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when he dispensed his first sacrament, there communicated 210. In the July of the same year, 237. At the July sacrament of 1846, there communicated 246, and in the July of the following year, 239. The former sessionclerk having seceded, refused to deliver over the church records and plate. The session, which consisted of the Very Rev. Dr. Smith, the present minister of Cathcart, and two elders, by the advice of the presbytery were on the point of taking strong measures before the Civil Court, when, the books and vessels having been restored, further proceedings were rendered unnecessary. This was exceedingly fortunate for the new minister, as it freed him from all legal entanglements, and allowed him at once to proceed with his proper pastoral and spiritual work. He paid no attention to the divisions that existed, and seems to have regarded it as his duty to visit the body of the parishioners. By a large portion he was kindly welcomed; by a few, he was not. The field was unpromising at the first. He was not, however, many months settled when he began to see the work of the Lord prospering in his hands.
Mr. Douglas extended the session—a work in Kilsyth and the West often attended with considerable difficulty. On the 12th Jan., 1847, he opened a parish library. The session did not now order families to quit the parish, but they still educated a large number of poor children free of expense, and they took pains to see that every child which received this privilege was regular in attendance at public worship. Evidences are not wanting that the wages of a collier was four shillings a day, and of a weaver a very little more per week. In the case of a birth of triplets the session allowed 3s. 6d. a week for the nursing of one of the children. William Henry was appointed church officer in 1847. He occupied that position for over forty years, and during that long period he was only twice off duty!
In personal appearance the Rev. Henry Douglas was tall and slight and fair. He had an intellectual appearance, and there hung about him an air of refinement, both in look and manner. Some time after his induction, his health began to fail. When riding one winter day to Kirkintilloch to preach, he caught a severe cold. His illness began with clerical sore throat. That he might throw off his disagreeable symptoms, he passed the dead of the Scottish winters in Spain and elsewhere. In 1847, he went to the West Indies. Whilst in Jamaica, on a visit to his brothers, he rallied in health so much that he was able to preach in the Scotch church at Kingston. He was offered the charge of the church, and was tempted to accept it. The illness of his mother, however, hurried him home. After he had laid her to rest, he felt his own days were numbered. When he was struck down for the last time, he wrote to a near friend: —" All my hope and contemplation in death is derived from that glorious Gospel which I have endeavoured, however weakly and imperfectly, to declare to you; so that if I was spared, I would have no new gospel but much added experience of the preciousness of Christ as all my salvation and all my desire." His sister, Mrs. Duncan, was with him at the last, and to her he spoke these his last words:—"For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." It was a beautiful departure, full of Christian peace and trust. He preached his last sermon in Kilsyth Church on the 1 st April, 1849. The text was Heb. vi. 18: "That by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." He died on the 15 th June, 1849. His garden was his only recreation, and many of his flowers were in richest bloom.
Alexander Hill was a very different man from Henry Douglas, but their differences fitted him all the better for carrying on that work which his predecessor did so well. The nature of Douglas was the more spiritual, that of Hill the more warm and kindly. Hill mingled amongst his parishioners after a manner Douglas never did and could never do. He came nearer and closer to them. To Douglas, Kilsyth was the terminus of his ecclesiastical career, to Hill it was the starting point. But he should never have gone, and left to his better judgment he never would. He was happy in Kilsyth, he with his parishioners and his parishioners with him. It was his first place, his first parish. He came young and untried, but he at once gave evidence of the possession of those gifts and graces which the circumstances most required. He had a fine presence, and a full-toned mellifluous voice, which remained with him to the lastThe voice was a family possession, and recalled with marvellous distinctness the utterance of his distinguished father, and still more distinguished grandfather. His leanings were evangelical. But his sermons were neither so high nor so low, neither so broad nor so narrow, as to set the mind of the worshipper off at a tangent thinking of the preacher's school. They were of a type that had been enormously powerful in its day, but then beginning to wear out of date. In his devotional service he was most like himself. You could go along with him without difficulty. You felt he was taking your burden of sin and laying it where it ought to be laid. In prayer it was as if he held your hand in his, and was leading the
reluctant penitent back to the Father. And in all his nature there was not a trace of the Pharisee. Not a feather of the plumage had been pencilled. It was a pleasure to be in the presence of a nature so hearty, so unaffected, so open, so wholly unselfish. Men felt they could be—what they could very seldom be with clergymen—at home with him. He could rejoice with the joyful, and weep with the sorrowful, and in neither was there taint of insincerity. It was there his power lay. He got at men's sympathies. The rich and poor alike owned his influence. At a meeting of old people ten days before he died, when he saw an old blind fishwife sitting in an out-of-the-way corner, he went to her and said—" Kitty, you won't hear so far down, you must come up a bit." Kitty replied—" Oh, Mr. Hill, I am so blind, I could not find my way." "Come with me, take my arm Kate," said the minister, and drawing one of her withered hands in his, he took her and seated her at the top of the table. There was a coming and going, and the incident attracted little attention, but one who saw it correctly observed—" Look at Mr. Hill, he is as happy with Kitty on his arm as if she had been the Queen." He knew nothing of those poor, false assumptions of condescension practised—and never without detection— for the purpose of getting round people. His actions were spontaneous. The true minister. The true gentleman.
When the young minister came to Kilsyth he bore with him an honourable name. He was off those Hills who had been influential in the Church for generations. He was the son of Dr. Alexander Hill, first minister of Dailly, and then Professor of Systematic Theology in the University of Glasgow. He was the grandson of Dr. George Hill, who was a graduate when he was fifteen, and a Professor of Greek in St. Leonard's College when he was twenty-two, who afterwards became minister of St. Andrews, and Principal and Primarius Professor in St. Mary's College, St. Andrews, and the fame of whose "Lectures in Divinity" is still in all the Churches both of Great Britain and America. And there was what some will hold to be a more honourable connection still. He was a direct descendant of the masterful Principal Carstares, who had saved the Church, as has been noticed, in an eventful crisis of her history. If the Kilsyth parishioners felt proud of their young pastor, had they not good reason?
Alexander Hill was a student of the University of Glasgow. As a young man, he was buoyant and hopeful, and held in good regard by all his companions. One of his college friends was A. K. H. Boyd, who was two years behind him in his university course. On the Sunday after he was licensed, the 7th January, 1849, ne preached twice; in the forenoon, in the Barony, when a large number of his fellow-students gathered, interested, to witness the starting of their friend in professional life; in the afternoon, in the Tron Church, when his future colleague was again with him, as might have been expected, seeing the Tron was then his father's parish. The afternoon subject was "The hope that maketh not ashamed." To most young men, the first service is much of a trial, and somewhat of a strain, on the nervous sensibilities. The young man, however, acquitted himself more than creditably. He conducted the services after a manner which justified prognostications of a bright future.
Mr. Hill's probationary period was of the shortest. Before the year was out, he was the minister elect of Kilsyth. The people had their choice, and they chose