A Tribute to the Rev. Alexander C. Henderson

Previous to his Leaving for Australia

I wish the Rev. Alexander Henderson every success,
Hoping that God will him always bless,
Because an immense deal of good he has done
While among the Gilfillan Memorial Congregation.

And during his time of preaching to the Congregation
His preaching always met with their appreciation,
Because he is a man possessed of a big heart,
And who has always acted a Christian’s part.

He is affable in temper, and has an ear for the poor,
His big heart cannot their pleadings endure,
He’s ever willing to help the needy in distress,
And sometimes he’s helped myself I confess.

And since he is about to Australia to go,
His leaving will fill many hearts with woe,
And during his absence their thoughts will revert to him
Who taught them the danger of falling into sin.

I wish him God-speed wherever he goes;
May his friends always outnumber his foes:
And I hope the ship that bears him away
Will sail smoothly and swiftly by night and by day.

I bid him to-night a long and sad farewell,
Because I love him better than my pen can tell,
And I hope every one here will do the same,
Because we may never look upon his like again:
May God be with him while on the briny deep,
And watch and guard him while asleep.

Farewell of a Dundee Minister

The Rev. Alexander C. Henderson, assistant to the Rev. David Macrae, Gilfillan Memorial Church, Dundee, preached his farewell sermon yesterday forenoon preparatory to leaving this country for Melbourne, where has been appointed pastor of a church. At the conclusion of an able discourse on the text “The manifold works of God,” Henderson said he knew they would be disappointed were he to conclude the service without making reference the circumstances under which they had met together. That was the last day — for long time at least — on which was have the pleasure of worshipping along with them in that familiar edifice, around which had clustered so many precious memories. How often it had been his privilege to listen there to the eloquent and stirring words of their honoured minister, until, as they were musing, the fire burned, their hearts were all aflame, and their souls felt strengthened for the battlefield of life. How often, too, had it been his happiness to conduct those services, and to feel inspired by the earnest faces of so many Christian friends, uniting like one family in the noblest and most elevating of human actions — the worship of their Father in Heaven. From the beginning the end of their intercourse with each other he had been sustained by their generous encouragement and cordial assistance in every department of church work, as well as their kindly sympathy in every time of sorrow and of trial. To Mr and Mrs Macrae, who had been such constant friends, and to them all, returned his heartfelt thanks for every act of kindness, for every word of love and, while speaking thus, he included also the members of the congregation, whom they were glad to see represented in such large numbers that forenoon. To bid good-bye to so many faithful friends, knowing how great was the distance by which they were to be separated, they all must feel, was a task of a very painful kind. But, though separated far by space, his thoughts would often wander back the happy scenes of former days, and the image of loving friends, who should be cherished evermore in the chambers of his memory. In the evening Mr Henderson again occupied the pulpit, and preached from the text “Strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” At the conclusion of the sermon, Mr Macrae said this had been a day of peculiar interest and solemnity to them all. They had been listening to voice that had been familiar to them for more than two years, and which had become as sweet music — speaking, as it had ever done, out of one the purest aud kindest hearts they were ever likely to meet in this world. They would sadly miss him when he was gone — his bright face, his kindly ways, his preaching, and his warm sympathy and kindly words. He had been a true friend to them all — a bright and welcome guest in their homes, and a beam of sunshine in their lives, to him (Mr Macrae) he had been so true a helper and so warm and loving a friend that he could scarcely bear to think of working there when Mr Henderson was no longer by his side. Only 28 months had elapsed since he settled among them, but already he had made his way to all hearts and had become so identified with all their church life that wherever they turned they would feel a great blank. It was touching proof of the lasting and deep impression made by his ministry, and by the beauty and nobleness of his character, that after more than two years’ absence from his former charge such a large number of his former congregation should come that morning all the way from Newburgh to hear him preach once more before he went away. Mr Henderson would leave behind him a legacy of bright and happy memories — memories of goodness, gentleness, aud warm-heartedness, and of noble and inspiring thoughts.

Evening Telegraph, 28th May 1894

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