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tion? and thus on he plunges from one depth to a deeper stills-on he plunges in the miry bog, and nowhere can he find a resting-place for his weary feet. (Hear, hear.) Oh that at length he were led, after all his vain aspirations to help from other sources, to retrace his steps, and place his feet on some foundation that shall sustain his weight, and the weight of that empire which he professes to bear on his shoulders. But though this may be the time when the deepest infatuation settles on politicians and statesmen, may God grant that this spirit may not settle on this Church, or on his believing people. May the prayers of his people ascend to the throne of grace more and more; and when statesmen of all ranks and classes are in effect openly announcing that they cannot govern without the aid of God's adversary, may the prayers of God's people implore that to them he may show his face and bare his arm, and make even statesmen to know that the Most High reigneth among the kingdoms of the earth! (Hear, hear.)
I know, Sir, I cannot now enter largely into the other part of this subject. It is a strictly co-relative topic; for just as our people are awakened to a consciousness of the progress of Antichrist, in like manner will they be awakened to a sense of their duty to their own souls, and the souls of their children and their neighbours. This may be another end to be attained in the providence of God. We met this time last year to take up and consider the state of vital godliness amongst us. I cannot trust myself to express the feelings which rush upon my mind as I look back upon what we witnessed on that memorable occasion. I cannot trust myself to speak of our beloved brother (Rev. C. J. Brown), who was then made, in God's hands, the instrument of spiritually reforming and reviving us,-and that because he faithfully rebuked and warned us. Many a prayer has been offered up since for our beloved brother's restoration amongst us. And thanks be to God, that in the hour of duty and danger, his trouble is passing away; and though it is not permitted to us at this time to enjoy the privilege of seeing him amongst us, I doubt not that the effect of God's dealing with us and with him, by his providence, has been, through prayer, and the outpouring of the Spirit, in some measure blessed to us even now. And if our thoughts have taken a more practical direction than they took on that former occasion to which I have alluded, let us hope that this is just the right issue of those exercises of soul which we then engaged in, and of all we have since experienced in the correction of God's providence. (Hear.) I was about to say that, meeting as we do this year with the additional element of this Popish danger thrust upon us to consider,-meeting with this new element thrown into our deliberations,- I can see here also the good hand of God upon us. There might have been a danger of all that we then felt, and said, and participated in, and resolved upon,—there might have been a danger of all this evaporating and vanishing away; but God has sent us this gigantic enemy to rouse us to take measures which must awaken us to vast and renewed efforts; and I cannot but avow that we must here again begin with ourselves,—we must begin with our ministers and students. The report on the state of religion which has been laid on your table suggests that some measures should be taken for promoting meetings for conference and frequent prayer,--meetings for the reading of God's Word and the interchange of Christian sentiment, and also for interchanging the details of ministerial experience. All these things have been suggested; and I may state that it is two years since we thought of resuming the good old practice of Presbyterial exercises, and which may be found as suitable for us as for our fathers. I trust that the Presbyteries of the Church will rejoice to meet often for fellowship in God. It was only the other day that I met with a brother from another land, and on asking regarding the practice of the brethren there, I was informed that there were weekly meetings for prayer and conference, and the reading of God's Word, and the interchange of Christian sentiment. Let something like this be our practice too. Then, in reference to our students, I trust the Presbyteries of our Church will give more heed to their spiritual welfare than they bave ever given before. It has been one of the reproaches of the Church, that the students in divinity passed through their course without ever having their consciences probed or their hearts awakened to their own spiritual state, or warned as to the means by which alone they are to expect the blessing of the Head of the Church upon their labours. We are mending
in this respect, I hope, and I trust that more and more the Almighty will pour his Spirit upon our halls of theology, that there may be labourers brought forward to the harvest such as he would choose. For, Sir, amid all the complaints which we hear of the want of ministers, I trust that this Church will be as much upon her guard against thrusting forth unspiritual men, as against thrusting forth uneducated men; for, if there is a danger that the Church in her straits shall send forth men who are only partially educated, I say there is still greater risk in the Church allowing men to enter into the vineyard, who have not experienced the grace of God in their own souls. (Hear, hear.) Let us remember, Sir, that it is better to leave the people, even by the thousand, without any ministrations, than seek to feed their thirsting souls with the words of those who speak without believing, or cannot tell of a Saviour they themselves have known, or of the salvation in which they themselves rejoice. (Hear, hear.) As to our further measures on this head, I am not sure that it would be expedient that this subject,—the state of religion,-should be always in future, from year to year, in the hands of a Special Committee. It appears to me that we might thus give to this important subject too much of a mere business or matter-offact aspect. From time to time, as God's Spirit directs, let us take special means for directing the mind of the Church to it. But, as to our ordinary means for keeping it before the Church and the country, and for aiming at the promotion of spiritual revivals, we must trust to the mechanism of our ordinary ecclesiastical apparatus, our Sessions and Presbyteries. Still the business which has been entrusted to this Committee is not yet discharged, and for this reason it must be re-appointed. I will advert to two of the purposes it has yet to accomplish. The first is the arrangement which must be made for carrying out the suggestions in the Report as to the operations of the summer. Sir, I concur in thinking that it may not be expedient again this summer to try the system of deputations, in the same way as last summer; and, at the same time, I cordially concur in the suggestion that there shall be arranged a general plan for the interchanging of the services of the ministers of this Church,one man going to the vineyard of his brother and labouring, and seeing the work in progress, while his neighbour is doing the same in his part of the field; and, I still more cordially concur in the other part, that we should select those to whom God has peculiarly given grace as evangelists for specially visiting the more destitute districts of the land. I think it will be our duty this summer, in reference to the Lowlands as well as the Highlands,—it will be our duty to separate from their people, for a short time, men whom God has evidently qualified for the duty, and send them to the destitute districts to do the work of evangelists. The details of all this plan it would, however, be premature to enter upon. The Committee will be appointed to make arrangements regarding these exchanges in the summer, and sending out those who are to do the work of evangelists throughout the country. This last duty is urgent, and cannot for a moment be delayed. It is all very well for us to look forward to the gradual extension of the Church,—to see congregations added every year; and contemplate the speedy accomplishment of that noble plan which our revered father has so much at heart,-of occupying territorially the whole of the country. (Applause.) It is well, I say, to keep this in view, as the means for advancing the cause of Christ in the land; but, at the same time, we cannot look at the masses in our cities and large towns, and manufacturing villages,—we cannot look at the masses in those districts of the country in which public works have recently been erected -we cannot look at the state of those masses of the population, without feeling that some means for immediately reclaiming them are becoming daily more indispensable. The reports which reach us as to the state of religion amongst them distinctly appeal to us with an outcry like this—“ Wait not till you have new churches—wait not for new preachers; come address us now; let your evangelists forthwith come and labour amongst us.” (Hear, hear.) And, Sir, if these masses are not alive to their own condition, in the same intense degree in which our people in the Highlands are, -if they are not hungering for the bread of life, but remain dead and insensible to the state of their own souls,-is there not the more reason why we should send our evangelists amongst them, that they may hear the glad sound of the gospel, and that there may be from among these outcasts many who shall be saved in the day of the Lord? (Hear, hear.) And, Sir, there is another important consideration which weighs with me, -it is, that God having caused us to pass through such a fiery ordeal as we have experienced as a Church, God having placed us, by this means, on such a high vantage-ground, has given to us a door of entrance to the minds of our countrymen which may not long continue. The prestige of our present position may soon pass away; the circumstances attending the Disruption may soon be forgotten; and we may soon be regarded by the country at large as if we had occupied our present position for centuries. But under present circumstances, we have a ready hearing for the cause of Christ; and surely we will not fail to improve the opportunities which we thus possess. (Applause.)
I will allude to another point, which is one of great importance. This is the issuing of a pastoral letter; and on this subject I refer you to an overture which has come up from the Presbytery of Edinburgh. The time seems to have come when, in the name of this Assembly, we should send down a letter to our people and to the country at large. The topics which it ought to embrace it is not for me to specify; but I think it should be an address, entering fully and largely into God's dealing with us, and the whole of God's call to us at this time. Our people are apt to forget, Sir, the peculiar position which, in the providence of God, we occupy. It is high timo we should go to the people with a solemn warning, setting forth God's dealings with us from the beginning, and acknowledging the calls He is addressing to us, ere the opportunity be past. I would have it to enter particularly into this, and not in a short manner; for if we have occasion to have recourse to more than one letter, so much the better. Let us give to our people a knowledge of the subjects which have occupied our attention during the past year; let us give a full answer to the question, “ What hath God wrought for us, and what would God have us to do ?” Our brother who has just addressed us has told what is expected of us at this crisis-that every man should be at the post of duty, and that every endowment we possess should be made use of for the cause of our great Head. Sir, a church of Christ ought to leav the world, not merely by means of its ministers and office-bearers, but by the testimony, and influence, and example of its ordinary members. But this is a view which has been practically, I fear, far too much lost sight of by the Church. We have spoken of ministers and elders going forth and converting souls by the preaching of the gospel, and by teaching under the Spirit. But we have forgotten the solemn truth that Christ sends forth as his apostles and missionaries into the world,--as the Father sent him forth, so does Christ send into the world, not the eleven only, but all those, to the end of time, who should believe in Him and testify of him. This is the apostolic succession in which we rejoice,—this is the hereditary transmission of the faith, of which we boast. (Applause.) Christ sends His missionaries into the world in the very same sense, and for the same ends, for which He was constituted a missionary of the Father; in the same way does He constitute his Apostles and their successors,-namely, all believers to the end of time, -missionaries, that they may carry the bread of life to every sinner, and that they, through the Spirit, may believe. When we look abroad on this country of ours,when we regard its multitudinous population,-never can we discharge our duty till every good man, woman, and child, who have a care for their own souls, shall also be engaged in caring for the soul of another. If our Christian people would give themselves individually to the work of God,-if, not content with supporting our great schemes in our large cities,-if, not content with this, every good man were to care, not alone for the kingdom of Christ at large, but for his next door neighbour, —if every good woman, not merely satisfied with supporting schemes of Christian philanthropy, were to care for her poor sister, living apart from God in the next street,-if every living soul were to stir up one which is dead,—the blessed work would go on by a geometrical progression, till believers would soon be increased by one hundred fold. Surely this is no visionary expectation; for with the God whom we serve is the residue of the Spirit. Let us remember that, as the time is short, so will the work of the Spirit be short; but before that day of the Lord comes, there shall be abundant outpouring of the Spirit. O that every member of our Church were found relying on Christ, feeding on Christ, and growing in Christ, to the salvation of his own soul, and that of his neighbour !
The Committee moved by Dr Candlish was then appointed; and he suggested that, on account of the peculiarly solemn deliberations in which they had been engaged, they should not separate without some special acknowledgment, in prayer, of God's mercy to his church.
The Rev. J. R. ANDERSON of Knox's church, Glasgow, said,—Moderator, I had not the privilege of being present at the last Assembly, and taking part in the solemn proceedings to which reference has so affectingly been made by Dr Candlish. But though absent in body, I was present in spirit, and sincerely rejoice in the tokens of the Divine presence and power which were then experienced. I am glad, however, that, in the providence of God, I have been called to sit in this Assemby, for frequently I have had occasion to say, “ It is good to be here." I state these things, because, along with other considerations, they have induced me to come forward at this time, and crave the attention of the Assembly for a few moments, while I endeavour to supply an omission which, as appears to me, has been made in this discussion. In the speech of Dr Buchanan this forenoon, reference was made to the symptoms of judicial blindness which show themselves in the measures of the civil rulers of this country. And in explaining this judicial blindness, he very properly appealed to the solemn language of the apostle in his Epistle to the Thessalonians, “Wherefore, also, God shall send them strong delusions, that they may believe a lie, because they believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” To me, Sir, it seems that this is the true account of the infatuation which has taken hold of our rulers. And I humbly conceive that this Assembly is called to look at the matter in this light, and to shape its practical measures accordingly. I believe that the cause of the present alarming progress of Popery in this country is not to be found in the crooked policy of our statesmen, nor in the insidious plans and measures of the agents of the Man of Sin; but that it lies far deeper, even in our having grievously sinned against God, in not believing the truth, but having pleasure in unrighteous
I need not tell the Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland that our legislature, in all its branches, has, by a solemn act, refused to own the Lord Jesus Christ as sole King in Zion, and also the Supreme Governor among the nations. But I feel that we, as subjects of this realm, are individually sharers in this guilt, and are required to humble ourselves before God on account of it. But the Church of Scotland too has sinned in the corrupt doctrine, that was long preached by many of its ministers, and the injury which was done to the souls of men in leaving them to perish for lack of knowledge of that truth which makes wise unto salvation. Nor is the Free Church guiltless in this matter. For by many Christ is altogether despised and rejected; by others He is received only in name and profession; and by all the truth is not valued and improved as it ought to be. I humbly think, therefore, that before we enter upon the measures which have been recommended to this Assembly, we ought to fix a day for solemn fasting and humiliation, that we may confess our own sins and the sins of our rulers and people, in having dishonoured the Divine Redeemer, and misimproved His glorious gospel, and thereby justly exposed ourselves to the very visitation with which we are now threatened. We do not at present enter the field with clean hands, nor do we call to the conflict a people that are ready for the struggle. We have Achans in the camp, which must be cast out if we would go up and possess the land. I trust that in the spirit of these observations the Assembly will appoint such a day before it rises.
After a few words from Mr M'Corkle, the two last verses of the 118th Psalm having been sung, the Rev. Mr M‘Donald of Blairgowrie engaged in prayer (according to the suggestion of Dr Candlish).
The Assembly then instructed the Standing Committee on Popery, which they resolved to appoint at last diet, to take the whole subject into their immediate, and full, and serious consideration, and to adopt such measures as, with the Divine blessing, may be best fitted for maintaining and defending the cause of truth against the opposition of the Man of Sin. The Assembly empower them in particular to direct the
attention of the ministers of the Church to the duty and necessity of carefully studying, and frequently and faithfully exposing to their people, the errors and corruptions of the Church of Rome, and to adopt measures for having the students of the Church thoroughly instructed in the Popish controversy, that by the grace of God they may be prepared to take the part in connection with it which his Providence may ere long assign to them. And the Assembly considering that the time has now come for co-operating with other Evangelical Churches, for offering a decided resistance to the designs and progress of the Romish apostacy at home and abroad, they appoint the foresaid Committee to be a deputation to attend any conference of Dissenters of evangelical denominations in this kingdom, which may be assembled with the views of resisting the progress of Popish error, and otherwise promoting the cause of truth.
The Assembly then adjourned at twelve o'clock.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 28. Devotional Exercises-Minutes read and approved-Glenelg Synod Meeting and other matters referred to Committees-Poor Law Bill referred to a Committee Report of Jewish Committee Speech of Mr Edwards-Repo:t of Committee on Foreign Churches--Speeches of Dr Chalmers, M Monod, Dr Merle D'Aubigne, M. Kuntze, Dr Gordon, &c.
The Assembly met to-day at two o'clock, and after engaging in devotional exercises, the minutes of former diet were read and approved of.
An application, with a view to procure the disjunction of two or more ministers from the Presbyteries of Garioch and Aberdeen, for the purpose of annexing them to the Presbytery of Ellon, as also the matters of the erection of the Presbytery of Langholm, were remitted to a Committee to consider and report upon at a future meeting.
The following matters were also remitted to separate Committees, viz.; applications in regard to the change of the time of meeting of the Synod of Glenelg; overtures anent Presbyterial visitations, privy censures, and Synodical superintendence, with instructions to prefix an Interim Scheme of Synodical and Presbyterial superintendence to be submitted at a future diet; case of Maybole; the Poor Law Bill.
POOR LAW BILL. Mr Dunlop moved a Committee to whom the Poor Law Bill now before Parliament should be remitted to prepare a report; and he explained that he had proposed a much larger Committee than might otherwise have been thought desirable, with the view of obtaining the mind of various ministers and elders from different parts of the country,who would be able to explain how the bill was likely to work in their respective localities.
Mr Fox Maule asked whether the Committee would make any report to the present Assembly?
Mr Dunlop.-Undoubtedly. Mr Maule.—Having, as you are aware, something to do with this measure elsewhere, I must say I am extremely anxious to know the mind of the Free Kirk on this subject. With regard to the bill itself, I have no hesitation in stating here, what I have stated elsewhere, that I consider it a very incomplete measure-(hear, hear,) - and that I shall be prepared to look at it, not simply as a national question, but I shall be prepared also—and I have no hesitation in saying it--to look at it as a question in which that great body who have joined the Free Church are deeply interested. I have had something to do in this matter, and I have found that, under the present system, undoubtedly matters are not carried on—and I shall not say more on this subject at present)-in a manner and with that justice which I should have expected, and therefore while there is passing through the Legislature a bill for the settlement of this important question, I confess I should like, for the guidance of my conduct, to be instructed in the feelings of the Free Church, which, I take this opportunity of stating, I shall be prepared to advocate in my place in Parliament. (Applause.) I therefore do sincerely hope that this Committee will, be