In 1849, having completed the fiftieth year of his ministry,Jame's Haldane'sflock and the Congregationalists of Edinburgh agreed to celebrate the event by a jubilee, which they did on the 12th of April; and the meeting was attended by ministers of all denominations, who were eager to testify their love for such a venerable father in Israel. After this his life and work were continued until 1851. The only illness he suffered from was gout, which appeared on several occasions, and which was the cause of his last illness. Right up until the end his mind was as sharp as ever. On reaching eighty, in a letter to his son Alexander, he comments on how his brother was so careful with his health, avoiding every draft; whereas he just let things take their course. He was still preaching with power until the end; in fact he was meant to preach at Dr Chalmer’s Free Church the day after he died, and he was writing his exposition of the Lord’s farewell prayer until a week before his death. He died on the 8th of February at the age of eighty-two.
An Edinburgh newspaper reported, “No man was less disposed to court the applause of men, or indulge the semblance of ostentation; but the respect shown to his memory by the ministers and members of different religious communities in the city, is a noble demonstration of Christian sympathy with all that is exemplary in a long and consistent career of Christian devotedness.”The streets were lined with people on the day of the funeral. From the gate of the West Churchyard to the church, rows of clergymen lined each side of the principal avenue. One old member of his church was walking, with all the church members in advance of the hearse, but on account of his age he was urged to take a seat in one of the mourning coaches. He refused, saying that “his proper place was at the feet of his pastor.” Haldane had led him to Christ fifty years earlier. Tributes came in from all over. Once such described his character, “His matured proficiency in the knowledge of the Scriptures, his enlightened conscientiousness, his Christian dignity and decision, his unsullied consistency of character, and his persevering energy in doing good, will not soon be forgotten, and ought to have the force of an attractive example.” Another writes, “...The grace of God was surely seen in the departed saint. A long and eminently consistent life put to silence the foolishness of the adversary, and I believe many ransomed spirits are now around the throne who have welcomed him to the heavenly mansion as the blessed instrument of turning them from darkness to light and leading them to a knowledge of saving truth as exhibited in the Gospel. I have long been persuaded that your father and uncle were specially raised up to be the means of reviving the Church in their native land.” The ‘Witness’ says on the occasion of the writing of the biography of the two brothers, “Till the appearance of these Memoirs, the younger reading public, we believe, was not aware of the greatness of James Haldane, nor of the influence and extent of those Evangelistic labours which he extended to almost every corner of Scotland, and to the furthest Orkneys. He was raised up to do a great work, just before the revival of Evangelical religion dawned in the Establishment; and this work he prosecuted with an indomitable will, an intrepid meekness, an energy not to be broken by labour, and with a success for which Scotland will not fail to hold him everlasting remembrance.”
The grave is on the wall a little to the right of the east end of the Church.