead, into which he sometimes