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I can conceive of really devoted Christian young men without the means of coming forward for their education; and I do hope that Presbyteries will revive the good old practice of making exertions within their bounds, so as to furnish for theological students two or ibree bursaries, to enable them to gain access to the Theological Seminary. My great wish is to stir up in the hearts of these young men a real desire for Christian usefulness, and to assure them that the necessities of the Church offer an unbounded field for their labour. I for one confi. dently look forward to the time when such will be the extent of the Free Church, such the number of its congregations,—that one permanent seminary in Edinburgh will not meet all the requisitions that will arise. For my own part, I am exceedingly favourable to the permanent institution of a college in Aberdeen, and think that the objection that has been made to it is just one of its recommendations, viz. that there would be but small classes. (Hear, hear.) I sincerely wish that people knew the distress of a theological lecturer coming forth with a whole. sale lecture to the bundred and fifty students, and how impossible it is to take cog. nizance of these students individually. I wish that classes could be reduced so as to come within the compass of a large oval table, round which the students might sit, with the professor at the head of it. (Loud laughter.) I beg to say, that it is not enough that we should go on gradually, and ascertain when a second permanent theological institution may be called for; but I think it were more desirable in the mean time, that a temporary expedient should be resorted to both in Glasgow and Aberdeen—(cheers)—for the bringing forth of additional young men for this mighty and important work. For none of our objects should the liberality of our friends be more stimulated than for the collegiate department. Look at England, with its two universities, richly endowed as they are, yet receiving most munificent bequests every year. I hope that in like manner we may be able to fulfil the object upon which the heart of John Knox was set. (Cheers.) He was not one of those who, conversant in economics, overlooked the secular in their regard for the spiritual. There was nothing more sagacious in the plans of Knox than his desire to plant a college in every great lown in Scotland; and that was the thing which ani. mated the zeal of those vebement protestations he lifted up against the rapacity of those noblemen who appropriated the revenue of the church to themselves. He thought that instead of ministering to the comfort and splendour of the landed pro. prietors, it ought to bave been devoted to the moral and literary improvement of the people of Scotland. (Cheers.) There is one recommendation more in regard to the manner in which we may conduct these embryo congregations, till they are ready for the labours of a permanent pastor. In the first place, a great deal may be done by catechists; and I should like that these embryo congregations would in. dulge us for some time, and not insist that ministers should at once be placed over them. I would say to them, “ You must really go on with catechists in the mean time, and we must go on increasing our supply of preachers as fast as we can, till we have admitted every one of you to the permanent Christian service of the Free Church. We ask your particular indulgence. Do avail yourselves of the home piety that is in the midst of you, and of the services of Christian laymen. You will have to track for some months in this stage, but ere long your object will be secured.” I confess that I am not so strict or particular as some men in regard to the employment of catechists. I remember in the year 1822, conversing on this subject, with an English bishop; and as he is now in his grave, I need not hesitate to mention his name. He was the Bishop of Gloucester, Dr Ryder, a very evangelical and excellent person. He was also Dean of Wells, and being in the neighbourbood of that place, he was kind enough to invite me to dinner, and I found myself in the midst of a number of the dignified clergy of the Church of England. Our conversation was rather controversial, I must say, as we were not altogether at one in opinion. One of the questions we discussed was, how far it was competent to employ men in this way wbo bad no formal ordination. I told them of my expe. perience in Glasgow, where I was a minister at the time; and that I had frequently occasion to go into the house of a poor dying creature, and on asking if she had been visited by any minister, the general reply was, No; and this was no reflection upon the ministers, because, in point of fact, the people had far outgrown the means of pastoral superintendence. But such a person would tell me that some poor neighbour had been in the habit of calling upon her, and speaking to her on religious subjects; and on tracing out this neighbour, I would discover him to be some Christian shoemaker or weaver; and I always looked upon these pious men with the most benign complacency. (Cheers.) We ought to avail ourselves of all such labourers wberever they are to be found, and turn them to account in our present circumstances for the Christian advantages of the population. Of course, I would do nothing in the way of employing such individuals without the consent of Presbyteries; and I sincerely hope that the Presbyteries will be able to bring forward men whom they can entrust with public Sabbath services, such as prayer, reading of a chapter, and I am not so very jealous of Presbyterian rule as to forbid them to go the length of expounding what they read. Give me a man full of piety, and out of the fulness of his Christian heart, I would let him discharge bis piety upon the congregation. (Loud cheers.) I have just one other recommendation. I hope our friends in Glasgow are as earnest as I am for the establishment of the district system. I have endeavoured to get it introduced in Edinburgh by means of a large committee con. sisting of disjecta membra; but, as all my experience tells me, that is not the way of getting the thing done. Instead of saying, Will you take this district, and I will take that other, it is much better just to Jay hold of one of these districts at once, and then get hold of the catechist or preacher that will operate in that district; and then you can say to others, as an inducement to follow your example; “ This is what we are doing; go you and do likewise.” Let the work be done, not in committee, where it is conducted by speeches and counter-speeches, but put your band to the work at once, ard you will soon get others to follow. There are perhaps not a sufficient number of catechists to be found ; but I know there are many elders in Edinburgh, -men of devoted piety, who are in the babit of conducting Sabbath schools, and who would at once give their services to such a work. These could moreover, officiate at congregational meetings, and would, I have no doubt, give great satisfaction to the people. I am reminded, while talking on this subject, of a circumstance which took place in the parish of Markinch a good many years ago. Old Lord Leven commenced very extensive iron works in that parish, at which a great many workmen were employed, and these the noble Earl thought proper to have opened with prayer. This was all good; but when the clergyman of the parish, who was called upon to officiate, was told so, be received the intelligence with some degree of suspicion, remarking that he saw no warrant in Scripture for opening an iron-house with prayer. Accordingly the company who had assembled on the occasion waited and better waited, but no minister appeared, upon wbich the venerable old Earl, baring bis head, and exposing his grey bairs to the elements, in the presence of all the gentlemen and the peasantry present, offered up a most impressive prayer. And so well did be dis. charge the duty, that, as the story goes, when it was over, one of the workmen, ad. dressing bis neighbours, suid, “ My Lord did better than ony black-coat o'them a'." (Great laughter.) And following the example of his Lordship, I do, from the bot. tom of my beart, wish that our elders and Christian laymen would take pity on our destitute condition, from the want of labourers, and immediately come forward. I don't say that I expect the hundreds in Glasgow and the hundreds in Edinburgh, who might come forward, to do so instantly. Many will, I doubt not, be compelled by that consciousness of their own deficiencies, which is often the best guarantee and The best proof of real qualification. But although you do not give me the hundreds, give me the tens, and I would be satisfied for a little. Through the instrumentality of such an agency, well and perseveringly wrought, and leading first to the formation of associations, and ultimately of congregations-if we bad but_men enough, preachers enough, Christian catechists and labourers enough, -1 believe the Free Church would be found better adapted than even the old Establishment was, for pervading and Christianizing the masses of our city population. One great result would be,- we would see what these poor districts could and would do for the susport of the gospel among them. I am very sure that the result would be most effectually to cause some of our country brethren to change their tone, and refrain from the sentimentalism of telling either their congregation or us that they are so poor as not to be able to do any thing for the support of gospel ordinances. I say they are able. And I am only sorry, when some of the Highland brethren were telling us of the inability of the people in some districts of the Highlands to have anytbing,- I am sorry I did not put the question, whether the practice of snuffing was at all prevalent among them. (Loud laughter.) Why, I believe that I could make out by the excise returns, that in the island of Islay alone, some L.6000 a year was spent on tobacco. (Continued laughter.) The power of littles is wonderful. I began with pennies,- now come down to pinches of snuff—(laughter)--and say that if we got but a tenth of the snuff used by the Highlanders,—every tenth pinch, -(great laughter)—it would enable us to support our whole ecclesiastical system in the Highlands. It is astonishing the power of the infinitesimals. The mass of the planet of Jupiter is made up of infinitesimals; and surely, after that, it is in the power of infinitesimals to make up a stipend for the minister of Ballachulish. (Great laughter,) Dr Chalmers concluded by again expressing a fervent hope that Chris. tian labourers would come forward and assist in the great work; adding, that if, by God's blessi they succeeded in so doing, they would render the greatest Christian, and, he would add, the greatest patriotic service which ever had been rendered by any body of men in the cause, whether of Christ, or of their country. The reverend Doctor sat down amid great applause. The Assembly now called for the
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE STATE OF RELIGION, and Mr Macfarlan of Renfrew read the following Report:
“ Your Committee baving fully deliberated on the important matters brought under their consideration, are of opimion
“ I. That the Presbyteries of the Church ought to be instructed forthwith, to make the state of religion at large, but especially within their respective bounds, a subject of earnest and prayerful consideration.
“ Tbat, in duing ebis, they ought particularly to consider, whether the actual mea. sure of divine power generally found to accompany the ministrations of the gospel during these latter times, be not greatly wanting wben compared with the promises of God's word, and with what seems to have been often enjoyed in other ages, and especially during Apostolical times.
" That they ought also deeply to ponder, and after asking counsel of God, to determine, as far as may be, the principal hindrances, or causes of spiritual barrenness, whether these are to be found with ministers themselves, or in whatever other quarter, and by what means they may be removed, so as to admit, if it be the Lord's will, of a larger measure of divine power going forth with the means employed; and farther, whether, in the present circumstances of the Church, there be not other and additional means which ought to be employed.
“ It appears to your Committee that much good might farther be done were this subject to be also brought under the consideration of kirk-sessions, particularly as regards their respective congregations.
“ Your Committee are strongly impressed with the importance of learning, in some such way as this, the whole mind of the Church, even if the matter were to go no farther. But they are also persuaded, that much more extensive and matured views on this subject may in this way be obtained than perhaps in any other. And if the Assembly sball see cause, either to re-appoint this Committee, or to appoint some other for the purpose of receiving and digesting returns to be made by the courts below, and generally for giving attention to this subject, a full and really valuable report might be prepared, and laid before the Commission in August, and if then approved, and if the Committee were so empowered, said report might immediately thereafter be printed and sent forth as a Pastoral Address to all the congregations of the Free Church; or, should this prove inconvenient, an address migbt be pre. pared therefrom.
“ II. But while your Committee would mainly look to the leavening process thus put in operation, and to the varied and matured views which inight in this way be
procured, the urgency of the present crisis induces them to submit the following suggestions, as calculated, under God, to promote the end in view, without incurring any unnecessary risk.
"1. And first, your Committee would submit, whether the whole of Tuesday's proceedings, which have not yet been provided for, and wbatever else stands in close connection therewith, ought not to be printed and put into general circulation, to enable the Church at large fully to apprehend the views and intentions of the Assem. bly; and generally and intelligently to co-operate in giving them effect.
“ 2. Your Committee would also submit, whether the ministers of the Church, in meeting to deliberate on the matters already suggested, ought not first, solemnly and affectionately, to converse together on what concerns themselves-on the awful responsibility of being entrusted as ambassadors for Christ, to deal with men in the matter of their condition before God-and whether they ought not, when so toge. ther, to inquire how such dealings muy be most scripturally and effectively conducted; and, in particular, as regards the allowing plain, pointed, soul-searching addresses, to occupy a more prominent place in the ordinary ministrations of the pulpit—and whether, on the other hand, there ought not to be more wrestling in prayer, preparatory to preaching, a more thorough recognition of the Divine sove. reignty, and of this very sovereignty as the ground of our confidence in the expectation of promised blessings.
“3. Your Committee would farther submit, as closely connected with this proposal, that the elders of each congregation ought also to consider the duties which the great Head of the Church may require at their hand, and in wbat spirit they ought to be discharged. And it were well if congregational meetings were held for like purposes, and especially for united prayer. The outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost was preceded by the long continued prayers of the whole Church, and the only occasion afterwards noticed, on which there was any thing like a second Pentecost, was in similar circumstances, (Acts iv. 23-27,) “ Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest till he establish, and till be make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." (Isaiah Ixii. 6, 7.)
"4. Your Committee have reason to fear, that loose ideas respecting the Divine authority and perpetual obligation of the Lord's day, and still more the many forms of Sabbath desecration which characterise our age and country, are among the principle hindrances of practical godliness. But irrespective of these, your Committee doubt whether even such as observe the holy rest of the Sabbath, be not generally wanting in a full and scriptural recognition of the Lord's day, as such-of the Lord's day, not only as a season of rest and of religious worship, but also as specially and eminently set apart-ibat our risen Lord may on that day reign undisturbed in the hearts of his people, and triumph as a conqueror in the conversion of sinners. Were the hours of that season of rest to be thus regarded, the ordinances of religion usually observed on that day would receive therefrom a special and solemnising character, and abuses which might otherwise appear trival would thus be seen to interfere with the Mediatorial glory and divine work of a risen and reigning Saviour. We are not to forget that it was on the first day of the week that the Lord of the Sabbath rose from the dead as a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance unto Israel and the forgiveness of sins, and that it was on the same day that the promise of the Father was bestowed on the Church for tbe establishment of the kingdom of Christ in this world.
“5. But it appears to your Committee to be almost essential to the full attainment even of such preparatory ends as these, that due care be taken to secure scriptural purity of communion - thus separating as much as possible the Church from the world, and removing causes of controversy which may otherwise stand in the way of an answer to the prayers offered. • The Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy that it cannot ar; but your iniquities bave separated between you and your God, and your sins bave bid bis face from you, that he will not hear.: (Isa. lix. 1, 2.)
• Your Committee are far from alleging in this, that the Free Church is specially guilty in this matter, and still farther from either alleging or admitting that it is more
so than was the Church at large previous to the disruption. They do not forget that the growing zeal of the Church in that as well as in other matters, was one of the main causes which issued in that event; and they are further aware, that many are still opposed to the Free Church on similar grounds. But as your Committee are not comparing the Free Church with other Churches, but the Free Church with the rule of God's word, they are satisfied that the Assembly, taking this view of the subject, will neither be ashamed to admit whatever may be found wanting, nor unwilling, as far as may be, to repair deficiencies,—desiring in this, that God may be glorified and men saved.
“6. And in now coming to the actual employment of farther means for the conversion of sinners and the edification of the Church, they would mention, first, what remains to be done as regards the Eldership. Hitherto, elders bave been to a great extent chiefly conversant with duties proper to deacons; but now that deacons will be found in every congregation, the attention of the elders ought to be mainly occupied with other and higher duties. What these, as a whole, are, it may be for the Church in some more matured form to determine; but, in the meantime, your Com. mittee would suggest that the elders of the Church ought to give themselves more fully to spiritual duties, acting in this as helps to the ministry, that greater fruit may by such means be secured and gathered in.
“7. There is one class of means so closely connected with the whole matter of Divine power accompanying the ordinances of the Gospel, that your Committee would place it in front of all others. It is the turning to account whatever there is of a spirit of prayer in the Church. There are perhaps in all your congregations some of those hidden ones, whose very life is bound up in whatever concerns the glory of the Redeemer. They will be rejoiced to learn that the Church, as a Church, has been so directed as to look away from man, and his imagined resources, to Him whose are all things, and whose especially is the power of turning the bearts of men. And what your Committee desiderate is, that these be drawn forth, like the Annas and Simeons of other times, so as to be available for leavening the congregations to which they belong, with a similar spirit of prayer and general expectancy. How this may be best done your Committee will not venture to describe, especially as the mere manner must depend on the circumstances; but the thing desired is that God's praying people should be induced to associate more together in such meetings as may be found to be for edification. And in this the eldership will probably find the fittest field for their first and early sowing.
“8. After this, your Committee would not forget means special to the young, and particularly Sabbath school teaching. It will not be doubted by any competent to judge, that Sabbath schools have been, during the last forty or fifty years, among the means most eminently blessed for staying the downward progress of our country and nation, and it is not, therefore, now to be spoken of as any thing new or special; but if the Free Church will, as a church, give itself to this work, in connection with other means of grace, your Committee are of opinion that the leavening process of Divine truth may in this way be carried into quarters which would scarcely be otherwise accessible, and the very exercise of teaching in a Sabbath school will tit and qualify for other and important duties.
“9. But it is the opinion of your Committee that, in present circumstances, means more special than these will require to be thought of. There are large masses of the population who, from whatever cause, are for the most part without any decided profession of religion, and who live practically beyond the reach of a preached gospel. It has been already sufficiently proved, that the classes referred to will not of themselves, and in any considerable number, attend the ordinary places of worship. And the question seems to be in the providence of God raised, whether it be not the duty of ministers to carry the gospel forth of the sanctuary to such places as the classes referred to are accustomed to frequent, or wherever they may be found. Many of the ministers of the Free Church were themselves driven forth of their wonted places of worship, and forced to preach in the fields, or wherever their people could be conveniently gathered together, and in these circumstances they found access to classes who were not likely otherwise to have beard the gospel at all. And your Committee