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WELL SAID.

At the luncheon given by the Christchureh Presbytery to Principal Rainy the Hon. W. Rolleston said in the course of an admirable speech:—

Had Dr Rainy been at that Bpot forty years ago he would have heard nothing bat the boom of the bittern and the discordant cry of the weka and swamp hen. The only cultivated place in the tangled wilderness of the Plains was one home created by a family of his own countrymen from the " land of brown heath and shaggy wood," A year later a band of pilgrim fathers flying the banner of the English Church came out, and received the hospitable welcome of thoße pioneer settlers, to what has since proved a land flowing with milk and honey to thousands of the three great Nationalities of what is still known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In Otago Dr Rainy had bad the opportunity of observing the effect of colonisation initiated like that of the old Greek colonies, by men bound together by the ties of common race and of sympathy of oreed. The Presbyterians, with the open Bible in their hands, founded a province which had ever been in the front rank of material and intellectual progress. They occupied a splendid tract of country, and, true totheir natural instincts, as in things temporal, so in things spiritual, held fast to that which is good. This, the sister colony under the banner of the Gross, though later in the field, had maintained do unequal rivalry. During the forty years which had elapsed the old order had been changing, "giving place to the new," but the ideal had been fulfilled in other, probably better, ways. Other religious bodies, charged with the development of different phases of truth—broken lights of the Great Light—blending like the colors of the rainbow, have been working on towards the fuller light of a brighter day, and during all that time their distinctive features and coloring had been maintained with ad> vantage, as he believed, to the general advance of Christianity. It would be presumptuous in him to enlarge on such a theme just then; but, as one who for a number of years was actively engaged in the administration of this province, he might bepermitted to express his conviction that the need for the work of the churches in respect to educational, charitable, and Bocial parposes was in nowise decreasing—it waa rather increasing. New problems more and more perplexing and difficult of solution were arising every day. Had Dr Rainy come out as an ordinary traveller only to see* how the rose, the shamrock, and the thistlegrew together in this fair land, we should have cordially welcomed him, and he in turn would no doubt have been duly impressed, as all tourists are expected to be, with the magnitude of the work they had done in subduing the wilderness, as well as with the cheerful confidence with which a handful of people had spent upwards of thirty millions of British capital on that work. But his visit, as it seemed to him, had a greater and wider significance at the present time. He came from a great centre of learning and intelligence to see how "the lighta were burning" and "the loins were girt" of scattered Christian cVrarohea in the uttermost parts of the earth. Ho came at a time when shallowthinkers on both Bides the globe would have us believe that there was arising a divorce between religion and intelligence ; at a time when religious traditions the faith, the hope, the love of two thousand years were being dethroned by scepticism and crude sciolism without any reasonable substituto being suggested. He came at a timo when in politios—in the Old and New World alike—broad principles and constitutional precedents were being; compromised and ignored in servilß compliance with the demands of faction and the advocates of temporising expediency. At such a time it was a great privilege to have among us one in whom they knew there was no divorce of religion and intelligence—one who had been deemed by those best able to judge no unworthy successor of great men like Norman Macleod, Dr Chalmers, and Dr Guthrie. At Buch a time they were proud—there is no corner of the British dominion which would not be proud—to welcome a fitting representative of that heroic martyr band who forsook all rather than abandon their principles, and by whose action since the timo of the disruption good farmers, good colonists, and good Christians had been scattered over the whole world—(Applause.) It was only by his own people that the value of such a viaife cotdd be fully appreciated, but to all tha community that visit is welcome. It recalled the memories of the storied past. It revived, if indeed that were necessary, the love of country and home, of " Our altars and out hearths." It realised to us one way at least among the many in which, as the poet told them— The whole round earth H every way Bsund with gold chains about the feet ol God.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890902.2.28

Bibliographic details

WELL SAID., Evening Star, Issue 8001, 2 September 1889

Word Count
850

WELL SAID. Evening Star, Issue 8001, 2 September 1889

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