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ing organ of the Free Church, headed "The Selkirk Tractarian," the editor declares that some young ministers and elders had actually gone the length of writing him letters advocating similar views to those which my friend Mr Hay already has, and which I am endeavouring to impress upon the Assembly. Fast receding from the standing of a mere youth, and verging upon that of a middle-aged man, I am not ashamed to profess myself of the same mind with these young gentlemen, and to avow my conviction that upon this point they do credit both to years and experience. Sure I am of the fact, that there are a vast number of riper age and more matured experience, both in the office of the holy ministry, and as bearing rule in the Church, who heartily go along with us, when we thus, it may be humbly, yet strenuously, advocate the abolition of supplements out and out. Sir, I speak advisedly when I say, that many of these country brethren, diligent and devoted servants of the Lord Jesus, eminent even in their very obscurity, are trembling lest this Assembly should disperse without taking up the subject. Yea, their very hearts are failing them through fear lest another year be suffered to revolve ere the Assembly grant the motion of my respected friend, which only demands investigation. Let it not be imagined that I am speaking theoretically, or from mere supposition. I speak from knowledge,-knowledge, I am sorry to say, painfully acquired from frequent communication with many of them upon this very subject. But, Sir, I have always endeavoured to allay those fears,-to dispel those misgivings. I have told them that I had the greatest possible confidence in this our supreme ecclesiastical judicatory. Again and again have I declared that to me it seems absolutely impossible the Assembly could so far fail in regard to even-handed justice, as to refuse to adjust a system which, after five years trial, has been found to press most unequally upon that meritorious class of our parish ministers, who cheerfully abandoned their worldly all when the day of trial came, rather than do dishonour to their heavenly Master. But, Sir, it remains with you,-it remains with this Assembly, to furnish the answers. Must I go back and tell them that I have been a miserable, because a false comforter, whispering peace where in reality none awaited them, that I myself have misplaced my confidence,—that I myself have been grievously disappointed. Sir, my very attachment to the Free Church would make me tremble to be the bearer of such tidings as these, to deliver such a message as this; but I have no fear such shall be the result of this day's vote. It would have better befitted the policy of a bygone age, and their still darker doings, that are now numbered,-where, I trust, the supplementary system will speedily be,among the things that were. Nay, Sir, I have no doubt but rather than such a state of things as the present should continue, this very Assembly would be ready to give forth a summary and final deliverance upon this very subject. But my very anxiety for its right adjustment would compel me to remonstrate against such hasty legislation, were it even attempted, and therefore we prefer taking our stand upon the terms of our motion, which humbly prays that this venerable Assembly do send down to all our Presbyteries, for their consideration, the various plans that have been suggested for the proper distribution of the funds raised for the supply of ordinances in the land. But, Sir, let me now, with all possible brevity, call upon the Assembly, calmly, seriously, and dispassionately, to discuss this most important subject, fraught as it is with consequences so momentous for weal or for woe to the cause of true religion and vital godliness in the land, and let us do so under a deep and solemn impression that we are now convened in the name of Him who is our great Head, whose presence we have invoked, and who alone can overrule all our deliberations, and cause them to redound to His own glory in the extension and permanency of His Church. First, then, I believe we will unanimously agree in admitting the Sustentation Fund to be the one great concern. Sir, the whole drift, and end, and aim, of the gentlemen I have already alluded to, who spoke on a previous night on a subject sounding very much akin to this, turned on this very point, as being the sheet-anchor of the Free Church. In addition to this testimony, I hold in my hand a tract subscribed by a distinguished elder of this Church, and therefore one whom the Assembly will regard as no mean authority on the same point. Of this gentleman I hope I shall ever speak in courteous terms, notwithstanding the very unceremonious way he spoke of the south country elders in this morning's conference. I trust, even although he talked of me as a misguided man, a solemn

recollection that I am now speaking for the first time in the General Assembly of the Church to which I belong, will effectually suppress every feeling of retaliation. At the very commencement, this writer says, that of all the secular or external interests of the Free Church, the Central or Sustentation Fund is vastly the most important; and that upon the increase or permanency of it must depend the adequate support and due extension of our Zion. But, Sir, I also find that this writer is not only a gentleman of name and authority, but one of very considerable experience in matters relating to the financial department of the Church; for a little further on he thus writes, that for many years he has acted as subordinate agent of the venerated Dr Chalmers, in the work of raising funds for the establishment and support of our national Zion, and that he has endeavoured to imbibe somewhat of his departed leader's spirit. Sir, the Assembly will readily turn its eye to the writer of the tract, and therefore I need not name him, for surely it cannot already have forgot the statement he made on the self-same night I have already alluded to, when, amidst the plaudits of the house, he told us that fourteen years had been the period of his servitude. But, Sir, I would ask this same gentlemar, even although I have not the pleasure of his personal acquaintance (and sure I am, from what I have heard of his character, that he will be the last to take it amiss,) What was the great leading fund upon which the venerated Dr Chalmers, five years ago, ventured to lay the foundation and stake the stability of the Church about to be named Free? Was it not, after all, the Sustentation Fund? And, certainly the very fact my friend Mr Hay has mentioned, that supplements were unknown till the Glasgow Assembly, is proof sufficient, if proof were awanting, to show that his great leading principle or fund has been interfered with and thwarted. Therefore, if the same gentleman has caught the spirit of his venerated leader,—and who may doubt but that he has? for I am told that none could ever possibly enjoy his society, or partake in his counsels, without almost, as a matter of necessity, partaking of his spirit, therefore, I say, if the mantle of the departed has descended, and now rests upon him, he will certainly be the very first to rescue the Sustentation Fund from every danger with which it may be threatened or assailed,-to perfect the scheme of his great predecessor ere it go down to posterity sterotyped with any foreign appendage, to mar its beauty, or to bereave it of its power to accomplish the great end and object of its venerated projector, held so dear, or even to tarnish the lofty bearing of that truly illustrious Assembly, when, for the first time, as a Church, they entered this very Hall, and proclaimed as their great leading principle, share and share alike,-shoulder to shoulder,-man by man,--we will henceforth regard all things as common. Sir, I do not need to tell you that that same noble sentiment, so worthy of the Church, by this time named the Free, resounded to the world's end. The distant islands of the sea have sent us, in consequence, their congratulations,-aye, and their contributions too. This statement ought to have been written in letters of gold; but the melancholy, the miserable confession, must, I fear, be made,-in a great measure it has even already passed from the memory of the Free Church. There is another point on which I don't anticipate much difference of opinion, and that is, the very laudable and praiseworthy desire we see generally exhibited by most of our congregations to make their own individual ministers comfortable. Sir, I am far, very far, from wishing this Assembly to discountenance, to discourage, such a kindly feeling as this. On the very contrary, I ask the Assembly to strengthen it, to encourage it, to carry it out; and eventually to frame such a measure as shall in all time coming prevent the possibility of such a strange disclosure as my friend, in moving the adoption of this motion, has made. Sir, I can scarcely conceive it possible that one within these walls can defend such a system as this, or rather defend a plan, the working of which absolutely defies all system; and were it not that I am exceedingly averse to inflict additional pain upon the Assembly listening to other particular cases, I should probably go over a larger amount of evidence than Mr Hay has already submitted to your notice; but, in the circumstances, to demonstrate the working of the present plan, I shall confine myself in my selections to the Presbytery of this very town. I find, Sir, in this statement, that one congregation remits annually to the Sustentation Fund £196: 5:11. It raises by ordinary collections £254: 1: 51, and it supplements its own minister with £300. I do not pretend, Sir, to be very deeply versed in the way in which

Church accounts are cleared up; but this I do know in ordinary business, that if I get two discharges, one showing that £300 has been paid away, the other £196: 5: 11, I must also be able to show, that I had the sum of £496: 5: 11 to meet it, and, not as this statement shows, that £450: 7: 8 sufficed for the purpose. But, Sir, on the supposition that £496: 5:11 was raised by this congregation, as I believe it merely to be some mistake in the figures, and therefore take no farther notice of it, I have merely to ask if a congregation or a Deacons' Court, in the great and honest exercise of their discretionary power, were warranted to convey £300 of this £496: 5: 11 over to their own minister. Remember, Sir, I bring no charge of dishonesty against either congregation, Deacons' Court, or minister. God forbid that I should; but I do say, if it is just and honest, then, most-assuredly, it must be palpable and plain to all, that what one congregation has done, and, I suppose, is doing, all may-nay, in fact, all ought, if they will only act equally honest towards their own pastors. Now, Sir, contrast this with another charge in this same Presbytery. I find it raises for the Sustentation Fund, and by ordinary collections, £3397 : 0 : 3, Now, Sir, I hold that if this Deacons' Court would act upon the same ratio of sterling honesty, according to a plain arithmetical calculation, the minister is entitled to receive the sum of £2053: 8:53 of supplement. This statement only shows, however, that he has received £390; of course, a balance must be due to him of £1653:8:53. Now, Sir, this is clearly the working out of our present plan; and notwithstanding the Report which has just been put into our hands by the Sustentation Committee, that it lies beyond the power of the Church to legislate about supplements, because they are a voluntary offering,-why, Sir, our whole offerings are voluntary altogether; there is no constraint whatever about them but the constraint of religious principle, that of rendering unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and to God the things that are God's; but which, I think, was also very clearly brought out by some of the gentlemen I have already alluded to. But, Sir, whilst I am talking of our friends the Voluntaries, I say that I am one from necessity, aud not from choice. And what is the testimony the more enlightened amongst them have borne amongst us? Is it not, that whilst a century has rolled over their heads as a distinct Church, we have outdone them in our very infancy as a Church, in so far as regards the mere raising of supplies? And hence the far-sighted sagacity of our great, our departed financier. Let us, then, only carry out his great principles, -the Disruption principles,—and I have no doubt but we will compel even them to admit that we have infinitely outdone them in the mode of distribution likewise. But, Sir, supposing we may not, and dare not, legislate upon supplements, Deacons' Courts, rest assured, will speedily take the hint from this metropolitan one, and we will speedily see what befalls the Sustentation Fund. Why, Sir, I have made the calculation, and this the result, that is, if all act so as it has done. The resolution of last Assembly becomes a mere dream; all the laborious exertions of the truly worthy and excellent Convener of the Committee, appointed to carry the resolution into effect, are spent in vain; and our ministers, instead of receiving, as formerly, £120 of stipend, will now receive the sum of £62: 17:04. Now, Sir, I would just ask that Assembly, I would ask that congregation, its Deacons' Court, or its minister, if such a system is at all seemly in a Presbyterian Church, professing anything like equality amongst its ministers; and certainly it requires no great discernment to predict the day, not very distant, perhaps, when it must inevitably be the ruin of the Free Church. But, supposing a single member should now defend this system, and suppose the still greater improbability, that the Assembly should endorse his sentiments, I would then put a question to some of our more important and more influential charges. And as it is of some importance, I would wish them calmly and seriously to ponder it, rather than to answer. You state your anxiety for your own individual minister's comfort,-you speak of the respectability of his office, you declare that if the Free Church is to cope with the Establishment, either in the present day or succeeding ages,-your ministers must be placed in independent circumstances. Be it so; but if his independent position is to be maintained at the expense of the Church at large,-if the country brethren are to be in penury that they may loll in wealth,-the day cannot be far distant, yea, I fear the speck is already discoverable in the horizon, out of which the storm is to come, that is to lay waste the whole land, when Ichabod must be written over the walls of our

unfortunate, our impoverished Zion, and all her glory will be departed. It is well known the present staff of labourers already afford but one to cultivate its most important fields and train its most stately vine; most assuredly when the Sustentation Fund recedes from £120 to £62: 15:04, they will then be starved into activity. I stated, Moderator, I would confine myself to demonstrate the working of our present system to the Presbytery of Edinburgh; let me now, ere I close, call your attention to the important fact this statement also reveals. The astounding fact is this, that the more productive the locality, not only is there a larger supplement that I believe we will all allow to be absolutely necessary-but, Sir, the fact is, that there is a large proportional one. I have merely looked at the different Synods. Glasgow and Ayr raises for Sustentation Fund, £20,846: 8:9; for supplement, £7697: 11: 10, being £648: 15: 7 more than a third for Sustentation Fund. Lothian and Tweeddale-For Sustentation Fund £16,228: 10: 9; for supplement £5579: 16: 8, being £170: 6: 5 more than a third for Sustentation Fund.

Aberdeen-For Sustentation Fund £7105, 3s; for Supplement £2100, being £267:9: 10 less than a third for Sustentation Fund.


Angus and Mearns-For Sustentation Fund £6297: 1:6; for Supplement £2540 18: 10), being £441: 18: 4 more than a third for Sustentation Fund. Perth-For Sustentation Fund £4496: 8: 6; for Supplement £886: 10: 5, being £12: 15: 2 less than a fifth for Sustentation Fund.

Moray For Sustentation Fund £3524: 0:6; for Supplement £1068: 19:02, being £105: 14: 5 less than a third for Sustentation Fund.

Fife For Sustentation Fund £3463: 5: 3; for Supplement £1479: 14s: 6, being £325: 6: 1 more than a third for Sustentation Fund.

Stirling For Sustentation Fund £3144: 8:9; for Supplement £999: 16:41, being £48 16: 63 less than a third for Sustentation Fund.

Argyll-For Sustentation Fund £2671: 7:2; for Supplement £682: 1: 4, being £14: 4: 6 more than a fourth for Sustentation Fund.

Merse and Teviotdale--For Sustentation Fund £2457: 16:9; for Supplement £653: 16: 2, being £39: 7: 0 more than a fourth for Sustentation Fund. Dumfries-For Sustentation Fund £2011: 9:8; for Supplement £405: 10: 0, being £3: 4 1 more than a fifth for Sustentation Fund.

Ross-For Sustentation Fund £1846: 17:7; for Supplement £395: 7: 21, being £29: 19: 8 more than a fifth for Sustentation Fund.

Sutherland and Caithness-For Sustentation Fund £1666: 14: 8; for Supplement £337: 2: 101, being £3: 16: 1 more than a fifth for Sustentation Fund. Galloway-For Sustentation Fund £1658 : 0:4; for Supplement £364: 12: 10, being £330: 9 more than a fifth for Sustentation Fund.

Glenelg For Sustentation Fund £1446: 3:9; for Supplement £79: 1: 10, being £22:10: 7 less than an eighteenth for Sustentation Fund.

Orkney--For Sustentation Fund £569: 5:2; for Supplement £16: 2:6, being £4; 17: 8 less than a thirty-fifth for Sustentation.

Shetland-For Sustentation Fund £96: 14 : 3.

You will easily perceive, Moderator, from this statement, the inequality of the present system. Aberdeen remits £808: 1:6 more to the Sustentation Fund than does Angus and Mearns, and yet it supplements with £448: 18:10 less. Perth remits to the Sustentation Fund £1033:3: 3 more than the Synod of Fife, and yet it supplements with £593: 4:03 less. You will also perceive that the poorer the locality the more disinterested they become. Beginning at one-third supplement compared with the sustentation, they gradually descend to one-fourth, onefifth, one eighteenth, one-thirty-fifth; and last, not least, the noble Shetlanders despise it altogether. In conclusion, I earnestly press upon the Assembly the adoption of this motion. Should it refuse to do so, I tremble for the consequences. I very much fear we will let slip the only glorious opportunity we may possibly ever have of establishing the hearts of the Free Church's most devoted sons, and of depriving the foe of any right or reasonable pretext for misrepresenting or insulting her. Let not, I beseech you, the world get a handle against her. Let not the enemy have even the shadow of an apology to offer when he says, Behold what a selfish class. Let not even if you are determined to adhere to the present system-the

reproach be brought against it, that it shuns investigation, and that it cannot be weighed in the balance of Presbyterial scrutiny against the various plans that have been suggested by others, in even the humble production of the Selkirk Elder, without the fear of being found wanting. If our present plan is the best that can be devised for distributing the funds raised for the supply of ordinances in the land, by all means let our Presbyteries say so; and if they do, I hesitate not to declare, the Church at large will see it then to be both her duty and her interest to do the most for it she can; and to the God of providence, in faith and prayer, we will leave the issue.

Mr ARCHIBALD GARDNER (elder from Paisley) said that the Assembly might as well attempt to prevent the wind from blowing, as prevent Christian congregations with the means from supporting their ministers in towns. Their ministers must maintain a certain status in society. If the Assembly adopted the motion which had been tabled, it would do nothing less than dry up the church-door collections; and in saying this, he spoke the sentiments of the laity of Scotland in towns. Their friends in the country, therefore, would receive no benefit from the adoption of the course they recommended.

Dr P. M'FARLAN said,—I have to say, on the part of the Committee who have given in this Report, that perhaps no Committee of the General Assembly ever felt more deeply the difficulty of a task committed to them. It has been a most difficult problem which we have been appointed to solve; namely, to say in what precise manner provision should be made for the ministers of the Church, whether upon the system hitherto pursued, or what precise alterations should be made upon that system, so as to make it universally acceptable to the Church, and at the same time efficient for the purpose for which it was intended. We have had many meetings upon the subject, and we have not come to a conclusion with regard to the particular points remitted to us, without having them again and again brought before us, and without the most anxious consultation and the fullest discussion. And it is after the most mature deliberation that we have brought forward the Report which has just been laid upon the table, and is at present under discussion. We did not anticipate that the Report would be universally acceptable to the Church; we had communication, as is stated in the Report, with the whole of the Presbyteries throughout the Church; and it was evident that such a diversity of opinion respecting the principle which should be laid down for the distribution of the Fund existed, that we could not expect that the Report which has been given in would be altogether acceptable to the Church. Still I do rejoice to think, from the long conversation which we had in conference this morning, that the great leading points in the Report, and the conclusions in general, were such as to recommend themselves to the majority of the ministers and elders of the Church. With regard to the first point, namely, whether or not the two funds, or rather the two classes of funds,--that arising from the contributions to associations, and that from collections,-should be combined and set into one central Fund, the Committee have come to a decided conclusion, that it would be inexpedient to disturb the present arrangement. (Hear, hear.) An observation was made by one of the lay representatives of the Presbytery of Selkirk, that he understood, or rather, for he expressed it more strongly, that a resolution had been come to by the Assembly of 1843, that there should be an equal division of all the funds among the ministers of the Church. Now, I do recollect, most distinctly, that the only fund spoken of in the Assembly of May 1843 was the fund devised by Dr Chalmers, and denominated the Central Fund, out of which the ministers were to receive their stipends in some certain proportions. No other fund was taken notice of,-no other fund was to come under the regulation of the Church. On the contrary, I recollect most distinctly, that the whole of the conversation turned upon other point, whether or not there should be an equal or an unequal division of the Fund? And the Assembly came to the conclusion that there should be an equal dividend out of the Central Fund. There is nothing in the act of the Assembly, for if there had, you may be assured that the gentlemen would have read it to the house, there is nothing in the act of the Assembly which gives the smallest countenance to any other view of the case. Then, with regard to the General Assemply which met in Glasgow, and where it has been said that the first infringement on the right principle was adopted, the fact of the subject of the supplement having


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