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superiority at all, he attaches to himself a number of the people, and in some instances they are unanimously in his favour. At the end of the three months, if the matter were left to themselves, that man would, in all probability, continue, and finish the year of his probation at that place, and at the end of that period would be settled unanimously. But he is removed; another man is sent there; that other man, if at all superior, attaches a considerable number of the people to himself; the congregation is divided, and by and bye, this process being repeated by quarters of a year at a time, instead of finding a congregation unanimous in favour of the first man, as they were at the time when he left, the congregation comes to be hopelessly divided; and you have cases on cases occupying whole days of deliberation before the General Assembly. I have no doubt, then, as far as the vacant charges are concerned, it would be a far better thing,-better for the preacher, and better for the congregation,--if these things were left to work by a natural process, as before the Disruption. But then, when we look at the matter in regard to the stations, it becomes far more serious. There are two alternatives that may be contemplated. If the man is an acceptable man,-though that does not happen so often as we could wish, I hope it will be better by and bye,-but let us suppose he is acceptable: at the end of three months, he has only begun his work, he has only begun to know the people,-his influence is only commencing in the district; and by the time he has acquired the necessary knowledge, and has begun to work with effect, a summons comes down from Edinburgh for his removal. We have petitions on petitions to retain men in stations, and that, of course, is often done; but still I am convinced it would be better to lay down a general rule, that stations under the sanction of Presbyteries might make their own arrangements in regard to the men to be employed, that they might keep their man as long as they chose; and that it ought to be the clear understanding, that enterprising and energetic preachers are expected to raise stations into charges, instead of taking no interest in them, simply because at the end of three months they are expected to leave them. I have sometimes, in the correspondence which we maintain, reason to see the little interest preachers take in stations where there is the slightest difficulty, just because they know they may be removed at the end of three months; and I could read letters to the General Assembly giving intimations to this effect:- "We feel difficulties here. have been long enough here. We wish to be removed to some other place where there is greater hope of success." Now, it occurs to me that the results would be far more favourable in regard to those stations, if, from the very first, the people felt the responsibility of working along with the man whom they had placed in the stations themselves, for the purpose of evangelizing the district, and concerning whom they may reasonably entertain the hope that nothing in the shape of an order from Edinburgh would make any separation between them and him. But more than that, I am convinced that nothing tends to destroy our stations so much as the other alternative, namely, that, after a good energetic man, a feeble, helpless, and inefficient labourer should be sent down to them, or that such a labourer should be sent at the commencement of the station. The people take no interest in such a man ; and sometimes the result, instead of being to foster and support the station, is to overlay it. But more, I am confident this plan of teaching stations to look to Edinburgh, instead of teaching them to look to themselves, and to exercise their own judgment, is most pernicious. It makes them comparatively indifferent about that in which all their interest, if possible, should be excited. It makes them lean on us for procuring supplies, which they might find in their own districts, if the burden of finding them was made to rest on themselves. That is the point to which I am now to come. Being most clearly of opinion that the Committees of the Church should act on the principle which was so clearly announced last night in regard to the India Mission, I think it important that we should keep it in view, not so much in the way of determining what we should aim at, as in the way of determining how and in what measure and degree we are able to carry our aims into accomplishment. I may mention that the result of paying all those preachers and catechists from the Home Mission Fund is very disastrous in a pecuniary point of view. At the last meeting of the Assembly, the Committee appeared to be free from debt, but at the same time that appearance was, to a certain extent, fitted to blind the Church,―not intentionally of course,--but that appearance was perfectly fallacious;


that is to say, it so happened last year, previous to our meeting of Assembly; certain windfalls were obtained by the Home Mission Committee, which enabled them to square their accounts. But the regular revenue of the Committee was not equal to the expenditure last year. Our payments to preachers and catechists fall to be made in the month of June, although by means of these windfalls our accounts appeared to be square in May, yet in June our quarterly payments came to be made, and thus it may be said we began the year with considerable debt. This considerable debt, however, has increased since, and I will give you an idea how this process of taking on all the preachers licensed may be expected to work in the course of years. This plan, in my opinion, is only equalled by the idea that every Frenchman may be a national guardsman, and every national guardsman receive fifteen pence a-day. (A laugh.) And it will give you some idea of how it works, when I tell you the salaries of preachers and catechists for 1846-7 amounted to £6721 19: 1, whereas, under the same head last year, in spite of our efforts, the same head of expenditure was £8868: 15: 2, that is to say, an increase of £1946: 16: 1. But whilst this increase is going on in our expenses, there is no increase, or a very trifling increase this year there is no increase at all-in our income. The collections of the Church, the annual collections for mission schemes-seem to have become to a great extent stereotyped. The collection for the Home Mission in 1846-7 was £3818; for last year, £3733; that is to say, there was only a deficiency in the collections of £84: 16:10. But then there was the enormous increase of expense,-an increase to the extent of £1946: 16: 1. There was likewise a large sum expended by the Gaelic Committee on deputations last year, amounting in all to £1104 11: 8. It is quite plain, therefore, that financially, we cannot proceed as we are doing; and I say this all the more earnestly, because we have made some small experiments in the way of showing what money would be raised by stations if they were left a good deal to feel their own weight. The most difficult part of the field, of course, is the Highlands and Islands. In certain districts in the Highlands very little could be given by the people themselves; but even in those districts much more could be given than we sometimes give the people credit for. A friend, for example, from the Highlands mentions to me that we cannot make preaching stations there selfsupporting. But Papacy is able to make herself amply self-supporting in the same district. (Hear, hear.) I may mention in reference to one station which had contributed nothing, that when we called a halt, it sent us very speedily £25. (Hear; and a laugh.) Another station in the Highlands which contributed nothing, when we brought the financial screw of Mr Handyside to bear upon them, sent up £50. (Hear, hear.) In the Lowlands I will just mention two cases. In one district; where we were in the habit of spending £30 a-year on a catechist, the people came forward and said, "If you will just leave the matter to us,-if you will leave us to choose a man, and pay him instead of a catechist, we will have a preacher, and, instead of you giving £30 a-year, we will give him £60 ourselves." (Applause.) In another district, not far from Edinburgh, which was in the habit of drawing £30 a-year out of our exchequer, and where the people sent back £5,; a vacancy occurred, but by that time we had discovered how the matter was worked. Application was made to us for a person to fill the vacancy; but we declined, and said, “You must find a supply to yourselves, and look out for a man." "Well, then," said they, "will you pay him?" We said, "No; consider what you will give him; consider how much you can raise in this district; then come to us, and we will consider your case, and make a grant to you according to your wants, and to our means." I communicated with the Presbytery on this subject, and a deputation of the Presbytery met the congregation, when they offered to give £15 in the half year, and they have asked the £5 from us. Formerly we gave the £30; and now they are asking us to give the £5. (Hear; and a laugh.) We all know what kind of a thing human nature is, particularly in regard to matters of money. (Laughter:) If men are left to ima gine that everything will be done for them, they will do comparatively little for themselves, and will quietly and contentedly rest on their neighbours; whilst if the props are driven away from under them, they will stand on their own feet. I remember a story told in regard to the west of Scotland. I do not know whether it may be precisely suitable, but I know it will illustrate the point. Certain persons were at a funeral, bearing along the body of a friend. The road was hilly and

long; at length one man said to his neighbour, feeling the immense pressure, that it was "" a great lift." "Lift!" said the other man, looking at him as if he had discerned a better way of it, "Do you lift? I aye lean." (Great laughter.) In point of fact, I believe that while very few are so candid as to admit it, there is a large number of individuals, and in the same way of stations, if the truth may be told, who will not "lift, but lean," unless they find their neighbours will not lift their share, but will throw the burden on them, and leave themselves to bear it. (Hear, hear.) But I believe it will be far better for the stations themselves; and I have no doubt but that in this way the funds of the Home Mission Committee, instead of being swallowed up wholesale, as they are at present, and the Committee dragged on to manifest and irresistible bankruptcy, would be multiplied five-fold by a different kind of administration. If we could in every case secure the object which we have secured, in the cases to which I have referred, the result would be to make our fund worth seventy-five per cent. more than it is. I would have the brethren seriously to consider this matter. Not that I wish any discussion on it at present, because I should like it remitted to a large Committee, to consider as to a permanent arrangement, and, having taken it into their serious consideration, to report to a subsequent meeting of the house; but all my experience and observation, both in the Home Mission of the church established, and in the Home Mission of this Church goes to this, that we should reverse the principle of our present operations, and instead of our paying everything, and then looking to the people to give us back what they please, we should devolve the responsibility, in the first instance, on each particular district, and our functions should be reduced to that simply of an aid-giving Committee, dealing forth the funds at our disposal to the different stations throughout the Church, according to our sense of their necessities, and according to our actual means. I hope that you will look to the matter more firmly and decidedly than merely in the way of coming to general principles. You must resolve on a change. A change, no doubt, may be difficult. In the first instance, it may give rise to some inconveniences, but then a change is essentially vital. I know quite well it is very easy to get assent to general principles on the subject of finance, but it is far more difficult to get individual stations and Presbyteries to apply these principles to their own cases; and I know with what complacency those who are stationed throughout the country can look to a Committee in Edinburgh suffering under pecuniary embarrassments, whereas it is a most formidable position in which the Conveners and members of those Committees are placed. It always reminds me of what I have heard of a case of a translation of one of our ministers. His health gave way. His doctor told him that unless he left that part of the country and went to a more healthful district, his life was in danger. Accordingly he accepted of a call to another charge. His people made a most violent opposition to his removal, and in the course of the negociations which occurred, one of the ministers said to the people, "Would you keep your minister in defiance of the advice of his physician, who has said, if he remains where he is he will die ?" "Well," said an old man, "We have considered a' that, and we ha'e a' made up our minds to tak' our chance o' that." (Great laughter.) They were prepared to take their chance of it, in so far as the minister was concerned. (A laugh.) Well, I believe there is a pretty strong disposition throughout the country to assent to general principles of finance, but at the same time to take their chance of the Committee's bankruptcies here. I know it is not with intention, but the matter must be brought to a point. The Home Mission is at this moment in debt,-notwithstanding the recent effort from which we received £1600, upwards of £2000 in debt. You are aware that the whole sum collected by the ladies amounted to £4650, of which we received £1600; but, notwithstanding that, the balance due by the Committee at this moment is not less than £2314; then the salaries due in June will amount to £2500 more. I may mention, for the information of members of Assembly who were not present at last Commission, that we then announced this state of things. Our Committee at that time was disposed to halt; and it was only because the Commission of Assembly, in the emergency, took the responsibility on themselves, that we continued our operations until now. It is impossible that these operations can longer continue, unless some plan be discovered by the Assembly to make our income and expenditure to meet. Having said so much in regard to the mere business part of the arrangement, I am unwill

ing to occupy the time of the Assembly longer;. but I should like to say a little on another subject which will engage your attention to-night, and undoubtedly it is the most important subject that can engage your attention, namely, the evangelization of the neglected masses of our countrymen. These divide themselves into several sections. In the first place, there is the Highlands of Scotland, many parts of which have long been neglected, and many parts of which are at this moment in a state of great heathenism. For example, we have received a communication in regard to one parish in the Highlands, to the effect, that while we have never been able to establish a station there, the state of religion is so low that the people meet and play at the shinty on the Sabbath day, at the very time when the minister is preaching, and that drunkenness prevails to a fearful extent. Then, we know that in other districts, where the people are more alive, they have not the enjoyment of the means of grace at this moment. Now, this is a subject to which I would fain solicit the attention of this Church. We do not seem to have any arrangements at this moment adequate to meet the case of the Highlands of Scotland. (Hear, hear.) Under our system of an equal dividend of £130 or £140 to ministers, I fear they will never be found in sufficient number for the Highlands. The old plan which existed under the Royal Bounty has in the mean time ceased to be available to us, and whether it can be restored in any way, and whether any intermediate plan can be adopted between the minister with an equal dividend, and a mere preacher and catechist, it is for the wisdom of the Assembly to determine. Unless you can adopt some plan by which you can have ordained ministers, instead of preachers, in some instances planted in various parts, there being in one district only twelve ministers amongst 120,000 Highlanders, most of them adhering to the Free Church, and catechists placed under them, I dread the result in every point of view. It is most interesting to know that in all the Hebrides, and along all the western coast of Scotland, the people are still zealously devoted and attached to the Free Church. It is to the Free Church they look for a supply of ordinances; and while the temporary plan of sending ministers from year to year is better than nothing, I wish the attention of the Church were called to some plan by which to secure the permanent establishment of ordained ministers in the western and northern Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Can we not do what Popery does? Popery sends her ordained priests, and establishes them even in the poorest of those islands; and shall the Free Church sit down and say, the thing is impossible? (Hear, hear.) Then I would press upon the attention of the House the vast importance of that site question in reference to the Highlands. We have letters intimating the great difficulties to which the people are exposed in consequence of the want of sites. I was struck with a remark in a letter from one of our Highland catechists, in which, in his own simple language, he says, "Last winter it was with my plaid I kept the snow from my Bible, while I was preaching to the people in the open air." I rejoice to say that the case of these Highlanders is attracting interest, not only in our country, but out of it. Lady Effingham, as you are aware, has taken up the case of the Island of Harris, and pays for the support of a missionary there; and she wishes to raise means for building a church, manse, and school-house. (Applause.) I trust we will soon see in this centre of the Long Island a regularly ordained minister of the Free Church. But you want more, you want a man in South Uist, Barra, and various other districts; and what shall we say to St Kilda? It is most interesting to know that, even in far distant St Kilda, every human being in the island is attached to the Free Church. (Applause.) Their minister left them at the Disruption, and he is now a minister of the Establishment. When he went back to dispense the sacrament, while every one of them received him with kindness, none of them would sit down at the communion-table at which he was willing to preside. And what is the state of this people? We sent a catechist once, and again and again the vessel was driven back from those stormy shores, and when he at length landed, what did he find? You are aware that Dr M'Donald travelled through all Scotland, and part of England for anything I know, but at all events he raised £800, and built a church and a manse in St Kilda. Well, then, these are now locked up; and when this gentleman from the Free Church landed amongst the people he found them unanimously attached to our principles; but he found that orders had been given that no Free Church gentleman should be allowed to enter that house. When he was about to leave the island because there was no accommodation, the

people besought him, telling him they would do anything to keep him, and reminding him that our blessed Lord himself had nowhere to lay His head; and that man staid and preached the gospel to this interesting people, and has written a very interesting account of his sojourn amongst them. Now, I say these Highlands and Islands are a great field, one-half of it, nay, I would say nine-tenths of it, as yet not overtaken by the missionary, or by the energetic evangelization of the Free Church. Then we come to the mining and manufacturing districts, containing vast masses of miscellaneous population, gathered from Ireland, England, and Scotland, -gathered some of them from all parts of the world, and living in the greatest state of degradation and heathenism. The mixture of Irish Popery has tended to deepen the deep degradation. Now, it is for this Church to consider, not only her duty to send ministers to preach in the course of this summer, as she has heretofore done, and done with effect, as my friend Mr Somerville will tell you, but it is for this Church to consider what she can do, and should do, in the way of establishing a permanent gospel ministry in those vast fields. Unless she does it, how is it to be done? The Established Church cannot do it, and will not do it, and it is not for us to sit and look on, when we know that, humanly speaking, it will not be done unless we come to do it. Again, what shall we say of our large cities,―our accumulating thousands in Glasgow, our dense masses even in Edinburgh,—our accumulating multitudes of Irish Papists in all our towns,- our increase of drunkenness, Sabbath profanation, and of contempt for everything that is sacred,-I say what are we to do with all this? Are we to sit down and imagine that we have reached the limits of our exertions, now that we have planted a few churches, scattered over the map of the country? Are we not to think of the men who went before us, who were not satisfied so long as there was a single district unsupplied by the preached gospel. It is remarkable that John Knox, in the course of seven years, succeeded in establishing about 1200 agents in Scotland, beginning with a very few. We have been five years in existence, and we have made some progress during that time; but, after all, there seems to be a danger of our beginning to fold our hands, as if the work were done, and that, instead of going forward, we should begin to stand still, in which case we shall immediately retrograde. Let us remember for what it is God has planted us in this world, and brought us through such a marvellous and mysterious history. If He brought back the captivity of our Zion, when we were like men who dreamed, and filled our mouths with singing, and made them to say among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them,-is it for us to forget all He has done, when we may be insrumental in advancing His glory, by the preaching of the glorious gospel of His grace? Now, this is the purpose, and the only purpose, for which a Church of Christ is planted on earth, namely, to save souls and to advance that cause for which Jesus died and rose, and now reigns. I will not, however, dwell on that subject. I will just sit down by saying, that I trust Mr Somerville, who is to succeed me, will give you interesting information in regard to the success that has attended the deputation for the past year, and in regard to his plans for the future year. What I have to propose is, in the first place, in regard to the business arrangements to which I have referred, that the General Assembly, instead of beginning the discussion of them at this moment, which probably would not end in any satisfactory result, should remit this matter to a special committee, to be taken up to-morrow. I was anxious that this business should have been taken up at an earlier period in the sittings of the Assembly, but other very important matters made that impossible. Then, in regard to the future, I have to state to the Assembly, that having been originally appointed Convener of this Committee by the kindness of this house, in my absence, I have, during the year, in a humble way, and as a multiplicity of other engagements would allow me, devoted a considerable measure of attention to it. I at the same time have now to resign the office which the Church was good enough to appoint me to, and to put into its hands my resignation. My engagements, principally connected with my own people, are of such a nature that I cannot continue in the position which I have occupied during last year; and arrangements connected with this Committee are of such a nature, and are of so very great importance, that I could not conscientiously continue any longer. In conclusion, I beg pardon for having trespassed so long on the time of this house. (Applause.)


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