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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Knox Church

Knox Church.

A memorial service to the late Rev. Donald M'Naughton Stuart, D.D., was held in Knox Church on Sunday morning, and was attended by a congregation of some fifteen hundred persons, the church being crowded. Almost all the members of the congregation wore black, and many of the ladies appeared in deep mourning. The service was conducted by the Rev. Dr Watt, and the following gentlemen occupied seats on the pulpit dais:—Hon. W. D. Stewart, Messrs E. B. Cargill, R. Chisholm, Alex. Burt, James Mason, G. L. Denniston, Gardiner, R. Giendining. Wm. Hutchison, M.H.R., Wm. Stuart, G. M. Thomson, John Reid, R. Sutherland, F. Shaw, Johnstone, P. G. Pryde, W. Hislop, G. Calder, C. M'Kenzie Gordon, W. D Sutherland, W. B. Harlow, E. Smith. T. Moodie, W. Simpson, Rev. Dr Dunlop, Rev. Dr Belcher, and Rev. James Chisholm.

The service opened with the 23rd Psalm; the 34th chapter of Deuteronomy was read as the first, and the 15th chapter of First Corinthians, from the 35th verse, as the second lesson. The hymns were the 411th and the 391st.

The Rev. Dr Watt preached from Acts xiii, 36: "For David after he had served his own generation by the will of God fell on sleep." Towards the close of his discourse, referring to the late Rev. Dr Stuart, the preacher said:—This morning, from the vacant pulpit of your late revered pastor and my own warm friend of 30 years' standing—a pulpit from which I have often heard him eulogising the gifts and graces of friends who have passed over to the majority,—I had intended to say a few—surely needless—words in commendation of his own noble Christian character and of the splendid work which he has been privileged to accomplish in this community. I find, however, my duty anticipated, and I feel as if to open my mouth on the subject were a work of supererogation. My feeble testimony would be inaudible in the remarkable chorus of loud and unanimous praise which has come from all hands to salute his memory. I may, however, record my belief that years will come and go to be numbered by scores, before another citizen will be found pacing the streets of Dunedin who will fill so large a place in the public eye. There will be found in the coming as in the past years men of worth and standing, with now and then a man of commanding genius, with whom, after they have [unclear: faith] served their generation, the communi[unclear: ty] part with deep regret—God will [unclear: never] Himself without those who will [unclear: wi] and work for Him in Chur[unclear: ch] State;—but let me again record with [unclear: defer] my conviction that for many long years [unclear: to] there will not be seen in Dunedin anoth[unclear: er] will unite in himself the wonderful combination of qualities Dr Stuart possessed, and [unclear: who] succeed in so remarkable a manner in [unclear: m] his personal influence felt through all [unclear: classes] his fellow citizens. There is already [unclear: tak] some worthy memorial of him being set [unclear: up] I sincerely hope that it will be done, [unclear: not] much for his sake as for the sake of the [unclear: yo] who are growing up around, and who oug[unclear: ht] be taught to emulate and imitate exampl[unclear: es] civic worth and public spirit. Still, as someone has already felicitously quoted: "Si [unclear: mo] tum quæris, circumspice" What useful [unclear: instion] is there in Dunedin which has not received the shaping touch of Dr Stuart's hand-[unclear: if] did not give it the instant impulse? Dunedin largely owes to him, with the help of other worthy citizens—some of them departed [unclear: a] some of them still with us, and whose [unclear: l] help he valued higher than any part [unclear: be] privileged to take himself in the matter,[unclear: -] of our most prominent public buildin[unclear: gs] as the Boys' High School, the Universi[unclear: ty], the noble church in which we are [unclear: now] and we may fairly say that his [unclear: name] remain for many years to come written [unclear: in] large and legible characters across the [unclear: face] our fair city. Dunedin herself will [unclear: re] long a monument to his memory [unclear: unless] sink out of sight, swallowed up in some [unclear: gr] cataclysm of Nature. If he himself [unclear: were] suited, the monument he would like [unclear: best] carry down his memory to coming years in this city would be Knox Church continui[unclear: ng] same spiritual force as when he presid[unclear: ed] her various organisations. He loved his [unclear: chu] with a passionate love, and was proud [unclear: of] with surely an innocent and pardonable, [unclear: if] even praiseworthy, pride. She was his spiritual home, to which he always return[unclear: ed] pleasure from his excursions into other fields of philanthropic effort and social usefulness. [unclear: H] often spoke to me of his office-bearers, [unclear: wh] co-operation in the work of Christ be [unclear: val] highly; and he lost no opportunity of mentioning with affection those of [unclear: the] who had gone before and joined the [unclear: General] page 35 Assembly and Church of the Firstborn. I took more than once particular notice of the [unclear: xiety], amounting to even anguish of spirit, with which he regarded those whom he was introducing to the fellowship of the church for the first time. He evidently wrestled hard in [unclear: prayer] for them that they might hold true, and think I learned something of the meaning of the remarkable words of Paul: "My little children, of whom I travail in birth till Chri[unclear: st] formed in you." There are many here to-day whom he was privileged to receive into the communion of the church—some, perhaps, whose hair is now turning grey. Let me [unclear: treat] you for his sake to stand fast, to stand true to yourselves and to give him, on the great day that is coming, the opportunity of presenting you faultless before God as his [unclear: crown] of joy and rejoicing. And if there is [unclear: say] this church to-day who has heard the Gospel from his lips again and again, receiving the message to reject it with indifference, will you not remember that being dead he yet [unclear: speaketh] to you in that message, and will you not now receive it after the voice of the messenger is silent? and will you not give him where he is, before the throne, the joy of Knowing that though he is dead the words spoken by him still live, and is the power of God unto salvation to you. Your pastor and fed is now fallen asleep in Jesus, and He giveth His beloved sleep.

Of all the thoughts of God that are
Borne inward unto souls afar
Along the Psalmist's music deep,
Now tell me if that any is,
For gift or grace, surpassing this—
"He giveth His beloved sleep."

What would we give to our beloved?—
The hero's heart to be unmoved,
The poet's star-tuned harp to sweep,
The patriot's voice, to teach and rouse,
The monarch's crown, to light the brows—
"He giveth His beloved sleep."

What do we give to our beloved?—
A little faith, all undisproved,
A little dust, to overweep,
And bitter memories, to make
The whole earth blasted for our sake—
"He giveth His beloved sleep."

"Sleep soft, beloved!" we sometimes say,
But have no tune to charm away
Sad dreams that through the eye-lids creep:
But never doleful dream again
Shall break the happy slumbers, when
"He giveth His beloved sleep."

And friends, dear friends, when it shall be
That this low breath is gone from me,
And round my bier ye come to weep,
Let one, most loving of you all,
Say, "Not a tear must o'er her fall—
He giveth His beloved sleep."

During the offertory Mr Barth played the Funeral March in C minor (Guilmant), and as the voluntary the Funeral March from "Erocia Symphony" (Beethoven).