網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

ber of petitions addressed to the Chamber of Deputies, was this one, signed by 100 Roman Catholics :

“ We, the undersigned proprietors and inhabitants of the Corporation of Cagnes, of St Laurent, and of Cannes, district of Grasse, department of Var, all members of the Roman Catholic Church, have the honour to represent to the deputies,

“Ist, That we entertain somewhat more than doubts regarding the religion which the priests teach us, being fully convinced tbat they have inculcated on our fathers, under pain of being delivered over to the secular courts, dogmas contrary to, and not ordained by the Word of God.

“2d, That we desire, with our whole souls, to recover our religion such as Jesus Christ bas instituted it, such as the Apostles have taught it; and to that end we desire to unite ourselves to the Reformed Church called Protestant.

“ But, considering that we cannot unite ourselves thereto in worship without seeing the municipal authorities, urged on by the priests, unceasingly menace us, by raising a verbal process against us, and bringing us under the article 294 of the penal code,

" We come, in consequence, humbly and respectfully to solicit our honourable deputies to determine whether the article V. of the Charter has the force of law with. in our dear country, or at least to give it an interpretation which will put an end to the tyranny which weighs us down."

This shows the nature and reality of this movement, and I think it will be of in. terest to you all, for France is the stronghold of Popery. If Popery were overthrown in France, ah! how soon would it disappear in other countries, where it seems to reign more undisturbed. But, Sir, what we have to do, that we must do quickly. We know not how long we may be permitted to carry on the good work. Rome is always Rome. Wherever she has the power, she has always the will to persecute. Do you not see this in the late news from New Zealand, and all places where her power can reign unmolested ? I may apply to her yet the words of Holy Writ : she is always “ the mother of harlots,” and “drunken with the blood of the saints.” I expect persecution to bappen in France,-violent obstacles against our carrying on of the work of mercy; for a day will come when the cry shall be heard, “ Babylon the great is fallen, is fullen !" If we would do our duty, then, we must do much. I ask my Christian brethren in Scotland whether they will join with the holders of their faith in France against their common enemy,-infidelity and superstition? (Loud applause.) I know you have much to do at bome; but I know also, that love never faileth,—that love knows no limits,-that love can work wonders. I know that our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, “ though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich.” I know that “ if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." I know how that God “ bestowed grace" on the Churches of Macedonia, -how that in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality;" and I know that God can bestow the same grace on the Church of Scotland, -that he is able to make all grace abound toward you ; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound in every good work.” This, Moderator, gives me faith and courage not to ask the L.2000 that Mr Macdonald has obtained over and above his L 50,000—(laughter)—but that you will merely allow me, following Mr Macdonald's example, to present to you a very easy and short calculation. (Cheers and laughter.) You have 700 churches in Scotland. Well, suppose we were to get L. I a.year from each—(renewed laughter and cheers.) Ob! I must put it in another way. I am told that the members of the Free Church are nearly a million,-am I mistaken? (No, no.) Well, a million of members giving us each only a halfpenny a-year, would give us L. 2000. (Loud cheers.) Yes, a million of halfpennies would make more than L. 2000, and that is far beyond anything we seek or expect; though, if we could get them, I can tell you they would be well employed. (A laugh.) But, my brethren, if you have no money to spare to us, I have to ask you for something far better than your money-(hear)—something that will help our work more than money can; for money without the blessing of God can do nothing,

while God's blessing can do much in everything without money. We ask you for your prayers, for your brotherly affection and sympathy; and if my visit to your country should have no other effect than the connecting of Christians in Scotland with those in France, by means of prayer and love, I should for ever bless God that I came here. (Hear.) I will have much to say when I return to my people and my own church, of what I have seen, heard, and experienced among you. Oh, bow I wish that all those who do not understand, or who do not approve of the position you have been compelled to assume, bad been present, as it was my privilege to be here, on Friday night last! Ah! they would bave seen, they would have heard, they would have felt that the Spirit of God,- the Spirit of our Great God, in his Son Jesus Christ,-is with this Church-(bear)--that this is not the work of man,-that the whole will turn out to be tbe work of God indeed, and that nothing can overturn it. You have shown, Sir, all faith and faithfulness, and will yet triumpb through the power of Him who manifests his strength in our weakness, over presently insurmountable difficulties and obstacles. The mountain has been overturned and cast into the sea. Blessed be God, who bas given you grace to go forward, and not fear to take up at once the whole of your work. It strikes me much,-it gives me great confidence in your ultimate success,—that your Church has taken up the whole work,—the sustentation of ministers, the building of churches, of schools, of a college,—the necessities of the poor,-missions abroad and at bome; and now this evening, I hope, you will take up the Continent. You bave left nothing bebind; and bow has the Lord blessed you already, and how will be not yet bless you, causing you to go on through faith in him! I'must thank this venerable Assembly for the resolution that it passed a few years ago to open its pulpits, and even the church, to the other faithful ministers of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a great step to Christian union, of which we talked this morning, and the Lord will bless you for it. It has been my privilege to preach twice in the pulpits of the Free Church since I arrived on these shores ; and I have received a testimony of love from my brethren that sunk into my heart, and called forth my warmest gratitude. Take courage, my dear Christian friends; go on in the strength of the Lord -go on with faithfulness to yourselves, and cbarity towards those who do not go along with you ; so long as your Church sball possess that faith so warmly expressed by Mr Macdonald, and so warmly responded to by the whole Assembly,—so long as you have that faith, fear not, fear not. Here is a new era in the history of our blessed and glorious reformation. God hath indeed worked miracles among you, and put His seal to your joy. May He endow all the ministers and members of this Church, -may He enrich you all abundantly with bis Spirit, and strength, and wis. dom; and may you avoid the manifold snares that beset you! May be direct, by his Spirit, the steps of every one of you in the way wherein he calls you to go for the glory of his holy name, the advancement of his kingdom, and the salvation of many souls. M. Monod then sat down amidst eordial applause.

Dr CandLish said, he would now content himself with reading the following resolution:

“ The General Assembly having considered the overtures, and having also heard the Rev. M. Monod of Paris, on the subject of the religious state of France, as well as of the continent in general, resolve,–

“ That this Assembly express the high gratification which they have received from the presence of M. Monod among them; and from his interesting statements, desire to welcome him as an esteemed brother in the Lord, and to bid him heartily God speed; and request their Moderator to return to M. Monod the thanks of this house. Farther,

“ That the Assembly recognise the duty incumbent upon this Church, to take a more lively interest than she has bitherto done in the state and condition of Christian churches on the continent, and in the east.

" That, with a view to the cultivation of a closer intercourse and fellowship with the churches and the people of Christ in these parts of the world, --for the purpose, also, of sympathizing with them, and, as far as possible, aiding and supporting them in the trials and persecutions to which they are exposed at the hands of the papal power and of civil tyranny; and farther, that an opportunity may be afforded to the members of this Church to contribute of their means, as God hath prospered them, to the means employed for the promotion of evangelical truth, a committee be appointed, with instructions to open a correspondence with the churches above referred 10,- to receive and administer whatever funds may be entrusted to their care, and to take occasion, as they see fit, to solicit the interposition of the government of this Christian and Protestant country in defence of the liberties and lives of those who suffer for conscience' sake,-Convener, Mr Lorimer of Glasgow."

D. C. would have, as he said at the outset, simply contented himself with reading the resolution, but a very small slip of paper had been put into his hands while he was doing so, that he considered ought to be read to the Assembly. It was as follows : -"What would you think of putting the plate at the door to-night for Mons. Mo. nod?" (Loud cheers and laughter.) In reference to this document, he merely acted as the vehicle of communication. He would only remind the Assembly, that what. ever was put into the plate would not be for Mons. Monod, but for the great cause he had that night pleaded, in a way that some of them would not speedily forget. Whatever was to be done with this communication, he would leave for the Assembly to determine, but he had done his duty in communicating this interesting document to the Assembly. (Loud cheers.)

The Moverator being then called on to convey to M. Monod an expression of the feelings of the Assembly, addressing him, said, -- It is with great pleasure I assure you of the high gratification the Assembly has had in your presence among us, and in the important intelligence you have communicated. The Protestant Church of France, of which you are the representative, engages our deep concern and regard. The student of history can never forget the distinguished position held by Christ's servants in that country in the period immediately following the reformation in Germany,--the admirable specimens of individual character found among them, the honourable and faithful testimony borne to the truth,—and, at a later period, the noble army of martyrs whose blood was poured out like water in France, and the myriads of confessors who chose to suffer affliction, to surrender their home, their country, their worldly all, rather than violate their conscience and deny the faith; of whom some found an assylum in this city, and have left their memory still retained by the localities given them to inhabit. We wonder not that, when France had been bereaved of these, the best and worthiest of her sons, religion pined away, and was lost in almost universal idolatry and superstition ; while the feeble and often unfaithful Protestants that remained in the inauspicious soil, soon fell from the principles of their fathers, and sank into worldliness and scepticism. It refreshes us to learn from you, that a revival has been granted,—that among your four or five bundred pastors, a goodly number, approaching to one-half, are faithful preachers of the gospel,—and that the cause of truth seems advancing in many ways. I congratulate you on the share you yourself, and the members of your family, have had in this good work. You have secured a place in our memory and in our prayers; and I trust the appeal you have made in behalf of the society you advocate, will not be without good fruit among us, and that the precious seed sown by that society will yield abundant increase unto eternal life. The Assembly called for the Report of

BUILDING COMMITTEE. Mr Hamilton then read the following Report

“ In their Report submitted to the General Assembly at Glasgow, in October last, the Committee gave a view, as correct as circumstances admitted, of the progress which had then been made in the important department of the Church's operations falling under their cognizance. That report, however, was merely an interim report, and it could be nothing else. From the date of the disruption, there had elapsed only five months an interval in reference to our vast undertaking too short to admit of more than a commencement being made in it, and some probable calculation being formed as to the prospect of its ultimate completion. The present report must necessarily partake, in great measure, of the same character. It is yet but one short year since our faithful ministers,—170 in number,-put their names in this hall, to that deed by which they vindicated their liberty as the servants of Christ, and cast themselves, and the cause which they counted worthy the loss of all things, upon the providence of God and the religious sympathies of the people of Scotland. By that act our ministers stood before us, without churches, without manses, without stipends; but thanks be to God, they were not without congregations. The people of Scotland forthwith formed congregations for them, greatly more in number than their ministers could possibly supply; and, though upwards of 100 additional ministers have since been ordained over upwards of 100 additional congregations, the demand is still far from being satisfied. In thus uniting themselves to their ministers, the people have united themselves to their cause, which is not the cause of the ministers more than it is the cause of every individual member of the Church of Christ. Towards that cause the ministers performed their part, by making an absolute surrender of their all; and what five hundred ministers sacrificed to the cause, a million of people should surely be ready to supply to it. The effort requisite to this end, on the part of the people, involves, no doubt, a somewhat unusual amount of sacrifice. But what are the sacrifices required of us, compared to the sacrifices that have been made by our ministers? And if the cause was worthy of their sacrifice, it must be worthy of sacrifices an hundred-fold greater than any which we have yet been called to make for it.

“ Judging from what has been already done, the Committee see no reason to doubt, that the people of Scotland will discharge the duty now devolved upon them. The sustentation of the ministry, it is confidently anticipated, will appear to be amply provided for before six months more have expired. The erection of manses will follow in due time. And in regard to the erection of places of Worship, which forms the proper province of this Committee, the anticipations which they have expressed will be justified by the statement of this one fact, that notwithstanding the length. ened preparations which building usually requires, and notwithstanding the multifari. ous obstacles which have been studiously thrown in our way, there are already, on this our first anniversary, churches built and completed, or on the point of immediate completion, to a number equal to, if not exceeding, the total number of 470 mipisters who abandoned the Establishment in May 1843.

“ Still in effecting so great a movement, and in organizing and creating out of unprepared elements, a system so extensive as that which we contemplate, a certain time is indispensable. At the end of the first year, the work in all its departments, can only be in progress; and any Report therefore, that can now be made, must have respect to the future, as much as to the past,-a just conception of our progress consisting in a correct appreciation, not less of what remains to be done, than of what has already been accomplished. It is on this account it becomes so important, as was observed in the former Report, that instead of occupying ourselves about any indefinite project of future church extension, we should now strictly confine our attention to the precise task of providing places of worship for the congregations created by the immediate effects of the late disruption,-holding our present duty to be summed up in the act of restoring ourselves against the immediate results of that event. This once done,-and done thoroughly,- the Church will then be equipped for discharging all its ulterior duties with alacrity and ease ; and the one thing, therefore, we are now concerned with is, to see that we acquit ourselves of this specific task, and, once for all, make a final end of it. As the accomplishment of this task, however, requires time, we must bear in mind that it consequently requires from us not one, but several repeated efforts. In this respect, the duty imposed upon us differs from that which was imposed on our ministers, their trial having consisted in one act of entire and absolute self. sacrifice,--ours consisting in several successive and comparatively trivial sacrifices ; the one demanding a signal effort of the highest Christian courage, the other needing only a moderate exercise of Christian patience and steadiness of purpose. And if, in discharging onr comparatively light and easy duty, our resolution should ever threaten for one moment to fail, let us only call to remembrance the example which has been set before us by our devoted ministers, and, following them, even as they, in this, have followed Christ, let us again return, with unshaken purpose, to the prosecution and completion of our humble part in this great enterprise.

“ In bringing the subject before the house, the Committee will adhere to the me. thod adopted in their former Report; and will therefore, in the first place, endeavour to give a general, but, they trust, sufficiently just view, of the point we have now reached, in the prosecution of our great building object—so that we may form some correct notion of how much of the work is done, and how much of it yet remains before us; and, in the second place, they will explain more particularly the course of their administration of the Central Building Fund, which alone falls under their immediate control. For full information respecting pecuniary details, the Committee refer to the annual accounts of the Church just about to be published.

[ocr errors]

“ I. General State and Prospects of Building Operations. “ In their former Report, the Committee stated, upon the data there referred to, that the total number of churches requiring to be built in consequence of the disruption, might be taken at 700; and this estimate they are of opinion may be safely adbered to.

The Committee stated farther, that the average expense of our churches might be taken at L.500, to which estimate they also adhered; so that the result formerly deduced from these data remains unaltered, viz., that the total amount of money requisite for the completion of our undertaking is the sum of L.350,000.

“ In the former Report, the amount realized at its date, was stated as follows,

viz:

L.76,180 2 11

Total subscriptions to Central Buiding Fund
Total subscriptions for Local objects,—that is to say, for the
building of particular churches,

, -as reported to the committee

91, 718 5 5

[ocr errors]

Making the total subscriptions to the Central Fund and to local objects, conjointly

L. 167,898 8 4 To which there was added,-being the estimated value of the

places of worship built and presented to the Church, and of ihe other munificent donations in kind given by the Marquis of Breadalbane and others,—the sum of

15,000 0 0 Increasing the amount of funds realized or available at the date

L. 182,898 8 4 of last report, to the sum of The committee farther referred to the undoubted fact, that there

were a number of congregations on the point of proceeding to build their places of Worship, and on the point, therefore, of making their local collections for that purpose, though these had not yet been made or reported; and in giving a view of the then state and prospects of the work, they thought it right, on this account to put an estimate on these prospective collections, which they entered at the suin of

25,000 0 0 Bringing'out, as the total amount of funds that were to be

L. 207,898 8 4 reckoned upon at the date of last report, the sum of

“ The sum of L. 25,000 thus entered in last report, on the score of prospective local collections, has since been much more than realized. But taking only the sums entered in the report as being actually realized or ascertained, we had at that date the above mentioned sum of L. 182,898, 8s. 4d. upon which to ground our conclusion as to the progress then made in the work, -giving us considerably more than one-half of the total sum of L.350,000 requisite for the entire completion of our undertaking; a result to have attained to which, in the brief space of five months, could not be considered as otherwise than highly satisfactory and encouraging.

"Taking a similar view of the funds at the present time, they will be found to stund as follows : -- viz.

« 上一頁繼續 »