The present communication, which was virtually, promised in my circular note of the 20th Nov. current, does not include any statements from Ministers of our Chunk who studied under me in Edinburgh. There are nine of them, and their personal experience of my touching capacity (or incapacity) extended over the whole period of my professorship in Edinburgh. I have not thought it necessary to wait for their testimony, which of course is, in its nature, most weighty. It can come in its own place and time. I now send only whit happens to be at hand.
James Macgregor, D.D.Oamaru,
30th November, 1885.
The following statements were made when Dr. MacGregor had been proposed for a Chair of Theology in the Free Church College of Edinburgh, to which, he was appointed, out of 17 named, by an overwhelming majority of Assembly:—
I.—One of his Professors.
"I have known the Rev. James MacGregor for a good many years past—ever, indeed, I may say, since he first came to college in Edinburgh. Even so early my attention was strongly attracted by the promise of his mind and character; by the directness, force, and acuteness of his intellect; and by his remarkable independence, manliness, and sincerity. My eye followed him instinctively thereafter, and I had the gratification to find all my best hopes every year more and more fully realised by his promise and distinction. We were brought into closer contact by his becoming a student, in my own class. The result was a still higher opinion of his powers and esteem for his character. He carried off the highest honours of his year, and his essays were in a high degree remarkable for the originality, vigour, and acuteness displayed in them. There is in him, I am persuaded, a great fund of capability, of earnest, vivid, and varied exertion—and that exertion will not be spared."
2.—A. Contemporary Student.
"I have known the Rev. James MacGregor, of Paisley, from the time that he and I were fellow students at Edinburgh. He stood out there as one of the men of highest intellectual mark at College. He was especially distinguished for logical powers, clearness, depth, consecutiveness, and subtlety. These qualities were displayed whatever might be the subject to which his mind was applied. His capacity for the abstract investigations of the metaphysical department of philosophy was hardly less remarkable than his logical power. The promise of his early years has been, so far as opportunity allowed, well fulfilled. The habits of keen thought and hard reading of College days have been cherished all through his ministerial life with a rare strength and tenacity of purpose, and trueness to his natural bent. The exact extent of his theological attainments I have not sufficient means of knowing. But this I know, that he possesses one marked and special qualification for the office of a Professor of Theology in these days, especially Apologetics, and that is a thorough philosophical culture, and familiarity with recent forms of philosophical thought. It would give me great pleasure to see Mr. MacGregor in a position which might allow him to bring the influence of his great intellectual powers and acquisitions and his high personal character,—at once deeply earnest and elevated—to bear on the minds of candidates for the ministry."
"He is a man of wideand catholic sympathies, and page 5 capable of distinguishing between mere points and essential principles. Then, too, he is possessed in no ordinary degree of that perfervidum ingenimn, that fire and enthusiasm, which are so requisite for quickening young minds, and rousing them to activity and energy. I am sure that, while his high talents and varied learning will command the respect of the students, and while his kindly nature and fervent piety will attract their love and confidence, his impulsive energy will rouse them to intense mental activity, and his strong good sense will enable him to direct their studies into the right channel. Let me only add that I have reason to believe that it was chiefly in consequence of Mr. MacGregor's success-fur career at college that the late Mr. Maclaren, of Callander, was led to found his munificent School and College bursaries; and further, that it was in conference with Mr. MacGregor, at Barry, that Mr. Webster arranged to institute the Cunningham Lectureships and Fellowships; and, at Mr. Webster's request, Mr. MacGregor drew out the plans for that noble institution."
4.—A Fellow Member of Synod.
"I have known Mr. MacGregor from the time he attended the University of Edinburgh, and can speak as an eye-witness of his career, both at the University and the Divinity Hall. He was, throughout his entire academical course, a most diligent and successful student. While occupying a high position in all his classes, he took a foremost place in Logic and Moral Philosophy. In the debating society connected with the College he had no superior; and in every discussion in which he took part he displayed great vigour and page 6 acuteness of mind, as well as a wide range of information The reputation which he earned at College was increased during his attendance at the Divinity Hall. The opinion of all the Professors regarding him was very decided. They spoke of him as a student of singular promise, of great acquirements, and of wonderful closeness and tenacity of thought. By his fellow students, as first among the foremost. He has carried with him his studious habits since entering upon the work of the ministry; for, while giving a foremost place to his pulpit preparations and pastoral work, he has continued to prosecute with the greatest zeal his studies in general literature, philosophy, and divinity. Nor is Mr MacGregor a mere helluo librorum. He exercises a vigorous and independent mind on every subject to which he turns his attention. Mr. MacGregor is as distinguished for vigour and originality of thought as he is distinguished for his extensive acquirements. In the articles on 'Hegel' and 'Jacobi' in the ' Encyclopaedia Britannica,' he has shown great capacity for dealing with the most abstract questions in philosophy. Referring to the special subjects of the Chair in question, and stating generally that in relation to them—e.g., 'the relation of Natural Ethics to Christian Ethics,'—'it is in the metaphysical nexus that the whole difficulty lies,' Mr -Kerr went on to say: ' For dealing, therefore, with this class of subjects, there is required a mind of a firm logical grasp, of keenness of edge, of depth of penetration. Moderator, it is because I find most of these qualities combined in a very high degree in Mr. MacGregor, that I now ask the Synod to recommend him for the Chair. He has a kindly, generous, and chivalrous spirit, and the more intimately he is known the more he will be esteemed and loved. Let him be surrounded by a group of earnest, intelligent students, and he would be found to exert a great influence on them not more by his intellectual powers than by the force of his character, the depth of his piety, the simplicity and purity of his whole life.'"
5.— An Elder of his Session.
"The first time I saw him and heard his voice was in the little church at Barry, with a brother elder. I had gone there for the purpose of hearing him. I soon felt deeply interested in the man, and in his thorough manner of handling the subjects of discourse. There was something so original, simple, and impressive in the whole service that I felt that this is the man whose ministrations I should like to attend. The Free High Church congregation was in a very unsettled state when he was called to it; indeed, it required very great courage in a minister to undertake the responsibilty of soothing down party feelings, and of bringing the congregation into harmonious working. In a few months, by faithful preaching, conciliatory and faithful manners, and great wisdom in manageing affairs, Mr. MacGregor was not only the means of putting all right again, but, with the cordial help of the office-bearers and others, new schemes of usefulness were undertaken, . . . An evening school for adults. . . . Much success has attended all these services. I have met with no man more scholarly than Mr. MacGregor, none who has read so much of ancient and modern literature, and who has such a command of ancient and modern tongues. He is perfectly familiar with Greek and Latin, and with the literature of both Greece and Rome."
6.—A Member of his Congregation.
"About seven years ago I became a member of his page 8 congregation in Paisley, not without strong prejudices against himself (foolishly received from hearsay), and with feelings indifferent when not hostile to his most characteristic opinions in theology and ecclesiasticism. The prejudices very soon vanished, and have been sup. planted by a knowledge which is another name for love. Most men who know him at all, know that he is truthful, pure, and brave, and these are great qualities when real in the sense and degree in which they are real in him. Those who know him well, know also that he is charitable, generous, and courteous, if not always in the most approved conventional form, yet always so that no one with any true perception can mistake the reality. Differing so widely from him on matters that he regards of vital importance, and taking no pains to mitigate the expression of these differences, I can truly say that Mr. MacGregor has never, by word or manner, made me feel a moment's consciousness of alienation. I cannot say so much either for myself or for many others, who profess what are called (not always very discriminatingly) liberal opinions, which make the duty of toleration at once easier and more imperative. His books speak for themselves; they do not always speak truly for him. His weekly sermons, on the other hand, the utterance of his life under all the influences surrounding it, have been of a very high average, both intellectual and moral; an average that has grown steadily higher year by year. Always acute and vigorous, the thought with which they have been charged has increased greatly in massiveness and depth, and has become pervaded by a tenderness of feeling reserved in its expression, as the feeling of men of the heroic type always is, but the more impressive on that account to those whom it touches. Mr. MacGregor's personal influence on the young men whom he would have to teach were he called to the Chair, would, I believe, be singularly good, alike in relation to those (no doubt a large majority) who accepted his conclusions, and to those who did not."
7.—A fellow Townsman.
"We are met this evening not as persons connected with the congregation to which Mr. MacGregor lately ministered, but we are met in the character of townsmen (applause), belonging to all denominations in the town (applause), for, I think nearly every denomination in the town is represented on the present occasion. (Applause.) It is only seven years since Mr. MacGregor came among us in this community. He came to minister to a very large congregation, and the duties connected with that congregation necessarily occupied all his attention and all his time; and we outsiders who are not connected with the congregation were only beginning to get acquainted with Mr. MacGregor, to know his value, when he was called to another sphere of labour.—(Hear, hear.) I do not know- if we in this community had any power to enter any caveat on the subject; but we all would have been compelled to say that we grudge the loss of Mr. MacGregor.—(Applause.) It is only from the fact that he has been called to a sphere for which his abilities so eminently qualify him. It is only that he has been called to that position by the voice of the whole denomination to which he belongs, that we in this community bow to the necessity of parting from him this evening.—(Applause.) We shall follow him in his new position in life with our very best wishes. I believe that in regard to the congregation of the Free High Church, they have the utmost amount of appreciation of and satisfaction with his labours; and I know that he will carry with him the best wishes of a large circle of friends in this community. He is a man of the finest feeling; he delights in intimate and close friendship; and he is a man whose intellect has the true ring of genius.—(Cheers.) I don't think there page 10 is any congregation in Paisley (and I know many gentlemen connected with each of the congregations in the town) where a minister has gathered so many men of learning and ability around him. I do not know another church where the young men have been animated with a more anxious desire to elevate themselves in knowledge of every kind than in the Free High congregation of Paisley."
The sentiment of "The Clergy" was responded to by Rev. Dr. Cameron Lees, now of St. Giles' Cathedral Church, Edinburgh, who said: "It is utterly impossible for a student to pass through the hands of a man of ability and energy without carrying away with him the mark of such a man. We are all sure that this appointment of our friend, Mr. MacGregor, is a most excellent one.—(Applause.) He is the right man in the right place, not a round man in a square hole nor a square man in a round hole."
The following statements came in when Dr. MacGregor asked for and obtained leave to withdraw from his Edinburgh Chair, in order to go to New Zealand with his family:—
"The following letter from Professor MacGregor was read:—
29th March, 1881.
"My Dear Sir,—My colleagues here know that I am writing to you about a business which falls to your Committee, in time to give you time before the Assembly. Domestic circumstances, especially those affecting the health of my family and myself, incline me to offer to resign my Chair, in order to seek work in a more genial climate. New Zealand is what is thought of.
"(Signed) James MacGregor.
"Rev. Mr. Laughton,
"Convener College Committee of the Free Church."page 12
"12th April, 1881.
"Dear Dr. MacGregor,—You are aware it has for some time past been my opinion that, owing to your serious family and personal illness, you should seek a complete and permanent change of climate.
"The grave indisposition of your youngest son, on account of which I ordered him to Madeira, has deepened my conviction that no time should be lost in taking the step I have indicated, and I desire now to press this duty very earnestly, though painfully, upon you.
"I am most hopeful that, under God's blessing such a change would be the means of warding off the danger which in this country threatens your family; and it would also, I feel assured, restore your wonted vigour, which you have not altogether recovered since your last very severe illness.
"I have already mentioned to you that there is no climate which more fully meets all the requirements of your case than New Zealand, and it is my most unhesitating conviction that that country should be your destination.
"Believe me, yours very sincerely,
"(Signed) Andrew Smart.
"The Committee, after very full consideration, and hearing statements from members of the Senatus of the New College, unanimously resolved that the resignation tendered by Dr. MacGregor ought to be accepted.
"The Committee further express their sympathy with Mr. MacGregor in reference to the personal and family circumstances described in his letter and that of his medical adviser, and their hope that the change of climate contemplated may be blest to the restoration of health.page 13
"The Assembly called for report of the College Committee, which, being printed and in the hands of the members, was referred to by Principal Rainy, a member of committee, who addressed the Assembly' there-anent.
"The Assembly approve of the report, and record their thanks to the Committee, and especially the Convener.
"With reference to the resignation of Professor MacGregor, the Assembly resolve to accept it, expressing at the same time their sympathy with Professor MacGregor in the family affliction to which he refers as the occasion of his resignation, and their earnest hope that the change of climate he contemplates, may have the desired effect, and that a way may be opened up for his rendering great and important service to the cause of the Lord.". . . .
[Extracted from the Record of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, by (signed) William Wilson, CI. Eccl. Scot. Lib.]
2.—Copy Letter of the Rev. Dr. Whyte,
"June 6th, 1881.
"My Dear Dr. MacGregor,—Although I in common with all your friends must acquiesce in your decision to leave Edinburgh and take your family to a more genial climate, yet it is not without much pain that we consent to part with you. For myself your departure is the loss of a familiar friendship that has been from its beginning most pleasant and most valuable to me. Your page 14 wide reading, your philosophical habit of mind, your profound grasp of Scriptural truth, and your vivid, original, and entirely individual way of stating your views and beliefs,—all these things have often told with great effect on my mind. And the singular nobility, generosity, and chivalry of your character, has many a time rebuked the much lower temper of mind it found in me. Altogether, your friendship has been full of good fruits for myself.
"As to your preaching, it is no exaggeration to say that it is quite unique in the display of those qualities which make your conversation and correspondence so valuable. The hold you have of the doctrines of grace, and the fresh, flashing, vividly experimental way you have of setting them forth in pulpit expositions,—these remarkable qualities have always made your preaching most interesting and most helpful to the best of my people. Altogether your removal from the Edinburgh pulpit, and from our social and religious circle, will be a deep and long-felt loss to many. You must pardon me for writing as I have done, but I could not let you leave us without some such expression of my gratitude and affection.
"Most truly yours,
"(Signed) Alexander Whyte."
3.—Copy Address from Students
May 27th, 1885.
"Dear Dr. MacGregor,—We, the undersigned New College students, who completed the curriculum last winter, desire to express our regret at the severing of your professorial connection with our College, and our deep sympathy with you in your present position. We page 15 would assure you that our warmest affection and keenest interest will follow you to your new home, and that we earnestly desire this step will bring the hoped-for benefit to the health of yourself and your family. We would also desire formally to express the love and esteem with which, as of course you are aware, you have always, as our teacher, been regarded by us. We most gratefully call to mind the uniform kind-heartedness and forbearance by which you commended to us the character of a Christian scholar. And we desire to acknowledge the debt which we owe to the wide learning, the independent thought, the clear and trenchant style, and the quaint originality, with which you at once gave depth, clearness, and freshness of interest to your own presentation of the Calvinistic system, and incited us to reading and thinking for ourselves. No one could fail to admire the strong grasp of theology, as a whole, the union of liberality of spirit with confessional orthodoxy, and the thorough sympathy with the theological perplexities of students, which in no ordinary degree characterised your teaching.
"Our hope and trust is that the gifts which did so much for us here will find scope to do the same for those abroad who are now to receive you from us.
"In conclusion we have only to add, that all your old students in our class would undoubtedly have rejoiced to affix their signatures to this, had it not been that our neglect till now in thinking of making such a testimony prevents us from getting more than the names of the few attending the meetings of the Assembly.
Alexander P. Davidson,
Alexander Campbell Smith,
George C. Mackay, David Ross,
Andrew Hutton Gilruth, James D. Williamson."
4—Copy Letter from a Colonial Student.
"19th May, 1881.
"My Dear Professor MacGregor,—You will pardon me for writing to you, but as I hear there is a possibility of your leaving this country soon, it may be some small satisfaction to you to get a few lines before you leave from one who was recently a student under you. I write, because I for one shall always carry with me a most pleasing remembrance of yourself and of the time spent in study under you in the New College; and because I think it right not to let you leave us without trying to express to you my sense of your kindness, and of the benefit received in your classes.
"Coming, as I did, almost a stranger to Scotland, I always greatly appreciated the personal kindness that you always showed to students. Harper, of Melbourne, who always need to speak of you in the warmest terms, told me before leaving Australia that I would find in you a kind friend; and that I always found you to be. I am sure, too, that in saying this I am expressing the feelings of many other students of my own standing. I may also be allowed to say that I always enjoyed your lectures, and found them in a high degree helpful and suggestive. You always impressed me as being one who not merely knew theology, but a theologian who had found truth for himself, and made theology part of himself, as had almost no one whom I had ever met or heard speak. You always seemed to have a very wide grasp of Christian doctrine as a whole, and to look at each part in the light of the whole. I, for one, had long been troubled by difficulties and doubts, and had found many things in our Calvinistic system hard to reconcile with each other. I found you solving the difficulty in a single luminous sentence. I think I am now a pretty sincere Calvinist. I do not think I would have been such had I not heard your lectures; for these page 17 helped me greatly to reconcile the system with a belief fin God's love. Another thing for which I feel greatly indebted to you is. that from you I learned the respective provinces of theology and criticism, and understood how a man can be an orthodox theologian and yet not a traditionalist in Biblical science.
"I hope you will pardon the liberty I have taken in writing to you, and allow me in closing to express my [thanks to you again for all your kindness, and my very ' warmest wishes for your future success.
"(Signed) Alex. Campbell Smith."
5.—Copy Letter from Dr. Laid law,
17th June, 1881.
"My Dear Dr. MacGregor,—I should have replied sooner to your kind and generous words about the appointment to the Chair.
"In the knowledge that you are likely to leave us I soon, I want to say how much I have been helped, in I the theological studies carried on in the intervals of practical work, by words of yours spoken and printed. I have always found these to be specially fruitful and suggestive to my own mind in no common degree. I wish we could have more of them in the published form.
"Perhaps you may find opportunity in future years to let your pen instruct us. At all events many here 'will follow you with interest in the new sphere which we confidently hope will open to you. We know that I wherever your lot may be cast, you will be ready to elevate to the exposition of the doctrine of God's grace and to the good of souls, the intellectual vigour and spiritual force with which you have been so gifted. And we shall ask for you and yours the Divine comfort [and blessing.
"(Signed) John Laidlaw.
6—The Body of New College Professors.
"June 1st, 1881.
"In parting with Dr. MacGregor, the Senatus record their testimony to Dr. MacGregor's great learning and theological attainments, and their high appreciation of the service he has rendered to the Church in the course of the thirteen years of his occupancy of the Chair of Systematic Theology in the New "College. Moreover, the Senatus desire to convey to Dr. MacGregor the assurance of their warm personal friendship, and of their earnest desire for his usefulness and happiness."
[Extracted from the Records of the Senatus of the New College, by (signed) J. Duns, D.D., Secretary.]
Mackay, Risk, and Munro, Printers, Moray Place, Dunedin.
The statements now submitted were sent by the various writers every one for himself, without knowing what was being said by the others. Some of them go beyond the point to which their testimony was requested, viz.—of teaching qualification as known to them thtough personal experience; and have spoken of the distinct matter of the now vacant chair. It is known to them and others that in relation to this matter I have sought no support nor countenance on account of personal friendship, or Church connexion. But their testimonies are very valuable to one in this country who is a comparative stranger, and may have become known to some only as seen of certain angles from the outside.
I have come forward deliberately, on my own responsibility. Of this an intended effect is, to place the matter simply on the footing of qualification, as if I had not belonged to the Presbyterian Church here. The evidence now in hands of members of Synod may by them be regarded as preventing occasion for suspicion of section partidity in appointing to a national University office. The state of philosophical speculation, in Britain and elsewhere, does not arrant ministers and elders in abnegating their right of personally judging according to evidence, in a matter of which they constitutionally are judges in the providence of God by the law of the land
The newspaper article appended to this note will show how, wart from the evidence in their hand, the matter can be regarded from the view-point of the general public.
The present Testimonies, under periods, extend with curious completeness over the whole extent of the career to which they refer.
14th December, 1885.
Professor Duncan McGregor, as our readers are aware, is to succeed Dr. Grabham as Inspector of Lunatic Asylums in New Zealand, and the chair of Logic and Moral Philosophy in the University of Otago will in consequence become vacant. Already the question of a new Professor has become an exciting one, and is being discussed in several lights, and already the names of two candidates have been placed before the public. The importance of the appointment is manifest without any argument, too much care cannot be exercised by the body in whose hands it lies Of all the Arts classes in a University course there is no other in which the mind of the student receives so distinct and permanent a mould as it does in the class of Mental Science. The teacher in that class, if he be a man of any originality or force of character will have disciples as well as scholars, and will leave his mark perhaps on a generation of thinkers. Hence the imperative necessity of selecting a man not only of gifts and attainments but of sound and trustworthy opinions on philosophy and ethics. A dull exponent of the different schools and systems of metaphysical thought is not the person we I want; and neither is a brilliant theorist tainted with the materialism and steeped in the pseudo-philosophy of the time. There are circumstances in connection with the chair that ought to safeguard it from any us worth- intrusion in respect at least of pernicious opinion. From the funds of the Church of Otago and Southland comes the endowment of the chair, and with the Synod of that Church the appointment practically rests. As we understand the matter, the Synod nominates or recommends to the University, and it is usual for the Council to accept the Synod's nomination. At any rate the appointment cannot be made without the consent of the Synod. Not misled by any bigoted restrictiveness, but true to its own broad views of philosophical soundness, it may be expected that such a body will provide at all times a safe teacher for the chair of Logic and Moral Philosophy. That it will also provide an able and accomplished one may, we think, be as confidently assumed. Of course, on one hand, there should be no limitation of the area of choice; but on the other, it is time that we in New Zealand were freeing ourselves from the imagination that in order to get efficient teachers we must go beyond the limits of the colony. We publish elsewhere in this issue a letter bearing on this branch of the question, and we are much in accord with the views of the writer. We believe it is unnecessary to go out of the colony —we believe it is unnecessary to go out of Otago—to find a fitting occupant for the vacant chair. We understand two candidates have announced themselves—Dr James Macgregor of Oamaru, and Dr James Copland of Dunedin. Both are well known the general community, having long occupied and continuing to occupy, prominent public positions.. Dr Copland has given proof of his ethical and dialectic skill in a small volume published some years ago, and re-stating the Christian Evidences and generally stands well as a thinker and debater. Dr. James Macgregor is a man of 'high intellectual mark—it might be more just to say, of striking and singular genius. It is well-known that he held in Scotland a high academic position, having been Professor of Systematic Theology in the New College, Edinburgh. His learning is vast and varied and no one knows better how no make use of it for illustration and argument. Besides the keenest logical faculty he has a wealth of imagination eminently fitted to make metaphysics fascinating to the student mind. In short, it would be difficult to find even beyond the colony any one more richly furnished for the chair in question Dr. Macgregor delivered not long ago in Dunedin a lecture "Regarding Evolutional, which has been published and is an excellent reflex of his mind and example of his method of reasoning. It is certainly an admirable production, and in its scornful strength and eloquence is strikingly suggestive of Thomas Carlyle. We have of course, no right to say that Dr. Macgregor will turn out the most worthy candidate for the Moral Philosophy Chair that may yet be in the choice of the Synod, but we are at least entitled to congratulate the public that one so eminently suitable will be at command when the day of selection arrives.—Southland Times.
Statements by Former Pupils Now Ministers in This Country.
I.—Referring to the First Period.
1. Rev. Robert Ewan, Limestone Plains, Southland.
I have received your note asking testimony of my personal experience of your qualification for teaching.
I was a member of the first class taught by you after your appointment to the Chair of Systematic Theology in the New College, and can testify that the students of that year were Enthusiastic in their appreciation of your lectures, and that the interest in the work of the class was sustained throughout.
2. Rev. John M'Ara, sometime of Balclutha, now of Gisborne.
I am pleased to know that you are a candidate for the Chair of Mental and Moral Philosophy in the Otago University, and I most gladly bear testimony to your ability as a teacher. It was my privilege to be a student of yours for two sessions in the New College, Edinburgh. I was a member of your Systematic Theology class during the first two years of your occupancy of that Chair, and can well remember the delight with which we listened to the three lectures you gave every week—so fresh and unique in style and so earnestly delivered.
Your anxiety to enable your students, as far as possible, to master the subjects brought under their notice was very marked. Your intercourse with the students was of the most cordial description, and we still remember with gratitude the kindly interest you always took in us individually, both as a teacher and our friend.
3. Rev. Tames Skinner, M.A., Waitdhuna.
I have much pleasure in bearing testimony to the qualifications of Dr. Macgregor as a teacher. For two sessions, immediately after his appointment to the Chair of Systematic Theology in the New College, Edinburgh, I was a student under him and can speak from personal experience.
As a Professor, Dr. Macgregor's talent and scholarship were universally acknowledged. He had a thorough grip of his subject, and his power of imparting knowledge was marked from the very first. In his lectures he was clear systematic and vigorous, while his written examinations showed that he fully understood the difficulties of the subject and could test the knowledge of his students.
In his class there was always an enthusiasm which, only a powerful thinker and earnest teacher could inspire, and I can testify with the utmost confidence to the benefit which I myself received as a student.
1. Rev. John M. Sutherland, North Taieri.
In reply to your note saying that you purposed being a candidate for the vacant Chair of Mental and Moral Philosophy—Otago University, I know that I render myself liable to the charge of presumption when I speak of your eminent fitness for the position. I first made acquaintance with your remarkable teaching gifts when I joined the New College, Edinburgh, shortly after your appointment to the Professorship by the General Assembly. Reviewing generally one's old impressions of the character of your work, and looking at it in the light of an extensive experience in teaching, I cannot but see on every hand your distinguished ability in organising, in managing, in teaching, and in exciting interest and enthusiasm among the students in their work per se.
Your manner and bearing were such as secured the esteem and affection of your students. You were ever courteous and easy of access, and your deep and kindly sympathy with the feelings and aspirations of the students awakened in them a thrill of filial regard. Your elegant scholarship and varied page 5 erudition lent a charm to the high themes which wore the subjects of your prelections, while your examinations, oral and written, both on the lectures and text-books, testified to the thorough character of the work done in the class of Systematic Theology.
There are many who like myself are under special obligations for the warm encouragement and judicious advice given by you during our student career. While at Home lately I met" not a few who notably came under your influence and were imbued by your spirit and are continuing the high tradition of the lofty teaching of their Master in Theology. I bear thus very imperfectly the tribute of a friend and pupil to your keen interest in and devotion to education both on its practical and professional side.
2. Rev. Alex. M. Fixlayson, Blueskin.
Understanding that the Rev. Dr. Macgregor, of Oamaru, is a candidate for the Professorship of Mental and Moral Science in the University of Otago, I take the liberty of expressing my utmost confidence that Dr. Macgreger is eminently well qualified to occupy that important position, and that his appointment would prove a great advantage to the cause of higher education in the colony. Dr. Macgregor possesses most extensive information, of which his published writings on various subjects afford ample evidence. He is also a man of wide and varied experience which could he turned to good account in a University Chair. A characteristic excellence of Dr. Macgregor's mind is that of dear and sharp discrimination, with corresponding accuracy of expression, a quality which is of the highest value in the discussion of those psychological and metaphysical questions which lie at the basis of Mental and Moral Science. Having been a student of Theology under Dr. Macgregor, I can testify to the great benefit I derived from his instructions, particularly in respect to the habit of discrimination, and the stimulus to accurate thought and study, which his method of teaching were fitted to create and foster.
I trust the Board of Property, with whom the appointment rests, will take the high qualifications of Dr. Macgregor into their most favourable consideration, together with the circum- page 6 stance that there is one among us, and known to us, who is at least as well qualified to occupy this Chair as any one likely to be obtained by a Commission in Great Britain.
3. Rev. R. R. M. Sutherland, Kaikorai.
As one who sat at your feet during two sessions in the Free Church College, Edinburgh, I have great pleasure in bearing testimony to the very remarkable power you exercise over the minds of your students, leading them up to the high things, down to the deep things, and far afield among the great things of Theological truth and speculation. I have no hesitation in saying that none of my teachers either in the University or in the New College showed your power for making crooked things straight, difficult things easy, and dark things luminous. This I know was also the opinion of many of my fellow students.
1. Rev. John Ferguson, First Church, Invercargill.
I am very glad to know that you intend to offer yourself for the Chair of Mental Science in the Otago University. When I heard that the vacancy was probable, I at once thought of you as the man most likely and most fit. All your students within reach will he ready enough to testify to your qualifications as a teacher. I was in both your classes, and during my entire course in Edinburgh you took a very kindly interest in me. I am able to say that you are an effective teacher. You could invest the driest subject with interest; your statements on matters speculative, historical, or dogmatical, were as a rule, clear, comprehensive and weighty-well worth remembering, and from the way they were put likely to be remembered. It was, I think, the general opinion of your students that you excelled in speculative discussion. You always tried to make them see into things, and if you did not always succeed the fault was not yours.
I do hope you will be nominated for the Chair. You have my warmest support.
2. Rev. James H. Mackenzie, Wallacetown.
I understand that the Rev. James Macgregor, D.D., Osmaru, is a candidate for the vacant Chair of Mental Science and Moral Philosophy in the Otago University. It was ray good fortune to study under Dr. Macgregor during the usual course in the New College, Edinburgh, and I deem it a pleasure to state the Dr. Macgregor is an able and effective teacher and specially so when occupying a Professor's chair, hie critical power which Dr. Macgregor brought to bear on every subject discoursed on before his class was universally confessed, and his success in interesting the students in the questions discussed was equally acknowledged.
Dr. Macgregor's distinguished career in Mental Philosophy is well known.
3. Rev. Andrew Mackay, Gore.
It was with very great pleasure I learnt of your intention to offer yourself as a candidate for the Chair of Mental Philosophy in the Dunedin University. Now you must pardon me if what I am to say seems flattery; while I must assure you that that is an offence of which I am innocent.
During the four years of my Theological studies you were Professor of Divinity in the Edinburgh College, and in due I tine I came into your classes. As you are aware, in one year we hill men from Ireland, Scotland, America, New Zealand, and the Continent of Europe. With a great number of these I become personally acquainted Naturally, amongst other things discussed, we talked of our Professors, and not a man to whom I spoke of the effects of teaching to which they were subjected, but acknowledged the strong obligations under which you had placed them by the instruction you imparted.
For myself, I have only to add that by your kindness to me when—as a student—I lay at the point of death at Leith, and the lectures I had the pleasure of listening to from you, together with your uniform kindness since then, you have laid me under a debt of gratitude which I am unable to pay.page 8
Since I left College, and during my ministry in Scotland many opportunities have been taken by me of talking over College days with many of my old fellow students, as well as with others who sat at your feet before me, and every one of them expressed themselves strongly on what was then deemed "The loss of Professor Macgregor"; but what was the Free Church students' loss has been New Zealand's gain. And my earnest hope is that whatever good you may have done as a minister the Synod will put it in your power to do a greater by placing you where you ought to be, in the Chair of Mental Science in the University of Dunedin.
Printed at the "North Otago Times" Office, Thames Street, Oamaru.