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come great, glorious, and free. Let this, then, unite our efforts, and show that Ireland may flourish by the preaching of the Word. (Cheers.) I would take this opportunity, Sir, of congratulating the General Assembly of the Free Church with regard to the progress of the bill now before Parliament for securing religious toleration for Scotland. It is passing strange that in this nineteenth century,in this land of boasted light and boasted liberty,—that such a measure should be necessary. It is passing strange that the stately machinery of Parliament should require to be put into operation for the purpose of allowing Christian congregations to purchase, at a fair market price, a few acres of land for the purpose of erecting places of worship for the service of God. I believe if all the sites were granted to-day, not more than eight or ten acres would be required throughout the length and breadth of Scotland. The reign of intolerance must soon come to an end. The petty despots may as well expect to stop the progress of the ocean's waves, or to stem the rising tide of righteousness, and justice, and truth. (Cheers.) The Irish Presbyterians take a very deep interest in the success of this measure. I will only say, that if in the future progress of the measure our assistance be at all required, it will be most heartily given. (Cheers.) I will not detain you longer than just to express in name of the Irish Presbyterian Church, our best wishes for your peace and welfare; and be assured it is ever our earnest prayer regarding the Free Church of Scotland,-"O Lord, we beseech thee, send now prosperity."
Professor GIBSON said, as their time was valuable, he waived the opportunity of addressing them at present. Ireland was before them. They did not need to be stirred up to the importance of the missionary work in that country; and, under these circumstances, he thought it would be altogether intrusive to add a single word.
Councillor GIBSON shortly addressed the Assembly. He said that that was the first time he had ever been in the Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland; and he begged to assure them, that amidst all the various demonstrations around them, they felt a strong bond of sympathy united them, and kept them looking across the channel to the land of their forefathers. The people of Ireland in Ulster were mostly descendants of the Scotch; and he trusted the spirit of the great God would descend on them in that land, and give them some of that noble and self-denying principle which was the characteristic of Scotchmen in their native land. In that case they would not need to come there from time to time to supplicate their assistance. They would be enabled to do something for their elders and something for them.
Mr DIGBY next addressed the Assembly.
Mr MOODY STUART read a short Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Evangelization of Ireland.
Dr M'FARLAN begged leave to move that the General Assembly should instruct the Moderator to return thanks to their friends from the Presbyterian Church of Ireland. They felt, and felt most deeply, the sympathy they had taken in the proceedings of the Free Church, and he was sure they were most especially indebted for their ready and efficient snpport,-and also for the support of the Irish members in Parliament. At all times they had taken interest in the prosperity of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, and he trusted they would ever take a deep interest in all their labours for the evangelization of that country; and he was sure there was no sentiment in which they more heartily sympathised than that expressed by his friend Mr Maclure, namely, that Ireland can only prosper through the preaching of the Word of God, and by extending the evangelical Church. They had offered up their prayers, they had given their support to the object they had in view, and he hoped and trusted they would never cease to continue to do so. He had, therefore, only to conclude with moving that the Moderator should convey to the deputation the thanks of the Assembly.
Mr TWEEDIE Supposed that it was scarcely necessary to second this motion, yet he rose to do it. There were various reasons why they should very cordially sympathise with their brethren from Ireland, and render what assistance they could give them. There was, first of all, a door which, in the providence of
God, had been opened before them for the spread of the truth as it is in Jesus. They had invited them in various ways to go to their help; and they could do much for them, though they had already tried to do what they could. The Assembly, he believed, was in possession of details of what had been done. But there was another reason why they should do all in their power for Ireland, because, and he must confess it even in the hearing of their Irish brethren,-Ireland had not done much good to them, he meant to certain classes of the community, from the large influx of persons from the sister island. They spoke of going to Popery in Ireland to preach the gospel to Roman Catholics there; but they should bear in mind that the Roman Catholics were bringing Popery to them. For that reason we should strengthen the efforts of our brethren in the sister island in exterminating Popery.
Mr MAKGILL CRICHTON said, they rejoiced in the connection with the sister Presbytery of England; but a fortiori did they rejoice in connection with the Church they might call almost identical with their own,-the Presbyterian Church of Ireland. It had been his happiness to be several times on deputations to the General Assembly of the Church of Ireland, and he might bear his testimony to the truth that in Ulster-colonized by the persecuted Covenanters of Scotland,-colonized by their own people-had sprung up a noble band. The Scotchmen of the north of Ireland, incorporated with the Irishman,-the cannie, cautious character of the Scotch, crossed by the more fervid and generous Irishman, -produced a noble specimen of humanity. (Cheers and laughter.) He rejoiced that a door had been opened for the Church of Ireland to make more effectual progress in its inroads on Popery; and he hoped she would receive from the Free Church of Scotland all the aid it could afford, and that they might encourage and assist her to proceed onward in the great work; for he felt that if Ireland was to be proselytized, it must be mainly through the efforts of the Irish themselves,-mainly by the instrumentality of the Church of the North of Ireland. (Hear, hear.) He would not detain the House further, except by expressing his cordial acquiescence in the motion made; and hoping that if at any time there would be a call for any elder to go to the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, and if there was at any time a loss for one, they would be sure to send for him. (Laughter and applause.)
The MODERATOR then addressed the members of the deputation as follows: ---We welcome you to our Assembly. We thank you for your expression of fraternal regard. We thank you also for the encouragement you have given us in persevering in the work in which the Lord has called us to engage. A gentleman says he has never been in this Assembly before. I am sure I can say, in regard to him, as the feeling of every member that heard him, we wish to see him soon in this Assembly again; although he has spoken of us in too flattering terms, we desire to be humble. We thank God that he has given us grace to go thus far, and we trust we will ever be inspired by the zealous encouragements to the discharge of the duty we owe to the cause of Christ, and to do everything we can to strengthen our Presbyterian brethren in another kingdom. We are deeply sensible of the importance of the interests entrusted to you. You will indeed make allowance, from considering our peculiar position, that the aid we have hitherto rendered was by no means adequate to the extent of the work committed to you, which you are called to assume more and more. But you are aware of the reasons of our leaving the Establishment, that it was necessary for us to do much at home in the way of rearing churches, providing for the accommodation of ministers, and also for the upholding of our colonial measures and Education Scheme. Besides this, you may be aware that we had hardly left the Establishment, when invitations were addressed to us, even from our remotest colonies, to receive pastors from us, and also, in some cases, to receive assistance for the support of these pastors. I am sure, when you consider all these things, and that we have much still to do in the way of consolidating our Church at home, you will candidly make allowance for the small amount of the contributions we have hitherto been enabled to render to that great work in which we, in common with you, have been engaged. I trust these contributions may, in future, be much enlarged, when we will be able to furnish, either by pecuniary
assistance or by pastors, aid to you in this good work. I have pleasure in cordially conveying to you the thanks of the General Assembly; and in bidding you welcome, we would earnestly pray that the Lord may prosper you in the various spheres in which you are individually called to labour. (Applause.) The following was the deliverance of the Assembly:
"The Assembly reciprocate the feelings of affection and interest which have been expressed by their brethren from Ireland, who have now addressed the Assembly. They adore the sovereign grace of Him, who has been pleased to open the door for the preaching of the gospel among the Roman Catholics in many parts of the sister island; and they desire, by such means as may be in their power, to aid the Presbyterian Church there in the great work of evangelization of that country. And further, the Assembly express their sympathy with their brethren in all their labours, and their earnest prayers for their continued spiritual prosperity and increasing usefulness. At the Assembly's desire, the Moderator addres ed the Deputation, expressing the pleasure which their appearance has afforded to the Assembly, and the interest which this Church takes in the progress of gospel truth in Ireland. The Assembly appoint the Committee nominated by the Commission in August, in regard to the evangelization of Ireland, to be a Committee of Correspondence with the Irish Home Mission Committee, Mr Moody Stuart, Convener; remitting to them to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with the operations of their mission, and to arrange with them regarding their Deputations to this country on its behalf."
CALL TO MR MACNAUGHTAN OF PAISLEY.
The CLERK read the papers in this case, after which parties were called, when their appeared: For the appellants, the Elders of the Free High Congregation, Paisley Mr Alexander M'Queen and Mr G. Andrew; for the Deacons-Mr J. Dalziel and Mr John Smith; for the Congregation-Messrs Peter Brough, John Begg, and William Macalester; for the Congregation of Rosemary StreetProfessor Gibson and Councillor Gibson; for the Presbytery of Paisley, Messrs Thomson and Salmon. Mr Macnaughtan appeared, acquiescing in the refer
Dr CANDLISH said, there was evidently two cases here, first, the appeal of the congregation against the reference of the Presbytery; and second, the reference itself. He would suggest, if it was agreeable to parties at the bar, in order to save time, and to avoid elaborating the case, that the Assembly should sustain the appeal, which would enable them at once to get at the merits of the case. Mr MAKGILL CRICHTON advised the parties to agree to this course, as it would simplify the proceedings very much.
Mr M'QUEEN, on the part of the appellants, had no objection to this course, if it was not to prejudice the case.
Dr M'FARLAN said he could not see how the parties at the bar could possibly speak upon the appeal without going into the merits. He would therefore suggest that they proceed.
Mr M'QUEEN then observed, that he would take the liberty at the outset to say, that he appeared there once more as one of a deputation from a large congregation, along with others present, who were there also as appellants from the judgment and finding of the Free Church Presbytery of Paisley, in the case connected with a call from the Rosemary Street congregation, Belfast, to the Rev. Mr Macnaughtan of Paisley, their esteemed pastor. They appealed from the finding of that Presbytery because in their consciences, and to the best of their judgments, there were sufficient reasons given in the memorial which he held in his hand, and which had been presented to the Presbytery, and upon which he considered they ought at once to have come to a judgment, and found that it was inexpedient that Mr Macnaughtan should leave his present charge. He did not think it necessary to enter very minutely, or at any length, into this very important case, inasmuch as their beloved pastor was well known to the members of this venerable Court. He might remark, however, in addition to the reasons which the members would find in the printed paper, that at the be
ginning of this year, there were 463 congregations connected with the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, and of these there were fifty-three collegiate charges, and there were only eight vacancies in that Presbyterian Church. On the other hand, they found in our own beloved Protestant Free Church of Scotland, that there was somewhat about 790 congregations, with only about eight collegiate charges, and somewhat about twenty congregations not yet supplied with ministers. He would ask, then, with all confidence, whether, in these circumstances, it was possible for this venerable court for one moment to agree to the translation of Mr Macnaughtan to such a congregation as the Rosemary Street Church of Belfast? Moreover, they found that while there were 500 members in that church, not more than 300 had signed this very remarkable call. That fact, in connection with Rosemary Street congregation, would speak for itself. While on this subject he might remind this venerable Assembly, that at the time of the Disruption, almost the entire congregation left along with their minister and elders,—and those present acquainted with the financial matters of the church were aware of what had been their prospects as a congregation since that time. He could assure the Assembly that he felt in this matter keenly, because he might say he had been all his life in connection with that church. For fifty years he had been a member of it, and thirty years of that time an office-bearer, and therefore he believed they would not feel surprised that he should take a very deep and lively interest in everything that would tend to its spiritual welfare, and its growth in grace. While he had no desire to raise Mr Macnaughtan above his merits, he would say that, from all he had seen, and from all he had known of him, he was just the man for that congregation, and they were just the congregation for him. (Hear, hear.) He deprecated the sending of calls from this, that, and the other quarter as occurred in the case of their worthy pastor, as it was enough to distract and turn the brain of any man to be troubled with so many of them-(laughter)—and on this point he hoped the proceedings of to-day, and the decision of the Assembly in this case, would put an end to them for a long time to come. He was informed that so soon as this call was settled, there was another ready to come into the Church. (Laughter.) The proposal of their pastor's acceptance of that call had bewildered almost every one with whom he had come in contact; indeed, the idea was quite extravagant. To leave the Free High Church of Paisley to go to Belfast! (Laughter.) Why, the Free High Church congregation of Paisley would do honour to any man in the Free Church of Scotland. (Hear, hear.) While he made these statements in all sincerity, it was from no factious motive, but because he conceived that Mr Macnaughtan was doing wrong in proposing to go to Belfast, and also because he thought, that if he went to Ireland, he would find that there was not rest there for the souls of his people. Paisley he looked upon as the best place for Mr Macnaughtan. There he was beloved,there they had a large, influential, and united congregation; and from what his people thought of him, and from the way in which they had treated him, from first to last, he (Mr M'Queen) considered that he was called upon to exclaim, This people is my people, and with them I will live and die. (Hear, hear.) After a few further remarks, Mr M'Queen concluded by calling upon the ministers and elders of the Assembly to give the case their best attention. He left the matter in their hands, firmly believing that the result would be, that their minister should go home with them as formerly when he was successfully opposed on similar occasions. If that were the result, he was quite sure Mr Macnaughtan would find that it had been for his own spiritual good, for his own peace of mind, and for his own interest, that he had not been sent to Ireland.
Mr ANDREW, in support of the statement of the previous speaker, called the attention of the Assembly to some leading facts connected with the case. It had already been mentioned that their congregation was a very large one. For the information of the Assembly he might mention that there were in it 1400 sitters, and of these 995 communicants. That congregation was chiefly made up of what might be termed individual sitters,—those not having any family relationship, and who, consequent upon the removal of Mr Macnaughtan, would be likely to leave the Church. With respect to the liberality of the congregation in financial matters, he might mention, that it was no unusual thing for them to raise from £30 to £40 in one day for the missionary schemes of the Free Church. No later than last year
when a call was made on behalf of the poor of the congregation, there was a collection on one day of £77; and last year that congregation alone raised for the carrying out of the Schemes of the Church, the sum of £1800. This in his view was a very weighty consideration, and it might easily be discovered, that if their influential minister was taken from them, that department would suffer very much. As a congregation in Paisley, they occupied a distinguished position, and were in fact, as a church, a kind of rallying point for others, who looked to them for guidance in their difficulties and straits. Knowing the gifts and graces of Mr Macnaughtan, also what he had done and was capable of doing, he would press upon this venerable Assembly the consideration of what he was to Paisley and neighbourhood, in the matter of superior usefulness, as compared with the Rosemary Street congregation in Belfast, the call from which was signed by only 300 names, while the congregation of High Church, Paisley, numbered 1000.
Mr THOMSON, of St George's Church, Paisley, on the part of the Presbytery, said,- With reference to this case he would not occupy the time of the Assembly for more than a few minutes. The case, though in many respects important and deserving of very serious consideration, was, in others, a very clear and simple one, so far as the reference was concerned. The question before the Presbytery was, not as to the comparative claims or merits of the two congregations in Paisley and Belfast. If this had been the only question before them, they would have had no hesitation whatever, as the deliverance of the Presbytery bears, in coming at once to the conclusion, that this translation ought not to be granted. Mr Macnaughtan's congregation was at least three times as large as the congregation from which the call had been received, and in every point of view there was no comparison between the two congregations, and though there could be little doubt that Mr Macnaughtan would ultimately draw a much larger congregation around him in Belfast; and although besides there was a Memorial laid before the Presbytery from leading Presbyteries in other congregations in Belfast, signed by at least 1400 persons, entreating the Presbytery to translate Mr Macnaughtan, yet, notwithstanding this circumstance, they did not feel that that should weigh very much with them in pronouncing judgment as to the translation; but the question before them in reality was, not the comparative claims of the two congregations merely, but whether the Free Church should send one of her ministers to the aid of the sister Church in Ireland. The question was so put to Mr Macnaughtan himself by the deputation from Ireland, who stated it very clearly and very strongly, and that the translation would be a very great blessing, not only to the congregation of Rosemary Street, but also to the Presbyterian Church generally, and to the cause of true religion in that land. The Presbytery especially, under these circumstances, felt the more difficulty when informed that Mr Macnaughtan considered it his duty to accept the call. They felt that they could not take it upon themselves to say that the call should be summarily refused, or to put an obstacle to their brother's consideration of it as a call from the great Head of the Church; but, on the other hand, they held that it was not competent for them, as an inferior Court, to say that their brother ought to leave his present Church and attach himself to another, however closely attached to their own. In the present scarcity of ministers in the Free Church, and from the calls constantly coming in from the waste places of our land, as well as because of the fitness of Mr Macnaughtan for his present charge, and his services to the Free Church generally, the Presbytery felt that they could not take upon themselves to dissolve the tie that bound him to his present attached flock, but that it was a question which the General Assembly alone could decide. For these reasons the Presbytery had brought up the case to this venerable court; and what they desired was, that the Assembly might give such a decision as might be the means of settling the question.
Mr DUNLOP, advocate, proposed that the Assembly sustain the reference, and hear the parties on the main question.
Professor GIBSON of Belfast appeared on the part of the Rosemary Street congregation, to urge the translation. To his view, the case had a very providential aspect, when he looked at the circumstances connected with it, a brief statement of which he proposed to submit to the Assembly. When it was referred simpliciter to the General Assembly, he for one most cordially acquiesced in the reference, be