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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 20

No. I.—Hurry and Hard Driving

page 29

No. I.—Hurry and Hard Driving.

Dr R. Buchanan, in 1863, said—"There are difficulties, and these of various kinds .... But in order that we may deal with them wisely, and find a way to remove them, men must not be unduly hurried. (Applause.) The truth is, in all such unions it is not merely men's views and convictions, but their feelings that need to be harmonised. . . . . . . Hitherto we have been like two trains running, not, indeed, in opposite ways, but at least on different lines. If we are to come together, as I earnestly hope and firmly believe we shall (applause), we must not approach the point of junction at too great a speed. (Laughter.) We must glide into the Union station so gently that when we meet and touch no shock shall be felt, and that even the most timorous passenger shall not be disturbed in his seat. (Loud laughter and applause.)" He again said, at the termination of the Union debate,—"I feel that if this matter be not prosecuted as it has been begun, that is, in a spirit and in a way and manner that will carry the confidence Dot merely of some, or even of a considerable portion of this House and the Church, but which will carry the confidence of the Church at large, in vain shall we proceed in it at all. (Applause.)" And again, in the Assembly 1866, Dr Buchanan said—"That we ought to proceed in it cautiously and with the utmost deliberation, I deeply feel. To use one of the terse and memorable phrases of our illustrious Chalmers, there must be 'no hurry or hard driving' in a matter of this momentous kind. In time of war, when richly laden ships have to be convoyed across the sea, the armed vessels that guard them must regulate their speed not by that of the fastest, but by that of the slowest sailer in the fleet. (Laughter and applause.)" Even so late as January 9 of this present year, so little indication was given to the Church of approaching haste and hurry, that Dr Bannerman carried an overture in the Edinburgh Presbytery, supported by Dr Candlish, Dr Rainy, and Sir H. W. Moncreiff, to the effect, that it "was highly important and necessary, in connection with the present negotiations for union, and the negotiating parties, that the Church should inquire into the whole principles embodied in the Word of God that ought to regulate the duty of union as between the separate Churches." This "highly important and necessary" inquiry has not yet been instituted. Will these four brethren tell us when it is to be begun?