ePub 版


Devotional Exercises-Report on Schemes of the Church-Speeches of Mr Dunlop, Dr Brown, Dr

Wilson, the Moderator-Business of the House-Ministers to preach on Sabbath_Devotional Exercises-Report on Sabbath Observance-Speeches of Mr M.Farlan (Renfrew,) R. Paul, Esq., Mr Simpson (Aberdeen,) Mr Bridges, Mr Blackadder-Overtures on state of Religion, received, and Dr Candlish's speech on them.

The Assembly met at 12 o'clock, and engaged in the usual devotional exercises of singing and reading a chapter, led by the Moderator ; after which the Rev. Mr Sheppard again engaged in prayer, and the Assembly having called for the report on

THE SCHEMES OF THE CHURCH, The Rev. Dr MAKELLAR, convener, rose and addressed the Assembly as follows: - It is my duty to give some account of the proceedings of the Board of Missions. I feel my own incompetence for the proper discharge of this duty; and although it is not very difficult in itself, yet I cannot help expressing my regret that it should not be presented on this occasion, as it has been formerly, by my admirable friend Mr Dunlop—applause) - whose talents, and skill, and deep Christian feeling enable him to impart so much interest to every subject which he feels it his duty to present to this Assembly. At the same time I am encouraged to attempt this duty from the consideration that every other circumstance of difficulty is on the side of prosperity. It bath pleased our God in a most remarkable manner to prosper the Free Church. In his abundant mercy not only bath be sustained us under tbe beavy pressure of complicated difficulties which belong to our condition, but it hath pleased him to open up before us a wide and effectual door by which we may enter into a field of exertion and usefulness such as the Church of Christ has seldom enjoyed since the primitive age. (Applause.) Our position is one of importance and deep responsibility. We are a spectacle unto angels and men,—not merely a body to be looked at, and it may be, in some quarters, with admiration, and in others turned away from with aversion; but as a body whom God has raised up in the course of his providence for the accomplishment of most important works. Can we fail to have a conviction that God desires to accomplish important purposes by our instrumentality and means ? He has been pleased to confer on us the high distinction of being in these latter days the first of Christian Churches called upon to testify for Christ at the expense of sacrifices and sore trials. And surely He requires at our hands that we follow it up by a faithful testimony. It is not the proper business of the Board of Missions to give a particular detail of the proceedings of any one of the Schemes of the Free Church; tbat duty belongs to the respective Committees to whose charge these are given; but no one will deem it an impropriety on our part that we shonld call on the General Assembly, and all the members of our Church, and all who love our Zion, to adore the goodness of God vouchsafed to us in so remarkable a manner at this solemn period of the bistory of the Church of Scotland. For it becometh us to remember that we are the Church of Scotland-(loud applause)—to remember that the purity and integrity of a church do not depend on gold, or silver, or worldly endowments. It becomes us to remember that the bolding fast of the truth as it is in Jesus, and the being devoted to his service and glory, are what at all times have been considered the glory of the Chureh of Scotland, and what we should all pray, and seek, and ask, may be realized in our day more and more. If, in the exercise of God's sovereignty and mercy, be has been pleased to Jay on us extraordinary obligations, be at the same time has enabled us to make very unusual exertions, he has enabled us to meet the exigencies of our condition, and to fullil the purposes of his grace. It is a wonder unto men,—but especially a wonder to ourselves,-ibat in so short a time we have been enabled to realize, in various ways, what God in his mercy has been pleased to accomplish in the midst of us. When we look to our internal objects, and internal arrangements,—and these we must acknowledge are very numerous, and of great magnitude, and require to be maintained and carried forward at very costly and bigh expense, when we think of our sites of churches, of our college, and of our schools,-of our professors and students,-of our pastors and flocks; and when we think, on the other band, of our external relations in the colonies,—of our missionaries, foreign stations, and favourable openings,-can we fail to acknowledge that our Church presents a spectacle, the like of wbich has not been realized in the Church of Christ sioce the primitive age ? (Applause.) It is natural, when speaking of these things, to dwell with particular delight on the proceedings of our missionaries. This is a pleasing feature in the aspect of our Church, and no language can adequately express the value and importance of the testimony of such men, who, without a single exception, bave attached themselves to the cause of the Free Church of Scotland. No mind can adequately estimate the value of the testimony they have given to our principles. These men bave spoken not only to us and to our adversaries who belong to this land. They have spoken to us in a way calculated to comfort and encourage our bearts, and to our adversaries in a way that cannot be gainsayed or controverted. But their testimony is not confined to us in these lands: they speak to heathens and Christians. They proclaim the truth, as it were, from pole, to pole, that “the Lord Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father," and more, that “this is the testimony that overcometh the world, even our faitb." Infidels may sneer and scoff at men doing such things as have been done in our day, and at the force of Christian principle; but these missionaries bave been called upon to exemplify such in a higher degree than God has laid upon us in this land. Their testimony is of great value in these respects, and we should seek to be enabled to estimate it accordingly. I will here take the freedom to quote a single sentence from a letter I received two days ago from Dr Duff, which bears on this subject not only as to their adherence, wbich is beyond all doubt, but to the spirit which animates them. After giving an account of their removal from the premises tbey previously occupied, and from which, as we all know, they were compelled to remove, be says, “ The whole of the teachers, monitors, and pupils have, without one exception-(much applause)—together with the servants attached to the establisbment-(renewed applause)-removed with us from these premises." We cannot estimate aright the benefit likely to result to the cause of God from the conduct of these boly men. And wbile every part of our situation as a Church is calculated to give us encouragement, the abundant supplies that have been provided for our different important objects is calculated to fill us with joy and wonder. That these have been abundant must be well known to those who are in any degree conversant with the subject; for besides what has been contributed to the building of churches and tbe Sustentation Fund, besides the large sums contributed to these objects, the receipts of the Board of Missions alone amounts this year to nearly L.32,000. And here I cannot but embrace the opportunity of referring to what many of my brethren witnessed in England, when we were called upon to go there. The main object of our visit was to plead assistance in building churches for our poor congregations; and, after endeavouring to influence their sympathy and liberality toward ibat object, when we referred to wbat we had been enabled to do on behalf of our mission scheme, we found that their feelings rose from interest to enthusiasm, and they thus rejoiced that we were attentive also to the spiritual wants and destitution of those in other lands perishing for lack of knowledge. The large sums that have been contributed were called for by our own necessities : the right ordering of our Church required this; but contributions for missionary schemes may be traced up to a different principle-to the working of that generous and divine principle which teacheth – Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” When success attends us in cultivating our own field, we ought to remember at the same time that the world is the wide field in which we are called to labour, that in it we are to break up the fallow ground, and sow the good seed of the kingdom, springing forth into everlasting life. Now, it is a cheering circumstance connected with our Church, that it is characterized so much by its support of missions --that it longs for the salvation of souls that it seeks to send the glad tidings of salvation to the most distant corners of the earth. It is gratifying to know, with respect lo the character of the Free Church of Scotland, that it should be in this manner avi. mated by a missionary spirit. We bear of other Churches which contend about apostolical succession, and such like things. We put all these away from us; but we desire to have the spirit that animated the Apostles, when they went forth into posi. tions of danger, not accounting their lives dear to them, that they might proclaim to a perishing world the glad tidings of salvation through a crucified Saviour. We earnestly desire that the Spirit may be given us in large measure, and that, from whatever quarter the cry may come, “ Come over and help us,” our hearts may be moved, and our hands stretched out to impart to them the knowledge of the only and all suffi. cient remedy which God has been pleased to make known to us. It is required of us, and it ought to be our joy, that we have the privilege of doing this.

I am sensible I require much to apologize to the Assembly for drawing so long on their attention-(applause)—but I have still to solicit their forbearance a little, while I propose to give very shortly a sketch of the sources whence the abundant supplies that God has given us have proceeded. There is a remarkable combination of companions and coadjutors in this matter. There are young and old, of all sexes, and conditions, and countries,-a combination of individuals, all actuated, as we desire and trust, by the Spirit of the living God, to assist us. It must be delightful to the Assembly to know of the part which the sabbath-schools have taken in this matter ; contributions bave been received from seventy-eight of these schools, for promoting the missionary schemes of the Free Church. It must be delightful, too, to know that the Ladies' Associations have also lent their aid to our cause,—that those whose hearts are so much alive to everything tender and excellent in character, and calculated to promote the prosperity of the Redeemer's kingdom, have been ready, not only with their counsel and labour, but that many of them were prepared to part with their last mite, that it might be given in to the treasury of their God. (Applause.) It ought to be matter of great encouragement to us that we have such coadjutors. In addition to these, we have received assistance from brethren of our own communion in dis. tant lands. Large contributions have been made in India, and in other parts of the world; for as soon as the tidings reached them of what had been done in the land of their fathers, their hearts were moved, and their bands opened to assist us—as I trust they were moved to assist us with their prayers. In addition, there are our Scottish Churches, those of our own brethren who differ from us on some things, but are on the most important agreed; these are, the Relief, the United Secession, the Original Seceders, and it may be others also; and they have given us their aid amidst their own difficulties, (Applause.) There are also contributions from Eng. Jand. It is rot with them a thing which evaporates or dies away, but according to their generous and kindly character, they are ready to assist us in every thing in which they believe we require their help. We have also received contributions from Ireland amidst their difficulties. And there are also our own congregational collections. The chief amount of our collections are to be looked for there ; and there we find it. It is the main spring, the fountain whence our main supplies come; and surely we ought to be ready to express the gratification of our own minds, and our gratitude to God for baving stirred up our congregations to contribute so liberally to the missionary schemes. When adverting to these circumstances, I cannot help saying, that while our emotions must be of a somewhat mingled nature, there is much that must gratify and delight us; and when we consider the amount contributed, it must appear very surprising, and not only valuable in itself from its amount, but also as it is indi. cative of the Christian feeling that animates the hearts of our people. On this account it is very gratifying to us; but at the same time we must acknowledge that there are considerable deficiency and irregularity in the way in which these contribu. tions have been made. In a few places there bave been none at all, and in others contributions have been made to a few of the schemes, and not to the others,—and so on, as the accounts will show when put into the hands of members of Assembly. These things do exist, and while in our heart we rejoice on account of what the Lord hath been pleased to do, we cannot but express regret that some of our ministers should have felt themselves warranted (I use the word in the gentlest sense) to withhold from their congregations the opportunity of contributing even the smallest sum. (Hear, hear.) I hope that they will see tbis to be a mistake; and trusting that He who pronounced such commendation on the widow's inile, will influence tbe hearts


of the 'people, I hope that ministers will give them suitable opportunity. There is no doubt there are manifold difficulties and bindrances, but still it is our duty to make the attempt; and if made, I have no doubt the result will be satisfactory. There is, also, besides the foregoing, the Missionary | Record, which must not be altogether overlooked. It is true that, in respect to the amount of its returns, it is of minor consideration ; but still, it has made some contribution towards the schemes of the Church,-indeed, the profits that accrue from it do not fall much short of supporting the Mission Office; and besides, they are on the increase. I trust that we may be enabled to improve the character of the Record more and more, so that it may the more readily commend itself to the Christian class of the population. And, brethren, wben dwelling upon this point, I am persuaded you will not deny me the privilege of referring particularly to the Secretary of the Board of Missions, the Rev. Mr Jaffray. From the commencement of his connection with our Church, his conduct has met with much approbation, and his diligence and devotedness to the cause he has undertaken, observed. And having bad opportunities of remarking his conduct, I do not hesitate to say that I can indeed bear a decided and strong testimony in favour of his ability, assiduity, faithfulness, and success in the discharge of his duties. I am sure this will be gratifying to the members of our Church, and that they will rightly appreciate what he has done for the advancement of the cause. It may be proper, before concluding, to read the amount of the contributions separately, so that what has been given to each of these scbemes may be seen: For the Education Scheme,

L. 4,912 19 2 For the India Mission, including L.6387 contributed in India, 13,432 18 g For the Home Mission,

2,987 2 71 For the Colonies,

3,619 17 For the Conversion of the Jews,

4,518 18 For Sutherland and Ross,

2,259 12 75 Making a grand total of L.31,790 13 3 But I think it right to mention, that yesterday I was informed by Mr Jaffray, that since the report was made up, the total amount bas swelled to above L. 32,000. (Applause.) When this is stated, I think we cannot help saying in sincerity of heart, • Wbat hath God done for us! He who is mighty hath done great things for us : holy and reverend is His name.” When we think of the many difficulties and discouraging circumstances that surrounded us wben we commenced, and when we think of the various calls upon our liberality in other respects, it cannot fail to become matter of wonder and joy to God, that be bath enabled us in respect to these Schemes to do so much. If He bath done so much, He hath in that given us assurance that He is ready to do even greater things. Let us desire that He will impart to us still higher blessings, and tbat all we receive, and all placed within our power, may be made available for the spread of true religion, and for the reviving, and strengthening, and stirring up of souls ready to perish, and for extending the Redeemer's kingdom upon earth. I trust that a deep impression may be made upon this Assembly as to the importance of pleading earnestly with God that He will look on us with favour, and that He will pour on us the grace of his Holy Spirit in rich abundance, and that ministers, and elders, and people, may be led to pray that the Lord will grant us his countenance and grace, in such a way as that the tire shall be kindled and shall spread from heart to heart, till we are enabled to present before our God, not only during our meetings here, but in all our ministrations and services, a sacrifice that shall be acceptable and well pleasing in His sight, througb Jesus Christ our Lord. The reverend Doctor then concluded by thanking the Assembly for their attention, and sat down amidst much applause.

Mr A. DUNLOP said, -1 have to congratulate my reverend father on having had the privilege of laying before you such a report as he has now done ; and I have to congratulate the house on its being privileged to receive such a report at his hands, and to receive from him the glad tidings that God bas so filled the hearts of our people as to inspire them, amid great and heavy demands for supplying their own places of worship, with the desire of promoting the extension of His Son's kingdom in orber parts of the earth, and to enable them not only to maintain, but to exceed, the contributions they have made in former years. (Hear.) To myself it is matter of great joy and gladness, that we have had such a report laid before us this day. At this time twelvemonths, I ventured with some confidence, but not without reason, to say, that I expected such would be the result. It might have been supposed that tbis was an over-strained expectation ; but I felt as if it were impossible that a church and people, that had been privileged to bear the testimony wbich they had borne for God's glory and his Son's cause, should diminish, whatever had been their sacrifices, one iota in their efforts and exertions to advance His kingdom over every part of the babitable globe. I was really delighted when I heard that my beloved friend Dr Duff, in circumstances of far greater trial, and when greater doubt might have been created in bis mind, had the same firm unwavering confidence in our church. In a letter published not long ago in the Missionary Record, he stated, that he had been told by correspondence, from both sides of the Church, that it was impossible we could carry on our missions-tbat he was assured the Church must give them up, but that, in spite of all this, he believed it was impossible we could give them up, as he thought we were actuated by a true regard for God's glory, and å sincere desire for the salvation of souls. The result has proved that this confi. dence, under God's blessing, has not been misplaced.—But, at the same time, while we have great cause of thankfulness to God, I venture to say that we have some cause of humiliation. I own that I bave deeply felt that so many ministers and congregations should have been denied the opportunity of contributing to our missionary objects. (Hear.) The number of congregations who bave contributed to all the Schemes of the Church amounts to 252. There have been some contributions got from 736; but I believe that this number is considerably beyond what may be considered the permanent stations in our Church. The number of congregations with stated pastors do not exceed 659; and out of these, the number who have contributed to all the Schemes is 252. I will just go over the different Schemes, and state the number of collections which have been received for each, throwing aside altogether the stations which bave no stated pastors :

Collection. No Collection, For Education,


139 India Mission,


65 Home Mission,


148 Colonial Scheme,


132 Jewish Mission,


128 Ross and Sutherland,


256 There is only one Presbytery of the Church every congregation and station of which has contributed for every one of these objects, and that is the Presbytery of Arbroath. (Hear.) Now, I believe that the great reason why so many congregations have not contributed is, that ministers have a sort of delicacy in asking their people to do so, knowing that they are so much oppressed with their own objects, and from an impression that, if they contributed to the missionary schemes, they would diminish the contributions for their own local purposes ; that if they opened up channels through wbich contributions migbt flow for foreign objects, they would dry up the stream which supplied their own. Now, I do not know how the fact stands; but such is my confidence in the view I take of this matter, that I would venture to peril the propriety of the advice given by my reverend father, and which I desire to press on the ministers of the Church, I would venture to peril it on this, tbat the Presbytery of Arbroath has contributed as liberally, if not more so, to its local objects, than any other Presbytery of our Church. (Hear.) I have the most perfect confidence that the Presbytery of Arbroath will be found not to be behind any one Presbytery in this matter, and certainly not behind the Presbytery that has contributed least to the missionary schemes. Now, I wish you to view it in this light. Let fathers and brethren state the claims of the various objects to their people. It might be said that the people had enough to do with their own

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »