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Principal Rainy., Issue 7984, 13 August 1889
The rev. gentleman is the bearer of a commission from the General Assembly of the Free Church to visit the Presbyterian Churches of New Zealand. But it is in his broad character of a Presbyterian divine, a scholar, and political church-leader that the Press has to regard him. It would have been difficult to select, in all his characteristics, and for any purpose, a more thoroughly typical Scottish Presbyter. His Presbyterianistn is hereditary, a not remote ancestor having been a minister of the national Church, and his father, Doctor Harry Rainy Professor of Medical Jurisprudence in the University of Glasgow—a distinguished Presbyterian elder. The family to which he belongs is that of the Rainys of Raaesy, a small island of the Inner Hebrides. Dr Robert R.iny must be now somewhere about sixty-five years of age. His first charge was that of the Free Church of Huntly, in Aberdeenshire, On the death of Dr Robert Gordon, and when still quite a young man, he was called from that post to fill the pulpit of the Free High Church, Edinburgh—it need not be added, one of _ the most influential ecclesiastical positions in Scotland. His next appointment was to the Chair of Church History in the New College, Edinburgh; and on the death of Dr Candlish in 1873, Dr Rainy became Principal of the same college, succeeding in that dignity men no less distinguished than Chalmers and Cunningham, and their compeer whom we have already named. But it is in his capacity of leader of the Free Church, a position which he has occupied for many years, that Principal Rainy has bulked most largely in the eye of Scotland and of the world. He has led and leads, with unquestioned supremacy, what is known as the popular party in that church ; and for a long period had to encounter the opposition of no less formidable an antagonist than the late Dr Begg, the head of the Conservative Free Churchmen, and particularly that division of them which went by the name of " The Highland Host. Dr Rainy is celebrated as a debater and a tactician, and has, we think, carried with him on all great occasions a majority, generally a large one, of the Free Church Assembly. We have heard it remarked that the minority opposed to him is the smallest that has ever been arrayed against a Frea Church leader, and that it even is a diminishing number as time goes on. The great questions in which Principal Rainy lias taken a leading part are, those of union with the United Presbyterian Church, the RobertsonSmith controversy, and Disestablishment in Scotland. Two of these questions remain unsolved, and Dr Rainy is not too old to hope that he may take a share in their final solution. We ought not to omit recording that amongst the honors conferred on Principal Rainy was the Moderatorship in 1887 of the Free Church Assembly, his being, if we mistake not, the first appointment to that dignity of a post-Disruption minister. It was at that tine, too, that a gift was presented to him by Free Churchmen of something like L 5.000, in acknowledgment of his services to the church. Principal Rainy stands high as a scholar, and grapples every now and then with quea tions of theology, history, and ethics. His reply to Dean Stanley's dissertation on the ecclesiastical history of Scotland was admitted on all hands to be brilliant, erudite, and crushing. The position he held as a minister in Edinburgh is conclusive testimony to his powers as a preacher.—'Southland Time?.'
Principal Rainy., Issue 7984, 13 August 1889
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