A Good Elder

The Ordination of Elders in a Scottish Kirk, 1891 “At the meetings of Session, his genial temper, his strong good sense, his business habits, and his familiarity with the law and practice of the church made him a model clerk.

But, it was in his relations to the congregation generally, and to the members residing in his own district in particular, that his value as an elder most strikingly appeared. He was always ready with a warm welcome to every new member, and had a kind word even for the stranger who might turn aside to worship in the New North for a single day. His presence at both services on Sabbath could be confidently reckoned on; and those who attended the prayer meeting will not soon forget the simplicity, the directness, and the fervor of his prayers.

To the families residing in the district more specially committed to his care, he was indeed a friend and father. He visited them with the greatest regularity, and however short the visit might be, it was never formal. There would always be at least a word of kindly encouragement or wise counsel, and perhaps a pithy anecdote to drive it home. He was particularly fond of children, having wonderfully retained his own youthful vivacity under the pressure of the cares of a very busy life. The natural result was that he was a great favorite with the young, and exercised a very powerful influence over them, which he was always careful to employ in the interest of his Lord and Master. He had a very tender, sympathizing heart, so that he was a frequent and welcome visitor at the bedsides of the sick; and then he was such a bright, happy Christian that his entrance was like a gleam of sunshine in the darkened chamber.” David Dickson, The Elder and His Work (P&R, 2004), 13.