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have done; I make no appeal. If the facts and statistics I have presented should fail to influence this Assembly, equally shall I fail if I possessed the tongues of men and of angels.
Mr MAKGILL CRICHTON said, he was happy to see the great principles involved in this question so admirably brought out by Mr Nixon, and by Mr Davidson, who preceded him. What he had now to mention chiefly referred to the state of matters in the kingdom of Fife, (a laugh) where he had had, at all events, the lion's share of the work. He rejoiced to tell them that the good work was prospering,—that the working people were beginning to perceive, more and more, that while the question was a question of the middle and upper classes, it was pre-eminently a question of the working people. (Hear, hear.) He rejoiced to tell them that the amount and extent in which this truth was being received were very great. He rejoiced also in the catholic spirit in which the agitation had been conducted, and in the encouragement which they had received from the members of the United Presbyterian Church, and by other Dissenting bodies. (Applause.) He rejoiced to say that, on very many occasions, he had not gone to ask the people to come to him, but they had sent for him to come to them; and he regarded it as an admirable token for good, when they actually found the people asking for persons to inform them on this great and important subject. He was deeply persuaded that Mr Davidson was right in telling them that working men's associations, and young men's associations were, under God, to be a most peculiar and important instrument in this warfare. The battle, in his opinion, if it was to be won at all, was to be won by moral power, and mainly by the working population of this country. (Hear.) He would, without hesitation, tell that house, that the working people were open to conviction; and that they were now beginning to perceive the vast importance of the question, not only in a religious point of view, but as concerns their temporal and economic welfare. He earnestly desired the house to carry out the matter by impregnating the minds of the working people with information and instruction on the subject; and he had only to add, that if this was done, and done effectively, the battle might be long and protracted, but he was deeply persuaded that if, in the midst of difficulties and discouragements, they resolved never to surrender, the time would come, sooner perhaps than they expected, when the victory would be their own. He (Mr Crichton) felt ashamed of himself when he recollected the lassitude and inaction to which he had been reduced in other days, and in other times, and contrasted this with the conduct of their noble champion in this great movement (Sir Andrew Agnew), who had never permitted himself to be disheartened or discouraged. (Applause.) Since then, he had seen a measure of success attend the movement, which he, for one, would never have ground to anticipate. As they had truth on their side, their motto should be, "All forward, and no surrender." (Applause.)
Mr DUNCAN, of Lockerbie, said, that he was one of a large class of ministers who were placed in peculiar circumstances by the introduction of the railway into their district. He begged to impress upon the members of the General Assembly the importance of the Sabbath question in reference to the discipline of the Church. In the Presbytery of which he was a member, the brethren were divided in opinion. A portion of them were disposed to act in one way, another portion were disposed to act in another way, and if such differences of opinion about the dispensation of sealing ordinances to parties who, being connected with railways on which Sabbath trains were regularly run, would thus be constrained to perform secular work on the Lord's-day, prevailed among ministers and elders throughout Scotland, it would necessarily produce painful collisions between the Sessions of different congregations, and also within Sessions. It was surely of great practical importance that such differences and collisions should not be found in the Free Church; and as many of the ministers of the Free Church had been ordained very recently to the ministry, it was most desirable that some uniform rule should be laid down. He (Mr Duncan) was well aware of the delicacy and importance of the subject of discipline in its relation to railways, where the directors ordered Sabbath trains to be constantly run. He had this day heard the insinuation that this matter should be introduced
with wisdom and caution; but he begged to say, that for the introduction of the overture from the Presbytery of Lockerbie, which introduced the subject of discipline specially in connection with the question of Sabbath trains, he and the members of the Presbytery who coincided with him were not responsible. It had not been drawn up by him. He had conceived that the Bible principle and the recognised statutes of the Church of Scotland were quite sufficient to direct the Kirk-Sessions and Presbyteries on the matter. (Hear, hear.) But there were other parties who could not make up their minds, and, to relieve their perplexities, the matter was sent up to superior courts, who were thus compelled to consider the question. It was very easy to talk of wisdom and caution, and about the danger of causing discord and difficulties by rash procedure. But those on whom the responsibility of throwing the apple of discord into society fell, were in a multitude of cases indecisive, and parties who evaded their own direct personal responsibilities by transferring the particular question which perplexed them to their neighbours, and yet these very men would themselves utter the usual phrases of the necessity of wisdom and caution, and of looking well before them, and give regular homilies on the danger of rashness and imprudence. (Laughter.) He would close with two remarks, that if, in the ordinary course of railway extension, hundreds of the members of evangelical Churches in this land were regularly employed on railways as stokers, engineers, porters, clerks, and must be constrained to desecrate the Lord's-day, these Churches must thereby be placed in a very awkward relation to the solemn commandment of the Almighty, that the Sabbath must be remembered to be kept holy, and, still more, if there are members of this Free Church who use their influence as shareholders and directors to order Sabbath trains to be regularly run, and thus constrain the officials and servants of railways to break God's commandment. Presbyteries may send up petitions, Synods may appoint committees, and in our General Assemblies eloquent speeches may be made, but the public will taunt us, and taunt us justly, that, with all our professed zeal for the observance of the Lord's-day, we are afraid to use the legitimate influence which, as a Church of Christ, we possess over our own members, and can exercise a convenient blindness. (Hear, hear.) He would now take the liberty of reading a very affecting statement which he had received from a distinguished minister of the Wesleyan body, the Rev. Mr M'Owan, and which concluded with the affecting incident related by his friend Mr Nixon :-" A city missionary, who has for a considerable period devoted his whole time to the instruction of workmen and other agents connected with one of the great lines, told me that he had invariably found, when any of the workmen, porters, or others, became really concerned about the salvation of their souls, they gave up their place, and sought employment elsewhere; and further, that when any member of the Evangelical Church entered the company's service, and did Sunday work, they soon lost their religion, and gave up their fellowship with the faithful. This is an affecting testimony, and it is fully borne out by my own observation in Manchester, London, and Liverpool." Mr Duncan said, that he hoped Mr Nixon would embody in his motion the latter part of the overture from the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr. Mr GIBSON would call attention to this point, that, unless they as a Church were prepared to affirm the principles contained in the overture from the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, they might at once cease to talk of the obligation of the fourth commandment. (Hear, hear.) They would do more evil to this cause than they could well imagine, if they continued to have this matter talked and discussed in overtures and reports, instead of acting at once and decidedly upon the subject. If they were not prepared at once to act, they would bring the Church and its discipline into contempt, and allow their ministry to be called into question. The world would not believe them sincere if they did not act upon that which was so often talked of. He would have them to bear in mind that the Disruption was not the only witnessing which they as a Church might have to lay their account to be called upon to bear before the world. There might be many points on which allegiance to their great Head would call them to contend in times to come. If they were not prepared to take up their position in regard to showing that the fourth commandment was as binding as any other of the commandments of the moral law, let them say
so, and take up their position accordingly; but if they held that the fourth commandment was binding, as he believed they did, then he for one was quite prepared to act, being convinced that the time was come that a distinct intimation should be given forth from the Church on the subject. (Hear.) He was aware that, as to the exercise of discipline, there was a sort of prejudice; but this prejudice, he was convinced, arose from a misconception of the real object of discipline, which consisted not in cutting a man off without rhyme or reason, but in meeting, communing and remonstrating with him, and, in the event of this being ineffectual in bringing him to a sense of his duty, that then the laws of the Church should be put into effect. (Hear.) He would only say, in conclusion, that he hoped what was stated on this matter in the overture to the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, would be embraced in the deliverance of the Assembly.
Dr CANDLISH said, he was thoroughly satisfied with the turn which the conversation had taken, and thoroughly concurred in the terms of the motion sent up by the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr. He thought, at the same time, if any difficulty was felt upon the matter, that it might form a very competent subject for the consideration of a Committee.
Mr Nixon's motion was unanimously agreed to.
REPORT OF MANSE COMMITTEE.
Mr R. PAUL, Convener, read the following Report :
"Our last Repopt showed that, of the whole amount of the subscribed fund (being £116,370) there had been received during and prior to the first year, £32,485; and, after deducting £4000, the value of the Breadalbane manses, there remained £79,885 to be received in the course of the remaining four years (over which the the collection of the fund was to be spread), giving about £20,000 as the income of each year. It will be seen from the state of accounts, that the sum realized in the course of the year now concluded, being the second year's instalment of the Fund, has been £16,835: 14: 9, which is somewhat more than £3000 within the expected amount. To some extent this shortcoming has arisen from the want of a sufficient local agency for collecting the subscriptions,-a want which, it is hoped, will not again occur. But it is, no doubt, chiefly to be ascribed to the extraordinary crisis through which the country has recently passed; and, considering the extreme degree of distress and alarm which has existed during the past year, the Committee think it to be matter of satisfaction that the instalments of the Fund have to so large an extent been realized. They have also reason to believe that a number of subscribers have only deferred their payments for a year, so that in the end only a small proportion of the above deficiency, it is hoped, will be found to be actually lost.
"The following is the amount received during the year in the different Synods::Lothian and Tweeddale, £4739 5 0
Merse and Teviotdale,
Angus and Mearns,
565 3 9
1504 12 5
1349 1 0
200 0 5
342 10 2
£16,835 14 9
"Since the closing of the account, additional sums from Glasgow and other places have been received.
"Besides the proper income of the year, the Committee have to account for a balance of £14,594, which remained on hand at the date of last Report. They have much pleasure in recording some gratifying instances of individual liberality which have this year come under their notice. The congregation at Largs have received from Miss Mure, one of their members, the liberal donation of a house, of the value
of £1000, as a manse for their minister. At Rothesay a similar donation has been conferred upon the West congregation there by Mr John Macfee of Rothesay; and at Innerkip a house and garden, suitable for a manse, have been presented by Mr Macfie of Langhouse. Besides these donations to special localities, the General Fund has received a donation of a house in Glasgow from Mr John Brown of Rothesay.
"The Committee will now proceed to give an account of their administration of the Fund for the past year.
"The claims with which the Fund remained chargeable at the close of the first year, in terms of last Report, stood as follows :—
1. Cases admitted upon the first year, where no grant had been paid,
3. Cases admitted to participate in the second year's distribution, ing one case admitted subsequent to last Report,
The grants paid by the Committee during the past year to these cases are as follows:
I.-Payments in supplement of partial grants,
NOTE. One of these grants is yet incomplete, viz. to
II.-Full grants paid,
1. To first year's cases,
In one of these cases, viz., Kingussie, an extra
2. To second year's cases,
III. Partial grants paid,
1 First year's cases,
In four of these cases, viz., Connigsburgh, Gair-
2 Second year's cases,
Besides these, the following additional and ex-
3. Additional grants to first year's cases, where the
4. Extra grants over and above £200, formerly paid, viz. :
Sum. £800 0 0
"Of the cases admitted to the first and second year, there still remain 81 that have not yet received their grants. This number includes cases where sites are still denied by the owners of the land. In the remaining cases, the congregations have been prevented from proceeding with their manses by the general distress which has prevailed, especially in the districts to which the cases belong. It is, however, gratifying to state that, with the prospect of better times, most of these are taking steps to build their manses in the course of the present year. In the mean time the Committee have retained in their hands a sum sufficient to meet these claims when they arise, the balance in bank at the close of the account being £14,748 : 7 : 9. This sum, it will be observed, is not more than sufficient to meet these outstanding engagements of the Committee; so that, in order to meet the grants of the third year, the Committee must look exclusively to the third year's instalment.
"The total money-cost of 93 manses (viz. those included under the heads 2, 3, and 6, above stated), which have received grants this year for the first time, leaving out of view those cases which were included in the corresponding part of last Report, is £44,047 17
Adding to these the estimated value of gratis carriages and
The total expense of these 93 manses amounts to
On an average of £494: 11: 2 for each manse.
1946 4 0
£45,994 1 1
"This statement is to some extent imperfect, showing, in many cases, only the estimated cost of the building as it was just commenced, or in progress.
"With regard to the local funds raised, the information contained in the schedule sent to the Committee is also necessarily incomplete; but it may be satisfactory to state, that the contributions in the several localites, so far as reported to the Committee, amount to £12,076: 13:3.
Notwithstanding the unfavourable nature of the times, the general progress of manse-building during the present year has been very satisfactory. At the date of last Report, 184 manses were built; at the present date, there are 241, including 23 that have been admitted to share in the third year's distribution, and which were also included in the 184 reported last year as built. Besides these, 53 are in progress; and, still farther, the Committee have admitted 110 cases in the third year, including the above 23,--the whole of which, it is expected, will commence operations during the present year.
"In the whole course of their administration from the outset, the Committee have had specially in view the cases of outed ministers who left manses at the Disruption, regarding them as the first and peculiar object of their care. It is unnecessary to say, that not a single application on behalf of an outed minister has been rejected. The Committee are happy to be able to state, that the number of such ministers (i.e. who left manses) who are as yet destitute of manses, does not exceed 60; but this number includes some who have been removed from the charges which they held at the Disruption, to charges in large towns, and who will therefore be dealt with on the same footing as the large-town ministers. There are others also who occupy houses erected by themselves, but not destined as manses. The Committee propose to hold communication with all the ministers of this class who are yet unprovided with manses, with a view to aiding them in obtaining the benefit of this Fund. Where unavoidable difficulties are found to exist in regard to the immediate erection of manses, they propose, either at present, or, at all events, before the General Fund is exhausted, to set apart grants, to bear interest, which either may be paid to the ministers where such assistance is desirable, or may be left to accumulate so as to facilitate the ultimate erection of manses. It has been stated in a previous part of the Report, that grants of interest had been already paid to twenty-seven ministers occupying charges in poor localities where no supplements exist, these being, with the three exceptions, outed ministers.
"With regard to the ministers in the cities and large towns, the Committee think it right to notice the understanding upon which they have hitherto proceeded, namely, that these were either not to look at all to the General Fund for aid in building their manses, or, at all events, that their applications should be postponed