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the path of reformation, as they may learn it from Christ as their only Head,' and 'his Word' as their 'only standard. After much anxious deliberation, however, I have arrived at the conclusion that the duties to which I have meantime been called, and which occupy my whole time and energies, exempt me from an undertaking which in any circumstances I should have felt too arduous for my powers. At the same time, deeming it not honourable to occupy, without explanation, an office, the understood functions of which I must refuse when called on to perform, and not lawful to conceal my sentiments on a public question of religious conduct, I have no alternative but to put the statement of the case into the Presbytery's hands, leaving them on their own responsibility to deal with it as their own sense of duty may require.
"Finally, I protest that I shall be at liberty, at any future time, to bring my position and the grounds of my present acting under the view of the judicatories of the Church."
Mr ANDERSON proceeded to state, that the Presbytery required him to put his views in writing, and he accordingly gave in a statement of certain propositions which commended themselves to him in reference to the matter occupying his mind, and embodying principles which he offered to prove from the Word of God. Presbytery appointed a Committee to converse with him, but distinctly intimated their resolution not to comply with his request to be permitted to prove his opinions from the Word of God. The Presbytery, having received a report from the Committee which met with him, stating that they had not succeeded in the object of their appointment, came to the deliverance against which he protested and appealed, depriving him of his status as a minister and member of the Free Church of Scotland. He then went on to state the reasons of his appeal, which were substantially as follows. The Presbytery, he maintained, ought to have served him with a libel, containing an explicit statement of the charge on which its conclusions were based, supported by the necessary proofs of its relevancy, as well from the Word of God as from the Standards of the Church. Secondly, If he could be convicted of false doctrine, forming a just ground of expulsion from the ministry and membership of the Free Church, a society acknowledging Christ as its only Head, and his Word as its only Standard, the same ground must be equally good for excommunicating him and deposing him from his office as a minister of Jesus Christ, in whose name alone the government and discipline of the Free Church is carried on. As in the case of deposition from the ministry, it is laid down that "the Church doth not, except in some most horrid crime, depose and excommunicate at once," by parity of reason, the Presbytery, in inflicting this lesser and irregular punishment of summarily cutting off, ought not to have decreed his exclusion from the common membership of the Church. He also contended that the Presbytery ought to have received his Scripture proof, because the Church recognises the Word of God as its only standard; because the subjects in dispute were not touching the vitals of religion, but were such as the people of God held conflicting views; because the standards of the Church provide for the advancement of reformation in the Church; because it is not consistent with charity to cut off a brother without affording him an opportunity of convincing him of his errors, by first hearing and then deliberately correcting, by an appeal to the Scriptures; because the fellowship of the Church should not be violated on account of differences of judgment like the present, conscientiously adopted; and the last reason had reference to the appellant's peculiar views of infant baptism. After dwelling on the latter topic, he concluded with an expression of his affection for his brethren in the Church, and his sorrow at the prospect of being separated from them.
Mr MURRAY said,-Mr Anderson has affirmed that the ground of our sentence, declaring him no longer a minister or member of this Church, if it was good for deposing him from the office of the ministry of the Church, was good also for deposing him from the office of a minister of Christ. Now, here, he (Mr Murray) held that there was a very essential distinction. He willingly allowed that Mr Anderson's ordination invested him with the office of the ministry of the Catholic Church; and although he had in (Mr Murray's) opinion erred very much on many important points, he had not erred to that extent that would require the Church to depose him from the office of a minister of Christ. But there was another ground on which he was admitted a member of the Free Church of Scotland, and that was on the
ground of his avowed adherence to its Standards; and that being the footing on which he was admitted, he (Mr Murray) could not but think it wrong in Mr Anderson to insist on any longer continuing a member of the Free Church. He objected also that the Presbytery did not serve him with a libel; but the statement which he put into the hands of the Presbytery, he admitted, and even in the reasons now before the house, he did not disguise that a change had taken place in him much at variance with the standards of this Church. He had avowed that he denies the doctrine of infant baptism, for instance; and, therefore, it appeared, under all the circumstances, unnecessary for the ends of justice to serve Mr Anderson with a libel. With regard to the Presbytery's declaring him not a member, as well as not a minister of the Church, there was some difference of opinion, and he (Mr Murray) was one of those who would have referred this point to the Assembly; but others considered it proper that the sentence should include the membership as well as the ministry, because if Mr Anderson continued in the enjoyment of his privileges as a member of the Free Church, how could you withdraw membership from a person who might be claiming antipedobaptism within the Church?
Mr SIMPSON followed shortly, observing on the inconsistency of Mr Anderson, in seeking to continue in connection with a Church with whose standards he differed. Parties having been removed,
Dr CANDLISH said, that they must all feel this to be a very painful case, although it was by no means a case of any difficulty. Nor was Mr Anderson's position a very peculiar one. He was simply asserting the right or the duty, as he might feel it, to bring the Church to which he had hitherto belonged into views accordant with those which he has now reached. This is a right which every one who is forced to leave any communion on account of having attained to what he may think clearer light regarding the truth of God, virtually asserts and claims; and it is a right which, with certain limits, every communion of fallible men must feel bound to acknowledge and hold sacred, who profess to receive the Scriptures as the infallible standard of faith and practice, and the Confession of Faith as a subordinate standard of truth in the Church; and hence, we cannot absolutely exclude any one from the privilege, or right, or duty, as he may think it, of attempting to change the mind of the Church on any point of doctrine or discipline contained in the standards, when he feels obliged in conscience to do so; we can scarcely exclude from such a right or duty any individual who has been hitherto connected with us, and who has been led conscientiously to differ from us. There are of course practical limits to this right, or privilege, or supposed duty, with regard to those differing from our standards; but he thought it was wise fully to concede to Mr Anderson all he was entitled to. They had allowed him to plead from the bar all the arguments which had occurred to him as necessary for him to plead, with the view of persuading the house to listen at least to his proposal for a reconsideration of the standards of our Church on the subject of baptism; for that substantially was the pleading of Mr Anderson from the bar. His whole pleading was simply designed to make out to the satisfaction of the General Assembly a case which should induce them to reconsider the doctrines of the standards on the subject of the visible Church, and particularly on the subject of baptism, and the proper objects of its administration. Now he (Dr Candlish) would venture to say that Mr Anderson had not made out this to the satisfaction of any member of the General Assembly. While he (Dr Candlish) said this, he did not mean that Mr Anderson had failed to induce any member of the house to adopt his views. Of course, to attempt to do so could never have entered into his mind; but he had failed to convince them that there is any case calling upon them to reconsider their standards in these particulars. Now, that being the case, they were not called upon to go into the grounds which Mr Anderson had travelled over. If it should be the opinion of the Assembly that he had not established any case for their reconsideration of the doctrines of the standards, from which Mr Anderson differed, and if the Assembly was to abide by its standards in these particular matters, then there was no alternative but the sad one of confirming the sentence of the Presbytery of Aberdeen. He called that a sad alternative; but he demurred altogether to the argument of Mr Anderson, that his deposition from the ministry, and his exclusion from the membership of the Free Church, involve his separation from the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. He (Dr C.) altogether demurred to the principle, that the necessary separation by one
portion of Christ's people from another, involves on either side deposition and excommunication; and it was only on such a principle that Mr Anderson could identify the sentence of the Presbytery with a sentence of deposition and excommunication from the ministry of Christ. If it be involved of necessity in the divisions which prevail in Christ's Church, that each party deposes the ministers and members of the other party, then Mr Anderson had succeeded in proving that this sentence of deposition was equivalent to a sentence of excommunication. But what do we do in this case, but simply homologate what Mr Anderson has already done on his part? He has separated from the doctrine and discipline of the Free Church. He has attempted to persuade this General Assembly that they ought to remodel the doctrine and discipline of the Free Church, as being in his view on a particular point erroneous. He has made that attempt and failed in it; and in what position does he now stand? He stands in the position of one who has made a separation from us, on most conscientious grounds, we doubt not, and from convictions which he could not as an honest man resist; but still it was on his own part the separation was made; and what we now do is simply to acknowledge that the separation has already taken place, and is, on our part, inevitable. But the separation of Christians, as to outward fellowship, in the ordinary sense of ecclesiastical fellowship, involves neither deposition nor excommunication of the one side as regards the other. If that were the case, then the doctrine of the unity of the Church of Christ, in spite of schisms and divisions, could not be maintained. As to Mr Anderson's complaint, that he was not served with a libel, there was here nothing to be proved. Mr Anderson fully admitted, in his statement to the Presbytery, that his views on certain doctrines had undergone a change inconsistent with the standards of the Church; to what purpose, then, would it have been to go through the form of a libel? In justice to the Presbytery of Aberdeen, he (Dr C.) would take the liberty of saying, that it would be scarcely possible to point out any case in which brethren had manifested greater tenderness and forbearance than had been shewn in the present case. Mr Anderson had complained that the sentence pronounced against him was in its nature penal. Now, all discipline, whether it relates to doctrine or practice, is in some measure of the nature of a penal sentence; but he (Dr C.) could not admit that the sentence in this case was penal in any severe or offensive sense of the word. When a brother was found professing doctrines differing from those of the Church with which he was connected, such a sentence as the present was rendered necessary, by a due regard to order and truth,-to the Church's views of truth, as well as to his own views of truth; but it was not incompatible with the substantial unity of all God's people, and the cherishing of mutual sentiments of brotherly love. After a few remarks on some of the doctrinal views advanced by the appellant, Dr Candlish concluded by moving that the sentence of the Presbytery be affirmed.
Mr GIBSON Seconded the motion, and briefly adverted to some of the fallacies of Mr Anderson's doctrinal argument on infant baptism.
Dr CUNNINGHAM said he had known his friend Mr Anderson for a quarter of a century; and all his intercourse with him had been of a pleasant and agreeable kind. He had always cherished, and always would cherish for him, profound respect for his character, and decided attachment to his person. He had known Mr Anderson before the time, he believed, when he was enabled by God's grace to receive the truth in the love of it; and he had no doubt that the Spirit of God had begun a good work in him, which He would carry on to the day of the Lord. At the same time, without entering into the grounds of the case, he could not but concur in the motion which had been submitted to the house, and he could not see that any other course was left to them. It was needless to enter upon the grounds on which the motion rested, because it was substantially a matter of imperative duty. With all the esteem and affection he cherished, and would ever cherish for Mr Anderson, he had no doubt that Mr Anderson had fallen into error, and adopted erroneous doctrines inconsistent with the Word of God and the standards of the Church. Holding that view, he did not feel much scruple or delicacy as to the application of penality to the sentence pronounced upon Mr Anderson. Error was a legitimate ground for the exercise of discipline and the inflicting of Church censures; and when a brother fell into error, they were not only warranted, but called upon, to apply the exercise of this discipline to him, according to the nature and magnitude of the error. Of course, while this was true as an abstract principle, the
character and motives of the individual would be taken into consideration, together with the spirit and manner in which he carried the matter out. And, of course, knowing Mr Anderson as he had done, although he still believed he had fallen into error, and believing that the error was of such a kind as to justify the Church in proceeding against him, he would not, on that account, cease to regard him as a Christian friend and brother, and esteem him in love. Dr C. then shortly defended the regularity of the proceeding of the Presbytery. As a matter of feeling, he would have preferred not to deprive Mr Anderson of his standing as a member of the Church, although he was perhaps influenced in this very much by his respect for Mr Anderson personally, who, he trusted, though in this matter he had been led into error, would be long spared to be a useful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Assembly then dismissed the appeal, and affirmed the judgment of the Presbytery of Aberdeen, declaring Mr Alexander Anderson to be no longer a minister or member of the Free Church of Scotland.
CASE OF GAELIC CHURCH, aberdeen.
The Assembly then took up a reference from the Presbytery of Aberdeen, of date 25th April 1848, in the case of the Gaelic Church there, with complaint by Mr Hugh Mackenzie, minister of said Gaelic Church, against the reference. Papers having been read, and parties called, Dr Candlish proposed that the Assembly dismiss the reference, and remit to the Presbytery of Aberdeen, with a strong recommendation to all parties in this case, to do their utmost to effect an adjustment of existing differences. A greed to.
The Assembly having called on the Fort-Augustus Commission to report, Dr Candlish, as the Convener, reported, recommending that, in respect of the resignation of the elders of the congregation of Fort-Augustus, the Assembly should appoint as assessors the following ministers, together with four elders, one to be selected by each of these ministers:-Mr Thorburn, Inverness; Mr Sutherland, Inverness; Mr M'Rae, Knockbain; Mr James M'Donald, Urray: Farther, that the Session meet once in the two months, the first meeting to be held on the first Tuesday of July; that Mr M'Rae, Knockbain, be appointed to intimate this sentence to the congregation at Fort-Augustus, and, quoad ultra, that the Commission be now discharged. The Assembly approved of the Report, appoint in terms thereof, and discharge the Commission.
Report of Psalmody Committee called for, which was given in by Mr Bridges, the Convener. The Committee was re-appointed.
Report of Accommodation Committee called for, which was made verbally by Mr Pitcairn, the Convener. The Assembly defer their deliverance on this Report until the Report shall have been given in of the Committee on Arrangements anent the Schemes.
The Assembly then adjourned.
MONDAY, MAY 29. 1848.
Report of Committee on State of Religion-Report of Widows' Fund Committee-The Treasurership-Christian Union-Report of Cheap Publications Committee-Speeches of Dr Candlish, Mr Waters, Dr D. Macfarlan, and Dr Begg-Memorials of the Disruption-Report on Quoad Sacra Churches Speeches of Mr Gray, Mr Gibson, Dr Begg, Mr M. Crichton, Dr R. Buchanan, and Mr Dunlop-Deliverance on College Report-Petition to Parliament as to Sites-Speeches of Mr Hog, Dr Mackay, Mr Dow, Mr Lumsden, Mr Inglis, Mr Macleod, and Mr Nixon-Report of Education Committee-Speeches of Dr Candlish, Mr Campbell, Dr Fleming, and Dr R. Buchanan-Constitution of Schools-Speeches of Dr Candlish, Mr Moncreiff, Mr Gibson, Mr Wood, and Dr Cunningham.
The Assembly met to-day at ten o'clock, in private conference on the arrangement of the Schemes, &c. The Assembly afterwards met for public business at twelve o'clock, and was constituted as usual with devotional exercises.
STATE OF RELIGION.
Dr D. MACFARLAN then read the Report of the Committee on the State of Religion. The Committee, in their Report, state that they are far from believing that the ends contemplated in their original appointment have yet been served; but that, looking at the whole subject, it seems doubtful whether anything of importance could be further done by them. The recommendations which they have already submitted, they still respectfully suggest as worthy of consideration; but, if they are at all to be followed out, it must be by Presbyteries, and not by any general Committee. The Report concluded by stating that the Committee earnestly recommended that the Assembly would be pleased to instruct the brethren of the different Presbyteries to hold, with their meetings for business, or on other stated occasions, private meetings for brotherly conference and prayer.
Dr P. M'FARLAN proposed the adoption of the Report, and that a vote of thanks should be recorded to Dr Macfarlan and the Committee for their labours in this matter. The principal subject referred to in the Report was one of great importance, namely, the desirability of having Presbyterial conferences in regard to the various subjects referred to. He was satisfied that, if this were done by the Presbyteries of the Church, it would be found to be of great use to the members, both in their own private capacity, and as ministers of the gospel.
Mr DAVIDSON seconded the motion.
Dr CUNNINGHAM said, that Dr Macfarlan had done good service in this matter, and he thought it might be of great service if copies of the Report were sent down to the Presbyteries by the authority of the Assembly.
The finding of the Assembly was given in the following terms :-" The Assembly approve of the Report, record their thanks to Dr Macfarlan and the Committee for their diligence in the matter entrusted to them: Farther, the Assembly recommend in terms of the Report, and order it to be printed and sent down to Presbyteries."
REPORT ON WIDOWS' FUND.
Professor MACDOUGALL, the Convener, said, he was happy to report that the Fund was progressing under the management of the Committee. In the first page of the printed Report, after some statistics connected with the state of the Fund and the admission of new members, it was stated,-"That giving effect to the changes before specified on the numbers connected with the Fund at Whitsunday 1846, as stated in the last Report, there were connected with the Fund at Whitsunday 1847,
Of ministers emeriti, or not attached to particular congregations,
Of ministers who had ceased to be ministers of the Church,
"That during the year ending 15th May 1847, 27 ministers connected with the Fund married, and nine had been married at the date of their admission; of whom 32 were under, and four above 45 years of age.
"That during the said year, two ministers connected with the Fund died, without leaving any widow or children.
"That during the said year, one widow married again, and that the number of annuitants on the Fund, at Whitsunday 1847, was,—
Of widows entitled to an annuity of £27,
Of children under 18 years of age (their mother being still alive),
"That at 31st March 1848, when the accounts for the bygone year were closed, the accumulated funds were as under :
Of the Widows' Scheme,
Of the Orphans' Scheme (including donation of £1155),