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with gratitude to him who hath the hearts of all men in his hand, the joy with which they have received the intelligence, that the missionaries agree with the principles of the Free Church, and approve of the conduct of her ministers and people, in surrendering the advantages of a connection with the State, when it could no longer be maintained except at the sacrifice of principle; and that they have resolved to adhere to the Free Church, and to put themselves under the direction of their Committee. The Assembly farther resolve to use every effort in their power to recommend the missionaries to the prayers and liberality of their people; and they also record their thanks to Dr Gordon, and to the Committee of which he is Convener, and to the missionary, Dr Wilson, who has addressed them on the present occasion. Dr P. M'FARLANE seconded the motion.
The resolution being put, and carried by acclamation,
The MODERATOR proceeded in an eloquent address, to convey the thanks of the Assembly to Dr Wilson. He rejoiced to be the organ of communicating the thanks of the Assembly to Dr Wilson for the abundant and successful labours in which he had been engaged in a distant country. The Assembly had heard with much delight and satisfaction of the recent and of the more distant proceedings of their brethren in India. They gave God the glory; but they were not warranted to overlook the instruments which God in his providence raises up for the accomplishment of his great and important purposes. There was peculiar sacredness attached to the character of a Christian missionary; and a bright halo encircled that man, who, prompted by zeal for the glory of the Redeemer, and love for perishing souls, rejoiced to forego all the advantages of country and of home, and broke the ties of kindred and of friends, to go off, at the bidding of Jehovah, to bear aloft the lamp of revelation in a benighted world, and proclaim to perishing sinners the unsearchable riches of Christ. The position of the missionaries of India was one of peculiar im. portance; if, in any case, then, were required the wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove-the boldness of the lion with the meekness of the lambthe intrepidity of the Christian warrior with the acuteness of the Christian philosopher, it was in their peculiar circumstances. And he rejoiced that they had not laboured in vain-that they had not run unsent-and that through their instrumentality the wilderness might yet be made to rejoice, and the desert to blossom as a rose. Hitherto they had been labouring in connection with a church establishment, and he doubted not they had hoped to continue and to close their career in that connection; that, like all others, they had dreaded derangement, and to prevent it had been willing to make every sacrifice consistent with a good conscience; but finding that the Establishment, according to the explanations of those in power, and of those still remaining within its pale, was no longer that free institution which they had supposed it to be, and which, by civil and ecclesiastical law, they were warranted in supposing it to be, they had found that they could no longer remain with a safe conscience within the Establishment. In these circumstances, they had come to let the Assembly know that it was their determination to cast in their lot with the Free Church of Scotland, and to carry on, in connection with her, their holy and divine enterprise. Many had even doubted what the course of their brethren in India would be, but they had that day come to tell them, and they hailed and embraced them in the arms of Christian and brotherly affection. After much bodily "and personal distress and afflictions, Dr Wilson had come among his brethren at home, seeking strength and renovation. They trusted in God, and prayed that his desires might be fulfilled-that he might be restored to that country where all his thoughts now were-where all his affections must now centre-that he might be restored to that country with renovated health and confirmed constitution, to prosecute his lofty enterprise for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the saving of perishing souls, that he might be long spared to that important sphere in which he laboured; and that, finally, when his labours terminated, he might reecive the reward of those who turn many to righteousness. The Moderator then turned to Dr Gordon, and said he could only reiterate all the expressions which, on former occasions, had been used in regard to his diligent and Christian labours in this cause.
The missionaries, as children of the church, were in some measure under his guardianship, and faithfully had he discharged his duty towards them, and long might the Lord spare him for farther usefulness in his service.
The Assembly adjourned shortly after five, to meet again at seven.
After devotional exercises, and the discharge of some routine business, the Assembly called for the
Dr CHALMERS said,-Moderator, the committee for the arrangement of business have requested that, previous to the receiving of the deputations this evening, I shall give an account of the written communications that have been sent from other churches to the Free Church of Scotland, since last meeting of the General Assembly. I confess to you that I was much interested by the arrival, one post after another, of addresses and resolutions expressive of approval and congratulations from various churches, of whose very existence I was not aware till I received their letters. (Laughter.) And I think that every man whose heart is in its right place will be delighted with such movements. They are movements quite in my own favourite direction, because one and all of them are movements of convergency; or, in other words, movements which point in the first instance to union, and as soon as is possible and prudent, I trust their landing place will be incorporation. (Cheers.) These movements are not altogether new; but they are at least very rare in the Christian world. The movement generally within the interior of Christendom has been a movement of divergency; or, in other words, a movement which led to splits and separations innumerable. (Hear, hear.) It is quite in keeping with the delightful transactions which I trust one and all of us shall witness this evening, that I should communicate the fact of having received, as the Moderator of the Free Church, a number of formal addresses and resolutions from various bodies in England and Ireland, as well as two or three from foreign places. They amount, those I have received directly addressed to myself, to nineteen; and there is one that has been handed in to the clerk since we met, so that altogether these addresses and resolutions, congratulatory of the movement which has been adopted by the Free Church of Scotland, amount in number to twenty. (Applause.) I shall in the first instance read out a list of these addresses, and afterwards read two or three of them. would be too much to take up the time of the Assembly by reading them all. 1. From the Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Synod.
2. Associated Churches of the Baptist Denomination in the counties of Lancaster and Chester.
3. General Association of Presbyterian and Congregational Ministers in New Hampshire.
4. Congregational Union of Ireland.
5. West Riding of Yorkshire Association of Baptist Churches.
6. The Elders and Members of the Western Association of Baptist Churches. 7. Welsh Calvinistic Methodists.
8. Board of Congregational Ministers in and about the cities of London and Westminster.
9. The Ministers, Office-bearers, and Members of Congregational Churches, with other Friends of Religious Freedom and Christian_Truth in the County of Sussex. 10. Pastors and Churches of the South Devon Congregational Union.
11. Baptist Church worshipping in Lower Meeting-house, Amershamn, Bucks. 12. East Kent Baptismal Association.
13. Pastors of Congregational Churches in North Wales.
14. Somerset Association of Independent Ministers.
15. Midland Association of Baptists.
*The Addresses will be found in the Appendix.
16. Pastors, Deacons, and Members of the Church of Christ of the Independent Denomination at Southampton.
17. American Board of Missions-dated from Smyrna, and embracing Constantinople and Asia Minor.
18. Assembly of the Congregational Union of England and Wales.
19. Staffordshire Congregational Union.
20. The Synod of United Original Seceders.
21. The Reformed Presbyterian Synod of Ireland,—(this address was handed in at a later period.)
Now I must say for one that I have felt exceedingly delighted with these communications. They congenialized very much with my own wishes for union, and a mutual good understanding on the part of all those who hold the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head, and who love him in sincerity and in truth. (Cheers.) I must say that I consider it as infinitely more characteristic of the religion which we profess, the religion of peace and of charity, that, instead of each denomination sitting aloft and apart upon its own hill, and frowning upon each other from their respective orbits, that they should hold kindly and mutual converse, and see each other eye to eye, when they will discover, to their mutual astonishment, if not how thoroughly, at least how substantially, they are at one. Of these communications, I have selected, I will not say altogether at random, but I have selected three for the purpose of reading them. All of them are quite worthy of being read out in your hearing; but I cannot think of encroaching so much upon the time of the Assembly, considering the very interesting business now before you. At the same time I think these communications should be referred to a Committee, just as the communications from foreign churches were referred to a Committee at last Assembly, for the purpose of answering them. The reverend doctor then read with great animation addresses from the Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Synod, which met at Belfast on the 1st of August last, the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, dated 6th September last, and the Board of Congregational Ministers in and about the Cities of London and Westminster. I have confined, he continued, my reading to these three, but I received one yesterday from what I consider a very important body of evangelical Christians in England, who claim the honour of descent from, and are the representatives of, the old Nonconformists. It won't cost more than half a minute to read their address. Dr C. then read the Resolutions of the Thirteenth General Meeting of the Congregational Union of England and Wales.
Mr PITCAIRN, the Clerk, also read, at the request of Dr Chalmers, the following communication from the Synod of United Original Seceders, which had been handed to him.
"At Edinburgh, Davie Street Church, 16th Aug. 1843. "The Synod of United Original Seceders being met and constituted, the Synod having spent considerable time in deliberating on their duty in reference to the Free Protesting Church, the following motion was made, seconded, and agreed to :-'That in consequence of the late faithful contendings of those now forming the Free Protesting Church of Scotland, and particularly of their struggles in defence of the Spiritual Independence of the Church, our relation to one another is very materially altered; therefore the Synod consider it to be highly desirable, in order to the faithful discharge of their public duty, to ascertain, as speedily as possible, the precise nature of that relation; and for this purpose they appoint a Committee to correspond with any Committee that the Free Church may appoint, to see whether there still exist sufficient grounds for the Synod remaining separate, or whether by mutual explanations, we may not be able to remove any obstacles to an honourable union.' (Loud cheers.) Extracted from the minutes of Synod, by "ROBERT SHAW, Syn. Clk."
Dr CHALMERS resumed-I have only a few concluding remarks to make with regard to these addresses. I have said the more we meet together, and see eye to eye, we will be quite astonished with the discovery, that if not thoroughly, at least substantially, we are at one with each other. Now, perhaps, what I have read to you may have suggested the idea that we may be substantially, although not thoroughly There can be no doubt that so far as the essential doctrines of the gospel
are concerned, we are at one. I believe we are thoroughly at one upon every material question of Christian doctrine; but we are not at one upon a question that has been very much agitated of late, and which is not a question of Christian doctrine, but a question of Christian economics. That is a very different sort of question; and they are trying-many thanks to them for it-they are trying to help us forward to their optimism. (Laughter.) They tell us with all frankness and fidelity that they are Voluntaries, and they hope that in good time we in the fullest and highest sense of the term will become Voluntaries also. (Laughter.) Now, in the capacity of your Moderator, receiving many of these communications three or four months ago, I thought it not fair to refer them for their answer to the meeting of Assembly in October, and therefore thought it was quite right, in point of civility, that I should acknowledge the receipt of these various communications; and certainly in my replies to these communications I did not blink even this question; and I thought the least return I could make for the fidelity and frankness with which they stated their point of difference, was to reply with equal frankness back again. (Laughter and cheers.) I have made them to understand in all my answers that they were only answers pro tempore-answers merely of the individual who happened to be elevated to the Chair of the Free Assembly, but that I would lay all their communications before the Assembly, and I presumed the manner in which these communications would be disposed of, would be to make them over to a Committee to frame the answers; but I trust I have not committed the Assembly by any answer I made to these communications. I answered the great majority of them, all those that came to me up till the month of September; and with the permission of the Assembly I will just read two of these answers. This is the reply to the very interesting and most cordial communication from the ministers, office bearers, and members of the Congregational Church, with other friends of religious freedom and Christian truth, in the county of Sussex. It is a very pleasant address, signed by-I have not had time to count the names—(laughter)—but I believe some of the youngsters of my family tried a more wholesale method of arriving at a probable estimate of the amount of support thus given to the Free Church; instead of numbering they measured it, and found it about seventeen yards long. (Loud laughter and cheers.) There is just one expression, full of cordiality at the same time, with a frank and most proper statement of our difference on the subject of the Voluntary principlethe expression I laid hold of was this" If your new organization be not perfect, the proceedings constitute a glorious advance in the direction of the entire freedom of the Church's spiritual privileges from the fetters of state captivity." The reverend doctor here read his reply, and added, the phrase "State captivity" was explained; they stated that previously to that they meant to put in "Erastian control;" but Erastian is not a term very well understood in England, and therefore they put in this as more adapted to the understandings of Englishmen. (Laughter.) Part of the reverend doctor's reply was in the following terms :"We could have remained in connection with the State had the alliance only implied a remuneration for our labours in giving a Christian education to the people of Scotland; but when it was made, as it has been for the first time since the Revolution Settlement of 1690, to imply the right of interference on the part of the State with things ecclesiastical, we, rather than forego the inherent and inalienable liberties of Christ's Church, have willingly surrendered all the rights of a national Establishment." He next referred to the reply to the communication from the South Devon Congregational Union, which expressed a hope that the Free Church would be "preserved from the trammels of State alliance, and the encumbrance of State support.' Now, it is but just to say, continued the reverend doctor, that a majority of these addresses embody the same principle-the Voluntary principle. I know not how far the Assembly of the Free Church may go along with them; but I confess to you I cannot go their length; and I thought it fair and upright to give them a candid expression of my opinion on the subject. (Here Dr C. read his reply.) I have only to say, in conclusion, that although this difference may have come above boards in the course of that correspondence, let us remember that it is not a difference which has in the least impaired the cordiality of their addresses
to us; and therefore, the same differenee, although openly and honestly avowed on our part, should not in the least impair the cordiality of our response to them. (Cheers.) And if Christians would only look more to the points on which they agreed, and less to the points on which they differed, I am confident they would find that the differences bear to the agreements—I am speaking not in reference to Eras-tian and Unitarian Churches, but in reference to the great body of the Evangelical denominations both in England and in Scotland-the differences would bear to the agreements no greater proportion than the "tithe," and the " mint," and the " anise, and the "cumin," bear to the "weightier matters of the law." (Enthusiastic applause.) And therefore I do hope that these valuable documents, which would form a most interesting series for the perusal of any Christian reader, will, through the medium of some committee to be appointed, find their way every one of them, for they are all worthy of perusal, into the periodicals and various publications of the Free Church. And I just conclude with observing that now is the time to rally about the common standard all that is pure and vital in Protestantism; for now it is that we shall have to make head against a new form and revival of Antichrist, whether in the form of Popery-naked Popery, or of Popery in disguise, even that Antichrist which threatens to shake a most withering mildew over the whole face of Christendom. (Loud and long continued cheering.)
Dr CANDLISH said-I am sure I express the sentiments of the whole of this Assembly when I say, that we have listened with the most intense satisfaction to the communications which have now been addressed to us; and I trust that means will be taken to diffuse and disseminate throughout the church, those very important communications to which we have listened with so much delight. For this purpose I intend to move that these addresses be remitted to a Committee, for the purpose of printing and circulating them in whatever manner that Committee may see fit. We have channels of communication authorised by the Church in the Monthly Statements issued by one of its Committees, and in the Missionary Record that appears at regular intervals. I should propose, that through these channels, and afterwards through the ordinary channels of the periodical press, these addresses must be made known to the world, where no doubt they will be received with very great delight by all the friends of Christian union-Christian union on the basis of Christian principle. (Great cheering.) At the same time that Committee will have to direct their attention to the proposing of suitable answers to these addresses. So far I take
the matter to be quite clear and plain, that those addresses in general should be referred to a Committee to prepare suitable answers to them, and to take what means they judge fit to make them known to the Christian world. But I would not have risen to make this motion, were it not that I intended to propose that one of these addresses be separated from the rest. (Hear.) I can quite well understand that it was a very suitable occasion of which we took advantage to bring in the address from our brethren of the Original Seceders. (Cheers.) It was highly suitable and appropriate that their address should be brought in on this occasion; but it occurs to me that it would not be suitable and appropriate to mix up that address with the other addresses in the deliverance we now pronounce; for while we receive with welcome the addresses from the other churches and bodies of evangelical Christians-while we welcome these as expressive of mutual sympathy and mutual love, we are called upon to entertain this particular address from our brethren of the Original Seceders in an altogether different manner-(bear)—for that is an address which approaches us not from a Church which approves of the recent movement as being in the direction of the end and object which others seek, viz., the entire ascendancy of the Voluntary principle; but it is an address proceeding from a church who enter far more intelligently, I take leave to say, and far more thoroughly into the movement that has recently taken place—(hear)—while it also with great cordiality approves of the whole principles on which we have seen it our duty to separate from the Establishment. (Cheers.) When I said that that body entered far more intelligently into the principles of the movement that has recently taken place, I do not of course meanI cannot be supposed to mean-any reflection on other bodies of evangelical Christians who have approved of our proceedings as in the main accordant with their