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it was believed that a description of school-books might be provided which would remove this defect, and at a cheaper rate than now. He earnestly pressed the matter on the attention of the Assembly.
The committee bad transmitted to them, from the committee of Bills, a reference from the Synod of Fife, relative to the case of Mr Law, who, after baving been de. prived of license on account of his having joined the Free Church, bad been ordained in that Church, but subsequently bad withdrawn, and tendered his resignation, and had since been received as an ordained minister in the Establishment. Mr Clugston stated the reference, and Mr Law not having appeared, the Assembly sustained the reference, and declared him no longer a member of the Free Church.
The Assembly adjourned at eleven o'clock.
SATURDAY, MAY 25. Assembly meet-Committees on Psalmody and Manses appointed-Mr M'Leod's translation to Loch.
broom agreed to-Overture on union with other Churches-Committee for Plantation of Chur. ches to be discontinued-Explanation as to Cheap Publications-Overture on Assembly's Com
mittees withdrawn-University Tests Report of Deputation to United Secession Synod. The Assembly met this day at eleven o'clock, and after the usual exercises,
Mr BRIDGES referred to a committee which had been agreed on the previous evening, on the subject of psalmody, and expressed a wish that it should stand part of the committee on education. He pressed the importance of the Free Church taking up the question, and promoting the improvement of sacred music among the people. He went into some statements to show the good effect upon the voice, of early training in music, and also gave some accounts of the condition of our sacred music after the Reformation.
Rev. Mr M'Farlane of Renfrew also made some remarks on this matter, and suggested a simplification of our church music, so that all might be able to read and understand it, and thus open up the way for men of high atiainments in music, to raise the standard of our psalmody among us.
The Assembly tben called for overtures as to
A. Thomson, Esq. Banchory, elder, supported the overture, and suggested that it sbould be sent to a committee to report to the house on Monday.
Rev. Mr Berg said this was a matter so important, that he was afraid it would be impossible for any committee to report on Monday. The subject ought to be considered in the most mature manner, and therefore the committee should be left to give in their report at convenience.
Rev. Mr Moir said this matter was exceedingly important. Many ministers were put to the utmost inconvenience during the last twelve months, living twenty or thirty miles from their families, and unable to procure houses in their former parishes. Something ought unquestionably to be done before the rising of the Assembly, with a view to providing manses for these ministers; and he hoped Mr Begg would direct his energies to this matter, and that the committee now to be appointed would report before the rising of the Assembly.
Mr Berg said it was just because the subject was one of deep importance, and because he took a warm interest in it, that he was unwilling to see any premature plan entered upon. He would not preclude the committee from giving in their report on Monday, but he was afraid the time was so short, that only a partial report could be adopted.
Captain SHEPHERD hoped the committee would proceed with all vigour. He was afraid they were unduly overlooking the country clergymen, many of whom were living miles from their families, and could not get bouses to live in near their old localities. He wished that another Macdonald would rise up, and take this matter into his consideration. He was afraid the country ministers were too much left in
the back ground, and therefore he hoped they would not separate till something
CASE OF LOCHBROOM AND LOCHCARRON,
Parties being called, Mc Kennedy appeared for the Presbytery of Dingwall, and Mr Lamond for the congregation of Lochbroom. There was no appearance for the congregation of Maryburgh.
The reasons of appeal were read by the clerk, and were as follow:
“ Ist, The call from Lochbroom, instead of coming through the Presbytery of Lochcarron, within the bounds of which Lochbroom lies, came per saltum to the Presbytery of Dingwall,--an informality which in itself is deemed fatal to the whole proceedings in the case.
“ 22, The severing of the pastoral relation is on all occasions a matter of very serious moment, and ought at no time to be gone into unless there is a very clear case of the majus bonum ecclesiæ being likely to be attained thereby. Now here the parties principally interested have obtained no light to this effect. The congregation are unanimously of opinion, that Mr Macleod should remain among them; and Mr Macleod himself does not see it to be his duty to leave them. The Lord has emi. nently prospered Mr Macleod's ministrations among his present flock, thus evidently sanctioning the existing connection. And the unity and harmony presently subsisting between the parties give good ground to bope that the countenance bitherto vouchsafed from on high will not be withdrawn.
“3d, The suitableness of Mr Macleod for the congregation at Maryburgh,-a congregation of his own in.gathering,-has been proved by the extraordinary reformation of manners, and the growing concern for the salvation of their souls, which are clearly visible in the community. His suitableness for Lochbroom is altogether problemitical.
There is no clearness in regard to a call from the Lord; so that in the event of his removal, his well cultivated portion of the vineyard of Maryburgh may be again overspread with weeds, while the wilderness of Lochbroom may not blossom as the rose.'
“ 4th, There is no evidence to show that the congregation of Lochbroom made a single effort to obtain among the probationers of the Church, a pastor for themselves. From their necessities there can be no doubt that the Church would use its best efforts to obtain for them a suitable minister from among those who have not bither. to entered on the pastoral relation with any other people. Instead, however, of looking among the • tlocks and herds,' which, in common with the other unprovid. ed congregations of the Free Church, are their own, they have set their heads on the little ewe lamb' of the people of Maryburgh -a mode of procedure which the prophet most emphatically condemns.
5th, Though the congregation of Maryburgh is not so large as that of Lochbroom, yet still it is comparatively a large one, and though the Maryburgh congrega. tion might be disposed to admit the superior claims of Lochbroom, were the case merely one of competing calls, yet they must view the present case as altogether different. Indeed, were the principle once sanctioned, that the larger congregations were entitled to appropriate to themselves the ministers of the smaller ones, it is impossible to estimate the annoyance and confusion that must inevitably ensue. But again, the Maryburgh congregation look on their smaller number as an additional reason why their interests should be upheld in opposition to Lochbroom. The cla. mant case of Lochbroom will insure it immediate attention from the Church. There can be no doubt that their wants will be very shortly supplied. In regard to Maryburgh, the prospects are not at all so good. There are many congregations larger than this, still unprovided for; and until these are supplied, there is danger that Maryburgh may remain vacant. In the case of congregations of considerable standing, no ultimate detriment might arise from this; but in the case of a congregation excavated within the last four years, and, of course, not as yet fully consoli
dated, the danger is very imminent. Indeed, the absolute necessity of continuing Mr Macleod in Maryburgh must be apparent to every unprejudiced mind.”
The reasons were signed by 84 communicants and parishioners.
He said, - Moderator, I appear bere in the cause of God and his people. You have beard much of the difficulties which the people have had to contend with in Inverness and and other places, but what are they to Lochbroom? It is one of the largest parishes in Scotland, and, I may say, is almost without a made road. It has a population ) 6000 souls, and of these, 5000 have adhered to the Free Church of Scotland ; so that it is a person of great mind and much physical strength which that parish would require. The nearest Free Church minister is at Fodderty, wbich is seventy miles distant from Lochbroom. Suffice it to say, that the people of Lochbroom have not heard more than four or five sermons since the disruption; and that on account of the distance and the inaccessible position of the parish. On one occasion the ordinance of baptism was dispensed in fifty cases, as Mr Noble can tell, and on another occasion, there were no fewer than forty. On account of the want of roads, the people have to content themselves with boats; and on one occasion, when Mr Macleod of Maryburgh was in Oliphant, thousands of people assembled with their boats, but on account of the weather, they could not return, and had to wait two or three days, and others of them had to walk a distance of thirty miles to their own homes. The people of Lochbroom have been made aware that Mr Macleod might, with much benefit, be removed from Maryburgh, on account of so many other gospel ministers, such as those of Dingwall, Ferintosh, Fodderty, and other places, being in the immediate neighbourhood. The people of Lochbroom, to the number of 2530, bave signed a call to Mr Macleod to be their pastor. Gladly would the people of Lochbroom walk every Sabbath day six, seven, eight, or ten iniles to hear such a great man, and one who has done so much in the conversion of souls as Dr M.Donald of Ferintosh ; but the people of Maryburgh are only three miles from him; and they are only two miles from Mr Kennedy, the worthy son of a worthy father,—so they never can be destitute of the means of bearing the gospel preached. At the last meeting of the Presbytery of Dingwall, Dr M.Donald said, as he stood in the presence of the Lord, he could not but move that Mr Macleod should be translated to Lochbroom. Then I hope this venerable house will come to no other finding than to agree with Dr M.Donald, that Mr Macleod be translated to Lochbroom.
Mr KENNEDY appeared to support the decision of the Presbytery of Dingwall. It was true that the case came per saltum before that Presbytery, which was not the usual course; but it should be remembered as the reason, that there was not at that time, nor even now, a quorum of members in the Presbytery of Lochcarron; and from the state of the weather, they could not then have met, to moderate in a call, even if there had been a Presbytery; and it was necessary that there should be as little delay as possible, for it might have had the effect of depriving such a large body of people of the object of their wishes. But besides this, the Presbytery, considering the clamant destitution of Lochbroom at the time, and the evil effects of delay, took advantage of the license they possessed to expedite the settlement; and while they regretted that they were compelled to overlook this informality, they resolved to sustain the call. The Presbytery felt shut up to translate Mr Macleod to Lochbroom; and it would be remembered that this was the only case which bad come before the Assembly in which the Presbytery of the bounds had unanimously resolved to translate a brother. They could come to no other conclusion than they did. The only difficulty in the matter was, that they were shut up to sever the pastoral relation; but this difficulty must be encountered in every similar case. They were constrained to believe that this was indeed a call from God, both to Mr Macleod and to the Presbytery of Dingwall.
Mr SHEPHERD of Kingussie wished to state, before parties were removed, that in his capacity of Moderator of the Presbytery of Abernethy, he had written to the Presbytery of Dingwall, stating that they were prepared to moderate in a call to Mr Macleod to Grantown, which was the centre of a district containing 5500 souls; but to that letter he had never got any answer. This case was as urgent as the case of Lochbroom, and he would, with the permission of the Assembly, state the parti. culars of it. At all events he would request the Assembly to delay this settlement in the mean time.
A. Dunlop, Esq. said, that the case of the proposed call from Grantown could not be taken up. It had never been before any court, and it would not do to allow every congregation which had a notion of a minister, to sist themselves as parties when his translation was proposed.
Parties were now removed.
Rev. Mr MacNAUGHTAN said, that the case before the house must be decided as between Maryburgh and Loehbroom. It was quite possible that Grantown might be a more important place than Lochbroom; but the Assembly could not recognise its claims at this stage of the matter. If the people still retained their attachment to Mr Macleod, they might apply to him from Lochbroom.
Rev. MR SHEPHERD said he would be satisfied if the Assembly would appoint Mr Macleod to itinerate five or six months longer, and delay the settlement till the end of that period. In that part of the country they had great difficulties to contend with. He read a memorial from Grantown in favour of Mr Macleod, and stated that the application in his favour was signed by 630 individuals above sixteen years
G. SPEIRS, Esq. stated, that in other cases of a similar nature the Assembly had often had a difficulty from wishing to consult the mind of the party interested. But in this case there was no such difficulty, for be understood that Mr Macleod stood in the position of placing himself entirely in the hands of the Presbytery. Therefore, the Assembly had only to deal with the question on the broad ground of what is best for the good of the Church. Now, from wbat they had heard, it appeared to him that, however anxious they might be to consider the case of Grantown,—for its claims appeared to be of the most urgent kind, -yet they could not take it up at this stage, and it was just one of the many cases which left them to regret, that while the harvest was so abundant, the labourers were so few. In the maiter, therefore, to be judged of by the Assembly, they could not take up the statement regarding Grantown as at all affecting the question of Mr Macleod's trans. Jation from Maryburgh to Lochbroom. On the whole this was one of the simplest cases which could come before the Assembly, and he did not see how the Presby. tery could come to any other conclusion than they had done; and he would be surprised if the Assembly should have any hesitation to aflirm their judgment. This was a case in wbich a minister had recommended himself by his qualifications to the extensive parish of Lochbroom, and who was at present labouring in a small field with only 84 communicants; and, if his recollections of it were correct, it was far from being destitute, because it was at an easy distance from other Free Church ministers. With regard to Lochbroom, it appeared to him to be one of the most urgent cases he ever knew. Here was a call to this minister, signed by 2530 elders, communicants, and others in that parish ; and would any one tell him that it would be for the good of the Church that Mr Macleod should be retained by 84 people, while these 2530 were to remain without the services of any minister whatever ? He held that it was the paramount duty of the Assembly to affirm the judgment. He was a great stickler for forms, because they were the handmaids of justice ; but there were cases in which justice was promoted by a disregard of these forms where they were not essential. He therefore readily overlooked the informality which had been urged in this case, and thought that the Assembly might come to a decision without resting anything on this objection. He would qualify the decision, however, so as not to allow it to be taken as a precedent. Mr Speirs concluded by moving that the Assembly should affirm the judgment of the Presbytery of Dingwall, agreeing to the translation of Mr Macleod to Lochbroom.
The Rev. Mr MacGilliVRAY of Lairg said that the Assembly must consider Maryburgh as a mere speck, which could not for a moment stand in comparison with the claims of Lochbroom. Lochbroom, as they had heard, was an extensive and popuJous parish, and at a great distance from any other Free Church,-consequently the people were put to great inconveniences, which had been explained to them by the worthy man from that congregation. From the extent of the parish, the ruggedness of the country, the want of roads, and the large bodies of water which intervened, the people of Lochbroom were in great destitution as regarded public ministrations and sealing ordinances. While he said that the people of Lochbroom were at a great distance from any other Free Church, it was well known to many in the Assembly that Maryburgh was close at band io Dingwall, to Dr Macdonald of Fer. intosh, Mr Norval of Fodderty, and other eminent and godly Free Church ministers. Under the circumstances, there was no comparison between the two places. He felt that the cause of Lochbroom was the cause of Christ, and the cause of thousands of immortal souls who were calling for the gospel.
Mr DUNLOP agreed in the stateinents of their venerable and venerated father wbo bad just spoken, and whose own sufferings so deeply entitled him to the sympathies of the Assembly. This was an extensive and destitute parish ; the Presbytery were nearly unanimous in agreeing to the translation; and when he found the apostle of the Highlands (Dr Macdonald) himself moving that that translation should take place, it was almost enough of itself to satisfy him (Mr Dunlop) of the propriety of it. He begged to second the motion of Mr Speirs.
After a few words for other members of the Assembly, it was accordingly resolved, without allowing the irregularity, to dismiss the appeal, aflırın the judgment, loose Mr Macleod from bis church, and enjoin him to be translated to Lochbroom with all convenient speed, according to the rules of the Church. The Assembly at the same time sympatbize with the people of Maryburgh, and recoinmend them to the care of the Presbytery.
The following ministers were then appointed to preach in the hall at Tanfield on the following day (Sabbath), viz:- Mr Beith of Stirling in the forenoon ; Mr Laughton of Greenock in the afternoon; Mr Macfarlane of Dalkeith in the evening. Mr Finlay Cook of Rheny was appointed to preach in the open air in Gaelic. The Assembly called for the
OVERTURE AXENT CONFERENCE WITH OTHER CHURCIIES. The clerk then read the following overture :
" At Edinburgh the 21st day of March 1844, wbich day the Free Presbytery of Edinburgh being met and constituted (inter alia,) the Presbytery unanimously agreed to transmit the following overture to the General Assembly :
" Whereas the present circumstances of the Church and of the world eminently call for united consultation, action, and prayer, among all evangelical communities, and whereas it seems both desirable and practicable that such communities, even while continuing separate and independent in their ecclesiastical arrangements, should meet for conference on matters affecting their common Christianity, as well as for devout and brotberly fellowship in the Lord; it is humbly overtured that the General Assembly take this subject into their serious consideration, with a view to the appointment of a commission of their number, under such instructions and restrictions as they may judge right, to meet with any similar commission or deputation from other sister churches, for the purpose of spending some considerable portion of time in conference and consultation on the affairs of Christ's kingdom in the world, and such religious exercises as may be profitable and edifying. “ Extracted from the records of the Free Presbytery of Edinburgh, on this and the preceding page, by
“ PATRICK CLASON, Presbytery Clerk.” Dr Candlish said, every one must acknowledge the importance of cultivating brotherly union in Christ with other evangelical denominations, without interfering with the separate and independent jurisdiction of each. He had therefore thrown out bis views on this point, and brought it up in the sbape of an overture. sent, however, it did not appear that anytbing could be suggested of a practical nature. If other Christian bodies bad moved in the matter, be would have been ready to bave named a committee ; but as this was not just now the case, he would move that the overture should be remitted to the Commission; and should any movement arise amongst tbeir Christian brethren of other denominations,-in which he would