[From Manx Quarterly, #10]
The Rev D. Inglis, B.A., who has thirty-three years been pastor of Finch-Hill Congregational Church, has now concluded his ministry in Douglas. For the of fittingly expressing their affectionate regard for Mr Inglis, (and for the splendid religious and social service he has rendered during his long Douglas pastorate, the congregation of Finch-hill Church met together in the schoolroom on Friday evening, October 20th. In addition to receiving a present from his own people, Mr Inglis also became the recipient at the hands of the Free Church Council of a token of appreciation of his worth and Work. There were on the platform the Rev A. H. Whiteley (Congregational Pastor, Union Mills), the Speaker of the House of Keys (Mr D. Maitland, J.P.), Messrs P. Christian, J.P., D. Evans, J.P., A. Hough, D. F. Putt, and W. Kay (representing the Congregational community), and the Rev H. Cooper and Mr A. J. Ridge (Free Church Council).
After Mr Whitley had engaged in prayer, Mr Christian said that at the last meeting of the Free Church Council, it was decided that the Council should be represented at this meeting in order that they might have the opportunity of expressing their high appreciation of Mr Inglis's services to the Council and to the town. As the president of the Free Church Council happened to be one of Mr Inglis' own deacons, it was thought advisable that the other churches should be represented, and therefore they had with them tonight the Rev H. Cooper and Mr A. J. Ridge, secretaries of the Council, and they would present the address. He was sorry to say that the address was not completed. At the present time it was in the hands of Mr Nicholson, and when completed it would be on exhibition in one of the shop windows of the town, where they would have an opportunity of appreciating its merit and skill.
The Rev H. Cooper (Baptist) said that an apology was due to them for intruding upon, their family gathering, but, at the executive meeting of the Free Church Council, it was felt that this would be the most fitting occasion upon which to express appreciation of Mr Inglis' services and of his great influence upon the life of Douglas. -Mr Inglis was such an unassuming gentleman, and always lived in the background so much, that it was felt it would have been out of place to have had a special meeting in a public hall on this occasion Unfortunately the Finch-hill people kept the secret of Mr Inglis' departure remarkably quiet until close on this meeting, so it came about that their address was not quite finished, and as Mr Nicholson wanted to make a good job, they could not hurry him. The contents of the address were as follows
From the Manx Free Church Council, to the Rev. David Inglis, B.A.
It is with feelings of deep regret that we learn of your impending departure from the Isle of Man, and we desire to place on record our warm appreciation of the services you have rendered to this community during your ministry of three and thirty years. You have ever been a fearless and ,whole-hearted champion of truth and righteousness, and a cultured and persuasive preacher of Christ's Holy Evangel.
The cause of education has been greatly advanced by your self-sacrificing labours, first as a member and subsequently as Chairman of the School Board of Douglas.
You were largely instrumental in founding our Free Church Council, and have been twice its honoured President. During recent years, you have also been twice President of the Isle of Man C.E. Union.
Other religious and philanthropic societies have largely profited by your wise counsel and devoted services.
That God Almighty may long spare you to work with unabated strength and zeal for the social and spiritual uplifting of your fellow men is the earnest prayer of
On behalf of the Council, PHILIP CHRISTIAN,
President. HY. COOPER. Clerical Secretary.
A. J. RIDGE. Lay Secretary.
October 20th. 1911.
They would have noticed that the Council had not piled it on too thick. Every word recorded there had been closely scrutinised, because they knew the gentleman with whom they had to deal. Mr Inglis was the last person who could appreciate empty flattery (applause). Every word on that address was a faithful expression of feeling. Ever since he (Mr Cooper) had known Mr Inglis, he had always proved himself a faithful and sincere adviser. Mr Inglis never gave his advice in a condescending manner, nor did he ever try to father a young minister. He always appreciated Mr Inglis' ripe wisdom, lofty culture, and high scholarship. The Rabbis said that if God shows displeasure to a community, he showed it by removing the righteous from the community. Was this community at fault? He sincerely hoped he had never given the slightest cause for the departure of Mr Inglis. It was at a time like this that they felt how deep their friendship had been. Whenever he went to Mr Inglis, he was sure of a ho-pitable welcome. He was glad to know that Mr Inglis was not going far away. They would constantly hear how he was going on. Unfortunately the time for long ministries was past. Mr Inglis' experience at Douglas was quite unique. It spoke of marvellous mental vitality, and the great gifts of scholarship, and other gifts which made his ministry possible. At seaside towns ministers were during the summer called upon to preach to larger audiences. It must have taxed Mr Inglis' power to preach to these large audiences, but he had pursued his preaching with credit to himself and with advantage to those audiences. One was sorry that this was a unique case. Unfortunately their views of the ministry were changing, and not for the better. They put too much stress on preaching, and not enough on pastoral work. There were people who were fathers and mothers now, and who must have been in Mr Inglis' Sunday-school. The present occasion was a very solemn one. One felt much more deeply than one could express. He hoped that God would spare their pastor and his wife and family long. Mr Inglis was not retiring from the ministry; it would be a mistake were he to do so. There was still plenty of fire in his preaching, and it would deprive the Christian Church of a great power for good if he were to retire altogether (applause). He hoped Mr Inglis would take another cause, and build that up, and thereby be the means of doing much useful work in the future (applause)
Mr Ridge (Wereleyan) said that it gave him great pleasure to represent the Manx Free Church Council on this occasion, in the first place because of his long acquaintance with Mr Inglis. He had known Mr Inglis fairly intimately during his life here now nearly twenty years and had learnt to love him and to estimate him very highly. And when he (Mr Ridge) lived in the city of Peel, before he came to Douglas, he felt that he knew Mr Inglis very well. At that time he often used to see his letters in the Press on polemical matters. Mr Inglis was a strong foe of priestcraft, and a. champion of evangelical truth even then. He was one of the originators of the Free Church. Council, and throughout its history was one of its most enthusiastic hepers. There was not one of the items in the programme of the Council that had received the warm support and advocacy of Mr Inglis throughout history of the Council (applause). In season and out of season Mr Inglis stood for righteousness, truth, and justice. The town of Douglas would be poorer in the departure of Mr Inglis (applause). Their loss, however, would be the gain of some other place. Mr Inglis was not in any sense of the word an aged man ; his mental eye was undimmed, and his natural force still unabated, and they hoped and ed that he would be preserved for years to preach the gospel of Jesus and to uphold the banner of truth justice and righteousness. They God would bless him, and that they see him many times again in the of Douglas (loud applause).
Mr Inglis, who was received with applause, said he was afraid he had no words adequate to express his gratitude for the kindness the Free Church had shown to him, and the honour they had done him. There were very few things he valued so much as the good opinions of his friends and his colleagues in the work of the ministry and the serviceof the Free Churches. The address with which they presented him, and comming from the hands of Mr -icholson, their gifted artist, would always be one of his choicest treasures, and would be handed on to his children. It was perfectly true that he had something to do with the origination of the Free Church Council, but his memories went back to days before the Free Church Council came into existence. They had a Ministerial Fraternal Association then. It was the custom for members to meet in each other's house, and proceedings always began with a friendly cup of tea - the first meeting was held in his own . They were wont to discuss matters in which they were mutually interested, sometimes very informally, and other times elaborate papers were read and discussed. He was very sorry that there were no records of meetings of that association. The only relic he knew of a paper of was his own on " Christian Apologetics," which was published at the request of several members, and was afterwards reprinted for the Association. By and by, the time came when something on a wider scale had to be attempted and so the Free Church Council came into existence. He was the first secretary, and subsequently had been twice president, and he had taken some share in all the work for which the Free Church Council stood (hear, hear). The Council was often attacked as a purely political body. He did not know that even if the Council were a political body that would be anything to be ashamed of, but it was not a political body unless taking occasion to protect the rights of Free Churchmen as citizens could be called political (hear, hear). The Free Church Council strove to promote temperance work, to stand for righteousness in the civic life of the town and Island, but more than anything else it strove to do real and lasting spiritual work, and it did far more of that kind of work than any other. Year by year the Council arranged for a week of prayer at the beginning of the year, an exchange of pulpits, and a united communion service, and during the summer months they conducted an open-air mission every Sunday evening. They would remember, in connection with the opening of the Borough Cemetery, that a discussion took place in the Douglas Town Council as to whether the cemetery should be divided into three portions with a chapel in each portion, and on that occasion the Town Council showed their wisdom by refusing to do so. Then there was the question of consecration. Bishop Straton naturally wished to have the cemetery consecrated. A deputation waited upon the Bishop, and he (Mr Inglis) said that so far as consecration was a spiritual action, no objection would be taken, but they objected to a merely legal consecration. Bishop Straton at once showed him the consecration deed, and its terms at once met with his acceptance. Then he (Mr Inglis) suggested a united service in the opening of the cemetery, and the Bishop at once accepted the suggestion, and asked him to prepare a form of service, which was done. The cemetery was opened with that service; the Bishop, the Wesleyan Superintendent and he, took part, and surely that was as it should have been. He could not find an instance anywhere else where a cemetery was opened in a similar way. Another phase of their work was seen at the commencement of the present century, when they brought over three missioners. The meetings, held at three different centres, were largely attended, and many were blessed and many greatlyhelped. So far as the other ministers were concerned, he had lived on the best terms with them, and had never quarrelled with any of them. He would carry away with him, as some of his pleasantest memories, his relations with the other Free Church ministers. He had also had some friendships among the ministers of the Established Church, He had known the present Vicar of St. George's for a very long time, ago they always kept up their friendship. And there was another Vicar of St, George's a man well-known to them all, a man of broad spirit, frank disposition, kind-hearted and genial, and he had counted him as among his best friends in this town - he meant the late Mr Barron (applause). He sometimes wished it were possible for the clergy of the Established Church, and the ministers of the Free Churches, to draw a little closer together. No one was stauncher or less inclined to compromise than he was, but he thought they could come a little nearer. He welcomed the Ministerial Mission of Prayer-that honour belonged to all the churches. He was the first president, and Canon Savage now occupied that office. He hoped it would precede many better things to come. They had difficult work to do in this town, and when he was no longer one of the Free Church ministers he would think of them and watch their work with the deepest interest, and no one would rejoice more heartily than he would in hearing of the prosperity of their church (applause),
Mr Evans, who was very much affected, said that he could not say many words on this occasion, but bhe had one pleasing duty to perform-carat was, on behalf of the church and congregation, to present Mr Inglis with a purse of gold, amounting to £65 (loud applause), as a small token of their love, and respect and appreciation of his long and faithful services as minister of their church for thirty-three years. He felt thankful that he had had the privilege of sitting under Mr Inglis' ministry so long, and of having been associated with him as deacon all the time he had been here. He found it very hard to say " farewell." He felt very much like the Welsh mother who was seeing her son off at the station, whence he was proceeding to a distant tows to be apprenticed. She had a lot to say, but when the time came to say " farewell," she shook hands with her son -(At this stage Mr Evens, shook hands with Mr Inglis)-and could only say "You know my heart is with you." The Speaker of the House of Keys, who was also touched with emotion by the occasion, said that he found it difficult to say anything more than had been said before, both in Mr Inglis' presence and out of it. If one thing pleased him more than, another, it was that the Free Church Council had come here to show their appreciation of Mr Inglis' services to the town of Douglas (applause). It was especially gratifying joining them as a church to hear outsiders loaning with them in expreessions of appreciation. Although the time had came to gay good-bye, they would often hear of Mr Inglis in his now sphere, in which they wished him every happiness.
Mr Christian said that they all felt Mr Inglis' departure - those of them who had always been associated with him and those who were too young to remember his coming among them, and those who were not born when he came. Their natural inclination was to be sad, sadder perhaps beyond what the occasion called for. Mr Inglis was not going very far away, and they would still be able to welcome him as a member of their church whenever he came to Douglas.
Mr Hough said that Mr Inglis trained and sent out into the world those who were standing on their feet to-day and who otherwise would not have able to stand. The influence of Mr Inglis would remain long after he had passed away. They had loved him as a pastor, and had always reposed implicit confidence in him. They hoped God would bless and protect him in his new sphere.
Mr Putt said that he had not been long among them, but he too had learnt to love and respect Mr Inglis for many kindnesses tawards him. He hoped that Mr and Mrs Inglis would derive benefit from the change, and that they might be abundantly blessed.
Mr Kay spoke in a. similar strain, and hoped that whereever Mr Inglis was he might be instrumental for good.
On behalf of the congregation, J. J. Taggart, Capt. Maddrell, and Mrs Pickup (who thanked Mr Inglis for his labours among the little children of Douglas) spoke in appreciative terms of the love which was felt for the retiring pastor. Mr Taggart said that he spoke for Mr Todhunter, one of the oldest members of the congregation, who was afraid he would break down if he attempted to speak.
Mr Inglis, who was received with a great ovation, said he found it very difficult to speak. He thanked them for their valuable gift, which he valued infinitey more as a symbol of their affection and regard. It was a very precious thing to know that he had the love of people among whom he had ministered for so many years, and that they appreciated the fact that he had always tried to be of service to them. If at any time he had doubted their real affection, that doubt had been dispelled during the last ten days. He had been told of people he had helped, and he had not known he had helped them. Many hearts had been laid open to him during the last few days in a way they never had been before, and he was thankful to say there had been cases in which people had owed their souls to him as shepherd under God.
Many of these things were far too sacred for speech; and he could not enter upon them. He was humbly grateful for them also for the fact that for so many years they had had a wonderfully peaceful church life. They had sometimes had differences and discussions at church meetings, but they had never quarrelled, and that was a big thing to be able to say. At such times as this he felt that there were many things which should have been done, and which had not been done, but perhaps to do them would require another man He was thankful for the wonderful health God had been pleased to give him in all these years. When, he came it was a common feeling whether he would be able to remain very long, because he was hardly able to make himself heard in the far end of the church. His voice was stronger to-day than then (applause). During the thirty-three years, there had only been two occasions when he had been unable to raise his voice in the pulpit; and on both, only for half a day. That was some testimony of the value of the Island as a health resort; at any rate it had proved a most healthy as well as a most happy place of residence for him. When he came, the debt on the church was £1,300. That was paid for long ago; and they had built those beautiful schools (applause). They had cost a good deal of money. They had to pay a high price for the land. The total cost ran up to something like £3,000. In addition to that, through the kindness of the late Mr Dalrymple, Mrs Moore, and Mrs Egglestone, they were in possession of very considerable funds, which might be regarded as endowments, for certain special objects. There was also a little nest egg from the last Sale of Work, which might be applied in any way they liked for the beautifying of the church,. Bvib he regarded it as much more important that many had been helped, and souls brought into the Kingdom of the Lord and Master. It lead been his privilege and joy to train four young men and prepare them for College. Two were working in the ministry at home; and two were in the mission field (applause). A man in the ministry of a sister church spent a year in this Island. He was closely drawn to him. They often went long walks, and discussed the great philosophical questions and problems of religion and theology. That main was now a minister of an important church, and the last time they met, he told him (Mr Inglis) that it wab during the discussions they had when walking along the Manx glenes and over the mountains and hills, the foundations were laid on which his life and ministry were built (applause). There was an impnession abroad that in their churches the minister must preach to please his people. He had never done that (hear, hear). He had never cared whcbhwr his preaching pleased or did not, if only he was quite sure he was speaking the truth of God (applause). No one had ever interfered with him or found the slightest fault in that respect. During his ministry there had been many changes in theological thought, and he had tried to keep abreast of the times, and he kept his mind open to all new truth. If there was one thing he felt more profoundly than ever before, it was that they could never trust God too much, and should never be without profound faith in his seeking love that would never desert them here or elsewhere. There was one conclusion to which he had come with regard to their work. They had too many meetings (hear, hear). If he were to begin here again, or continue his work, he would drop a good many of their meetings. The multiplication of meetings in connection with their church had become a curse instead of a. blessing. Infinitely better to put more into fewer meetings, and not interfere so much with the life of the home and the culture of personal Godliness (hear, hear). He was profoundly thankful for the friendships made here. When he came here, there were five deacons. One was still in the church (applause). Of the deacons alive when he came, one was regarded as a representative man-the late Mr William Dalrymple. No words could tell how much he was to him (Mr Inglis). His home was a second home where he always had looks and words of kindness. It would never he understood how close the tie was that bound them together. He never left the Island, even for a short stay on the other side, but Mr Dalrymple saw him off; and he was usually on the pier to weloome his return. He might then say what none knew; that if he had remained for thirty-three years their minister, it was very largely due to Mr Dalrymple. Overtures were made to him (Mr Inglis) years after he came her by two English churches, one a very import-ant church. He only mentioned it to Mr Dalrymple. He said, " If you ever think of leaving Douglas, then I hope it won't be as long as I am above the sod." He put the thing out of his mind, with-out mentioning it even to the church. Another of their deacons was Mr Thomas Cubbon. He was one of the most faithful men of principle that he (Mr Inglis) had ever known. `'What he believed to be right he did and stood by. The third deacon was a. man he (Mr Inglis) greatly loved-Mr George Barber, and his dear old wife (applause). They just lived for two things-that church and the Indus trial home (applause). They had a very small income, hint they were princely givers-almost the most generous he ever knew. Mr Barber was left in his closing years in loneliness. Ho was attacked with cancer in the throat. He went across to Liverpool to a throat specialist. He had no friends in that town. The specialist did not want to operate without authority from some one. He (Mr Inglis) went across to Liverpool. The specialist told him (Mr Inglis) that there was not much hope of recovery without an operation, and that without an operation he would die a very painful death. After a talk with Mr Barber, he (Mr Inglis) told the specialist he ought to go on with the operation. He never would forget his visit to Mr Barber in the nursing home, his throat cut, and a silver tube in it. He never saw a more peaceful face, a. happier face, than Mr Barber's, under such conditions. Then there was their friend, Mr Matheson-a, man of splendid character, who did faithful work for their church. He took the duties of clerk of the works when the schools were built, without cost, and discharged his duties well. Still another deacon with whom he worked had passed away to the better land-Mr Edward Emett. He was also a profound lover of the church, and what service he could render, he did, cheerful and well. There was one friend closet than any he had named, he had found here. His wife (applause). If he had been able to do anything in that church, and in this town, he owed it very largely to her. She had never been what w sometimes called a public woman; had always loved quiet, unobtrusive way but he did not think anyone had loved that church and this people as loved it. She had a longer connection with it, than anyone in this world. Her grandfather (the Rev Samuel Haining) was the first Congregational minister in this town. She loved the church profoundly, and he wanted to put on record his sense of indebtedness to her.He too, had loved it. He hoped that when they were on the other side, if any of the church members were in their neighberhood, they would make no scruple about calling to see them If it was possible for him to render them any service, they had only do ask for it. He prayed they might be heaven guided during the days that were to come. He hoped that God might send them a man who might able to do far better work than had ever been possible to him. He prayed that God might bless them and keep them (applauue).