Montreal Daily Star, 1 December 1884, page 1
St Andrew’s Day
Annual Sermon by Rev. WR Cruikshank
The Rev WR Cruikshank, the chaplain of the St. Andrew’s Society, preached their annual sermon in St. Andrew’s Church yesterday afternoon. There were present the officers of the St Andrew’s and Caledonian Societies in regalia, amongst them being Messrs WW Ogilvie, President of the St Andrew’s Society, Hugh McLennan, M Esdaile, Andrew Robertson, Alex McGibbon, George Macrae, Jas. Wright, President Caledonian Society, Col AA Stevenson, and the Rev J Edgar Hill, pastor of the Church. The text was from Curan IV 10: “Oh that thou wouldst bless me and enlarge my coast.” This prayer of Jabez sounded like the yearning of the heart for laer experience and a growing perception of those possibilities of achievement which so richly adorn the nature of man. There were times when a man’s heart feels contracted when he does not see any important work ready to hand and discovers in himself still less desire to engage in any work. Such seasons were the result of a recoil upon one’s self and the losing of that line of purpose made dear by the patience of hope. There were other seasons however, when the soul was not content with the common fare of life, but required some richer food, some higher joy and some greater and nobler work. It then breathed the prayer of Jabez that his coast might be enlarged. It might not be out of place to apply the text to the individual or national character which the meeting represented. There was no reason for supposing that many a Scotchman might be called a Jabez. There were few nations who had embodied the idea of enlargement so generally as the Scottish nation. Dr. Johnson had said that the only prospect a Scotchman ever saw from the top of his lofty hills was the prospect of the high road to England. There was some truth underlying the sarcasm, for Scotland had ever been seeking to enlarge her coast, not merely to add her domain to territory. The main purpose of a Scotchman leaving home is doubtless philanthropic to himself, but in doing so he soon revealed a corresponding desire to the benefactor of his race, and in this respect at least the Scotchman had exemplified the prayer of Jabez for enlargement. But apart from their historical s~~~~~g, what virtue or quality of our manhood do the words of the text encourage; wherein is enlargement possible and productive of positive gain? In the first place a careful analysis of the composition of life showed that it was made up, not so much of a few great achievements, as the small duties or daily experience. Man should fist lift his eyes beyond the narrow bonds of his own life, and make himself a citizen of the world in order to study the signs of the times. That was a field for enlargement open to every enterprising youth. He should strive to know the tendency of unfolding thought, place his finger on the pulse of life, and seek to know where the moral qualities of life are likely to break forth to elevate and enlighten the body of the people. Let him foster such of the educating mediums of the times are made for the noblest ends, and not suppose that because he is only a unit, he is not a factor in the world’s life. There was a second field in which man ought to seek his enlargement and that was in the opening book of nature, so unwilling to unlock its long treasured stories. The discoveries of science had largely to do with the employment of men, the relation of class with class, the value and distribution of labor and must prove a help or hindrance to social and religious life. They had also to deal with the guesses and prophecies of science and in connection with that, the fact was to be noted that all the laborers of science were approaching a common centre and that the lines of discovery are upwards towards the spiritual world. Thirdly, there was no line of thought that should lead ~~~~ forth into the wider domain of life than his religious faith. It was wider than empire in its reach because it embraced the destinies of all empires. It was not only wide out from its progressive character was ever widening. The general law of life was growth and when growth ceased death and decay began. Hence the desire of Jabez for enlargement was one which pertained to his spiritual life. This was a natural desire, because it was a law of life that all healthful growth created the conditions of new growth and thus made possible the life of multitudinous growth; or, again the mind that has been trained in its power of acquiring knowledge has been ~~~~ for even greater achievements. The nation that had attained to a larger measure of liberty, not only made more advances possible, but necessary. The desire had been fostered and increased. The virtue was its own commendation. There was perhaps no nation that owed so much to the doctrine of its faith as the Scottish nation. The Scottish character in its nobler parts, was the direct outcome of its religious life. Their honesty, high sense of honor, courageous manhood, their reverence for assured things, their deep rooted attachment for ancestry, their fairness and lofty ambitions, were all largely due to the impulse of a life nourished by doctrines and precepts made for true greatness.
The speaker concluded as follows:- “Finally, brethren, let us remember that the principles of truth will not help us unless they are assimilated, and they will not be assimilated by the nature that is not seeking enlargement. When Scotland was making history she was making character for the people. Because the noblest springs of action were set. The best strength of every heart was nerved, and the soul’s life was seeking to express itself. But when she settled down to spinning jennies and shipyards, and the sober sciences of agriculture, there was no longer demand for character but intellect, and her national characteristics began to wane. She is now beginning to rise again through the avenues of her social and religious life, to strength and force of character, and great things may yet be looked for in future years. And among those agencies that seek enlargement by perpetuating the sacredness and force of Scottish life and character let St. Andrew’s Society continue to hold her place.”
Mr. Cruikshank was tendered a vote of thanks on the motion of Mr. Hugh McLennan.