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Compared with former years, the revenue stood thus:
In the year 1834, with 2 Schemes,
1835, with 5 Schemes,
£47,568 10 10
This showed an increase of more than £4000; but there were the following supplementary contributions for objects intimately connected with the Schemes, or rather forming part and parcel of them :
Then there fell to be added, contributions raised by sundry societies, auxiliary to the Schemes-the Ladies' Association for Female Schools in India, and for the Education of Jewish Females-the Colonial Association; and, in addition to these, sums contributed by friends in India for the Mission, and disbursed there. These put together amount to upwards of £7000; so that the total for this year appears to be £63,827. In this state, in regard to the Home Mission, no notice is taken of the sums raised from non-ministerial associations, which amount to the very considerable sum of £2283, which was excluded also from the account of last year. In regard to the juvenile contributions, there is a small decrease. The sum obtained last year for the six Schemes of the Church, from the children of Scotland, was £880: 8:3. This year it amounts to £862: 6:4. But when the contributions for the Central Building, Continental Churches, Ladies' Female Education in India, Orphan Refuge in India, the Church at Leghorn, the Sustentation Fund, and the Ladies' Jewish Female Education, are taken into account, the total from the children is £953: 17: 4, whilst last year it was £971:9:83. There is thus on the gross of the children's offerings a decrease of £17: 12:43. The General Assembly may perhaps expect that I should make some reference to the state of the different congregations in regard to the observance of the rule laid down by the Church, and I am gratified exceedingly to be able to say, that although, as was mentioned by Dr Makellar, the amount from congregations is on the whole diminished, the regularity of the congregations in contributing is very greatly increased. In running over the different Presbyteries of the Church, I find that many Presbyteries more than on former occasions have contributed to all the Schemes of the Church. In the following Presbyteries, all the congregations within their bounds have contributed to all the Schemes, viz. Edinburgh, Kelso and Lauder, Jedburgh, Lockerby, Dumfries, Penpont, Kirkcudbright, Islay, Dunfermline, Breadalbane, Perth, Auchterarder, Kirkaldy, Cupar, St Andrews, Forfar, Brechin, Arbroath, Alford, Fordyce, Forres, Dingwall. And I have for the first time to report the gratifying fact, that in one Synod-the Synod of Dumfries-all the congregations within its bounds have contributed to every one of the Schemes of the Church.
Dr MAKELLAR resumed: Moderator,-The statement now given is in itself very important, and, I trust, very satisfactory to the General Assembly. It must be interesting to us to think of the multiplicity of momentous objects that call for our efforts, and at the same time, that it has pleased God to appoint the needful supplies to come to us from the hands of his willing people. The consideration of these things is calculated to exercise our minds aright before God, that we may not forget the real object of our stewardship, or give in to the temptation of presumptuous confidence on the one hand, or of misapplication of our funds on the other. It will not be denied by those who are capable of thinking upon the subject, that we require to be on our guard against such dangers. We may be entangled in the snare of multiplying our Schemes, and extending our operations, beyond the real advantage of our condition and the resources of our people. I believe there are few things that would injure us more than if we failed or came short of realizing what is indispensable to the right equipment of a Church occupying so elevated and peculiar a position as ours, or if we were chargeable with aiming at an enlargement that might be ascribed to vanity or mistaken views of any obligations or interests. Dear brethren, instead of falling into such snares as these, let us earnestly seek that the Father of lights and of life would lead us in the right way, that we may steadily adhere to what the well-being of our Church really requires, and what the convictions and capabilities of our people would sanction and supply. "I speak as unto wise men; judge ye what I say." We all feel how much we owe to the great mercy of God in bringing us out of many straits and difficulties, through the extraordinary efforts of our excellent friends the ladies; but let us beware lest we presume on such interpositions in the time to come. We must not calculate on the repetition of such an experiment. On the contrary, our duty is to exercise prudent carefulness and enlightened conduct in the management of the funds committed to our charge; while we trust that He who has stirred up the hearts of our people to devise liberal things will enable them to "abound more and more in the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God." In this way there will be seed to the sower and bread to the eater, and glory to the name of Him who is the giver of "every good and perfect gift." Although it is not our province to speak particularly of the operations and spiritual encouragements of our missionary Schemes, yet we feel that our account would be grievously defective, if we did not acknowledge the Lord's goodness vouchsafed to our missionary friends in distant lands, and the success with which he has been graciously pleased to countenance their labours. He has not left them to run in vain, or to labour in vain. He has borne testimony to the word of his own grace proclaimed to our countrymen in the fields and forests of America, so as that they have had times of reviving and refreshing from the presence of the Lord. At our various stations among the children of Abraham, some here and some there have been brought to the saving knowledge of the once crucified and now exalted One, and to rejoice in the riches of his grace. We fondly trust that these are the first proofs of an abundant harvest, that shall ere long gladden the whole land, and shake like Lebanon. But it is in India especially, and in other regions of the East, that we discern the most successful assaults on the stronghold of Satan, and the most cheering triumphs of redeeming grace. There the strong man armed has long kept the house, and his goods were in peace." But now a stronger than he is coming upon him, and stripping him of his armour, and spoiling him of his goods. The deep ignorance, and the abominable idolatries, and the inveterate habits of iniquity and horrid cruelty, which have so long kept thousands and millions of our race fast bound as in fetters of iron, are beginning to give way. The prison doors are opening, and captives are made free. Let us earnestly seek that the Word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified, until whatever hindereth be taken out of the way, and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ.
Dr ROBERT BUCHANAN said,—I am sure there can be but one feeling in reference to the report now given in, and that is a feeling of devout gratitude to God, that for a year of such unexampled difficulty and depression, we should have had such a return as Dr Makellar has been enabled this evening to present. It will not be necessary to detain the House on such an occasion with anything in the shape of a speech, or any observation at all. The House will not fail to acknowledge, in the
first place, their thankfulness to that God who is the giver of every good and perfect gift, and through whose grace our people, in a time of great affliction, have been enabled and disposed to bestow of their means on these great Christian objects. I don't think, sir, the present is the proper occasion for adverting to some particulars connected with the efforts that have been made to make up the deficiencies of the year. I believe an opportunity will occur in connection with a report from a Committee to be this evening appointed in reference to this matter. I am quite sure that whatever may be the opinion of the members of this House as to the expediency of resorting to such unusual methods as have been this year employed to make up the unavoidable deficiency in the revenue of our Schemes-whatever opinion the members of this House may entertain as to the expediency of having recourse to these unusual expedients, there can be but one opinion as to the debt of gratitude which the House owes to the ladies who devoted themselves so disinterestedly and energetically to this important undertaking. We cannot doubt the high Christian motives which induced them to lend themselves to the work which they so successfully performed. At the same time, I would not wish it to be understood, while expressing most heartily the deep sense of gratitude which I feel, and, no doubt, this House feels, to those laidies who were the instruments of relieving the mission funds from the difficulties in which they must have been involved-I do not wish to be understood, in so doing, as committing myself in any sense to the opinion that it is advisable that a course of that kind should be followed generally. I believe an opportunity will arise by-and-by, when we are considering about the future management of the Schemes, and about the best means of promoting their prosperity, of stating our views on that whole question. On the present occasion, what becomes us is, in the first place, to approve of the report which Dr Makellar has laid on the table, and to record our thanks to him, as Convener of the Board of Missions, for his labours in this cause; and I am sure it will also be the pleasure of the House to record their thanks to those ladies who so devotedly laboured in promoting the cause of the missions. That is the motion which, by the leave of the House, I beg to propose.
The Assembly accordingly express their thankfulness to the Giver of all good, for the measure of liberality displayed by the members of the Church, notwithstanding the universal pressure of the times; and record their thanks to Dr Makellar and the Board of Missions for their valuable services; as also to those friends who have aided them in the good work of promoting the great object which the Board has in view.
CONVERSION OF THE JEWS.
Mr MOODY STUART, Convener of the Committee, gave in the report, which will be found in the Appendix. Mr Stuart introduced to the Assembly Mr Allan, missionary to the Jews at Constantinople, and Mr Schwartz, missionary at Berlin.
Mr ALLAN, missionary from Constantinople, made a statement to the Assembly regarding the Jews in Constantinople among whom he had laboured. They are not very numerous there, amounting to not above 3000 souls. They are principally from surrounding countries, and the majority of them may be said to have escaped from Russia and elsewhere, where they were held in bondage, and had sought a hiding-place in Constantinople. The labours of the missionaries must begin with educating the Jews, and he thought he could see a reason why startling impressions were not made on their friends at home. No young man who embraces the Christian religion in Constantinople, need want work if he be willing to labour; and it was a fact that the mission had not contributed directly to the assistance of any one convert in Constantinople, except a few shillings in cases of sickness and distress. The mission, as the Assembly was aware, had their schools for bringing in the children to the truth. He believed that if they had the means, they could have the education of the children of the whole German, Italian, and Spanish Jews in their hands; and this important circumstance it was his intention to press upon the consideration of the friends of the mission at home. He might speak here in reference to other signs of progress amongst the Jews in Constantinople, and of the additional efforts which might be made at present on their behalf; but perhaps he might be supposed to over-estimate the advances they had lately made in that respect. By the good
providence of God, he had been enabled, at the request of a respectable Jewish father, to open a school for the higher classes of the Jewish people. He restricted the number of pupils to five,-the difficulties the teacher had to contend with being very great, and he admitted them only at quarterly terms. The person who first spoke to him on the subject agreed to make up the number; and accordingly, on the day appointed, he came to him with his two daughters, and the other three. The school was still going on, and amongst the pupils were two very pleasing young ladies from the Constantinople side, who came over in their winter dresses, and changed them when they came over to attend the school. This was a statement which he would not enlarge upon; but they had here, he conceived, a field of almost boundless extent, as there were no means of education of which the Jews could avail themselves for the female members of their families, except that to be got in the' convents. Rather than want education, they sent their children to those places; and when he had urged them to bring the books which they used in order to avail themselves of them, he felt ashamed that they had scrupled to introduce into the schools the pure Word of God. These books consisted of collections from the Romish ritual, prayers to the Virgin Mary, and addresses to the saints. Whenever he saw these books, he immediately felt ashamed on account of their own scrupulousness, and from that moment he resolved that he should certainly teach Christianity in all its fulness and in all its purity in that school, and without any appeals to the traditions of the Talmud on its behalf. He would request now to say a very few words as to the character of the converts which it had pleased God to give them. This Assembly would not think them very many, as the number baptized was only eight; but it was an encouraging fact, that there was only one of those who had fallen back, and that all the rest were going on increasing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The one who had fallen back had been overtaken by a sin which had held him long captive before his admission to the Christian Church; he was now under church discipline on account of his backsliding, and he hoped the exercise of discipline would be producing the right impression in his mind, and would be deepening those convictions of sin which, from his by past conduct, he had shown were not very deep before. He might allude to the fact likewise, that all the converts were living together in harmony, which was becoming every day more apparent, as they rose in the knowledge of the grace of God through Christ. The difficulties in which those young disciples of Christ would be placed did not occur to them; and he confessed that it had been with the greatest difficulty he had been able to conceal his own emotions, when he saw it necessary to speak comfort to their hearts. There was a feature in the character and conduct of the converts which was very important, namely, that when they did fail after their baptism, sin had previously had much more power over them. It would not seem strange to the Assembly when he informed them that their Jewish converts had risen both in respectability and influence, and acquired a name for probity in their dealings which had been of service to them even in a worldly point of view. He found them acting as agents for the German and other merchants in Constantinople; and, what was very remarkable, the poorer Jews who were still far from the truth, received, through their patronage, the means of their own support. He had already alluded to their relations with the Italian and Spanish Jews, and that was chiefly in the matter of education. Amongst these, however, he had left many inquirers in an interesting situation. He would say a few words on the state of the Spanish Jews. Their number was very great; it might be said to be immense, as there were not fewer than 8000 of that class of Jews in Constantinople, and in the suburbs not fewer than 20,000, all subjects of the Porte,-the chief Rabbi being their representative. It would be understood, therefore, that, in the case of any movement amongst the Spanish Jews, the individuals could be subjected to a certain amount of persecution. But, thanks to her Majesty's representatives in Constantinople, they had there, within the last few months, a general law of toleration promulgated, of which the Jews, if they required it, could avail themselves. He did not know what Sir Stratford Canning and his amiable and God-fearing Successor's proceedings at Constantinople might be thought of in this country, nor if they had met with approbation, but he believed that many thousands of poor oppressed Jews felt in their hearts, and were ready to acknowledge their obligations,
for the Christian efforts of those representatives of her Majesty. He would now refer to the state of the Jews at Smyrna, where the poor had recently had a contest with the rich regarding the management of their own affairs. The rich absorbed the taxes which the poor contributed, and disposed of them entirely according to their own will. The poor Jews had accordingly risen and demanded that they should have a voice in the disposal of the funds to which they contributed. The case came before the Porte; and her Majesty's representative had taken it up, and had requested, through the Missionaries, that all information on this subject should be communicated to him; and they might judge from this of the interest which the British Ambassador took in the state of the Jews in the Turkish dominions. He held in his hand the correspondence between his Lordship and the Missionaries on the subject, and it showed, in the most delightful manner, the warm and Christian interest which this Christian representative of her Majesty took in the cause of those poor oppressed people; and his earnest desire to ascertain what could be done to better the political and moral condition of the Jews in that country. If they could only suggest measures which would be beneficial to them, this excellent Nobleman would see them carried out. He would next allude to the Jews in Salonica. They had there a large number of Jews, whose ancestors had settled in that quarter in 1742. They had embraced Mahommetanism, and were living in the outward profession of that religion, while in secret they were closely attached to the doctrines of the Old Testament. They were called turn-coats by the Turks, and he believed their number would amount to about 5000. Perhaps it would interest the Assembly if he were to read the creed of this peculiar class of men. (Here he read the document referred to.) This was evidently drawn from the Old Testament; and it might perhaps be satisfactory to the friends of Israel to know, that while they of the Free Church of Scotland were stepping into the field of Constantinople, which they had been long in taking up, other parties had been awakened to a recognition of their duty, and had proposed to send their missionaries to Salonica. The field was very inviting, and may the Lord prosper them. From the long experience which he had had of the zeal of the friends of Israel in this Church, it might seem presumption to urge upon the people of God more earnestness in the work. He should thereby be indicating that there had been a remissness on their part, which was not the case, and he should rather crave their indulgence for the unfaithfulness and want of success which had attended the exertions of the Missionaries, and which had been so little commensurate with the support which they had received from their friends. He felt that it became the Missionaries, in presence of their Master, and in the presence of those who had sent them forth, to take an attitude of humility; but it was a token of good to Israel that there seemed to be an increasing desire in the minds of Christians to assist in gathering into the fold of the Redeemer the lost sheep of the house of Jacob. Might the Lord bless those who cared for Israel, and might they see the work of the Lord prospering in their hand! He regretted that so few were ready to go forth to tell that the day of Israel's redemption was drawing nigh. There was a charm in the idea of carrying the message to God's ancient people. They might have lost the will to comfort Israel, but they could not forget that the idea was as fresh as ever in the heart of Jehovah. His purposes of mercy and love did not grow old, or become obsolete; and although they were to turn their eyes away, the purpose of the Lord would be accomplished, but without the aid which they were bound to afford in such a cause. He was there to bear testimony that the work itself was not uninteresting, but however unfaithfully or unsuccessfully it had been performed, not one of them who had come forth had ever cast a look of regret behind them. It was something to see the power of the Cross upon the followers of rabbinical traditions, and to see the light of the gospel flash into what was before merely a dead letter. Oh! how often he had been gladdened to witness the result when the words of the living God were brought forth in the power which dictated them at first. It seemed as if Moses and the prophets became, as it were, alive from the dead. It was an error to suppose that the Jews could only be approached through their rabbinical traditions, whether at home or abroad, for with them likewise it was the Word and the Testimony alone which was quick and powerful in renewing the heart. They did not need to spend their time in rabbinical study, because it was the gospel in all its simplicity which was to convert the