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arrangements for this day, else it might have been altogether spent in accordance with the nature and spirit of the exercises we have now engaged in, that is to say, altogether Sabbatically; instead of which, I had to pass by instant transition from the labours of a committee, engaged in important, no doubt, but still vutward business, to the more sacred and spiritual services of the house of God. cbange! what an enlargement! what a felt and immediate translation, as if one had entered into a new country and a new climate, when I came within the precincts of this bouse of prayer, and breathed its hallowing atmosphere, and joined in its saintly de. votions. Not that I came from the stormy element of debate,--not that there was mit aught of that strife of tongues from which the Psalmist longed to hide himself in God's especial service;—all was kind, and genial, and Christian-like courtesy. But as there must be a difference between the highest place on earth and even the lowest place in the kingdom of heaven, let us not wonder that there should also be a difference between even the blandest of human companionships, when assembled on the theme of the Church's secularities, let us not wonder that the difference should be so wide between a meeting assembled on such a theme, and the whole tone and temperament of this higher fellowship, when met to celebrate the most solemn of the Church's services, to listen to the man of God, and to join in his breathing aspirations after higher and better things. Let us make it our unceasing endeavour, and cherish it as our fondest hope, that all our external arrangments may be soon settled and set by, that so the ministers of God may be set free for giving themselves wholly to prayer and the ministry of the word. Oh! may the delightful spirit of this meeting wax stronger and stronger amongst us, and be sent forth from our Assembly, as a centre, throughout the Church and throughout the land. Then it will be a gladsome land truly, when the religion of its ministers tells upon its congregations, and these again upon its households, till from one end to the other there is heard throughout all its borders the melody which dwelleth in the habitations of the righteous. I cannot resist also mentioning the sympathy wherewith I joined in the sentiment,- how little do we mix up our prayers with our preparations, and how much we trust to the exercise of our natural powers! Many are the temptations to which our profession is peculiarly exposed, and of which our lay-brethren and friends have no adequate conception. Our very familiarity with the topics we handle is itself a snare, and a most dangerous and hazardous thing. Why, the lesson of death is not practically given to the hackneyed grave-digger, conversant with the skulls and skeletons of the church-yard. Neither does it follow that, because the great topic3 of salvation are present to our minds, and because we handle them in the composition of our sermons, they should tell practically and influentially on the heart. But, if they do not soften us, is there not a danger that they will harden us? and if they are not the savour of life unto life, is it not certain that they will prove the savour of death unto death? Ob! that we were sufficiently impressed with the solemnity of our position, and were unceasing in prayer to Heaven for that unction from the Holy One, without which we cannot save our own souls, neither can we save the souls of others. I cannot but reflect upon the very bigh vantage-ground occupied by our friend in the place where he has now delivered the sermon. I cannot ima. gine a more productive fountain-head- -a place of greater command over moral and spiritual good,—than that which he has occupied for the last two hours,—not merely because of such a sermon, charged throughout with the essence and spirituality of the gospel of Jesus Christ; but because of such a sermon delivered to such an au. dience-the dispensation of these words of truth and sacredness to men who are themselves the dispensers of the bread of life and the word of life to hundreds of congregations. I trust that this reflection will operate in this way,—that we shall consider such a day, so spent, as an integral part of the proceedings of every future Assembly. I do hope for more than this,-ibat our secular business will be indefinitely abridged, and that, whereas in time past the secular overshadowed the spiritual, in all time coming the spiritual will be made to overshadow the secular; so that, in point of fact, this shall be a great spiritual anniversary,—a Christian jubilee, so to speak, a day of refreshing from the Lord; and that this may be a central and command ing part of the country, whence streams shall go forth, and impressions be made upon the minds of the Church's ministers, and that these impressions may be husa
banded, and kept, and prayed with and prayed over, and not only kept fast, but acted upon, so that out of this fountain.bead shall emanate such streams as shall tell upon hundreds of the congregations, and thousands of the households of our beloved Scotland; and our Church by this means may become, through the descent of living water from the upper sanctuary, like a well-watered garden, presenting everywbere the pleasant fruits of righteousness. The announcement I have to make is, that the remainder of the time will be taken up by conversation on topics conjoined with, and kindred to those which have been so impressively handled in our presence.
The MODERATOR.—I am sure that the words which bave now been addressed to us will find a response in every heart. It appears to me that the great work and office now assigned to our Free Protesting Church, is to seek for the revival of re. ligion in our own bosoms, and to seck for its revival in our congregations, and in the community at large. And what I invite you now to do, is to take counsel to. gether, and to express your views in reference to these great objects,-namely, the state and prospects of religion among us, and the means of its revival and extension. If any one is inclined to speak at present on these subjects, we shall be happy to hear him; but if members should feel reluctant to address the house at present, lest they should weaken the impression that has already been made, then I suggest that we adjourn to the evening, and that we then take up the important topics to which I have referred.
After a pause during which no member evinced any desire to speak, the Moderator pronounced the benediction, and the house adjourned at a quarter past two o'clock, till the evening.
The Assembly having again met, the Moderator opened the evening's proceedings with prayer and praise. And thereafter, the Assembly resumed their conference on the state of religion.
The Moderator having asked if any member bad any remarks or suggestions in reference to the all-important subject brought before the house at the forenvon sederunt,
Dr Makellar rose and said, he hoped they would be enabled to feel the suitableness and solemnity of the remark of his reverend brother who had addressed them on a former part of the day, and feel that this was indeed “holy ground;" and he would earnestly seek in his own name, and in the names of all present, to realize this truth. He felt that, in the service in which they were privileged to engage in the former part of the day, this truth was brought before them with an earnestness, and closeness, and unction, which, while they ought not to exalt the creature in presence of the Creator, and he would therefore say nothing in the way of compliment,-ought to make them humbly think how much they owed to the Great Head of the Church, that bad permitted them to hear the truth so fully and affectionately stated. What they had to fear was, that their goodness might prove as the morning cloud and the early dew. The things of this world were so injurious to the soul, that they required to look continually to God, and seek that He would keep their feet from falling.--He was in a situation considerably different from that of most of his bretbren present; as he had had the charge of souls thirty years, but had now ceased to bave this in the same sense, and felt bimself in a position which enabled him to review bis past life. In doing this, he must confess, that everything his excellent brother bad said found a response and an echo in his heart; and from his own experience of the sins, and difficulties, and temptations he could bear testimony, (and he desired to say so humbly before the Assem. bly, before God), that he deeply felt, that in many things he bad offended and come short, and for the benefit of his brethren would say, that it would be well for all of them to ask grace to be faithful, and to hearken to the things that make for their everlasting peace and to be enabled to do their work in extending the Redeemer's kingdom on earth. They had been enabled to bear a testimony before the world,
but now they were called to look to their own peculiar work,—to scck to realize its importance to strive that there may be a greater prosperity of true religion throughout the land. In a few days they would be again separated, and each return to bis own parish and district; but oh, that we all united in daily prayer to God, that each one, minister, elder, and deacon might be faithful to the cause, and faithful to the Great Head. He hoped this was their desire, and that they would seek constantly to attain it. He had not anything in particular to state; but with regard to the various topics that had been brought before them, he might advert to one,-the temptation to which ministers are exposed, and the difficulties they must expect to encounter ; he trusted they would look to this, and seek strength to overcome them where alone it was to be found to the grace of Him wbo sends no one a warfare on his own charges, and bas promised to be with his servants always, even to tbe end of the world. It was good to remember they had many adversaries, who looked upon them with envy, hatred, and, it may be, were ready to utter most malicious and untrue accusations, and even as to their proceedings of that day, to say, * These men are now becoming sensible that they have made a false step, and are beginning to show indications that they fear they have done so. Instead of that, he hoped they were all more and more convinced that they never were in a more right position, and never were in more encouraging circumstances. (Loud cheers.) Along with some of his brethren be recently had the privilege of listening to the Hon and Rev. Baptist Noel, who said, that though a dark cloud now lowered over the Free Church of Scotland, if it was yet enabled to hold steadily on its course, be trusted to see a brighter day yet dawn upon Scotland. He (Dr Makellar) trusted tbis hope would be realized. The way to realize it was, in humble dependence on the grace of God, for each minister and elder to do bis duty, and in the private relations to be daily, humbly, and closely walking with God, being wholly given to the work, and desiring to follow the Lord fully. In doing this, he trusted they should be enabled to give such evidence as would put to silence every gain-sayer. He would conclude by expressing bis great happiness to find that bitherto there bad beeu but little reference to the Church that was now the Established Church of the land. He was desirous that everything reflecting upon those from whom they had separated should be avoided. Their position was of a bigber character. They did not preach against their churches unless compelled, although their system, which they believed to be erroneous, must be opposed. But let this be done by acting ac. cording to the law of Christ, and with consciences void of offence toward Gud and toward all men. He rejoiced in the manifestation of this spirit, and hoped it would continue throughout the proceedings, and then it would be seen that they were of one heart and one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.
Rev. Mr M.FARLANE said, — The subject of the overtures referred to was one which, for the last 14 years, had occupied bis own mind, and whilst be understood that the object at present was not so much to suggest the things to be done to promote the end, as to draw attention to the subject, he for himself would desiderate, it it were possible, that questions were put to some of those fathers and brethren who had been signally honoured in their labours, as to the means wbich had been so owned of God; but as this was not possible, in present circumstances, he would merely throw out tbe hint, so that when they were separated, brethren might together freely converse on the subject, and so might be led to the adoption of measures which would not occur in this Assembly. As the object of the present intercourse was not so much for the suggesting of means, as for the purpose of eliciting principles, and of leavening minds with those principles, he would take the liberty of referring to one or two which perhaps were least brought into view this forenoon. The two branches which be thought ought especially to be before them on the subject, were the disclosure of their own shortcomings, and proving their own thoughts and feelings, -and that branch was very fully set before them—and there was the directing of attention to the sources whence repentance itself flows, and by the right attention to which we sball be led to pray and labour in faith. There were two ways by which he thougbt the will of God might be discovered ; tbe one of these was the works of his providence, and the other the operations of bis Spirit.
The providence of God was very eminently marked in the steps by which the Free Church had been led; so that it was impossible for any one to look back on the twenty years past, and not to see a power rising like a tide, which broke through one restraint after another, until at last it swept away the links which bound us to the institutions of the country, and left us standing forth alone. He would not dwell upon this topic, but would address a few words to them on the other part—the indications of God's purposes to be found in the operation of his Spirit. He believed that wherever God had a work to accomplish in the saving of souls, there was discovered among his own people, and especially those who held closest intercourse with Him, a thirsting after larger attainments, and a growing expectation of blessings not previously enjoyed. This naturally led to prayer. At the time when the world was at its lowest state in regard to religion—when Christ was born—when all the world except Judea was sunk in idolatry, there was a little handful of men and women at Jerusalem, who waited for the redemption of Israel, and spent days and nights in the temple, praying, and praising God, and holding intercourse one with another. So in Galilee there was an Andrew and a Philip, who had their fig trees, beneath which they poured out their souls, so that it seemed as if, when His church was sunk into a little band, God poured out the more of his Holy Spirit upon them, and made the lamp to burn more brightly, because of the darkness all around. There was also the example of praying Anna. There was surely a meaning in the fact that when our blessed Saviour was in the garden, the standard-bearers discovered how feeble they were when all but John deserted bim, and also in the fact that after His resurrection, some of them are heard to say, “We thought it had been He who was to redeem Israel." God puts out the light of artificial lanterns, that we may see the stars in the heavens. Sometimes all was despair, and the remedy was bound up in a promise, and this promise bound up in a command—“ Wait at Jerusalem and pray;" not waiting merely, but waiting, and praying, and expecting the blessing. When this promise was given, God's chosen people were not told when the Spirit would be given-how soon he sbould come ; it was not said there was to be any manifestation of the Spirit, but only that the Spirit would be given, and they were not to enter on their work till this bad been done. They waited and prayed with one accord, and be (Mr MFarlane) regarded that as a sure sign that prayers are to be beard, when the hearts of God's people are melted into one. They had been reminded in the forenoon, of the necessity of being more enlarged in their devotional exercises. And Peter said of himself that be would give himself to prayer, thus giving prayer an equal place with other means. In like manner, when God was about to work a work, his ministers were enlarged in their prayers, and oftentimes entering the pulpit with greater difficulty. There were also manifestations of Providence leading on to the right position. The way in which they had been led to remove one obstruction after another, so as at last to be regarded with interest by all Europe, surely indi. cated that some great work was intended to be accomplished by them. As a Church, they bad not of past years engaged largely in prayer. Associations for prayer had indeed greatly increased during the last fourteen years. There had been seasons for prayer set apart, and a growing earnestness felt.
There were many private and congregational meetings for prayer ; but these were not prominent enough to attract public attention, and God was in this way indicating wbat be means to bestow, for He who put into the heart the prayer of faith meant to answer it ; and now this Church bad for the first time, as a Church, ventured upon that solemn service. He did not at that moment recollect the time when the Church of Scotland was so engaged, since that memorable day when the Covenant was signed on the other side of the town—(pointing in the direction of the Greyfriars' --when the whole Churcb, amidst her sore trials, bumbled themselves deeply before God, and devoted themselves to bis honour and service; and we all know that there was then an outpouring of his Spirit, which prepared his people for what came upon them. God only knew what was before them; but if they were on their bended knees crying unto the Lord, I am thine-thy servant, thou hast loosed-iny bond, they need not doubt that He had work to do, whether to promote the end of his Church in the salvation of sinners, or to bear testimony to the truth amidst trial and suffering. Mr M•F. then concluded by recommending continued and fervent prayers.
Dr Laird of Portmoak said, It was a source of consolation amid a sense of their own weakness, and a conviction of their utter insufficiency, that sufficiency for the work was promised and provided in answer to prayer. There was a consolation to those who reposed confidence on the promise of God, that none would be sent warring on bis own charges. I consider myself, proceeded the venerable Doctor, here placed in very peculiar circumstances. I have now been near half a century in the service of the Church, and can look back through this long period of years on the many diffi. culties under wbich we have laboured; and, therefore, standing as I do, between the living and the dead, look back with regret on much loss of time and much misapplication of talent. But the past cannot be recovered ; and therefore I look forward, not to any effort I now can be supposed able to make, but to the efforts of my younger brethren. It is on them that of necessity the fate of the Church must now depend. Neither I nor any of my cotemporaries can start again the race of life; and therefore I consider it my duty to press on my younger brethren tbe vast im. portance they ought to attach to the position in which they are placed, and to weigh well the considerations that require them to engage in a diligent, a fervent, and a bumble discharge of their duties. There are men who watch for every appearance of division among you, every neglect of duty, and every symptom of indifference or coldness in the discharge of that duty; and there is another class with whom I deeply sympathize, who will mourn in secret, and shed bitter tears of sorrow, at every stumble you make on your way. We ought to guard against every thing that may give cause to the one class of exulting over us, and that may excite grief among the other,--those who wish well to religion and the Free Church. Let us be faith. ful and watchful unto the end, abound in prayer, and gird up the loins of our mind. The wide world is before us, and it is our duty to occupy it as far as time and means will enable us. Let us engage actively in the ministerial work-recommending the doctrines of God the Father by an earnestness, solemnity, perseverance becoming their importance; and in private let us live as men and as Christians, showing to the world that we are sincere, by exemplifying ourselves what we labour, and let us beseech them also so to do. And let us remember that great attention is due to the rising generation. It is unfortunate that in these times the parental instruction has less of that power which it formerly had; and it is our duty not only as ministers to press upon parents the necessity of training up their children in the fear of God, but as individuals to assist them in so doing, as far as is in our power. There are many in this Assembly in the full vigour of life, in the prime of health and strength, whom again, before sinking down in the vale of years, I would press to the right discharge of their duty, assuring them that if they enter into it with all their heart, the blessing of God will descend on their labours, and that the good work will thus, in the hand of God, be carried forward from generation to generation, and the Church become a praise in the land.
Rev. Mr Brown of Largo said, That believing, as he did, that the Great Head of the Church had a great work for them to fulfil, and that this is the work on which he is intent- for which he drunk the bitter cup, and now reigns, and must reign-even the salvation of lost sinners, and this work is the end of the ministry, he hailed with satisfaction the overture that had come from the Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and wbich had led to the proceedings of what he might call this blessed day. He did not doubt that though the Lord had done great things for us, be bad yet still greater things in store, if they had a single eye, and proceeded on under the guidance of bis Holy Spirit, putting away all selfishness, and seeking to bring souls to Jesus; imparting a better tone, and a loftier and healthier theology to those who had been misled by the specious and party.coloured evangelism discovered of late. But where and how are we to begin ? we must begin with ourselves--drinking more into the spirit of our Master, and with enlarged attainments in personal and practical boliness, else we cannot hope to succeed, - we cannot give to others what we have not ourselves received- we cannot water otbers if we are not watered. The prosperity of our ministry depends on the prosperity of religion in our own souls. He greatly desired that the Assembly would, without delay, turn their attention to the expediency of appointing Evangelists, of freeing some of their most gifted ministers from their present charge, that they might perambulate the land, in the steps of Wesley and Whitefield; and he had no doubt that were they so sent, behind them also would be