the morning of May 6, 1881, there passed away from this earth one of the most
genial spirits that ever lived in our town. He had come among us twenty-seven
years before, and when he died, he left "neither an enemy nor a wrong
behind him." Doubtless he had his failings, but he judged other people
gently himself, and with the same measure he meted, it was measured to him
left two books behind him as his monument. One of these was on his
much-meditated subject of the Millennium. The other was entitled "The Power
of an Endless Life." And from the latter, I here give a few characteristic
extracts, so that he being dead may yet speak to us.
Moir was not what is commonly called a forcible preacher. His style of speech
was correct and calm, rather than pithy and sententious. But now and again he
presented truth in a fresh and striking way which clung to the memory. I need
not add that he was stainlessly orthodox in his teaching. Perhaps, in my
judgment, he was occasionally over-confident in his opinions; for it is not
given to finite minds to grasp all the sides of infinite Truth, and it is better
to allow a little indefiniteness regarding things which transcend human thought.
himself has said that "while men may live hypocrites, they seldom die
such." And judged by that standard, we may confidently say of Mr Moir that
he was a true man, for what he. was in life he was in death. There was no
alteration in that quiet humour and genial talk till the end came. He was one
who loved his fellow-men; and, although he did not like to declare that fact
abroad, nothing gave him greater pleasure than showing it in act.
of his happy, genial sayings come back to the memory as we think of him.
"Maybole gas is a black, burning shame!" "All my children
were born on the Sabbath. It was most awkward for me; and is an argument for the
celibacy of the clergy!" A lady given to the
use of big words once expressed her sorrow to him that a friend of his had taken
"apocalyptic fits." "Oh no, ma’am!" he at once replied—"
it ‘s me that takes the apocalyptic fits, he takes epileptic ones!"
Speaking of refreshments at funerals he drily remarked, "Funeral Port is
suggestive;" and quoted a Colmonell farmer who once said to him, "Deed
ay, man, a funeral ‘s no worth gaun to noo-adays." A preacher once
excused himself from speaking at a meeting on account of a weak throat—"
May be weak farther up" was the quiet remark. One of his boys had
dropped burning sealing wax near the eye of his younger brother, and it looked
serious enough at the time; but the thing that tickled him amid it all was the
youthful culprit wringing his hands and crying—" I wish I had never
been born!" He believed in Millenarianism, but no one laughed more
gaily than he when a critic thus wrote regarding one of his articles—"
This reverend gentleman seems to know all things, Past, Present, and to come.
But we call to mind the words of Dr Southwood Smith who said, that dealers in
prophecy are either mad or going mad."
shall never hear his voice again; but in reading the following sentences, we may
once more clothe them with his personality, and be blessed unawares by that
genial presence which never brought with it strife or bitterness, but always
peace and charity.
Some of Rev. James Moir’s
Christianity has solved this problem—How
to make life good, and death better.
We believe the Bible to be the
Word of God because Jesus believed it.
The Bible writers say very
little about death compared with what they say about
It is only through the
existence of sin that we can measure God’s love. Sin has supplied the
lead, and the Redemption work has been the sounding-line; and for nearly
6,000 years the lead has been sinking, and no bottom ‘reported. The
timid swimmer will never strike out upon the water so long as he can
find any footing; and no one will trust himself to the blood of Christ alone
so long as he retains any foothold in
his own righteousness.
Though God is all merciful, He
is not all mercy.
I regard Calvin, among
uninspired men, as the greatest master of Divine truth that has appeared in
The battle Knox fought and won
was bigger with issues than either that which Wallace fought at Stirling, or
Bruce at Bannockburn.
We admit that Knox was
intolerant; but we must remember that we are sent into this world to do
something more than tolerate—even to resist and to overcome whatever
There is only one force that
can exalt the whole man, and that is the force which acts upon the
heart through faith in Christ Jesus.
Christian progress is needed
not only for assurance, but even for the existence of the faintest
rational hope of being saved at all.
Our Saviour did not care for
the stones of the Temple, in comparison with
living stones of the living Temple.
We glory in exhibiting the
Saviour’s work as definite in its nature—a satisfaction to Divine
justice; definite in its objects—those whom the Father gave to
Christ from everlasting; and definite in its results—making salvation not
merely possible, but certain for all whom the Father had given Him.
What really is the great bulk
of our congregations, but just little patches of the wicked world under a
Most people die under an
oppressive sense of incompleteness, arid ardently wish to live a
little longer, that they might impart a little coherence and consistency to
their characters and lives.
Let us school ourselves in
putting the best face upon the faults and failings of all around us, until
it becomes our habit so to do; for in this way we will occupy all the
better vantage-ground for contributing to their reformation.
God’s riches are moral
and spiritual. His goodness, grace, mercy, long-suffering—these are His
We shall be with Jesus—and
that being right, nothing else can be wrong.
There are some seasons in which
it is easier to be saved than at others.
Don’t put off preparation to
a dying hour, for dying brings enough of
troubles of its own.
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